Longbikes Slipstream Recumbent Bike


Longbikes Slipstream Recumbent Bicycle

Longbikes has a well-deserved reputation for beautifully built, rugged USS recumbent bikes. The Slipstream’s frame is overbuilt, giving rigid and predictable handling. Longbikes is so sure of their solo recumbents they guaranteed the frames for riders up to 300 lb, 25 lb more than the LWB USS Linear Limo. For these larger riders, the few extra pounds of a Slipstream doesn’t make much difference. Smaller riders under 200 lb or so may find the Linear Limo with its aluminum frame noticeably lighter.

The fittings & hardware made by Longbikes are well finished and high quality. Their machining detail is excellent. An example of this is the seat struts. They are machined out of solid aluminum rods making them a bit heavier that most other struts. Then again I’d never seen a seat strut break till RANS came out with the cut away ends in 2003. I don’t ever expect to see a broken Longbikes seat strut.

The Longbikes Slipstream comes with linkage Under Seat Steering (USS.) The 1978 Avatar was the first US made recumbent with this feature, later found on the Ryan, Linear and now also the Slipstream. The linkage allows the steering geometry and handlebar position to be independent for optimum handling and arm comfort. Most riders find the linkage steering on the Longbikes (and Linear) much better than on the old Vision USS recumbents.

The Longbikes full mesh seats are similar to the Haluzak seat but a bit more comfortable. Full mesh seats are OK but they are not my favorite. Larger riders tend to like full mesh seats better. Skinny guys like me (6’2, 170 lb) have bony butts and tend to prefer foam-padded seats, like the RANS seat, an available option on the Slipstream.

In 2003 Longbikes came out with their adjustable angle – folding seat design. It allows you to adjust the angle between the seat base and back and also folds for transport (but not quickly). I don’t think the Longbikes seat comfort is up to the high standard of the rest of the bike, but I’m skinny and prefer a padded seat.

Longbikes Slipstream
Longbikes Slipstream

The finish on Longbikes is excellent. Smooth welds, replaceable dropouts, glossy powder-coat paint and finely detailed and finished machined parts combine to give a very finished appearance. With the Slipstream you get a lot of meticulous durability for your considerable investment.

If you like the relaxing LWB ride and USS position of the Slipstream (as I do), but saving over $500 sounds good to you consider also the Linear Limo recumbent. The Slipstream and Limo have very similar geometry and ergonomics. The Avatar 2000 developed at MIT in 1978 influenced both designs. Most riders who like the ride of one will like the ride of the other.

Linear Limo to Longbikes Slipstream Comparison

Linear Limo Longbikes Slipstream
2009 Base Price $2,195 $2,795
Price W/ RANS seat $2,195 $3,095
weight 35.5 lb. 37 lb.
frame material 6061-T6 aluminum 4130 Chromoloy steel
Frame tubing Custom extruded beam plain gauge round tubes
machining finish fine beautiful
max rider weight 275 lb. 300 lb.
component quality Very good Very good
LOA 87 93.5
Wheelbase 65 70.5
seat height 27 23
bottom bracket height 20 17.5
weight savings 1.5 lb. 0 lb.
$ savings W/RANS seat $900 $0

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