Weld Labs T-Bone (No longer in production)
Reynolds Welds Lab
T-Bone Titanium recumbent
George Reynolds builds recumbent bikes that are fast but not comfy for a
recumbent. I rode one of Georges Wishbone recumbents in the 2001 HPRA
North American Championships. I won in Super-Stock class. His new Z-Bone
models are front wheel drive and have rear suspension. Though none of
Georges bikes are noted for good low speed manners the Z-Bone USS is very
limited in slow speed handling. George does a great deal of on the road
testing comparing new models to his current bikes. If it is not faster he
does not build it. This allows him to build fast, efficient, aero bikes.
Many riders do not like the unpadded composite Euro seat George uses. He
makes a seat cover of astro-turf which is very durable but not padded.
Its aerodynamics helps make the bike very efficient (read: fast.) The
ovalized 2" x 3" titanium mono-tube frame is very stiff.
I prefer the pictured T-Bone and it’s linkage USS. They are no longer
made. (no, we do not have one in stock). Its stiff titanium frame
transmits power to the rear wheel with very little power-robbing flex. The
USS hand position is forward of the seat so you can pull against the
pedals (for superior climbing and sprinting) and puts your arms in a very
aerodynamic horizontal position. Long custom ovalized titanium chainstays
absorb some shock for a slightly less harsh ride. I think the T-bones
climbed as well as any recumbent. That is because it is stiff and light.
The pedal boom and bottom bracket is about the stiffest out there and the
seat is definitely the stiffest (its unpadded.) Part of the reason I find
it so fast is that I like USS and I am used to it (remember, I raced
George’s similar USS Wish-bone RT in 2001.)
Peter and his Wishbone in the HPRA 2000 meter sprint
The Reynolds bikes are built for speed, cosmetics is not a big issue with
George. If you want a bike that will look good standing still you should
consider a different recumbent bike, there are a lot to choose from.
Comfort is not George’s main point either. The T-Bone does absorb bumps a
bit better than his steel Wishbones do. The composite seat on the T-Bone
is considerably more comfortable than the Wishbone seat. If you are
looking for a comfy bike to do relaxing tours, day trips or run errands
you should probably look at a different bike. This is a great bike for
fast century rides. If you are coming from a diamond frame road bike I
think you will find the T-Bone much more comfortable on longer rides. Once
you get some miles on it the T-Bone should be faster than any road bike,
except on hill climbs.
If you are coming from a cushy bike like a Linear (see:
www.linearrecumbent.com) you may not find a T-Bone comfy (but you are sure
to find it faster than the Linear.)
The T-bone’s low speed handling is not a strong point. Reynolds bikes are
not designed to go slow. Heck, you only have to go slow to start and stop,
right? “U” turns on a T-Bone can be awkward (on some low racers “U” turns
are imposable, like a Challenge Jester.)
Above 5 to 10 MPH the handling improves greatly. High-speed handling is
quite good on the newer Reynolds bikes. I was catching other riders in
corners during the HPRA race, and I’m generally pretty timid!
It’s not a bike I’d recommend to a first time recumbent rider. It’s not a
bike I’d recommend buying without test riding (there are few to none that
I would…) But the T-Bone is one of my favorite bikes for fast riding,
especially when it gets hilly!
After the T-Bone George made the Z-Bone for a while. It was a rear
suspension, front wheel drive bike. Most came with OSS, the USS version
was terrible to maneuver below ~4 mph, the OSS did not have this problem.
George went out of production in 2005, I will miss him and his bikes. He
is still providing parts to support the folks that riding his bikes, he is
that kind of guy.
If you are looking for a fast OSS recumbent check out the
RANS Force 5.