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Headrest

I was on a ride this morning having a nice cruise on my "38" down a mile long downgrade thinking how nice it would be to have a headrest to lay back on and just chill out. Anyone used one?

Recumbent bikes with relatively upright seat-back angles - like the Lightning bikes, and the Easy Racers LWB bikes - do not need headrests.

Headrests are sometimes used on recumbent bikes and trikes with very laid-back seat angles. The good news is that they can help riders with neck strain caused by holding up their heads in order to see the road in front of them. The bad news is that they can also transmit road shock directly to your brain with excellent fidelity.

Granted, an extremely reclined seat back will shrink the frontal area of a recumbent bike, and will give an aerodynamic advantage. This is what the various low and high racer style recumbents have in common. The RANS Xstream LWB does this too. But the laid-back seats make using a front fairing problematic: you cannot see over the top of a front fairing, since the fairing needs to clear your feet and knees.

The more heads-up approach of the Lightning is a better way to go: Your ability to see all round you is improved, and this contributes to safe riding. You can also use body english to improve the bike's handling. Not so easy on a laid-back bike. When you really want to fly, a front fairing - or better yet a full fairing - is easy to attach to the bike.

Safe riding,
Joel

Being a Clydsdale and of short stature (5'9" but a 43+ Xseam) I found myself with the dilemma of an XL P38 with an XL seat which towered over my shoulders rather than suporting them. My solution was to lean the seat back as far as possible and then further, with some surgery, and then I stiched a lumbar support pillow (6"D by 12"long) to the mesh of my seat bag. I've owned 3 Lightnings over the last 10 years and have used the same set-up on all. I've tried the proper sized seat but I go back to my Neck-Roll every time. Thats my story and I'm sticking to it!........ Dave

Hey Dave -

Sounds like a good solution for your long-legged short-torso body. You created a neck rest to compensate for the Lightning seat being too tall for you.

I had a similar problem with my first P-38 in a previous geological era. The large frame was a perfect fit for me, but the top tube of the seat frame was a little too high up for comfort. I took a hacksaw to the seat frame and removed a length of about three inches on each side tube. Took the top of the seat frame to Home Depot and found a short length of copper tubing that was a perfectly tight press fit inside the aluminum seat frame tubing. Pounded short lengths of the copper tubing inside the seat frame side tubes, and used a mallet to pound the seat frame top back on. The short lengths of copper tubing formed internal "sleeves" re-connecting the separated parts of my hacked-apart Lightning seat.

The shortened seat back fit me well, and has held together over the years. Rick Martin did something similar to his seat base in order to shorten it, but used external sleeves and JB Weld. There are some pictures of his work in the gallery area of this site.

Fit happens.

Safe riding,
Joel Dickman

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