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Riding Position on a P-38


I have been looking at a Easy Racer GRR or a RANS Stratus XP and have had a bit of ride of a Tour Easy and have organised a ride of Stratus XP (all local rider's bikes as we don't have a dealer in the country net alone locally).

Anyway I quite like the fairly upright riding position of the LWB bikes but I am little concerned with the day to day functionality for me of the LWB design.

From what little I can glean online and from some photos I have seen the P-38 also appears to have a fairly upright riding position, something akin to the LWB bikes. Would this be a fair comment?

I currently ride a Bacchetta Giro 20 and whilst I am still getting into the riding style I not 100% convinced it is the bike for me hence exploring other options.

The P-38 appears from my reading to maybe more suitable for me ... reasonable speed, reasonable climbing ability, more upright riding position, okay for touring and commuting etc.

Is that a fair assumption?


Hi Andrew,

The Lightning bikes are available with two different seats: the traditional full mesh seat, and the more recent carbon fiber seat. The full mesh puts you in a relatively heads-up seating position, while the carbon fiber hardshell seat lets you recline backward more.

I would say that the more upright seating position of the mesh seat on the Lightning is similar to the upright position on the Easy Racers and RANS Stratus bikes. But the Lightning has a higher crankset position, while the Easy Racers and RANS long bikes put the crankset much lower down.

There are advantages to the more heads-up seating position:

1) You can balance the bike more easily at low speeds by shifting your body weight (so-called body English).
2) You can pivot your head on your neck and twist your whole upper body at the waist for better peripheral vision and safety.
3) If you put a full F40 fairing on the bike, you can see over the top of your fairing-enclosed feet and knees.

The downside is larger frontal area. That problem can be addressed with a front fairing though.

Am I right in thinking that you are in Australia? A rider who posts notes under the name stix on this board (and BROL) has a carbon fiber Lightning R84. He is in Brisbane. Another rider named Paul Worden (Paul W)has a P-38. I do not know where in Australia Paul is located.

Australia is a very big country...

There may be other Lightning riders down under. Maybe you could locate one close to you by posting a note on the Oz HPV website? I am a strong believer in trying before you buy.

You mentioned riding a Bacchetta Giro bike. What kind of seat does the Giro have? The "recurve" seat should put you in a fairly heads-up position, unless you have it tilted way back.

Safe riding,
Joel Dickman

Thanks Joel. You have been very helpful. Unfortunately stix is on the other side of the country to me and I think PaulW is in Melbourne (same issue). I am in Perth which is or was considered the most isolated city in the world. When it comes to recumbents I think it still is :)

That said through the local WAHPV group and Australian Cycling Forums I have tracked down and caught up with owners of a Tour Easy and a RANS Stratus LE and now maybe have a chance to take a look at a clone of a Lightening P-38 which might give me an idea of the riding position. I also believe that there may be a P-38 or even a couple of them here in Perth so I have put the word out via the WAHPV group to see if I can track one or both owners down. Isn't the Internet wonderful :)

Thanks for you comments on the seating which fits with what I was concluding from the photos and videos I have seen. One thing I don't really grasp yet is the impact of the higher crankset position. I am comfortable with the crankset position on the Giro, just not convinced with being laid back.

My Giro has a Euromesh seat on it. I have put a blog post together on the Giro 20 which includes a video with my riding position or pretty close to it anyway.

I have also uploaded a photo of the P-38 clone which I will try and have a look at to at least give me idea of what I P-38 type of bike is like.

Thanks heaps.

Hi again Andrew,

I took a quick look at the article you wrote about your Bacchetta bike. One thing that I noticed was that the euro mesh seat you are using seems to be more upright than is normally the case.

My impression is that the euro mesh seat is shaped somewhat like a fiberglass or carbon fiber hardshell seat, but is instead made of metal tubing covered with fabric. It is unusual in that the SHAPE is like the hardshells, but the construction is more like most of the full mesh seats.

It is the shape that leads most riders to lean these seats backwards more. If you are not more reclined, and try to use these seats in a more upright position, you tend to slide forward.

Bacchetta makes another seat called the recurve that works better in the more upright or heads-up position. Maybe you would be happier with the recurve seat instead of your euro mesh. As always, you don't really know until you try, and trying can be expensive.

Good luck with the bike and your various test rides,
Joel Dickman

Thanks Joel. I am still very new to the bike, around 600 km so appreciate the seat is more upright than ideal. I planned to lower it a bit more at around the 1,000 km mark and then continue that process every 500 km until I hit the sweet spot.

Maybe trying the recurve seat is an option I should consider, but at $250 I will have to give it some thought first.

Thanks for your help.


I converted to a recumbent early this year and, having started out with a Cruzbike Silvio, which I could not handle, I switched to a Bacchetta Carbon Aero and a Giro 20 for commuting, the Aero with a carbon seat and the Giro with a Euromesh. I never got comfortable with the Aero riding position and the difficult maneuvering and climbing (very twitchy). Plus I got numb feet from the high BB and my right hamstring/glute was always stressed, related to a pelvic alignment problem. The Giro was better but I still had comfort problems with the Euromesh. I switched it to a Recurve, which is better, but still not as comfortable as the P38 I bought to replace the Aero. For me the P38 is a perfect fit. It maneuvers well and climbs well. I have non-standard bars with SRAM X0 twist grip shifters and Avid brake levers, but that's all I changed. The seat is IHMO on of the most ergonomic recumbent seat available. I don't think these banana shaped seats like most carbon seats are at all good for your back.

Hi Mick,

I feel much the same way as you about the Lightnings and Bacchettas. I also appreciate the visibility and balance advantages of being seated in a more heads-up position.

But not everyBODY is like yours and mine. Some riders will not be comfy on the traditional Lightning full mesh seat. I know, because I have advised some people to get Lightning bikes who have gotten them, used them for a substantial number of miles, and given up on them because of comfort problems.

Lightning has adapted to this problem by selling bikes with laid-back carbon fiber seats as an option. Some people like the hardshell seat better. It also works better for height-challenged riders concerned about planting their feet flat on the ground at stops.

Moral of the story: if your pockets are not deep, and you cannot afford to experiment with pricey unusual recumbent bikes, try to get some test riding in before buying. I know this advice will not work for the rider who is extremely distant from all the shops that carry the bikes of interest. But if you can test ride without too much hassle, it is smart to do it.

Safe riding,


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