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phantom for touring

hi , i live in the south of france and own three different recumbent , but i'm still looking for my "ideal" touring bike
does anybody here use the phantom as a long distance touring bike and according to you is it a good choice?
i also would like to know what kind of tire dimensions ( the widest in fact) we can put on the phantom , and if it is imaginable to have both a 20" in front and a 26" rear.....

I have never toured on a Phantom, but I recently was in Lompoc test riding both the Phantom and P-38. I would have been very happy with the Phantom, but even the largest was too small for me. I did end up with a P-38 and I am waiting on delivery. In the process of deciding on an all purpose recumbent I came across this website:

He did a long tour on a Phantom. Hopefully it can help.


thanks a lot for this quick answer and for the very interesting website
i'm really interested in the fact that you try both phantom and P38 (one thing that is inimaginable for me in europ , there's none of them in france.....)
talking about overall road performances is there so many differences , or does the main difference is in the components of the bike?
you say that the largest was too small , how tall are you?


I am 197 cm tall. For the short ride that I did on the Phantom, I thought it was nice but the P-38 felt more solid. Of course this could be because the Phantom was a bit small for me so I felt crunched up and I had to watch my knees on the handlebars. Anyhow, they are both nice bicycles and for quality the Phantom would have been fine, but fit is most important.
Another consideration is a Rans V-rex. I am a little biased towards sliding boom recumbents since with my height I am at the extreme end of fit and I think that the handling would vary slightly with the seat, and hence more weight, in the most rearward position. Plus on top of that I would be adding more weight in the back for touring. I have only tried an old Bikee with a sliding seat, so I could be very wrong. I have never had the chance to really test my theory. Since the Lightning bikes were on my shortlist and I had a chance to get to Lompoc I ended up with a Lightning.
My only previous recumbent was a HP Velo Streetmachine. It handled very well, but I didn't like the hard shell seat and I also prefered a more upright position. It was a 2000 model year and was steel. Also it isn't known for its speed or climbing ability. And I live in a a very hilly area.
If touring is your main goal, look into some of the Dutch manufacturers. Nacza, Challenge and Optima. Also there are the Germany manufacturers; Flux, HP Velo and Zox. I think being in Europe you have more of a selection than us in the states, though the mesh seat bicycles are fewer.


totally agree with you , there are a lot of touring bikes in europ , but the most of them have hard seat that i don't like for touring , and in fact i must say that i'm fascinated by the "exotic" (for europ) , very simple and "old school" look of the lightning
in fact , i would also like to know "how is it " to ride a lightning (only "heard about" no lightning in france )

what about the "easy reacher racks" made by terracycle , is it possible to fit and which one?

thanks so much

Hello Thierry,

1) The Lightning Phantom can be ordered with a 20" (ISO 406) front wheel. I think that is the default size when you get the medium / large frame size. The rear wheel is the standard 26" mountain bike size.

2) There is plenty of room for wide tires and fenders (mudguards) on the Phantom. I am using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on my Phantom (actually an older Stealth) front and rear. I do not remember the exact dimensions of the tires, but they are definitely on the fat side.

3) Is the Phantom a good touring bike? I have not had any long tours. But I know that others have used the bike successfully for extensive tours.

Some people prefer a long wheelbase recumbent - such as a RANS Stratus or Tour Easy style bike - for touring because of the smoother ride.

You mentioned having three other recumbent bikes. Can you describe them for us?

Safe riding,
Joel Dickman

waw, all my questions are quite answered!! thanks!
it's my turn to answer i think....:))
my three bikes are :
-a bacchetta Agio with cyclone motor and solar pannel i use to carry heavy loads ( i sold my car few months ago) and to deliver vegetables ( i grow organic vegetables that i sell on markets)
- a Metabike
it's a spanish manufacturer of high racer frame
this frame is equiped with "top of the line" road bikes components (ultegra group , mavic ksyrium wheels , etc) and waits just a little less 10kg(22 pds)
- an Ice QNT trike that i will soon sell for a catrike expedition or "if i'm creazy enough"a Leiba velomobile

i prefer SWB than LWB for touring because of the ability to put in train , know LWB are quite "exotic" in europ....

my last question before "craving" for the phantom :
do you know if it's possible to put on under seat rack like terracycle make for bacchetta , volae or rans bikes....

thanks for all , and for your welcoming


I have a P-38 and a Phantom, and I'll just add that the Lightning panniers work great on either bike for touring. The bags are pricey, but you can put heavy items near the front, they are streamlined, and they fit very well. The Phantom is very beefy and strong on the front forks and the rear chainstays, but many people have toured on the P-38. My P-38 has a 369mm front wheel size and a very narrow front fork, so I have more wheel and tire choices on the Phantom.

I should add that you need a narrow diameter tube rear rack like the Blackburn (that Lightning and others sell) for the pannier clamps to fit. I bought a different rack with large diameter tubing, and the clamps wouldn't fit.



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