US Pro Handcycling: Closeup Look at Arm-Powered Bicycle
While we were at the US Pro Cycling Championships in Greenville a couple weeks ago, we also chatted with one of the handcycling racers while they got ready to race. Ã‚Â This Ã‚Â bike belongs to Todd Richardson, a CAT2 racer.
We watched the first half of their race, too, and these guys FLY!! Ã‚Â While I’m certainly pleased to have full use of my legs, it looks really fun, and I definitely want to ride one of these sometime. Ã‚Â For now, though, I’ll share with you all the marvel of the machinery.
Hit ‘more’ to see details, weight and costs…
(SIDE NOTE: That’s Little Miss Bikerumor in the photo…ain’t she cute?)
It was hard to hold it steady enough for the Park Scale to lock in a weight, but it hovered from 35lb 12oz to 36lb 1oz…basically 36 pounds. Ã‚Â Richardson said it cost about $9,500 as-is, and that “entry level” handcycles started around $4,500. Ã‚Â He said this creates a real barrier to entry, saying “imagine if a normal bike started at $4,500 and you’d see a lot fewer cyclists.”
The components are a blend of road and mountain bike bits…most of the bikes we looked at had MTB cassettes, shifter and derailleurs with road wheels. Ã‚Â Another thing the owner mentioned is that most (all?) handcycles are custom built for their owners.
The rider is pushing both cranks in sync to keep from wobbling the bike back and forth, but has to also steer by pulling them one way or another. Ã‚Â The Handcycles varied dramatically in design, especially based on whether the rider was an amputee or had their legs. Ã‚Â If I overheard correctly, some have more use of their legs than others, which provides an advantage in stability…sort of like cyclists with strong cores have a stronger base from which to deliver the power. Ã‚Â But, amputees have a major weight advantage.
The rear Zipp wheels (actually front wheels) had the standard hub internals pulled and modded so they could be bolted on.