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Infinity "21st Century" 1993

Posted by Jim Strasma on February 23, 2013


If you have the opportunity to ride this bike, the ride is very soft and luxurious.
Handling is quicker than usual for a long wheelbase under-seat steering mechanism.
Expect learning to ride it to take a while, if you've never ridden such a bike before.

(Source: Recumbent Cyclist News)

The "21st Century" Infinity of 1993 was not the first aluminum recumbent bike that Ace Tool and Engineering built. The first model was designed in 1981 by Dr. David Pearson and others in Mooresville, Indiana, and initially sold for $499 with two chain rings, and $599 for three chain rings. 

This "21st Century" model cost $50 more at $649, but still cost under half the price of its competition at the time.  One 1993 ad stated:

"Discover the aerodynamics and mechanical efficiency of the Infinity design, the stability of under-seat steering, and the strength of square-sectioned aluminum tubing. Above all, discover the shock-free comfort of Infinity's fully supported seat, a comfort you must ride to believe!"

The frame was square section 6061 T6 structural aluminum, with some round pieces for chain stays. Some support parts were oddly-shaped and sized, due to previous problems with main and seat frame failures (covered under its three year warranty.)

The seat had a simple aluminum frame, covered with a simple mesh fabric. 

The drive train was mostly Suntour, without index shifting. The "21st Century" came with 21 speeds, three chain rings (28, 38 and 48 teeth), and a 13 to 28 tooth freewheel. This gave it a gear inch range of 27 through 100 - not quite enough at either end. The wheels had entry-level alloy quick release hubs and Weinnman rims.

The "21st Century" came in two sizes: one for riders up to 5 foot 9 inches, and another for riders at least 5 foot 8 inches in height. Advertised weight was 27 pounds.

At least one former dealer was unhappy, reporting problems with build quality, delivery time and warranty support.


Easy Racers EZ-1 1994

Posted by Jim Strasma on February 23, 2013


"The EZ-1 is a clear view of the future of recumbents for the common man."


                                    (Source: Recumbent Cyclist News)

Easy Racers "EZ-1" model was designed by Gardner Martin in 1994. It was intended to sell for $795, rather than $1,700 for his earlier (and still current) "Tour Easy" long wheelbase recumbent. Design goals were reliability, light weight, performance, and user-friendliness for less-skilled riders. It was not optimized for speed or long distance riding like the longer steel "Tour Easy" and aluminum "Gold Rush Replica" models. Its smaller size epitomized a new category of CLWB (Compact Long Wheelbase) recumbents, able to fit in a trunk or back seat, hang off the back of a motor home, or pack in a single box for air shipment.

The "EZ-1" was the end result of design work begun in 1975. "Gardner went the distance to build a bike that would be near bullet-proof and trouble-free." Its frame was TIG welded Hi-Tension 1010 steel, with a Cr Mo head tube and fork. "The frame is expertly TIG welded by none-other than legendary recumbent racer, Fast Freddie Markham."

The "EZ-1" was available in two sizes: 5' and 6'. The seat had an aluminum frame and Lycra-covered foam. Wheels were 20" in back and 16" in front, with 75 percent of the weight on the rear wheel. Tires were 90 PSI Kendas. Steering is above-seat, a bit higher and wider than on a "Tour Easy." The crankset is a Sakae SX with three chain rings, and the derailleurs are Shimano Altus with an 11 to 28 tooth cassette, yielding a gear inch range of 23 to 81 standard, or 23 to 96 via a seed wheel option.

Sun still offers a licensed version of the "EZ-1" design, though no longer made by Easy Racers in Watsonville, California.

Schwinn "Sports Tourer" 1971-1975

Posted by Jim Strasma on February 23, 2013



One step down from the top-of-the-line "Paramount" series, the Schwinn "Sports Tourer, along with the "Superior" and "Super Sport" had brass fillet-brazed SAE 4130 Cr Mo (chrome molybdenum) straight seamless tubing, rather than the silver-soldered Reynolds 531double-butted tubing and Nerves lugs of the "Paramount."

The "Sports Tourer" frame was hand-built at the Chicago Schwinn factory from 1971 through 1975. For added strength, frame tubes and stays were reinforced with internal sleeves at brazed joints to support Schwinn's famed lifetime frame warranty. Sadly, the lifetime of the company turned out to be less than that of this "Sports Tourer." 

The "Sports Tourer" frame and fork are all Cr Mo, with forged rear dropouts and a threaded bottom bracket for cotterless cranksets. Introduced at $196 in 1971, its final price was $209.95 in 1975.

Though the Schwinn name lives on, Schwinns are no longer made by the same company. 

(Source: Sheldon Brown)

Original promotional image from Schwinn (Source:

BikeE 1992

Posted by Jim Strasma on February 23, 2013


"The BikeE is the same size as a conventional bike, but most riders can easily sit on the seat with feet planted flat on the ground. The controls are well thought out and a no-brainerto use, the bike is light enough to lift onto a car rack and most will enjoyBikeE's somewhat futuristic look." 


The $895 original BikeE was initially designed and built in the fall of 1992 by four bicycle commuters at Richard Rau's Pedalcraft, located between Corvallis and Philomath on the coast of Oregon. Its most noticeable feature is its hollow 6005-T5 "box" aluminum main tube.

The seat slides on top of tracks in the maintube, easily-adjustable fore or aft via two quick releases. The seat frame is chro-moly, and the seat itself is foam, covered by Darlexx (like a water-resistant Lycra.) Its angle is not adjustable. There was only one size, expected to fit anyone from 4 foot 10 inches to 6 foot 1 inches in height.

The drive train was an 8 speed Suntour, using XC Twist Grips index shifters. The initial gear inch range was from 37 to 94, suitable for casual and recreational rides. An optional second chain ring for $120 extended the gear inch range to 29 at the low end. Wheels were 20 inch in back and 16 inch in front. Advertised weight was 32 pounds.

"The BikeE really shines for commuting, city riding, and even quit country roads on varied pavement. The high seating position makes the BikeE easy to see and be seen in traffic and the compact wheelbase makes it agile--this could be the ultimate recumbent city-bike."

"A big plus is that it can be moved along at quite a rapid clip without even using the pedals. I just sat on the seat and started running. In fact, since the handlebars are at the balance point of the bike, I could stand, lift the bike without taking my hands from the handlebars, spin 180 degrees, and take off running in the opposite direction!"

BikeE later introduced the Taiwan-built "CT" in 1999, which sold like hotcakes at $650. Sadly, the rapid growth and a later recall for defective seat mounts doomed the company, though Amlings still has BikeE models in stock as consignment bikes. (Personal note: I have a BikeE-RX myself, a full-suspension 24 speed model reviewed as "one of BikeE's last models and my all time favorite CLWB.")

 (Source: Recumbent Cycling News)

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