Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fleavo vs. Seavo

Having finally put enough miles (600+) on the Flevo back to back to get a real feel for the bike, I thought it would be interesting to rate it against my trusty Rans Seavo. It's mostly an academic exercise though since the Flevo is generally unavailable on the market now. I'll rate them both on a scale of 1-10 for comfort, speed, transportability, maneuverability, cost, and stoker satisfaction.


Flevo: This is the most comfortable bike, tandem or single, I've ever ridden. After a 50 mile ride there are no sore body parts and no recumbent butt. This is due no doubt to the fact that my stoker and I are basically riding on our backs. In addition, the suspension piston at the top middle of the frame smooths out all but the biggest bumps. Rating: 10

Seavo: As comfortable as the Screamer and most other single recumbents I've ridden. I do get recumbent butt on this bike after about 30 miles. Rating: 7


Flevo: It's performance is a quantum leap over any recumbent I've ridden. It easily cruises in the high teens with little effort and can cruise in the twenties with a bit of push. It's oblivious to headwinds. We easily pass almost every DF in sight in a headwind. Rating: 9

Seavo: The Seavo was a performance improvement over the Screamer, enabling us to cruise at 15+ for the first time. Headwinds are a problem though, as with most other bikes. Rating: 6


Flevo: At a little over 13 feet long, the Flevo presents some transport issues. I'm not aware of any rack that will hold the Flevo. The bike breaks down easily into two pieces and set up is straightforward, so it can be broken down and carried in the back of a truck or SUV. For a Saturday ride, however, that means breaking down and reassembling the bike twice each. I solved this problem by acquiring, with the help of friend David, a trailer that holds the Flevo securely. Transport and set up are a breeze now, but I do have a large trailer taking up half my garage. Rating: 5

Seavo: This bike is easily transportable on most tandem racks. I use the Draftmaster with no problems. The bike also has SS couplers and breaks down into to halves without much trouble so I can stow it in the back of my SUV when necessary. Rating: 9


Flevo: While the Flevo is swift and very stable, it doesn't exactly turn on a dime. I find that on winding bike paths, like those at George Bush Park, things can get a little dicey, particularly when there are pedestrians to cope with. My friend Damien in Australia owned a Flevo and comments,"It's not stiff enough...after applying some steering lock, it takes a second or so for the frame to wind-up and actually start turning the corner." I've never noticed this on my bike. Rating: 5

Seavo: Very stable and agile. The bike turns easily and quickly. Rating: 8


Flevo: I picked up the Flevo with on online WTB ad. It was in perfect condition with only a few hundred miles on it. $3000 plus shipping ($150) plus the cost of the new trailer ($300). Total: $3450. I think that's a steal for such an unusual bike that is long out of production. Rating: 8

Seavo: I bought the Seavo early last year for a little over $6000. Not a bargain but we've ridden it 2500 miles so far, so I'm getting my money's worth. Rating: 6

Stoker Satisfaction

Flevo: After getting over the initial nervousness involved in riding backwards and building trust, most stokers who have ridden this bike any length of time find that they actually prefer it to conventional tandems. The view back there is pretty much unrestricted. On organized rides conversations with other riders are possible. Rating: 9

Seavo: While the ride is comfortable the view is restricted. The stoker seat is set lower than on the Screamer. Rating: 5

And the winner is.....the Flevo with 46 points to 41 for the Seavo. They're both great bikes, but I find myself mostly riding the Flevo on weekends. I suppose that will change down the road once the novelty wears off. It's hard not to fall in love with a bike that dramatically boosts your speed and enables you to pass everything in sight, particularly at my age. And, as I've commented before, this bike puts a smile on the face of everyone who sees it. The Flevo never fails to garner a crowd.