Tim's Tech Tips
Insider technical information and tips straight from Lightning designer Tim Brummer and his engineering staff.
Flat Feet when Stopped?
Q: When I stop, I can't put my feet flat on the ground. As a result, I have to point my toes and balance on them at stops, which gets tiring. Any advice?
A: When stopped, put one leg off the side of the seat, and one straight off the front.
This way, your legs will miss the highest part of the seat frame, which is at the front corners.
Q: When riding some longer rides, I find that I sometimes get a hot or uncomfortable place on my foot right where in contacts the pedal axle. Any advice?
A: Well, here's my input. Cyclists "hotfoot" is a very common problem, especially after longer distances. One of our riders does a lot of long distance riding on P38's, and occasionally gets some of the same discomfort, but usually only after 80-100-150 miles or so. After 10 miles? I think your shoes are too tight. Loosen them up and try it. I would also try pulling up on the pedals at least on some strokes to promote more circulation. Wiggling toes is another good technique as you mention. Also try to spin the pedals rather than push down hard and straight. Try to do "ankling" which has always seemed a bit harder on a recumbent to me but is possible, where you extend your toes at the far part of the stroke as if you are scraping mud off a wall in front of you.
Also, make sure to use relatively stiff cycling type shoes (no tennies, plus use good socks, and perhaps a cushioned insole). Some ultra-distance cyclists report that moving the cleat more toward the rear of the shoe helps move the contact point aft of the ball of the foot, which is the most sensitive to such discomfort.
A2 from a customer: I had the same problem I put a insert in my riding shoe with a metatarsal support, it made all the difference in the world.
Sliding forward in the seat
A customer sent in this solution:
"I put a piece of foam about 4" wide under the foam pad that comes with the P-38 that seems to help a great deal. I did 50+ this past Saturday with no real problems, I had a number of hills on the ride and made them as good or maybe easier than on my wedgie. I'm beginning to like this thing."
Q: I have a P-38 and love the bike. Last year while on an extended ride my seat cord wore our and broke in several places. Could you please tell me how or where I can purchase a new one?
A: We use flat nylon cord. It is available at most stores that sell climbing equipment. Another alternative is round utility cord, but this wears the paint off the seat frame quicker. Or if you like, call us and we can ship you a complete seat cord kit.
Hayes Brake Adjustment
Q: How do I adjust the rotor on the Hayes disc?
A: Loosen the caliper mounting bolts, and slide the caliper until it is centered on the disc. Since the caliper can move slightly when the bolts are tightened, when adjusting I leave the bolts fairly snug, and move the caliper by tapping it with a plastic hammer.
P-38 Suspension Fork
Q: I have a P-38 that is a little over a year old. Ever since I have had the bike, the front suspension has not ever seemed to have any travel. Is there anything I can do to have more suspension movement to smooth the bumps (i.e. changing springs)? Thanks!
A: First, check the washers under the pivot bolt heads to make sure they rotate. It might be difficult to turn them, but if the washers do not rotate, it means the pivot bolts are too tight. If the washers do not rotate, loosen the bolts slightly until they do.
If the washers are OK, it might be that the headset race is causing the fork to lock up. It should go down when, with the front brakes on, you push down on the handlebars. If it doesn't, remove the fork, remove the crown race, then push down with your hands. If it still doesn't go down, there is an internal problem, and you will need to send the fork back to us. If it goes down with the head race removed, you will need to grind the inside of the head race so it is not such a tight fit.
If all the above is OK and you still want a lighter spring, we can do that also.
Shockster Rear Rack
Q: How do I mount a rear rack on the Shockster suspension?
A: Rear rack mount adapters are needed for the bottom of the rack. You can purchase them from Lightning Cycles. The top of the rack bolts directly to the top of the Shockster yoke. See the following pictures. Just drill two holes into the Shockster yoke.
Beware if using panniers, their weight can cause the Shockster slider to disengage. Lightning Zero Drag panniers do not have this problem, as they place the weight farther forward than normal panniers.
The Burley trailers can be used "stock" with the Phantom. For other models, an optional rear axle adapter would have to be used.
Automobile bike carrier
The best bike carriers are the roof mounted and trailer hitch mounted types with wheel trays. Lightning recumbents fit almost all of them. Trunk and trailer hitch mounted types with extended arms that hold the bike can also be used, but for best stability the bike needs to be hung upside down. The best rack we have ever used is the Thule 916 hitch type. We used these on RAAM and they work great!
Q: The headset failed on my Phantom. I purchased a 1" Threadless headset, however, the crown race doesn't fit the fork — too small. Can you tell me where I can purchase the correct headset and all the information I would need to order.
A: You need a headset with a 27mm crown race and 30mm cups, this is called JIS standard. This is a common size you should be able to get one almost anywhere.
700C Phantom rear wheel
Q: If I purchased a Phantom frameset would I be able to use a 700c rear wheel?
A: Yes, but only if you use Paul MotoBMX or LDC brakes on the rear, as they are the only ones that will adjust high enough for a 700c wheel. The wheel will fit in the frame with no other problems.
Q: I have a P-38 and wonder if it is "safe" to use on a wind trainer. By "safe", I mean could having it on a wind trainer cause flexing that could damage the frame?
A: No problem, the P-38 frame is plenty strong enough to use on a windtrainer. So have at it!
Q: Can Lightning recumbents be ridden on rollers?
A: Sure with a little help and practice. Here is one of our customers, Jeff Widell, training away in his basement:
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