Lightning Cycle Dynamics 2001 Thunderbolt Older Recumbent Bike

USER REVIEWS

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[Oct 14, 2001]
Mark P
Commuter

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Very comfortable riding position. The Thunderbold has a higher seat than the P-38 or Stealth (felt nearly as high as the Bikee). This makes it more comfortable and safer to ride in traffic than a bike with a lower seat - I found I was high enough to see over the roof of a sedan. It climbed well on each hill I encountered. The 9 speed rear shifter has comfortable gear spacing (the company literature indicates 8 speed, but my test bike had 9 - go figure) and with the front triple the bike has a nice gear range. The bike has a nice wheel base. Many short wheel base recumbents place more weight over the front wheel than the rear and most (if not all) long wheel base bents place much more weight on the rear wheel than the front. This bike felt more balanced than either extreme. This wheelbase also allows it to be carried on a standard roof top bike rack - a big plus if you want to take your bike on vacation. Good wheel size. The large/xlarge model I rode has a standard 26" rear wheel (same as a mountain bike) and the front wheel uses a 20" (406 mm wheel - same as a BMX) bike. These two sizes of wheel have a bazillion tires available, from knobby''s to 120 psi road tires

Weakness:

As much as I liked this bike I wish the seat could be adjusted forward and back. The bike is adjusted to leg length with the boom (the part of the frame extending forward to the pedals), which resulted in a bit more weight on the front wheel than I would like. I found that the rear wheel locked up slightly when a truck ran a stop sign in front of me, although I was still able to maintain control easily (the fore/aft balance seemed very nice for all non-emergency breaking and handling). I would prefer a full cromo frame rather than the mix of cromo main tube and high tensile steel chain stays, although the bike still only weighs 30 pounds, which is less than many full cromo recumbents. I noticed a little chain slap against the right chain stay on rougher roads, but the bike has a protective strip on the stay so this should not be a big problem.

I rode the A10 version of the Thunderbolt on an extended test ride and liked it a great deal. The company improved the Thunderbold this year, replacing the high tensile frame with a cromo main tube yet keeping the high tensile chain stays. The A10 is a component upgrade, dropping a little weight and providing improved shifing.

Similar Products Used:

I own a ''87 Bikee CT and have ridden Easy Racer Tour Easy, Rans Rockets, Burley Django, Bikee RX, Bikee AT, Vision R-40 and a few others. The Tour Easy is probably the most comfy long distance toure

[Aug 26, 2001]
Anonymous
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Well designed, durable, great price, high performance for dollar ratio, fast and climbs like a road bike. Very comfortable seat which makes you feel like you're sitting "in" the seat rather than "on" it.

Weakness:

Two apparent "weaknesses" which most nit-pickers would be quick to point out are the low end components and the high tensil steel monotube frame which makes the bike a little on the heavy side (35lbs.+) however, neither of these characteristics take away from performance or durability.

The components have performed admirably with no problems whatsoever. Never had any mechanical issues with this bike. The shifters, deraillers, brakes, hubs, etc. all work as well as the day I got the bike back in June of 1999. I now have over 5,000 miles on my Thunderbolt!

As far as the weight goes, well no problem there either. The bike's overall geometry and stiff frame make it very efficient and allows me to climb as fast as or faster than any upright. In fact, I find myself outpacing my fellow riders uphills most of the times and have to wait for them at the top;-)

I believe that the frames on the newer Thunderbolts are chromemoly with the exception of the chainstays which are still Hi-Ten. This should lighten the bike by at least a couple of pounds or more.

The bottom line is, anyone feeling an attraction for a short wheel base, over the seat steering recumbent bicycle that performs exceedingly well, climbs like a champ, is very comfortable for long rides, built tough and doesn't want to take a big hit to the wallet, should give the Thunderbolt a good look.

I feel strongly that this bike is Lightning's best value over their entire line though the other Thunderbolt, the A10, with it's higher spec component package may top the base model being discussed here by a small margin due to it being only $150 more.

I understand that Lightning's founder, Tim Brummer, rides a Thunderbolt as his personal touring bike. That says a lot.

Similar Products Used:

ReBike, BikeE

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