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P-38 Number THREE!!!

Well maybe even number four if you want to get technical...

Just picked up another P-38 tonight. I have an R-84 on order (finally) and have a Phantom here to review so I've caught "Lightning Fever" pretty strongly again. I wanted something to ride while I wait for the R-84 (won't be here until December) and wanted something that could take fenders and slightly fatter tires. I LOVE the new Phantom but I'm a spoiled brat when it comes to 'bents and knew that I needed another P-38. I was at the Bicycle Man for a meeting today and wanted to borrow his floor model P-38 for some pics alongside the new Phantom. Well GUESS WHAT! His "floor model" was actually a BEAUTIFUL P-38 XT that someone had ordered and chosen not to buy in favor of a highracer. His loss is my gain! I snatched it up and will work out a deal this week. This one is Azure Blue with the stock P-38 XT components sans the Schwalbe Marathon Racers that I immediately installed.

To backtrack... My first P-38 was a Chrome colored standard model with Lightning carbon cranks. Bought in 2003. I road this bike A LOT when I lived in Germany and that's where I really fell in love with the 38 position. The hills in Germany were VERY steep and reminded me of the climbing in my native upstate NY except they were maybe 20% longer. I sold it when I was slimming my collection before moving back to the USA. Ironically a bloke in Rochester NY bought it and I still see it once or twice a year now that I'm back in the Finger Lakes. Probably had it almost two years which is an ETERNITY for me.

My second P-38 was a very nice metal flake blue Ultegra model that I got in January of 2006. Rode it for a nearly complete brevet series in 2006 and all of the associated training. Had the carbon cranks with Rotor Q-Rings. Health caused me to quit the brevet series and a financial crisis caused me to sell it. Had for only a year but probably over 2,000 miles.

My sort of third P-38 was taken home from the shop but sold after one ride when I decided I needed the money more and my health was still a mess.

The ACTUAL number three is the aforementioned P-38 XT. Good to be home again!

Hey Bryan,

Sorry to hear of your financial problems, and extremely sorry to hear that you have been dealing with health issues too. But it seems that you still manage to get in some big miles, and do not suffer from a lack of assorted recumbent playthings.

I guess it is the one big perk that comes with running the BROL site. You get to switch bikes like other people change a pair of biking shorts.

It is fun to try various different bikes, especially because recumbent designs vary so widely, each bike having a distinctive personality.

But I am not sure that I envy you your large (and changing) harem of bikes. Mostly because I am very satisfied with my Lightnings, and only "cheat" on them with some rides on a Rotator Pursuit. (I don't think of winter mountain biking as cheating.) But I have only had three Lightnings: a 1994 P38 that I have pretty thoroughly dicked around with, a late-nineties Stealth, and another P38 I am in the process of building up. I have enviously gazed at an R84 that Garrie Hill used to have, but never actually had a chance to ride one. I will be very interested in your impressions of the R84 bike. They seem to be pretty rare birds. Though I am a loyal Lightning guy, full disclosure dictates revealing that a number of people have had more than their fair share of headaches with the R84. So your impressions of the bike's reliability - in so far as you can tell after a brief period of ownership - will be particularly welcome.

Likewise, what is your impression of the Lightning carbon cranks? Do they knock enough weight off the bike to be worth the money? Because I ride in a flat area, I hesitate to spend lots of $$$ on paring weight off my bikes. But if you have to climb lots of steep hills in upstate New York, it is a different story.

Best of luck with BROL, your new Lightning, and most of all with your health.

Safe riding,
Joel Dickman

Thanks for your concern. Health and money issues seem to be all better.

Yes I know of the R-84's previous issues. Tim switched to a new mold last year and stays away from some of the more exotic issue-causing components he used to use. Hopefully this will have fixed it.

The carbon cranks are very nice. About the only thing I didn't like was that they are a bit wide. Probably about the same as a mountain crank rather than a nice road crank. I'll be getting them again on my R-84 but I'm sticking with Ultegras on the P-38.

Bryan J. Ball
Managing Editor
'BentRider Online
www.bentrideronline.com

So, here's the bloke that bought Bryan's sweet silver P-38.

And although I love the bike, my head's been turned of late by an F5 I inherited. First miles in the saddle of a high racer this past month and I like it.

Now that the white stuff is here, riding is way off, and I sure won't take the P-38 or the F5 out when there's salt on the road. Got the old Rocket set up with the fairing though, and I was on it for the first time since I got the Lightning a couple years ago. It'll be OK for winter riding...

Anyway, just wanted to say "Howdy."

Mike Brisson
Rochester, NY

just got a XL black P-38 myself this November to add to the stable which garages the Bacchetta Ti Aero currently. Wonder which I will like more!

After you have some miles on both bikes, try to write something up giving your impressions of them. A sort of "compare and contrast" exercise. I think many people will be curious about how the two bikes - both very fine machines - stack up against each other.

I ride the streets of Chicago and the suburbs, so the more upright seat position of the Lightning bikes work better for me in heavier traffic.

But if you ride mostly on open roads, with lighter motor traffic, the laid-back seat of the Bacchetta & Volae bikes can give you an aero edge over the unfaired Lightnings.

Safe riding, and happy Turkey Day,
Joel Dickman

Bryan mentioned that the lightning cranks have a wide Q-factor but the website seems to have been recently update with a different narrower Q-factor for double chainrings.

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