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There's a new F-40 in town!

Well, new to me anyway! This was one of those "Ford Shelby Cobra's found under a pile of boxes in a barn" stories. A guy that I have ridden a few Brevets with showed up at 24 hours of Sebring on a Red F-40 around 2006. I saw him on the P-38 at a 2 600K brevets and never saw the P-38 again. After that he moved on to Bacchetta and I never thought much about the F-40. After a 2 year break from bents (I was trying to learn to spring at the velodrome on a track bike) I hopped back on my trusty Ti Aero and started back on my long fast rides. My addiction to speed and bicycles got me thinking about converting a lowracer that I have into a full on streamliner. Several conversations with Dennis Grelk (Current owner of the Barracuda and machinist who has made several custom parts for me), a local frame builder and hours on the internet. Then is a random conversation with I asked him whatever happened to that old F-40 he had. His answer was "I did BMB on it on its in my garage collecting dust." He offered to sell it to me very cheap because he was missing alot of the fairing parts and the bodysock/skirt. I picked it up last Saturday and it was covered in dust but in generally great shape! I have the nosecone, tailfairing frame and a ziplock bag full of hoseclamps and P-clamps.
Its missing front brake cabling but last night I ordered a 135 degree V-brake noodle to try to route the cable under and behind the front fork.
An email from Joel and I was able to get the nosecome mounted.
I still need to figure out how to mount the rear frame.

Does anyone have disc brakes on the back? If so can you email or posts pics of how it mounts? I have the braze-ons for it but I've never seen this style before. I have an extra set of Hayes brakes but there must be an adaptor to make them work.

Anyway.. I'll keep posting as I make progress on restoring this amazing bike and post how it rides once I get everything sorted out.

This is a link to my facebook page where I have some pics.

Hi Paul,

The photos show a very interesting group of recumbent bikes:

1) A Dan Duchaine Pharobike low racer. Duchaine spent some time in the slammer for selling illegal body-building drugs, and died at the age of 47 from a hereditary kidney disease. Quite a character! I think only a dozen or two of the Pharobikes were made.

2) A Bacchetta Aero titanium high racer.

3) A Lightning F40 fully-faired middle seat height bike

After you get some real miles in on the Lightning, please write up your impressions of the three bikes. They are three very different approaches to recumbent design.

Good luck getting the F40 rolling, and keep us informed of your progress.

I am sure that Tim Brummer of Lightning can help you sort out the rear disc brake mount problem, and sell you a Spandex sock too. Ask him to send you a copy of his F40 owner's manual.

Hopefully some of the pictures of the various F40 bikes in the gallery area of this site will help you put everything together too.

Safe riding,

Last night’s modifications:
• Added about 4.5 inches of chain. This allowed me to get the boom set to where my legs felt good. Being able to get into the big ring made a huge difference in my ride.
• Pulled out rear derailleur jockey wheels and cleaned\re-greased them. That silenced the squeaking/chirping sound.
• Added zipties to every grommet on the seat mesh and pulled them as tight as I could. There was a lot of slack that is now tight.
I took it out for a 32 mile ride and had an avg speed of 16.7. That’s riding from in town Atlanta out to Stone Mountain park, 2 laps around the mountain and back. Includes stop lights, bike path traffic and city speeds (Stop and go) Top speed was 37.6mph. I still don’t have a front brake setup so I rode conservatively in town and at a moderate pace when I hit more open road. The ride felt more natural from a position/cadence/comfort perspective.

I am really liking the front suspension. It really smoothes out the road chatter and expansion joints on concrete bike paths. Does anyone have experience with the rear unit?

Also I need to get a different rear cassette. It’s a 12-34 and the spacing between gears is too much on the lower side of the cassette. When I want to downshift just a little it’s too big of a jump in RPMs.

The rear derailleur needs to be replaced. Its an LX but it has a lot of slop in it with no tension on the cable. I adjusted everything as best that I could but still cant get to the lowest 2 gears on the cassette.

Yep… That’s is Dan Duchaine’s Pharobike. It was heavily modified to try to make it faster. Before I picked up the F-40 I was considering having the rear dropouts replaced to accommodate a 700c rear wheel and 406 front, then adding a full fairing. Very different recumbent approaches for sure.

Just ordered a new fairing cover and extended boom from Lightning. Hopefully from there I'll have everything I need to get the F-40 completed!
Rode another 37 miles last night.

It's great to see the pictures.

I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the P38/F40 should be my next bike. If only I could find one in an attic...!

I night I removed, cleaned, lubed the rear derailleur and reinstalled with new cables. The shifters are set in friction mode and its hitting all the gears on the cassette. Now I have a full range of gears.
My other accomplishment was getting front brakes installed. I picked up a 135 degree V brake noodle and routed it behind the fork and under the frame. Its the same setup as is pictured on the the front page here.
So, gears and brakes are set, seatback mesh is pulled as tight as I can get it. I have a new fairing cover and an XXL boom coming from Lightning.

I still need to put some bar tape on the bars, figure out any other misc bits that I am missing from the fairing framework.
I found one of the rear suspension units online that was new in the box and cheap. I picked it up. I dont know if I will use it or not but it was cheap enough take a try with.

Hi Paul,

I have a Shockster rear suspension attached to one of my Lightning bikes, and think it really helps on rougher roads. It also gives me some peace of mind when riding in unfamiliar areas. The only downside is weight: it adds a little more than three extra pounds to the bike. If you are a weight weenie, this will be a deal killer.

But if you ride in a mostly flat area, i think the extra weight will not really hurt you.

It is very robustly built too. It was originally intended to be attached to hardtail mountain bikes, not our recumbents used on roads. And mountain bikes - at least the ones actually used off-road - often get the snot beaten out of them.

On a road bike, the Shockster is living the life of Riley, and should last a very long time without needing attention. I attached the upper part of the Shockster to the P-38 seat stays with heavy-duty zip ties, and this has held up well over the yearrs. I try to inspect them once in awhile just to be safe though.

If you only ride on nice smooth roads, and avoid the rough stuff, the rear suspension is not needed.

I once briefly talked with the guy who owned the company that created the Shockster. He told me that bike shops hated the whole idea of a bolt-on rear suspension device, because riders who used them would not purchase new fully suspended bikes. They would just keep riding their modified hard tail bikes. The bad-mouthing by the bike shops helped put Bike Control (the outfit that made the Shockster) out of business.

Safe riding,

Yesterday I received my new boom, manuals and fairing cover.
It looks like I am missing the bottom hoop that attaches under the seat, and both side bars. I've got a bag full of hose clamps and P clamps so I think that I've got most of the bits for the fairing.
Is it OK to ride without the bottom hoop and the side bars?

I would find some flexible fiberglass tent poles - or even some fishing rods - to use if I did not have the factory-approved pieces. Basically, you want to prevent the wind from blowing the cloth part of the fairing into your chain, your feet, and the like. Some strips of coroplast - purchased at a signage shop or a plastics wholesaler - could also work as the sidebars.

Riding without anything at all to keep the Spandex middle portion of the fairing under control is not a good idea, at least over the long haul.

Keep us informed about your progress.

Good luck, and safe riding,

Somewhere in the darker recesses of the Lightning website I once came across a safety notice about using a rear rack (or perhaps it was panniers) with the Shockster. Apologies for being more than a little vague, but it might be worth having a look around the site if you do fit a rear rack.


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