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Setup on Phantom - seat angle, boom length

I’m still trying to find the sweet spot in setting up my 2012 Phantom (size small with 16” front) and was wondering what works best for you guys.

While I’m comfortable, I don’t seem to be able to transmit power efficiently to get that extra “kick” for a sprint, to really increase my speed or power up a hill. I know spinning is better, but there are times where I like to put some effort into it and take it up a notch.

How does seat angle and foot angle play into this?
Will a slightly longer boom setting with toes slightly pointed rather than a “flat foot” position help or hurt? Will a seat bottom level to the ground or tilted up help or hurt?

Just wondering if you guys have deviated from the level seat bottom and boom set with the heal just touching the pedal setup.

1) The traditional way of setting the seat height for upright bikes is to adjust it so that the rider has a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The same basic approach seems to work for recumbent bikes too. Adjust the crankset boom position as if you were adjusting the seatpost height of an ordinary upright bike. When your foot is as fully extended as possible, there should be a small bend at your knee.

You can play around with crankset extension, bringing it back or pushing it out so that it feels good to you when cranking. But the slight bend at the knee is a good place to start, at least in my experience.

2) I get the best sprinting and hill climbing power when my Lightning Phantom seat is as upright as possible. Unfortunately the same bolt upright position is the worst for aerodynamics when riding the flats and downhills, and is less comfy than it is when tilted back a bit. So I compromise between what is optimum for sprinting / steep hills and what is optimum for aerodynamics and comfort.

If the Phantom seat is laid back too much, your thighs will hit the tube at the front of the seat frame. Not good.

If the problem is that you are riding in a hilly area with people on upright racing bikes - and feeling that you are at a disadvantage - I do not have a good solution for you. My opinion is that on steeper and/or longer hills you really are at a disadvantage, even on a good-climbing recumbent like a Lightning. No amount of tinkering with crankset boom extension or seat angle will overcome this fundamental difference between upright bikes and recumbents.

On bad hills, the upright riders will get more miles per hour. But we will get more smiles per hour, especially on flatter terrain.

Safe riding,

Thanks Joel,
I was working on the wrong assumption that a more laid out position would get the hip, upper thigh or butt involved. Too upright then belly starts getting crunched, so I’ll adjust for tolerable belly crunch :)

I do have one more question. On my upright I’d sometimes pedal with toes pointed slightly down, not a lot but just slightly. On a recumbent do you pedal flat foot, or slightly pointed?

On an aside I seem to recall you live in Glenview IL. My dad lives there. It’d be great to meet sometime when I’m up visiting. Was hoping to see you at MWRR, but I guess you couldn’t make it.

When I ride I do not try to point my toes in any particular direction. I just clip into my pedals and crank, letting my feet assume whatever angle it is that comes naturally. And that feels comfortable to me.

Next time you visit your old man in Glenview, give me a little advance notice and we can go riding together on the path going up to the Chicago Botanic Garden. It is a very stress-free ride, since you only need to stop and watch out for cars about three or four times at cross streets. If you are close to 5'10" tall like me, or close to 5'5" like my wife Jackie, I can even loan you a recumbent bike to ride.

I have never attended the Midwest Rally, but have heard that it is fun.

Safe riding,

sorry about the repost

Thanks Joel,

I know that trial very well and have taken many rides on it. It really is a beautiful ride through the forest preserves and botanical gardens.

I'm about 5'6 so it might work out with you wife's bike. I'll let you know when I'm in the area.

Rex Diamond


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