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P-38 vs Corsa

As requested by Joel, here are some comments (though not all-inclusive) comparing the Lightning P-38 to the Bacchetta Corsa. I purchased the P-38 in '03 and it has about 30,000 miles on it. I purchased the Corsa in '05 and it has about 5,000 miles on it. The P-38 has a 26"/16" wheel set up and is the Voyager model. It weighs 33 pounds with the fairing, pedals, and kickstand. The Corsa is the steel version with carbon cranks and fork. It weighs 28.5 pounds with the pedals. For the kind of riding I do and the terrain where I live (mountains and high desert), these bikes are very complimentary. I use my P-38 for traveling and touring and my Corsa for local riding and events that are within car range. The Corsa is faster on the flats and on hills up to about 8%. The P-38 is safer in traffic and packs nicely for plane travel. My friends like me to ride the Corsa because they can draft behind me. The seat on the Corsa is hot, scratchy, and uncomfortable after about 75 miles. The seat on the P-38 is cool and always comfortable. I need one size tube and one size tire on the Corsa and 2 different sizes on the P-38. The P-38 is more stable at slow speeds (2.5 mph) but both are equally adept at high speeds (50+ mph). The P-38 is safe, predictable, responsive, and reliable. I rode it last summer from St. Petersburg, Russia to Istanbul, Turkey without a problem --- not even a flat! Bad roads, crazy traffic, torrential rains, howling winds, searing heat (112 degrees) --- it never let me down. Riding the Corsa makes me giddy with delight. The experience is much closer to riding an upright bicycle. It is quick, responsive, fast, flashy and high-spirited. It demands attention and assertiveness. It pushes my handling skills. The negative aspect about riding these two different recumbents is that it takes about 2 weeks to transition from Lightning to Bacchetta muscles. If I am preparing for a tour, I ride the Lightning exclusively. If I am staying close to home, I'm on the Bacchetta. If I'm mixing it up, I have to make a choice. I'd like to find one bicycle that does it all!

After having both my Bacchetta Ti Aero that was full Dura Ace and my Lightning P-38 with 105 - cranks & derailleurs, XT hubs, Odyssey A brakes and Dura Ace barcons, I prefer and kept the P-38. The Ti Aero was not as stiff nor as solid feeling as the Lightning. The dual high racer was harder to ride slower and less comfortable after the 1st 30 minutes of riding - with the M5 carbon hardshell seat. It felt faster being higher but proved to be slower after being timed several times. The Bacchetta is a good bike, but having the P-38 proved to be more comfortable, relay more confidence with better handling and proved to be faster with a more solid triangulated frame. My heart is with the Lightning.

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