HPV News Part 1: New Unfaired Hour Record!
July 01, 2007
Sean Costin set a new World Hour Record for unfaired recumbents on 6/9/07. 28+ miles! He rode a Velokraft NoCom carbon fiber lowracer, a bike he and his WISIL (Wisc/Illinois) club pals helped design. (Finish line photo credit: Harvey Hanig.)
What's cool about this record is that it was set in 1933!
Francis Faure rode 27.9 miles back then for a new Hour record. He was also beating upright pro's at the time. That's when the UCI stepped in and declared that a bike has only one shape, dooming alternatives until recently. It's probably carbon fiber and the endless new frame shapes we now see that has opened up minds to recumbents. 'Bents now weigh less, and are far more available in fast designs. They're now very popular at century rides---several hours on an upright tends to cause a lot of pain.
Another reason why there hasn't been a new record in the unfaired category 'til now is that the HPV racers have focused on faired bikes. Fairings are where you get big and easy speed. But now unfaired designs are becoming faster. And they're far cheaper and easier to build and care for. To give respect to all recumbent types, Costin and a few friends organized a new World Recumbent Racing league and record-keeping body a couple years ago, acknowledging partly-faired and unfaired records for the first time. Faure's old record suddenly found new life and just dangled there, mocking several early attempts to beat it.
I note that Boardman's unlimited upright Hour is over 35 miles, so recumbents and their athletes (who are amateurs at this point) have a long way to go. But they're finally on their way!
The final cool thing is that Sean has always been a short distance racer. He revised his style to go for this "low-hanging fruit" Hour record. But even more, he's a regular family guy with a job who certainly spends more time tinkering with bike designs and fabrication than he does training.
Here are further links to news, info and discussion of Sean's new record:
Pics/Report --- www.recumbents.com/wisil/records/costin1hr
Forums Chat --- www.wisil.recumbents.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1304&whichpage=2