Have you done long brevets/PBP on a recumbent bike? Need light mounting ideas

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Ashok Natesan

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Mar 13, 2022, 8:11:21 PMMar 13
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Hi,

I did my first 300K over the weekend on my Bacchetta CA2 recumbent.   I finished,  but the nighttime part was very stressful.   I had huge problems with the stability of my light mounts.   My primary light mount had fallen in the first 15 minutes just getting to the brevet start and my backup light mount kept slipping on every stretch of rough road to a point where it was unuseable.  

I could use some ideas on how you solved the light mounting issue on your recumbent as in where did you mount the light,  how did you get it stable,  what mount type etc.   

Given that Bachettas and other recumbents have been used in PBP and RAAM,  I assume somebody somewhere has figured it out.   Would love to get some ideas (pictures of your setup would be awesome) for what worked for you on your recumbent - Bacchetta or otherwise.

I had pretty good lights -  those were not the problem this time around...  The light mounting (or more accurately, figuring out where to put the mount) was the problem.    However,  if you want to recommend any particular brand of light that worked for you better than others,  I'd appreciate that as well.

Thanks.
Ashok

Dan Blumenfeld

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Mar 13, 2022, 8:28:35 PMMar 13
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I've used various homebrew and off-the-shelf mounts on various recumbents, for rides up to 1240K over varied terrain. 

On my P-38's front derailleur tube, I've used Cateye clamps for Euro-style lights with a tab intended for fork mounting, and Terracycle mounts with lights designed to clamp on handlebars.
On my Giro, I used the Bacchetta One-Armed Bandit mount, as well as Terracycle mounts.

I think the Terracycle mounts were the sturdiest and most versatile, but also the priciest. Maybe start by browsing their accessory mounts collection? https://t-cycle.com/collections/accessory-mounts

--Dan

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Bill Gobie

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Mar 13, 2022, 8:40:15 PMMar 13
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It would be trivial to add a tab for a Euro headlight to the bottom bracket on highracers but American builders don't do it.

IMO the challenge on a recumbent with a highly reclined seat is to move the headlight beam below your line of sight as much as possible. That makes shadows cast by stuff on the road visible. On an upright a headlight on the handlebars is almost two feet below your eyes. A headlight at the fork crown is close to three feet. To get that much separation on a high racer the headlight has to be on the fork, which has significant drawbacks. You can hit it with your foot, you can run it into benches or other low stuff when walking the bike, and the nearer it is to the road the more difficult it becomes to aim satisfactorily. I think this forces the compromise of mounting the light at the bottom bracket. There are various brackets you can attach to the derailleur mast, but this puts the light closer to your line of sight, and can cause foot flash. 

My current bodge is a piece of aluminum bar drilled for the mounting bolt and strapped to the boom with hose clamps and a zip tie. This is reasonably far below my line of sight. The light is protected by the chainrings. The light is low enough not to cause foot flash. Version 2 will be a triangulated variation of the bar that positions the light 4-6" lower. 

Bill
20210630_165311.jpg

Another Brian

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Mar 13, 2022, 9:32:56 PMMar 13
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For a CA-2 take a look at the T-Cycle mount
    https://t-cycle.com/products/multipurpose-accessory-mount
It has the flexibility/stability to mount around the front derailleur.

Zach Kaplan in Alameda has a recumbent/trike shop, has experience on many bikes (including Bacchettas), and extensive long distance experience:

It really does vary based on the bike.  For my P-38 I varied the light position between the handlebars (but you end up with "foot flashes" as you pedal) and the front derailleur post.  I've mostly kept the lights in front of the cranks (Metaphysic, M5CHR, and Cruzbike S40) with various ease -- the S40 has a handy tab that you can bolt a Paul Comp "Gino Light Mount" to, and the others I bodged together parts to mount to the derailleur post.

Because the light is now fixed to the bike (except in the S40 case, where it flops around with the steering), I always use a separate headlamp that can cycle between low/medium/high that I use to illuminate the bike computer on low, set to medium to read street signs, and high for bombing down hills.  And it's good for flashing cars to make sure they're aware of you.

Whatever you do, test all of your lights well before any ride you'll depend on them.

And congrats on your randonneuring to date.  I'm the one who introduced myself at Dillon Beach.  I took my road bike that day due to the climb out.  And yesterday I saw you at the start, though again I was on my road bike, so I couldn't commiserate.  :-)  I'll be doing a few of the upcoming rides (Santa Cruz and Davis) on recumbents, so hope to see you out there.

-Brian

Erin Laine

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Mar 13, 2022, 9:38:59 PMMar 13
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Hi Ashok,
I ride a Schlitter Encore.

I use a multi purpose accessory mount from T-cycle. It's installed between the crank arms. https://t-cycle.com/collections/accessory-mounts/products/multipurpose-accessory-mount

I use a Sinewave Cycles Beacon light and like it a lot.

I find that with recumbents and your head 5-6 feet behind the light, a really bright light is helpful.

Erin

Ashok Natesan

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Mar 13, 2022, 9:48:14 PMMar 13
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Thanks Erin,  but this is exactly what I currently have.   This didn't work at all for me - both mounts kept rotating on rough roads and one fell off.

Would you mind sending a picture please? Maybe I am missing something obvious.

Erin Laine

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Mar 13, 2022, 10:10:26 PMMar 13
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Mine seems very stable and secure.

Erin
PXL_20220314_020537083.jpg

Ashok Natesan

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Mar 13, 2022, 10:44:11 PMMar 13
to Erin Laine, Randonneurs USA
Thanks Erin

This picture helps a lot.  You are using the european style tab on the t-cycle mount.   I guess this will work with most european lights but not with standard us lights, which all seem to support Garmin or go-pro mounts. 

I was trying to fix the mount on on the roller part and that didn't work at all (even with rubber shims).  It was very unstable

Thx... Will explore this option more.

Bill Gobie

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Mar 13, 2022, 11:36:19 PMMar 13
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Ashok – make sure the screws on the Terra Cycle mount that clamp the arms to the round tube are very tight. It is important both screws are well inserted into the barrel nut. It is easy for one to only have a couple of turns engaged. 

If the tube is tight and the light is slipping around it, you don't have the shims right. 

Bill

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Justin G. Castillo

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Mar 14, 2022, 12:33:53 AMMar 14
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Hi Ashok:

Here's a picture of what I ran at PBP that did NOT work well. 


It was plenty stable, but the placement of the light near the crank resulted in a lot of reflection off of the silver of the crank arms as they rotated (maybe black anodized crank arms would be less distracting). I'd recommend something that's on the fork or the skewer to allow the light to shine where you want it without the crank getting in the way. Here's a good way to mount a light to the skewer:


Maybe something higher up along the lines of what Erin recommended might also do the trick.

Good luck,

Justin

ed bernasky

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Mar 14, 2022, 10:33:34 AMMar 14
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I have done a couple series and PBP on an M5 CHR.  Part of why I pick it was the stock light mount; nonetheless, it still rotated and slides on rough roads. My solution?   I use loctite on the threads and good electrical tape in a belts and suspenders approach.  I use battery powered lights and cannot reach the button to turn the light intensity up or down.  Zip ties, duct, and electrical tape can usually fix anything and if that doesn't work, superglue can work wonders.....once.

Shadows are a consideration, you have to experiment.  My seat is reclined to 18-21 degrees, I find the shadows from other riders behind me to be much more an issue than when on an upright.

For me, the light has to be enough ahead of the moving feet to minimize/eliminate foot flash.  I'd get the light out onto the BB area if you can.  The bar location for lights would not work for me on a bent.

Asher Beal

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Mar 14, 2022, 1:04:27 PMMar 14
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Hey friend, could you share some photos or links of your current mounting setup? 

Roland Bevan

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Mar 14, 2022, 1:46:08 PMMar 14
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Hi Ashok. I had a Bacchetta  CA 2.0 a while back. Similar to several others who've replied I used the Terracycle mount with a couple of doubled-up expanding Cateye clamps. I mounted the lights under the boom which pretty much eliminated foot flash and had the added benefit of putting the dynamo light at about fork crown height, the same height the light pattern was designed for. I used various setups including single dynamo lights and dual dynamo lights and the combo shown here, which was a Supernova E3 Pro dynamo light for "normal" riding and a Dinotte 400L battery powered light with a remote switch for high speed/bad road/weather conditions.
2012-09-08_07-07-49_748.jpg
On my Carbent I had Dana Lieberman add an extra short tube below the boom and attached the Terracycle mount with standard Cateye clamps (here with a Luxos U).

IMG_20150213_142758084.jpg
  -Roland

On Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 5:11:21 PM UTC-7 ashok....@streamlinity.com wrote:

Ian Hoffman

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Mar 14, 2022, 7:50:49 PMMar 14
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I've not done any long brevets with this setup yet, but I have done several 4-6 hour night rides with it and am pleased so far.

This is on a Pelso Brevet frameset, which has a threaded boss on the underside of the bottom bracket.  Initially I used a cheesy plastic bracket mounted there, intended to be used off a fork crown. Amazed it didn't break. Worked with a local framebuilder to come up with this idea. This is version 2, a stronger build than version 1 (which vibrated a bit much).

It gets the light WAY out there, so no chance of foot flash. I do ponder about having it mounted lower, and I may take version 1 into the vise for some test bends. But with this headlight and its very flat cutoff (Outbound Lighting, Road Edition (I have their Road and Trail, thus the label)) it has worked quite well. I mount the battery in the pack on the boom. I do need to use good friction tape to keep the light from drooping, and find it still does that if I hit a pothole that I didn't see. But I can unclip the left foot and nudge it back in place with my toes.



bent2.jpg



bent4.jpg




On Sunday, March 13, 2022 at 5:11:21 PM UTC-7 ashok....@streamlinity.com wrote:

Ashok Natesan

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Mar 14, 2022, 8:51:44 PMMar 14
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This is an interesting Pelso setup

I wish the Bachetta CA2 (like their Bachetta Giro models) had some bosses drilled in this way for bolting these kinds of attachments on...   If I go this route,  I'd have to go with the expanding Cateye clips that @Roland suggested

Ashok Natesan

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Mar 14, 2022, 9:01:59 PMMar 14
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I  just have the standard Terracycle accessory mounts on the right now on the standard derailler post.
Some folks have suggested I need to tighten the bolts very tight.   I have done this multiple times but the vibration seems to jar the screws loose after  a few rides, so I am not sure how reliable this setup will be.   The screws and barrel nut are inside the cyclinder/tube and are not super accessible,  so it seems hard to get things working with loctite and the like.   I had to put my light mounts on the cylinder.  Even with rubber shims,  they were rotating off-alignment with every bump I hit.

I do NOT have this Euro style variant (which some folks like @Erin and @Roland have posted)

https://t-cycle.com/collections/accessory-mounts/products/tab-mount-euro-style.   Based on their exprience, perhaps, this config is more resilient.   I have ordered this tab as well to try out - but this will work only for Euro style light mounts.

I am trying to first see how I can get regular battery lights fitted in a stable way first.  Current battery lights seem to have very long runtimes already.   So,  for now,  I am not considering a dynamo setup.

Bill Gobie

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Mar 15, 2022, 12:00:49 AMMar 15
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On Mon, Mar 14, 2022 at 4:50 PM Ian Hoffman <ian.h...@gmail.com> wrote:
This is on a Pelso Brevet frameset, which has a threaded boss on the underside of the bottom bracket. 

The boss is probably a rivnut. Dead easy to install, in principle.


Bill

Roland Bevan

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Mar 15, 2022, 12:11:22 AMMar 15
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Hi Ashok. Make sure the bolts are not bottoming out against each other in the barrel nut. If this is happening then I could see why vibration could jar things loose. If things are tightened properly the circles in the mounting arms should be compressing the mounting cylinder tightly so that it cannot rotate. If yours is coming loose and easily rotating you may need a washer between one of the bolt heads and mounting arms. This mount has the bolts sized to work with the Euro light mount tab.
20220314_204900.jpg
If I remove the tab the bolts will bottom out against each other before fully tightening against the mount arms.
20220314_205112.jpg
If yours is tightened properly and still coming loose then lock washers may help. Do you have a picture of your current setup? What light(s) are you using?
  -Roland

Ashok Natesan

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Mar 19, 2022, 5:39:38 PMMar 19
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Folks,  

Thanks a lot for everybody who responded.  Your solutions,  pictures and interactions were all highly appreciated and helped me find a good solution.

In terms of mounting hardware,  I decided to go with the following
I did a shakeout daytime ride where I did several climbs and descents.   The configuration was rock solid -  there was no play of rotation at all of the light at all on a 2-hour ride.   This OAB configuration is what I am going to go with in my next brevet.

Some learnings on the other options in case they are useful to somebody else.
  1. The Terra-cycle mount - https://t-cycle.com/collections/accessory-mounts/products/multipurpose-accessory-mount is well made,  but has the following cons at least from my perspective
    • As some folks suggested, I tightened the bolts very tight.   However,  the cylinder diameter is pretty small relative to the typical bike handlebar.  For the lights I have (the Ixon Space and Ixon Core and also the Magicshine RN3000),  the cylinder was too small for me to get a stable mounting (even with some 1 layer of shim).   Yes, it may be possible to build up the diameter with more and more layers of shim,  but you need to be also figure out a way to make sure the shim layers itself don't slip (the cylinder is also not very broad).    I decided to not bother with this since the OAB seemed a lot better size for the Ixon Space and Ixon Core, which were going to be my primary lights.
    • If you want to tigthen the screws hard,  you really need two, not one, allen wrenches to get a tight fit.   So,  for field repairs,  you need to carry 2 allen keys of the right size,  if you need to tighten it.
        2. I do NOT have this Euro style variant (which some folks like @Erin and @Roland have posted) - https://t-cycle.com/collections/accessory-mounts/products/tab-mount-euro-style.   
    • Based on their exprience, perhaps, this config is more resilient.   This will work only for Euro style light mounts.   I now have this tab,  but I don't have a light to try it on.   So,  I don't know
    • This mount avoids the small-diameter cylinder issue,  since nothing is really mounted on the cyclinder.  Instead it is  mounted on the tab (see Erin's picture).    So this may work,  but I don't know.
    • This too requires 2 allen keys to tighten the screws tightly.
I would like to give a shoutout to Zach Kaplan - http://zachkaplancycles.com/.   Both OAB and the Terra-cycle euro mounts are not available in many sites,   but he had these items and shipped them super fast.   He also is a seasoned randonneur and has worked with a lot of other riders... so his experience was very useful.

Finally,   while the mounting point is very important,  your results may vary by your light (so some flexibility in what you want to use may be helpful)
  • With the OAB,  my Ixon Space mounting is rock-solid.   This is what you can see in the picture I have attached below  (I will be removing the Terra-cycle mount in this picture... I have no use for it for lights at least)
  • With the OAB,  my MagicShine RN3000 mounting (Garmin-style mounting equiment)  does rotate slightly....  I need to also try the Go-Pro attachment option,  but the standard mount does have some play...
If anything changes after a night-time shakeout ride,  I will post an update,  but I feel good about what I have now...

Thanks.
Ashok
Bacchetta-CA2-Ixon-Space-Light-Mount.jpeg
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