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dk
Shkhara
Status: Gathering Kudos

Recumbent bicycles have been banned from competitions by the UCI since 1934 because their design has aerodynamic advantages over normal bicycles and competition results are thus distorted. Why does Strava allow a mix of recumbent bikes and regular bikes on the leaderboards for cycling activity type? With a normal bike (diamond frame design) in most cases you have no chance of getting first place in the leaderboard when you have to compare yourself to a rider on a recumbent bike who can achieve a higher sustained speed with less power, this makes the leaderboard unusable for activity type cycling.

6 Comments
Status changed to: Gathering Kudos
Jane
Strava
Strava

Hi dk,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have moved your idea regarding recumbent bikes to our Feature Suggestion board, so that others can also vote on your idea. Feel free to comment on your post to add any details, screenshots, or tags. We kindly ask that you review our Feature Suggestions guidelines, particularly the “What makes a good idea” section, to ensure that your ideas are clear, concise, and can reach as many others as possible.

Thank you for your contribution, we value your input.

dk
Shkhara

I think it's important that recumbents have their own type of activity. Due to its construction, a recumbent bike is more aerodynamic and offers less surface area exposed to the wind than an athlete who sits upright or bent over on his bike. A recumbent rider needs less power to go as fast as a regular cyclist on a classic diamond frame design bicycle. Therefore, I think it is very important that there are class differences so that the athletes can also compare themselves on the ranking list, for this reason there should also be an activity type recumbent and the Strava guidelines for the activity type cycling should also be adjusted. recumbent bike wiki 

DM
Mt. Kenya

Following that logic, Strava also would need to separate a group of riders drafting off each-other from solo riders.  The former provides equal or greater aerodynamic benefit than recumbents do. Most of the KOMs in my area are set by groups because the top 10 results are littered with people logging that effort together.

dk
Shkhara

I had also complained about this in a request to Strava but received no answer. However, in our area no groups hold the most KOMs, maybe there are a lot stronger individual drivers. But even in a group someone has to drive in front, even with changes between riders, here it is much worse that all of the group are behind him in the list of the best - a group is only as strong as its weakest rider.. But yes, group performances should also be evaluated separately, which can be based on time and GPS data could be made automatically without any problems!

DM
Mt. Kenya

True that there’s always a front rider but they can essentially trade off in a way that allows each one to sprint for a time which in my area results in the groups far surpassing individual recumbent riders in terms of segment results. It might just be that you are in an area with a monster recumbent rider and he/she really does deserve to own the crowns. What state are you in?

dk
Shkhara

It may be that in some areas of the world the situation as you describe prevails. In our area, it turns out that recumbent cyclists target the crowns of ambitious hobby cyclists, mostly on flat stretches where aerodynamics play a major role. For me, crowns are secondary, I sometimes get them randomly during my training, but I also like to ride a crown as a training stimulus. But I also reach the limits of my performance when I aim for a crown that is being held by the recumbent rider. As an example, on a distance of approx. 5km on level road with a body weight of 75kg on a normal racing bike, I achieve an average performance of 420 watts (not all out yet), which corresponds to 5.5W/kg, the heart rate then is 174 BPM, my maximum 184 ( Age group 45 - 54), on the same route with almost the same weather conditions, the recumbent cyclist drives with 337 watts with a heart rate of 156 BPM (age group 35 - 44) and a body weight between 85-94 kg (corresponds to about 3.7 W/kg), in the Average 5km/h faster, 🤔 with those stats he wouldn't make it into the top 10 on a regular road bike. It is precisely for these reasons that the performances of recumbent cyclists and normal cyclists are not comparable 1:1, and should be listed in separate lists of the best. Irrespective of this, I am also of the opinion that group performances should be included in their own leaderboards. The only thing to be clarified here is when does a group become a group, 2 or more drivers than 2. 🙂