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"USS" Recumbent History - from Linear Recumbents


Linear wasn?t the first recumbent bicycle with Under Seat Steering (USS.) That distinction goes to this 1905 English bike. You can see from this 1905 review, it was comfortable and easy to control.




A novel bicycle has been built in London which has been pronounced "as comfortable as a rocking chair" and which shows remarkable mechanical ingenuity.


This new machine is fitted with an anti-vibrating easy chair-like saddle which affords wonderful relief to a tired back and which proves a luxury when coasting down long hills. The ladies' machines are meeting with particular favor. They are of exactly the same construction as are the machines built for the men. The illustration gives some idea of the comfort found in these new bicycles. Besides the chair like saddle, the machine has another improvement. Note the position of the handlebars. They are almost directly under the saddle. It is this arrangement that enables the woman to ride the diamond frame with ease. The steering gear is under perfect control and it will be seen that a smaller circle can be described on this machine than on any other.


The first machine of this make was built by P.W. Bartlett, of Richmond, England, for a Java resident. He was so pleased that he has now placed an order for twelve more of the same construction. The weight is somewhat greater than that of the light-weight racing machines, but as these bicycles are built for comfort and not alone for speed this is no detriment. The cost is the same as of any other high grade bicycle."


Click Image for Enlarged View


This bike, from 1905, is one of the first USS (Under Seat Steering) recumbents I know of. It may also be the first "production" recumbent bike in history. Notice the rod steering linkage, still popular on USS recumbents. You can see that using a 26" rear wheel on a CLWB (Compact Long Wheel-Base) bike raises the seat considerably. I wonder why the woman's model was more popular. How did they get on and off with the long skirt of the day?



The Bicycle Man also maintains a selection of parts and accessories for Linear recumbent bicycles.




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