Metamorphosis – two tweaks to my Metabike

Two weeks and 140 miles into ownership of my Metaphrastic and two aspects could clearly be improved upon.

  1. Chain slap onto the front fork / head
  2. The harshness of the ride

For those with a Metabike or other recumbent high racer, here are a couple of ideas which may work well for you too.  I wanted to fit some short lengths of chain tube where the chain passes the fork to protect again chain slap (on rough Lancashire roads) but I could not readily see how to attach them.  Then Mrs W came up with an idea which was so simple and elegant I could have kicked myself for not thinking of it.  The chain crosses near the fork, so simply by putting a short length of tube on power and return sides at the point of cross over and then joining the tubes where they cross you find that without any bracket or spring clip that the tubes simple hold in place.  See the picture below.


Then I swapped out the two rubber spacers between the lower seat fixings and the frame for three…. …..3/4 inch (rubber) tap washers!  I wanted to get a slightly greater gap between the chain and the front of the seat, but the slightly softer compound of the tap washer combined with the greater depth of rubber has made a very significance to the ride.  Really it’s like going from an aluminium frame road bike (well of course that is what it is) to a steel frame tourer – but without any loss in boom stiffness.  A pot hole is still a nasty experience, but the high frequency vibrations of poorly resurfaced roads (chipseal for my American readers) is gone completely.  The change is, well, truely a Metamorphosis!



5 thoughts on “Metamorphosis – two tweaks to my Metabike

  1. Pingback: The Dales Cycleway – a first for the Metabike / a first for Family Weston | weston.front

  2. Hello. I really enjoy you blog, thanks for the information. I’m considering purchasing a Metaphrastic for commuting and have a question about ride harshness. What width are your tires and what pressure do you run? I currently have a long wheelbase Bacchetta Bella with 40-559 rear tire @ 90psi and the ride is comfortable over low curbs, cracks etc.


    • Hi Brad

      The ride is harsh on a Metabike as supplied. I’ve only tried one width of tyres to date, 32 mm. The combination of the mod mentioned on this post with 32 mm tyres does give a reasonable/good ride however, probably as good as is to be expected with no suspension. I get no high frequency vibration from chipping road surfaces and small cracks are OK – since I fitted the tap washer damping, this was not the case before. For low curbs I always sit forwards on the seat and this helps. Pot holes really jar, but I guess no more than they would on a steel framed DF tourer – the difference is that you cannot stand up and use your legs as suspension. So I guess from my perspective I’d go for 32 mm tyres as a minimum width. I bought the Metabike for long rides / touring and for this it is excellent so long as you plan to stick to roads (which I do). The balance is more of a challenge than something on smaller wheels like your current bike or a std 26/20″ wheel combination. But 1000 miles in I am 100% confident now. The Metabike is not ideal in stop-start traffic or for hill starts on a busy road. Whether it is OK for commuting will depend on your route / traffic / terrain. In busy traffic I’d say it was far from ideal. Currently I do 80% of my commuting on a trike, but am in the process of selling this and replacing it with a HPV Streetmachine. From my limited experience I’d suggest that a 20/26″ machine would be the ideal for commuting, but ideally with front suspension as things like cobbles tend to try and shake your teeth out with 20″ wheels on a SWB machine – not sure how you find this on a LWB machine.

      This all makes me sound like I don’t like the Metabike – this is not true. It is a fabulous machine for day rides and touring, I cannot think that it could be readily improved upon – it is as efficient up hills as a DF and the reduced drag makes it faster on the flat and downhill – so overall you win. The ride is good on roads which are moderate or better in condition (those outside of town), but not ideal on really poor roads. I reckon it is ca. 2 mph faster in terms of average speed vs. a DF tourer on the same tyres over the same route. I love it, but it’s not ideal for city traffic or stop / start commuting. I suggest you speak to Rob, the guy behind who commutes near Glasgow daily on his Metabike and rode a 20/26 Nazca Fuego before this.


  3. PS – Brad – I don’t know what pressure I run my tyres at – I do not have a pump with a gauge on it. I run them pretty hard so that I never bottom out on the rims going up a small / dropped kerb.

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