The Avatar 2000

Low slung and racy, the Avatar 2000 is one of the first commercially available versions of a new generation of bikes called recumbents.  Richard Ballantine and the technical cadre of Bicycle magazine report on riding into the future.

Price: $2127.00
Frame: Seat and chain stays, fork and steerer - Reynolds 531 butted tubes.
Head, top, seat and bottom bracket tubes - 4130 Chrome-molybdenum.
Drop-outs - Vertical, SUN TOUR EF130.
Seat tracks - Stainless steel.
Finish - Epoxy primer with black Du Pont IMERON top coat.
Wheelbase: 63".
Bottom bracket height: 12.5" off ground
Seat: Tubular frame - 6061-T6 and 2024-T3 anodized alloy, removable and foldable without tools.
Covering - Stitched leather with nylon mesh insert, adjustable with rear tension straps
Height: 24" off ground
Handlebar: 6061-T6 anodized alloy
Steering rod: 2024-T3 anodized alloy
Headset: SUN TOUR "Superbe" black
Wheels: Front - WEINMANN 101A alloy clincher 16" x 13/8" rim with AVOCET Model II Q.R. low-flange hub and DT stainless steel spokes.
Rear - WEINMANN 124A alloy clincher 27" x 11/4" rim with AVOCET Model II Q.R. low-flange hub and DT stainless steel spokes
Tyres: Front -16" x 13/8", IRC.
Rear - 27" x 11/8", IRC,100 p.s.i.
Brakes: MAFAC H5 "Cyclo-Tandem" cantilever calipers with five-stud blocks and WEINMANN 97-W flat alloy levers
Drive: 21-speed
Front derailleur - SUN TOUR "Cyclone", black.
Rear derailleur - SUN TOUR "Cyclone GT", black.
Controls - SUN TOUR "Bar-Con", black.
Chain - SUN TOUR "Ultra".
Freewheel - SUN TOUR "Ultra Seven" (13-15-17-20-23-26-30).
Cranks - T.A. "Cyclotouriste" triple chainwheels (34-49-53), 170mm crankarms
Pedals: SUN TOUR "Superbe", black, with reflectors and AVOCET Model III alloy toe clips and AVOCET Model III black toe straps
Weight: 29 lbs
Other: Chainguard - frame clip-on.
Kickstand - ESGE alloy.
Full fenders - ESGE "chromoplastic".
Safety flag - 6' long fiberglass pole with 9" x 12" orange flag.
Reflectors - CAT-EYE, in spokes as well as on front and rear of unit.
Beacon flashing unit - AMPEC M3B60, 60 amber flashes per minute.
Manufacturer: FOMAC, Inc., 40 Oakdale Road, Wilmington, Massachusetts 01887, USA

Engineering Report


The modern diamond frame `safety' bicycle was the final outcome of an enormously varied  range of design configurations produced in the later part of the 19th century. One of these was (so far as is now known) the first semi-recumbent1 bicycle, the Normal Bicyclette, made in Ghent by Challand sometime before 18952. However, the reign of the safety bicycle was already supreme by 1890; the later attempts at introducing recumbent designs were greeted with criticism and ridicule: `A crazy effort,' said Britain's "The Cyclist" of  a quite viable semi-recumbent machine made by an American named Brown.  In  1914  the  French  firm Peugeot commenced manufacture of a semi-recumbent model, but the event was eclipsed by the onset of the Great War.

One or two recumbents were made in the 1920s, but it was not until the 1930s that a series of racing semi-recumbents brought out in France and called Velocars (Horizontal Bicycles in Britain) attained  tragically brief notoriety. Riding a Velocar, a relatively unknown  racing  cyclist,  François Fauré, defeated the then World Champion, Lemoire, in a 4 km pursuit race, and also broke many track records established on conventional machines.

The  International  Cycling  Union, which  controlled  world  bicycling, showed  typical  bureaucratic  perspicacity by greeting these events with  a  total  ban  in  organised competition for all unconventional design types. Lost at a stroke was the incentive for experimentation through participation in the racing arena.

  1. For  purposes  of  this  article 'semi-recumbent' indicates a riding position with the legs at or near horizontal and the torso at least somewhat elevated into the vertical, as when seated on a beach chair lounge;  'recumbent'  indicates  a  fully supine or prone position, as when in bed.
  2. Wilson,  D.G.  and   Whitt,  F.R., BICYCLING SCIENCE, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Summer 1982. From unpaginated galleys. Most of the historical data in this section of our report owes to this source.

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