Bicycles

Bird of Prey bike takes a new position on cycling

Bird of Prey bike takes a new ...
The Bird of Prey looking either cool or weird, depending on the observer
The Bird of Prey looking either cool or weird, depending on the observer
View 4 Images
Due to the Bird of Prey's ergonomic layout, riders are reportedly easily able to turn its big 60-tooth rear chainring (linked to a 36/11 cassette), producing more torque than would be possible than with a smaller ring
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Due to the Bird of Prey's ergonomic layout, riders are reportedly easily able to turn its big 60-tooth rear chainring (linked to a 36/11 cassette), producing more torque than would be possible than with a smaller ring
No much in the way of specs are currently available, other than that the Bird of Prey has an aluminum frame ... and a price tag of $8,500
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No much in the way of specs are currently available, other than that the Bird of Prey has an aluminum frame ... and a price tag of $8,500
The Bird of Prey looking either cool or weird, depending on the observer
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The Bird of Prey looking either cool or weird, depending on the observer
Leather pads support the rider's hips, elbows and hands, while their legs stick straight out the back
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Leather pads support the rider's hips, elbows and hands, while their legs stick straight out the back

When it comes to bicycles with different types of seating positions, everyone is familiar with uprights and recumbents. There is, however, a lesser-known third option – prone. While these have formerly been limited to one-off bikes aimed at speed record attempts, Bird of Prey Bicycles is now offering a semi-prone aimed at everyday users. It may look a little quirky, but it's claimed to have several advantages over other bikes.

California-based architect John Aldridge designed the original Bird of Prey back in 1991. Bike-builder Russ Denny proceeded to give it physical form in 2010, and it was first publicly shown last year. This September, advertising for the production model officially began.

As can be seen, the rider lies front-down but looking up and ahead. Leather pads support their hips, elbows and hands, while their legs stick straight out the back – as if they were swimming, or flying, or both. This reportedly makes the bike and rider very aerodynamic, while also keeping the center of gravity low, allowing for quick and agile handling.

Due to the Bird of Prey's ergonomic layout, riders are reportedly easily able to turn its big 60-tooth rear chainring (linked to a 36/11 cassette), producing more torque than would be possible than with a smaller ring. They're also able to spin like crazy when climbing hills, with their legs fully extended.

Leather pads support the rider's hips, elbows and hands, while their legs stick straight out the back
Leather pads support the rider's hips, elbows and hands, while their legs stick straight out the back

Despite appearances, it's additionally said to be safe. "On a standard bicycle if you put on the brakes in a panic stop you will fly over the handle bars face first," Aldrige tells us. "In a panic stop on a Bird of Prey Bicycle it is impossible to go over the handle bars ... The rider's body mass is low, which is the reason it is impossible."

That said, it looks like visibility – both seeing and being seen by other traffic – could be a bit of a challenge.

No much in the way of specs are currently available, other than that the bike has an aluminum frame ... and a price tag of US$8,500. If you're interested, John and his team are accepting orders now.

For yet another variation on placing-the-person-on-the-bike, check out the rider-dangling Flying Rider.

Source: Bird of Prey Bicycles via Contemporist

66 comments
T N Args
As a long term recumbent rider, I can assure you that visibility (conspicuity) is NEVER a challenge. That's a common mistake made by outsiders. However, with this model, rider vision does look challenged. The body is so prone that the neck angle looks bad like a racer on the drops, leading to neck strain and 90% of the rider's view being road surface instead of traffic and obstacles. Finally, safety may be a bit better than a racer as stated in the article, but if the rider actually hits something, I would much rather fly into it feet first on a recumbent than head first on a racer or prone bike. My main interest is in how and where the seat supports the rider. Looks interesting, and potentially comfortable. Or not (!)
Sir_Likwid_Lundchen
The UCI would lay an egg if they saw this.
Timelord
Okay, this is just plain silly. The geometry on this guarantees you won't be able to generate as much power as on a regular bicycle. The hip angle is just way too open to involve the powerful gluteals. John Aldridge should stick to architecture. Bringing Russ Denny's name into this doesn't help. He's well-known as a very mercenary torch. Give him money and Russ will build anything for you, regardless of how inefficient the design is. Aldridge's website/blog is just painful to read. Ridiculous claims aside, grammatical and spelling errors abound. Among other things, he claims this "allows you to keep your head up and see the road in front." Nonsense. You'd have to hyperextend your neck just like on a road bike and still look forward and downward. "What is more comfortable than lying down?" Supine on a recumbent seat that distributes the pressure over a large seat, backrest and maybe even headrest. People have actually slept in their recumbent trikes at rest stops. Try that with a "comfortable" Bird of Prey. I feel sorry for anyone suckered into paying $8500 for one of these.
Gizzyfuel
This is far the worst design for a bike for one its like as soon as you crash you gonna go head first and then smear your whole face into the ground. Why do we even need to reinvent the bicycle.
flibb
Bloody ridiculous and that was before I read the asking price!
Grunt
Not convinced by this design of bicycle at all and the rider has to pull their head back uncomfortably just to see where they are going. This just smacks of desperation to do something differently.
ElronHubbard
this is ridiculous. laying on your front side is TERRIBLE for your spine. you are just asking for back problems if you were to ride this way regularly. just stupid how "inventors" are continually trying to better things that work so well already. at least recumbent bikes have a physiological reasoning behind them. this is the opposite and just stupid.
Bruce H. Anderson
This might work well if it was faired and taken to Battle Mountain. Oh....wait.
Dennis Zogbi
That's a bicycle built by a committee.
kezersoze
The design is interesting, but I foresee problems climbing hills. I don't think you can generate sufficient power while going up steep hills. I think it would work OK, not great, on the flats, but not for use in hilly terrains.