The history of Carbent

The Carbent (short for Carbon Recumbent) was first built by Dave Karcher in 2002.  As an aerospace engineer and avid cyclist who had discovered recumbents, he was convinced that he could build a lighter, stiffer bike using the composite materials that he worked with daily.  His first bike featured a 700c rear wheel, 20″ front wheel, and could weigh as little as 16.5 pounds!  What differentiated his bike from others on the market, aside from the carbon fiber construction, was the rigid, well-triangulated back end that ensured all power generated at the cranks was transmitted directly to the rear wheel.

As Dave start to build more and more bikes, he struck up a friendship with Dana Lieberman, owner of Bent Up Cycles.  Over three years, Dave purchased a variety of parts for use on his bikes, including Velokraft seats and forks, wheels and other components.

In 2005, Dave built his first dual 650 bike.  It rivaled its mass produced competitors in weight and speed, and he soon developed a small, but loyal following of owners. Dana encouraged him to sell through dealers, as he was sure the bike would be successful in the broader recumbent world.

In 2007, Dave announced that he was ready to sell the company to pursue other interests.  Dana asked him to build up a frameset to test to determine its feasibility for production.  Dana rode this bike and never looked back!

That year, Dana rode his Carbent to victory in the Furnace Creek 508 race, under the totem (team name) Sea Dragon.  With Sara Kay Carrell, he established a 2-person mixed recumbent record.  In October of that year, Dana purchased Carbent, and the rest, as they say, is history.

To start, I used the same building process as Dave and focused on the dual 650 design (now named the Sea Dragon).  While the design remained the same, I decided the leave the bike unpainted to show off its beautiful main tube and lugged design.

However, I immediately wanted to start development of a dual 700c design, as well. In the Fall of 2008, the Raven (named after my good friend’s Furnace Creek totem, Raven Lunatics) was introduced.  The 700c wheels smoothed out the ride even more and gave riders more choices for wheels and tires.  A true classic was born!

The Raven is now our predominant bike.  With its low seat height, even shorter riders can comfortably ride.  We have continued to refine the custom-fit aspect of the design, offering four different seat sizes, seven frame sizes, three riser choices, three handlebar lengths, varying seat angles and a component package built-to-suit.

We have also expanded our appeal by offering our bikes through select dealers.  Each of these dealers has shown a commitment to offering the finest bikes the recumbent world has to offer, with a flare for top-notch service!

2 thoughts on “The history of Carbent

  1. Nice job with this site, Dana. I especially enjoyed the brief history. I hadn’t realized how young the Carbent company is. You’ve made huge progress in just a few short years. Long may you roll.

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