back to flying furniture home page email ian at flying furniture

about flying furniture designs
M5 bikes from the Netherlands
Optima bikes from Britain
HPVelotechnik touring bikes from Germany Velokraft carbon fibre bikes from Poland
Bacchetta bikes from the USA
history of recumbent bicycles

folding bikes

News page
Parts and accessories
Specials + sale items
spacer graphic


The History of Flying Furniture...

Designing high performance recumbent bikes which are easy to ride

It's been well over a decade since I first rode a recumbent. I could see that it had potential but that there were many deficiencies in the design. I bought my first recumbent in the mid 1990's and it fitted the image that most people have that recumbents are heavy and a bit slow. There weren't many of these special bikes available in Australia back then and there were very few better choices available outside Australia either.

After building a good number of recumbents for myself, studying other designs and riding perhaps one hundred or so other recumbent bikes and trikes I could easily recognise what was/is good and what was/is bad in a design. Very few manufacturers seem to understand how to design and build an easy to ride, easy to handle, weight-optimised, comfort-optimised, fast bike or trike. I saw that even in 2002, buying a bike was still a potential minefield and so decided as an enthusiast to begin my own business to sell and produce the best ones around. I aim to supply elegantly designed, lightweight, efficient, aerodynamically optimised and excellent handling recumbents. And they should be beautiful bikes too! And they are the M5 and Optima's and now others that I sell and recommend.

Why "Flying Furniture"?
* I stock touring recumbents and high performance recumbents that "fly".
* Folding "travel" bikes that are easy to fly with.
* Recumbents have proper, comfortable seats like your favourite loungeroom furniture.

Riding my own bikes almost every day and in all weather, for more than 10,000km a year, has been invaluable "research time". This is just one advantage to not owning a car for over 10 years. I used the knowledge I gain from my experiences to incorporate improvements into each model I design and build and sell. I have even designed and built a separable recumbent touring tandem which has been ridden across Australia and a touring trike with its own folding rear fairing which fits into just one bag for travel.

Design is of course MOST important and improving bike and trike design has been my aim - I even developed the modern trike anti-brake-steer geometry that most of the best trike manufacturers in world today use eg first adopted by ICE in the UK and later by our own Greenspeed (on some models) and then Catrike etc. I have to say here that it was something Michael Rogan said about the SWIFT geometry that allowed me to devise this. Michael Rogan, from MR Components and SWIFT trike fame, and the developer and inventor of the direct kingpin steering system makes excellent innovative stuff at the leading edge. Anyway now the anti-brake-steer geometry I devised is used to allow a trike rider using only one of the two front brakes to stop in a straight line - an improvement in safety for everyone. Every trike should use it. Hopefully I and others like Michael are helping to improve the reputation of recumbents in general - although there are still some other people making fairly horrible, old tech recumbents out there.

Some good recumbent examples? The "PBP special" recumbent bike is one that should be VERY easy and VERY predictable to ride even after you've ridden 500km with minimal sleep during the long distance Audax events (see M5, Optima, Velokraft and Bacchetta have a proven racing history. M5, Optima and HPVelotechnik have a proven touring history. Just look at the list of brands in the left hand margin to see what works and works well. Simply avoid the rest. Email me if you still find the number of choices available a little bewildering or confusing. I do have the expertise and experience to help you choose the the right bike and/or trike for your exact needs. Just ask the person you are thinking of buying a recumbent from whether they have designed, built or advanced any HPV design to see if you are talking to a proper specialist recumbent retailer interested in getting you the best bike or trike your budget allows or a "salesman" who couldn't care less what you buy as long as they get your money. I do have the expertise and experience to help you choose the the right bike and/or trike for your exact needs, whether it be racing, touring, commuting, something else or a combination of purposes.

Recumbent racing history of the Flying Furniture race team:
In September 1997 I built Flying Furniture #2 (aka 'Golden Rough') which is a short-wheel base low racer recumbent similar to the M5 Low Racer and Optima Baron. I rode that bike to victory in the Australian (OzHPV Inc.) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge that year. The Challenge was established to determine the vehicle best suited to a combination of speed and practicality. "Golden Rough" was the first and most successful racing recumbent to be raced at the OzHPV Challenge and on that occasion the bike and I won several of the events and finished 15 points ahead of the next competitor. I have won this event many many times now, winning recently again in 2004, 2005, and I have been undefeated in the raod race events for unfaired bikes! And when I haven't won, other riders on Flying Furniture recumbents have! Flying Furniture bikes combine the qualities of speed and "everyday usefulness" - they are designed for and capable of anything and everything from commuting and carrying shopping to fast riding over several days, and all the while, are very comfortable too!

The 2001 World Championships
It was my travel, in 2001, to the World HPV Championships that inspired me to sell these bikes in Australia. It was easy to be inspired by the magnificent new machinery racing there and on display. While the market and design (of mostly touring) trikes is reasonably mature in Australia, this is not the case for bikes, and adding better bikes to what is available will enhance the image and usage of human powered vehicles in Australia.

So, in 2002 I began to import the premium quality M5 and OPTIMA bikes for sale, which have "won" several world records and have been used for many many race and championship wins overseas. The M5 Carbon Low Racer is at the pinnacle of HPV low racer design. Additionally you can also choose from the popular Optima range of bikes and trikes and now a few other excellent brands as well. I recommend in particular the Optima Baron low racer - one of the fastest "street" racers around, useful as a tourer and fast Audax bike and commuter and also very successful in races worldwide! A very tasty mix!

Of course, as an alternative, Flying Furniture has its own custom designs, made in Australia. These designs complement those of M5, Optima, Velokraft and Bacchetta perfectly and my bikes are especially well tailored to Australian conditions. And I make one model pretty close to the ideal Paris-Brest-Paris / touring in France machine. Contact me to come and see for yourself and ride away on the best of the new wave of cycling!


for more information about any of the bikes you see on this site,
please call Ian on 0419 697 405,
or e-mail him at