Challenge Seiran 26″ SL-II USS

When this lightweight build of the classic 26″ all-rounder turned up at Laid-Back-Bikes en-route to a customer I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to take some photographs…

High roller built for comfort and mileage

When I saw this near SL-II spec Challenge Seiran 26″ USS in the LaidBack showroom I couldn’t resist taking some photos, but I didn’t ride it, as it wasn’t a demo – just waiting around to be boxed and shipped to its happy owner.

Challenge Seiran

I thought it might be especially useful to put the Seiran up against the wall and compare it with the Furai 24″ which I reviewed in depth earlier this year:

Roll over for a comparison between the Furai 24 and Seiran 26

Despite the wheels only being a little larger (1″ greater radius) you can see that the Seiran dwarfs the Furai, with a seat height of around 62cm versus 46cm (24 1/2″ vs 18″).

Both bikes fill a similar role- big days on the road, potentially with a heavy load, but not racers. The carbon SL-II seat on the Challenge Seiran doesn’t preclude the use of a rack (although it would be an aftermarket mod unsupported by Challenge, plenty of people drill carbon seats for tailboxes) – I think this bike is intended more for a seatbag like the Radical Solo Aero though.

The front edge of the carbon seat is nicely down-turned which helps get the feet flat on the floor, but I wouldn’t want to be much shorter than my 5’10” (~43″ x-seam) – this was about my limit to get my heels on the ground, which is pretty much a pre-requisite of a well-mannered urban bike.

Challenge Seiran

I thought that Challenge fitted Velokraft carbon seats, but the seat on this Serian is quite different to my own VK seat (which might just mean Kamil makes seats differently now, or makes them differently for Challenge, or indeed they come from somewhere else).

Either way, it’s a slender item – mine weighs 580g which isn’t much more than the 440g of a Ventisit seat pad!

Challenge Seiran

The bike was fitted with a lovely pair of carbon cranks and a very light looking chain (hollow pins and side plates..!) but does still feature the aluminium boom, hence “near SL-II”.

Challenge Seiran

The next couple of shots are just close-ups of the USS mechanism. It seems to be quite a nice clamp-on solution that (in theory) could be fitted to any kind of fork:

Challenge Seiran

The bars on the USS Challenge Seiran can be adjusted for angle and width using an allen key (signficant narrowing might require you to use a hacksaw!)

Challenge Seiran

If the carbon’s not enough, the Seiran can also be specced with a variety of shocks to further improve the ride and handling (especially with a load):

Challenge Seiran

There’s plenty of clearance for big tyres, with full mudguards. BB7 discs and Velocity rims round out the package.

Being able to use standard tyres might be a good reason to go with the Seiran over the Furai (especially if venturing into less-travelled parts of the world where 700C and 24″ sizes are like hen’s teeth). However, if you’re staying local, Schwalbe do a strong range of tyres in both sizes.

Challenge Seiran

Without riding this bike, I can hardly make any recommendation. There’s no reason not to expect it to roll along like a champion, and it looks the business.

It is really big – it’s perhaps worth noting that the Seiran is so much bigger than the Furai that the bikes weigh the same, even though this Challenge Seiran is built nearly to SL-II component standards.

Overall, the feel is almost like a high-racer (although the USS will give no steering obstruction problems like open-cockpit does) – shorter riders will certainly want to look at the Challenge Seiran 24 or Challenge Furai 24 as alternatives.

If the chance to ride one comes my way, I’ll provide fuller coverage of course.

See also:

5 thoughts on “Challenge Seiran 26″ SL-II USS”

  1. I tried a Seiran 24″ last weekend and I want to try out the Furai 24″. What are the biggest differences considering they have the same wheel size?

  2. Ytrog, as you’d expect there are great similarities.

    However, the Furai is lower (despite having the same size wheels) and the seat-BB delta is a little larger. The Furai is a little longer and, with default options, lighter too.

    I think the original aim in the line was that the Furai was a midracer but the Seirin a tourer (Challenge made a distinction there).

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts after trying both with the same size wheels 🙂

  3. Dave,

    I will keep you posted. I tried the Seiran at the factory’s own shop (ELAN in Nijmegen) 🙂
    What do you mean with the seat-BB delta? I’m not familiar with all the parts yet.

  4. Is there a good resource that explains all the recumbent bike jargon? I’m not familiar with it and I have the feeling it is quite different from normal bike jargon. Am I correct?

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