Vision went out of business in November of 2003. Their last phone line was disconnected in January 2004, their jigs and tooling were sold on Ebay about a year later. If you are considering one of their US bikes remember, some parts will be unavailable i.e.: handlebars, seats, seat upholstery. You might consider the Linear USS recumbents instead.
Vision R40 Recumbents
The Vision R40 series hardtail recumbents are their most popular bikes. They are versatile SWB bikes, light comfortable and they climb well. They are all available with over (OSS) or under (USS) seat steering. They all come in 2 sizes: standard, with a 20″ front wheel, and small with a 16″ front wheel. Both have a 26″ rear wheel. Front suspension forks are also available as an option. They add comfort and improve high-speed cornering on rough pavement.
Pre 1998 Vision SWB bikes were pretty unstable. In 1998 they lengthened their wheelbase about two inches, a great improvement.
Many riders find the LWB R-40 harder to balance at very slow speeds, like on steep climbs. This is especially true on a dirt road. In 2002 they improved this by shortening the R-40 LWB, they now call it an MWB.
Vision rear suspensions tend to “bob” with hill-climbing pedaling effort, making climbing harder. The newer R-50 series rear suspension bikes “bob” a bit less than the older 40 series bikes with rear suspension. The R-40 rear suspension bikes also flex laterally, making high-speed handling poor.
The R40 is Vision’s best value in a sport/touring bike. The quality American Made frame is designed their most durable. It uses a 2” Chromoly tube to handle the stresses encountered as an MWB. The other Vision bikes use a 1 ½” tube and are only SWBs. Components are selected to keep the price down but still work well. With shop-installed conversion kits, the R-40 can become an OSS, USS, MWB or SWB bike. In this respect, the R-40 is most versatile recumbent I know of.
Featuring Vision’s lightest 1 ½” Chromoly frameset, the R44 Absorbs road shocks a bit more than the R-40 and is lighter. A large, strong rider may find that the stiffer R-40 is faster on sprints and steep climbs. The R-44s upgraded component package is a nice plus. It is available with USS or OSS. It can be converted from USS to OSS but does not convert to MWB.
The R45 shares the 1 ½” R-44 frame but has Vision’s best component package. A bit lighter, the high-end Shimano components give a bit higher performance, lower maintenance, crisper shifts and quicker stops. It has an Ultegra group and powerful Magura Hydraulic brakes.