Recumbent - Newbie needs advice
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I'm middle aged and considering my first 'bent purchase. I want quality. Doesn't have to be THE best, but one that is well made with great components and will last for years. A few questions:
Which models should I consider?
How much should I expect to spend?
What's the best type of seat?
Are recumbents for on-road use only or can they be ridden off-road?
If the transition from upright to recumbent is major, should I rent one to make sure I like it?
Any other suggestions/considerations?
Thanks in advance for the info.
01-26-06, 04:19 AM
Which models should I consider? How long is a piece of string? It all depends what type of riding you want to do and what your budget is... Everybody has different ideas on what is 'best', as you are probably about to find out!
How much should I expect to spend? New, probably in excess of £1250 (UK) - others will give you a USD figure...
What's the best type of seat? For what? Hard shell seats tend to be more for performance bikes as you can push harder into them compared with mesh seats, which are better ventilated and provide a degree of suspension, but tend to give a bit when you are hammering...
Are recumbents for on-road use only or can they be ridden off-road? How far off road? There are some who ride seriously off-road (there are also some who ride unicycles off-road), but a fundamental limitation is that you tend to be more locked into the seat, as compared with a MTB where you can move your whole weight around a lot...
If the transition from upright to recumbent is major, should I rent one to make sure I like it? See next question - there are a few basics which are completely different e.g. you don't pull on the bars like on a DF bike; you need to push with your legs when braking hard, etc. which can catch you out at first, but basically it's as easy as riding a(nother) bike ;)
Any other suggestions/considerations? Find a dealer (or better still, dealers) who run a try-out programme and just spend as much time on as many different bikes as possible to find out what works for you. Ultimately you will have to take the plunge: if money is no object then buy what you fancy and put in some miles - alternatively buy secondhand. You may well find that your ideas (as well as your physical condition) change with time and something else might suit you better, or maybe you just fancy a change ;)
01-26-06, 06:03 AM
Test ride, test ride, test ride! This means checking out all the dealers in your area, as well as finding local riders who will let you test theirs out. This isn't a quick process, because to do it right you should make a list & write notes for each test ride, then when you've exhausted all the test rides, go back for a second round with the same bikes. Test rides are a learning experience and the experiences of the second try are often 'way different. You can make up your own mind about prices after all the test rides, but the better ones will probably range from $1500-5000US. Look for relatively light stiff frames, comfortable seating, and efficient, well-thought-out drivetrains.
The transition from upright to bent IS major. Acclimation can take months, so renting tends to be impractictal. Beyond that I can't offer advice, other than to suggest buying used so that you don't get hit by depreciation so badly if you decide to resell.
- What do you intend to use it for, leisure rides, commuting, racing?
- Does it need to fit in your car?
- will it be shared with another person?
- in what condition are the roads and bike trails in your area?
- how much experience do you have on a 'regular' bike?
- are there even any 'bent shops in your area?
Regarding the transition thing. I crashed within 30 yards on my first recumbent ride and was wobbly for about 500 miles. Some recumbents are easier to ride right off and some take longer to get used to. I tired an Easy Racer and found it easy to ride, but knew it wasn't the long term bike for me. I like fast bikes and went with the lowracer, even though that is the one I crashed with. So, I guess I'm saying is my experience suggestst that the bike you like now because you can ride it easily may not be the bike you will want later on. I think the really fast recumbents are harder to ride than the comfort ones.
01-27-06, 06:21 PM
Definately consider LWB (long wheel base) recumbents. They are great for middle aged guys like you and me. The upright seating position gets rid of a lot of bike related pain. Sun EZSport ($900-1300) Rans Stratus ($1700 +) and Easy Racers Tour Easy (2K +). All three are good bikes, but more dinero does mean a better bike.
As you age, the less you are willing to tolerate pain from fitting your body to the bike instead of fitting the bike to your body. LWB's are Zen. bk
yes, test ride them. Find a dealer and try some different ones. After riding a LWB I knew that is what I wanted. So I got a Lightfoot Cycles Explorer and havn't looked back. How ever a LWB is a BIG bike. Mines like 7 foot long, and is hard to fit in my pickup truck bed. But then again I don't haul it around any either. I do know it very comfortable to ride, which was my concern.
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