Recumbent - Learning: 26/20, 20/20, hi-racer?
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J B Bell
09-09-08, 04:42 PM
A while ago, on tour, with a lot of unpleasantness in my wrists, neck, and back, I used some (OK, a lot) money to experiment with recumbents. I ended up finishing the last 500 miles of my tour on a lovely ICE Trice T, one of my best transportation experiences in any mode.
In between, I rather badly failed to learn to ride a 26/26 hi-racer (a Volae, very lovely machine). Just couldn't get used to the creepy sensation of having my feet up above my center of gravity.
It all turned out for the best, I think, but I'd still like to enjoy the fun, fast 2-wheelers out there. It seems to me a 26/20, or even a 20/20 like the RANS Rocket, might be less intimidating. Obviously the main ingredients are time and patience, but I'm wondering if anyone has any informed opinion about what's easiest to learn on? Thanks.
edit: I'm 5'11", and could just get a foot on the ground on the Volae. My x-seam is (I think, from memory) 36".
I'm 6'1", 32" inseam and 45" X-seam. I doubt yours is 36".
Never tried a hi-racer but they are supposed to be worst for foot-on-the-ground ease at stop, esp. for less-tall folks.
My first bent is a Tailwind (CLWB with dual 20" wheels). BB below the seat level and the seat very close to the ground, short or tall. I'm almost too tall for the bike. Easy to ride. Not so fast. Very stable.
Recently added a V-Rex (SWB 26"/20"). No problem getting used to the higher bottom bracket. Easier to ride faster and even more comfortable than the TW.
The Rocket, I have read, has a higher BB, and some not-tall folks have problems with putting their feet down at rest, depending on where the seat is fore-aft. I would expect it is easier to get used to than a hi-racer, tho.
You might appreciate a 26/20 SWB more than a 26/26. Your feet wouldn't be up so high, compared to the rest of you.
09-09-08, 08:17 PM
You may want to try a Bacchetta Cafe. A bit lower seat, not a real high BB, and a ton of fun to ride.
09-10-08, 06:07 AM
I am 5'11" with a 30" inseam and my x-seam is roughly 44" so JanMM and I are in the ballpark for estimated x-seam. A lowracer has high pedals, but OTOH, they're lower than a highracer's pedals, and you can put a hand down at a stop. This does NOT mean I recommend a lowracer!
I've found that the lower the seat angle is on a bike, the harder it is to learn to to ride. A highracer would be easiest to learn if you put the seat all the way as upright as it'll go. Low-bb long wheelbase bikes are pretty easy too. In the SWB category, I'd expect Lightning and RANS to have short learning curves, as well as Barcroft. I don't know how fast you're looking for, but to get really good speed, eventually you'll have to put the seat back -- and the further back the seat can go, the faster you'll go.
If you like the Rocket and it fits, get it. It won't be the fastest bike around, but it'll be easy to learn and zippy enough to keep you happy for a while. Once you have your 'bent legs, you may reconsider that highracer. (You must plan ahead to appease the n+1 rule.)
I think it's just a matter of practice and persistance. The first bent i rode was a chanllenge mistral which has 20/20, which i could hire on an hourly basis. I then went and bought a ActionBent Hiracer. There's no way i can afford to buy another bike so i've just over time, learned to ride the HiRacer as there wasnt another option for me.
I'm 5'8" btw, dunno what my x-seam is
09-10-08, 09:45 AM
The other thing to do would be to go to a shop that carries a lot of different 'bents to get some advice and try out a variety of bikes. You're in luck in that regard - Cambie Cycles in Vancouver has a lot of expertise and a wide variety of bikes.
09-10-08, 11:58 AM
I think it's just a matter of practice and persistance.
The other thing to do would be to go to a shop that carries a lot of different 'bents to get some advice and try out a variety of bikes.
My bent riding and half-vast knowledge suggest combining these two bits of advice.
Practice does make a big difference. Though a few minutes practice is enough to get many (most?) riders up and cycling, you will find yourself getting better on a bent for many months and miles.
Finding a good bike for you also makes a big difference. At our height -- assuming the x-seam quoted may not be exactly accurate -- you will not have any big size challenges. The variety of bents available makes test rides not only useful but, in my always humble opinion, just about mandatory unless quite impossible.
Just a minor issue. For me, clipless pedals are about mandatory for comfort with a high BB. Though some riders do well without them, I do not.
J B Bell
09-10-08, 04:19 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful and sympathetic advice so far.
Yeah, I think I mis-stated my xseam rather badly. :) It's probably more like 45". I'm very fortunate in the cycling world to have a nearly dead-average set of measurements.
Indeed, Cambie Cycles is hands-down the place to go for 'bent goodness. I'll have to darken their door some more, they'll be happier to see me then, since the last several times I've visited have been for problems with my Tikit. :)
09-10-08, 04:44 PM
Try a Rans V-Rex. You may never get off...
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