Recumbent - Advice for a new recumbent fan
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06-28-10, 12:44 PM
I joined BikeForums to discuss single speed issues (I have a specialized langster). However... I have recently realised the joys of recumbent cycling after trying one at a little cycling festival in my city (Glasgow).
What I would like from you slouching chaps ;) is a little advice:
1. What are the main manufacturers/distributors/brands in the UK recumbent scene?
2. What are the basic different types of recumbents? I would need one that I can commute on with the equivalent contents of a medium backpack which I currently heft on my back sitting upright.
3. What's the cost (in £ or $ - I will convert) of a "decent entry-level" recumbent - sort of the equivalent of a £500 ($750) road bike?
Thanks for all tips! :D
06-28-10, 02:52 PM
What are the main manufacturers/distributors/brands in the UK recumbent scene?
What are the basic different types of recumbents? I would need one that I can commute on with the equivalent contents of a medium backpack which I currently heft on my back sitting upright.
What's the cost (in £ or $ - I will convert) of a "decent entry-level" recumbent - sort of the equivalent of a £500 ($750) road bike?
There's a well known recumbent shop in Glasgow called Kinetics (http://www.kinetics.org.uk/). If you haven't already been to visit, you should check it out and do some test rides. There's also Laid Back Bicycles (http://www.laid-back-bikes.co.uk/) in Edinburgh. Velovision Magazine has a long list of UK (http://www.velovision.co.uk/links.html)recumbent suppliers.
Pretty much any recumbent can carry a commuting load. Just fit a rear rack and get some panniers, or attach a basket on the rack. The main thing may be that you might want something with a slightly more upright and higher seat - more of a touring recumbent (you can of course commute on a low racer - people do. But as a beginner it may not be the best choice).
Your biggest problem may be finding a (new) 'bent for around 500 GBP. For that sort of money you could almost certainly find something decent second hand though. I know it's a long way from Glasgow, but you might contact Kevin Dunseath at DTek (just outside Cambridge) as he has a huge range of used machines. He has never had a web page, but try dtekhpvs (at) btconnect.com or call (01353) 648177. They are at:
3 Main St, Little Thetford, Ely, CB6 3HA. I never bought anything from him, but for a small fee he let me test ride around 20 different 'bents and it really helped narrow down what I was looking for.
06-28-10, 03:13 PM
Thanks for the advice - I found Kinetics online and I will visit them soon to have a talk, see prices, and perhaps have a test ride.
I like the moniker, 'slouching chaps'! I'll have to remember that.
Good luck on your search and enjoy the test rides! Also, check out
Benrideronline.com! They are the go to website to learn about
07-01-10, 03:42 AM
Thanks - I will check that site out :)
02-09-11, 06:06 AM
I found a StreetMachine GT in your price range on a recumbent specialist website's forum (I think it was Velo Vision) in the For Sale / Wanted section, and drove down to the Lake District to buy it.
I find it's perfect for commuting - a great height in traffic, and can carry a ton. (I have a rear pannier rack, and "lowrider" panniers which give much better handling, though inhibit aggressive turning).
Did you go and visit Ben at Kinetics?
Where abouts in Glasgow are you based?
02-09-11, 07:43 AM
That StreetMachine GT looks like a good idea. I didn't end up going to that shop - I've just stuck with my single speed road bike for now.
Very interesting to hear that you feel tall enough and safe enough on the roads. That's still one of my main concerns.
I'm based in the Southside of Glasgow and commute into the city centre.
02-09-11, 08:11 AM
I'm also based in the South Side, and commute to the West End on the StreetMachine GT.
My personal experience is that since the bike looks so "odd" to drivers, they re-evalute how to treat you - they don't see it as just another bike, so they actually give you loads of room and are courteous. You still get the numptys that aren't looking etc that you'll encounter on any bike, but 99% of the time feel far safer than on my ordinary "upright" hybrid.
There's a comment on the Guardian site from Ben Cooper, of Kinetics, about his experiences cycling through Glasgow on a recumbent, and they match my experiences of commuting through Glasgow exactly:
BenCooper (http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user/BenCooper) 4 May 2010 5:55PM
I've been riding recumbents through Glasgow for 15 years, and always, always feel a lot safer than I do on my mountain bike.
It's not that car drivers don't see cyclists - car drivers can easily spot things like kerbs and potholes - it's that drivers often blank out cyclists, possibly because they look subconciously a bit like pedestrians (hence slow-moving and on the pavement).
Almost every urban cyclist has had that horrible experience of a driver looking right through you, and pulling out anyway - their eyes have seen you, but you've not registered on the brain. On a recumbent, this isn't a problem - the unusual shape makes drivers pay attention.
Other safety advantages of recumbents:
- you can brake much harder than on a conventional bike - you're not going to go over the handlebars.
- if you do hit something, you hit it feet-first with your legs as shock absorbers, not head-first and rolling over the obstacle.
- If you fall sideways, you don't fall far, and you usually land on your hip, not delicate knee or wrists.
- you are usually at the same eye level as car drivers, so you can eyeball them properly instead of being higher up.
- you can accelerate faster to get out of trouble.
Some recumbents aren't suitable for city use, but that's due to rider visibility - if you're below car bonnet level, junctions (especially T junctions) can be very tricky. So low trikes and lowracers aren't brilliant in traffic.
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