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  1. #1
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Conversion Experience???

    I'm just a pokey recreational hybrid rider getting back into biking again. I had a short fling a couple of years ago and then let it get away from me after about 6-8 rides, then I started up again, modestly, in Sept '06. Picked up a used Trek 7600 hybrid in November and like it a lot. Hope to get out on the bike trails with it come Spring.

    I've been toying with riding a road bike, which I've never owned one of, but even on hybrids if I have the handlebar down, it is very uncomfortable. I test rode a road bike in October and hated it. Test rode one in November and hated it. Tried one last week and hated it. Now I've tried two more this week and hated both of them. When I attempt to use the lower position of the drop bars, my hands and back both start hurting within one minute. Extremely uncomfortable.

    So today I was in a LBS, chatting with the salesman, who had nothing else to do, and after my negative test ride, he quizzes me for a while on my riding habits and what hurts and what I like. After a few minutes he says, "I have the bike for you right over here."

    He then leads me to over a Bacchetta Cafe recumbent. I've ridden a Sun 'bent trike before and did like it, but had never tried a two-wheel 'bent. So I decided to take him up on it and take a ride. Boy, what a different riding experience. I made it about 10' before starting to fall over. Next time I made it about 20'. After about 6 or 7 panic stops, I finally got going on it. Had to stop occasionally as I got a bit out of control, I kept pushing forward on the handlebars and these suckers move forward if you do that.

    But in the end I have to admit that I loved it. It was so comfortable. And the view was great, you can watch the world go by. Perhaps the most comfortable bike ride I have ever taken.

    I'm thinking about renting one for a day after it warms up, to take it out for a few hours and see if my legs start killing me from trying to keep them up so long, or my arms don't like being so high. Or if that seat turns against you after 30 minutes.

    I was riding all of these road bikes because I had a bead on a good deal on a slightly used Fuji. Now I think I'm going to say to heck with them. Ride my hybrid and start thinking about 'bents.

  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    We've lost another one to the dark side.

    If it makes you want to ride more, it's a good thing.

    BTW, most of us road bike riders only ride in the drops occasionally and for short periods of time. Unless I'm flying down a hill, fighting a strong headwind or making time on a flat section, my hands stay on the hoods. Also the bars should be just slightly below or level with the saddle for most people our age to be comfortable.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  3. #3
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    I've never ridden a bent, but fully appreciate their wonderfulness for many people. Many people don't try (or don't like) road bikes because of the dropped handlebars. My answer? Don't use the drops. I love my Giant OCR comp. Ride long miles. But seldom use the drops. I use them for "aero" when going down hill or tucking in behind someone's wheel. Sometimes to just change my postition for a minute or two. One doesn't have to use them just because they are there. Don't let the drops scare you away from a road bike, if you like all the other attributes.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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  4. #4
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    I prefer the geometry of a road bike but like others seldom use the drops - I basically ride out on the hoods - I like to be stretched out on my bike. Can't say I've ever felt comfortable riding in the drops and most folks I know seldom use them except for the reasons stated above. Drops are for the youngums to enjoy. Bottom line, the bike must fit your body and your riding style. There is a road bike out there for you. Just keep looking. Also think custom...

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Tom, I was like you a while back in terms of trying the road bikes and hating how I felt on them, and blaming the handlebars.

    I still haven't gotten a real road bike (as one or two people here seem to notice... ) but I've been continuing to search and try and so on and you know what? Either my back is getting more limber from my riding or something else is happening, but I'm not hating the ride anymore at all. Maybe it's just a matter of time?

    I also have had cramps in my hands trying to use the brakes on brifters, but I've become convinced that this is simply because I'm not used to them, and there are also road bikes (Sequoia, for instance) that come stock with two sets of brakes.

    I'm pretty convinced I'm going to go road bike with drop handlebars when I do pull the trigger, and I would have bet good money I'd have stuck with a flat bar bike like the Trek 7.6 just a short while ago.

    So, as always it comes down to whatever floats your boat -- but don't be surprised if your body changes over the next few months and something that used to cause pain just doesn't anymore. (Kind of like an ex-wife, I suppose...)
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  6. #6
    Ol' Paint
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    When I first got into cycling I had straight "hybrid" bars and didn't care for the drops. Of course, my hands would start to get numb after a few miles and I couldn't figure out why. Finding a vintage road bike with drops showed me the reason for the design. There are so MANY different places to put your hands! If I start feeling uncomfortable in one position, I just switch. I stopped riding my hybrid and eventually passed it on to my college son. The mountain bike, tho, is a completely different story. Drops would be hazardous offroad.
    "In my cathedral,
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  7. #7
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    On a whim, and after some internet research, and a test ride, I bought a 6 yr old, low mileage Rans Tailwind last March. (The price was right, and I didn't fall over on the test ride.) My Novara Big Buzz hybrid, which I really like, hangs neglected in the garage. My only upright miles in recent months have been with the wife on our tandem. A "comfort" road bike with carbon fork, stays and non-racing-position drop bars, would likely be more comfortable than a hybrid with flat bars but would not come close to the comfort of many recumbents. Come to the dark side and enjoy cycling while sitting in the comfy chair.

  8. #8
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Tom, I see the light is starting to shine on you! There's no stigma to a bent anymore. After I got bent I wonder what took me so long! But as all of the other posters have said, to each their own. If you continue thinking about a bent, I'd test ride a few different ones to maximize the comfort.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    Senior Member CrossChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM
    On a whim, and after some internet research, and a test ride, I bought a 6 yr old, low mileage Rans Tailwind last March. (The price was right, and I didn't fall over on the test ride.) My Novara Big Buzz hybrid, which I really like, hangs neglected in the garage. My only upright miles in recent months have been with the wife on our tandem. A "comfort" road bike with carbon fork, stays and non-racing-position drop bars, would likely be more comfortable than a hybrid with flat bars but would not come close to the comfort of many recumbents. Come to the dark side and enjoy cycling while sitting in the comfy chair.
    I owned a Tailwind for a year and road it regularly but not as often as my roadbike. It was enjoyable and I thought I had "done" the bent experience. Then I test road a EasyRacer Tour Easy long wheel base (longer than a Tailwind) with a fairing. At first I felt like Casey Jones and the bike a locomotive. But as the bike picked up speed, and then more speed, and then more speed.......well, there is a difference between style of bents. The lwb bent felt ungainly to me at slow speeds, but I was not really accustomed to it.

    Anyone trying bents, try to ride a short wheel base with higher bottom bracket as well. Exciting new territory you might be entering.
    Riding and aging don't get easier, you just get slower at slowing down.] (FiftyPlus observation inspired by G. Lemond.)

  10. #10
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Tom-Just curious if you have tried a compact frame in a road bike--or something where the handlebars are at least as high as the saddle and the top tube is sized correctly for your riding style. Maybe its just me, but if had the top tube shortened, the bars up at the saddle height and my hands on top of the handlebars, to me it feels like I'm almost sitting straight up when riding in that position. Like others, 95% of the time my hands are on top of the bars or hoods anyway. It's not the most aerodynamic position but you generally position yourself for comfort over aero positions anyway.

    Road bikes are not for everyone but I'm surprised at how uncomfortable you seem to be--just makes me wonder if you've zeroed in on a size and style that suits you.

    Not that there is anything wrong with a bent.........

  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Boy, I like to take some time while making decisions like this. But tonight I just found a 90's Rans Tailwind, recently tuned at a bike shop, for sale for $400. I don't like to buy quickly, and I don't like to miss out on good deals. It is said to be in very good shape, the guy who owns it works at an LBS. The very LBS that I visited today.

  12. #12
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrossChain
    I owned a Tailwind for a year and road it regularly but not as often as my roadbike. It was enjoyable and I thought I had "done" the bent experience. Then I test road a EasyRacer Tour Easy long wheel base (longer than a Tailwind) with a fairing. At first I felt like Casey Jones and the bike a locomotive. But as the bike picked up speed, and then more speed, and then more speed.......well, there is a difference between style of bents. The lwb bent felt ungainly to me at slow speeds, but I was not really accustomed to it.

    Anyone trying bents, try to ride a short wheel base with higher bottom bracket as well. Exciting new territory you might be entering.
    CrossChain makes a great point, Tom. Try different recumbents. Some people like pretty much every kind of recumbent they ride, but many more end up loving one particular kind more than anything else. You only find out which one is the most magic for you by trying a bunch of different ones.

    If you end up riding an upright sometimes, and a recumbent sometimes, there's nothing wrong with that, either. Lots of folks end up that way. Enjoy!
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    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

  13. #13
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    I want a road bike so bad I can taste it.I hope what DG says happens to me.I moved my saddle up about an inch to take some presure off my hands and it did help.Only time will tell.
    George

  14. #14
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I have tried a compact frame. Along with standard frames. I think my discomfort is the result of a number of factors, including that I have shorter legs and arms than normal for my size, and lower back pain that is easily aggitated. The LBS today even tried me on a bike that was a bit too big for me to standover, in order to better match my upper torso size, and I did try it out. But was again quite uncomfortable.

    On my "new" beater mountain bike, used for lunch time rides, I'm not that comfortable when using the flat bar. But when I switch to using the long top of the bar ends, which pushes me up about 3", my back immediately lets me know that it likes it better there.

    I need to get into better shape. If I lost 25 pounds and my back muscles were in better condition, I might be far more comfortable on these road bikes than I have been so far.

  15. #15
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrossChain
    I owned a Tailwind for a year and road it regularly but not as often as my roadbike. It was enjoyable and I thought I had "done" the bent experience. Then I test road a EasyRacer Tour Easy long wheel base (longer than a Tailwind) with a fairing. At first I felt like Casey Jones and the bike a locomotive. But as the bike picked up speed, and then more speed, and then more speed.......well, there is a difference between style of bents. The lwb bent felt ungainly to me at slow speeds, but I was not really accustomed to it.

    Anyone trying bents, try to ride a short wheel base with higher bottom bracket as well. Exciting new territory you might be entering.
    The Tailwind is pretty nimble at slower speeds and probably suits my riding more, especially since I use it for urban/suburan commuting.
    A bike like the TE, with a fairing, would be magnificent for longer, faster rides.

  16. #16
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    Boy, I like to take some time while making decisions like this. But tonight I just found a 90's Rans Tailwind, recently tuned at a bike shop, for sale for $400. I don't like to buy quickly, and I don't like to miss out on good deals. It is said to be in very good shape, the guy who owns it works at an LBS. The very LBS that I visited today.
    If the frame is in good shape, sounds like a reasonable deal. The pre-2001 TW's, like mine, have 1.5 inche diameter main tubes, versus 2 inch, and are a bit flexier (and more shock absorbent) than the newer ones.

  17. #17
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    Heh, when I saw the thread title I thought it was either about fixed gears or religion.

    I've only tried 'bents in a parking lot too, and had the same falling-over experience. And one time I was a stoker on a tandem 'bent and I got numb Down There from the seat. So it's a whole 'nother adjustment. I'm sticking with my road bike, but it sounds like Tom might not be a road bike candidate. I say, if you think it's the way to go then do it. Take that Rans out for a nice long test ride if you can.

    Then post pictures.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    You've got my curiosity up about recumbants - I've occasionally looked at them with wonderment. One of these days I'll give one a try . . . . . and my wallet will probably regret it.
    Syke

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  19. #19
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Being a mountain biker- Recumbents are definitely out for me. Plus the fact that I have tried them and they definitely are not for me. When I got a road bike- I was a little uncertain about riding in the drops. I still am and most of my riding is on the hoods. The only time I use the drops is downhill where I definitely want to get the full braking available.

    In Hindsight I should probably have got a Specialised Cirrus- A road bike with straight bars-But I do have to admit that the Giant SCR is a comfortable bike and it is not very often that I see other road riders on road bikes riding in the drop position.
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  20. #20
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    After having bounced back and forth between drop bars and flat bars on my road bike (both with some advantages and disadvantages) I finally settled on drops with an auxillary set of cyclocross brake levers up on top. Now I can make use of all of the different hand positions and still not be far away from quick brakes. Possibly I am more comfortable with this because I ride both mountain bikes and road bikes.

  21. #21
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx
    After having bounced back and forth between drop bars and flat bars on my road bike (both with some advantages and disadvantages) I finally settled on drops with an auxillary set of cyclocross brake levers up on top. Now I can make use of all of the different hand positions and still not be far away from quick brakes. Possibly I am more comfortable with this because I ride both mountain bikes and road bikes.
    +1 - I have them on both bikes. I love them.
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  22. #22
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    In Hindsight I should probably have got a Specialised Cirrus- A road bike with straight bars
    A Specialized Cirrus Comp was one of the five road bikes that I test rode. It was a 2005 model, in my size. A beautiful bike from a very nice small town LBS, and the guy offered it to me at $300 off list. I got on thinking that I wanted to like it, that I wanted to do business with this guy, and it was a heckeva deal.

    The shop owner took some time to adjust my seating position and get me set up and told me to take it for a ride as long for as long as I wanted. It was November, there was no one else in the shop, and the bike had already been there for a year. I had my helmet and riding gloves with me, so I put those on.

    About 8 minutes into my test ride, my hands started hurting. By 10-11 minutes, they were killing me, as was my back, so I started riding with one hand while shaking the other. I cut short the ride and came back into shop after about 14-15 minutes on the bike because I couldn't stand to be on it any longer. Riding that bike was a form of torture for me.

  23. #23
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I've ridden bents in years past, but found that I perfer convention riding positions. Three things were problems for me. 1. Bike was too difficult to store and transport compared to my other bikes; 2. Didn't like the feeling of being that low; 3. climbing with one was much harder than I wanted to endure.

    With that said, the process of finding the ride fit that keeps one comfortable can be daunting, but is well worth the effort. In my view riding a bike shouldn't hurt but for two exceptions. I expect my lungs to burn when I push the cardio envelope and I expect my legs to burn when I push them too hard. Other than that, riding shouldn't hurt. I know that it took me quite some time to dial in a riding position that works for me, and I also know that it will change over time as my body changes.

    If you do make the choice to go with a bent as your primary ride, please do me a favor. Don't assume that all other (i.e., non-bent) riders look at your ride as inferior. A few days ago I passed a bent rider and gave a short wave. He looked surprised, but didn't wave or nod in response. I stopped for a coffee and about five minutes later he also stopped. I walked over to talk with him. Long story short... he was surprised that I waved. Said, "most roadies are snobs when it comes to bent riders." I suspect many are, but not all of us.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  24. #24
    rck
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    I have a bent, it sits comfortably in my garage collecting dust. Like Nos88 I feet that transporting the thing is a bit of a pain and that I do not wish to struggle that much going up a hill. Of course I have an aquaintance that rides bents exclusively, he averages about 5000 miles yearly and has no problems with the hills and he is 10 years older than myself.

  25. #25
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    As a hard-core fan of conventional old-school road bikes with drop bars, I am probably not the right person to advise you, but you may want to investigate an Electra Townie, as a compromise between upright and recumbent.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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