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Old 09-18-07, 08:41 AM   #1
europa
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Should I?

Should I buy a cheap recumbent or should I buy a frame a build a new df bike?

Yes, it's impossible to answer so feel free to talk about esoteric stuff (or just have fun, fun works, a few laughs would do me good).

No, I can't go try out recumbents because here in Adelaide, they aren't common. Hell, they don't even rate 'rare'. I've only ever seen two on the road and in the shops? Fuggedaboudit. In fact, I read the recumbent forums here and see how you can try this and choose that - it's so unlike my experience that it feels like a Terry Pratchett novel. I can claim to have been within 200m of a recumbent ... once, and it was going the other way and there were three lanes of heavy traffic between us.

I'm not entirely happy with my current df bike because although I think I've finally got it working, the modifications required are a tad extreme (got caught by the modern 'too small a frame' syndrome didn't I).

I can't buy a second hand df frame and swap my components over because my current bike has a DeoreLX rear hub which is 135mm wide, not the standard road 130mm wide. I'm happy to swap the groupset over but will be looking at wheels as well as the frame.

I suffer from numb hands and having finally achieved pain free riding with a set up that was so extreme it added handling problems to the mix, I've gone back to a set up that still puts a lot of pressure on my hands, still gives me numb hands and fingers, but only after the first hour (bars are just above the seat). I'm thinking a recumbent will address this ... but at what cost elsewhere - sure, your back is supported by the seat but do you wind up with other problems as a result?

Did I mention the dislocated collarbone from 15 years ago that possibly is adding to my hand woes?

So, I can live with what I've got ... which works ... sort of, but which looks stupid and I'm obviously not completely happy with it or I wouldn't be looking elsewhere or ...

I've always wanted to try a recumbent, but can't 'try before I buy' because there aren't any and even without postage, they are expensive here.

I have found a 'cheap' supplier of recumbents here but it's 'buy and hope you like it' because he's a small businessman importing on order from Taiwan.

For the price of the 'cheap' (and it is 'cheap' and 'bottom end'), I can buy a second hand frame, swipe my groupset (and Brooks and Noodle bars) from my current ride, then buy a set of new wheels, and have a df bike that fits and is probably the best ride I'll get in a df bike ... and probably still suffer the hand problems.

If you're confused by my dilemma, join the club. Oh for someone nearby who could lend me his bent for an afternoon and say - 'give it a go'. But I can't know without spending the money and if I do, do I buy the bottom feeder bent with the V brakes and crappy components or spend more than I want to and buy the 'better' bent with the disc brakes and better components but which comes with wheels that have a low spoke count and will probably need upgrading before they collapse (20 front and 26 rear - I weight 105kg for heaven's sake, I think that's about 220lb and our roads are not billiard tables).

I think my Dad's right. I should just sell all my bikes and keep the old fixie.

Richard
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Old 09-18-07, 08:45 AM   #2
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BUy the frame and swap out the parts. Nothing against bents. I think they are a great ride, and very, very different from what you're used too. It's such a change that there is no way of knowing if you'd like it without trying one. Besides, I'm of the belief that a ride you've built from the frame up is the best ride you can have.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:21 AM   #3
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OK, pet peeve time here. I hate the "DF" thing. Diamond frame if you must, but "bicycle" works for me.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:44 AM   #4
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OK, pet peeve time here. I hate the "DF" thing. Diamond frame if you must, but "bicycle" works for me.
If it's got 2 wheels, its bicycle by definition. m This would include recumbents, BMXers, Mixte frames, and DFs.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:49 AM   #5
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I would not buy a super cheap 'bent, at least not now. DF's are produced by the millions, so for $750 you can get a far better DF than a 'bent (although for $2,500, you can get some very nice 'bents). If you physically can't take DF's anymore, then I would wait until a 'bent shows up in craigs list or ebay. If you've never ridden a 'bent before, I think a lot of people would advise starting out with an LWB.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:01 AM   #6
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If it's got 2 wheels, its bicycle by definition. m This would include recumbents, BMXers, Mixte frames, and DFs.
Don't you mean Rs, BMs, MFs and bicycles with standard diamond frames?
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Old 09-18-07, 06:08 PM   #7
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I would not buy a super cheap 'bent, at least not now. DF's are produced by the millions, so for $750 you can get a far better DF than a 'bent (although for $2,500, you can get some very nice 'bents). If you physically can't take DF's anymore, then I would wait until a 'bent shows up in craigs list or ebay. If you've never ridden a 'bent before, I think a lot of people would advise starting out with an LWB.
I'd love to go with that advice mate, but the reality is, bents don't show up on craigs list or ebay here - well, we had a titanium framed Barchetta on ebay recently and I've never seen any bike listed on craigs list here in Adelaide, let alone a bent. Postage from the US is up around $500 so that option is out. They really are so rare that the chances of finding a second hand one are remote ... besides I've been looking all this year and am a bit sick of the waiting.

I could make myself a Bentech. Bentech priced posting me the chromolly frame kit and postage alone was considerably more than the frame kit. Of course, I could make a mild steel Bentech ... but I priced that (sourcing bits via ebay) and would wind up spending as much as the cheap bent I can buy new.

Incidentally, I'm looking at the TY - Toscana. Sold in the US by RecumbentsUSA (who didn't even reply to my email about postage here despite claiming in their advertising that they do ship to Australia) but soon to be imported by a nice bloke in Perth. I can have the Toscana with V brakes and reasonable components in my hot little hands for $1,000 and the componentry is about the same level that you'd get for a road bike at that price - things are dearer here than the US, that $1,000 is a whisker more than a Giant OCR3.

The next level up Toscana has disc brakes, the next level up in shifters (though still twist grip), slightly better bottom bracket and cranks, and those stupid wheels with the low spoke count (the factory won't do a change - we asked). It's $300 more and I'd have to do wheels on top of that. Off ebay I reckon I could get good wheels for $200 so that makes a $1,500 bike

They use the same frame on both Toscanas, just change the bits. My thinking this morning is to buy the cheap Toscana and then upgrade it over time. Better wheels? Do it at my leisure and buy really good ones. V brakes? I don't mind V brakes but seeing its the same frame as the disc brake model, I'm betting the lugs will be there and I can look at upgrading to hydraulic discs sometime, not the bottom end cable discs that the dearer Toscana comes with. Bottom end SRAM shifter on the standard bike, but discussions with mates interstate suggest that I'll probably prefer to go to rapid fire shifters anyway ... which I'd have to do on the more expensive Toscana anyway. Cranks? It's very hilly here, I can see myself putting an mtb crankset on either of the two Toscanas.

I'm looking at the twin 26 inch wheel model - short wheel base. I realise these are harder to learn on than others and have factored a longer learning period into my thinking. I don't expect to drag this thing out of the box, leap upon it and be instantly at home and with the availability dificulties, I don't really think getting an easy one to learn on and then moving up is the most practical move. (I really do feel jealous of you lot sometimes )



If this post seems a bit more coherant, it's because I'm feeling closer to the 'right' decision this morning, made easier by a hellish ride on my df bike. If I'm strong and fit, I can ride the df bike happily. This morning, for some reason, my body was a lump of unsupportive porridge, and all the weight on my hands was no fun at all (bars set just above seat height). Maybe one day I'll be a super athlete and will never have a dud morning on the bike, but in the meantime, I'd like to be comfortable.

Incidentally, df is an appropriate (if ugly) way of differenctiating the two - both are bicycles, but one has a recumbent frame and the other has a diamond frame. However, were it practical not to use the df term, I wouldn't (my bikes all have names anyway).

Thanks for listening. This has clarified things a lot in my own mind, but I am still after feedback if you have some to offer - I make no claims to being able to think of everything ... or even most things. Personal experiences would be good too.

Richard
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Old 09-18-07, 06:45 PM   #8
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I would not buy a super cheap 'bent, at least not now.
"Never buy entry level anything." is a pretty useful motto. "Buy nice or buy twice."
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Old 09-18-07, 06:57 PM   #9
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"Never buy entry level anything." is a pretty useful motto. "Buy nice or buy twice."
Truer words are seldom written. Get the right sized frame and see where that leaves you would be this know nothing's worthless words of advice.
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Old 09-18-07, 07:16 PM   #10
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"Never buy entry level anything." is a pretty useful motto. "Buy nice or buy twice."
Yeah, which is why when the two sets of specs came through, I pretty much put the V brake model aside and went straight for the disc brake model. Comparing the two, the disc brake model is upgraded, but when I found I'd be wanting to upgrade the wheels on that immediately, I started looking at what I'd want to upgrade along the line and all of a sudden, buying the lower spec model made more sense. They do have the same frame, there's no advantage there, only in the components. I did consider asking if they sold just the frame, which would be the cost effective way of good components on these frames (because you aren't paying for stuff you replace), but I've got no personal experience on which to base the buying decisions so having something I can ride straight off is good.

As for buying a better bent? Well, the few reports I've had on these suggest they're fairly well made (so again, the frame is safe and we're talking bits). To go for a known, good bent in this country, means going to the Bacchetta, which is a very good, well respected mount, and I've been quoted $3,000

I must confess that part of my thinking is that because second hand bents are so hard to find here, if I spend six months on this thing and the decide to flog it (maybe to buy that Bacchetta ), it'd sell easily and I'd probably get a fair whack of my money back. Often the best upgrade is to buy a new bike, but if I'm going to spend $3,000, I want to know what I'm getting into first.

It's a weird situation and I'm finding that I've had to re-evaluate a lot of my usual practices - not change them so much as look at them differently.

If only I were rich But then life wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun

Richard
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Old 09-18-07, 07:27 PM   #11
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That may be a good course.

A big factor in my getting a Bacchetta instead of the cheaper Actionbent was that the Bacchetta dealer was within walking distance of my apartment and the dealer rode a Bacchetta of his own, so it was not just a sale to him. If the support wasn't included, I probably would have gone for the Actionbent.

As you say, if you don't like it, you will probably be able to get a decent resale price for it. And as they also say, "The purpose of a first bike is to teach you what you want or need in a second bike."
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Old 09-18-07, 07:29 PM   #12
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Laugh if you like, but if it was me I'd,
Walk out on the road and hitch to ACT ,
Yeah, I know it's a long way, but it could be a fun trip,
Go to Flying Furniture and try out all his bents,
buy the one you fall in love with and ride it home.
By the time you get home you'll know how to ride it.
And it'll be the trip of a life time.
Have Fun
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Old 09-18-07, 07:49 PM   #13
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Not such a silly idea Leigh. If Ian was a bit more interested in answering his emails, I probably would. He's the one who quoted me the three grand for the Bacchetta.

Question, would an utter novice at recumbents learn anything by trying lots of bents? Surely you'd be attracted to the one that's the easiest to ride, whereas I want the one that's best in six months time (because I'm stubborn enough to make it that far).

One thing about it, if I did hitch over and ride back, I'd have my 'bent' legs by the time I got home

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Old 09-19-07, 01:27 PM   #14
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Yes you would.
Try as many as you can
I went to Ian's [he seemed good to deal with] thinking I wanted 3 wheels but I hated them after one ride and tryed out all the 2 wheelers. And yes I did end up with the one I was most comforable on but isn't that the idea?
I now have 3 bents. 2 of which are home made and I love them all.
One is Long and rides like a Limo
One is short and folds for oversea tours
And the first one I tour from home on
I do have ideas for number 4,,
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Old 09-19-07, 01:29 PM   #15
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Old 09-19-07, 05:31 PM   #16
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Hmm, are you suggesting that buying a bent won't fix my 'bike buying' habit?

Looking at the photo, an immediate advantage of bents is apparent - there's a lot of weight there and it's all in front of the rear axle - that has to improve handling.

What is it?

Richard
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Old 09-19-07, 08:05 PM   #17
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>Hmm, are you suggesting that buying a bent won't fix my 'bike buying' habit?<

Arr I'm afraid not, if fact might just rev it up.
Since there seems to be 8 working bikes in my shed and a lot of bits of bikes and I do ride them all but not at once.

pic is a Speedster [Sun] recumbent, they no longer make them, still a great bike. It handels well with the weight on.
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Old 09-19-07, 08:24 PM   #18
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Incidentally, df is an appropriate (if ugly) way of differenctiating the two - both are bicycles, but one has a recumbent frame and the other has a diamond frame. However, were it practical not to use the df term, I wouldn't (my bikes all have names anyway).

Richard
I'm sure it is appropriate and justified. It just gripes my ***** every time I see it is all. Like I said, a pet peeve.
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Old 09-19-07, 08:37 PM   #19
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It might take a while to get used to a short wheel base recumbent. A lady I rode with Saturday said it took her 4 months to get used to hers, but she goes everywhere on it now. For me, it was mostly an issue of balance, and the seat not letting me put a foot down easily. The seat in the picture you posted should be better than the one I had.
You might also go to bentrideronline.com and ask this question. I believe there's someone on there from Adelaide.
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Old 09-19-07, 11:00 PM   #20
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If you consider going with a trike, one of the better companies, Greenspeed, is from Australia:
http://www.greenspeed.com.au/trikes.html
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Old 09-20-07, 05:30 AM   #21
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If you consider going with a trike, one of the better companies, Greenspeed, is from Australia:
http://www.greenspeed.com.au/trikes.html
+1

While I'm happy with my traditional bike, I'm sort of drawn to the three-wheel approach (just seems so much more practical).
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Old 09-20-07, 06:11 AM   #22
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Nah, don't want a trike. Not sure why but I don't want a trike. Funnily enough, my lbs had a couple of Greenspeeds on display ... so I was wrong when I said I'd never been close to bent - I wasn't thinking trike.

Okay, convince me. Why should I buy a trike instead of a bike? (you've got 24 hours to stop me placing an order for the bike ) I'm serious by the way Remember, I want this unit to become my everyday, do everything machine, not just a toy.

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Old 09-20-07, 08:00 PM   #23
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I could make myself a Bentech. Bentech priced posting me the chromolly frame kit and postage alone was considerably more than the frame kit. Of course, I could make a mild steel Bentech ... but I priced that (sourcing bits via ebay) and would wind up spending as much as the cheap bent I can buy new..........


Hello Richard,

My first post here but a long time lurker.

I'm the guy that made David's Bentech frame up. You'll remember his posts and pictures on Bicycles Net.

If you contact me by Email I may be able to help you at very little cost.

john.lewis at internode.on.net

Note the dot between john and lewis and change the at appropriately.

I've now built up 2 Bentechs and four Toureasy clones for myself and friends.

I'm 66 years old. My bikes are Bentech, TE clone , Logotrike and a Giant cypress SE.

I'm in Western Australia
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Old 09-20-07, 08:12 PM   #24
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I don't know if you should buy a trike. But I think you should at least ride a trike, before you buy.
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Old 09-20-07, 09:34 PM   #25
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I don't know if you should buy a trike. But I think you should at least ride a trike, before you buy.
Again, I find myself saying "+1".

I don't know if its right for everyone (heck, I don't even know if its right for me, I'm very comfortable riding my TCR and hope to be doing so for a lot more years). But, if I were interested in a bent, it sure seems neat that you can just stop on a hill without falling over.

I saw this a while ago on Sheldon Brown's site and it makes for interesting reading: http://sheldonbrown.org/greenspeed/index.html

Also, I assume you've already seen the material on the Greenspeed site: http://www.greenspeed.com.au/

Plus, although Victoria isn't exactly close to Adelaide, at least its in the same country and you said you were having trouble finding a good bent to try. I think its at least worth a go.

Good luck!
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