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Old 09-03-08, 07:48 PM   #1
Yen
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Hubby shopping for recumbent

My husband has an artificial shoulder and probably another one on the way in a year or two (osteoarthritis in both shoulders). He rides a hybrid (Trek 7500) and 2 road bikes (an early 70s vintage Schwinn Sports Tourer and a Specialized Roubaix), both with stems adjusted high to accommodate his shoulders.

He's been riding all 3 bikes a lot lately and the pain in both shoulders intensified this week -- the perfect excuse for n+1..... a recumbent.

He went to a recumbent shop today and looked at a few. He loved the way he felt while riding them. He likes the Rans Stratus but is just beginning the search and this is new territory. Lots of recumbent riders in our group, so he plans to ask them for input. And I plan to go to the Recumbent forum for advice there as well.

I don't even know what to ask for him. It must climb hills well and be stable. Can anyone point out the highlights to look for while shopping for a 'bent? Advantages/disadvantages of a smaller front wheel (or not), pedals forward, a price range for good quality without breaking the bank?

I've seen some recumbent riders that seem a little wobbly, and I wonder if that is the rider or the bike.

I suggested that he ride only the Trek and Schwinn for a while and see if his shoulders feel better. If not, then a recumbent is most likely in his future so he can continue to ride. In that case, he'll probably sell the Roubaix.

n+1.... it never ends.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:06 PM   #2
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I'm a relative newbee to 'bents but I've read a lot of good things about
the Rans Stratus. Best advise I ever read was to test ride, test ride,
and then test ride some more. I can't offer any insight in regards to
SWB vs. LWB as I've only this week aquired a SWB of my own. I do know
first hand that my low end LWB rides like a dream. It's a bike I can sit
on all day long. After riding enough recumbents, he'll know which one feels
the best for him.

The wobble could be part of a learning curve, or just normal aquisition
of balance during start-up. I still wobble a little sometimes.

There's a lot of good info here http://www.bicycleman.com/recumbents/recumbents.htm
that might help some. Peter actually owns the Linear Co., he
knows what he's doing and his reviews touch on a lot of pros and cons.

p.s. Go along with your husband and try a few yourself, we won't tell
anyone. You might be in for a suprise.


Happy Hunting and Happy Trails

Last edited by cranky old dude; 09-03-08 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:34 PM   #3
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Check out BentupCycles in Van Nuys. Your hubby should test ride everything he can lay his hands on, whether racing or not, expensive or cheap, heavy or light, long wheelbase or short, 2-wheel or trike. For climbing he will want fairly light weight, but do the test rides anyway; they are fun and they build an experience base so he can choose intelligently!

A good rider will learn to not wobble, a MUPpet won't worry about it and will wobble forever.

You will notice that I'm not recommending anything in particular. You can safely ignore anybody who does, because all they're doing is telling you what they ride and like. And they are not your hubby.

The advantage of same-size wheels is that you don't have to keep two sizes of tires and tubes in stock. Some owners will gush about how same-size wheels make a bike handle better, but it's all personal preference. Geometry, not tire size, determines handling.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:38 PM   #4
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My favorite is probably the Rans Stratus. But you have to get in multiple rides, on multiple types of recumbents. The ride experience is so different, you can't make a reliable judgment after just a few rides.

See if anyone rents recumbents ... a couple of shops do that here. Rent one for several hours. Then if they have multiple choices for rentals, rent a different one.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:48 PM   #5
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Some brands you might consider:

http://www.bacchettabikes.com/
http://actionbent.com/
http://www.cyclegenius.com/models.html
http://linearrecumbent.com/
http://www.easyracers.com/
http://www.volaerecumbents.com/2007/...recumbents.php
http://www.ransbikes.com/
http://www.sunbicycles.com/sun/index.html
http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkt...r/index_e.html
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Old 09-03-08, 09:04 PM   #6
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The Stratus is a Long Wheel Base recumbent, whilch may well be the style that is most comfortable for him. When trying other LWB's, he should pay close attention to the dilfference between seat height and bottom bracket height. A low bottom bracket, relative to the seat, means a more upright riding position. A higher bottom bracket means a more leaned back position. Which is best for him is purely a matter of personal preference. He will need several rides before deciding. He should take his time. bk
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Old 09-04-08, 08:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yen View Post
. . . I've seen some recumbent riders that seem a little wobbly, and I wonder if that is the rider or the bike.
I think your husband is already getting good advice here.

The wobbles are a combination of bike, rider and speed. When your husband begins to test bikes, he may find them difficult to ride. Being a good or even excellent DF rider can be as much hindrance as help in first riding a bent. In case he finds test rides a challenge. these time-tested hints may help.
  • Relax
  • Choose a large area like a parking lot
  • Relax.
  • Make sure the bike is in a lowish gear -- maybe middle ring large cog
  • Relax
  • Settle back in the seat.
  • Relax.
  • Get your favorite leg in position for a power stroke.
  • Relax
  • Use the brakes to hold yourself in position
  • Relax
  • Remind yourself that no body english is required
  • Relax
  • Release the brake as you make a strong steady pedal stroke
  • Stay relaxed and keep pedaling for a bit
  • Spend a few minutes getting good at starts and stops

After that. it's ride, ride, ride. When (not if) he finds things getting a bit difficult, the fix is to relax arms and body core.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:00 AM   #8
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Finding the best seat position can take some trial and error too. Even a slight adjustment can make a huge difference in comfort level and body mechanics. When you find the right spot it feels very natural (once you've overcome that first few minutes of getting acclimated to riding a bent).
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Old 09-04-08, 11:06 AM   #9
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+1 on the recommendations for lots of test rides, and longer test rides are better.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:04 PM   #10
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I'd echo lots of test rides, etc.
Wobble can be partly the bike (my first bent wobbled when I got slower than about 5mph and I was told it didn't have enough "rake") and partly the rider. If the latter, it will improve or go away with time.
The stratus is a great LWB bent and the long wheel base ones with the lower bottom btrackets (pedals) ar the easiest to ride. Just jump on and go, almost no learning curve!
I have a Rans V3 which is somewhat like the Stratus except that the pedals are a bit higher and you are in a slightly more laid back position. Pedals are lower and you are a bit more upright in a Stratus.
Lots of good bikes for him out there!
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Old 09-05-08, 10:39 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. I'll show this post to him -- I appreciate all of your replies!
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Old 09-16-08, 08:31 PM   #12
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After trying some bikes at different shops and riding one that was loaned to him by a member of our bike group, he seems settled on the Rans Stratus XP. He likes the LWB best and the grips are in the right place for his arms to prevent shoulder strain/pain while riding.

But first he wants to sell the Roubaix to pay for the 'bent. He feels bad about it, but I'm trying to encourage him to move on and not look back. Whatever keeps him riding, that's what's important.

His '72 Schwinn Sports Tourer and the Trek 7500 don't cause his shoulders as much agony as the more aggressive geometry of the Roubaix, though it has a comfortable geometry as road bikes go. Just not enough for someone with arthritic shoulders.
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Old 09-16-08, 08:36 PM   #13
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He has good taste. That is my favorite recumbent. Very comfortable ride on that long steel frame.
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Old 09-16-08, 08:37 PM   #14
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Thanks Tom. I'll tell him you said so. I read good things about it in the Recumbent forum.
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Old 09-16-08, 08:59 PM   #15
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The Stratus XP is an excellent choice. I love mine.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:01 PM   #16
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I'm about 250 miles into my new V-Rex. Love the Rex! The only reason I steered away from a Stratus or V2 or V3 was because of storage and transport hassle factors. My Tailwind is long enough!
I think one of the RANS long wheelbase models would great fun to ride.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:05 PM   #17
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Good to know that Bud, thanks.

JanMM: We're wondering about the best way to transport it in our rack. The rack is the type which supports the wheels rather than the frame. With the LWB we're wondering about that.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:13 PM   #18
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Is the rack long enough for the Stratus? How wide is the vehicle? I can hang my Tailwind on a basic Graber rack on the back of a car with minimal overhang but that's only because of dual 20" wheels. You don't have a van, do you? We transport our tandem right down the middle of our Mazda MPV. We have a Thule tandem roof rack, too, but sticking it inside is much easier.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:22 PM   #19
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We have this bike rack. The wheels sit into the grooves (for lack of a better word); the bikes don't hang on it. And we don't have a van. A roof rack is out of the question for someone with bad shoulders.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:28 PM   #20
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Looks as if the wheelbase of a standard frame Stratus XP is 68" and that rack can only accept a max. 58" wheelbase. What's Plan B?
There may be some other hitch racks which would accomodate a long wheelbase bent.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:31 PM   #21
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We'll ask around in our group. Lots of them ride recumbents. Thanks for the info...
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Old 09-16-08, 09:37 PM   #22
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It is going to be very difficult to carry a Stratus XP hung lengthwise across the back of a vehicle. With both wheels on, even the standard size is 92.5" long. That's almost 8'. If you take the front wheel off, that would reduce it closer to 80". That might be manageable on a special carrier.

This is always a problem with the LWB bents.

I got very lucky with my Sun EZ-Rider CLWB. Even with both wheels on, it just barely fits inside of my compact Acura Integra hatchback. I couldn't believe it when I got it in there. It looked impossible. My car is only 178" long, which is about a foot shorter than a Honda Accord.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:43 PM   #23
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At the Rans site there's a review of this bike with a photo showing it on a rack on the back of a PT Cruiser. It sticks out quite a bit on both sides, just enough for an inattentive driver to clip it while passing.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:50 PM   #24
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With one of the wheels off and with it centered on the back of a vehicle, there should be only about 6" or so of overhang. Normally that shouldn't be a problem.

Did he try any short wheelbase bents? They can take more time to get used to, but that design is more popular than the LWB models. The SWB bents have wheelbases of less than 50" and would fit your current rack.
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Old 09-16-08, 09:52 PM   #25
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This one would hold a Stratus XP

http://www.hostelshoppe.com/cgi-bin/...ory=1027022491

But for a price.

This one is less expensive, and would hold some LWB bents, up to 67".

http://www.hostelshoppe.com/cgi-bin/...ory=1187361880
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