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Old 03-27-10, 11:21 AM   #1
Retro Grouch 
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So much to learn.

Building up my first recumbent from a frameset isn't the easiest way of doing it. I'm a fairly competent bike mechanic so I thought it would be a piece of cake. WRONG!

Everything is just a little bit different and, not even having another recumbent at hand to look at, I have to figure everything out for myself. Also, my shop isn't set up to work on recumbents so I'm trying to do it on the floor which involves more bending and stooping than I like and the back wheel won't turn so adjusting the gears and such isn't as easily done as I'm used to.

In spite of that, I've got it together enough so that I can (barely) ride it. I can get started, at least on the flat, so that's encouraging. I need to lengthen some of the cable housings and zip tie them out of the way because my knees are catching on them. I also need a WIDE road beause I wobble side-to-side too much.

It would have been a lot easier to buy a used recumbent, built by an experienced recumbent person, to learn with. On the other hand, I wouldn't have learned about all of the little details that I'm finding the hard way so I'm smarter now than I would have been otherwise. Certainly by this time next week I should have a rideable bike and, hopefully, a little bit of recumbent riding experience.
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Old 03-27-10, 03:40 PM   #2
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Tomorrow is Sunday. Go find an empty parking lot and 'Have at it'. You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll adapt with 40 acres of turning space and no traffic.

That's where I learned and in turn how I taught my bride.
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Old 03-27-10, 04:01 PM   #3
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When I went to look at my first 'bent, a used RANS Tailwind, I was able to ride it around the block after 2 false starts. Starts from a standstill with a slight upgrade were very very challenging for a while and are again sometimes a bit of a challenge while adjusting (still) to my LWB V3.
I find starting from a standstill to be easier on a SWB 'bent.
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Old 03-27-10, 04:05 PM   #4
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Building it from scratch is in my opinion the only way to get a good foundation in how it really works. When you are done, you will have taken nothing for granted.

How about making yourself a low workbench from a hollow core door blank and some 2X4's. At least then you could sit on a stool and perform a lot of the work.
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Old 03-27-10, 04:29 PM   #5
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Building up my first recumbent from a frameset isn't the easiest way of doing it. I'm a fairly competent bike mechanic so I thought it would be a piece of cake. WRONG

Also, my shop isn't set up to work on recumbents so I'm trying to do it on the floor which involves more bending and stooping than I like and the back wheel won't turn so adjusting the gears and such isn't as easily done as I'm used to.
Lats year I hung my Volae from the rafters with soft rope to work on it . It swung about a bit but my back was happy!

This year I have a kickstand so Maddmaxx's idea may work out just fine.

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Old 03-27-10, 04:52 PM   #6
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For those who want a more elegant work bench than a hollow core door, a 6 foot low end kitchen counter top isn't very expensive (especially if it can be bought damaged) and is much more impervious to grease and oil than the door. Doors however can often be bought for peanuts if they're damaged on one side.
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Old 03-27-10, 04:57 PM   #7
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For those who want a more elegant work bench than a hollow core door, a 6 foot low end kitchen counter top isn't very expensive (especially if it can be bought damaged) and is much more impervious to grease and oil than the door. Doors however can often be bought for peanuts if they're damaged on one side.
Such a door was my desk in college, then my first work bench. Later replaced by a strip of oak faced plywood. One day - when my wood shop moves to it's own building it will be a solid maple 3" thick top. One can only dream.
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Old 03-27-10, 05:55 PM   #8
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As for wobbling...give it time. I spent a long summer on a Rans (medium base) Tailwind. It's a new biomechanical position for which there is a learning curve to hit efficiency. Took me a while to get a decent spin and strengthen a few new muscles. Also took patience to slowly, really slowly, spin up hills....but the descent on the other side was bugs-in-your-teeth worth it.

Have to admit, cleaning the chain took a little longer.
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Old 03-27-10, 07:10 PM   #9
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I think that I've got the workstand issue figured out. I'm going to build a sawhorse with two fork mounts to hold the bike reasonably steady and spaced so that the chainstays and rear wheel will hang out in space. I'll be able to push it off to the side so it won't take up a lot of workshop space when I'm not using it. I built one like that before for working on conventional bikes and it worked pretty well - I just had to be careful with the design of the legs so the cranks wouldn't hit. Recumbent cranks won't have that issue.

The problem at this point is that I don't have my recumbent tandem yet so I don't know how long to make it.
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Old 03-29-10, 09:34 AM   #10
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@#$%^&* (Oh, poo poo!)

I mentioned catching my knee on my brake and shift cable housing. No problem - right? Just make the cable housings a little longer and zip tie them out of the way. So I lenghten the brake cable housing just enough that now I need a tandem brake cable. Nobody has tandem cables in stock, of course, so that's another special order. I'm thinking the rear derailleur is going to need a tandem cable too but at least I have one of them. 'Sposed to be 70 and sunny tomorrow but I won't be riding my new bike - yet.

Oh well, while I was at it I also ordered a pair of spiffy black leather handgrips with red stitching. Parts should be in Wednesday and I get Friday off work.
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Old 03-29-10, 10:10 AM   #11
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Man, by the time you finish this you'll really "own" it. I mean this is one that is yours, not the work and sweat of anyone but you. I love projects like this..... after they're finished.
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Old 03-29-10, 10:16 AM   #12
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Man, by the time you finish this you'll really "own" it. I mean this is one that is yours, not the work and sweat of anyone but you. I love projects like this..... after they're finished.
Lots of fun to be had in the doing too.
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Old 03-29-10, 07:27 PM   #13
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Gotta always have a supply of tandem/recumbent-length shift and brake cables on hand.
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