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  1. #1
    Jeff Kan 1
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    I just bought a recumbent, I have questions about bikes in general

    ... but I'm very happy with it! It's a '99 Rans Stratus, in excellent condition with nearly all components replaced with upper quality items about 4 years ago. So I've got the major purchase done for my first cycling tour next summer, and I'm excited. I've also got questions.

    1) The tubes in this bike are the Presta tubes. What if I switched to Schrader tubes... does that make sense to do that?
    1a) Relating to 1) above, to get a small pump that fits in a bag on the back of the seat, can I find a Schrader pump that small?
    2) To avoid punctures, do you recommend a tire liner, or Slime, or something else?
    3) Do you recommend a certain kind of patch kit to have around the house? What about the kit to bring on the tour?
    4) Which is better for a recumbent, helmet mirror or handlebar mirror?
    5) I've found performancebicycle.com as a website to order bike parts (I live 90 miles from the nearest bike shop). Any other suggested websites to order bike parts, etc.?

    Those are the questions I have for now. I did figure out how to get the computer off the base and replace the battery, and how to reattach a gear-shift cable for the one on the pedals, and found a place in town that has metric-type bolts since I needed one to attach one of the seat-back extension bars to the frame, at the back axle.

    But those dang Presta valve stems, man! Previous owner of my bike didn't mention them to me, and one of the Presta stems was missing the knob at the very top. I was able to find someone who knew about these "strange" stems, and he produced a Presta adapter, which worked fine on the other tube. But this one with the missing knob at the top, we tried the Presta adapter on it, and the little post inside the stem is gone, blown down into the tube I'm guessing. The stem is now open/broken and let's air flow, so I think the tube is a permanent flat. Anyway, this is one reason I'm all ready to go to Schrader tubes.

    Looking forward to my first tour next summer, let the training begin.

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    How narrow are the rims? If narrow I wouldn't drill them out for Schrader as it weakens them a bit. My personal opinion is that Presta is better for a variety of reasons, but unless you are using very narrow rims you can switch to Schrader.

    Plenty of pumps available for either type valve (most adapt to both) but the Topeak morph series are especially nice.

    I tried and didn't like slime tubes. I never tried tire liners and don't intend to. Some tires are more flat resistant that others. Usually it is a compromise between weight and flat resistance. A flat once in a while just isn't the end of the world.

    On patch kits... forget the glueless ones.

    I don't use mirrors so no suggestion on that.

    Performance, Nashbar, and Harris Cyclery are the ones I use most often. Performance is my LBS.

  3. #3
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/presta-schrader.html

    The small diameter of the Presta valve requires a smaller hole in the rim, whose size is important for narrow rims where cross sectional strength of is significantly reduced by a stem hole. In narrow rims, clincher tires also leave insufficient space between tire beads for larger Schrader valves.

    I'd consider a patch a temporary fix to get you home when you have a flat. New tubes are inexpensive.

  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My balloon tires are Schrader, but Presta seem to be generally preferred for bikes. If you have trouble with them, I'd say it's a lack of experience, not a fault with the stem type itself.

    Check into the Road Morph pump, seems pretty decent.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deraltekluge View Post
    I'd consider a patch a temporary fix to get you home when you have a flat. New tubes are inexpensive.
    I take the opposite approach. I put in a spare tube while on the road and patch the bad one later at home or in camp if on tour. No reason to waste a tube just because a piece of wire or a goat head thorn put a pin hole in it. No need to waste them just because they are cheap.

  6. #6
    new to road bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffKan1 View Post

    1) The tubes in this bike are the Presta tubes. What if I switched to Schrader tubes... does that make sense to do that?
    Shraeder valves won't fit in a rim drilled for Presta, and Presta is better anyhow. Buy a quality pump that doesn't rely on an adapter to fit!

    2) To avoid punctures, do you recommend a tire liner, or Slime, or something else?
    Quality tires.

    4) Which is better for a recumbent, helmet mirror or handlebar mirror?
    Dunno about recumbents, but the Take a Look mirror is probably the highest quality mirror of its kind.



    5) I've found performancebicycle.com as a website to order bike parts (I live 90 miles from the nearest bike shop). Any other suggested websites to order bike parts, etc.?
    Jensonusa.com and Nashbar.com are another two big ones.

  7. #7
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Try the Recumbent forum for 'bent-specific questions. Or Bentrideronline.com.
    For 'bent-specific parts, take a look at hostelshoppe.com.
    My 2000 RANS Tailwind came with wheels drilled for schrader but with Presta-valved tubes. No reason not to use whatever you prefer and that fits your rims.
    I prefer helmet mirrors on any kind of bike. (Take A Look, for instance.)

    "and how to reattach a gear-shift cable for the one on the pedals" - I don't understand what you are talking about here. Do you mean the front deraileur cable?

    Bikeman.com has fast service and a wide selection of general bike parts.

  8. #8
    HenryL HenryL's Avatar
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    1) The tubes in this bike are the Presta tubes. What if I switched to Schrader tubes... does that make sense to do that?

    No, presta for narrow rims is a better choice.

    1a) Relating to 1) above, to get a small pump that fits in a bag on the back of the seat, can I find a Schrader pump that small?

    My cheap pump works on both

    2) To avoid punctures, do you recommend a tire liner, or Slime, or something else?

    Neither, proper inflation, check before you ride, watch out for road junk.

    3) Do you recommend a certain kind of patch kit to have around the house? What about the kit to bring on the tour?

    Don't patch as a rule but if you ar touring, that is a different storey. Carry spare tubes, money you save patching isn't worth it.

    4) Which is better for a recumbent, helmet mirror or handlebar mirror?

    I turn my head.

    5) I've found performancebicycle.com as a website to order bike parts (I live 90 miles from the nearest bike shop). Any other suggested websites to order bike parts, etc.?

    Never used online shops, LBS is less than a mile away.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I'm seriously considering buying a bent myself (looking at a Baccetta Giro 26)...

    Not much experience riding them other than test rides.

    But as far as mirrors go, I'll second the Take-A-Look. Mounts on glasses or helmet visor. I have mine on my helmet visor, backed up with a couple of zip ties. Like it a lot.

  10. #10
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    1) What if I switched to Schrader tubes... does that make sense to do that?

    It would only truly make sense if you couldn't find tubes in your wheel/tire size with Presta valves. Some tube sizes are just plain difficult to find with a particular valve (i.e., 700x23c tubes are almost always equipped with Presta valves; 20" tubes are almost always Schrader).

    1a) Relating to 1) above, to get a small pump that fits in a bag on the back of the seat, can I find a Schrader pump that small?

    It's rare to find a pump that doesn't convert to use both types of valves. Get a good floor pump to keep at home, and I'd say to either get a Topeak Morph as suggested earlier and/or a CO2 inflator (I'd take the Morph on tour and stick with the CO2 for local rides). If you already have a floor pump which only works with Schrader valves, you can get a little adapter that screws onto the Presta valve.

    2) To avoid punctures, do you recommend a tire liner, or Slime, or something else?

    Flat-resistant tires (nothing's flat-proof), avoiding crud, and -- above all else -- luck.

  11. #11
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    For even more recumbent specific info, go to BentRider Online.

  12. #12
    Member fatherofmany's Avatar
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    I don't ride a bent, thinking of getting (or building) one though

    but...

    1, just using standard issue tubes, although I did get a high speed flat today and have put in 'specialized' tubes. presta valve I think (is that the small one?)

    1a) I have a small pump that clips in to an attachment, this is screwed in behind the water bottle mount, maybe that would suit you too? It does both small and 'car type' valves. Drawback, I can only manage about 50-60psi.

    2) flat resistant tyres like Armadillos.. have kevlar belts in them that stops most roadmess but they won't stop a 6" nail

    3) I just carry a cheap tube repair kit, now a spare tube as well. Not ditching the repair kit, never know when you may get 2 in a day!

    4) & 5) Sorry, I could recommend Torpedo7 but they're an Oz site, I usually use my LBS
    11 Bikes 2 adults 5 children and a dog!

  13. #13
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    I ride bents and regular bikes and have used bikes with schrader and presta valves for decades.

    1) The tubes in this bike are the Presta tubes. What if I switched to Schrader tubes... does that make sense to do that?
    No. First of all, you would have to drill out the rims which would weaken them (definitely a bad idea). Besides, most bike tubes are presta and they have technical advantages

    1a) Relating to 1) above, to get a small pump that fits in a bag on the back of the seat, can I find a Schrader pump that small?
    I'm sure you could, but the fact that the pumps you're seeing fit presta should help you answer 1). A frame pump might be a better way to go. The Road Morph is the easiest to use because the foot peg gives you leverage and the hose prevents you from accidentally tearing off the stem. It is a large pump though.

    2) To avoid punctures, do you recommend a tire liner, or Slime, or something else?
    Get good tires. Newbies often get thick tubes or Slime. I've known a lot of cyclists, but I've never known an experienced one that uses slime. It's heavy, it can mess up your pump, and it's only good for certain types of small holes anyway. Tire liners are awkward, especially when you change a tire. Get flat resistant tires -- there are many to choose from. The closest you can get to flat proof is Schwalbe Marathon Plus, but they are heavy.

    3) Do you recommend a certain kind of patch kit to have around the house? What about the kit to bring on the tour?
    There are tiny patch kits with self adhesive stickers that are easiest to use. I'd get one of them. Bring a couple spare tubes also.

    4) Which is better for a recumbent, helmet mirror or handlebar mirror?
    Helmet. The take-a-look is best. With a helmet mirror, you can turn your head and look behind at any angle.

    5) I've found performancebicycle.com as a website to order bike parts (I live 90 miles from the nearest bike shop). Any other suggested websites to order bike parts, etc.?
    For bents, http://hostelshoppe.com/ is great. Pricepoint.com is a closeout outfit like nashbar and performance, but delivers goods much faster. I've had good experiences with coloradocyclist.com and excelsports.com though they have less stuff that would be good for bents.
    But those dang Presta valve stems, man! Previous owner of my bike didn't mention them to me, and one of the Presta stems was missing the knob at the very top. I was able to find someone who knew about these "strange" stems, and he produced a Presta adapter, which worked fine on the other tube. But this one with the missing knob at the top, we tried the Presta adapter on it, and the little post inside the stem is gone, blown down into the tube I'm guessing.
    That part was broken off so the tube was ruined before you got the bike -- it would be physically impossible to blow this part down the tube. This would be like someone giving you a schrader tube with a cut stem -- it's not the fault of the design.

  14. #14
    Jeff Kan 1
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone! Appreciate very much your experience and opinions. You've saved me some time and frustration.

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