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Old 01-05-02, 03:57 AM   #1
Amir R. Pakdel
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Recumbant bikes: advantages and disadvantages

Has anyone experienced recumbant bikes? I have to admit, I'm starting to like them a lot.

I was wondering about the advantages these bikes have over the others? How good are they for long distance travels and speed VS. roadbikes? What are the disadvantages?

Also, what's the price for a mid-range model?
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Old 01-05-02, 06:39 AM   #2
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For an informal but descriptive list of the pros and cons of recumbants, follow this link: http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Practic...FancyBikes.htm

Keep in mind that there are good recumbants and bad recumbants, just as there are good roadies and bad roadies. Once your muscles, etc. have adjusted to a good recumbant, you'll likely be able to sustain higher speeds and go longer distances than you are able to do on a roadie. On the other hand, there are also some terrible recumbants out there. I once rented a recumbant from a vendor in Milwaukee that was little more than a toy. (I think I've gone faster and longer on an upright with a flat tire than I was able to go on this toy recumbant.)
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Old 01-05-02, 08:05 AM   #3
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I'm in no way an expert on recumbants, but like yourself am interested. I will own one oneday.

Once the recumbent ambassadors see this post the real info will pour in.

One thing I've seen is there's a huge range of models to choose from which follow the upright lines of touring and racing. The racing models have radical body positioning and the speeds obtainable are just phenomenal. They look very twitchy. The touring models have more causual body positioning and are what I see more often on the roads around here and look much more easily ridden.

Personally, I'm interested in a model that is more toward the quicker of the two, but then I can't imagine taking time away from my road bike right now.

As for price, mabey the pros around here can help out.
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Old 01-05-02, 08:35 AM   #4
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As well as race vs sport 'bents you get bike vs trikes. The pros of trike bents are most apparent when you stop.

The cons of 'bents show up if your routes are of the urban jungle variety, rather than the open road. I need to hop across curbs and the short stretches of trails and tracks around my town. Bents are also more difficult to man-handle or manouvre past obstascles.
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Old 01-05-02, 04:46 PM   #5
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I've been told by some recumbent riders that hills can be more challenging because your weight is not positioned over the pedals like on a "wedgie"(that's what 'bent riders call real bikes)
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Old 01-05-02, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moose
I've been told by some recumbent riders that hills can be more challenging because your weight is not positioned over the pedals like on a "wedgie"(that's what 'bent riders call real bikes)
That's true - hills are tougher at first. Part of it is not being able to put your weight into the pedals, but the other thing is that you're using different muscles on a recumbent and they take a while to strengthen. I remember being surprised after the first couple rides that my legs felt stretched totally differently than after any bike ride before.

The hills do get better after some practice, and they're a whole lot more comfortable on a recumbent.
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Old 01-05-02, 07:45 PM   #7
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So, you want to know about 'bents? First you have to know a little about the different types of recumbent bikes. (And also know it is spelled bent not bant .

In gereral are they faster than wedgies? Yes and no. It does take some time to develope 'bent legs. You use generally the muscles down the center of your thighs more than the outside. Also the type of 'bent will determine how much faster you will be.

The different types of 'bents are based on wheel base and handlebar location. They are:

Short wheel base (SWB) Pedals in front of front wheel.
Long Wheel base (LWB) Pedals behind front wheel
Medium Wheel Base (MWB) Pedals generally above front wheel

Above seat steering (***) aka Over seat steering (OSS)
Under seat steering (USS)

With that said, the best 'bent for speed is SWB & ***. Reason being is areodynamics and weight.

As far as hills go, with practice they are as easy or easier than on traditional bikes. Yes you can't stand up, however, you can push against the back of the seat with more force than you get from standing up.

I personally own a Vision brand SWB USS. Vision is a good brand with prices from around $1000 us and up.
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Old 01-05-02, 10:03 PM   #8
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So what is the best 'bent for a beginner such as myself who is planning long distance tours that have a combination of heavy hills and flat planes?

Also, could you tell me about the safety issues? I don't mean the safety from falling etc, but rather when sharing the road with motorists. From the looks of it, 'bent riders have less visibility to drivers than even pedestrians. Drivers aren't too careful with bikers to begin with, but the conventional bikes are at least more visible. Wouldn't it be dangerous?

Personally I have had zero experience with 'bents. I just recently thought of trying them out after trying out the stationary ones at the gym.

Lastly, tell me a little about the gearing? It is significantly different from the roadies in terms of shifting in different conditions etc?
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Old 01-06-02, 07:29 AM   #9
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I am currently riding coast to coast on a recumbent bike (US). The model that I am useing is a Bike E. That was the first recumbent bike I have experienced. Yes, The hills sometimes are monsterous, Of course I'm pulling about 60-75 lbs behind me with a Burley Trailer. All in all, the miles i'm getting are the same as a regular "pedels beneath the buttocks type". I have had some modifications added (larger crank).
Don't buy one if you don't mind people stopping you, and asking about the bike, they will. I had one women follow me to my apt. to ask where to but one. That freaked me out.
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Old 01-06-02, 02:38 PM   #10
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For those accustomed to conventional bikes ("wedgies" or "safety cycles"), a short wheelbased OSS 'bent would indeed offer the easiest transition. These bikes are also probably somewhat safer than other 'bents in traffic, by virtue of maneuverability and visibility. (Sorry, I have tried a LWB 'bent, and I detested its oil tanker steering response.)

I definitely like the immunity to flipping head-first over the front wheel, but I want to be above, rather than at or below, SUV grille height.
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Old 01-06-02, 04:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by John E
(Sorry, I have tried a LWB 'bent, and I detested its oil tanker steering response.)
And that highlights the key to picking a recumbent - try riding as many as you can. There are differences between recumbents as big as the difference between a recumbent and a regular bike. I personally like the handling of my LWB (long wheel base) Tour Easy, but then I like to ride on back roads and use it for touring - commuting in traffic it might not be ideal.

As far as visibility - technically you may be lower down and harder to see, but you get noticed by your uniqueness. Drivers often turn their heads and watch me as they pass. I'm not usually worried that they won't see me - more that they'll focus on me too much and not where they're going.

By the way, here's a website you might want to check out - lots of reviews of different 'bents (of course it's not substitute for a test ride):

http://www.bentrideronline.com
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Old 01-06-02, 08:25 PM   #12
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I have haerd from a few people this this model is pretty good for beginners and is good quality:

http://www.lightningbikes.com/thunderbolt.htm

Well, I have never bought one, so I'd appreticate the comments of experience bent riders on this model
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Old 01-06-02, 09:55 PM   #13
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For what it's worth, I have a friend who reviews 'bents for various publications and has even built his own, including welding the frame out of steel stock. His all-time favorite is his SWB/OSS front-drive(!) German ZOX-26*, the fastest bike he has ever owned, but even he admits it sits a little too low for comfort in heavy traffic.

*The Audi A-6 of bicycles?
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Old 01-06-02, 10:25 PM   #14
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Amir,

Try looking into the Rans Rocket and Rans Wave. Both under $1000 and great reviews.

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