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  1. #1
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    Road Bikes vs. Recumbents

    Hi All,

    First of all let me say "I love my roadbike". But I rode my first recumbents yesterday . I found the prefect ride...fast...stable and the type of bike that can put sub 5 hr centuries within an avg riders reach. I would claim that if a person never having seen a road bike or a recumbent or never having read anything about either type were to ride both for awhile would choose a recumbent every time.

    I do realize that to ride a recumbent you have to be a bit thick skinned as I am fairly sure the road bike comminuty will snubb you. Am I wrong ?

    Ride Safe and I am going to "get bent " in the near future.

    Dudley

  2. #2
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Hi Dudley,

    I've been thinking about getting a recumbent, too. I just haven't decided if I should buy one of those or a Bruce Gordon touring bike. I really want both but life is forcing me to choose :-(

  3. #3
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cycletourist
    Hi Dudley,

    I've been thinking about getting a recumbent, too. I just haven't decided if I should buy one of those or a Bruce Gordon touring bike. I really want both but life is forcing me to choose :-(
    You could trade your golf clubs for one of the above!!
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  4. #4
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    I ran into a soon-to-be-former colleague a couple of weeks ago. He's mid-late-40s and a bit chubby. He says to me "Mateo, we should go for a ride together sometime!" I think, well, he used to be a serious tourer and he's ptobably planning to get back into the sport. I say "sure Mike, sounds great."

    Then I ask if he's had his old Gitane fixed up. "No, he says, I just got a really cool recumbent." Now, I know 'bent riders are cyclists just like anyone else and all... but... I almost plotzed.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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    Hi Cycletourist,

    Well its a very personal choice . Bruce Gordon makes a fantastic touring bike. If you are thinking of checking out a touring recumbent consider the Easy bikes easy tour. Thats the one that blew me away the other day. I know what you mean about choosing...life is just not fair sometimes. *S*

    Ride Safe....Dudley

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    Hi, velocipedio

    Hey, I am man enough to admit I care a bit about how the recumbent rider is precieved and really consider that my biggest problem to over come. I will admit that when I first saw them I had trouble keeping a straight face. But when you ride a good one that fits you its just a total blast ! Moving down the road with speed and comfort is what its all about to me.

    Ride Safe ....Dudley

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I am not criticizing those who find recumbents their thing- however, for myself; I have a closed mind. they are not a bike. I am comfortable on my bike. To me a recumbent is not a bike. But that is me. If ok for some else, better than being a couch potato. To me, it is just not the same workout.?? Guess, to me it just seems just one step towards being a couch potato in motion.
    Do they come with electric motors. Look unstable to me? Traffic is less likely to see them over traditional bikes. Moving and reclining would lessen the effect of feeling the wind against your face and seeing what is about you?
    Do recumbents cause less calories to be burned over road bikes.? If I am 76 and suffer prostate problems I will consider them. Just me.

  8. #8
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    tried a recumbent, it wasn't for me
    i felt better sitting higher up and seeing where i was going..strange i felt like i had more control on my road and my fs.

  9. #9
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    If / When i purchase a 'Bent, it will be for long distance touring... something like the Optima Condor. For my daily riding, most of it in city streets, i'll stick to my road bike.

    That said, i was passed on what looked like an entry level Bike-E recumbent yesterday, it was near the end of my 25mile ride, and i was cruising on at ~16mph. I think the old man just wanted to show off

  10. #10
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    cyclezealot

    Thank you for a most interesting reply. But dont hold back, please expand more on your thoughts about recumbents. I await your pearls of wisdom with bated breath !

    Ride Safe.....Dudley, a tired ole couch potato *S*

  11. #11
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    To me a recumbent is not a bike. But that is me. If ok for some else, better than being a couch potato. To me, it is just not the same workout.??
    Both my wife and I passed a guy on a Bike E today, going up a minor hill. Boy was he tired. He complained that he just did not have the leverage and position that we had for hill climbing. No, this was not a new recumbent rider. So, I guess he had about TWICE the workout my wife and I did for the same distance!!

    No couch potato, this guy!!
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Goatbiker's Avatar
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    Lets get something straight. A recumbent is a bicycle. Two wheels. Count 'em. Two. Unless it has three and..well thats a different story.

    Recumbents are for people who don't have to live by other peoples opinions. "If it doesn't look like MINE, it doesn't count!".

    Recumbents can't do a lot of the things an upright or diamond frame (DF) bike can. They can't jump curbs and logs, they can't trackstand, they are not stable at very slow speeds, and you can't dance on the peddles going uphill.

    They are very fast on flat ground, most of them are reasonably fast on hills, they are very very fast on downhills, and you use as much energy as you want to use. Just like on a DF.

    You don't get the upperbody workout from pulling on handlebars. you hour heart doesn't work as hard pumping blood to and from the legs, your arms, hands, neck and back don't hurt, and you don't get to spend miles staring at your front tire.

    The recumbent is the choice of people who, for whatever reason, can no longer ride a DF. But more and more younger speed freaks are getting into them because they can go really fast. Especially with a good engine.

    The speed record for human powered vehicles is held by a fully faired recumbent--80.55 MPH, at Battle Mountain Nevada. No car pulling a windbreaking device, just a solo bike on a flat highway with no wind (except the 80.55 MPH wind he was creating).

    I think it would be a stretch to say he wasn't getting a workout.

    Tom Balmer
    Goatbiker
    RANS V2 Recumbent
    Goatbiking. "It's not the size of the hills you climb, it's what you smell like when you're done". So sez my wife.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Hey guys! I really opened a can of worms here.

    Let me get this straight: My opinion about 'bents is that they look pretty interesting from an engineering pespective [they have benefitted from decades of HPV research], they are certainly bicycles, and anyone who rides a bicycle is okay with me. It's a bike, I'm glad they're riding.

    On the other hand, I have no desire to ride one [how exactly do you bunny railroad tracks and obstacles on a 'bent anyway?], and I don't want to ride with one. Why? Because I have never seen a recumbent rider make more than 25 km/h on the road -- I don't think this is a design flaw in the recumbent, so much as a reflection that most 'bent riders I see are older guys who aren't really in to entrainement a haute vitesse.

    The other thing is... well, how does a guy on a wedgie draft a guy on a 'bent? Seems like an awkward mix for a group ride. And finally, I know how to ride with other upright bikes almost instinctively now; that would require a great deal of relearning riding with a 'bent.

    'Tis all.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member bentboy's Avatar
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    I ride both, I just finished a 30 mile ride on my Trek 5200 and now with 3 hours of daylight left I'm going out on my Rans Rocket recumbent, The bent is a blast to ride .:fun: and as far as a workout my legs will feel more worked on the bent, you are working some different muscles I am told.... Most non cyclist think the bent is pretty cool especially kids and teens, adults are amused. Some cyclist think your a freak. Glad I don't care about their opinion.

    P.S. I'm over 50, gray haired, (not blue yet) and 20 pounds overweight

  15. #15
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Two of my friends are hard-core 'bent fans; one has a ZOX-26 front-drive, the other, a long-wheelbased conventional 'bent that attracts alot of admiring looks every year on bike-to-work-day. The safety issue does bother me; although I think a 'bent is significantly safer than a conventional "safety cycle" (to use the 1890s term) in almost any single-vehicle collision scenario, I would much rather go over the bonnet than beneath the undercarriage of an SUV.

    I also prefer a bike which enables me to climb rapidly.

    If I were to get a 'bent, I would probably go for something with a short wheelbase and fairly elevated ride height.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  16. #16
    Senior Member bentboy's Avatar
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    As far as safety goes today I was almost doored 3 times on my road bike and none on my bent, I take the roadway more on the bent, and with a rear view mirror i just slide to the right when a car comes up behind me. I think everybody ought to try a bent, but try it with a positive attitude not this " everybody will make fun of me and I won't look cool" :cool:

  17. #17
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    In the Rivendell catalog after explaining his fit philosophy, Grant Petersen says, "If you can't get comfortable on a Rivendell it's time to buy a recumbent." Good point. If the bike industry would focus on fit and comfort instead of racing then maybe recumbents wouldn't be needed.

    Because of the racing influence, road bikes have evolved into ill-fitting torture machines that only racers can ride. In the beginning mountain bikes were comfortable to ride but those too have been ruined by racing and the bike industry. It is only a matter of time before the evil bike companies find a way to make recumbents uncomfortable and painful to ride as well.

    Cyclists keep searching for comfort and the bike companies keep trying to ruin it. Maybe someday they will get their heads on straight.

    -- sorry about the rant. My inner pessimist forced me to say that :-)
    Last edited by cycletourist; 05-05-02 at 10:05 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I am sorry. I am too much of a traditionalist. I just like the feel of being higher off the road, up-right and the role of being the cycle-tourist. Being lower seems it would detract from that cycling experience.
    I shold not have been so prejudiced. Just suspect, not being able to stand of the pedals, the whole recumbent set up would detract from cycling's physical impact.? Does exercise on a recumbent lessen the ability to get a equal work-out or perform as much work.? Those who find it comfortable or easier on their aching backs- should be congratulated for solving the achy back problem and continue cycling.

  19. #19
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    There is a guy near my house that has several different bikes, fixed gear cruiser, fixed gear road bike, and a recumbent. When I get a lift to work, I sometimes see him riding to work (he always wins), on his "bent" he fly's through the twisty roads downhill and hammers on the flat ~45kph/28mph, he is an animal. There is no way I could keep up that speed on my road bike, so the "bent" is obviously fast. He is also young ~32, I haven't seen him ride the "bent" uphill but he does hammer on the fixed gears uphill. So you don't need to be old to ride one.

    I do loose sight of him in traffic because of his height, so I do fear that he isn't as visible as a regular bike.

    I would be interested to try one. I would also ride with someone on a "bent", as long as it's a bike that's cool with me.

    CHEERS.

    Mark
    I'd rather be riding.

  20. #20
    Senior Member fofa's Avatar
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    Been There, Done That, Own the shirt having been through it, being older and overweight, I would not be riding again if it wasn't for my 'bent. I have noticed that I am just a tad higher on my LWB than my nine year old is on her MTB (20" wheels). So since that would be a problem for cars to see, I think we should just outlaw all bikes with wheels less than 26" and seats less than, say 30" from the ground? Of course in 20 years bike riders will drop since no kids will be brought up riding bikes (safety issue you understand, for the kids). How ever I don't think a 'Bent can replace a Wedgie, they just aren't that good off the beaten path. I would also hate to ride mine where I would have to go up and down curbs all the time (can't hop one). Also I noticed little/no differance in my effort between my old ATB and my LWB (different muscles, but still an effort). I did notice I look forward to riding, instead of excuses to not ride. THAT is the big differance, and no pain after riding. So if you wish to ride a wedgie, so be it, what do I care if you stare at your front tire all day hunched over in pain.... oopsie, I digress No really, what does it matter what you ride to me, or what I ride to you? If you choose to ride 20 MPH on your 3 pound road bike, great, if I choose to ride 8 MPH on my 'bent, so what, at least we are both out riding, and THAT is what counts.
    Just my 2 cents.

  21. #21
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    fofa, I agree...

    The point is that I don't want to go for a ride at 8 mph. That's not fun for me. Moreover, Montreal is an island with a large hill [a small mountain... an igneous magmatic intrusion, actually] in the middle. It is very difficult to ride in this city without climbing and I know that I would drop any bent on a climb. Just wouldn't be fun for me.

    If you like bent, ride bent. I'm sure they're a blast; I'm not sure they go together with upright bikes any better than bents and landriders or upright bikes and mopeds...
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  22. #22
    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    When I see people on bents, they're usually older. I think hey, at least they're out exercising. I can think of plenty of people I know who are in their thirties and their entire exercise regimen consists of opening the fridge door.

    However, a Bent wouldn't be enough of a workout for me and it certainly isn't fast enough. The only thing I can say I don't like about them is not being able to see one coming because I'm not usually looking down. Fortunately, they're usually on the path, not the road.
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

  23. #23
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    I'm not sure why this is an "X vs. Y" issue. Your bike is a personal choice reflecting your own experience, perception, motivation, etc. Whether or not they are your cup of tea, recumbents are a road bike option. The wheels are driven by the same type of engine using basically the same mechanical drive system on the same paved surfaces as road bikes. To some, however, they will never be perceived as "road bikes". To others they are just a different kind of road bike with unique advantages and disadvantages.

    I ride regularly with a small group of ten or so cyclists - not for pacelining, although we are certainly capable of 25+kmh. Most ride fast, expensive and elegant "road bikes" - carbon, titanium, etc. There has never been any reservations or antagonism toward the two regular recumbent riders, myself included. In fact, in the past several months, four of the others have purchased recumbents to supplement their riding experience. Their other bikes are too nice to give up, so they ride those as well. None of these folks are elderly, overweight or suffer from infirmity. Their decision to add a recumbent to their stable was based on what they saw and experienced on our rides together. It is a just a different ride - better? That's only for the rider to say.

    Although the one among us who has been riding for more than thirty years on customized, exotic, small-Italian-shop bikes will never likely go recumbent, he suffers no prejudice. You see, he rides with friends.

    ... and so, sometimes it's not about the bike.
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  24. #24
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I do find 'bents extremely interesting because they are still evolving far more rapidly and radically than standard road bikes. I love the experimentation, wondering which of today's styles will start enduring trends, and which will be tomorrow's evolutionary dead ends. I particularly like the ZOX bikes, with their innovative front wheel drive system. They are very fast against a headwind or on a level or downhill ride, but even my ZOX-owning friend admits that the seating position feels a bit too low for safety in heavy traffic.

    Perhaps the challenge is to devise a "best of both worlds" frame geometry which could permit the rider to alter his/her riding position according to traffic, grade, headwind, etc. Hmmm ...
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  25. #25
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    I do find 'bents extremely interesting because they are still evolving far more rapidly and radically than standard road bikes. I love the experimentation, wondering which of today's styles will start enduring trends, and which will be tomorrow's evolutionary dead ends.
    There certainly is that, especially amongst the homebuilders. The bigger manufacturers seem to have settled down into three or four conventional designs though, although there still seems to be a lot more variety of design than you get with upright bikes.

    Like Bob (cycletourist) I suspect the racing influence is a factor in that. There's no reason that upright bikes shouldn't have a lot more variety in design, except that they wouldn't be race legal. Despite the fact that only a small proportion of cyclists actually race, the market seems to be driven by the desires of racers and racer wannabes.

    Originally posted by John E
    I particularly like the ZOX bikes, with their innovative front wheel drive system. They are very fast against a headwind or on a level or downhill ride, but even my ZOX-owning friend admits that the seating position feels a bit too low for safety in heavy traffic.
    Well, the ZOX is really a lowracer. Very aerodynamic, but they put you at about hubcap level. There are more traffic friendly designs.
    Is this the one John?



    Originally posted by John E
    Perhaps the challenge is to devise a "best of both worlds" frame geometry which could permit the rider to alter his/her riding position according to traffic, grade, headwind, etc. Hmmm ...
    George Reynolds attempted to make a bike that switched between recumbent and upright within seconds - rather prophetically called the 'Redundant'. I'm not sure how well it worked in either configuration, but it seems to me that bikes that try to do everything tend not to do any of them very well. See it here.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

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