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  1. #1
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Anybody switched from DF to recumbent for long distance?

    That's what I decided to do for this season. I started riding LD in 2006, completed PBP in 2007 and Randonneur 5000 in 2009. I got a recumbent (Performer HR) hoping it would be more comfortable and faster for LD and hopefully for PBP in 2011. I've done about 1000 km on the bent (since november) and I'm still definitely slower than on the DF. Today I rode a 100 km Audax (so with a captain keeping the speed at 22.5 km/h) and I got dropped after 5 km and never came back on the main group. I ended up finishing about 30 mn after the main group. I wasn't able to ride 100 km at 22.5 average on a fairly flat route (plus I ended up with a painful knee), while I could ride 100 km at 27-28 km/h without any problems on a DF!
    So, is it supposed to be that hard? How much time will it take before I can ride as fast on the bent as on the DF on brevets?

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    I have heard of people switching. I really have no bent experience, but it doesn't surprise me that it's a difficult transition. The hills will kill your speed. I'm sure there are new muscles to develop. The bent riders I know do fairly well, none of them are first finisher material though. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Senior Member palmersperry's Avatar
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    Actually I've gone the other way! Out of the 7(?) audaxes I've done so far the first 6 where done a variety of recumbents, however the last one was done on a Fixie and the 4 audaxes I'm doing this year will all be done on an upright! However this switch was mainly due to getting very annoyed with both the EU distributed of my recumbent, and then the recumbent itself later on. I suspect I'll be switching back to the recumbent for the 1000km and 1400km events I have vaguely pencilled in for 2012 and 2013.

    As for speed. Well it's often said it takes about 6 months to adapt to riding a recumbent, and depending on your recumbent the extra weight of bike you may be pushing (some 'bents are better than others in this respect, eg: Bacchetta Carbon Aero or Challenge Fujin SL2 but they have ways of making you pay for it!) will make you slower on the uphills. I've also seen comments from people who where faster on an upright simply because they could draft in a group, as opposed to be by themselves all the time.

    On the plus side, when/if you do longer events than a 100km then the comfort factor might come in meaning you can spend longer on the bike. Someone who always used to finish lots of Audax events in the UK used to claim that uprights where faster below 600k and recumbents where faster above 600k for that reason.

    YMMV of course, if things go to plan I can give you some better figures in 2013! :-)

  4. #4
    Senior Member Marcello's Avatar
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    I started riding a recumbent trike three weeks ago. I am not expecting to get faster than I am on my DF, but the more comfortable position should help on the third and fourth day of a long brevet.

    I have done 500 km on it so far, and I went from being painfully slow at first, to just a little slower than on my upright. I suspect that just like any bike, I will get better as I increase the total amount of riding that I do. I have a 1200 randonnee at the end of June, and I plan to ride an additional 3000 km in training rides before the start, including a full SR series and a fleche. I will find out if that is enough to get my recumbent legs ready.

    Did you have to change the position of your cleats when you switched to the recumbent? I just realized that the cleat position that worked on my DF does not put the feet in a correct position on the recumbent. I wonder if the painful knee you noticed is in part due to the fit that is not quite dialed in correctly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcello View Post
    I started riding a recumbent trike three weeks ago. I am not expecting to get faster than I am on my DF, but the more comfortable position should help on the third and fourth day of a long brevet.

    I have done 500 km on it so far, and I went from being painfully slow at first, to just a little slower than on my upright. I suspect that just like any bike, I will get better as I increase the total amount of riding that I do. I have a 1200 randonnee at the end of June, and I plan to ride an additional 3000 km in training rides before the start, including a full SR series and a fleche. I will find out if that is enough to get my recumbent legs ready.

    Did you have to change the position of your cleats when you switched to the recumbent? I just realized that the cleat position that worked on my DF does not put the feet in a correct position on the recumbent. I wonder if the painful knee you noticed is in part due to the fit that is not quite dialed in correctly.
    Wow, switching to a trike is even more radical! I did a few brevets on a trike last year (a 200 and 2 300 ) but the trike wasn't mine so I didn't have the opportunity to train correctly, and I barely finished these rides within the time limits.
    About the cleats: I ride with the same shoes than on my upright bike, so I didn't move the cleat position. So maybe I can try with a different position and see how it works. I've tried moving the boom up and down and the pain is still here...

  6. #6
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    I switched to a recumbent in October 2009. I made the switch with brevets in mind, as I DNF a 600K last year due to back pain. This was typical on LD rides on an upright for me. So far this season, I've finished two 200K rides and one 300K ride, and all have been slower than I'd done the same rides on a DF bike. I've also noticed that my commute times are just a bit longer on the bent. I really notice a big difference on the hilly routes.

    But since swapping to the bent, no more issues with back pain. The most recent ride (300K), I had trouble with leg cramping. I think once I get enough miles and time on the bent, I "might" be back up to the speed I had on the DF, but probably not faster except maybe on flat terrain.
    Surly Long Haul Trucker, 54cm
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    Success is a journey, not a destination. Stop running.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    Just to prove that YMMV (and usually does), I switched to a 'bent 2 1/2 years ago after a painful 1000k experience (and 30+ years on DFs). THe original intent was just to ride the borrowed 'bent while I recovered from the "persistent saddle issues". My first 'bent brevet was after two weeks (!) on the bike. On a hilly, windy course, I turned the third fastest time of the day, and my second fastest 200 ever. On a well-used VRex, for crying out loud! So I bought the 'Rex, and rode the heck out of it, and am now on my third 'bent. For me, the whole 'bent riding experience felt totally natural from the word "go". I do still have a df, but it's mostly just for playing around. I'm at least as fast on the 'bent as on a df (solidly "mid pack"), and far more comfortable. Turns out it was what I'd always been looking for and just hadn't realized it. And as I said at the beginning, YMMV, and probably will.

    SP
    Bend, OR

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Claire,
    I read the pch discussion about, I believe it was your, transition to recumbent. I bought a carbent sea dragon pro from Dana Leiberman last may. It weighs in at less than 18 pounds. For me it was severe shoulder arthritis causing some real pain issues on longer rides. I, unlike bobbycorno, have gone through a long learning curve to develop climbing skills and general competence on my bent. I have ridden 4 200k rides in the past month and ride a bit faster (and sometimes a whole lot faster) than my usual slower speed. I was initially faster on open ground, right off the start. Climbing and controlling the bike on hills has taken a bit of work.. I seem to be consistently improving with constant riding of hills. It also seems that the more zen like (I know it sounds dumb) or relaxed I am, the faster I have become. I was pretty anxious at first.
    A friend did an interview of my transition back in september.
    http://curiousrandonneur.blogspot.co...onneuring.html
    BTW, I won't ever revert back to a df. I may ride a df for up to 100k but any more than that is not fun. I really love my recumbent. Mine is fast and comfy.

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