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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 06-21-02, 09:14 AM   #1
svarzaru
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I got my recumbent, first thoughts

So I finally got my first bent (Linear SWB, USS) and I've ride it to work and back in the last couple of days. Here are my first thoughts:

1. It's definitely more confortable then a regular bike
2. Uphill I have to go with the granny gear and spin like hell at 2mph :-) I must look very funny making all that effort when pedestrians that walk faster will pass me with no problems :-)
3. There is a lot of flex in the frame and it make it hard to keep a firm balance.

Did you guys found it hard to maintain your balance at the beginning? Did you get better? I also seem to have trouble getting started if I'm uphill. Sometimes I had to try 3 times.

The bottom line is, while I'm quite good on my MTB (acrobatics included) I find I don't "feel" safe when I'm riding the bent. I always seem on the verge of tumbling down. I hope it gets better. Maybe a LWB (what I wanted in the first place) would be better?
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Old 06-21-02, 10:39 AM   #2
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You will get better and soon you by able to almost stop with out even putting your feet down.You will also get faster up hills the more you practice.
How do you start off though,did you get any info how to start off?
Starting off on hills will take a little more practice but it will come
and I tell you when you get used to a recumbent you will really
shift,its the closest thing too flying without doing it.
I ride a recumbent and a upright ,the only thing I have found is I get a better cardiovascular work out on the upright.
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Old 06-21-02, 12:58 PM   #3
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Balance on a recumbent is a negotiation between steering, power, and (sometimes) braking. Body english is not possible unlesss you have a very upright seat. As a rider becomes more proficient in this "balance of forces", they can ride slower because they require less of the steering input.
The short answer is, yes, you will get better. It is a whole new way to balance that you are learning (Now, where did I leave my pocket protector?).

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(who isn't really as stuffy as this post makes him sound)
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Old 06-21-02, 03:14 PM   #4
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You use somewhat different muscles. Takes time to build them up. Do you love
the fact that when you get off of it......nothing hurts?
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Old 06-21-02, 03:17 PM   #5
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Give it time. With practice you'll adjust to the new position. Balance will become a non-issue, even on hills.

Flex, however, is not good on any bike - sucks off power big time! Maybe you need a stiffer bent? Some have stiffer frames than others.

If you try a LWB you may find it even harder to maintain stability at very low speeds - at least that's the consensus I've read, not from direct experience. My initial SWB experience was shaky but after several weeks, I was comfortably in control at speeds both fast and slow, on climbs, descents, carving turns and hillside starts.
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Old 06-22-02, 03:49 PM   #6
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Oh,and let me know how you get on on your recumbent in the future.Im interested because many people once they havegot used to a recumbent they find it very difficult yo go back to a upright.
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Old 06-22-02, 07:46 PM   #7
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Yes, you'll get better.

I'm a middle-aged duffer, not very athletic, not too agile, not particularly well coordinated, etc. I was able to ride my new EZ-1SC within five minutes, but it has taken me several weeks to get relaxed and confident with it. But it hasn't been hard and the rate of progress has been fast. It's just a little weird because ALL the quantitative relationships of everything to everything are different from a traditional bike. For example, I don't think you get much gyroscopic effect from that little front wheel and that changes the "feel" quite a lot.

I have found it very useful to spend five minutes here and there practicing on whatever specific problems I'd been having. I don't say this is the optimum order or anything, I just say this is the order in which I've felt the need to practice things. With each of these problem areas, I found that as soon as I identified the problem area and practiced it, I learned VERY quickly. Just a few minutes would do it.

a) Turns, sharp turns, and figure-eights. I practiced these in a parking lot. I'd pick a white line that's crossing my path a little way ahead and say to myself "I'm going to try to turn sharply enough so that I don't cross that line. I'd try to ride in a circle and tighten the circle more and more.

b) Riding straight at low speed with both hands on the handlebars.

c) Riding straight at low-speed uphill. The trick seems to be to push from the hips and do it all with your legs, and avoid any slight unconscious tendency to pull on the handlebars.

d) Starting straight. Particularly important when you're waiting at an intersection for a red light and there are cars around you. I don't know that I quite have this yet at the point where I'd like. I've discovered that it's better to start in a somewhat higher gear than I originally thought, because you want the pedals to turn SLOWLY so that you don't run out of travel with one pedal before you have time to get your foot up on the other.

e) Starting with both left foot and right foot.

f) Starting uphill.

g) Riding straight and in control with only ONE hand on the handlebars (because, in fact, you frequently need to take one hand off the handlebars to signal, etc.) Plus, if I spend a little time practicing one-handed I find that it helps me ride straighter when I'm riding two-handed.

Oh, another thing I sometimes try. But only when there are no cars around as I find this QUITE difficult. I'll pick out a little spot on the pavement, or a pebble or a twig or ANYTHING, and try to steer so that my front wheel goes right over it. Then I pick another spot and try to hit that, too... a sort of slalom where they idea is to HIT the markers. I don't pick spots that are very far off the path I'm riding, but I find it to be very hard, because in order to hit each spot I have to deviate from a straight path which makes it harder to hit the next one...
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Old 06-22-02, 08:57 PM   #8
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I don't know.

I rode a 'bent in the parking lot of a bike shop and loved the daylights out of it.

I acted like I was really into it just so that they'd have to let me keep riding it! (It was an easy acting job.)

I spent the drive home with my kids (I dragged them along )
talking about the difference between uprights and recumbents.

:kids yawning smiley:

I wonder, though. If we all grew up riding recumbents and uprights suddenly came along, how would we adapt to them?
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Old 06-22-02, 11:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by LittleBigMan

I wonder, though. If we all grew up riding recumbents and uprights suddenly came along, how would we adapt to them?
I suspect that we might react somewhat harshly towards the sadistic SOB who invented the torturous things!
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Old 06-24-02, 08:39 AM   #10
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I had problems with my LWb when I first got it, just real shaky at slow speeds. Much better now (I have had it 4 months). Still have some problems with tight turns, but it is to expected with a 7 foot bike, just don't turn as tight, and body english is hardly usable. But if it was not for my 'Bent, I wouldn't be riding again.
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Old 06-25-02, 05:01 PM   #11
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Can I ask ,Why?
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Old 06-26-02, 06:46 AM   #12
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Pain. I could only ride my wedgie for about 15 Mins and my wrist (capal tunnel) and my back were killing me. Tried some different bikes, then stumbled upon 'Bents. Got a LWB and haven't looked back. For me it was just the right choice. At least it doesn't just sit in the garage and get moved around like my Wedgie did.
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Old 06-26-02, 01:38 PM   #13
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I have found in starting a USS (under seat steering) SWB on a hill was somewhat a bit more difficult than a ASS SWB. I have the bike in the lowest or near lowest gear to start with and apply a steady straight ahead pressure on the pedals, to avoid "pedal steer". This seems to work fairly well if I'm not carrying a loaded bike, not easy when hauling 60lbs or so in a trailer.

Practice is the key when riding a bent, I crashed for the better part of a week trying to learn on my first bent. There are still other bents around that I haven't yet mastered to ride (IE: Flevobike racer with articulated frame and front wheel drive, YIKES!).

Before long you should be able to pratice as to how slow you can go without falling over, keep relaxed on the handle bars is a key point.
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Old 06-26-02, 02:07 PM   #14
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Here is an update.

I've been riding the bent every day to the office (6 miles each way) in the Boston suburbs (hilly area). I did get better. Did not crash yet and I'm hoping I never will :-). I'm only getting a 12mph average speed (on the round trip). The max speed (downhill) I reached was 28mph. I still have some trouble starting uphill but I do much better. I'm not sure how is it in other parts of the country but I'm getting a lot of attention :-).
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Old 04-05-09, 09:23 PM   #15
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i had vowed not to bike again until i came to know about 'bents. just cannot stand those saddles, the numbness, the pain. first i used a stationary 'bent in a gym and found it so comfortable to pedal in. then started researching about road 'bents on the internet 'till i hit sun bicycles and the ez-1. it had been years since i last rode and, when i started the bike in the lowest gear, both front and rear, my feet just spun like crazy and flew off the pedals. but had no problems with balancing and riding slowly. it took about two months to find the best riding position (seat distance from the pedals and handlebar position) because i was having so much fun that i hardly thought about those details. i read one should use the middle chainring with the 3rd to 6th gears most of the time and i'm doing that. only use the small chainring on steep hills when i just have to. and i am not ashamed to get off the bike and walk up hill...LOL! i say that i want to have fun, not a heart attack. if i take a 5 minute break every 30 or 40 minutes i can ride for 3 or 4 hours. i find that for my weight and age that's a lot of exercise. right now i'm trying to ride some 10 or 12 km five or six times a week. have had months where i lost 5 pounds and my cardio system has improved notably. i say the same thing: if it weren't for my 'bent i wouldn't be riding again. 'BENTS RULE!!!
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Old 04-06-09, 09:17 AM   #16
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The one time I tried to ride a two-wheel 'bent I almost broke my neck.
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Old 04-06-09, 02:41 PM   #17
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Yeah, sure you'll get better with practice. This is my second year of riding a homebuilt CLWB with USS. The first year, I started riding it in a vacant parking lot at a closed business. I could only make it go downhill then. It felt so different from an upright bike that I had to spend about 25 hours riding around that parking lot before I felt comfortable enough to ride it on the two-lane highway.

First, when you ride an upright bike your arms support a third of your weight, the pedals support a third of your weight, and the seat supports the other third. On the recumbent bike, it's all on the seat. This is why it took me so long to completely relax my arms. You need "muscle memory". Your muscles need to be able to react instantly to external stimuli without the need to involve your consciousness. Just a fancy way of saying practice makes perfect. Learning to completely relax my arms from my shoulders to my fingertips was my key to becoming agile on my recumbent bike. Once I acquire this agility, I rewarded myself by buying a pair of new handlebar grips that felt good in my hands.

Second, your rearend is usually lower on a recumbent bike, compared to an upright bike. That changes all the dynamics of riding, such as turning. Different kinds of turns -- low speed turns, U-turns, dodging a pothole, high speed turns--all require different kinds of movements. Your muscles have to relearn all these maneuvers when you start riding a new bike.

Third, you use countersteering a lot more on a recumbent bike. If you don't know what countersteering is, then google "countersteering" and watch the videos on countersteering motorcycles. You'll eventually learn how to do it automatically, whether you watch the videos or not. The videos might just satisfy your curiosity.

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Old 04-06-09, 05:02 PM   #18
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This is the second 7-year old thread I've come across today. It's a trend.
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Old 04-06-09, 07:03 PM   #19
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This is the second 7-year old thread I've come across today. It's a trend.
Maybe someone reached light speed on their lowracer?
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Old 04-06-09, 07:19 PM   #20
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I'll never tell.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:42 PM   #21
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I've never read a thread that started in 2002 before.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:57 PM   #22
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Creepy, isn't it?
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