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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 03-07-17, 12:33 PM   #101
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"Bike" = 2 wheels, only a lot of times, it's used more generically for pedal-powered things regardless of the number of wheels. For example, the "Greater Dallas Bicyclists"- doesn't matter how many wheels you're using, you're still welcome; it's about the "cyclists", not the "Bi-" part.


"I would call a three wheeled safety a trike." The common usage, as it seems to me, a "tricycle" is the thing kids ride, an "adult tricycle" is the upright 3-wheeler that old people ride, and for anything else, you're best off adding a descriptive term to avoid confusing it with those- so "cargo trike", "delta/tadpole/recumbent trike", etc.


If I remember right, the Paris-Brest-Paris ride felt it necessary to further define a bicycle, and one of the qualifications they added was that it had to have a chain. The intent was to exclude roller blades, but that inadvertently excluded penny-farthings (and unicycles and shaft-drive bicycles) as well, although it did include Elliptigos. (Trikes and recumbents were both included, by the way.)


For some reason, "bike" and "trike" are also applied to motorcycles, but "bicycle" and "tricycle" are not. "Biker" usually but not always is used for motorcyclists, "Cyclist" means specifically a bicycle-rider.
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Old 03-09-17, 07:59 PM   #102
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I'll give it a try. I don't really experience discomfort on a bike and would never consider a recumbent because it aggravates my sciatica where a bike actually provides some relief. For those of you who are physically able to ride a bike and chose to ride a recumbent anyway, that's great. Whatever floats your boat. I'm just trying to answer the OP's question.

Whenever I see people sit-skiing I think it's awesome that guys with physical disabilities are able to get out on the mountain and ski.


I feel the same way whenever I see someone on a recumbent. I think it's awesome that someone who is physically unable to ride a bike has an alternative to get out there anyway. So if someone were to suggest to me that I give a recumbent a try, it would be like them suggesting that I am no longer physically able to ride a bike. Even if it's true, it would be hard for me to accept, and I might get emotional about it.
Sorry, I get what you are saying, but those two things do not equate. You would be closer if you compared the adaptive skis to a handcycle.

You realise there are things called "ski bikes" that able people ride? I'd be on one in a heartbeat if they allowed them at my local hill. Would take care of my snowboarding foot pain.

Anyways, some of us just love alternative technology. Doesn't mean I don't like "normal" bikes too. The biggest drawback to a bent is the cost. If you live somewhere they are not common, you are going to either spend a lot of time trying to find one or shell out a lot of dough.

I don't see a problem "evangelising", depending on the situation. If someone hasn't spent much time on their new DF, telling them to get a different bike isn't very helpful. If someone has spent years with discomfort and tried a lot of things, mentioning a bent would be appropriate. It's not that hard to figure out.

And we have bike snobs on every bike forum or subreddit or whatever else you go on. It's the nature of any hobby, sport or interest. You get the extremists who think everyone who doesn't "do it" like them is a casual.
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Old 03-09-17, 08:41 PM   #103
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Sorry, I get what you are saying, but those two things do not equate. You would be closer if you compared the adaptive skis to a handcycle.
Good comparison.
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Old 03-10-17, 10:37 AM   #104
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@Aquakitty & @JanMM, I was just trying to explain why some people might not appreciate the suggestion of a recumbent to solve comfort issues. While I now realize that able-bodied people ride recumbents, and I certainly don't have a problem with that, literally every single recumbent rider I have met in real life told me that they ride a recumbent because they can't ride a safety anymore. Also in my experience, recumbent rider age skews way higher than safeties, which contributes to my impressions of recumbents as bikes for old and disabled people. I can't recall ever meeting a recumbent rider who wasn't well into or beyond middle age, and I have never seen a fast recumbent rider in real life. I understand that I'm generalizing and there are obviously exceptions, but it's tough for an internet thread to overcome a lifetime of experiences.

Ski bikes, by the way, are already near the top of the list of things that make no sense to me. It's a pretty long list.
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Old 03-10-17, 12:39 PM   #105
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@Aquakitty & @JanMM, I was just trying to explain why some people might not appreciate the suggestion of a recumbent to solve comfort issues. While I now realize that able-bodied people ride recumbents, and I certainly don't have a problem with that, literally every single recumbent rider I have met in real life told me that they ride a recumbent because they can't ride a safety anymore. Also in my experience, recumbent rider age skews way higher than safeties, which contributes to my impressions of recumbents as bikes for old and disabled people. I can't recall ever meeting a recumbent rider who wasn't well into or beyond middle age, and I have never seen a fast recumbent rider in real life. I understand that I'm generalizing and there are obviously exceptions, but it's tough for an internet thread to overcome a lifetime of experiences.

Ski bikes, by the way, are already near the top of the list of things that make no sense to me. It's a pretty long list.

I think you need to be a little more open-minded. People tend to get stuck seeing things as "the norm" and this leads to a sort of elitist attitude.

Same thing happened when mountain bikes came out, and snowboards.

Now we have all sorts of winter sports. I remember when ski boards were derided, but guess what freestyle skis look like now? They are twin tip, short and fat. Innovation is a good thing.

The main reason you don't see a lot of recumbents in some areas is they are expensive. Not many younger people can shell out $3000+ bucks for a new trike. It's a specialty thing for sure.

Hell most people think $500 for a bike is too much. And how many bikes are sitting rotting in garages?

In general, where I am, there aren't a lot of cyclists to begin with, unless you count the drug dealers and homeless bums. I've seen a few people on trikes and a couple recumbents, more than in recent years. I'm happy just to see someone riding.
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Old 03-10-17, 06:36 PM   #106
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I think you need to be a little more open-minded.
While Iíll agree that Iím pretty closed-minded about my own preferences, I consider myself to be pretty open minded when it comes to how other people choose to spend their time and money. As I have said in almost all of my posts, if other people like riding recumbents or ski bikes or whatever else they want to ride, Iím totally fine with that even if the reasons donít make any sense to me.

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People tend to get stuck seeing things as "the norm" and this leads to a sort of elitist attitude.
Someone who doesnít share the same interests or opinions as you do is not automatically elitist. There are tons of things that I have no interest in. Thatís not elitist. Itís just not interested. I also have a few hobbies that most other people arenít interested in. I donít consider those people to be elitist because they arenít interested in my hobbies.

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Same thing happened when mountain bikes came out, and snowboards.
Mountain bikes and snowboards were instantly cool when they came out because they both met a need that was not served by the best equipment of the time. Mountain bikes combined features from BMX and road bikes to open up off-road terrain that was essentially inaccessible before. Snowboards were easier than the skis of the time to ride deep powder and catch big air so that made them cool and popular with young people. Recumbents are more comfortable than safeties and nobody races them. Thatís not cool to a young person. Itís boring.

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Now we have all sorts of winter sports. I remember when ski boards were derided, but guess what freestyle skis look like now? They are twin tip, short and fat. Innovation is a good thing.
I have no interest in terrain parks, snowboards, ski boards or freestyle skis. That doesnít make me elitist either (although perhaps an old grouch). Regarding snow-sports innovation, I honestly liked the old long skis from the 80ís better than I like the new skis and would still ski them if the moguls werenít so stubby now from all those short skis and snowboards that everyone rides. People tell me the new skis turn better, but my old skis still turn just fine.

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The main reason you don't see a lot of recumbents in some areas is they are expensive. Not many younger people can shell out $3000+ bucks for a new trike. It's a specialty thing for sure.
Hell most people think $500 for a bike is too much.
There are plenty of $3000 safeties on the road ridden by young people. They can afford expensive bikes. The main reason you donít see a lot of recumbents is because young people like safeties better. That doesnít make them elitist. It makes them rational decision makers.

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ÖI'm happy just to see someone riding.
Totally agree
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Old 03-13-17, 08:17 AM   #107
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There are plenty of $3000 safeties on the road ridden by young people. They can afford expensive bikes. The main reason you donít see a lot of recumbents is because young people like safeties better. That doesnít make them elitist. It makes them rational decision makers.

First you separate recumbents from bikes, and now people who buy uprights are rational (while recumbent riders aren't?) I'm beginning to smell a troll.
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Old 03-13-17, 11:42 AM   #108
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@Aquakitty & @JanMM, I was just trying to explain why some people might not appreciate the suggestion of a recumbent to solve comfort issues. While I now realize that able-bodied people ride recumbents, and I certainly don't have a problem with that, literally every single recumbent rider I have met in real life told me that they ride a recumbent because they can't ride a safety anymore. Also in my experience, recumbent rider age skews way higher than safeties, which contributes to my impressions of recumbents as bikes for old and disabled people. I can't recall ever meeting a recumbent rider who wasn't well into or beyond middle age, and I have never seen a fast recumbent rider in real life. I understand that I'm generalizing and there are obviously exceptions, but it's tough for an internet thread to overcome a lifetime of experiences.

Ski bikes, by the way, are already near the top of the list of things that make no sense to me. It's a pretty long list.
I went bent in 2005. I am in good health, and kick myself for not getting a bent years before I did. What does age have to do with comfort, safety, and view.
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Old 03-13-17, 03:00 PM   #109
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First you separate recumbents from bikes, and now people who buy uprights are rational (while recumbent riders aren't?) I'm beginning to smell a troll.
1) I never said that a recumbent is not a bike. As soon as you asked me to call a bike a safety instead of a bike, I started doing it. As I said before, I never heard of calling a bike a safety until this thread. In fact, this is the longest running conversation about recumbents I have ever had in my life, and I have been very surprised to learn that calling a bike a bike could be offensive to anybody.

2) I never said that recumbent purchasers are not rational decision makers. I was specifically responding to Aquakittyís assertion that young people donít buy recumbents because they are expensive, and the earlier assertion that Ē People tend to get stuck seeing things as "the norm" and this leads to a sort of elitist attitude.Ē People making a purchase for either a recumbent or a safety are making a rational decision based on the product attributes that they value as an individual, not some irrational bias.

As a general point of feedback, if you are trying to convince someone to consider your point of view, putting words in their mouth and calling them names isnít the best way to accomplish that objective.

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ÖWhat does age have to do with comfort, safety, and view.
Young people, especially young men, tend not to value those product attributes as much as older people do. I honestly don't see why this is so mysterious to you guys. There are plenty of good reasons why people don't ride recumbents. It's not some conspiracy.
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Old 03-14-17, 08:05 AM   #110
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Geez, people! Is it possible for two people to both make rational decisions yet come to different conclusions?

I'm going to answer "Yes." because I see it happen every time that I eat in a restaurant. That's all these last five pages have been about - vegans vs. carnivores. Don't take anything here too personally, literally or seriously because it isn't.
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Old 03-14-17, 09:40 PM   #111
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Well as someone who's only ever scene a recumbent from a distance... Here's my two cents.

If I have a sore butt that means I've already invested either time or money in a "DF" bike and looking for a solution to fix it. Not probably looking for a completely new bike or lifestyle. So I agree with with what someone said earlier that suggesting a recumbent is slightly overkill.

Don't get me wrong I think recumbent's look really fun, and I'd love to try one. But...

1) They look clumsy and awkward. What I mean by that is they look hard to get in and out of, and not a great choice if you wanted to get down town quick and do some errands. However they do look super comfy if you're going long distances.

2) They don't look like a bike. It's just my perception, but since I was a little kid I always thought that recumbent's looked like a wanna be car/motorcycle that someone forgot to put a motor on.

3) I don't think they turn as well as a bicycle. I could be wrong as I've never ridden one, but my logic is that there would be recumbent style motorcycles if they handled as well. I get the feeling the faster you go on a recumbent the harder it is to turn?

4) I know it's actually the opposite, but for some reason they look tiring, like they take a lot more energy to keep moving.

5) Ok it's cool but where can I try one? Unlike a bicycle, where can you actually take one for a test drive? Heck where do you even buy one? If my friend lets me ride his new bike and I love it, I'll run out and buy one for myself. I think recumbents would be more popular if people could get a chance to ride one. It's a huge decision financially to run out and buy something a little weird looking if you don't know if you like it or not.

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Old 03-14-17, 09:51 PM   #112
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There are plenty of $3000 safeties on the road ridden by young people. They can afford expensive bikes. The main reason you donít see a lot of recumbents is because young people like safeties better. That doesnít make them elitist. It makes them rational decision makers.
I wouldn't say they like them better. I'd say that they only know this type of bike. Up until two years ago, I didn't know much about bents. I saw one riding in Michigan's Island Lake state park, and I think one other in Walled lake. It was when I was passed by a velomobile did my interest get piqued. Up until then, I was like you, thinking mostly they were for older riders. Many articles later, mostly focusing on low/high racers, did I make the decision to buy one. I bought a used lowracer out of Illinois. Best $1k I've ever spent (with something to show for it ).

But up until I was passed by a VM, I had road standard road bikes. My only things I had issues with was my hands going numb often. Now with my lowracer, my hands don't go numb, I get a great view, a good tan, and my speeds are up. And it's a different experience I've come to love.
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Old 03-15-17, 09:43 AM   #113
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1) I never said that a recumbent is not a bike. As soon as you asked me to call a bike a safety instead of a bike, I started doing it. As I said before, I never heard of calling a bike a safety until this thread. In fact, this is the longest running conversation about recumbents I have ever had in my life, and I have been very surprised to learn that calling a bike a bike could be offensive to anybody.

2) I never said that recumbent purchasers are not rational decision makers. I was specifically responding to Aquakittyís assertion that young people donít buy recumbents because they are expensive, and the earlier assertion that ” People tend to get stuck seeing things as "the norm" and this leads to a sort of elitist attitude.Ē People making a purchase for either a recumbent or a safety are making a rational decision based on the product attributes that they value as an individual, not some irrational bias.

As a general point of feedback, if you are trying to convince someone to consider your point of view, putting words in their mouth and calling them names isnít the best way to accomplish that objective.


Young people, especially young men, tend not to value those product attributes as much as older people do. I honestly don't see why this is so mysterious to you guys. There are plenty of good reasons why people don't ride recumbents. It's not some conspiracy.
I would be interested if you could list a few of those reasons.
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Old 03-15-17, 10:25 AM   #114
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I would be interested if you could list a few of those reasons.
While we have covered them already in this thread, here is a summary of the main reasons in order of importance to most people:

1) Recumbents aren't ďcoolĒ
2) Recumbents don't handle as well as safeties
3) Recumbents are no good on group rides
4) Recumbents don't climb as well as safeties

Since most fit riders are both comfortable on their safety and frequently ride in a group and/or in traffic, a recumbent is a generally poor choice for their needs. Interestingly, a recumbent would be a great choice for a long-distance solo rider, which is exactly what I am. I donít care too much about whatís cool, but my sciatica makes riding a recumbent excruciatingly painful after just a few minutes of riding. If recumbents were the more popular form of bike, I'd be the old guy on the safety
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Old 03-15-17, 11:28 AM   #115
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1) They look clumsy and awkward. What I mean by that is they look hard to get in and out of, and not a great choice if you wanted to get down town quick and do some errands. However they do look super comfy if you're going long distances.
2) They don't look like a bike. It's just my perception, but since I was a little kid I always thought that recumbent's looked like a wanna be car/motorcycle that someone forgot to put a motor on.
3) I don't think they turn as well as a bicycle. I could be wrong as I've never ridden one, but my logic is that there would be recumbent style motorcycles if they handled as well. I get the feeling the faster you go on a recumbent the harder it is to turn?
4) I know it's actually the opposite, but for some reason they look tiring, like they take a lot more energy to keep moving.
5) Ok it's cool but where can I try one? Unlike a bicycle, where can you actually take one for a test drive? Heck where do you even buy one? If my friend lets me ride his new bike and I love it, I'll run out and buy one for myself. I think recumbents would be more popular if people could get a chance to ride one. It's a huge decision financially to run out and buy something a little weird looking if you don't know if you like it or not.
1) They look clumsy and awkward. What I mean by that is they look hard to get in and out of, and not a great choice if you wanted to get down town quick and do some errands. However they do look super comfy if you're going long distances. Nope, generally not harder to mount than other bikes. Different but not harder. My commuter bike has been a recumbent for the last decade. They are comfy. You got that right.

2) They don't look like a bike. It's just my perception, but since I was a little kid I always thought that recumbent's looked like a wanna be car/motorcycle that someone forgot to put a motor on.
You think a BMX bike looks like a road racing bike? Or a mini Velo looks like a mountain bike? Recumbent bikes look like bikes, which is to say there are many different styles of bikes.

3) I don't think they turn as well as a bicycle. I could be wrong as I've never ridden one, but my logic is that there would be recumbent style motorcycles if they handled as well. I get the feeling the faster you go on a recumbent the harder it is to turn?
The recumbent bikes I ride handle just fine, thank you. Mine are very stable and predictable at speed. Apples to oranges is motorcycles to bicycles.

4) I know it's actually the opposite, but for some reason they look tiring, like they take a lot more energy to keep moving. That's just silly.....................They take less energy at speed, when aerodynamics is factored in.

5) Ok it's cool but where can I try one? Unlike a bicycle, where can you actually take one for a test drive? Heck where do you even buy one? If my friend lets me ride his new bike and I love it, I'll run out and buy one for myself. I think recumbents would be more popular if people could get a chance to ride one. It's a huge decision financially to run out and buy something a little weird looking if you don't know if you like it or not.
Yep, big reason there are so few recumbents is that there are relatively few manufactured and few places that sell them. Not impossible to track one down but a real obstacle in most cases.

I have only ridden recumbent bikes and have no experience with trikes, to put this into context.
Bought my first one on a whim - it was used and inexpensive. That one got me hooked on ...........bicycling! Bicycling on recumbent bikes! No different than my previous 30+ years of bicycling except on a different type of bike.
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Old 03-15-17, 11:44 AM   #116
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1) Recumbents aren't ďcoolĒ
2) Recumbents don't handle as well as safeties
3) Recumbents are no good on group rides
4) Recumbents don't climb as well as safeties
1) Recumbents are very cool. A few years ago on a club ride, I was on my RANS Tailwind following behind a guy on a very nice titanium Serotta going through a subdivision when a kid in his front yard - maybe 12 years old - pointed at ME and yelled: "Cool bike!"
2) Generally, 'bents handle as well as other types of bikes. Much variation exists. My long wheelbase bikes have a much longer turning radius than a road racing bike, but that's just different, not worse.
3) I've been riding in group/club rides for 40+ years and my experience has been much the same now on recumbents as it was when I rode sport/touring bikes and hybrids.
4) Climbing is highly variable by person and bike - I climb about as well as I used to. (Slow but steady)
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Old 03-15-17, 01:32 PM   #117
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@JanMM, youíre certainly entitled to your own opinion on how cool recumbents are, but itís just a fact that recumbents donít handle as well and arenít any good on fast group rides. I could be convinced that recumbents climb almost as well as safeties on long climbs, but they are definitely slower on short ones.

Instead of saying reasonable things like
1) I donít care what other people think is cool
2) Recumbents handle well enough for the type of riding I do
3) Iím not interested in fast group rides so thatís not important to me
4) Iím willing to accept the slight disadvantage in climbing for the aerodynamic advantage I get everywhere else
you make ridiculous claims that recumbents are just as good as safeties on those dimensions.

Hereís what I mean.
1) Cool. 12 year olds donít decide whatís cool. Cool people do. Cool people race and therefore donít ride recumbents.
2) Handling. Because youíre sitting/lying down you just donít have the same ability to maneuver as well on a recumbent as you do on a safety. For example, you canít wheelie, bunny hop, track stand, or power-slide on a recumbent. All things I can do on any safety, and all things I have done in urban traffic in real life. There are even videos on youtube of guys doing backflips on road bikes. So while you may be able to ride well enough in a straight line on a recumbent, it doesnít handle as well as a safety, period.
3) Group rides. Did you watch the video friday1970 posted? Those safety riders really didnít like having recumbents in their group. The narrator even commented on it. I donít think anybody minds having recumbents on a casual group ride, but they just donít work on a fast group ride because a safety canít draft behind recumbents and they screw up the whole rhythm of the paceline unless they hang off the back or ride off the front, which effectively becomes a solo ride for the recumbent. I know I personally donít mind riding with recumbents on casual group rides, but I wouldnít ride in a fast paceline with one.
4) Climbing. On a safety you can get up out of the saddle and blast over the top of a small roller. You just can't do that on a recumbent. You always have to spin to the top. All the fit safety riders I know get out of the saddle on just about every hill. On long slow climbs recumbents are probably at less of a disadvantage, but they are generally heavier which has got to be a least a little of a disadvantage.

Recumbents are fine for what they are, but some of you guys appear to be delusional about the attributes they actually possess.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:58 PM   #118
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Circus sideshow tricks: wheelie, bunny hop, track stand, or power-slide. and backflips.
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Old 03-15-17, 02:31 PM   #119
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Circus sideshow tricks: wheelie, bunny hop, track stand, or power-slide. and backflips.
Those are just examples of things that safeties can do that recumbents can’t, which carries over to handling characteristics in general. It's reasonable for you to say that you have no need for any of those tricks in the kind of riding you do, but it's not reasonable to say that a recumbent handles just as well as a safety. They don’t.

After participating in this thread it is becoming clearer and clearer to me why people are turned off by the BF recumbent community’s arguments supporting recumbents. They tend to be either factually incorrect, unnecessarily derogatory, or both. Recumbents have a lot going for them. If you stick to the positives instead of personally attacking people who point out obvious product attributes, you’ll probably have more luck converting people for whom a recumbent is a good choice for a bike.
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Old 03-15-17, 02:44 PM   #120
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After participating in this thread it is becoming clearer and clearer to me why people are turned off by the BF recumbent communityís arguments supporting recumbents. They tend to be either factually incorrect, unnecessarily derogatory, or both. Recumbents have a lot going for them. If you stick to the positives instead of personally attacking people who point out obvious product attributes, youíll probably have more luck converting people for whom a recumbent is a good choice for a bike.
Yup. You've proven, by the way, that works the other way too. You sound to me like the kind of guy who goes to a seafood joint and orders a hamburger.

Have a nice day.
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Old 03-15-17, 02:47 PM   #121
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Old 03-15-17, 08:49 PM   #122
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For example, you canít wheelie, bunny hop, track stand, or power-slide on a recumbent. All things I can do on any safety, and all things I have done in urban traffic in real life
And at 46 years old, why would I want to? I value my bones. There are some instances on my road/mountain bikes where I lift up on the front tire to get over a root or a train track. Funny that you mention 12 year olds cant call bents cool, yet they are the ones doing these circus tricks. (for the record, I've had plenty of younger kids call my lowracer cool as I zoom past them.)

I do have to mention that even though you are making points about advantages DF/Safeties have over bents, I think you might have failed to realize that almost all of us were originally DF/Safety bike owners prior to purchasing bents. We know the arguments you are using for the DF/Safety bike side. We've ridden plenty of saddled bikes before. We know them quite well enough already. Some of us, like me, still ride them almost as much as our bents. We just got curious, took the plunge and tried a bent, and ended up liking what we rode.
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Old 03-16-17, 06:09 AM   #123
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Old 03-16-17, 08:52 AM   #124
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Rydabent asked me what reasons people have for not riding recumbents so I listed them. They are so unoriginal and obvious that I continue to be amazed by your collective attempts to refute them. I couldn't care less what kind of bike other people ride and apologize if I have offended anyone in the recumbent community by writing what I still believe to be true and incorrectly assumed were generally accepted points of fact. There is clearly a very high level of emotional investment in the decision to ride a recumbent and a general persecution complex that I was not aware of before participating in this thread.
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Old 03-16-17, 12:11 PM   #125
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What recumbents are: Fun, comfortable, potentially fast, road bikes. I'm including trikes in there too.
What recumbents are not: Uprights

So, if you expect a 'bent to be anything like an upright other than the pedal power, you're likely to be disappointed. They handle differently, they have a different speed profile; and as a result, techniques and strategies for riding are different. Not better or worse, just different. A very few of us here got a recumbent as their first adult bike, because the design seemed more logical for their purposes. Others, like Friday1970, got one because they saw a potential which not only interested them, but it interested them enough to get one and then work on developing that potential. But most of us are converts from uprights because of a specific complaint with uprights that recumbents addressed.

All of that is a long way of saying that, Rydabent's evangelism aside, recumbents are generally not a good choice unless someone has a reason to change platforms and is willing to accept the differences. You don't need to justify why you don't ride bents; but if you wanted to name a reason, that's it: you have no reason to switch. In fact, going 'bent would force you to give up some of the things you currently do. If you're happy with what you've got, why would you spend money to get something else? OTOH, when someone solicits advice on how to deal with an issue that bents could address, I think it's valid to mention them. Due to the cost and the differences, it's not usually a first choice; but at some point if nothing else works, they're there.
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