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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 09-14-05, 02:29 PM   #1
konageezer
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Recumbents in the rain?

Thinking of a recumbent for my commute, but have one burning issue.

Here in Vancouver, we get a bit of rain. Okay, a lot of rain.

Currently, I can stay quite dry on my DF with a poncho and booties. The configurations of bents that I have seen all look like it would be difficult to stay dry, especially with respect to having my butt so close to the puddles.

Can bents be ridden in the rain (without getting drenched) or are they fair-weather-only?

Thanks for any information.
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Old 09-14-05, 02:53 PM   #2
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I ride my ReBike in the rain, across deserts and in the snow of mountain passes on my continental trips. Spray the inside of your ReBike with framesaver and it will last forever. I use slime in my tires for all the thorns I ride over in the dessert.

Ride with a flag, a blinking tail light and reflective vest when you ride a recumbent in the rain.

Mooky


Quote:
Originally Posted by konageezer
Thinking of a recumbent for my commute, but have one burning issue.

Here in Vancouver, we get a bit of rain. Okay, a lot of rain.

Currently, I can stay quite dry on my DF with a poncho and booties. The configurations of bents that I have seen all look like it would be difficult to stay dry, especially with respect to having my butt so close to the puddles.

Can bents be ridden in the rain (without getting drenched) or are they fair-weather-only?

Thanks for any information.
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Old 09-14-05, 02:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konageezer
Can bents be ridden in the rain (without getting drenched) or are they fair-weather-only?
I use a goretex light jacket and a goretex overpant, and they do a fine job of keeping me dry inside and out. On my SWB without fairing, I have a bit of a problem keeping my shoes dry at the moment, because my overshoes are open at the bottom, so I use cheap plastic bags and let the SPD cleats pierce them, but I'm working on a better solution :-)

Good goretex is nice but costs a bundle unfortunately. And yes, there's bad goretex too. All sub-$150 goretex jackets I've tried before weren't waterproof in heavy rain. So the bottom line is, be prepared to crack your wallet wide open.
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Old 09-14-05, 03:48 PM   #4
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You might want to consider SPD sandals for riding in the rain. Fenders will keep the tires from spraying dirty road water on you, and waterproof pants/jckets will keep you dry. I suppose, depending on your seat, you could also fashion some sort of plastic cover to keep water from splashing through.
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Old 09-14-05, 04:57 PM   #5
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For rain, my upright still rules. Sure, I can use a fairing and fenders, but I inevitably still get wet. Water runs UP my arms and pools at my elbows, and it tends to puddle on the front of my jacket, where it will eventually leak through the zipper and get my shirt wet. OTOH, when I ride my upright, it's almost impossible to keep my feet dry. So it seems the rain will always win...
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Old 09-15-05, 09:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
For rain, my upright still rules. Sure, I can use a fairing and fenders, but I inevitably still get wet. Water runs UP my arms and pools at my elbows, and it tends to puddle on the front of my jacket, where it will eventually leak through the zipper and get my shirt wet.
Hmm, now that you mention it, this is a problem riders of USS bikes don't have.

I think I'm growing really fond of the USS position. If someone had told I would only 3 months ago, I wouldn't have believed it...
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Old 09-15-05, 10:39 AM   #7
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Eh, my arse still gets soaked when I ride my upright in the rain. When I rode in light water this weekend, it was hitting my helmet instead
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Old 09-15-05, 11:11 AM   #8
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Fenders and lots of lights. Bring bike inside to dry off.
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Old 09-15-05, 04:38 PM   #9
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Fenders would be a must...my RANS Rocket shoots off a huge roostertail of water on a rainy road. The other thing to think about is the seat. Riding the Rocket in the rain is like sitting on a huge sponge...look for a seat that either isn't absorbent or dries quickly. Also, riding into the rain is less comfortable on a bent, because your face and chest are getting direct impact of the raindrops, more so than the bent over DF rider.
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Old 09-15-05, 04:42 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input, everybody. I feel like I have a pretty good perspective on it now.

And I think I'll hold off on that bent until I retire to Osoyoos.
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Old 09-16-05, 04:18 AM   #11
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Nothing worse than riding a bent in 40F degree drizzle. The underneath side of your thighs freeze with every pedal stroke.
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Old 09-16-05, 07:38 AM   #12
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I must disaggree with some of the posts here. I ride a long wheelbase (semi)recumbent with fenders, a full fairing, and body sock. I don't wear a rain suit yet stay quite dry from the neck down. In really heavy rain I would need to waterproof my shoes (I like the baggis over cleats idea). With the full fairing you are not pelted with raindrops. My seat does not get soaked since it is carbon fiber over its whole bottom. If you are in driving rain with strong crosswinds then you might not like the body sock.

Cheers,

Bill.
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Old 09-16-05, 09:12 PM   #13
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I've been off my recumbent (Vision VR42 SWB) for several years now, but I remember it as being pretty good in the rain. I had fenders (of course), a fairing, and a really cool rain cover that covered from the fairing to the seat back. Rain could blow in from the side, but it took a pretty good downpour to get my legs wet. Even without the rain cover, the fairing did a good job of keeping my feet dry.
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Old 09-16-05, 09:21 PM   #14
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can't you just put a roof on your recumbent? -like a convertable
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Old 09-16-05, 09:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McHargue
I must disaggree with some of the posts here. I ride a long wheelbase (semi)recumbent with fenders, a full fairing, and body sock. I don't wear a rain suit yet stay quite dry from the neck down. In really heavy rain I would need to waterproof my shoes (I like the baggis over cleats idea). With the full fairing you are not pelted with raindrops. My seat does not get soaked since it is carbon fiber over its whole bottom. If you are in driving rain with strong crosswinds then you might not like the body sock.

Cheers,

Bill.
I agree with Bill. I have a Rans Stratus long-wheel base (LWB) recumbant, with the older style ASS handlebars and a full fairing. You can see it on this thread:

I need help convincing wife on recumbant

I have not found a better bicycle for rain than this one. I am dry from about the shoulders down, and neither my seat, nor my legs and feet, get wet. I have fenders, along with that little triangular splash guard on my front fender, and no water gets to my legs, even in heavy rain (and it does rain in Beaverton/Hillsboro at times).

I have ridden an upright (Schwinn LeTour with fenders), with my poncho and helmet rain shield, and was not as protected as with the Rans Stratus. I also had some visibility problems caused by the poncho blowing in the wind, and obscuring my mirror.

I have found that for hail, it is best to wear some safety glasses as they will prevent the hail from hitting your eyes. When it's misty, sometimes the safety glasses fog up, and i'm better off without anything and blinking. In full rain, again the safety glasses work well. At times when I stop, they will fog a little on the inside, but that goes away as soon as I take off. The seat does get wet when you stop and go inside somewhere if you leave it in the rain, but that can be handled by a simple garbage bag. The nylon mesh seat back does not absorb water, and so it is not a problem. I have not had much rain go down my sleeve, but that's because the fairing rides over my wrists, and it is pretty protected. I have a rain jacket with a protected front zipper, and if I need to sit without moving, then I can get rain down my front (at an extended stop light, for instance), but that's about it.

I think you have discounted all recumbants before checking out everything about them. The newer Rans bikes, with the more upright bars, will not give as much protection as the older ones. See:

http://www.ransbikes.com/

If you'll compare the new Stratus with the older one, you'll see the difference in the handlebar position:

http://wheelandsprocket.com/site/ite...=39&sort=Price

Note that the 2003 Stratus' handlebar is lower, and longer. That allows the fairing to protect further up for rain. There is more "tiller" effect this way, which is why Rans re-designed the bars, but that is very manageable. I now have 2700 miles on my in nearly three years of commuting in all weather (except ice storms, of which we've had a few).

Good luck,

John

Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-16-05 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 10-02-05, 09:54 PM   #16
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I've got two winters in Puget Sound riding m Aero and Strada. Today I did a 60-miler in heavy rain on my new DF.

The upper torso, especially face, stays drier on the DF. But my feet got much wetter. Much, much wetter and colder. I would give the nod to DF in the rain, but better socks, say, GoreTex, is in order for the Df, otherwise I would prefer the bent.

But in the end, I do not see it as a big difference. BTY, I don't get the wet thighs. On my highracer, my legs stay pretty dry, especially when compared to the DF.

No fenders needed for the Aero because the seat is hard and the frame tube is so big. I have fenders on the Strada.

I plan to put 27mm tires on the Aero soon. No more of this skating around on 23mms this winter. Enough of that.

BTY, I thought the Df ride today was great, until somewhere between mile 50 an 55 somebody turned on the pain meter.
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Old 10-03-05, 06:06 AM   #17
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Yeah, how hard WOULD it be to make a roof for a recumbent? Let's say, a trike, since it's more stable and has more mounting points. What would be the aerodynamics of the thing? Would crosswinds tend to flip it over?
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Old 10-03-05, 07:14 AM   #18
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Rain makes you wet no matter what you are riding...because it's water. If I wear my raincoat I just sweat inside of it. If I don't wear it I get wet from the rain. I Take an extra pair of socks because I'm gonna change my shoes at work anyway, and maybe a dry shirt, pack them in a zipp lock and change when I get to where I am going...works for me. I have seen pictures of bents with tops on them. They don't really look like they would keep the rain off very good, though.
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Old 10-03-05, 05:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o
Yeah, how hard WOULD it be to make a roof for a recumbent? Let's say, a trike, since it's more stable and has more mounting points. What would be the aerodynamics of the thing? Would crosswinds tend to flip it over?
I think the big issue is crosswinds. I thought of installing a sheet of lexan sloping from front to rear, leaving the sides open, to protect from drizzle and vertical rain, but then I realized I almost never get those conditions, and always get wind when it rains. Then I thought of closing the sides of the "roof" with sheets of clear plastic, then I remembered the effect I get when I wear my rain cape in gusty wind, and promptly forgot about the whole thing...

On a trike it would probably work, as fully-enclosed velomobiles prove.
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Old 10-04-05, 09:18 PM   #20
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I've commuted on recumbents for years in all kinds of weather, it's possible. BUT: I found my vision seriously impaired. Riding without some kind of glasses is outright dangerous. Raindrops or snow hit you fairly directly, which is painful and dangerous. On an upright, this is qutie different.
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Old 10-10-05, 03:39 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by konageezer
Thinking of a recumbent for my commute, but have one burning issue.

Here in Vancouver, we get a bit of rain. Okay, a lot of rain.

Currently, I can stay quite dry on my DF with a poncho and booties. The configurations of bents that I have seen all look like it would be difficult to stay dry, especially with respect to having my butt so close to the puddles.

Can bents be ridden in the rain (without getting drenched) or are they fair-weather-only?

Thanks for any information.
konageezer, I live in Victoria and commute to work on my recumbent. I have been riding my bent for a year now and it has been my experience that riding over manholes and sewers when its wet is very dangerous. Since most bents have slicks you could be pedalling and lose traction or on corners lose your traction entirely. I have also been wary of paint lines on pedestrian crossings. Furthermore, I have locked my brakes and lost traction coming to a stop as well.

Despite these winter drawbacks I still enjoy my ride which I have fitted with some fenders that make it a decent ride. I get saturated on my mtn. bike and stay pretty dry on the bent, at least from the road up! From the sky down I get soaked.
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Old 10-11-05, 08:47 PM   #22
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Old 10-11-05, 08:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
For rain, my upright still rules. Sure, I can use a fairing and fenders, but I inevitably still get wet. Water runs UP my arms and pools at my elbows, and it tends to puddle on the front of my jacket, where it will eventually leak through the zipper and get my shirt wet. OTOH, when I ride my upright, it's almost impossible to keep my feet dry. So it seems the rain will always win...
You might try gloves with a "gauntlet". That way, the rain wouldn't get into your sleeves.
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Old 10-20-05, 09:30 AM   #24
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I rode home in the rain tonight, so I thought I'd resurrect this thread.

With regard to weatherproofing, I'm thinking after tonight that a piece of weatherproof material slung between the handlebars, over my shoulders and onto the seat would keep my clothes drier. And a weathershield around my helmet visor. My feet stayed pretty dry I found. Big plus over the mtb.

I think I'll be getting fenders if this turns out to be an actual wet Wet Season.

One question: What's the best way to dry the spongy part on a Bacchetta type seat? And what's the best way to stop it getting wet in the first place?

Actually, that's two questions.
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Old 01-26-08, 11:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o View Post
Yeah, how hard WOULD it be to make a roof for a recumbent? Let's say, a trike, since it's more stable and has more mounting points. What would be the aerodynamics of the thing? Would crosswinds tend to flip it over?
Rear-
Roll bar upside down "U"- right to left verticle seat tubes *or* horizontal brace (hard shell seat) about 2 feet long
Middle
Vertictle 2 piece tube (with clamp for height adjustment) from frame (clamped) to small horizontal roof mount to get both sides
Front
horizontal tube from the frame (clamped) to front fairing- a 'T' for both sides -
Edges all rounded; no flip.
Might work on a 2-wheel 'bent- I don't know; works great on 2 trikes.

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