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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 10-08-02, 06:36 PM   #1
radioflier
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wheel sizes

I've been looking around on the net for the various recumbent bikes I might try. I've noticed that some have dual 16" wheels, some 20", and some with 20/26 combos. Whats the advantages/disadvantages of the various configurations?

Ron
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Old 10-08-02, 08:11 PM   #2
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16" tires few good tires on the market, there are two or three high pressure tires, few shops stock "good" 16" tires. Dual 16" bikes need large chain wheels, or special drive trains. Smaller tires offer a slightly ruffer ride.

20" Many more "good" tires on the market, dual 20" bikes need large chain wheels, or special drive trains. There are quite a few very nice dual 20" bents on the market.

20"/26" Can use standard gearing, many good 26" road tire to pick from

There are no hard rules on how a recumbent is built, or what is should look like. One builder may build a 16"/26" another a 20"/700 or dual 20's... whatever they think is better. Each has its negatives, and each has its pluses. The most common is a bike built 20"/26"
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Old 10-09-02, 07:30 AM   #3
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Smaller tires make for a rougher ride without suspension. I think Sheldon's site has something on that if you want to check it out. But tire selection can play a big part if you get a "not as popular" tire size.
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Old 10-09-02, 12:13 PM   #4
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A 16" front wheel permits the pedals to be lower, thus helping to keep the center of gravity low for better handling.
A 16" presents more rolling resistance than a larger wheel, but over 20kph the lower air drag of a 16" more than compensates for the rolling resisstance.
A 16" front wheel does not jump curbs very well.
The larger the rear wheel the smaller the big gear that is in your line of site. My homebuilts prototype #1 is 16" front and 28" rear. Prototype #2 is 16" front 26" rear.
I use regular 40psi. tires in the front. They have smooth tread, are inflated to 35psi and cost $6.99Can or $4.66US. Most of the load is on rear tire anyway.
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Old 10-16-02, 02:10 PM   #5
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I have one bent that has a small 20" front and a 26" rear (low weight at less than 30lb). At high speed I find this bike is somewhat wobbly and requires full attention to steer. The bike also does not handle well under a heavy packed load, say for touring but OK for short communting.

My other bike has dual 26" wheels which I find much better at higher speeds, more stable under load (heavier bike at nearly 20kg) and I can get good road touring slicks for it. It saves on on taking extra tubes and tires of different sizes when riding.

There are also bents out there with 24" and 700 (27")size wheels. From what I understand the larger the wheel usually the more stable the ride, higher speeds. From what I've experienced so far the large wheel bent I have handles much better than my small wheel type.

Does this confuse you more?
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Old 10-16-02, 05:20 PM   #6
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My riding will be exclusively neighborhood/subdivision streets and a few bikepaths. Whatever is close to our house.

I have no interest in doing touring or long distance rides on roads. I've mapped out some routes and can easily put together a 10 mile ride going from one subdivision to another. I doubt I will ride more than 10 - 15 miles at a time. It just depends on how this out-of-shape 55 year old body responds to riding.

Planning on using this for a daily exercise routine (I walk the neighborhood now). I am retired, wife is disabled and cannot participate with me in this - looking for a pleasent way to spend some time clearing my head.

Thinking about something like an Easy Racer Sport.

Regards

Ron
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Old 10-16-02, 10:04 PM   #7
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20" front/26" rear is a reasonable configuration because it allows for standard gearing without relying on a Roloff hub or other special gearing and it lowers the chainwheel height (I'm referring to short-wheel base here.) 26"/26" is fine if you're at least 6-foot tall and you're comfortable with a high center of gravity. I've never understood why 16" wheels should appeal to anyone over 10 years old.
Okay, so I'm biased. Deal with it.
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Old 10-16-02, 11:51 PM   #8
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I came across a free edition of "Recimbent and Tandem Rider" in my LBS. It's a tabloid size magazine, and you can get a subscription. I've been doing my first reading on recumbents in there, and they're fascinating.

Pick it up and take a gander.
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Old 10-17-02, 07:05 AM   #9
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I have no interest in doing touring or long distance rides on roads. I doubt I will ride more than 10 - 15 miles at a time. It just depends on how this out-of-shape 55 year old body responds to riding.

Okay, but don't blame us if you find yourself wandering off to ride with the Bent Trail Riders ( http://www.siscom.net/~grindix/btr/ ) on the Miami Valley Trails ( http://www.intellweb.com/trails/ ). Bent riding can become quite addictive, you know!
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Old 10-17-02, 07:35 AM   #10
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I hear you - I'm also old enough to know "never say never".
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