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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 05-25-06, 01:46 PM   #1
bookishboy
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Recumbents and bad knees?

Hi everyone, I mostly hang out in the folding bikes section, but I wanted to ask for some info over here. My father's currently undergoing cancer treatments that have wreaked havok on his body. He's never been an overweight person, and has lost a lot of weight, and briefly looked about twenty years older than he is. He's fighting hard, and is hoping that the treatments will put the cancer into remission. When he gets the go-ahead from the doctor, he's like to start on some sort of exercise regimen to gain back strength and put on some of the weight that he's lost. Right now, he can't sit for any position for too long, his sit-bones poke out too much and he gets sore.

A year or two ago, he injured his knee. Actually, he'd been asking too much from it for too long and it finally gave out on him. A lifelong soccer devotee, he has long been involved in refereeing for recreational leagues and even though over 60, he would still regularly take games and run up and down the field. His meniscus tore, and short of knee-replacment surgery, his knee is shot. This not only takes away something that he loved doing, it also eliminates what would have been his most likely form of exercise/recovery.

I was thinking that a recumbent bike or trike might be a possible form of exercise and fitness for him (if he liked the idea). The comfort seating position would be easier on his body (I can't imagine him currently sitting on a regular bike seat), and I thought that the elevated leg position might be easier on his bad knee.

Does anyone here have experience with a similiar situation? I'd appreciate any advice from 'bent riders regarding bad knees with 'bent bikes. Even better if there are known issues between different types of recumbents for riders with bad knees (LWB, SWB, above- or below-seat steering, etc)

Cheers
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Old 05-25-06, 01:57 PM   #2
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I'll get this started even though I am no expert... I would say you need to be looking for a LWB since for me those are a little more comfortable and usually have the pedals lower which adds to the comfort level. The steering (above or below) i will not comment on cause I've never tried the below. The SWB steering on some models is a little more "twichy" so that may be a consideration too. That's my two cents... peace, el padre
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Old 05-25-06, 05:02 PM   #3
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>>the elevated leg position might be easier on his bad knee>>

Maybe, but most likely not.

Recumbent bicycles have not proven to be any easier on the knees. If anything, the recumbent geometry *might* induce a bit more strain on the knee joint. For the new rider, it can be VERY tempting to use the seatback as leverage to push too high a gear. This can be insidious as well, and not entirely obvious to the rider.

Recumbents do have their advantages. From the waist up, they can be a godsend. Just don't assume that switching to a 'bent will automatically solve your dad's knee problem.

Oh. I'd also suggest a model whose cranks are lower than the seat. This can ease any concerns about starting and stopping. Many such 'bents also allow the rider to put both feet flat on the ground when stopped.
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Old 05-25-06, 05:48 PM   #4
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yes, he would really need to resist the urge to grind gears, but apart from that his knees should be just fine, provided the bike is properly fit to him. Either a LWB as suggested, or a swb with a lower BB such as a volae expedition would work. Trikes are great as well. take him out and try a bunch of stuff, see what he likes.
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Old 05-25-06, 08:41 PM   #5
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Thanks, I forgot to mention but I was thinking of trikes as well. Obviously more stable, he could clip in to the pedals and not have to worry about tipping over when coming to a stop. He hasn't ridden a bicycle regularly since he was a young man, as far as I know, but rode a motorcycle regularly up until the mess with the knee.

I'd love to hear from any recumbent riders who have a similiarly bum knee, or know someone else who has (and rides a recumbent) on whether or not the riding style is any better or worse on the joint than other forms of exercise. I don't picture him doing lots of road riding, at least not at first. I'm thinking more along the lines of park riding, mostly flat or gently rolling terrain, probably paved paths.

Thanks for any and all input
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Old 05-26-06, 11:20 AM   #6
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Good luck to your Father. We wish you and him well.

It's been my understanding that bents are harder on knees than upwrong bikes. The workaround, more rpm, less hard push on speed gears. My knees aren't the greatest either, so I'm concerned with this also. I have an LWB "LaBent" and I absolutely love it. It's far from the lightest or fastest thing on the road, but is very stable and a pleasure to ride. I particularily like it's low CG. And the pedals are below the level of the seat (better for blood circulation).

Here's a tip for you. Riding a bent down the street makes everyone you pass, smile or say hello or whatever! That's one thing I love about my bent, that it's a smile-maker. That may be a good thing for your Dad right now.
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Old 05-26-06, 11:45 AM   #7
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I agree with World Tour about the smile factor, it is really nice. I am a youngin who has banged up his knees playing rugby and yes my knees get sore after I ride for 5 or 6 hours of spinning, but I can walk afterwards. I ride about 6 miles to school and back and if I mash my gears for more than a couple of blocks, its terrible. I am a bit leatherheaded sometimes and haven't always listened about the mashing, but if your dad does listen and Spin, his knees will be fine. the best thing right now I think would be for your dad to have a good time and bents will absolutely do this for him. No doubt about that. Good luck to the both of you.
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Old 05-27-06, 06:06 AM   #8
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I ride a Green Speed GT3 trike amongst other bikes, I also have a bad knee from a work injury.
The trike is actually easier on my knee than most of my other bikes, BUT you need to have low gears if there are steep hills (I have a 13 gear inch low, non standard) and you must spin not grind. I often opt for the trike if I am having a bad knee day.
Another possibility is to fit a LOW powered electric assist to help him get used to cycling again, as having the help off the line and on hills can really help take the pressure of the knee but still allow you to ride normally once your rolling.
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Old 05-28-06, 09:32 PM   #9
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Bents won't be any easier on knees, but they are definitely easier on the butt! The only way to tell if your father's knees will like a recumbent would be to let him try one. No matter whether recumbent or upright, the best way to reduce stress on the knees is to use easier gears.
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Old 05-30-06, 07:44 AM   #10
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What everyone else said. Look for a LWB bent, or a trike with the pedals as low as possible (relative to the seat). Tell him not to mash the pedals, or he'll blow out his knees in short order.
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Old 05-31-06, 08:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookishboy
Does anyone here have experience with a similiar situation? I'd appreciate any advice from 'bent riders regarding bad knees with 'bent bikes. Even better if there are known issues between different types of recumbents for riders with bad knees (LWB, SWB, above- or below-seat steering, etc)
In our area we have a special needs bike shop called Creative Mobility. It is part of a shop called The Bike Rack. They carry recumbents and other special needs bikes. What is interesting is that there are seat materials other than mere foam which might make your father more comfortable when riding.

Give them a call and explain your needs. They should be able to answer the specific questions that the rest of us can only hint at.
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Old 05-31-06, 11:37 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the advice, and the kind words, people.

This is going to have to wait awhile, to see how he responds to the last of the chemo treatments, and how his strength comes back up. We're all cautiously optimistic, as he's always been a fighter. He was talking about taking me along on a trip down to Maryland this Summer, so I may nudge him into a trip to College Park Bikes, so that "I" can check out all the recumbents there.

It does appear that the recumbent design may be no better for his knees, but possibly no worse if he keeps the gears appropriate for the terrain. The comfort factor may be a big plus, particularly for trikes because of how stable they are.

I'll keep checking on this thread, so if anyone else has something to add, please feel free. If I have any updates, I'll resurrect the discussion then.

Cheers
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Old 06-25-06, 04:48 PM   #13
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Electric assist

My first post on this website!

bookishboy:

It sounds like your father is prime canadate for an electric assist. Have a look at this:

http://ecospeed.net/index.html

I rode one of these yesterday. I is a very funny feeling to get that kick in the back. From my ride I would look at the bikes suggested at the website first.

The electric drive goes in the middle of the chain, the transfer/drive assembly has a freewheel in it. The net result is you can peddle as much as need then hit the thumb switch accelerator and get a boost. This is an inline boost, it actually uses the rear cluster to drive the rear wheel. This would ensure the knee gets exercise to strengthen it.

Pick the bike first then put the electric drive on it.

A second choice would be:
http://www.bionx.ca/en/main/default/31.shtml

Here you can set the amount of assist wanted, the onboard computer will even figure out the weak leg and adjust for it.

See also:
Can You Really Exercise on an Electric Bicycle
http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?sect...ue&newsid=7623

-- Brandy
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Old 06-26-06, 08:30 AM   #14
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I ride a Worksman PAV Semi-recumbent now. I had both knees replaced in
2003 and find that I have to be careful not to load the knee joint to hard.
I tootle in lower gears alot but that's Ok 'cuse at 60 I'm not going anywhere fast.

I ride to save gas in town on errands while getting that all important excercise
we all need. I feel that it's a pleasant compromise in daily living.
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Old 07-15-06, 04:40 PM   #15
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Like most people here, I'd recommend either a comfortable seated LWB bent or a trike.
I had a stroke and back surgery and have a weak left knee with a wee bit of pain when I start riding. I actually sit a bit crooked in the seat (I never noticed it till others pointed it out) and seem to lock my knee a bit and use the abdominal muscles to compensate for the weakness.
Anyway, what I am getting at is that I recently went to shortened crank arms (153's) instead of the 175 stock arms. I spin a lot and had geared my bike down a bit with different chain rings. I tell everybody that rides it to "treat it like a car with an undersized engine and big load - Gear it down and keep the RPM's up!"
This is comfortable and works for me. Might be some ideas with your dad. Good luck to him!
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Old 06-09-16, 11:47 AM   #16
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Like most people here, I'd recommend either a comfortable seated LWB bent or a trike.
I had a stroke and back surgery and have a weak left knee with a wee bit of pain when I start riding. I actually sit a bit crooked in the seat (I never noticed it till others pointed it out) and seem to lock my knee a bit and use the abdominal muscles to compensate for the weakness.
Anyway, what I am getting at is that I recently went to shortened crank arms (153's) instead of the 175 stock arms. I spin a lot and had geared my bike down a bit with different chain rings. I tell everybody that rides it to "treat it like a car with an undersized engine and big load - Gear it down and keep the RPM's up!"
This is comfortable and works for me. Might be some ideas with your dad. Good luck to him!


Thanks Bobcat for that bit of advice.I actually hurt myself grinding gears going up a hill.
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Old 06-09-16, 12:06 PM   #17
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I'd recommend a LWB or even a delta trike (Anura, Sun, Hase) with short 155-145 cranks and with some gearing that will encourage spinning vs mashing -- That will give him the comfort of a recumbent and reduce the strain on the knees ..

As a fellow cancer survivor I can attest that you need to do everything you can do to encourage him to build back his strength. I would not recommend an e-assist unless you live in a particularly hilly area and can provide on-going support .. the extra complications of those systems can lead to a lot of frustration and counter the desire to ride. Its better to find a nice place or route at first that he can do and feel comfortable with; anything that gets him out and moving again .
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Old 06-09-16, 02:01 PM   #18
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It is a little late to give information to the OP as this thread was started in 2006 and the last entry before today was July 2006. The OP may still be around but hasn't posted anything in the last 16 months.
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Old 06-10-16, 11:40 AM   #19
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It is a little late to give information to the OP as this thread was started in 2006 and the last entry before today was July 2006. The OP may still be around but hasn't posted anything in the last 16 months.
Zombie Thread!!!!
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Old 06-11-16, 06:22 PM   #20
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Actually I guess as a lucky owner of both a LWB bent, and a trike, I think I would recommend the trike. It can be rode at any speed, stopped while clipped in, and of course will never tip over. IMO a trike is the easiest way to cycle that there is.
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Old 07-16-16, 03:19 PM   #21
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I am in line for a knee replacement, and went to the tadpole bent this spring. Knees hurt when I walk, but not when I ride. These machines have gears for hills, and go-fast gears. I like my Cat 700.

Will not go back to a DF bike.

Rode a Metric yesterday, second one this week. On the last 20 mile stretch to the barn, dropped a much younger rider on a Felt DF with good kit. Dropped him ON A HILL. Never saw him after that. LOL

Put the trike in SCAT mode, knees did not hurt last night, feel great today.

Learn to spin and it's all good.
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Old 08-25-16, 10:06 AM   #22
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I'm on my second trike, the first the Tracer was fixed gear that was too low geared, so I sold it & bought a Pashley TRi-1 Folding trike. I was due for a new knee replacement op' later this year, but after 4 weeks on the trike, the constant clicking knee has disappeared. Now I have bought a folding bicycle & selling the trike to raise funds to buy my wife a folder also, or would trade for one..
https://www.flickr.com/photos/eric_s...57672571250125
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Old 09-05-16, 10:46 AM   #23
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Shortened my cranks from 175mm to 155mm. No more sore knees. Way easier to spin aswell.
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Old 09-11-16, 06:45 AM   #24
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Recumbents ARE bad on the knees.

I ride both upright and recumbents and recumbents aren't good for the knees, esp if one is older. Lots of info on the net about it from medical sources.
It's a lose lose situation: ride an upright and have a sore butt, shoulders and wrists and save your knees or ride a recumbent and be more comfortable and aggravate your knees. I still ride my recumbents but always in a very low gear according to the conditions.
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Old 09-12-16, 12:20 AM   #25
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I had dodgy knees & cured them with a Tracer Theraplay semi Recumbent. Which gave me confidence to go for a conventional trike the Pashley. This was too bulky for the car so bought a Claud Butler Stratos 20inch folding bike, but this was too twitchy for my 76 year old knees so I'm going back to a semi recumbent maybe this one, anyone had one?
Mission Semi Recumbent Trike Tricycle Cycle | eBay
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