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  1. #1
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    First time bent rider today...

    Test rode 3 recumbents today, having absolutely no preconceptions. It was really quite different than I had even guessed. To be honest, I have some mixed feelings. I'm still very interested in owning one but I'm asking here for your input on what it was like for you, first time and what to expect as experience increases. I started out on a Giro 26/20. I was a little nervous and pretty wobbly. It surprised me how sensitive the inputs to steering, shift of weight, and pressure on the pedals a bent is. Next I rode a Giro 26/26. I expected it to be more difficult for me but found I was actually more comfortable. I followed that with a ride on a Rans Stratus XP in order to experience a long WB and low BB. Again, it seemed to up my comfort level. So, I'm a little confused. Was each successive bike offer a better choice for me or was I simply getting more experience and relaxed? I'd have liked to go back to bike #1 to check that out but I'd already take about 90 min of the LBS owner's time. He didn't have a Corsa prepared today, but I want to go back and ride that one as well. I'd also like to ride one with a computer installed to see what my speed was. I want to find out if the fixed bar the Corsa has changes the feel over the articulating type. SO...Can you vets out there tell me if my first rides today were typical and is it a concern if it doesn't feel like second nature right off? Does it ever? What's the normal progression as one learns this new world of biking?
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
    Schmidt

    06 Bacchetta Giro 20

  2. #2
    el padre
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    I would say you are somewheres close to being right on target. Of course each one of us experiences bikes from our personal likes and dislikes. I have both a long wheel base (Linear) and a short wheel base (Lightning P-38) and I feel comfortable on each. I had the LWB first and when I got on the P-38 I thought the steering was a lot twitchy, but now that I have gotten used to it, going back to the Linear feels funny too. So that is why IMHO you are looking at things from the right perspective. peace

  3. #3
    Recumbent Ninja
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    my first recumbent ride ever was a giro 26/20 as well, and I almost gave up on bents then and there. The tweener bars and the sensation of the different riding position scared the crap out of me. I ended up buying a bike that was even tougher to learn on!

    Your feelings are very typical. I keep telling people it's like learning to ride a bike all over again. Once you get some experience it's all worth it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member karterjimm's Avatar
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    My first was on a brand new Actionbent suspended Road Runner that I had just assembled and told myself, "What can be so difficult about this? I have been riding bikes for 60 years!" I found out as I opened the garage door and proceeded into the driveway in a slight left turn and continued in that turn until I was into the front yard and falling over! Looking around quickly to see if anybody had witnessed my graceful spill and thankfully no-one was in sight. I threw the bike into my van and headed for my church parking lot and covered 12 miles in that lot without so much as a gasp in a turn. The rest is, as they say, is history and 1500 miles. I'll never go back to an upright! Now I'm learning to ride a Baron, which is a lot of grins and thrills.
    Since then, I have ridden all shapes and configuations and you will find that some just "feel right" and others you wonder why they are even manufactured. With that said, I have noticed different setups for different body types that work well. A friend has a LWB and when I ride it I am on the brink of disaster at all times. We are really different body styles and the bikes have picked us. Ride lots of different ones and one will feel like the right one. Somebody on some 'bent forum said that the bike picks you! Don't be timid about asking a rider to try out his bike.....all he can say is no! I have converted 4 to the 'bent side by letting people try my AB this past summer.

    ..........jim

  5. #5
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    I started out with a 20/26 SWB as a first bent. The frame turned out to be a bit too short for me, but other than that:
    --it didn't handle well in gravel or on broken pavement,
    --the steering was very sensitive and it felt like it required constant correcting.
    --also I got numb feet on the SWB, and couldn't remedy it by other means.

    The second bent is a 20/26 LWB. It is heavier and more difficult to transport, but-
    --the steering is far more relaxed, and-
    --it doesn't head off in strange directions when I need to ride over gravel or broken pavement.
    --The BB is low, and I haven't had any problems with numb feet at all.
    ------
    I would point out that not all SWB's are created equal; some are considerably longer-wheelbase than others, and there are different bar/stem combinations that make bikes handle very different.

    If I had rode only on clean smooth streets, the SWB might have worked well enough--but I ride on mostly rural roads and there are patches of typically-occurring piles of gravel all over, and I occasionally had to ride off the edge of the pavement to make room for wide vehicles to pass. These were unexpected/emergency situations, and the SWB just didn't handle them well. Mounting a wide/soft tire on the front helped a lot (a 2" big apple @ 60 psi on the front, while the rear was usually a 1.5" at 100 psi) but still didn't cure the problem.

    Also some bikes are only meant for clean pavement--such as, bikes that run dual 650 wheels, you can't get very wide tires on these things at all, and usually (because of the lack of wide 650 tires) the frames are only built for narrow tires anyway,,, so these bikes won't ever handle well in loose gravel, they don't have the tires for it. ...I wanted a bike I could run tires from 1" narrow up to 2" or so wide, to handle any type of rideable surface, and the SWB's steering got in the way of that no matter what tires I had on it. The LWB works pretty well most of the time with just the 1.5"s on it.
    ~

  6. #6
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    On your next trip, ride them all again. You might be surprised to find they feel totally different from what you remember on the first try. It takes your brain a few days to process the experience.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    On your next trip, ride them all again. You might be surprised to find they feel totally different from what you remember on the first try. It takes your brain a few days to process the experience.
    So tell me, is it a progressive thing or does it suddenly kick in to where one feels confident and comfortable. And, how much is it the bike and how much just getting the riding time? ( I was going to say "saddle" time but I don't suppose saddle will any long be appropriate.)
    "Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps" -Helmut
    Schmidt

    06 Bacchetta Giro 20

  8. #8
    shaken, not stirred. gnome's Avatar
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    My first ride on a recumbent lasted all about 10 meters. It was on a 20/20 SWB bike with the open cockpit style of handlebars. How did you start, and steer and it felt very weird laying back. It was very twichy to start with and my legs and feet got in the way of the steering. I quickly got used to the bike and on the third day of ownership felt confident enough to go for a 25km ride. I now have done over 500km and would probably never go back to an DF bike. Recumbents take a while to get used to as the sensations are so different from a DF bike.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    As you may have been advised during the test rides, the best technique is to relax; and relaxing is harder to do on your first attempt.

    Sometimes you go back after a few days, and the bike you thought was twitchy is now operated by mind control - and it's reading your mind perfectly. Other times, you'll still be wobbly but you'll have the feeling that, "yes, I will be able to do this!" And of course other times, what you get is, "Yecch! I hated it before and I still do!"

  10. #10
    <>< SoonerBent's Avatar
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    On your next trip to the LBS you should ride all three again + the Corsa. I too think you'll have a whole different experience riding them after the first time has sunk in for awhile. I also found the flex riser to feel "loose" I much prefer the Corsa type fixed riser.

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