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  1. #1
    Fondriest Fanatic
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    recreational 'bent for my wife

    hi all,

    dedicated DF roadie here dropping behind enemy lines to look for help for my wife. she's had back problems the last few years and is uncomfortable riding a regular bike. she'd like to get into a value-priced recumbent to get back out and around with my daughter and I again. i know a little bit, but would appreciate any advice to help her (us) make a good decision. we've got a nearly exclusively recumbent store nearby and another all-types bike store that's having a big-big sale this weekend. we'd like to take advantage of either. we're in central indiana so hills are not a big concern although ignorant drivers are - as is the case everywhere i'm sure. what are recommended brands? best fit methods? expected beginner prices? etc......

    thanks for the help,
    aaron
    there is no hill that has no end

  2. #2
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    All of the brands are pretty good. The "lowest end" you're likely to find in shops are Sun. They're OK for beginners but most people grow out of them quickly, wanting to get something better. Prices will be in the $900-$2000 range for most models, with some above that. You should find something great for under $1500 though. As far as fit goes, just go around and try them all! It's hard to know exactly which one will be the best for a certain person, especially someone who has never ridden a recumbent before. If one of the shops deals exclusively in recumbents, you'll be in good hands when it comes to advice on such things.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  3. #3
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Oh, and just to clarify: Cars are the enemy, recumbents are your charming, loveable cousins.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Woodlark's Avatar
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    She may also want to try a "Crank Forward" bike such as the Rans Fusion. While not as relaxed as the true recumbents, they are easier on the back than a DF, and are easier to learn to ride than a recumbent.
    Earth is the insane asylum of the universe.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that you're referring to Valley Bikes in Caramel IN. You may be there a while, but the best bet is to put her on all the different models that'll fit her, and send her down the trail for a ride on each. It's hard to predict whether her back will like a laid-back seat or a more upright position, so test rides will be even more necessary than normal. She shouldn't be afraid to take a few out a second time, because the first couple may be difficult to control until her brain figures out how to steer the new platform. Have her try a trike, too, if they have any. Make sure she keeps it in a low gear and spins, or she'll be disappointed at the performance.

    The most common brands to see in bike shops are Bacchetta, EZ-Racers, Rans, and Sun, and if they have trikes you might see a Catrike or a Wizwheels.

    If you know enough about road bikes to pick a good one, you can probably spot a good bent, too. That note about the RANS flat-foot (crank-forward) bikes is a good recommendation; I am planning on getting my wife one in a few weeks. The genre is perfect for MUPs. IMHO, compared to the Fusion series, the competition isn't much better than Wally World stuff.

  6. #6
    Dr.Deltron
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    Aaron, I would suggest locating a BikeE on eBay. They usually run from 3-5 hundred bucks.

    True, BikeE's are no longer made, but that shouldn't stop you. They are wonderful beginner 'bents, especially the seat adjustment. It can be adjusted for a 5' rider or a 6' rider in just a couple of minutes, and no tools needed. I have a BikeE that is a permanent member of the stables, I just love that bike!
    In spite of the fact that it is the most "entry level" of the bunch!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbarker
    hi all,
    dedicated DF roadie here dropping behind enemy lines to look for help for my wife. she's had back problems the last few years and is uncomfortable riding a regular bike. she'd like to get into a value-priced recumbent to get back out and around with my daughter and I again. .....
    Look up the Sun EZ-1 and Cycle Genius Starling, both are around $600 at dealers. Actionbent also sells the MantaRay online for about as much.

    .....Actionbent mostly sells short-wheelbase bikes but these steer more-jittery, and they are more difficult for shorter people to handle because the bikes sit so high off the ground. I let lots of people test-ride my bikes and while most people could get going on the LWB within a couple tries, many couldn't ride the SWB after a couple minutes of starting attempts.

    You could look for used bikes as well, but there's no telling what you'll find that way.

    Whatever you get, make sure it's long enough for the rider: they need to be able to get a completly straight leg extension. Also, recumbent riders need rear-view mirrors, as it isn't nearly as easy to turn and look behind you on a recumbent as it is on an upright bike.

    If she would rather have something more "normal-looking" but just not "hunched over forward", there's some semi-recumbents out there: (In order of decreasing prices) there's the RANS Fusion, Lightfoot Surefoot, Day6Bicycles and the Sun SunRay.

    (there's other "comfort" bikes that move the pedals forward a bit, but I don't think they move them far enough to offer much benefit really, or they're really heavy like the Giant Revive).
    ~

  8. #8
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    Hi all,

    BlazingPedals, yep - valley bikes, we live a little over a mile from them. Never been in there, but rode past it many, many times. We'll likely spend Friday afternoon in there for a bit. As for Ebikes, a shop that just shut down had a few for $400+something. but like i said, it's out of business now. Fortunately, I know which other bike shop bought their remaining stock for a 'special sale' later this year. I'll probably go see if I can beg at least a test ride and maybe a good deal to save them the trouble of moving it to the floor and including it in inventory. I've built/rebuilt and maintain each of the bikes that I currently have, so I'm not worried about handling the maintenance. I'd like to put her on one of the more upright bikes with the OSS steering set-up. I figure that's likely to work best for her.

    have fun,
    aaron
    there is no hill that has no end

  9. #9
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150
    Look up the Sun EZ-1 and Cycle Genius Starling, both are around $600 at dealers. Actionbent also sells the MantaRay online for about as much.
    The OP specifically wanted to know about what he might see at the bike shops he's planning on visiting. Actionbent is sold strictly through the importer.

  10. #10
    Recumbent Ninja
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    my wife loves her rans v-rex, and she loved the lightning p-38 when she rode it, though the lightning is a pricer bike. Lots of great potential bents out there!

  11. #11
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbarker
    As for Ebikes, a shop that just shut down had a few for $400+something. but like i said, it's out of business now. Fortunately, I know which other bike shop bought their remaining stock for a 'special sale' later this year. I'll probably go see if I can beg at least a test ride and maybe a good deal to save them the trouble of moving it to the floor and including it in inventory.
    That sounds like a good plan!
    And if that doesn't work out, BikeE's can be had on eBay just about anytime.

    Just to clarify, Ebikes & BikeE's are two totally different bikes

    Ebikes are Electric powered mountain bikes, BikeE's are recumbents.
    A friend of mine has an Ebike, and I have a BikeE.

  12. #12
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    A couple of easy to find crank forward bikes - I won't even call these semi-recumbents, but they do have a pretty relaxed geometry and you can sit on the seat and put your feet flat on the ground - are the new Trek Pure and the Giant Suede. Both under $500. Very comfortable rides. Also many like the Electra Townie bikes. All of these have the cranks moved forward about 4"-6" from their normal position, which lowers the seat and sits one in a more upright position.

    These may be worth checking out while you are out comparing bents. Just to see if she is more comfortable on this type of bike.

    It's hard to find new bents for less than $1000, except for the Sun line. The EZ1 starts at less than $600 and there are a lot of people who like it ... but you won't find many advocates in a recumbent enthusiasts forum.
    Last edited by Tom Bombadil; 03-14-07 at 11:18 PM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member teamcompi's Avatar
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    I am new at this whole recumbent thing, bought a quetzal by makadio (and apparently others in the past), its a LWB, USS bent. It took me about 5 minutes to get the hang of turing right and left and going forward etc. The second ride was much easier and I am now comfortable. The bike was an ebay find and was low cost. Though the components are not the best mostly DEORE, its good enough for me. It has an adjustable boom which will allow my whole family to ride with a minor chain modification and a adjust on the front shifter. Its a real hoot to ride, can't help but smile the whole time I am on it. I heard that recumbents where harder on hills but this particular bike has 120 gears, and even with newbe legs it was easy to climb a 8-10 % grade, the low speed handling was really good, I was surprised how slow I could go.
    I found a link which has most of the current models listed:

    http://www.recumbents.com/recumbents.asp

    have fun with whatever you get.

  14. #14
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    If she is a casual rider and not a high mileage rider, a Sun EZ-1 or EZ-1SC might do the trick. $550-750. Sun seats and seating positions are very comfortable for back problems. If you pull the middle back seat strap real tight, it actually has fairly good lumbar support. If she is a little more serious rider, The EZ Sport CX or AX might be in order. $850-1300. bk

  15. #15
    Silly Party Member
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    Hi Aaron,
    My wife was interested in a bent, but there wasn't a shop close by and she hates to shop/try out. So I had to make my first "guess" a good one. From my experience on bents:

    - long wheelbase generally feels more stable/absorbs shock/holds a straight line better than a short wheelbase

    - a lower bottom bracket feels a little more natural/comfortable than a high bottom bracket (especially for a beginner)

    - I knew my wife would not want to keep upgrading to different bikes, so I didn't want to buy a lower end/lowest price bent, expecting to buy a better one later

    - I wanted something that would be easy to sell and had a reasonable resale value if she hated it

    Taking all this into consideration, I bought her a Rans Stratus off the internet. She loves it. New ones (Stratus LE) now go for $1250 and are terrific for a beginner, as well as the experienced rider. http://www.ransbikes.com/StratusLE07.htm She and I tour, commute, and ride on the local gravel/dirt rail trails. It does all well. The other one that is similar to consider is the Bacchetta Agio. Bacchetta has announced a new model that is even closer to the stratus, but its not coming out until (I think) fall. Other suggestion is just to have her ride as many bents as she can. Good luck!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by EriktheFish
    The other one that is similar to consider is the Bacchetta Agio.
    The Bacchetta Agio has a 25" seat height, so it is ill suited for short legs (irregardless of what Bacchetta claims). The Stratus LE's seat height, is closer to 20" and is therefore, an excellent choice for same said riders.

  17. #17
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbarker
    Hi all,

    BlazingPedals, yep - valley bikes, we live a little over a mile from them. Never been in there, but rode past it many, many times. We'll likely spend Friday afternoon in there for a bit. As for Ebikes, a shop that just shut down had a few for $400+something. but like i said, it's out of business now. Fortunately, I know which other bike shop bought their remaining stock for a 'special sale' later this year. I'll probably go see if I can beg at least a test ride and maybe a good deal to save them the trouble of moving it to the floor and including it in inventory. I've built/rebuilt and maintain each of the bikes that I currently have, so I'm not worried about handling the maintenance. I'd like to put her on one of the more upright bikes with the OSS steering set-up. I figure that's likely to work best for her.

    have fun,
    aaron
    The wife and I were there this last Fall and Village Bikes had a really sweet Greenspeed. It's a bit above the range that you mentioned, but it is a really sweet deal and an expedition quality touring trike!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  18. #18
    Fondriest Fanatic
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    hi again everyone,

    thanks for the info and recommendations, it looks like we're leaning towards an EZ-1 SC. Not sure if we'll get the steel or aluminum frame as there appears to be only 5# difference. Any recommendations on that point? My wife would prefer the steel frame based on price, but would the aluminum frame be significantly better? It's made from the 7005 alloy that some of my other DF bikes are made from and I'm quite happy with the feel and stiffness of that material.

    have fun,
    aaron
    there is no hill that has no end

  19. #19
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    the extra weight, the slower you go!

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbarker
    ... would the aluminum frame be significantly better? It's made from the 7005 alloy that some of my other DF bikes are made from and I'm quite happy with the feel and stiffness of that material.
    The Sun series is so incredibly overbuilt that the aluminum frame is still heavier than most steel frames. You won't have to worry about it being wimpy, it'll be stiff and it'll be durable.

  21. #21
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    You are in one of the best locations for 'bents in Indiana! You have Valley Bikes right there in Carmel!
    Valley Bikes
    121 - 1st Street NW
    Carmel, IN 46032
    Phone: 800-730-9021 / 317-582-5539
    Fax: 317-582-5540
    http://www.valleybikes.com/contact.html

    Tell Mike I said hello! (I'm the guy from Lafayette!)

    Look at their used, they have some quality items there and they carry Sun as well as Rans and other brands. Last time I was there, they had a really sweet Greenspeed Expedition class trike, used for not a lot of $$ for what you'd be getting!

    Quick Edit: They are a block off the Monon Trail and will let you take them out on the trail for a decent test ride!
    Quote Originally Posted by aaronbarker
    hi all,

    dedicated DF roadie here dropping behind enemy lines to look for help for my wife. she's had back problems the last few years and is uncomfortable riding a regular bike. she'd like to get into a value-priced recumbent to get back out and around with my daughter and I again. i know a little bit, but would appreciate any advice to help her (us) make a good decision. we've got a nearly exclusively recumbent store nearby and another all-types bike store that's having a big-big sale this weekend. we'd like to take advantage of either. we're in central indiana so hills are not a big concern although ignorant drivers are - as is the case everywhere i'm sure. what are recommended brands? best fit methods? expected beginner prices? etc......

    thanks for the help,
    aaron
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  22. #22
    Fondriest Fanatic
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    Hi Tom,

    I'm familiar with Valley Bikes, my parents lived a block away for a few years. I went in Sunday to check out a EZ-1 SC Lite that my wife test rode a few days before. Unfortunately, when we arrived, someone else was test riding it and bought it out from under us. The guy (Mike, i suppose) told me he could order a brand new steel framed EZ-1 for less than what the formerly available used bike went for. That's probably what we'll do, but haven't gone back in yet.

    have fun,
    aaron
    there is no hill that has no end

  23. #23
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    Rans CF bikes

    The EZ-1 is a good bike and can be found all over the place. It is one of the most common recumbents around. The upgraded aluminum version is a good deal for a decent quality bent. A bike shop outside of Muncie called Goldman's (765-282-2453), has a big selection of the Sun bikes with better prices. If you are planning on riding together, the Rans Crank Forward bikes may be a better idea. The CF bikes are much more performance oriented and more capable of matching an upright than an EZ 1. My wife has neck and back trouble and had to quit riding her road bike. We first went with recumbents, which she liked for the comfort, but didn't feel in control. This past Christmas I bought her a Rans Fusion. She loves it! Handles like an upright but easy on the back and arms. Very good performance as well. I ride recumbents and love them, but they weren't quite right for my wife. We would be happy to let her try out ours (I also have a Burley Jett Creek and Rans V2 she could try). I know of at least one other CF rider in Indy (we are in Muncie) who offered to let us try out his Zenetic. There was someone in Indy who had an Actionbent Manta Ray who offered a ride on it as well. A lot of people start with the EZ-1 but end up upgrading fairly quick, it might pay off to shop just a little longer before taking the plunge.

  24. #24
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    I am 5'2" and I have a 27" inseam. I ride an Agio and Giro 20 with an easy ability to reach the ground with flat feet. Both bikes will work fine for a short person. However, while I love my Bacchetta's, I got into recumbents as a fairly serious cyclist. I think people who are likely to be very casual riders will be comfortable with a lower bottom bracket like the Stratus LE.

    By the way I think trikes are great for casual riders too. And a lot of fun.

  25. #25
    Fondriest Fanatic
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    We'll likely swing by Valley Bikes tomorrow afternoon. I think she'd be fine on an EZ-1. She's never had the same competitive urges I've been stricken with. Even if, the Valley Bike guy and I talked about how recumbents generally hold their value on resale. I've got a 'slow' bike I can ride to keep pace with her and/or pull our daughter in the Burley.

    have fun,
    aaron
    there is no hill that has no end

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