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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 03-25-07, 08:08 PM   #1
d2create
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Do i have to "get bent"?

I love my Atlantis, but i have a problem that I've been trying to ignore until now.
I've been going to physical therapy for several months now for some neck/shoulder issues I've been having. I've gotten hit by cars on my bike and motorcycle (blacked out on that one), pulled back muscles working in the yard... so several things have happened that are not good for my neck. I guess it all caught up to me because for the last couple years I've been trying to figure out why I've been getting migraine headaches and why they were becoming more frequent. I finally traced it to tight muscles in my neck and shoulders. After doing CT and MRI scans it was determined that nothing was abnormal and I should go to physical therapy since it was muscle related. Turns out I was right. My neck was pretty screwed up. Bad posture from drawing at a computer all day, plus I'm sure the accidents, and then the commuting on my atlantis a few days a week was all contributing to my problem. Physical therapy has helped, i have a lot more motion in my neck now and I'm able to control the headaches to an extent. But one ride on the bicycle still ends up making me pay for it later. And the riding position is nothing like a typical road bike. I'm fairly relaxed on it but my shoulders still fall forward and lift upwards in a shrugging position and I tilt my head up to see which tightens down on the muscles at the base of my neck in back.

I'm only 33 and don't want to give up cycling so any help, pointers, advice, opinions, etc would be great. I may just need to continue with therapy, build up the muscles in my back and shoulders and eventually work thru this whether it be months or even years. But in the meantime I'd like to find an alternative.

So.... what's the deal with recumbents? I've always heard that they were popular with people with back problems. What about neck issues? From some of the pics that I've seen it looks like there still might be neck strain because some seats look really reclined forcing you to lift your head up? And they all look so different! I wouldn't have the faintest idea where to begin to look or what to look at. Help!

Thanks!
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Old 03-25-07, 08:29 PM   #2
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I'm fairly new to recumbents myself. I have a recumbent trike and a crank forward (semi-recumbent) bike.

It is very difficult to make any sweeping general statements about recumbents because they come in so many flavors, SWB (Short Wheelbase), LWB (Long WheelBase), CLWB (Compact Long WheelBase), CF (Crank Forward/semi-recumbent), Delta Trikes, Tadpole trikes, and many variations within those flavors. There are different seat angles (some are adjustable and some have neck rests) high and low cranks, etc.

Recumbents have helped many people with back and neck problems to continue to enjoy cycling, but the only way you are going to know if they will work for you is to go to an LBS that specializes in recumbents and test ride as many different models as you can.

Good luck in your search, and also check with the good people in the BentRider Online forum, they are always glad to help out.
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Old 03-26-07, 07:38 AM   #3
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With a bent your neck is held in a much more natural position. On my upright bikes I find myself looking down at the tires in an unnatural position and develop neck stiffness (which can trigger a migraine) and low back pain.
Did a 15 miler last night on my comfortable LWB bent last night and felt so comfortable I asked myself why I would ever even consider the upright again? (a bit easier to transport) Besides, wearing boxing gloves and diapers doesn't appeal to me.
May or may not work for you. Borrow or rent a bent and try it. I'd hate to make a blanket statement about everybody's neck, but several of my friends have gone to a bent to get unbent and swear they'll never go back!
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Old 03-26-07, 07:51 AM   #4
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If you've never ridden a recumbent before, it is very difficult to know which one would suit you best. Your best bet right now is to locate a bike shop in your town that carries recumbents, and see what all the fuss is about! Most any 'bent-friendly shop will be glad to let you try every recumbent on the floor, they're different that way. Pay no attention to brand names or prices, that can be worked out later.

Once you know what you like, come back here and tell us how excited you are at being able to ride again.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.
I guess I need to go check out these crazy and unusual machines in person.

Anyone know the best place(s) to go in Houston? The only shop I know that seems to have bents is Daniel Boone's.
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Old 03-26-07, 12:51 PM   #6
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I've never even been IN Texas, so all I know is from Internet searches. That said, it looks like Planetary Cycles is a Bacchetta Dealer, so it might be a good bet for other brands of recumbents too. There are a couple of recumbent groups in Texas; you might try finding them in YahooGroups and try to meet a few owners.
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Old 03-26-07, 02:04 PM   #7
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After 5 minutes on a bent in the LBS parking lot, I was convinced that DF bikes were completely over for me. Just to make sure, I took one last ride on my Trek 750. At the half way point, I knew it really was over. Two days later I bought the EZ Sport AX, and have never regretted it. I did have to have new h-bars made to eliminate forearm tendon pain. But now, I ride in total comfort and pain free. After 3 years, and several upgrades, I like it even more. You should definately check out various bents and see if one is right for you. Comfortable riding is your reward. bk
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Old 03-26-07, 03:01 PM   #8
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I too have had migranes after riding a DF for many years, always an hour or so after the ride, and the origin was my neck, after a lot of internet searcing I decided to buy a Grasshopper, never had a headache since after riding it, I now alternate between the DF & Bent and have noticed that even on the DF the headaches have reduced in number. Hope this helps you to decide
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Old 03-26-07, 04:32 PM   #9
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"
Do I have to get bent"

Yes I think you do. But for gosh sakes don't admit it to anyone......even under extreme bodily threat. Once you become become bent, as I understand it, you will be given a secret code name and password. You will use this password only under the most dire of circumstances and only as a last resort. While riding your bent go incognito and never admit to riding the bent of your own free will. Try to never look happy while on your bent and make sure you tell everyone that you are going upright once your malady is corrected. Good luck, and this post will self destruct once you read it.

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Old 03-26-07, 05:15 PM   #10
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LOL, i guess I should have phrased that differently. Point taken.
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Old 03-26-07, 05:45 PM   #11
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You may find once you go bent, that if you're increasing your overall bike time by virtue of being on a recumbent, that you can still ride your upright as well. You'll have to dial down the miles and days per week, but there's no reason you can't likely have both. I still use my upright quite often, and still enjoy it, but it only gets used a couple months out of the year.
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Old 03-26-07, 06:08 PM   #12
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Poor attempt at humor on my part d2. Seriously tho, I'm almost as new to bents as you, but even in my limited exposure the fun is evident.......and so is the prejudice. At one store I was asked what was my physical limitation since I wanted to look at bents. When I replied that I had none that would exclude riding an upright but just wanted to eliminate some of the problems that some friends had developed which had caused them to quite riding altogether as well as have a little fun,the response was one of disbelief.
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Old 03-26-07, 06:27 PM   #13
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Ya, i got the humor... but still a good point. The title was a poor attempt at humor on my part.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 03-26-07, 06:38 PM   #14
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I don't know if it needs saying, but... Houston is the home of Cycle Genius?
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Old 03-26-07, 06:50 PM   #15
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I don't know if it needs saying, but... Houston is the home of Cycle Genius?
Can you go there?
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Old 03-26-07, 06:56 PM   #16
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I rode uprights for over 120,000 miles and 22 years before getting bent. I have arthritis in my spine at the base of my neck. I'm not saying that all of those miles and years of upright riding caused it, but it sure hurts when I lean my head back. Bents on the other hand require leaning the head forward and my neck feels great. The way I see it, I've got another 22 years and another 120,000 miles of bent riding to even things out.
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Old 03-27-07, 05:00 AM   #17
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You get to!

My wife went to recumbents several years ago because of neck problems. The DF position left her with neck pain and numb arms. The recumbent immediately allowed her to enjoy cycling again. I tried her bike and asked myself, "Why am I not riding one of these?". The comfort allowed me to ride twice as long the first time on a bent. The low cost bents are the Sun EZ models and your local Cycle Genius if you want togo through a local dealer. The alternatives are the Actionbents mentioned above which give you higher quality components for the money but more work setting them up and little help from the distributor. An alternative is a quality used bike. Try looking on bentrideronline.com for good reviews and used bikes.
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Old 03-27-07, 07:32 AM   #18
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I'm 33 y-o, I've gotten hit on both my bicycle and motorcycle before, as a bicycle messenger in Seattle and NYC. I may not have as severe of neck/back injury to my body, but certainly have my fair share of close encounter with death, including a 14 day vacation in ICU as a patient. I just started riding a recumbent last year, mainly due to the change pace, I was riding with my GF.. the pace of her riding created a problem for me on a regular bicycle, my private area was not comfortable at casual speed. So I tried a $200 Redbent, then a TREK R200, then got myself a 1990 Vision R40. Now both my GF and I ride Vision R40s. I'm finally able to relax and cruise on a bike ride with my GF, my ass thanks me; so do my neck and back.
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Old 03-27-07, 11:57 AM   #19
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So I went to one local shop today during lunch and got to try a Sun and a BikeE. The BikeE had skinnier tires and was faster. I took the Sun out first and was a little swervy at first but got used to it in a minute or two and then started pounding the pedals and making some quicker turns. Kinda neat being in that position although it did feel substancially slower than my diamond frames.

I like fast and nimble. I usually commute at around 17mph. My commute is all paved on busy streets, but the pavement is not all that good... road heaves, potholes, etc. Lots of stop lights and stop signs to deal with. I need to be able to attach fenders, lights and bags. What kind of things would you recommend? Wheel size, pedal position, seat type, suspension etc. I'm assuming a shorter wheel base. I could use some help narrowing things down so I can focus on a few and then pick one that's comfortable.
This one guy was a bit long winded and I was on my lunch break so I didn't get too many questions answered. But they sell Rans, Sun, Cycle Genius, and a couple others. Plus i always get better info from all the experience on bikeforums.net anyway.

thanks!
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Old 03-27-07, 12:26 PM   #20
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Well, so far you're looking at fairly slow bents. Solid ones, but not much on the nimble side. Honestly, you should come up here to DFW one weekend and you could check out Plano and Richardson bike marts, ride my P-38, rans v-rex, and maybe some other bents from members of our recumbent club. It would give you a much better idea of the scope and range of the bent world.

If you're wanting some speedier bents, you should be looking at lightning, rans, bachetta, volae, and others of that nature in the 25 pound range. That Sun bike you were riding was likely more in the hood of 45 pounds.

You'll also need seri9us bike time to build the recumbent muscles up to match your old speed, but if you can TRULY sustain 17mph on an upright I have no doubt you'll be much faster and more comfy on the right bent.
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Old 03-27-07, 01:00 PM   #21
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Ditto to what has been said. Comfort on a bent is number one, without trying to look for it. With all the places to look there I Houston I wish you luck......peace
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Old 03-27-07, 06:51 PM   #22
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It may not all be roses ,but it should make a difference.I to was in a car accident ,that left me in neck pain.Three years of riding a (df) just instigated the problem,to the point where I was in constant pain.


I joined a gym where they put me on a program to loosen my tight chest muscles and loosen my rhombhoids.I also bought a EZ-rider Speedster and can ride for 3 hours with minimal discomfort.I can`t ride a (df) for more than 25 minutes with out numbness ,tingling and pain in my neck and shoulders.

I`d suggest a recumbent.....
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Old 03-27-07, 08:21 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d2create
So I went to one local shop today during lunch and got to try a Sun and a BikeE. The BikeE had skinnier tires and was faster. I took the Sun out first and was a little swervy at first but got used to it in a minute or two and then started pounding the pedals and making some quicker turns. Kinda neat being in that position although it did feel substancially slower than my diamond frames.

I like fast and nimble. I usually commute at around 17mph. My commute is all paved on busy streets, but the pavement is not all that good... road heaves, potholes, etc. Lots of stop lights and stop signs to deal with. I need to be able to attach fenders, lights and bags. What kind of things would you recommend? Wheel size, pedal position, seat type, suspension etc. I'm assuming a shorter wheel base. I could use some help narrowing things down so I can focus on a few and then pick one that's comfortable.
This one guy was a bit long winded and I was on my lunch break so I didn't get too many questions answered. But they sell Rans, Sun, Cycle Genius, and a couple others. Plus i always get better info from all the experience on bikeforums.net anyway.

thanks!

You might ask around the Rans dealers and see if they have any Tailwinds left. A compact long wheel base might be just the ticket for commuting. Most of the manufacturers have one in their stable.
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Old 03-28-07, 09:24 AM   #24
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So next I want to try the Rans Rocket, Rans V-rex and Bacchetta Giro 20.
Would these be better for my intended purpose of urban commuting?
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Old 03-28-07, 10:37 AM   #25
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yes they would, though for speed I'd also give the Bachetta corsa a ride too.
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