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  1. #1
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Pain free? My butt!

    There are many good reasons to ride a bent, but one of the ones I hear most often that I've never quite understood is why a bent would inherently be more pain free than a DF.

    The reason I'm thinking about this right now is that I just returned from a century which coincidentally is the first decent length ride on a new bent I just bought. Despite the fact that the seat was padded, my butt is definitely sore (in fact, much worse than I've ever experienced on a DF). When you get right down to it, most people need somewhere between 4 1/2 and 6 hrs seated and pedaling (i.e. not including breaks) to ride 100 miles. Sit on anything for that long when you're not used to it, and you'll be sore because the pressure points are different for every kind of seat. In my case, the problem will go away by itself as I ride my new bike more, but discomfort seems like a conditioning issue rather than a bike design one.

    Besides, regardless of what type of condition you are in and what you ride, you can always work until your legs are so sore that you can hardly walk. Pain is equal opportunity....

  2. #2
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek
    ...the first decent length ride on a new bent I just bought.
    ...
    Sit on anything for that long when you're not used to it, and you'll be sore because the pressure points are different for every kind of seat. ...
    You make a point.

    I'm going to guess that your new bent is an EZ Sport, or something similar with a fairly upright seat, and just possibly a flat, plywood seat base?

    Just a guess.

  3. #3
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mooo
    You make a point.

    I'm going to guess that your new bent is an EZ Sport, or something similar with a fairly upright seat, and just possibly a flat, plywood seat base?

    Just a guess.
    It's Challenge Seiran SL with a carbon fiber seat. Being a highracer, the seating position is fairly reclined. Here's a shot from the maiden voyage, though I've made substantial adjustments since the pic was taken.

    The seat is reasonably ergonomic and it's actually quite comfortable, but I'm particularly bony. For my DF bikes, I'm a huge believer in shorts with gel in them for longer rides -- this has as much to do with damping road vibration as it does comfort.

    Right before I went out the door, I suddenly decided that I didn't need my gel shorts in them since the seat has some padding. Had I worn my normal shorts, I probably would have been fine. Live and learn. When I first got my trike, the maiden voyage (except a 3 mile test ride to do some basic adjustments) was a century. That worked out fine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Let us know how your butt feels tomorrow. I know riding a century on an upright, without considerable acclimation, would make it hard to walk for several days. And I'm not talking about sore muscles.

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    There is a name for that, recumbutt. I had a Corsa so I am familiar with the riding position and while I never had the problem on the Corsa, I have had it on other bents. Solutions are many, two that always work for me is either a small pad under the small of the back, lower than you mught guess, or more recline. Besides building those new muscles, you got to not be sitting on the ones you are using... sort of

  6. #6
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    Let us know how your butt feels tomorrow. I know riding a century on an upright, without considerable acclimation, would make it hard to walk for several days. And I'm not talking about sore muscles.
    Heck, I only rode 45 miles on my upright tandem yesterday and my rear end still hurts.
    Dennis T

  7. #7
    sch
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    Ha, Trsnrtr, I am saddle shopping for the stoker seat on a
    friends tandem. I did a century about 6wks ago and it was
    a bit annoying, but ok after a few days. Tried another saddle
    (vintage Cinelli) and it was horrible, had to abandon the
    century at 65mi. Third saddle was ok to 75mi but got more
    and more obnoxious til we cut things short at 94mi. (Terry
    Gellisimo) Going to bug the local tandem dealer for some
    other saddle options.

    Re the OP: I had to accomodate to my Rotator Pursuit
    seat over a period. There is initially the pressure pain of
    sitting more or less in one position constantly and the
    gluteal pain of using different muscles. After a few hundred
    miles both went away and the bent is FAR FAR more comfortable
    than the DF. I did try a Bacchetta Aero once and had significant
    butt discomfort at 25mi. I think an angle and position change
    would likely have improved matters.

  8. #8
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sch
    Ha, Trsnrtr, I am saddle shopping for the stoker seat on a
    friends tandem. I did a century about 6wks ago and it was
    a bit annoying, but ok after a few days. Tried another saddle
    (vintage Cinelli) and it was horrible, had to abandon the
    century at 65mi. Third saddle was ok to 75mi but got more
    and more obnoxious til we cut things short at 94mi. (Terry
    Gellisimo) Going to bug the local tandem dealer for some
    other saddle options.
    On a DF, it is very important to adjust the saddle carefully. Each person requires different tilt and fore/aft adjustment. Being off by literally a couple degrees or 2 mm can be the difference between agony and feeling just fine. Especially when you have a new saddle, it's a good idea to carry tools and play with the adjustments until you really get it right. If you go back to the shop, have them look at the adjustment and explain where it hurts. I'd recommend doing the adjusting yourself since it often takes considerable trial and error as well as a lot of miles to get things perfect. Even with perfect adjustments, different saddles work for different people.

    Quote Originally Posted by sch
    I had to accomodate to my Rotator Pursuit
    seat over a period. There is initially the pressure pain of
    sitting more or less in one position constantly and the
    gluteal pain of using different muscles.
    More or less, this seems to be the problem. Today, I'm still sore but this will go away quickly. On this particular bike, you have to get different supports to change the recline. However, it's tilted back enough that neck discomfort could be an issue if I took it back further.

  9. #9
    Recumbent Ninja
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    You also use different muscles on a bent that must acclimate, so some discomfort is to be expected. When I switched from the lowracer to the P-38, my butt and inner thighs were lit on fire, even though I was already bent acclimated. Plus the angle of some seats need to be fit correctly, just as seats on a df do.

    Once you have that down, you can do a century, take a quick break, and go on another one!

  10. #10
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek
    There are many good reasons to ride a bent, but one of the ones I hear most often that I've never quite understood is why a bent would inherently be more pain free than a DF.

    The reason I'm thinking about this right now is that I just returned from a century which coincidentally is the first decent length ride on a new bent I just bought. Despite the fact that the seat was padded, my butt is definitely sore (in fact, much worse than I've ever experienced on a DF). When you get right down to it, most people need somewhere between 4 1/2 and 6 hrs seated and pedaling (i.e. not including breaks) to ride 100 miles. Sit on anything for that long when you're not used to it, and you'll be sore because the pressure points are different for every kind of seat. In my case, the problem will go away by itself as I ride my new bike more, but discomfort seems like a conditioning issue rather than a bike design one.

    Besides, regardless of what type of condition you are in and what you ride, you can always work until your legs are so sore that you can hardly walk. Pain is equal opportunity....

    A bent will be more pain free than a DF because your body weight is being supported over a much greater area and none of your body parts are forced into non-ergonomic positions [ie. looking up on a DF bike].

    Given your newness to bents I am not surprised you are a bit sore after a century ride. You need to acclimatize your muscles and give yourself some time to setup the bent correctly.

    Your butt could be sore for two different reasons: 1) you are using new muscles there and they are complaining about the lack of conditioning. 2) your seat is too vertical forcing your butt to support too much weight - particularly if it ends up compressing the muscles that are doing some of the work.

    Finally I don't think anyone who says bents are pain free is referring to lack of muscle soreness after a big ride. They are talking about the ergonomic discomfort common when riding DFs a long time - butt, neck/shoulders, feet, etc...

    I would get some more miles in your legs and adjust your bike a bit before tackling the next big ride.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  11. #11
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek
    It's Challenge Seiran SL with a carbon fiber seat. Being a highracer, the seating position is fairly reclined. Here's a shot from the maiden voyage, though I've made substantial adjustments since the pic was taken.

    The seat is reasonably ergonomic and it's actually quite comfortable, but I'm particularly bony. For my DF bikes, I'm a huge believer in shorts with gel in them for longer rides -- this has as much to do with damping road vibration as it does comfort.

    Right before I went out the door, I suddenly decided that I didn't need my gel shorts in them since the seat has some padding. Had I worn my normal shorts, I probably would have been fine. Live and learn. When I first got my trike, the maiden voyage (except a 3 mile test ride to do some basic adjustments) was a century. That worked out fine.
    Well, it was just a guess.
    I rode an HP Velo Speedmachine once. Didn't care for the saddle, although some people love 'em.

    Vive la differance, oui?

  12. #12
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik
    Finally I don't think anyone who says bents are pain free is referring to lack of muscle soreness after a big ride. They are talking about the ergonomic discomfort common when riding DFs a long time - butt, neck/shoulders, feet, etc...

    I would get some more miles in your legs and adjust your bike a bit before tackling the next big ride.
    I've ridden two bents, an EZ Sport and Catrike Road. I've never experienced muscle pain other than cramps in hot weather(that was a matter of hydration). Anyway, I've never had muscle pain riding either bent. However I've never ridden more than 67 miles in a day. My muscles were very tired after that ride, but no pain. I have ridden 150 miles in three days with no problems.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

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