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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    I'm thinking of getting a recumbent, and I have some questions.

    First, which is better, a bicumbent or a tricumbent? If the latter, what are the relative advantages of a tadpole vs. a delta?

    Second, I have heard that it is only possible to ride recumbents on the flat, and that they don't go up hills very well. This would be a major issue here in the Mountain State.

    Third, I am told that there are manoeverability issues involved with a recumbent. Is that so?

    Please forgive me if these questions are too elementary. I don't know anyone around here who rides one, so I can't ask anybody locally.

  2. #2
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    1. Depends on the rider and what you're using it for.

    2. False. They're a bit slower up hills than a road bike, but with enough training you'll be able to keep up. It also depends heavily on the design of the recumbent bike.

    3. False. Again, it depends a lot on the bike, and where you plan to ride. City streets won't be a problem.


    It would be very helpful to know what type of bike you ride now, where you typically ride, and whether you ride for pleasure, commuting, etc. Then we should be able to make a few recommendations for you.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  3. #3
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    One of my favourite recumbent memories is of a ride where I was pedalling up a steep hill and as I passed a woman walking her bike up the hill she said "I would never get one of those, they can't climb hills".

    So ... recumbents can climb hills, they're just a few pounds heavier and you can't stand on the pedals so you have to spin up. Long wheel base recumbents can have maneuverability issues similar to a tandem, and for the same reasons. Short wheelbase recumbents are almost as maneuverable as diamond frame bikes (DFs) and from my limited experience I expect high racers to be virtually identical to a DF.

    I can't help you with info about trikes.

  4. #4
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    I have two bikes. One is a Fuji Monterrey converted to an Xtracycle; the other is a Trek Mountaineer.

    I'm a transportational rather than a recreational cyclist. I use the Xtracycle if I am planning to go shopping or need to take a lot of stuff. If I am not planning to buy much or needing to carry much, I use the Trek, especially if I am going a long distance.

    There are a lot of tough hills around here. Some are not very steep, but are quite long; some are relatively short but so steep that even cars strain a bit, let alone bikes. Generally, however, most of where I need to go is in 'the flats' by the river.

    I am not fast, but I have very good endurance.

    Does this help?

  5. #5
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    You're going to get this advice so let me be the first.........you have to ride......and then ride some more. One thing that I will add is when you initially ride certain bents please remember that there is a learning curve and a developmental curve. You must ride enough to get the feel and the physical development to get the most from your bent. In my case the bent was different and better for all uses except one. Good luck and have FUN.
    Last edited by Opedaler; 05-17-07 at 12:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Recumbent Ninja
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    I blast 90% of roadies on hills, but I have a fast bike and I train for hills. You can ride anything up a hill you train for. Heck, the fixies do it!

    trikes are a LOT of fun, but I love my 2 wheels too much.

  7. #7
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound
    I have two bikes. One is a Fuji Monterrey converted to an Xtracycle; the other is a Trek Mountaineer.

    I'm a transportational rather than a recreational cyclist. I use the Xtracycle if I am planning to go shopping or need to take a lot of stuff. If I am not planning to buy much or needing to carry much, I use the Trek, especially if I am going a long distance.

    There are a lot of tough hills around here. Some are not very steep, but are quite long; some are relatively short but so steep that even cars strain a bit, let alone bikes. Generally, however, most of where I need to go is in 'the flats' by the river.

    I am not fast, but I have very good endurance.

    Does this help?
    Sounds like you're in the market for a trike. Fantastic cargo carry capability, the ultimate in stability (for large or unweildy loads), and the ability to crank up hills at whatever speed you can handle - without falling over. If you're climbing a hill then you will also get to decend it later, and a trike has fantastic high-speed handling.

    A trike with a 20" rear wheel will have more hill-climbing power than you need, and a trike with a 26" rear wheel will be fine for most hills.

    Now, if we know your price range, we can figure out which brands to look into.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  8. #8
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    You posted before I got mine up. IMO climbing on a bent requires different physical develpment than on you DF. A little more glute and ham and improved anerobic/muscle indurance. A little interval type training will make climbing on a bent much more fun and productive.

    Someone else will have to answer which type of bent for which type of riding.

  9. #9
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    Tadpole or Delta?

    Also, I don't know how much these things tend to cost, so I can't really say what my price range is. (Either way, I'm not ready to plunk down cash now; I'd have to save my pennies.)

  10. #10
    Recumbent Ninja
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    The good ones are expensive, but deal can be had. A great couple of bents for you two try would be the V-rex and Lightning P-38. Lightning is the better climber, but more expensive. V-rex is very affordable and one of the best all around bikes out there. Both can be had reasonably used. Heck, Bryan Ball is selling his P-38 now for a good deal.

  11. #11
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    If you ask enough non bent riding people about how a bent preforms, you will certainly get some uninformed answers. One of the chief problems about these impressions is we think of your basic two wheeler in terms of racing, young, fit riders. (or even Lance) From my own experience, I would say that most bent riders are over 40. Who would you expect to be faster on a hill, or the flats, the 20 something or his father?

    Another funny hill climbing story. I was riding my bent of the week, a Stratus, complete with Fairing up a long fairly stead climb on a hot day during and organized century ride. I had spotted a swb rider and latched onto him before we hit the climb, and together we passed many many DF riders, one of whom remarked when the swb went by "Oh NO!, passed by a bent on xxxx hill (sorry I don't remember the name of the hill)" When I came along side I said it gets worse, there are two of us, and we are both old enough to be your father, and on up we went.

    Of course, the serious DF's passed us, I get passed on any bike I ride, but usually not by as many as I pass, except on the trike in the big hills.

    Every bent I have ridden was more fun than any upright, some have been faster on the flats, none in the hills, but always a ton of fun

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    A few years ago, I did Cycle North Carolina, which that year started in the mountains and went east toward the coast. So the worst hills were the first couple of days, and it got flatter as the ride progressed. I didn't get passed on a climb until the 4th day, on the piedmont. And on the last few days nothing could touch me on the flats, not even large pacelines. That was on my front-faired V-Rex, which, like Greg writes, is a great all-around bent but not the best in any particular category.

    It's true that a bent's speed profile will be different from the uprights' speed profiles. Hills might be an issue if cimbing speed is important or if you want to ride with groups of uprights in very hilly stuff.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound
    First, which is better, a bicumbent or a tricumbent? If the latter, what are the relative advantages of a tadpole vs. a delta?

    Second, I have heard that it is only possible to ride recumbents on the flat, and that they don't go up hills very well. This would be a major issue here in the Mountain State.

    Third, I am told that there are manoeverability issues involved with a recumbent. Is that so?
    First--I've not ever tried a trike. They would take up more storage space, and transportation might be an issue as well. ...I have read that a lot of people in cold-weather climates get trikes for winter riding on snow/ice, but if you just get a bike that can take studded tires, you can ride that just fine on ice as well.

    Second--riding recumbents up hills is not that much harder than any other bike. Bents with upright seating and low pedals tend to be better up hills.

    Third--the on-road maneuverability has not ever much been an issue with me, even though I mostly ride on a long-wheelbase bike. I had a SWB at first and its jittery steering was dificult to handle in some situations, and generally no advantage when cruising normally. Recumbents in general don't take up much more storage space than a normal bicycle but they do tend to be more difficult to transport, particularly the longer ones. I also don't like how SWB's can be tipped over forward from hard braking {I suspect that this is a major contributing factor in upright bicycle head injuries that most helmet debates miss totally**.

    Alternately--there is also upright-style bikes that move the pedals far forward. Premium among these is the RANS Sport Series bikes, but the Lightfoot Surefoot and Day6Bicycles are two others less expensive. I own a RANS Fusion and it's quite nice--it's more comfortable than a regular bicycle, and you don't need padded shorts to ride it. ...And it tends to carry most of the weight on the rear tire, and is very resistant to tipping over forward from hard braking as well. (-I can't tip mine at all, but how the weight distribution ends up depends partly on the height of the rider).
    ~

  14. #14
    I am the Eggman Mooo's Avatar
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    This guy's from WV, east of you I think:
    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=hillbent1

  15. #15
    Ride more, eat less cat0020's Avatar
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    I would imagine a recumbent bike would be faster then trike, simply because there is less contact surface to teh pavement, less friction.

    I would recommend going to shorter crankarms for recumbent. I am 5'10" with 33" inseam, I ride 175mm crankarms on my diamond frame road bike, but 165mm on my recumbents. The shorter crankarms helps with smoother spinning at higher cadence.

    About climbing hills with recumbents, I can't be definate that recumbents are slower or faster than DF bikes, but I can say that a recumbent rider have less muscles group that could be used in propelling the bike for forward progress, certainly recumbent rider could not use his/her bodyweight to assist in pedaling.

    About balancing or maneuvering recumbents, I'd say it's up to your personal ability. Some people can do track stand on regular bikes, some people can't; majority of balancing and maneuvering have little to do with which or what type bike is operated by the rider.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff-o
    Sounds like you're in the market for a trike. Fantastic cargo carry capability, the ultimate in stability (for large or unweildy loads), and the ability to crank up hills at whatever speed you can handle - without falling over. If you're climbing a hill then you will also get to decend it later, and a trike has fantastic high-speed handling.
    Tadpole or Delta?

  17. #17
    el padre
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    From what I have seen, and heard, (i do not have a trike) Tadpole... peace

  18. #18
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound
    Tadpole or Delta?
    Tadpole, unless you need to share with someone else, or if you have trouble with deep-knee bends.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

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