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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 09-17-07, 09:27 AM   #1
Elkhound
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A almost broke my neck.

Tried riding a 'bent this weekend. A short-wheel-base.

They say of riding a bicycle that once you learn you never forget. Well, riding a 'bent is a case of "Everything you know is wrong." I had major trouble just staying up on two wheels, and when I tried to steer I went yawling all over the road. If there had been any traffic I would have become road-pizza.

The owner offered to sell it to me, but I couldn't see spending over seven hundred dollars for a machine I couldn't even ride.

If I ever go 'bent, it will be a tricumbent, not a bicumbent.
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Old 09-17-07, 09:41 AM   #2
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Almost everyone is like that the first time on a SWB. If you stuck with it you'd be carving corners like a Ferrari in a few weeks.
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Old 09-17-07, 09:50 AM   #3
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Almost everyone is like that the first time on a SWB. If you stuck with it you'd be carving corners like a Ferrari in a few weeks.
You may be right, but I just don't have $700+ to throw away on spec like that.

Besides, almost every source I read is that 'bents can't do hills, and WV is not called 'the Mountain State' for no reason.

Last edited by Elkhound; 09-17-07 at 09:51 AM. Reason: expansion
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Old 09-17-07, 09:53 AM   #4
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I'm new at it myself. Only took a few minutes to be good enough to
ride a little...I'm sure an afternoon or morning dedicated to just riding the bent
would take out the wobbles.
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Old 09-17-07, 12:46 PM   #5
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You may be right, but I just don't have $700+ to throw away on spec like that.

Besides, almost every source I read is that 'bents can't do hills, and WV is not called 'the Mountain State' for no reason.

I understand your feelings on both counts. My biggest reservation about buying a Bacchetta Giro 20 was that during the test ride I felt that at high speed it could get a death wobble that would be the end of me. And here in Little Rock, I live on the side that is in the Ouachita Mountains.

Well, now I've got almost 200 miles on the bike, including two 50 mile rides. One of the first things I learned was to just cup the handlebars in my hands instead of grabbing on. The tight grip caused me to over compensate, causing the death wobbles. I don't have all the control down yet, but this weekend I was speeding through 30 mph corners and having a kick pedaling down the straightaways.

And as for the hill climbing ability, just get a recumbent with low gears. Sure you can't stand on the pedals, but I never did that on my DF bike anyway. Bottom line, I haven't found a hill I can't go up on the recumbent. And the joy of it is that climbing on a recumbent you are free to drink from your camelbak, look up at the sky, admire the hawks circling in the sky and enjoy the trees as you pass. You don't have to spend your time staring at the road so that your throat can gulp the maximum amount of air.
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Old 09-17-07, 05:55 PM   #6
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You may be right, but I just don't have $700+ to throw away on spec like that.

Besides, almost every source I read is that 'bents can't do hills, and WV is not called 'the Mountain State' for no reason.

Well, the hills are usually where I pass most riders. Most 'benters are old and slow, and they couldn't do hills on any bike. If you're a good hillclimber on an upright, you'll be great on a bent as well. I just got back from a cycling tour of the Smoky mountains. On a bent. And the 2nd place 2-man RAAM team was recumbent also. And they climbed more mountains i a week than you'll likely get over a year.

And yes, it's like learning to ride all over again, but it's the most fun you'll have on two wheels.

But hey, don't let me change your mind!
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Old 09-17-07, 07:10 PM   #7
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You tried a short wheel base bike and had the same experience I had. Long wheel base will be much different.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:27 AM   #8
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Maybe try a long wheel base 'bent...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
Tried riding a 'bent this weekend. A short-wheel-base.

They say of riding a bicycle that once you learn you never forget. Well, riding a 'bent is a case of "Everything you know is wrong." I had major trouble just staying up on two wheels, and when I tried to steer I went yawling all over the road. If there had been any traffic I would have become road-pizza.

The owner offered to sell it to me, but I couldn't see spending over seven hundred dollars for a machine I couldn't even ride.

If I ever go 'bent, it will be a tricumbent, not a bicumbent.
The trick on a SWB bent is to relax, relax and relax. It can be a bit daunting at first but does get easier. At the weekend I had the chance to try a Burrows Ratracer. Now that had twichy steering! But it was a lot of fun and very fast. Try a long wheel base bent before you completely give up on two-wheeled recumbents. A long wheel base bike is likely to have less twichy steering and be easier to learn on.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:56 AM   #9
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You may be right. Assuming I can find a LWB owner who will let me try his machine.
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Old 09-20-07, 07:28 PM   #10
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Yes, try a LWB bent! They are pretty "idiot proof" and have NO learning curve! I've been riding one for about 3 years and each year I get stronger and now have no problem passing anyone on hills, providing they aren't young racers or fitness freak types. Heck, those guys SHOULD be passing me, but surprisingly often can't! Even after riding a couple of years I maintained that bents don't climb as well as upright bikes, but now as my strength and knowledge goes up, I've come to the conclusion that bents climb DIFFERENTLY, but no worse. Ride em like an underpowered car - gear down and keep up the RPMS! Even if they didn't climb as well, you'd easily get it back on the flats, downhills, or on any windy day!
I've tried SWB bents now and then now that I'm experienced on the LWB ones and they aren't nearly as intimidating or tricky as you think when you first mount one. A bit of practice and you'd be away.
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Old 09-21-07, 05:09 PM   #11
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I tried a SWB, but decided that becoming road-pizza wasn't worth the time it took to beat the learning curve. Since so many can and do ride SWB without problems, I'm sure it can be done, though.

For speed, stability, and comfort, you just can't beat a trike!
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Old 09-21-07, 06:22 PM   #12
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I ride a SWB now and I love it, but I don't think I could have started on one. I started on an EZ Sport CX LWB. Very little learning curve. It still takes time before you are completely comforable because you are learning to ride a recumbent. Not the same as a DF bike.

I started riding the EZ Sport last September. To be honest, I was as comfortable on the recumbent as a DF bike at about 700 to 1000 miles. Not that I could not ride it well, it just took that long to be as comfortable. It took that long before I could ride it on gravel country roads as well as pavement. This would be different for each person.

After about 3200 miles, I bought a Bacchetta Giro 20 and love it. I like the extra speed and comfort. Riding the SWB after riding the LWB was easy. No real learning curve, which surprised me. I just took off on the SWB like I had been riding them forever.

I can understand your intimidation with the SWB bikes. I would suggest a LWB. They are very easy to ride and the lower bottom bracket makes them very easy to ride. I went from riding a MTB 11 or 12 miles per day to riding the LWB bike 20 to 30 miles per day with my longest weekend ride of 50 miles. I ride 100 to 120 miles per week with the recumbent and was riding less than half of this with the MTB.

Best of all, the recumbents are VERY COMFORTABLE!! Don't give up on recumbents yet because you don't know what your are missing. They are so comfortable, I am surprised everyone is not riding one.
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Old 09-22-07, 09:09 PM   #13
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Everybody knows that bents can't do hills. Why, just watch all the poor recumbent riders walking up every hill on all those invitational rides! And SWBs - they're just plain squirrely. On top of that, a gray beard and a pot belly are required. Yep, ya gotta be either crazy or disabled to ride a bent.

On the plus side, you can ride in sandals, baggy shorts, and a hemp shirt.
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Old 09-23-07, 05:35 PM   #14
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*lol* I remember a great ride I did in April that has probably the nastiest hills in the North Texas area, and my friend Bud on his corsa and me on the p-38 were just motoring past all these pacelines, and when we hit the BIG hills where we hand to jump to the 32tooth, we enjoyed watching all the roadies puking on the side of the road. We just motored on up!
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Old 09-24-07, 09:26 AM   #15
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For speed, stability, and comfort, you just can't beat a trike!
Speed? Most adult trikes I've seen are the heavy singlespeed or three speed ones for the elderly and handicapped, or the industrials. Like these.

Then there are the tricumbents like TerraTrike/WizWheels, which I am sure are quite fast but are probably rather difficult to get into and out of.
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Old 09-24-07, 11:01 AM   #16
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There are lots of trikes in my club, Catrikes, Wizwheels, a homebuilt, and even a Windcheetah. Most of the owners also have 2-wheeled bents and they are universally slower on their trikes. And I don't see any comfort advantage, either, certainly not compared to my RANS seat. So really, the only advantage trikes have is stability, if you define stability as the inability to fall over at low speeds. OTOH, some of them have real problems with pedal steer and/or twitchy steering, which IMHO is also an aspect of stability. I wouldn't mind having a trike, either; but for the fun of it, not for speed, comfort, or stability.
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Old 09-25-07, 01:34 PM   #17
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I own a lwb, a swb and a trike. They are all very different, and all fun to ride. For speed, I'd have to say the swb (V-Rex) is probably a tad faster than the lwb (TourEasy). For sheer fun the trike (Trice T) wins hands down, and is the most comfortable thing I can imagine. If it is possible, try as many different kinds of 'bents as you can get your hands on, as they are all different, and what works for one person, may not be a good choice for someone else. From what I have observed, the usual progession of the recumbent addiction is lwb-to-swb-to-trike. For most people new to recumbents, the lwb bikes are the easiest to start with, and there are some very good ones out there. An excellent choice, with almost no learning curve is the Sun EZ Sport. This comes in 3 models, steel, chromoly, and aluminum. They can often be obtained used for a very good price. They are well-made, very comfortable, with good components.
Good luck in your search for the best bike for you...and have fun!
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Old 09-25-07, 01:36 PM   #18
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Not all trikes are very low to the ground. I have a Trice T, a tadpole trike, which has a seat height of 12.5 inches. It is very easy to get on and off of, even with my 58 yr old, worn out knees.
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Old 09-26-07, 04:45 PM   #19
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To my amazement the neighbours on both sides of the hosue have tried the recumbent with success the very first time. I know one of them does not know anything to bikes, while the other might have been riding bkes in the past (recumbents not). That one went right out of sight on the very first try (which is a bit scary for me the recumbent owner ! ;-)

So you see, it depends. This was a very SWB recumbent (AB HiRacer). Perhaps you should not base an idea of what it is on a single try. I for one took more than 10 minutes just to get out of the garage and into the drivewway on the very first day.

Cheers.
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Old 09-26-07, 05:01 PM   #20
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I have an LWB, and believe me, there was a learning curve. OK, it could have something to do with the fact that I hadn't ridden a bike of any kind in 15 years when I bought my 'bent, but still it was definitely a different experience. I did manage to ride the thing 20 miles home the first day I got it, so it wasn't impossible, but the first day was definitely hairy. I was gripping the handlebars so tightly I nearly pulled off the rubber thingys on them.

It took me a couple of months before I was as smooth on my bent as I had been on my DF 15 years ago.

Now, 1900 miles later, I'm happy as a clam with my purchase.

Oh, and the hills -- that's where I pass most of the roadies. That doesn't mean that a 6% grade 3 miles long isn't a hell of a challenge, but the average shorter hills, where you can get a decent head of steam going into them -- no problem at all.
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Old 09-27-07, 02:29 PM   #21
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I think it also helps when new to bents, to focus far down the road instead of just a few feet forward.
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Old 10-21-07, 10:20 PM   #22
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Gray beards

It took me about five weeks to become secure on my SWB. I've been riding it for about 18 months now... I do hills all the time as I live in central MA. And, yes, I do have the gray beard and love riding in comfortable clothes. To each his own.
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Old 10-22-07, 07:49 AM   #23
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Before my RANS Rocket (swb) I had only occasionally rented a recumbent for day rides. I had no problem adjusting to the Rocket and was completely acclimated after about 50 miles. The key is definitely relaxation. I never was a good hill rider, so my expectations there are low. I'm a flat-land rider and will forever be.
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Old 10-22-07, 08:04 AM   #24
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When it comes to 'bent conversion,' a certain degree of commitment is required to get past the learning curve. One of the great strengths of the late Bike-E was that it was easy for almost anybody to get on one and confidently ride around a parking lot. I think long wheelbase models in general have a shallower learning curve and make for a better test ride experience for the first-timer.
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Old 10-22-07, 03:04 PM   #25
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There are lots of trikes in my club, Catrikes, Wizwheels, a homebuilt, and even a Windcheetah. Most of the owners also have 2-wheeled bents and they are universally slower on their trikes. And I don't see any comfort advantage, either, certainly not compared to my RANS seat. So really, the only advantage trikes have is stability, if you define stability as the inability to fall over at low speeds. OTOH, some of them have real problems with pedal steer and/or twitchy steering, which IMHO is also an aspect of stability. I wouldn't mind having a trike, either; but for the fun of it, not for speed, comfort, or stability.
Lets see you don't have to unclip at lights etc., you can climb hills that noone on a 2 wheeler can, You can corner at very high speeds with body english, mud, gravel, oil won't make the trike go out from under you, front wheel blowout is a non event, indirect steering is not twitchy, pedal steer goes away just like the weeving improves at low speed on a SWB or lowracer with practice, it is easy and safe to run a full fairing and then you get to kick the a..e of 2 wheelers.
I have probaly missed some but you get the idea.
Oh and from the point of view of someone that likes to corner fast they are never low enough, and you only have to get on at the start and off at the finish.
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