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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 09-18-07, 10:03 AM   #1
David in PA
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Several Bent Questions for the Unitiated

Hi,

I have several questions about recumbent bicycles. I would like to get one, but have just started my research. Please feel free to answer some or all of the following questions. Thanks!

1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having two 26" wheels versus a front 20" wheel and a rear 26" wheel?

2. It seems that most bents have nine speeds, while my current bike has 24 speeds. Is nine speeds truly sufficient for a bent? Or is this something that might be improved--if necessary--in the future?

3. I would like to purchase a bent that can tour so it must accommodate racks, but it also must be relatively fast and have higher end components (without getting too carried away). Is that type of bent available for around $1700 or less? If so, which one would you recommend? I might spend more, but really don't want to.

4. The bent rider's feet and legs sit "high" above the ground on the pedals. Could this high feet/leg position contribute to a fall-over because the rider could not plant his or her feet on the ground quickly enough in an emergency situation?

5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?

Thanks!
David

Last edited by David in PA; 09-18-07 at 10:05 AM. Reason: punctuation
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Old 09-18-07, 10:23 AM   #2
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Most bents have 8- or 9-speed freehubs. Your bike has an 8-speed freehub.

Take a look at Bentrideronline.com.
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Old 09-18-07, 10:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by David in PA View Post
Hi,

I have several questions about recumbent bicycles. I would like to get one, but have just started my research. Please feel free to answer some or all of the following questions. Thanks!

1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having two 26" wheels versus a front 20" wheel and a rear 26" wheel?
This is purely a preference thing (style points). Dual 26" or 700c rims is normally called a HiRacer and some people just love them. It does mean your bottom bracket is higher which allows you put the seat at a more reclined angle. Overall, a wheel is a wheel. The 20" front wheel is mostly used to clear your heels from the tire.

2. It seems that most bents have nine speeds, while my current bike has 24 speeds. Is nine speeds truly sufficient for a bent? Or is this something that might be improved--if necessary--in the future?
8 or 9 speed often refers to the cassette not the drivetrain. Most 'bents come with a triple for the chainrings as well. So a 9x3 is a 27 speed. Some perforamnce bikes only have a double up front.

3. I would like to purchase a bent that can tour so it must accommodate racks, but it also must be relatively fast and have higher end components (without getting too carried away). Is that type of bent available for around $1700 or less? If so, which one would you recommend? I might spend more, but really don't want to.
There are lots of touring capable 'bents. You can easily put 4 panniers on them with racks. Their pricerange varies wildly. Suspension is probably the biggest consideration. Your pricerange is not unreasonable.

4. The bent rider's feet and legs sit "high" above the ground on the pedals. Could this high feet/leg position contribute to a fall-over because the rider could not plant his or her feet on the ground quickly enough in an emergency situation?
The chances of falling over on a 'bent while clipped in is no different than a DF. It is all about technique and experience. Practice practice practice

5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?
I own a 'bent trike (tadpole). It is something one cannot explain... you just have to do it.

Thanks!
David
Do join BROL (Bentrider Online) and join in the discussions. It is the "THE" recumbent forum.
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Old 09-18-07, 11:46 AM   #4
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Hello David,

Where are you located in PA? You're welcome to try my recumbents if you're local to me.

1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having two 26" wheels versus a front 20" wheel and a rear 26" wheel?

Pro: Same size front and rear wheel means less spare tube to carry.
Larger wheel sizes roll over obstacles easier, less rolling resistance.

Con: Sit higher off the ground and higher bottom bracket feel less stable for beginner recumbent rider.


2. It seems that most bents have nine speeds, while my current bike has 24 speeds. Is nine speeds truly sufficient for a bent? Or is this something that might be improved--if necessary--in the future?

The number of gears doesn't necessary reflect the gear range of the gearing, but the more gears you have on the rear wheel the tighter the gear ratio between the cogs. Range of the gearing is determined by the number of teeth on the chainrings and cogs, not the number of gears available.

3. I would like to purchase a bent that can tour so it must accommodate racks, but it also must be relatively fast and have higher end components (without getting too carried away). Is that type of bent available for around $1700 or less? If so, which one would you recommend? I might spend more, but really don't want to.

Touring recumbent may not be fast, fast recumbent may not do so well with loaded touring.
You want high performance, you pay the high $$.. no one wants to spend more money then they have to, but the mindset of getting everything at the lowest cost will cost you eventually, whether it be your annual income, health insurance, or even your job going overseas.

4. The bent rider's feet and legs sit "high" above the ground on the pedals. Could this high feet/leg position contribute to a fall-over because the rider could not plant his or her feet on the ground quickly enough in an emergency situation?

It's all about getting used to the bike that you ride. You may fall, you may not fall, how quick of relax do you have? practice getting on and off the bike so that you have quick reflex to react to emergency situations is what you need.

5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?

I own/ride a Vision R40, I could keep up with local group rides in Valley Forge area averaging 14-15 mph amongst the hilly terrains. Your result may vary.
I've been riding/racing Diamond Frame bicycles since 1994, I've logged over 2200 miles in this year so far.
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Old 09-18-07, 07:01 PM   #5
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1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having two 26" wheels versus a front 20" wheel and a rear 26" wheel?

The benefits of having a front 20" and rear 26" was that the bike was a little cheaper than the 26", 26" model and I don't have to lift my legs quite so far up.

2. It seems that most bents have nine speeds, while my current bike has 24 speeds. Is nine speeds truly sufficient for a bent? Or is this something that might be improved--if necessary--in the future?

I think if you look, many bents also have a front derailleur. All the ones I looked at while shopping did.

3. I would like to purchase a bent that can tour so it must accommodate racks, but it also must be relatively fast and have higher end components (without getting too carried away). Is that type of bent available for around $1700 or less? If so, which one would you recommend? I might spend more, but really don't want to.

The Bacchetta's can accomodate both the optional rear rack and a midships rack. I think that the quality will make you happy and meet your price point.

4. The bent rider's feet and legs sit "high" above the ground on the pedals. Could this high feet/leg position contribute to a fall-over because the rider could not plant his or her feet on the ground quickly enough in an emergency situation?

I chose a 20" front wheel because I wanted my legs a little lower, but that was more from a concern for numb feet than falling. So far as a beginner, I have found my legs quite able to reach the pavement quickly when needed.

5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?

It's more relaxing to ride. It's faster than any of my diamond frames, but I can also sit up and look around better. Taking the lane while going downhill is a hoot because it really feels like I'm driving a low-slung sports car. And on long rides, I may get a little "recum-butt" pain, but that is easily relieved with a quick break and standing up. With diamond frame bikes the pain from the saddle just gets greater and greater and is not easily relieved.

What don't I like about it. I haven't really found a satisfactory locking method because of its stick-like shape. And I feel that it's a greater target for thieves because of its distinctive looks.
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Old 09-19-07, 02:17 AM   #6
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1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having two 26" wheels versus a front 20" wheel and a rear 26" wheel?

Posters are correct. Pros for dual 26" are 26" tires smooth out bumps more, wide variety of tires available, easy to find (particularly if on tour), and spare tubes/folder tire same both wheels. Pros for 20" front are lower 'bottom' bracket for pedaling, less chance of heel strike on front wheel in sharp turns, slightly less weight.

2. It seems that most bents have nine speeds, while my current bike has 24 speeds. Is nine speeds truly sufficient for a bent? Or is this something that might be improved--if necessary--in the future?

Get 9 speed cassette and 3 chainrings for 27 speeds. You need the range, particularly if touring with a load and even more so if taking that load up and down hills.

3. I would like to purchase a bent that can tour so it must accommodate racks, but it also must be relatively fast and have higher end components (without getting too carried away). Is that type of bent available for around $1700 or less? If so, which one would you recommend? I might spend more, but really don't want to.

I would look at both of Bacchetta's Giro models and also the Volae Tour and Expedition models. These are similar designs and have been compared in several threads, some here and some on BentRide Online. As poster notes, with rear and midship racks you can put four panniers on these. Another to consider may be the Barcroft Dakota or Virginia models, although a bit more expensive. If touring loaded, the disc brakes on the Giro 26, Expedition, and Dakota S are a good idea, particularly on descents when the lower aerodynamic drag of a recumbent can get you going very fast.

Be sure to give yourself 1 to 2 months and/or 500 to 1000 miles riding the bike before going off on tour. You use different muscle groups on a recumbent.


4. The bent rider's feet and legs sit "high" above the ground on the pedals. Could this high feet/leg position contribute to a fall-over because the rider could not plant his or her feet on the ground quickly enough in an emergency situation?

Recumbents balance more by steering since your body's center of gravity is lower than on an upright. Thus is is more difficult to track stand (keep balanced when stopped) or ride hands off on a recumbent. However, since you are lower you have less distance to fall (as always, gloves good idea for cycling). With the higher bottom bracket bikes (Giro 26, Expedition) you will soon want to use clipless pedals. If you are new to clipless pedals, this is more likely to make you fall because you forget to unclip. You may need to trim the shoe etc. to unclip readily on a recumbent more so than on an upright because of where the crank is relative to you rotating the shoe to unclip on the downstroke of a recumbent.

If near a shop, start out on some low bottom bracket recumbents and work up to higher bottom brackets. That is what my local bike store did with me and it was a good approach.


5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?

I like the comfort that allows me long rides. 25 to 30 miles was my limit on an upright due to seat discomfort (tried several saddles). Two weeks ago I did 54 miles on the recumbent; tired legs but no pains anywhere from the bike itself. Second is the speed potential, particularly on the flats. Third is no chance of going over the handlebars if you brake hard.

Drawbacks are that even short wheelbase recumbents are heavier (at a given price range) and longer than an upright. Then there are the never ending questions of why a recumbent ...

Note that I keep my commuterized unshocked mountain bike for local errands and my short commute. It is more manuverable (including jumbing curbs) than the recumbent and easier to park and lock. The recumbent is my road bike for doing significant distances in comfort.

Finally, join BentRider Online and get a mirror for your recumbent.
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Old 09-19-07, 02:25 AM   #7
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There's also the option of 20/20 - see the Velotechnik Grasshopper. Good compromise between speed and practicality.
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Old 09-19-07, 02:36 AM   #8
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Examples of touring & recumbent bikes.

Some recumbent bike touring links:

http://www.bikepaths.org/
http://ebent.wordpress.com/2006/07/0...the-mountains/
http://www.ransbikes.com/ITR53.htm
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-6182.html

Here is the one I initially wanted to send:
http://www.phred.org/~alex/pictures/bikes/rocket/
and particularly this photo Link

Finally, search BentRider Online.

Last edited by Giro; 09-19-07 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by David in PA View Post
Hi,


5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?

It's like the fun of cycling X 2, with the comfort of a car!


What I don't like: Poorly maintained road surfaces become more noticeable. Also, recumbents can be a pain to transport by car, bus, train, plane, etc.
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Old 09-19-07, 11:20 AM   #10
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Volae models available in two piece frames for packing

If transporting a recumbent by car or plane is an issue, all Volae models are now reportedly available in two piece frames. I've seen the prototype. It looks very nicely done and packs down short and small.
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Old 10-01-07, 10:09 AM   #11
David in PA
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Great information. Thank you everyone for responding. I should be getting my bent within the next few weeks. Your info will certainly help me choose the right one!

David in FL
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Old 10-01-07, 01:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
There's also the option of 20/20 - see the Velotechnik Grasshopper. Good compromise between speed and practicality.
Ii wouldn't quite call it a compromise between speed and practicality. Dual-26s are perfectly practical. I'd go farther and say that 20" drive wheels introduce other problems, such as gearing; so in some ways dual-26s are more practical too. But they are smaller than dual-26, so if size is an issue, that's their advantage.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:22 AM   #13
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Sorry, entirely my fault for being unclear. I meant that the Grasshopper was a good compromise, being high enough to be practical and low enough to be reasonably quick. I don't know enough to give an opinion on the practicality of different wheel sizes, I was just pointing out that other options are available.
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Old 10-05-07, 06:11 PM   #14
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xyz

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in PA View Post
Hi,

I have several questions about recumbent bicycles. I would like to get one, but have just started my research. Please feel free to answer some or all of the following questions. Thanks!

1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of having two 26" wheels versus a front 20" wheel and a rear 26" wheel?

Others have pretty much covered this. If you are less than 69 or so inches in height, the bottom bracket height of a dual 26" SWB (high racer) will be an issue. You'll practically be doing splits to start off the bike from a stop.

2. It seems that most bents have nine speeds, while my current bike has 24 speeds. Is nine speeds truly sufficient for a bent? Or is this something that might be improved--if necessary--in the future?

Gruppo combinations on bents are similar to those on DFs. Three rings with a 9 speed cassette is typical.

3. I would like to purchase a bent that can tour so it must accommodate racks, but it also must be relatively fast and have higher end components (without getting too carried away). Is that type of bent available for around $1700 or less? If so, which one would you recommend? I might spend more, but really don't want to.

For that price, you might check out the Rans V-Rex. The 2006 model is equipped with Sram X-9. If you are really looking for a "fast" bike, e.g., nice components / low weight, you'll have to spend a good bit more for an aluminum or titanium framed bike.

4. The bent rider's feet and legs sit "high" above the ground on the pedals. Could this high feet/leg position contribute to a fall-over because the rider could not plant his or her feet on the ground quickly enough in an emergency situation?

Others have pretty much answered this - again, another variable is your leg length. Shorter folks are going to have problems with high brackets.

5. If you own a bent, what do you especially love about the bike? And what do you dislike about it?

I own a Rans V-Rex (for about 2 years), and recently purchased a Barcroft Virginia Ti (really hurt the pocket book, but so nice!). Both of these bikes are short wheelbase, so are easier to store and transport than LWB's. I love my V-Rex, but its seat height is a little high for me (I'm 5'9") and at 30 lbs. is a bit tough on hilly terrain for speed. That's why I bought the Barcroft - it's seat is 4 inches lower, it weighs 5 lbs. less, and has skinny tire wheels (Stevios) like a nice DF road bike. Others would disagree, but for the convenience of running errrands and bopping around town I still prefer a DF bike. For that kind of use, comfort isn't so much an issue as ease of maneuverability and quick starts and stops. Just my opinion ...

Thanks!

Good luck!
David
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