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  1. #1
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    First Recumbent Questions

    Hi all, I am thinking about getting a recumbent bicycle and have a few questions.

    1. does this look like a good deal? http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...QAdIdZ46359199

    2. would something like that be adjustable? I'm 6'3" and would like to ensure that the bike is properly sized for me.

    3. How the heck do you size a recumbent? Is there a frame sizing standard like with regular bikes? (eg c to c)

    4. Would you guys laugh at me for riding a green bike?
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  2. #2
    Senior Member charly17201's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    Hi all, I am thinking about getting a recumbent bicycle and have a few questions.

    1. does this look like a good deal? http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...QAdIdZ46359199

    2. would something like that be adjustable? I'm 6'3" and would like to ensure that the bike is properly sized for me.

    3. How the heck do you size a recumbent? Is there a frame sizing standard like with regular bikes? (eg c to c)

    4. Would you guys laugh at me for riding a green bike?
    Good deal.... it depends on the buyer. Know that I bought my ActionBent new in Feb for $700. Check out their page: www.actionbent.com for current prices.

    The thing about ActionBents, is that they are "entry level" 'bents. And if you order one from them, you need to have some ability to put it together. The biggest problem being setting up the brakes and gears. I got "Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" to use as my shop manual. Or take it to your LBS for them to put together.

    The boom - the part of the frame with the BB and crank - is adjustable and is how you basically size them. I'm 5'5" and have no problem with mine...... and there is about 10 inches of the boom up inside the main frame piece that can be extended out.

    Laugh at a green bike? Heck no..... now if you're a 'straight' guy riding a pink bike I might make fun of you. But since you're over 6' tall..... only from a distance.
    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm.

    In response to bicycling being so dangerous: "We could all died today from any number of accidents. I'm not going to stop living to keep from dying." The Northern Tier by Lief Carlsen

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    You should go to a bent dealer and try a number of different makes and styles of bents before purchasing a bent. Nothing like picking up a bent at a good price and finding out that it is not sized correctly. The Actionbent bikes have an adjustable boom that moves the crankset in or out depending upon the height and inseam of the rider. A one size fits all design. Other bents such as Volae or Bachetta have different sized frames for riders with different inseams. The Volaes and Bachettas have seats that can be adjusted both fore and aft and tilt. I believe that the Actionbent does not offer these adjustments.

    Look up the Volae and Bachetta websites for sizing and fitting information. Both websites are very informative. I had an Actionbent Tadpole which was fun putting it together. I used to ride a Volae Club and now I ride a Bachetta Corsa High Racers. My wife rides a Volae Club. My wife first started out on a Burley Hepcat and then switched to the Volae.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I'd question the wisdom of buying a used bent for $700 when a new one of the same model goes for $699 As a second owner, you'd give up the warranty, and that's worth something even if the bike is in perfect condition.

    What's with the sig? Turkeys, DO fly, unless you're talking about the kind that rides recumbents. They can only fly for short distances, but I once had one almost hit my truck on a highway. THAT would've left a mark!

  5. #5
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post

    What's with the sig? Turkeys, DO fly, unless you're talking about the kind that rides recumbents. They can only fly for short distances, but I once had one almost hit my truck on a highway. THAT would've left a mark!
    I suspect that's a line from the old TV show WKRP in Cincinati. They tried to release live turkeys from a helicopter, but they were farm raised birds and I don't think those can fly.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    Since you are in Toronto, check out The Urbane Cyclist. They are on John St., north of Queen, I believe. Speak with "Carey". (For some reason their website is not opening for me today or I would post it here.)They have a reasonable assortment of bents that you can test ride. Ride as many as you can and then ride them again. Hope you find something that you feel comfortable with and that fits you. Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    Hi all, I am thinking about getting a recumbent bicycle and have a few questions.

    1. does this look like a good deal? http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...QAdIdZ46359199
    No. It's a used bike, priced about the same as a new one ($700CAD = $688USD).
    http://www.actionbent.com/roadster.html
    I'd first make certain it's in absolutely perfect condition, and then offer $500 and walk if he don't take it.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    ...
    2. would something like that be adjustable? I'm 6'3" and would like to ensure that the bike is properly sized for me.

    3. How the heck do you size a recumbent? Is there a frame sizing standard like with regular bikes? (eg c to c) ...
    Recumbents are sized by your "x-seam" measurement, as explained here:
    http://www.hostelshoppe.com/tech_xseam.php

    You should test-ride before you buy, if at all possible. Unlike upright bikes (which all feel pretty much the same) a short-wheelbase recumbent has a very-different "feel" than a long-wheelbase one. I had a short-wheelbase bike first and found the jittery steering rather distracting.

    ....I see that the Urbane Cyclist website shows a Sun trike for sale, but the Sun website lists no recumbent dealers in Ontario. Actionbent (mail-order/online), Sun and Cycle Genius (both dealer sales only) are three of the lower-priced recumbent companies. If you want a dealer-only brand and have to take a motoring trip to get to a recumbent shop, rest assured you aren't the only one.

    -------

    I have a Cycle Genius Falcon now and I know that it would be tall enough for you. I am 6'2", and there's still about four inches of rearward seat adjustment left. The seat can be adjusted so far back that I can't keep my feet on the pedals all-the-way-around. The Falcon, Falcon LS and Raven all use the same frame, so they would definitely be long enough.

    ...The OEM handlebars won't be tall enough however, so you will want different ones (I use the RANS chopper bars, which are length-adjustable but rather wide). And I don't like the OEM stem either--I'd recommend swapping a normal quill adapter/stem setup. The quill bolt of the 12.5" tall OEM stem is at the bottom of a 6" tube, and so bicycle mini-tools cannot tighten it if it comes loose while riding.
    ~

  8. #8
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Lots of great responses, thanks to all; this does create more questions though. What differentiates a low end recumbent from a higher end? On road bikes it's a combo of frame and components. These ActionBent Roadsters seem to come with decent enough quality components (wheels aren't the best and they don't really say much about the crank)

    Specifications:
    Frame: Full Chrome-Moly
    Fork: Full Chrome-Moly
    Boom Tube: Alloy, telescopes in/out via two hex nuts
    Seat: Fiberglass-reinforced plastic w/headrest, velcro-detachable pad
    Handlebar: Alloy, Handlebar radius 21" lever to lever
    Shifter: SRAM Attack twist-grips
    Lever: Avid FR 5
    F/Derailler: Shimano Tiagra
    R/Derailler: Shimano LX 9 Speeds
    Crank: Aluminum Alloy 60/50T
    Freewheel: Sram 950 12-26 9 speeds
    Chain: Z9000 KMC
    Hub: Alloy CNC, left in front 20 holes. Standard in rear 32 holes.
    Spoke: 14# stainless
    Rim: SPEEDMAX
    Tire: Primo Kevlar 100PSI 20"/1.35
    Pedal: Alloy
    Brakes: Avid Digit 7
    H/t parts: F978AW, black with thread
    B/Bracket: F2100SW
    Wheelbase: 38"
    Overall Len: 78" (variable due to telescoping boom)
    Seat Height: 20" ground to upholstery
    B/B Height: 22.5"
    Weight: 32 pounds

    It is rather heavy, what do higher end recumbents usually weigh?

    EDIT: More questions!!!

    TW Bents...are these more "entry level" bikes?

    I was looking at:

    http://www.rebel-cycles.com/ghostspec.html

    and

    http://www.rebel-cycles.com/amigo.html

    They are all out of stock of the ghost right now (according to their web site) but may be getting more this spring.

    Any thoughts of the differences between the two models?
    Last edited by sprockets; 04-25-08 at 09:09 AM.
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  9. #9
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=sprockets;6582863]Lots of great responses, thanks to all; this does create more questions though. .../QUOTE]

    True enlightenment never happens because with each new bit of knowledge comes the realization that we don't know anything!

    Yep, Actionbents and their ilk are lower-end. IMHO they're not a good fit for most new bent riders, though, because although the prices are attractive, the fact that there's no dealer support network means they're better suited for more experienced 'bent people. They're not as polished, design-wise, so the owner might have to, to use a specific example, put a shim under the front wheel dropouts to make the front tire fit in the fork. Also, the frames are a few pounds heavier and the seats aren't quite as nice as some other brands. I've considered getting one as a 'second' bent (third for me actually) but I am comfortable doing almost all the work on my bikes anyway.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    To answer one of my own questions (so that others asking similar questions can know) it appears that Rebel Cycles, the one I linked to above, are made by the same company that makes ActionBents.

    See thread here: Any decent low cost bents available?

    Both Craig's List and Kijiji are turning up very little and most other sites with classifieds are US based and I'd prefer to pick up something local. Oh well, I guess patience will have to be a virtue for me for now...
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  11. #11
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    [
    Yep, Actionbents and their ilk are lower-end. IMHO they're not a good fit for most new bent riders,. . . .
    On the basis of just having seen two of their models, I would agree. There are many fine recumbents but the Actionbents remind me of department store bikes. For some people they are fine but for others, worse than nothing. I think many people try riding a bad bike and decide cycling is not for them.

    I am an enthusiastic proponent of buying a bike only after a long and satisfactory test ride.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    One thing to note on the roadster -- a 38" wheelbase is extremely short. I have an older V-Rex with a 40-inch wheelbase, and I've flipped it backwards on steep hills before. Some old 36-38" Visions were known to literally do nosedives under hard braking. IMHO 38" is too short for a highracer design.

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    I agree with several of the other posters. Get to The Urban Cyclist and check out the Rans and Bacchetta recumbents. They are both a huge step above the Actionbent for quality. The Volae is also a wonderful brand, tho you may not find a dealer who stocks them. Most of their sales are phone, and internet. As a newbie it's important that you test ride anything that you are thinking of purchasing.

  14. #14
    Senior Member charly17201's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    On the basis of just having seen two of their models, I would agree. There are many fine recumbents but the Actionbents remind me of department store bikes. For some people they are fine but for others, worse than nothing. I think many people try riding a bad bike and decide cycling is not for them.

    I am an enthusiastic proponent of buying a bike only after a long and satisfactory test ride.
    If you know going in that you'll be wanting to upgrade components (as I am doing now), the bike is heavier than others, and that you'll be the one putting it together..... then the ActionBent is not a bad bike. And I knew all that when I ordered mine. But, then that should be a consideration for any 'bent unless you got all those buck to pony up and get the very, very best.
    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm.

    In response to bicycling being so dangerous: "We could all died today from any number of accidents. I'm not going to stop living to keep from dying." The Northern Tier by Lief Carlsen

  15. #15
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    I've been to Urbane twice and know that they sell a wide variety of recumbents. The problem I have is that the service was so bad I'd really prefer to avoid giving them my business. I know that they have some knowledgeable staff but my experience with their service department has been consistently poor. Both experiences have been this year too. I guess it's partially my own fault for being lazy and not tuning my bikes myself, but if I pay someone to tune my bike I expect it to be tuned properly.

    I really don't want to go on a rant here, I know that there are many people who have had no problems at Urbane, sadly I just don't happen to be one of them. My thinking is that if you are paying a premium for buying at a LBS you should be confident that you are going to get the good service you are paying for. With Urbane I don't feel that I'd be getting that service.
    *************************
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    Both Rans and Bacchetta have programs whereby you can order a bike, test ride it, and if you don't like it, return it. Rans lets you keep the bike 30 days. The bike comes almost totally assembled. I'm not sure how long the trial is with the Bacchetta. However their bikes come even more assembled than the Rans!!! Check their home pages for details.

    Go to Urbane and test ride the Rans and Bacchetta. If you can't get your head around buying from them. order up one of the bikes directly from Rans or Bacchetta after testing it at Urbane. Normally I wouldn't suggest that you do an "end around" the bike store, but if their service is really so bad, they deserve it.

    The main thing here is still that you get a QUALITY bike, something like the Rans or Bacchetta, or Volae. Stay away from the Actionbent.

  17. #17
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Has anyone here ever tried one of these Cruz bike coversion kits?

    http://www.cruzbike.com/
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  18. #18
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    Has anyone here ever tried one of these Cruz bike coversion kits?

    http://www.cruzbike.com/
    Hey Sprockets ... talk to Sesame Crunch. I recall a mixed review.

    ... it just so happens that I have been thinking about picking up a commuter/touring recumbent bike too.

    Did you notice this folding recumbent? http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html

  19. #19
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I noticed the earlier comment regarding the bike's wheelbase. I am surprised that flipping a recumbent is an issue given how low one is to the ground. But I have virtually zero experience riding a recumbent; so I learned something today!

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Invisible - if you're low enough, flipping isn't an issue, but getting that low requires more than a 40 inch wheelbase or you won't fit between the wheels. What you have to consider is the angle between the center of gravity and the front and rear axles. Get the line too steep and it doesn't take much acceleration/deceleration to lift the other wheel.

    Cruzbikes have their plusses and minuses. They can be inexpensive, but they are very different to ride. I think the principals at Cruzbike have spent time here, and if they show up they can provide more info. Lots of owners like them. I'd say the learning curve is very steep due to the moving bottom bracket. You have to move the pedals and boom to balance. At first, even coasting is tricky, much less climbing anything steep. I tried one, although not for long enough to learn the tricks in riding it. The owner can keep it. Apparently, once you learn, it's not an issue though.

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Invisible - if you're low enough, flipping isn't an issue, but getting that low requires more than a 40 inch wheelbase or you won't fit between the wheels. What you have to consider is the angle between the center of gravity and the front and rear axles. Get the line too steep and it doesn't take much acceleration/deceleration to lift the other wheel.
    OK. That makes sense. Thanks for the additional detail.

    Let me ask the (obvious) broad question then, suppose that I am looking for a do-it-all recumbent for commuting and the occasional fast-ride and I can dig up a maximum of $1500 or so dollars. What qualities am I looking for? I see small (.LT. 26") and large (.GE. 26") wheels. Short and long wheel base. Traditional and under-steering. Or are these simply preferences that one needs to test ride before buying?

    I would almost certainly go used. I build wheels and generally tinker with bikes. I have a variety of accessories; but are there any particular commodities appropriate for recumbents?

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    It might be tough to find a do-it-all recumbent that can commute well and also do fast rides. I try to separate those two functions because a commuter should have lights, fenders, and fatter tires, all of which will slow down any bike. Also on my list for a commuter would be the ability to ride in work clothes. I guess just follow the standard advice: test ride, test ride, test ride, and make your own decisions.

  23. #23
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I never found fat tires to slow down a bike much. Fenders on the other hand ... I never had to worry about riding in work clothes since I am blessed with a workplace shower/gym. So I would take a nimble fat tire bike ...

    The best description ... I am looking for the recumbent equivalent of a cyclocross bike. I will heed your advice regarding test rides. Luckily for me, there are two shops in the area with excellent reputations for recumbents ...

    www.bikesatvienna.com
    www.bike123.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    One thing to note on the roadster -- a 38" wheelbase is extremely short. I have an older V-Rex with a 40-inch wheelbase, and I've flipped it backwards on steep hills before. Some old 36-38" Visions were known to literally do nosedives under hard braking. IMHO 38" is too short for a highracer design.
    I started out with a short-wheelbase (Sun EZ-Speedster) and liked how easy it was to transport but found the handling very jittery and eventually sold it. I don't know what the wheelbase of the Speedster was (can't find specs online anywhere now) but it was probably shorter, around 38 inches.

    If you want a SWB but don't like the quick steering then the DeSantis SWB (at Actionbent for $800) has a 45" wheelbase. If it had been around at the time I would have considered it instead of a LWB.
    ~

  25. #25
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Hey Sprockets ... talk to Sesame Crunch. I recall a mixed review.

    ... it just so happens that I have been thinking about picking up a commuter/touring recumbent bike too.

    Did you notice this folding recumbent? http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html

    I've noticed these before, they have one locally at Urbane. It's pretty sweet but sadly a bit out of my price range. I'll have to keep my eyes out for something used I think.
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

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