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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 05-03-08, 03:45 PM   #1
Lee Martini
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Another New To Recumbet Cycling Questions

First off is their a Recumbent FAQ I am not aware of. Link it please if so.

I have no idea what sparked this interest in Recumbents but the idea came knocking on my head a few days ago. I have been checking them out all over the net since. I am a pretty avid cyclist. I own a Masi road bike. I don't need a Recumbent for my back or anything. I am interested in them because they look so damn cool, comfortable and fun! I also classify myself as the out of the box type of guy. I am a guy with long hair half way down my back. I drive a Scion XB (the toaster box car). I am just an out of the ordinary type.

Questions.

I see some acronyms on these fourms and I don't know what they mean. Can you tell me please.


This is a big question. What should I consider when choosing between a two wheeled recumbent and a three wheeled recumbent? I kind of am leaning towards a racing style close to the ground three wheeled.

I like to go fast on my upright road bicycle. On every ride I go over 30mph sometimes 40mph and 50 mph. Is it as safe to go as fast on a recumbent?

If I were to spend the money I would maybe be in the range of spending $1000 to $1500. Can you get a quality new recumbent for this price? If so recomend me some brands and makes. Their are not any dealers in Reno, NV but their are in Sacramento which is only two hours away.

Here in Reno, NV their is no way to avoid hills. Can a recumbent climb anything if you are in the right shape? Last year I got about 1300 miles on my road bicycle over 5 months. I am in good shape. When climbing hills I actually spend 95% of my time seated and don't prefer to stand.

I was looking at the Sun Bicycle EZ Tad. What do you think of these recumbents?
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Old 05-03-08, 06:33 PM   #2
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http://www.ihpva.org/FAQ/

I have a SWB/USS bent. As far as 2 vs 3 wheel..... I think that it is a general assumption that 3 wheelers are slower and heavier than 2 wheelers. You'll hear all kinds of arguments about this, but like I said, it is only a general assumption. 3 wheels is more rolling resistance and more components to add weight. But, I'm sure there are some out there lighter and faster than my 2 wheeler.

That said, it does take some getting used to when riding the 2-wheeler. My first week I was getting up so fast I was scaring the crap out of myself. Why? The steering geometry is different and 'twitchy' compared to my old road bike. With the front wheel basically right below your knees. The bent requires a very light touch - not the grip or resting of your upper body on it like a DF. I'm told that an OSS is less twitchy, but the geometry is still different.

A bent (regardless of make/style) will be heavier than a DF. But you can climb hills. Gearing is the key. But, you will be using a different muscle set so expect a learning/physical conditioning curve. With a trike, you can at least stop half-way up the hill and just rest in the seat without the hassle of balancing when you taking off again.

I'd recommend a trip to Sacramento (with some advance research) to a dealer or two where you can do some test riding. Try different type and styles and see what you actually like. Find what you like then look at Craig's List or other such places and maybe pick up a higher end used bike for what $$$ you have available. There are so many different brands and styles that everyone has their own preferences. I'll say just check out every one that you can.

Last edited by charly17201; 05-03-08 at 06:37 PM. Reason: added FAQ link and removed acronyms
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Old 05-03-08, 06:46 PM   #3
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Check out http://www. recumbents.com and the companion site WISIL.com (for 'bent racing) both run by Warren Beauchamp. Lots of good info about recumbents and racing (Warren is one of the fastest riders around).

Recumbents are just like df bikes - speed costs money, only more so with recumbents. A fast 2 wheeler can run from $1500 to $8000 or more. 'High Racers' (2 wheelers with 700c wheels, where you sit high up and relatively compact wheel bases) come from Volae, Bachetta, Calfee as the top picks ranging fromabout $1500 - 4000. 'Low Racers' get more costly and are heavily into carbon fiber and splitter plate technology, but there are used steel or aluminum bikes available. You recline - right down on the road surface and are very fast, and some do ride the road with them, but you are as low as the lines on the road. 'Long Wheelbase' bikes can be fast - look to Easy Racers and 'Rans' among others. Easy Racers makes a 'Ti - Rush' which is $$$ but fast, stable and comfortable. 'Short Wheelbased' bikes and 'Compact Long Wheelbased' bikes - well, there are a lot of them.

And right about now, you are probably thinking, "What can of worms have I opened?" And probably thinking, "He hasn't answered the speed question yet!" Recumbents are generally thought of as being slow climbers, so the perception goes. The truth is more like - some are, some aren't, it depends and there isn't enough time or space to explain it all. On a recumbent, you can't stand, PERIOD! Physiology will show that a seated recumbent rider can generate more force on the pedal than a standing df rider - maybe. OK - let's take me as an example - I weigh 240 lbs., that means that when standing on the pedal, the most force I can apply to a pedal is 240 lbs. . Now, I happen to know that I can leg press over 675 lbs (I'm 60 y.o.), so, in theory, I should be able to apply about 340 lbs on the pedal (because I am clipped in, I can, to some degree, pull back with the opposite leg). So, in theory, I should be able to climb better, but all I can compare to is back when I rode a df, when I was 15 years younger. Too many factors, and this is one of the big controversies in the recumbent world. Enough of that!!!

OK - Sun Tads can be heavy, and in the trike world, heavy means SLOW. If you want fast in a trike, look to spend for new, between $2000 - 5000. Catrike makes some quick trikes - the 'Road', 'Speed' and '700' in general order of quickness (engine not taken into account, and others may have different opinions). Trice makes the 'Q' and the 'QNT' (narrow track), Greenspeed makes the SLR, but that is a racing trike, not a recreational or commuter trike. Fact is, most people are slower on trikes than on 2 wheel bents or diamond frames, the upside is that on climbs, if you gass, you just put on the brakes and wait until your heart rate gets back to normal - no balance issues! Going downhill is fun!!! Turns are fun!!! (Ever drive a gokart?) 12 - 14 mph cruising speed feels much faster, and corners - oh, so sweet! The view is so much better on a trike (head is right at 'bootie' level), no looking down at the road.

So, where to look? Go to - www.bentrideronline.com . Nothing but bents, and lots of big players on the masthead. In California - BentUpCycles (Dana) likes to ride fast, knowledgeable, Gold Country Cycles is another good shop. I'm in the Chicago area, so our big players are Amlings and Hostel Shoppe (makes Volae), but at $4.00/gallon? Bit of a drive.

Good luck! This can be a fun, informative adventure filled time of life if you have the right attitude!
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Old 05-04-08, 05:33 AM   #4
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30 - 40 - 50 mph - I trust that this is downhill?
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Old 05-04-08, 06:27 AM   #5
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Bents CAN go fast and yes with your training you will be able to go fast uphill too, with a little 're-organization' of your muscles. With the miles you are riding, this may or may not be minor.
+1 on trying any bent you can. since we all have personal likes and dislikes, it is you who will choose which one is the right one.
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Old 05-04-08, 10:15 AM   #6
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Sun EZ Tad is VERY heavy- had to motorize mine. Not a very good trike for uphills and speed before- I had to gear way down and crawl along- that trike was begging for a motor! But it aged well!

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Old 05-04-08, 10:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Martini View Post
...Questions.

1) I see some acronyms on these forums and I don't know what they mean. Can you tell me please.

2) This is a big question. What should I consider when choosing between a two wheeled recumbent and a three wheeled recumbent? I kind of am leaning towards a racing style close to the ground three wheeled.

3) I like to go fast on my upright road bicycle. On every ride I go over 30mph sometimes 40mph and 50 mph. Is it as safe to go as fast on a recumbent?

4) If I were to spend the money I would maybe be in the range of spending $1000 to $1500. Can you get a quality new recumbent for this price? If so recomend me some brands and makes. Their are not any dealers in Reno, NV but their are in Sacramento which is only two hours away.

5) Here in Reno, NV their is no way to avoid hills. Can a recumbent climb anything if you are in the right shape? Last year I got about 1300 miles on my road bicycle over 5 months. I am in good shape. When climbing hills I actually spend 95% of my time seated and don't prefer to stand.

6) I was looking at the Sun Bicycle EZ Tad. What do you think of these recumbents?
1) ...you'd have to say which acronyms.

2) ...the low-down three wheelers look fast, but are generally held to be slower than two-wheelers. A third set of wheel bearings and the rolling resistance of a third tire drags them down every time. Ironically, the main advantage of a trike seems to be casual moderate-pace riding, because you don't need to worry about balancing.

3) ...on a two-wheeler, yes 50 mph will be easy to handle. Most tadpole trikes (the ones with two front wheels) have VERY short-leverage steering controls, and I've heard more than a couple people say their trikes get twitchy at higher speeds. I've not owned or rode a trike yet myself like that, so I don't know first-hand.

4) ...Sun and Cycle Genius are two lower-priced brands that sell through dealer-only. Actionbent is also lower-priced and sells online/main-order only.

5) ...a recumbent will go anywhere you pedal it, but balancing at very low speeds is somewhat more difficult than on an upright bike. There's also some opinion that the recumbents that climb the worst are the ones with the highest pedal-to-seat distances, but these are the bikes that are the most reclined, and so the most aerodynamic. So if you believe this, the bikes that are fastest on the flat sections are the worst up hills.

6) ...the new Sun recumbent line is due to hit stores in May. I think they're keeping the earlier models, but only Sun knows for sure at this point. An article showing the new bikes is here:
http://www.bentrideronline.com/index...d=388&blogId=1

General comment/opinion:
...The main value of recumbents is that they are more comfortable over long rides, not that they are faster than a normal bike would be. Some recumbents are faster, but most are roughly the same or slower (for the same amount of effort).

...If you want a faster recumbent, you need to get one that puts the rider in a very reclined position.

...Alternately, you can use a front fairing and bodysock on many bikes and get a pretty big aerodynamic gain. Many people say that this is not the absolute fastest ride you can have, but overall it is the most versatile. This page shows a Tour Easy towards the bottom, with a front fairing (the plastic bubble) and a bodysock (the US-flag theme fabric covering).
~
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Old 05-04-08, 05:21 PM   #8
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If you get the right one, it's fun and fast! You'll really enjoy the bent life. Try out a ton of them, get some general ideas, and come back to us. Take a trip to bentup cycles in california is my recommendation.
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Old 05-04-08, 07:38 PM   #9
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If there's one piece of advice every new 'bent shopper should get, it is to ride every different kind of 'bent you can find, regardless of price, number of wheels, or intended purpose. Fast, slow, touring, carbon, steel... ride EVERYTHING. You're not just seeing which ones you like, you're learning how they are all different, which will help you zero in on the type that will make you happy.

Edit: there are a couple of recumbent FAQs around the Internet. Mine is one:
http://www.biketcba.org/TRICORR/misc/faq.html

Last edited by BlazingPedals; 05-04-08 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 05-06-08, 07:09 AM   #10
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Not necessarily downhill!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlharrison View Post
30 - 40 - 50 mph - I trust that this is downhill?
One of Chicago's big rides is "Bike the Drive", where Mayor Daley allows Lake Shore Drive to be closed to all but bikes for a few hours. At the inaugural BTD, Ed Gin rode with the police sweep car at the start of the ride, did the 30 miles in 1 hr. 3 min., he must have been 52 or 53 at the time and a Tyoe 2 diabetic. This was on his NoCom - Ed is a racer, but not a pro - he has a life and kids that take up time. Last summer at the Northbrook Velodrome recumbent races, Warren Beauchamp was turning 40 - 41 mph laps in his 'Cuda streamliner. These are very fast, fit riders, to be sure, riding bikes that are far from street rides. Earl Russell reported to me at the Folks on Spokes Easter Ride that he was able to maintain about a 22 - 23 mph average on his TiRush. Earl likes to bill himself as "Old, fat, slow, bald and cute" and I can only vouch for the old and bald part as truth. Oh, and Warren has clocked a 54.something mph run(s) at Battle Mountain, Sam Whittingham at over 83 mph on his Varna. Streamliners, elite riders, record holders, breakers.

Most of the fast trike riders can maintain 15 - 18 mph for long periods. I can, on a good day maintain 16 mph and I am old, fat, slow and an insulin dependant diabetic. Ok, so I am losing some hair, too, but not much.
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Old 05-06-08, 07:10 AM   #11
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And my fastest downhill on my Scorpion was 38 mph. I'd never try that on a df!
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Old 05-06-08, 07:56 AM   #12
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Ok, so I am losing some hair, too, but not much.
But.............that will make you more aerodynamic!
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Old 05-06-08, 10:33 AM   #13
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I ride down a 2-mile hill every day and regularly hit 32-33 in that portion. On the flats I average 15-18, depending on how I feel. Coming down off another bridge I hit 25+ and maintain that for the next 2-3 miles, because the road is fairly flat and in good repair. This is on a Giro 20 rigged as a daily commuter, which means that it has fenders, lots of lights, and a trunk bag packed with everything I'm going to need for the day (usually a complete change of clothes, showering stuff, workout clothes, lunch, a *complete* toolkit, spare tubes, etc -- 25 pounds or so additional).

I'm 48, pleasingly plump, with a somewhat less than optimal hairline.
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