Originally Posted by varaonaid
...Sorry this is so long but with the lack of a "comprehensive" LBS around here I just wanted to get some advice from folks who are familiar with 'bents and crank forwards. Thanks so much in advance!!
Not many bike shops know much about recumbents, unless they sell them.
I have a RANS Fusion
and also recumbent bikes as well. The Fusion is not as comfortable as the recumbents are over very-long trips but the Fusion is still a lot better comfort than a regular upright bike, and the Fusion is still easy to ride because it feels like an upright bike. On my recumbents many people (who've tried riding them) took a minute or two to get going; on the Fusion they'd just get on and go, the first time.
The RANS bikes are expensive, but they have the pedals forward considerably farther than most other examples. The RANS bikes also don't use a normal seat
--and saddle pain is a MAJOR complaint of people who don't ride bicycles. All these other comfort-bikes use a normal seat, and if using the bicycle hurts, people will find excuses not to do it.
As far as motors go, there's nothing wrong at all with adding a motor. For many people the problem is not in getting enough
exercise, but in getting any exercise at all
--and someone recovering from a heart condition is not training for the Olympics anyway.
The electric motors that replace the front wheel are the easiest to attach. They also don't require pedaling at all, so (if someone is injured for example) they can get on the bike and ride some distance with no exertion at all
--which could end up to be very important for someone with a heart condition. Conversely, the BionX is a popular electric-assist setup, but it requires the rider to pedal to get any motor assist at all.