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  1. #1
    Senior Member aRoudy1's Avatar
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    First ride on a Recumbent

    I've been reading about recumbents and am seriously considering buying one. Today, I rode a Sun AX and a Rans Stratus; both had a small (16"?) front wheel and felt sort of 'squirlly.' Is that normal for first time riders? How long does it take to adjust to that feeling? Would a 26" wheel be more stable? Would there be a difference with an USS model? Thanks for any answers you can give me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Squirrely-feeling steering is usually caused by the rider tensing up and over-correcting. I think both bikes you tested have 20" wheels - the RANS at least does. The Strat also comes with a 26" front wheel. Whether you like it more or not, only a test ride will tell. No matter what you ride, remember: RELAX YOUR UPPER BODY!

    I suggest that you continue with your test rides, and after you've done a few more, then wait a week & go through the list again. By then your brain will have processed the experiences and the second tries may be a lot more enjoyable.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Squirrely-feeling steering is usually caused by the rider tensing up and over-correcting. I think both bikes you tested have 20" wheels - the RANS at least does. The Strat also comes with a 26" front wheel. Whether you like it more or not, only a test ride will tell. No matter what you ride, remember: RELAX YOUR UPPER BODY!

    I suggest that you continue with your test rides, and after you've done a few more, then wait a week & go through the list again. By then your brain will have processed the experiences and the second tries may be a lot more enjoyable.

    My advice? Listen to guys like this!

    ~Roger

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    Senior Member bobbycorno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogerinchrist View Post
    My advice? Listen to guys like this!

    ~Roger
    Indeed.

    SP

  5. #5
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    What do you mean by "squirrly"? What was the bike doing?

    I test rode a few before choosing one. I really liked one of the Rans models until I tried a Sun model that handled much better for me. I ended up with the Sun X2-ax, which has been diss'ed for drive train and seating postiion here. Nonetheless, it's working for me. It rides more like my old Beach Cruiser than other models I've tried, so the transition isn't so big. So the advice is to ride a few and ride them a lot, until you find the one that feels right to you.

    Also, the one I got has a 26 inch wheel. The bike shop owner said that I would get more control and speed from a larger wheel.
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
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    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  6. #6
    el padre
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    To answer your question about the 'squerly' going away...yes. When you first got on a bike way back when it probably did not feel 'normal' either. The geometry of a recumbent is just a little different but the dynamic of keeping it up is the same.

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    Squirly is definitely how it will feel to start out with, regardless of wheel size. It goes away as you get used to the bike. The first reply you had pointed to the biggest issue for new riders, and that is to relax your upper body. Focus on feeling you shoulder blades relax into the seat. That will help. Also, if you're new to recumbents a test ride may not be enough. It takes time to get used to the riding position and steering. Is there an option for you to borrow a recumbent for a day? If your local bike shop stock bents that may be an option.

    I'm currently riding a Rans Rocket, with dual 20" tires. Basically, the bigger the tire size, the smoother your ride will be. I don't have much problem with the 20" on my Rocket, but I definitely avoid pot holes at all cost.

  8. #8
    Senior Member aRoudy1's Avatar
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    I'm about 60 miles from the nearest 'bent dealer, 90 miles from the next closest. I plan on going up next week and renting one and see how I'm doing at the end of the day. Balancing quality/price (from reading) I'm leaning towards a Rans Stratus LE.

  9. #9
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    My advice would be: don't worry about the wheel size!

    I'm new to recumbents, too, having now put about 160 miles on my new (to me) Counterpoint Presto, . The steering is definitely squirrelly, and the solution, as the experienced people point out, is to relax. But note, it may be very difficult to relax!

    I'm not new to small wheels, though; I commute on a folding bike with 16" wheels (305 mm rims), which is considerably smaller than the 'bent (the Presto has 451 mm rims), and also ride a Raleigh Twenty (folding bike) with 451 mm rims. I can assure you the squirrelly feel of the Presto has more to do with the frame geometry than the wheel size.

  10. #10
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    LWB recumbents are a little squirrely when you first ride them. This problem usually goes away once you get up to speed. Also, it's easy to continually overcorrect when you have "tiller steering" from the handlebars being set low. This takes a little while to get used to. bk

  11. #11
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    "Squirrely" is really "lively". Any small input feels like it has big results. My Ran Stratus LE doesn't have the chopper bars, it has the B37 Top Loader. If you like the Stratus, see if they have a model with both the top loader and chopper bars to test out. I like the wrist position on mine better.
    Riding a recumbent involves a different balance. My dealer kept reminding me that my balance depended on relaxing my back into the center of the seat. It made a big difference in the ride for me.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  12. #12
    Senior Member aRoudy1's Avatar
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    After numerous test rides of various Sun, Rans and Baccheta models in three different States (Idaho, Washington and Oregon), I'm now the proud owner of a Rans Stratus LE. Just got it home today and still have to get the mirrors and speedometer mounted. Tomorrow will be my first lengthy ride.


  13. #13
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Nice looking bike! I like those new multi-adjustable ape-hanger handlebars. Don't forget to put that kickstand up before pedaling away; one guy in my club ALWAYS forgets!

  14. #14
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Great choice for a first bent! Riding it will feel completely 'normal' to you in less time than you would imagine.

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    Most recumbents do feel squirrelly compared to upright bikes.
    On an upright bike, most of the steering input is actually done by leaning your body. Since you can't very well lean your body to steer on a recumbent, all the steering input has to be through the handlebars.
    Quote Originally Posted by aRoudy1 View Post
    After numerous test rides of various Sun, Rans and Baccheta models in three different States (Idaho, Washington and Oregon), I'm now the proud owner of a Rans Stratus LE. Just got it home today and still have to get the mirrors and speedometer mounted. Tomorrow will be my first lengthy ride. ...
    Consider wearing some sunscreen.
    The thing that I found out after buying my first recumbent, and also the same thing that friends have discovered when they borrowed mine for the afternoon, is that it's so comfortable to ride that they stay out much longer than normal. Where 20-30 minutes might have been their tolerable limit on an upright bike, they've wandered around for two hours or more on the recumbent.
    ~

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rogerinchrist's Avatar
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    Looks good under you!!!

  17. #17
    But I don't like SPAM... BadKarma62's Avatar
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    All great advice and that is one sweet looking ride. Congrats. Now you have to post a pic after you get back from that first long ride so we can see the famous 'Bent grin!!!!!!!

    I cheated a bit on mine, I'm getting a Catrike.
    Don't worry about life, you're not going to survive it anyway.

  18. #18
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadKarma62 View Post
    I cheated a bit on mine, I'm getting a Catrike.
    That's the best way to cheat there is.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

  19. #19
    The Recycled Cycler markwebb's Avatar
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    Aroudy - after you've ridden a few times and had it for several days, please post a detailed review or PM me. I, too, was looking to buy one of these but that squirrley feeling, difficulty with pedals, and trying to start on a hill kinda scared me off. I was looking for a bicycle that would be better for my back, and a bent would seem to fit the bill, but starting on hills was just very difficult/ impossibe even after 3 or 4 test rides and a few hours on a LWB bike similar to a RANS. I bought a used Litespeed in a larger size than I have used before in an attempt to change my riding position, but back is still hurting. So a bent is still a possibility for me, and I hope you post some more about your experiences and progress with the bike. Thanks !!!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] Check Out My Gal - Folk Singer Molly McCormack : http://www.mollymccormack.com

  20. #20
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Yesterday I enjoyed my first ride on a recumbent. Learned that the steering became simple at 14mph. Below that speed it was "squirrely". YMMV

  21. #21
    el padre
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    aroudy1...I have one zactly like that...and I love it.
    Markwebb...If you are in the right gear, there is not an easier bike to start on a hill. Ya got your foot on the pedal...push off and go. However if you forget to shift down before you stop, it is another proposition altogether.

  22. #22
    Senior Member aRoudy1's Avatar
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    So far this week I've logged about 90 miles. The longest has only been a bit over 10 miles, once or twice a day as I try to build up my 'bent legs. The first day I spent a lot of time in a vacant parking lot (we have those in small towns) getting used to starting, stopping and low speed handling. There was a small upgrade in the parking lot where I practiced starting going uphill and didn't have any difficulty doing so.
    Thus far I haven't attempted any large hills; the smaller hills I've done, where my speed drops below about 7 mph, have convinced me that it'll be better to wait 'til my legs are better developed before tackling larger, longer grades. Below 7 mph (uphill) it's extremely difficult to hold a line and I find myself wandering over half the lane. I don't seem to have the same problem on level ground at low speeds so I'm sure it's mostly learning to relax and not trying to use my arms in an attempt to give more power to my leg stroke.
    The 'squirrly' feeling I mentioned in the first post in this thread has mostly gone away as I become more relaxed and familiar with my 'bent.
    For 'markwebb' -- if I haven't answered all your questions, pm me.

  23. #23
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    Do you also find yourself leaning forward slightly in the seat during the uphill? I did when I first started riding my LWB. Remember to lean back into the seat and relax. You'll have significantly more power pushing against the seat and relaxing will help with the steering. My first ride was about 30 miles and I was completely comfortable with the bike after that - not to mention they were the most comfortable miles I've ever enjoyed on a bike!

    You might also want to consider adding Q-rings (at least a middle ring) which will help with the hill climbs and save your knees. They help with everything, actually.

  24. #24
    Senior Member cycotourer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    Most recumbents do feel squirrelly compared to upright bikes.
    On an upright bike, most of the steering input is actually done by leaning your body. Since you can't very well lean your body to steer on a recumbent, all the steering input has to be through the handlebars.


    ~
    Not that I would know ( I have a RANS Stratus XP on order ... waiting ... waiting!) BUT when I had my first bent ride it was on a Bacchetta Cafe in a car park. I found I couldn't turn to avoid the parked cars at all for the first 30 minutes (and no I didn't hit any!) When I was confident enough with my balance I started to lean into the turns and found that this really helped. I was soon doing figure 8's around the cars and turning tight corners and thoroughly enjoying the ride. I thought the Cafe swooped around the turns once I was confident to lean into them. It was so much fun. So I would tend to disagree with the above, but I'll get back to you if the experience is different when my Stratus arrives.
    Around the world on a bike? You must be psycho!

  25. #25
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    For that first ride, put the bike in a trainer. Become familiar with the moves for starting, stopping and shifting. Then go on the road.

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