I'm looking to buy a RANS Stratus, but no one local stocks them. MY LBS does have another brand LWB in stock, and they're also a RANS dealer, so they let me take the other brand out for around 30 minutes this evening.
BTW I called several large recumbent dealers in midwest to see what they had in stock. A dealer up near Dayton had several in stock but they were very weird about their test ride policy. They require you to take a 30 minute handling class and then you have to rent the bike in order to test it. They went on and on about what you're not allowed to do and limited amount of time you'll have - they said they really don't like for customers to take test rides and I should know what I want before I visit their shop. Needless to say I won't be visiting them.
The opposite experience was with The Bicycle Man up in NYC. He encourages you to come up for 2/3/4 days and ride all day & try out as many bikes as you'd like. What a great guy. I just wish I was closer to him than a 24 hour rt drive by car.
Anyway I tried the Bacchetta Bellandare LWB bent at my LBS. It was pretty intuitive. After 30 seconds I could even ride very slowly on a flat road and not have much problem (like just 3-4mph) and I could turn OK. At roads speeds of 12-15 it became even easier. There is a large hill (around 6% grade) on the street next to the LBS so I go to try that, too.
Nothing was much of a problem. You have to really concentrate on relaxing your upper body and then the steering becomes much better.
The hill itself was no problem - bent climbs like a road bike.
Those things are looooonnnnggggg. It tales about 1,000 feet to do a 180 u turn
It's true about comfort - it's like you're sitting in a comfy chair peddaling. The comfort was incredible and everything I had heard about seats and comfort was true.
Biggest problem - and reason I did not place an order immediately - was keeping my feet on pedals. It was especially a problem on the hill when starting to push at a high cadence. My feet slipped all over the place and would finally slip off pedals and then I was stuck on hill.
My main problem is the physical damage to my legs from a spinal cord tumor. Ankles very weak/calves atrophied. But quads in great shape and decent glutes. On my DF it's not as much of a problem - I use toe clips. They keep my feet on the pedals. I am above average 52 YO DF roadie, and faster than about 90% of fellow riders on hills regardless of age. I used to race in SoCal back in the day, so I'm an experienced cyclist.
I am worried about using toe clips on the bent. I can't go clipless - I don't have enough control to be able to always count on ability to twist ankle and clip out.
Can I use toe clips on a lwb bent like a RANS Stratus? The foot position is mostly vertical, right? Will I be able to easily get my foot into the toe clips and then keep them in there? Also - are pedals too far away to be able to pull straps tight or untighten while moving, with one hand remaining on bars?
My feet and pedals are the single reason I don't have a purchase order for a Status in my hands right now.
Any suggestions or advice? Experience using toe clips? Your advice will most likely help me make my decision. I was all set to order and get bike next week, which would give me two weeks to get ready for a nice 50 mile ride coming up.
Let me know about feet and toe clips and your advice given my weak and atrophied lower leg/ankle muscles. Thanks