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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 08-27-08, 07:25 PM   #1
markwebb
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Test Ride, Shoes, Pedals, and First Impressions

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
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Old 08-27-08, 08:13 PM   #2
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Errr...the Bicycle Man is in Alfred, NY (upstate in the Finger Lakes region). But yes, he has one of the BEST recumbent shops in the country.

Anyway, any sort of twisting with you weak ankles is a problem? Can you use Power Grips pedal straps?
Toe clips would probably help some, but I think your feet will be too far away to manually tighten the straps.

Lightfoot Cycles makes a safety pedal which may help. Here (towards the bottom): Link

Last edited by Recumbomatic; 08-27-08 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:24 PM   #3
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Yeah I meant NY. Sorry.

So - any advice for me other than where Bicycle Man is ???
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Old 08-27-08, 08:34 PM   #4
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keeping your feet on the pedals...

Keeping your feet on the pedals is the whole reason to get toe clips. However, you'll have to try them out to see if you like them.

Bottom line: They will keep your feet on the pedals. You may not like the way the shoes fit your feet. You may love them, too.

Compared to the cost of a recumbent bicycle, the cost of the clips and shoes/sandals is not very significant.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:38 PM   #5
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The Bicycle Man is a first rate operation. The Hostel Shoppe up in Stevens Point WI is also excellent. Since the s-n-o-w isn't here yet, you could even make it a grand circuit from NY to WI and back through Chicago and a visit to Amlings Cycle or down to St. Louis . . . .

You are far from alone in wanting something other than platforms on a bent.

With the relatively low bottom bracket on a Stratus you may find toe clips effective.

You may also, though, want to test some clipless options. Many people find Frogs give them an especially easy release. Even well adjusted SPD's can be very undemanding of ankle strength. A test or two on the stand would let you know.

Though LWB bents can feel like ocean liners, they do get more maneuverable with practice. One rider in particular on a Status can about ride circles inside my comfortable turning radius on a SWB Rans Rocket. With you already having success at low speeds, you are likely a natural.
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Old 08-27-08, 08:43 PM   #6
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Can you reach down and pull toe clip straps tight on a lwb bent???

BTW I was asking about toe clips not clipless. I use my athletic shoes with the toe clips on my df not special shoes. It's toe clips I was asking about - I can't use clipless.

I think there's another option too - Power Grips? I never used them - how easy are they and how snug would they hold my feet if my feet have a tendency to slide around a lot on pedals?

Bottom line - I loved the lwb bent but because of physical problem can't keep feet on pedals especially on hills, so unless I can find a solution I will not become a bent rider. It's not the expense of the potential shoe/toe clip/pwer Grip solution - it's that without a reasonable expectation that a solution is viable I'm not gonna pay $1,400 for the bent to begin with

Help !!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hold4d View Post
Keeping your feet on the pedals is the whole reason to get toe clips. However, you'll have to try them out to see if you like them.

Bottom line: They will keep your feet on the pedals. You may not like the way the shoes fit your feet. You may love them, too.

Compared to the cost of a recumbent bicycle, the cost of the clips and shoes/sandals is not very significant.
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Old 08-27-08, 09:03 PM   #7
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I added some more info to my reply above.

I've heard Power Grips work well but can cause some toe numbness after a while, they get too tight. Do a search for Power Grips right here in BF.
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Old 08-27-08, 09:32 PM   #8
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Thanks. It's looking like toe clips or those Power Straps may work.

Keep the advice coming !!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Recumbomatic View Post
I added some more info to my reply above.

I've heard Power Grips work well but can cause some toe numbness after a while, they get too tight. Do a search for Power Grips right here in BF.
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Old 08-28-08, 08:02 AM   #9
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I transitioned from toe clips to PowerGrips to clipless/SPD. Used the PowerGrips for a couple of years on an upright hybrid. (around 12-15 years ago). I like SPD better but PowerGrips might be better than toeclips for some 'bents. You have to stop and use a hex wrench to adjust the strap but you can vary the tension while riding just by angling your feet in or out a little bit. Very easy to get out of.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:54 AM   #10
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I used PowerGrips also prior to going to clipless. With power grips, there is no resistance when swinging your heel out away from the crank. This releases the pressure of the strap holding you foot in place. I only have experience with different SPD shoes and pedals, but there is a bit of resistance when you swing you heel out, which is also how you release them.
So if you have no problem twisting your foot "imagine the ball of your foot being the pivot point, and rotating the heel from the 6 oclock to a little short of the 8:00 oclock position" PowerGrips would work. Granted since they basically work on a binding principle to hold your foot down, their pressure isn't distributed by the whole show as with clippless systems.

Mark, What area do you live....??
You may have someone near you from the forum who could help by letting you try some shoes / pedals out.
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Old 08-28-08, 06:14 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the advice.

I took some old Wellgo cheapo pedals and plastic toe clips to the LBS today and they took off stock pedals on the Bachetta LWB I was testing (not the one I 'd buy - they order the RANS Starus for me) and put mine on. They worked !!! Feet stayed on pedals. I was also surprised I can tighten them when I'm moving no problem. Also different than a road bike is I can ride opposite side out of them and clips don't hit the road.

So now I can ride the thing and get up hills and pedal/feet problem solved.
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Old 08-29-08, 03:28 PM   #12
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way cool. Glad that the toe clips work. I haven't seen them for a while, at least I've not noticed them.
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