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  1. #1
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    Looking for a touring recommendation

    Hi all. I am new to the recumbent world, and I've decided I think it's the way to go for my cross-country bike trip next spring (can't deal with the saddle sores, among other things).

    While I know that everyone is different and so it's hard to make a firm recommendation, there are limited shops around Boston that carry 'bents, so it's been hard for me to get a really wide set of bikes to try out.

    Do any of you have any recommendations for distance touring from the following list? I will say that I have not yet ridden a LWB bike, but I think it's probably not for me, climbing-wise (if your experience has shown differently, feel free to speak up, I'm all ears at this point).

    I am concerned that the bike be able to climb reasonably well, especially in places out West and the Ozarks (although my route may wind up sparing me that). I *dont* need to worry about carrying capacity so much, as it will be a supported ride. I am 6', 205 lbs. Have tendency towards low back issues. I'm also thinking I dont want something really low-riding, as I prefer the sensation of being a bit more upright. Price is not so much an issue, although Im not looking to spend 4 grand or anything given my level of expertise.

    Here are the bikes I have been thinking of:

    Lightning P-38
    Bacchetta Corsa or Strada
    RANS V-Rex or Force 5

    I'd appreciate any thoughts. Thanks!

    Frank

  2. #2
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    i've been researching into this for about a month now, i'm going on the same trip the summer after this one : )

    from what i've heard and read, the P-38, if you can afford it is about the best out there, especially if you're worried about climbing,
    however, i will be getting a phantom instead, it's a tad heavier, but the overall geometry is much the same as the p-38 and for the price, it's the best climber i can get.

    i've also heard that the p38 has a slight issue with being too "closed," meaning it kinda scrunches you up a little bit, probably a sacrifice to make it faster up inclines

    i have no first hand experience on any recumbent, but if i were to buy one i would HAVE to try them out first. Though my instinct tells me the lightning is what would be best for touring, also consider the Streetmachine, i've been linked to that one time and time again, but both the p38 and the streetmachine (which is slower up the hills, but more comfy overall) cost in excess of 3000 dollars,

    keep in mind you will need other equipment. It would be hard to keep it well below 4000 dollars if you buy one of these bikes.

    also consider that if you're touring, you're not particularly concerned with speed as much as you may think.

    . . . . all in all, i'd look at the phantom, but as you can probably tell : P i'm bias towards lightning.

    i think i would prefer under seat steering, but i've thought about it, and you sacrifice having your computer and a bag for camera and other accessories up on the bars.

  3. #3
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    Don't overlook the Trikes Frank

    Hello Frank,

    I too have the idea of long distance touring on a recumbent. For the last few years I was riding an Actionbent Jetstream I short wheelbase recumbent with a 26" rear and 20" front wheel. It was a nice commuter bike, and got me around just fine, but had some issues with stability. The small 20" front wheel would go into a chuckhole on the roadside and I'd come off the bike. After a couple years and TWO crashes where I left skin on the pavement, I switched to a Catrike. These trikes cost the same as some of the two wheelers you are mentioning, are a great deal more stable, closer to the ground and have the ability to haul a huge amount of gear. I'm planning on getting a Burley trailer in the next few weeks, and will take my first overnight, self supported tour in December or January.

    Take a look at the Catrike Tour. I ride a Catrike Trail with upgraded thumb shifters and a better quality bottom bracket and crank as well. I had the guys at Atlantic Bike in Margate, Florida get it for me, with an extended boom as well. It is a JOY to ride, and with the great web seat, and 45 degree recline, very comfortable. I can come to a stop and stay clipped into the pedals! Kind of like in the old days when I was riding a motorcycle with a sidecar.

    Good luck on your search!

    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

  4. #4
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    so boston to where?

  5. #5
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    hey tom, how is riding a trike on open roads? have any problems with close calls? people not giving enough room for a trike?

    i was rather weary of them simply because they are incredibly low to the ground, and even with flags and lights and sirens . . . i have trouble getting over that fact.

    any problems on the hills? or keeping up with the diamond frames?

  6. #6
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    Trikes on the road...

    I have had VERY FEW issues running on the roads with my trike. Obviously, I ride like I'm invisible, and was a little worried at first, but since I have been riding the Catrike, I have had NO REAL ISSUES. I;m still bothered by *****holes who will scream out the car window or pull up next to me in a jacked up truck and roar the engine for no real reason (what about a recumbent threatens these young guys?).

    I have a friend that had the first Catrike I ever saw. He told a story that he was out riding one day, on a numbered highway, and everyone was giving him lots of room and going around. He got to a store a ways down the road and hopped off the bike to get something to drink. A fellow in a pickup truck, who had passed him 10 minutes up the road looked over at him and said, "Damn, he can walk!" Seems the fellow thought the Catrike 700 Steve was riding, was some sort of handbike.

    So, it could be that the trike is so weird that folks figure it's a glorified wheel chair and they are afraid to get too close...

    AS for keeping up with the DF's? I couldn't keep up with them when I rode a DF! I'm a fat old man with no issues about riding slow and getting a good look at what is going past. HILLS? I live in South Florida. There ARE NO HILLS. My only practice on hills is climbing bridges. Other than that, the land here is a LOT like a pool table.

    Tractortom in Okeechobee, FL
    Last edited by Tractortom; 09-27-08 at 05:11 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    : P i will say, before i got into biking, i did not know that trikes existed, much less were used for anything more than recreational riding, if someone had told me about them a year ago, i would have thought they were an expensive novelty, i know much different now : P

    i think i trike would be very comfortable for touring, but i'm not sure about hills, mainly because of how heavy trikes can be unless you're willing to pay quite a bit. Then again, like you said, it's not all about speed. : )

    the OP mentioned about not wanting to be low to the ground, but if it's safe, and it gets you there, i must admit, it would probably be a more fun ride : )

    trikes just simply look cool, and drive like go-karts!

  8. #8
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    Boston is not all that far from South Central New York State. Consider
    taking a few days to visit this shop http://www.bicycleman.com/ in the
    Finger Lakes area. It's beautiful there this time of the year, and if you
    contact Peter ahead of time he'll be certain to have a well rounded
    collection of 'bents for you to take on long test rides. He's usually got
    several bikes assembled on-site ready to test ride. You could make a
    mini vacation out of it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Can you say more about support plans for your trip, Frank?

    In my always humble, the time is ripe for a trip to Bicycleman or other good shop so you can do some serious testing, make a choice, and do some riding while the weather is still good.

    If I were riding coast to coast, a Rans Status XP TI would be a high contender even at $5,500.

    I'd also, though, consider my present Trice Q. Trikes are great on the road and allow for more gawking around than even the most stable and forgiving bikes.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  10. #10
    Flight From Conformity Echo Gypsy's Avatar
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    I've been riding a DF for a year now and though I knew about Recumbents, but I'd never seen or heard of a trike until two weeks ago. I've had a lot of problems on my wedgie especially in my shoulders and back and thought about touring on a recumbent. Unfortunately, when trying out an aquaintances Recumbent I realized that balance would be an issue since I attach my dog to the bike. So when I saw the Tadpole trikes, they solve all the issues I was having with the DF!!!
    Purpose gives life a goal

  11. #11
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    I recently spoke and rode with a guy with a P-38. He just loves his bike.

    Like Tractortom, I too ride a Catrike. It's cheaper than a P-38. I get tons more room on the road than I ever did on any two wheeler. It's great climbing hills, albeit slow. I feel it would be the perfect touring machine.

    Check this out. http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...sing-wisconsin
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Dr.Deltron
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    IMHO, trikes RULE for touring!

    They don't ever "go down" in a corner.
    Easy to "track stand" at any light.
    Can climb walls.
    Descends like gresed lightning.
    As it's own parade; highly visible!
    & you make "new friends" every time you come to a complete stop.


    Granted...these pics are from an over-nighter.

    The trike is a Greenspeed GTT w/2 couplers.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Approaching Nirvana megaman's Avatar
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    You took your pet snake with you on an overnighter?
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."
    -- Albert Einstein

  15. #15
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    from the OP

    Hi all, thanks for the suggestions. I think a trike is probably not what I'm looking for, although it sounds like they offer all kinds of advantages.

    I have perused the bicycleman website at length, although I think a trip out there is not in my future (its over 7 hours by car). Basicallybicycles is on my short list, as I can get there and back in a single day (2.5 hours or so).

    To the person who asked "boston to where", I'm thinking about West-->East, either starting in SF, Oregon or Seattle.

    If it ever stops raining up here, I'm going to take a trip to a shop about 30 mins from here and try out a Lightning P-38; I have read about it being very closed up, so we'll see.

    Frank

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