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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 09-28-08, 11:44 AM   #1
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Lighting Phantom vs P-38 or whatever

Hello Everyone,
I've been riding my first recumbent for about a month now. Usually 20-30 mile rides at first, and now 40-50 miles. But I still cannot make this thing travel in a straight line at low speed let alone do a track stand at a red light. I have crashed 4x, two at stops and 2 going up very steep hills for long stretches. This pretty much sucks. I haven't crashed a bike since I was a junior racer almost 40 years ago. But what really bums me is that I test road a P-38 and riding as slow as possible in and out of bumpers in a parking lot I never once felt unstable. Tim B. sent me a rubber ring to put around the steering tube inside the headtube and I have to admit I have not had time to do this yet. I'm hoping that will do the trick. Any Phantom riders out there want to comment, or P-38 as well. I should also say that I love the bike. It is pure comfort and goes like hell.

Temecula, CA
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Old 09-28-08, 12:07 PM   #2
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You will never get a recumbent to do a track stand. Bents are just not made for that.

Ok, trikes can do a track stand, they're special.
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Old 09-28-08, 12:08 PM   #3
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I don't ride a P-38, but I have found that the combination of 20" front and 26" rear is an unstable way to build a bike. I had an actionbent Jetstream I, set up the same way, and had the same problems. I did a high-speed get off on a corner in the RV park one morning when I dropped the front wheel into a chuckhole in mid-turn. I mean I went down HARD, and left skin and blood on the asphalt. Wasn't able to ride again for several days. I crashed several other times running in shallow sand, or when there was sand on the road in a curve or turn.

So, I went to a Catrike Trail, three wheeler. NO MORE problems running slow on a long uphill, no more problems in the turns, can stop and wait for traffic and stay clipped into the pedals. Much better.

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee
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Old 09-28-08, 01:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
I don't ride a P-38, but I have found that the combination of 20" front and 26" rear is an unstable way to build a bike. . . .
Tom's misfortune notwithstanding, 26/20's are not inherently unstable, though a front 20 can sometimes be more easily captured by an obstacle than a larger front tire. Just yesterday my 20/20 Rocket and I had an interesting few seconds because I decided to hit some loose deep gravel too fast. The front wheel decided it was time to go slowly while the rest of us thought we were still moving fast. (There was water, shade and a dehydration station at the end of the gravel to excuse my less-than-stellar judgment.)

Staying completely relaxed makes a huge handling difference for me. The more relaxed the body and the milder the steering inputs the better any bent seems to behave.

Last edited by gcottay; 09-28-08 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
... I have found that the combination of 20" front and 26" rear is an unstable way to build a bike.
False. The handling of a bent, or any bike, is dependent on the geometry. Steerer angle, rake, trail, and weight distribution all matter. Wheel size does not, although the geometry has to accommodate the front wheel size.

Bents of the 2-wheeled variety will not do trackstands for mortals, although I wouldn't rule out the possibility of some freekishly coordinated individual could manage one for short times. The best way to keep from going too slow and falling over on hills is to not go that slow. Low gears may help keep the bike moving on really steep stuff. If it's not possible to keep the speed up, then the next choice would be to work on low-speed balance; which means practicing relaxing the upper body and keeping the rider's weight centered and steady on the bike.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:47 AM   #6
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I ride a P-38 and enjoy it. When I first got on, I have to admit, it was a little unstable but the first time I got on a DF I was a little unstable too. ?Tire size? smaller may be a little different but anytime you hit a hole it is going to throw you off balance a little, or a lot depending on the size of hole.
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