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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 10-07-08, 05:09 PM   #1
Indie
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Posture, leg position, and speed

Howdy.

I've got a question for the recumbent riders, and I'll be asking the roadies as well, probably.

I keep hearing that recumbents can go super-fast and outrun standard bikes easily. I'm guessing this is because of the leg position, sitting back and pushing your legs forward instead of pushing downward.

But I've also been told that the new 'forward foot position' comfort bikes are not efficient. A prime example of this is the Electra Townie.

Wouldn't that position be a sort of compromise between an upright and a recumbent, and if my supposition about recumbent efficiency is true, shouldn't these be more efficient than standard bikes where you bend forward and pedal downwards?
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Old 10-07-08, 05:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indie View Post
H
I keep hearing that recumbents can go super-fast and outrun standard bikes easily. I'm guessing this is because of the leg position, sitting back and pushing your legs forward instead of pushing downward.
Recumbents..... wait .... some recumbents are faster because of reduced aerodynamic drag due to the laid back, more horizontal riding position.
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Old 10-07-08, 06:12 PM   #3
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Yep, it's all about aerodynamics. Most standard recumbents have at most 10% less frontal area than a road bike, and they offset that with more weight and a less efficient pushing platform, i.e. a cushy seat back. The good racing bents, though, are only a few pounds heavier and dramatically reduce frontal area. With both being ridden at 200W, a lowracer will simply walk away from an upright. No contest.

Now, put them on a hill climb and the upright usually gets the advantage. Why? Because any upright rider capable of keeping up with a racing recumbent is putting out a lot more watts and hill climbing isn't about aerodynamics, it's about watts/weight.
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Old 10-08-08, 08:21 AM   #4
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Air resistance... right, wasn't thinking about that one. Thanks.
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Old 10-08-08, 10:31 AM   #5
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Old 10-08-08, 01:22 PM   #6
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Mind if I borrow that image?
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Old 10-08-08, 02:43 PM   #7
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It was originally created, minus the lowracer, by Hostelshoppe. The lowracer was added by someone at recumbents.com, the owner of which rides a lowracer. I think it was meant for posting.
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Old 10-08-08, 03:21 PM   #8
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excellent. Thanks for the update.
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Old 10-10-08, 06:09 AM   #9
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The Electra Townie looks like a pain to ride. I'm basing that on the pictures in your link. I also tried a semi-bent Beach Cruiser (since I like Beach Cruisers) before I bought one. The semi-bent Cruiser was a real pain. It was just a lot of work to look "cool," which wasn't my true objective.

The further leaned back you are, the better the aerodynamics. On the other hand, you have to be able to balance and look around from that position, and not everyone is able to do so.

Best recommendation is to test ride some. I did that before buying. I ended up with a slower bike than the full leaning back ones, but I am better able to handle it.
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Old 10-12-08, 10:23 PM   #10
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I can tell you that the rans zenetik crank forward is both fast and comfrtable. But not aerodynamic. You're very upright. On a practice hill I was able to climb just as easy as an upright - between 15 and 18 miles an hour depending on grade. Downhill though I only achieved 23mph. Would have been 35+ on a bent, and 28 easily down in the drops of a road bike. However, there is actually a way to get aero on even a crank forward bike - I was just too new on the bike to try it at speed.

CFs are cool!
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