I'm new to 'bents, but very interested in getting one soon. Some of the models I've seen have a rather smallish 16 inch front wheel. They seem to be on the cheaper bikes. Does anyone have an opinion as to whether this is OK, or is it something to avoid.
Thanks (this is a great site - it's given me a lot of info.)
i have a greenspeed GTC www.greenspeed.com.au
it's got the 16" wheels on it and nothing on that bike is cheap. has internal hub breaks and is VERY stout. also you'll find w/ the smaller wheels you get greater durability and strength, but you sacrifice some peddling speed and comfort due to the smaller sizing. however the thing is FAST on downhills, most DF's have a hard time keeping up. had a friend clock his trike at something like 65 MPH on some downhills. (i wasn't there so i can't vouch this is true but he's an experienced rider and i have a tendency to believe him.)
guess it all depends on the bike and the parts it's made of. maybe if ya post what your looking at we could help you a bit more on whether it's a durable peice of equipment. whatcha got in mind?
One minor problem with tiny wheels that spin fast is
that on wet roads they throw an enormous rooster
tail of water. Not too much choice of rims and tires
for 16", or for that matter for 20" which comes in
two flavors: 405 (common) and 451 (less common).
Classically the smaller the tire the greater the rolling
resistance, though the difference is minor. Steve
The larger the tire the more stability you have . A stick or a smudge of sand on a corner will down a 16" wheel on a BIKE where a larger wheel might continue right on it's way. The front wheel encounters all the hazards first and is the most critical. The manufactors that were offering 16" like LIGHTENING now offer a 20" on most. This process involves the larger footprint as well as the gyroscopic stability of the larger wheel. Stick a narrow tire, on a 16' wheel , on a short wheelbase and the problem just increases exponentially. Of course if you ride on a nice clean smooth asphalt surface all the time there is no problem.
The bike I was looking at is a Sun EZ Super Cruiser. I rode one and it seems to a decent bike for the money (though slower than I imagined it would be). Would I be able to put a 20" wheel on the front?
Depends on how much clearance there is at the top of the fork. You will need close to or slightly more than
2 inches of additional radius and the brakes would have
to reach the rims. If that doesn't work then a new fork
is not too expensive and readily available in steel.. Steve
For sure the EZ-1 SC does NOT have the clearance in the fork for a 20" front wheel. Some of the higher end Sun / EasyRacers 'bents are featuring larger wheels, both front and rear (and remember, it's the larger rear wheel that gets you more speed, as it effectively increases your "final drive" ratio). But the SC steel is the very entry level into the 'bent market. Slow indeed, and heavy as all get-out (I just bought a used one for a song, and have to drag it up my basement steps every time I take it out), but a fairly decent quality set of components, esp. for the money.
Idunno about a larger fork. It would seriously affect the geometry of the bike, not to mention its handling. Yeah, that little 16" wheel doesn't handle obstacles as readily as a larger wheel would, and steering this bike is definitely a totally different experience from driving a wedgie, but if you really want a larger-wheeled 'bent (which, BTW, seems to be the way the industry is going), you're gonna have to shell out the bucks.
I found out about the roostertail effect sch describes the hard way; icked up a nice yellow bike jacket. Fortunately you can get fenders for it for about $30; just visit http://www.easyracers.com , drill down thru the dealer locator, find a dealer near you and have them order a set. I'm waitin' on mine as we "speak".