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  1. #1
    Senior Member Raedeke's Avatar
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    Possible convert - need more info...

    Based on my current and seemingly never-ending back problems, I find myself looking at these bikes. I was told once that if I don't have to - don't - but if you have a bad back - they are great to keep you riding.

    Where does one go to find these bikes? And perhaps more importantly, they seem to have very different geometry. Unlike regular rides that all tend to have you hunched over, there is a real distinction on the angle you sit, where the cranks are and even the angle at which your legs are positioned.

    Are there significant ride differences or characteristics?

    If I wanted to test ride one – I’d want to ride it for about 50 miles – it that common practice…

    How do you tell your wife you are going to buy a new bike after dropping over a grand last year?

    Your thoughts.
    R
    "Some ride to win, some ride to lose, others ride to work, I ride for fun. How about you?"

  2. #2
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raedeke
    Based on my current and seemingly never-ending back problems, I find myself looking at these bikes. I was told once that if I don't have to - don't - but if you have a bad back - they are great to keep you riding.

    Where does one go to find these bikes? And perhaps more importantly, they seem to have very different geometry. Unlike regular rides that all tend to have you hunched over, there is a real distinction on the angle you sit, where the cranks are and even the angle at which your legs are positioned.

    Are there significant ride differences or characteristics?

    If I wanted to test ride one – I’d want to ride it for about 50 miles – it that common practice…

    How do you tell your wife you are going to buy a new bike after dropping over a grand last year?

    Your thoughts.
    R
    As far as finding out everything you need to know about recumbents go to google or any other search engine and simply type recumbent bicycle, you will find all you need to know about the differnat recumbents on the market. I could & others probably will post web sites to help answer your questions, or answer them directly but there are so many issues when it comes to selection a recumbent that I think google is the best option IMO.

    One question I can easily answer is you find these bikes at an LBS like you do other bikes. If your local LBS is not a dealer for recumbents they can probably order one for you anyway, but it is best if you can, to find a dealer that does carry recumbents as part of their product line. They will be more familiar with the bikes then an LBS that is not a recumbent dealer.

    Never ever believe what someone once told you about if you don't have to ride a recumbent to not do so. That person is obviously un-educated as to what recumbents are obviously all about & how fun they are to ride.

    When it comes to test riding one, I think that depends on the area you live in & how long you've done business with the LBS. The one in my area would let me take one for a weekend & test ride it, but I've done business with them for 10 years now so they trust me a loyal customer. But even though you may not have done business with a recumbent LBS for a long period of time maybe they have a rental policy or even a way for you to put a refundable credit card deposit on a bike you want to test ride. That way they are protected if something happens to the bike while you are testing it out.

    When it comes to test riding a recumbent though keep something in mind. That is it is not like riding a wedgie. It will take you some time to learn how to ride one. How long, who's to say, it varies with everyone who has ever bought one. It took me a week to learn how to control it before I was comfortable with riding it in traffic. So the lenght of time you have to test ride a recumbent may not be enough. But even so don't get discouraged. Test ride a few if you can and pick the one that suits you best. The one that you had better luck in controlling, etc.

    As far as how to tell your wife, sorry can't offer any advice for you there. I know how my wife would handle it, but that doesn't mean yours would responde the same way.

    Please keep us aprised as to what you decide. Good luck.

  3. #3
    'Bent Brian
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    The previous poster had very good advice. I too have a bad back and other assorted and sundry health problems. I just purchased a Rans Tailwind which is a "compact long wheelbase" bike. The ride is fantastic. No more pain anywhere. I'm kicking myself that I didn't switch to a recumbent years ago. Currently I'm about as fast as I was on my aluminum road bike and as I get into condition the speeds will continue to improve. I've even started limited commuting to work, something I could not do on the road bike, at least not in any degree of comfort. As you mught imagine there are many different types and styles of bikes. After all was said and done I found myself with two basic choices, short wheelbase or long wheelbase. The short wheelbase bikes turn sharper and quicker but can give a bit harsher ride on rough roads. The long wheelbase bikes have a larger turning radius but the ride is "like that of a Lincoln Town Car". I have no problems dealing with traffic and turning corners during my commute. I'm in my second week of riding with somewhere around 75 miles on the odometer. I do agree that it takes about a week of riding, or about 50 miles to start to feel comfortable and get nice wobble-free starts. It took me about 5 minutes to learn to wobble around a nearly empty parking lot the first time I got on a recumbent. The biggest thing is learning to really relax and totally forget about everything you've learned as a roadie, except for spinning. Find a good knowledgeable dealer. You really need to ride to make the right choice. The seats on most recumbents are fully adjustable as to position and the degree of lean, at least that is the case on my Tailwind and the other Rans bikes. Since I can no longer drive to work my family is forced to take me, at the tune of about 76 miles a day. Commuting half way made a lot of sense with gas $2.00 a gallon. The time factor prevents me from going to a full commute. The wife knew I liked riding and knew I was unable to ride the road bike any longer. So the money was not too big an issue with her. Besides she had just added another miniature horse to our herd. Since I didn't complain about the critter, she didn't complain about the bike. Good luck and have fun shopping!

    'bent Brian

  4. #4
    Senior Member ChiliDog's Avatar
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    Some good websites to learn about bents are:

    www.bentrideronline.com
    www.hostelshoppe.com
    www.recumbentcyclistnews.com
    www.bicycleman.com
    www.recumbentandtandemridernews.com

    Links are at the top of the main page on BentRiderOnline to many manufacturers.

    There are reviews of some bents on BROL under "extras". Some reviews can be found on www.roadbikereview.com under manufacturer's names.

    Locations of particular bents at bike shops can be found by going to the manufacturer's website and searching under "dealer locator".

    Big recumbent rally in NY state (BROL) Aug 20-22 and also Hostelshoppe holds it's annual rally in August. Check out their websites for details. Here you can view and ride many different styles of bents and meet riders from all over.

    Where are you located?
    The bike for you is the one you will ride!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Raedeke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiliDog
    Some good websites to learn about bents are:

    www.bentrideronline.com
    www.hostelshoppe.com
    www.recumbentcyclistnews.com
    www.bicycleman.com
    www.recumbentandtandemridernews.com

    Links are at the top of the main page on BentRiderOnline to many manufacturers.

    There are reviews of some bents on BROL under "extras". Some reviews can be found on www.roadbikereview.com under manufacturer's names.

    Locations of particular bents at bike shops can be found by going to the manufacturer's website and searching under "dealer locator".

    Big recumbent rally in NY state (BROL) Aug 20-22 and also Hostelshoppe holds it's annual rally in August. Check out their websites for details. Here you can view and ride many different styles of bents and meet riders from all over.

    Where are you located?
    I'm in Denver - so I think I'll stick to looking at the LBS that have some available. Really want to be sure I can't fix my back before I go this direction. And obviously would like to know that if I can't fix my back and ride my current bike, that this bent will not cause me the same problems...

    Thanks for the links - I'll start taking a look.

    R
    "Some ride to win, some ride to lose, others ride to work, I ride for fun. How about you?"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Bicycle Village, Aurora (on S Havana, just south of Parker) usually has a handful of different styles of 'bents on the showroom floor. Might be worth a look if you're having trouble finding them in stock at your LBS...

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    Check out www.angletech.com Shop is in Colorado and the owner is great to do business with.
    I too have back neck problems. Had C5 and C6 fused a few years ago. Riding the Pursuit now instead of my Tommasini. Never looked back. No pain whatsoever. The learing curve is different, you balance with your butt, not your upper body like on a traditional bike. It is not hard, just different. Good luck with your search.
    Bruce

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    I'm a big fan of the Bacchetta line of recumbents. www.bacchettabikes.com The following Colorado bike shops should carry them.

    Angletech
    318 N. Hwy 67
    Woodland Park CO 80866
    719-687-7475
    www.angletechcycles.com
    anglezoom@aol.com


    Best of Bents
    7580 Grant Pl
    Arvada CO 80002
    303-463-8775
    www.bestofbents.com
    info@bestofbents.com


    High Gear Cyclery
    504 Main St.
    Longmont, CO 80501
    Ph. 303-772-4327
    www.highgearbike.com
    buzz@highgearbike.com


    Spring Creek Recumbents
    2111 S College Ave #G
    Fort Collins CO 80525
    970-221-4838
    www.springcreekrecumbents.com


    Wilderness Sports
    400 Main St.
    Frisco, CO 80443
    970-668-8804

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    [QUOTE=Raedeke]Based on my current and seemingly never-ending back problems, I find myself looking at these bikes. I was told once that if I don't have to - don't - but if you have a bad back - they are great to keep you riding.

    Are there significant ride differences or characteristics?

    My perspective on some of this.... You've definitely been misinformed on recumbents. While it is true that they do allow many individuals with medical issues to continue riding, these aren't just bikes for the infirm. In many cases, recumbent designers are on the cutting edge of design. In my opinion, some recumbents are an evolutionary step up from diamond frame bikes. I'm 38 and definitely do not ride a recumbent because I "have" to. I do because on the type of riding I do (flat to rolling hills), they're significantly faster, they're hands down more comfortable to ride, and the view as you ride is great. However, the trade off is that you may find yourself a bit slower on very hilly rides. The handling characteristics are a bit different - but not materially so. The key is to relax. Otherwise, the steering can feel "twitchy". Ninety percent of the individuals who have tried riding one of my recumbents have had absolutely no problems at all, and you'd never have known it was their first time on a recumbent. Good luck on your search! This is a recent story that was picked up by AP: http://www.boston.com/yourlife/healt...cumbent_bikes/

  10. #10
    meb
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    I've no back problems, but to give you some idea on the effects of a rear suspended recumbent, if I ride 20 miles on my road bike, my 47 yr old back will feel it the next day. If I ride 35 on rear suspended bent, not a hint of strain.

    Rather than visitting a general LBS, I'd visit recumbent specialty shops or manufacturers in your area. You have many in the Denver area, some of which have already been identified. Most general local bicycle shops are clueless on recumbent specific issues, even shops that carrying a recumbent or two. Many general shops will try and limit options to either the bent they have or steer you away from recumbents even if that is the route you ought be going. A recumbent specialty shop will have several models for you to try, will be accostomed to seeing customers with chronic back problems and have a general idea on which bents might work well with your back.

    I'd recommend suspension to help with the jolts on the back.

    Recumbents are fun independent of medical problems.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Raedeke's Avatar
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    Went to the Dr. today - doing an MRI on the back, but the indication is I already have a good case of Scolioses (SP) not to mention the pain that I am suffering with. Seems the Bent may be more eminent than previously suspected.

    Someone posted "once you build up new muscles you'll be cruising faster than your road bike" (ok more paraphrase than anything)..

    My question is - I know each of the bents have a different angle at which you sit and address the the crank. Some of which look like you are really stretched out and some of which look much more compact. More like that of a road bike. I'd think that those compact ones might in fact utilize the same muscle group or am I in for more leg training...

    R
    "Some ride to win, some ride to lose, others ride to work, I ride for fun. How about you?"

  12. #12
    'Bent Brian
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raedeke
    Went to the Dr. today - doing an MRI on the back, but the indication is I already have a good case of Scolioses (SP) not to mention the pain that I am suffering with. Seems the Bent may be more eminent than previously suspected.

    Someone posted "once you build up new muscles you'll be cruising faster than your road bike" (ok more paraphrase than anything)..

    My question is - I know each of the bents have a different angle at which you sit and address the the crank. Some of which look like you are really stretched out and some of which look much more compact. More like that of a road bike. I'd think that those compact ones might in fact utilize the same muscle group or am I in for more leg training...

    R
    Please bear with me on this since I myself am new to recumbency. As I understand it the seat angle can be changed to put more or less weight on your back. Although one would think that your efficiency would be better on a high crank position vs a low crank position if the seat was reclined a long ways back. Your observations seem to be correct that the long wheelbase "touring type " bikes have a low bottom bracket and tend to have more upright seating as opposed a short weelbase "performance" (?) type bike with a higher bottom bracket and more reclined seating. The more reclined position does offer lower wind resistance. Recumbents are faster on the flats and downhill. The improved aerodynamics offer anywhere between 15% and 30% less drag than the same rider on a road bike. To get the same effect on a road bike you would need to ride in an extreme tuck with aero bars, and even then there is still a slight advantage to the recumbent. Riding for any great amount of distance in an extreme tuck is hard on the body. So why do it if you can get the same aerodynamic benefits while riding in a relaxed position, on a nice comfy seat while enjoying the scenery instead of the road under your front wheel? Improved aerodynamics means more speed for the same amount of expended energy. Why do you think the International Cycling Federation outlawed recumbents from competing in sanctioned races? The reason was a second tier cyclist "blew the doors off" a first class champion cyclist on a regular racing bike and set new records for time and speed. The recumbent by better aerodynamics made the lesser cyclist more effective. The Federation felt that recumbents offered an unfair advantage and so banned them.

    Yes, you do use different muscles on a recumbent. As I understand it hamstrings and glutes come into play to some degree. As you develop spinning skills (your feet make circles and apply power to the crank over nearly a full rotation) required for climbing other muscles come into play.

    Before I bought my first recumbent I spent about a month of research on the internet. That included some technical papers of wind tunnel tests done by a bicycle engineer. I looked into the comfort issue since that was the main reason I couldn't ride my road bike for more than a few minutes. The speed benefit was secondary. The day after I took delivery on the bike I went for an evening ride. Normally on the road bike this is about a distance of 5 miles or so covered as quickly as possible before the numbness and pain set in. Well, on the new recumbent I was gone over an hour (the wife panicked and was about to mount up a posse to find me) and I had covered over three times that distance! NOTHING HURT OR GOT NUMB AND I WAS HAVING FUN. My legs were tired but that was it. This was my first real ride. I now do limited commuting to work. The more I ride the more the speed increases.

    My humble opinion. Do your research. Find a good knowlegable dealer (mine rides a 'bent himself) and go for a test ride. Try severl types of bikes. Go back and re-ride to form a second opinion. Be aware in the first few seconds you will find youself wondering what you've gotten yourself into, and will you ever master it. The ride is that different. I found I had to throw away all my old roadie skills on steering and balance, save that of spinning. The more you relax the more stable the bike becomes. Tighten up your upper body and the steering will get twitchy. The final moment comes when you can make arrow straight starts and can keep your wheels on the white lane edge marker. At that point mastery is at hand. It is different, comfortable, and FUN. Since I've been riding the recumbent the road bike now has a healthy coat of dust, and I'm having a blast.

    Sorry to ramble on so much but is is something you have to experience for yourself. I will never look back!

    'bent Brian

  13. #13
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    I'm in the process of getting a trike and have been researching and chatting about bents, it seems the amount of time to retrain the muscles varies from individual to individual and can take from a few hundred miles to a few thousand miles but all seem to continue to improve more slowly over the first year.
    Some think that the more compact design make adjusting easier but due to the above its hard to say.(most of the more compact/upright ones are more draggy the streched out ones tend to be the speed machines)
    If you like speed the low racer look like a blast but if you are willing to trade speed for ease of use and fun and ultimate comfort check out a trike.
    I may try a low racer once I have my bent legs so I don't get blown away by the other roadies.
    Here's a good site to start and their forums fairly active. http://www.bentrideronline.com

    Good luck
    Greenspeed GLR trike
    JC-70 trike
    Avanti Atomic Disc mtb
    Custom electric chopper

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raedeke
    Went to the Dr. today - doing an MRI on the back, but the indication is I already have a good case of Scolioses (SP) not to mention the pain that I am suffering with. Seems the Bent may be more eminent than previously suspected.

    Someone posted "once you build up new muscles you'll be cruising faster than your road bike" (ok more paraphrase than anything)..

    My question is - I know each of the bents have a different angle at which you sit and address the the crank. Some of which look like you are really stretched out and some of which look much more compact. More like that of a road bike. I'd think that those compact ones might in fact utilize the same muscle group or am I in for more leg training...

    R
    My wife just got an EZ-1 Lite (AX). She has RA (she's 42 and got it about 5 years ago) and has not ridden a bike in a couple of years. Leaning on her wrists about killed her. Her response to the EZ after her first ride (15 miles on the bike path) was "Whee!!! FUN!!!" She tried the EZ-3 AX but the lower seat/pedal angle caused her hip pain on one side. She wouldn't even consider the really reclining ones, as her back would have been screaming. Point being, TRY THEM ALL! Your back will like one better than the other.

    In trying out the various recumbants, I have to say, "Where have our heads been!" I personally didn't like the short wheel base ones, the CLWBs were easy to get used to very quickly. I'm a recreational rider at best, when I get time so I should (Dollar wise) stick to my 22 Y/O 10 speed. My knees scream at the pressure needed to climb even moderate hills on the road bike. Probably one reason I don't go out much. I had thought about moving up to a 18 or 21 speed, hoping I could handle the hills better, but the heck with that! If I decide to find the time to ride some, especially now that my wife has her EZ and the girls (9 & 11) can actually do distances, I'm getting bent. While the bents were slow up hill, I could 'spin' without pressure (sounds VERY contradictory!) and climb without pain. Soon as you crest, the gearing goes up and zoom!

    I added fenders, Camelback UnBottle, rear rack and a "storage bag" for the rack. It has a top section and side pockets that look like panniers when you let them down. They are big enough for my daughter's skates. One reason my wife wanted a bike was so I could drop my daughter at the ice rink in the morning with her bike and my wife and other daughter could get some excercise by riding to the rink to pick her up. Finding one that the skates fit in was a critical part of the "trunk" criteria. Now if it would only STOP RAINING! They have only been able to do it 1 time since she got the bike 3 weeks ago.

  15. #15
    hmBldr
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raedeke
    I'm in Denver - so I think I'll stick to looking at the LBS that have some available. Really want to be sure I can't fix my back before I go this direction. And obviously would like to know that if I can't fix my back and ride my current bike, that this bent will not cause me the same problems...

    Thanks for the links - I'll start taking a look.

    R
    You are in luck, there is a great recumbent store in old town Arvada, Best of Bents. They have more test bikes and trikes than you could wish for. on 57th, 1/2 block east of Olde Wadsworth. 303-463-4984. www.bestofbents.com. Bob and Pat are also very patient with newbies, so go check it out.

    Darren

  16. #16
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raedeke

    How do you tell your wife you are going to buy a new bike after dropping over a grand last year?
    I don't know - I've found that jewelry can placate the indignant. That leaves less for the bent, though. Bummer how life is full of trade-offs.
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  17. #17
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    Why not be honest and ask her. Don't try to be manipulative so you can get what you want just ask her tell her your reasons. She will say yes or no. I've sh say no then. Ask her about saving for it. Sell stuff off on ebay eat less pizzas. In other words, take the college student approach.

  18. #18
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    I tried a number of "bents" before I purchased my EZ Sport about a year ago. Hadn't ridden since I was kid, but have taken to it seriously the last few months. The "bents" are great. No butt problems, easy to steer (however, it does take time to get used too), great for standing out in the crowd.

    Do your research, try different types. Try the same types made by different manuafctures. It took me about five minutes to learn, it's not hard. Just remember, do not look at your feet. Don't ask me why, but it works.

    Good luck and happy riding, enjoy.

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    Good Luck and Good riding! You are about to begin a great adventure. I got my first "bent" one day after a casuall chat with an M.D. I have a ruptured vertabrae lower back (L4) and had a discectomy and fusion in my neck (C4). The "bent" is fantastic. You have already gotten lots of great advice and good tips. Just a brief few personal glimpses. My wife said "if riding is important to you and this bike will keep you healthy, go for it" Sweet lady, right? I had some trouble getting started at the bike shop but finally found the bike I liked best went around the block a few times.
    Brought it home and started riding around the neighboorhood. One day I cajoled my wife to take a ride. We had to put a pillow behind her back because the frame is too long for her. Wellll--- She took off out the driveway made a turn up the street and at the top of the hill, she pulled off a "U" turn! My jaw dropped! I am the "jock"- she is a newbie. Bottom Line, - Test, test.test and then have fun!!

    Allan

  20. #20
    Senior Member Raedeke's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who have provided information and guidence. I'm still on my road bike for now with the help of lots of Ibuprofen. Have good days and bad days, but am still going to look into the bents. I think about riding all the time and can't imagine not being able to ride - will keep you all posted.
    Richard
    "Some ride to win, some ride to lose, others ride to work, I ride for fun. How about you?"

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    If you live in Denver surely you've visited Best of Bents by now.

  22. #22
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    76 schwinn tandem,old hard rock mt bike, old old centurium rd bike, 84 trek 640 touring bike, a new v-rex,
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    when I told my wife I had to buy this bent, she informed me I needed to decide which I needed more,, her or the bike, asked her if she wanted the quick answer or if I should think about it for a while!

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