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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 06-04-09, 01:12 PM   #1
yangmusa
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Sweat - the one thing that really puts me off my 'bent

One of the things I really like about my upright bikes is that as I ride I create my own breeze that cools my upper body. Doesn't matter if I ride 3 miles or 50 miles - if I pace myself right, I can arrive without sweating (if I choose to take it easy..)

On my bent, I arrive in a soggy mess - even if it's just 3 miles. I'm reclined to 30 degrees or so, on a hard shell seat with 2" of open foam pad. While I can understand why my back gets hot, it's kind of odd that my front also gets sweaty - I guess the wind just can't find it's way through my clothes to cool me off in that position?

And no, it isn't just lack of recumbent conditioning. I've been riding 'bents since 2004, usually many thousand miles per year.

This is really annoying to me. It basically makes my recumbent useless as transportation, since I intensely dislike showing up sweaty at work, at a friend's house, at the store.. Hence, I'm now riding my upright bikes a lot more, and my 'bent is lonely and neglected more often than I would like.

Anyone else have this problem? Are mesh seats appreciably better?

EDIT: I have worn a wicking t-shirt on my commute, and it was slightly better. But I'm rather opposed to wearing special bike gear on principle - especially as my commute is only 3 miles and it shouldn't be necessary. On my upright I can ride in a suit and tie, and arrive sweat free. If I have the choice between dressing like a spandex dork and changing when I get to work, or riding an upright in normal clothes.... well, you see the problem.

Last edited by yangmusa; 06-04-09 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 06-04-09, 02:21 PM   #2
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as far as the front getting sweaty -- you're covering up half of the heatsink! same principle as wearing a winter hat, you are overall sweatier because you are not ventilating the same amount, because you're covering up your back.

Dunno much about bents, but logically I think a mesh seat would help.
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Old 06-04-09, 04:07 PM   #3
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I ride a Rans V-rex with a mesh seatback, which logically does provide better ventilation than a solid seatback would. For what it's worth, I've never felt that it's any "sweatier" than my diamond-frame bike -- if anything it's cooler. The Rans has a pivoting handlebar stem, which allows me to occasionally straighten out my arms and get a cooling windblast up my sleeves and directly into my armpits -- quite refreshing on a hot day!

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Old 06-04-09, 06:56 PM   #4
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Ummmm........the obvious solution is to ride faster, which would create a more powerful breeze to aid in evaporative cooling. That, and wear more wicking polyester clothing. I didn't say lycra.
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Old 06-04-09, 08:20 PM   #5
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Yes, the mesh seat back on my V-Rex is quite a bit cooler in hot weather than the carbon seat on my Baron. I think being less reclined helps, too.
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Old 06-04-09, 08:44 PM   #6
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I've found that a few degrees in seat tilt makes a big difference for air flow. If you bike allows, you may want to give 35 degrees a try. At anything above 16 mph or so you will be paying a speed price, but enjoying more breeze.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:06 PM   #7
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Both of my bent seats are mesh and I've never noticed getting hotter and/or sweatier on them. They are also LWB, so I'm sitting up at a steeper angle than someone on a SWB.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:20 PM   #8
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I've never noticed this at all....
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Old 06-04-09, 09:55 PM   #9
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That, and wear more wicking polyester clothing. I didn't say lycra.
Ha ha I should have pointed out that I'm not against cycle-specific clothing for longer rides, or fast rides for exercise. But I do think it should be unnecessary for such a short commute, since it's not a problem on my upwrong.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:01 AM   #10
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+1 to mesh seats. All of my recumbents have mesh seat backs and I never have a problem with getting sweaty even in 100+ degree heat. The low humidity helps a lot but I can't imagine having a hard shell seat. Yes, I know it makes for more efficient energy transfer but I need all the ventilation I can get when it is really hot.
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Old 06-08-09, 09:31 PM   #11
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Other than wind flow you are also in the perfect position to absorb solar heat on a recumbent in a reclined position.
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Old 06-10-09, 05:39 PM   #12
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I've got a mesh back on my Sport AX, which is fairly upright. I will say that on longer / harder rides that my back is still a bit sweaty (more so than chest), but then I am wearing a fairly non-breathable hi-viz jacket most of the time. Without that, things are a lot better.

Maybe slow down a bit and smell the roses...
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Old 08-17-09, 03:32 PM   #13
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I finally got a chance to test ride the new-ish ICE B1 at Baytrail Trikes in Albany, CA.

The version I tried had the all mesh seat and the praying hamster tiller steering. When sitting with my feet on the ground, my hips/legs touch the frame of the seat. Not particularly uncomfortable, but they're there. When riding, the seat just melts away. The difference between this seat and my hard shell is amazing! I could really feel the wind cooling my back. And backside - most mesh seats I've tried only have a mesh back, but have a cushion bottom (RANS, Bacchetta). The ICE seat is all mesh, and yet manages to be incredibly comfortable even without padding.

Apart from that, the handling was very easy and reassuring. I haven't ridden a bike with praying hamster steering since selling my Hurricane in 2006 - but within minutes I was comfortable doing high speed turns banked way over. Fun

I'm seriously tempted! It seems to check all the boxes, and some I hadn't expected too.
  1. Comfortable, breathable, seat
  2. great handling
  3. comes with rear suspension = comfy ride even with narrower fast tires
  4. felt zippy, though I didn't have any way to measure
  5. it folds!
  6. allegedly fits in a standard suitcase minus the seat, though I'm waiting for photos

The only downside is it's quite pricey. It'll be about $2,400, which would mean some serious negotiating with SWMBO Also, it I'm willing to forgo the folding and all-mesh seat for just a mesh seat-back, then I could get a highracer like a Bacchetta Giro 26 or RANS Force 5 for $600-800 less. They'd likely be a little faster, possible ride better on rough pavement - at the expense of not being able to travel with them and getting a sweatier backside!

Hmm, what to do, what to do.....
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Old 08-17-09, 08:24 PM   #14
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. . . which would mean some serious negotiating with SWMBO . . .
Hone negotiating skills, present your case, throw self on the mercy of SWMBO, and remember the high value of a good marriage?
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Old 08-18-09, 06:15 AM   #15
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Mesh seat on my Tailwind, and I see no difference in sweating between it and DFs that I have ridden.
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