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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 07-03-09, 08:50 PM   #1
da07079
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Got bent this week

I finally bought a recumbent after a number of years looking at them. It's really nice -- a 2007 Rans Force 5 Enduro (dual 559 highracer with disc brakes) -- and was a great deal off of Craigslist.

I have a few questions for those of you who have been riding the Enduro longer (and in some cases to those who ride other recumbents):

(1) What do you use for a workstand? My workstand is designed to attach to a seatpost -- not gonna work here.

(2) How do you carry stuff? I'm a bit of an obsessive about being prepared for disasters -- the packing list for my commute or day trips begins with two spare tubes, two CO2 cartridges, a patch kit and a pump and goes on from there. I usually throw this all in to some panniers and forget about it until I need it. The racks I have, however, don’t seem to fit onto the Enduro. My temporary solution is a Cage Rocket in one of the water bottle holders attached to the seat (which I believe is a M5). This will hold my keys, a tube or two, patch kit, multitool, etc. I still haven’t figured out where to put a lock. Are there any alternatives to the Rans rack and specialized recumbent bags? (If I buy them, I could end up paying more for the rack and bags than I did for the bike!) I considered a handlebar bag, which would fit on the bars. Unfortunately, it looked like it would also hit my knees with every pedal stroke.

(3) How do you steer tight turns? (This is probably an Enduro- or highracer- or maybe SWB-specific question.) Each time I turn the front wheel more than 10 or 15 degrees, I seem to be in danger of either hitting my knee on the bars or my heel on the tire. I discovered that there is no risk if I just stretch out the leg on the side of the turn, but this doesn’t work on the turn into my driveway -- my house is near the top of a relatively steep hill and I need to keep pedaling the whole way up.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

I think this forum needs a “sticky” for advice to a new recumbent rider. My contribution to such a thread would be the following (please correct me if I’ve got it wrong):
Counter-steering: On a recumbent you are much less able to use your body to balance (or unbalance) the bike. You therefore can’t use your body to cause the bike to lean into a turn. Instead, counter-steer: To begin a turn, turn the wheel opposite the direction of your turn for a moment (e.g., if you want to turn left, briefly turn the wheel to the right). This causes the bike to lean in the direction of your turn. Immediately turn the wheel in the direction of your turn to keep the bike balanced (and to make your turn).
I’m not sure I ever thought consciously about counter-steering before my first ride on the Enduro, when I found it difficult to control the bike without constantly twitching the steering from side to side. On reflection, I think that the twitching was creating the conditions I needed to be able to turn into either direction and was necessary because I couldn't use my body to unbalance the bike.
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Old 07-03-09, 09:28 PM   #2
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Don't know if a RANS rear rack can be fitted to your bike. Are there fittings on the rear dropouts? Looks like there is room for a rack. I have one on my V-Rex. Any panniers will work on the rack.
There are a variety on seatback bags on the market.
Tight turns - for U-turns or very tight turns, I take my foot off the inner pedal, hold it down (and stop pedaling). Heel strike issues exist for many (all?) SWB bikes. Hitting the bars with your legs can be an issue too, on tight turns. These are things you get used to and adapt for.

Steering twitchiness - relax. The bike will go in the right direction with little effort.



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Old 07-03-09, 09:55 PM   #3
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Well, I don't really use a workstand. The bike can be tipped to let me run the chain if I need, so that takes care of most things. If I need to remove a tire, I lay it on its side.

I have a Bacchetta Giro 20, so I probably don't have the same carrying geometry that you do, but I ride with something called an Aerotrunk. It's positively huge and lets me carry tools, clothes, food, etc. I also have drink cages on either side of the back of the seat.

For steering, like JanMM said, relax and let the bike guide you. Don't expect to be able to turn as tightly as you can on a DF, and be prepared to move your knee out of the way. It's a skill that will come with time.

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Old 07-03-09, 10:13 PM   #4
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The one time I tried to ride a SWB recumbent two-wheeler I almost broke my neck. That's why when I got bent I went for a tadpole trike.
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Old 07-03-09, 11:07 PM   #5
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I use this as a small stand to work on the drivetrain. It gets the rear wheel off of the ground.

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Old 07-03-09, 11:47 PM   #6
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I don't have any workstands so I can't help you with that one.

I think that the only rack that will fit might be the RANS one. It is wider and has room for the seat struts to pass inside it. Any standard pannier will fit onto the RANS rack however.

Hostel Shoppe stock a range of bags that fit onto the back of the seat. These are another option to carrying plenty of stuff.
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Old 07-04-09, 02:43 AM   #7
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You countersteer DF bikes as well, but, you just don't think about it.
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Old 07-04-09, 11:01 AM   #8
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1. I don't use a workstand, but again I haven't really needed to use one as of yet.

2. I use a Topeak trunk bag that locks into place in seconds. It uses a Topeak bike rack which I had to do some minor modifications to so it would work on my Giro. But it works and is very clean looking.

3. For very sharp turns I've learned out of habit to keep the leg in which direction I'm turning sharply towards down.
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Old 07-04-09, 11:13 AM   #9
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For my Volae Tour and my wife's Sun X-1, I suspend the bikes from my garage rafters with pieces of rope. This get's the bikes up to where I can comfortably work on brakes, drivetrains, tires etc. My workstand works for my other recumbents.
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Old 07-04-09, 04:14 PM   #10
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I hang my EZ Sport with two ratcheting cargo tiedowns and rafter hooks. Works just great, and gives you free access to both sides of the bike. With a little creativity, you can come up with a simple way to suspend any recumbent. bk
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Old 07-04-09, 09:24 PM   #11
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Rans seat bags are good. My Lightning Cycling Dynamics seat bag fits on my Rans standard seat.
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Old 07-05-09, 01:13 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. A few replies below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Tight turns - for U-turns or very tight turns, I take my foot off the inner pedal, hold it down (and stop pedaling). Heel strike issues exist for many (all?) SWB bikes. Hitting the bars with your legs can be an issue too, on tight turns. These are things you get used to and adapt for.
I guess I'll get used to it. What do you do about turns where stopping pedaling is not an option? Up moderately steep hills, I'm already pedaling madly to keep enough forward motion for balance. To make the left turn off the uphill road into my driveway, for instance, I pretty much have to stop and get off the bike.

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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Steering twitchiness - relax. The bike will go in the right direction with little effort.
Actually, the twitching was intentional. When I first started, I found the bike almost impossible to control except when I was shaking the bars from side to side. I realized that the rapid side-to-side turns were setting up the tilt necessary for real steering and have been consciously countersteering since then. No need for twitching now.

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Originally Posted by gnome View Post
I think that the only rack that will fit might be the RANS one. It is wider and has room for the seat struts to pass inside it. Any standard pannier will fit onto the RANS rack however.
I'll look into the Rans rack. An interesting attachment adaptation. I'm near the rear of the seat adjustment on the bike and it looks like the seat itself may also interfere with a rack.

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Originally Posted by gnome View Post
Hostel Shoppe stock a range of bags that fit onto the back of the seat. These are another option to carrying plenty of stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by unixpro View Post
I have a Bacchetta Giro 20, so I probably don't have the same carrying geometry that you do, but I ride with something called an Aerotrunk. It's positively huge and lets me carry tools, clothes, food, etc.
How do these seatback bags attach? The seat I have (seems to be an "M5") is foam padding over a plastic shell and doesn't have any obvious attachment points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
For my Volae Tour and my wife's Sun X-1, I suspend the bikes from my garage rafters with pieces of rope. This get's the bikes up to where I can comfortably work on brakes, drivetrains, tires etc. My workstand works for my other recumbents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
I hang my EZ Sport with two ratcheting cargo tiedowns and rafter hooks. Works just great, and gives you free access to both sides of the bike. With a little creativity, you can come up with a simple way to suspend any recumbent. bk
I think I will be trying some variation on this, thanks.

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Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
You countersteer DF bikes as well, but, you just don't think about it.
I've heard that, but I have watched my tire tracks and never seen any noticeable countersteer in ordinary turns. I'm not about to fight the laws of physics -- perhaps minute and nearly imperceptible countersteering is sufficient for the riding I normally do.

I made the comment because it would have been very useful on my first ride if someone had said that I should try deliberately countersteering in order to turn the bike. I have practiced deliberate countersteering for abrupt turns on my upright, but in the ordinary case I lean the upright with my body (or at least that's the way it feels to me and looks from my tire tracks). I was able to do the same thing during a short ride on an EZ1 (my only other recumbent experience), but I could move my body on that bike in a way which does not seem possible on the more reclined F5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay D View Post
2. I use a Topeak trunk bag that locks into place in seconds. It uses a Topeak bike rack which I had to do some minor modifications to so it would work on my Giro. But it works and is very clean looking.
If you could send a picture of the rack and its modification, that may be very helpful -- the geometry looks similar (although your seat struts may slant farther forward than mine do).
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Old 07-05-09, 01:27 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
I hang my EZ Sport with two ratcheting cargo tiedowns and rafter hooks. Works just great, and gives you free access to both sides of the bike. With a little creativity, you can come up with a simple way to suspend any recumbent. bk
I do the same on my EZ Sport.
I use two equal lengths of rope with loops at both ends.
I loop to the seat and then hang from nails on the rafters.
Works great.
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Old 07-05-09, 04:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da07079 View Post
(3) How do you steer tight turns? (This is probably an Enduro- or highracer- or maybe SWB-specific question.) Each time I turn the front wheel more than 10 or 15 degrees, I seem to be in danger of either hitting my knee on the bars or my heel on the tire.

[...] I found it difficult to control the bike without constantly twitching the steering from side to side.
I have a Volae 2x650c and find heel strike is avoidable by rotataing my heel out and/or flattening my pedal stroke (pointing toe). Knees can turn in or out a bit, too. I also find that light pressure on rear brake helps improve control during tight turns.

Twitchy steering can be an indication of too tight a grip. Relaxed hands and shoulders make recumbent steering less twitchy in my experience.

Re: counter steer. Yes, there's less upper body influence when riding recumbent. But I find I can shift my upper body and head to lean the Volae. The more upright seating on my Tour Easy means even a larger range of motion is possible. And with the lower seatback and higher center of gravity on my BikeE makes upper body movement makes the most difference.

Jon
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Old 07-05-09, 04:50 PM   #15
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I'd call Rans and ask them which seat bag will fit on their seat. Maybe Rans, Arkel, or Angeltech has one that will slide over the top of your seat. They usually have webbing on the side of the seat you sit on, and you just slide it over the top.
Another place to do a search for this subject or just ask questions is at Bentrideronline.
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Old 07-05-09, 05:18 PM   #16
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I work on my Slipstream by lifting one end at a time and clamping anything available in the jaws of
the stand. then whatever end is up is what i work on. no way to get the whole thing in the air
effectively.
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Old 07-06-09, 01:48 PM   #17
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I ride a Bacchetta Giro 26 - dual 26" wheel highracer with disc brakes so its probably pretty similar. Mine has a Euromesh seat which is similar to the M5 but not hard shell.

1. For a workstand I bought a PCS-10 from Park which will accomodate oversize tubing. Works great.
2. Go to http://www.hostelshoppe.com - lots of products here for bents. On my bike I have a bacchetta brain bag which slips over the back of the seat underneath the pad. I also have a rack and panniers - both midship and rear. For midship racks, look at Terracycle. For a rear rack I have an Axiom Odysee rack designed for disc brake bikes. It attaches on to the quick release axle. If your seat is reclined far back you may have a problem getting this rack to be "level". I also want to buy (for small stuff to have up front) the fastback frame bag which attaches to the tube in front of the seat. I tried a small triangular handlebar bag but my knees occasionally brush it - just enough to be too annoying.
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Old 07-21-09, 02:05 AM   #18
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park pcs-10 will work on any bent I've tried, and that's a LOT of em!
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Old 07-25-09, 08:18 PM   #19
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Welcome to the most efficient mode of transport by people power
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Old 07-27-09, 10:57 AM   #20
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park pcs-10

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park pcs-10 will work on any bent I've tried, and that's a LOT of em!
Where do you clamp it? I normally clamp onto the seatpost, which isn't an option.
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Old 08-14-09, 03:21 PM   #21
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I have a Bacchetta Giro 20. I have the Bacchetta rack on the rear and I sling a backpack on the back of my seat. They also make an under-seat rack for it.

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Old 08-14-09, 05:30 PM   #22
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I think this forum needs a “sticky” for advice to a new recumbent rider.
I do too.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:19 PM   #23
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I do too.
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Old 08-14-09, 08:49 PM   #24
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I finally bought a recumbent after a number of years looking at them. It's really nice -- a 2007 Rans Force 5 Enduro (dual 559 highracer with disc brakes) -- and was a great deal off of Craigslist.
With the triangulated frame? It's a classic! www.shoprans.com has Rans accessories like a rack for you. Congratulations on the new bike.
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