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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Upgrade fever, highracers and hills

    I'm a little ambivalent about my current bike, an Actionbent Tidalwave 3. On the one hand, it was very reasonably priced, it's quite light, it's reasonably fast, handles well. It's great for long rides in comfort.

    On the other hand, I feel it's very hard work uphill. I wonder if this is due to the relatively reclined seat angle - even when adjusted most upright - it's more reclined than most (about 35 degrees, I think). The forums seem to agree that a more closed riding position (i.e. upright) is better for climbing hills.

    Hence, I've been wondering about upgrading. I've test ridden the Bacchetta Giro 26 and the RANS F5 Enduro. With both I really liked the additional height off the ground, I felt like I could see my surroundings better, especially in traffic. Both handled well, and I was surprised to find I really like the "superman" open cockpit setup, since having underseat steering was one of the big reasons I chose my Tidalwave originally. Although I generally don't find the USS being a problem, until I test rode the Enduro I hadn't appreciated how limited the steering angle on my USS setup is. I rode up the Ironhorse Trail on the Enduro and was able to turn around on the narrow trail without stopping and backing up, as I would have needed to do on my TW3. Also, having the handlebars up front like that made it easier to walk the bike, easier to get on, and would give me a place to attach a map or speedometer.

    So, I hadn't really seriously thought to upgrade. I just wanted to try out the highracers out of curiosity. But now I find that I liked them a lot, and keep thinking about it....

    Anyone have thoughts on the climbing abilities of a laid-back euro style bike vs. a more upright highracer? Is it really worth the upgrade? Maybe I should just ride more...
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  2. #2
    Recumbent Ninja
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    Highracers are great and climb very well. However my advice would be to save your pennies and go for at least a corsa. Lighter = better climbing.

  3. #3
    ain't trike ain't right
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    a swb will give better ergos for driving up steep grades. a more upright chair will also also allow you to better use your legs and back for those steep drives.

  4. #4
    Geeky Member :)
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    Mr. Recumbent Ninja is probably right. As I recall, he seems to have owned a few bikes

    Anyway, I have the same disease. I preferred my Baron lowracer for overall speed, climbing and fun. I'm in KY and we have plenty of big hills. With that said, I have an Angletech Strada high racer and have been very pleased. So much so, that I had it powdercoated over the winter instead of buying another bike (Well, I did buy a MTB and crankforward bike over the winter, but I digress).

    If I was buying today, I'd think about the Corsa. It will be lighter and a bit faster. The Giro gives you better wheel/tire options (wider) so that would not be a bad decision.

    I have my eye on the new RANS Xstream which could be the cool bike that takes the best features of the Baron and Strada...... Yes, I have a disease...
    2009 RANS "SequoiaTruck"
    2008 RANS Stratus XP

    http://philly2010.livestrong.org/mark

  5. #5
    Recumbent Ninja
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    BentCapt - you are correct - I am a bent ho, constantly in search of the bigger better thing. The xstream does not combine features of a lowracer with a highracer though. What it does is give you the advantages of the highracer with the extra shock absorption of the LWB. fantastic bike - I was beta tester number one on the prototype. A baron was my first bent, as well.

    I'm thinking about coming back to lexington in a couple weeks to see the folks. If you'd let me borrow a bike I'd come riding with ya!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I should see if I can find a Corsa to try somewhere. The reason I've been looking at bikes which accept wider tires is because of the seriously bad roads here in the Bay Area. Potholes-R-Us. I'm running Big Apples on my TW3 and it smoothes things out nicely..

    Has anyone seen the new High Racer from Performer? It's gotten some good feedback on BROL already, even though it isn't available in the US yet.
    http://www.performer.com.tw/2009/index.php?cPath=26

    Two of the BROL writers have converted theirs to open cockpit/superman steering, they look very sweet! A little like the bike in the header on the below site:
    http://pulsarcycles.free.fr/index.html

    Tempted to try out a similar conversion on my TW3...
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  7. #7
    Senior Member teacherbill's Avatar
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    Have you considered a Cruzbike?
    Bill from Sebastian

    Mongoose Cruzbike Conversion
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    "Pain is only temporary. Quitting is forever." Lance Armstrong

  8. #8
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    All other things being equal, a straight frame and a short boom will have less deflection under power, which will translate to better climbing. Triangulation/more structural depth are necessary to compensate. If the Cruzbike has an advantage, it's in the straight frame between the bb and the drive wheel.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by teacherbill View Post
    Have you considered a Cruzbike?
    If I came across one I'd happily test ride it, but it would have to be a fantastic ride for me to overcome those looks. Each to his own Don't they tend to be heavy? I suppose that really depends on the donor bike. I do kind of like the idea of a DIY kit, front wheel drive and suspension.
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  10. #10
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    other Cruzbike

    Cruzbike has fully built bikes now, not just the DIY kit. The DIY kit would make for a 40lb behemoth anyway.

    For the performance you want, you need to check out the Silvio (circa 25lb) road bike version of Cruzbike. BROL gave it very high marks, and men and women who ride it have very good experiences with it, especially when it comes to hills, but with general speed as well. Pretty slick looks, too.

    Test ride? Spin Cyclz, in0 Petaluma, CA, is a dealer listed at the Cruzbike site. Don't know if that's near SF...
    Last edited by hardtdavid; 07-29-09 at 08:19 PM.

  11. #11
    Geeky Member :)
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    I call myself a Bike Ho and was gonna say that about you in my last message, but didn't

    Good info on the Xstream. I guess what I was thinking was that it is a lower seat than the highracer, but not on the ground like the Baron. My memory gets fuzzy as I age, but seems like I've never done RAIN twice on the same bike. The Strada, Baron and a Greenspeed. You would think the trike was the best, but I liked the Baron better for the 160 miles. I was thinking the Xstream seems like a great brevet and light, fast touring bike.

    If I'm around, I'd love to ride. If not, I can still arrange for you to borrow the Strada for your stay. If you've ever thought about a crankforward, the "SequoiaTruck" might be an interesting ride for you too. I bought it for loaded touring.

    Back on topic: You can never have too many bikes. I buy, try, ride and get the itch for something else. I recommend a test ride and then buy a new bike often
    2009 RANS "SequoiaTruck"
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    http://philly2010.livestrong.org/mark

  12. #12
    Geeky Member :)
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    Yangmusa,

    HardtDavid mentioned SpinCyclz in Petaluma. I highly recommend Nanda if you want that bike. He did my custom "SequioaTruck". Great attitude, support and customer service. A really good guy for sure.

    Tires: I put Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on my Strada. I went a little wider. They have been great on bad roads, comfy, fast enough and durable.
    2009 RANS "SequoiaTruck"
    2008 RANS Stratus XP

    http://philly2010.livestrong.org/mark

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Nanda is a super guy. I got my Stratus LE from him. It looks like he's got two Cruzbikes in stock to try out.

    www.spincyclz.com

    Rick at Gold Country Cyclery in Shingle Springs sells Bachetta.

    Zach Kaplan in Alameda sells Bachetta. You have to contact him for an appointment. He KNOWS recumbents.

    http://www.bacchettabikes.com/dealer...ca-zkc-500.htm

    The Bike Doctor out of the San Jose area sells Bachetta. He might have some to test ride.

    http://www.thebikedoctor.net/
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  14. #14
    Recumbent Ninja
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    If you have good roads, then the lowracer is king for sure. I loved my lowracers, but I had t give it up because every single road here is either NASTY chipseal or has gravel in every corner. Or worse. The one time I got to ride it in KY it was a dream.

    I bought the x-stream for exactly that purpose - brevets. I have the carbent for the racing stuff. Thanks for the offer. It looks like I may come up late next week.


    Quote Originally Posted by BentCapt View Post
    I call myself a Bike Ho and was gonna say that about you in my last message, but didn't

    Good info on the Xstream. I guess what I was thinking was that it is a lower seat than the highracer, but not on the ground like the Baron. My memory gets fuzzy as I age, but seems like I've never done RAIN twice on the same bike. The Strada, Baron and a Greenspeed. You would think the trike was the best, but I liked the Baron better for the 160 miles. I was thinking the Xstream seems like a great brevet and light, fast touring bike.

    If I'm around, I'd love to ride. If not, I can still arrange for you to borrow the Strada for your stay. If you've ever thought about a crankforward, the "SequoiaTruck" might be an interesting ride for you too. I bought it for loaded touring.

    Back on topic: You can never have too many bikes. I buy, try, ride and get the itch for something else. I recommend a test ride and then buy a new bike often

  15. #15
    Raptobike Rider djwid's Avatar
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    If you like the Giro, don't forget to check out the Giro 26 TT, the AL version with upgraded components as compared to the Giro 26 Steel. It is a great brevet bike and if it had been available when I got my Corsa, I would have picked it up instead. 559 rims gives wider tire availability as compared to 571 (650c) and the disk brakes while adding weight do have their own advantages.

    The WA and OR roads are not as bad as TX chipseal and I love my lowracer as well. In my case it is a raptobike. aikigreg has ridden and owned a lot of different recumbents, his advice is good.
    My stable:
    2010 EasyRacer GRR
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  16. #16
    Geeky Member :)
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    Duncan,

    Cool blog!
    2009 RANS "SequoiaTruck"
    2008 RANS Stratus XP

    http://philly2010.livestrong.org/mark

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by teacherbill
    Have you considered a Cruzbike?
    Quote Originally Posted by yangmusa View Post
    If I came across one I'd happily test ride it, but it would have to be a fantastic ride for me to overcome those looks.
    I saw a Cruzbike Silvio in the flesh today. And this is one of the few occasions where pictures haven't done the bike justice. I'll admit I thought it was really ugly before. I still don't think it's a stunning bike, but in the flesh it looks very well engineered, fast and "purposeful". It's also impressively light. The major problem for me would be leg length - on all Cruzbikes the bottom bracket ends up very low for long leg extensions. Ok for cruising (cruzing? Sorry!) I suppose, but bad for aerodynamics.

    Anyway, the owner was very happy with it. I think he got it recently - he seemed to be slightly in awe of its speed potential still
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  18. #18
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    Recumbents and Uphill riding

    Hi, Everyone:

    I'm new to recumbents. Mine is a Journey 7-speed, semi-recumbent. I've never had anyking of recumbent before and this is the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden in my life.

    One thing though is the difficulty it has going uphill. On a non-recumbent bike, one can stand up and pedal taking advantage of using one's weight to go uphill. On a recumbent, it seems like the legs do all the work as you can't stand on the pedals.

    Anyone have any suggestions on making uphill rides easier other than adding an electric motor?

    Thanks

  19. #19
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    Uphill climbing on a recumbent

    The biggest adjustment you will make on a recumbent is hill climbing. I have a 27 speed Lightning P-38. It has a reputation for being a good climbing bike. In retrospect I think that is mostly marketing hype. I just rode across Virginia. I spent many an hour climbing the Appalachins. They are very steep in spots but fortunately not too long. I learned early not to attack a hill like I would on an upright bike. Instead I would spin quite slowly up the hill at 4 mph, sometimes as low a 3 mph. Riding a recumbent is a different mindset. I stopped thinking about AVS of 14 or 15 mph and just focused on the ride. My average speed for my 445 mile ride was about 11 mph but it was the ride of a lifetime. I also kept in mind not to spend my energy because I would have to ride tomorrow. Everyday I rode with the next day in mind. When trying to power up a hill I would sometimes use my shoulders to push back on the seat for extra power however this will stress the knees a bit more. I also think a lower bottom bracket (on a Lightning) may make climbing easier then maybe a Bachetta which is at least 5" to 12" higher. Bachettas are fine bikes. I almost bought one but the higher crank turned me off. In short the adjustment you have to make is the mental one. Spin the grannie gears, forget the average speed, and enjoy the ride.

  20. #20
    low and laid back atom bomb's Avatar
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    Atom Bomb

  21. #21
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    Hill-climbing is one thing that puts many prospective bent-riders off, and can still be daunting for the first few weeks of riding. However once you know what you're doing, having found the right gears and cadence, and have built up the right muscles it's not a problem, assuming you have a decent well-designed bent. For me climbing on a bent is all about sitting back and spinning your way up in a relaxed way, enjoying the view as you go. In fact spinning on a bent feels more natural to me than spinning on an upright, I can't explain why. And as the old saying goes, any speed lost going up will be made up for going down, if speed even matters anyway.

    Of course you can generate lots of force on the pedals by pushing back against the seat, I find this particularly the case on my Giro 20, which is probably the best bent I've owned for climbing on. However I only do this for very short climbs and prefer to gear down for the long haul instead of blowing my knees out and exhausting myself, thus taking the fun out of the ride.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanBristol View Post
    And as the old saying goes, any speed lost going up will be made up for going down
    Well, that's a truth with very large modifications... If you have a route with many ups and downs, it is most likely false. The additional time climbing is usually way in excess of the small time savings during the descent. In an absolute sense, speed may well not matter. But it does matter to anyone who is racing, or aspires to ride far and fast. I'm far from being a racer, but it annoys the heck out of me that my recumbent should be so much slower than my upright bike. What a waste of energy! It seems like I fly up hills on my upright (and it isn't even a "proper" bike, but a folder!) In contrast, even the slightest uphill slows me on my bent to a crawl, and I can't even make it three miles to work without sweating like a disgusting slimy thing. On my upright I'm barely warm at that point.

    Ahem, rant over

    On the other hand - did you see that Team RANS won the Race Across America this year? Fastest 4 man team by far - and they even increased their lead over the upright teams when climbing the Rockies. Who knows the reason - maybe the new RANS Xstream really is a quantum leap in bike design? Maybe the RANS team were just fitter than everyone else this year? Maybe their logistics were better? I don't know, but it was an amazing achievement, and certainly makes me want to rethink 'bents and hills even if it contradicts my own experiences.
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  23. #23
    Recumbent Ninja
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    yes, I believe the xstream is a leap in design and functions very well as a climber. It was the first thing I noticed when I tested the prototype - it's a billy goat with a rocket pack.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg View Post
    yes, I believe the xstream is a leap in design and functions very well as a climber. It was the first thing I noticed when I tested the prototype - it's a billy goat with a rocket pack.
    Very cool! How did you get a chance to ride it?

    What in your experience is the best bent for "roadie" type riding in hilly terrain? A known category like high racers, low racers - or something new like the Xstream?
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

  25. #25
    Senior Member PaPa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg View Post
    yes, I believe the xstream is a leap in design and functions very well as a climber. It was the first thing I noticed when I tested the prototype - it's a billy goat with a rocket pack.
    Nothing personal, but this reads more like an embellished sales pitch than reality. Climbing isn't about aerodynamics, it's about laden weight, rolling resistance, and above ALL, rider ability. The 'stream weighs 26 pounds and I assume no better RR than a 21 pound Bachetta carbon Aero. So are implying that the 'stream will out climb a CA with the same rider on the same hill?

    Further...

    The fact that the 'stream was used in RAAM, does NOT mean it's suitable for street use. Quite the contrary;

    * FACT: Excessive tiller on LWB formats (much over 8") inhibits low speed balancing AND maneuvering.
    * FACT: The x-sream's rear biased weight distribution also contributes to crappy low speed balancing AND maneuvering.

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