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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 08-02-09, 03:59 PM   #1
bigboybiker
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Without meaning to sound like a complete Noob.

I am new to the recumbent scene. I myself don't have one (Yet). But I'm getting a Sun X3 XS trike for my wife. I am intrigued with the concept of recumbents, and the comfort that they promise. My question is for the same level of fitness would a recumbent be able to move as fast as say my current Trek 7.3? And I know that there has to be a difference between 2 and 3 wheels, but I commute on my bike 18 miles each way, and I REALLY don't want to get home any slower than I already do. I'm in North Indiana so at most I have lightly rolling hills, and decent pavement to ride on. So what say you experts? Are you at about the same speed on your-lazyboys-on-wheels as on a upright? Thanks for the help.

Jerry

Last edited by bigboybiker; 08-02-09 at 08:24 PM. Reason: Oops on the model.
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Old 08-02-09, 06:34 PM   #2
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I'm not as fast as I was on my Trek 1000, but I feel one heck of a lot better since I don't hurt after every ride. But, on the other hand, I got in on a low-end 'starter' bent. An ActionBent which is definitely a lot heavier than the Trek. 32 pounds stripped then add the truck bag, panniers, lights and batteries. I would assume if you bought the same quality (and compartively lighter) bent as your Trek, you should be as fast or faster than on your DF.
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Old 08-02-09, 08:18 PM   #3
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An E3 SX, perhaps? I don't see any on Sun's web site with the designation of S3-XS. While most 'bents would look pretty good against a Trek hybrid, I'm not sure about the Sun line-up; and I really don't think one of their trikes would. Suns are just too freakin' heavy.
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Old 08-02-09, 08:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
An E3 SX, perhaps? I don't see any on Sun's web site with the designation of S3-XS. While most 'bents would look pretty good against a Trek hybrid, I'm not sure about the Sun line-up; and I really don't think one of their trikes would. Suns are just too freakin' heavy.
Hey now I like my Trek. This bike (the X3 SX) is for my wife. If I can eventually get her up to 15 miles I'll consider it an accomplishment. If I end up with a recumbent I want something that I can commute quickly with. Fast, but able to hold a rack and trunk bag. I haven't made up my mind yet, but a "bent" may be in my future. I just wanted to know if all other things being the same if they traveled aroubd the same speed as a upright.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:02 PM   #5
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On rollers, your speed on a decent recumbent will be slightly faster or slower compared with your 7.3.

The four person RANS team that scored a first place in the Race Across America this year won over teams riding fine DF bikes.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:39 PM   #6
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Upgrade your mate's trike to the X3 AX.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:43 PM   #7
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I just wanted to know if all other things being the same if they traveled aroubd the same speed as a upright.
Yes, but the speed envelope is different. You can't go up steep hills as fast (can't stand on the pedals) and flats and downhills tend to be faster. It's annoying to upright riders to be passed by a recumbent that they then have to pass on a subsequent uphill.

That's if the riders are equal. I went for a medium-length ride this morning and I was passing bunches of riders who were out on a fun ride around town (Hottest Day of the Year ride in Portland). Since I just got back from a supported tour in Canada, I guess I'm just in better shape. I was passing plenty of people going uphill.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:54 PM   #8
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I'm thinking that the Sun might weigh twice as much as your Trek.
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Old 08-03-09, 05:29 PM   #9
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I'm thinking that the Sun might weigh twice as much as your Trek.
This particular Sun is for my wife. She won't ride enough (at first) to care about weight. She just wants something stable, comfortable, and easy on her back. IF (still an IF) I choose a bent as my next bike I want something a little more performance oriented.

Jerry
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Old 08-03-09, 06:58 PM   #10
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Here is the general scoop. There are a ton of different recumbent designs. A bike with a relatively upright seat will climb OK because you will have a closed hip angle. But it won't be as fast on the flats or downhills as a typical aero bike. Some recumbents will actually be slower on average than a road bike, but the majority will be faster.

If you get an aero bike like the Bacchetta Carbon Aero II, you will be about 15-30% faster on flats . (This is assuming that you are riding at 18+ MPH. I am in good shape, but not great shape, and have yet to be passed on the 70 mile loop I do around here. It's also has some Cat A bikers. However, they do blow by me on the hills. (I have a Titanium Aero.)

There are faster all around bikes than the one I ride that do climb better. The French front wheel drive carbon low racers with moving bottom brackets will likely climb as well as any road bike and will be faster than my Aero on the flats. That's a two-for-one, so lone as you don't get run over by an SUV because your butt is 3" from the ground. I generally prefer my high racer for safety.

For details on the physics of recumbents, see:

http://web.archive.org/web/200801120...ish/espeed.htm

You do need time to strengthen your recumbent muscles. But you will probably make the journey to work in significantly less time, rather than more, after a month or so. I've shaved about 10" off my time, which allows me to open up my route more!

Finally, bentrideronline is the place to go to poke around for people's opinions about their favorite bikes. Here is an example of a low and a mid racer: http://www.velokraft.com/ M5 makes a wide range of bikes as well.
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Old 08-04-09, 10:58 PM   #11
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Thanks to all. After consideration I think that my next ride will be a recumbent. Now I just have to choose the style. And from what I can tell upgrade a few components.

Jerry
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Old 08-05-09, 06:09 AM   #12
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Jerry,

My wife rides a Sun-X3 and I ride a Performance XPR Arrow. The Sun is quite heavier, but it was her choice and she is very happy and proud of it. We ride 10 to 12 miles per evening and are on the recumbents 5 out of 7 nights a week. We use the regular two wheelers on Fridays and Saturdays because of increased traffic in our community. Its all good.
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