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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 08-26-09, 11:01 AM   #1
hannahmontana
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I can't do it

In the beginning of the summer, I posted a thread looking for advice about climbing. I had some steep hills I wnated to get up, and can on my road bike. I VOWED I would make it up those hills by the end of the summer.

I am sorry to report failure. I just can't muscle that bike up those grades. I think it's the weight of it, the thing weighs a third as much as I do.

In fact though, I am riding the bent less and less. I find it awkward to get in and out of the storage area of my apartment due to its length and weight. Finding places to chain it, and in fact chaining it at all is a big hassle. Riding in traffic is doable, but seems less effective than an upright. I can't wear a skirt when I ride it and need clip on shoes.

On long rides, for fun, on flat and rolling terrain, the bent is very nice. For day to day use, it is not working out.
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Old 08-26-09, 11:11 AM   #2
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When I commuted by bike, I finally decided that my hybrid was the best choice. That was ALL I used the evil machine for, though!
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Old 08-26-09, 12:14 PM   #3
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All I can say is go with the flow, there is no one bike that is good for everything...maybe that is why the n+1 rule. Ya gotta do what is best for you, and what works for you.
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Old 08-26-09, 02:05 PM   #4
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I commute daily on my bent - and love it. But, I can also understand your situation. I do have to wonder if your gearing is right though.

I would like to make one observation: When I lived in Italy I ran daily, 3-5 miles 5 days a week and 8-10 on Sat and Sun. But there was this one hill that took me over a year to be able to run up without stopping and walking. Keep at it and eventually you should be able to make the climbs. Just maybe not on your commute.
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Old 08-26-09, 04:37 PM   #5
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What kind of Bent do you have and what is the gearing on it. You can probably replace one of the chain wheels and get some lower gearing, rather easily.'
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Old 08-26-09, 05:55 PM   #6
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What kind of Bent do you have and what is the gearing on it. You can probably replace one of the chain wheels and get some lower gearing, rather easily.'
HP Velotechnik Speedmachine. Used to be my Dad's. I am a student and really can't afford to buy new things for it. It does have a triple chainring on the front and the bigest back gear it quite large though. I am a skinny kinda girl, and as I mentioned, the bike weighs one third as much as I do.
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Old 08-26-09, 07:48 PM   #7
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I realize that you can't afford to change parts, but the website shows a 52/42/30 crankset. I got bogged down trying to go uphill with a 30 tooth little ring, so I had a 26 put on. The front derailer was moved so the cage just clears the 52, and the chain will rub a bit on the bottom of the cage if the chain is not under tension. You need to be able to spin comfortably at low speed while climbing. The lower your gear inches are in the granny the more "leverage" you are using.
It's time to ask for a smaller little ring and 11-34 cassette for your birthday.
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Old 08-26-09, 08:05 PM   #8
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Speedmachines are heavy. I won't call them "pigs" but... OK, I WILL call them pigs. Definitely not hill climbers. Look at the bright side, if you keep trying you will get stronger.
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Old 08-26-09, 11:38 PM   #9
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Speedmachines are heavy. I won't call them "pigs" but... OK, I WILL call them pigs. Definitely not hill climbers. Look at the bright side, if you keep trying you will get stronger.
Tell ya what, it's pretty freaking heavy to me! I don't have a lot of upper body strenght and wrestling that brute in and out of storage is a real issue.
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Old 08-27-09, 09:40 AM   #10
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Good review on that bike

http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkt...ne_1006_e.html
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Old 08-27-09, 10:38 AM   #11
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The manufacturer lists 31 lbs as the weight of your the bike. That's a bit heavy for a lowracer according to the 2006 review on bentrideronline but it certainly is not heavy compared to a lot of other recumbents that climb hills just fine. Does the bike really fit you well? If not, then it would not be much of a surprise that it is hard to ride. Are your legs almost completely extended at the bottom of the stroke? Too little and you waste the most powerful part of the stroke; too much and it puts a strain on your legs? Are you aware that different muscles are used on recumbents. Even though you may be a fit rider on a road bike, that may not translate over to a recumbent. How often and how much you ride will also make a big difference. If you wish to get fit fast, then you really have to push yourself and keep riding a little longer and a little faster each day. If your ride only short rides and only occasionally, getting better will take a long time. It wasn't pleasant for me in the beginning but it got easier and even though I now ride a fairly heavy trike (most are, compared to 2-wheeled recumbents) hills are no problem at all.
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Old 08-27-09, 08:16 PM   #12
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I can't wear a skirt when I ride it
Really? I don't seem to have that problem...
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Old 08-28-09, 08:52 AM   #13
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I used to house my bent in my third-floor corner office on the opposite end of the building from the elevator so completely get the issue of extracting your Speedmachine from apartment storage.

When you get out of school (and, of course, become rich and famous) you deserve a bike garage and an ultra-light recumbent.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:17 AM   #14
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I understand your reluctance to continue with the recumbent for your commute especially with the big hill. I was forced to switch to a recumbent -- a Grasshopper Fx, a cousin of the SpeedMachine -- this year due to a medical problem. I've spent my time learning to climb the little bumps in the road that I didn't even know were there when I was on my DF. It's taking me much longer than I thought it would to just make some simple, relatively flat rides. Perhaps the goal of 3 months for a monster hill climb was just a little too ambitious, given the differences between DFs and bents.

I did discover that seat position and leg extension is vital! Just a small change can make a big difference in power output. The shift timing is completely different from a DF as well; I'm finally getting used to that. Unfortunately, that all takes time to work through -- something that you don't have.

I also think your gearing might need to change, but the fact that the bike is 1/3 your weight shouldn't be such a concern when riding. Many people tour with 35-40 pounds of gear, so bike + gear is about 60-65 (or more) pounds -- about 1/3 their weight. Their bikes are usually geared accordingly and they travel the world, so it does seem as though you need some modifications on your bike to allow you to perform the same with the SpeedMachine. I guess those will have to wait, for now...

Since the reason to ride is to reduce stress, and you list several reasons that isn't happening, it's best to let the bent head to the back of the barn without guilt. Just be sure to let it out once in a while for one of those fun rides you mentioned.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:57 AM   #15
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When did you get this bike? In the beginning of the summer? If so you probably have not had the bike long enough to determine if it will work for you or not. Less then one season of riding is not long enough. I think you need to give it more time. I would say by the end of next year if you still can not get over the climbs then maybe a recumbent, or this particular recumbent is not for you. I would not get discouraged over one model of bike that you can not climb hills on.

I understand not being able to afford modifying this bike or purchasing another, been there done that. I do believe how ever anyone can modify a bike to fit their needs and sometimes people need to modify their behavours, thinking and attitudes to make it work as well. Granted you can only modify a bike so far.

See what you can do with this bike before you give up on it. You said it was your dads. I am guessing he is bigger then you, especially taller. Make sure the bike fits you properly. Take it and yourself to a bike shop, preferebly one that sells recumbents and knows how to fit people and 'bents together and have them help you with this. As I said this bike may not be the recumbent that is best for you. If it turns out it isn't, then perhaps you could trade this one in for a differant model, maybe even a differant brand/make, etc.

I have a Vision R40 that I used to think would not work well for commuting. Turns out I was wrong and had to modify the bike to make it work as well as my attitude and thinking. Now I commute at least 3 times a week on it. It is also my ONLY bike. I own no others. If I did own another bike it would be a mountain bike that I would only use for off roading. I am inheriting my father in laws old Hiwatha though. I may have it restored to riding condition and try it out for trail riding. He passed away recently and as my wife is an only child I am like the son her parents never had.

Last edited by Square & Compas; 09-02-09 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 09-02-09, 01:32 PM   #16
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I think this is simply a power to weight ratio problem. There should be no need to change parts. The bike is fine. It's simply heavier than your upright and a different riding position. Your just going to need to get used to the recumbent and have a little more power to get up those hills. I hardly ever find myself out of the middle chain ring in the front for any hill. Sometimes on the super big hills i might use the little ring.

On an upright u can stand up for hills and mash on the pedals with all your body weight wether your legs are strong or not. On a bent if u dont have strong legs you are not going to get up a hill because u cant use your body weight. Its all legs on hills with bents.
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