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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 11-01-09, 01:39 PM   #1
Scala
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Where do I start and what do I look for in a trike?

Glad that I found this forum to help me get started with a recumbent trike.

Why a recumbent you ask? After many years of Italian road bikes my lumbar discs will no longer cooperate and since a diet of Vicodin was not to my licking I had to throw in the towel some years back. I had often shared the road with recumbent bikes and trikes so I'm no stranger to the concept though I've never ridden one. The trike looks like more fun of the two and I've been studying the internet to get my bearings.

Tough for me to get oriented in this field of Deltas and Tadpoles. It looks like a bunch of inventors gone mad and none of the names that I grew up with (Bianchi, Colnago, Cinelli) make anything like that. To make things worse the nearest dealer to me that has trikes on display is 250 miles away and his selection is quite limited. I live on Amelia island in the NE corner of FL, flat and sandy and very remote.

On top of all that I may well find out, after the few hundred miles that it takes to get familiar with a frame, that I don't like the product, or worse my spine is acting up despite the recumbent seating. Obviously I need to approach it carefully and try not to over spend.

Is there a style, brand and model that will handle well,go fast, be fun and not break the bank?

What are your suggestions?

Thanks to all.
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Old 11-01-09, 04:22 PM   #2
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Oh g**, you've really opened the proverbial can of worms now.

Okay, not really. Or at least, not any more than asking "What kind of bike should I buy?" in the racing/commuting/cross/BMX/winter groups.

The thing you'll want to do is test ride, test ride, test ride.

The two choices are tadpole (2 wheels in front) or delta (2 wheels in back). I would say that generally a delta is looked on as faster/sportier (dang, now I've opened the can of worms too ).

You will want to look at wheel sizes - most (again a generalization) have 20 inch wheels all around. But you can also find 24s and 26s on the rear in tadpoles - they generally sit a little higher off the ground.

I've not really looked at deltas as they seem to granpa/granma kinda bike to me.

I've finally found what I think I want in a tadpole. 20 fronts with a 700 rear, and they also make a model with the rear-suspension. 3x9 for a 27-speed - but they also have an 81-speed option that I'm going to pass on.

There are quite a few resources to look at bikes on line, and depending on your location - maybe some decent shops. Or maybe someone on here might live close and let you give theirs a test ride. Okay, it would help if I didn't blow past a chunk of your original question/statement. Would it be possible to make a weekend trip to somewhere that does have dealers you could set up test rides with?

A couple of places to start looking can be http://www.hostelshoppe.com/ nice looking bikes, but mostly out of my price range.

or http://actionbent.com/ Much lower priced, entry level bents BUT (!!!!!) if you don't know how to work on a bike, you won't be to happy - you put it together. You need some basic wrenching skills for these. That said, I have an ActionBent. I've replaced almost all the components on it. But I knew I would need to going in. I pretty much only go to the LBS to have my wheels trued since I never learned how to do that. ActionBent is looked at by many as the "WalMart bike" of the bent world. Well...... okay. I'm cheap! But I'm happy with my ride.

Okay, someone else's turn for their thoughts and opinions.

Last edited by charly17201; 11-01-09 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Dumb-a** me - I gotta read the whole question first.
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Old 11-01-09, 09:34 PM   #3
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Have you spent any time at Bentrider Online? The main page there has hit a slow season, but there's always plenty of action in the various forums.

In general, there are plenty of fine trikes out there with somewhere between zero and thirty of them suiting you well.
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Old 11-01-09, 10:49 PM   #4
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Interesting that my impressions are quite the reverse of Charly's: I get the impression that most deltas are built for load-carrying, and tadpoles are mostly built for speed.

Most tadpoles are built with a much lower center of gravity (with some of the sportier models, the seat bottom is only 1-2" above the ground). I haven't actually ridden a delta 'bent, but I have ridden tadpole 'bents, and they are widely and aptly described as "gocart-like." Deltas usually locate your butt somewhere above the axle, meaning at least 10" up.

Trikes are inevitably heavier and more expensive than bikes. It's hard to know what your breaking points are.

As for brands, ICE (of the UK), Greenspeed (of Australia), Terratrike, and CATrike (both of the USA) all have solid reputations. I was checking out some CATrikes recently and was favorably impressed. Each of these manufacturers focus on tadpoles, and have different models designed for speed, transportability, load-carrying, etc.

One thing to consider is that it's very difficult to approximate the gearing you'd have on a diamond-frame bike. For one thing, you need a much lower bottom end. For another, if you've got 20" drive wheels, you're going to need crazy-big chainrings to get a similar high gear (many trikes designed for speed use a 700c drive wheel for just this reason). In any case, this means that you need to cover a huge gearing range, which simply isn't feasible with a conventional drivetrain. Some people use a 3-speed hub, plus a rear cluster, plus a front derailleur. One of the more interesting options out there is the mountain-drive, which puts a planetary gear with a huge 2.5x reduction factor inside the chainring. Swiss-made and spendy.

My vague impression is that trikes start getting nice around $1500. You can obviously spend a lot more than that (check out the Windcheetah).
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Old 11-02-09, 01:11 AM   #5
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Start with Catrike...I measure them against all other trike makers...plus its made in the US The euro trikes are sexy, sleek and fast but also very fragile. Lets just say I would never ride a euro trike like I ride my Cat
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Old 11-02-09, 06:45 AM   #6
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Trikes are loads of fun; but if you want speed you're better off on a 2-wheeler. Also, if you want the trike for the 'fun' aspect, make sure getting in and out of a tadpole doesn't kill your back.
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Old 11-02-09, 06:57 AM   #7
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Thank you all for great input and leads that will keep me busy.

How about safety? Aren't trikes mostly invisible to the geriatric set driving full size Cadillac SUVs of which there are myriad on my island?
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Old 11-02-09, 08:42 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Scala View Post
Thank you all for great input and leads that will keep me busy.

How about safety? Aren't trikes mostly invisible to the geriatric set driving full size Cadillac SUVs of which there are myriad on my island?
Though I am of the ride as if invisible school, the trike has not presented any special problems. Drivers provide me with more clearance on a trike than on a bike.
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Old 11-02-09, 09:54 AM   #9
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A friend of mine has a <a href="http://www.arizonawhips.com/index2.html">light whip</a> on <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmgomes/3982683743/in/set-72157622394738531/">his trike</a>. ISTR that Lightrider makes a taillight that they claim can be seen from a great distance even in daylight, but it's expensive and I've never seen it in action. I've got a cheap Planet Bike taillight, and in blinky mode, it seems like it could cause seizures as far away as the space station.
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Old 11-02-09, 04:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
Interesting that my impressions are quite the reverse of Charly's: I get the impression that most deltas are built for load-carrying, and tadpoles are mostly built for speed.
Yes, I misspoke. A tadpole is the faster, sportier style.
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Old 11-02-09, 05:34 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Scala View Post
Thank you all for great input and leads that will keep me busy.

How about safety? Aren't trikes mostly invisible to the geriatric set driving full size Cadillac SUVs of which there are myriad on my island?
Its highly advised to ride with a flag or 2. Do what ever you can to be seen, especially in parking lots. I've come close to being flatten on several occasions from impatient, non observant cagers, ie soccer moms and big gas-aholic rigs. Ride safe, trikes are a blast!
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Old 11-02-09, 05:40 PM   #12
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Dinotte Tail Light and Yellow Triangle.
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[SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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Old 11-02-09, 09:07 PM   #13
Scala
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Nice looking trike 10 Wheels, what is it?
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Old 11-02-09, 09:18 PM   #14
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This is a really nice one:
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Old 11-02-09, 09:21 PM   #15
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Sorry, just couldn't control myself.
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