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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 12-15-09, 07:13 AM   #1
uprightbent
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Is the traditional recumbent dying?

Where did all the bents go? All I ever see online is trikes, trike, trikes. I know they're recumbent too but as someone who's flipped back & forth and contemplated another bent I'm surprised at what seems to be a total shift to trikes. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Click on the Recumbent Blog or Bentrider and most of the photos, and certainly most of the reviews, are trikes only.
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Old 12-15-09, 08:30 AM   #2
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Where did all the bents go? All I ever see online is trikes, trike, trikes. I know they're recumbent too but as someone who's flipped back & forth and contemplated another bent I'm surprised at what seems to be a total shift to trikes. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Click on the Recumbent Blog or Bentrider and most of the photos, and certainly most of the reviews, are trikes only.
I noticed this too. I for one will continue on my two-wheeled recumbent until ballance is no longer possible .
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Old 12-15-09, 09:44 AM   #3
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Don't knock it, if you haven't tried it! I have and I am still on 2 wheels. I think, right now, more technical innovations are being applied to trikes and that gets the attention of writers/blogs. I still see 2 'bent wheels outnumbering 3 when I am riding. Have to admit, they are fun, but I'm not ready to switch!
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Old 12-15-09, 10:05 AM   #4
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Bents still outsell trikes by a wide margin. And there are far more bents in the marketplace.

There is room enough for both. Both should have a higher marketshare. I know a lot of 50+ riders who would be far more comfortable on bents and trikes, but who regard it as some sort of personal weakness to ride one.

I've test ridden trikes a few times, but didn't enjoy the ride nearly as much as on my two-wheel bents.
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Old 12-15-09, 10:16 AM   #5
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I know a lot of 50+ riders who would be far more comfortable on bents and trikes, but who regard it as some sort of personal weakness to ride one.
Yeah. Comfort, speed and efficiency are for wusses.

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Old 12-15-09, 04:05 PM   #6
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Bents still outsell trikes by a wide margin. And there are far more bents in the marketplace.
This seems to be so in general, although it's interesting.... when I bought my Gold Rush back in 2005 from a leading recumbent dealer in Portland, OR (Coventry Cycles, great shop!) they were just getting into trikes and seemed a bit dubious about them. When I revisited them in August, they had them all over the floor and an employee said that they sell more trikes than 2 wheeled recumbents now. That may be peculiar to their local market, though.
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Old 12-15-09, 05:35 PM   #7
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I ride a trike and really enjoy it. I'd probably ride a bike too, but I've found it far easier to find a trike that fits me than a bike. There seem to be more trike models that will fit shorter x-seams than bikes. Trikes also have a zero learning curve. I'm sure that helps generate interest in them. I can't say that I see more trikes than bikes, however. Just the opposite in fact. Far and away, the largest number of riders in my local recumbent group ride bikes, not trikes.
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Old 12-15-09, 06:51 PM   #8
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Just pay no attention to the trikes, unless you are so inclined.
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Old 12-15-09, 07:48 PM   #9
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I am so surprised I only chose my trikes to ride this season past. I have many good bents, including JanMM's old Rans Tailwind. They were all awesome. A third wheel would have made them awesomer. I picked up a cheap Sun delta last winter for slick-street stability and was unable to climb off. Now I have Trizard (Rans) lust.
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Old 12-15-09, 08:11 PM   #10
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Where did all the bents go?.
I saw an Easy Racer today; so they aren't ALL dead yet! Everything seems to be almost frozen in time with that crazy economy. I made 3 loans and paid them off early before; but I tried to borrow for another trike and got turned down. Can't borrow for cars, appliances, or trike collections.

I need a cardboard sign; on one side THE END IS NEAR and on the other side: WILL WORK FOR A TRIKE.
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Old 12-15-09, 09:55 PM   #11
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Bents still outsell trikes by a wide margin. And there are far more bents in the marketplace.
What is your basis for this statment? Rob Gentry at RBR has told me he sells more trikes than bikes. I am not sure for how long this has been the case, but it has been at least for a couple years.
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Old 12-15-09, 10:30 PM   #12
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There are indeed many passionate trike fans!
Would be nice to see real numbers for recumbent sales, but those figures are not generally disclosed, as I understand it.
However, consider RANS and Bacchetta. Major US 'bent players and they only sell one trike model between them.
The 'bents I've seen in Central Indiana, on the roads, have been largely bicycles. That's not sales numbers, of course.
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Old 12-15-09, 10:30 PM   #13
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Trikes also have a zero learning curve.
Not if you go fast they don't. I decided against a trike when after a test ride I realized I'd have to learn how to ride without tipping it. In fact, out of ever major recumbent category (and I've tried them all) trikes were the only ones I couldn't just get on and go.

IMO, a trike just isn't a good design for a top heavy vehicle like a cyclist and it only gets worse if you want to see eye to eye with other road vehicles.
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Old 12-15-09, 11:34 PM   #14
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Since when is any recumbent considered "traditional?" Face it, we're unusual no matter how many wheels we have.
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Old 12-16-09, 07:08 AM   #15
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The trike market is more affordable than when I first got into recumbents, and I'm sure that's playing some sort of role in their rising popularity. But I think they're a long way from 'taking over.' There are a few in my club right now. A few years ago, a whole bunch of people got them and tried to ride them with their regular group. That didn't work too well. For the rest of that year they rode together as a trike-only group, often lagging behind the rest of the riders by an hour or more; and by the next spring most of them had been sold. I think there's about 3 left, and they don't get much riding time except when there's ice on the roads.
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Old 12-16-09, 08:59 AM   #16
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I think its fantastic that there is so much variety, even in a niche market like the recumbent: hi-racers, lo-racers, SWB, LWB, USS, OSS, 2 wheels, 3 wheels, 4 wheels, motorized, motor assist, and any number of after-market customizations.
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Old 12-16-09, 10:16 AM   #17
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Possible explanations include:
  • Market. The two-wheeled bent market is a bit more mature than the three-wheeled.
  • Price. Entry level trike prices are down.
  • Skills. Many riders have some issues when first trying two-wheeled bents.
  • Fun. So far this year, my trike has almost twice the miles as my my two-wheeled bents.
  • Family. My spouse rides a trike, so when we ride together I'm also on three wheels.
  • Area. Trikes are great for watching the scenery. If you ride in a beautiful area, you are in trike land.
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Old 12-16-09, 04:43 PM   #18
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I only see a very few Trikes tooling about around here vs. many two wheelers. In fact, I've only seen two trikes.

I often daydream of how much easier a Trike would handle the ruts, snow and ice that is so common on my winter commute. My two deterents however are the low ground clearence (I don't believe I'd enjoy bottoming out on one of those deep ice ruts), and the lack of height (aka. visibility)for riding in traffic. Bikes aren't a common sight in my part of town during the winter months so I feel I need every advantage I can get to survive the commute.

I use a Volae Tour in nice weather and it works out just great, but for now I'll have to stick with a Mtn. Bike in the snow and rely on good fortune my sense of balance to get where I'm going.

Come to think of it, I've got an old Schwinn Town & Country out back. I wonder.......
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Old 12-16-09, 05:29 PM   #19
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What is your basis for this statment? Rob Gentry at RBR has told me he sells more trikes than bikes. I am not sure for how long this has been the case, but it has been at least for a couple years.
I've seen the national sales statistics. Bents outsell trikes by a wide margin. More than 3:1. SUN sells several thousand bents each year, they are the predominant bent seller in terms of both units sold and authorized dealers. No trike manufacturer comes close to Sun's bent sales. Sun is the leading trike manufacturer too.

Not that many LBS even carry trikes. Some of them are the only shops in their region to sell trikes, thus they capture pretty much the entire trike marketshare in their area. If there are multiple shops selling bents, then it is quite possible that at the few shops carrying trikes, that their trike sales could be higher than bents.
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Old 12-16-09, 05:49 PM   #20
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Just did a bit of checking on authorized dealerships for Catrike. They make some nice trikes. But according their database, they have only 3 authorized dealers in the entire state of New York, only 2 in Michigan, only 1 each in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Indiana, and Kansas. They are doing better in certain areas, like having 11 shops in Texas and a bunch in California and Florida.

So if you walk into the only Catrike dealer in Pennsylvania, you'd probably be told that sales are pretty good.

Hopefully sales will continue to grow.
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Old 12-16-09, 07:15 PM   #21
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I've seen the national sales statistics. Bents outsell trikes by a wide margin.
I don't mean to pick on anybody, but that should read two-wheeled 'bents outsell trikes...

Trikes are bents, too!
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Old 12-16-09, 07:43 PM   #22
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I've seen the national sales statistics. Bents outsell trikes by a wide margin. More than 3:1. SUN sells several thousand bents each year, they are the predominant bent seller in terms of both units sold and authorized dealers. No trike manufacturer comes close to Sun's bent sales. Sun is the leading trike manufacturer too.

Not that many LBS even carry trikes. Some of them are the only shops in their region to sell trikes, thus they capture pretty much the entire trike marketshare in their area. If there are multiple shops selling bents, then it is quite possible that at the few shops carrying trikes, that their trike sales could be higher than bents.
Interesting. Are these figures public? If so, a link would be great. Are you sure they aren't lumping recumbent bikes and trikes together and by trikes they are referring to upright trikes? I have to wonder this because for some reason you keep using the term 'bents to mean recumbent bikes, as if recumbent trikes are somehow not recumbents.

Anyone who was at the RBR rally this past year is not likely assuming recumbent bikes outsell recumbent trikes by much. The rally was about 50-50 bikes-trikes. At BROL, the trike forum is the second most popular section, right after "general forum". And most of the reviews in recent years have been about trikes.

You could be right about the sales figures, but from where I stand trikes sure have the momentum right now.

I love both my two and three wheeled machines. I won't be giving up either any time soon.
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Old 12-16-09, 07:43 PM   #23
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A few people graduate from DF's to bents, and some portion (not all) of those graduate to trikes. Not too many folks go directly from DFs to trikes, at least in my experience.
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Old 12-16-09, 07:45 PM   #24
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Just did a bit of checking on authorized dealerships for Catrike. They make some nice trikes. But according their database, they have only 3 authorized dealers in the entire state of New York, only 2 in Michigan, only 1 each in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Indiana, and Kansas. They are doing better in certain areas, like having 11 shops in Texas and a bunch in California and Florida.

So if you walk into the only Catrike dealer in Pennsylvania, you'd probably be told that sales are pretty good.

Hopefully sales will continue to grow.
I think Rob at RBR would tell you that a very large percentage of his sales are out of state and over the phone. Sales to locals and semi-locals are pretty well irrelevant.

I realize one shop doesn't make the market - I'm just sharing what I know about that one little corner of it FWIW.
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Old 12-16-09, 08:29 PM   #25
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This thread should be titled: 'Are recumbent trikes killing off bikes?'

The answer would be no, probably not.
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