I'm considering buying an Optima Orca, not because I've researched different bikes and picked that one out, but because I've come across one for sale online and here in New Zealand used recumbents for sale are few and far between. Seems to be a good price and good condition so I'm wondering if I should jump at the opportunity or hold off and see what else might come along. It's not nearby where I can go and test ride it so it would be a blind purchase. But that's how I got my first recumbent, a Rans V-rex when I lived in California. When a moved here I sold that bike. I really enjoyed the V-rex but it is the only recumbent I've ever ridden. I found it to be a bike that made me want to ride more. It was a good hill climber and I reckon I wouldn't have been any slower climbing a hill on it than I would have been on a regular road bike.
So why haven't I bought the Orca already? Well here are my concerns in order:
1. The dual 26" wheels make it a high bike. Not sure if this is good or bad for me. It looks much more 'awkward' than the 20/26 swb bents. The seat position is much more reclined compared to something like a v-rex, your almost lying back flat! Not sure if it feels as awkward as it looks but I liked the body position on the v-rex and the Optima just looks wierd! It's a beautiful looking bike when nobody is on it but with a rider on it, it looks much stranger than other recumbents. Does it feel as strange as it looks?
2. Known to be a heavier bike. Can it climb hills ok? I'm not looking for amazing performance or anything, just a little concerned that riding mixed/hilly terrain might not be pleasant if it is a beast to push up a hill.
3. I envisage using it for medium length day rides in my local area (e.g. 30-50 miles were the typical length of rides I would take my V-rex on when I had it). I know it is designed for touring but I probably won't do much if any touring. So I'm wondering is it a less than ideal bike for my purposes?
Any inputs appreciated especially from those who have experienced Orcas, Optimas or dual 26 swbs.