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  1. #1
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    fully loaded touring on a 'bent

    I'm thinking about doing some touring in about a year and I'm trying to make some preliminary plans. I've read a few stories that people have posted to the web about their trips across America, and one of the biggest complaints I have seen in that they were battered by the wind. So I'm leaning towards getting a recumbent for the tour because I understand that their aerodynamic design makes them much easier to pedal into a headwind.

    I would like to do fully loaded touring (tent, sleeping bag, etc). So I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of recumbents that I should look at. I would like to spend less or around $3000.

    One thing that concerns me about some of the recumbent touring bikes I have seen is that it doesn't look like they have much storage space. An upright touring bike has front and rear racks, and most fully loaded tourist seem to use both racks. Most of the recumbents only seem to have a rear rack.

    I don't know much about recumbents, so any suggestions would be very helpful.

    andy

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bike Spokesman's Avatar
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    Well andy,
    If you are worried about headwinds, recumbents are definately the way to go. And, they are great touring machines as well.
    On average, a recumbent will have a 10 to 15% aerodynamic advantage, and that is without any aero dymanic options. (fairing, tailbox etc.) For touring, I wouldn't recomend puting any options on though, because they will take up carrying space.
    Now, normally, my boss and I will not recomend a specific recumbent, because they all ride differently, and what one person may like, another will absolutly hate. So my best advice, is to go and see what you like.
    But, in this case, IF YOU LIKE THE WAY THAT IT RIDES!!! I would recomend a Rans Stratus, because it is the only recumbent (that I know of at least... in your price range ) that comes standard with a fork that you can mount a front pannier rack on, as well as being able to mount one in the back.

    I personally ride a Bike E (it's what I could afford) and I have been relativly happy with it, especially while touring. Because the panier rack mounts under the seat, other than the extra weight, I noticed very little difference in ride characteristics. The rack being under the seat does take away the normal storage of the top of the rack, but I managed my buying a bike E back which fits on the back of the seat. It is a very large bag, and I managed to fit my sleeping bag, pillow, and air mattress into it, with space to cram some small food item in as well. With a sweet seat, their is still quite a bit of area on top of the bag. This is where you could but your tent, all you would need to do is fit it throught the straps on the top of the bag, and then just bungee it to the cross bar on the seat for extra support.

    But it still all comes back to what you like. I would recommend going to a well stocked recumbent shop, take some bikes out for a test, and see what you like, and what touring options the bikes have.


    Well, I wish you luck in finding the recumbent that is right for you.

  3. #3
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    I think you have to decide between a LWB and SWB bent, as these appear to be the most common for long distance touring.

    You can read reviews on many different bents at Bentrideronline e-zine.
    http://www.bentrideronline.com/

    If you decide on a SWB take a look at Radical Design rack bags and panniers.
    http://www.radicaldesign.nl/en/products.html
    These products are specifically designed for use on most SWB bents.They also have a decent trailer for those looking for additional payload.

    X-eyed is just now delivering mid-ship racks for RANS SWB and TourEasy LWB bents.
    http://www.x-eyed.com/rack.html

    Good luck and Happy Trails 2U!
    Eddie
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  4. #4
    Member Lost Marble's Avatar
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    Storage space can be a problem on a recumbent, so you might want to think about a trailer. I'm going to use a BOB trailer behind a TourEasy for my cross-country trip. If you've got a good local bike shop, they will probably let you take a trailer for a spin (be sure to bring some bricks or phone books or something for test weight).

    I was originally planning on using panniers, but since I couldn't put any up front, the back end of my bike was too loaded down. I not only ran out of space, but I was starting to get an unhappy wobble. I went in for a test ride with a trailer, and the bike rode more like its normal unloaded self.

  5. #5
    Member Lost Marble's Avatar
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    1500 miles later, and I can say that I really like the recumbent/trailer combination. Of course, the drawback to a recumbent is hill climbing - I'm definitely slower going uphill on a recumbent, and all my touring gear just amplified the problem. I hit some pretty nasty hills that I wished I could have stood up to power up them. On the other hand, on level ground and gentler hills, I was so comfortable in my reclined seat that overall I'd still go with a recumbent, especially for hours and hours of touring.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Goatbiker's Avatar
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    True, the rans stratus can carry a front rack, but I dont think you can use it with a fairing. The benefit of the fairing far outweights the advantage of carring a load that far forward. A full sized set on the rear, and the normal "front" size on an X-Eyed midship rack (it mounts under your seat) will give you equal capacity, with the areo advantage of the fairing. Plus the dry feet in the rain advantage, and the windchil advantage.....You can get the an XL wheelbase RANS Stratus or Veolcity Squared LWB, and they carry your weight a little farther fordward. The Easy Racers tourers also use the X-Eyed mid ship rack and have full fairings.
    Goatbiking. "It's not the size of the hills you climb, it's what you smell like when you're done". So sez my wife.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  7. #7
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    Any updated thoughts on this topics in the last four years and almost eight months since the last post?

    I have bad neck / shoulder problems, may have to go to a bent someday.
    Peter Wang, LCI
    Houston, TX USA

  8. #8
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Suggestions for stowage on a Delta config Trike? Sun EZ3, to be precise?
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  9. #9
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    I tour on a GRR with a pair of Arkel GT54's on the rear rack and a couple of smaller panniers under the seat. I found the the loaded Gold Rush to be as stable as my Cannondale T800 was with the added benefit of a comfortable ride.
    This is touring and I'm out to enjoy the countryside and the people so speed is not a big thing. If I average 10 MPH for the day I'm happy. And if I don't average that well then it was not to be. If I have to walk the odd hill it just adds to character building.
    The big thing is to finish the day with no sore wrists and a neck and back that does not hurt

  10. #10
    Bicycle RepairMan
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    bent touring choices

    I will leave the discussion of trailers vs panniers to others but have some definite opinions on frame choices for touring. I ride both SWBs (Vrex) and LWBs (TiRUSH, Vanguard). While I love the agile road bike like handling of the SWBs, I prefer the LWBs for touring for several reasons. 1) The low bottom bracket of the LWBs allow me to put my feet down when stopping and to start up easily, even on steep hills. This has been invaluable on long climbs when I've maxed the HR and need to recharge. 2) The more upright seating of LWBs gives me a better view of my environs and provides more support to my neck and head. 3) Most OSS LWBs handle a fairing quite well. The fairing is especially appreciated in headwinds and inclement weather. While I don't own one, the Tour Easy from Easy Racers would be my first choice for touring.

  11. #11
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    I'm doing a month long tour of Uruguay that starts next Sunday on a BikeE CT XL frame, with camping gear and side panniers, so any tips and or things I'm sure to forget and wish I hadn't would be greatly appreciated.
    My misadventures are at http://motovista.blogspot.com
    The Adventure Continues at http://bentgringo.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    This doesn't relate to the original "where to hang it" question, but rather big wheels vs small wheels. Is your route in Uruguay paved? I'm not sure I'd want to ride much dirt using 16" and 20" wheels
    .

  13. #13
    Senior Member I_Bike's Avatar
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    I always think of Alex Wetmore's Rocket:



    http://www.phred.org/~alex/bikes/rocket.html

  14. #14
    Ric
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    Strada, GTT2s, Hotmover Ric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aturley
    I'm thinking about doing some touring in about a year and I'm trying to make some preliminary plans. I've read a few stories that people have posted to the web about their trips across America, and one of the biggest complaints I have seen in that they were battered by the wind. So I'm leaning towards getting a recumbent for the tour because I understand that their aerodynamic design makes them much easier to pedal into a headwind.

    I would like to do fully loaded touring (tent, sleeping bag, etc). So I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions of recumbents that I should look at. I would like to spend less or around $3000.

    One thing that concerns me about some of the recumbent touring bikes I have seen is that it doesn't look like they have much storage space. An upright touring bike has front and rear racks, and most fully loaded tourist seem to use both racks. Most of the recumbents only seem to have a rear rack.

    I don't know much about recumbents, so any suggestions would be very helpful.

    andy
    If you're touring I don't think aerodynamics or speed should be a concern. Comfort, Stability and ease of operation would be my concern. I think you should take a look at and consider this, http://www.catrike.com/expedition.htm Think about it, you don't have to unclip at stops signs, red lights or on hills if you choose to rest. Pull a Burley Nomad Trailer and have all the room you could want or ever use, the Nomad pulls and tracks great. I know from experience because I pull the Nomad with a Speed and you never know it's back there and it holds up to a hundred pounds of gear. Both can be purchased for under $3000.
    I don't have anything against a SWB or LWB, I have both. but I also know how much energy is used to ride either compared to a trike and I sure wouldn't want to know what energy is consumed with either fully loaded, that would be work and if I'm Touring , I'm not interested in working. Think about a Trike. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Ric; 01-29-07 at 04:53 PM.
    http://rrsc.forumotion.com/index.htm Recumbent Riders Social Club
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    http://cyclingdiscussion.forumotion.net/ Cycling Discussion Forum

  15. #15
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    where I'm hanging it...

    I've got two bikes, so we're going with two sets of Deuter Rack Pack 2 panniers under the seats, and a Head backpack behind one of the bikes, and a sportzpak tent sleeping bags combination roll behind the other.

    I've ridden a lot on dirt in Santiago and have had no problems with traction on the BikeE.
    My misadventures are at http://motovista.blogspot.com
    The Adventure Continues at http://bentgringo.blogspot.com

  16. #16
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    Good suggestions. As noted bent usually use midship and rear racks. So you can use a set of four pannier plus a seat bag.

    Check out the Aerotrunk by Angletech. It will help you on the aero side as well as give you plenty of storage, especially if you use midship and rear panniers.

    Check out Crazy Guy on a Bike. These are journals of people on tour. They have a recumbent catagory: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...ategory_id=214

    There's nothing like talking to the guys who have used the equipment you're considering over the coarse of time in harsh conditions. You'll know what to buy and what to avoid just from reading those journals. and that site also has a forum: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum/?o=lt

    The Cat Trike Expediption might be the best deal
    Last edited by funbun; 02-14-07 at 12:31 AM.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  17. #17
    Member tayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Marble
    1500 miles later, and I can say that I really like the recumbent/trailer combination. Of course, the drawback to a recumbent is hill climbing - I'm definitely slower going uphill on a recumbent, and all my touring gear just amplified the problem. I hit some pretty nasty hills that I wished I could have stood up to power up them. On the other hand, on level ground and gentler hills, I was so comfortable in my reclined seat that overall I'd still go with a recumbent, especially for hours and hours of touring.
    I was considering doing some touring this summer, after I retire... I have a RANS Rocket and was looking into a B.O.B. trailer also... Do you think I might need to re-spoke the rear wheel with some beef-ier spokes to allow for the added weight of the trailer and gear on the rear wheel ??...
    "I ain't busted, but I'm badly bent" - Crowbar

  18. #18
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tayman
    I was considering doing some touring this summer, after I retire... I have a RANS Rocket and was looking into a B.O.B. trailer also... Do you think I might need to re-spoke the rear wheel with some beef-ier spokes to allow for the added weight of the trailer and gear on the rear wheel ??...
    If you get a two wheel balanced trailer I doubt it.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  19. #19
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    In the spring of 2005 six of us rode across the country, a modified trans am route, on our Easy Racer GRRs. You can read about it and see pictures at Crazyguyonabike.com, Six Warriors across the country. We all used panniers under the seat and on the seat stays and the bikes handled great. We rode the C & O canal trail which is dirt, someplaces rough and rocky, with no problems. I can highly recommend the GRR or it's less expensive brother the Tour Easy (easyracers.com) for any touring. Regardless of what kind of recumbent you get, plan on riding at least 1000 miles before starting the tour. It takes that long for most bodys to adapt to the new riding position.

  20. #20
    ppc
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    For touring, if you're tall enough, I think it's tough to beat an Optima Condor for the following reasons:

    - It's a 26/26, meaning you can mount any old mountain bike tire (i.e. no trouble finding tires or tubes in the middle of nowhere) and you can use a suspended front fork.

    - The rear fork is wide enough for 3.5" knobbies, if you feel like riding offroad.

    - It has a stainless steel frame that's as bomb-proof as it gets. Believe me on this one, I'm a big brutal guy and when I tour, I carry a ton of junk. I've broken several bike frames but the Condor keeps on going.

    - It's simple. Very simple. Almost any part on it can be swapped for a standard MTB part, including the entire handlebar and stem assembly (USS steering). No complicated linkage, no special part when it's not absolutely required. Again, if you're stranded somewhere, repairs will be easy.

    - It can carry stuff like a mule: with off the shelf Optima bags, you can carry 2x35l in the side bags, 30l in the rear top bag, to which you can add 2 bags attached to the front wheel if you really must, and then some you can strap on top of everything. Of course, you can also pull a trailer as well.

    - It's not a "new bike", it's 10 years old, so the kinks have long since been worked out. Many tourers around the world still choose it for its ruggedness.

    For the downsides :

    - It's heavy. That's the price of solidity. Depending on how big you are, that may or may not be an issue.

    - It handles like a truck. I mean, at speed it's stable like a mountain bike (which it is really) but there's a learning curve to be able to make tight-ish turns with the USS handlebar, and you have to muscle it a bit at low speed because the weight of your legs in front of the front wheel create inertia when you want to turn in a hurry.

    - It's high : if you're less than 6 feet tall, forget it. If you have a front fork with more than 80mm travel and you're not at least 6'2, starting might be dicey, or you may end up looking silly at the red light.

    - Like all bikes with rear suspension, I suspect pulling a heavily loaded monowheel trailer like a Bob isn't such a good thing for the bike's rear arm pivot. My Condor never had a problem with the Bob trailer, but I tend to avoid carrying too much in the trailer for fear of structural damage to the bike's frame. Maybe I'm just paranoid though.

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