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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 06-08-11, 02:10 PM   #1
BlazingPedals
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Test Ride

One of the women in my club has expressed interest in recumbents, so last night I took my V-Rex to the club ride near my house and let her test it out afterward. I got the seat set so she could reach the pedals and put it as upright as I could get it and gave her some basic instructions on how to get going. The parking lot was mostly empty, and had a gentle slope downward for maybe 75 feet before rounding the turn and going another 100+ feet.

Well, I gave her a push and off she wobbled, alternately giving the pedals a push or two then flailing her legs as if to catch herself from falling, all the time hollering she was going to die, help, and save her. And there were also a few words I'll have to remember in case I ever want to be a sailor. She made it all the way to the second turn, which pointed her up the gentle grade, at which point she braked and put her feet down.

Once I got her calmed down, she realized she could reach the ground any time and she'd actually made it. So I got her turned around to use the grade for starting, then ride back the way she came. By the time she was back to the starting point, she was ready to keep going. After several full laps of the lot, she sailed in and insisted that her friend try it too. After that they both took turns. Cathy, the first woman, remarked that it seemed fast, which drew a chuckle from one of the observers. "John doesn't own any slow bikes" he said.

Anyway, I just thought the complete change in attitude within the space of 2 minutes was funny.
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Old 06-09-11, 08:28 AM   #2
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Reminds me of my first test ride. I went to the local LBS that carries Bacchetta and got on a Strada. The first lap around the back lot, which was broken up by many stops due to my inability to balance let alone steer had me asking how the &%$# anyone rides one these *&^#%$ death machines. Within a week I owned a Corsa.
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Old 06-09-11, 11:07 AM   #3
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Good story, BP! I`m gald your two "charges" enjoyed the test.

Wish you had been around when I was in the curiosity mode, though it wouldn`t really have made much difference. I couldn`t find any to ride around here until I built myself one. Just a few weeks ago, I snapped up an EZ1 that had been languishing on our local Craigslist, and it`s already given me my first LWB ride and the first bent rides to my wife and three other people. I have no problems offering my own bent for test rides, but adjusting it is a pain, so it only goes under people who it already sorta fits- the Sun is a piece of cake to adjust. I hope to help many more people see what it`s all about
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Old 06-21-11, 08:09 AM   #4
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I've managed to introduce 5 people so far to the "dark side" on my tour - had one checking Hostel Shoppe for ordering one within 10 minutes of his first try. Can't wait for the next one."

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Old 10-01-11, 07:54 AM   #5
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On my first bent ride on a Rans Tailwind that I bought 20 minutes later, I tried to push off with my right foot! Gee that didnt work too well. Then doing it right by cocking the left pedal and catching balance off I went. After a 4 block ride I rode back in and bought it. Been bent ever since.
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Old 10-01-11, 11:09 AM   #6
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It is always good to hear of the conversion stories...and hear of the smiles.
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Old 10-01-11, 02:38 PM   #7
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I certainly don't want to rain on anyone's parade and I'm delighted to read of all the easy conversions. At the same time, not everyone has such an easy time coming to grips with the differences between recumbents and redundants.

I've had my Stratus for about three weeks now and I still have trouble with tiller steering. It doesn't help that I also have rather wonky knees so climbing is difficult. I have a variety of "fixes" in train and several members of this forum have been very helpful, so I hope that I'm on the right path towards confidence and stability...... not sure which will come first!
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Old 11-09-11, 08:51 PM   #8
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My first significant experience on a bent happened today at the lbs. I'd ridden a couple a few days ago for a few minutes, so did have an idea how to start one. And the Tour Easy is, well, easy in that regard. Anyway, they turned me loose for 2 hours. When I returned, I ask "What's your best price on this thing for a loyal customer?" "Wow, that much. I don't know." After a few minutes of head scratching and hemhawing: "Well, since I really don't want to get back on my DF, I guess you've sold a bike." Ah, the enthusiasm of a convert. How long will it be before I want a SWB? A trike? Jeez, where will this end? Good thing I've got a long, wide porch.
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Old 11-09-11, 09:24 PM   #9
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Just for the record, I don't think Cathy is exactly a" convert." She rode it and had fun, and that was enough.

Agree, some folks take to 'bents better than others. I bought my first V-Rex used, and when I test rode it I went to the end of the driveway, did a near-trackstand as I looked both ways for traffic, then pulled out and rode down the street. Seller said he hated me because he couldn't even do that! Needless to say, I liked how it handled.
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Old 12-20-11, 01:06 PM   #10
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I need to keep reading this...I've been around the cul de sac where I live twice now, and I can't get turned in anything close to what I could on my DF. Once I'm moving, with a downhill start, I can do ok, but getting started is going to be tricky for a while. I'd really like to get competent at it, since I want this to be my commuter.
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Old 12-20-11, 02:01 PM   #11
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You're riding a TW-Bents Elegance SWB, right? Most recumbents will naturally have a larger turning circle vs. DFs, but you can do stuff to get it small as possible. 1st, relax your whole body & practice. Find a large parking lot and do figure 8s. When I'm doing tight slow-speed turns, I like to unclip and drop the inside leg. That is, hang my inside foot near the ground thru the turn. It lowers the COG some and I can catch myself if I start to go down. If I have to go really slow, I'll sit up in the seat, hang both legs down, and use my feet to push the bike along Flinstones style.

You may (or not) experience heel strike, when the front wheel hits your foot in a sharp turn. It's not catastrophic, but expect it and you can correct. And, be sure to start out in a low gear that makes it easy to get moving.

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Old 12-20-11, 05:36 PM   #12
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My wife has a Performer tadpole trike that she absolutely loves. I have ridden it several times and it is a blast to ride and it does haul butt. Doesn't climb very well, but then again, I'm in Florida. Right now, I am still into my road bike (yes, it's a DF) but at some point along my list of injuries-of-late, I will probably convert and go bent and get a tadpole.
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Old 12-20-11, 06:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Recumbomatic View Post
You're riding a TW-Bents Elegance SWB, right? Most recumbents will naturally have a larger turning circle vs. DFs, but you can do stuff to get it small as possible. 1st, relax your whole body & practice. Find a large parking lot and do figure 8s. When I'm doing tight slow-speed turns, I like to unclip and drop the inside leg. That is, hang my inside foot near the ground thru the turn. It lowers the COG some and I can catch myself if I start to go down. If I have to go really slow, I'll sit up in the seat, hang both legs down, and use my feet to push the bike along Flinstones style.

You may (or not) experience heel strike, when the front wheel hits your foot in a sharp turn. It's not catastrophic, but expect it and you can correct. And, be sure to start out in a low gear that makes it easy to get moving.
Thanks for the tips. I started by doing figure 8s in the cul de sac. I rode about a mile, just around the neighborhood to start to get a feel for it. I have to hold the handlebars pretty upright. Otherwise, it feels to much like a tiller, and countersteering becomes unintuitive. Weird, huh? I'm getting the hang of it a little at a time. I'm off work for the next 12 days, so I should have plenty of time to practice!

It feels really unstable and twitchy at speed, so I will keep the speed down for a while. Too bad, there's some nice hills around here!

Cheers.
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Old 12-20-11, 07:53 PM   #14
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Not sure what you mean by holding the handlebars upright? Do you mean you're leaning forward in the seat? You have to be relaxed in the seat.
This the bike?

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Old 12-20-11, 08:54 PM   #15
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Tiller is a good thing! Sit back, relax, and let your arms just hang on the bars using the natural curl of your fingers to hold them there. Notice how the weight of your arms hanging there will tend to center the steering? The tiller causes the steering to center itself! Now, use a light grip and practice turning by tucking a shoulder just a smidgeon. That's the ticket! If you try to *push* on the bars, the bike will be twitchy and you're going to go everywhere except where you're trying to go. But you already know that.
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Old 12-21-11, 08:41 AM   #16
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As a very recent convert, I can empathize with all these stories. Yet to be conquered is the standing start, which I'm very slowly learning. I'm hoping within the month to be able to clip in my lead foot and get rolling gracefully.

To those who are experiencing a steep learning curve: me too. No track stands MY first time out, although I almost did one by accident when my cleats were maladjusted and I couldn't get unclipped
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Old 12-21-11, 05:50 PM   #17
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By low gear, I actually mean the "Goldilocks" gear. Not too high, or it will take too much effort to launch. Not too low, or you won't have enough speed to get stable. The goal is to push off smoothly with enough speed (~5mph) to avoid stalling out. Keep in mind that the "Goldilocks" gear will change depending on the terrain.
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Old 12-22-11, 08:48 AM   #18
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On my Stratus I put the handlebars in line with the head tube. That pretty much eliminates tiller. But as far as I am concerned it puts me in the superman arm position which is a better aero position. That makes it a win win deal for me.
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Old 12-23-11, 12:22 AM   #19
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Not sure what you mean by holding the handlebars upright? Do you mean you're leaning forward in the seat? You have to be relaxed in the seat.
This the bike?

That's the right bike. The steering tube is hinged to make it easy to get in and out, and it can flop over all the way to the front of the bike if I let it. I rode about 5 miles yesterday. I fell over 5 times. The falls were mostly because I'm not used to riding clipped to the pedals with cleats, although one was caused by not realizing just how long the front end is and catching it on a chain link fence. heh. I also had a very low speed fall when my heel hit the front tire in a low speed turn. I'll have to figure out if I can hold my feet at a better angle when I'm doing that, or unclip and push with my heels when I'm going that slow.
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Old 12-23-11, 06:20 AM   #20
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Something doesn't sound quite right about this.

Your hands should cradle the grips gently, your body should be relaxed, your back should be nestled against the seat, and the B-pivot should not be pivoting.

I'm guessing that you're sitting forward grasping the handlebar for dear life. You'll never enjoy riding if you're doing that.

Less is more. Once I learned to cradle the grips like tender little robins eggs, my stability increased dramatically. After a month I routinely pull 30 MPH down fairly short hills ( gotta love the bent aerodynamics). I am NOT athletic. I just watched a bunch of Kung Foo shows as a kid.
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Old 12-23-11, 11:35 AM   #21
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Tiller steering is sometimes called 'hamster bars' or 'praying mantis' position. Your elbows should be more-or-less at your sides, with your elbows bent at roughly 90 degrees and your hands hanging from the bars. The stop on the flip stem should be adjusted to that the bars fall to the correct position and you don't have to hold them in place.

The only thing that makes tiller hard to learn is that most upright riders are used to *reverse* tiller on their previous bikes. On an upright, the bars are typically ahead of the steerer tube, requiring the rider to push the bars in the desired direction. On a recumbent, the bars are pulled. Pushing on the bars, especially on a tiller bar, is a Bad Thing.
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Old 12-23-11, 02:27 PM   #22
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The falls were mostly because I'm not used to riding clipped to the pedals with cleats
Might be a good idea to swap out the pedals for platforms until you get used to the Elegance. When I started out, I used cleats & clipless pedals but didn't actually clip in for the first month and a half .
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