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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 11-21-04, 09:10 PM   #1
HiYoSilver
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How does a bent compare to a road bike?

Question: I have heard that theoretically bent are faster than road bikes, but I have never seen a bent fly.

Are they really faster in real life with non-athletes?
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Old 11-21-04, 11:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Question: I have heard that theoretically bent are faster than road bikes, but I have never seen a bent fly.

Are they really faster in real life with non-athletes?
Yes, due to about 30% less aero drag they can be faster on flat pavement or down hill if the cornering is not too sharp.

See this recent thread:
Maximum top speed on flatground?
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Old 11-22-04, 02:30 AM   #3
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The aerodynamic advantage of recumbents becomes apparent only at higher speeds, say, over 20 mph.

The difference from road bikes is that riding a recumbent makes it easier to attain and maintain those higher speeds.

Think about it. If more of your body's capacity to produce energy is going toward forward propulsion rather than the exertion expended in supporting your back, shoulders, neck, wrists. etc, and, simultanously, you're presenting a smaller profile to air resistance than on a road bike, don't you think you might be able to ride faster?
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Old 11-22-04, 04:04 AM   #4
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i never had a 10 speed frame as they called them when i was a kid.i remember thinking as i was a kid about the guys whose xchain broke and they had to speak high notes for awhile.i had a murray,spoke some high notes,then a sting ray as a kid.i sat way back on my bananna seat,never spoke any high notes on that bike.
i wasn't interested in bikes after my first car.then i saw electric motor kits,and a 3 wheel bike that didn't look like a old fossils only way to get around,even if i'm a relic rrr a blast from the past.i was really something,,,before puters
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Old 11-22-04, 04:04 AM   #5
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i never had a 10 speed frame as they called them when i was a kid.i remember thinking as i was a kid about the guys whose xchain broke and they had to speak high notes for awhile.i had a murray,spoke some high notes,then a sting ray as a kid.i sat way back on my bananna seat,never spoke any high notes on that bike.
i wasn't interested in bikes after my first car.then i saw electric motor kits,and a 3 wheel bike that didn't look like a old fossils only way to get around,even if i'm a relic rrr a blast from the past.i was really something,,,before puters

happy trails and dodge those squirrels
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Old 11-22-04, 11:24 AM   #6
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With bents, do you use a fairing or not?

If so, how do cross winds effect your handling?
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Old 11-22-04, 04:38 PM   #7
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Fairings only make a difference above 15 mph. A front fairing won't be effected all that much, wheel fairings or front with body sock you will really notice. A tail fairing is middle of the road, some cross wind effect, but good speed benefit. Front fairing also give some weather benefit, keeps some of the wind and rain off.

Darren
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Old 11-24-04, 10:30 AM   #8
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Some real world numbers. I ride about 5000 miles per year for last 7 yrs. Lately half on DF bike, half on recumbents. I will use a 40 mile average hilly, SW wisconsin coarse for example. 48 yrs old 6'3" 215 pounds not an athelete before bike riding.
Road bike 19-20 MPH depending on how I feel that day and the total amount of hills.
GRR long wheel base recumb bare 18-19 MPH, slower due to hills
GRR long wheel base recumb front fairing 19-20 MPH
GRR long wheel base recumb front faring and stocking. 21 maybe 22
short wheel base P38 no fairings 19-20 MPH faster than long wheel base without fairing because it climbs better.
F 40 short wheel base fully faired 22 maybe 23
F 40 and GRR with stocking are very fast on completely flat coarse. 40 miles flat GRR maybe 23 F 40 maybe 25. Road bike maybe 21 on flat coarse, really can't gain much over a moderately hilly coarse. Road bike on training ride with good group about 24 or maybe 25 MPH average on flat 40 mile coarse.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:36 AM   #9
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I love the analytical answers.

Just what I needed to know. Thank you.
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Old 11-24-04, 11:26 AM   #10
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Bikerski,

What effect is there on the riding geometry when you have a fairing and good cross winds?

It's not as bad as the plains, but we do get gusts along the foothills.

thanks
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Old 11-24-04, 02:53 PM   #11
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Road Bike Tour of Colorado three different years with GRR front fairing and body stocking. Took the stocking off when it got warm but the front fairing was always on. Long wheel base style recumbent is very stable. Front fairing in wind is never a problem for me. Fairing is lycra and acually deforms during heavy cross winds in a way that lessons its side signature. a f40 on the other hand is short wheel base with fairings that do not deform. This bike is dangerous in sidewinds or on narrow roads with heavy semi traffic. BTW the GRR faired and stocking hit 65 MPH on the top of many mountain downhills. Would have been faster if I hadn't had to brake for corners.
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Old 11-25-04, 09:53 AM   #12
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Did a road race of 62 miles this summer with average overall speed of 24.4mph on a carbon velokraft.
The lowracers tend to be quite a bit faster than a socked bike although maybe not as fast as fully faired f-40.

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Old 11-25-04, 09:55 AM   #13
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Being lower to the ground even with a tailfairing, there isn't that much problems with crosswinds. I did quite a few rides this summer through the country with 30mph gusty winds and had no problems keeping the bike on the road. A lot of the time, the crosswinds do actually push you along like a sailboat.
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Old 12-04-04, 10:54 PM   #14
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My riding partner upgraded to a lightweight trek 1500 road df at the same time I got my Django. He is seriously pissed that he did not buy a bent now that I smoke him on everything except hills. I am right behind him on the short hills but he leaves me behind on long ascents.

When I first made the switch to bentspeed he would bask in the warm glow of my effort. Now he barely gets to catch his breath on the downhills before I pass him again.
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Old 12-05-04, 03:39 PM   #15
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A bent doesn't hurt nearly as much.

CS
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Old 12-05-04, 06:47 PM   #16
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My average speeds for 'lumpy' terrain rides of 50 miles or so; that is, smallish hills but not close enough together to qualify as rollers:

Aluminum DF: 17 mph
V-Rex: 17-18 mph
V-Rex with front fairing: 19-21 mph
Baron lowracer: 22-23 mph

I think a socked GRR is about the same aerodynamically as a stock-class lowracer, but weighs a lot more. That means they're a good match in the flats, but the lowracer will have the advantage on climbs.
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Old 12-05-04, 06:50 PM   #17
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Bikerski,
or anyone else,
In your opinion, if someone (me) were starting to look for a bent to tour cross country (rocky mts. a goal) where would you steer him? Currently liking the P38 with a trailer possibly.
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Old 12-06-04, 10:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerinchrist
Bikerski,
or anyone else,
In your opinion, if someone (me) were starting to look for a bent to tour cross country (rocky mts. a goal) where would you steer him? Currently liking the P38 with a trailer possibly.
My first choice would be a TourEasy or GRR, with front fairing and panniers. If you want front panniers, there's even a short fairing available. Second would be a Stratus, also LWB. If you want a SWB, then I of course (being a RANS owner ) would have to recommend a V-Rex. It's triangulated for stiffness and built sturdy enough to take touring loads. The P-38, also triangulated, is a racing bike. Even if some people have used it for touring, I would not trust it with heavy loads. Tim Brummer has stated in the past that he only warrants the frames for 3 years because he builds them so light that he expects them to fail sooner or later. I would not recommend rear suspension, either, because it could mess up handling with a trailer.
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Old 12-06-04, 11:38 AM   #19
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I would go with Tour Easy or GRR with a bob trailer. I have used a bob for many miles. I like the way the bike handles with the bob, although I haven't used panniers. Mountain downhills are a blast with a GRR. I would not feel as comfortable on the downhills with a short wheelbase, especially loaded. I've toured at 230 LBS, bob trailer with 24 LBS of load plus trailer weight, on 23MM tires with no problem. For cross country trip probably would use 28 MM tires in back 406 size in front. 24 LBS includes clothing for a week, sleeping bag, tent and full size pillow. Can't get used to not have a comfy pillow. For my touring I don't take cook stuff. Too many good places to eat for the hassle. I do take a few power bars etc.... in case I get between places at meal time. Touring is also a good time to connect with how realy wonderful 99.9% of the people in the world are. Got a great story. See below.
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Old 12-06-04, 11:42 AM   #20
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Great people tour story. Wife and I on tandem with Bob. Push a little to far. Get to camp site 8 PM, started to rain lightly last few miles, getting dark fast. Got tent up, showered, feeling pretty good. No place to get food close. I see a multiple family camp site next door. Ask if anyone would be kind enough to take us to food about 5 miles down the road. Guys says he doesn't want to do that but procedes to give us the keys to his new $30,000 ford pickup truck! Can't beat wisconsin. With deer all over the place it was the slowest I have ever driven.
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Old 12-06-04, 07:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerski
Great people tour story. Wife and I on tandem with Bob. Push a little to far. Get to camp site 8 PM, started to rain lightly last few miles, getting dark fast. Got tent up, showered, feeling pretty good. No place to get food close. I see a multiple family camp site next door. Ask if anyone would be kind enough to take us to food about 5 miles down the road. Guys says he doesn't want to do that but procedes to give us the keys to his new $30,000 ford pickup truck! Can't beat wisconsin. With deer all over the place it was the slowest I have ever driven.
I actually did Laugh Out Loud at this one, great story!

Hey thanks guys I just learned a ton from the replys. Now to show more of my lack of knowledge of bents........what is a GRR?
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Old 12-06-04, 08:04 PM   #22
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Gardner Martin was a pioneer in recumbents. He got lucky cutting old 10 speeds apart and building long wheel base recumbents. He hit upon a good design and refined it, although I built a couple myself and they are surprisingly close to the geometry of a couple of ten speeds cut and welded together. Anyway, he died recently, his company is Easy Racer. They build a steel long wheel base bike called a tour easy. The aluminum bike of the same geometry is called a gold rush replica, or GRR. He won a prize by operating a highly modified Gold Rush at 65 MPH for like 200 meters. Interesting fact, He and his girl friend are the couple on the blanket in the woodstock picture.
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Old 12-06-04, 08:15 PM   #23
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Gold Rush Replica, now that I have heard of!
Thanks again.
Roger
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Old 12-06-04, 09:50 PM   #24
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I'm a non-athelete. I don't have hard, analytical numbers. Only anecdotes.

I bought my recumbent after commuting on my mountain bike for a while, an 8.5 mile commute one way. Right after I got the recumbent I had a hysterectomy. 12 days after the hysterectomy I could ride the bike -- slowly -- but I could still pass up slower bikes on the bike path. I've passed up more and more people in the 6 weeks since. I can't pass roadies, but I never could anyway. I can ride it with so little effort I'll probably get fat. And because it's so effortless I'm pretty sure I'm going faster, at least on the flats and downhills. Headwinds are not so bad on the bent. Even hills aren't too bad on the bike I chose. My bike weighs more than 30lbs, by the way.

If all I wanted was speed I'd probably do the spandex roadie thing. But bent riding is really fun. When riding my DF bike, once I get to my destination I'm finished. Once I reach the destination on my bent, I'm thinking of a new destination.

The only things I don't like are the dependence on smooth pavement and the lack of anonymity/curiosity factor sometimes.
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Old 12-07-04, 06:43 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogerinchrist
...what is a GRR?
That would be a Gold Rush Replica, the aluminum-framed version of a TourEasy.
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