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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 01-17-12, 10:12 PM   #1
Kelly I
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A good recumbent for a dirt tour?

I just purchased a lightly used Status XP in Aluminum for an upcoming eleven day tour in Colorado.

The wheels are 26" with 1.4 tires. When I wear those our I plan to install 1.5's or 1.75's with a bit of tread.

Have you done any dirt riding with your bent? How was the experience?
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Old 01-18-12, 06:17 AM   #2
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Over on the BROL forums is a thread that might interest you? The title is, My new Lightfoot Ranger!

FYI, while I watch the recumbent section here on BF, it seems all the recumbent action is over on BROL.
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Old 01-18-12, 03:11 PM   #3
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I hate to crash

My experience riding an Haluzak Horizon short wheelbase bike on a packed gravel road in central Nevada wasn't good. The bike has underseat steering, a 20 X 1+1/8" front wheel and a 26" City Marathon tire on the rear. I remember going down at least once on loose gravel in a fairly short ride. I'd hate to think how it would handle with the extra gear added. It handles just fine on regular roads and paved trails.
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Old 01-24-12, 04:48 PM   #4
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Back when I rode a bent, I did lots of dirt / singletrack.

With any 2 wheeler off pavement, traction and front tire contact patch is your main concern. With an upright bike, you can shift your weight somewhat to enhance traction; not so much with a bent.

Front tire "washout" is the number one risk. I did it several times; it's just physics - a bent has a lower % of weight on the front tire, more on the back. Therefore, traction will be less for the front than the back (this is exactly opposite of what you want / need for control). Generally, all you can do is keep the speed under control, especially on descents and in the loose stuff.

Basic tips from dirt riders:
- braking with the rear is better (especially if you must brake while turning); because first, the rear has more traction (weight) and second, braking transfers weight toward the front, improving traction there.
- you can lean forward and pull downward on the bars to shift your weight forward a bit. I found this also helps when traversing bumpy terrain, allows the bike to move around more freely than if you're back against the backrest.
- Lower psi's and knobbier treads are better on the front.

Clearing obstacles is of course another biggie on singletrack, but on graded / gravel roads should be no prob.

Last edited by Creakyknees; 01-24-12 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 01-29-12, 01:06 AM   #5
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Short-wheelbase recumbent bikes handle poorly in loose gravel or loose dirt, especially if they have smaller (20") front tires. Mounting a fat front tire helps, but doesn't totally cure the issue.

For better gravel/dirt handling, you can either get a SWB that uses bigger wheels (26") or get a LWB that uses a small front wheel--but then, the 'highracer" bike will be more difficult to ride just because of the longer straddle distance, and the LWB will be more difficult to maneuver just due to its length.

Recumbent bikes are great for road use and they even do well on gravel roads and fire roads, but they're not much good for technical off-roading.
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Old 01-29-12, 02:22 PM   #6
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A front rack loaded with gear should easy the washout issue a bit. I understand the op is arranging for that. Maybe she'll post a picture when she gets it set up.
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Old 01-29-12, 09:10 PM   #7
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Not too much off road, just unpaved sections of trail on a Cycle Genius Sparrow with 1.95 tires. Loose gravel I was destined to crash on my Stratus LE with 1.35 front tire. I'd fit the largest tires you can get on the XP, and don't wait until the 1.4's wear out. I'd also keep the seat as upright as I could.
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Old 02-02-12, 02:10 AM   #8
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Kelly, have you gotten any input from Wayne Estes on this? I know his tours often feature a lot of dirt miles, and his bike is nothing at all like what usually comes to mind at the mention of off road recumbents.

As for me, either my bent is totally unsuited for offroading, or my technique is seriously lacking (probably a combination of both), so I just went back to the skinniest tire I found comfortable and decided that it stays on the pavement. I love playing in the dirt, but I`m sticking with my DFs for that.
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Old 02-11-12, 09:15 AM   #9
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Dirt roads and recumbent trike sounds fine. I would rather have three wheels on a dirt road. Love my Catrike Trails ( I am on my third one).
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Old 02-11-12, 03:59 PM   #10
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3 wheels is the way to go. We did the Hiawatha trail both ways on our Ice Adventure's, just put on 2.35 Big Apple's all around and it's even better in the gravel
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