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  1. #1
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    Hoping for first 'bent in the relatively near future....

    Hi all,

    I've been cycling for several years now on a conventional road bike (DF? - not sure on the abbreviation) and have logged several thousand miles on my Cannondale R5. I really enjoy biking and own several 'recreational' bikes and also enjoy restoring/rebuilding bikes from the frame up when my schedule permits.

    Having said that, I have participated in the training season and annual MS150 ride from Houston to Austin for the past 5-6 years in addition to recreational riding in the off season, and I'm riding one last time this year. I hate to say it, but my main reason for taking a break is (aside from the training aspect) the discomfort from weeks of riding a regular road bike. I'm pretty bummed as I've enjoyed riding my whole life and really enjoy the MS150, but I've decided that after this year I'm planning to try and sell my road bike and begin saving for a recumbent. Having said that, I've done some initial research and wonder about the following things:

    FWIW - my budget is around $2K, I'm about 6' tall and about 250lbs. My primary use for this type of bike would be training rides of 30-60 miles and the annual MS150. (touring, I guess?) The south Texas area I live in doesn't have many hills, and I'd be using my 'bent primarily for distance rides.

    1. Lightning Recumbents: Wondering why there's not much info on these guys here on the forum? Are they just not very common? Uncomfortable? Bad customer service? I'm looking at the 'Phantom' model based on weight limit and affordability.

    2. Bacchetta - The 'Strada' model has caught my eye. It's a 'performance' 'bent within budget and weight limit. Has great reviews. Also glanced at the Giro 20" and Giro 26"...

    3. Easyracers - looked at the Tour Easy but read here that it's a bit 'slow'. Having said that, I'm not sure I can afford many of their other models, but I do have to say that the longer wheelbase 'bents look much more comfy than the short wheelbase ones. Am I wrong here?

    4. What are the major differences between SWB and LWB 'bents? I'll be honest, the SWB 'bents kind of scare me, both in a good and a bad way. Also, why do some 'bents have a 26" rear and smaller front while some have 26" front and rear?

    Just some other notes about me and my riding style. I'm a Clyde - no way around it, and I'll always be one so this will always be an issue for me. I'd like to not be terribly slow, but I'm no racer and don't have a competitive bone in my body. I currently ride in the 15-17mph group on training/club rides and would like to stay in this area once I move to the 'bent arena. I'm hoping to find some places to test ride bikes this summer!

    Please forgive my ignorance moving forward as I am very new to the 'bent realm, but I can say this: 'bent riders always look like they're more at peace when riding and having more fun! I'm in and can't wait to make the change!!

    If anyone is interested in a 2008 Cannondale R5 with Mavic Ksyrium wheels and Ultegra throughout, let me know!

  2. #2
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    Noob,

    I have been riding recumbents since I purchased my first one in 1990, and let me tell you they have come a long way in the last few years. I have had long and short wheelbases, trikes and high racers, and have had some diamond frames at the same time. For long hauls down the pavement you cannot beat a long wheelbase bike. There is a new Rans out there in a long wheelbase with two 26" wheels, which resolves the issue of dropping that little 20 inch front wheel (found on many long and short wheelbase bikes) into a hole and going down (been there, done that, have scars to prove it). I rode a short wheelbase with above seat steering and found it to be kind of 'twitchy', probably due to the short wheelbase, and hard to relax on. I have been fooling around lately with Bacchetta high-racer style bikes. I tried a Corsa, but was too heavy for it (6'-4" 270 at the time) and then began commuting on my steel Strada, and have put over 1000 miles on it. I like the recurve seat with the wide base, much better than the euromesh seat with the hard shell, but that's because I don't fit well on the hard shell seat. I have just made a deal for a Giro 26, which is supposed to be delivered today, mostly for commuting as it has larger and wider tires and I will, hopefully, deal with less pinch flats. I find the Bacchetta to be a very FAST bike, with the 650x23C wheels on my Strada, I just finished a 66 mile ride with a 19.1mph average, and I'm still tipping the scale at 240+. That is very fast for this fat old man, and it's mostly the bike. As for the Bacchettas, I would stay away from the Aluminum bikes, steel is better at our weight and size, and with your budget you could afford a new Strada. Another place to look is at the Hostel Shoppe at the Volea bikes, like a Bacchetta and also affordable. I rode a Catrike for several seasons, and found them a LOT of fun, but quite slow at a 13-14mph average most days, where my commuting average through town these days is hanging at 17.5.

    Hope all of this ramble is some help. If you have specific questions, drop me a line, or post more here and I'll try to give you some help.

    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

  3. #3
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    Thanks a bunch Tom! I just checked out the Hostel Shoppe and signed up for a 2012 Catalog. The Volea 'bents look nice! And affordable too - can't wait to test ride some....

  4. #4
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    One of the biggest obstacles to buying a recumbent is finding one or more to check out in person and test ride.

    I was lucky to find my first one in the classifieds of the local bike club's website several years ago. It was reasonably cheap and I was able to ride it around the block. Served me well for a couple of years even though I was a bit tall for it.

    I now have a swb and a lwb - both bought through local shop sight unseen (no test rides) - they have worked out well.

    Our tandem came from Hostel Shoppe - an online purchase (again no test ride). Great price on a great bike.

    The Volae bikes have a great reputation. Most of them have steel frames which are made by Waterford Precision Cycles.
    Last edited by JanMM; 04-04-12 at 07:46 PM.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  5. #5
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    The Hostel Shoppe really seems like a great place to shop 'bents! I can't believe their shop is in Wisconsin - I was JUST THERE for work. If only I'd known. DANGIT!

    JanMM, you seem to have really good luck with buying bikes sight unseen - good for you! I'd really like to (at least) test ride a SWB and LWB before making a decision on a bike either way. Gotta sell my road bike and save some cash before making this possible, but I can hardly wait...

  6. #6
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    Noob,

    WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE! The folks on the diamond frames tend to 'discount' recumbents, until they find themselves following one up the road and realize that they are being 'dropped' by the fat guy on the funny looking bike!!!

    Once you get on a recumbent, it's hard to go back.

    For Bacchettas for sale, check the Bacchetta web site, go to the forums, and then to for sale. There may be one nearer you in Texas, for sale used. That's a great way to get one of these fast bikes at a discount price.



    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

  7. #7
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    Thanks Tractortom! This fat guy would love to drop some folks on traditional bikes! And I think I just got the lingo (DF = Diamond frame = traditional road bike) - is that right?

    One other question guys - I"m looking at the spec for the Bacchetta Strada's wheels:

    Front Wheel: Xero XR4650 Tri, 650c Rear Wheel: Xero XR4650 Tri, 650c

    What I'm wondering is this: is it possible to swap out these wheels with the wheels (700 x 23c) I currently have on my road bike (Mavic Ksyrium SL's)without replacing the front fork? I don't know if the rear would clear either, but initial assumption to all of this is no. I just waited a really long time to get those road wheels and am really in love with them (more of a lust thing, I guess). As long as I can get some additional value out of them by selling them as is on my roadie, I'd be willing to part with them, but was just hoping to find a way to hold on to them...

  8. #8
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    Just found some great news - the shop I bought my road bike from is a HUGE recumbent dealer - and they've told me in the past thay they'd take my road bike back on trade for something new - I may in this thing before I know it! AWESOME!

    Sorry - just had to share that bit of news with everyone!

  9. #9
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadnoob412 View Post
    Thanks Tractortom! This fat guy would love to drop some folks on traditional bikes! And I think I just got the lingo (DF = Diamond frame = traditional road bike) - is that right?

    One other question guys - I"m looking at the spec for the Bacchetta Strada's wheels:

    Front Wheel: Xero XR4650 Tri, 650c Rear Wheel: Xero XR4650 Tri, 650c

    What I'm wondering is this: is it possible to swap out these wheels with the wheels (700 x 23c) I currently have on my road bike (Mavic Ksyrium SL's)without replacing the front fork? I don't know if the rear would clear either, but initial assumption to all of this is no. I just waited a really long time to get those road wheels and am really in love with them (more of a lust thing, I guess). As long as I can get some additional value out of them by selling them as is on my roadie, I'd be willing to part with them, but was just hoping to find a way to hold on to them...
    My Strada is old enough and has a small enough fork on it that I cannot swap the 650 to a 700 without changing the fork. I understand that the newer Strada's you can swap to a 700 and just adjust the brake to fit. The rear has plenty of clearance, so you could always change that one????

    Yeah, DF is Diamond Frame....some of us old recumbent riders also refer to them as a "wedgie" (has to do with the tiny little saddles on the darn things....)

    If you find that the front fork will not allow you to change the front to a 700, I HAVE a steel fork from a Corsa that was upgraded to a carbon fiber fork, that I would let go for very little money, that would certainly allow the 700 wheels to run. I considered it with my Strada, but have decided to go to a Giro instead.

    The big advantage of the 700 wheels is the large selection of tires that are available, compared to the 650's where tires are few and far between and demand a high price. That is another reason I'm going to a Giro 26 is the availability of tires and tubes.

    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

  10. #10
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    That's why I'm so stoked to find out my original LBS where I purchased my roadie from deals with Bacchetta - I'm sure they know the brand and can advise me accordingly on the best plan to fit 700 wheels/tires to the bike I'm interested in. I know it sounds lame, but I lusted after my current wheelset for YEARS before finally acquiring them. Now I'm sure I want to switch to a 'bent and am thinking I will have to part with them. Having said that, if I absolutely had to, I would part with the wheels but am certainly hoping I won't have to - even if it means getting less for my trade.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadnoob412 View Post
    That's why I'm so stoked to find out my original LBS where I purchased my roadie from deals with Bacchetta - I'm sure they know the brand and can advise me accordingly on the best plan to fit 700 wheels/tires to the bike I'm interested in. I know it sounds lame, but I lusted after my current wheelset for YEARS before finally acquiring them. Now I'm sure I want to switch to a 'bent and am thinking I will have to part with them. Having said that, if I absolutely had to, I would part with the wheels but am certainly hoping I won't have to - even if it means getting less for my trade.
    You need to test ride a Bachetta with 700 wheels to see if it fits you. Could be a long way to the ground for your foot when stopped. Lightning makes good bikes, the P-38 has a great reputation. The Phantom is also a great ride.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  12. #12
    Senior Member rex615's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadnoob412 View Post
    That's why I'm so stoked to find out my original LBS where I purchased my roadie from deals with Bacchetta - I'm sure they know the brand and can advise me accordingly on the best plan to fit 700 wheels/tires to the bike I'm interested in. I know it sounds lame, but I lusted after my current wheelset for YEARS before finally acquiring them. Now I'm sure I want to switch to a 'bent and am thinking I will have to part with them. Having said that, if I absolutely had to, I would part with the wheels but am certainly hoping I won't have to - even if it means getting less for my trade.

    If you really love your wheels, maybe you can strike a deal on a Strada with 700 wheels. Then swap out wheels. Your LBS would then take you trade-in with the new wheels that came on the Strada and you get to keep your "old" wheels to put on your new Strada.

  13. #13
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    DF = Diamond frame = just about any conventional upright bike, not just racing style road bikes.
    Safety bikes, in other words.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  14. #14
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    @Dchiefransom: I absolutely agree - I'll test ride before buying anything, and you're right again on the clearance issue. I have NO IDEA how that'll work, so if it's just not feasible to keep my existing wheelset, I'll reluctantly part with them but sleep well in knowing I'll at least get a good trade in value for them. I completely agree with yo on the Lightining 'bents too - they look like great machines. I have, however, emailed them requesting some info and asked a few questions but still haven't heard back. That was a week ago.

    @Rex: That's a great idea too - I'll go back to the model list and see which models could possibly work for me and see if one has 700 wheels! I really want to keep my Mavic's!

    @JanMM: Thanks for confirming. And thanks for not making me feel like a total DWEEB for not knowing the lingo!! Yet.

  15. #15
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Muwahahaha!

    Sorry, we always make that sound when someone is being seduced by the Dark Side.

    Not too much to add. I ride the Bacchetta Giro 26 ATT and really like it, but I'm not so stout that I push the weigh limit. I weigh 205, and 230 is the maximum load. SWB bikes do take some getting used to, but if I can do it anyone can. You just learn to relax. Death grips are called that for a reason.

    I recommend you go over to the Bacchetta web site and check out the user forums. People have modified those things in about every conceivable way, and they don't hesitate to express their opinions.

    Good shopping and good luck.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Just FYI, Bent Rider Online is a fav hangout for recumbent folks. Come on over and visit the message board over there.

  17. #17
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    I ride both a Tour Easy and a Volae Tour. They each have their strong points and are both great bikes.

    The Tour Easy is by far the nicest bike I have ever owned. It's plenty fast enough for my use and comfort-wise it's an all day ride. I use it for both group rides and all day leisure rides of up to 100 miles. Some of the group rides can get kind of brisk as most of the guys I ride with are on High Racers. The Tour Easy has no problem keeping up with them at all. The T.E. is a very comfortable and smooth riding machine.

    The Volae Tour I use for shorter rides, generally up to about 40 miles. It's also a very comfortable bike with a nice ride but it's a bit more agile and the small front wheel makes it quite easy for me to quickly put a foot down when/if the need arises. It's a great bike for crowded areas due to its agility and I also commute on it in the nice weather. The gearing is a bit lower on the Volae and the rear wheel is a 26" vs. the 700 on the Tour Easy, so I'm a bit slower on it but gearing can always be changed (within limits) and the Volae Tour is advertised as a touring bike rather than a fast bike. Volae has a large selection of great bikes to choose from.

    I was lucky enough to find both bikes in the used market so for less than the cost of a new bare bones Tour Easy I was able to acquire both bikes. I believe that all of the bikes mentioned in this thread so far are great machines, my experience is limited to the two I own and I'll be happy to attempt to answer any specific questions you may have about them.
    Last edited by cranky old dude; 04-07-12 at 05:59 AM.

  18. #18
    Ad astra per aspera. roadnoob412's Avatar
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    Definitely going to have to check out the Volae bikes, as they seem to have a wide range of makes and models. Started listing the model trains on eBay - it's ALL GOTTA GO!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member rex615's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadnoob412 View Post
    Definitely going to have to check out the Volae bikes, as they seem to have a wide range of makes and models. Started listing the model trains on eBay - it's ALL GOTTA GO!!
    Volae makes nice bents, Waterford steel, but if you are still looking to switch over your wheels...unless something changed recently, they don't make any bikes with 700 wheels.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Dont overlook RANS bikes. They make several styles of bents. Personally I ride a Stratus LE, and think it has the best bang for the buck of any of the LWB bents. One of the big advantages of the Stratus LE is that it is fully adjustable without changing parts. That means in time if you decide to sell it almost anyone could buy it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Silver Eagle Pilot

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I guess I can add a point or two, or more.

    1. SWB vs LWB - it's mostly a preference. That's why we recommend you try a few before you buy. Less chance of buyer's remorse. How do you know what you like unless you first decide what you don't like?

    2. TourEasy - if it's equipped with a Zzipper fairing, it's about as fast as an upright on flat ground, faster downhill, but slower uphill. Not surprising since it's significantly heavier. The aluminum framed GRR model is slightly stiffer and lighter. Either can be very fast everywhere except uphill, if you add a body sock.

    3. Lightning - it's a 'name brand' recumbent with a reputation for good climbers.

    4. Volae - nice quality, but the small-diameter steel frame is a bit 'soft' (read: "whippy") for big guys. You're a big guy.

    5. AFAIK all 650C highracers can be converted to 559 (26".)

    6. At 6', you should be tall enough for 700C; so if you want it, buy it that way.

    7. At your weight, I would definitely recommend steel over aluminum. Except if you find a great deal on a GRR - I've never heard of a broken GRR frame.

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