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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 04-13-12, 11:21 AM   #1
vins0010
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What models of recumbent to look for?

Lately, I've been looking at recumbents, because I'd like a change of pace and some variety for a lot of my commuting (usually, 2-5 miles one way) - as well as some longer recreational rides on the weekends (my wife and I often go out, all day, in a casual way where we'll put on 20-50 miles).

I'm most interested in a used recumbent - as I do all my own wrenching and well, just don't need the service from an LBS and just fixing things up, over time, seems to be my thing. Once-in-awhile, I see one come up on craigslist but really have no idea of what to look for. I'd like something comparable to my current commuter and light tourer (an '86 Trek 400 Elance, Reynold 531 frame, "sport" geometry). It is a road bike but a bit of a relaxed one. IOW, something a bit nicer and quicker but not the 'bent equivalent of a Trek Madone.

However, I don't even know what I'm looking at with recumbents. And I know I won't really know until I try a few out; however, that is harder here. Especially since I'm looking used, I'd prefer to focus on going to see those that are at least a reasonable approximation of what I'm looking for.

From everyone's experience here, would there be any suggested models/brands I should keep my eye out for on the used market. Any that, especially, that don't seem in keeping with my needs. I did try, I think, a "Bike E" once - and thought that a little less sporty than I'd like. There's also a Rans Trailwind on the used market where I'm at...thinking of looking at that. In advance, thanks for any info you can offer...
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Old 04-13-12, 11:36 AM   #2
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What kind of accessories are you thinking you'll need? I ask because there are some TW-bents left on ebay (last time I looked), but it is really hard to find racks for them, unless you can also do your own metalworking.

I love mine, but I'm thinking of upgrading the shifters and I'm still trying to find a rack that will work with it, or make my own.
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Old 04-13-12, 12:12 PM   #3
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I'd like to be able to put a rack on it, as I often will throw a pannier or two on my bike for either commuting to work or my longer rides. I have a decent set of tools but can't do my own metalworking more than drilling holes, using a hacksaw, or file. Other than that, the usual blinkies, headlights, etc.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:42 PM   #4
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I don't know where you're located but I strongly suggest that you locate and visit a big recumbent shop. Be prepared to spend a couple of days there and ride, ride, ride.

There are so many recumbents in so many different configurations that the only real way to decide is to ride and compare them. I don't care how far away the nearest big shop is, you need to test SWB and LWB bikes. You need a shop that has several different brands of bikes. You need a shop that has various SWB configurations on hand to try out along with various LWB configurations. You need to try trikes, both tadpole and delta.

You might best plan a mini-vacation around this bike shop visit. Once you know what you like, then you can confidently shop for a new or used bike for yourself. Oh yes, don't be too suprised if the recumbent bug bite your wife also!!

Good hunting!!
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Old 04-13-12, 07:32 PM   #5
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RANS Enduro or Vrex
BAcchetta Giro 26 ATT or Steel frame
Bacchetta Giro 20 ATT or steel frame
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Old 04-13-12, 07:35 PM   #6
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+1! I have had all manner of recumbents over the years. Long wheelbase 26-20, short wheelbase 26-20, a trike that was all 20's and then 26-20 a high racer with 700s a high racer with 650s, now a high racer style bike with 26x1.5's. All had there strong and weak points. The most 'relaxed' of the bunch was the catrike I had with 3-20's on it, that I added a 26 rear on. It was a joy to ride, low stress and huge fun, but SLOW....13-14mph average was very normal. There are fast trikes out there, but not a LOT of them. I now ride a Bacchetta Strada with 650x23c wheels and it is FAST, but tends to have a lot of 'pinch' flats because of the small tires. I'm picking up my Bacchetta Giro tomorrow from the shop...it has 26x1.5 tires, better for the commute, but slower than the Strada with the skinny road tires. We'll see what it's like and then probably sell the Strada. So, find a bike shop with a place to ride, and try a lot of different bikes and see what it is that you like. We'll be here to answer questions after your first pass...

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
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Old 04-13-12, 08:41 PM   #7
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I don't think that you will find any 531-framed 'bents but 4130 or aluminum are common for good-quality bikes. For more $$$ there are a few carbon or ti 'bents out there, too.
Be prepared to learn that most 'bents are a few pounds heavier than equivalent quality upright bikes.
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Old 04-13-12, 09:24 PM   #8
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Ditto to all of the above. If you can't make it to a shop, find out if there's a recumbent group near you. Many recumbent riders are pretty evangelical- they'll let you test ride their bikes at the drop of a hat. A recumbent "event" would be better- sit and talk for a while.

You can also look around BentRiderOnline. The message board has a section devoted to Riding Partners- see if there's anyone you can meet.
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Old 04-14-12, 01:00 AM   #9
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I recently purchased a short wheel base 2005 Sun Speedster AX for just $525. Original list was $1499. Almost the exact same components as the present Bacchetta Giro ATT @ $2100. (SRAM X9, Avid BB brakes, etc). It had maybe 300-400 miles on it. Almost no wear at all. This is an aluminum frame, but with a 3" foam seat, the frame material isn't as relevant (in terms of a smooth ride).

So deals can definitely be had.
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Old 04-14-12, 05:07 AM   #10
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I'll second what Tom said. Over a period of less than 12 months I purchased a used Volae Tour and a used Tour Easy for a total cost of only $2100, or less than a new Tour Easy.

And there is another situation, I'm alternating between a LWB and a SWB and a few uprights. Different bikes for different uses.
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Old 04-14-12, 01:03 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the tips. Looks like I should visit the LBS. Turns out we do have one that specializes in bents, locally. However, I do feel a bit off as I have no intention on buying a bike there. Maybe I'd pick up a few accessories to offset that (I think they make better margins on that anyway). I'll look for a local bent group as well...that may be the best way to try out a few. I'm not in a hurry on this...and with three upright bikes I already ride (one commuter/short tour, a "new" 80s Trek 520 I'm working on for long touring, and a winter beater), I certainly can afford to wait and see for the right deal/opportunity to pop-up...especially since I am looking to do this a bit on the cheap side.
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