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Thread: Recumbent FWD,

  1. #1
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    Recumbent FWD,

    I already own a SWB with USS. I love this bike and have no intention of letting it go, but it is set up for commuting. I am now searching for my next ride. I want a road bike equivalent of a recumbent. I have tried many wonderful recumbents for this role. The one type of bike missing from my comparisons is a FWD. I live in Southern California, and we have hills! I have read that FWD recumbents are good climbers, also a smaller chain is attractive to me.

    Anyone out there know where I could test ride one?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I don't think that FWD is any better than any other style for climbing. What matters most is frame stiffness and weight; and a MBB FWD puts the entire drive on a pivot. It does simplify the chainline, though. I can't help you find a Cruzbike in S. California; but if you're not set on a FWD, there are several other highracer choices that are pretty good climbers. You might want to visit Dana at Bent Up Cycles, in N. Hollywood. He carries Bacchetta and is the manufacturer of Carbent, which is a top-rated climber. Unfortunately, he does not carry another highly-rated climber, the Metaphysic by Meta Bikes.

  3. #3
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Head over to the Cruzbike site (http://cruzbike.com) and you can post asking to try a Cruzbike.

    As far as whether a Cruzbike does climb better, I think it does (compared to a non-FWD bike of the same weight). Given the triangle supporting the bottom bracket, you don't get any flex which means your power isn't being wasted, but is being spent turning the wheels.

    Cheers,
    Charles

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    I've only seen a Cruzbike on the road once. Someone showed up for one of our casual club rides on one. He seemed to be doing fine and we were regrouping periodically. But then after one little climb he didn't show up although we waited for a long time. Still don't know if he had mechanical problems or something else and decided to turn around and head home.

    I would think the FWD would add a bit of inefficiency when pedaling hard on a climb. As you push hard with your right foot some of the force will tend to steer the front wheel to the left and you need to counter that by applying some force to the handlebars. Not that it would be a big percentage, but I'd expect it to exceed the losses due to frame flex.

  5. #5
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlosdevarona View Post
    I already own a SWB with USS. I love this bike and have no intention of letting it go, but it is set up for commuting. I am now searching for my next ride. I want a road bike equivalent of a recumbent. I have tried many wonderful recumbents for this role. The one type of bike missing from my comparisons is a FWD. I live in Southern California, and we have hills! I have read that FWD recumbents are good climbers, also a smaller chain is attractive to me.

    Anyone out there know where I could test ride one?
    Your nearest dealer is Bent Up Cycles, in North Hollywood: http://www.bentupcycles.com/ . Dana might have a FWD bike in stock- you just have to ask him.

    I grew up there. (South Pasadena, actually.) Now I live where there's real hills: Mt. St. Helens is over my right shoulder, Mt. Hood over my left.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I've only seen a Cruzbike on the road once. Someone showed up for one of our casual club rides on one. He seemed to be doing fine and we were regrouping periodically. But then after one little climb he didn't show up although we waited for a long time. Still don't know if he had mechanical problems or something else and decided to turn around and head home.

    I would think the FWD would add a bit of inefficiency when pedaling hard on a climb. As you push hard with your right foot some of the force will tend to steer the front wheel to the left and you need to counter that by applying some force to the handlebars. Not that it would be a big percentage, but I'd expect it to exceed the losses due to frame flex.
    I saw a Porsche once. The driver didn't know how to drive a stick shift car and it didn't go very fast. Porsches must not be very fast cars.

    There were lots of posts like this a couple years ago on BROL (which I generally recommend to those interested in 'bents since the traffic is much higher). Similar silly arguments. Since then, Cruzbikes are generally accepted as some of the best climbing bikes. Here's a review of a Cruzbike Vendetta (from someone who doesn't own one). You can also visit the Cruzbike records page where these bikes are setting records in, among others, some very hilly terrain.

    I've only seen one Cruzbike in person as well. My Sofrider on which I have just over 1200 miles since February (not too bad for somebody who didn't have 1200 miles on a bike in the previous decade on a bike).

    I can ride with no hands for a short period of time (~ 0.1 miles); some people can do it for tens of miles at a stretch. This means that pedal steer isn't a big deal at all once you get used to the bike.

    If you want to involve the handlebars, however, you can (unlike most RWD recumbents). This means that you can better get your upper body involved in high exertion when you want and this helps climbing.

    FWD MBB bikes are not for everybody, but most people who try them like them. Here are some nice videos about learning how to ride, useful for those who are about to learn as well as those who think they might be interested. Finding a dealer who stocks Cruzbikes and other recumbents, that would be ideal. If you can't, finding a rider who has one would be a close second.

    Cheers,
    Charles

    p.s. If you want to know more about my experience learning to ride one of these bikes, you can visit my blog.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    You might want to visit Dana at Bent Up Cycles, in N. Hollywood. He carries Bacchetta and is the manufacturer of Carbent, which is a top-rated climber. Unfortunately, he does not carry another highly-rated climber, the Metaphysic by Meta Bikes.
    That's not quite correct. I'd call and ask because RBR has sent Dana at least one Metabike that I know of earlier this year. And when it was sent, it didn't have an owner pre-arranged. Dana wanted it for stock. I don't know if he still has it or not. It may have sold. But Dana may have re-stocked too. Not sure.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post

    p.s. If you want to know more about my experience learning to ride one of these bikes, you can visit my blog.
    I did. Good read. Checked out the vids also. Talked to Tom at Cruzbikes USA. The compact drive train with IGH on the Quest, the wide gear range, it's packability for trains, planes, etc., and the availablility of a heavy duty rack has got me seriously thinking about getting one.

    Other than the usual hill climbing complaints, especially on wet pavement, have you found any other serious drawbacks to FWD? Has traction on wet 4-6% grades been a problem? Why did you chose FWD over more conventional bents?
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  9. #9
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    I did. Good read. Checked out the vids also. Talked to Tom at Cruzbikes USA. The compact drive train with IGH on the Quest, the wide gear range, it's packability for trains, planes, etc., and the availablility of a heavy duty rack has got me seriously thinking about getting one.

    Other than the usual hill climbing complaints, especially on wet pavement, have you found any other serious drawbacks to FWD? Has traction on wet 4-6% grades been a problem? Why did you chose FWD over more conventional bents?
    I haven't had any problems getting started on 6% inclines even when quite wet. I only have issues on >= 8% wet (and I'm convinced a large part of this is lack of training) and it really is just an occasional problem.

    I decided to go with FWD MBB for a couple of reasons:

    1) The shorter chain path seemed to be a lot more efficient to me. I've never ridden any other SWB bikes (I have an old monster LWB), so I don't have much to compare it to, so I can't say how much I've gained (if anything here).

    2) I like being able to get my upper body into helping me climb. I find that I can only do it for relatively short bursts, but that's because of the shape I'm in and I'm finding I'm getting better and better at it. (Most of the time I just spin up hills but I do try and push on the shorter ones).

    3) (I didn't realize this until after I got my bike): steering stability. If I hit something with my front wheel, it's not just my hands keeping the wheel going straight, but my feet too.

    I've been very happy with my Sofrider. I wish it were lighter (but then again, I should probably be lighter myself, so...) but that just suggests I'll be ugrading to another MBB in the future. I very much like how the Quest 451 packs into a 31" Samsonite suitcase (and wouldn't it be cool if that suit-case were modified to be trailer on the bike for touring!).

    I highly recommend Cruzbikes. I think it says a lot, for example, that they have a buy/sell forum on their site to facilitate people buying used bicycles, meaning that they aren't just interested in selling you one, but also want you to be happy with it.

    Cheers,
    Charles

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Thanks Charles. Will take a look at the buy/sell forum.

    FWIW, the US franchisee allows return of the bike for a 10% restock fee if it doesn't work out. 10% to encourage giving it your best shot.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Why did you chose FWD over more conventional bents?
    Just for accuracy's sake, I'd like to point out that Cruzbike employs ONE TYPE of FWD: 'moving bottom bracket,' or MBB. The other type is FBB (fixed bottom bracket,) where the boom is, well, fixed and the chain twists as the front wheel turns\ from side to side. Zox bikes have FBB, as do the record-setting Varna streamliners. There have been a few others, too -- Cobrabikes and Barcroft Oregon come to mind. On the MBB side of the family are Cruzbike and Zockra.

    Your request for a test ride before committing is a wise one. Don't just buy into the sales pitch, make sure you like them before dropping money on one. IMHO, that's just good advice no matter what you're getting.

  12. #12
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Just for accuracy's sake, I'd like to point out that Cruzbike employs ONE TYPE of FWD: 'moving bottom bracket,' or MBB. The other type is FBB (fixed bottom bracket,) where the boom is, well, fixed and the chain twists as the front wheel turns\ from side to side. Zox bikes have FBB, as do the record-setting Varna streamliners. There have been a few others, too -- Cobrabikes and Barcroft Oregon come to mind. On the MBB side of the family are Cruzbike and Zockra.
    I've never ridden a SWB that isn't a MBB FWD, but I'd suspect that the FBB FWD bikes would ride a lot more like a RWD bike than a MBB bike. At some point, I'd love to test drive a bunch of these bikes (hopefully all at once ).

    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Your request for a test ride before committing is a wise one. Don't just buy into the sales pitch, make sure you like them before dropping money on one. IMHO, that's just good advice no matter what you're getting.
    I agree with this advice. The one caveat is that MBB bikes are different and can take a bit of time to get used to (I think it may even be possible that not having SWB experience would be beneficial to learning to ride a MBB bike, but that's just speculation on my part). I believe this is why Cruzbike (and I'm sure others) have the return policy they do - you can return it withina month where they charge you a 10% restocking fee (you can consider it a months rental if you want) so that you can spend some time with the bike before you really commit to it.

    Cheers,
    Charles
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  13. #13
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Your request for a test ride before committing is a wise one. Don't just buy into the sales pitch, make sure you like them before dropping money on one. IMHO, that's just good advice no matter what you're getting.
    As 99% of those interested in a Cruzbike are out of reach of one for a test ride, the 10% restock assurance is the best we'll be able to do. I found nothing at all in Texas or nearby on the website. Not even an owner. Heck, being the first registered owner in Texas. That'd be a hoot.

    In those video's, nobody was demonstrating a restart on a steep hill. No problem with the Tour Easy. Problem apparently with a Cruzbike. Ah well, I seldom encounter that challenge and I do know how to push. Is a bit embarrassing tho.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  14. #14
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    As a few in my club say, "walking is my lowest gear."

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    The Cruzbike dealer in Northern California is Spin Cyclz. www.spincyclz.com
    Silver Eagle Pilot

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