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  1. #1
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    How about a Canondale Recumbent?

    I have found a new Canondale recumbent at a local dealership. It's being repaired so I didn't try a ride on it but it's just minor adjustment of the rear deraileur hanger. It seems to be comfortable and I like the high stance. The price of $1600 is about 20% off list. I assume that's not a great bargain but about normal for this bike new.

    I'll go ride before I buy but let me ask some questions about this bike because the world changed between my last ride and today:

    1. The shock absorber has me bothered. The idea of anything sprung, including a seat, seems 'impure' to an experienced rider (old guy) like me. It seems as though I'll waste all my energy bouncing the thing. Anyone want to reassure me?

    2. The seat is so padded I can't believe it. It's like sitting on a sea sponge! Is this another energy waster or just normal on today's bikes? Remember, I have been away from serious riding for over 12 years. When I last built a bike, SIS shifters were so suspiciously new I wouldn't put them on my bike! The old rule was a hard seat for a hard-ass rider. Seats this soft were invitations to a sore butt. Have things changed?

    3. The 16" and 20" wheels are bothering me. It seems to me I'll drop into every pot hole and feel every bit of irregular pavement. On a recumbent, what are the 'rules of wisdom' or common sense regarding tire size?

    4. Hubs are not specified for this bike so I assume they are whatever Canondale finds on the shelf to fit it. Maybe they don't make 'good' hubs for tiny tires? I'm used to a diamond frame with DurAce hubs that I've rebuilt several times as the bearings wore out. What are my worries with modern hubs? Why are these unbranded? Oh, and how often do you true these little wheels?

    5. I am used to clipless pedals and shoes. This one has normal quills. Would you advise moving my clipless pedals over to the recumbent or do recumbent riders normally ride quills?

    6. The gearing specs run from under 19" to 121" across 9X3 gears. The chain rings are 22-32-44 front and 11 to 34 rear in nine steps with a 20" rear wheel. I make it a true wheel size of about 24". My table runs 18.8" to 116.5" (am I missing something about the geometry of recumbents?) with very smooth and even patterns up the hub but no good crossover points. Is this a problem or do SIS shifters and nine-speed hubs make this a non-issue? I'm used to dealing with a 5-speed hub and a close-ratio Campy triple, with 'grinder' derailleurs and 'feelie' bar-end shifters. What are the issues here?

    7. I use (non-SIS) bar end shifters. Do these have any application to a recumbent with SIS hubs?

    8. It has bosses for a chain guard (I assume from their position) but no chain guard was in place. Do I need to bargain for one, buy one, or forget having one? That is a lot of chain capable of throwing a lot of muck at me. I use excellent chain oils and keep my chains super clean, but...

    9. Are there other features I need to check out or pay attention to?

    10. Are there other accessories I need to have or consider?

    I know this list is long but I have lost a lot of time away from bikes and this is an important decision for me. I appreciate any advice you throw my way.

  2. #2
    sch
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    [QUOTE=79th Frame][COLOR=Blue][SIZE=3][FONT=Arial]I have found a new Canondale recumbent at a local dealership. It's being repaired so I didn't try a ride on it but it's just minor adjustment of the rear deraileur hanger. It seems to be comfortable and I like the high stance. The price of $1600 is about 20% off list. I assume that's not a great bargain but about normal for this bike new.

    I'll go ride before I buy but let me ask some questions about this bike because the world changed between my last ride and today:

    1. The shock absorber has me bothered. The idea of anything sprung, including a seat, seems 'impure' to an experienced rider (old guy) like me. It seems as though I'll waste all my energy bouncing the thing. Anyone want to reassure me?
    {Depending on your riding style, that is a low percentage possibility, if you happen to resonate with
    the natural frequency, it could happen, but probably not. Unfortunately your tentative new bent
    rider trial rides will not give you any idea about whether this will happen**

    2. The seat is so padded I can't believe it. It's like sitting on a sea sponge! Is this another energy waster or just normal on today's bikes? Remember, I have been away from serious riding for over 12 years. When I last built a bike, SIS shifters were so suspiciously new I wouldn't put them on my bike! The old rule was a hard seat for a hard-ass rider. Seats this soft were invitations to a sore butt. Have things changed?
    {Bent seats are definitely on the cushy side, this one partakes of the Rans design. Remember you will not
    be able to change positions on the seat like you can on a DF. This is an energy waster only from the
    point of view of weight. (5-7# for a Rans type)**

    3. The 16" and 20" wheels are bothering me. It seems to me I'll drop into every pot hole and feel every bit of irregular pavement. On a recumbent, what are the 'rules of wisdom' or common sense regarding tire size?
    {Altho some benters go off road or into potholes, they are best avoided. All the weight is on the rear wheel. The tires are 1.95" so between the tires, suspension and seat you will not feel every bit of
    gravel on the road. 16" is smaller than usual, 20" is not unusual. Mine is a dual 20", non suspended and
    does very well with tires in the 1-1.25" range. **

    4. Hubs are not specified for this bike so I assume they are whatever Canondale finds on the shelf to fit it. Maybe they don't make 'good' hubs for tiny tires? I'm used to a diamond frame with DurAce hubs that I've rebuilt several times as the bearings wore out. What are my worries with modern hubs? Why are these unbranded? Oh, and how often do you true these little wheels?
    {Hubs will wear out in 50 to 100kmi unless you grease them and change the bearings every five yrs or so,
    in which case they will last longer. The small wheels are very stiff and will never require truing. Short
    spokes and small diameter rims make for bullet proof wheels. **

    5. I am used to clipless pedals and shoes. This one has normal quills. Would you advise moving my clipless pedals over to the recumbent or do recumbent riders normally ride quills?
    {You definitely want the quills for the first 100-300mi. Once you have the steering and handling down
    pat you can switch. I would advise the use of pedals that allow ATB type cleats: ie recessed cleats and
    semisoft soles as road pedals have plastic soles that can slip off the pedals more easily. ATB type shoes
    with thin layers of rubberoid on the bottom are easier to walk in also. You don't want your shoes to slid
    off the pedals. Suggested are SPD, Crank Brothers or Speedplay Frog and some like Bebops**

    6. The gearing specs run from under 19" to 121" across 9X3 gears. The chain rings are 22-32-44 front and 11 to 34 rear in nine steps with a 20" rear wheel. I make it a true wheel size of about 24". My table runs 18.8" to 116.5" (am I missing something about the geometry of recumbents?) with very smooth and even patterns up the hub but no good crossover points. Is this a problem or do SIS shifters and nine-speed hubs make this a non-issue? I'm used to dealing with a 5-speed hub and a close-ratio Campy triple, with 'grinder' derailleurs and 'feelie' bar-end shifters. What are the issues here?
    {9spd/triples result in shifting A LOT, it is totally unlike 5spd where you tend to vary your cadence a
    lot more til you run out of your comfort zone and shift. With 9spd you tend to keep a more constant
    cadence and shift all the time, 2-3x as much as 5 spd.**

    7. I use (non-SIS) bar end shifters. Do these have any application to a recumbent with SIS hubs? {No opinion here**

    8. It has bosses for a chain guard (I assume from their position) but no chain guard was in place. Do I need to bargain for one, buy one, or forget having one? That is a lot of chain capable of throwing a lot of muck at me. I use excellent chain oils and keep my chains super clean, but...
    {Unless you are really high cadence type I find it hard to imagine chain slinging off oil....?**

    9. Are there other features I need to check out or pay attention to?

    10. Are there other accessories I need to have or consider?
    {If weather is not a hassle, consider fenders, those tiny wheels have a tremendous rooster tail on wet
    roads. Check out how the bike mounts water bottles and carries tools (back of seat bags are readily
    available for Rans type seats, water bottle mounts are sometimes an afterthought. **
    Steve

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79th Frame
    1. The shock absorber has me bothered. The idea of anything sprung, including a seat, seems 'impure' to an experienced rider (old guy) like me. It seems as though I'll waste all my energy bouncing the thing. Anyone want to reassure me?
    I'm like you, I don't see the point of having a shock on a recumbent. But Cannondale brought a lot of institutional baggage with it when they designed the bike, and by their lights, a bike must be suspended to be comfortable. The shock adds weight and sucks a little efficiency, but if you pump it up properly so it only activates on actual 'hits' then it's not too bad. Bear in mind, the Cannondale is NOT a particularly fast recumbent. It's more of a suspended comfort bike of the recumbent world. If you want a fast recumbent, look elsewhere.

    2. The seat is so padded I can't believe it. It's like sitting on a sea sponge! Is this another energy waster or just normal on today's bikes? Remember, I have been away from serious riding for over 12 years. When I last built a bike, SIS shifters were so suspiciously new I wouldn't put them on my bike! The old rule was a hard seat for a hard-ass rider. Seats this soft were invitations to a sore butt. Have things changed?
    The padding won't hurt efficiency too much. It's not like on an upright, where the padding would get in the way of pedaling. My V-Rex has the older-style seat with 3" of padding, and it never slowed me down. The padding isn't so much for shock absorption as it is for weight distribution, to help prevent recumbent butt.

    3. The 16" and 20" wheels are bothering me. It seems to me I'll drop into every pot hole and feel every bit of irregular pavement. On a recumbent, what are the 'rules of wisdom' or common sense regarding tire size?
    One camp says tire size isn't that important, but I believe it is. Not only do small wheels have to turn faster for a given speed, but fast/skinny tires are really hard to find. And as per your worry, smaller tires are affected more by rough surfaces.

    4. Hubs are not specified for this bike so I assume they are whatever Canondale finds on the shelf to fit it. Maybe they don't make 'good' hubs for tiny tires? I'm used to a diamond frame with DurAce hubs that I've rebuilt several times as the bearings wore out. What are my worries with modern hubs? Why are these unbranded? Oh, and how often do you true these little wheels?
    Hubs are generally the same as what's used on larger wheels. Cannondale might not specify them because they are one of the places that they can 'chintz out' and customers don't seem to mind. Small wheels, despite me saying they are slow, have one big advantage: they are hugely strong. Keep grease in the hubs and the wheels will be pretty trouble-free. You may never have to true a 16" wheel.

    5. I am used to clipless pedals and shoes. This one has normal quills. Would you advise moving my clipless pedals over to the recumbent or do recumbent riders normally ride quills?
    There are so many incompatible pedal systems out there that most manufacturers sell their bikes without pedals, or at most with generic flat pedals that they *know* you will replace soon. You the customer are expected to make your own pedal choices. Yes, I'd definitely recommend clipless.

    6. The gearing specs run from under 19" to 121" across 9X3 gears. The chain rings are 22-32-44 front and 11 to 34 rear in nine steps with a 20" rear wheel. I make it a true wheel size of about 24". My table runs 18.8" to 116.5" (am I missing something about the geometry of recumbents?) with very smooth and even patterns up the hub but no good crossover points. Is this a problem or do SIS shifters and nine-speed hubs make this a non-issue? I'm used to dealing with a 5-speed hub and a close-ratio Campy triple, with 'grinder' derailleurs and 'feelie' bar-end shifters. What are the issues here?
    I don't believe the gear numbers. Using stock MTB chainrings on a 20" drive wheel results in a seriously undergeared bike. I also doubt that the 20" wheel is as much as 20" in actual diameter. That's an ISO 406 wheel. With a stock 1.95" tire (50mm) that'd be 506mm diameter, or 19.9 inches. A 1.5" tire would reduce the actual diameter to 18.9 inches, and a skinny racing tire, like a Conti GP would reduce it even more. You're looking at a top gear of around 80-90". Most recumbent riders appreciate the largest gear range they can get, even if this makes for bigger steps between gears. You can't stand on hills, and yet you still want to go fast when you get the chance! AS far as crossover points, modern gearing intent is to use each chainring as a range of gears, so you don't worry about crossover points. Think of it 9 speeds plus a few underdrive and a few overdrive gears.

    7. I use (non-SIS) bar end shifters. Do these have any application to a recumbent with SIS hubs?
    You always have the option of using non-indexed shifters, but why would you want to? Indexing is one of the greatest advances in cycling in the last 30 years. Shimano still makes bar-end shifters if they are your preference, but modern stuff is all indexed.

    8. It has bosses for a chain guard (I assume from their position) but no chain guard was in place. Do I need to bargain for one, buy one, or forget having one? That is a lot of chain capable of throwing a lot of muck at me. I use excellent chain oils and keep my chains super clean, but...
    most cyclists wear shorts, or in cool weather they either use tights or somehow cinch their pantlegs. If you want to use jeans, or ride to work, then the chainring would be a good option.

    9. Are there other features I need to check out or pay attention to?
    Ask yourself what is the intended purpose of the bike. If it's bike paths or relatively short urban riding, the Cannondale is a good choice, but if you intend on riding with roadie friends, expect this bike to be significantly slower than a skinny-tired road bike. Test ride other recumbents before you buy! I recommend riding a TourEasy, a RANS or two, a Burley, and maybe a Bacchetta, before committing.

    10. Are there other accessories I need to have or consider?
    All the standard stuff you'd use on an upright: H*****t, watter bottle, speedometer w/cadence. I think you can even get a special seat bag for the Cannondale, so you can carry way too much junk with you. Bear in mind that you don't need padded shorts with a recumbent, although you can still use them if you already have them. Also, gloves are only to protect your hands in case you fall, not to cushion your hands while riding.

  4. #4
    'Bent Brian
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    If you are going to go recumbent I would stick with a manufacturer that is a recumbent specialist. All of the brands mentioned in previous posts are good. Figure out what you main emphasis on riding is going to be: fast club rides, loaded touring, commuting, slow sight seeing rides, etc. Ride as many as you can, both LWB and SWB. Each type of 'bent handles differently. Pick from the appropriate group of bikes you like the one that fits your needs. Typically the LWB is more touring oriented and the ride is generally smooth, seating is more upright. The SWB is quicker handling, perhaps seat height is a bit higher, but also more laid back. The high racers take advantage of full sized road bike wheels, are pretty fast, and have a higher seat height. The low racers are fast and perhaps better suited to racing, maybe not as comfortable as a LWB or SWB, some have pretty extreme seat angles.

    Now more stuff: Because 'bents ride differently you will find that a lot of your roadie skills are now of little use. The only real skill you will make use of is spinning, especially when climbing. You will be using different muscles and as such you will go through a period of conditioning while you develop your new 'bent legs. You will need to learn to relax your upper body and arms. Handlebar grip is very light and soft. You can steer a 'bent with just two fingers. If you take a tight grip things will get wobbly. Relax and enjoy the ride. Take advantage of the 'bent riding position to sightsee and enjoy your surroundings. Expect to take some time before you are able to dust the roadies.

    Bike fit is important just like it is on a DF bike. Make sure the fit is good. You will probably have to tweak and fine tune your fit as time goes on and you get accustomed to the new riding position.

    A very important item to have is a rear view mirror, either on the bike, helmet, or eyeglasses. You can't easily look over your shoulder to the rear as you would while on a DF bike.

    After you put in a few pain free miles on a 'bent you will find that cycling is fun and you can actually walk upright pain free after a full day of riding. As another roadie that switched I have not been on the road bike since I became 'bent.

    'bent Brian
    Last edited by bnet1; 01-28-05 at 07:35 AM.

  5. #5
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    I find the tiny wheel does have trouble on big bumps. And overall the ride is more jostling. But they make recumbents where both wheels are large.

    They normally make recumbents with flat pedals because you need some time to get used to riding one before you clip yourself to them.

    I agree that you'd be better off getting a recumbent from a manufacturer who specializes in them. To the list above, I'd add Lightning to it as their bikes are known for being good hill climbers and fast.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  6. #6
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    You guys are great! I think I'd better hold down my desire to scratch my bicycling itch and take time to do a good search! There's also a lot of stuff in your posts that I hadn't considered. I have lots to learn!

    I can SAY I want a comfortable bike because I'm injured and I'm just going to ride with my wife yaddayadda but the truth is that I'll take off with a bunch of young-buck riders and I'll get competitive and all that jazz. If the Cannondale is the Coupe DeVille of recumbents, which are the Corvettes? -- sleek and fast but posh enough for an old butt? I'd like to say I'm looking for a Panoz-style recumbent but I'm trying to be a realist here. I do need some creature comforts.

    Assume I'll be trying centuries after a year of training and going on weekend club rides which (seen from a motorcycle and questions asked at rest stops) seem to be 25 miles of mountain uphills around here. I live at the base of the Piedmont range and expect to ride there and on the Blue Ridge. My wife is a wuus who is used to riding in Indiana (FLAT!) and rides with her will be short and in the rolling flats south of here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If you want a fire-breather, get a lowracer or highracer. I'm going on 50, and don't plan on giving my Baron up anytime soon. It is an awesome wedgie-slayer. Next for speed would come the 'sport' recumbents - the Lightnings, Burley SWBs, RANS V-Rex/Stratus/V2, TourEasy/GoldRush. I didn't mention Lightnings before because they can sometimes be hard to find. For serious hills and mountains, light weight will matter as much as efficient pedaling platform, and aero body positioning, so there's three strikes against the Cannondale (37 lbs, suspended, and bolt-upright seatback!) None of the bikes I've mentioned waste weight on suspension.

    Standard advice is to test ride everything you can find, even if you don't think it's what you're looking for or if you know it's out of your price range. I'd take it a step further and tell you to make a second pass and always take a second test ride, at least a week after the first test ride. What you're doing is building an experience base and first impressions aren't always accurate when you're completely inexperienced with riding in the new position. If you do it right, the search is almost as enjoyable as actually getting your first bent.

  8. #8
    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    I can't see myself riding anything other than a lowracer of some type. I also have an optima baron as well as a carbon velokraft vk2 lowracer. I ride a lot with Blazing Pedals. That old fart is no slouch on his baron. just kidding John. Don is old not you. hahahha
    Anyhow, if you want extreme speed and comfort, the lowracer is the only choice in my book. You can't find a more comfortable bike than a tiller steered lowracer. The weight of your body is distributed from below the neck all the way down to your rear. 100 milers are very comfortable and fast. Take a look at barons, challenge jesters and vk2's.

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=9349

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=9348

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=9614

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=9748

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=6996

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=7408
    chris@promocycle.net

  9. #9
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    I had one so I can be specific without getting carried away. My mountain bike, which I had before and during my time with the Cannondale, had dual suspension. I like dual suspension very much. It makes the size of the wheels irrelevant as far as potholes, etc. I'm currently riding trikes--if I could get/afford any suspension, I would have it. I don't remember what my buns were like in my twenties--tough enough, I suppose, which is why I don't remember. Now, at any rate, they much prefer a soft, comfortable seat. I have even been making my own for our trikes just so I can get exactly that. The rest of your concerns--don't worry about them. The Cannondale is a very fine machine and functions exquisitely as do all current bikes similarly equipped. It does have one flaw--it is heavy. Depending on where you ride, how you get there, and what your purpose is, that may or may not matter to you.

    I have no two-wheel bikes at the present time and don't plan to get any. Trikes are way more enjoyable for my style and purpose.

    Only one more thing: clipless are pretty much a must on any recumbent for function and safety.

    Chip
    TT and Logo

    PS From your last post it sounds like you may even need more than one recumbent to address different conditions. That's one of the great things about them is the variety. Both my trikes have three wheels, but one is a go everywhere and one is go faster. Your wife might like a trike, by the way.
    Last edited by cjs1948; 01-28-05 at 05:31 PM. Reason: add info

  10. #10
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjs1948
    Trikes are way more enjoyable for my style and purpose.
    Trikes are pretty cool - a hoot to ride and no worries about falling. I almost included them in my last post but didnt' want to run on too much. I'd class trikes in with the sport recumbents, speed-wise (at least the faster ones.) At least one trike should definitely be on the test-ride list.

  11. #11
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    The pics were very helpful! I have a neck problem. My head wants to fall off, so I have to keep it pretty well centered on my shoulders or I start to lose contact with my body. The high seatback and vertical position of the Cannondale (and the Greenspeed as I recall it) were what attracted me.

    If I were still 40-ish your bike would have definite appeal. When I was riding bicycles, most recumbents were hand built and clunky and nothing like yours. I can see how efficient and FAST it must be! You seem to sit in a rotated DF position but the head position looks like you're using LOTS of muscles to hold your head up. True? If so, I can eliminate that style immediately. The back has to stay pretty much centered under the head and no big strain or forces on the upper body from head to chest.

    Think I'll negotiate for a long test ride on any bike that seems to suit me. I think about 30-50 miles would be a fair test. Better get myself to the 'Y' to get ready.

  12. #12
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    More than one!? I moved from a huge house to a small one when I retired and my garage shunk from oversize to tiny. Two cars, one motorcycle, two diamond frames (I just can't sell the custom I rode my entire riding life for $50 or whatever it would bring -- what DO you do with a quality DF that's 30+ years old?) and two big recumbents? Plus the tools for the bike and the tools for the bicycles and the tools for the house and....I need a for sale sign. 8-)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79th Frame
    The pics were very helpful! I have a neck problem. My head wants to fall off, so I have to keep it pretty well centered on my shoulders or I start to lose contact with my body. The high seatback and vertical position of the Cannondale (and the Greenspeed as I recall it) were what attracted me. ...

    If you can handle a laid back position, the low and high racers are faster; if you can't, consider a Tour Easy with fairing - with sock if the fairing isn't enough. The Cannondale is ok, but it is not a performance bike.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    Trikes are pretty cool - a hoot to ride and no worries about falling. I almost included them in my last post but didnt' want to run on too much. I'd class trikes in with the sport recumbents, speed-wise (at least the faster ones.) At least one trike should definitely be on the test-ride list.
    but they still are not practical in traffic. even if you can get cars to see you you can't see around them. you are blinded too much.

  15. #15
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79th Frame
    You guys are great! I think I'd better hold down my desire to scratch my bicycling itch and take time to do a good search! There's also a lot of stuff in your posts that I hadn't considered. I have lots to learn!

    I can SAY I want a comfortable bike because I'm injured and I'm just going to ride with my wife yaddayadda but the truth is that I'll take off with a bunch of young-buck riders and I'll get competitive and all that jazz. If the Cannondale is the Coupe DeVille of recumbents, which are the Corvettes? -- sleek and fast but posh enough for an old butt? I'd like to say I'm looking for a Panoz-style recumbent but I'm trying to be a realist here. I do need some creature comforts.

    Assume I'll be trying centuries after a year of training and going on weekend club rides which (seen from a motorcycle and questions asked at rest stops) seem to be 25 miles of mountain uphills around here. I live at the base of the Piedmont range and expect to ride there and on the Blue Ridge. My wife is a wuus who is used to riding in Indiana (FLAT!) and rides with her will be short and in the rolling flats south of here.
    You do, indeed, need to do good research, and consider what your riding will be. In spite of the fact that I was operating on a limited budget, I knew I would end up wanting something fairly fast. And, considering that bents aren't well suited for off road, I also decided that skinny road tires were a requirement. I ended up with a 28 lb Tsunami T-1 that I really love, and that already lets me keep up with all but the top guns in my club (I've only been cycling since September). There is no LBS support for Tsunami, and since your budget isn't as limited as mine was, you will probably want to choose one of the other brands mentioned, but do choose a worthy road bike (with road tires).

    With your neck problem, you may want to consider a headrest. They are available for many bent seats. One warning: you aren't going to like how having to spin slows you on hills. Work on it; you will get better at it.
    Bud
    * 2009 RANS XStream
    * 2007 RANS Stratus XP
    * 2006 Bacchetta Corsa
    My Blog - uneasy-rider.com

    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

  16. #16
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    "Fairing" I understand but "sock"? Lordy, I have been away too long!

    Also, I'll be riding from the stinking hot foothills up into the mountains where the thermal barrier drops the temperature 3C to 4C very fast. But a fairing is so disfunctional for the hot lower regions. Is a fairing a big deal on a 'bent? I know the Easy Rider has one and they are often options on other bikes but are they 'good', 'bad', or indifferent?

    Also, I know what spinning is -- high rpm cranking in the 100-120 range -- but why is this so important in climbing on a 'bent? We used to have to shift down and spin on df's. I am assuming that the inability to use your weight to mash the pedals down makes spinning more important on short climbs but we never considered that to be very good form on a long climb -- torn muscle potential, wasted effort seesawing, and it just didn't look cool to appear to be working that hard. What don't I understand?

  17. #17
    sch
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    Fairing and sock achieve the same effect: improve air flow around the rider to reduce (dramatically)
    the wind resistance. These are useful mostly above 18-20mph, as most recumbents are intrinsically
    lower wind resistance than DF. If your engine is such that cruising at 22-25mph is feasible then a
    sock/fairing would add 2-5mph to that average with no increase in energy output on your part. Sock
    is cloth wraparound, fairing is any wrap around, but generally considered to be semi rigid or plastic
    molding or formed that encloses the rider and much of the bike in an aerodynamically efficient fashion. Coroplast is a popular DIY fairing material. Socks are relatively practical and are usually fully open on
    the bottom and somewhat open on the top. They have obvious limits in warmer weather, sunny
    weather and wind. Percentage of riders using fairings is probably in the hundreths range. Windscreeens
    are a little more popular. All have some or a lot of weight penalty, worth it on the flats but bummer
    on hilly terrain.

    Since you can't stand or shift your weight on a bent and most bents do not allow any upper body
    contributions to pulling going up hills long/steep enough to get your speed below 8mph means you
    have only your legs to do this. If you let your cadence drop to the 40-60 range the torque needed
    is going to stress your legs significantly, both knees and muscles are at risk. Spinning on a bent
    means a cadence in the 80+ range. Cadence higher than 100 would be considered idiosyncratic
    (just as it is on a DF, not impossible but not routinely done). Bents ask more of your hamstrings and
    glutes than DF does. DF riders can add a lot to the torque by pulling on the bars, only a few bents
    allow that, and nowhere near the extent of a DF. My experience is that I go up hills 2-4mph slower
    on the bent than on a DF for the same hill.

    You might also look at Bacchetta bents which have taken over the sweet spot in bentdom since their
    intro about 2.5yrs ago. They are LBS only, not available by mail. Google on the name as their
    website escapes me right now. www.hostelshoppe.com has a similar bike called a Volae which is
    well thought of also. www.bentrideronline.com is well worth looking at for info and reviews.
    Steve

  18. #18
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    In the Tour Easy context, a fairing is the clear lexan thing you see in these photos, and a sock is the fabric you see covering the whole bike:

    http://www.easyracers.com/accessories.htm

  19. #19
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I'm going to get a bit of disagreement on this, but the advice is free so if you don't like it I'll cheerfully give you a refund!

    First, realize that hillclimbing is all about strength to weight. Nothing more. Recumbents have three disadvantages on hills. First is they weigh more than a DF, second is the inability to stand and momentarily produce more power. The third is that too many bent riders have been taught to spin up hills all the time, and by doing so they never get stronger. You have to stress the muscles with high loads in order to get stronger, and spinning self-limits the loads you're putting on your legs. (That's why spinning is easy on your knees.)

    I am not advocating blowing out your knees by deliberately using high gears every time you climb; but definitely incorporate some high-load work in your weekly routine. 'Mashing' builds strength. Spinning is for recovery and endurance. You need both.

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    Thanks to all of you for your advice and information! VERY helpful!

    I spent today riding bents. I am really tired and sore. I first rode a Giant Revive 21-speed with a 7-step cluster and a three-speed hub. Very squishy although they tell me they can adjust the shock for a stiffer ride. It seemed a bit overpriced but actually seemed to climb pretty well.

    At the next shop I hit paydirt! A guy selling out of a garage behind the shop handles tandems and bents. He has about 35 bents in stock because he feels everyone has different needs, goals and budgets and he should have the perfect bent for them. What a nice guy!

    I rode a RAN basic model first and thought it was a bit twisty. Too much flexing under my 240 lbs. Then I rode a RAN V2 and really like that one although the frame was way too short. I understand they make a longer one for the tall guys. Then I rode a Burley basic model. It was OK but the shifters were cheap and sloppy. I finished on another Burley, a Koosah with an odd frame design. Looks breakable but he says it's guaranteed. Guaranteed is not a help when the welds fail on a 50 mph descent, but hey!

    Then I went on to another dealer to ride the Cannondale that started all this. That was a disaster. I started up a steep hill, dropped to my lowest gear, and the bike came to a hard stop. The rear derailleur had crashed into the wheel and a spoke had somehow entered the Shimano DeOre derailleur cage. I had to turn the bike over in the muck and undertake a field repair without tools. So they got the bike back in bad shape.

    So far, it's between the RAN V2 and the Burley Koosah. Tomorrow I ride four or five more. It occurs to me that my wife -- the wife who sat down on the yellow line at her first century and wouldn't remount her bike because we had hit 102 and still had twelve miles to go -- THAT wife has only ridden flatland rides in Ohio, Indiana, and Florida so this week I also have to get her on her bike and find out if she'll take the hills. !

  21. #21
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I don't know what model you mean by a RANS basic model. I'm guessing it was a Stratus, which might be a bit bouncy under 240 lbs. The V2 would be stiffer, and probably a bit faster someday, too. Sounds like you had a good experience with riding all the bents. Keep up the search, there are more to try out there!

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    I really got as lot of good information from this thread. Thanks to all. I am in the merket for a recumbent also and will use this advise and information.

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