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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 12-16-12, 07:10 AM   #1
Robert C
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Looking for thoughts on the Performer Toscana 26

As the title says, I am looking for thoughts on the performer recumbent bicycles. In particular, I am looking at the Toscana 26.

The lowest end version of this model MSRPs’ for $1,500(USD). . . slight digression, USD means United States Dollars. I was having a discussion with someone, where we were getting nowhere, and I suddenly realized that he thought USD meant “used”. . .

I am looking for a SWB-USS under $1,500.

This version is speced as follows
LX Disc 27S
Frame Alloy
Front fork Alloy Alloy Alloy
Seat FRP w/headrest
Handle bar U bar
Shifter Microshift bar end 9S
Lever Avid FR5
Front Derailleur Microshift R439
Rear Derailleur Shimano LX 9S
Crankset Truvativ IF 52/42/30 170L
Cassette Shimano Acera 11-34t
Wheelset A Rim Disc
Tires Kenda K-193 26"x1.25 100psi
Brakes Avid BB5 Disc Brake
Pedal Wellgo
Headset Speedmax PZ
MSRP(excluding tax) US$1,500

Here is my situation; I am 5’6”. This is part of the reason that I am looking at the 26” version rather than the 700c.

I am returning to the US soon and want a recumbent for transportation. While I have been gone my wife sold our car so I will be entirely carfree.
When I was in the US last I had (I still have; it is just on the other side of the country now) a bike-E along with several conventional bikes. I liked the recumbent in some ways but did not like the bike-E enough to have it shipped out to me.

I liked the comfort and “heads up” riding position I have also been having a lot of saddle and riding pain when on conventional bikes that, quite simply, I did not have with the bike-E. The bike-E felt easier to ride in that I just got on it and went, there were no special riding shorts or other riding “gear.” It was a pure transportation bike; even if it did look a little odd.

There were things I didn’t like. I did not like the semi-long wheelbase design. It made it impossible to use on buses. That is part of the reason that I am only considering SWB designs. The bike-E suffered from terrible stability at speeds over about 35mph. However, that wasn’t much of a problem because, overall, it was a terribly slow bicycle.

I want to try having the crank a bit higher. I also want USS. There is no particular reason for that; I just always liked the way USS looked. I want to give it a try.

I am looking for any thoughts about this bike, or any others that might meet my needs?

I am already aware of the existence of craigslist; yes, I will look there too. However, I have seldom seen any real good deals in anything I want on craigslist. I say this because almost any discussion of new bikes seems to have people saying some form of, “don’t by a new bike; just score a screaming deal on craigslist.” If I see a great deal on a used bike I am willing to jump on it; but, I am not going to not ride for the next ten years as I continually search craigslist for something that may never appear.

I am not limited to new; but, I am limited to available.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:26 AM   #2
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I ride a SWB OSS (Bacchetta). I'm guessing at very slow speeds and up hills the USS could get a little sketchy, but I have no personal experience to back that up.
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Old 12-16-12, 08:10 AM   #3
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I would expect it to ride A LOT differently than a Bike-E.

Honestly, I think that anything short of spending an afternoon at a recumbent specialty shop is "a poke and a hope".
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Old 12-16-12, 11:46 PM   #4
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I would expect it to ride A LOT differently than a Bike-E.

Honestly, I think that anything short of spending an afternoon at a recumbent specialty shop is "a poke and a hope".
I hope that it will ride differently than the bike-E.

I saw that someone recently asked about the advantages of USS v. OSS. Other than being told to use the search, the answers seem to be centered on the USS being more comfortable; but, harder to walk.

As far as spending a day in a recumbent shop; I don't think you are aware that this advise is grossly impracticable. I am over 45, I make it a practice to wander into bike shops when I see them, and have seen two recumbent bicycles in bike shops in my life. One of the two was the bike-E that I ordered and paid for before it ever entered the shop.

I once spent a couple of days hitting all the bike shops in Chico, CA asking if they carried any recumbent manufacturers (not in the shop, I could see that; but at least in the catalog). None of them would even deal in recumbents; one was quite put out that I had even mentioned the devils machine (at least that is how they reacted). I hadn't even mentioned speed, I just asked of they carry, or ever stock, recumbents. The immediate response was a, "we don't touch that @#$%!," rant. It was followed by the unsolicited comment, "if you want to ride faster you just need to loose some weight."

I didn't say much during the visit, I was busy vacillating between being annoyed by the behavior and being amused by the rant and the rage. It should come as no surprise that particular bike shop is now on my, personal, "Bike shops to avoid" list.

When I checked in Redding CA, and Medford and Ashland OR I didn't get the craziness that I saw in Chico (that guy was "special"); however, there were still no recumbents, other than a single shop in Medford that had a USS that I test-rode once (and liked), that was about ten, possibly fifteen years ago. I really have not seen recumbents in shops except for the one I ordered and the one in Medford that was never restocked.

I am preparing to move to Salt Lake UT, I will look around that area before making a purchase decision; however, If I were to make "test-ride before buying" into a firm rule, I am pretty sure that I will not buy a recumbent. It isn't realistic to travel thousands of miles to try a few bicycles.

So, basically, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with this brand and it the overall package looked looks a fair price. I am also considering the Bacchetta Gyro 26. I am pretty price conscious; in general recumbent bicycles are very expensive and I just do not want to get in the thousands on a bicycle right now.

Performer is a Chinese brand and I live in China (since 2006 off and on) and am concerned with quality. I know that good products can come out of China; but, on domestically branded goods the quality can be poor (keep in mind, the stuff you see in Wal-Mart is regarded as very good quality in China). With that in mind I do realize that there is no way that the Toscana is intended for the domestic market. There are several reasons that there is no recumbent market in China; some are due to practical applications, others are related to culture.

I was just hoping that someone would have chimed in with "yes, I have/have-seen one and it was good/junk."
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Old 12-17-12, 12:02 AM   #5
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IMO, it's very tough to translate other people's reviews into what you will experience when you get on a bike yourself. Also, recumbent folk tend to be self-justifying: when you've expended a good chunk of your ego and no small amount of cash, you're going to put your purchase in a positive light no matter what.

If you're going back to Chico, you could take a day trip to Sacremento to Gold Country Cyclery. If you want a longer trip, come up here to Portland to Conventry Cycle Works. If you wait until you get to SLC, go to Utah Trikes in Payson. Go there, test ride a couple different models, and find out what you like.

I've been on and around recumbent bikes and trikes for 30 years. I'm still experimenting to see what works best for me.

BTW: Performer is based in Taiwan ( http://www.performer.com.tw/2010/user/index.php ). I'm pretty sure you won't be able to get one shipped to the PRC.
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Old 12-19-12, 01:40 PM   #6
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I have only seen and heard good things about the Performer brand, and strongly considered purchasing one before I got the CT's. They offer a model that is pretty much the new Road with suspension for under $1500...assuming you can actually find one in the states, and that is what turned into the issue. Apparently (fwir) the company that was shipping these over stopped, went out of business, or something and made them hard to obtain.

I am "lucky" in that there are two shops within 100 miles of me that deal in recumbents (and trikes) as a mainstay of their business. I was further lucky in that I combed the internet and CL for months until I found what I was looking for based upon looking at those shops...I wasn't going to pay retail for a bike I wasn't sure at the time I or SO would ride, so I bought two lightly used ones for less than the one would have cost. It did require a lot of vigilance as well as some gas money to find.
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Old 12-20-12, 08:37 AM   #7
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Those Asian brands are a mixed bag because you never know for sure what you're getting until it's too late. I've seen models where the chain wanted to run right through the chainstay, or where chain tubing was used to route the chain around the seat. Stuff like that really gives all bents a black eye because they're typically bought by newbies, who rightly decide that they're junk, but then wrongly assume that all bents are the same.

The Toscana looks good in the pictures. With a 43" wheelbase, it *should" go on a wheel-tray type of bus rack. The frame style might not go on a 2-arm carrier, though. The one thing that concerns me is the preponderance of chain tube. If it's just a matter of design overkill, then OK; but if it really needs that much tubing, there's something wrong with the design. It looks like it has an idler for the power side, which is good. And I don't see any chain obstructions.

I don't think I read where in the states you're going to end up. Craig's List isn't the only resource. Bentrideronline is probably the best recumbent-specific resource; it has a classified section and there are always people buying and selling their bents. If you start now, you may be able to find something before you move back. Just be aware that you may be hobbled by the overseas aspect and your wife may have to finalize the transaction. Finding something local to her might make things a lot easier if you go that route.

Edit: I see now where you specified the Salt Lake area. Unfortunately, nowhere near where I am...

Last edited by BlazingPedals; 12-20-12 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 01-07-13, 07:53 AM   #8
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got one... New to this. I live in Bkk.

I have finished assembling my new Toscana 26/20 USS The quality I would say is good. I had a Rans Rocket in the 1990s and rode it for one year daily. I sold it when I moved here, but have since been riding with the Thai cycling groups and wanted to return to the comfort of the 'bent. I have ridden the thing once in the parking lot and find it very wobbly and am still afraid to tackle the Bangkok traffic on it. I will learn to control the thing and will ride it on my monthly tours of this beautiful country. Once out of the city the riding is much more predictable. I did change the gearing on the crank set, to a lower "touring" set. No extra charge, I found Christine very helpful. Good luck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I hope that it will ride differently than the bike-E.

I saw that someone recently asked about the advantages of USS v. OSS. Other than being told to use the search, the answers seem to be centered on the USS being more comfortable; but, harder to walk.

As far as spending a day in a recumbent shop; I don't think you are aware that this advise is grossly impracticable. I am over 45, I make it a practice to wander into bike shops when I see them, and have seen two recumbent bicycles in bike shops in my life. One of the two was the bike-E that I ordered and paid for before it ever entered the shop.

I once spent a couple of days hitting all the bike shops in Chico, CA asking if they carried any recumbent manufacturers (not in the shop, I could see that; but at least in the catalog). None of them would even deal in recumbents; one was quite put out that I had even mentioned the devils machine (at least that is how they reacted). I hadn't even mentioned speed, I just asked of they carry, or ever stock, recumbents. The immediate response was a, "we don't touch that @#$%!," rant. It was followed by the unsolicited comment, "if you want to ride faster you just need to loose some weight."

I didn't say much during the visit, I was busy vacillating between being annoyed by the behavior and being amused by the rant and the rage. It should come as no surprise that particular bike shop is now on my, personal, "Bike shops to avoid" list.

When I checked in Redding CA, and Medford and Ashland OR I didn't get the craziness that I saw in Chico (that guy was "special"); however, there were still no recumbents, other than a single shop in Medford that had a USS that I test-rode once (and liked), that was about ten, possibly fifteen years ago. I really have not seen recumbents in shops except for the one I ordered and the one in Medford that was never restocked.

I am preparing to move to Salt Lake UT, I will look around that area before making a purchase decision; however, If I were to make "test-ride before buying" into a firm rule, I am pretty sure that I will not buy a recumbent. It isn't realistic to travel thousands of miles to try a few bicycles.

So, basically, I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with this brand and it the overall package looked looks a fair price. I am also considering the Bacchetta Gyro 26. I am pretty price conscious; in general recumbent bicycles are very expensive and I just do not want to get in the thousands on a bicycle right now.

Performer is a Chinese brand and I live in China (since 2006 off and on) and am concerned with quality. I know that good products can come out of China; but, on domestically branded goods the quality can be poor (keep in mind, the stuff you see in Wal-Mart is regarded as very good quality in China). With that in mind I do realize that there is no way that the Toscana is intended for the domestic market. There are several reasons that there is no recumbent market in China; some are due to practical applications, others are related to culture.

I was just hoping that someone would have chimed in with "yes, I have/have-seen one and it was good/junk."
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Old 01-07-13, 08:09 AM   #9
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I have finished assembling my new Toscana 26/20 USS The quality I would say is good. I had a Rans Rocket in the 1990s and rode it for one year daily. I sold it when I moved here, but have since been riding with the Thai cycling groups and wanted to return to the comfort of the 'bent. I have ridden the thing once in the parking lot and find it very wobbly and am still afraid to tackle the Bangkok traffic on it. I will learn to control the thing and will ride it on my monthly tours of this beautiful country. Once out of the city the riding is much more predictable. I did change the gearing on the crank set, to a lower "touring" set. No extra charge, I found Christine very helpful. Good luck.
Nice report. Please keep us updated.

Oh, and if you don't post pictures, it never really happened.

Cheers,
Charles
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