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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Commuter recumbent bike or trike that folds

    Hi all,

    I've become fascinated with the recumbent bike and I've now begun saving up for one.

    Trouble is that it seems hard to find a model that would fit my needs, so I would appreciate any advice from this community based on cost and availability.

    I'm looking for a bike with an IGH, fenders and rear rack. I'm used to a 3 speed IGH on my commuting folding bike, which lets me average around 12 to 15kmph to work and back. A wider gear range (5 speed maybe) would be preferable so that I can take advantage of the bent aerodynamics.

    The bike has to be fast folding in under 20 seconds at least. That means just quick release handles I guess. Removing components may be inconvenient.

    I do not care about bike weight. My current everyday folding bike weighs in at around 17kgs all in and it makes no difference to me.

    I do not mind either a bike or trike. My concern is availability, convenience of folding, the commuter setup, gear range and cost.

    In my research I've found the Evolve trike, which can be outfitted with commuting features but only available sometime next year. This seems alright since I don't plan on buying immediately. But the bike is quite expensive!

    IGH recumbents seem rare. Would it be technically feasible to purchase a commuting recumbent with derailleur and change to IGH later? Would this likely be cheaper to do?

  2. #2
    Dogs like me. Ajenkins's Avatar
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    What you want, a folding commuter recumbent bike, pretty much doesn't exist. Performer makes a lowracer that folds, but that's hardly a commuter. ICE makes folding trikes, but even a folded trike is a sizeable package. On any recumbent, at the very least, you would have to remove the seat as well. There goes your 20 seconds.

    You can get frames fitted with couplings so that they split, but that's more for packing to take on planes or to ship somewhere.

    You can add IGH to any bike, just build a wheel of whatever size you want around the hub. Remember, though, that the gear inches are going to be different on a 20-inch wheel with IGH than a 26-inch wheel with IGH.

    I'm afraid if you're going to go 'bent, you're going to have to give up on fast folding. If that's one of your priorities, why not a Brompton? Those suckers fold in the blink of an eye, and are set up perfectly for commuting.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajenkins View Post
    You can add IGH to any bike, just build a wheel of whatever size you want around the hub. Remember, though, that the gear inches are going to be different on a 20-inch wheel with IGH than a 26-inch wheel with IGH.
    It can certainly be done, but it might turn into a hack job. IGH works best with horizontal dropouts. Most modern derailleur bikes have vertical dropouts. Then there's the shift cable routing. In my experience it you think it's going to be easy, it turns out to be hard. If you think it might be hard, it turns out to be easy.

    If you're buying a new bike anyway, and you think that you want IGH, I'd hold out for one that comes stock with IGH.

  4. #4
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    What you want, a folding commuter recumbent bike, pretty much doesn't exist
    Sure it does!

    Azub Origami- just fit it with the IGH of your choice.

    http://www.azub.eu/CZ/folding-recumb...-azub-origami/

    Azub will even do it for you. Alfine or Rohloff.

    That was easy.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 06-07-13 at 08:24 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  5. #5
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    It takes a bit more than 20 seconds to fold (although you could get it down), but I put this together (I use wing nuts to remove the seat back from the seat bottom and then it folds as usual):

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

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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    It takes a bit more than 20 seconds to fold (although you could get it down), but I put this together (I use wing nuts to remove the seat back from the seat bottom and then it folds as usual):

    Well Done Sir!
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  7. #7
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
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    There's only two folding recumbent bikes that are relatively compact and fold quickly, the Azub Origami and the Toxy Flite.

    The Azub Origami is available with a few derailleur configs, the Alfine 8 (2040 €), the Alfine 11 (2290 €), or the Rohloff 14 (3290 €). 1290 € for a frameset.

    The Toxy Flite is available in a couple derailleur and DualDrive configs, the Nuvinci N360 (2940 € including the folding option), the Rohloff 14 (3540 € including folding option), or a frameset (1720 € including folding option).

    I believe both of those have multiple stages of fold, where you can leave the seat on for a typical fold, and then remove it when you need the bike to be really compact.

    Trikes are bulky even folded. And, most of them require parts (usually at least the seat) to be removed before folding - you're looking at a 60 second fold, not a 20 second fold. But, there is the HP Velotechnik Gekko fx, they claim a 7 second fold there. Of course, you're also looking at $4090 for the only IGH config they've got (and it's a Rohloff). $2250 for a frameset.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    @ bhtooefr . Thanks for the comprehensive price list. Recumbents are not very cheap I guess. But this is a plan for the future so I'll be saving up steadily to make it happen.


    @ cplager

    The Cruzbike conversion kit. This is quite interesting and a cheap option.

    Edited after reading your info more carefully:

    Can the seat back rest be secured to the seat post? If so would it be possible to have the two bits of seat fixed independently of each other, without wingnuts?

    Can you push it around easily whilst folded? Do you experience any disadvantages with the FWD config?
    Last edited by Shahmatt; 06-08-13 at 11:08 PM.

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    Could this be your answer? Scroll down to Trident Two Wheeler entry. Apparently Trident is going to have to change their slogan of "Two Wheels Good, Three Wheels Bad".

    They also mention a folding 3-wheeler, Trident Spike, that I don't believe has been mentioned. Have no idea of the price- just looked it up and sub 1K.

    http://www.bentrideronline.com/
    Last edited by dekindy; 06-08-13 at 08:14 AM.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  10. #10
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
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    The problem with Trident's trikes is that the seat has to come off to fold it. (Same goes for ICE and Greenspeed, too, although they're more expensive.)
    2011 TerraTrike Path 8
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Here is a link to the Evolve folding trike range I mentioned earlier. There are some folding videos linked in the web page.

    http://www.evolvetrikes.com/the-fold.html

    The bikes look pretty interesting. The fold also seems really convenient.

    They say that the price will be $2800 plus depending on the configuration. Given what else is available in the market (aside from the Cruzbike conversion kit) it does not sound too bad.

    Availability should be late this year!

  12. #12
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
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    That does look like a really nice fold. Wonder how rigid the cruciform and boom are, though - there's a reason most trikes don't fold there.
    2011 TerraTrike Path 8
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  13. #13
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
    @ cplager

    The Cruzbike conversion kit. This is quite interesting and a cheap option.

    Edited after reading your info more carefully:

    Can the seat back rest be secured to the seat post? If so would it be possible to have the two bits of seat fixed independently of each other, without wingnuts?

    Can you push it around easily whilst folded? Do you experience any disadvantages with the FWD config?
    You want the seat to be firmly attached to the seat post when riding. You could try a quick-release clamp there, but I don't see that working out well. If I wanted a quick fold, I'd spend time on figuring out how to quickly attach/remove the seat back from the bottom. I'm willing to bet something quite clever could be done here.

    The bike rolls folded pretty much as well as the bike rolls without the conversion kit.

    MBB (moving bottom bracket) bikes ride differently than other recumbents. I am a big fan of the format (you can read about my learning experiences here), but it does have a learning curve.

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

  14. #14
    Member The Savages's Avatar
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    you can find just about any bike you are looking for on a web site called alibia.com and they have great prices but it's in CHINA

  15. #15
    Member The Savages's Avatar
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    Correction on web site alibaba.com

  16. #16
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go on Alibaba to buy a one-off.

    If I wanted to become a distributor of some crap Chinese product, then sure. But not for a one-off purchase for myself.
    2011 TerraTrike Path 8
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhtooefr View Post
    I wouldn't go on Alibaba to buy a one-off.

    If I wanted to become a distributor of some crap Chinese product, then sure. But not for a one-off purchase for myself.
    Actually I've purchased a number of items off Aliexpress, which is owned by Alibaba I believe. I've found that the stuff to be of good quality but still quite cheap. The Chinese make most stuff in the world right now, and both good and bad quality can be had depending on how much you pay. But Aliexpress is favorable to the buyer since payment is not released unless the buyer is satisfied with the product. So I've found that vendors rarely take the chance of giving you an excuse to complain.
    Last edited by Shahmatt; 06-10-13 at 08:59 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    You want the seat to be firmly attached to the seat post when riding. You could try a quick-release clamp there, but I don't see that working out well. If I wanted a quick fold, I'd spend time on figuring out how to quickly attach/remove the seat back from the bottom. I'm willing to bet something quite clever could be done here.

    The bike rolls folded pretty much as well as the bike rolls without the conversion kit.

    MBB (moving bottom bracket) bikes ride differently than other recumbents. I am a big fan of the format (you can read about my learning experiences here), but it does have a learning curve.

    Cheers,
    Charles

    Thanks very much for the info. I shall be following your blog closely!

  19. #19
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    Like cplager, I did the Cruzbike conversion. The seat comes off in about 10 seconds, pedals in 10, and folds in 20.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisblessing View Post
    Like cplager, I did the Cruzbike conversion. The seat comes off in about 10 seconds, pedals in 10, and folds in 20.
    Chris' conversion is nicer than mine for folding as his stem folds quickly too (I have to unbolt mine if I want to make it shorter). Here's his thread about his bike.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  21. #21
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    @ cplager,

    Thanks for the link. This is indeed worth pondering about.

    @ chrisblessing,

    A really nice piece of work.

    Did you pick the bike for the job? Or did you have the bike on hand before deciding to convert it?

  22. #22
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    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  23. #23
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    I came across this interesting new tyre with suspension being developed somewhere in the UK.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...rtable-bicycle

    Perhaps this may open up the options for those looking to convert their bikes with the Cruzbike conversion kit.

  24. #24
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Cruzbikes are a love-hate thing. You either love 'em or hate them. I tried one, and I really wanted to like it because I think they look, well, elegant; but "pedal steer from He-ll" falls well short of reality. Locking one leg and coasting = not possible. Spinning circles only made it worse because I was pushing on one side and pulling on the other simultaneously. I can only figure that there's some technique that everyone is supposed to pick up sub-consciously but that nobody understands well enough to articulate. Also, I haven't seen any real evidence that they're faster than regular highracers. So, I may pick one up someday if I come across one that's dirt cheap; but otherwise I'll stick to the traditional fixed-boom bikes.

  25. #25
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Cruzbikes are a love-hate thing. You either love 'em or hate them. I tried one, and I really wanted to like it because I think they look, well, elegant; but "pedal steer from He-ll" falls well short of reality. Locking one leg and coasting = not possible. Spinning circles only made it worse because I was pushing on one side and pulling on the other simultaneously. I can only figure that there's some technique that everyone is supposed to pick up sub-consciously but that nobody understands well enough to articulate. Also, I haven't seen any real evidence that they're faster than regular highracers. So, I may pick one up someday if I come across one that's dirt cheap; but otherwise I'll stick to the traditional fixed-boom bikes.
    Pedal steer is something that takes hundreds of miles to get over, but it can be done.

    A couple of random thoughts on how to achieve this (for your next try - used conversion kits can be had for ~ $250 or less)

    • When starting out, if things feel like they are going badly, remove your feet from the pedals and let your arms take over. (After a hundred miles or so, I never needed to do this anymore).
    • Clipping in (or other foot retention) gives a lot more control on Cruzbikes. It's more important (I believe) than on other 'bents.
    • Riding with no hands isn't a terribly useful skill in itself, but learning how to do this means you are working towards getting rid of pedal steer.

      • Start by just keeping your hands loose on the handlebars.
      • Ride with just one hand on the bars at a time
      • Ride with just a few fingers on the handlebars



    I have a theory (with not very much evidence) that people with less experience on SWB bikes do better on Cruzbikes. Dunno...

    As far as whether or not they are faster, over long distances I dunno. I have a "cross country skiiing" hypothesis: skiing with poles (meaning upper body) is faster than without (even over long distances), so maybe it's true. Or maybe it's not.

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

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