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  1. #1
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    Buying a recumbent

    I am a 53 year old woman with some health issues that make a recumbent seem like the choice for me. I am doing more riding lately, particularly on the amazing Iowa trail system, but I am not currently a regular rider since I still have a couple of young kids at home. However, we are riding more and more. I cannot find a bike shop around here that has any 2 wheeled recumbents. They are all trikes. So, how can I go about buying one. Also, I am wondering what to buy. I need to be able to put it on my Thule bike rack to transport it around the state to different trails. I would like to also do city riding, but we mostly ride trails and sidewalks in the city, too. I think a high rider seems like a good choice, but I just don't know. A trike would not fit my bike rack, nor would I be able to ride side by side with my husband on the trails, so trikes are out at the moment. Any recommendations about type of bike and where to buy one would be greatly appreciated.
    Kris

  2. #2
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    You could check with your local bike club, maybe someone in the club would have one you could ride on. What part of Iowa are you in? If you are close to me, I have a high racer you could give a try, if we can get it adjusted down to your leg length.
    No bike does everything perfectly. In fact, no bike does anything until SOMEONE gets on it and rides.

  3. #3
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    Do you have a target price range for the bike? That can be a big factor.

    Also, what's important to you? I'm easy handling, low learning curve, speed, light weight, comfort?

    I started with a Sun Sport AX they can be had used for around $500,and came with relatively decent components. The Sun is a CLWB (compact long wheelbase) and relatively easy to learn to ride, as well as being a very good tourer and very comfortable, if slightly heavy, despite the aluminum frame. it's also a bit long to transport easily.

    While you don't want a trike, I'd suggest taking one for a test ride anyway. They are a lot of fun and very easy to ride. Most recumbent dealers are quite free with test rides.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The best possible answer is "Road Trip".

    Find a recumbent specialty dealer within striking range and take a couple of days for some test rides of different recumbent styles. I had my heart set on a high rider for my first recumbent but a test ride proved to me that wasn't going to be a good choice because they're too hard to get launched. I'm much happier with my Rans Enduro Sport.

    A recumbent specialty dealer will also be able to walk you through the issues of transporting and storeing a recumbent. I think this is a case in which a road trip is a good investment.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Another great resource for all about bents is BROL.

    A SWB recumbent will be easier to transport on the rack but the learning curve is longer than a LWB. If money is a factor(when isn't it), excellent buys can be found at BROL in the classified forum. I've bought two there with no regrets.
    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member sail's Avatar
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    I don't know about but I know of this shop in Ogden:http://showcase.netins.net/web/bikebarn/

  7. #7
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    You can consider a Cruzbike conversion kit.

    Pluses:
    • Cheap ($450 new; used often availble) + donor bike
    • You can end up with a very nice bike for not much money.


    Minuses:
    • Moving bottom bracket weird at first; not everybody likes it


    My Cruzigami Mantis is a conversion. And you can read about my learning experiences here.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Another great resource for all about bents is BROL.

    A SWB recumbent will be easier to transport on the rack but the learning curve is longer than a LWB. If money is a factor(when isn't it), excellent buys can be found at BROL in the classified forum. I've bought two there with no regrets.
    I am pretty hesitant to recommend BROL (new members often get the impression that they are not wanted, and definitely not needed). However, as mentioned, the for sale section these is pretty good.

    While I do not have a trike I am going to join in recommending that you try one. Two wheel bents can be discouraging to start riding; that being said, all I have a re two wheel bents. However, trike sales are strong for a reason. You mentioned trails, this is a place that I am not sure which is a better choice, if you expect to spend ALL of your time at speed, then a bike is a better choice; but, if you have to slow for pedestrians frequently, then you may be better served by a trike. Don't write off trikes, we are not talking about "granny-cycles" here, as others have said, try both.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    I am pretty hesitant to recommend BROL (new members often get the impression that they are not wanted, and definitely not needed). However, as mentioned, the for sale section these is pretty good.

    While I do not have a trike I am going to join in recommending that you try one. trike sales are strong for a reason. You mentioned trails, this is a place that I am not sure which is a better choice,
    BROL has some SERIOUS tech head posters. If you're not that into that kind of stuff, just skip over those threads. I never got the feeling that new members weren't wanted or needed. I guess YMMV.

    As uncool as trikes are with the bib short and skin suit crowd, paradoxically, that's how cool they are with everybody else on the trails. EVERYBODY you see will smile and wave. Mrs. Grouch can't complete a 10 mile ride without giving at least 1 impromptu test ride on her Kettweisel.
    Last edited by Retro Grouch; 07-17-13 at 03:04 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    +2 on bentrideronliine (BROL). The "new to Recumbents" section of the board is made for folks like you and there's a lot of people over there with good advice. For what you're describing as how you'd like to ride, I'd suggest a SWB like a Lightning Phantom or P-38 (used). I found that platform easy to ride, but as others said, you really should "try before you buy".
    Last edited by delcrossv; 07-17-13 at 10:23 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  11. #11
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    There's a few Iowans listed on the unofficial bentrider map; maybe one close enough to help with the search or test rides?
    https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid...7a300e22&msa=0

  13. #13
    Senior Member sail's Avatar
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    I rode my first recumbent last night on the High Trestle Trail near Madrid., IA. So for what it's worth from a Newbie 61 year old thats been riding road bikes, a 3 speed and a folder with diminishing distance and speed over the years here are my thoughts:

    I want a recumbent. First I rode a Bacchetta Giro 20 with 1.25" tires for 10 or so miles and then a Bacchetta Strada with 650 skinny tires on the return.

    First and foremost, very comfortable. I foresee no bun burn, numb hands and paramount for myself with a bad neck it's wonderful to not have to look up. Starting is a bit awkward, you've gotta remember to gear down before stopping. The instinct to lean forward and stand on it doesn't work. Lay back and relax. Hills, grades are harder, slower, but both bikes were geared for it. Steering was VERY twitchy. I'm sure a few more miles and I'll get used to it but I could tell little difference between the two bikes because of the learning curve of light steering. Probably if I'd ridden the fat tire bike on the return I'd have noticed it less. Different ride than what i'm used to but I could get used to it.

    End of review. This is not my video but the bridge we went across last night:


  14. #14
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iowakris View Post
    I am a 53 year old woman with some health issues that make a recumbent seem like the choice for me. I am doing more riding lately, particularly on the amazing Iowa trail system, but I am not currently a regular rider since I still have a couple of young kids at home. However, we are riding more and more. I cannot find a bike shop around here that has any 2 wheeled recumbents. They are all trikes. So, how can I go about buying one. Also, I am wondering what to buy. I need to be able to put it on my Thule bike rack to transport it around the state to different trails. I would like to also do city riding, but we mostly ride trails and sidewalks in the city, too. I think a high rider seems like a good choice, but I just don't know. A trike would not fit my bike rack, nor would I be able to ride side by side with my husband on the trails, so trikes are out at the moment. Any recommendations about type of bike and where to buy one would be greatly appreciated.
    Kris
    I own a Bacchetta Giro ATT 26. I'm happy with it. It's a pita to put on a Thule trunk rack but I managed. Then I got a Hollywood hitch mount rack and I'm very happy with it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sail View Post
    I rode my first recumbent last night on the High Trestle Trail near Madrid.
    Hills, grades are harder, slower, but both bikes were geared for it.
    Hills on the High Trestle Trail? That's where my avatar picture was taken.

  16. #16
    Senior Member sail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Hills on the High Trestle Trail? That's where my avatar picture was taken.
    There's a cowinkedink. We went off the trail near Woodward so I could try a BIG hill. I went more to try a bent than for the ride. But you are correct, most of the trails in Iowa are on old railroad beds so pretty flat.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sail View Post
    There's a cowinkedink. We went off the trail near Woodward so I could try a BIG hill. I went more to try a bent than for the ride. But you are correct, most of the trails in Iowa are on old railroad beds so pretty flat.
    There's a reason why the trestle is high. If you rode down into the river valley and back up, that would be a pretty good hill.

  18. #18
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    Bought a recumbent

    Well, I bought a recumbent this weekend, and am having a little bit of buyers remorse.
    I ended up buying a LWB. It seemed more family friendly - we ride with out 9 and 11 year olds (and sometimes our 22, 24, and 27 year olds). Also, with kids and lots of bikes on a bike rack, it was the one we could get to fit on it.
    However, I really loved the short wheel base Bachettas. Today we went for a ride on the LWB, and I felt like I topped out my speeds on the LWB and it wasn't as fast as I would like for when I ride alone with my husband. However, it was great on my joints, so it did seem to solve my problems. So, I guess it is the LWB for now, and maybe I will trade up when the boys no longer ride with us. Sigh. Those SWBs were really nice. Thanks for all your help. I did end up going to the Bike Barn in Ogden, IA, and they were great! I highly recommend them to anyone in the area. They even fixed up some problems with my kids bikes for free while I was doing my test rides. The owner gave me a lot of help, adjusting the bike, holding me up as I got started, helping me learn to turn. Great shop. I will go there again.
    Kris

  19. #19
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    Did they have a large selection etc. I only know the shops in my own area and they have no selection of recumbent.
    No bike does everything perfectly. In fact, no bike does anything until SOMEONE gets on it and rides.

  20. #20
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    As a matter of interest, which LWB did you end up buying? I found my CLWB (very close to Tour Easy dimensions) to be very different to ride after the diamond frame.
    I really only got to like the bike after some overnight weekend trips and several hundred miles.

    But they are great to just sit back and enjoy the miles and scenery.

  21. #21
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Give yourself some time on the new LWB. Can take weeks, even months to gain speed if you are new to 'bents.
    I have a SWB and a LWB and greatly enjoy both of them. (hint, hint)
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  22. #22
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    Midwest Recumbent Rally in Wisconsin (almost here!)

    +1 to more time in the (saddle?) seat. Lots of don't make the final choice the first time. Mine was a BikeE AT which I rode only a few weeks before finding a used Linear LWB. I know I put only a few miles on the BikeE and then over 7,000 on the Linear. It was a daunting task even on the aluminum framed Linear at first but it soon got easier and much faster. Just keep at it.

    I don't know what part of Iowa you live in but if you are adventuresome, you might try going to the Midwest Recumbent Rally in Steven's Point Wisconsin which is sponsored by the Hostel Shoppe in mid-August every year. It's late to find a place to stay close by but I guarantee you that you will meet a lot of nice people and get to go on rides with them. There are many different kinds of recumbents to try out at the rally. It will give you a good idea if the one you have is a keeper or just an interim bike to ride.

  23. #23
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    Recumbent secrets/tips:

    Lean back and relax, this one is very Important with long wheel base bents (LWB's),
    Hold the bars like you have a Dove in each hand and you want them both to be able to breathe,
    Put some but no too much Incline in the seat back, Bolt upright will make you wobble more, BUT,,,,,
    Sitting upright when in a very slow U-turn can help,

    Lead the bike with your chin, Going into a turn at moderate speeds,
    point your chin at the inside hand grip and lean your head and upper shoulders in that direction some, not too much
    The feel will come to you.

    Set the pedal distance from you correctly.
    Tush all the way back into the seat,
    HEEL of your foot ON the center of a pedal at its farthest point in the crank rotation from you, Knee LOCKED..
    Lock down the seat, and now with the BALL of your foot on the pedal axle point you should have the perfect knee bend..

    Elbows must be bent some, arms must relax..

    If the bars hit your knees in tight turns push your inside knee outward, this will help super slow speed stability while turning..

    I had to use a longer stem to get my Bars up to miss my long legs and give me more elbow bend..

    HPIM0870.jpgIMG_20130312_191124_551.jpg

    I could not Imagine a more stable, comfortable, relaxed ride than my Tour Easy LE

    Note: It took me many tries to get the seat back at the right angle....
    Last edited by osco53; 07-31-13 at 10:28 AM.
    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  24. #24
    Senior Member ncbikers's Avatar
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    Good suggestions.

    One more: On your DF your toes are pointed generally forward especially in the power part of the stroke. On your bent your toes should be pointed generally up especially in the power part of your stroke which will begin around the 11 O'clock position as opposed to your DF where it starts around 1 O'clock. Push mostly forwards not down. This will take some time to get used to. Happy riding!

  25. #25
    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Trikes are not hard to carry.
    Here is a nonfolding trike going into a VW GTI.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Muoc9T7X0mM
    Pivot 5.7
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    Homophobia is so gay.

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