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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 08-04-13, 07:48 PM   #1
dekindy
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SWB recumbent market

Made it to Fairfield Cyclery this weekend and rode a LWB and a SWB 2-wheelers and some 3-wheelers I had not previously ridden. They had a couple of used SWB recently but had sold them; only had one new on the floor. When I asked them if the SWB inventory was low because it was the busiest part of the year they replied that SWB are only a very small segment of the market, not just for them, but all over the country. Surprised by that. What is the reason? Riders are looking for smooth rides and long trip comfort? SWB too difficult to ride? Really would like to know because the SWB holds more appeal for me and I am in my mid fifties. Guess it really does not matter what the market is if I like it and keep it but it is a consideration.
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Old 08-04-13, 09:01 PM   #2
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Just as a guess, I'd say that trikes and LWBs are such a large part of the market because performance isn't a major consideration for most recumbent cyclists.

Trikes and LWB tend to have lower step-over heights and seats.
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Old 08-04-13, 09:08 PM   #3
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Would be interesting/illuminating to see actual sales numbers for recumbent bikes.
My LWB is more comfortable on imperfect surfaces but the SWB is comfortable enough - a lot more comfortable than upright bikes.
Hard to say which is easier to ride. Both my bikes have fairly high bottom brackets - LWB bikes like the Tour Easy or Stratus with lower BB's are probably a bit easier to start out with.
SWB is certainly easier to transport.
Too bad there are no dealers (that I am aware of) in Central IN with a variety of 'bents to see and ride.

Maybe a trip to Hostel Shoppe would be worth your while. Their line of Volae bikes (all SWB's) have a great reputation. And they offer test rides on those and the other brands they carry.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:54 AM   #4
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That's interesting. Most models are SWB and most manufacturers don't even offer a LWB bike. Marketing disconnect?
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Old 08-05-13, 09:32 AM   #5
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I see more SWB's than any other style,
I think there are more SWB's because the people who buy bents near me are still into speed and like whipping Roadie DF riders....

The short wheel base would be better for city commutes I would think.
Far better tight turning ability but less luggage space for touring.

I ride for fun and my health with not a care to tour and I don't need speed.
But my LWB has for me plenty of speed and corners really nice at all speeds.

I like the flex in my LWB frame, It really mellows out the bumps, I would think a SWB would be very ridged..

I like being closer to the ground, I like my lower CG,,, Would love to try a Musashi on for size tho...

ok I'm done.
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Old 08-05-13, 10:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
When I asked them if the SWB inventory was low because it was the busiest part of the year they replied that SWB are only a very small segment of the market, not just for them, but all over the country.
Hmm. The one bent only dealer I know well has the exact opposite observation.
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Old 08-05-13, 10:11 AM   #7
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That's interesting. Most models are SWB and most manufacturers don't even offer a LWB bike. Marketing disconnect?
I seriously doubt that.
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Old 08-05-13, 10:29 AM   #8
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I seriously doubt that.
Me too. Shoulda added a
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Old 08-05-13, 12:18 PM   #9
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That's interesting. Most models are SWB and most manufacturers don't even offer a LWB bike. Marketing disconnect?
Bent Inventory is expensive,
Long Wheel Base bents often come in three or four or more frame sizes,
try spending 5 or 6 grand on ONE single model and still not having all the frame sizes or the bike for a particular customers X-seam.
Murphy's law,, states: If a LWB comes in five frame sizes and you get 4 for stock you will not have the one your first LWB buyer needs...

LWB's don't have a 'Boom' like SWB's and Tadpole Trikes.....

The above is only one factor,, and I hope no one feels the need to pic my details apart.

Next Factor,

Living with a LWB,,,
We are talking a wheel base of 60 to70 inches or more with an overall length of 85-90 inches,,,, or more.
Sticks way out on each side behind a small car,
Not easy to get up a flight of stairs or past the couch and down the hall,,,,,,,

A SWB bent takes about the same space as the DF's, Not so with the LWB.
Careful thought should be advised to buyers considering a LWB..

Yeah, most manufacturers have a hard time getting dealers to order LWB as a stock/floor Item, IMO they will always tend to be special order,,,
But then again I think LWB's are just plain special....

Without my Garage I would have thought twice about a LWB,, then got one anyways LOL

Just saying,,,,,,

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Old 08-05-13, 07:17 PM   #10
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I see more SWB's than any other style,
I think there are more SWB's because the people who buy bents near me are still into speed and like whipping Roadie DF riders....
You're over-generalizing. Some LWB's are faster than some SWB's. With the same engine, my V3 is faster than my V-Rex.
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Old 08-06-13, 09:41 AM   #11
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Bent Inventory is expensive,
Long Wheel Base bents often come in three or four or more frame sizes,
Just saying,,,,,,
Many don't. But I have to agree thay take up more showroom floor than SWB.
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Old 08-06-13, 09:54 AM   #12
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My suspicion is the SWB market has been nibbled away by other recumbent designs.

The go-fast buyers would rather have a high racer.
The bike trail riders might prefer a tadpole trike.
The long distance rural riders are probably choosing LWB recumbents.
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Old 08-06-13, 06:35 PM   #13
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I seriously doubt that.
+ 1. A simple search around the place of the number of manufactuers making SWB bikes versus the number making LWB should tell a very telling story. Clearly all those SWB manufacturers must have it wrong which explains why they are still in business

Andrew
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Old 08-06-13, 09:09 PM   #14
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+ 1. A simple search around the place of the number of manufactuers making SWB bikes versus the number making LWB should tell a very telling story. Clearly all those SWB manufacturers must have it wrong which explains why they are still in business

Andrew
Now I am wondering if a high percentage of SWB manufacturers sell direct or limited dealer list?
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Old 08-07-13, 06:56 AM   #15
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Now I am wondering if a high percentage of SWB manufacturers sell direct or limited dealer list?
Probably need to ask the manufacturer directly. I'm thinking most manufacturers won't sell directly if they have a dealer in the area because dealers don't like it when they get undercut by their supplier.
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Old 08-07-13, 10:24 AM   #16
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Now I am wondering if a high percentage of SWB manufacturers sell direct or limited dealer list?
Some will sell direct under certain circumstances (like no dealer nearby; as Retro-G notes).

There are a very small number that sell almoost all of their bikes direct - like Lightfoot, for example.

But there is no difference that I can observe in how recumbent bikes and t rikes of one type or another are sold. IOW, bike/trike style/ type doesn't have anything to do with it.
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Old 08-07-13, 02:01 PM   #17
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Probably need to ask the manufacturer directly. I'm thinking most manufacturers won't sell directly if they have a dealer in the area because dealers don't like it when they get undercut by their supplier.
The other factor. A bike retailer/dealer Is more likely to get it built and set up correctly than a guy at home that will not read instructions and has who knows what kind of tools. Picture a guy trying to put a Catrike together with a Phillips and a cresent wrench... LOL
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Old 08-08-13, 07:36 AM   #18
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I'm past mid 60's and have SWB, LWB and tandem USS. Each bike has a purpose. Riding around the city on trails and streets and club rides I like my SWB. Trips of camping mean pulling down the LWB. The tandem is for when my wife wants to get out.
Local dealers stock what they sell and seem to talk down what they do not have in stock. Trikes are selling good at many shops as some of us are getting older and want to stay up right. You are doing it right by looking around and speaking to others that do not have an axe to grind. Look at as many bents as you can and ride them also. Buy what suits you and not what the 'salesman' is 'selling.'
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