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  1. #1
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    help me pick a SWB recumbent

    Appreciate input!

    Have been researching recumbent and have developed the following criteria:

    SWB

    Speed - as fast or faster than my Serotta Legend for spirited Club weekend and weekday training rides
    between speed and comfort not sure which is priority
    Comfort - ride 160-mile ride across Indiana and possibly week long tour or brevets

    Climbing - good climber, want to be able to get my body into it? - almost exclusively remain seated on DF - many 15%+ short hills in Southern Indiana

    BB-low enough to see road-may need guidance here

    wheels-prefer 700 standard road bike wheels

    prefer made in USA-Rans, Volae, Edge, Easy Racer and Lightning are the manufacturers that I am aware of that manufacture some or all models in USA.

    also rack and bag accessories

    good customer service
    Last edited by dekindy; 08-07-13 at 08:29 PM.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that the smartest thing that you could do would be to spend a day with a recumbent specialty dealer.

  3. #3
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    You left out Bacchetta - headquartered in Florida. Corsa, T--Aero are the speed models.
    Easy Racers doesn't make SWBs that I'm aware of.
    Cruzbike is a front-wheel drive SWB that you may not have considered. This year's women's RAAM champion rode one of these.

    You might want to take a gander at the BROL forums and ask for opinions there. Far more recumbent riders seem to hang out there though there's some overlap in membership/readership (obviously).

  4. #4
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If you want a great climber that's fairly fast everywhere else too, get a Carbent. But beware. My rule-of-thumb is that the hillier the terrain, the harder it is to ride with the uprights. You'd be playing leapfrog for the entire ride. That's because most people will climb more slowly on a bent. That leaves you with a choice of getting dropped on the uphill and catching up later; or going off the front and letting them catch up on the climbs. Another factor with hills is that the uprights take the hills differently. They lose speed more quickly at the bottom, and if you get caught behind them you'll end up hitting the brakes just about the time all of them stand on the pedals and dance away up the hill, leaving you in the wrong gear and with no momentum. Because of that, I recommend the going-off-the-front tactic.

    When I do Hilly Hundred, I generally average about 17.5 mph average each day.

  5. #5
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Cruzbike Vendetta or Silvio should be on your list to consider. Being FWD moving bottom bracket bikes, they have a learning curve, but most people adapt to them very nicely.

    Blazing Pedals point is true for any aerodynamic bent. Even if the bent climbs well, you are going to be going faster on the flats and down hills relative to the up hills.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  6. #6
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I think that the smartest thing that you could do would be to spend a day with a recumbent specialty dealer.
    I have been doing dealer searches and they are few and far between, rarely have more than one brand with limited inventory, and are very far away. Recumbent distribution is almost nonexistent.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    I have been doing dealer searches and they are few and far between, rarely have more than one brand with limited inventory, and are very far away. Recumbent distribution is almost nonexistent.
    I said "smartest thing" not "easiest thing".

    Try "bentrideronline.com" They have several recumbent specialty shops listed. You still may have to drive 500 miles or so to visit one. The good news is you can see several different styles of recumbents and make a more informed decision about what is going to work best for you. They'll also be able to guide you with things like storage and transportation.

  9. #9
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    Shops are too far away. Guess I will have to wait until I am making a trip near a large dealer or purchase direct. Maybe I will find a used deal in the meantime but not likely.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  10. #10
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    How bout this,, Find a used one of a brand or type with a long reputation as a pleaser/keeper.. make shure it fits and is in working order... buy it, ride it, modify it, cuss it, love it, and get out there.. Talk to the BROL people as they have many long term members who you could trust to help you and sell you a decent first SWB bent.... Beats a long wait to get back 'In Da Wind'.... Just sayin.
    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  11. #11
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Shops are too far away. Guess I will have to wait until I am making a trip near a large dealer or purchase direct. Maybe I will find a used deal in the meantime but not likely.
    Where are you? How far do you consider "too far"?

  12. #12
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Have you looked into Valley Bikes or Circle City Bikes in Indy? Valley Bikes used to be in Carmel and was 'bent-centric but now operates out of a residence on the West Side, I think.
    Circle City Bicycles and Fitness, on the Southside, sometimes has a 'bent or two on the showroom floor. I bought my V-Rex and V3 through them in '08 and '09. Sight unseen-they ordered them from RANS. First test rides were when they were ready to pick up. Both bikes are great. Both places have websites. The last time I talked with the owner of Circle City, he said that they now make minimal money on ordering bikes from RANS.
    We ordered our Screamer tandem directly from Hostel Shoppe in WI. Again sight unseen and no test ride before the purchase. That, too, turned out to be a good purchase.
    That said, it's always best to test ride a bike first. Lots of hurdles to buying a recumbent bike.

    My first 'bent was one that was listed on the online CIBA classifieds. Cheap. That Tailwind got me hooked, even if it was too small.
    (No more CIBA classifieds.)
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  13. #13
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    IM(limited)E, climbing prowess of a recumbent is related to weight and gearing. There is no recumbent equivalent to standing up on a DF.

  14. #14
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    Been to Valley Bikes and they had two Hase Kettwiesel that I purchased for myself and handicapped Son to couple together and ride and they had 4-6 tadpoles at that time which would have been an adequate selection for that style if I were in the market; which I might be in the future as they are very fun to ride. Best they could do for 2-wheel were a couple of very used but in good shape classis LWB; absolutely nothing in SWB. Mike is a great asset but cannot demo what he does not have.

    I get to Circle City rarely since they and another major shop there are exactly on the other side of the city and there are a half dozen great shops close by. However have purchased a Kurt Kinetic trainer from them and a few other odd items. Have never seen a recumbent there or seen them listed as a Dealer for any of the brands that I have researched. However I am seeing some very big shops stocking and demoing major brands and are not listed in Manufacturer Dealer networks which is discouraging seeing how there are so few Deaers to track.

    Don't really want to drive hundreds of miles and stay overnight to demo recumbent which after reviewing every dealer and determining which would have an acceptable demo fleet seems to be the situation for someone living in Central Indiana.
    Last edited by dekindy; 08-09-13 at 11:52 PM.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  15. #15
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Don't really want to drive hundreds of miles and stay overnight to demo recumbent which after reviewing every dealer and determining which would have an acceptable demo fleet seems to be the situation for someone living in Central Indiana.
    If you were interested in Volae bikes, to the point of considering buying one, it could make sense to drive up to Hostel Shoppe in Stevens Point for a hands-on inspection and test ride. All their bikes are SWB. Long drive, though (400+ miles). Especially if the drive home (400+ miles) is bike-less.
    I talked with a fellow today who lives in Albuquerque, NM. He said many 'normal' bikes shops out there stock and sell recumbents. Not the case around here.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  16. #16
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    Volae also has a decent return policy if you don't like the bike. I ride a Volae almost exclusively.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what you expect by involving your body. Long before Cruzbikes came on the scene, I always maintained that involving your upper body (on a bent) might make you feel like you're working out more, but didn't put any extra power to the pedals. That's because your legs alone have the capability of maxxing out your cardio-vascular system. Cruzbike maintains that they can add significant extra power by using the upper body; but IMNSHO all they're doing is using extra energy to counteract the pedal steer that wouldn't exist if the entire drive train wasn't mounted on a swivel. So, once again, they're using more power but not putting any of it on the road.

    There's an unofficial bentrider map, which shows six recumbent riders in the Indy area, if you are willing to go as far as Muncie. Contacting these people for test rides, and networking from there, might allow you to sample a significant number of bents.

  18. #18
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Cruzbike maintains that they can add significant extra power by using the upper body; but IMNSHO all they're doing is using extra energy to counteract the pedal steer that wouldn't exist if the entire drive train wasn't mounted on a swivel. So, once again, they're using more power but not putting any of it on the road.
    Pedal steer isn't an issue for most experienced MBB riders (as evidence by the fact we can ride with no hands).

    Cruzbike's most controversial claim is that because of the format, riders can output more power for sustained periods of time. I'm pretty much undecided on this claim although:

    1) If you look at cross country skiing as an example, people can put out more power using their arms and legs than just their legs, for extended periods of time).

    2) Maria's exploits on RAAM and climbing are quite impressive (whether this is due to just the stiff Vendetta drive train and Maria's athletic ability alone or because of some sustained MBB benefit, I don't know).

    The Cruzbike claim that it can put out more power for a short period of time is something I do believe (as compared to some recumbents). On my LWB bike, I can only brace myself somewhat with the seat if I really want to pound on the pedals. With my Cruzbike, I can "plank" by pushing on the handlebars and lift my butt out of the seat. I can only do this for short periods of time, but I can double my speed up some short but steep hills (I then fall over at the top of the hill due to exhaustion).

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

  19. #19
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    ... With my Cruzbike, I can "plank" by pushing on the handlebars and lift my butt out of the seat. I can only do this for short periods of time, but I can double my speed up some short but steep hills (I then fall over at the top of the hill due to exhaustion).
    I can do that on my bents, too. Letting the hips move allows a little bit more torque go to the pedals -- at a huge energy cost. I can't maintain it for more than 10 seconds. Doubling climbing speed? I'm not the best of climbers by a longshot, but doubling my speed up a hill? Not possible no matter how efficient the bike is.

  20. #20
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    I can do that on my bents, too. Letting the hips move allows a little bit more torque go to the pedals -- at a huge energy cost. I can't maintain it for more than 10 seconds. Doubling climbing speed? I'm not the best of climbers by a longshot, but doubling my speed up a hill? Not possible no matter how efficient the bike is.
    There's a hill that I'll often find myself going around 7mph. The next time I did the same hill I was really pushing it, I got upto 15 mph.
    I probably shouldn't have claimed double in the first place as my slow run wasn't really a good effort...

    On my Cruzbike, I can bridge (I used to be able to do it about a minute, but I was in better shape). I can also pull myself up and sit upright and I can also get more power to the wheels although the boost isn't as much planking, but I don't think I do it well. When I look at Maria climb hills, it looks as if she's also pulling the wheel into her foot at the same time she's pedaling.

    As has been pointed out in other threads, if we really want to answer this, we'll need several bikes setup with power meters. It would be interesting, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it...
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  21. #21
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    OP,, don't forget, It takes time and miles to begin to develop, 'Bent Legs',, we use somewhat different muscle groups... Chasing DF riders when your new to bents can be hard.
    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  22. #22
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    If money is no object, I'd look at the Bacchetta Carbon 2.0 or something like that. It would keep up with anything. The Strava speeds I see on those things is impressive.

    Contrarian that I am, I don't think it helps to test ride recumbents if you are new to them. They will all feel weird. You might as well go with what's available and get used to it.

    I went with Bacchetta SWB because it was available. Right now I'm renting a LWB and really like it: much more stable at slow speeds during climbing. I'd like to have both at hand, depending on what kind of terrain I'm riding.

    BTW, if there is no dealer nearby, Bacchetta will ship a fully assembled bike to your door.
    Last edited by Dudelsack; 08-14-13 at 10:57 AM.

  23. #23
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    Going to have to find a way to get to Alfred Station, NY to test ride recumbent bikes at the Bicycle Man. Looks like the best selection and no farther than other shops with not as good selections. The Linear SWB and LWB that Bicycleman builds have caught my eye but lots of other makers to test; more than anyone else best that I can tell.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dekindy View Post
    Going to have to find a way to get to Alfred Station, NY to test ride recumbent bikes at the Bicycle Man. Looks like the best selection and no farther than other shops with not as good selections. The Linear SWB and LWB that Bicycleman builds have caught my eye but lots of other makers to test; more than anyone else best that I can tell.
    IMO, you can't find a cheaper all-around fast bike than a used Corsa. (especially if you can live with 650c. There are a lot available.)
    A used Corsa is the fastest bike per $1 than any other readily available bike in the world.
    I Bought mine for ~$1200
    It's been beat up, wrapped around 2 poles, dropped, crashed, walled during a race, rain, snow, neglect. almost 20k miles.
    I took it out a couple weeks ago for a club ride and with a good set of wheels, it's simply an amazing bike. I managed to close a 15 sec gap on my buddy in less than 3 min with 5-10 watts less than he was doing. That was with Gatorskins.

    With:
    a 1500g wheelset, a heavier M5 carbon seat (or Euromesh) w/ ventisit pad, Gossomer Triple, sram 971 chain, FR5(6?) brake levers (~$5), shimano bar end shifters, 105 front, deore XT long cage rear, a $5 make-shift head rest, keo classic pedals and a spy mirror...
    the bike weighs ~23-24lbs.

    if you went crazy you could get it down under 21lbs.

    I raced it a couple seasons ago with a rear 32 spoke PT hub and disk cover for a racing weight of 26.5 lbs and finished 10th out of 64 in a local sanctioned hill climb TT.



    I have a power meter on my upright again and I'm not seeing much difference in my ability to produce power from 1 sec to 20 min. I'll be testing for a month, so it's too early to draw conclusions. My results last time I ran a powermeter on the upright that I was about 40-50 watts weaker on the upright.
    currently I'm suspicious that my new G3 hub is running a bit low, if that's the case then I'm still stronger on my bent. If it is accurate then I'm the same. (about ~4 watts:kilo)

    All of that to say: There is no apparent benefit to standing on the pedals for me (cept its fun). There is no benefit to pulling on the bars on my DF (unless I'm in too big of a gear and I can't stay in the seat. not a problem on my bent). I'm faster on my bent climbing even the steepest hills (22%+)

    Also, if the PT hub on my CA2 is accurate, then my CA2 climbs faster on fewer watts than every upright cyclist I ride with (that uses power).

    Like CPlager I usually climb my 10% hill ~7mph (~300 watts), but I've managed to climb it over 14 mph once (wasn't using a power meter)
    http://app.strava.com/segments/1028043
    has little to do with the bike or technique and more with my level of commitment and my level post ride fatigue (it's the last hill to get home)

    T

  25. #25
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    Learned of a used Rans V-Rex but have not had a chance to view and ride it yet. It may not be very old.

    How would that compare to a Corsa?

    What would be a good price?
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

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