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  1. #1
    Member ldarlee's Avatar
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    Any bent/upright switch hitters out there?

    Started cycling a few years ago, and since seeing my first recumbents have become increasingly intrigued. I'm in the very baby stages of educating myself and am hoping for a little help with a few questions:

    1. This is one of those "just wonderin'" questions: I have many close bike club friends with whom I ride so I don't plan on giving up my DF very soon (famous last words, right?). For you folks that ride both an upright and a recumbent on a regular basis, I'm curious about the physiological effects. That is, do you feel like it helps in keeping your leg muscles rested/balanced, or are the riding styles actually so close that it doesn't seem to matter?

    2. Is there a be-all-to-end-all web page that's like a "Recumbents for Dummies"? I've done a lot of reading on this and other bent rider forums, but it'd be really helpful to find a resource that consolidates much of the basic information (acronyms, nomenclature, recumbent type comparison, etc.).

    Thanks to you all.

  2. #2
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Good post.

    There are dedicated bent forums you should check out, like bent rider online and such.

    I think most bent riders keep their road bikes. I put my road bike up on the trainer, and ride it on the road every now and then. For long distances, nothing beats a bent, which is why we get them.

    The decision tree starts with LongWheelBase bents vs ShortWheelBase bents. SWB are quicker and more versatile, but twitchier and actually harder on the low back. LWB are heavier, more stable, easier on the back, and harder on the butt.

    I own a SWB. I like it, but I'd like to save up some coin and get something like a Bacchetta Bella.

  3. #3
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    I've found that 'bent riding inproves DF speed but, oddly enough, not the other way around. (Kid's racing training). Truth be told, I only ride the DF on very short (<5 mi.) rides any more. On the 'bent, 75 mi. is just "a nice day out"
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    I love Wikipedia for various topics, works for recumbents too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recumbent_bicycle

  5. #5
    Member ldarlee's Avatar
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    I thank you all for the information. The Wikipedia article is exactly what I was looking for. Can't believe that I didn't think to check there as I also am a fan.

    Sounds like my first step is to determine my own goals. I started considering a recumbent for just the aspect of sheer fun, something to tool around on during non-club days. But since I'm a fan of century+ rides, I'm beginning to think that it could become my vehicle of choice for long distance.

    The comment about 'bent riding improving DF speed but not the other way around is very interesting. I've never felt the urge to be first over the line (my competitive nature and I retired long ago), but I sure wouldn't complain about getting home a few minutes sooner.

  6. #6
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    Switch back and forth often, allows one to buy more bikes, and bentrideronline.com is an excellent source of info

  7. #7
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    I've found that 'bent riding inproves DF speed but, oddly enough, not the other way around. (Kid's racing training). Truth be told, I only ride the DF on very short (<5 mi.) rides any more. On the 'bent, 75 mi. is just "a nice day out"
    I have the same impression.

    I ride a DF as my daily commuter, all around utility bike, and occasionally on group rides. Virtually never over 20 miles. I have a vintage Motobecane that I thoroughly enjoy riding and frequently threaten to ride on a brevet... but when the rubber meets the road; when I pull a bike down off the hooks for a long ride, it's always the recumbent.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

  8. #8
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    In my garage, I have:
    LWB Gold Rush (most ridden)
    SWB P-38 (my first commercial recumbent, now 23 1/2 years old)
    Cuda W-2 streamliner (the paycheck vacuum)
    Schwinn Le Tour single-speed (the coffee shop bike)
    Access mountain bike (like I ever go off-road)
    and parts for at least 2.75 more bikes that get swapped around in various combinations

    I've been riding and working on bikes for 40 years, including a 12 year career in the bike business. I've yet to figure out what the "perfect" bike is. I just figure it's horses for courses.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  9. #9
    Ride more, eat less cat0020's Avatar
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    I have been riding road bikes since I was a teenager in the early 90's, pedaled across the NA continent on a Huffy 10-speed when I was 18; Raced collegiate, USCF & USAC.. Started riding recumbent back in 2006, still riding all my other bikes, but for long distance casual pacing rides, nothing beats a recumbent.
    Last edited by cat0020; 01-29-14 at 11:54 AM.
    Master your environment, and you will survive just fine.
    Chances favor the prepared mind.

  10. #10
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    Switch back and forth? Not if I can help it. I finally gave away my 1974 Motobecane Le Champion road bike because I just never took it off the wall. It was beautiful, lightweight, and had lots of upgrades like Phil Wood hubs. It was great when I was much younger but just torture as I got old.

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I'm 99.99% recumbent. There are things that uprights do better; it's just that I hardly ever do those things!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    I still have my mountain bike for off-road touring and my Surly Long Haul Trucker for chasing the dirt (real touring ) and cannot see myself replacing either bike with a recumbent, but for my day to day riding, commuting and audax rides it is all recumbent ... a LoGo P-38





    Andrew

  13. #13
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    I do single track when the woods are dry, very intense workouts I get out there.....
    A bent just cant go where I go on my Scott Aspect 940 hard tail 29er'..
    Saving for a dropper seat post, For those that don't know, Single track riding can get very intense real fast.

    My Tour Easy is my most loved and ridden bike, so relaxing, mile after mile.
    I also like our Sun EZ-3 delta trike, my better half rides only this one. Its not fast but its a lot of fun.
    Scott Spark 760, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  14. #14
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    The only thing I have noted since getting used to the 'bent is that every time I ride my DF now I consider how absurd it is to storm down a hill face first. Just seems to defy good logic...
    One Foot Less

  15. #15
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    My road bike, and daily commuter is bent, but my mtn bike is DF.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    In the interest of full disclosure, I ride my DF more that my recumbent. I too thought they looked interesting, and came across a good deal in the classifieds that I could not pass up (SWB Rotator).
    I find climbing more difficult on the bent, and starting up on a hill MUCH more difficult. I know that lots of people climb big hills on bents. I also know that faster on the downhill is the payback for slower up the hill. I am talking about difficulty, not speed.
    Other than that, it is just which you prefer. The bent position is inherently more comfortable, but you only get one position. You can't "ride light", so you either are very careful about holes and bumps; use bigger, lower pressure tires, or suspension. The latter two add weight and potentially rolling resistance (although my bent has 100 psi 20" tires and seems to pedal easily enough).
    As far as going down a hill head first, if you hit something at speed on an OSS bent, you may castrate yourself (assuming you are male).

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldarlee View Post
    Started cycling a few years ago, and since seeing my first recumbents have become increasingly intrigued. I'm in the very baby stages of educating myself and am hoping for a little help with a few questions:

    1. This is one of those "just wonderin'" questions: I have many close bike club friends with whom I ride so I don't plan on giving up my DF very soon (famous last words, right?). For you folks that ride both an upright and a recumbent on a regular basis, I'm curious about the physiological effects. That is, do you feel like it helps in keeping your leg muscles rested/balanced, or are the riding styles actually so close that it doesn't seem to matter?
    I find my legs feel my efforts more on the bent. Mostly the front above the knees.
    I ride SWB stick bikes. They seem to work really well with Club Rides. And seem to be similar enough in pedaling technique. At least with my position and seat angle.
    My cycling buddies gave me an 18 lb Trek 5200 a couple months ago and I've been putting a significant amount of miles on the that. Still not that much fun after 30 or 40 miles, though. But it's all fun.

    What's great, is I can swap over my PowerTap 46mm carbon clinchers. So I've got a lot of data collected over the last 2 months using the same power meter.
    Compared to my Vintage Canondale, I seem to get about 15 watts more watts (different wheel). Compared to the CA2 and the Corsa (different wheel, also... I know, but once you have 1 power meter, you find you collect them), about 10 watts. Could be drive train maintenance issues... but it's probably pretty accurate. I'm still not blowing my CA2 Strava climbs away on the trek yet. The CA2 is a really efficient bike!
    Best part about really intense training is I can swap back and forth between the 2 platforms every other day and mix up the stress on the muscles a tiny bit.
    In fact, some of my best bent TT's came after a bunch of threshold on the DF the day before.

    Anyhow, I've got well over 40k miles on my stick bikes (hiracers, short wheel base SWB).
    After 4 or 5 years without riding a DF, I was significantly stronger, right away.
    My time on either platform, bent or DF, helps the other for me. At least some. They both tax the circulatory system and improve my lungs.
    For whatever it's worth, I'm about 10hours/week, 175 miles/week ( ~500-800 TSS/week. That seems to keep me right around 3.8-4.1 watts:kilo FTP and a CTL above 90. If any of that's meaningful to you)

    I also believe riding both platforms improves my knee health.
    Hard to give up Out-of-the-saddle efforts, too :-)

    T

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ldarlee;16446709]2. Is there a be-all-to-end-all web page that's like a "Recumbents for Dummies"? I've done a lot of reading on this and other bent rider forums, but it'd be really helpful to find a resource that consolidates much of the basic information (acronyms, nomenclature, recumbent type comparison, etc.)./QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    In my garage, I have:
    LWB Gold Rush (most ridden)
    SWB P-38 (my first commercial recumbent, now 23 1/2 years old)
    Cuda W-2 streamliner (the paycheck vacuum)
    Schwinn Le Tour single-speed (the coffee shop bike)
    Access mountain bike (like I ever go off-road)
    and parts for at least 2.75 more bikes that get swapped around in various combinations.
    I identify with your frustration. Recumbent design is evolving at a much more rapid pace than DF bike design. The differing configurations are often referred to in short hand that is constantly changing as new designs are developed that don't exactly match any previous design. Also, recumbent posters often refer to their rides by model name which, if you don't already know what it looks like, isn't very helpful.

    One other thing: be careful with that "Recumbents for Dummies" kind of talk. We don't want to feed the enemy any cheap straight lines.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  19. #19
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    I ride both, but I am too uncomfortable on the DF for more than 25 miles. I love the recumbent because I am so comfortable and I can ride as long as I want. Speed is the only issue..faster on the DF. I ride a Volae Century SWB.

    Mona

  20. #20
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Like BP, I'm 99+% 'bent since we replaced our upright tandem with a RANS Screamer three years ago. The hybrid of my dreams, a 2003 Novara Big Buzz, hangs forlornly in the garage, ridden only by one of my sons in recent years. When I bought a used RANS Tailwind in 2006, I intended to continue to commute on the Big Buzz and ride the TW just for fun but I quickly figured out that riding to work was more fun on a 'bent - as is all other riding.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  21. #21
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I just calculated my W/kg FTP and it came to 1.5. I think I'm going to ride my bent off a cliff.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benton1 View Post
    I ride both, but I am too uncomfortable on the DF for more than 25 miles. I love the recumbent because I am so comfortable and I can ride as long as I want. Speed is the only issue..faster on the DF. I ride a Volae Century SWB.
    For either speed or distance my weapon of choice would be my Rans Enduro Sport SWB. For riding in an urban environment I'd rather ride my DF beater bike because I can twist my shoulders and see better at intersections.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Hmmm. I just calculated my W/kg FTP and it came to 1.5. I think I'm going to ride my bent off a cliff.
    Not sure I'd put that much stock into the power meter you're using. Probably better than a HR monitor for training, but certainly not accurate enough to compare yourself to others with or deriving your Actual FTP.

    Also, aside from the inaccuracy being on a trainer is worth nearly a full zone.

    How are you tracking your LTS etc?

    T

  24. #24
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    I spent two seasons on a bent and eventually went back to DF completely (sold the bent). Ironically I switched to recumbent because of back problems but discovered the sitting position was slightly worse for my back. I mentioned my problems with bent riding on that other nearby thread, but I also just found it less immersive for some reason. I still had positional issues (compression soreness in the cheeks) that required stopping. I felt I couldn't twist around and look behind me as easily. I also felt fidgety with my arms and hands doing nothing. I used to joke about feeling like I should be reaching for the TV remote, or holding a beer, but overall I kept wanting more activity from my arms. Maybe I'm fortunate that I can do high mileage day after day on a DF. The "immersive" comment is hard to explain but I'll point out a similar reaction when I switched from short putter to a long-john putter in golf. I felt I was just casually observing the putt rather than being deeply involved in it --if that helps to explain.

    Edit: I should also mention that I really enjoy occasionally jumping out of the saddle and powering up a little rise, or quickly repositioning myself into a group, etc. Not the same on a bent.
    Last edited by dbg; 03-08-14 at 10:35 AM.
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  25. #25
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbg View Post
    I spent two seasons on a bent and eventually went back to DF completely (sold the bent). Ironically I switched to recumbent because of back problems but discovered the sitting position was slightly worse for my back. I mentioned my problems with bent riding on that other nearby thread, but I also just found it less immersive for some reason. I still had positional issues (compression soreness in the cheeks) that required stopping. I felt I couldn't twist around and look behind me as easily. I also felt fidgety with my arms and hands doing nothing. I used to joke about feeling like I should be reaching for the TV remote, or holding a beer, but overall I kept wanting more activity from my arms. Maybe I'm fortunate that I can do high mileage day after day on a DF. The "immersive" comment is hard to explain but I'll point out a similar reaction when I switched from short putter to a long-john putter in golf. I felt I was just casually observing the putt rather than being deeply involved in it --if that helps to explain.

    Edit: I should also mention that I really enjoy occasionally jumping out of the saddle and powering up a little rise, or quickly repositioning myself into a group, etc. Not the same on a bent.

    First, unlike DF bikes*, there are a very large variety of 'bents. LWB bents ride very differently from SWB bents. FWD, RWD, MBB (moving bottom bracket), etc. Seat angles vary drastically.

    The biggest point is that while one 'bent may have made your back worse, I'm willing to believe that others may have helped. This isn't true for everybody, but it is true for most.

    Recumbutt is typically symptomatic of having a seat angle that is too high. I used to get it and no longer do after lowering my seat angle. In my current positions, I have much more of my weight on my back and I find it much more comfortable (although what works for me may very well not work for you).

    As far as turning around and looking behind you, yup, this is pretty much a universal characteristic of 'bents. You need mirrors to see behind you well.

    If you want to use your arms more, try a MBB FWD bike. You can involve your upper body if you want to. I do often bridge for short distances, which means lifting my butt out of the seat and zooming up hills.

    Cheers,
    Charles

    * I know that Df riders think there are a lot of different DF bikes, but compared to 'bents, honestly?
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

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