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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 03-03-14, 05:45 PM   #1
VACaver
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Thinking of a bent...should I take the plunge?

I've talked to a couple of folks riding bents and am toying with the idea of buying one.

I'm 57 and my knees are starting to feel their age. Heck, ALL of me is starting to feel my age I've been riding since high school and am thinking that it's time to make the move to a bent...I just need to be sold on the benefits of doing so.

So, my question: Before I go out and spend big bucks, what can I look forward to? Will my knees, back, and neck thank me for it?

The nearest bent shop to me is about 3 hours away in Vienna, VA, so I'd like to get as much info as I can before making the trip to go see them.

Thanks!
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Old 03-03-14, 05:48 PM   #2
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what brands does that shop sell?
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Old 03-03-14, 05:54 PM   #3
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Your back and neck will likely thank you if you can find the right bent. Your knees aren't necessarily going to be happier, but you should be able to make them happier on both platforms ( e.g., adjust seat location, lower gearing, paying attention to foot on pedal angle). Besides going to a dealer, finding local rides is another option for trying bents as well.
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Old 03-03-14, 07:10 PM   #4
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what brands does that shop sell?
Several brands according to their website: http://www.bikesatvienna.com/products.html

I'm in Roanoke...no shops around here sell bents.
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Old 03-03-14, 07:43 PM   #5
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one of these , perhaps? http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html
Rohloff hub magura brakes has dual suspension ..

[have a bike with a R'off in a 20" wheel a 53 t chainring gears it right up there .]
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Old 03-03-14, 07:47 PM   #6
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Of course, you should do some test rides on a variety of bents before you buy, if possible. But, like many converts, once you take the plunge you'll wonder why the heck you didn't do so years earlier!
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Old 03-03-14, 10:42 PM   #7
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My butt, prostate, lower back, shoulders and neck thanked me right away when I got a LWB recumbent. It took a while to find the right tires to get rid of road buzz that was driving the nerves in my hands nuts. That and carpal tunnel surgery solved the hands problem. So, I can say that a lot of age related body problems can be resolved by a recumbent. That was in my early fifties. I'm now 66 and still riding the bent. By now I have it totally dialed in and it is a very comfortable and relaxing bike. EZ Sport AX by Easy Racers.

Do some test rides and keep notes on the different types. Critical thinking is important here. You can find the right bike for you. bk

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Old 03-03-14, 10:57 PM   #8
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Several brands according to their website: http://www.bikesatvienna.com/products.html

I'm in Roanoke...no shops around here sell bents.
I was told that most of what they have on the floor is trikes. That's not surprising, since the recumbent market has gone to trikes in a big way.

Your neck and butt will thank you, but it's tempting to push against the back of the seat. Don't- you'll turn your knees to jelly. Practice spinning, even if it means creeping up hills (yeah, I know- that's all there is in Virginia). The reward is heading down the other side with your cheeks going whuppa-whuppa-whuppa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EKta39WA8U
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Old 03-04-14, 08:20 AM   #9
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Nine years ago I took the plunge and bought my first recumbent. I had looked at them from time to time thinking they they looked logical. When I bought mine, I had a touring bike, and a mountain bike. After buying that recumbent, neither one ever got ridden again. Bents are that good. I now own a Rans Stratus and a TerraTrike tadpole trike. To put it bluntly unless you are forced to ride a DF because you race, enduring the pain of a DF is foolish.

Buy a bent, you will be very glad you did, and so will your body.
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Old 03-04-14, 08:50 AM   #10
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Looking at the 'bentrider' locator, it doesn't look like you're *that* far from Mt Airy in MD. They have a rep for being a big recumbent dealer. I'd still call ahead.

As far as telling you whether or not to get a bent: This is a recumbent forum, so OF COURSE you should get one. Your back and neck will thank you, whether or not your knees do is up to you. Bents are still leg-powered, after all. BTW, I am 58 and have been riding them since I was 42.
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Old 03-04-14, 09:37 AM   #11
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What you haven't told us is what kind of riding you do. There's a lot more variability in bents than uprights and there's some specificity in what designs to what better. E.G. The HP Velotechnik Speedmachine is a top tier touring bike, really comfy- but it's not a racer, despite the name.
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Old 03-04-14, 02:14 PM   #12
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Have you considered a used recumbent?

Get ready for some serious sticker shock particularly if you are only going to consider a brand new recumbent. If you can find a used recumbent at a reasonable price you might be a little less shocked. It's also the way to reduce the possibility of buying a recumbent and then finding out it is not the right one for you. If you buy it second hand and then pass it on you lose a lot less money. Of course, finding one locally may be hit and miss. I've bought new and used. The best deals were on used recumbents. There's one I bought new that I wish I hadn't.

If you are really lucky you will find someone who is selling at a tremendous loss and it will be your gain. I just spotted a Catrike Villager trike for sale in town with an asking price of $950. It is in a wealthy part of town so I don't think it might be stolen. Probably somebody who bought it on a whim and found out exercise is still hard, no matter what you ride. It is 2 years old and according to the ad, the owner rode it about 50 miles. The current price at Utah Trikes is "starting at" $2350 and does not include sales tax or shipping. I would expect a buyer could resell it for several hundred dollars more if he didn't like it and would list it on some recumbent site such as bentrideronline.com. In contrast, there is a decade old BikeE CT listed for $750 at the same time. Anyone who pays that much for the cheapest version of BikeE is nuts. I've seen the same model listed for $200-$300 (and I still wouldn't buy it!).
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Old 03-04-14, 03:35 PM   #13
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To put it bluntly unless you are forced to ride a DF because you race, enduring the pain of a DF is foolish.

Buy a bent, you will be very glad you did, and so will your body.[/QUOTE]

+1 bk
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Old 03-04-14, 11:49 PM   #14
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Looking at the 'bentrider' locator, it doesn't look like you're *that* far from Mt Airy in MD. They have a rep for being a big recumbent dealer. I'd still call ahead.

As far as telling you whether or not to get a bent: This is a recumbent forum, so OF COURSE you should get one. Your back and neck will thank you, whether or not your knees do is up to you. Bents are still leg-powered, after all. BTW, I am 58 and have been riding them since I was 42.
I was chatting with Bill Cook a couple weeks ago and he specifically recommended against Mt. Airy. I'm going to visit Mt. Airy when I get a chance, but then I'm a pretty picky purchaser (mostly because I know more about bikes than most bike shop owners).
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Old 03-06-14, 11:13 AM   #15
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Asking on a bent forum will likely give you biased opinions. I'll offer some opposing views (be gentle on criticizing me, I have owned and ridden a bent)

If you ride in groups of mostly non-recumbents, you may notice a yo-yo effect where you blow ahead on downhills (and maybe straights), and fall back on climbs.
In groups, in traffic, on urban streets with stop lights and such, starting and stopping is more precarious than normal bikes --especially up hill starts.
On bumpy, pot-holey roads you can't use your legs as suspension to mitigate nasty bumps. It just hits you in the arse.
I had minor problems with recumbent butt. You can't easily unweight your sore, compressed cheeks like you can on normal bike (standing up).
Back problems aren't necessarily mitigated on a bent. It might make it worse.

[Edit: adding that I owned and rode several longish trips on a Burley Canto in both long and short wheelbase configurations]
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Old 03-07-14, 08:28 AM   #16
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dbg

As for riding with group rides with DF riders, yes you may yo-yo some, but what differnce does that make. OTOH there are bike clubs that are primarlly bent clubs. I ride with one in Omaha. Stops and hills are no problem what so ever after a few rides on a bent. I for instance can start out on a hill and maintain a line probably no more than 6 inches wide, it is a matter of experience.

As for potholes etc, maybe I do watch the road a little more to miss them, no big deal. And on my trike, maybe even a little more to put the pot hole between one of my front wheels and the back wheel. Again no big deal.

One more thing, even if I do fall behind some on really steep hills, it is fun yelling on your left when going down. And the big thing is when the ride is over, NOTHING hurts.
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Old 03-07-14, 10:17 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by dbg View Post
Asking on a bent forum will likely give you biased opinions. I'll offer some opposing views (be gentle on criticizing me, I have owned and ridden a bent)

If you ride in groups of mostly non-recumbents, you may notice a yo-yo effect where you blow ahead on downhills (and maybe straights), and fall back on climbs.
In groups, in traffic, on urban streets with stop lights and such, starting and stopping is more precarious than normal bikes --especially up hill starts.
On bumpy, pot-holey roads you can't use your legs as suspension to mitigate nasty bumps. It just hits you in the arse.
I had minor problems with recumbent butt. You can't easily unweight your sore, compressed cheeks like you can on normal bike (standing up).
Back problems aren't necessarily mitigated on a bent. It might make it worse.

[Edit: adding that I owned and rode several longish trips on a Burley Canto in both long and short wheelbase configurations]
This has been my experience as well.
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Old 03-07-14, 01:46 PM   #18
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I'll just intersperse my answers... been riding 'bent for 20 years and have 3 of them. LWB, SWB and a midracer.


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Asking on a bent forum will likely give you biased opinions. I'll offer some opposing views (be gentle on criticizing me, I have owned and ridden a bent)

If you ride in groups of mostly non-recumbents, you may notice a yo-yo effect where you blow ahead on downhills (and maybe straights), and fall back on climbs.
Depends on the bent and the rider- usually though a bent that will climb fast will fly away on downhills and flats. So you have a point.

Quote:
In groups, in traffic, on urban streets with stop lights and such, starting and stopping is more precarious than normal bikes --especially up hill starts.
Highly bike dependent. Low bb bikes (e.g. a P-38) are very traffic friendly. I commute on mine without any issues- it goes, it stops, it turns- no biggie. A stickbike would be a different proposition.

Quote:
On bumpy, pot-holey roads you can't use your legs as suspension to mitigate nasty bumps. It just hits you in the arse.
Depending on the bike you can bridge using your shoulders,(no you can't keep that up all day) or get a bike with suspension (E.g. A HP Veloteknik Speedmachine or the like- cushmatic ).

Quote:
I had minor problems with recumbent butt. You can't easily unweight your sore, compressed cheeks like you can on normal bike (standing up).
Probably a seat recline issue. More recline "usually" solves it. In any event it's not comparable to a regular saddle. (Aaah vs. ouch!)


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Back problems aren't necessarily mitigated on a bent. It might make it worse.
Depends on more variables than we can disuss here, but generally it's a big improvement- particularly for cervical problems.

Quote:
[Edit: adding that I owned and rode several longish trips on a Burley Canto in both long and short wheelbase configurations]
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Old 03-07-14, 03:19 PM   #19
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I never quite got used to tight uphill starts at stoplights and such during the two seasons I rode bent --but admit it's probably an experience thing.

I did enjoy blowing past everyone on downhills. I found myself shouting "Somebody STOP me!" --a la Jim Carrey in The Mask.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sJqTDaOrTg

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Old 03-10-14, 02:56 AM   #20
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If you like social interaction, bents are a great way to break that ice when meeting with strangers.
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Old 03-10-14, 12:02 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=delcrossv;16557827]I'll just intersperse my answers... been riding 'bent for 20 years and have 3 of them. LWB, SWB and a midracer.

Highly bike dependent. Low bb bikes (e.g. a P-38) are very traffic friendly. I commute on mine without any issues- it goes, it stops, it turns- no biggie. A stickbike would be a different proposition.

I commute on my a stick bike Bacchetta Strada in heavy traffic with no issues,it goes, it stops, it turns- no biggie.
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Old 03-10-14, 06:36 PM   #22
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My suburban/urban commuter of choice is a SWB V-Rex. Love relaxing at red lights with one or both feet on the ground instead of the one-legged tippy-toed balancing act that was my previous red light norm on hybrids.
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Old 03-11-14, 10:35 AM   #23
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I'll just intersperse my answers... been riding 'bent for 20 years and have 3 of them. LWB, SWB and a midracer.

Highly bike dependent. Low bb bikes (e.g. a P-38) are very traffic friendly. I commute on mine without any issues- it goes, it stops, it turns- no biggie. A stickbike would be a different proposition.
I commute on my a stick bike Bacchetta Strada in heavy traffic with no issues,it goes, it stops, it turns- no biggie.
Well, there you go- both rider and bike dependent.
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Old 03-11-14, 07:57 PM   #24
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To the OP, I think you should try a recumbent. Why not?

If you look around and get a used one, it needn't cost too much. My wife and I bought a used Rans V-Rex for $400, it was in very nice condition and we could probably sell it for close to that.
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Old 03-11-14, 08:28 PM   #25
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Here's another advantage of a bent (that I just nicely demonstrated today) : it hurts less when you fall over. (I'm fine, bike is fine, black ice sucks).

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