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  1. #1
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Newbie with some questions.. like.. how much to spend on a used bent?

    Hey recumbent folks

    I've recently been bitten by the recumbent bug.. a few friends have gotten them and after trying them out, I can really see the appeal. This summer I'd like to do bigger distance rides, but after about 30 miles on a traditional bike, my hands and butt are not happy. A recumbent seems like the obvious solution.

    So I've been looking on craigslist for a good deal, but I don't know how much to spend. I'd rather not spend much more than 500, and even that would be a big investment for something I'm not sure I'll like. I see recumbents being listed for thousands which are definitely out of my price range, but not many being listed for 200 or less, which would be almost the "impulse buy" range. I can repair bikes, so a fixer-upper would be good, but it seems that is pretty uncommon.. all of the bikes I'm seeing are complete and pretty much ready to ride. Though I suppose I don't want to end up chasing down rare or hard to find parts

    A friend has a bikeE recumbent with an air shock, and when I test rode that, it felt like I was riding an easy chair. The handling was also a lot better than my other friend's bent .. I felt like the bikeE was easy to get started on and comfortable too, so having very little experience, I've been looking for another one like it. There is a BikeE RX 27 speed recumbent being sold for $600 on craigslist right now, but I'm not sure if that is a good value or not, or if I will be able to easily resell it if I discover recumbent riding isn't for me.

    Can you folks offer any advice? I'm checking the the wikipedia entry on recumbents to learn more about the differences between the different kinds.. surprisingly there's a lot of variety in designs. Hopefully I can figure out what might be best for me
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  2. #2
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    I don't know much about the recumbent bike market, but once you have focused in on some bikes, you need to price it based on the value to you - not what it cost the seller. Compare the used price to new price by taking into account the value of a warranty for a new bike that the used bike does not have, the value of improvements that have been made to the new model that are missing from the used model, and the wear and tear factor.

    Every new item, be it a bike or a microwave, has a "new value" factor that disappears as soon as it is no longer new even if everything else is equal (unless there is a shortage of new products.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member bent4me's Avatar
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    You need to visit a recumbent bike shop and try a few different models to see what best suits you. You will not find a quality recumbent for under $500. There are a few used Bikee and similar style China recumbents which are fine for tootling around the block but will not make you happy on 15+ mile rides. Good luck with your search.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Even on Craigs list recumbents hold their price much better than DF bikes. Garage sales sometimes have great prices on bents. Watch for "estate" sales.

    A bike club member in Omaha got a fantastic deal on an Easy Racer with a windscreen, $250.

  5. #5
    Senior Member trestlehed's Avatar
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    Frantik,

    If you liked the bikeE then you are comfortable on CLWB (Compact Long Wheel Base) recumbent bikes... If you are not into speed and performance, as in nice bike path cruising, I would suggest you try a Sun Easy Sport which is a LWB (Long Wheel Base) recumbent. The CX is Cro-moly and weighs about 40 lbs, the AX is aluminum and weighs about 35 lbs.
    These bikes are $1100 or more new. I have seen them on CL for as low as $400. Rated as one of the most underrated entry level recumbents by riders from BROL (Bentrider Online):
    Bikes/Trikes that fly under the radar - BentRider Online Forums

    Check out this thread:
    Sun Bicycles. Share pics and info
    share-pics-info.html


    Sun website:
    Sun Bicycles - Product

    Also check out the Sun EZ1, EZ1 Lite, and the newer EZ1 SX. Very similar to the bikeE in size and performance.
    Sun Bicycles - Product
    Last edited by trestlehed; 03-29-14 at 12:04 PM. Reason: .
    "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid"...

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  6. #6
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple of those bikes on the road lately. People seem to enjoy riding them, but they're not the fleetest horse in the stable.

  7. #7
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Thanks everybody for your advice. I think I will skip the bikeE and keep an eye out for a better ride AND a better deal. If I see any others that interest me I might pop in this thread and ask your guys opinions though
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
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  8. #8
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    You might want to look in other places as well. I found a SWB Rotator (no longer made) in the classifieds of the local paper for under $300, it was a bit old but in good shape. Bought by someone who thought he would ride it and did not, and his wife told him to get rid of it.

    If you are at all serious about riding, I would suggest that you try to find something that is not terribly heavy. While one can certainly become able to climb hills well on a bent, it is intrinsically harder than a DF because you cannot stand (yes, I know you can arch, but I can climb standing for half an hour if I have to, I cannot arch that long), so no reason to handicap yourself any more than necessary. If you live in Florida, ignore the second paragraph!
    Last edited by MikeWMass; 03-29-14 at 06:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    I live in San Jose where it is pretty flat but you do make a good point about weight. I assume the average weight of a recumbent is slightly more than a DF? I would like to use a recumbent for 50+ mile rides at hopefully at least 12mph average or so in the flats.
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
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  10. #10
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik View Post
    I live in San Jose where it is pretty flat but you do make a good point about weight. I assume the average weight of a recumbent is slightly more than a DF? I would like to use a recumbent for 50+ mile rides at hopefully at least 12mph average or so in the flats.
    Good assumptions, and I have not problem knocking off 50-mile rides even in my post-winter (lack of) physical condition.

    If you can hold out for a couple months, there's an event on May 17th at the Hellyer Velodrome in San Josie: the HPV Fun Day. No doubt people will be trying out each other's bikes. Don't be shy about asking questions and for test-sits. If you want to come up here, the Human Power Challenge is the following weekend. This attracts more people from all over, so you'll have more opportunities to chat and try bikes out.

    Both events are listed on the WISIL calendar: HPV Racing and Recumbent Events Updateable Calendar
    Jeff Wills

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  11. #11
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Wow thanks for the heads up! I'll have to try to make it out to Hellyer for that event
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
    1993 Trek 8300 Composite ~ 1993 Diamondback Axis Team Titanium ~ 1995 Diamondback Apex

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  12. #12
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Few enough recumbents show up on CL that it can take a good while to find a reasonably priced one that suits. Keep looking. Something will turn up. We paid $400 for a Rans V-Rex after looking for two months.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    Light long wheel base bents are the Cadillac's of the breed.
    12 mph, easy peasy on my Tour Easy LE model and Its 36 lbs naked, 39 with toys.
    I do not notice the weight at all.

    I see lots of very fast DF whipping short wheel base bents out there but I am not into speed, they really fly tho,,,,

    Trikes are slower and tadpoles are practically invisible to traffic due to a super low profile,,,

    I paid $1,000 for a used Sun made Tour Easy LE model, like new. I doubt the bike had 50 miles on it.
    New this model was about $1800.
    Talked to a rider who found a like new Rans Stratus for $1,000
    Said he feels the same way I do about my Tour Easy, will never part with it..

    I had the CLWB Sun EZ-1 sx, Lots of fun to ride and very good for sidewalks, but slow overall...
    Sold It used like new after 7 years for exactly what I paid for it new,,, Inflation ya know.....

    My main point here:

    A $500 budget gets you on a nice first beginner bent. or a fine city bent. that you will most likely out grow
    and want to upgrade within the first season. So you will then spend even more.
    But
    A $1000 to $1200 budget gets you on a Starship that you will fall In Love with and ride a lot more...................

    Contemplate this on the 'Tree Of Woe' my son.
    Last edited by osco53; 04-06-14 at 05:03 AM.
    Scott Aspect 940 29er, Tour Easy LE, Sun EZ-3 sx, Walmart Thruster :P

  14. #14
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I'm guessing there's two ways to look at it.

    The first is totally price driven. Make an offer that's within your price range on every used recumbent that you can find. If you find a seller who says "Yes." you're in. The problem with this tactic is that you're likely to have to settle on a bike that's not as nice as you were envisioning or possibly not be able to buy a bike at all.

    The second is product driven. Define your wants, find a recumbent that meets your requirements and negotiate the best price that you can with the seller. The problem with this tactic is you're likely to exceed your budget.

    When my family was growing we had a lot of kids and not much money so I always had to settle for the former. Now that my family has moved on, I have a little more cash and I'm more likely to do the second. I still don't know which one I'm more comfortable with.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  15. #15
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    Comments about riding an "invisible trike"

    "Trikes are slower and tadpoles are practically invisible to traffic due to a super low profile,,," I read this comment often on bike websites. I often stop at garage sales on my Saturday morning leisure ride. The most common comment I get is, "I see you everywhere on that thing." That's pretty interesting since I ride a Catrike 700 trike which is about the lowest around so under the above theory it must be invisible. Don't worry about visibility on a trike. They are unusual enough so that drivers really do see them - at least as much or more than any standard bike which doesn't stand out as unusual. I do use a standard bike flag and wear colorful clothing while riding. That helps.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mobilemail's Avatar
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    Once in a while I see a Burley or Rans for 600-800 on Craigslist or similar. These bikes would be worth it, and I would encourage you to save a few extra bucks to make a deal like that possible. Either would give you a much better riding experience and much better resale than the sub-500 'bents typically found.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    There is absolutely no data to support the "lower is less visible" theory. If it were true, I'd be getting hit constantly, and that just isn't happening. In my experience, any recumbent, high or low, is more visible than any upright.

  18. #18
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    FWIW:
    Here's a Tour Easy for $1000:
    Easy Racers Tour Easy w/zipper fairing
    Here's one for $2650 (with lots of extras):
    Tour Easy LWB Recumbent by Easy Racers
    Jeff Wills

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  19. #19
    Senior Member ncbikers's Avatar
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    For information on different models of Bents go to bicycleman.com.

    We both have EZ Sports. They are older and I found them on E bay at a good price. We like them a lot. They are main rides now.

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Long wheelbase bents, and their compact variants such as Bike-E, seem to be the easiest for beginners to learn on. Bike-E, however, is not strong on doing longer distances. Plus there's the fact that it's been out of production for a decade or so.

    You might be better off looking for a used RANS or a Sun.

  21. #21
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    I had a SUN Sport AX, which I sold for $500.
    That's the aluminum model wirh pretty good components. 27 speed, FSA Gossamer crankset, and so on.

    It included a Sun rack, Sun fenders, Nashbar waterproof panniers and a Sunlite seatbag, as well as gearing modified for hills and touring.

    It was in excellent condition and would do everything you are asking for in your post.

    Comfortable, easy riding and faster than my ICE Q trike. I used mine for several overnight weekend tours in quite hilly terrain.

    It''s not the ultimate bent, but still a very capable, well made machine, with the same designer as the iconic Tour Easy.

    There are other good value brands out there, including Performer, that are quite affordable used.

    Do some research on the Bentrider website as well, both the forum and the reviews.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by frantik View Post
    Hey recumbent folks

    I've recently been bitten by the recumbent bug.. a few friends have gotten them and after trying them out, I can really see the appeal. This summer I'd like to do bigger distance rides, but after about 30 miles on a traditional bike, my hands and butt are not happy. A recumbent seems like the obvious solution.

    So I've been looking on craigslist for a good deal, but I don't know how much to spend. I'd rather not spend much more than 500, and even that would be a big investment for something I'm not sure I'll like. I see recumbents being listed for thousands which are definitely out of my price range, but not many being listed for 200 or less, which would be almost the "impulse buy" range. I can repair bikes, so a fixer-upper would be good, but it seems that is pretty uncommon.. all of the bikes I'm seeing are complete and pretty much ready to ride. Though I suppose I don't want to end up chasing down rare or hard to find parts
    You can buy a steal framekit from Bacchetta for $500
    Bacchetta Recumbent Bikes
    the Giro has 135mm rear spacing and disk brake tabs
    the Strada has 130

    (Seems like they changed the colors, but maybe not on the frame kits)

    You would need:
    a seat (might be able to find a used one)
    ~2.5 chains
    a fork (UNCUT most likely. standard 1 1/8th threadless headset ... I think)
    either bar end shifters or twisties
    cranks (standard shimano BB, or outboard MegaEXO type)
    pedals
    front / rear d's
    A wheelset. Standard 700c should work, but you'd need to be taller than me (I'm 5'9")
    Cassette
    Brake levers (I recommend avid FR5's they're like $10 each)
    cables & housing (standard, except you'll need a long tandem-size rear d cable - you can buy those from bacchetta)
    probably a zephal spy mirror
    bar tape
    brakes - the Giro takes v-brakes or disks (? not sure if that's the right name) and if you go with the strada you'll probably want to buy the Bacchetta Caliper for at least the front, since it puts the cable on the non-drive side. But that's not essential. I run a ZeroG on the front of my CA2.


    So, if you have a donor mnt bike, you could potentially build this up almost entirely. Minus the seat and long rear derailleur cable.
    If you have a donor road bike, same thing, but you'll need some kinda shifters that work, and you might need to be tall, unless you have 650c wheels.

    You could always go with a 24inch fork and run a 20 or 24inch front wheel if you're short.

    T

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