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  1. #1
    Member Cousin Jack's Avatar
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    Help an old upright get down?

    Here's the deal: I'm an old guy, a former hard-core cyclist with a younger wife who's becoming a hard-core cyclist. I was on this site about a year or so ago, asking for advice on bikes for old guys and how to modify my existing road bikes to take account of my aging..... which I got! Now, I'm thinking about going radical.... I can keep up with my wife, barely, but the bike now beats me up so bad (at seventy two years of age) that I'm thinking I need another solution. I read somewhere once (back when the earth was cooling) that recumbents were too fast and therefore banned from racing.... Will a recumbent help me keep up with my wife? With less pain? If it might, what recumbent? How does one buy one? Any help appreciated.....

  2. #2
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    Comfort-wise, I find recumbents more my style than diamond frame bikes - I have back issues. A friend is moving to recumbents due to shoulder issues. Another due to wrist problems. 90% of the older riders I personally know who have "body issues" and invest 30 days effort on recumbents don't go back to diamond frames as their regular bikes. YMMV.

    Speed-wise - Simple answer: it's not the bike, it's the engine.

    Not so simple answer: You need to choose between a short-wheel-base (swb) and long-wheel-base (lwb) designs. Within those two major categories are speed-dogs and speed-freaks. The variables are extensive in terms of seat height, wheel-size(s), same size wheels front and back or mixed sizes AND seat recline (from barely to under 20degrees off parallel to the road)/seat upright (like a chair). And within the swb design, there're choices between high-mid-low racer designs and how much you can handle in terms of how high your feet are off the ground compared to how high you butt is off the ground (it may/may not cause hot foot/ circulation problems, feet falling asleep, etc.).

    All that being said, recumbents generally are easier on older bodies. I've ridden lwb's and swb's as well as tadpole trikes. Seating positions definitely made a difference in ride comfort, efficiency, endurance & speed. My longest ride on any of them was 164miles. After developing the appropriate "'bent" muscles, I probably could have ridden that distance on any of the bikes/trikes. Speed-wise, I just wasn't willing to "work" at it doing intervals and "getting serious" about it. So my speeds tended to be under 20mph no matter the bike/trike - but I could maintain 17-19 on the flats for a couple hours.

    Note: figure the trike will be 2-4mph slower than any bike speed you are used to getting given the same effort.

    Sizing, seat-to-pedal distance adjustments and spinning are the keys to efficiency imho - much moreso than with diamond frame bikes.

    FWIW, the bikes I've spent time on include stick bikes/swb's(Bacchetta Giro 20, Bacchetta Corsa 650c and a Cruzbike(front wheel drive[not my thing]) and lwb's (Easy Racers Gold Rush Replica) AND trikes (TerraTrike Rover, Rambler and Cruiser & Catrike 700c). Each is different - with each having definite pluses and minuses depending on you, your goals and your comfort level with balance & speed. I currently ride the 2 Bacchetta's but would have no hesitancy going back to the Catrike 700c for speedy rides.

    Just my 2 cents.

    I recommend visiting the Bentrider Online site for more focused discussion on recumbents of all styles.

    Additional note: I see you have a Windsor Tourist. That was the last diamond frame bike I owned/rode. For me, the difference in comfort is equivalent to the difference between a F1 racing seat to what's in a Crown Victoria Touring car.
    Last edited by dual650c; 04-17-14 at 04:49 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Four easy steps.

    1. Find a recumbent specialty bike shop.
    2. Schedule a day there off peak sales time.
    3. See what's available and how the different designs will fit you and your life style.
    4. Figure out how to pay for it (probably the hardest part).
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    retro

    Good advice.

    BTW I noticed the add on at the bottom of your screen. One word compromise. We need to be somewhere in between "sensible" and "old fool".

  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Recumbents are more comfortable than safety bikes. That's a given.
    Plus, they are generally more aero than upright bikes. But, that's only a plus if you are moving at least in the 15-20 mph range. If you're going that fast, then you will either ride at that speed with less effort than on an upright or ride faster with the same effort as on an upright.

    Your biggest obstacle will be finding someone who has a selection of brands and styles of 'bents to see and ride......and buy. Another recommendation to visit bentrider.bike and check out the dealer/manufacturer links on that site.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Plus, they are generally more aero than upright bikes. But, that's only a plus if you are moving at least in the 15-20 mph range. If you're going that fast, then you will either ride at that speed with less effort than on an upright or ride faster with the same effort as on an upright.
    I'd also note that the speed is dependent on the terrain. If you have a pair of riders who are well-matched on flat or downhill terrain with a slightly weaker rider on an aero recumbent and a stronger rider on an upright then once you get to a hill the two will no longer be evenly matched. At that point the stronger rider on an upright bike that's probably lighter will tend to easily outpace the weaker one on a heavier recumbent. Conversely, if the pair of riders is evenly matched while climbing hills, then the one on a aero recumbent will ride away from his partner on flatter stretches. (Just something to keep in mind since one of the OP's goals was to keep up with his spouse on joint rides - some accommodation may be needed if they're on very different bike styles.)

  7. #7
    Member Cousin Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I'd also note that the speed is dependent on the terrain. If you have a pair of riders who are well-matched on flat or downhill terrain with a slightly weaker rider on an aero recumbent and a stronger rider on an upright then once you get to a hill the two will no longer be evenly matched. At that point the stronger rider on an upright bike that's probably lighter will tend to easily outpace the weaker one on a heavier recumbent. Conversely, if the pair of riders is evenly matched while climbing hills, then the one on a aero recumbent will ride away from his partner on flatter stretches. (Just something to keep in mind since one of the OP's goals was to keep up with his spouse on joint rides - some accommodation may be needed if they're on very different bike styles.)
    Thanks, everyone..... well, since she drops me always in the hills, I guess a recumbent wouldn't be of any help to me...... Still might go "bent," though, just to accommodate my aching bones!

  8. #8
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    Jack, I have been riding recumbents for a very long time now, got my first one in 1990. All of what that folks have said is true, when it comes to riders and bikes, a lot depends on the engine. Being an old, fat guy, who wanted to go faster, I found that a Bacchetta Corsa or Strada are good ones for that. Lots of good support for an aging body (I tend to like the wider seat and seat back, not the very aero hardshell seat) and the ability to GO FAST. Get some good quality road tires, and with the stock gearing, and a light load, you WILL be faster than your wife, at least on the flats. And, I might add, MUCH faster down hill. But you can't STAND on the pedals to climb the hills, so you have to learn to spin, and live with a bit slower climbing speed. Check out the Bacchettas and see what you think. Your back and seat will love you for the change. Good luck!
    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

  9. #9
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    There are fast recumbents and slow recumbents. You can read about people on lowracers who are generally the fastest among recumbent riders. If you want a really slow one get an old BikeE. It was my first one and I learned very soon that I wasn't going to keep up with anybody on it. I got faster with a different bike and with developing my "recumbent legs". Part of being faster is buying a lighter recumbent with a decent gear range.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If you want to keep up with your wife on climbs, get a Carbent or an M5 Carbon Highracer. Neither is cheap, but they are both stinkin' fast on ups, downs, and everywhere in between.

  11. #11
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    If you want to keep up with your wife on climbs, get a Carbent or an M5 Carbon Highracer. Neither is cheap, but they are both stinkin' fast on ups, downs, and everywhere in between.
    This. Even on my steel M5 I'm a faster climber than I ever was on a DF bike- better biomechanics IMO.

    A Carbon one? Yee Hah!!

    http://m5ligfietsen.nl/site/EN/Models/Carbon_High_Racer
    Last edited by delcrossv; 04-18-14 at 06:35 PM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    If you want to keep up with your wife on climbs, get a Carbent or an M5 Carbon Highracer. Neither is cheap, but they are both stinkin' fast on ups, downs, and everywhere in between.
    Don't know about the M5, but a friend has had a Carbent for awhile. He's definitely gotten faster on the flats and descents, but I can keep up with him better on the climbs now than when he had a regular bike.

  13. #13
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    Don't know about the M5, but a friend has had a Carbent for awhile. He's definitely gotten faster on the flats and descents, but I can keep up with him better on the climbs now than when he had a regular bike.
    I could never stand the way-too-high BB of stickbikes. Some swear by them (Jim V for example) YMMV.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  14. #14
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Lots of people like MBB (moving bottom bracket) bikes for climbing (Cruzbike Vendetta and Silvio).
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  15. #15
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    One option that hasn't been brought up to deal with the OP keeping up with his wife is a tandem. Probably an expensive solution, but they can either get a full recumbent tandem bike or trike or whatever that contraption is that is half bent and half DF.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  16. #16
    Senior Member ncbikers's Avatar
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    Something else to consider:


    We rode DF’s. A few years ago we got a tandem (DF). While tandems are not for everyone we enjoy it a lot and nobody gets left behind. If you and your wife are both control freaks a tandem probably won’t work. A DF tandem will be slower than solo DF’s climbing but faster on the flats and a lot faster on down hills.


    We then added up right recumbents which quickly became our rides of choice. They are a lot more comfortable and easier on our bodies. We are now shopping for a tandem bent. There are many interesting options to choose from. DF tandems offer connected peddling where the peddles are connected so they have to move at then same speed as well as Independent Peddling where one person can coast while the other peddles. Both options are available on bent tandems as well as something special. Some trikes offer a coupling to “train” them together. Trained together each peddler has their own shift and gears meaning one can spin and the other can mash if you want or any place in between.


    As we have gotten older we have also come to enjoy going slower and seeing the sights as well as going fast.

  17. #17
    Member Cousin Jack's Avatar
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    We had a very good tandem once, a Rodriguez.... and it for sure kept us together! But then I made a mistake and bought her a single bike! And she never got back on the tandem again...... I'm gonna be looking for the Bachetta Corsa..... Thanks, everyone, for your responses.....

  18. #18
    Senior Member ncbikers's Avatar
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    If the bent doesn't work out maybe your wife would reconsider the tandem again if she got to be captain.

    Good luck whatever you ride.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    A Corsa is a reasonably-endowed performer. Not quite a Carbent, but lots less expensive.

  20. #20
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    This is a great story about a hard core DF type cyclist trying out bents, getting hooked and never going back. Unlike most of us, he wasn't forced to make the switch by aches and pains, but just wanted to try it. its on my blog. I think his style is to go fast, and recent emails with him have informed me that he has moved to a lighter and faster bent than what he started on.

    Bicycle Technology and Patents

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    throw a leg over a cruzbike silvio and your wife will be trying to chase you down!!!!!
    Catrike Expedition trike, Catrike velomobile, Cruzbike Silvio 2.0

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeinmemphis View Post
    throw a leg over a cruzbike silvio and your wife will be trying to chase you down!!!!!
    Hmm... I'm just not seeing that. Cruzbikes seem to be under-represented at the HPRA races; and those guys will ride anything if they think it'll make them faster. The best place I can see a Silvio taking in the HPRA race circuit is 4th last year in the 1-hour TT at Waterford. It got triple-lapped by the winners, good for a whopping 5 mph slower. Until they start making more inroads in the HPRA circuit, I'll consider Cruzbikes sporty; but the 'fastest thing on 2 wheels' claims are just marketing.

  23. #23
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Hmm... I'm just not seeing that. Cruzbikes seem to be under-represented at the HPRA races; and those guys will ride anything if they think it'll make them faster. The best place I can see a Silvio taking in the HPRA race circuit is 4th last year in the 1-hour TT at Waterford. It got triple-lapped by the winners, good for a whopping 5 mph slower. Until they start making more inroads in the HPRA circuit, I'll consider Cruzbikes sporty; but the 'fastest thing on 2 wheels' claims are just marketing.
    We clearly aren't going to solve this here, but Maria's Vendetta clearly different slow her down in her historic RAAM victory. Or the many other races won on Vendettas. And all that being said, there are more aerodynamic bikes than the Vendetta. In a velodrome, for example, I would be surprised to see a Vendetta winning.

    The Silvio is a fast bike, but not what most people would call a race bike. The Vendetta is a race bike.

    How 'bout we solve this once and for all: I'll ride whatever bike you want, you ride a Silvio, and you'll kick my @$$, making the Silvio the fastest bike out there.

    P.S. All this being said, I'll second Lee's recommendation. I think the Silvio is a great choice for the OP as far as getting on a bent and keeping up with his DF-riding wife.
    Last edited by cplager; 04-26-14 at 06:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Hmm... I'm just not seeing that. Cruzbikes seem to be under-represented at the HPRA races; and those guys will ride anything if they think it'll make them faster. The best place I can see a Silvio taking in the HPRA race circuit is 4th last year in the 1-hour TT at Waterford. It got triple-lapped by the winners, good for a whopping 5 mph slower. Until they start making more inroads in the HPRA circuit, I'll consider Cruzbikes sporty; but the 'fastest thing on 2 wheels' claims are just marketing.
    Believe it or not I really don't care. I'm not here to convince you but I find it amusing that those people that criticize the cb are usually the same ones that have never tried them. If he's a strong cyclist now the cb would significantly improve his performance. Whether they are in hpva races is of no consequence to me. I've never done an hpva race either so I guess by your post that means that my experiences aren't valid either lol
    Catrike Expedition trike, Catrike velomobile, Cruzbike Silvio 2.0

  25. #25
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    What about a standard bike
    with E- boost so your SO doesn't drop you uphill

    I'm old- 63-and only ride BOLT UPRIGHT with a steel mtb type frame 26"-and 1950's handle bars
    Huge soft saddle too.
    I suppose with E boost-you could stay with her uphill-


    $10 bonus if you can spot the two cats

    PS- Just how much younger are we talking?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by phoebeisis; 04-26-14 at 07:44 AM.

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