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  1. #1
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    Interested in buying a bent, but am leery...

    I'm sick and tired of all the pains associated with riding a DF and am really interrested in switching to a bent. However, I am kind of leery to do so for maybe a dumb reason...hardly anyone in my area has one!

    I live in Roanoke, VA and can count on one hand the number of times I've seen someone riding a bent. Plus, no LBS is this area sells them, with the closest being 3 hours away in Vienna.

    Before I fork out a couple thousand portraits of George on a bent, I need to figure out why bents aren't popular in my area. I read over and over how great they are and how owners love them, so why don't I see more around here??

  2. #2
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    As a fellow who has been riding recumbents for more than 20 years, I can tell you that MOST recumbents don't climb hills as well as a diamond frame does. They will climb, but it just takes a low gear and spinning, as you can't get up and stand on the pedal in a climb. As I recall, Roanoke is pretty hilly, and that may be part of the issue. Another is, if there are no dealers within three hours of the place, you will not see a lot of 'bents. Where I live in Okeechobee, FL, I have the only recumbents in town (we have 3, two trikes and a LWB two wheeler), but know if I go over to Inverness for the bike path there, you see LOTS of recumbents as there are TWO recumbent dealers in that town. So availability has to be part of the equation as well. I was just at a weekend cycling event in Sebring over the Labor Day weekend and there was about 600 cyclists registered. Other than our two trikes, I saw two other trikes and maybe four or five other two wheel recumbents during the rides. It appears to me, these days, that in this part of the world, recumbents make up about 1% of the bikes out there, and trikes are maybe 20% of those, up from the 5% I saw a few years ago when I purchased my first trike....
    TractorTom in Okeechobee, FL

  3. #3
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    I live in a similar situation - almost never see bents around and no dealers within 2 or 3 hours drive. Instead of forking out a couple of thousand to start off, though, why not start with a used one from eBay or craigslist? It's a much smaller gamble that way.

  4. #4
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    Roanoke does indeed have it's share of hills, but the guys on bents that I've talked to here have said they aren't a big deal on a bent.

    I'm still 4 months or so away from being able to afford a bent, so I still have time to do more research.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If you want to climb well, don't get the cheapest bent you can find. Sun, in particular, makes nice-looking bents with good components; but even the aluminum models are actually made from pig iron and depleted uranium. Weight may not matter *as much* on a bent but it still matters.

  6. #6
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    Why are you surprised that there are few or no bents in an area that has no dealers? If there are none to look at and none to try out, only those people smart enough to have found out by accident how good they are will be riding them. Las Vegas also has no bent shops and hasn't had anyone who would order them for more than a decade. When I stated in 2000 there were a smattering of bent riders in the area but they were not common. In spite of that they have increased in number substantially and Utah Trikes opened a satellite store in St. George, UT about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. Suddenly trikes are becoming more common. I ran across a brand new trike rider just this past week and know of a sizable group of retired folks who ride regularly.

    I too would suggest you consider a used bent for your first one. It will give you the opportunity to figure out just what you like in bents and what you don't. Then sell the one you have and get one that fits you like a glove. I like lightweight recumbents. I like underseat steering. I like trikes. None of those were characteristics of my first bent.

  7. #7
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    I will join the chorus of those who tell you to buy used for your first bent. No need to shell out huge bucks on something you might not keep. I've been through 5 bents. Started out with a Sun EZ1-SC, moved to a Tour Easy, and acquired an ICE trike. All of those are now gone. My "stable" currently consists of a LWB bike with underseat steering (Longbikes Slipstream) and a SWB bike with above seat steering (Rans ti-Rex), both of which I acquired used. I've liked all my bents, but it's been a seven-year process of sorting out what suits me best. I think I've reached the end -- since I love both the Slipstream and the Ti-Rex -- but who knows? If you can get to Vienna or visit another shop and do some test rides (RBR in State College PA or Bicycleman in Western NY would require a major road trip, but it might be well worth it) that would be a good idea. Otherwise, do some serious research -- see Bentrider ('BentRider Online) -- and then take the plunge. I don't think you'll regret it. And, yeah, I think the main reason there aren't many bents in your area is that no one sells them, so it takes some additional effort to obtain one.
    Last edited by strock; 09-06-14 at 02:06 PM.
    Steve

  8. #8
    el padre
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    You have already read the reasons that you do not see them in your area...SO...take your time and as you and others said, do your research and if you get a chance to borrow/try one that you do see, take the chance to see if that 'style' of bent is to your liking. There are a variety of options so be methodical but also enjoy...

  9. #9
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    So what if you dont see too many bents in your area. Probably at first hills will seem more difficult, but with more miles you bent legs will develop, and there will be no cause to dislike them.

  10. #10
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    I spoke to a guy riding a Scorpion this morning. Medical reasons forced him off of a DF and, while not a big fan of the trike, he's making the best of it.

    I definitely plan on really looking into a bent as soon as I can afford one.

  11. #11
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    Try first a crank forward bike. If you like the feel of it, go for a bent. Its less radical and has a more familiar feel.

  12. #12
    Senior Member jyl's Avatar
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    I don't see the point of crank forward bikes. Get a used bent. I bought a Rans V-Rex for $400. Took a few months of looking.
    Your signature contains too many lines and must be shortened. You may only have up to 2 line(s). Long text may have been implicitly wrapped, causing it to be

  13. #13
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    I tried a crank forward finally, very odd uncomfortable ride, but then again I have a Tour Easy so,,,
    When your used to a Limo an exotic sports car is not going to be comfortable.

    The beauty of the bent is we can lean back and soak up miles in comfort, There is ALOT of power when you
    press your back into the seat back and push those pedals.

    The crank forward felt like a miss fitted DF ride.
    I could not properly load the five control points. There is no performance position on these as far as I can tell and
    coming up off the saddle for a nasty bump was, Ugly and unsafe IMO not meaning to aggravate CF riders.
    CF riders this IS MY Opionion don't take it personal

    Definatley go check out the main page reviews at BROL

    BentRider Online Forums - Powered by vBulletin

    That Is the best world wide Bent Forum, altho It Is trike intensive they cover all bents.


    Also remember as you begin test riding these bents, do a SWB a CLWB a LWB and IF you can find one a low racer just because they look so cool.
    And the first mile can often be a wobbly unstable moment on any bent, Its no big deal once you learn to LEAN back and relax.

    You will be using different muscle groups so you will be alot slower until your body learns a new way to ride.
    Last edited by osco53; 09-28-14 at 04:24 AM. Reason: Bad speeling
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” Mark Twain

  14. #14
    Senior Member streetstomper's Avatar
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    There are those with closed minds on both ends of the bike spectrum, including the recumbent side, as the last couple of posts have shown. Read up on what a more open-minded writer has to say about a crank forward:

    BentRider Online» Blog Archive » RANS Fusion

    This is from the managing editor of Bentrider Online himself, so he knows a little something about recumbents. He spends his time testing bikes for hundreds of miles, he's not just someone who just takes a short ride and dismisses them or worse, someone who never even slings a leg over one and just sniffs "I don't see the point." That's the same kind of attitude recumbents get from riders of upright bikes. There are a few typos, though. When he writes, "Fortunately, it was shorter than I thought it would be and I was definitely never completely comfortable on the bike," he really means "never completely uncomfortable," since if he was never completely comfortable, it wouldn't have been fortunate. The review is seven years old, but RANS hasn't changed the geometry of the Fusion, just a few details and components.

    EDIT: And here's a second opinion, also from a source that's very familiar with recumbents, the old Recumbent Cyclist News magazine.

    http://stevebriggs.netfirms.com/rcn/RCN_091_press.pdf
    Last edited by streetstomper; 09-28-14 at 12:33 PM.

  15. #15
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Some people really like their crank forward bikes. If you are interested and can take one for a test ride, it's worth trying out. They are often significantly cheaper than bents.

    That being said, most of the people riding bents think they aren't as comfortable as full bents.

  16. #16
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Some people really like their crank forward bikes. If you are interested and can take one for a test ride, it's worth trying out. They are often significantly cheaper than bents.

    That being said, most of the people riding bents think they aren't as comfortable as full bents.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I've only ever seen one CF on a multi-day tour. The owner admitted it wasn't the best use of the platform. I think they're meant more for in-city riding, and rides on the MUP. In that venue they might be better than some 'bents due to easy flat-foot stops and low-speed maneuverability.

  18. #18
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    I just bought my first bent (Street Machine GT ('08?) used off Craigslist) last week and so far pretty good. It kind of hurts in the middle of my back but I think that has more to do with my back than the bike.
    I bought it strictly for trail use, about 75% of my riding, and will continue to use my DF for street. I'm just not comfortable with the visibility of the bent especially around here (Pittsburgh) where drivers can barely deal with DFs. I think that's the reason you see them on trails and not streets. IMO.

  19. #19
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesbikes17 View Post
    . I'm just not comfortable with the visibility of the bent especially around here (Pittsburgh) where drivers can barely deal with DFs. I think that's the reason you see them on trails and not streets. IMO.
    I find the exact opposite to be true. Riding a recumbent makes you something out of the ordinary. I find I get more respect on my bents then my folding bikes than my regular bikes.

  20. #20
    Junior Member Twcpdc1041's Avatar
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    I was in the same frame of mind as you are about getting a bent. I got a Burley Canto lwb. It was a real experience trying to ride it. But I have about 50 miles on it in 20 rides and I am very happy. I just put clipless pedals on it so I am still finding my way on it. I would look for a good buy on a used bent so you can give it a good run with out losing a lot of money on a new one. That is the way I chose to try the bent experience. Happy ride Tom

  21. #21
    Senior Member Steamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesbikes17 View Post
    I just bought my first bent (Street Machine GT ('08?) used off Craigslist) last week and so far pretty good. It kind of hurts in the middle of my back but I think that has more to do with my back than the bike.
    I bought it strictly for trail use, about 75% of my riding, and will continue to use my DF for street. I'm just not comfortable with the visibility of the bent especially around here (Pittsburgh) where drivers can barely deal with DFs. I think that's the reason you see them on trails and not streets. IMO.
    Pgh is a hard place to ride a bike. On anything. Bombed out pavement, narrow roads, yinzer drivers, and absurdly steep ups and downs. Good stuff. I love the Burgh.


  22. #22
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    You got that right.

  23. #23
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    I am a reliatively new bent rider, coming over from 10 years of diamond bikes. I love my Catrike Expedition, but I can see the limited use. In H-town, we are as flat as a pancake, so riding up and down hills is a moot point. I can flat out ride the bent at a good clip. I am fortunate to live next to a 10 mile bike path, so it is easy to ride with no fear of cars. I would consider it suicide to ride my tadpole on a Houston road. Too many pickups that will never see you no matter what you do.

    But if you have the place to ride it, it is extreme fun and a attention getter. I love the sports car feel and the thrill of speed down low. If you are a speed freak, try a tadpole. For a 35 lb. bike I am surprised how fast I seem to go.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I find the exact opposite to be true. Riding a recumbent makes you something out of the ordinary. I find I get more respect on my bents then my folding bikes than my regular bikes.
    I second this. Part of my reasons for going 'bent was to improve safety on the busy urban roads of Singapore. After making the change I find that I get a lot more space in overtaking and a lot more respect generally. This goes to show that it's not visibility of the rider to the motorist that's the problem, but rather the rider being taken for granted and dismissed or ignored.

    I was inspired to go recumbent by the youtube personality CyclingMikey who rides a Challenge Fujin II recumbent. He has commented repeatedly on the improved visibility of his ride despite it being a lowracer and closer to the ground than other models out there.

  25. #25
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I find the exact opposite to be true. Riding a recumbent makes you something out of the ordinary. I find I get more respect on my bents then my folding bikes than my regular bikes.
    Seems to be true for me..
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

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