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  1. #1
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    Recumbent for XC - Rockies and Sierra Nevadas?

    I understand that recumbents are slowslowslow going uphill... and if they're slow going uphill, what in the world are they like going up *mountains*?? I know folks go long distances on 'em, so what's the current wisdom as regards recumbents and full-tilt-boogie mountains?

    Thanks!

    Tom

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    You mean MTB trails? People ride recumbents off-road, but the Sierra trails I'm familiar with (Auburn area, Grouse Ridge, Hole in the Ground, Tahoe Rim Trail) wouldn't be a lot of fun on one off them. There are certainly some trails that an off-road recumbent could do well on, but I'd probably rather spend that money on a fat tire bike or upgrading my existing MTBs.

    If you are talking gravel roads, crazyguyonabike has plenty of travel stories of riding them to Alaska and the necessary gravel. Personally, faster it go on gravel, the scarier it gets. No recumbent I've ever ridden felt like it could recover from a fall/slide like a regular road bike.

    If you're talking recumbents on big hills/mtn passes, it's no biggie ... while it's been 2 years now since I did it, I finished the Alta Alpina Double Century (200mi, 20000ft climbing) on a recumbent.
    Last edited by anotherbrian; 09-04-14 at 09:45 PM.

  3. #3
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    thanks, I was talking about just road xc's - though the whole trail thing sounds pretty cool, too.
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
    Wag more, bark less.

  4. #4
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etsisk View Post
    I understand that recumbents are slowslowslow going uphill... and if they're slow going uphill, what in the world are they like going up *mountains*?? I know folks go long distances on 'em, so what's the current wisdom as regards recumbents and full-tilt-boogie mountains?

    Thanks!

    Tom
    What, like this day I did on a tour? Day 10: Lillooet to Pemberton - A bike ride in British Columbia . I did fine, and rode at a speed I thought appropriate for my age, weight, and condition. There's some pieces of that road that are 15%- I just pedaled in my granny gear and got to the top when I got there.

    A couple friends rode across the U.S. a few years back: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ER2005 . Norm was nearly 70 when he did that. I saw him a couple weeks ago- he's still riding.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  5. #5
    recumbent bike advocate Tractortom's Avatar
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    I have to add that I have ridden in what passes for mountains on the EAST coast of the US on my recumbent and found that it did well enough. We did the Cycle North Carolina tour a few years ago, and I was riding a Catrike Trail recumbent trike, with upgraded brakes and shifters and I found that there was NO mountain that I couldn't climb at 4 -4.5 mph. Yes its slow, but you just get on the small chain ring and spin until you get to the top. Did everyone on the tour pass me in the hills? Probably. But I passed some too...

    Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Just because a statement contains a germ of truth doesn't make it true.

    I climb hills on my SWB recumbent at about the same speed as I used to on my various DF bikes. Of course, I was never a "stand on the pedals and sprint up the hills climber". An indisputable fact is that the Rans RAAM team actually pulled away from their DF competitors climbing the Rockies.

    Because you can't stand up on the pedals, the thing that I don't think recumbents do very well is short spurts of power or speed. The longer the uphill grind, the more favorably I suspect recumbents will compare.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  7. #7
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etsisk View Post
    I understand that recumbents are slowslowslow going uphill... and if they're slow going uphill, what in the world are they like going up *mountains*?? I know folks go long distances on 'em, so what's the current wisdom as regards recumbents and full-tilt-boogie mountains?

    Thanks!

    Tom
    Where did you get that idea? Depends on the bike and the rider. Willie H (an occasional poster here) usually outclimbs most other riders on his Carbent. Heck, I'm definitely no Willie and I passed a Cat1/2 guy while going uphill at my last TT.

    With the right bike, they climb just fine.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 09-05-14 at 10:21 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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    forgive me! Let me rephrase that to "I've read and been told that recumbents are slow going uphill"! Didn't mean to unfairly disparage!

    I like 'em - I can't afford one right now, and my arthritic wrists aren't demanding that I get one, so I'm sticking with my regular bike (what's DW? Diamond frame?) but I would love to have a lightfoot ranger at some point.
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
    Wag more, bark less.

  9. #9
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etsisk View Post
    forgive me! Let me rephrase that to "I've read and been told that recumbents are slow going uphill"! Didn't mean to unfairly disparage!

    I like 'em - I can't afford one right now, and my arthritic wrists aren't demanding that I get one, so I'm sticking with my regular bike (what's DW? Diamond frame?) but I would love to have a lightfoot ranger at some point.
    No offence taken. It's a common misconception. A Ranger would give you some more serious dirt trail capability. Lightfoot makes nice bikes. They're not road racers though. If you're looking for climbing speed on pavement, there's quicker choices.

    Here's a few:

    Cruzbike Silvio/Vendetta (FWD)
    Lightning P-38
    M5 CHR (Carbon)
    M5 M-Racer (steel)
    Carbent
    Some Bacchetta's are good climbers too, but it's model specific. CA2 is one, there's others.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 09-05-14 at 10:50 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    No offence taken. It's a common misconception. A Ranger would give you some more serious dirt trail capability. Lightfoot makes nice bikes. They're not road racers though. If you're looking for climbing speed on pavement, there's quicker choices.
    What are some of them? I like the apparent quickness of cat trikes, but do NOT like the low-to-the-ground profile of them (feels like telling a drunk, "It's ok, just run over top of me". I wouldn't want one that I couldn't go places on - I'm not someone who tolerates riding the same local routes over and over: I want to GO places! I'm open to suggestions!
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
    Wag more, bark less.

  11. #11
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Edited my post above. If you're looking at a trike, that's a different story.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    Edited my post above. If you're looking at a trike, that's a different story.
    I'm not, particularly - I'd never seen the trikes until recently. I generally have liked two wheels.
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
    Wag more, bark less.

  13. #13
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    I'm not particularly looking for a road racer, but I would like to not have to spend 8 hours going up a mtn at 0.5 mph, you know? I like the Ranger because of its long wheelbase and its seat height. I have a crummy back and it looks like it might be comfortable. It is apparently wobbly at very low speeds, however, so that's a negative. If I'm crawling up a mtn, I don't want to be wandering side to side, possibly into the path of an impatient driver passing too closely.

    Of course this is all theoretical - but I could buy one of these things in a few months if I wanted to save for it.
    "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
    Wag more, bark less.

  14. #14
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etsisk View Post
    I'm not particularly looking for a road racer, but I would like to not have to spend 8 hours going up a mtn at 0.5 mph, you know? I like the Ranger because of its long wheelbase and its seat height. I have a crummy back and it looks like it might be comfortable. It is apparently wobbly at very low speeds, however, so that's a negative. If I'm crawling up a mtn, I don't want to be wandering side to side, possibly into the path of an impatient driver passing too closely.

    Of course this is all theoretical - but I could buy one of these things in a few months if I wanted to save for it.
    The P-38 is used by alot of people for hilly brevets, and it is visible. I can attest that the low speed handling is very good, and it'll climb pretty much anything you can.
    The Legendary Lightning P-38
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  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    When you come across a drunk driver it isn't going to make any difference what you are riding - DF, 2 wheeled recumbent, or a trike. I'm an avid Catrike rider and I own the lowest one available, a Catrike 700. Most drivers give me far more passing room than they ever gave me on a DF bike. My previous trikes had somewhat higher seating and it made no difference as far as visibility goes. If you can see a damn squirrel in the road, you sure ought to be able to see a 6 foot long trike. There are some mountain roads in Nevada and Utah that don't seem conducive to riding any bike. They are narrow, twisty, and have limited visibility coupled with high speed limits. People do ride them, just not me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Because you can't stand up on the pedals, the thing that I don't think recumbents do very well is short spurts of power or speed. The longer the uphill grind, the more favorably I suspect recumbents will compare.
    From hundreds of thousands of feet of climbing experience on road bikes and recumbents (Lightning P-38 and Metaphysic), I disagree with the "longer the uphill grind" assertion.

    At least on the P-38 and Metaphysic you are limited in your seating position, and on the "long" climbs in the Sierras (~3000ft, ~10mi), that can mean up to two hours in the same exact position, slowly spinning your way up. On the road bike I can stand, slide forward on the saddle, slide back, and vary my pedaling cadence much more, which all together ends up being less fatiguing (ignoring supporting the upper body) and allows me to ultimately go up faster.

    On shorter/steeper climbs like Old La Honda in the SF Bay Area (~1290ft climbing, 3.3mi) I can go up just as fast on the recumbent as the road bike, but for me that's ~24min of all out effort that I'd never be able to sustain for an hour or two.

  17. #17
    Member The Savages's Avatar
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    I know I've asked before but still looking a reasonable price trike can be used help please from someone in the NYC area

  18. #18
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Savages View Post
    I know I've asked before but still looking a reasonable price trike can be used help please from someone in the NYC area
    have you checked the classifieds on bentrideronline?
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  19. #19
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Michigan doesn't have a lot in the way of serious hills. But I have taken my bents to hilly places before. I did a few 5- and 6-mile climbs in Tennessee that averaged 8-12% and took an hour or so each. Yes, I got passed by a few upright riders. Being middle-of-the-pack isn't a bad finish for a flatlander, regardless of platform.

  20. #20
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    I know this is kinda late in the conversation but I rode up the west coast from around S.F. up to Vancouver Island, through western Canada down to Montana, across the northern U.S. then down to North Carolina four years ago on a Rans V Rex, approx. 5,000 miles. Hills are a bit slow but my bike and gear weighed a bunch. I think the greatest thing about riding bent is the comfortable panoramic view sitting reclined. It was the trip of a lifetime. Lost 28 lbs.
    bent-1.jpgbent-2.jpgbent-3.jpg

  21. #21
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    Never too late to add info! Thanks!

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