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Old 06-18-15, 10:13 PM
A Roadie Forever
79pmooney's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 7,128

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

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I rode around a parking lot on a short wheelbase under-the-knees steering recumbent 38 years ago in my racing days. One quick spin told me that if the owner put quality wheels on it, he had one fast, fun machine! I tried a 700c wheeled one with high handlebars and didn't like it at all. I could probably get used to it but I didn't like being that high. Spent a few minutes at a trade show on a '90s Vision with short wheel base and under-the-knee steering. It was on a trainer, so I got no feedback on ride. but what a platform to put power out on!

I see recumbents where you lie flat, ones where you are nearly sitting upright, long wheelbase, short wheelbase, over and under steering. In short, VERY different platforms, far more different than anything on the upright spectrum (leaving out the obvious like sting rays, folding bikes - though some of those ride just like non-folders - and tandems). Unfortunately (in my view) this means that each recumbent is so different that there is little incentive to fine tune them. By contrast, single bikes have benefited from many builders trying to make small improvements over many decades. So it a near given that a bike almost exactly what you want has been made. (Maybe many years ago and you will never find it but still, you can find surely a builder now who will take it on.)

The flip side is if you buy a recumbent, you get to be a data point in a relatively small number of such points. And your input is more likely to be heard. Yes, you can make a recumbent that rivals a fine upright bike for a good ride. And they have the benefit of being a lot safer. (I suspect any ER in the world will approve of the idea of hitting things feet first instead of head first. And your shoulder stay square. No broken collarbones.)

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