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Recumbent commuting comparison.

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Recumbent commuting comparison.

Old 02-03-09, 12:59 AM
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NEXUS
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Recumbent commuting comparison.

I talk to a guy who commutes on a recumbent and he says it is a super comfortable ride, kinda like going while sitting on a Lazy Boy. Recumbent seem to make a lot of sense to me but the only thing I don't like is that the upper body isn't used much. Anyone here ever thought about getting one or has one?
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Old 02-03-09, 02:06 AM
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I have thought about it, on a couple of occasions. Maybe not so much for commuting (my commute has quite a few curbs to jump) but for touring. I have a skin condition and that makes me doubt the idea of keeping my back against something for a couple of hours while sweating, even if it was a mesh seat. Recumbents are not too common around where I live, so not many chances for a proper test ride.

Re: upper body workout, I don't see a lot of that happening with upright bikes either (unless you're into MTB). I get my upper body workout when I go kayaking.

--J
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Old 02-03-09, 04:34 AM
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I use a recumbent to commute. Storing the thing is a bit of a pain, the movable triangle is a hassle to carry up stairs, but riding is very comfortable. My wrist doesn't hurt when I arrive.
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Old 02-03-09, 05:51 AM
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I frequently ride in fairly heavy traffic. The thought of my head at bumper level surrounded by distracted, texting, make-up applying, breakfast eating, radio fiddling drivers gives me the willies.
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Old 02-03-09, 05:56 AM
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I have a Bacchetta Giro 20 that I've used to commute. My biggest complaint is that it's stick-like design makes it difficult to lock up securely. Fortunately, I don't live in a high-crime district. And, I can't load it as heavily with groceries as I can my regular commuter. It's easy to carry though. I just lift the frame in front of the seat. It's well balanced and easy to maneuver. The stick-like shape also makes it impossible to tow my Bikes At Work trailer. I'd love a rear triangle in the geometry.

It's more comfortable to ride, and the big bonus is that my eyes are straight-forward, so I can see around me better and also look above me to enjoy the skies, the trees and the birds.

Riding it, is more fun. It's more difficult on the uphill, and I don't know about others, but I use my arms a lot trying to pull myself up the hill. That said, there isn't any hill that I can get up on my regular commuter a Specialized Hard Rock with street slicks, that I can't get up on the Bacchetta. Needless to say, downhill, it is da bomb, much like a small sports car. Downhill in the mountains is a thrill indeed.

Braking is okay, though I think that the small front wheel affects the final braking power and control. The bonus is that if you really need it, you can use your feet as brakes. I've avoided a collision once, when a driver left-hooked me because he was too focused on missing the driveway for Denny's and was thinking about his grand slam, not on coming traffic. I slapped down my shoes onto the pavement and came up one foot short of hitting his front fender, avoiding a grand slam of a different kind.

Recumbent is a wide word though. As wide as diamond-frame. A diamond-frame could be anything from a BMX to TdF road bike. Recumbents have an equal spectrum. So my comments apply only to the Giro 20. Low Racers are faster, but may take more getting used to. Long-wheel based Recumbents tend to be more stable than my short-wheel based Bacchetta, but they are not as nimble. My Bacchetta took a bit of learning to get comfortable on. It's steering is very sensitive, and because of the rider position, it does not have the self-canceling steering of the diamond frame. Your arms are hanging down and any twitch will show up in your steering. At the same time, I'm truly impressed at how hard I can put the Giro 20 into corner with a little practice. My center of gravity is low.

As you can see, I use a safety vest backwards to announce myself to traffic. That way, I'm just as visible as on any wedgie bike. And yes, the picture was taken outside of my office.

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Old 02-03-09, 05:59 AM
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I've ridden recumbents for 25 years, including a few years car-free in Boston, where I commuted daily on my recumbent. Recumbents are excellent commuting vehicles. I have never had any problem with seeing or being seen. Recumbents are faster and more comfortable than uprights, which is why they are my primary ride.

I still commute on my recumbent, these days on arterials with 55+ mph speeds. No problems.
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Old 02-03-09, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by NEXUS View Post
I talk to a guy who commutes on a recumbent and he says it is a super comfortable ride, kinda like going while sitting on a Lazy Boy. Recumbent seem to make a lot of sense to me but the only thing I don't like is that the upper body isn't used much. Anyone here ever thought about getting one or has one?
I've been commuting on a BikeE AT semi-recumbent for 3 years now and thoroughly love it. I only commute about 10km each way, so it is not a tremendous distance, but I always arrive energized (if somewhat sweaty) and ache-free. I rode standard, good quality road bikes for years before that and recall having a sore back, shoulders and neck rather frequently. Those problems do not occur on a semi-bent. I still ride an upright every so often (a cruiser trike/trailer used a few times per week for grocery and cargo hauling) and while my back can remain straight so that my neck is not stressed, my back can be strained when going uphill or when trying to get more power. Try the bent; you just might like it.
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Old 02-03-09, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclefreaksix View Post
I frequently ride in fairly heavy traffic. The thought of my head at bumper level surrounded by distracted, texting, make-up applying, breakfast eating, radio fiddling drivers gives me the willies.
Very low fully recumbents can have you in that position, but most semi-bents put your head at the same level as most car drivers (but below van, SUV and pickup truck drivers). That's why a orange reflective flag set at about the same height as a standard cyclists' head position is vital. Visibility is bothe enhanced and compromised on a bent. On one hand, we sit lower than a regular upright bike (but can compensate with a flag); on the other hand, we attract attention with our bikes being so unusual. At night I use 3 rear lights, 3 front lights and TireFlies on my valve stems for side visibility: it's impossible not to see me coming.
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Old 02-03-09, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Juha View Post
I

Re: upper body workout, I don't see a lot of that happening with upright bikes either (unless you're into MTB). I get my upper body workout when I go kayaking.

--J
True, it's not much of an upper body workout compared to kayaking or rowing but recumbent riders don't get any upper body workout considering how their riding position is basically like lying down. At least on an upright bike your arms and shoulders get developed some by absorbing all the shock from the front wheel. Years ago when I first started getting back into biking I noticed within the first few weeks that my arms were toner and my shoulders got a bit broader.
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Old 02-03-09, 11:59 AM
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I used one for a short time. Had a Bachetta. The day the front wheel got caught in an expansion gap which caused me to fall over hard on my right side dislocating my right shoulder and breaking my right ankle in two places leaving me using a walker for 2 months was my last day.

But that was just a freak accident. Seriously, if I lived in the country I would totally have one again for weekend rides. Very comfortable and fun. But I live in the city and the little bit of commuting I did with it I didn't care for because I felt it wasn't agile enough. I couldn't hop curbs with it and the long wheelbase makes it not as maneuverable. Hard to get up on to sidewalks or whatever. You are also much lower making it hard to see past the cars in front of you. Just didn't feel safe to me in city traffic.
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Old 02-03-09, 12:23 PM
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I commute on a Bacchetta Giro 20, like the one Artkansas has (mine is blue, though), and I love it. I moved to the bent from a Giant Sedona just over a year ago and haven't riddin the Sedona since.

I agree with just about everything that Artkansas said about the ride. I am slower on the uphill but I go like a bat our of heck on the downhill. I'm talking speeds of 40MPH+ if I push it just a little, and 30+ without thinking about it.

As far as brakes are concerned, I converted my front to disc brakes and will soon convert the rear. I found that the disc on the front gives me excellent braking power, even slowing from 40

The bike is, in my opinon, a much better ride in the weather than my DF was. Part of this is due to the fact that I've put a fairing on the front, which cuts through wind and also protects my feet from rain, and partly because the basic riding position is more aerodynamic.

My employer lets employees park their bikes in building stairwells, which are inside secured access buildings, so I don't have a problem parking it. It might be an issue if I had to use a rack, though.

My ride is 19 miles each way. When I was using the DF, I was doing 14 each way, and always using butt cream. Since I got the 'bent, I haven't touched the cream and my rear feels fine.

As far as the upper body is concerned, I feel like it's actually about the same as on the DF. Neither are a very good upper body workout, but I don't feel like I lost anything with the Giro. You're not riding in a "laying down" position; you can be almost as upright as you are on a DF. I keep my seat in a slightly relaxed position, but I'm still pretty much upright.
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Old 02-03-09, 12:51 PM
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I think about getting a hammock to commute with everytime I feel like napping and growing a beard.
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Old 02-03-09, 12:53 PM
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I find it alot easier to loaf along and basically get no exercise at all on my recumbent, unintentionally of course. Depending on the model you have to be extra careful when approaching road hazards like RR tracks and such. You have to go straight at them and even then if you have a small front tire they can be dangerous. Even lips on driveways when hit wrong can cause a fall if you don't approach it from enough of an angle with certain recumbent. At least in my personal experience and me seeing other riders in front of me go down on them.

I think I personally get alot more exercise on my road bike. I can stand and pedal working up hills like I was in spin class. Countering the downpressure of my leg with my arms uses allows me to push my HR and maintain it higher then just hanging my arms off the bars on a recumbent does. 70% of my miles last year were on a recumbent and so far 95% are this year but mostly due to the limited riding i've done so far.

Regarding the seat and skin issues. I used to get some pretty serious heat rash on my back if I wore a backpack while commuting on an upright or rode my old BikeE CT back in Connecticut too long. Both my current recumbents have Ventisit seat pads and I have had no problems whatsoever as it they have great ventilation. Even on a 120+ mile ride this summer out in the blazing Texas sun with no tree cover all day with no skin problems except for learning not to wear bibs with a chamois for long rides on a recumbent in really really hot weather ouchies.
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Old 02-03-09, 01:01 PM
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UK recumbent commuter with a helmet camera

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Old 02-03-09, 01:02 PM
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I've thought about it, but a good chunk of my ride is quite rough, gravel road, lots of potholes and washboards. I have to do a lot of quick snap turning to avoid holes and ride on the lands between them. I've talked to 'bent riders who have told me that a 'bent would really be the wrong choice for my route.

That, and I have absolutely no discomfort on my bike, though I've only ever ridden 75 miles at a time on it.
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Old 02-03-09, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by NEXUS View Post
...but the only thing I don't like is that the upper body isn't used much...
row bikes would solve that problem

http://rowingbike.com/site/EN/
http://rowingbike.com/site/EN/Home/Videos/
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Old 02-03-09, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by markhr View Post
There is a row bike in my workshop. I don't think I'd ever feel confortable with riding it on my commute because there are so many spots in the rowing motion where you just can't do anything and overall you are so disconnected from the road. It is very much a exercise rowing machine that has brakes and a front wheel that turns. I know there is at least one person who commutes on one but they live where there are nice paths and near zero traffic.
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Old 02-03-09, 01:47 PM
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I rode the local Can-Am invitational Centry ride last year with a bunch of guys from Rochester that were on Bents... they looked very comfortable. They were not on super low bents, but none the less were catching a lot less wind than (us) regular bikes were. There were very kind to ride in front on some of the windy sections. All the guys had "regular" bikes at home as well, but all enjoyed the good view and zero wrist pressure ride that a bent provides. On my short commute it would not make much difference, but on day long rides... a bent looks mightly nice. One of these days I have got to try one just for the experience... than I'll probably want one as well.

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Old 02-03-09, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by evblazer View Post
There is a row bike in my workshop. I don't think I'd ever feel confortable with riding it on my commute because there are so many spots in the rowing motion where you just can't do anything and overall you are so disconnected from the road. It is very much a exercise rowing machine that has brakes and a front wheel that turns. I know there is at least one person who commutes on one but they live where there are nice paths and near zero traffic.
Right and I also read a long review about them and that the cable gets lose real fast and constantly needs to be tightened and then replaced. The rowing bikes I have seen don't have any place to mount a rack or panns.
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Old 02-03-09, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I think about getting a hammock to commute with everytime I feel like napping and growing a beard.
Be careful, chipcom, your prejudice is starting to show.
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Old 02-03-09, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by EnigManiac View Post
Be careful, chipcom, your prejudice is starting to show.
It's 'prejuice', and I got a load of it...though I might have more if a rode a hammock.
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Old 02-03-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by NEXUS View Post
the only thing I don't like is that the upper body isn't used much.
Moving Bottom Bracket Front Wheel Drive (MBB, FWD) recumbents like Cruzbike use the upper body to counter the steering effect of pedaling.



(Sorry it's so big)

I commute on a Haluzak Horizon. Seat is fairly upright compared with modern 'bents & conspicuity doesn't seem to be a problem. I do run two SuperFlash blinkys, a helmet-light and flashing front light as well as two tube Down Low Glow at night, though.

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Old 02-03-09, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by morganw View Post
Moving Bottom Bracket Front Wheel Drive (MBB, FWD) recumbents like Cruzbike use the upper body to counter the steering effect of pedaling.

(Sorry it's so big)
I need some kind of filter to block any silvio picture or reference from appearing in my browser. I want one, or a similar MBB/FWD, soooo bad
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Old 02-03-09, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by morganw View Post
(Sorry it's so big)
Now that's something you don't hear very often.
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Old 02-03-09, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclefreaksix View Post
I frequently ride in fairly heavy traffic. The thought of my head at bumper level surrounded by distracted, texting, make-up applying, breakfast eating, radio fiddling drivers gives me the willies.
the above alone will keep recumbs in the toy, *maybe* touring catagory for me. I would piss myself of a ca bumped my head with a fender.:.or screech like a three year old Then wet myself!
They do look fun tho!
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