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Anyone switch to recumbent?

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Anyone switch to recumbent?

Old 03-26-09, 08:33 AM
  #1  
kbblodorn
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Anyone switch to recumbent?

Has anyone here tried or switched to a recumbent for commuting? I test rode a few this weekend, first time ever on one. I am attracted to the comfort aspect, especially the reduced pounding on the hands over pothole / frost heave roads. Seems like it's possible to maintain similar speeds over a 20-mile route, with only a few significant hills. I'm trying to decide if I should spend my time looking at new upright touring bikes I don't have the money for (like the LHT), or looking at recumbents I don't have the money for. (You never know when you might find a thousand or so laying around that you forgot about, so it's best to be prepared!)
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Old 03-26-09, 08:45 AM
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Go for it. I love my V-Rex recumbent and it's vastly more comfortable than any upright bike I've ever been on. There are several 'bent commuters lurking around BF. A co-worker commutes 17 miles each way on his Easy Racers Tour Easy. With its front fairing he easily hits 40 mph on downhills. I'll be commuting for the 1st time next Monday - 12.5 miles each way with lots of hills.

If the roads are really potholed you may want to consider the long wheelbase bikes (like the Tour Easy, Rans Stratus, or Bacchetta Bella) that have some frame flex to cushion the ride, although they are somewhat harder to store due to their length. Fully suspended 'bents are available (almost all are European) but they're quite pricey. That said, when I hit rough pavement on my short wheelbase V-Rex the impact is spread over my whole back so while not terribly fun it's not painful in the least.
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Old 03-26-09, 09:08 AM
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The V-Rex and the Giro (20 or 26) are definitely the top of the list! I test rode the Stratus and Bella, as well as the Bacchetta Strada (?) I didn't get a great feel for them, since I had never ridden a bent before. I also wasn't fully prepared... Test riding in the LWBs in jeans was no problem, but the Strada's more recline seat did not help!
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Old 03-26-09, 09:12 AM
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I don't own or ride one, but the owner of my LBS does, and rides his to work whenever the weather allows (dry). I don't know what he does in inclement weather. I never see the same bike in the same spot when the recumbent isn't there. But he loves his. His riding is, to the best of my knowledge, all city riding.

-Jon
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Old 03-26-09, 09:20 AM
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Some people swear by them; others, not so much. Myself, I am old-school and can't quite get the same enjoyment out of biking when I am sitting in that position. To each his own, I reck'n.
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Old 03-26-09, 01:11 PM
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I use a Giro 26 for my 15 mile one way commute or at least I did until my accident last September. Now that the bike is being fixed and it is getting warmer and my leg is healed, I plan on commuting at least 40 times this summer and fall.
I would encourage you to get a recumbent if you can. Search Craig's list or Bent Rider On Line for a used one to start out.
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Old 03-26-09, 01:21 PM
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I use a Bacchetta Corsa for everything from commuting (55 miles RT, twice weekly) to club rides to ultras. A Giro 26 or Strada would work just as well for commuting. It is tough to jump straight on a dual big wheeled bike. For commuting I run 26" wheels, but for club rides I go back to the stock 650c sized wheels.

If a lower bottom bracket is more comfortable consider a Giro 20.
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Old 03-26-09, 02:34 PM
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What makes the dual big wheel big more difficult? I rode the Strada, with dual 650c, and thought it handled well (actually found it easier than the LWB bikes, because it didn't feel like it was pushing side to side with each pedal stroke). It was definitely more responsive, and I was oversteering all of the bikes because I am not accustomed to the bents. I'd prefer to give up as little speed as possible, but still have a comfortable commute with the potential for touring.
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Old 03-26-09, 03:02 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by kbblodorn View Post
What makes the dual big wheel big more difficult? I rode the Strada, with dual 650c, and thought it handled well (actually found it easier than the LWB bikes, because it didn't feel like it was pushing side to side with each pedal stroke). It was definitely more responsive, and I was oversteering all of the bikes because I am not accustomed to the bents. I'd prefer to give up as little speed as possible, but still have a comfortable commute with the potential for touring.
The higher bottom bracket takes a bit more athleticism and precision to get yourself going and is a little more troublesome in heavy traffic with a lot of stop/start biking. It's not that you can't do it, it's just that a lower BB is more convenient more most people. One of my criteria for my 'bent was one that I could ride with my little kids, which means a lot of stop/starts and the V-Rex was better for that - for me. The big front wheel on the dual 26" or dual 650c bikes rolls over bumps etc with greater ease than the bikes with 20" wheels. The highracers do allow you to lean your seat back more and get better aerodynamics. I just raced my friend on his Corsa yesterday. We're pretty close in biking fitness but once we went past about 20 mph I just couldn't catch him on the V-Rex due to aerodynamics!

If you want to tour, and want to use wider tires and fenders, then the V-Rex, the Giro 20, and the Giro 26 are more appropriate than the Strada or Corsa, which would require a fork change to take wider tires. There may be weight limits to consider too, depending on how much you weigh. Another bike in the group of "favorite SWB that are flexible, fast, and aren't hard to come by on the used market" is the Lightning P-38.

The V-Rex is compared with the Giro 20 as part of this lengthy and recent V-Rex lovefest over on BROL.

I loved the Giro 20 and its aluminum cousin ,the Giro ATT, when I test rode them, but I couldn't afford a new 'bent and eventually found my wonderful V-Rex through the BROL classifieds. Just go test ride some more and buy one, if you don't like it sell it in a year and buy something else!
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Old 03-26-09, 08:03 PM
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I have ridden one, just out of curiousity, and they 'pedal' just fine. I would be too chicken to commute on one though. Cyclists have enough problems with limited visibility. Laying down on the ground to cycle makes you even less visible than you already are, and that little flag a lot of them have doesn't make me feel much safer.
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Old 03-26-09, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dlester View Post
I have ridden one, just out of curiousity, and they 'pedal' just fine. I would be too chicken to commute on one though. Cyclists have enough problems with limited visibility. Laying down on the ground to cycle makes you even less visible than you already are, and that little flag a lot of them have doesn't make me feel much safer.
I get WAY more passing room from cars than I ever did on an upright bike. There's a certain WTF factor with 'bents that attracts attention.
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Old 03-26-09, 10:37 PM
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I got my first bent last summer (a used Haluzak Leprechaun, which is a SWB with under the seat steering) and love it to pieces. It's so much fun that I'm retiring my upright for winter use only. And I'm waiting for the arrival of my second bent, which I'm buying also used, a LWB Easy Racers Ti-Rush.

When I first started riding the Leprechaun I was very nervous about not being seen in traffic, but I'm not really so low as all that, and with all the lights I've got going on my helmet people seem to see me just fine.

Drifty Baker mentioned looking for used bents on BROL. It's a great source. You might also look at the classifieds on the Hostel Shoppe site.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:43 AM
  #13  
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I've been commuting on various recumbents for about four years. All of mine have been short wheel base bikes with 20" wheels all round. My commute is only 7.5km each way though.

I haven't had a problem with traffic seeing me on a recumbent. Or rather the traffic takes about the same amount of notice of me whatever bike I ride. I have found that I have had to take more care nosing out into intersections to make sure that I can see clearly before I go.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using my recumbents for commuting and touring. The lack of upper body pain or stress is very nice as is the looking up around you.
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Old 03-27-09, 05:33 AM
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Why switch and not just add to the stable? I have a Challenge Seiran SL which I love to take out when I want to feel sporty. It's definitely faster than my racing bike and WAY faster than the touring rig I take in the winter.

Visibility with cars is no big deal, but watch out for getting sideswiped in town if you ride on multilane roads.
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Old 03-27-09, 05:57 AM
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Doing it every day, 500 miles this month at 25 per day.
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Old 03-27-09, 11:10 AM
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I commute 18 miles each way, 4-5 days/week (5 this week) on my Giro 20. On the way in I climb around 1,450 feet and on the way home I climb about 1,100 feet (lots of up and down hills -- three fairly big). I ride some trail, but mostly street and some in fairly congested traffic areas, where I'm riding in the middle of the traffic lane.

It's a great way to commute. I was playing tag with a guy last night and realized that he had his head down over the bars the whole time while I had mine up and was enjoying the view of the lake, birds, flowers, etc. I don't think I'll ever commute by DF again, if I can avoid it.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:42 PM
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I commute on a Sun EZ-1 mainly because of the comfort factor. I'm not as fast as I was on the upright, but it's a fair tradeoff. Years ago I commuted on a Lightning P-38 and that was a different story. I FLEW on that bike. If I had some life mulligans, I would surely use one to reverse my decision to sell that bike.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:49 PM
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The reason that I have not and won't consider it (besides the fact that I can't get my beard to be fluffy enough) is that the visibility is not as good.
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Old 03-27-09, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BroadSTPhilly View Post
The reason that I have not and won't consider it (besides the fact that I can't get my beard to be fluffy enough) is that the visibility is not as good.
You are absolutely, completely wrong about that. If you're talking about the visibility you have, I ride just a little lower than most of the DF riders I come across, but my overall visibility is far better since my head is always up. I have no problem seeing over, around, or through cars and trucks in front of me.

If you're talking about others seeing you, you're still wrong. You're riding something out of the ordinary. Something they don't see every day. That automatically makes you stand out, which is the name of the game. If you add appropriate lighting, you're far more likely to be noticed and register than a DF rider.
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Old 03-27-09, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by unixpro View Post
If you're talking about others seeing you, you're still wrong. You're riding something out of the ordinary. Something they don't see every day. That automatically makes you stand out, which is the name of the game. If you add appropriate lighting, you're far more likely to be noticed and register than a DF rider.
Sorry, but I've heard this dozens of times and still don't buy it; for a driver to go "wtf?", he/she has to see you first. Obviously there will be fewer instances of a driver seeing you and cutting you off anyways, but if a driver can't even tell that anything is on the road, they certainly won't be able to tell its a recumbent.

That said, I could care less about the visibility aspect; the main reason I don't ride one is that there's way less maneuverability and less, well, visibility (It's easier for me to look for traffic (at intersections) because you're that much more forwards and high up).
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Old 03-27-09, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
Sorry, but I've heard this dozens of times and still don't buy it; for a driver to go "wtf?", he/she has to see you first. Obviously there will be fewer instances of a driver seeing you and cutting you off anyways, but if a driver can't even tell that anything is on the road, they certainly won't be able to tell its a recumbent.

That said, I could care less about the visibility aspect; the main reason I don't ride one is that there's way less maneuverability and less, well, visibility (It's easier for me to look for traffic (at intersections) because you're that much more forwards and high up).
On a 'bent, you attract far more attention. The weirdness factor causes you not to blend into the background and people notice you. In some ways, it's like riding with HID at night. You look different, so you really stick out even if you are a little lower. Does anyone who uses HID or rides bents at least a few thousand miles a year not agree?

Maneuverability depends on what type of bent you have. On my trike, I can do some pretty radical moves that would be tough on a racing bike. However, I do think that certain types of bents are not well suited to city riding. My highracer is great for cruising, but it's not so hot for constant starting and stopping, particularly if there are tight turns.
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Old 03-28-09, 02:36 AM
  #22  
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I switched to a recumbent for commuting when my commute got longer. I still ride the 'little bike" for short commutes. I do love the 'bent. I get lots of comments and looks. Plus, my hiney is a lot less sore when I get to my destination. Shoulder pain is entirely nonexistent.

I wish I hadn't spent so much money on a new one. I've found decent bents on Craigs list for under a grand since I purchased mine.

As I've explained to a few folks, the difference between an upright and a 'bent is similar to the difference between a crotch rocket and a Harley. If you enjoy the laid-back riding position, it's worth it.
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Old 03-28-09, 02:43 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by dlester View Post
I have ridden one, just out of curiousity, and they 'pedal' just fine. I would be too chicken to commute on one though. Cyclists have enough problems with limited visibility. Laying down on the ground to cycle makes you even less visible than you already are, and that little flag a lot of them have doesn't make me feel much safer.
Yeah, mine is higher up. It's a Sun bike. I wouldn't feel comfortable just a few inches from the pavement. Other 'bent riders are fine with it. But for someone crossing over the "the dark side," a little higher up might be better. ...Believe me, everyone on the road sees me.
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Old 03-28-09, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by BroadSTPhilly View Post
The reason that I have not and won't consider it (besides the fact that I can't get my beard to be fluffy enough) is that the visibility is not as good.
I swear, I must be the only female 'bent rider on this forum. I'll never get the beard for it. Maybe I should just stop shaving my legs altogether. Then, at least, I'll have something.
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Old 03-28-09, 08:38 AM
  #25  
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My 3-season suburban/urban commuting has been 'bent for 3 years; a dual-20"-wheel RANS Tailwind until last Summer when I got a RANS V-Rex (20/26"). No problems that I can see related to 'bent vs upright.
Very nice at red lights to be able to put one or two feet on the ground and relax in the RANS Comfy Chair.
No, wait, here's a problem: Can't quite do a trackstand. Close, but no cigar.
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