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First bike in ages: recumbant? trike?

Old 02-12-21, 05:22 PM
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EdWords
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First bike in ages: recumbant? trike?

I'm looking at bikes for my wife and I. We are about 60, not "totally fit" but not unable either. I'd like something that could ride over streets and maintained trails. Eventually it would be good to pull a trailer with grandkids or picnic stuff.

-- Considering a trike, because balance could be an issue, especially on rough trails.
-- Considering recumbant, because leaning over handlebars is hard on an old back.
-- Are the physics of pedaling a recumbant different than an upright, especially pulling a trailer?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-12-21, 06:20 PM
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I’ve owned what is known as a “short wheel based” recumbent. I purchased when I had recurring prostate issues from riding a regular bike. I liked it but found the balance to be tricky. Your legs are out in front of you and all your weight is mostly in your butt, thus not as easy to quickly put a foot down if you hit a rough spot in the asphalt.

Thus I’d say and from my 3 years or experience, that it’s easier to balance on a diamond frame bike.

A trike obviously eliminates any chance of falling, but know that bents and trikes are heavy and not as easy to get up any hill or long incline. They are however incredibly comfortable and fun to ride.

Thus I would recommend maybe a hybrid with big tires, 40mm or so at lower air pressure. They tend to more comfortable over less then ideal surfaces.
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Old 02-12-21, 06:30 PM
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I don't have any answers. I can tell you what I think, based on my experience. I have ridden a recumbent once, briefly. I'm 68 (though age is not a critical factor, in my opinion) and I ride pavement and gravel roads on traditional diamond frame bikes. The last couple of decades, I have transitioned away from drop bars to a more upright riding position, using butterfly trekking handlebars. Probably, most hybrid bikes would give you that same position with flat bars. I occasionally ride "trails" that are golf cart width, manicured gravel. The critical decision point, I think, is the terrain where you will ride. I believe that most recumbent bikes are heavier than DF bikes, and weight is weight if you're pedaling up a long hill. If you're in Florida, and have wide semi-smooth surfaces for riding, you probably won't notice the extra weight of a recumbent, even with a trailer, except when you're accelerating. If you're in the mountains, you will not be fast going uphill.
. I don't really know how the issue of "balance" is relevant, just because you're about 60. Riding a bike is literally as easy as riding a bike. True, I fall over occasionally myself, but only when I'm virtually stopped, or negotiating a deep rut going very slowly, never at speed on a smooth-ish surface. I like standing on the pedals occasionally, and I have no saddle issues that cause discomfort on a 4 hour ride. So I don't see a recumbent in my near future.
As to your conditioning, you can likely overcome any deficiency gradually, but in relatively short order. A 5 mile ride can lay the foundation for a 10 miler, and so on, until 30+ miles becomes your short ride. After that, it becomes a simple matter of how much time you have to ride.
Also related to the weight question is the money issue. Lighter bikes cost more. If the bike costs more, the guilt of not riding may help push you to riding more; an unused bike that didn't cost much wouldn't bother me as much as a nicer, lighter bike sitting unridden.

All that means nothing, of course, but there may be a point to ponder. Good luck.
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Old 02-12-21, 06:35 PM
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My wife and I love our recumbents. We started with trikes which are a blast to ride together on a trail. Iíll take my trike out solo on roads. Despite what other folks say (who havenít riden a trike) drivers do see you and actually give you a lot more space than they give to normal cyclists.

I picked up a 2-wheel recumbent low racer last year and have been having a blast with that.

We havenít pulled a trailer yet, but thereís no reason you couldnít. Other people do it.

Recumbents are fun. Theyíre comfortable. Trikes feel like go carts and are a ton of fun around corners (very different than a normal bike).

Recumbents do have a lot of variation so itís a good idea to try a couple different ones to see what you like.
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Old 02-12-21, 07:18 PM
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I'm 60, have both upright bikes and a recumbent (2 wheel). I have a lot of miles on the 'bent, including some very long rides in mountainous areas.

There are pros and cons to both. The 'bent is more comfortable, particularly on long rides. It's faster on the flats and downhills, slower on climbs. The DF is more of a full-body experience, easier to maneuver. It's more fun, until distance gets to where it's less fun.

Regarding comfort. I can ride 100 miles on the bent, then another 100, then another. And so on until sleep is unavoidable. On a 1000k ride last fall, I napped on my recumbent leaning against a building at 1am, because it was the most comfortable thing around. On the DF, currently I can manage about 150. At which point I want to toss it in the ditch.

When riding in a beautiful place on the recumbent, I see the beautiful place. When riding a beautiful place on the DF, I see the pavement 20 feet in front of me.

YMMV
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Old 02-13-21, 09:25 AM
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My wife has a recumbent tadpole trike and loves it. It stays in the van with my road bike. Every time I go for a bike ride, her trike is there and if she's not with me, I occasionally pull it out and go for a spin. It's a blast to ride. Trikes are what everyone above said they are; fun, comfortable, and the worry of falling is gone. I will concur that climbing hills is not the easiest thing to do on a trike.

Since most bike shops don't carry them or carry a select few, getting a test ride can be a bit difficult. I think the biggest issue with trikes is deciding how you are going to transport them. If you do all your rides leaving from your house, it's not a problem but starting your rides from different places is. My wife's trike folds in half and I have been able to fit two folded trikes (hers and a friends) in the back of my pickup with room to spare. It's not folded when it's in the van and I can get the trike and my bike in the back with lots of room for gear. Most people that I've seen transporting multiple trikes use a trailer to haul them around in.

While, I have never hauled a trailer with my wife's trike, I have seen lots of people haul trailers with small children or pets in them and they don't seem to have a problem with them.
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Old 02-13-21, 09:48 AM
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My wife also likes our tadpole trike far better than any bike she ever had.
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Old 02-13-21, 02:12 PM
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For many years there is one particular much older guy I see quite often while riding. Sometimes he is on a regular bicycle, sometimes a tandem bike with another, sometimes he is on a recumbent trike and other times on a recumbent bicycle. Regardless, he uses them all. I guess he has a large place to store them.

So whatever you get, it doesn't have to be your only bike.
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Old 02-13-21, 11:08 PM
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Here is another BFer's rig.
bike style is called crank forward, i think. not recumbent but easy to put feet down.

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Old 02-14-21, 03:17 AM
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I'm designing a new bike. Two tracks with a car base, but a three-wheeled type of Rudge Rotary. Theoretical maximum speed of 116 km / h (72 mph).

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Old 02-14-21, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by y0x8 View Post
I'm designing a new bike. Two tracks with a car base, but a three-wheeled type of Rudge Rotary. Theoretical maximum speed of 116 km / h (72 mph).

I'd say the top speed would be more like 16 mph and you should gear it for an 8-10 mph cruising speed. Seventy-two? Only in free-fall. Interesting as a parade machine,a.k.a. Kinetic Sculpture; not much more.

Back to the original question, some recumbent trikes can do mild dirt although most are designed for pavement. Check out offerings from Trident Trikes. The RANS crank-forward pictured above is another choice, sort of halfway between a recumbent and an upright. RANS is the premier maker of crank-forwards and they cost more. You can find similar relaxed geometry bikes by Electra, which are less expensive but clunkier.
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Old 02-14-21, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I'd say the top speed would be more like 16 mph and you should gear it for an 8-10 mph cruising speed. Seventy-two? Only in free-fall. Interesting as a parade machine,a.k.a. Kinetic Sculpture; not much more.

Back to the original question, some recumbent trikes can do mild dirt although most are designed for pavement. Check out offerings from Trident Trikes. The RANS crank-forward pictured above is another choice, sort of halfway between a recumbent and an upright. RANS is the premier maker of crank-forwards and they cost more. You can find similar relaxed geometry bikes by Electra, which are less expensive but clunkier.
Trident Trikes: Chameleon; Stowaway; Spike; Transport; Titan;Trekker;Terrain - Three-track, T.W.I.G - Single-track. Rudge Rotary is completely different - it is two-track. In addition, you did not notice the new gear (fixed gear) with two pairs of connecting rods. All Trident Trikes models are free-running, this is not a fixed gear. For the concept of speed, I will translate the Rudge Rotary Newfix transmission into inches: 1. 5x2. 5x54=202.5 inches. This is not a parade car, but a high-speed bollid.
I've already tried out the new fixed gear transmission with two pairs of connecting rods. It is a pity that due to COVID-19 and a number of technical reasons, we managed to make only three races. The maximum speed was achieved at 29.5 mph, with an average speed of 14.6 mph. But this also made me happy, because the bike weighing 17.5 kg goes faster than the standard fixed gear weighing 10.4 kg.This summer I will accelerate even faster.
A new star in first gear.


Already a working project, on which I went. Gear ratio in inches: 2. 82x2. 41x26=176.8 inches. Driving is very scary and at the same time very fun.

You think it's a circus, but it's not a circus at all, it's real serious racing cars.

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Old 02-14-21, 04:55 PM
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I have built a tadpole trike and now 3 delta trikes and all of them are way more comfortable on long rides than my upright bike. Each has an electric assist motor so hills and wind pose zero problems. Oh, I just turned 68 and usually in summer my rides average about 60 km's or approx 33 miles
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Old 02-14-21, 08:05 PM
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wheels

those three wheeled recumbent with two wheels in front are way kool and fast and comfortable ......and the two wheeled ones work pretty well once you get use to them but neither are good for trails or off road for me............a regular bike is way better because you have more control and can balance better because youre up higher........trails are mostly single track so the is no room for a trike to fit......If the two wheels are in back the uneven ground will throw you off.......try out a comfort bike or upright city bike I think that might fit your needs better.......but for straight running on a smooth highway those recumbents are effortless and fast.....the three wheelers take up a whole garage and you need a truck to haul them around

Last edited by homelessjoe; 02-14-21 at 08:07 PM. Reason: clarify
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Old 02-15-21, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by y0x8 View Post
Already a working project, on which I went. Gear ratio in inches: 2. 82x2. 41x26=176.8 inches. Driving is very scary and at the same time very fun.

You think it's a circus, but it's not a circus at all, it's real serious racing cars.
Spuds - is that you???
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Old 02-15-21, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Spuds - is that you???

Spuds MacKenzie?


I'm Freddy Fazbear !!!

Last edited by y0x8; 02-15-21 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 02-16-21, 05:24 AM
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My wife and I have transitioned to riding tadpole trikes.

Likes: No balance issues. If you get tired climbing a hill, you can simply stop and start uphill again whenever you feel up to it. No need to put a foot down at stop signs. If we take a rest stop on a longer ride, we always have a comfortable place to sit. They feel like you are riding a go-cart or a kids big wheel. Kids look and tell me that I'm cool when I'm riding it. I've had college aged kids tell me I look cool riding it.

Dislikes: I think they are pricy. Our folding Catrikes weigh around 40 pounds each. A little bit slower than conventional bikes. Unfolded they are 7 feet long and 3 feet wide so you need to think about storage and transportation. Transporting our two trikes in our Honda Element takes 10 minutes to fold and load both trikes.

Common misconceptions: Hill climbing - We live on a two mile long hill overlooking the Katy Trail. It's not an epic climb but it meets the qualification for KOM points on the Tour De France. My 77 year old wife climbs that hill two or three times per week when the weather is nice with no complaints.
Visability - we use safety flags when we ride on the street but I'm not convinced how necessary they are. If I'm following a couple of blocks behind my wife, the first thing that I see is her yellow helmet. In my opinion visability is only an issue when riding alongside cars in multi-lane traffic. The huge majority of drivers give us a little more space than I'm used to riding a diamond frame bike.

What you might not have thought about: Foot retention. With your feet out in front of you, if your foot ever slips off of the pedal, when it hits the ground your leg will get caught between the trail and the bottom of your trike. Not pleasant! We use SPD clipless pedals and shoes, as we had on our diamond frame bikes for years. No worry about being attached, you are on a trike. You can calmly take as long as you like getting unclipped.

We have sold off or given away all of our conventional bikes. We're never going back.
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Old 02-16-21, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Here is another BFer's rig.
bike style is called crank forward, i think. not recumbent but easy to put feet down.
I was thinking the same thing... a hybrid is probably the most familiar and practical, but the crank forward design makes it easy to put a foot down and steady yourself. Something a little less reclined than the one pictured, perhaps.

I've got recumbents myself, of the "high racer" variety. Definitely not easy to learn to balance it! Recumbents are harder to store and transport than a regular diamond framed bike, and I suspect that 'bent trikes are even harder than the two wheeled versions. I think a modest crank-forward bike would be a nice compromise. Definitely easier to attach a trailer to, I suspect.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 02-18-21, 06:48 AM
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Not going to judge any choice here - whatever gets the OP and his wife out and about is a winner. On the trailer front though, having recently added one to my arsenal, it would be hard to overstate how much of a difference it makes in needed effort. The weight of a trike is already an issue for climbing. I would think that a 25 lb. trailer with a 25 lb. grandkid would pretty much bring the parade to a standstill. I'm sure a flat 5 mile jaunt to the park would be fine.
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Old 02-18-21, 08:16 AM
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Tadpoles and delta trikes leave a trail in three tracks (lines). My concept of the project is based on the Conventry Rotary design, which leaves a track in two tracks (lines).
A prone position is good for aerodynamics but bad for uphill riding.
I want to apply a straight landing on the trike but with power pedaling - the seat tube is not tilted, but perpendicular to the horizon line.
Aerodynamic drag will be removed when driving downhill at an increased fart, higher than modern fart.
High speed will be provided by a very large drive wheel diameter.
I showed the idea of ​​Rudge's high-speed trike on a 54-inch drive wheel above.
Nothing prevents you from building a car on drive wheels of a smaller diameter, for example, 36 inches:


I wonder where you can buy ready-made 54-56 inch wheels separately without purchasing the entire Penny Farthing bike?
You can still get 36 inches, but where is 54-56 inches?Here is power pedaling.


On Newfix, I already felt this effect - slides (climbs), which I used to take on fixed weights while standing on the cranks, now I overcome sitting in the saddle without getting up from it.
Because being in this position on the saddle, I seem to be riding while standing.


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Old 02-18-21, 04:02 PM
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Back to EdWords new bike: Don't sell yourself short Ed. I suggest that you get a more or less normal upright bicycle (not trying to offend fans of other vehicles). You won't tip over. You will want gears so you can get a lower gear to pull a trailer or go uphill. Consider an internal geared bike (like a nexus hub). Check out Breezer bikes. My dad's last bike was a Breezer 5 speed step through which he got after he broke his hip. Maybe rent a bike first. Ride around a little.
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Old 02-18-21, 04:21 PM
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I'd seriously look into COMFORT bikes, they are great for dirt trails or paved trails, lot's of adjustments in the handle bars, stem, usually has a suspension set post and can handle fenders, racks, etc. without costing a LOT we rode a LOT of miles on them over the years!! Almost every bike manufacturer makes a comfort bike.

This is a step-thru version of a comfort bike. You can call it a "ladies version" but it works well for any one!

This is a Del Sol that was my last Comfort Bike 24 speed, very adjustable, lite duty suspension fork, etc. We really enjoyed them!
Stop in at any reputable local bike shop and ask to see their "Comfort Bikes". I'd still be riding one but decided on a bit more racy and expensive RANS Fusion crank forward bike:

My current bike, a 2007 RANS Fusion "crank forward" bike.
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Old 02-19-21, 12:02 AM
  #23  
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I'm a fan of fixed gear.
Riding on a fixed gear is conditionally similar to the static isometric exercises of Samson-Zass.
That is, a fixed gear strengthens the tendons and ligaments of the legs.

I noticed this in my body when my knees hurt and I could not walk because of the pain.
The fixed gear healed my legs and strengthened them.
A simple free-wheeling bike could not heal my knees, only a fixed gear could do it.
This is my personal experience and I do not impose it on anyone, but I just share information why this is happening on fix gear.
This is one of a great variety of sports equipment with specific effects inherent only to him.
At the age of 58, I came to the point that the standard fixed gear were not enough for me and I designed the fixed gear for myself with even higher characteristics.
I'm an old man, and started to ride a fart of 177 inches.
Is it out of your mind?

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Old 02-19-21, 01:54 AM
  #24  
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No tadpole or delta trike is based on fixed gear.
Because lying down is very difficult to pedal uphill.
In the most severe cases, the rider rests on the back and rides at the lowest fart.
But it does not have the ability to pedal while standing, as is done on a fixed gear.

And here, oddly enough, fixed gear has the advantage of standing up hill climbing.
Therefore, my concept of the project is to use the fixed gear on the trike in a standard position - like on a horse, and not lying down.
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Old 02-19-21, 02:09 AM
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Bikes: SE, Polo&Bike, Forward Indie, New Fixed Gear

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In addition, modern tadpoles and delta trikes have a very narrow track, which is fraught with overturning.
The standard track gauge in Russia is 1520 mm, but in some cases it can be less, in the range of 1270-1350 mm.
I chose the smallest 1270 mm.
This will be a very stable bike track.
Not a single passing wagon can knock the rider on my trike out of the saddle with a stream of wind.
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