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a new bent rider muses on his experience

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a new bent rider muses on his experience

Old 04-07-15, 09:52 AM
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geezerwheels
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a new bent rider muses on his experience

last November, while riding my favorite bike--a '78 Motobecane Grand Touring--my arms and hands suddenly went numb. Limped home, and after some poking, prodding, and imaging, learned that my nearly 66 years of spills and thrills, and a lot of manual labor, has left my cervical vertibrae looking like a stack of rubble. Long story short, my DF days are over.

a long morning test riding some bents at Bikes at Vienna, VA persuaded me to take a chance on a Bacchetta Giro 20ATT. A few weeks later, after the snow and ice left the WO&D Trail, I took the Metro out to the shop, and broke in the new bike with a 27 mile ride home. Figured that was the best way to adjust to riding 90 degrees out of kilter.

Now with close to 200 miles on the Giro, I'm feeling pretty good about her. I rejected the disc brakes (just because, that's why), and with the credit had Tim install a set of Kool Stops and a pair of Marathons. I cannot be more pleased with the brakes and tires.

The SRAM series 9 drivetrain is very crude feeling compared to the Suntour Accushift gear I installed on the MB, and really crude compared to the Ultegra gear on my Giant--but it is very precise and can shift under the bizarre loads and conditions I impose on it by failing to anticipate hills, etc.

I'm still trying to figure out why it feels so different to guide and steer a SWB bent. On a DF, you are conscious of steering with your hips and shoulders, but on the Giro it seems like you just steer with your hands. Maybe it is because your center of gravity is so low that very tiny adjustments to your arms and shoulders are enough to lean into a turn. You are also very conscious of being able to correct an over-steer by pedaling harder. All in all I love the sensation of a little surge in G-force pushing your back against the seat rest. (I should note that little by little I'm reclining the seat angle, which heightens the effects described above)

Couple of b!tches: the idler pulley is noisy--not loud, but very annoying. the noise comes from the outer plates as they arrive at the pulley surface. I thought of making up an idler out of a matched pair of old cassette rings, but that would probably be just as noisy, plus it would add to friction loading. Maybe a larger diameter pulley would lessen the noise.

Or, I could just get over it.

Also, the way the back pack attaches to the seat is cheesy, and is bound to unravel before the seat is worn out. the straps that support the back pack are only stitched into the hem--they should be attached to some sort of gusseted reinforcement.

However, the main concern is not the bike--it's the legs. Even with the ultra-low gearing, hills are still a struggle for me, and I was never a strong climber even on a DF. Harden the #()% up, as they say...

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Old 04-07-15, 12:33 PM
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I bought a Bacchetta Giro 20s just before Christmas and have gone through the same things you mentioned. I think I've read somewhere that replacing the idler pulley with one from Terracycle makes a big difference. With Roanoke being a tad hilly, I wish I had gotten lower gearing, but make do with what I have.

Overall, I love my Giro and have no regrets whatsoever. It's a great bike.

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Old 04-08-15, 07:18 PM
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Where a trike is considerably different, installing a SRAM Dual Drive (3sp internally geared hub) did wonders for my confidence and ability to take on anything I would come across locally.
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Old 04-09-15, 08:27 AM
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Idler pulleys will always make *some* noise. The Terracycle idlers are high-quality and will spin smoothly, but they may be no more quiet. Regarding bags, I have an Angletech seat bag that's 15 years old and still going strong. If it comes undone at the seam, just take it to an alterations shop and have it fixed - and reinforced.
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Old 04-09-15, 09:39 AM
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I have been a engineering technician all my life. For several years I had tacitly looked at recumbents. It was mainly easyracter ads. Finally in 2005 I decided to buy a left over 2004 Rans Tailwind. Almost from the first turn of the wheel I was sold on bents. Yes for the first few miles it felt twitchy, but that went away quickly. Except for mountain biking, I feel that DF bikes are antiques from the 1800s. Bents have unmatched comfort and view of your surroundings, safer, and stop quicker.
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Old 04-10-15, 02:13 PM
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My Idler pulley makes no sound at all,, ever ! And I mean not a single decibel, not even on the work stand hand turning the crank with my head within a foot of the Idler..

May be the Ceramic bearings I dunno...
The thing was under a C-note and worth it.
That was my first upgrade, then came the rear Avid BB7




TerraCycle, Exquisite Recumbent Parts & Accessories

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Old 04-10-15, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by geezerwheels View Post

Part 1:
Different to guide and steer a SWB bent.
You are also very conscious of being able to correct an over-steer by pedaling harder.
I should note that little by little I'm reclining the seat angle, which heightens the effects described above...

Part 2:
However, the main concern is not the bike--it's the legs. Even with the ultra-low gearing, hills are still a struggle for me, and I was never a strong climber even on a DF. Harden the #()% up, as they say...
On Part 1:
Your over thinking things like most wedgie riders sorry I had to,,scratch that like most of us,,
So,,,
Stop that !
Relax, and all those observations will become meaningless.
Your on your way,, your reclining the seat, but easy there,,,or your neck will complain..

On Part 2:
Bent legs will come to you,,
But for me I had to remember the basic rule of getting more horse power,,,
No Pain No Gain,
It's really that simple, burn those legs down so they can rebuild. The Bent specific parts will work themselves into your power stroke naturally...
You may never climb as good as on your DF because you cannot stand up BUT,,,,
Give a little extra thought to your seat position,, Your power comes now from pushing Into the seat...

Stop thinking like a DF rider, your basically starting over...
The key is to relax and work for them,, the bent legs.....
Don't forget the other truth that most will never come to terms with, "It Ain't the bike, It's the Engines"

FWIW ::: I used to need the granny ring to climb two local overpasses that get me over the Interstate....
I now always ALWAYS stay on the big Chain ring, I'm going that much faster with my bent legs,
Yeah man, ponder that on the tree of woe !

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Old 04-17-15, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I have been a engineering technician all my life. For several years I had tacitly looked at recumbents. It was mainly easyracter ads. Finally in 2005 I decided to buy a left over 2004 Rans Tailwind. Almost from the first turn of the wheel I was sold on bents. Yes for the first few miles it felt twitchy, but that went away quickly. Except for mountain biking, I feel that DF bikes are antiques from the 1800s. Bents have unmatched comfort and view of your surroundings, safer, and stop quicker.
Are you still riding that tailwind? I bought a used 2001 about 5 years ago, and cannot imagine giving it up.It was and is my first and only bent. I've almost bought a replacement for it many times, but I have never been able to go through with it. Never figured out why Rans stopped making it.
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Old 04-17-15, 09:03 AM
  #9  
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<That was my first upgrade, then came the rear Avid BB7 >

FWIW, I considered getting disc brakes--which are otherwise stock on the ATT20, but opted to save a few bucks and go with the V's--with KoolStop salmon and black pads. No problem locking up the rear wheel. I am pretty much a fair weather rider, though.
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Old 04-17-15, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by osco53 View Post
Yeah man, ponder that on the tree of woe !

Wow, crucified him....Hope Subotai gets there soon. That vulture looks hungry.
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Old 04-17-15, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
Wow, crucified him....Hope Subotai gets there soon. That vulture looks hungry.
Hahaha Yeah I'm just high on my bodies overall condition.
My recumbent came first, that got me to a point where I could go back to mountain biking.
That took two years, I was a mess.

Funny thing Is,
The Recumbent gave me bent legs that gave me Mountain biking legs,,
The Mountain bike gave me stamina and power that gave me much more powerful bent legs,
and that gave me more power on the mountain bike,,,

On and on It goes....

I had trouble spinning on the recumbent,,worked that out on the mtb
by spinning in the dirt and on steep climbs. I can spin the bent real well now.

The mountain bike demanded a better core, better abs, I got all that in better shape with the extreme Intensity
of mountain biking and It paid big dividends on the Recumbent,,,remember we cannot stand on the bents..
follow me ?

DF's AND Recumbents do work slightly different muscles In different ways but together you get this core
that is more solid. My core was the critical link..

Cross training was critical for me...

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Old 04-17-15, 04:10 PM
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Two reasons why bents are harder up hills: they weigh more, your bike is ~10# heavier stripped than a DF with same cost, and you have a larger bag to boot.
Secondly, you lose a significant amount of power from the upper body, which is important in hill climbing. On a DF, when you push down on the pedals you
automatically tighten up your arms, this is can be observed in a short sleeved DF rider going up a hill sitting: the biceps and triceps alternately pulse. It is
a rare bent that allows a significant upper body contribution. You can strengthen the legs with training and improve your CV reserve and as Osco noted an
increased cadence can help as well. If your cadence drops a lot, the torque has to go up even if your speed drops dramatically and the muscles fatigue faster.
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Old 05-06-15, 11:56 AM
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I like to hear that DFs and 'bents work together making an overall better rider, even if they can't climb quite as well. I cannot say I'm not 'bent curious.
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Old 05-07-15, 05:18 AM
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Your 'bent legs will come, over time. Just shift low and keep your cadence up around 90-100 RPM. That is the big difference in approach between a df and 'bent when climbing hills.
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Old 05-07-15, 10:13 AM
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If you end up with a hardshell seat, you can bridge with your low back and shoulders which will improve your climbing.
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Old 05-23-15, 11:16 PM
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The noise comes from the the idler pulley seems to be primarily due to the lack of refinement in the shape of the teeth.
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Old 05-24-15, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by musiciansnicker View Post
The noise comes from the the idler pulley seems to be primarily due to the lack of refinement in the shape of the teeth.
ok Ok makes perfect sense, my T-cycle Idler has no teeth at all, It's slick inside where the chain contacts it..
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Old 05-24-15, 01:35 PM
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The crossover type idler tends to be noisy. Of the bents I have owned, the Giro ATT (dual 650b) has by far the noisiest idler, and my Speed Machine the quietest. Terracycle idler helps, but the idler mount on both ATT frames I tried were crooked, contributing to the noise. I used shims to angle the idler to the chain.

I have two pet peeves about bents myself. The steering is really bad on many of them, and there is no reason for it. The problem is they copy the front end geometry from uprights, along with their high fork trail. With your feet over the front end, they need low trail geometry. When I built my Giro, the thing handled like a pig, so I had a fork made with 70mm of offset (typical is 45mm). It was a total transformation, and now it handles better than many of my uprights. The other is the lack of fender mounts. Even in a dry climate, maintenance is so much less with fenders, I would never go without.
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Old 05-24-15, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sch View Post
It is a rare bent that allows a significant upper body contribution.
The front wheel-drive moving bottom bracket format of Cruzbikes take advantage of upper body strength. They are now becoming famous for being excellent climbers and also fast and energy efficient.
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Old 06-15-15, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
The front wheel-drive moving bottom bracket format of Cruzbikes take advantage of upper body strength. They are now becoming famous for being excellent climbers and also fast and energy efficient.
I wouldn't call it "take advantage of" upper body strength. Propelling the bike is still done entirely by pushing the pedals with your feet. If anybody insists otherwise, I want to see a video of them propelling the bike entirely by arm power.
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Old 06-17-15, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I wouldn't call it "take advantage of" upper body strength. Propelling the bike is still done entirely by pushing the pedals with your feet. If anybody insists otherwise, I want to see a video of them propelling the bike entirely by arm power.
I don't agree.

Consider boxing. I'm not sure if you are a fan, but the force in a punch travels from leg muscles upwards into the arm. A punch without hip movement, and spring from legs carries less weight than a punch from the upper body alone. In the same manner boxers train and strengthen their lower bodies to absorb damage - i.e. flexible leg muscles act as shock absorbers to punches taken to the head.

Same principle, different applications.

In a MBB system the push of legs is counterbalanced by the resistance of arms, OR looking at it in another way, the push of arms is counterbalanced by the legs. How can you separate the two? Where does the power of legs end and arms start? The answer is that it doesn't. That's why arms feature and arms contribute to power.
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Old 06-21-15, 06:25 PM
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So, no video, just some rationalization?
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Old 06-22-15, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
So, no video, just some rationalization?
I am speaking from personal experience. My bike is a FWD MBB Cruzbike.
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Old 06-23-15, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
My bike is a FWD MBB Cruzbike.
I figured that. I also believe that it climbs well. It's just that your explanation defies physics.
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