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New recumbent owner needs advice

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New recumbent owner needs advice

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Old 07-29-18, 12:44 PM
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Kryten41
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New recumbent owner needs advice

I bought my first recumbent yesterday. I'll try to attach photos. It is a little old, and the seller said he didn't build it, but that it was "shop built". 18 speed. I rode it a mile or two today around the neighborhood and am sort of getting the hang of it (left turns and starting from a stop are still problems). I think I need longer handle bars, as I noticed a little stress in my shoulders from having to reach too far. The seat might need replacing and it needs a paint job. Anyway, my question is about the handle bars--I haven't tried lowering them because my knees already hit them if I am on an upstroke under the handle. Do any of you have suggestions? If the answer is to replace the bars, do you have any suggestions as to a good place to purchase?

My first recumbent!
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Old 07-29-18, 01:11 PM
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The word that comes to mind when I look at that picture is, "Ka-Ching!" It's going to be an expensive fixer-upper. I guess I'd call it a TourEasy clone, using cheap 27" wheels from a 1975 department store bike, a saddle/backrest combo from a Huffy Venice, and an old ashtabula crank, probably from the same dept store bike that donated the wheels. "Shop built" must mean someone with a welder built it in their garage.

To get out of this as cheaply as possible, I would contact AD Carson at Recycled Recumbents. He can get you into a seat, and may be able to help with handlebars too.
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Old 07-30-18, 09:39 AM
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I cannot disagree with the previous assessment of the LWB in the picture. However, I think we could use another picture of the bike with the o.p. in riding position.
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Old 07-30-18, 10:27 AM
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+1 to this being a home-built long wheelbase recumbent. Nobody uses one-piece cranks on a recumbent bike and most have some way to move the seat back and forth on the frame in order to accommodate riders with different length x-seams. Spending any significant amount of money on this bike is throwing good money after bad. Don't feel bad. Most of us started out with zero knowledge about recumbents when we bought our first one. My mistake was buying a $700 used BikeE AT. Just a few months later I bought a used Linear long wheelbase bike for $500. It was twice the bike of the BikeE and I put many thousands of miles on it before moving on to a trike.

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Old 07-30-18, 10:30 AM
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However if it rides ok for you, there is no problem. Pay no attention to nay sayers.
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Old 07-30-18, 10:40 AM
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The bike doesn't fit. That's the problem the OP wishes to correct. There is one very cheap fix that would bring the handlebars closer to the seat without changing the angle of the bars. The stem (part that attaches to the handlebars and fits into the bike frame) looks to be pretty short. You could get a longer stem like the one shown here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Road-Bi...bike+stem.TRS0 It is 4.7" long which looks a lot longer than the one on the bike. You need to know the diameter of the stem so that it fits into the headset and frame.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:50 AM
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The stem is rotated to the rear, whereas on an upright bike, it would be rotated to the front. Of course, that changes the effective length of the handlebars, but it also would raise them some.
If it's the old cruiser-style stem, you can also get taller stems that would help raise the handlebars to clear knees.
On the Niagara Cycles site, I was looking under "Cruiser Handlebars" and see some Sun recumbent handlebars. They are similar height, but the riser part seems to be narrower, which would help avoid leg interference.
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Old 07-30-18, 01:54 PM
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+1 on checking with AD Carson.

That's the kind of thing that he does so he's super knowledgable on the topic. Nice guy to talk with too.
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Old 07-30-18, 06:33 PM
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Yep, longer stem, possibly with more rise, is an option for the bars. That's probably a quill stem given the other construction details. Keep the stem pointing rearward. You're going to have a lot of tiller effect no matter what you do, but you can at least get those bars out of your knees. Best arm position for 'ape hanger' style bars is a couple inches short of full extension - you want your elbows in front of your torso not alongside.
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Old 07-31-18, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Yep, longer stem, possibly with more rise, is an option for the bars. That's probably a quill stem given the other construction details. Keep the stem pointing rearward. You're going to have a lot of tiller effect no matter what you do, but you can at least get those bars out of your knees. Best arm position for 'ape hanger' style bars is a couple inches short of full extension - you want your elbows in front of your torso not alongside.
which is why a picture of him on the bike would be helpful. If his knees are hitting the bars, I'm wondering how much closer he needs them. Maybe just a touch of forward rotation. Yes it means a little bit more stretch but I want to see for myself that the present amount of stretch is unreasonable. I don't think it is ( I don't know that, mind you) just based on guesses.
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Old 07-31-18, 06:04 AM
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Yes, I agree; although the grips are well forward from the 'seat;' so I suspect it really is quite a reach to them. I wonder if the top curve can be straightened some? It's just my interpretation of the situation, but I think where his knees are hitting is the bar ends.

That seat, though! Ugh! Putting a backrest on that doesn't make it a recumbent seat! Aren't saddles against a law or something?
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Old 07-31-18, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for all the advice! I was able to move the seat forward and that helped a bit. I was only able to raise the stem about an inch before I hit the "minimum" mark. I think I'll try the longer stem idea next. As to the seat--would replacing the saddle with a noseless saddle be a viable option, or do I need to pony up the cash for a proper recumbent seat? I paid $100 for the bike, and don't want to put much into it, as I doubt I'll be able to recover my investment should this turn out to be less comfortable than my beach cruiser.
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Old 07-31-18, 10:05 PM
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Replacing the saddle depends upon how the guy who made it held the saddle in place. If it is a standard saddle with a seatpost cut off to stick in the holder beneath the seat, the answer is yes. I'd leave it for now and see if you can get the handlebar position right. Getting a recumbent seat that would fit would not be easy. Not all recumbent seats are mesh. I own a 1997 Linear long wheelbase that has a mesh seat back but the bottom part is a foam triangle on a wooden base. It was comfortable enough for me to put more than 10,000 miles on it before I was seduced by a recumbent trike and switched to trike riding.
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Old 08-02-18, 01:20 PM
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Contrary to the upright world where your weight is concentrated on your sitz bones and you want a firm saddle that's narrow enough to fit between your legs, on a bent you want something wide and soft. Your glutes will rest on it, not your sitz bones; so it doesn't have to fit between your legs. If you decide to replace it, look for something outrageously wide.

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Old 08-11-18, 02:17 PM
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While waiting for my new taller/longer stem to arrive, I've been perusing bent archives (this and other boards), and noticed that some riders mention having handlebars they can lift or lower while riding to clear their legs in a turn. I am not clear on whether they are talking about LWB or SWB. Is it common on a LWB to have the handlebars loose enough to lift while riding?

Also, if I raise the seatback so I am sitting upright (my lower back doesn't seem to like the laid back position), is my bike still a recumbent, or have I converted it into a crankforward bike?
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Old 08-12-18, 11:13 AM
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42..
Much diversity in the Recumbent bike sector..

over the seat steering is a category , and then being able to lay the bars close may be useful..*

under the seat steering is a separate category , then it is unneeded..

*One of my friends loves his over the seat long wheel base (both wheels large),
without any thing but a long laid back handlebar, not on a hinge,
somewhat like a super long ape hanger bar Harley D dudes get
( Much as you have )

He does have a learned skill of swinging the bars side to side to balance..

now has 3, a single, tandem, and triple, with him ,
has an Expat job in South Asia


Came back to states & flew all of them over there 1 at a time,
Had to cut the triple in half, to get it aboard, then re welded together, again,
when over there..

[we stay in touch via FB]


his seat/s is/are more lawn chair like, not a separate saddle and backrest
like you show in your OP..

Crank WAY forward , so may not be exactly like what Electra and so forth
sell as stopping , flat foot down, cruisers..






...

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Old 08-13-18, 06:23 PM
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So my new 22.2 mm stem arrived. OOPS! It turns out I needed a 22.0 mm stem. After a considerable amount of sanding, the stem fit. OOPS! The handlebars are 7/8 inch diameter with no bulge in the middle, so they just flop in the new stem. Put the old stem back in. Took some of the recline out the the back support with a rubber mallet. Eureka! With the more upright seat position I was able to raise the handlebars enough to clear my knees without having to reach too far. Buying used is fun when you don't know what you're looking at! Now if I can just learn to start this thing from a dead stop.


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Old 08-14-18, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kryten41 View Post
SNow if I can just learn to start this thing from a dead stop.
Interesting. Here I thought (having never ridden one) LWB bents were an absolute doddle to just get on and go. I've certainly never heard of anyone having trouble with launching one. So I have to ask if all is well with your drivetrain. I don't like the look of that power idler. That is the one at the top of the chain run. It is under tremendous pressures during your power strokes. They are usually a much larger diameter to spread the force out and the bearings of better construction than yours appear to be. Have you blocked up the rear wheel and run through the gears to see how everything runs? Assuming it all feels good ... what gear are you trying to start out in? Try a lower one. Try the lowest one for that matter. You might need some kind of clip in pedal for at least your lead off foot. I've not heard of LWB bents needing clipless pedals the way high bottom bracket bents need clipless pedals but most bents where the rider sits low are candidates for what is called wheel suck. Wheel suck is where a foot falls off a pedal and is carried under the bike due to its speed. Wheel suck isn't your problem right now. Right now you need a secure attachment to a pedal because in the low gears that you apparently need to get going (are you on road surface or dirt surface??) you don't get much 'push' from just one lunge, but neither are you moving fast enough to get your other foot up and able to push. So you need to be able to both push and pull with one foot until you are moving fast enough to be stable. It is also possible that you simply haven't spent enough time getting started on a downward slope before tackling the level ground launches. Being in a hurry to advance is a big problem for new bent riders. It looks like a bike, acts enough like a bike so that you think you should be able to quickly get to where you are with the bikes you have been riding since childhood. But it's not that easy.
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Old 08-15-18, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I don't actually have any downward slopes where I live other than my driveway, which is a very short downward slope (about the length of my bent) before the dip at the bottom and up into the street. I just need a lot of practice. I've done very little bike riding since the early 1980's. I bought a beach cruiser in May, and actually still wobble a bit getting THAT started from a dead stop. Fortunately I have a large church parking lot about 2 blocks from my house with a big vacant part that is only used on Sunday mornings. I am pleased that I have progressed to the point that I don't panic and put my feet down too early when I stop, and that I am starting to handle it well enough to signal a turn. It's a bit of a challenge, but in a good way. I just bought this to ride around my neighborhood a bit, I thought it might be easier on my knees and back than my beach cruiser. For some reason I REALLY pull down on the handlebars when starting from a stop, to the point that no matter how tight I think I have the stem tightened, I still pull the bars down. I'm having some fun though!

As to what gear I am trying to start in, I am using the middle sprocket in the front chainring and the next to the largest or the next one down from that in the rear. I am aware that if I start in a gear that is too easy, my spinning motion can throw off my balance.

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Old 08-15-18, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Kryten41 View Post
I am aware that if I start in a gear that is too easy, my spinning motion can throw off my balance.
I would cross that bridge, if and when I get to it. I cruise in a gear like what you are describing. For launches I am in the granny (smallest front ring) and my granny is a lot smaller than yours I can assure you. You might try your granny and the same middleish of the cluster rear cog and see how that works. As soon as you get rolling you can shift up to the middle ring, exactly like using the manual tranny in a car, you are literally in 1st gear for about 2 seconds. The instant you get any forward motion at all you are shifting up to 2nd. You almost start to think you don't need 1st gear at all, until you try starting off in 2nd gear. You only do that once.
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Old 08-16-18, 08:14 PM
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Regarding the power idler, yes it looks small, but OTOH it isn't deflecting the chain much. Actually, the bike would be perfectly rideable without it, although you'd probably want some method to control chain slap. If it were me I'd use a small length of chain tube zip-tied loosely to that idler's mount so that it could move up and down freely.

Regarding starting, you just need a 35-40 inch gear. Nothing too low. You want to get up over 3-4 mph in just a pedal push or two. The trick is to keep the upper body relaxed so that you don't over-compensate in steering it. Flat pedals such as what you have are best for learning. I don't even know if you can find clipless pedals with a 9/16" thread.
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Old 08-16-18, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Regarding the power idler, yes it looks small, but OTOH it isn't deflecting the chain much. Actually, the bike would be perfectly rideable without it, although you'd probably want some method to control chain slap. If it were me I'd use a small length of chain tube zip-tied loosely to that idler's mount so that it could move up and down freely.

Regarding starting, you just need a 35-40 inch gear. Nothing too low. You want to get up over 3-4 mph in just a pedal push or two. The trick is to keep the upper body relaxed so that you don't over-compensate in steering it. Flat pedals such as what you have are best for learning. I don't even know if you can find clipless pedals with a 9/16" thread.
9/16" thread with 15mm flats (and/or 8mm allen) are what is standard now and most of my adult life. For clipless and non-clipless. Shimano M520's are $25 pr. I just used one side clipless for many months. I'm not saying the o.p. has to but it did work for me. Flat pedals are great if you have a nice little downslope to do your first stumblings on. As to gear, I just observed that the gear being used was on the high side for beginning. Its up to them ultimately what they use but I found that I fell right over, bam! when starting in the middle ring in any rear cog on level ground.
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Old 08-17-18, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
9/16" thread with 15mm flats (and/or 8mm allen) are what is standard now and most of my adult life.
That's an ashtabula crank. They take different pedals. Shimano such as M520 will NOT fit.
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Old 08-19-18, 07:37 PM
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Thanks Leisesturm! I tried starting from the small gear on the front ring and somewhere around the middle on the rear and it made a huge difference in my dead starts. I think I'm actually going to learn to ride this thing.
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