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Interested in recumbent, but need info

Old 07-12-19, 03:24 PM
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sriley4290
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Interested in recumbent, but need info

I looked on the forums, but didn't find a thread on this. I am sure I missed one or multiple somewhere. I do apologize if I did, I am still looking.

I have been riding my df road bike for over years now, just getting back into it after 20 yrs. while I love my road bike, I am curious as to the performance of a recumbent(mainly trike) compared to a decent road bike. through normal ride on the road in my location I avg about 14-16mph with hills and flats. do recumbent bikes/trikes perform as well as regular road bikes? any advice, or information you can give would be greatly appreciated...
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Old 07-12-19, 05:54 PM
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You can also try BROL or Bentrider.com.
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Old 07-12-19, 06:59 PM
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A 3-wheeler is going to take a speed hit; the only question being how much. Only a small hit for some trikes, large for others. If you're looking for speed capability, look at the same factors that determine speediness in a road bike: weight, frame stiffness, and overall aerodynamics.

With trikes, a quick thing to look at is the gearing. If it has a small drive wheel and doesn't normalize the gearing, that's telling you it doesn't need gears over 85 inches -- because it's slow. IOW, low gears don't make it slow, they simply verify that it's already slow.

Regarding recumbent bikes, just like with upright bikes performance is all over the spectrum. Most are no faster than a typical hybrid, but some are just stupid-fast. Again, look at weight, stiffness and aerodynamics.

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Old 07-13-19, 02:58 AM
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For the most part two wheel recumbents you will be faster on the flat and slight up grade, much fast on the down hill. A little slower on climbing depending on the bike you choose. Overall you will be faster. On the recumbents trikes in my experience you will be slower but then I’m a old man. To me recumbents are all about comfort in riding and building up my lower back and abdominal muscles.
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Old 07-15-19, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
A 3-wheeler is going to take a speed hit; the only question being how much. Only a small hit for some trikes, large for others. If you're looking for speed capability, look at the same factors that determine speediness in a road bike: weight, frame stiffness, and overall aerodynamics.

With trikes, a quick thing to look at is the gearing. If it has a small drive wheel and doesn't normalize the gearing, that's telling you it doesn't need gears over 85 inches -- because it's slow. IOW, low gears don't make it slow, they simply verify that it's already slow.

Regarding recumbent bikes, just like with upright bikes performance is all over the spectrum. Most are no faster than a typical hybrid, but some are just stupid-fast. Again, look at weight, stiffness and aerodynamics.
Thank you very much. that is what I was thinking, but I don't know enough about them. do they use shimano/SRAM cassetts/cranks, etc like road bikes? if no, can you put those types of components on a recumbent? I would think you could and it would be standard for that equipment, but again, I just don't know.
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Old 07-15-19, 01:14 PM
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Recumbents use standard drive train gear, albeit sometimes with some special parts such as idlers or chain tubes.
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Old 07-16-19, 10:34 AM
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Depending on the type of hills and how you climb on your current road bike, likely that your speed average will take a hit regardless which recumbent you try, until you get used and build up the different muscles/muscle memory that allow you to ride a recumbent faster.

The advantage is that any recumbent will likely relieve much neck/shoulder/arm fatigue that you may have on the road bike, especially for long hours in the saddle.
So you may be riding slower, but not nearly as fatigued after a long ride.

Personally, I've been riding regular road bikes for nearly 30 years and recumbents for over 16 years.
Depending on the ride I plan to do, I choose the type of bike I ride.
For long hours in the saddle at casual pace well within my physical limits; I ride my recumbent.
For performance rides that I need to play among competitive riders; I ride my road bike... I could ride my recumbent as well, but it wouldn't be fair to the other road bike riders.

Even with a use recumbent like a Vision R40 or Easy Racer, they are good values to get you started on recumbents.
I got my first recumbent Vision R40, back in 2003 for under $500.
If you really enjoy riding a recumbent after riding a cheap used machine; then get a new machine that suits you.

Last edited by cat0020; 07-18-19 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 07-16-19, 11:13 AM
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Recumbents are an evolving technology. There are a number of different frame designs and they all ride a little differently.

There is no adequate substitute for spending a half day or so at a recumbent specialty dealer. Riding a recumbent or two or even shopping a dealer that has 2 recumbents on the sales floor just doesn't cut it.

In addition to how the various recumbents ride, there are a number of other factors involved with living with a recumbent - fit, chain length, wheel alignment of trikes, transportation, storage and even will one fit through your front door. A recumbent specialty dealer can walk you through those questions.
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Old 07-17-19, 06:18 PM
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The idea that bent bikes are faster than road bikes is based on the assumption that they're more aerodynamic, which isn't always, or even usually, the case. There's nothing else special about them to make them fast. So, in order to reap the benefits of a speedier bike, you first have to be strong enough to ride at speeds where aerodynamics start mattering, which means you have to be an 18-20 mph rider on your road bike.
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Old 07-17-19, 08:41 PM
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Im about 2 mph slower on my trike. But trike riding is so relaxing it is well worth the speed hit. IMO speed is not the holy grail anyway.
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Old 07-15-20, 05:39 PM
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If you are interested in a recumbent BIKE (2 wheels), I would suggest starting with something like an E Z Sport. It was actually designed be Gardner Martin for the recumbent beginner rider. It is so very easy to ride if you can ride a regular DF bicycle, actually easies in my opinion. Plus for a recumbent they are very reasonable in price compared with most bents. A step up would be a Tour Easy or Stratus though usually a bit more expensive. I don't know your location, but others may let you test ride their bent if you get the word out and make a request to do that. The thing about trikes (just my opinion again) is that they are safe to ride on bike trails...in traffic, not so much. Some folks do ride trikes on the road, but I would not. Whereas I don't hesitate to ride my recumbent bike on most roads. And to answer your original question, a recumbent bike is at least equal to a regular DF bike in performance only a LOT more comfortable in many ways. Good luck.

Last edited by Irishred; 07-15-20 at 05:43 PM. Reason: Forgot to answer the question.
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Old 07-17-20, 01:08 PM
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Don't know about 2 wheelers, but my recent entry into this world shows me that trikes are much slower than DF road bikes. On my Catrike Eola, I work hard to get above a 15 mph average over terrane that is fairly flat, whereas on the same route I could do 18 mph on a road bike without too much effort and 19-20 if I work at it. Part of the difference is that I"m not fully adapted to the different muscle demands of the trike. I think I could get a little faster after a time, but not dramatically so.

Wheel size matters, btw.

In addition to being intrinsically slower, I find that the lower maneuverability and visibility reduces my average speed. I can't whip through turns and corners on the trike. If I see a traffic light that's about to go from green to yellow, on the road bike I can add power and accelerate through before the light turns red. On the trike, both visibility and the lack of accelerating power mean that I'm going to stop.

If you care about speed, probably a 2 wheel recumbent is a better bet. The trike has its place, though, and is kind of fun.
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Old 07-19-20, 07:47 PM
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sriley4290 has not posted or been active on BF since starting this thread about a year ago. Wonder what he decided to do?
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Old 07-21-20, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Don't know about 2 wheelers, but my recent entry into this world shows me that trikes are much slower than DF road bikes. On my Catrike Eola, I work hard to get above a 15 mph average over terrane that is fairly flat, whereas on the same route I could do 18 mph on a road bike without too much effort and 19-20 if I work at it. Part of the difference is that I"m not fully adapted to the different muscle demands of the trike. I think I could get a little faster after a time, but not dramatically so.

Wheel size matters, btw.

In addition to being intrinsically slower, I find that the lower maneuverability and visibility reduces my average speed. I can't whip through turns and corners on the trike. If I see a traffic light that's about to go from green to yellow, on the road bike I can add power and accelerate through before the light turns red. On the trike, both visibility and the lack of accelerating power mean that I'm going to stop.

If you care about speed, probably a 2 wheel recumbent is a better bet. The trike has its place, though, and is kind of fun.
You pretty much figured it. You're using different muscles, and it takes a while to adjust.

I went recumbent in 2011 at the age of 43, and it was ~3 good years of riding before my 2 wheel bent was the same speed as my old road bike. That's just commuting and fun rides, I'm not much into training or having a strict regimen. That could definitely be shortened with a concerted training effort.

Now, almost a decade later, my 2 wheel bent is probably 3-4 mph faster, and on level ground, my velomobile is a good 6-8 mph faster.
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Old 07-21-20, 05:22 PM
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The Catrike Eola was not designed to be a racing trike. Catrike made some component choices that meant it will never be a fast trike. That's how they kept the MSRP as low as they did (but still not cheap!). It has a very wide range cassette but only one chainring for just 11 gear choices. Most of the Catrikes have 30 gears with some overlap.

Not only are you new to trike riding but the one you chose from Catrike has a limited gear range. If you use the Sheldon Brown Gear Calculator and plug in the values for the Eola model (20" 406 drive wheel, 165 mm crank length, 11/42 cassette, and single 42 tooth chainring) the gear range in gear inches is 18.4 to 70.4. The gear range on my first trike was 19 to 98 gear inches. It had a 3X9 setup with common sized components (170 mm crank, 406 drive wheel, 11/32 cassette, and 32/42/52 chainrings). It wasn't long after I got used to riding it that I wanted a somewhat higher gear on the upper end. My Catrike 700 has about the same gear range as a road bike. The range in gear inches is 20.9 to 124.2. I only very rarely run out of high gears on a downhill run. The rub is that I still ride most of the time using the 10 gears in the middle range.
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Old 01-12-21, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by sriley4290 View Post
I looked on the forums, but didn't find a thread on this. I am sure I missed one or multiple somewhere. I do apologize if I did, I am still looking.

I have been riding my df road bike for over years now, just getting back into it after 20 yrs. while I love my road bike, I am curious as to the performance of a recumbent(mainly trike) compared to a decent road bike. through normal ride on the road in my location I avg about 14-16mph with hills and flats. do recumbent bikes/trikes perform as well as regular road bikes? any advice, or information you can give would be greatly appreciated...
From personal experience a trike will be about 2 mph slower. And I can tell you they are great fun.
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Old 01-31-21, 09:20 AM
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The best advice is to ride as many bents and trikes as you can find. Then make your own decision.

I have a LWB recumbent bike that I ride out on the hiways with the bike club, and a trike that I ride around town, because I dont have to unclip at every stop.

Last edited by rydabent; 04-14-21 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 02-01-21, 11:52 AM
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Cruzbike guarantees their bike is faster and backs it up with a money-back guarantee. See their policy here
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Old 02-08-21, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by La Tortue View Post
Cruzbike guarantees their bike is faster and backs it up with a money-back guarantee. See their policy here
Ever rode one? I would never recommend a first time recumbent rider to start off with one. Most new recumbent riders have a hard time with a high racer let alone front wheel drive. I kind of agree with the statement most trikes are about 2mph slower than a two wheeler. I also agree I average about the same speeds on my recumbents as my road bikes. The faster I get on my road bike the faster I usually am on my recumbents if I am splitting the miles on them,. I am a believer some of it is in the wheels. I just slapped zipp aero wheels on my Carbon CA2 high racer and picked up about 2mph and that is a under 20mph rider saying that. I use to average about 19-20 mph on my rides but was slacking for a few years. After I picked up 2 mph on my CA2 though, I wanted to compare it to my road bikes but it was not a even comparison since my main squeeze is a 22 pound Van Dessel WTF gravel bike. So, I just finished building a 19lb, Colnago Dream, with all newer Ultegra 11 speed stuff, and Carbon deep dish wheels. So, TBA if I am faster on it. I had a all carbon Trek but it had no soul so I built the Colnago. I just know that both were fairly close in performance. The gravel bike has Jones bars and is just a treat to ride and kind of stylish. You want a fast trike, grab a VTX or a Greenspeed Aero. My Aero was a rocket and I would still probably own it if we didn't have so many strays out here in the county. If I was just going to grab something moderately fast and fairly comfortable though I might go with a Expedition. I have rode most every type of bike out there and lots of trikes and random recumbents. If you are not somehow competing just ride what makes you happy. I know I have owned 8 Bacchettas and always miss them when I sell them. The CA2 is a keeper.
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Old 02-08-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by kingjason View Post
Ever rode one? I would never recommend a first time recumbent rider to start off with one. Most new recumbent riders have a hard time with a high racer let alone front wheel drive.
Yes, I have a few miles on my Vendetta and the wife has just as many on hers. Neither one of us are particularly athletic. I can't speak for most new recumbent riders but I know we didn't have a difficult time adjusting. But then no one told us it was supposed to be hard so we didn't know any better. We just got on them and rode. Now, did you check out the Guarantee (here is the link again)? If its not faster than your Colnago they will give you your money back and even pay for the shipping back. Don't forget they already paid to have it shipped to you the first time. I would say this shows a lot of confidence in one's product. Will Colnago make that same guarantee?
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Old 02-08-21, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by La Tortue View Post
Yes, I have a few miles on my Vendetta and the wife has just as many on hers. Neither one of us are particularly athletic. I can't speak for most new recumbent riders but I know we didn't have a difficult time adjusting. But then no one told us it was supposed to be hard so we didn't know any better. We just got on them and rode. Now, did you check out the Guarantee (here is the link again)? If its not faster than your Colnago they will give you your money back and even pay for the shipping back. Don't forget they already paid to have it shipped to you the first time. I would say this shows a lot of confidence in one's product. Will Colnago make that same guarantee?
Well since the frame was made in 2006, I kind of doubt it! I had a guy that practically thru his Cruzbike and cash at me when I had a Bachetta Strada for sale. I will admit he got right on my Strada and fell over so maybe it was him. It was a brand new old stock softrider or something with suspension. I only traded to try one. I really had no problem riding it but it was not hop on mindless riding, I had to think about the corners. It was smooth and quiet though. If I had the extra cash I would probably have one but 4500 for something I may or may not love doesn't appeal to me at this point and I don't want to cost them the shipping if my interest is not super high that is not fair to them.
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Old 02-14-21, 12:03 PM
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I recently borrowed a Silvio. The intent was to ride it exclusively until I got used to it. The reality was, after only a few 10-15 mile rides, I found myself avoiding going for a ride because I detested the thing so much. I could cruise in a relatively straight line, as long as I was thinking about it. Startups were iffy. Moderate hills were do-able as long as I didn't stop. My overall exertion level was high and my average speeds were quite a bit lower. Overall, it was disappointing. I saw nothing about the Silvio that would make it faster than the bikes I already have; in fact the aerodynamics would argue for the Silvio being inherently slower. I think the guarantee banks on the idea that most people will be coming from even slower bikes, not that Cruzbikes are particularly fast.
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Old 02-16-21, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I think the guarantee banks on the idea that most people will be coming from even slower bikes, not that Cruzbikes are particularly fast.
LOL, yes that's it. Well, no Blaze. I can assure you the folks at Cruzbike believe their bike is "particularly" fast. That's a pretty gutsy guarantee whether you like Cruzbikes or not.
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Old 02-16-21, 11:15 PM
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Not gutsy at all. They are banking on human nature. The house always wins and they have stacked the deck by putting all the responsibility of failure on the poor schlub that falls for the pitch. Who wants that? The end result is the same: the bike will never be made shipment ready for return to Cruzbike because of most peoples unwillingness to admit failure, especially when it is made so explicitly clear that the failure simply HAS to be their fault as evidenced by the generous (gutsy) terms of the trial agreement.
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Old 02-17-21, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Not gutsy at all. They are banking on human nature. The house always wins and they have stacked the deck by putting all the responsibility of failure on the poor schlub that falls for the pitch. Who wants that? The end result is the same: the bike will never be made shipment ready for return to Cruzbike because of most peoples unwillingness to admit failure, especially when it is made so explicitly clear that the failure simply HAS to be their fault as evidenced by the generous (gutsy) terms of the trial agreement.
or perhaps the bike is in fact faster.
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