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What is the Purpose of the Recumbent Bikes?

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What is the Purpose of the Recumbent Bikes?

Old 09-18-19, 03:57 PM
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smullen
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What is the Purpose of the Recumbent Bikes?

1st, not knocking them... I like all Bikes. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I go to a bike shop. Its like I want one of each...
There are so many types, most I get their niche, but not sure on the Recumbent Trikes.. They look fun...
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Old 09-18-19, 06:53 PM
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The main attraction for recumbent bikes is comfort. There's no hard skinny saddle between the rider's legs, no requirement to put weight on hands, and no craning the neck to see down the road. Most recumbent riders get into recumbents because they couldn't get comfortable on an upright bike. Additionally, many 'mature' riders who are coming to cycling in their later years are choosing recumbent trikes because they don't require balancing (easier to learn.)

A very few recumbent riders like me discover after converting, that a good racing bent can be stupid-fast in a way a time trial bike could never hope to be. The UCI realized this in 1930 and banned bents from competition in any of their sanctioned races.
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Old 09-18-19, 09:11 PM
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What he said.

Also the sheer variety of designs out there makes for great commentary, innovation, experimentation and sustainable interest. In short it's a good hobby to get involved in.
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Old 09-18-19, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
What he said.

Also the sheer variety of designs out there makes for great commentary, innovation, experimentation and sustainable interest. In short it's a good hobby to get involved in.
The great thing about recumbent bikes & trikes is that there are no rules about design.
The bad thing about recumbent bikes & trikes is that there are no rules about design so it's hard to choose.

I got into recumbents in the early '80's after I went to the Human Powered Speed Championships. I've gone back and forth- I now have three recumbents and three uprights in the garage. Each has its purpose.
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Old 09-19-19, 05:11 AM
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I bought a used recumbent this season to try it out and while I like it quite a lot, I like riding uprights a lot more. The best thing about recumbents to me is that it allows some people to ride a bike who are not able to ride an upright. I ride brevets and most of the recumbent riders I meet on on those rides had ridden uprights for years but for one reason or another, bad back, neck wrists, etc. couldn't do long rides on an upright anymore, so they got a recumbent and are still out there riding. Just a couple weeks ago, I met a guy on a 600k who had been an ultradistance upright rider for years and switched to the recumbent because his back was starting to bother him on long rides.
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Old 09-19-19, 05:37 AM
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I split my riding between a Giant Propel and an ICE VTX. Both have their good and bad traits but both are fun. I have a little over 2,000 miles on each one so far this year so they compliment each other just fine.

For the record, I rode 54 miles on my trike yesterday with a 14.7 mph average on my road bike, I would have been about 16.5 mph which is common for bikes vs. trikes. When I had two-wheel bents, I would have been faster on the bent than my upright.
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Old 09-19-19, 11:48 AM
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My bent is way more comfortable than my upright bikes ever were. I use my bikes 99% for commuting, so racing isn't something I do, but I do like to get to work faster if it is also within the other parameters of my riding.

The only thing sore after a long ride now are my legs. I no longer have wrist, shoulder or neck pain from riding. My bent is a tiny bit faster than my old road bike, and they are about the same weight (within a couple of lbs when outfitted for commuting).

I also now have a Strada velomobile, which allows me to ride even in very cold weather, and ice and snow without being ridiculously uncomfortable and is safer because it's fully enclosed, and 3 wheels.
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Old 09-21-19, 07:10 PM
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As any other bike, you decide what the purpose of the bike is for you.
I started riding road bike over 30 years ago, pedaled across the continent and still enjoy riding my road bike 1-2k miles annually.
I started riding a recumbent about 13 years ago, originally just trying it out for riding slower pace with my GF, so I don't have to strain my neck, shoulder, arms as on a road bike riding at slower pace. But the more I ride a recumbent the more I find it more efficient than my road bike for long hours in the saddle.
I am able to ride longer, further without neck, back, shoulder or wrist pain. I am able to recover faster after a long recumbent ride vs road bike ride.
On flat ground, I am faster and use less energy to go fast on a recumbent bike.
I don't ride a trike, I feel that it you take up as much road, you might but as well be in a cage like a car.
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Old 09-22-19, 05:50 PM
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I got into recumbents because I saw one on Craigslist in my area, had never ridden one before, and thought it looked like a neat bike. What I like about recumbents is that the crank out front means there's no one correct way to design one. Each decision is a tradeoff. Want to drive the rear wheel? The chain is going to be long and has to be routed around the rider. Or maybe you have two chains like my folding recumbent and the jackdrive between the two is used to step up the gearing and make a larger effective front chain ring. Want to drive the front wheel? How do you plan on handling the steering? Should the chain twist with the fork? If so, how do you route it without losing too much power to the idlers? Should the bottom bracket move with the fork instead? Should the fork be the entire front half of the bicycle like a python? Should the steering be above or below seat? Direct or via linkage or wires? Should the rider's center of mass be below, in line, or above the hubs? What should the bottom bracket position be relative to the seat? All the options I've listed have been tried and they have their benefits and drawbacks. It's fun to geek out about.
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Old 09-23-19, 08:26 AM
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Recumbent trikes have one more advantage for older riders, those over about 60: It's harder to fall. Most people think the danger of falling in older people is the danger of breaking bones. While that is true, there is another, worse hazard—retinal separation. Broken bones will heal or can be repaired. A separated retina has to be treated immediately, within hours or less, to prevent permanent blindness.

But bents are not just for the older set. I've only been on these forums for a very short time, and I constantly see mention of sore or painful (insert body part here) from younger upright riders. Recumbents are generally easier on the whole musculo-skeletal system regardless of the rider's age, especially when comparing amount of physical stress vs speed. So if you are young and healthy, and want to preserve the latter as you age, consider a recumbent.
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Old 09-23-19, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
[snip}
I don't ride a trike, I feel that it you take up as much road, you might but as well be in a cage like a car.
I must disagree. Most of the recumbent trikes I've seen take up no more lane width than a motorcycle. The greater width does, however, mean you have to be more careful in traffic, and it's harder to avoid road hazards. And believe me, when you are on a recumbent trike in traffic, you don't feel like you are in a cage. You feel like you wish you were in a cage with two inch titanium bars!
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Old 09-23-19, 08:48 AM
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I have been riding motorcycles for two decades, some with panniers /sidecases wider than a trike.
I'm comfortable riding between car mirrors in bumper-to-bumper traffic of NYC, as I have at least a few horsepower at my disposal.

Disagree as you may, but I would not ride a trike in bumper-to-bumper traffic, lack of acceleration to get yourself out of trouble is simply too dangerous among busy traffic flow.
Two-wheel vehicles are easier to maneuver out of danger vs a trike.

Last edited by cat0020; 09-23-19 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 09-23-19, 10:22 AM
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I am a life long technician. I was drawn to riding bents because they seemed to be logical, and an advancement in cycling. That was 14 years ago, and my reasoning was not wrong. I now have a recumbent bike and a trike so I have the correct machine for the riding situation at hand. The trike is so convenient to ride in town on the bike trails since you do not have to clip in and out all the time. The bike goes mainly out on the hiways with club rides.

BTW when I got my first bent a RANS Tailwind, my mountain bike and road bike really never turned a wheel again. Yes bents are that good.
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Old 09-23-19, 04:05 PM
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With recumbent trikes it's often the Riddle of the Sphinx.
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Old 09-23-19, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by boilermaker1 View Post
With recumbent trikes it's often the Riddle of the Sphinx.
Yeah, that Sphinx is quite a bike




(I'm sure that someone, somewhere, at some time, named a bike "Sphinx.")

And if your bike is making that sound (Sphinx, sphinx, sphinx ) get thee to a bike shop
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Old 09-28-19, 01:35 PM
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You exercise your thighs more than on a normal bike. Be prepared to feel sore muscles in different areas than before. Although gravity doesn't help you pushing as much as in an upright position, my feeling is I can push more aggressively as the thighs are engaged more. Aerodynamics is a real speed boon.

I would not cycle them to work for various reasons: higher chance of theft, the upright position helps in seeing and being seen, and the longer "hood" of recumbents means that more bicycle is ahead of your eyes which means you'll have to slow down more at a multi-way stop before making sure no one crosses your way.
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Old 09-28-19, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by davidgreams View Post
You exercise your thighs more than on a normal bike. Be prepared to feel sore muscles in different areas than before. Although gravity doesn't help you pushing as much as in an upright position, my feeling is I can push more aggressively as the thighs are engaged more. Aerodynamics is a real speed boon.

I would not cycle them to work for various reasons: higher chance of theft, the upright position helps in seeing and being seen, and the longer "hood" of recumbents means that more bicycle is ahead of your eyes which means you'll have to slow down more at a multi-way stop before making sure no one crosses your way.
I biked to work on 3 different RANS bikes from 2006-2018. Ten years on a SWB V-Rex. No problem riding a 'bent on my suburban/urban/suburban Spring through Fall commutes. (Currently retired.)
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Old 09-30-19, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by smullen View Post
1st, not knocking them... I like all Bikes. I'm like a kid in a candy store when I go to a bike shop. Its like I want one of each...
There are so many types, most I get their niche, but not sure on the Recumbent Trikes.. They look fun...
comfort and sooo much more aerodynamic than a upright df bike....I have a high racer and it cuts thru the wind like butter....im looking to get a low racer they are even more aero....fast too
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Old 09-30-19, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I am a life long technician. I was drawn to riding bents because they seemed to be logical, and an advancement in cycling. That was 14 years ago, and my reasoning was not wrong. I now have a recumbent bike and a trike so I have the correct machine for the riding situation at hand. The trike is so convenient to ride in town on the bike trails since you do not have to clip in and out all the time. The bike goes mainly out on the hiways with club rides.

BTW when I got my first bent a RANS Tailwind, my mountain bike and road bike really never turned a wheel again. Yes bents are that good.
trikes are unsafe in my opinion they take up to much road space.. sometimes u have to ride in the ditch to get out of the way for cars on a road with a tiny shoulder
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Old 09-30-19, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by robnol View Post
trikes are unsafe in my opinion they take up to much road space.. sometimes u have to ride in the ditch to get out of the way for cars on a road with a tiny shoulder
It's quite the opposite: since automobile drivers aren't sure what you are, they tend to pass further to the left than they would with an upright bike. Several of my recumbent-riding friends have both and they enjoy their trikes on many local roads.
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Old 10-01-19, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
It's quite the opposite: since automobile drivers aren't sure what you are, they tend to pass further to the left than they would with an upright bike. Several of my recumbent-riding friends have both and they enjoy their trikes on many local roads.
You are braver men/women than I, Gunga Din! My wife's tadpole trike and my bent have LOTS of running lights, some on staffs so they are at car drivers' eye level. When we are on the street, I position myself just behind her left front tire, since I'm a little higher and far more experienced. (Yes, the fighter escort analogy is obvious and apt. )
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Old 10-01-19, 01:45 PM
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While they may look wider, trikes are not very much wider than the handle bars on a DF bike. I find that it is not a problem.
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Old 10-01-19, 03:53 PM
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Every trike I've owned has been 30-31" wide. An average drop handlebar is only 16.5" - 17".
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Old 10-01-19, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
Every trike I've owned has been 30-31" wide. An average drop handlebar is only 16.5" - 17".
Yeah, BUT....

I find the center of my body is in the same place on the road no matter what I am riding. On a trike I can safely put my right wheel closer to the road edge.

And the track of my trikes isn't much wider than my shoulders. So the trike adds only about 2 or 3 inches, at most, of additional intrusion into the lane.
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Old 10-01-19, 09:42 PM
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Funny. I've been fighting off n+1 for a while, and finally caved and bought a 27.5 Plus MTB. Because I don't already have a MTB in the stable. So it's fun and all, messing around on trails with absurdly wide tires, but I'm wondering to myself...

WTF is this thing actually for? Clearly, it's a toy.

Now my 'bent, there's no doubt what it's for: long distance road rides. A brevet machine; 200ks are training rides. At the end of a 1000k earlier this month, I finished tired but with no sore spots.
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