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New bent rider

Old 05-30-20, 11:17 PM
  #1  
Vermilion
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New bent rider

Greetings! I bought my first bent a couple weeks ago and joined this forum today. Iíll introduce myself, then ask a couple questions.

I commuted year-round here in Chicago on DF bikes for 24 years, adding up to over 60K miles exclusive of recreational rides and tours. I usually buy secondhand bikes and tune them for riding position and gearing. I do almost all my own maintenance and upgrades, but I leave headsets to the pros.

In the late Ď90s, I rode three week-long tours, one in Wisconsin (GRABAAWR) and two in North Dakota (CANDISC, now called CanDak). Bents were a common sight on the tours, riders praising their all-day comfort, and Iíve been curious about them since then. These days my rides typically arenít long enough for saddle pain to be more than a minor annoyance, and I donít plan to ride more tours.

Thus a bent is a solution to a problem that Iím not having, but these days, many of us are in the mood for Something Different. I found a Burley Canto on CL at an attractive price and bought it. For now letís call it proof of concept, and my focus is on getting acclimated without spending much on accessories.

I use a hitch-mounted bike carrier. The clamp is not designed for the large-diameter frame on the Canto, but it held securely for the two-hour drive home. With the wheels removed, the bike was no wider than my (small) car. To transport it over longer distances, Iíd probably need a carrier thatís a better fit, or some sort of adaptation.

The bike is in very good shape, but it had Shimano Revo (twist) shifters, which I do not believe are OEM. I swapped them out for GripShift MRX, along with new cables and housing. It shifts much better now. I also plundered my bike museum for a Conti Top Touring 2000 rear tire, which is much quieter than the stock slick, and I feel no difference in rolling resistance.

For on-bike storage, Iíve lashed a waist pack to the bar behind the seatback with nylon ties so that I can carry spare tubes and a multitool. The Lone Peak seatback bag looks like a good choice for something more official. I mounted a pump to the bottle cage bosses on the back of the seatback. A standard rear rack will fit, but I would have to cobble together extra-long front struts to reach the bosses on the chainstays.

As for riding, Iíve had the usual learning curve of launching from a stop, but as of today Iím starting in one cog larger than what Iím used to (the second largest instead of the third) and that makes a huge differenceóI can (usually) get the contraption moving without zigzagging. After two or three days I was confident enough to change to clipless pedals, and thatís been no problem.

The steering feels oversensitive and benefits from a light touch, but I think thatís just a bent characteristic. Iíd guess I have about 100 miles on the bike by now, and Iím feeling much more confident on it. It is addictive.

One quirk of the pandemic is that new bikes are selling like hotcakes and people are hauling their old ones out of the basement. Our paved trails are where a bent would really shine, but they are so crowded now that I wonít ride them even on a DF. Fortunately, weíre in the flatlands, and we have plenty of quiet neighborhood streets where I can practice. Everything except climbing, that is; our only ďhillsĒ are overpasses on the trails.

And now to the questions:

1. I note a little play in the steering linkage; Iím guessing that itís normal, and it doesnít seem to affect stability. I wonder if bushings could be added or replaced to make it tighter.

2. Later, once Iím better acclimated, I would think about doing the SWB conversion. (That would resolve question #1 since the linkage is removed.) Reviewers mentioned that changing to SWB didnít seem to hurt stability, but Iím curious if forum users agree.

Thanks for staying with this seemingly interminable post. Looking through the forum, Iíve already found much valuable advice and Iím pleased to find such a useful resource.
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Old 05-31-20, 04:00 AM
  #2  
Tony Marley
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Ref question #2 - it will take you only a day or so to adjust to the SWB. I have had both long and short, and found neither to be problematic.
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Old 05-31-20, 06:31 AM
  #3  
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First, welcome aboard! It sound like you're well on the way to settling in on your bent. I've never owned a LWB or anything with remote steering, so I don't know for sure, but it seems like you shouldn't have more than a minuscule amount of play in the linkages. From what I've seen, most ball joints are standard enough that you can find them at McMaster-Carr or some other hardware supplier.
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Old 05-31-20, 08:17 AM
  #4  
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Just so we know what you are talking about here is a picture stolen from Bicycleman in Alfred NY


All of the models shown there use overseat steering. There is some sort of tie rod under the frame linking the handlebars to the fork. If my LWB linear is any indication of how the play in this component affects steering it does make a great difference. Once I adjusted the tension on the tie rod so that it had no play but still did not bind, the steering was superb (mine has USS). I tried a 25 mile ride with a newly acquired used Linear where I did not check the steering and there was a little play. It was an exhausting ride trying to keep the bike going straight. As soon as I removed the excess play. all was well with the steering. If Bicycleman is right, you might want to leave it as an LWB for the extra comfort. His review of the bike is positive.

Burley is still in businsess but no longer makes recumbents. You can read some about the bike here:https://bicycleman.com/burley-canto-...cumbent-bikes/
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Old 05-31-20, 05:08 PM
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Vermilion
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Thanks folks. VegasTriker, I did see the info at Bicycle Man--a very useful site--and was aware of Burley's history. My Canto is grey as in the photo.

I took a closer look at the steering linkage and found that it was loose where it connects at the fork. I tightened the bolt a little and the play is gone. On my ride today, I didn't notice a difference in the steering, but of course it's good to eliminate that slight rattle anyway.
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Old 05-31-20, 06:26 PM
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If you haven't already, you might want to check out Bent Rider Online. I bought a 20 year old Rans Rocket last year and I've found a lot of info there and gotten a couple questions answered on their message boards. https://www.bentrideronline.com
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Old 05-31-20, 07:04 PM
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Thanks, unionmanbirch. Yes, before buying the Canto I looked for as many reviews as I could find, including on bentrideronline. Another useful resource. All the reviews I found thought the Canto was well made and stable.

My first choice was a V-Rex, but a seller on CL did not respond to my inquiry. I thought it would be a good choice because it is well regarded, including on this site, and has some practical advantages, such as a frame that might clamp more gracefully into my hitch carrier and would probably fit in my workstand. Since I can't use my workstand with the Canto, I do the old trick of hanging it from a pipe in the basement with straps--worked well enough for me to change the shifters and cables, etc. Then too, the V-Rex appears to accept a standard rear rack with supplied hardware, and in any case, the specimen on CL already had one.

Looks like the Canto in SWB form is a similar riding experience to the V-Rex (I'll be staying with LWB for the time being). The Canto has one nice feature, the passive suspension with chainstays that flex slightly. A lot of our streets are long overdue for resurfacing, and the city is in the habit of dropping enormous blobs of asphalt to make speed humps. A fully rigid bent would pose some challenges.

While I think I might prefer USS, I'm quite comfortable on the Canto and I know that's not an option on either the Burley or the V-Rex. I might address that question sometime in the future, but not soon.
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