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Buying used bents

Old 10-01-21, 04:33 PM
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restlessswind
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Buying used bents

Hey there. Tomorrow morning I am going to check out a couple different used bikes. One is a Rans Stratus (LWB) and the other is a Burley Limbo (SWB/CLWB)
I know they are a bit different, and I have been reading about both, but can some of you offer advise on what to look for as a tell-tale sign to stay away? Both are fairly inexpensive, and both are about 100 miles away. I am a good wrench, but I just don't know anything about these. I just recently bought and rebuilt a delta trike (Haluzak Triumf), but I want to be able to go faster/further than what that is capable of..
I'm doing this as I'd like to give my enlarged prostate a break from the saddle, per se.

Thanks
Andy
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Old 10-02-21, 05:00 PM
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Check out the reviews at 'BentRider Online. You can find quality reviews by knowledgeable riders there. Here is one by the editor of the site for the Stratus XP 'BentRider Online» Blog Archive » RANS Stratus XP They have 445 reviews at that site. I couldn't find the Limbo though. A good source for information is Bicycleman in Alfred NY. Burley Limbo https://bicycleman.com/burley-limbo-recumbent-bike/ He sold a Stratus in 2019 for $1,095. It has Shimano components while the XP which may be newer has SRAM.
This is comparing apples to oranges since long wheelbase and short wheelbase bikes are totally different in the way they handle. I've owned both. My Linear LWB was a dream to ride. So comfortable but it was like piloting the Queen Mary because it was 7' long. I learned to do a U-turn by stopping, planting my feet on the ground, and then swiveling the frame 180 degrees. Much better than using the whole width of a two-lane street. My SWB Haluzak Horizon was much quicker handling and not nearly as comfortable as the Linear. With the Zak I had to be careful to avoid "heel strike" making a sharp turn since the front wheel is practically under the seat. One thing to check out is to see if you can find a recumbent with underseat steering to test ride. I personally would not buy a recumbent with overseat steering but that is my preference. My Linear LWB came with parts for both so I tried each in succession and settled on the USS. I have it on the Zak too and would not have bought it if it came only with OSS.

Rans is still making bikes today according to Bicycleman and I know Burley stopped making them some years ago. That means the few OEM parts specific to a model are easier to get for the Rans than for Burley.

Last edited by VegasTriker; 10-02-21 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Rans still in business
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Old 10-02-21, 05:12 PM
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Old 10-02-21, 05:19 PM
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Old 10-02-21, 05:37 PM
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the limbo was my first bike and the frame cracked. they replaced it for free with a different model and it was history even then right after I bought it new. heavy bike but I forgot about what it was like. it was a bit of a dog compared to the gold rush.
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Old 10-03-21, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Rans is still making bikes today according to Bicycleman
RANS is no more. The remaining company is only making the Phoenix and no longer supports legacy models such as the Stratus. So if you are looking at one of those make sure it is a late issue (probably red) with the four bolt forged riser (rather than the two bolt, which does not support chopper bars very well) and closed end seat struts because you might not be able to upgrade them. (Personally I haven’t had any problems so far with the open ended struts on my XP but IIRC others complained about them.)

Four bolt riser (obviously!)


Underside obsolete, crappy two bolt riser:


Open ended seat strut on earlier Stratus XP:


Closed seat strut on later model Stratus LE:


Also, check out this memory foam cushion. Looks like it is currently OOS but that occasionally happens. Can be strapped around the RANS seat back to stay in place and will keep the OEM seat pad from wearing out. I couldn’t ride any of my ‘bents without it. There’s another, strapless cushion on Amazon that might be even better for prostate problems, if you can get it to stay in place atop the ‘bent’s seat pan.



With its steel frame and fork, the Stratus LE makes a good candidate for e-assist conversion as well. Just be advised that due to an across the board issue with RANS, the rear dropout slots do not allow for a rear hub motor with squared off axle, so your options would most likely be limited to a front hub or mid drive (I used both.)

Best of luck on your quest, Andy.

Last edited by andychrist; 10-03-21 at 09:12 AM. Reason: Pics!
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Old 10-03-21, 10:02 AM
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I bought both of them. The Burley is virtually brand new. Zero wear and tear. The rans is well ridden but in excellent shape. I picked up each for $300. The rans came with fairings, and related accessories, chopper bars, rear rack, extra seat foam and covers, and a mini fairing. Both came with bags. The Burley also has the steering linkage for CLWB config

Last edited by restlessswind; 10-03-21 at 03:53 PM.
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Old 10-04-21, 11:57 AM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I have put over 20 miles on the Stratus, and I absolutely love it! It is as I'm riding a Cadillac. There is history behind this bike. The original owner traveled around the world and put over 1000 mi on it just in India. The only thing it needs is some new tires and the half-pipe grips and perhaps some fresh brake pads. The SRAM 9.0 shifters are in perfect shape. The only thing is I am unable to climb a steep, short hill near my house that leads from the MUT. Even when I tried to pedal hard, I could hear/feel the seat back mesh stressing. That made me reconsider trying this daunting hill. Luckily, walking it up is only about a minute.. It is a 3x9 speed. SRAM 9.0 rear and Shimano 105 triple /crankset with a tiny granny chainwheel.

As for the Burley Limbo, I just couldn't pass it up at the price. The wheelset alone was worth the price of the bike. Very nice Deore hubs and eyeleted rims. . It is literally brand new with a few minor garage abrasions (seat assembly is mint). I only rode it for a minute to try it out.. I need to configure to the CLWB as it is too awkward and my foot kept striking the wheel. Also, there is no way to mount a kickstand on it. as for the coil-over Rockshox monoshock, it seems to be nice and stiff. I can post pics of it tonight.

Last edited by restlessswind; 10-04-21 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by restlessswind View Post
Thanks everyone for your input. I have put over 20 miles on the Stratus, and I absolutely love it! It is as I'm riding a Cadillac. There is history behind this bike. The original owner traveled around the world and put over 1000 mi on it just in India. The only thing it needs is some new tires and the half-pipe grips and perhaps some fresh brake pads. The SRAM 9.0 shifters are in perfect shape. The only thing is I am unable to climb a steep, short hill near my house that leads from the MUT. Even when I tried to pedal hard, I could hear/feel the seat back mesh stressing. That made me reconsider trying this daunting hill. Luckily, walking it up is only about a minute.. It is a 3x9 speed. SRAM 9.0 rear and Shimano 105 triple /crankset with a tiny granny chainwheel.
Seat mesh creaking is not unusual for mesh seat backs. My year old Bacchetta B3 seat back creaks with energetic pedaling, while RANS mesh seat backs creak less. Replaced both Screamer tandem mesh backs a few years ago (each had a few holes but still functional) and found that the newer, sturdier construction is noisier. Have found RANS SlingMesh seat backs quieter.
But......not terribly uncommon for RANS mesh backs to eventually fail and rip apart - only once on a RANS SlingMesh seatback when it was about 9 years old. Give your seat a close inspection regularly, both the mesh and the frame.
Looks like you have a RANS Standard mesh seat - I have had two SlingMesh frames break. Both were older versions. Currently using two newer frames with no problems.
Enjoy your bike/s.
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Old 10-05-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Seat mesh creaking is not unusual for mesh seat backs. My year old Bacchetta B3 seat back creaks with energetic pedaling, while RANS mesh seat backs creak less. Replaced both Screamer tandem mesh backs a few years ago (each had a few holes but still functional) and found that the newer, sturdier construction is noisier. Have found RANS SlingMesh seat backs quieter.
But......not terribly uncommon for RANS mesh backs to eventually fail and rip apart - only once on a RANS SlingMesh seatback when it was about 9 years old. Give your seat a close inspection regularly, both the mesh and the frame.
Looks like you have a RANS Standard mesh seat - I have had two SlingMesh frames break. Both were older versions. Currently using two newer frames with no problems.
Enjoy your bike/s.
I understand and hear the creaking, but when powering up a very steep hill, I was hearing much more than that....it was a stretching and tearing sound. I've checked the mesh and it is oid and worn, but 100% in tact and supportive.
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Old 10-05-21, 03:15 PM
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Last night I stayed up very late tinkering with the grab bag that came with the Stratus. I discovered a Terracycle chain idler tensioner never used, a T bar, probably original handlebar/ mast with windscreen arms, a Terracycle under seat rack, and another, but scratched up windscreen. A fender set ( rear requires a narrower tire), a cateye computer with speed, distance, cadence, and time that still works, and a worn pannier set

Sorting all these parts was like sorting out a Rubik's cube 🧐
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Old 10-12-21, 03:58 PM
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Decided to sell the Burley. It was redundant at a time where my garage is full. No kickstand available. Blah blah...
I took some of that cash and went to REI and found a pair of bike shoes. Now I can grind up that nasty hill with relative ease.
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Old 10-20-21, 08:54 PM
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It sounds like you have a fun new bike! Your goodie bag had some real treasures in it. The underseat rack is a favorite of mine. You also have a fairing and mount? Score!

As for the seat creaking - at the point you decide to replace the fabric, it's expensive. If you can still buy it from RANS. I unhappily replaced stretched out fabric mesh about every two years. Finally I went with a seat from AD Carson at Recycled Recumbents. The entire seat was about the same cost as just the fabric from RANS. I've been using that seat for ~3 years now and the fabric is still taunt.

BTW, I've also had two sling mesh seat frames break. But, you might have the original RANS seat with the thick foam pad? The sling mesh seat has a thin foam pad.

The Stratus is a great bike. Good choice.
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Old 10-21-21, 09:49 AM
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Thanks! So, the creaking I was hearing and feeling was only climbing a very steep hill, and stalling. I decided to buy a pair of cleated shoes and put on clipless pedals. I can now climb that hill with no creaks or stalls. I will keep your info regarding AD Carson. I already looked into getting a spare seat setup from Phoenix WRX and it was going to cost me about $180 for the parts (clamp, tilt, pan,). I already have a spare cushion and cover. I am most concerned that Phoenix and other 2 wheel bents/parts won't last in the economical climate. I could be wrong, but I do want a spare comfy seat so my bike won't be obsolete to me.


Originally Posted by Kelly I View Post
It sounds like you have a fun new bike! Your goodie bag had some real treasures in it. The underseat rack is a favorite of mine. You also have a fairing and mount? Score!

As for the seat creaking - at the point you decide to replace the fabric, it's expensive. If you can still buy it from RANS. I unhappily replaced stretched out fabric mesh about every two years. Finally I went with a seat from AD Carson at Recycled Recumbents. The entire seat was about the same cost as just the fabric from RANS. I've been using that seat for ~3 years now and the fabric is still taunt.

BTW, I've also had two sling mesh seat frames break. But, you might have the original RANS seat with the thick foam pad? The sling mesh seat has a thin foam pad.

The Stratus is a great bike. Good choice.
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Old 10-23-21, 02:56 AM
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You might want to check the serial number under the BB for the date that Stratus was manufactured. There were a couple of recalls on earlier models, one for the defective welded riser, another having to do with the steerer tube (Kelly can tell you about that.)
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Old 10-23-21, 01:43 PM
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Too late to help the o.p. but for anyone with the problem of finding a kickstand for SWB bents, there are kickstands that mount directly to the Quick Release skewer bolt that I have on my Highracer. I looked for the exact one that I ordered off Ebay but it returns a 404 error code. I'm pretty sure there are similar models from other makers. Just FYI.
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