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Recumbent for touring

Old 03-10-06, 11:15 PM
  #1  
dadiv
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Recumbent for touring

Hey everybody!

I have recently gotten excited about the idea of long-distance touring, perhaps leading, after a year or so, to a cross-country (USA, as it happens) trip.

I haven't been riding a bicycle for very long. I only learned a few years ago -- figured enough was enough and went out and bought a low-end Trek hybrid for getting around town (New York City, at the time). I had a blast learning -- though as you may imagine it was somewhat treacherous at times -- and enjoyed commuting to work periodically, over the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, and going on various adventures around town.

After leaving the city, I enjoyed several thousand miles of motorcycle travel (I hesitate to call it 'touring' for various reasons), but never managed to do much long-distance riding on my bicycle: despite the purchase of a seemingly more comfortable and ergonomic saddle, I still suffer from numbness in the usual places after a few hours of riding. Not to mention the neck strain, or the hand/wrist strain.

So, I realized if I am going to make this happen, I need to solve that problem -- and recumbent cycles seem, pretty much across the board, to be the answer. I am sold. But I am still wondering a few things.

- Should I consider trikes? The risk-averse, fear-reactive part of me (which I admit is often rather convincing) says YES. But are trikes seen as a cop-out, made for people who can't manage the coordination to balance? Will i get no respect in my travels? (Then again, who cares.) Are they just plain hella fun?

(Hill-climbing with a 2-wheel bent sounds like a real pain. To give you an idea of my skill level: I am quite comfortable riding on the street, but don't track as straight as more experienced riders when climbing hills. I have never gotten comfortable "standing on the pedals" in ascent, which I hear is something of a bad habit anyway.)

- Does anyone know what resources there are in western North Carolina (Asheville, specifically) for recumbent cyclists? I haven't ridden a recumbent trike or a bike, and that is definitely something I have to do in order to start the process of getting one!

- Should I not give up so quickly on regular DF bikes? Is it possible for me to come up with a solution to the various dimensions of discomfort, or is it a losing battle?

- What am I looking for in a touring cycle? To me, it seems like the primary concerns are usable luggage spaces, and a comfortable seat/crank/control geometry. (I am sold on USS; my experiences with my Trek hybrid and with my motorcycle lead me to wonder why anyone would ride an ASS 'bent.)

Well anyway, apologies for the scattered nature of this post, but I hope it has at least been enjoyable to read, and I look forward to whatever suggestions people can offer.

Thanks for your time!

David
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Old 03-11-06, 07:57 AM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by dadiv
- Should I consider trikes? The risk-averse, fear-reactive part of me (which I admit is often rather convincing) says YES. But are trikes seen as a cop-out, made for people who can't manage the coordination to balance? Will i get no respect in my travels? (Then again, who cares.) Are they just plain hella fun?
Don't worry about getting respect. Just have fun!



Originally Posted by dadiv
Does anyone know what resources there are in western North Carolina (Asheville, specifically) for recumbent cyclists? I haven't ridden a recumbent trike or a bike, and that is definitely something I have to do in order to start the process of getting one!
I don't know about Asheville, but Neighborhood Transportation in Winston-Salem is a good bent shop, especially for trikes. The owner and staff are very kind and helpful. I stopped in there while I was driving through the area on my way out of state. I had just planned to drop in, look around, and go back later--but they gave me a full tour, answered all my questions, offered me some test rides, etc. My "quick stop" lasted over an hour.

https://ntransportation.com/index.cfm

I've heard that there's a good bent dealer in Greeneville, SC, too, but I haven't personally been there.


Originally Posted by dadiv
What am I looking for in a touring cycle? To me, it seems like the primary concerns are usable luggage spaces, and a comfortable seat/crank/control geometry. (I am sold on USS; my experiences with my Trek hybrid and with my motorcycle lead me to wonder why anyone would ride an ASS 'bent.)
I recently posted a similar question on the message board at BentRiderOnline, and I got some good ideas.

https://www.bentrideronline.com/ Go to the message board; look under "General Discussion" and "New to Recumbents." The thread is entitled "What makes a good touring bent?"

Last edited by Mild Al; 03-11-06 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 03-11-06, 09:24 AM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by dadiv
Hey everybody!

I have recently gotten excited about the idea of long-distance touring, perhaps leading, after a year or so, to a cross-country (USA, as it happens) trip.

I still suffer from numbness in the usual places after a few hours of riding. Not to mention the neck strain, or the hand/wrist strain.

So, I realized if I am going to make this happen, I need to solve that problem -- and recumbent cycles seem, pretty much across the board, to be the answer. I am sold. But I am still wondering a few things.

- Should I consider trikes? The risk-averse, fear-reactive part of me (which I admit is often rather convincing) says YES. But are trikes seen as a cop-out, made for people who can't manage the coordination to balance? Will i get no respect in my travels? (Then again, who cares.) Are they just plain hella fun?

(Hill-climbing with a 2-wheel bent sounds like a real pain. To give you an idea of my skill level: I am quite comfortable riding on the street, but don't track as straight as more experienced riders when climbing hills. I have never gotten comfortable "standing on the pedals" in ascent, which I hear is something of a bad habit anyway.)

- What am I looking for in a touring cycle? To me, it seems like the primary concerns are usable luggage spaces, and a comfortable seat/crank/control geometry. (I am sold on USS; my experiences with my Trek hybrid and with my motorcycle lead me to wonder why anyone would ride an ASS 'bent.)

Thanks for your time!

David
I have become such an affirmed triker that I have taken to selling them. There are a number of accounts of people who have toured extensively on trikes of various brands. If I were up to touring, it is what I would be on.

Of course, all of the pain issues associated with regular bikes go away--except knees as expected. One of the things I like best about trikes is that road surface concerns go away. Ice, sand, ruts and so on will not result in the rider being dumped on the pavement. Climbing a long grade is a fairly relaxing activity as there is no wobbling whatsoever. You can load a trike fairly substantially and pull a trailer as well if necessary. Vehicles tend to stay further away from trikes than regular bikes--no one knows why for sure. People never waved and honked at me on my mountain bike--trikes bring smiles to people's faces even when they aren't on one.

You will have to go and ride some recumbent bikes and trikes and find the right fit for you. I have certainly seen tourers on two-wheeled bents as well--they just aren't for me.

Chip
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Old 03-11-06, 12:56 PM
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Wanna know if trikes are good for touring? Read these:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ...c_id=430&v=18s

Heidi Domeisen completed a tour from North Carolina to Alaska and Back. And she just completed an off raod tour of the Continental Divide.

Many trike were built for touring. If I remeber correctly Greenspeeds were built to do a perimeter tour around Australia.

You won't loose respect. Anyway who cares if someone doesn't like your trike?

Also, check this out. This page contain touring diaries of many recumbent tourists (both recumbent bikes and trikes).
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journ...ategory_id=214
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Old 03-11-06, 01:00 PM
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Also keep in mind that if you buy a recumbent bicycle you're gonna have to "re-learn" how to ride.

Bents are different. Go and test out a bunch. Personally, I like long wheel base bents. They have room for rear and mid-ship panniers. you can pack a lot of stuff on them
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Old 03-14-06, 02:00 PM
  #6  
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I ride an EVOX (formerly Quetzel) CLWB. I have a (mostly) Shimano Altus gruppo with the "mega range" cluster. I substituted an older Shimano Bio-pace crank set for the crappy Tourney crankset that shipped with the bike. I have no problem whatever with the steepest hills in the London, ON area. The bike is fast and responsive as long as you don't try to ride without hands on the tiller. The wheel will flop around badly without the stabilizing influence of hands on the controls. This bike was reasonably priced at $600.00 CDN.

This bike is very easy to ride and once I got my "bent" legs, after about 300 miles, I have had less and less desire to ride my Bianchi. I will ride the road bike this summer, but I really like the bent and seem to be riding it most of the time. I put on a set of knobbies to cope better in the snow, and have been riding off and on since the new year. This week, the knobbies came off and the slicks went back on. I have the stock tires on the bike. These are inexpensive Kendas. The rear (24") can be inflated to 100 psi and the smaller (20") front tire to 65 psi. This makes for good hard tires and reduced rolling resistance on the road. I have no inclination to replace the Kenda tires until they wear out. At that time I will likely go to continentals. I was thinking of putting the EVOX on the trails this summer but I have since acquired a MTB. I may still take the bent on the trails, once, to see how it handles, but I will probably use the MTB as my main off-road ride.

Hills are no problem. When I first started out on this bike, they were a chore, but now, I can ride up pretty steep hills in higher gears and maintain a bit of speed. on the weekend I was out with my wife. She was on a pretty good MTB and I was riding the bent. I was able to keep up with her on the hills in spite of the fact that she was having to "honk" her way to the top!

This bike would be great for touring, and I may get a set of panniers for it. I have a rack that will fit the bike and there are other places gear could be strapped on. I may do a short tour this summer - I'm thinking of a weekend camp out in a provincial park about 100 kilometers distant. If that works out OK, I will plan a farther trip for a later date. The bike is very comfortable and I feel I could ride it all day long without pain or complaint.

Cheers

Charles
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Old 03-16-06, 10:50 AM
  #7  
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Touring on a bent - yes! I've owned a Rans V-Rex, Rans Wave, Rans Stratus, Easy Racers Tour Easy, and Sun Tadpole Trike. I still have the TE, and just bought the Tad Trike. I would gladly tour on a Stratus (except that I sold it to my best friend) or on my Tour Easy, without a second thought. The stability of the long wheel-base bent is legendary, even when loaded. Nothing is as stable as a good trike, and you could always tow a trailer, but would be somewhat slower, based upon your fitness level. Buy a steel Tour Easy, or Stratus, you won't be disappointed!

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Old 03-16-06, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourezrick
Buy a steel Tour Easy, or Stratus, you won't be disappointed!
I agree. I'm building up a Tour Easy Clone for touring and day riding. I've always liked lwb machines better than swb. I guess I'm too afraid of heal strike on swb bikes. Besides my dad always told me that a big man needs a big car. Well, I like bikes so I say a big man needs a big bike.
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Old 07-19-06, 10:52 PM
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Tour Easy, Stratus, Sun Sport???

My best friend and I bike together, and will probably make the "big switch" to bents together. We are nowhere near the same size though, so we tend to like different "fits". She very much likes the Sun Sport AX, which I can't even ride (due to my height of 4'10ish). Likewise, I'm growing to like the Stratus, which she feels clausterphobic in! Given that we don't particularly want to make this decision again soon, and want a dependably comfortable low maintenance ride, we're also considering the Tour Easy, which we can get a reasonably good deal on. Unfortunately however, we both can't find the appropriate size of Tour Easy in town - a size larger, but not the correct size. So I'm the only one that can test one, and that is alittle tough on a size larger than I should settle on.

You might wonder why I bring up that we're shopping together - but the deal is that I don't feel like I can buy a model with 2 20" wheels if she goes after that 700cc wheel on the Tour Easy.

My question is, can anyone compare the three, or two of the three, bikes for me? I'm not really feeling the huge difference between the Stratus and the Tour Easy (and certainly not the price difference), but then again, the Stratus fits me perfectly, which does bias me a little. And of course I can't compare either to the Sport. This is an expensive decision, and I feel like I don't have a fair comparison here.

I've ridden, by the way, the Bacchetta Cafe, Lightening P-38, Sun EZ-1 SC and AX, Rans Stratus and Stratus LE, Tour Easy Expedition, Burley Koosah and Adirondak and BikeE CT. I still plan to try out the Burley Canto and the Rans XP, so if anyone knows much about those I'd appreciate it!!

Thanks for your post - it seems from my reading that the Stratus and the Tour Easy are roughly equivalent in terms of rider satisfaction long term....opinions, anyone??
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Old 07-21-06, 03:03 PM
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Use Whichever You Want

People cover long distances on all types of recumbents, people do it on all of them. About the only concern is if you can attach the bags you want--and for most bikes from companies still in business (IE, not BikeE), there's racks available.

One generality is that LWB bikes are commonly preferred for touring as their steering tends to be more stable than SWB's. My first bent was a SWB and I didn't like the jittery steering; heel strike did occur during tight turns but during general road cruising it was not a problem at all.

Another generality is that big-wheel bikes are commonly preferred for touring as small wheels accellerate faster, but have more rolling resistance. In city riding quick accelleration wins the game but during long-distance cruising, quick accelleration isn't of much value. 26/26 highracers have been around for a while (when was the first?) and now we are seeing companies bring out 26/26 LWB's as well, and the lower rolling resistance of big wheels is the reason why.

There's also the RANS crank-forward bikes now too, if you did not know. Upright, but in a way that solves most of the discomfort problems of uprights, and they even sell a "touring" model.
~
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Old 07-26-06, 09:40 PM
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I love my LWB, it's long because I'm 6'6". I almost have my bent-legs, but am still working on relaxing the arms part of riding.
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Old 07-27-06, 08:07 AM
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Love my LWB...?

What do you ride?
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Old 07-27-06, 08:16 PM
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Oh, here it is. Homebuilt. Frame bought on the internet and all parts are from discarded bikes I find during bulk collection. You'd be amazed at the bikes put out for trash down here. I guess that's what big-store el cheapo bikes do to the mentality. But I also found a couple old Schwinns too and a 1963 Columbia girl's upright ten-speed, 26x1-3/8 wheels y'know.

Here's the bent. Tires are different now though, Kenda Kwest 20 x 1.5 and 26 x 1.5 and the white seatpad is now much thinner. Otherwise the same as in the picture. ps. the nice Italian front triple chainrings and the pedals were donated by a roadie friend at work (he changed to something else), $200 worth of gear fell in my lap. Very lucky with this bike. OH and the red seat bottom is a bass casting seat form a marine store.
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Old 07-28-06, 06:11 AM
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Cool! And bravo!
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Old 07-30-06, 11:27 AM
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A couple o ?s for bent owners

As SWB bikes have to be fitted to the heigth of a rider , are bents also fitted for leg length?

Is a single wheel trailer a more favorble idea than a 2 wheel trailer?, and not for the most obvious reason i.e less friction on the roads

Do bent riders use clipless pedals?

What are "bent legs"?
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Old 07-30-06, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Travelinguyrt
A couple o ?s for bent owners

As SWB bikes have to be fitted to the heigth of a rider , are bents also fitted for leg length?

Is a single wheel trailer a more favorble idea than a 2 wheel trailer?, and not for the most obvious reason i.e less friction on the roads

Do bent riders use clipless pedals?

What are "bent legs"?
1. Yes, often the measurement is called the X-seam. When seated it's the distance from your back to the bottom of your feet.

2. single or double. I don't know. Just pick one.

3. Yes, some say riding a bent without some way of securing your feet is dangerous considering that your feet could fall under the bike, ensuring that you'll never have kids again.

4. Bents use a different mucles set than upright bikes. It takes time to develop those different muscles. It's like doing push ups with your hands closer together or farther apart.
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Old 08-01-06, 11:51 AM
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Check out the Rans Stratus XP. It's a long wheel base big wheel recumbent. Very nice. If you're interested in riding across America, check out www.adventurecycling.org. Most people ride the Trans America trail from Oregon to Virginia. Adventure Cycling sells maps of the routes with all the details a touring cyclist would ever need to know!
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