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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 05-06-08, 08:48 PM   #1
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Please help...'bent or crank forward?


I could really use some advice and input. My husband and I are looking for new bikes. He's had some health problems (heart) and we'd like to start some cycling together. (Please don't laugh or freak out at this part...) We plan to put a motor on them so that we're able to use them more without putting too much physical strain on him. It may not be as good as pedal power only, but we'll be able to go more often and farther which will allow us to build physical strength and save gas money as well.

We stopped at a (well, actually several) LBS today basically to try out a crank forward (Electra Townie, Trek Pure Sport). We weren't able to take either for a test ride for different reasons but we both liked the feel of them. One of the LBS's had a Sun EZ-1 on sale for $499 which had my DH intrigued. He decided to try out the 'bent and really liked it. I took it for a spin as well and was impressed with the comfort compared to my DF mountain bike, though I was a bit unsteady (first time on a 'bent).

We're total newbies when it comes to 'bents and crank forwards for that matter. I'm curious about your thoughts on the differences and how they compare to each other and diamond frames for that matter. My DH is saying that we wouldn't have to have the same type of bike, particularly with the motor to assist, but I'm wondering if this will end up causing frustration or if it's do-able. If we do go with different styles, I'd likely go with the crank forward and he would opt for the 'bent. We'd like to use them for errands around town, and eventually perhaps for longer trips. We do live in a hilly area. Also, how durable is the Sun EZ-1? He's about 6' and I'm guessing 260lbs or so. Would it hold up fairly well? In comparison to a bike like the Trek Pure Spot, the EZ-1's frame is quite a bit smaller but I know that the designs are quite different so that could make a difference.

Sorry this is so long but with the lack of a "comprehensive" LBS around here I just wanted to get some advice from folks who are familiar with 'bents and crank forwards. Thanks so much in advance!!

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Old 05-06-08, 09:37 PM   #2
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The bieks hould hold up fine, and with ypou both being at the same fitness level, there shouldn't be a problem for you both to keep up with each other. If you like it and can afford it, get it. I really like the RANS crank forwards as well, but bents are my bike of choice.

Try several different kinds, though! If you can.
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Old 05-07-08, 07:30 AM   #3
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Rae - When I was looking for a replacement for my upright SPECIALIZED "comfort" bike (due to arthritus problems in the back, neck, and sholders) I tried both Sun recumbents and Electra CF bikes. I couldn't tell much difference between what I was then riding and the CF bike. The Sun recumbent was something else altogether and that's what I bought (EZ-Sport). The relaxed riding posture and the support on my seat and back sold me. Wrist, neck, and back pains are gone. I have never regretted the purchase! Sun bikes are well made and should last you many years. Good luck on your ultimate choice!

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Old 05-07-08, 10:52 AM   #4
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the bent will address (alleviate) many more current or potential arthritis problems than the CF will.
riding my Longbikes is pure cush comfort compared to a regular Diamond Frame (DF). Go recumbent.
And if age/health issues with balance are present, consider trikes.

be sure to search your local craigslist under bikes for 'recumbent' and 'recumbant'. you'll
probably find several to try you won't find in the LBS if you are anywhere near a major metro area...
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Old 05-07-08, 01:27 PM   #5
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No fitness benefit from riding a motorized bike, at least not when the motor is turned on. Is a healthcare practitioner advising your husband on cardiac rehab?
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Old 05-07-08, 03:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by varaonaid View Post
...Sorry this is so long but with the lack of a "comprehensive" LBS around here I just wanted to get some advice from folks who are familiar with 'bents and crank forwards. Thanks so much in advance!!
Not many bike shops know much about recumbents, unless they sell them.


I have a RANS Fusion and also recumbent bikes as well. The Fusion is not as comfortable as the recumbents are over very-long trips but the Fusion is still a lot better comfort than a regular upright bike, and the Fusion is still easy to ride because it feels like an upright bike. On my recumbents many people (who've tried riding them) took a minute or two to get going; on the Fusion they'd just get on and go, the first time.

The RANS bikes are expensive, but they have the pedals forward considerably farther than most other examples. The RANS bikes also don't use a normal seat--and saddle pain is a MAJOR complaint of people who don't ride bicycles. All these other comfort-bikes use a normal seat, and if using the bicycle hurts, people will find excuses not to do it.


As far as motors go, there's nothing wrong at all with adding a motor. For many people the problem is not in getting enough exercise, but in getting any exercise at all--and someone recovering from a heart condition is not training for the Olympics anyway.

The electric motors that replace the front wheel are the easiest to attach. They also don't require pedaling at all, so (if someone is injured for example) they can get on the bike and ride some distance with no exertion at all--which could end up to be very important for someone with a heart condition. Conversely, the BionX is a popular electric-assist setup, but it requires the rider to pedal to get any motor assist at all.
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Old 05-12-08, 09:16 AM   #7
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Thanks so much for all of your responses! I'm *so* appreciative.

After reading all of your advice, we're planning to go with a 'bent. I think overall it will be the best choice for us. As you said, if it isn't comfortable, we'll always find a reason *not* to ride.

I understand that a lot of folks don't "approve" of adding a motor to a bike. But for us, it really isn't an option. It's the thing that got my DH's doc on board with this idea. When he realized that the type of motor we'll be getting would let him pedal - or not - he realized that DH could get some exercise without relying entirely on pedal power alone. As his heart strengthens, he can choose to pedal more. You're right, we're not going to be training for the Olympics and this will be the difference in riding or not for us. So, we figure that some riding is better than no riding

It'll still be a few weeks before we get our bents and I'm already having trouble with patience! Can't wait to get 'em. Thanks again so much for all your help! Now, if you have any tips that we'll need to know as recumbent riders, please let us know!
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Old 05-12-08, 10:04 AM   #8
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I have 4 bikes, Rotator Pursuit LWB & a LWB Homemade low racer, 1 Raleigh Venture DF & 1 Diamondback Cross bike. I recently put a 35 cc 4 stroke "Robin Suburu" moter on my Raleigh DF and I am so happy with it. I get over 200 mpg & a top speek of 30 mph. Over the years I have used electric & other moters and had to mix gas & oil. A real hassle. The 35 cc Robin is a "Golden Eagle" It is highly advisable to have a heavy duty rim made up w/ 12 gage spokes also if you plan on useing a engine and I would also recommend you put it on a good quality DF frame. I will make someone mad here but I do know that with your weight and a engine on a recumbent you will crack your frame or bend your rim on your first pothole. Good luck
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