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Looking into getting a recumbent

Old 10-08-12, 12:08 PM
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Chitown_Mike
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Looking into getting a recumbent

So long story short I am looking at an Optima Oryx (I believe, model isn't on it and I was in the mountains looking at it). My buddy had his wedding this past weekend and his wife is from the mountains of Arkansas and while over there helping grab stuff I noticed an unused recumbent in the garage, so I asked. It is an Optima, very good condition, has pedals that can use clipless or regular shoes, and is very fairly priced (as in less than a 1/3 of the cost new). Basically it was her dad's bike that her brother and her used a few times and he bought it off a gal in the Air Force that brought it back from overseas (I think).

I pedaled it around their yard and while it was weird, never rode one before, I REALLY enjoyed how it felt. I have a desire to get into long distance cycling, 100+ miles, and would eventually like to pedal across the US. After riding this bike I realize that 12 hours on one of these will feel a ton better than 12 hours on my DF Schwinn.

So for a first timer who is willing to learn and be patient, would that be worth it? I will probably pick it up next spring, or perhaps the next time my buddy and his wife go down there since it is 800 miles away.
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Old 10-08-12, 12:11 PM
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I have a low end bent, and I love how it feels but I am having the worse time getting out on it. I just.....looks funny! If you like it and its a good price I would pay for it then pick it up later. Good ones are hard to find cheep.
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Old 10-08-12, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Shellyrides View Post
I have a low end bent, and I love how it feels but I am having the worse time getting out on it. I just.....looks funny! If you like it and its a good price I would pay for it then pick it up later. Good ones are hard to find cheep.
Yeah I was looking at the retail on these new, $2200 way more than I could pay, but for this at the price they told me, I would be willing to figure it out. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 10-08-12, 12:20 PM
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I'm not familiar with that particular model, but a few days on my SWB bent, and I was sold. I was leery for a while, but I'm loving it. Of course, I don't care too much about looks, but I think they look cool. It's my daily commuter now, and I sold my upright road bike. (Keeping my mtn bike, though.)
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Old 10-08-12, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Shellyrides View Post
I have a low end bent, and I love how it feels but I am having the worse time getting out on it. I just.....looks funny! If you like it and its a good price I would pay for it then pick it up later. Good ones are hard to find cheep.
Just do it. You'll get a lot of good comments (and the occasional nay-sayer). I get a lot of thumbs up from kids, which is kinda odd, given their usual penchant for not liking things that are different.
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Old 10-08-12, 09:11 PM
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It looks like the Oryx is a touring 'bent with dual-26" wheels. Compared to their competitors, Optima tends to be on the heavy side, and adding suspension sure doesn't make it any lighter; but what the heck for the right price it'd be a nice ride, if somewhat slow on climbs. It's just me, but I would not want an older 6061 alloy frame, which were not only a softer alloy but weren't even heat-treated. The new 7005-series frames are something like 3 times as strong.

https://www.optimabikes.com/en/products/optima-oryx
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Old 10-08-12, 09:57 PM
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I can't see where a slightly softer steel alloy is going to cause any issue with it holding up. Even at that, it is quite a bit more resilient than aluminum. As a "softer" alloy it might even be noticeably more supple, but I doubt you would be able to notice it without having the other in a side by side comparison.
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Old 10-09-12, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
It looks like the Oryx is a touring 'bent with dual-26" wheels. Compared to their competitors, Optima tends to be on the heavy side, and adding suspension sure doesn't make it any lighter; but what the heck for the right price it'd be a nice ride, if somewhat slow on climbs. It's just me, but I would not want an older 6061 alloy frame, which were not only a softer alloy but weren't even heat-treated. The new 7005-series frames are something like 3 times as strong.

https://www.optimabikes.com/en/products/optima-oryx

That is interesting in regards to the steel, I will have to look into it. The bike only had "Tour" written on it where the other ones had the model, and it does look a little older but not much. And it has a 20"/26" setup on it but after reading up on that I would probably change it out for a 26" rim. Although I think the handle bars are backwards because they are super close to the seat and my thighs hit against them even with the pedals extended.
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Old 10-09-12, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
I can't see where a slightly softer steel alloy is going to cause any issue with it holding up. Even at that, it is quite a bit more resilient than aluminum. As a "softer" alloy it might even be noticeably more supple, but I doubt you would be able to notice it without having the other in a side by side comparison.
6061 and 7005 are both aluminum alloys. In a nutshell, a 6061 monotube frame, not heat treated after welding, is going to break. I say that from personal experience. Before buying a 6061-framed Optima, even at a rock-bottom price, I'd recommend giving a close look at the welds. Specifically, look for cracks just outside of the weld line, around all the stays; and if the frame doesn't have the vertical stiffener at the headtube area, around those welds, too. It helps to have someone sitting on the bike while examining it, because the cracks will be placed so that they widen under load. If it's got any cracks, you'll have to decide it the bike is worth rebuilding it when the frame alone will cost $500 or more.

I'm on my third Baron frame; and when I bought it used, the frame had already been replaced under warranty once. Optima has always denied frame breakage being a problem, but just in my circle of friends alone, there have been more frame replacements than what Optima acknowledges for their entire customer base. I expect the 7005 frame to last much longer; not because of the alloy but because it's (finally) heat-treated.
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Old 10-09-12, 12:18 PM
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I'm going to second what blazingpedals says here. There's a reason (well, lots of reasons) we don't use 6061 in aircraft anymore. Almost all of them have to do with cracking, especially at welds.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:10 PM
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My bad, I was of the impression that the OP had said something about the bike being a steel frame and just assumed those were some version of steel I was not familiar with. Thanks for the correction and teaching me something.
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Old 10-09-12, 01:42 PM
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Very great info, and glad I asked! I will get a chance to look at it again, this time armed with some better knowledge at what I am looking at and for.
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Old 10-10-12, 09:25 AM
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Here's what to look for:



What you're looking at is (from below) the non-drive side, top stay where it joins to the main tube. The crack is just a hairline running along the edge of the weld, in what a metallurgist would call the "heat affected zone." My son is a PhD metallurgist and could explain it in detail, but the bottom line is that the heat from welding makes those spots inherently weaker and only proper heat-treating will restore the strength.

Optima's line is that these are just paint defects; but I could tell it was a crack because it opened when someone sat on the bike. This frame had similar cracks at all 4 stays. Probably about 10K miles on it.
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Old 10-14-12, 01:25 PM
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The Oryx is Optima's newest 2x26 bike, replacing both the Orca and Condor. Those predecessors were well regarded touring-SUV recumbents, and the Oryx appears closest to the aluminum Orca. (The Condor was stainless steel. If you want something similar in steel, look at the Nazca recumbent brand.)
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Old 10-16-12, 07:20 AM
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Any brand of bent is a step in the right direction.
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