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Which Used SWB ($400-500) To Look At?

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Which Used SWB ($400-500) To Look At?

Old 02-07-13, 10:37 PM
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jyl
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Which Used SWB ($400-500) To Look At?

My wife wants a recumbent, so we are starting to look at used ones in the Portland area. She wants a SWB with over seat steering. Priorities are: comfortable, not too hard to learn on, suitable for long rides on flat or rolling terrain, fits in a small garage already full of bikes, can be carried on a small car.

She'll be doing Seattle To Portland with me this year, and will be damned if she's going to be rubbed raw on a bike saddle for 200 miles: her words or something like them.

Our price range is $400-500 ish. Eventually I imagine we'll spend more for her perfect bike, but we're thinking of this as a starter, try-it-out bike.

Choices seem limited. Scanning the local ads for SWB bikes over the past couple months, I see: a couple of Rans (V-Rex, sometimes I see Rockets); Vision (40-series is most common, sometimes 50-), Burley (Limbo, Django, Hepcat sometimes). I'm a bit concerned that all the models I've just mentioned are discontinued and in most cases the companies are gone. But maybe that's what you get for that price range?

Among currently extant companies, the used Bachettas are above our price range. I've heard about the Lightning but never do see a used one.

Of those choices, which one(s) would you suggest we look at first?

I'm quite familiar with inspecting DF bikes and working on them, but don't know about recumbents.
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Old 02-08-13, 05:30 AM
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Just because a bike/model is discontinued, don't write it off.

In your situation, I'd haunt the local/regional Craigslists, BROL's "for sale" forum and eBay recumbents listings. I've seen (and bought) Bachetta Giro 20s for $600-700 - granted that's slightly above your stated desired price range but well worth the additional dollars. In one case, a tank of gas for my Prius allowed me to save $150 in packing&shipping costs - even after paying for my own gas.
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Old 02-08-13, 07:01 AM
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You can also think about Cruzbike conversion kits (used to generally convert y frame mountain bikes, but lots of things have been tried).

These are weird beasts, but a lot of fun. You can read about my experiences starting out here.

Cheers,
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Old 02-08-13, 09:48 AM
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The Cruzbike kits look interesting, but I want to avoid another "project". I have a backlog of bike projects!

Looking instead for something she can get on and start training for STP. She's only an occasional rider, short trips on a utility bike, so 200 miles will be a significant undertaking for her.

There is a mid-90's Rans V-Rex, asking $550 and another asking $600, both about 50 miles away. For local to me bike, there is a Vision R55 w/ F/R suspension and Magura brakes, asking $750 (why suspension for a road bike?). A Burley Limbo, asking $500 and another asking $800 (!). A Vision 40 asking $475 and another asking $550.
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Old 02-08-13, 09:56 AM
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You will not go far wrong with either a Rocket or a V-Rex but only if their seat height suits your wife. On both bikes, the Rocket even more than the Rex, the further forward you move the seat to accommodate a shorter rider the greater the distance from the ground.
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Old 02-08-13, 10:08 AM
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You should be able to get a used Lightning Stealth/Phantom for about $500. Not a P-38 but a Really Good Bike.
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Old 02-08-13, 10:37 AM
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You're fortunate to have used bents in easy inspection distance, and being very knowledgeable about bicycles. You can easily determine if the bike is mechanically sound. Most parts are interchangeable with DF parts. Any named will likely do for a starter, but pay particular attention to gearing ratios. Make a low ball offer.

A swb is a different beast entirely than a lwb. DF to swb will require a lot of practice. Start out on grass to lessen the impact of a fall. Once she gets the handling under control, gonna take a while to get her 'bent' legs, as she is a 'casual' rider. Clipping in is nearly essential with a swb, after some confidance is gained.

DF to lwb is not as hard a transistion, control or muscles wise. Might make more sense as a starter. Being a casual DF rider, probably not gonna be easy with either. But, never can tell. Might be just the thing for her, depending on how motivated she is to do this.

FWIW, I'd spring for a used Bachetta if available, Giro or Bella(lwb).
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Old 02-08-13, 10:46 AM
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Is there a reason to want suspension? This would be for road riding.

My observations are that essentially no road DF has suspension (specialist Parix-Roubaix stuff and the wacky/wonderful Cannondale "Silk Road" aside), a fair number of older SWB models are suspended, but the current SWB models seem to be rigid.

I assume there's no way for the rider to post (unweight, get out of the saddle) on a recumbent that is headed toward a pothole, pavement heave, sharp dip, etc - but given the recumbent rider's position, does it matter?
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Old 02-08-13, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Is there a reason to want suspension? This would be for road riding.

My observations are that essentially no road DF has suspension (specialist Parix-Roubaix stuff and the wacky/wonderful Cannondale "Silk Road" aside), a fair number of older SWB models are suspended, but the current SWB models seem to be rigid.

I assume there's no way for the rider to post (unweight, get out of the saddle) on a recumbent that is headed toward a pothole, pavement heave, sharp dip, etc - but given the recumbent rider's position, does it matter?
You hit the nail on the head: it's hard (but not impossible) for the rider to unweight for going over bumps. Because of this, suspension is much more common for road recumbents than it is for road DF bikes. It is hardly a necessity, but it isn't to be avoided like one might on a DF road bike.
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Old 02-08-13, 11:17 AM
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You might not want to limit her choices to SWB models. I love mine, but it's probably worth at least trying some LWB models out.

Maybe I'll see you in the STP this year.
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Old 02-08-13, 01:16 PM
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Going to drop by Coventry Cycles today (local recumbent dealer), just to look around, I don't want to take up much of their time until I'm ready to buy new. But I'd like to see some Bachettas.

Will look at a used V-Rex tomorrow and maybe a Burley Limbo this weekend.

There is a Vision R55 (full suspension) asking $750 locally. I'm interested in trying it to see how the suspension feels, but the price seems high.

On the LWBs, we're so limited in storage space that I'm pretty biased toward SWB. But if the SWB doesn't work out, we'll try a LWB.

Last edited by jyl; 02-08-13 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 02-09-13, 02:54 PM
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V-Rex seems nice. Clean, good used condition, some chain slap paint damage, doesn't really show its age. XTR 8 speed rear, Ultegra front, Gripshift, so kind of a mixed kit but maybe that's not a negative for a recumbent as it would be for a road DF. Lighter than I expected. Will fit her fine.
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Old 02-09-13, 05:19 PM
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V-Rex is a great all-around bike.
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Old 02-09-13, 05:23 PM
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I have a SWB Rotator that I picked up for just over $300 a couple or 3 years ago. It is a stick bike, has two 20" wheels. I really like it, I put 100 psi 1.5" tires on it, on the flats I am about as fast as on my DF, at least as fast downhill. I am not as fast uphill but I don't ride it enough to really have bent legs. It is low to the ground, so the learning curve was fairly easy and I did not get hurt when I did tip over. It also fits on any standard rack that holds the wheels or fork and rear wheel (roof or hitch).
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Old 02-09-13, 05:37 PM
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If you can find a V-Rex in that price range, I'd jump at it. I think it's one of those semi-cult bikes like your Bridgestones that will never go out of style.

When I started riding recumbents I bought a Rans Enduro Sport frameset because the folks at Rans said they expected it to replace the T-Rex. I don't have anything negative to say about my choice but, if I had it to do over, I'd spend the extra money for a Ti-Rex frameset just for the added style points..
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Old 02-09-13, 09:02 PM
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The seller pointed out that the V-Rex has heel strike. Is that any more of a problem than toe strike is on a DF (irritating at first, then you never think about it again)?
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Old 02-09-13, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Going to drop by Coventry Cycles today (local recumbent dealer), just to look around, I don't want to take up much of their time until I'm ready to buy new. But I'd like to see some Bachettas.
I guess you went on Saturday- according to Marilyn, the owner (we're Facebook friends), Coventry was hopping today.

If you're still shopping around, also post to the OHPV forum: https://www.ohpv.org/forums/index.php . There's always a surplus of machines in various garages, and Lonnie Morse brokers used recumbents all the time. Also talk to Todd Marley- he put many miles on a Vision (including a couple STP's) before switching to a Gold Rush.
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Old 02-09-13, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
The seller pointed out that the V-Rex has heel strike. Is that any more of a problem than toe strike is on a DF (irritating at first, then you never think about it again)?

The V-Rex's heel strike is nothing like the overlap on the P-38. In 10 years of riding my P-38, I hit my heel maybe 4 times and never went down because of it.
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Old 02-09-13, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
The seller pointed out that the V-Rex has heel strike. Is that any more of a problem than toe strike is on a DF (irritating at first, then you never think about it again)?
You learn to avoid it, just like you learn to avoid pedal strike on the ground during a turn. A fender makes it worse but still quite managable.
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Old 02-09-13, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
I guess you went on Saturday- according to Marilyn, the owner (we're Facebook friends), Coventry was hopping today.

If you're still shopping around, also post to the OHPV forum: https://www.ohpv.org/forums/index.php . There's always a surplus of machines in various garages, and Lonnie Morse brokers used recumbents all the time. Also talk to Todd Marley- he put many miles on a Vision (including a couple STP's) before switching to a Gold Rush.
How is Marilyn? I met her for the first time last year at STP, then I found out who she was, then I heard about her accident. I asked about her at Coventry when I dropped by Friday afternoon, they said she was working part days but I wasn't clear if that meant she was doing well or not.

I liked the Bachetta Giro there, by the way.
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Old 02-10-13, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
The seller pointed out that the V-Rex has heel strike. Is that any more of a problem than toe strike is on a DF (irritating at first, then you never think about it again)?
It's something to keep in mind when making sharp turns, especially u-turns in the street. Not really a problem.
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Old 02-10-13, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
How is Marilyn? I met her for the first time last year at STP, then I found out who she was, then I heard about her accident. I asked about her at Coventry when I dropped by Friday afternoon, they said she was working part days but I wasn't clear if that meant she was doing well or not.

I liked the Bacchetta Giro there, by the way.
FIFY- "Bacchetta" has two "C's" in it. There's a couple Giros in the gang and they like 'em.

Marilyn is doing pretty well, and 95% back. Still contending with residual memory issues, but that's to be expected after the head bonk she received. She's one tough birdy, though, and she's been hinting at something big coming up at Coventry. Don't know what's up, though.

Just to clarify for the audio radiance: Marilyn was hit by a car last August. She was brought to Legacy Emanuel Hospital, which is my day job. All things considered, she's made an amazing recovery:
https://bikeportland.org/2012/08/06/c...ollision-75572
https://bikeportland.org/2012/08/20/r...our-help-76227
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Old 02-11-13, 11:50 PM
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Glad to hear. I liked meeting her at STP. Vibrant, friendly, attractive, enthusiastic. Of course I never saw her once the ride started - her bike looked pretty fast.
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Old 02-12-13, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Glad to hear. I liked meeting her at STP. Vibrant, friendly, attractive, enthusiastic. Of course I never saw her once the ride started - her bike looked pretty fast.
She's also opening a second location. Nice lady to boot.
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Old 02-24-13, 02:15 PM
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Bought a used Rans V-Rex. Just brought it home, took a couple wobbly laps around the block. Shifts, brakes, steers fine. Later I'll replace the cables with frayed ends, check true and tension on the wheels - but it is ready to ride as-is.

I sat there, one foot on the ground and the other on a cocked pedal, for about 15 seconds, feeling stupid. Then I pushed, wobbled, flailed for the pedal, swerved, corrected, found a pedal, pushed, and found myself riding. Poorly, but riding. Whee!

Wife will try it later today. It is her bike, after all.

I think I'll have fun riding it too, but my back needs to heal. I strained something in lower right back last week. Standing, sitting, walking, running all hurts. The only things that don't hurt are laying flat and riding my drop bar DF bike. Yes, pedaling in a flat back tuck feels better than anything else, I don't notice the back when I'm riding. I'm not sure what my back will think of the Rans, the seat seems comfy but wobbling tensely wasn't a fair test.

Couple questions, if I can?
- shift and brake cables - are they standard length?
- fenders - what are the best (read: lightweight, quiet, full coverage, cheap if possible) fenders? The rear is 24" and the front is 20".
- lights - I'm going to fit a MagicShine clone headlamp, do you recommend mounting it by the front derailleur, or on the bars? Taillight - seems straightforward enough, but any special mounting considerations?

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