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Advice solicited for potential new bent rider

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Advice solicited for potential new bent rider

Old 08-24-14, 01:52 PM
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Poppaspoke
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Advice solicited for potential new bent rider

I'm a typical 'Fred' type road biker, but as age creeps up on me I am having increasing issues with my diamond frame. I am turning 65, with typical back, neck, and wrist issues, and a right knee that loves to remind me of my age. Had a heart attack a few years back, but my cardiologist is encouraging me to remain active, so I have a green light.

Knowing zero about recumbents, I figured I need some serious advice. My height is right at 6', and my weight around 230. My current bike is a veteran LeMond Zurich steel with a 58 cm frame; I like it, but neck and wrist pain from arthritis is limiting my time onbike.

Thanks
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Old 08-24-14, 02:30 PM
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What kind of terrain do you ride in (where are you?) and what are your expectations?
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Old 08-24-14, 08:12 PM
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Paved roads, rolling hills and flats. South Texas climate: usually hot and humid. My expectations are to have fun and sightsee as I ride; maybe do a few club rides or charity once I get back into shape. I'll be wearing a monitor since redlining is discouraged, so the rule is slow and steady.

I've never actually ridden a 'bent, so I'm starting pretty much from zero. My best year on a bike was '01 when I did 2000+ miles (before my infarct). Now that I'm retired, I have the urge to get back on the bike.
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Old 08-24-14, 10:09 PM
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Best advice I was given - go to a recumbent specific store and try out a number of bikes. There's one in Austin - Easy Street Recumbents.

There's a huge difference in handling between short-wheel base and long-wheel base recumbents. The height of the bottom bracket will affect everything from seating position to starting and stopping, from balance at speed to slow-speed turning and whether or not a fairing will make much of a difference. Seat height is another issue - can you touch the ground while seated/reclined or do you have to lean forward to be flat-footed? Some people find that they prefer trikes to bikes when going recumbent - but there are tradeoffs, especially in speed and in how it affects group rides (some DFers I know will not ride with trikes at all).

The difference between riding with a mesh seat and riding with a carbon fiber seat pan is noticeable in terms of comfort and efficiency - another situation involving tradeoffs.

The more you are reclined, the more you might want a head rest - but some people find headrests are "things to bump your head against while riding on chip seal".

You WILL want to concentrate on spinning rather than mashing as you won't be able to stand on the pedals, ever.

Riding a recumbent with DFs in rolling hills is likely to be a good/bad situation. You'll generally be slower uphill than the DFs and faster than them on the downhills. That means you'll be riding in a yo-yoing pattern - chasing, catching, passing them repeatedly. They won't catch a good draft off you very often while you will be able to draft off them fairly easily (assuming you can match their speed based on your fitness). Some DFers claim not liking recumbents because they have to look down to see you/talk with you. Conversely you look up to talk wtih them - not a problem in my opinion.

Otoh, seeing exactly where your front wheel is can be difficult if you are in a very reclined position. That's just the way it is and you learn to look ahead and steer out of the way early when there are potholes - until you don't see one.

Lastly, the learning curve for recumbents varies depending on the style of bike you're riding. SWBs with high bottom brackets seem to take the longest to get used to - 5-10 rides minimum/actually about ~500 miles in my case. Otoh, I was very comfortable with a low bottom bracket upright seating position LWB after the first fairly short ride; it was like pedaling in an easy chair despite being a full 10 pounds heavier than my SWB and 20 pounds heavier than my DF.

More questions? Just ask. Or visit BentRiderOnline They're the recumbent-specific web site most people eventually wind up finding and reading (but lots of us lurk or are on both sites). I know it's considered bad form to plug another site --- sorry.
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Old 08-25-14, 07:16 AM
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Thanks, dual650c. Very useful info.
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Old 08-25-14, 07:24 AM
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I'd like to add, that you should consider a recumbent trike as well as the two wheelers. I have one of each, a Bacchetta long wheel base two wheeler, that I use for touring and commuting, but my weekend ride is a Catrike recumbent three wheeler, that I also use for short tours. I find the trike very relaxing to ride, even if it's not as fast as my two wheelers. The Bacchetta is easy to keep a 17mph average going on a 50+ mile ride, on the trike, my speed is closer to 14.5mph, but I feel a lot more relaxed when I'm riding it. Just my $.02...

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Old 08-25-14, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Poppaspoke View Post
Paved roads, rolling hills and flats. South Texas climate: usually hot and humid. My expectations are to have fun and sightsee as I ride; maybe do a few club rides or charity once I get back into shape. I'll be wearing a monitor since redlining is discouraged, so the rule is slow and steady.

I've never actually ridden a 'bent, so I'm starting pretty much from zero. My best year on a bike was '01 when I did 2000+ miles (before my infarct). Now that I'm retired, I have the urge to get back on the bike.
72 y/o

Test ride a Green speed GTO. I just got one.

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Old 08-25-14, 11:33 AM
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For your purposes, since you aren't as interested in going as fast as possible, ease-of-learning will probably top your list of desirable traits. You can look at trikes, long wheelbases, and 'standard' short wheelbases. For ease of learning, a 'more upright' seat helps, as does low pedal position. Ranked by easiness would be trikes first: no balance required at all! followed by long wheelbase like a TourEasy or a Stratus, followed by 'neutral position' SWB like a V-Rex or Rocket. What you probably DON'T want is a highracer or lowracer, because they have a steeper learning curve and the only advantage is more speed.

My advice is don't worry about having two different wheel sizes on a bike. It's not as big an issue as some folks like to make out. By far the most versatile tire sizes are 26" (559mm) and 20" (406mm) which are mountain bike and bmx bike rims. The other 26", also called 650C, is 571mm and has very limited tire selection. You can read that as meaning, "you'll never find a 650C tire on sale," and also that you'll hear a lot of, "they only come in 23mm width."
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Old 08-25-14, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
The other 26", also called 650C, is 571mm and has very limited tire selection. You can read that as meaning, "you'll never find a 650C tire on sale," and also that you'll hear a lot of, "they only come in 23mm width."
ummm...
Terry Tellus 650c x 28 (actually seems to be about 26mm)
Serfas Urbana 650c x 28
Bontrager Select 650c x 25



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Old 08-26-14, 11:59 AM
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+1 to what dual650c said. Try to garner a test ride on as many different recumbent bikes and trikes as you can. If you go to the HOT rally in February in Austin at Easy Street Recumbents, you will get to try all sorts of fun stuff out, and learn a lot about the laid back life!
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Old 08-26-14, 01:53 PM
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Get ready for some sticker shock. You are currently riding an expensive, high quality, very lightweight, top-of-the-line component DF bike. It is very hard and exceedingly expensive to match that in a recumbent. There aren't many that will come close and for trikes it is even more unlikely. I bought one of the lighter trikes available last year, a Catrike 700. It costs a couple grand, probably weighs twice what your current bike weighs, and while the components are good, they are not Shimano Ultegra quality as you have on the LeMond Zurich bike.

The other side to that coin is comfort. I gave away my 21 pound vintage road bike a couple years ago because I NEVER rode it. I began riding recumbents in 2001 after riding regular bikes became too uncomfortable. I'm quite certain my total mileage on recumbent bikes and trikes is now nearing 50K miles. I probably would not be riding at all if recumbents didn't exist.
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Old 08-26-14, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Get ready for some sticker shock. You are currently riding an expensive, high quality, very lightweight, top-of-the-line component DF bike. It is very hard and exceedingly expensive to match that in a recumbent. There aren't many that will come close and for trikes it is even more unlikely.
Umm. Well for top of the line bents and top of the line uprights, the prices are pretty similar
Some examples of fast bents:

M5 CHR $3400 (frameset)
M5 M-Racer $3800 (complete)
Cruzbike Vendetta $2600 (for a frameset)


Now for speedy DF's

Specialized Roubaix SL4 $3500 (for a frameset)
Giant Propel Advanced Pro $5850 (complete)
Specilized Shiv DI2 $11,000

etc. Makes those bents seem like a pretty good deal. FWIW, in almost any situation, a CHR would blow an S-works out of the water.

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Old 08-26-14, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
FWIW, in almost any situation, a CHR would blow an S-works out of the water.
Yes, and it does so almost every week.
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Old 08-26-14, 09:22 PM
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There are many different types of recumbents, so you will not be short on options.

I would also suggest looking into Cruzbikes. I believe that they are more efficient on account of the shorter drive train.

If money is tight then you could consider modifying a regular cheap mountain bike by using a Cruzbike conversion kit. I opted for the conversion kit myself and have been quite satisfied with the result. Alternatively looking into their Quest and Sofrider models as these are less aggressive and more about comfort.
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Old 08-27-14, 06:51 AM
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My Oh so comfortable ride all day and take rests while sitting in the seat, never getting up bent.....


My Better Half's Delta,,


Below,, not mine but hey I can dream right !

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Old 08-27-14, 06:52 AM
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And check out BROL,, the home page info is great,,,
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Old 08-27-14, 09:07 PM
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I my self would never return to the df full time. I hurt so much I almost quit riding. I will ride it on occation but not very much. And I just spent 50 bucks getting new bars and new cables put on her. The green one is ok kinda I can have it in the biggest sprocket on the front and the smallest on the back and I pedal so fast on that bike I catch my self bouncing on the seat. And on my recumbent I cant keep a steady cadence like I can on my df. And on my df I seem scrunched up after riding stretched out on my recumbent.
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Old 09-01-14, 06:53 PM
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looking for something not costing to much retired and on fix income I new York city can some help with suggestion
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Old 09-03-14, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dual650c View Post
ummm...
Terry Tellus 650c x 28 (actually seems to be about 26mm)
Serfas Urbana 650c x 28
Bontrager Select 650c x 25
I stand by what I typed, if not what you read. For instance, checking at biketiresdirect.com, there were exactly 6 choices in 650c. All six came only in 23mm. Every big-name tire maker out there makes at least one model in 650c; and although it's a pittance compared to how many they make in 700c it's still a fair number of models. But all of them except your three are 23mm wide. Maybe that's not a problem, depending on which kind of 'fred' the OP is. The good thing about bents is, most of them that use 650C can also use 559 interchangeably.
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Old 09-03-14, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by The Savages View Post
looking for something not costing to much retired and on fix income I new York city can some help with suggestion
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Old 09-03-14, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I stand by what I typed, if not what you read.
Yeah, and Bill Clinton debated what the meaning of the word "is" was as well as saying he "did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" either. Words have meanings. I assumed you knew what the words you wrote meant.

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Old 09-03-14, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dual650c View Post
Yeah, and Bill Clinton debated what the meaning of the word "is" was as well as saying he "did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" either. Words have meanings. I assumed you knew what the words you wrote meant.
I know exactly what I typed. You seem to be deliberately obtuse in interpreting "they" as all 571 tires when the situation I envisioned is if you went into a bike shop and asked for your favorite brand in a 25x571. Unless you already know to ask for one of the three you listed, you'll be SOL. If you liked Contis and went to the bike shop looking for a Conti Grand Prix in 650c, you would be told, "they only come in 23mm width." Likewise if you want a Vittoria, a Michelin, a Schwalbe, or a Hutchinson, you'll be told "they only come in 23mm width." If you're trying to assert otherwise, please enlighten me.
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Old 09-04-14, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I know exactly what I typed. You seem to be deliberately obtuse in interpreting "they" as all 571 tires when the situation I envisioned is ...
We can all read what you typed. What you intended really doesn't matter. I responded to what you typed.

Regardless, what I typed was accurate.

Your responses illustrate my belief that prolific forum posters and even respected riders/experts are just like the rest of us - fallible, sometimes demonstrate their own feelings of self-importance, and occasionally are just plain irritating. Go take a solo ride and bother someone else why don't you?
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Old 09-05-14, 03:32 PM
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Blazing Pedals is right about the selection of 650C tires being limited by width and number. I looked at my favorite source of tires Niagara Cycle and saw more than just a couple but except for the Terry TellusTire at 28 mm almost all were 23 mm width. I don't know of any LBS that can match their selection. If you like cheap tires this is not the wheel to use.

Advice to "The Savages". If you want someone to respond with suggestions for a recumbent, give a hint about the price range that is affordable to you. Do you have a way to get to surrounding communities in the NYC metro area? There's a Sun trike for $280 on CL but it is in Princeton NJ. I doubt you will find anything cheaper than that one. It is heavy but I do see people riding them out here in the West.
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