Recumbent advice?

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hooty
Participant
#

Is there anywhere in the burg I can test a recumbent bike out? I’m curious how the ride would be? I know REDDAN is a recumbent rider, any advice? How’s the ride? Road safety? Climbing? Any tips would be helpful. Thanks!!!


alankhg
Participant
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Golden Triangle bike rental has one for rent; it’s not the best model, but you can get a taste for them.

My parents ride them, and I’ve taken them for rides; I’ve always found the ride to be awkward and slow, but that’s probably something of a matter of inexperience. I’m also a young man and like to go fast. Recumbents don’t climb like a normal bike— the main difference, by my impression, is that you can’t stand and muscle things out. Another downside is that bikes don’t really fit existing infrastructure: you can’t take them on the bus bike racks, nor on many car racks. They’re trickier to lock up, too.

My dad likes his recumbents a lot, but he went from a pretty low-end hybrid to a good-quality recumbent. He’s nearly sixty and capable of riding 60+ miles on it. It’s also a major conversation-starter.

So: if discomfort is keeping you from riding the way you want to, despite having a well-fitted, good-quality bike, try a recumbent. If you want to do anything multimodal or just ride a bike to get around, it’s a less attractive option. Of course, you can always keep a normal bike around.


brian j
Participant
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Having ridden with Dan before, I can say that unless you are climbing a Dirty Dozen hill, a ‘bent can be quite fast. The lower profile makes them useless to sit behind, though :-)


reddan
Keymaster
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lower profile makes them useless to sit behind, though

True, assuming the wheelsucker is unwilling to lean over enough to lick his/her front fender ;-)

(CAVEAT: I’m an unusual case, as I went from no cycling to riding ‘bents inside of 6 months, so I can’t provide good info regarding differences from many uprights.)

With regard to ride, it can be pretty plush; even unsuspended models distribute a lot of the bumps over your back and nether regions evenly, so, while bumps are still perceptible, they don’t tend to jar you too much. On the other hand, handling is a bit different; center of gravity is lower, and the front wheel is usually far more lightly loaded.

WRT road safety: I’ve been hit once in 4 years (overtaken from behind and smacked by passenger-side mirror); the frame of the seat absorbed most of that damage, so I didn’t even go over. For the most part, I’m an unusual enough sight that drivers snap out of their business-as-usual hypnotic zone and pay attention to me, if only to identify this bizarre thing on the road. I tend to receive a wider berth on the road than many upright cyclists. Visibility is also a question, as my head is lower than that of most upright riders, but the ‘bents I ride on a daily basis have me at roughly eye-level with the driver of your average sedan, so not a big deal.

WRT climbing: well, it’s possible to climb almost anything on a ‘bent, although I’ve found that front-wheel liftoff becomes a problem with grades in the 25% + range. What sucks about climbing on a bent is that you don’t get to change positions and recruit the muscles differently, so you have to do the same motion over and over again. Think repeated leg presses. That said, low gearing helps, as does spinning rather than mashing; and, on the bright side, you can develop a really nice burst of power by pushing into the seat back for short sprints.

Common wisdom in the ‘bent community is that it usually takes 1000-2000 miles on a ‘bent before your muscles acclimatize enough that you can ride as well as on your upright. True? I dunno.

If you’d like to try out one of mine, we can work something out; I’ve got my commuter (RANS Rocket) and my brevet bike (Lighting P-38) available, and, if you demonstrate a lack of incompetence on those, you can even try the Baron lowracer I have on extended loan. (That one we’d have to keep to trails or a park loop, though, as I ain’t letting anyone other than me risk their necks in traffic on that twitchy beast.)

Ambridge Bike Shop used to have a few models floating around, as did Rapps in Butler. And Kraynick is good to talk to about such things as well, although he rarely has one in the shop.

</fanatic monologue>


steevo
Participant
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upright = bicycle

You know how they call corn on the cob “corn on the cob”, right? But that’s how it comes out of the ground, man. They should call that “corn”. They should call every other version “corn off the cob”. It’s not like if you cut off my arm, you would call my arm “Mitch”; but then reattach it and call it “Mitch all together”.

haha


reddan
Keymaster
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Heh…upright equals SAFETY bicycle, if ya wanna get all technical and up in my face ;-)

This new-fangled “both wheels the same size” thing was for the wimps who couldn’t handle a real bicycle with a 60″ fixed front wheel drive.

Face it steevo, you’re riding corn off the cob too, you just don’t wanna admit it. :-)


hooty
Participant
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Thanks for the info. Dan! Drop me an email so I can check out your bikes: hooty2@comcast.net

THANKS!


reddan
Keymaster
#

Email sent. If it vanishes into the aether, drop me a line: dan.blumenfeld at gmail.

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