Yay, another bike thread! Let's talk recumbents

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Bueller, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,673
    Location:
    Hide Away Hills, Ohio
    Here I am a year and a half into the insurance business. My first real desk job, which means I'm also now officially the heaviest I've ever been - which might not be heavy by many people's standards but is completely unacceptable for mine. I'm also pretty busted up. Severe tendinitis in both elbows, lots of arthritis, abdomen reconstructed with mesh, and a bad back.

    I know I need to start exercising. I always loved riding bikes. I still have my 20 yr old Trek 1100 aluminum, but it's so uncomfortable in my condition I don't ride it anymore. So I got to thinking about recumbents. I know they are much easier on the body, particularly for people in bad condition like me. Things are pretty flat around central Ohio where I'd ride, so I don't have to worry about big hill climbs and some of the issues I've read about concerning recumbents in those conditions.

    I'm interested in experiences, brands, good places to do business with, or anything else you think might be helpful.
    #1
  2. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,024
    Location:
    Beautiful Revelstoke BC
    Can't help much but to encourage, I have a friend who puts 10-20 miles on his every day in the summer.... he loves his recumbent.
    #2
  3. dragoon

    dragoon I'm the REAL Dingo Joe

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Oddometer:
    23,282
    Location:
    Frazeysburg, OH
    I've never met anyone on a recumbent that didn't think they were the coolest, hippest mother fucker on earth. Yeah you'll do just fine :lol3
    #3
  4. pilot

    pilot Slacker Moderator Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Oddometer:
    33,234
    Location:
    Kansas City
    There's an old fart's brigade here that rides them. I'm still too young to join them. I doubt they think they are hip. Maybe hip replaced.
    #4
  5. NICO

    NICO Save the USA

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    29,671
    Location:
    here, there and everywhere
    Gonna have to trade the Shelby in on a Subaru. :deal



    They are comfy, though, at least the couple I have ridden. For your situation, Bueller, it sounds like they would fit the bill perfectly. I think buying one will be like any other long term purchase, you're going to need to try a few on for size, going to have to get a good look at how they are built, etc... I would assume the components will be common with conventional bikes, so whatever advice has been offered in the other bike threads about that should carry over. I know fuckall about them so I'll leave this at that.

    Good luck.
    #5
  6. 2whlrcr

    2whlrcr gooligan

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    8,315
    Location:
    Dubuque, Iowa
    I had a recumbent trike for awhile. It was fun, because it was like a go cart with pedals. But I sold it quickly, because I felt completely vulnerable on public roads. Throw in increased texting while driving, etc... I didn't want to get squashed.

    We don't have much for a trail system around here and I got tired of hauling it, every time I wanted to ride. So if you have good trails nearby, or can ride in a large group, recumbents can be the answer for some.
    #6
  7. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,673
    Location:
    Hide Away Hills, Ohio
    Still safer than a tractor :deal

    Nice to hear from you Tim!
    #7
  8. Hardware02

    Hardware02 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,412
    Location:
    The Rock
    In the interim, until you decide on/select a bike, may I suggest one of these to work on your fitness...

    [​IMG]

    I had back, hip and knee issues and was too heavy to comfortably ride any kind of bicycle. Plus, I was living on the Canadian prairies so outdoor winter activity was limited for months at a time. I ordered one of these right from the manufacturer - best piece of workout equipment I've ever used and is reasonably priced for fitness club build quality.

    I now ride a Kona Blast mountain bike as part of my overall fitness regimen but the C2 still gets used more than the bike in winter months, even now that I'm 80 lbs lighter.

    I've never ridden a recumbent (yet) but they're just weird enough that I really like them.

    One disadvantage I've seen firsthand (from encountering recumbent cyclists while I've been in my truck and on my motorcycle) is that they're not quite as maneuverable as a conventional bike and because you sit lower, you're losing visibility (both ways - you seeing things, like over cars and motorists seeing you - many recuments have hi-vis flags on whips). Not a deal breaker, just something to remember. I would just be a little more selective about when/where I'd ride and like on your 'sickle, ride like every cager is crazy drunk and out to get you - you'll do fine! :wink:
    #8
  9. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,278
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    I have been riding recumbents for about 12 years because my neck got sore on even a mountain bike. There is much more variety in them than in conventional bikes. You have short wheelbase and long wheelbase, underseat steering and overseat, little wheels and big wheels, etc. Some are more oriented to speed and some to comfort, just like regular bikes. I have a short wheelbase Haluzak Horizon (which is not made anymore) and Eye Shut rides a long wheelbase Easy Racers Gold Rush Replica, and we have a RANS Screamer tandem.

    There are lots of trade-offs and it would be best to go somewhere you can try out a few of them. In Mt Airy MD http://www.bike123.com/ there is a good store where for a reasonable price you can rent a recumbent for a day. Another place for recumbents is Hostel Shoppe in WI. http://www.hostelshoppe.com/about_us.php Or if you are in CO there is Angletech http://www.angletechcycles.com/contact.html
    I have dealt with all of these places and a couple more in CA. More resources for info are: http://www.bentrideronline.com/ and http://www.recumbents.com/home/

    In general recumbents are heavier and more aerodynamic than regular bikes. That means they are faster on downhill and slower uphill. On the flats without stopping and starting they will also have an advantage. That means if you are a strong rider they have the advantage, but for weaker riders you will be slower. At my level I found I was getting to work in just about the same amount of time as I did on a mountain bike. They outlawed them for bike racing in the 1930s. They hold all the human powered speed records.

    Everyone says they are dangerous because you can't be seen, but most of them are not that low to the ground, I am at eye level for typical cars and do not feel any more invisible than on a regular bike. Some of the trikes are very low and quite wide and I would not want to ride them in traffic, but I am comfortable on my single or tandem in traffic.

    There is a bit of learning curve with them. Some people can just get on them and ride, but some need some time in a parking lot to figure out how to control them. In general you tend to steer them with your mind, i.e. it does not take major control inputs to get them to go where you want to go. Like motorcycles they tend to go where you are looking. There is also a slightly different set of muscles they use so if you switch from a regular bike certain muscles in you legs will be sore for the first few times out.

    Basically they are just a lot more comfortable than a regular bike, no sore wrists, no sore neck, no sore ass. I usually compare sitting in a lawn chair to sitting on a fence post. They are a good way to get fit because you can ride until you are tired not until you are so sore you have to stop.
    #9
  10. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,673
    Location:
    Hide Away Hills, Ohio
    Now looking at tadpoles. I'm not sure I want the additional weight or extra drag of a 3rd wheel, and sure as hell don't like the prices. But I was never a strong hill climber anyway, and the gearing advantage & lack of a minimum balance speed might actually make hill climbing easier - albeit slower. That's ok, I'm not trying to win any races.

    Besides, they look kinda fun. The local bike shop is going to turn me loose on one when the weather breaks.
    #10
  11. Bappo

    Bappo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    603
    Location:
    Idaho Falls
    I have a Volae Club from Hostel Shoppe. It has a Waterford steel frame from Wisc. It is a "high racer" which is nice in pack rides as it sits higher and regular bikes can draft off you (most bents cannot be drafted off of so regular riders dont want you around. it is fast and light as well but a steeper learning curve.

    Also have an Easy Racer "Tour Easy" which is my comfort, dirt road, touring, century bike. VERY fast with a fairing. My go to bike. Steel frame made in Kansas.

    Have upright bikes as well.:D
    #11
  12. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,372
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I have an Easy Racers Gold Rush Replica. It's my commuting/errand bike and it's faster than GSWayne's bike :D.

    Also, as far as I know, Easy Racers are made in Freedom, CA (unless something's changed). RANS are the ones made in Kansas.
    #12
  13. Bender

    Bender I can pass this guy..

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    41,147
    Location:
    Cypress, Texas.
    I've got a tadpole. Coincedentally, It's for sale
    #13
  14. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,673
    Location:
    Hide Away Hills, Ohio
    :ear

    Tell me about it.

    And since you're the first person to respond who has one, tell me about riding them. Things like your average speed on it versus an upright bike, hill climbs, maintenance, etc.
    #14
  15. Star-Bellied Sneetch

    Star-Bellied Sneetch Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,227
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    I've got one of these:

    http://www.bacchettabikes.com/bikes/touring-commuting-bikes/bella

    It's very comfy and a lot of fun, but I've barely been able to ride it. I was very surprised by the light weight. I got it because of a sore back and some other issues. I can haul it around on a trunk-mount, typical bike rack. It feels a bit "floppy" and takes a little getting used to but is not difficult. I can't picture riding it on any trails or particularly tight curves, but maybe after I get used to it. In all, not nearly as versatile as a mountain bike but a lot more comfortable and a lot faster.
    #15
  16. Dranrab Luap

    Dranrab Luap E-Tarded Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    34,814
    Location:
    Louisissippi Coast
    I have quite a few miles on a recumbent tandem. It was a very heavy bike, but it was fun and great exercise. I have bad knees and the bent made my knees sore more quickly than a conventional bike. I'd go for one that has the largest diameter tire you can find. Bents are pretty popular amongst all age groups on the levee trails around here. If you are able to buy used, you won't lose any money if you buy it and sell it. Whatever you buy, take a LONG demo ride to make sure it agrees with your anatomy.
    #16
  17. bisbonian

    bisbonian Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,126
    Location:
    Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
    I've got a Bike-E CT model which I bought in 2000.

    http://www.bicycleman.com/recumbents/bike_e/bike_e_ct.htm

    I wasn't comfortable on a "normal" bike and while I needed to get some exercise I knew that buying a mountain bike or something like it would only result in about a month's worth of use before I gave up.

    I rode my Bike-E for about 5 years before I moved to Arizona, now I live on the side of a mountain and the hills around here just kill me when trying to ride it anymore.

    The upright seating position really allowed me to see what was going on around me and I really enjoyed this bike. I keep thinking I should sell it since I don't ride it anymore but recumbents have gotten so expensive that I'd never be able to afford a new one if I move somewhere flat. Maybe I'll take it down to our new place in Mexico, it's pretty flat down there.

    I don't know if I would have been as comfortable on some of the more reclined recumbents, I liked the upright seating position of the Bike-E.

    It's too bad the company went out of business, they offered a high quality yet lower priced alternative for recumbent bikes.
    #17
  18. Bill D

    Bill D Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Northeast U.S.A.
    Hey buddy! I don't have any comment about the recumbent bike and i don't want hijack your thread but i agree with the suggestion to check out a concept 2 rower.
    #18
  19. fz6kd7

    fz6kd7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    923
    Location:
    LAS VEGAS USA
    I have an actionbent underseat stearing
    model very fun to ride.
    The dead point on a bent gave my knees
    problems but its great for the back
    Rotor cranks or thier q rings will be my
    next purchase to help with the dead point
    The drivers in vegas made me quit much
    cycling at least on the motorcycle i have
    A throttle and more hp than a pettle bike
    #19
  20. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    17,673
    Location:
    Hide Away Hills, Ohio
    Hey Bill!

    Sadly no rowing for me, at least until I can figure out how to get the elbows better.
    #20