Where to start with recumbents?

DIscuss anything relating to non-standard cycles and their equipment.
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Tigerbiten
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Tigerbiten » 20 Oct 2017, 11:31am

I've only ridden bent trike, so what I know about bent bikes is not from riding one.

I've seen Kevin at D-Tek (Little Thetford near Ely) do an introduction day and this is what I've picked up. Well worth it if you can get down there.
A fairly upright seat and a higher seat height both help with how easy you first get on with a bent. This is the type of bent Kevin starts with. Then he puts you on lower and more reclined bikes until you reach your limit.
Two almost identical looking bents can have completely different handling characteristics. You really need to sit on a bent and see if you like that model.
If you buy a fairly easy bent, you can almost expect to upgrade it to a faster model within a year or so. But secondhand bents hold there price, so you tend not lose a lot if any money on it if bought secondhand.
The more relaxed you can stay on a bent, the better you can ride one. But it's hard to stay relaxed until you've learnt to ride a bent once this start going slightly wrong.

So bent bikes have a steep learning curve, but once mastered you can make it look easy.

Trikes on the other hand tend to fool you into a false sense of security. Easy to start on until you start pushing the limit, then you'll suddenly find you're not on three wheels anymore ...... :lol:

UpWrong
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby UpWrong » 20 Oct 2017, 12:25pm

The Germans and Dutch are notably tall so their bents ought to adjust to your height ok. Weight limits are usually 275 lbs

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pjclinch
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby pjclinch » 20 Oct 2017, 12:52pm

Tangled Metal wrote:I'm recumbent curious. What's a good starting point?


It's been said already, but for emphasis worth saying again: trying some out is the best place to start, and the more you can try the better. To a much greater extent than upwrongs 'bents aren't interchangeable, and two superficially similar machines can be very, very different in how they ride.

Be prepared for a learning curve, especially with a bike where you have balance to worry about. On my first one I could ride it after a few minutes, but it was immediately clear that Plan A of riding it 18 miles home from where I bought it over the Sidlaw hills had been highly optimistic! Once it was home it took about a week before I was happy in typical traffic, and about a month to be okay in anything I'd take on using my old drop-bar tourer.

One thing that's widely misunderstood is that while upwongs are categorised by function (racer, MTB, tourer etc.), so are 'bents, but most people take 'bents as a single group (or two: bikes and trikes). It's a bit like watching the Tour de France, thinking you like the look of the diamond frame bikes they use, and subsequently being a bit disappointed that your new opafiets somehow doesn't have the acceleration of Cav's racing bike... But back to the point above, two touring specific machines can ride quite differently despite superficial design similarity. I wouldn't buy one if I hadn't tried it or couldn't return it.

So first stop I'd suggest is a 'bent specialist with demo toys to play with.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Tangled Metal
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Oct 2017, 1:56pm

Do they have a website? I can't find anything on Google.

Brucey
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Brucey » 20 Oct 2017, 2:50pm

my suggestion is that if you can't try one out sensibly before buying one, that you get something user-friendly to start with; something like the same layout as a Kingcycle (there are many like this including the bachetta). You will be able to get used to the feet first riding position without a lot of trouble and balance, steering, getting your feet down etc are very easy by comparison with many. The bicycles like this are relatively compact and don't create storage problems. If you buy one used there will be no problem in selling it on for the same money if you don't like it.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BrianFox
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby BrianFox » 20 Oct 2017, 3:09pm

Tangled Metal wrote:I'm mid forties (first time I've admitted that, until nearly 45 I was early 40s :wink: ), fit, healthy, relatively coordinated and with good reactions. This last bit was from years of whitewater kayaking and other activities that required a fast reaction speed. I also learn quickly.

...
Whilst not totally relevant to switching to recumbent I can be confident I'll make the conversion to riding recumbents. Even if I need a bit of time. I don't give up easily.
...

Did I say I was 6'5" tall and 86kg? I look tall but not big, but with those measurements sizing on uprights isn't easy. Mostly the biggest bike size most main brands do as standard. Recumbents seem more universal or with just two sizes. Do some have a maximum user size / weight?



I'm 6'4" and similar weight, similar age.

I rode a 'bent for a year a while back, bought an M5 2nd hand from ebay. No problem with sizing, just needed a few extra chain links to get the boom long enough. It took half an hour on a back road with a couple of falls to get the hang of the balance - surprisingly different to upright - no problem after that.

Ultimately I went back to uprights, sold it for the same money I bought it.

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Tigerbiten » 20 Oct 2017, 5:04pm

Tangled Metal wrote:Do they have a website? I can't find anything on Google.

If you're trying to contact Kevin at D-Tek -> http://www.littlethetford.org/?page_id=529
He can be a little tricky to contact on occasions as he's a one man operation.
But I think he's the best person to contact for a secondhand recumbent bike that suits you.

I was going to put "secondhand bent bike" but that sound wrong for a lot of reasons ......... :lol:

Tangled Metal
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Oct 2017, 5:09pm

Yes. You definitely need an apostrophe before the "bent" bit. The word is wrong without it.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Oct 2017, 5:12pm

Saw a picture of a father and son recumbent set. A large one for the father and a small kids one. Googled the kids one and it's good from 4 years old. Perfect! That's my son's age. Get him one gives me an excuse for one myself. Although the kids one is a trike.

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NUKe
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby NUKe » 20 Oct 2017, 5:25pm

I started out last year with HP grasshopper I am only 5ft 8in but I reckon the Grasshopper or any of the HPV bikes would fit your dimensions the seat on the HPV is adjustable for the length of your back the boom extends to take a wide range of X-seams, Shorter riders are advised to have them cut down. Suspension at 86kg you would be within rang.
it looks like Challenge have sorted out there issues and are manufacturing the Furai at least.
Azub are an up and coming manufacturer from east Europe. performer from Taiwan seem to be in the lower price bracket

If lightness is your aim I always thought it was my aim until I tried an HP V machine, then the Bacchetta, are probably worth a look, you probably have the leg length for it, I didn't. How about a raptobike mid racer are supposed to be light and quick.

But just to throw another curve ball in for you, what about the long Wheelbase American bents like the Rans or the Easy racer. UpWrong can describe those been one of the few owners of a Rans Stratus XP in the UK

Bought mine from Kevin At DTek by the way .
NUKe
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squeaker
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby squeaker » 20 Oct 2017, 5:58pm

Tangled Metal wrote:The question is which style? High, mid or low racer? Over or under steering?

IMO:
'High racer': falls over slowest but furthest to fall :roll: more compatibility with road bikes if 700c wheels used, some report trouble with the seat height (getting feet flat on the floor at a stop), but not at your altitude :lol: Lower racer (and trikes) closer to puddles and vehicle tyre spray.
'Over steering' makes a bike a bit easier to maneuver and a bit narrower - also more aero? Underseat controls a bit more vulnerable to damage in a fall - maybe?
Basically it's whatever floats yer boat...
"42"

Tangled Metal
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Tangled Metal » 20 Oct 2017, 8:08pm

Just been looking at easy racer and ran bikes from America. I know it's a sample of two brands but it looks like American recumbents are more upright sitting. The seats seem to be almost chopper like in position if you follow my meaning. Imagine the legendary Raleigh bike seat or a good old American chopper motorcycle. Sat vertical with your hands in the air on bars at almost head height.

Whereas most of not all the European ones I've seen and from further into Asia (Taiwan IIRC) they tend to model lie down more.

The American ones also seem to be more triangulated tube frames. The others are more big boom with a small rear triangle.

Is this a fair assessment?

Which is better? The single boom looks strong but is it? Does it not flex down at the front of you're powering in a higher gear or uphill and up further back from the front fork pivot? Is the tried and tested bike tubing in a triangulated frame not stronger/stiffer? To me triangulated frame with an angled seat is better. Kind of halfway between the two types or the best of each.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Cunobelin » 21 Oct 2017, 9:27am

Tangled Metal wrote:Yes. You definitely need an apostrophe before the "bent" bit. The word is wrong without it.


The "bent fraternity is a US based description

I remember many years ago a couple of Americans across for the World Championships at Goodwood / Brighton walking around with T-shirts proudly stating "Bent rider"


Image

Some things do not translate well

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Cunobelin
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby Cunobelin » 21 Oct 2017, 9:34am

Like most bikes, there will be issues at some point

Whilst most parts are "normal" bike parts, there will be some unique parts so backup ism essential, At present I own from a Hase Kettwiesel, HP Velotechnik Street Machine, 2 Gekkos, a Catrike Expedition and a Challenge Hurricane

Neither challenge nor Catrike have a UK dealer for parts, the others do.

This may be factor in your choice

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squeaker
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Re: Where to start with recumbents?

Postby squeaker » 21 Oct 2017, 10:48am

Tangled Metal wrote:I know it's a sample of two brands but it looks like American recumbents are more upright sitting.
Now look at Bacchetta's performance bikes... :wink:
As for the general US 'bent market, you need to consider how the average American adult shape would fit... :roll:
"42"