Why are recumbents so rare?

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Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby Username » 6 Jan 2018, 11:16pm

I've heard about them on forums but I've never seen one in person. I also know of no shops that sell them. I bet they are fun.

mercalia
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby mercalia » 7 Jan 2018, 12:16am

I have seen a few around - Apart from fashion, one problem I suspect is that they are harder to move around when not cycling and cost a lot - the typical bike you see in London is some old dirty bike that hasnt been cleaned in years but still just about goes from station to work.

I have always wondered if a) your were prone to falling asleep due to the prone position b) not good for those who have breathing problems as lying on your back makes breathing harder.

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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby Tangled Metal » 7 Jan 2018, 12:21am

They come up round this way occasionally. It's on a lejog route but mostly you see the odd old fella on one. One well known cyclist in Lancaster rides a recumbent trike with fairing. He used to ride an upright but age and balance of him in a trike. He's out a lot in it. 80s I think.

Occasionally I see one riding the cyclepath heading towards Glasson Dock.

Still they're rare enough. Certainly more rare than tandems.

There are a few shops around. IIRC one in London, one Glasgow, one Edinburgh, possibly one in York and the little Thetford shop. I think you need to go to Holland for more recumbent retailers.

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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby brynpoeth » 7 Jan 2018, 10:17am

One can manoeuvre a bent by flintstoning
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gaz
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby gaz » 7 Jan 2018, 10:26am

Loss of natural habitat to motor vehicles and overhunting :wink: ...

... and the UCI outlawed recumbents in racing on 1 April 1934.
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby PDQ Mobile » 7 Jan 2018, 10:33am

gaz wrote:
... and the UCI outlawed recumbents in racing on 1 April 1934.


It's such a shame that.
There should be a mixed class or a recumbent class.
There's no doubt it's a bicycle?
So why continue with the ban?
I for one would love to see them racing.

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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby squeaker » 7 Jan 2018, 10:46am

gaz wrote:Loss of natural habitat to motor vehicles and overhunting :wink: ...

... and the UCI outlawed recumbents in racing on 1 April 1934.
Thanks Gaz :wink:

I'd add no mass production of frames / seats / steering parts = expensive, especially as the structure is more challenging to achieve decent stiffness. Too left field for many. Mostly don't work well in peletons with diamond framed (DF) bikes. Can be more awkward to move around (length, low height of many) when off the bike. Require retraining of reactions and leg muscles if habituated on DFs. And, IMHO, unpleasant to ride in heavy rain - natural reaction to hunch forward, not lie back (but maybe that's just me).
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby pjclinch » 7 Jan 2018, 10:58am

The reasons you don't see many tend to be circular arguments. For example, they're expensive because there's no mass market, but you can't get a mass market because they're expensive. People are conservative so won't try them because they're seen as a bit weird, and the reason they're seen as a bit weird is because people won't try them. Most of us who have one are quite adamant you should try before you buy, but there's (almost) nowhere to try one... And so on.

Beyond that I think part of the issue is that people typically don't understand what a 'bent is for. If most cyclists see a picture of a MTB and are asked what it is and what it's for they'll say, "that's a mountain bike and it's for off-road"; a racer and they'll say, "that's a road bike, for speed on tarmac"; a classic drop-bar tourer and it's, "touring bike, miles on roads or good tracks with luggage" and so on. Show them a picture of my touring bike:

Image

and despite the obvious clues of touring luggage they won't say "touring bike, miles on roads or good tracks with luggage", they'll say "recumbent" and won't know what it's for. Most cycles are grouped by functional class, and my Streetmachine is just as much a "touring bike" as a Dawes Super Galaxy, but most people can't get beyond "recumbent". Since n+1 is normally driven by what a bike does, rather than how it's laid out, that means people tend not to think much about recumbents (further driven by their lack of market and media presence).

I tour on a 'bent because it works better for me than any upright tourer I've come across. I doubt that the general market for tourers considers that this might be a possibility, but with no weight on my arms, no need to look up to see where I'm going beyond the next 20m of tarmac for hours at a time, luggage mounts that mean I can get weight between the wheels and under my centre of mass and a big, comfy chair that means no need for contrived legwear I find it very much better in significant points I'm looking for in a tourer.

I use uprights (a Brom and a Moulton TSR) for urban traffic. Nippier in traffic and easier to manhandle and they'll take a scoot. But I use them because they're good at what I want them for, not because they happen to be uprights. Most cycle buyers simply don't consider that a 'bent might be better for their purpose.

They can certainly be fun, just like any bike. There's a lot of variation, but performance profile tends to be a bit like a tandem: a bit of a hack up hills (they tend to be heavier, not being able to stand up is offset by the ability to push against the seat) but good on the flat and rocketships going down.

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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby PDQ Mobile » 7 Jan 2018, 10:59am

squeaker wrote: And, IMHO, unpleasant to ride in heavy rain - natural reaction to hunch forward, not lie back (but maybe that's just me).


Yes I agree.
But the other sides of the coin is a fine warm day for cruisin'
Or the steep twisting descent on a nice dry surface.
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby brynpoeth » 7 Jan 2018, 11:03am

Many of the *problems* with bents can be advantages too
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby gaz » 7 Jan 2018, 11:04am

squeaker wrote:I'd add no mass production of frames / seats / steering parts = expensive, especially as the structure is more challenging to achieve decent stiffness. Too left field for many.

Arguably if they'd not been banned from racing there would have been investment in mass production of frames and components, research and development in design and materials to achieve decent stifness and DFs would now be 'left field' :wink: .

I've not yet ridden one.
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby reohn2 » 7 Jan 2018, 11:32am

In the flatlands of NL where cycling is the norm and they're most likely to excel ie;flat,windy,good infrastructure and where people seem to be more open about the 'unusual' so long as it workss,they're still a very small minority of the whole.
In this country where I as a cyclist I'm lumped in with motor traffic sitting low down with more of a chance of being missed in traffic by unobservant idiot mobile phone using drivers and at tailpipe level,plus their lack of manoeuvrability in traffic translates to 'unsafe' and a step too far for the vast majority of people,and that's before we begin to think of the muck and spray from overtaking traffic in the rain or getting over the outright weirdness of them to the ordinary wo/man on the street.
I see the advantages of the recumbent but the disadvantages,perceived or real,are many and varied

EDITED for typos and clarity.
Last edited by reohn2 on 7 Jan 2018, 12:06pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Why ARE recumbents so rare?

Postby Audax67 » 7 Jan 2018, 11:33am

FTFY, temporarily.
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby pjclinch » 7 Jan 2018, 11:34am

PDQ Mobile wrote:
gaz wrote:
... and the UCI outlawed recumbents in racing on 1 April 1934.


It's such a shame that.
There should be a mixed class or a recumbent class.
There's no doubt it's a bicycle?
So why continue with the ban?
I for one would love to see them racing.


They are raced, but not under the auspices of the UCI. In the UK the British Human Power Club is the place to go. I agree it would be good if 'bents could be more generally included, but these are the Luddites of Lausanne we're talking about, so fat chance of that happening.

Pete.
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Re: Why is recumbents so rare?

Postby brynpoeth » 7 Jan 2018, 11:41am

Bent racing can be a clean amateur sport
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