Why are recumbents so rare?

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Tangled Metal
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby Tangled Metal » 15 Jan 2018, 9:40am

Starting a recumbent savings fund. The only way to get one is plenty of money and time to travel many hours to various shop.

So I wonder what do I need for touring and commuting on a recumbent? Only buy one set of ortlieb classic rollers. Do they come with racks. How much to spend to kit up a recumbent? Say used and new for the base recumbent.

Guess this is a new thread when I get the chance.

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canoesailor
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby canoesailor » 15 Jan 2018, 9:53am

StephenW wrote:I do think that the presence of busy motor traffic has a big influence on who cycles, where they cycle, and what kind of bike they ride. If people perceive riding a recumbent in traffic to be too dangerous they won't do it, even if there is no hard evidence for this. (We on this forum think it's fine, but then we are the people who have chosen to do it!).

I'm sure the UCI ban has some sort of effect too.

But even if we got rid of these deterrents (i.e. if we had Dutch-style road design and racing rules changed), and allowed some time to adapt, I don't think anything like the majority of bikes would be recumbents. My reason for saying this is that I think all that most people want to do on a bike is make short trips around town (up to around 4 or 5 miles), and perhaps occasionally go for a gentle potter on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A roadster does this job quite well, whereas in this application a recumbent has some disadvantages:

- things can fall out your pockets
- can't wear certain clothes
- works better with special shoes
-can't carry rucksack (although you could put a basket on)
etc...

But clearly as you start to want to go further (and faster) the advantages of the recumbent increase.

I could imagine that maybe 15% of bikes could be recumbents, if we had Dutch-style infrastructure, different racing rules, and some time to adapt.



Never had things fall out of my pockets, I probably couldn't wear a kilt but I would find that difficulty on a conventional bike as well. I wear anything from walking boots to trainers, nothing special. I can and do hook a rucksack over the back of the seat back. I cannot see the disadvantages, I think most are imagined.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 15 Jan 2018, 10:58am

Short skirts on upright bikes aren't a great idea when there are 'bent riders around... :shock: :oops:
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way.
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canoesailor
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby canoesailor » 15 Jan 2018, 11:51am

[XAP]Bob wrote:Short skirts on upright bikes aren't a great idea when there are 'bent riders around... :shock: :oops:


I dont know Bob do you often wear skirts? :D

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 15 Jan 2018, 1:36pm

canoesailor wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:Short skirts on upright bikes aren't a great idea when there are 'bent riders around... :shock: :oops:


I dont know Bob do you often wear skirts? :D


Only on Saturdays.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way.
No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
A good pun is it's own reword

There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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pjclinch
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby pjclinch » 15 Jan 2018, 2:27pm

StephenW wrote:But even if we got rid of these deterrents (i.e. if we had Dutch-style road design and racing rules changed), and allowed some time to adapt, I don't think anything like the majority of bikes would be recumbents. My reason for saying this is that I think all that most people want to do on a bike is make short trips around town (up to around 4 or 5 miles), and perhaps occasionally go for a gentle potter on a sunny Sunday afternoon. A roadster does this job quite well, whereas in this application a recumbent has some disadvantages:

- things can fall out your pockets
- can't wear certain clothes
- works better with special shoes
-can't carry rucksack (although you could put a basket on)
etc...


This makes the common error of making "recumbent" a functional class. To see if this sort of assumption makes sense, rerun the argument incorporating "upright" instead.

Doing this in the above you'd have, "most people want to do on a bike is make short trips around town (up to around 4 or 5 miles), and perhaps occasionally go for a gentle potter on a sunny Sunday afternoon. An upright does this job quite well" and then see if it works for all uprights. Track bike? Not so much...

There's recumbents and there's recumbents. A compact long wheelbase type like the HPVel Spirit, M5 Cmpct, BikeE, Flevo Oke-Ja does the quick runabout fine. I think the reason they're all out of production aside from the M5 isn't because they're bad at the job, but because they're a llot more expensive than roadsters that will do a similar ob just as well and have an awful lot of parking available that suits them better than a CLWB 'bent.

Things can fall out of my pockets... well, things have fallen out of my pocket in the driver's seat in my car, but I don't think that's an excuse never to drive anywhere, just be a bit wary about what might come out in what conditions and what sort of pockets might address that.

Can't wear certain clothes? Eh? What can't you wear on an OkeJa that you could wear on an opafiets?

Works better with special shoes... a bit like an upwrong then! Again, choice of 'bent makes this pretty much a non-issue and a CLWB with crank lower than the seat pretty much resolves this.

Can't carry a rucksack... not exactly insurmountable is it? Since I hardly ever use a rucksack on my uprights I don't really see this as a disadvantage.

No, the primary issues are cost, availability (both interlinked) and a conservative market.

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

Tangled Metal
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Jan 2018, 8:56am

Why spend £500 secondhand or £1500+ new for a recumbent that you have to drive many hours to see, try out and buy when you can drop into lbs or Halfords and buy a £200-300 hybrid that'll get you around just as well?

Or spend a bit more, say £1100 and you get a reasonably good road bike for leisure rides. Compared to possibly £2500-3500 for an equivalent spec recumbent, ignoring the extra weight.

BTW the above prices are for demonstration purposes, they are not accurate.

My issue is availability. No retailer within reasonable distance from me. I have a busy family life so I'm not going to get enough "me time" to travel 9 hours round trip to what seems to be the best retailer for secondhand and new recumbents judging by the number of recommendations I hear to go there. Add in the simple fact that anyone local who owns one seems to want to keep hold of it. No local secondhand market locally. It seems to me that isn't the same in London and the SE. Lots more come up secondhand there it seems to me.

IMHO more ppl would try it if say recumbent retailers or brands did a roadshow or something like that. Don't CUK do events around the country? Just an idea.

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Paulatic
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby Paulatic » 16 Jan 2018, 9:22am

All these road shows cost money and can only increase the already high cost of their bents. Yes everyone has to make a decision on what is available to them and their needs.
Glasgow is a little more than 2 hrs from you by train if that’s too far to feed your dream then I’d just forget it for now.
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reohn2
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby reohn2 » 16 Jan 2018, 10:41am

Paulatic wrote:All these road shows cost money and can only increase the already high cost of their bents. Yes everyone has to make a decision on what is available to them and their needs.
Glasgow is a little more than 2 hrs from you by train if that’s too far to feed your dream then I’d just forget it for now.

I agree,if you wish to explore a possibility enough you make the time and take the effort.
BTW TM there's usually a couple of 'bent stalls at York rally in June and it's a great w/end :)
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squeaker
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby squeaker » 16 Jan 2018, 10:57am

Tangled Metal wrote:Why spend £500 secondhand or £1500+ new for a recumbent that you have to drive many hours to see, try out and buy when you can drop into lbs or Halfords and buy a £200-300 hybrid that'll get you around just as well?


Alternatively: "Why spend £500 secondhand or £1500+ new for a [insert custom DF frame maker of choice here] DF bike that you have to drive many hours to see, try out and buy when you can drop into lbs or Halfords and buy a £200-300 hybrid that'll get you around just as well?..."

Short answer, because they're worth it! YMMV, of course ;)
"42"

Tangled Metal
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Jan 2018, 12:39pm

TBH i wouldn't drive far for a df bike neither. I just choose from what's available locally. I reckon that's how the majority of bike owners buy bikes.

Of course if you factor in miles ridden into the statistics distance travelled to buy bike vs annual mileage then you'd probably find the ppl doing the distances will travel greater distances to buy the bike. If you get what I'm rambling on about.

It's the enthusiasts vs purely commuting / occasional riders. One probably owns n+1 bikes the other owns just one bike. I'm weird in that I'm an enthusiast who owns just one bike.

York does interest me I must admit. As does Clitheroe one being so close. My idea is like York, established cycling events for the likes of CUK members with a handful of recumbent retailers or brands with demo bikes. It can only be positive for more ppl being able to experience what recumbents are like firsthand surely.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 16 Jan 2018, 2:51pm

As a commuter I’ll go a long way for a set of wheels...

They’re important things!
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way.
No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
A good pun is it's own reword

There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

reohn2
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby reohn2 » 16 Jan 2018, 3:00pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:As a commuter I’ll go a long way for a set of wheels...

They’re important things!

That maybe because you commute long distance(for a cyclist),and a discerning commuter because of that.And by all accounts a discerning enthusiast as well.

For a 3mile commute I could use practically anything within reason and would probably go for a roadsters of some type if the gearing was low enough,however over 10 miles would need some careful consideration that would need time and money investing into it.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 16 Jan 2018, 3:17pm

reohn2 wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:As a commuter I’ll go a long way for a set of wheels...

They’re important things!

That maybe because you commute long distance(for a cyclist),and a discerning commuter because of that.And by all accounts a discerning enthusiast as well.

For a 3mile commute I could use practically anything within reason and would probably go for a roadsters of some type if the gearing was low enough,however over 10 miles would need some careful consideration that would need time and money investing into it.


Yes - I commute 14 miles each way, so it's important to me.

Enthusiast... maybe, but I managed a total of less than 50 miles that weren't transport A-B last year.
Out of 4.5k I'd declaring myself basically a pure commuter.

Many people drive for hours to look at a car...

For short distances I'd be looking at a BSO, or a folding bike (but a half decent one - I'd be tempted to try the Hoptown 300 from Decathlon...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way.
No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
A good pun is it's own reword

There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

StephenW
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Re: Why are recumbents so rare?

Postby StephenW » 16 Jan 2018, 10:42pm

Hello all

I suppose I was really making two points:

1. People won't ride recumbents if they perceive them to be dangerous in traffic.
2. As enthusiasts, we shouldn't misunderstand what most people want from a bike.

Personally I find the experience of riding in busy traffic more unpleasant on the recumbent than upright.

"Is it safe?" is a question I am frequently asked. It is people's perception of danger that matters - the actual level of risk is neither here nor there.

If recumbents are to become common, I think a significant increase in subjective safety is necessary (e.g. through Dutch-style infrastructure).

If a roadster does a good enough job at everything average Joe wants to do on a bike, why would he want a recumbent? I'm talking about people who are not "proper cyclists", and have no intention of becoming one. They just want an easy way of making short trips around town.

Regarding pockets, I've twice dropped my phone on the road! Of course, on longer journeys it is no problem to put things in a bag or deliberately wear something with zipped pockets, but on short trips this is an inconvenience.

Regarding shoes, I find that being clipped in makes a far greater difference on the recumbent than on the upright. (I have particularly high BB).

There's recumbents and there's recumbents.


Very true! My experience is limited to SWB bikes.