My New (to me ) Recumbent

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aideym
Posts: 23
Joined: 25 Feb 2015, 2:08pm

My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby aideym » 5 Apr 2015, 9:11pm

A slightly late report but I have been on holiday.

I only went and bought a recumbent. Thanks to Kevin at Dtek I am the proud owner of a Challenge Furai 24. Finished in sexy matt black and adorned with additional ubercool.
I spent a while riding around the campsite before venturing out for a quick 5 mile lap around Sandringham on the quiet roads surrounding the Royal estate. I think I have picked this laid back riding pretty well and certainly I had no major issues to report from the first outing. The weather largely curtailed any real opportunities to venture further but I am now back home and managed to get out this morning on one of my regular rides which takes in a mixture of tarmac, gravel and mud on a 14 mile loop. The route takes in a portion of NCN5 and some of the canal network. In other words a potted version of the riding I do most every day.

It is almost impossible to convey my relief at how well the ride went. Obviously I have invested a lot of money into an unknown quantity but to ride for over an hour pain free and not want to get off at the end was a revelation. The tarmac and gravel were fine but the mud was horrible, bordering on dangerous. The added ingredient of the mud being millimetres from the murky depths of the Essington and Wyrely canal certainly heightened the experience and is an area I need to work on.

The main bug bear was the truly horrible gripshift system fitted to the bike. I noticed when I spent my half day at Dtek that this is the preferred method of changing gear on a recumbent but it has never been my preferred method of gear shifting and I doubt anything will change this. I wonder how others feel but unless I am presented with very definite reasons not to, I am looking at buying a pair of SRAM Double Tap shifters on payday. I have used them on a number of bikes in the past and I like the lack of clutter that one trigger provides.

Despite the mud and crappy towpath where discretion and a fear of drowning dropped my speed significantly, my average for the ride was 3 mph down on my upright. To say I was learning the bike and taking it fairly easy, was very impressive. On flat tarmac I was easily 3mph quicker for the same effort. On uphill tarmac I was about 3 mph down. On gravel / hardcore I happily managed the speed I consider safe for the conditions.

All in all I believe my fears of being on inferior machinery are vanishing as quickly as the memories of riding in constant pain. I literally cannot wait to get out on it again.
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[XAP]Bob
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Joined: 26 Sep 2008, 4:12pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby [XAP]Bob » 5 Apr 2015, 10:01pm

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

Rob Archer
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007, 8:25pm
Location: King's Lynn, Norfolk

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby Rob Archer » 5 Apr 2015, 10:20pm

Good to hear! Those little roads round Sandringham are perfect for recumbents. For some reason they're always better maintained than most of the other roads round here! (can't think why;)). I hate gripshift too and changed mine for bar-end shifters.

Stradageek
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Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 1:07pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby Stradageek » 6 Apr 2015, 9:22am

The speed will come as the legs adapt, it may take 6 months to get there, so be patient.

Off-road on a recumbent will always be a bit scary, you can't 'body-shift' to help the balance, best to stick to roads or graveled tracks.

Once you're up to speed you'll see why grip-shifts are often preferred, you climb a hill at normal bike speed but descend like the wind so at the top of every hill you need to rattle through 27 gears in an instant and at the bottom of the next the same again in reverse. If you have to do all of that with thumb shifters you might end up with the same crippled thumbs I've got!

What sort of grip shifters are they and what sort of angle are the bars set?

The important thing is to set things up with the wrist making the most natural twisting motion. For example (and apologies as this does take some visualising) my Kett has USS and therefore had an inverted grip shift control on the right. This meant that the harder changes down needed an unnatural outward twist of the hand. The solution was to swap the grip shift to the left and now it's easy peasy!

Glad to hear you are pain free - brilliant isn't it!

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squeaker
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Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Sussex

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby squeaker » 6 Apr 2015, 9:25am

aideym wrote:.... to ride for over an hour pain free and not want to get off at the end was a revelation............ I literally cannot wait to get out on it again.
Cool 8) That's the general idea :wink:
As for gripshifts, I can see why they might not be nice on superman bars (like wot you got - ) but IME they are natural on hamsters (like wot I got).
Nice bike, btw 8)
"42"

Geoff.D
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Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby Geoff.D » 6 Apr 2015, 9:29am

All sounds pretty good to me. Glad you're pleased. :)

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Cunobelin
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Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby Cunobelin » 6 Apr 2015, 10:15am

Glad you like the bike.. I assume you mean the "flat bar" version of the double tap?

There was a thread on the Bent Ride Online site a ouple of years ago discussing these with some pictures of them installed

kingrollo
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Joined: 13 Mar 2014, 7:45pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby kingrollo » 6 Apr 2015, 11:30am

looks a good bent...

let me know when youre popping over to halesowen.....

4wils
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Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 9:56pm
Location: Teesside

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby 4wils » 6 Apr 2015, 9:13pm

I ride a Bacchetta (also from Dtek), initially it fitted with grip shifters. This has similar bars to your Furia. I changed to thumb shifters in order to be able to apply the front brake whilst changing gear on the approach to junctions.
The main downside for me is the difficulty fitting them so that there is no interference with knees and thighs when pedalling. This means that they are rotated slightly out of the optimum position. This affects the front shift more than the rear. I find it can be difficult to get enough movement on the shifter to move up a chainring (microshift front derailleur). This can lead to eratic steering whilst trying to do so. Not ideal. As an aside, I did fit an Alfine 11 to it when commuting and found that excellent. The other alternative is bar end shifters, though I haven't tried that type of set up. I suggest riding for a while before trying a different set up.

aideym
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Joined: 25 Feb 2015, 2:08pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby aideym » 6 Apr 2015, 9:50pm

I got out on in the brilliant bank holiday sunshine this afternoon after work for another attempt at my local circuit. Everything with the exception of the shifting was much better. I spent far too long trying to get the gear I wanted, there were ghost shifts galore. I am getting to grips with the looser surfaces but I am still sadly lacking in slow speed manoeuvres, all to often striking my foot with the front wheel.
Kevin mentioned the recumbent smile in the first conversation we had and I was wearing it loud and proud today. I am torn between going out again tomorrow or modifying the bike carrier to accept the Furai before we go away again at the weekend. I also have a plan to make an attachment for my workstand and that will be a priority if I want to mess about with the gears.

As for changing the shifters I am really struggling to find any 3x9 double taps, there is only one set on Ebay, so I will probably have to go with a set of x9's. Having the open cockpit set up means that my bars are correctly orientated to allow proper actuation so I have no real concern about that.

Halesowen ! well I'll be in Wolverley all weekend, so will no doubt be found somewhere near Kinver or on the canal heading to Stourport.

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squeaker
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Location: Sussex

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby squeaker » 7 Apr 2015, 9:24am

aideym wrote:I spent far too long trying to get the gear I wanted, there were ghost shifts galore. I am getting to grips with the looser surfaces but I am still sadly lacking in slow speed manoeuvres, all to often striking my foot with the front wheel.

'Ghost shifts galore' doesn't necessarily imply issues with the shifters, IME. I'd take a good look at the cable and rear mech too ;)
As for heel strike, IME one gets used to either angling the inner turn side heel out, or dangling the whole foot off the pedal on tight turns.
HTH
"42"

Stradageek
Posts: 662
Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 1:07pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby Stradageek » 7 Apr 2015, 12:56pm

+1; ghost shifts suggests excess cable friction, I'd check cable routing and lubrication but remember there's probably and tandem length (2.5m) gear wire in there so I'd make sure you have a suitable spare before pulling out the old gear wire to check.

Heel overlap can be a problem but you soon adapt. I find that low speed manoeuvring stability is vastly better if you apply a bit of rear brake and pedal against it. I'm sure someone on this forum will be able to tell me why this works!

Enjoy

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby [XAP]Bob » 7 Apr 2015, 3:41pm

Probably just makes the body stiffer, and so less "random" wobbles to have to compensate for?
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.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

Geoff.D
Posts: 1959
Joined: 12 Mar 2010, 9:20pm

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby Geoff.D » 7 Apr 2015, 6:31pm

I've always thought it was similar to doing a track stand on a DF. On such, if you brake the back wheel when stationary, you can have most of your weight on one pedal and "find" the point at which your Centre of Gravity is directly above the tyre contact line. If you tip one way or the other, you can sense it because there's a sort of rigidity to the feedback (because the bike isn't meandering forward) and adjust your weight accordingly.

Low speed manoeuvres on a 'bent can't be done stationary, of course. But, with some braking on the back wheel you can exert some of your pedalling force against this without shooting forward, out of control. It gives you a sort of "rigidity" which allows you to be sensitive to the need to press harder (shifting your weight ever so slightly) and keep upright. (You can also do this at low speed on a DF, too)

I find I start my manoeuvres without a brake on, but sometimes apply it half way through just to get back into balance. It's usually when I find I'm running out of space and need to bring my turning circle inwards.

I agree with what Bob says about making your body stiffer, to avoid extraneous wobbles. I think this "stiffness" is the rigidity that I refer to, which gives a more precise feedback loop.


PS
I find I can do a track stand indefinitely on my trike. :wink: :wink:

UpWrong
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Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire

Re: My New (to me ) Recumbent

Postby UpWrong » 9 Apr 2015, 2:55pm

Problem with shifting is probably due to sticky cables or poor routing. Grip shifters are marvelous but some people don't like the click-clacking. I get cramps with thumb shifter and it takes longer to get from one end of the cassette to the other. X9 and X0 9-speed grip shifters are quieter I think and are arguably worth having.