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Recumbents(8 posts)

Mar 28, 2001 3:18 AM
Any one here ride one of these - any views on the transition from "normal" bikes? Comfort, speed etc etc?
re: RecumbentsRickMTB (or Rickumbent)
Mar 28, 2001 6:25 AM
I have a BikeE that I bought while recovering from back surgery). I just bought my first road bike (a Lemond Buenos Aires). I have ridden MTBs for many years (both HTs and dualies).

A 'bent is way more comfortable. Like sitting in a recliner, but pedaling down the street. You can be subjected to a little pain called "recumbent butt" that seems to come from sitting with your butt low and your legs high. It was never an issue with me on the VikeE even though I used it for longish rides (50+ miles) and commuting (24 miles round trip). Some may think above seat steering is more comfie (certainly safer feeling), others will prefer under seat steering (your arms sorta hang down naturally)... often its a factor of if your lower back or upper back has probs... above steering tends to be more comfie for lower back, and below seat steering tends to be more comfie for upper back people.

the BikeE is not a fast 'bent, but after riding a road bike I would have trouble believe many of the 'bent enthusiasts who talk about how they passed a roadie. Sure, I guess it happens, and I have even done it. But I reckon the same rider on a traditional road bike is faster than on a bent (unless some of the really swoopy bents like the YellowBike or the M are really a lot faster bent). Going downhill on a bent is really fast, but going uphill... well, you lose most of your power (can't put much weight) when climbing and you learn really fast that you need to spin like crazy. You also learn that your quads need to be conditioned ("feel that burn"). There were times on extended climbs that I saw snails pass me.

That said, they are way more comfortable (since riding my bent I am having troubles finding any saddle I really like). You get lots of comments ("gee, what kind of bike is *that*" and "Gee, cool bike!").
And you can see a lot more of whats going on around you (can't think of a better way to tour).

Hope that helps!
Off Beat Bikes ...Breck
Mar 28, 2001 6:28 AM
They are definitely comfy; typically pie plate 54t big ring; take long double length chains. Very fast on the flats and a rocket down hill. Up hills are slow to no depending on the road pitch. The more upright position and chair like seat gives you no neck pain; good for those with back problems; the ability to look around much like driving the car. Steering can be weird depending on the set up. Short wheel base recumbents with steep head angles can not be turned sharply at speed; very tricky steering for tight radius down hill curves. The legs pedaling in the forward elevated position you get used to. Lots of power to the crank.
One is very low to the ground for visible high way safety so some use the short vertical whip with the orange flag. Lot's of newer designs out there including tandems have not ridden. They are overly pricey for such a simple design.

For a real scream ride a three wheeled Racing Trike if you can find one. There is also a stand up scooter "bike", no gearing, being made much like the old fashioned kids push foot scooter, only with a front full sized bike wheel but have not ridden it. Have ridden a "Monster Bike" with the dune buggy style 10 inch wide, a foot or so diameter tires; compound gearing, designed for snow and desert.

re: Recumbentsweezy
Mar 28, 2001 8:08 AM
check out This guy's got a great website that describes all the attributes of the major recumbents. Plus, he was a road rider/racer turned recumbent rider.... hope this helps
More varieties of recumbents than anything else.E3
Mar 28, 2001 8:13 AM
There's short-, medium-, and long-wheelbased bikes, bikes with 16", 20", 26", and 700cc wheels. Some are built to cruise, some are for speed. Some have low seats, some high. I could go on for a long time but, mercifully, I won't.

Check out Recumbent Cyclist News magazine, or look at for more info on the ride qualities of different models and styles.

Personally, I have a Trek R200 and a custom Reynolds Wishbone RT. The Trek is a dog, but comfortable. The RT is low, light, fast, and very comfortable. It is a very capable high-performance road bike. I have lower back problems, so I log most of my mileage lately on this bike.

I think uprights and recumbents mix very well. You use slightly different muscles on 'bents, so riding both thoroughly develops your legs. Converting from uprights takes a while to develop speed and power on a 'bent, but it's not a bad transition. I enjoy riding both, and I think that every bike enthusiast ought to have one in their inventory of bikes.

Unfortunately, some snooty cyclists have a real disdain for 'bents and wouldn't dare consider one. Oh well, their loss.
re: RecumbentsAkirasho
Mar 28, 2001 9:08 AM
I've got a couple of Visions...

Because of the wide variety of design philosophies, it's even harder to make comparisons amongst them than double diamonds.

For some insight, visit and

As for my Visions, one is set up for general purpose rides and tours... the other is set up for speed. With 'bents, you are also on the fuzzy transition line to HPV's (Human Powered Vehicles) which can become extreme in their specialization and speed. And, because there are virtully no IUC rules (and a possible reason for their lack of general acceptance)... anything that gets you down the road on your own power is seen (check out the Monkey Hand... now modified, at the top of The link is finicky but it's still there. This bike has a composite "seat" that forms the "frame" of the bike... it's shaped like a monkey's hand. Even for an HPV, it's weird).

Comfort? Generally yes.
Speed? Can be excessive depending on the motor and the bike (local HPV'er runs our TT course in excess of 35 mph). Many speed records are held by 'bents and HPV's.
Transition? If you can sit successfully in a chair and have enough balance to handle a regular bike, there's no problem... three or four rides. But, it will take time to develop recumbent legs... you use muscle groups differently. Look at 1500 miles or more.

From a rider's perspective, they are safe, but because they sit lower, they don't catch the attention of drivers so be careful and wary. Another local takes the streamliner fairing off is lowrider... about 3" of ground clearance.

You can see my 'bents at While they look similar, the rides are very different.

Be the bike.

P.S. the pic URL can be viewed by opening it in it's own browser if it does not appear here.
re: Bent questionsCliff Oates
Mar 28, 2001 5:07 PM
Hey Akirasho,

I'm thinking of replacing my cyclo-cross commuter with a SWB bent, and Vision (R44 probably) is on the top of my list along with the Rans V-Rex and the Lightning Stealth. Obviously, they're all SWB and relatively comparable in terms of price and weight.

How do you like yours? Is there any thing you'd do differently if you had to do it again? What is your opinion of under seat steering versus over seat steering? Any caveats I should be aware of during the selection process?

re: Bent answersAkirasho
Mar 28, 2001 8:16 PM

I actually did fairly extensive test rides of several different makes and models before I decided (rather abruptly) on the Vision R42.

Early on, I decided that I wanted the handling characteristics of a SWB platform. During test rides aboard a wide variety of 'bents, the USS concept seemed inheriently natural for me (though giving up a bit of aerodynamics). I've simply never felt as secure with OSS steering... perhaps it was the geometry of the bikes I've tried... perhaps some tiller effect (the R42 has a bit, but it's not generally noticable) in the steering... or just my need to amaze and entertain folks out on the road.

While not actively seeking out a 'bent, I travelled over the Indiana state line to Richmond to buy a PowerBall ticket. While there, I decided to visit a local shop just cuz I rarely got over that way. A year before, I almost bought a Comfort Cycle (trike with two in back) from them so when I saw the Visions they had on hand (R30 and R42) I decided to give them a test ride.

The R30 was nice and compared favorably to a few other bikes I'd tested, but the R42 was a whole 'nother animal. I liked it so much, I bought it (and the PowerBall ticket) on the spot. Since I work for a living, you can imagine what happened to the PowerBall ticket.

About a year later, I got the idea of doing a few HPV races on a modified production 'bent, and since the R42 was no longer made, I went with what looked like it's successor. But, Vision had tweeked the geometry and suspension of the R50 making it essentially a totally different bike. The R50 is more roadlike than the R42. You'd have to check with Vision on their current geometries.

The only significant change to the R50 was my modification of it's USS (feels better than OEM to me) and a set of HED race wheels. 'Tween the two, the R42 is a backup bike.

Even more so than with double D's it's important to test different platforms before buying. Sizing on 'bents is beyond me, but still an important factor... try to find a knowledgable shop. Again, I prefer the ergonomics of USS (plus you've got an escape route). In general, if you're looking for speed and ability to apply power (climbing hills), go for a bottom bracket thats at least seat high (Ilike 'em higher). Clipless and 'bents work well together. If you go with different sized wheels, don't forget to carry the appropriate tubes. You must have a geeky mirror if you're gonna play in traffic.

Again note, that you'll be using different muscles, and muscles in different ways... it'll take a bit of time for them to develop.

A great alternative... and when I'm on the 'bent, women actually come up and speak to me.

Be the bike.

P.S. I'm not for or against Longbikes... this is merely the experience of a friend of mine. He bought an Eliminator. He likes the bike except for one problem. The drivetrain uses an idler cog that's subject to premature (and catastrophic) wear. So far, he's only been offered replacement cogs... but no real fix. Just an FYI.