Advice about recumbents for newby?

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Leonard Evens, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. I have been riding road bikes for almost 50 years, mainly for exercise.
    I've been considering getting a recumbent because of back problems (4
    herniated discs and spinal stenosis). I would like to ride 15 miles or
    more every other day, but I don't need to go specially fast as long as I
    get a workout.

    I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an
    hour, I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length of
    an alley without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to side.
    I was certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.

    So my first question is how long might it take before I could
    comfortably cycle in moderate street traffic? I generally avoid roads
    and streets with heavy traffic. Will I quickly get to the point where I
    feel as comfortable about that as I do now on my road bike?

    Also, what type of recumbent should I consider? The bike I tried seemed
    to deal with minor bumps quite well, but my road bike has a shock
    absorbing seat post. Can I assume I don't need a fancy suspension with
    a recumbent? What sort of wheelbase would be best for a beginner? And
    how much difference does the position of the pedals make? The
    recumbent I tried had pedals relatively low on the bike, and even with
    that I had more trouble getting staarted than I had anticipated. Would
    that be harder with pedals higher up?

    What about price? I've seen prices ranging from $600 to over $5,000.
    What does one get with a recumbent costing $2,000 that one doesn't get
    in one costing $1,200 or less? I don't want to spend any more than I
    have to, but at my age it is important that I be able to get up and
    riding fairly quickly and that I not have any problems with the bike.

    Any other useful advice would be appreciated.
     
    Tags:


  2. Edward Dolan

    Edward Dolan Guest

    "Leonard Evens" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >I have been riding road bikes for almost 50 years, mainly for exercise.
    >I've been considering getting a recumbent because of back problems (4
    >herniated discs and spinal stenosis). I would like to ride 15 miles or
    >more every other day, but I don't need to go specially fast as long as I
    >get a workout.
    >
    > I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    > saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an hour,
    > I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length of an alley
    > without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to side. I was
    > certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.
    >
    > So my first question is how long might it take before I could comfortably
    > cycle in moderate street traffic? I generally avoid roads and streets
    > with heavy traffic. Will I quickly get to the point where I feel as
    > comfortable about that as I do now on my road bike?
    >
    > Also, what type of recumbent should I consider? The bike I tried seemed
    > to deal with minor bumps quite well, but my road bike has a shock
    > absorbing seat post. Can I assume I don't need a fancy suspension with a
    > recumbent? What sort of wheelbase would be best for a beginner? And how
    > much difference does the position of the pedals make? The recumbent I
    > tried had pedals relatively low on the bike, and even with that I had more
    > trouble getting staarted than I had anticipated. Would that be harder
    > with pedals higher up?
    >
    > What about price? I've seen prices ranging from $600 to over $5,000. What
    > does one get with a recumbent costing $2,000 that one doesn't get in one
    > costing $1,200 or less? I don't want to spend any more than I have to,
    > but at my age it is important that I be able to get up and riding fairly
    > quickly and that I not have any problems with the bike.
    >
    > Any other useful advice would be appreciated.


    Leonard, in the good old days of ARBR you would get half a dozen great
    responses to the concerns that you raise. But ARBR has fallen on hard times
    and there is mostly no one left here but idiots, morons and cretins.
    Furthermore, we are all fighting with one another over the question of
    trolls. Unfortunately, no one here even knows what a troll is but that does
    not prevent them from going on and on about the subject.

    Ah, if only everyone was more like Ed Dolan the Great, but Greatness like
    mine is the rarest thing in the world. I think you have to be born with it.
    I am also a Great Saint and can instruct you on morality, but I have nothing
    to say about recumbents. I leave that to Tom Sherman and his ilk. Or heaven
    forbid, maybe even Jim McNamara would like to weigh in and actually say
    something about recumbents instead of doing nothing but eternally stalking
    me.

    Hmm ... I wonder what ever happened to Jon Meinecke? He used to love to
    respond to messages like yours. Hells Bells, even old Cletus Lee of Texas
    would chip in something since your message is on-topic for this newsgroup.
    That was always the main thing with him (but not me as you may well surmise
    by now).

    Regards,

    Ed Dolan the Great - Minnesota
    aka
    Saint Edward the Great - Order of the Perpetual Sorrows - Minnesota
     
  3. dlhii

    dlhii Guest

    Leonard Evens <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I have been riding road bikes for almost 50 years, mainly for exercise.
    > I've been considering getting a recumbent because of back problems (4
    >herniated discs and spinal stenosis). I would like to ride 15 miles or
    >more every other day, but I don't need to go specially fast as long as I
    >get a workout.
    >
    >I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    >saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an
    >hour, I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length of
    >an alley without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to side.
    >I was certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.
    >
    >So my first question is how long might it take before I could
    >comfortably cycle in moderate street traffic? I generally avoid roads
    >and streets with heavy traffic. Will I quickly get to the point where I
    >feel as comfortable about that as I do now on my road bike?
    >
    >Also, what type of recumbent should I consider? The bike I tried seemed
    >to deal with minor bumps quite well, but my road bike has a shock
    >absorbing seat post. Can I assume I don't need a fancy suspension with
    >a recumbent? What sort of wheelbase would be best for a beginner? And
    >how much difference does the position of the pedals make? The
    >recumbent I tried had pedals relatively low on the bike, and even with
    >that I had more trouble getting staarted than I had anticipated. Would
    >that be harder with pedals higher up?
    >
    >What about price? I've seen prices ranging from $600 to over $5,000.
    >What does one get with a recumbent costing $2,000 that one doesn't get
    >in one costing $1,200 or less? I don't want to spend any more than I
    >have to, but at my age it is important that I be able to get up and
    >riding fairly quickly and that I not have any problems with the bike.
    >
    >Any other useful advice would be appreciated.


    On cost I am building a recumbent trike, because of purchasing some of
    the parts is should come in around $500. Had my balance taken away due
    to a very strong antibiotic so needed a trike, but it should be
    stable.

    Don
     
  4. In alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent on Wed, 11 Oct 2006 15:05:47 -0500
    Leonard Evens <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    > saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an
    > hour, I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length of
    > an alley without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to side.
    > I was certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.
    >


    Maybe that style of bike's not for you?

    When I tried by first bike, it was a high bottom bracket short
    wheelbase bike. I started by rolling downhill with my feet dangling,
    then downhill with feet on pedals, then pedalling, then pedalling on
    the flat, then uphill.

    Took about 2 hours before I rode the thing home in traffic.

    If you are wobbling it might be the bar config. I had to learn to
    relax and not hang onto the bars, if I did then the thing was more
    unstable. Even now on a different bike if I cling tight then I wobble
    at low speeds, if I sit back and relax I ride dead straight.

    I have tried one bike with hamster bars - the ones where you have your
    hands close to your chest - and found it way harder than the tweener
    style where your hands are to your sides and your legs go between
    them.

    Zebee
     
  5. DougC

    DougC Guest

    Leonard Evens wrote:
    > So my first question is how long might it take before I could
    > comfortably cycle in moderate street traffic? I generally avoid roads
    > and streets with heavy traffic. Will I quickly get to the point where I
    > feel as comfortable about that as I do now on my road bike?
    >

    Opinions on this will vary. I tend to ride only on rural roads if I can
    help it. Most bicyclist injuries involve cars, so if you can get away
    from cars, you drastically reduce the chances of getting hurt. On most
    recumbents it's not really practical to turn your head to look behind
    you, so you are dependent upon rear-view mirrors. I prefer the glasses
    clip-ons, myself.

    > Also, what type of recumbent should I consider? The bike I tried seemed
    > to deal with minor bumps quite well, but my road bike has a shock
    > absorbing seat post. Can I assume I don't need a fancy suspension with
    > a recumbent?

    As I have seen it--bents that are more-reclined are more difficult to
    get used to, and bents that sit higher off the ground are more difficult
    to get used to. So SWB's and highracers are the worst in this regard
    (though you will always have someone who "just got right on and rode").
    The long-wheelbases or compact-long-wheelbases are usually the easiest
    to try, as the pedals are low and the seats can be adjusted
    very-upright, which eases balancing. A lot of people who have never rode
    a recumbent can sit on these and take off riding within a few seconds.
    ....I started off with a SWB and now have a LWB, and I much prefer the
    LWB's handling.

    ---And you probably will not need any shock-absorbers at all on a
    recumbent. The seats of an upright bike and a recumbent are worlds apart.

    >
    > What about price? I've seen prices ranging from $600 to over $5,000.

    The $600 ones I know of are lower-end CLWB's, they are much better than
    an upright for comfort but they aren't real great for longer-distance
    riding (though there ARE people who have rode cross-country tours on
    them). Mine have cost around $1000 or so, I haven't found them lacking
    for much. Spending more money mostly just buys you less weight, just
    like with upright bikes.

    >
    > Any other useful advice would be appreciated.

    Recumbents are fantastic for longer-distance cruising on level ground,
    but they weigh more and are harder to get uphills. Additionally, they
    are more difficult to transport (such as on a car) and having a
    car-carrier that you can easily get your bent onto and off of greatly
    makes taking it places more enjoyable.
     
  6. Zebee Johnstone wrote:
    > ...
    > If you are wobbling it might be the bar config. I had to learn to
    > relax and not hang onto the bars, if I did then the thing was more
    > unstable. Even now on a different bike if I cling tight then I wobble
    > at low speeds, if I sit back and relax I ride dead straight.
    >
    > I have tried one bike with hamster bars - the ones where you have your
    > hands close to your chest - and found it way harder than the tweener
    > style where your hands are to your sides and your legs go between
    > them.


    I can not ride certain bikes with tweener bars - the bars are just too
    difficult to look at.

    --
    Tom Sherman - Here, not there.
     
  7. Grolch

    Grolch Guest

    When I went to test ride all varieties of recumbents some 6 months ago, I
    seemed to be alright, wobbly-wise, on most configs. But when I tried the
    Trike I ended up buying it was love at first ride. I knew, without a doubt,
    that I had found my next bike. Here's my opinion on why I like the Tadpole
    Trike configuration. 1, stability, even loose gravel won't put you down. 2.
    The wide handlebars on the Catrike direct steer system, It leaves my chest
    wide open and I find I breathe and see easily. 3. No more numb wrists, achy
    necks, tight shoulders, pressure-point butt or anything. 3. When I get to an
    outdoor event, I have my concert seat with me. 4. Fun!!!

    Downsides of the trike, 1. brake-steer, surprising at first but I have
    learned to relax and it is no longer a problem. 2. Can't unweight on rough
    stuff (true for all bents), so I put a set of Shwalbe 2" Big-Apples on the
    bike and run 45psi. 3. Narrow doors are awkward, though it is "wheel-chair"
    width. 4. Low. May be more diff for vehicles to spot me (true for most
    bents) I put larger flags on and where loud colours.... call me paranoid.
    Climbs a bit slower than my uprights, but, hey, why don't I feel so burnt up
    after long rides?

    I suggest you try the Catrike Road model (about $ 2200 USD complete). One of
    the lightest High performance trikes out there (31lbs).

    Welcome to the Bent community.

    Grolsch



    "Johnny Sunset aka Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > Zebee Johnstone wrote:
    >> ...
    >> If you are wobbling it might be the bar config. I had to learn to
    >> relax and not hang onto the bars, if I did then the thing was more
    >> unstable. Even now on a different bike if I cling tight then I wobble
    >> at low speeds, if I sit back and relax I ride dead straight.
    >>
    >> I have tried one bike with hamster bars - the ones where you have your
    >> hands close to your chest - and found it way harder than the tweener
    >> style where your hands are to your sides and your legs go between
    >> them.

    >
    > I can not ride certain bikes with tweener bars - the bars are just too
    > difficult to look at.
    >
    > --
    > Tom Sherman - Here, not there.
    >
     
  8. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Leonard Evens wrote:

    > So my first question is how long might it take before I could
    > comfortably cycle in moderate street traffic?


    As long as it takes to unlearn your habits and natural tendencies of
    putting lots of energy through the handlebars. It's natural to heave on
    the bars a fair bit on an upright, and it's natural to be a bit nervous
    first time on the 'bent, both of which make the light touch which is all
    you typically need for a recumbent rather tricky!
    It comes with practice though. I was happy taking on moderate street
    traffic after a few days, and after a month I was just as happy in
    traffic on my 'bent as on any other bike. Some people miss seeing over
    cars, but it doesn't bother me that much and unless you feel trapped
    when you can't see over a van you should get used to it.

    > Also, what type of recumbent should I consider?


    As many as you can test ride.

    > The bike I tried seemed
    > to deal with minor bumps quite well, but my road bike has a shock
    > absorbing seat post. Can I assume I don't need a fancy suspension with
    > a recumbent?


    You don't need suspension, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't get it.
    Suspension isn't just about comfort, good suspension increases a bike's
    efficiency over rougher roads so you go further/faster for the same
    effort if the roads aren't in the best of shape. If you're carrying
    shopping/touring luggage then the effect is increased.
    My first 'bent had none, and it didn't mean it wasn't a useful and
    comfortable bike, but my current one does and I do prefer it if I'm not
    in a tearing hurry on excellent surfaces.

    > What sort of wheelbase would be best for a beginner? And
    > how much difference does the position of the pedals make?


    Implementation of designs varies a lot more in the 'bent world than the
    upright world. Also consider that you'll only be a "beginner" for a
    couple of weeks: you can ride a bike, and you don't need to give
    yourself a machine that assumes you're no good at it yet.

    So, try everything you can get hold of.

    > recumbent I tried had pedals relatively low on the bike, and even with
    > that I had more trouble getting staarted than I had anticipated. Would
    > that be harder with pedals higher up?


    A little, perhaps, but once you have your basic balance and light touch
    on the 'bars it becomes a non-issue. Sagin, get the hang of the bikes
    trying them out.

    > What about price? I've seen prices ranging from $600 to over $5,000.
    > What does one get with a recumbent costing $2,000 that one doesn't get
    > in one costing $1,200 or less?


    As with uprights, better componentry that will last longer and work
    better, and possibly extra features. Suspension done properly certainly
    costs more (just like on an MTB). Possibly better frame materials
    and/or build quality.

    > Any other useful advice would be appreciated.


    I've said try out as much as you can a couple of times already, but here
    it is again just to reinforce the point! ;-)

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  9. Jon Meinecke

    Jon Meinecke Guest

    "Leonard Evens" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    > I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    > saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an hour,
    > I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length of an alley
    > without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to side. I was
    > certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.


    Hmmm, it might be that the Easy Racer wasn't the correct size
    for you. What model and size was it? Or as others suggested,
    perhaps the bike wasn't well adjusted for your leg and arm length.
    Leg distance too long may result in hip rotation in the seat that
    could induce wobble. Also seat recline can affect sense of
    balance.

    Balancing at low speed feels somewhat different on a recumbent
    than an upright. In addition to body position and center of gravity
    differences, the perhaps smaller wheel size, different steering
    angle and linkage, fork trail, bar width and position, etc.. may
    all make recumbents feel different.

    The advice to relax your grip and shoulders is good. Tensing
    up is a common response to dealing with the difference feel
    of the bike. And one tendency may be to over correct with
    steering. Even though I cannot ride any of my recumbent bikes
    no-handed for any distance, it takes only the lightest touch
    to keep them "in line".

    Above 5 mph, a Tour Easy should be quite stable, in my
    experience. Above 8 mph, it should feel rock solid. I've
    had many people test ride my Tour Easy and my BikeE
    and most had little difficulty after maybe only a few
    starts.

    > So my first question is how long might it take before I could comfortably
    > cycle in moderate street traffic?


    That may depend largely on your comfort level.

    I too, went from riding uprights to riding recumbents because
    of a herniated disc. But my first test ride experience was *a lot*
    different from yours. I test rode a BikeE and felt comfortable in
    the balance and steering within minutes. I *immediately*
    regretted that it took a back problem for me to discover
    recumbent bikes!

    For the first few months it was a challenge to hold a straight line
    at slow speed when climbing a hill, but after a while even that became
    easier. Within six months, I was riding 25-30 miles at a time
    comfortably on my BikeE.

    I added a Tour Easy for touring and a bit more speed potential
    than the BikeE with almost no learning curve. And when I got
    my recumbent road bike (Volae high racer) last year, there was
    a little bit of getting used to the high bottom bracket, but no
    real balance or stability issues. Slow speed balance was
    "intuitive" even if getting used to the heel strike/interference
    wasn't.

    The suggestion to try as many different recumbents as possible is
    sound advice. Try recumbent trikes, too, if in your price range
    and if they suit your fancy. You didn't mention how hilly the
    area you want to ride. May sure you test the bikes on a
    course similar to where you will want to use it. Don't get
    discouraged with hill climbing on a recumbent, it takes a
    difference technique you may have used and perhaps a
    different mindset than on an upright.

    One other key piece of advice for moving from uprights to
    recumbents,-- well, actually three pieces: SPIN, SPIN, SPIN.

    You can quite quickly "do a number" on your knees on a recumbent
    bike in a way that's less likely on uprights. If you grind up hills
    at low crank RPMs, you can exert a lot of pressure between the
    fixed seatback of many recumbents and the pedals. Not a good
    thing! Expect to use higher cadence on a recumbent than you
    may have used on an upright.

    Good luck with your back issues and I hope you can find a bike
    or trike that suits your needs.

    Jon Meinecke
     
  10. Leonard Evens <[email protected]> writes:

    > I would like to ride 15 miles or more every other day, but I don't
    > need to go specially fast as long as I get a workout.


    > I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    > saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an
    > hour, I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length
    > of an alley without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to
    > side. I was certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with
    > traffic.


    You could just cut you losses and go for a trike: no worrying. Trikes
    maybe slightly less efficient than bikes, but if the aim is to get
    exercise, and not racing, then that does not matter. And if you stick
    with an easy to ride, relaxing trike and you add mudguards etc, then you
    are more likely to get out there. And also in inclement weather. (I
    bought a Kett for commuting a few years ago and have never looked back:
    the benefits of going to a trike are much greater than I imagined !!

    --
    Simon Kellett, Darmstadt, Germany | http://www.zoxed.eu
    Zox20 Lowracer | Flux V220 CLWB
    Hase Kettwiesel trike | ex-Pashley PDQ SWB
     
  11. Grolch wrote:
    > When I went to test ride all varieties of recumbents some 6 months ago, I
    > seemed to be alright, wobbly-wise, on most configs. But when I tried the
    > Trike I ended up buying it was love at first ride. I knew, without a doubt,
    > that I had found my next bike. Here's my opinion on why I like the Tadpole
    > Trike configuration. 1, stability, even loose gravel won't put you down. 2.
    > The wide handlebars on the Catrike direct steer system, It leaves my chest
    > wide open and I find I breathe and see easily. 3. No more numb wrists, achy
    > necks, tight shoulders, pressure-point butt or anything. 3. When I get to an
    > outdoor event, I have my concert seat with me. 4. Fun!!!
    >
    > Downsides of the trike, 1. brake-steer, surprising at first but I have
    > learned to relax and it is no longer a problem. 2. Can't unweight on rough
    > stuff (true for all bents), so I put a set of Shwalbe 2" Big-Apples on the
    > bike and run 45psi. 3. Narrow doors are awkward, though it is "wheel-chair"
    > width. 4. Low. May be more diff for vehicles to spot me (true for most
    > bents) I put larger flags on and where loud colours.... call me paranoid.
    > Climbs a bit slower than my uprights, but, hey, why don't I feel so burnt up
    > after long rides?


    The newer ICE (Trice) and Greenspeed trikes have minimal brake steer.

    Ride quality is not a problem with rear suspension. It is usually easy
    to straddle potholes with the front wheels, leaving the suspension to
    deal with the shock when the rear wheel hits.

    > I suggest you try the Catrike Road model (about $ 2200 USD complete). One of
    > the lightest High performance trikes out there (31lbs).


    If I bought a Catrike, I would seriously consider a Pantour rear hub
    [1], since the ride of my Dragonflyer [2] has me spoiled.

    [1] <http://www.pantourhub.com/products.html>.
    [2] <http://www.ihpva.org/incoming/2002/Dragonflyer/>.

    --
    Tom Sherman - Here, not there.
     
  12. Jon Meinecke wrote:
    > ...
    > Above 5 mph, a Tour Easy should be quite stable, in my
    > experience. Above 8 mph, it should feel rock solid. I've
    > had many people test ride my Tour Easy and my BikeE
    > and most had little difficulty after maybe only a few
    > starts....


    While I would agree that the Easy Racers's design (Tour Easy, Gold Rush
    Replica) is one of the better handling long wheel-base (LWB) bicycles,
    a properly designed short wheel-base (SWB) will always be easier to
    handle at very low speed, since a smaller traverse motion of the
    contact patch is needed to bring the centerline between the two contact
    patches under the combined bicycle/rider center of gravity (CG).

    --
    Tom Sherman - Here, not there.
     
  13. Jon Meinecke

    Jon Meinecke Guest

    "Johnny Sunset aka Tom Sherman" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    > While I would agree that the Easy Racers's design (Tour Easy, Gold Rush
    > Replica) is one of the better handling long wheel-base (LWB) bicycles,
    > a properly designed short wheel-base (SWB) will always be easier to
    > handle at very low speed, since a smaller traverse motion of the
    > contact patch is needed to bring the centerline between the two contact
    > patches under the combined bicycle/rider center of gravity (CG).


    From a technical design point of view, it is true that most short wheelbase
    designs require less movement of the front wheel contact patch to
    obtain a balance point. But I'm not sure whether that translates
    directly to "easier" low speed handling in all cases. There are other
    factors in maintaining low speed balance and stability.

    I can ride each of my recumbents and hold a decent line with good
    stability at fairly low speeds, -- better now than when I first started,
    particularly up hills. Of my BikeE (CLWB), Tour Easy (LWB), and
    Volae (SWB), the BikeE is easiest for me to ride at *very* low speed.
    The BikeE has quite responsive steering geometry. It has a higher
    seating position and lower seatback than the Tour Easy. And it
    has no heel interference at low-speed turns unlike the Volae.

    However, the original poster seemed to be concerned not so much
    with lowest speed balance but with perhaps moderately low-speed
    tracking (wobble). SWB or LWB may be less important than rider
    confidence and familiarity with how the bike responds to input.

    Jon Meinecke
     
  14. Hull 697

    Hull 697 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
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    First, read about fitting your bike to you. IME few bike shops know how to fit you properly and fit makes a huge difference.

    Ride everything you can get your butt on! Then ride the ones you liked again, and ride anything you "sort of" liked but felt twitchy/unstable on a second time.

    Your learning curve is very steep in the beginning. I rode perhaps 18 different models and brands and am really happy I bought a high racer as my first bent. Had I gone with a CLWB or worse, a LWB, I would already be selling it.

    The advice about trikes is sound too. With all those back issues I would sure look into it.

    Good Luck!
     
  15. DougC

    DougC Guest

    Jon Meinecke wrote:
    >
    > From a technical design point of view, it is true that most short wheelbase
    > designs require less movement of the front wheel contact patch to
    > obtain a balance point. But I'm not sure whether that translates
    > directly to "easier" low speed handling in all cases. There are other
    > factors in maintaining low speed balance and stability.
    >
    > .......
    >
    > However, the original poster seemed to be concerned not so much
    > with lowest speed balance but with perhaps moderately low-speed
    > tracking (wobble). SWB or LWB may be less important than rider
    > confidence and familiarity with how the bike responds to input.
    >
    > Jon Meinecke
    >


    I had a SWB as my first bent, it was wobbly.
    Part of that was my own inexperience, holding the bars too tightly and
    over-correcting.

    The jittery steering I just credited to the short wheelbase. I tested a
    few other SWB's before buying it, and none of them really felt a whole
    lot different. I bought it over a LWB because it was ligher than LWB's,
    and at that point I was concerned about the higher weight of bents in
    general. I never crashed because of it, but it was tiring to steer and
    the "quick" steering was never any advantage during my riding. If you
    drop the front tire pressure down it deadens the steering sensitivity
    somewhat (it came with front/rear 1.5" 100-psi tires, dropping the front
    down to 60 psi helped the steering quite a bit, especially in gravel).
    This makes the front tire "scrub" audibly when turned and some people
    might find that disturbing. It also probably increases the rolling
    resistance, but I never noticed that quite frankly.

    What I found when letting a lot of people ride the SWB was that many
    people had a problem with it sitting so high off the ground--and the BB
    being so high, even with platform pedals. A number of people who tried
    it gave up after a minute or two of not being able to "get going".
    Conversely, when I bought a LWB, I noticed that after the seat was
    adjusted properly for their height, EVERYONE who tried it could ride it.
    They were a bit wobbly, but they could all do it.

    I also got a RANS Fusion now as well. Everyone could ride that pretty
    easily, it feels pretty close to an upright bike. It is not as
    comfortable as the LWB but it weighs about 10 lbs less and is easier to
    transport--and (after a few days of acclimatizing to it) it is much more
    comfortable than a normal upright, so it is another possible option.

    I do wobble more on bents than on uprights, even three years later. I
    remember that on upright bikes it was pretty easy to ride down the side
    of a striped road and keep both tires on the painted white line--but
    it's very difficult to do that on any recumbent I've rode. I can stay
    pretty close however, and the trade-off in comfort is much worth it.

    I remember when I was first shopping, I was very much concerned with
    recumbent weights--but now am not. The LWB is my main bike, and it's ~38
    lbs I think, unloaded (Cycle Genius Falcon). A decent upright road bike
    is much lighter and also much more /lively/-- but the lighter weight
    doesn't do the garage any good if it's so uncomfortable to ride that you
    won't use it as much as you'd like.

    -end-
     
  16. Nadogail

    Nadogail Guest

    After many years of not riding, I found I could nolonger dismount from
    my road bike with confidence. I read about recumbents, and thought
    that I should try a trike.

    I found a Sun EZ-3 USX on Craigslist.org and loved it from the first
    two block trial. The almost new trike was advertised for $650 USD. I
    loaded it into my van and drove it home.

    I ride it with confidence on the streets of Coronado, and am looking to
    ride longer distances.

    The trike is no light weight, but I rode my last race 30 years ago.
    There is a shock absorber in the frame and dual disk brakes on the rear
    to control "brake steer"

    WIth Underseat Steering there is no weight on my wrists.

    Good Riding
     
  17. Duram

    Duram Guest

    I just went to traffic after buying a good mirror, suspension is nice
    if streets are full of roles.


    "Leonard Evens" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I have been riding road bikes for almost 50 years, mainly for exercise.
    > I've been considering getting a recumbent because of back problems (4
    > herniated discs and spinal stenosis). I would like to ride 15 miles or
    > more every other day, but I don't need to go specially fast as long as I
    > get a workout.
    >
    > I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents, and the
    > saleperson set up an Easy Racer for me to try. After about half an
    > hour, I was able consistently to get started and traverse the length of
    > an alley without stopping, but I was still wobbling from side to side.
    > I was certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.
    >
    > So my first question is how long might it take before I could
    > comfortably cycle in moderate street traffic? I generally avoid roads
    > and streets with heavy traffic. Will I quickly get to the point where I
    > feel as comfortable about that as I do now on my road bike?
    >
    > Also, what type of recumbent should I consider? The bike I tried seemed
    > to deal with minor bumps quite well, but my road bike has a shock
    > absorbing seat post. Can I assume I don't need a fancy suspension with
    > a recumbent? What sort of wheelbase would be best for a beginner? And
    > how much difference does the position of the pedals make? The
    > recumbent I tried had pedals relatively low on the bike, and even with
    > that I had more trouble getting staarted than I had anticipated. Would
    > that be harder with pedals higher up?
    >
    > What about price? I've seen prices ranging from $600 to over $5,000.
    > What does one get with a recumbent costing $2,000 that one doesn't get
    > in one costing $1,200 or less? I don't want to spend any more than I
    > have to, but at my age it is important that I be able to get up and
    > riding fairly quickly and that I not have any problems with the bike.
    >
    > Any other useful advice would be appreciated.
     
  18. Leonard Evens wrote:
    > I have been riding road bikes for almost 50 years, mainly for exercise.
    > I've been considering getting a recumbent because of back problems (4
    > herniated discs and spinal stenosis). I would like to ride 15 miles or
    > more every other day, but I don't need to go specially fast as long as I
    > get a workout.


    I just ride for the exercise have back, knee, hip & heart problems
    Been reading about recumbents for about 15years. From a safety
    standpoint I'm now getting my first bent a Sun EZ-3 USX It's a long
    Delta style trike. I tried some Bikes, but with the heart problems ICD
    (Internal Defibulator), some dizzyness at times, I went for the trike.

    >
    > I finally went to a local bike shop that sells recumbents,
    > I was still wobbling from side to side.
    > I was certainly not comfortable enough to try a street with traffic.


    Try to find maybe a dealer with an area to ride longer distances.
    >
    > So my first question is how long might it take before I could
    > comfortably cycle in moderate street traffic? I generally avoid roads
    > and streets with heavy traffic. Will I quickly get to the point where I
    > feel as comfortable about that as I do now on my road bike?


    With a trike as soon as you are on it.

    > Any other useful advice would be appreciated.


    With a delta style, you sit higher than a tadpole trike, easier to get
    in and out of the seat. and the front axel is not in your way. Get on
    and off the trikes a few times to see how it feels on your back
    problems. Check this out here.
    http://www.sunbicycles.com/sun/recumbents/ez3/ez3.htm
    You will enjoy the ride no matter what bent you get.

    Keith
     
  19. Leonard Evens,

    By now you've gotten so much advice it must be confusing. But sorting
    through it, I see that several people did tell you the right general
    advice: try out lots of different recumbents and get an idea of which
    one feels right for you. Ask if you can take each one out for a long
    test ride, not just 10 minutes.

    I have a TourEasy which cost about $2,000, a huge sum for me. But it's
    been worth it in terms of comfort, how well the mechanical components
    work and how long they last, and the riding position (I finally
    realized the position is almost the same as for driving my minivan; in
    fact sometimes I find myself reaching for the seat belt!).

    At the first ride I almost broke down and gave up when I couldn't get
    it moving again after a stop - turned out it was uphill, and I had
    neglected to click downgear before I stopped. And of course one can't
    stand on the pedals as on an upright. So there are a few little new
    bits to learn.

    For the wobbly start I recommend leaning forward from the waist when
    first pedaling (remember: start in a low gear), in order to balance
    more easily straight over one's lower body, the way one balances on an
    upright. Then you can lean back.

    Tailwinds, Leonard. And have fun.

    C.C.
     
  20. [email protected] wrote:
    > ...
    > I have a TourEasy which cost about $2,000, a huge sum for me. But it's
    > been worth it in terms of comfort, how well the mechanical components
    > work and how long they last, and the riding position (I finally
    > realized the position is almost the same as for driving my minivan; in
    > fact sometimes I find myself reaching for the seat belt!)....


    Still trying to clip into the pedals in the minivan [1] and adjust the
    radio [2] on the Tour Easy? ;)

    P.S. What is Jeff Cowan up to - still riding Rufus the Blue V-Rex?

    [1]
    <http://groups.google.com/group/alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent/msg/401fb104badce5b7?dmode=source>.
    [2]
    <http://groups.google.com/group/alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent/msg/6cda39990bd1296a?dmode=source>.

    --
    Tom Sherman - Here, not there.
     
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