Help me decide/feedback needed.

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by lottsm, May 19, 2005.

  1. lottsm

    lottsm New Member

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    I'll try to make this relatively brief...
    I'm 31, 5'6', 130 lbs., and have decided that I'd rather have a recumbent than some expensive exercise equipment, so I went to a local dealer, bikesouth.com, and rode a few bikes from Rans. I don't see myself ever using clips, but I liked everything that I rode. Unfortunately, they didn't have recumbent models from other brands in stock, so I couldn't really compare, say, a Velocity Squared Formula to a Cycle Genius RDX Raven, or a Stratus to a Burley Adirondack.

    So basically I need opinions about a few things: Will I be able to make it without clipless pedals on those bikes? I did successfully ride a 10 speed back in the day just fine, about 14 miles per day, maybe twice per week, but of course, we're talking about two different styles. Secondly, which would you choose? Is the Formula that much better, price-wise, than the Raven? I don't care to spend much more than what a Formula would cost, and I'm open to styles like a V-Rex if I "must" use clipless pedals. There may also be some other makes/models that I haven't thought of, although I would prefer to buy something made in the U.S.

    It's not practical for me to ride to work, but I do hope to ride the Longleaf Trace, a Rails-to-Trails path that starts in Hattiesburg, and possibly go on some club rides around here. I'll get comfortable riding in my apartment complex, and then go from there. Oh, one other thing...if I do get the Formula, I plan to put a regular Rans seat on it.

    Hopefully, this purchase won't be too far off. Thanks for reading and for any feedback.

    Shelton
     
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  2. john_hopkins

    john_hopkins New Member

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    Personally, I find clipless easier and more efficient than flat pedals or toe clips even on my upright, and even more so on a relatively high-BB 'bent like a v-squared or v-rex.

    Rans bikes have an enviable reputation, though not all the frames are made in the USA these days, if that's important to you. If you find the "praying hamster" handlebar position of the v-rex uncomfortable after a long test-ride (I do), you might try out a Bacchetta Giro for a very different ride on a superficially-similar bike.

    On that topic, be sure you take a *long* test-ride, at least an hour, on any bike you're considering at all seriously. The bike shop should be happy to have you do this, and it will tell you things about the bike that no amount of putting around the parking will disclose.

    For a higher-performing bike in the same price range, consider buying used once you have a good idea what you like. Then go back to the shop who helped you out, and buy all your accessories, supplies, etc. - we need to keep them in business! I ordered a semi-custom bike direct from a small builder (Rotator), but I keep going back to my local shop for the "stuff" I need. He's not super-convenient, but I try to give him my business whenever he has what I want. I don't even mind paying a little more than online stores would charge, when I think of the value I got from test-riding his bikes. Funny thing, sometimes he's cheaper than the online stores and chains!

    Take your time, enjoy the search then enjoy the riding!

    John
    Rotator Tiger (ETA late May)
     
  3. lottsm

    lottsm New Member

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    Thanks, John. Wow...at this point, I am open to all of it. There is a bicycle shop just down the road...not the one from which I'll be buying the bike, but I believe that this one has clipless shoes, pedals, etc. It seems that I need to pay it a visit.

    Bike-wise, I am running the gamut...I belive that I will be one of those folks who owns several bikes. The Lightning Thurderbolt A-10 looks good, plus it's $1k, which undercuts that $2,500ish Rans by a lot. I truly now have no preference regarding wheelbase; it's all good. If it hasn't sold by the time that I make it to the bike store, there is a used Bacchetta that I'd like to ride.

    If someone has a suggestion of what they think is the most awesome, say, sub-$2k bike, I'd love to hear it. Remember, I'm open to it all!

    Shelton

     
  4. john_hopkins

    john_hopkins New Member

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    Hey, Shelton, one more measurement to add to the ones you posted. What's your x-seam? Sit on the floor, same shoes you plan on riding in, back against the wall. Measure from the wall to a line even with your heels. This is most easily done with an assistant. Since you'll be fitting a bike with a "back" on the seat, this is probably the key measurement. I'd say if your x-seam is at least 40" you should try the Rans Force 5 in addition to Bacchetta bikes I mentioned earlier. You may or may not like the recline, extended handlebar position and high seat, but the only way to know is to try it. You might also post on www.bentrideronline.com. I'll bet someone in your area would let you try out their bike, so you can get exposed to more choices.

    Keep looking,
     
  5. Bruce in Texas

    Bruce in Texas New Member

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    If you want to know what all is out there in the bent world then you need to log on to www.bentrideronline.com
    There is a world of recumbents out there much larger than the RANS (great bikes) or the Sun models.
    I ride a Challenge Hurricane. Not the norm but a wonderful bike for going fast or slow. Their USA distributor is www.eurdis.com
    Bruce
    Hurricane
    Rotator Pursuit
     
  6. lottsm

    lottsm New Member

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    Thanks guys,

    I have narrowed down my preferences a bit; I don't like the high racers with two big wheels, but I do like the ones with a big rear and small front. Also, I don't care much for the bikes with low steering wheels...like around hip level. I'll be riding some Bacchetta Giro this weekend if all goes according to plan, so I'll keep you posted. I'll also be sure to check out that other website.

    Shelton
     
  7. bencouncil

    bencouncil New Member

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    Deciding on the first bent can keep one up at nights. I wish that I could offer advise, but few and far apart are those that have had the opportunity to ride even a majority of the models out there. Have you ridden enough at Ridesouth to feel which direction you are leaning? The greatest appeal to owning a recumbent is that there are so many choices these days: high, middle, or low BB SWB. LWB. Performance. Comfort. Trikes. The list is endless. BTW, I'm about your same age and I ride in and around Laurel and Hattiesburg so if I can be of any help independent of Ridesouth or later your looking for a riding partner drop me a message.
     
  8. lottsm

    lottsm New Member

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    I rode a few bikes on Saturday...Bacchetta Giro 20, Lightning Thunderbolt, and Rans V-Rex. The differences between bikes never cease to amaze me. The Thunderbolt was quite small in relation to the others; it almost seemed to be a toy and I didn't take it as seriously as I did the others. Maybe the A-10 version would have been more impressive, but I was left wanting something more after the ride. The V-Rex was quite smooth in operation compared to the others, but rougher, suspension-wise. I could buy one and be happy, but I am leaning toward the final of the three, the Bacchetta. It wasn't as smooth as the V-Rex, but seemed to be more "me" than the others. The one that I rode was used, so I assume that a new one will be a bit different. Regardless, I am sure that I will be quite happy with one of those. I definitely have a harder time riding those short wheelbase bikes than those with long wheelbases, but for some reason I want a short wheelbase bike first. I'll wait a few years before trying to get a the other type. I think that the Giro will be the best choice for me at this point in my life. Of course, if I had the money, I'd probably be going for the Aero Basso, but I'll have a hard enough time coming up with enough money to pay for the Giro. Being poor sucks. Anyone care to talk me out of the Giro?
     
  9. bencouncil

    bencouncil New Member

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    Speaking from no personal experience only from what I've heard from others, the V-rex is considered the "do anything" SWB on the market today. And it has a good resale value once you have the miles under your belt to know which direction you want go. The Giro 26 and other highracers are many built to utilize lightweight cheaply available performance components. These highracers are supposedly better able to mix it up with wedgies when riding in a group. If speed is your quest, I've always appreciated the Force5 LE as a relatively cheap machine that goes very fast. Ran's has gone to greater lengths with the F5 than any other manufacturer to design a very stiff frame. Many F5 owners are just as fast as the riders of Aero's; its all in the engine after all. I've all but given up on being accepted when I ride with the Hub City Cyclists so I finally settled on owning a lowracer. But absolutely knowing what I wanted only came after thousands of miles. Whatever you decide, you are about to experience the addiction and power of the "dark side.":D
     
  10. lottsm

    lottsm New Member

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    Ben,

    Why won't the Hub City Cyclists accept you? Surely it's not because of your bike! If so, then...how sad. Which lowracer did you buy? It would be nice to ride with you once I'm able to make my purchase; it's been more than fifteen years since I've done that. We'll chat soon, I'm sure. Oh, by the way, I don't care for the high racers with two big wheels; I'm much more comfortable with those with a smaller one in front and a larger one in back.

    Shelton

     
  11. bencouncil

    bencouncil New Member

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    There are a number of reasons that I feel like I'm tolerated at best when riding in a group. My bike just doesn't integrate into the traditional paceline riding. I generate less draft and what draft I do have is no higher than 3' and the guy/gal behind me on a DF suffers as a result. If I were bold and knew the course I would simply pull the entire group during the ride, but I haven't ridden enough with them to be that confident. OTOH, I don't want to ride in the back and feel like the ride is a waste of time. Another thing you will discover about 'bents is that they go downhill very fast. When I'm riding with a DF group I have to ride my brakes constantly on the downhills and struggle on the uphills. Were I riding by myself or in the company of other recumbents, I would use my 'bents extra weight and improved aerodynamics to build and maintain momentum to carry me up and over the rolling hills.
    Don't worry about all of that right now though. Suffice it to say, some riders in the club just take the weekend rides too seriously to put up with a 'bent.
    Only recently I acquired a new chrome yellow Optima Baron. It is considered an "old school" lowracer by most, but it offers a better compromise between comfort and speed than most other lowracers in its class. Before that I rode a Jetstream I--a 26"/20" SWB 'bent imported by Actionbent.com; similar to the V-Rex just not as refined nor as expensive.
     
  12. ncaudio

    ncaudio New Member

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  13. Gramps94804

    Gramps94804 New Member

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    The other thing Shelton might want to consider is to get a bent with a fairing on it. I have an Easy Racers TE with the full fairing and am fully satisfied with how the bike handles, looks and performs as both a commute and pleasure vehicle. I's suggest finding a recumbent club in the area, contact them and join them on their rides. I think you'll find that most are happy to take the time to let you try out different bikes, even if it means adjusting length and seat rake to help you see the full effect. So I'll put in my vote for any of the easy racers models including the less expensive EZ line.

    Gramps
     
  14. lottsm

    lottsm New Member

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    Thanks for explaining the problems of riding in groups with traditional bikes; I had never thought of any of that. Ben, you're serious about this based on the bike that you mentioned that you bought. Wow. It will be a while before I consider myself that serious, but I respect you for taking that route. I'll be sure to email you through this once I make my purchase. My recent car repair bill was over $850.00, so the bike may be a bit further off than I had planned, unfortunately. If the stars align correctly, though, it'll be within two months.

    A fairing seems to be a good idea; I'll see about getting one for the Bacchetta. The EasyRacers look nice, but are out of my price range, since I'm excluding the EZ series due to their being made out of the country. I'm sure that most all bikes made in other countries are great, but there aren't many things that I can purchase nowadays that are still made in the USA, so when I have the option, I try my best to go that route. Realistically, the Bacchetta Giro 20 is at my upper limit of affordability; heck, my car isn't worth much more! A long wheelbase bike is in my not-too-distant future, though, I hope, but I'll more than likely start out with that Bacchetta.
     
  15. Gramps94804

    Gramps94804 New Member

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  16. mrscooterboy

    mrscooterboy New Member

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    Hey Shelton -

    I ride a Rans Stratus maybe 40 miles on the weekend and occasionally during the week. The low pedal position allows me to ride in sneakers. I put 'power grips' across the pedals to secure my feet. bottom line on the Stratus - slow but comfortable.

    David


     
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