Recumbent stability

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by blacktom, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. blacktom

    blacktom New Member

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    I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a straight line.

    I have been touring and racing uprights for 50 years and this is my first (and long awaited) venture into recumbents. I now have ridden 100 miles and have tried adjusting the tilt steering, with some slight improvement, but I still feel unsafe.

    Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something obvious?

    Brian.
     
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  2. JEGARH

    JEGARH New Member

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    Brian,

    A lot of what you learned in 50 years will be useful. However.........

    Riding a bicycle where "body english" is not an option requires developing a whole NEW set of reflexes.

    Don't be discouraged. You should see daily improvement. 100 miles is not enough time. You should be a confident, cocky, overbearing, outspoken, veteran recumbent rider in about 2 to 3 thousand miles like I have become. When I first started, I was a "crashing bore" and now I am just a "bore". In about 5K more miles or a long tour I should make it to "colossal bore".

    The P38 or any SWB will be a little more difficult to master than something like a Tour Easy, but you will succeed. (lighten up on the death grip and settle back and relax).

    Keep up the miles,

    Jerry:D
     
  3. Brian: it's something that you will get use to. a lot of newbie benters have had this same problem
    it comes from over reacting at times because the handling is a lot different from upwrights,or as
    some of us bent riders say UPWRONGS and WEDGIES.once you get use to it you may not go back to the
    uright. Thank you Earl GRR,RANS V2 Ti Rush,Ti Pursuit
     
  4. blacktom wrote:
    >
    > Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something obvious?

    Both myself and my girlfriend had the same experience at first. Like you, we were both avid
    diamond-frame cyclists for many decades, and made the mistake of adjusting the distance between the
    seat and the pedal at about the same as we normally would on an upright. The moment we reduced the
    distance just a little closer than the "normal", the feeling of instability went away. You might
    want to give that a try.

    Cheers.
     
  5. Nanc

    Nanc Guest

    > I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    > straight line. ..... ..... Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something
    > obvious?

    Make sure you relax your shoulders and lean back against the seat. Some newbies make the mistake of
    tensing up and leaning forward a bit. Also, you may need to loosen your grip on the handlebars. A
    light touch works much better.

    With 100 miles under your belt, it shouldn't be much longer before you are completely at ease
    riding your P38.

    ~ Nanc 1999 Vision R-44 USS 2003 Vision R-45 USS Louisiana
     
  6. Yes, it will. The key is to RELAX, lay/sit all the way back in the seat and always have a very LIGHT
    grip on the handlebars.

    However, the P-38 does require your full-time attention and focus. No hands free riding, no
    distractions. Ever.

    --
    Bob Siegel in Gainesville FL "blacktom" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    > straight line.
    >
    > I have been touring and racing uprights for 50 years and this is my first (and long awaited)
    > venture into recumbents. I now have ridden 100 miles and have tried adjusting the tilt steering,
    > with some slight improvement, but I still feel unsafe.
    >
    > Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something obvious?
    >
    > Brian.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
     
  7. blacktom

    blacktom New Member

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    Thanks for all of your kind advice. I do tend to have a death grip and the more I wobble the tighter the grip.

    I will concentrate! and after another few thousand mile I am sure to improve.

    Thanks again.

    Brian.
     
  8. In article <[email protected]>, usenet- [email protected] says...
    > I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    > straight line.
    >
    > I have been touring and racing uprights for 50 years and this is my first (and long awaited)
    > venture into recumbents. I now have ridden 100 miles and have tried adjusting the tilt steering,
    > with some slight improvement, but I still feel unsafe.
    >
    > Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something obvious?
    >

    I would say "get a grip", but that is likely your problem. As Nanc said, loosen up. On the P-38 you
    are sitting on top of the front wheel kinda like a recumbent unicyclist.

    Practice 'driving with just your fingertips on the H/B. This will keep you from oversteering. Next,
    make sure you are not causing PIOs (pilot induced oscillations) by applying too much power on the
    pedal stroke. With a recumbent It is real important to learn to apply even pedal pressure for the
    complete circle. This will help protect and preserve those 50+ y.o. knees. If you are not using
    clipless pedals you should for safety reasons or you could find yourself suddenly dragging your foot
    about 2 ft. behind the bike.

    The P-38 is a good choice for both a touring bike and a go fast bike.

    About 15 years ago the DF hammerheads started dropping me off the rear of the pack. Even though I am
    15 years older, I am now 3-4 mph faster but I still have trouble keeping the pack in sight. Only now
    they are in my rear view mirror.

    I have had my P-38 on tour every year since I got it. With a good set of touring wheels and tires,
    it will take me and my gear just about anywhere I want to go.

    --
    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  9. Mike Rice

    Mike Rice Guest

    On 4 Dec 2003 11:40:11 +1050, JEGARH <[email protected]> wrote:

    >blacktom wrote:
    > > I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    > > straight line. Brian.
    >
    >
    >
    >Brian,
    >
    >A lot of what you learned in 50 years will be useful. However.........
    >
    >Riding a bicycle where "body english" is not an option requires developing a whole NEW set of
    >reflexes.
    >
    >Don't be discouraged. You should see daily improvement. 100 miles is not enough time. You should be
    >a confident, cocky, overbearing, outspoken, veteran recumbent rider in about 2 to 3 thousand miles
    >like I have become. When I first started, I was a "crashing bore" and now I am just a "bore". In
    >about 5K more miles or a long tour I should make it to "colossal bore".
    >
    >The P38 or any SWB will be a little more difficult to master than something like a Tour Easy, but
    >you will succeed. (lighten up on the death grip and settle back and relax).
    >

    Your P38 is a great machine. I say this with no experience, just from my reading. I am a fairly new
    (two month) owner of a Tour Easy, I expect the learning curve is easier for my bike than yours. My
    test rides did include some bikes of somewhat similar design.

    I expect one thing that worked for me will also work for you, and that is to *relax* and keep a very
    light grip on the steering. When I was learning my machine I had a hard time tracking a straight
    line. When I lightened my touch on the bars it helped a lot. I think you also need to get that 'low
    center of gravity' thing going for you. That line from the small of your back to the pedals, that's
    where your power *and* your balance is centered.

    When I get on my upright now it feels alien, so high and the handling already feels un-natural.

    Good Luck, and happy benting!

    Mike Rice
     
  10. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > A lot of what you learned in 50 years will be useful. However.........
    >
    > Riding a bicycle where "body english" is not an option requires developing a whole NEW set of
    > reflexes.

    Here I would like to differ. I think 'Body English' is an option. At least it is with the P-38.
    Maybe not the same set of rules as with a DF but still I have done some really amazing things to
    hold a line and keep a balance. Once I hit a crack and had my P-38 gyrating side to side in an arc
    45 degrees from vertical. I was sure I was going down, yet I did not.
    --
    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  11. blacktom

    blacktom New Member

    Joined:
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    Cletus,

    Thanks for your advice and encouragement. I hope to tour the West Coast next year but have been having severe doubts as to my ability.

    I am 4 mph slower than my upright at present but hope to narrow this gap with more experience.

    I will concentrate on light hands on my bars.

    I also have experienced PIO's particularly when trying to go fast.

    It will come in time.

    May the (recumbent) force be with you.

    Brian
     
  12. Ian

    Ian Guest

    blacktom scribed with passion and wit:

    > I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    > straight line.
    >
    > I have been touring and racing uprights for 50 years and this is my first (and long awaited)
    > venture into recumbents. I now have ridden 100 miles and have tried adjusting the tilt steering,
    > with some slight improvement, but I still feel unsafe.
    >
    > Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something obvious?
    >
    > Brian.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
    >
    Is this one of the bikes you can adjust the seat and boom on? I have always found it is best to keep
    the seat as far back as possible and adjust the boom only, with your weight rearward the stability
    should be fine, but if you have the seat forward, putting more weight on the front wheel then this
    could exacerbate any stability problems.
    --
    Ian

    http://www.catrike.co.uk
     
  13. Ian

    Ian Guest

    Nanc scribed with passion and wit:

    >> I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    >> straight line. ..... ..... Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something
    >> obvious?
    >
    > Make sure you relax your shoulders and lean back against the seat. Some newbies make the mistake
    > of tensing up and leaning forward a bit. Also, you may need to loosen your grip on the handlebars.
    > A light touch works much better.
    >
    > With 100 miles under your belt, it shouldn't be much longer before you are completely at ease
    > riding your P38.
    >
    Yes that is very true, you need to "hang" your hands on the handlebar not grip hard and pull on the
    bars, this can take a while to get used to.

    --
    Ian

    http://www.catrike.co.uk
     
  14. Mike Rice

    Mike Rice Guest

    On 4 Dec 2003 17:39:34 +1050, blacktom <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Cletus,
    >
    >Thanks for your advice and encouragement. I hope to tour the West Coast next year but have been
    >having severe doubts as to my ability.
    >
    >I am 4 mph slower than my upright at present but hope to narrow this gap with more experience.
    >
    >I will concentrate on light hands on my bars.
    >
    >I also have experienced PIO's particularly when trying to go fast.

    One other point...the biggest change in my riding style when I changed to my Tour Easy from my
    diamond frame was learning to spin. I used to push hard and rarely gear down. Advice from this group
    (and experience of the PIO effect) showed me the wisdom of aiming for a cadence around 90, resulting
    in using the gearing differntly. Definately smoothed and spedup my riding.

    Mike Rice

    >
    >It will come in time.
    >
    >May the (recumbent) force be with you.
    >
    >Brian
     
  15. Joe Keenan

    Joe Keenan Guest

    Brian,

    It bears worth repeating: "Feather" touch and let that upper body totally relax. Kids and older
    folks who ride my V-REX "get it". Long time cyclists have a tough time because they are so used to
    "leaning" on the handlebars with pressure. On a diamond frame bike there is direct resistance. On a
    recumbent there isn't because the force of direction is straight ahead. Try it while not moving.
    Stand up and push down on the bars:resistance. Sit down and push out. ZIP resistane!

    So ......"feather steer". I usually steer my V-REX with just the tips of my fingers.

    Also, you'll learn to use your body to lean into turns more with your hips than anything,
    I've found.

    Happy Tailwinds

    Slow Joe Recumbo

    blacktom <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I am a newcomer to recumbents and I am having difficulty riding my new Lightning P 38 in a
    > straight line.
    >
    > I have been touring and racing uprights for 50 years and this is my first (and long awaited)
    > venture into recumbents. I now have ridden 100 miles and have tried adjusting the tilt steering,
    > with some slight improvement, but I still feel unsafe.
    >
    > Is it something that will come to me in time or am I missing something obvious?
    >
    > Brian.
    >
    >
    >
    > --
     
  16. For some strange reason, most recumbents are designed to be twitchy. This may be from bad advice
    from the technical community or because the early builders were criterium racers. Who knows.

    Now we have a whole generation of riders that think it's good to be at complete attention when
    riding and that they must hold the handlebars with their fingertips. It isn't necessary for our
    bikes to be so light handling. Yet, some racers even think that a light fingered bike will be
    faster. History indicates the opposite. Greg Lemond rode a bike with touring geometry in the TDF. He
    did so because he wanted to use most of his energy being a motor and less being a pilot.

    A high speed bike should feel more like a motor cycle. It should have a little fork flop to act as
    an autopilot and turn into a roll. It should also have an adequate amount of control spring. Mark
    Stonich calls this "centering force". AS the bike goes faster, it should be harder to turn the
    handlebars.

    Control spring can be gained in several ways.

    More Trail (which also increases fork flop, sometime too much) Heavier wheels (motor cycles have
    little problem with too little control spring" Tiller if you pull back, or Stem if you push forward,
    on the handlebars. Actual springs in the control system.

    I have an equation in my book that predicts "twitchy"

    B/m(1/Kx2 + 1/h2)

    B is the horizontal distance of the cg of the bike (your belly button) from the rear wheel contact
    point. m is the mass of the bike and rider Kx is a function of the seat back recline angle h is the
    vertical distance of the cg from the ground.

    So a bike will be more twitchy as the seat moves forward and down. It will also be more twitchy as
    the seat back reclines. It will be less twitchy as the bike/rider gets heavier.

    A classic method of helping a person adjust to a recumbent is to turn the fork around to
    increase trail.

    Good luck. Your question is IMHO one of the reasons that recumbents haven't been more
    quickly accepted.
    --

    See some Bikes At:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~wm.patterson/index.html

    Class and Helicopter

    http://www.calpoly.edu/~wpatters/

    Reply to [email protected]
     
  17. Cletus Lee

    Cletus Lee Guest

    In article <BBF4B7F1.183B8%[email protected]>, [email protected]= oes says...
    > blacktom scribed with passion and wit:
    >=20
    > >=20
    > Is this one of the bikes you can adjust the seat and boom on?=20

    No, Only the boom is adjustable. The seat is in a fixed position WRT the re= ar wheel and as such=20
    is just about as far rearward as you could get it w/o rubbing the rear whee=
    l. The seat back=20 angle is adjustable withing about a 15=B0 range (sort of).=20 --=20

    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  18. Cletus Lee

    Cletus Lee Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > For some strange reason, most recumbents are designed to be twitchy. This may be from bad advice
    > from the technical community or because the early builders were criterium racers. Who knows.
    >
    > Now we have a whole generation of riders that think it's good to be at complete attention when
    > riding and that they must hold the handlebars with their fingertips. It isn't necessary for our
    > bikes to be so light handling. Yet, some racers even think that a light fingered bike will be
    > faster. History indicates the opposite. Greg Lemond rode a bike with touring geometry in the TDF.
    > He did so because he wanted to use most of his energy being a motor and less being a pilot.

    I'd like to hear your evaluation of the geometry of the bike in question: a Lightning P-38.

    While I would advise riding and steering using just the fingertips for the neophyte. That is just to
    overcome some negative "deathgrip" habits that many DF riders seem to bring to 'bentdom.

    I do not see myself after 4 years and 12000 bent miles to be always that attentive and and I find my
    self sometimes too casual in piloting a recumbent. I am also usually found with a good strong grip
    on the H/B.
    --

    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  19. Jeff Wills

    Jeff Wills Guest

    Cletus D. Lee <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > > A lot of what you learned in 50 years will be useful. However.........
    > >
    > > Riding a bicycle where "body english" is not an option requires developing a whole NEW set of
    > > reflexes.
    >
    > Here I would like to differ. I think 'Body English' is an option. At least it is with the P-38.
    > Maybe not the same set of rules as with a DF but still I have done some really amazing things to
    > hold a line and keep a balance. Once I hit a crack and had my P-38 gyrating side to side in an arc
    > 45 degrees from vertical. I was sure I was going down, yet I did not.

    I'll "ditto" Cletus. My P-38 required *very* different reactions compared to my upright career (and
    then I had to learn a bunch more when I got a Tour Easy). However, I've hit 50+ mph on descents and
    felt completely comfortable.

    One technique: open your hands and drape your fingers over the brake levers. This will relax your
    arms and help push your shoulders back into the seat. Both of these will help stabilize you and
    your bike.

    Jeff
     
  20. I preface the following comments by noting that I have ridden motorcycles quite a bit over the last
    22 years, so maybe my notions of handling are a bit skewed.

    I agree with Professor Patterson wholeheartedly, that by and large commercial recumbents could be a
    lot less sensitive to steering inputs. When I went shopping for a recumbent, I rode about 25
    different models, and I only came close to buying two of them for precisely this reason. Some of
    them were horrifyingly twitchy - including a Lightning Voyager. In the end, I've started building my
    own recumbents. They are still a bit crude, but at least I can fly down hills in control, with
    confidence, and without scaring myself silly.

    I have nothing to gain from recommending Patterson's "Lords of the Chainring," but I will endorse it
    because I found it helpful to understand some fundamental concepts concerning the design and
    handling of single track vehicles.

    George MacKenzie
     
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