Recumbent

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by George Hauxwell, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. Hello all,

    I've heard a lot of talk on this news group about a 'Recumbent', but have
    yet to discover what exactly this is. I take it it's a type of bike. Could
    somebody please explain to me what type of bike a Recumbent is. I'm guessing
    on the lines of a tandem, am I right?

    George
     
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  2. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 5/1/05 11:32 pm, in article [email protected], "George
    Hauxwell" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Hello all,
    >
    > I've heard a lot of talk on this news group about a 'Recumbent', but have
    > yet to discover what exactly this is. I take it it's a type of bike. Could
    > somebody please explain to me what type of bike a Recumbent is. I'm guessing
    > on the lines of a tandem, am I right?


    On a normal bike the feet are more or less under the bum, requiring one to
    sit on a saddle that might be thought of as uncomfortable.

    On a recumbent, ones feet are higher up and typically in front of ones body,
    allowing the use of a more comfortable seat and riding position. The
    aerodynamics are also better.

    The down side is that the handling can be somewhat more tricky (especially
    of the SO when you have told her how much it cost) and you can't race them
    in UCI categorised events.

    They are also referred to as 'the dark side' for some obscure reason, and
    vendors of said cycles are given the honorific Darth on the NG.

    And you can get recumbent tandems, and mixed tandems, and all sorts of fun
    things.

    You can even build your own if you want.

    ...d
     
  3. JohnB

    JohnB Guest

    George Hauxwell wrote:
    >
    > Hello all,
    >
    > I've heard a lot of talk on this news group about a 'Recumbent', but have
    > yet to discover what exactly this is. I take it it's a type of bike. Could
    > somebody please explain to me what type of bike a Recumbent is. I'm guessing
    > on the lines of a tandem, am I right?


    Not always a bike and not often a tandem.
    But here's one to whet your appetite - with my daughter stoking:
    http://freespace.virgin.net/jpb.design/b2btrice.html

    John B
     
  4. PeteC

    PeteC Guest

    George Hauxwell wrote:
    > Hello all,
    >
    > I've heard a lot of talk on this news group about a 'Recumbent', but
    > have yet to discover what exactly this is. I take it it's a type of
    > bike. Could somebody please explain to me what type of bike a
    > Recumbent is. I'm guessing on the lines of a tandem, am I right?
    >
    > George


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recumbent_bicycle

    Pete.
     
  5. "George Hauxwell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I've heard a lot of talk on this news group about a 'Recumbent', but have
    > yet to discover what exactly this is. I take it it's a type of bike.
    > Could somebody please explain to me what type of bike a Recumbent is. I'm
    > guessing on the lines of a tandem, am I right?


    Err.. no. Think 'recumbent' as it means in the dictionary - lying back,
    feet forwards sort of thing. Oh heck, just look at <url:
    http://www.futurecycles.co.uk > for some pics. Also known as 'the dark
    side'.

    Rich
     
  6. Mike Causer

    Mike Causer Guest

    On Wed, 05 Jan 2005 23:32:14 +0000, George Hauxwell wrote:

    > I've heard a lot of talk on this news group about a 'Recumbent', but have
    > yet to discover what exactly this is. I take it it's a type of bike.
    > Could somebody please explain to me what type of bike a Recumbent is. I'm
    > guessing on the lines of a tandem, am I right?


    Think of a tandem without the child-seat, or a tricycle that doesn't have
    that annoying electric motor.

    This might help get you started:
    http://www.recumbentcyclistnews.com/faq.html


    Mike
     
  7. Thanks a lot,
    All has become clear now, I saw one last summer but didn't know then what it
    was called.
    If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about, I've
    only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two wheels. I imagine the
    two-wheeled variety would take some getting used too. Are they difficult to
    ride?

    George
     
  8. On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 00:06:08 -0000, "George Hauxwell"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    <[email protected]>:

    >If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about, I've
    >only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two wheels.


    Price, mainly. Mine cost £2000 once I'd added lights and some other
    fripperies - my tourer cost £1500 in 1988, so this is not a large sum
    for me to spend on a bike, but when people are used to buying a
    Megamass from Halfwits for £99 including free lock (albeit made of
    cheese) that looks like a lot of wad.

    >I imagine the two-wheeled variety would take some getting used too.


    Yes, it took me nearly ten minutes before I was comfortable, and a
    couple of days before I was sufficiently confident to wind the pedal
    tension up to full strength.

    If you want a real challenge[1] stick to unicycling ;-)

    [1] unintentional, honest, guv.

    Guy
    --
    "then came ye chavves, theyre cartes girded wyth candels
    blue, and theyre beastes wyth straynge horn-lyke thyngs
    onn theyre arses that theyre fartes be herde from myles
    around." Chaucer, the Sheppey Tales
     
  9. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    George Hauxwell wrote:
    > Thanks a lot,
    > All has become clear now, I saw one last summer but didn't know then what it
    > was called.
    > If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about,


    Cost and publicity primarily. The cheapest ones start at around £500 and
    the price range isn't as wide as "normal" bikes. Also there are about 5
    / 6 dealers in Britain as apposed to at least one "normal" bike shop in
    every major town. There is a long history of this which you'll no doubt
    find details of on the pages you were given. Suffice to say it involves
    the (none-too-open-minded) UCI.

    > I've
    > only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two wheels. I imagine the
    > two-wheeled variety would take some getting used too. Are they difficult to
    > ride?


    For various values of "difficult"; yes and no!

    It took me about 10mins and a slight slope to get the hang of not
    falling off a Streetmachine (Arguably one of the more difficult
    flavours!). After about an hour I was reasonably happy.

    It then took about a week to get up to a decent level of confidence
    around town and about two months to condition the appropriate muscle groups.

    Kevin @ D-Tek had both of my parents (One of whom has trouble with
    ordinary uprights) riding around of some of the less extreme ones within
    about an hour.

    Jon
     
  10. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    George Hauxwell wrote:

    > If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about,I've
    > only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two wheels.


    Aside from the issues Guy and Jon have mentioned, there is quite a bit
    of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt putting people off. For example, if you
    assume that if they were so great everyone would use one, and everyone
    doesn't, so they maybe are not be so great, then that's pretty much a
    self sustaining loop of marginalising them!

    Also, most people are, quite sensibly, reasonably conservative when it
    comes to spending large chunks of money. If I have a grand to drop on a
    new bike, do I buy a better version of what I have, knowing it will be
    better, or do I spend it on something that /might/ be considerably
    better, but OTOH is really an unknown quantity? It's quite
    understandable that people stick with what they know, and it was only
    the chance to buy an ex dem machine for only £250 that got me hooked.

    > I imagine the
    > two-wheeled variety would take some getting used too. Are they difficult to
    > ride?


    I took 20 minutes from first ever sit to being able to ride in a wibbly
    manner, but despite wibbles knowing I was going to spend the money on
    it. Once it was home I had a few runs around the quiet residential
    streets around home to get happy enough with the handling to take it
    into traffic. It was about a month before I was as happy in heavy
    traffic on a 'bent as on my old upright (but with 20 years of riding a
    bike like that, that's quite happy).

    The low, sports models tend to be harder to ride IME, though a compact
    like the HP Vel Spirit (http://kinetics.org.uk/html/spirit.shtml) is
    very straightforward to ride and I think most people could get on and
    ride it away with either no trouble or only one or two false starts.

    The main recumbent dealers in the UK have demo bikes they're happy for
    you to try: Kinetics in Glasgow, Norman Fay in South Shields, D-Tek in
    Cambridge, Bikefix in London, London Recumbents in London and Brighton
    and Futurecycles in Surrey. Giving them a try is the best way to see
    what you think about them.

    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/
     
  11. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    George Hauxwell <[email protected]> wrote:

    : If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about, I've

    a) You can't do normal road races on them and
    b) It's required to grow a beard and an "aero-belly" to ride one

    Arthur

    Only Kidding folks :)

    --
    Arthur Clune PGP/GPG Key: http://www.clune.org/pubkey.txt
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
     
  12. Paul Rudin

    Paul Rudin Guest

    Peter Clinch <[email protected]> writes:

    > George Hauxwell wrote:
    >
    >> If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them
    >> about, I've only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two
    >> wheels.

    >
    > Aside from the issues Guy and Jon have mentioned, there is quite a bit
    > of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt putting people off. For example, if
    > you assume that if they were so great everyone would use one, and
    > everyone doesn't, so they maybe are not be so great, then that's
    > pretty much a self sustaining loop of marginalising them!


    I think the main thing that puts me off is being low down, with the
    associated reduction in ability to see what's going on up ahead and
    around you.
     
  13. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Paul Rudin wrote:

    > I think the main thing that puts me off is being low down, with the
    > associated reduction in ability to see what's going on up ahead and
    > around you.


    Have you ever tried one? Mine has the eye level at the same height as
    our car's driving position, so I get the same field of view. I can
    generally see /better/ what's ahead on the 'bent, because it's where I
    naturally look. Even on the more than usually upright Brompton I tend
    to be looking down at the tarmac to some extent.

    But no, I can't see over things to the same extent. But OTOH do you
    feel Doomed if you're behind a Transit?

    This "I'd feel vulnerable!" thing is constantly recurring in people with
    no or very limited experience of riding them. It never seems to feature
    in problems raised by those of us that actually ride them to any extent!
    Give one a try rather than assuming the pros and cons is the best way
    to form an opinion on them, whether for or against.

    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/
     
  14. Mike Causer

    Mike Causer Guest

    On Thu, 06 Jan 2005 09:32:12 +0000, Paul Rudin wrote:

    > I think the main thing that puts me off is being low down, with the
    > associated reduction in ability to see what's going on up ahead and around
    > you.


    Do you drive a car? My head position on the moderately low Speed Ross is
    the same as in a small hatchback, so the field of view is very similar.
    In fact I find it quite high, because I've owned many sports cars which
    are a _lot_ lower. One disadvantage of a low head position is that
    hills look steeper, but the cycle-computer shows that my speed uphill is a
    touch faster on the 'bent than upright -- and a lot faster downhill of
    course ;-))


    Mike
     
  15. Paul Rudin

    Paul Rudin Guest

    Peter Clinch <[email protected]> writes:

    > Paul Rudin wrote:
    >
    >> I think the main thing that puts me off is being low down, with the
    >> associated reduction in ability to see what's going on up ahead and
    >> around you.

    >
    > Have you ever tried one?


    Briefly - and not in traffic.

    > Mine has the eye level at the same height as our car's driving
    > position, so I get the same field of view. I can generally see
    > /better/ what's ahead on the 'bent, because it's where I naturally
    > look. Even on the more than usually upright Brompton I tend to be
    > looking down at the tarmac to some extent.
    >


    Well you look at the road close by, but you also look further ahead to
    see what's coming up.


    > But no, I can't see over things to the same extent. But OTOH do you
    > feel Doomed if you're behind a Transit?


    I feel uneasy if I get in a position where my visibility is
    signifcatly restricted.

    >
    > This "I'd feel vulnerable!" thing is constantly recurring in people
    > with no or very limited experience of riding them. It never seems to
    > feature in problems raised by those of us that actually ride them to
    > any extent! Give one a try rather than assuming the pros and cons is
    > the best way to form an opinion on them, whether for or against.
    >


    Yeah - well if I get into a situation where my commute to work is
    significatly longer than the current 5 miles, I'd seriously consider
    the faired recumbent option as a way of cover the distance faster than
    I could on my current commuting bike.
     
  16. JohnB

    JohnB Guest

    Arthur Clune wrote:
    >
    > George Hauxwell <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > : If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about, I've
    >
    > a) You can't do normal road races on them and
    > b) It's required to grow a beard and an "aero-belly" to ride one


    > Only Kidding folks :)


    Thak heavens for that.
    I've already developed the first and i haven't shaved for a couple of days.

    <trundles off to find rasor>

    John B
     
  17. Paul Rudin

    Paul Rudin Guest

    Mike Causer <[email protected]> writes:

    > On Thu, 06 Jan 2005 09:32:12 +0000, Paul Rudin wrote:
    >
    >> I think the main thing that puts me off is being low down, with the
    >> associated reduction in ability to see what's going on up ahead and around
    >> you.

    >
    > Do you drive a car?


    Yes ... but I'm compraing with riding my bike. In my car I'm less
    likely to get seriously injured by bad drivers than when I'm cycling.
     
  18. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Paul Rudin wrote:

    > Yes ... but I'm comparing with riding my bike. In my car I'm less
    > likely to get seriously injured by bad drivers than when I'm cycling.


    "Less likely" is a relative term, and when the liklihood is low to begin
    with then "less likely" is only marginally useful. Do you find people
    drive into your car having not noticed it due to its lack of height, for
    example? If not, then there's no particular reason they'd do the same
    to a bike.

    SMIDSYs are generally caused by people not actually looking at all, not
    looking /over/ things. And if you SMIDSYd on a 'bent you have less far
    to fall, and very probably won't go over the bars head first. You'll
    probably have better brakes too, another active safety feature.

    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/
     
  19. In article <[email protected]>, Peter Clinch wrote:
    >George Hauxwell wrote:
    >
    >> If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about, I've
    >> only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two wheels.

    >
    >Aside from the issues Guy and Jon have mentioned, there is quite a bit
    >of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt putting people off.


    At least one poster here has a recumbent and some uprights, and finds
    an upright more appropriate for at least some journeys (not racing),
    so there can be genuine disadvantages too, beyond the price.

    They are generally either heavier or made of more expensive material
    than uprights, can be trickier to store and park, can have specialist
    parts that most bike dealers don't stock, and maneuverability and
    visibility in congestion can be worse than an upright (though apparently
    not as bad as many people think). The rider can not use their legs as
    suspension like an upright rider lifting their weight off the saddle
    as they go over a bump. Bike suspension can compensate for this, but is
    not free or weightless (and is available for uprights too, of course).

    The huge range of recumbents means that not all of these disadvantages
    need be true for any particular machine - and no one upright bicycle
    is ideal for all possible uses, so expecting a recumbent to be better
    for all possible uses is unfair. (And all this is second hand, I don't
    have a recumbent.)

    The price seems to be largely a circular thing. There aren't many
    recumbents, and bicycles made in small numbers are expensive, so there
    aren't many of them. And there is little point using cheap components on
    an expensive frame, making it more expensive.
    There are homemade recumbents which are made cheaply if you don't count
    the cost of the builders time, but there are no mass market not very good
    but very cheap ones. And there aren't many second hand ones about, partly
    because there aren't many at all, and partly because few people spend
    that much money on something they use a few times, stick in the shed for
    a few years, and sell cheaply when they have a clearout. Nor do they
    leave them locked up with flimsy locks and then not bother going to the
    police when they are stolen leaving them to be auctioned off cheaply
    by the police.

    (I see from http://www.personal.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/cycling.htm
    that Peter finds an upright folder more convenient for "short hacks
    and errands", and that he says quite a lot of what I say here, only
    better, and with personal experience. But I've written the rest of the
    post now.)
     
  20. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> writes:
    > On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 00:06:08 -0000, "George Hauxwell"
    > <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > <[email protected]>:
    >
    >>If they're so comfortable to ride why are there not more of them about, I've
    >>only ever seen one to my knowledge and that had two wheels.

    >
    > Price, mainly.


    Space requirements (I couldn't keep one). Unsuitability for rough terrain
    and hard work on the uphill.

    --
    Nick Kew
     
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