The Dark Side

Recumbents and all feet forward machines

Have you ridden a recumbent?

The diamond frame is the one true bicycle! (Never ridden one, not interested.)
6
17%
Never ridden one, but would give it a try.
21
58%
Ridden one, didn't like it.
1
3%
Ridden one, liked it.
0
No votes
Own one.
4
11%
You can stick your diamond frames up your a**! (Own more than one.)
4
11%
 
Total votes : 36

The Dark Side

Postby Hotdog » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:28 am

Have you dabbled in the dark and mysterious world of recumbents? They've intrigued me for a while, partly because they're 'different' (the odd appeals to me...) and partly because of the potential comfort and aerodynamic advantages over conventional diamond frame bicycles, but the big price tags that come with the niche market territory continue to put me off. Just curious if any of you lot have any experience with 'bents.
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by BNA » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:35 am

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Postby europa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:35 am

No experience ... yet. :roll:

I want a two wheeler - fitting a training wheel seems to be cheating to me, but that's a purely personal bias and not relevant to the real world. The prices are a bit frightening, especially seeing I'd only be getting it to have one, so the ideal for me would be to find a frame in the back of someone's shed and do it up. Keep your eyes open please :D

Richard
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:54 am

Hey, if I find a recumbent frame in the back of someone's shed I'm keeping it for myself! :wink:

I'm also more interested in the bikes than the trikes, largely because trikes are so low to the ground and I'm not sure I'd like that when there's any traffic around. The more elevated position of something like a Bacchetta looks safer to me.
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Postby europa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:15 am

Yeah, that's the idea, though I'm not that taken with the ape hanger handle bars. Then again, the under frame steering just looks odd but I guess if you're going to ride a recumbent, 'odd' is just something you have to get used to.

There's a movie about two blokes who rode recumbents from Moscow to Beijing. Mad buggers. The funniest bit was at the start because one of the riders had never been on a recumbent before and there he was, in Moscow (or was it Paris :? ), wet road, heavily loaded 'bent, suddenly discovering that they are tricky brutes to ride at first.

Yeah, I want one :D

Richard
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Postby LuckyPierre » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:15 pm

I'm with those who consider 'bents and their riders to be 'bent'. :shock:
Surely the cycling gods shudder whenever they see one!
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Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:36 pm

I would never ride one of those really low recumblments in Sydney as I wouldn't feel safe. The Bacchetta ones look better as you are higher.

I hear that if you have back problems that they should be considered as an option.
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Feb 07, 2007 3:56 pm

peterrjleach wrote:Surely the cycling gods shudder whenever they see one!

The prospect of cycling faster than you can on an upright bike while at the same time reclining in a comfy chair does seem decadent, almost to the point of sinfulness, I suppose... :wink:
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Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:01 pm

Hotdog wrote:
peterrjleach wrote:Surely the cycling gods shudder whenever they see one!

The prospect of cycling faster than you can on an upright bike while at the same time reclining in a comfy chair does seem decadent, almost to the point of sinfulness, I suppose... :wink:


The reason for the "quicker" label than racers is that some have better aerodynamic positions that racers. At 40kmh on a racer 80% of the effort is moving the wind around the bike and your body, mainly your body.
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Postby LuckyPierre » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:24 pm

Unfortunately, recumbents are faster than real bikes - all the more reason to disprove of them. :wink:
One of the events when Stromlo Forest Park was opened was a 'flying lap' and, of course, the record was set by a recumbent. Fortunately, when Mick Rogers was home for Christmas, he was talked in to giving it a go and he reclaimed the record for the 'light side'.
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Postby europa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:46 pm

Ah, but how much faster would he have gone if he'd been able to borrow the bent? :twisted:

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Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 07, 2007 4:50 pm

europa wrote:Ah, but how much faster would he have gone if he'd been able to borrow the bent? :twisted:

Richard


Probably slower as his body is turned to the racer.

It should be noted that these are special bents, the bents in the link wouldn't do it.
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:05 pm

mikesbytes wrote:
europa wrote:Ah, but how much faster would he have gone if he'd been able to borrow the bent? :twisted:

Richard


Probably slower as his body is turned to the racer.


I have heard that it can take a highly trained rider up to a few months to regain their former speed if they switch to a 'bent because they use slightly different muscles. For mere mortals whose muscles are less tuned the changeover is of course quicker.

mikesbytes wrote:It should be noted that these are special bents, the bents in the link wouldn't do it.

It's true that for ultimate speed on level ground then the ultra-low slung and totally impractical 'low racers' win, especially if fitted with fairings, however the top of the range of the bikes in the link are examples of fast 'high racers' and can be competitive with the low-racers, especially if there are hills to climb.
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Seeing the light - recumbents

Postby rdp_au » Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:05 pm

Well, I've been a lurker on this forum for a while, but this topic of recumbents has brought me to life.

I am a member of the dark side. After several years commuting and competing in triathlons, my riding lapsed to nothing for quite a few years. Just recently I started riding again, and the catalyst was a recumbent. As several have mentioned, it was the difference that first attracted me, together with the increase in aerodynamic efficiency. The price however, was prohibitive. Then I discovered a set of plans for a recumbent called Bentech. With a huge amount of help from a fellow recumbent rider, we built two bikes, one for each of us. This also satisfied my need to tinker and do things myself. For the running gear I used parts from my old Gary Fisher mountain bike, so the whole exercise was relatively affordable.

So far I've only been back on the road since just before Christmas, so the body is still adapting to riding again. Riding has been lots of fun. My weak legs mean I'm slow up hills, but very comfortable. Visibility is much better than a road bike. So far I haven't had any problems with traffic on some relatively busy roads. I'm getting used to the comments every time I ride as well.

I'd certainly recommend having a go if you get the chance.

By the way, I live in Hornsby and would be interested in hooking up with anyone local interested in doing some rides.

Cheers,

David
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Postby pospete » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:25 pm

My only experience of them is having one fall over on me on the train. I wasn't very polite!
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Postby europa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:32 pm

You made your own bent David. Way to go mate. Piccies please. Got a link to the plans?

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velly excited :D
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Re: Seeing the light - recumbents

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:12 pm

rdp_au wrote:Well, I've been a lurker on this forum for a while, but this topic of recumbents has brought me to life.

I am a member of the dark side. After several years commuting and competing in triathlons, my riding lapsed to nothing for quite a few years. Just recently I started riding again, and the catalyst was a recumbent. As several have mentioned, it was the difference that first attracted me, together with the increase in aerodynamic efficiency. The price however, was prohibitive. Then I discovered a set of plans for a recumbent called Bentech. With a huge amount of help from a fellow recumbent rider, we built two bikes, one for each of us. This also satisfied my need to tinker and do things myself. For the running gear I used parts from my old Gary Fisher mountain bike, so the whole exercise was relatively affordable.

So far I've only been back on the road since just before Christmas, so the body is still adapting to riding again. Riding has been lots of fun. My weak legs mean I'm slow up hills, but very comfortable. Visibility is much better than a road bike. So far I haven't had any problems with traffic on some relatively busy roads. I'm getting used to the comments every time I ride as well.

I'd certainly recommend having a go if you get the chance.

By the way, I live in Hornsby and would be interested in hooking up with anyone local interested in doing some rides.

Cheers,

David


Welcome to the forum David
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Postby stryker84 » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:35 pm

what do you do going up steep hills on a bent? like, i'd be freaking out about sliding, or even flipping backwards since i can't lean forward onto the front wheel :P
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Postby europa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:38 pm

I found the site: Benteck - Build-It-Yourself Recumbent Bike Plans

Be still my beating heart :oops:
I'm in love :D

Guess what lies in my future. Seriously. I've been looking for something like this ... and I've got a mate with the welding skills. Of course, I don't have the money but that hasn't slowed me down so far :twisted:

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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:39 pm

Tried one with the under seat steering once,about 15 minutes. Pretty good fun, till the security guards kicked me out of the shopping centre :lol:
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Postby europa » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:49 pm

What's the story with the under seat steering? I looks horribly inefficient yet it seems to be the way they are going.

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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:58 pm

First look said "shhhhhhheeeett, how does he balance that? Handlebars DO NOT belong under your bum. Got talking for a while, then got on. It was oddly intuitive suprisingly, and rather relaxing not having to reach out to the bars. Would I own one? Hell yeah! Would I buy one? Ummmm.
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Postby pospete » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:50 am

Yes in a way they appeal to my eccentricities. I 'dd like to have a go on way too, esp if they are more comfortable, tho I would need one with a side table tho, for some nibbles and a glass of coke.
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Postby Hotdog » Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:53 am

As I understand it the under seat steering gives the most relaxed arm position, and so it favoured on touring recumbents. The above seat steering on the other hand positions your arms in front of your torso and so is slightly more aerodynamic, and as a result tends to be seen on more performance orientated 'bents.
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Living with a recumbent

Postby rdp_au » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:22 pm

For those interested, here are a few comments on transitioning to a recumbent.

They are different. Seems an obvious statement, but I found myself thinking that since I'd ridden bikes for many years in all kinds of conditions, I should be able to just get on and ride it. My first experiences showed this to be very much not so. Just the act of getting started is quite different. Took me a few weeks to be able to start on any sort of incline. The wheelbase is short so the bike is very responsive. It is easy to over control. Had a few scary moments until I learned to just relax my arms and hands and let the bike do it's thing. My bike is configured for above seat steering, which is apparently easier to learn than below seat steering. It is also more compact, and given the tendency for Sydney motorists to brush past your elbows with millimeter clearances, it seemed a good idea to keep the bike as narrow as possible.

As far as on road performance is concerned, it has pros and cons. Since it is lower than a diamond frame, there is much less weight transfer when climbing or travelling downhill. This also makes braking more stable. I have no problems in traffic at the height I am, but certainly wouldn't want to be any lower. The most obvious disadvantage when climbing is not being able to stand on the pedals to push over the top of a hill. You have to really concentrate on spinning effectively. Given the age of my knees, this is not a bad thing.

It is very comfortable. No pressure points on the backside, lower back is supported, neck and shoulders are relaxed. The sensation is more like riding in a open topped car than riding a bike. The downside is that you cannot as easily see behind you by just looking back. You have to rely on a rear vision mirror and plenty of caution. Not a bike for cutting through heavy traffic.

The most important thing for me is that it has rekindled my interest in riding. I'm back out on the road, working on those kilos that have accumulated over the years.

Richard (europa), send me a PM if you'd like to discuss the building process. I can also send you a picture of my bike.

Cheers,

David
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Re: Living with a recumbent

Postby Hotdog » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:33 pm

rdp_au wrote:I can also send you a picture of my bike.


Even better would be for you to post a piccie on the forum (you just need to find somewhere to host it first, e.g. http://www.flickr.com).

I'm seriously impressed that you built your own recumbent. I find the idea of DIYing a bike really interesting, but I can't see me having the time, equipment or space (downside of living in a unit - no shed!) to do anything like that myself any time soon.
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