Author Topic: What to buy??? Bent or straight up???  (Read 8840 times)

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Offline BIKEME

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« on: April 18, 2008, 01:37:03 am »
I have been set on getting a recumbent for long distance touring. A couple of weeks ago I tested a Specialized Tri Cross Comp...awesome bike, but not a recumbent.
If I was to get a bent bike, what would you all recommend for long distance...self-supported (I have a BOB trailer) and possibly x-country trips?

I am considering the EZ Racers Easy Tour model. Any comments on this one?

Thanks in advance your your advice,

This message was edited by BIKEME on 4-17-08 @ 9:58 PM

Offline raybo

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2008, 11:19:05 am »
For information on recumbents, you might try this site:

Here is a page with 20 links to touring bike information.


Visit the on-line bike touring archive at
Visit the on-line bike touring archive at

Offline oldgroundhog

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2008, 11:17:48 pm »
I've toured 15,000 miles now on a Rans Stratus LWB recumbent.  It handles great and is most comfortable, easily allowing long mileage days.

Took a 5,033 mile ride last summer through Canada and Alaska on it.  Did well on light gravel, and the dirt roads.

All LWB recumbents have inherent poor handling characterists in the 3-4 mph range due to the 'tiller effect'.  But climbing was never a issue, even on the final 14% grade of the 'Top of the World Highway' leaving Dawson City, Yukon.

Recumbents are not for everyone.  However I've found the comfort of a plush seat and leaning against a back rest makes marathon touring a joy.

I use Arkel rear panniers along with a Rans mid-ship rack to even out the load.

If close enough to a recumbent dealer, check out several models.  For long distance touring, I'd stay with a LWB model however instead of a SWB for stability.

Hope this helps.  

Offline bogiesan

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2008, 11:22:51 pm »
Have you actually ridden the TE? If you were not instantly captivated by
the feel and can clearly see the wonderful potential of this classic bike,
then you're not ever going to be happy with a recumbent.

If you have not ridden the Tour Easy, or any other long wheelbase
recumbent, you will forever wonder if you made a dumb decision
getting the wedgie.

It's a no brainer for me. If your goal is to tour, the comfort and
spectacle of heads-up, high-def bicycling cannot even be imagined by
committed upright bicyclists. Their inability to imagine a better ride
makes us a very special and elite clique that, curiously, has no elitist

You want to spend a few days lurking at
and the user forums on the Easy Racers site. Be sure to visit the "ERRC"
folder. ERRC used to stand for Easy Racers Recumbent Club but we
have since evolved to embrace all human powered vehicles.

We see dozens of "which bike" inquiries every month. Your answers are
all on the sites but you must test ride the bike.
Or not.
I bought mine sight unseen 30,000 miles ago in 2002. Never had a
single regret. Not ever. Handmade in America, the Easy Racers
machines represent astounding long distance and commuting
transportation values and they are very groovy sleds.

I run a fairing and a bodyskin when touring. I don't do self-contained
but we know of many (hundreds?) of TE people who run all kinds of
trailers including Burleys, Bobs, and those German units that have the
single wheel in the geometric center. The Bob, IIRC, requires a special
skewer so you want to make absolutely certain that whatever bike you
buy can be modified.

david boise ID (Where the BOB is made.)

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline MrBent

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2008, 11:38:31 pm »
I'll second what the others have said about Easy Racers' products--wonderful stuff.  I toured and rode one for a total of 1,500 miles, but my butt would not adjust to the  upright posture.  I needed to go with something with a higher bottom bracket. If you go to my blog and read "Choosing a bike", you can get my full take on the process.  Bents are different for different bodies, and not every design will work well for everyone.  As you will see, I went with a short wheel base design and love the bike like crazy.  I rode across the country for over 4,600 miles with no problem with stability.  Indeed, the short wheel base and suspension turned out to be genuine assets.  The Tour Easy's are great bikes, but lots of other designs work great for touring as well.  I'm especially addicted to the under seat steering models.  Talk about unobstructed views!  Nothing beats this design for a great gander and the landscape.

Check out this page for panniers vs. trailers.

Best of luck on your search.  I would not be a long distance cyclist if I weren't on recumbents.  They are just too comfortable and fun.  More than anything, bents are ideal for touring.



Offline Carl

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2008, 01:46:49 am »
Here's another vote for Tour Easy 'bents. I'm fortunate to have a local bike shop that carries a number of recumbents, and the Tour Easy's seem head and shoulders above the other. They are pricier than the others, somewhat heavier than a diamond frame and, as a long wheelbase bike, are harder to haul around. But riding the TE's is intuitive right out of the store. They also have a noticeable 'jump' to them when starting from a standstill. No tillar effect if you get the handlebar angle right. I occasionally ride my diamond frame for a day or two but always come back to the Tour Easy after the neck pains start and the scenery turns into focusing on only the front tire.

Offline BIKEME

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2008, 02:26:49 pm »
Raybo, Oldgroundhog, Bogiesan, MrBent, and Carl thank you for the great info.

Although I have only test-ridden a few different models over that last year or so, I am really sold on the bent bike...with back and neck issues, it really is the only way to go as far as I am concerned.

I WILL be getting one, it is just a matter of what brand, model and style. By nature, I am a researcher, and a thorough one at that. I have been looking for a while, it is just with my employment suppressing my activities, I just haven't had the opportunity. I will be retiring soon and hope to just about live in the bike for a while. I would like to self-supportedly tour the country for a spell. This is why I am looking for all of your opinions.

I do want a LWB for sure. I would prefer a USS over an OSS just for comfort reasons. (ANY OPINIONS ON THIS-- USS vs OSS?)

I do like the Tour Easy for its simplicity, but it is an OSS. I read somewhere in my cyber-travels about the front tire being hard to get for the SS model, but not the EX. Aslo, the gearing is better on the Expeditionary model. I am currently looking at one and am in a bidding war on Ebay, and not the high bidder as of right now.

There is a great bent dealer about an hour's drive from here that has many used, new in various styles. I plan a day there and test about all they have to see what I like. Really it comes down the this...something super-comfortable with easy parts availability that good for the long SS touring.

Thanks again for all your input and if you know anyone that has a bike that I may be interested in, please let me know.

Offline bogiesan

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 10:07:55 am »
Recommending a recumbent for you is impossible, sadly. Your body,
energy, budget, propensity for standing out in a crowd, need for
speed, and ultimate goals are all factors no one but you can assess.
The online discussions are endless.

Wheel size/tire availability: the 405 is a BMX wheel, universally
available. The 451 is weird so I buy them two or three at a time and I
always take one on tour. There is no reason to assume I can find one if
I need one.
USS/ASS: strictly personal. European bents and classics like the Ryan
are USS but the trend in the USA is toward upright steering. Your
choice is easy to make if you can sample the bikes.
Bottom bracket height: Strictly personal. There may be valid
physiological situations but only you would know.
Wheelbase: There are so many choices; they're all fun and cool and
totally applicable to touring. has dozens of recumbent touring articles.

Have fun shopping. It's an exciting and difficult decision.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline MrBent

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2008, 10:10:16 pm »
If you want USS and LWB, there is only one choice as far as I'm concerned, and it's a bent I've lusted after for years: The Slipstream  This bike is famous for high quality and comfort.  It's not cheap, but it's a bike you'll ride for the rest of your life--and it's built in the US of A.  The only suggestion I would make would be do make sure you get low enough gearing.  Stock bikes tend to come geared to highly.  Specify a 11/34 in back and at least a 24t small ring in front.  Check out these bikes!  You will not be disappointed.



Offline Kelly

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2008, 01:28:22 am »

I'd love to hear more of your trip. Do you have a journal posted? I ride a Stratus XP and will be riding the North Star this summer. It sounds as if you covered much of the same territory.


Offline oldgroundhog

What to buy??? Bent or straight up???
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2008, 05:47:54 pm »
If you plan to ride the North Star this summer via Stratus XP, I could offer a few tips from last years ride on my Stratus.  I posted no online journal. You can reach me at if interested in route or bike info on how the recumbent handled.