Author Topic: Recumbent advice?  (Read 27990 times)

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Offline ron654

Recumbent advice?
« on: September 28, 2005, 04:16:45 am »
I am a longtime touring cyclist whose hands can no longer "handle" the pressure from resting on handlebars -- even riding on the tops with padded gloves and a suspension stem.  I have concluded that the only way I will be able to enjoy cycling again may be to become a "bent" rider.  

Can anyone offer advice on selecting a recumbent?  Criteria for touring use?  Arranging to test ride?
Websites with objective info. about various styles and models?

Many thanks in advance!  


  • Guest
Recumbent advice?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2005, 08:21:29 am »
Sorry I can't help with the recumbent, but try out some aero bars if you have not already. I know two arthritic cyclists who say they help a lot.


Offline RussellSeaton

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2005, 12:09:12 pm »
Have you tried all of the adjustments possible with your current bike?  Such as raising the bars and shortening the stem.  Thyis will allow you to sit more upright and put less weight on your hands.  It will put more weight on the saddle which may cause other problems.  But these other problems can be alleviated by riding shorter distances.

Offline OmahaNeb

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2005, 01:57:09 pm »
Ah, go for the bent and let us know what you find out.  You might want to look at a trike also.

Offline ron654

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2005, 04:08:20 am »
Thanks for the tips -- but I have aero bars and have tried adjusting the stem, using a shorter one and even using a mountain bike on the road.  The numb hands problem has existed for many years but it used to take many miles of riding in one position to bring it on and it would go away with a change of position.  My 50+ year old body just doesn't adjust as well as was formerly the case and the numbness now comes on within 5 miles and requires hand(s) off the bars to go away.

I found a reference elsewhere to some old articles and a website for advice.  I'll let you all know if I find that a recumbent that solves my problems. Thanks again for your responses.


  • Guest
Recumbent advice?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2005, 08:07:06 am »
If you haven't found it yet, you may want to visit the following site...

Access to a well stocked 'bent shop can be a big help. There's no substitute for an extended test ride...try as many as you can before making a decision. Trikes seem to be catching on, but I have no experience with them.

For what it's worth, I ride a Burley Canto...a long-wheelbase recumbent. I hope to tour with it in 2006. LWB's have a proven track record for loaded touring. Check out the following...

Easy Racers Tour Easy
Rans Stratus
Rans V2
Longbikes Slipstream
Burley Canto/Taiko

You may prefer a short-wheelbase bike. They are easier to store and transport, and are generally a bit lighter. A few choices...

Rans Vrex
Barcroft Dakota
Longbikes Eliminator
Volae Century
Burley Hepcat/Django

All of these bikes can accept an underseat pannier rack...a great setup for carrying baggage. Many modern 'bents have a monotube frame with a bit of flex. This *might* cause handling issues when towing a single-wheeled the BOB.


Offline rootchopper

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2005, 04:53:54 pm »
I had the same physical problems you are having and then some.  I have been riding a recumbent for three years and rarely touch my old touring bike anymore.

The best one for you is the one that you enjoy riding the most.  I recommend you go to a well stocked recumbent bike shop with a helmet and a water bottle and ride as many bikes as you can. (Let them know you are coming in advance.) I rode 10 different recumbent bikes, narrowed that down to the 3 best, then came back a few days later and did a ride off. My 3 best were the Green Gear's Bike SatRDay, the Sun EZ Sport Lite, and the Easy Racer's Tour Easy. The Tour Easy won.  I have ridden my Tour Easy nearly 16,000 miles in about 3 years including three multi-day tours.  I am a happy camper.  

Recumbents come in an amazing number of configurations so keep an open mind and try as many as you can.  You may find that some recumbent designs look great but don't match your body very well.   Others may look unimpressive but fit like a glove.

Good luck.

Offline ron654

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2005, 11:24:58 am »
To Lucky13 & Rootchopper -- thanks for the tips!  A less serious problem with which I have to deal is that there are only a couple of bike shops in this area that carry recumbents and only one type in each.  I'll likely have to travel to LA or San Fran (about 200 mi away) to find a 'bent shop and I don't know where to look in either area. Suggestions?

Offline judyrans

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2005, 12:09:42 am »
Ron654 wrote:

I'll likely have to travel to LA or San Fran (about 200 mi away) to find a 'bent shop and I don't know where to look in either area. Suggestions?


This one is less specific:

Good Luck!


Offline Dan_E_Boye

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2005, 12:07:23 am »
I ride a Burley Canto in the long wheel base configuration for touring and a Rans Rocket in town.  The Rans was my first recumbent.  I like it for riding around town but it's a bumpy ride and the short wheel base makes for very quick steering response.  I like the Burley for touring.  It smooths out the bumps.  I also like the disc brakes and that's one reason I chose the Canto.  I pull a Nomad trailer and it works for me.  If I'm doing an overnighter I just use panniers with a luggage rack.  I think the long wheel base is the best option for touring.

I would like to have tried out more recumbents myself but there were not a lot to try in my area either.  If I had more patience I would like to have tried out the EZ racer.  I sat on one in the shop in Portland but didn't get to ride.  The price was also a limiting factor for me.  If money were no object for me I would like a Greenspeed trike for stability.  One thing I have noticed on recumbents is that when you really get going down a hill they feel unstable.  They respond to every little motion of your body.  As a result I take downhills slower than I do on a regular bike.  I have wiped out on both of my recumbents.  Once it was night and I thought I saw pavement but it was mud and the bike slid out from under me.  It was kind of funny and I didn't get hurt.  The other time I was going pretty slow, or so I thought, and it was on a wet concrete surface with leaves and other such material on the surface.  I was going around a loop to go over the bike bridge when suddenly I was on the ground.  The wheels slid out from under me again.  This time I got some road rash and a minor shoulder injury.  As a result I'm much more aware of traction and stability on my recumbents.  Overall though, I like recumbents a lot and they are comfortable.  Your butt will rejoice.    

Offline bikerbob

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2005, 01:12:45 pm »
No mention of the Bacchetta Giro here for touring.  My problems with neck and back pain while cycling have completely disappeared since I went recumbent in 2004. Bacchetta sells an underframe rack that my small touring Arkels fit and if I want to I can add my larger touring Arkels to the rear rack.
As someone suggested take your water bottles and helmet with you and spend a day riding various bents.
Be prepared for anywhere from 1000 to 2000 miles for your body and especially your legs to adjust from a DF to a recumbent. Climbing hills can be a challenge. I live in the Pacfic Northwest and the first thing I did was change the granny gear to a 24 tooth. You cannot push the big gears like you can on a DF or you risk knee problems. Spinning is the name of the game.
Take some time to see if you like the high BB of a Bacchetta or the lower one of the Tour Easy  

Offline OmahaNeb

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2005, 01:51:45 pm »
How do trikes compare to the traditional recumbent?  Are they harder to pedal up hill?  Are they slower on the flats?


Offline Kelly

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2005, 09:25:42 pm »
I am a long time cycle tourist who has ridden a recumbent since 1998 due to severe saddle soreness. I've never set fanny on a diamond frame bike again. I ordered a RANS Stratus (long wheel base) from Kelvin at Angletech, sight unseen. It was love on the first try. Kelvin is very good at asking questions about your riding style and matching you up with the correct bike.

Other resources are: Recumbent Cyclist News and the Recumbent and Tandem Magazine. Also, The Easy Racers Recumbent Club.

RCN publishes a newbie issue about once a year, I'm sure you could get one on back order.

I was going to go with a RANS VRex, but Kelvin said since I have a bum knee I would be better off going with the long wheel base bike.

Recumbents are nice and cushy for touring. I did the ACA's Lewis and Clark Expedition this summer. There was one other recumbent. John and I agreed we were fatigued at the end of the day, but nothing hurt. That is a great feeling. We were a bit left out of the conversation while the others traded bag balm tips.

Offline TheDaltonBoys

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2005, 04:23:38 pm »
Here's my two cents worth.....I'm getting my first recumbant within the month after riding DF's steadily for the past 6 years(55 y.o. now and no car). I'm getting a tadpole trike with the consideration that I'm going to be wider than ever before BUT when climbing a steep hill I will not have to a)maintain my balance, b)if I need to stop I apply the brakes and take a place, and c)when in camp I'll already have a great seat. I'll continue to commute on my MTB in town.  Regards...Enjoy the Voyage.......Mark of the Dalton Boys

Offline OmahaNeb

Recumbent advice?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2005, 09:44:03 am »
Mark, did you do any comparisons between trikes and recumbents?