Author Topic: LWB or SWB for touring  (Read 7196 times)

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Offline Carl

LWB or SWB for touring
« on: August 09, 2007, 09:45:48 pm »
I'd appreciate any information that could be shared regarding use of short-wheel based vs. long-wheel based recumbents for touring (SWB, LWB).

I'm presently riding a Tour Easy (LWB) which is great for speed, comfort and ease of maintenance. But it's simply too long to fit in the back of my Subaru Outback and a major pain to put on the roof rack (with lifting + fairing removal).

I'm assuming a SWB 'bent would be easier for carrying but 1) how do they handle with racks and panniers, and 2) does the generally higher pedal position make a difference for numb feet or tingling toes? Are there any SWBs that are more suited for loaded touring than others?
Thanks in advance for any guidance or thoughts on this topic

Offline Cupocoffee

LWB or SWB for touring
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2007, 01:45:58 am »
Carl, I ride a LWB Rans Stratus XL and rode the TransAm west to east this year. I am 60 years old and a lot of riders thought I was crazy because my bike and gear totaled 120 pounds. I pulled a Burley trailer (mistake) ... get a Bob. The bike is extremely comfortable but it is hell in the mountains. I put on a fourth chainring which has 18 teeth. I would never have made it up the mountains on the standard chain rings. The bike and trailer were very long and could be difficult to get into motel rooms. It fits fine in the back of my S-10 Chevrolet pickup but if you want to ship it somewhere it is a major pain. I never had a problem with numb feet save for a few days. When I would have a problem, I would just get off my bike for a few minutes and walk around. Same for recum"butt."  That was a bit more common if I rode for several hours without a break. If I were to do another cross country, I don't know if I would do it on a recumbent or not. The guys on their DF's were complaining more than I was. The thing is ... there are a lot more mountains and hills than there are flat spots.  I just took the mountains slowly but surely. I did a lot of grumbling but never doubted I would be able to do it. I have a journal at if you care to check it out.


  • Guest
LWB or SWB for touring
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2007, 08:45:26 am »
Don't ignore the July/August issue of Adventure Cyclist, which has a good article by Bryan Ball addressing this question and most other aspects of touring on 'bents.


Offline Carl

LWB or SWB for touring
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2007, 07:22:47 pm »
Thanks, Fred.
I really enjoyed this issue (as I do all issues of Adventure Cycling). But it didn't address the handling of a long wheel base 'bent with full panniers vs. a short wheel base bike. I know my Tour Easy with panniers handles like a dream because the panniers appreciably lower the center of gravity, which is already pretty low. But the SWBs seem to be generally higher above the ground so it's not obvious to me the handling with panniers would be as good.
Any thoughts??

Offline Dan_E_Boye

LWB or SWB for touring
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2007, 02:13:28 am »
I found SWB to be a bumpier ride than LWB.  I also like that the steering is not so quickly responsive on a LWB so they're a little easier to keep in a straight line.  I use a trailer so I can't say much about the effect of panniers.

Offline Carl

LWB or SWB for touring
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2007, 11:28:13 pm »
Hmmm.I hadn't considered the 'bumpy factor.' My LWB Tour Easy rides like a charm, which I think really helps for rides over, say, 30 miles. I would think the 'bumpy factor' would wear a person out sooner. I'd also think the faster steering would wear you out sooner, too.

Thanks for pointing these things out, Dan.