Author Topic: Recumbents  (Read 6333 times)

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Offline krispysteve

« on: May 04, 2009, 11:18:13 pm »
I've been an ACA member for awhile and it was nice to see recumbents getting some coverage in John Schubert's article about choosing a touring bike.  And while it's a nice start, in all fairness I think he, and Adventure Cycling, could do better.  In his article, John says, "Over the years, thousands of touring cyclists have visited Adventure Cycling's headquarters in Missoula and a good chunk of these were riding recumbents."  Since there was room in his article for a photograph entitled, "Missed opportunities." illustrating bike shops that don't keep touring bikes on their sales floor, it'd be nice if the article had at least one photograph of some of the recumbents that are superb tourers.
Over the past twenty years I've crossed the US and cycle toured in New Zealand and Ireland, all unsupported, on my homebuilt long wheelbase recumbents.  I realize there are recumbent-specific websites, but ACA is for touring, and I think it'd be nice to share a bit more about some of the wonderful alternatives to DF touring equipment.  Am I the only one who thinks so?

Offline hamilgs

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2009, 01:25:05 pm »
Steve: I'd agree.  My faired Tour Easy Expedition with tailsok works nicely for me, and I'll ride it on AMBA in late May.  It uses standard mountain bike components and has a wide gear inch range (19-113).  While it's heavy, it's very comfy and tracks well.  In the lighting department it has a SON hub dyno and twin IQ Fly LEDs, plus a wired LED taillight with standlight.  I'm never without light.  Perhaps in time, more folks will give 'bents a try.--george
Zippered Tour Easy EX
To recline is devine

Offline MrBent

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2009, 11:03:25 pm »
Steve:  Nicely done TE clone!  ACA does make an effort from time to time to cover recumbents.  I think three was even a major issue on them a while ago, so I'm not too bothered by the recent issue.  Touring is the perfect application for 'bents, and I became  a long-distance rider because of them.  A shot from my cross country tour in '07.  Route 66 and headed for Kingman, AZ.  October and loving life!

Ride and recline: What's not to like?


Offline mucknort

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2009, 12:58:31 pm »
I thought the exact same thing when I saw the new issue, KrispySteve, great that they included a side bar on recumbents - but I look forward to the day when they are just a part of the main article. Funny how the author said many switch to 'bents because of sore backs, that was always the least painful area riding a traditional tour bike. Groin pain/numbness was #1 reason, followed by sore wrists and neck. I still don't get why I still haven't seen a tourist on a bent pictured in the ACA mag or in any of the PR literature (cataloges, member info, etc.) since I've joined as a member.

Offline whittierider

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2009, 05:32:02 pm »
Ride and recline: What's not to like?
Although I don't want to see recumbents sidelined, I would still say they're not for everyone.  I have a childhood neck injury that makes four of the vertebrae tend to curve the wrong way and gives me headaches from pinched nerves if I take a recumbent position and have to hold my head forward.  (That also goes for livingroom furniture and car seats.  I have to be careful.)  My low position on an upright bike however makes those vertebrae curve in the right direction and avoid the headaches.  My headaches come mostly in the winter when I'm not riding much.

I've also had pain in the shoulder ligaments from the position in the first picture above, where the arm is unsupported.  Sitting up straight with arms down at the sides with under-seat steering might be a solution, but sure isn't good for wind resistance except that a recumbent allows a big load of panniers, if up high enough, to draft the rider's torso.  When I'm in my summer shape, I have no comfort issues at all on my upright bike with a very low and narrow position, thanks partly to the aerobars which relieve several things from wrists to elbows to shoulders to stern.  If they are fit correctly (which they seldom are), they're comfortable all day.  I won't do a long ride without them anymore.

Occasionally someone posts saying they have balance problems and ask about tricycles, but they're thinking of the tall ones that aren't suitable for touring or any kind of serious riding for that matter.  I like to point them to the recumbent tricycles with two wheels in the front and one in back, where you're sitting almost on the ground.  I'm intrigued by several strong points I see to that design.

Offline krispysteve

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2009, 03:31:35 am »
I absolutely agree that recumbents aren't for everybody...but what bikes are?  

What's interesting to me about recumbents that doesn't seem to be true about DF's is the amount of creative design that continues to go into frame designs appear all the time, many with touring applications.  Tadpole trikes, suspended and foldable, equipped with mountain bike components...great for touring; short and long wheelbase recumbents with underseat racks, mtn bike components, incredibly comfortable seats, panniers specifically designed for recumbent touring; my partner and I toured last summer on our Rans Screamer tandem pulling a BOB...and now even more exotic machines like front wheel drive suspended bikes.  While materials and components continue to evolve for DF's (and then get used in and on recumbents), basic frame design changes very little.  And I don't buy that it's because the DF frame has achieved perfection.  The newer seats look like they're intended to be taken internally.  :0)

Like you said, no design's for everyone.  And I toured for years on a great old Trek so I have absolutely no issue with what people use to's the going that matters, not the wheels one chooses.  I just think it'd be nice if bents got the visibility they deserve within an organization devoted to touring.

Offline burleyrider

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2009, 08:08:59 am »
I absolutely agree that recumbents aren't for everybody...but what bikes are?...I just think it'd be nice if bents got the visibility they deserve within an organization devoted to touring.


Offline krispysteve

Re: Recumbents
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 12:31:15 pm »
Thanks.  One last thing and then I'm done.  I notice that Terra Trike has been an Adventure Cycling advertiser for a long guess is the magazine would be more attractive to other recumbent manufacturers of touring bikes if their designs got some photo recognition as well. 
My mom says that anything worth doing is worth running into the ground.  I think I've achieved that beyond my wildest expectations.  So let's talk about something else.  And thanks for listening.