Anybody else here ride recumbent bikes?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by lava, May 16, 2014.

  1. lava

    lava Gelatinous

    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Molten core of Earth
    I have really gotten into them in the last year, and recently picked up this 700c Bacchetta Corsa:

    [​IMG]

    I got into 'bents because a friend of mine rode them and let me borrow his. There are a number of things I like about them:

    • They are so laid-back and comfy. In the morning, when it's time to ride to work and I'm not feeling up to it, it's much easier just to pedal than it is to get off the bike. Which was not true at all of my regular road bike. So it makes me ride more frequently.
    • Per point number one, no crotch/wrist discomfort.
    • Very fast and aerodynamic. This bike is about 26/27 lbs, so it's heavier than my 19 lb road bike. As such, it accelerates a bit slower. But the rolling resistance is roughly equivalent and the aerodynamics are better so my top speed is higher.
    Things I don't like:

    • Very difficult low-speed handling. You won't be doing any track-stands on these. As such, not good for super-urban stop and go riding.
    • Slower up hills. Some say that over time with enough practice, they actually become faster up hills on their bents than with their road bikes, but that has yet to happen to me.
    So does anybody else have one?
     
    flo likes this.
  2. Mik3D23

    Mik3D23 things

    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    Honesdale, PA
    I haven't gotten to try any bikes, and especially not one similar to that; but at the LBS I work at we had a monstrous recumbent tricycle not too long ago. It was pretty dang fun, but the idea of a recumbent seems like it would take away the workout for a lot of muscle groups compared to a standard road bike.

    Edit: From an engineering/design standpoint, it seems to make a whole lot more sense to make the front the drive wheel. But then again maybe that wouldn't be good since there's not much weight put on the front :scratch:
     
  3. lava

    lava Gelatinous

    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Molten core of Earth
    If you're specifically referring to the ability to stand and power up hills, then yes, you can't do that on a bent. But for the most part the leg workout is similar except the hip flexors and abs are significantly more engaged compared to a standard road bike. In the reclined position you are effectively doing mini-leg lifts with every rotation.

    There are front wheel drive bents, and they are awesome! Behold the Cruzbike Vendetta and Silvio 2.1:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Apparently these bikes are some of the fastest on earth, as I recall somewhere reading about records being broken on them. But it takes a lot of getting used to the moving bottom bracket in the front, as there tends to be a lot of wobbly pedal steer at first. And another downside is when the incline gets steep and the weight shifts to the back, the front wheel loses tracktion.
     
  4. Mik3D23

    Mik3D23 things

    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    Honesdale, PA
    Yeah these look...interdasting. I'm surprised we haven't seen anyone interested in them, I honestly didn't know that recumbents were popular for the sportier side of things. Most of the ones available to us are more recreational and for people who want to ride a bike, but don't really want to ride a bike (if that makes sense). I'd be curious to ride one of these. I can imagine you look somewhat silly on these, and I can imagine some of the reactions you get from the typical roadies :lol:
     
  5. lava

    lava Gelatinous

    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Molten core of Earth
    Yeah, it's hard to escape the white beard/belly recumbent stereotype. But even hardcore roadies, when we get to talking at stoplights, recognize that my bike is a step up from the bents they are used to seeing. I have always been a strong rider, and nobody passes me on my Corsa except the crit riders. But that's how it was when I rode a standard road bike too. I don't feel silly when I ride my bent, I feel awesome and unique. :D

    I think the reason you don't see more of them is because the market is so nichey that the mass-production rates of these bikes is low, leading to high prices. That Vendetta is nearly $4k. My Corsa was $2100. If more people rode them, the price would go down. Also, it is a big commitment to buy a recumbent without trying it. It is extremely weird and fall-prone on the first few rides, starting out from a dead stop is horrible for about 1-2 weeks, and you don't fully readjust to a new way of using your muscles ("bent legs") for at least a couple of months. But once you get there it's a dream.
     
  6. Mik3D23

    Mik3D23 things

    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    Honesdale, PA
    Yeah, they're even more of a niche than fat-tire bikes at this point. It'd be interesting to see how things would go if they caught on and some of the bigger names started making them.
     
  7. lava

    lava Gelatinous

    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Molten core of Earth
    Just for good measure, more bent porn. Rans Rifle:

    [​IMG]

    Metabike Metaphysic:
    [​IMG]

    And two full-carbon bents. First, the Carbent:
    [​IMG]

    And the Bacchetta Carbon Aero:
    [​IMG]
     
  8. brynotherhino

    brynotherhino Reformed Redneck

    Messages:
    605
    Likes Received:
    131
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Location:
    Midland, TX
    We had a couple come through the bike shop I used to work at, they seemed like a good time! But for now I'm quite happy with my regular ole road bikes :)
     
  9. flo

    flo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    302
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lautern, Germany
    I got one last year :)
    I've got a few different bikes, each for a different purpose.
    A mountain bike for bad roads,
    a roadbike to get to places in the city and for workout, it's great uphills.
    The bent is for long workout-rides, if I'm honest I don't find it too funny to ride the roadbike for more than an hour and a half, then my wrists, shoulders and gentlemen parts start to hurt. On the recumbent you can ride for four hours or longer, and only the legs hurt from the workout, but nothing else :)
    Here in my area with lots of medium sized mountains the road bike and the bent are quite equally matched in terms of average speed. The bent is a bit slower uphills, faster on flat roads, and quite a lot faster downhills. It's my favourite :)

    here it is: http://www.sevenstring.org/forum/li...42258-new-bike-day-quite-special-content.html


    By the way, I love Barchettas! The stick bikes look so simple and elegant, but the frames are actually quite complicated and very much thought-trough.
     
  10. flo

    flo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    302
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lautern, Germany
  11. lava

    lava Gelatinous

    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Molten core of Earth
    Yeah, Flo, I posted in that thread! I'd totally forgotten. At the time I'd borrowed a buddy's 26" Bacchetta Corsa. The bike I started this thread with is the first bent I've actually owned.
     
  12. Omura

    Omura SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    50
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2014
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I don't ride recumbent, I just ride road and mountain.
    But I thought I'd chime in with something that always concerns me when I do see people riding recumbent...
    What is your spacial visibility like? can you look behind you easily while riding?
    Does it concern you that with being so low to the ground, other vehicles are less likely to see you, and so you could be at higher risk of being hit?
    And finally, I ride around the city quite a lot, as mentioned above recumbent doesn't suit the stop-start nature of city riding. On quite a few occasions, assholes don't look before they pull out, or cut across multiple lanes etc. because of this I've had quite a few near misses, I've never been hit, because I always assume everyone else on the road is brain dead and so when they do something stupid, I can brake, swerve and generally avoid being hit. I imagine recumbent are not so agile as bikes in this sense? Is that true, and if so, does that bother anyone? I know it would make me feel less easy about riding when the traffic starts getting busy .
     
  13. flo

    flo SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,036
    Likes Received:
    302
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    Lautern, Germany

    Most of your concerns are justified...
    I agree that a normal bike does give you better balance. Your visibility on the bent is also sort of limited, as it's quite hard to turn around to see what's behind. I got mirrors on my bike, they minimize the problem.
    Also, because you're sitting quite low, and further back than on a normal bike, you have to slow down more often when you get to crossroads, cause you can't see into them as easily. You can't look over cars... and cities basically consist of moving or parked cars.
    The hight depends on the actual bent. There are lower bikes (e.g. lowracers) and higher bikes (e.g. highracers). On a highracer, the hight of your head is about the same as on a roadbike when riding in the drops.
    Accidents... they do concern me, of cause. In traffic, I think you are more likely to be overseen by other vehicles.
    On the other hand, if you crash, you are lower down, so you don't fall as deep, and you hit things feet first, not hands/head first as on a standard bike.
    Because of the lower center of gravity, cou can also break much harder without going over the handlebars.
    And, if car-drivers see you, they usually give you a bit more space, and you get quite a lot of attention.
    When cars hit bikes, it's mostly because the drivers didn't look at all, not just not low enough...
    The normal forward visibility on a recumbent compared to a roadbike is on the other hand a lot better/easier, cause you don't have to raise your head in an uncomfortable manner that at least I can't do very long. Especially looking up when waiting at traffic lights is sooo much easier on the recumbent.
    Stop and go traffic is annoying as always, but totally doable.

    So to sum up:
    City: I prefer the standard bike, easier handling, better vision, easier to be seen
    Safety: Recumbent is maybe a bit less likely to be spotted in traffic, but consequences of an accident are usually less severe

    The only way to survive in traffic is, as you said, to always be aware that others can be blind, numb and stupid, drunk, don't know the verty basic rules and have got a few minutes reaction time. So always drive carefully.
     
  14. lava

    lava Gelatinous

    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    108
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Location:
    Molten core of Earth
    Rear visibility is more difficult, so a mirror is essential in my opinion. Forward visibility is better as you are already in a position to look forward and don't have to crane your neck up from looking at the front wheel as on a standard road bike. I know it sounds like I'm splitting hairs there, but if you switch to a bent you'll quickly come to realize that there are a lot of things about road bikes that are awkward and uncomfortable, that are not very apparent until you make the switch. In my opinion all road cyclists are uncomfortable on their bikes, they just don't know it because they have grown accustomed to it. :D I know when I get back on my road bike now there's not much to like about it.

    There are some recumbents that are very low to the ground, and visibility is a concern there. But the 700C highracer I posted to start this thread is quite tall, and I'm only about 6 inches lower than a roadie in the drop position. So it's not really an issue with my bike.

    At speeds above ~7mph or so a recumbent is just as maneuverable and will brake just as fast. The difference is that a recumbent will not throw you over the handlebars in a crash, so it is much safer.

    Case in point: Just a few days after I posted this thread, I was riding in a bike lane on flat ground at 32 mph when a car swerved into the bike lane right in front of me to make a right turn. At the last second they saw me in their mirror and inexplicably stopped dead in the bike lane. I braked hard and kept it together for a bit until I fishtailed and laid the bike down, stopping just before the car. The result? Four spots of road rash, nothing more. The only damage to the bike was ripped bar tape at the bar corners and a bent rear derailleur. I guarantee if you did a sudden full-brake at 32 mph on a road bike, you're going over the bars and risking a head/neck injury.
     

Share This Page