Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

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reikiman
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Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I've done a bit of riding with my electrified Electra Townie.. It's a wonderful bike, and I like the motor & battery arrangement I have, and I like this Cycle Analyst gizmo, and I like the lighting system I concocted...etc... But at my last chiropractor session she noted a lot of rotation in my spine, the day before I'd ridden nearly 20 miles. During the ride I kept noticing how it would be more comfortable to have a seatback...

The Electra Townie has a nice relaxed laid back riding position and I really appreciate being able to see the world as I'm riding along. On the typical head first bicycle all I see is the pavement, which isn't terribly exciting if you ask me. I've grown to love this riding position.

With most Recumbent's it's a similar riding position but even more so.

But what started as a simple idea has turned into a bewildering variety of recumbents on the market and amazingly very few recumbent dealers making it more than difficult to go to a store and try one out.

chas_stevenson
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Reikiman,

I have tried several different bents and the EX series seem to be the best built and most comfortable. I have an EZ-3 but I am looking at the EZ-Sport. The larger tire on the back of the sport makes for a smother ride than the EZ-1 or EZ-3. I also tried a Rans Stratus but I felt like my feet were too high compared to the EZ-Sport. The best bent IMO is the EasyRacer found here, but cost stopped me from going that route. Well that's all I know about bents. The others I tried weren't worth talking about.

Chas S.

Also I found this link with lost of good info.

dogman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

After building hundreds of houses and trashing my back 13 years ago, I can tell you this, and your chiropractor will agree. As you get older, it is crucial to have a strong set of back muscles. The only thing holding me together now is some extremely strong back muscles. I can actually hyperextend my spine while sitting at a stop light. They told me years ago i would need surgery, but as long as I'm strong I won't. For me the sport that fixed my back was windsurfing. Once I learned to waterstart, I could feel my back get longer every time the sail pulled me out of the water. The more I surfed the better my back felt. I don't doubt that a recumbent will be great, and I'd like one too. But I suspect the real problem is your back is not as strong as you think. As a house framer, you'd think mine was strong, but not strong enough. Everybody I know with a back injury agrees with this idea.

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reikiman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

After building hundreds of houses and trashing my back 13 years ago, I can tell you this, and your chiropractor will agree. As you get older, it is crucial to have a strong set of back muscles. ...

Actually, she does agree with that though she talks more of the importance of 'core strength' which I think refers more to the pelvis area than the back but it's also low back and abdominal... Good point.

dogman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I wouldn't be suprised if I'm using everything from my knees to my eybrows to hold my spine straight. The thing that suprised me was these muscles i needed were not the ones you use to lift something. Core strength is a very good term for it. Several people who had back surgery advised me to only let them cut me if I could no longer walk.

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sgmdudley
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I agree that a recumbent is the way to go.. Better for your back, neck, arms, etc.

Unfortunately, unless you have a good recumbent dealer near you that has a variety
of bent Bikes, you will not be able to verify what works best for you.

The Easy Racer was mentioned. This is a very good company. Fast Eddy Markham set the
speed record on a recumbent bicycle that Easy Racer markets as the Gold Rush Replica.
They also have the less expensive Tour Easy. These two models are long wheelbase, low
bottom bracket bikes. A Bionx kit would make these a great electric bike.

Also check out Rans for both Short and Long wheelbase bikes.

Other factors are Above Seat Steering (no kidding = ASS) and Below Seat Steering (BSS)
Short, medium and Long Wheelbase (for High, med, low bottom brackets.

There are several good seat companies. I like the Rans Seat for comfort.

We have a dealer in Colorado that adds a internal 3 speed to the rear wheel asm to make
an Altitude bike with up to 81 gear selections.

My current recumbent is a Sun Trike.

Robert Dudley
E-Scoot Tech

reikiman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I've been looking at a bunch of recumbents ..

I'm not understanding this style where to steer there are two handles beneath the seat.

Many of the recumbents look like the rider is lying flat on their back. I understand this is for aerodynamics. But one thing which attracts me is being able to look at the world as I'm riding, and it seems with this lying on your back seating you'd instead be looking at the sky...? Or am I missing something?

Long wheelbase is common but many mass transit systems don't allow long wheelbase. I really like the option of hopping onto a bus or train.

I've only ridden the EZ-1 and EZ-3.. there are a couple sellers near me who electrify those bikes, and I've done test rides. Maybe it's a seat adjustment issue but I remember feeling like the pedals were waaaaaay out in front of me and I had to reach a bit to get my feet on the pedals. Other than that the ride was nice.

I'm also thinking about velomobiles - while we don't get much rain here, especially now that we've settled into summer and it's not going to rain until November(ish), it's attractive to be able to ride all year long. I did find velokit which is a fabric fairing that can attach to most trike recumbents and easily removed or installed as-needed. Of course there are several velomobile makers who sell kits or completed vehicles.

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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Actually, she does agree with that though she talks more of the importance of 'core strength' which I think refers more to the pelvis area than the back but it's also low back and abdominal... Good point.

My doctor's opinion is more in line with the first part. She says everybody has a strong back. Your back is doing an enormous amount of work all the time. What gets weak are the stabilizing muscles -- the "core" as you put it -- also as Pilates and Yoga practitioners would put it. Pilates has done my wife and I a world of good. It's best to start off with a physical therapist first to find out what will work best for you and if there is anything to avoid. After that it's merely a matter of finding someone who looks good in spandex, I mean someone to help you develop a workout that's right for you.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

dogman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

When I trashed my back, I couldn't do much work for a year, no med insurance, no workmans comp. But I noticed right away when I windsurfed I felt better, and needed to adjust the mirror to drive home since I was taller afterward. Something about the hula motions you do to steer the sail were doing something good was all I knew. If I couldn't surf for two weeks, my back hurt a lot more so I surfed every day I could. One thing with me is if it isn't fun I won't keep doing it so it worked out good today. One thing was for sure, carrying plywood around all day did nothing for the muscles I needed. House framers are dang strong beastly animals but when I was one I was still weak where I needed it most. I lasted longer than most at it by about 10 years though, using the muscle between my ears. Lotsa framers pop the back by 25 years old.

Be the pack leader.
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BothellBob
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Of course you want a recumbent. Keep your eye on craigslist and be ready to jump on a screaming deal; then, when you have logged a few miles and have a better idea what you really want you can resell it on craigslist and not be out anything at all. Unless you know you can handle twitchy bikes, avoid SWB for a while. You're right, LWB will not fit in the bike rack on the front of the bus. My LWB RANS Stratus (see BothellBob's eRANStratus in the photo section of the Yahoo power-assist group
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/power-assist/
you will have to join to see photos) was a rather simple retrofit, and didn't cost all that much. The beauty of a RANS Status is it's easy to build a battery holder that mounts really low. You do not want a high center of gravity on a bent.
-BothellBob

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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I have been wondering about recumbent bikes, why do people ride them? They do not seem to fit my riding style, riding on sidewalks, able to stand and pedal and having more maneuverability. Can you guys point out what is different about them, maybe you can peak my interest enough to go try one out?

Thanks, Deron.

reikiman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Deron, what I'm interested in are the following

Being able to stop, and not dismount the seat, but just put my feet down on the ground

Rather than riding head first and only seeing the ground, being able to look at the world I'm riding through

A riding position that makes more efficient use of my human power

The "Just put my feet down" makes so much more sense than having to dismount from the seat every time I stop. On the typical bicycle at a traffic light or any other time you stop, you have to get off the seat to put your feet on the ground. It's so much more convenient to just put my feet down, plus the arrangement of sitting while having both feet down is very stable.

What my Electra Townie taught me is how uncomfortable the head-first riding position is. On a typical bike it's hard to see anything but the ground in front of me ..etc..

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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

David did a great job of covering the pros. The two reasons I hear most often are the mechanical advantage and the comfortable seating position. There are some negatives as well:

You are lower and less visible
You are lower and can't check out the babes/guys in passing cars
Most models don't fit on buses
Tend to be very pricey
Somewhat heavier than traditional bikes (moot if you're going to electrify it)

I've ridden them. There is a moment of disorientation then your brain clicks into a new mode and riding them is as natural as an upright bike.

I eventually decided not to get one. I think the Townie is a nice compromise, although I doubt it will fit on a bus either.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

Buckeroo Bob
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Check out the ever enlarging world of semi-recumbent bicycles. They might have the best of both worlds...ability to put your feet on the ground at a stop and be small, light enough to place on public transportation. So Google "semi recumbent bikes" and see what you get. There are some good looking models to explore.

reikiman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

What about seats with seatbacks? I just looked at a couple bike parts websites and didn't see anything but normal seats. But this hardly constitutes an exhaustive search. FWIW Giant sells a bicycle that's semi-recumbent that has a seatback.

deronmoped
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I have always preferred a bike that has a upright seating position like the "crank forward" and recumbent bikes. I would always just modify a regular bike with upright handlebars and a big fat comfortable seat. So really I'm half way there.

The "crank forward" bikes look much more doable, a lot cheaper, easier to get parts and I like that you are sitting up higher. I'm going to go see what a test ride on one will be like.

Deron.

BothellBob
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Point by point:
You are lower and less visible
-But, everybody notices a recumbent. The unusual attracts the eye.

You are lower and can't check out the babes/guys in passing cars
-But, recumbent riders are gray bearded geezers with big bellies who have forgotten why we check out the babes. (I still do, but it's just force of habit.) However, mature, experienced, women of taste, refinement, and money will definitely notice you!

Most models don't fit on buses
-OK, that's a real limitation, but many of the SWB do.

Tend to be very pricey
-But we gray bearded geezers often have a few extra bucks. I claimed mine was cheap, and it was, but I'm still getting really close to $1,000; and when I finally get around to LiFePO4 batteries I will definitely break through that barrier.

Somewhat heavier than traditional bikes (moot if you're going to electrify it)
-Not so moot when the power fails, but at least they can still be pedaled.

I've ridden them. There is a moment of disorientation then your brain clicks into a new mode and riding them is as natural as an upright bike
-You can not balance by shifting your weight, it must all be done with the steering. You have to set up for turning and stopping well in advance. You will probably fall a few times; there is a reason we call them twitchy. You will not jump curbs. They use a slightly different set of muscles. It will become natural. And they are so very comfortable (and we potbellied old geezers do like our comforts).
-BothellBob

Buckeroo Bob
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Here's something in little Logan, Iowa. Just happens to be where my dear old Mum is from. I had no idea they had these bikes there. I haven't been there in over 20 years. Check out the Journey. Looks pretty nice.
http://www.day6bicycles.com/

reikiman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I was checking on electric-bikes.com and found not only the day6bicycles but that sunbicycles has an interesting looking bike.

http://electric-bikes.com/betterbikes/styles.html

http://www.sunbicycles.com/ - warning: this is an f'ing flash site that resizes your browser, but they have some interesting looking bikes anyway.

Buckeroo Bob
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Yes. That Sunray looks like a semi recumbent. Lots to choose from there.

reikiman
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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

Another I came across that's interesting for other reasons is:-

http://www.solartrike.com/solartrikeoptions.html -- They've designed & build their own recumbent trike, and build in solar panels. You can buy just plans, or a kit, or completed trikes.

http://www.exertrike.com/ -- Appears to be an electric three wheel recumbent (they don't explicitly say it's electric and don't give details of what's obviously an electric drive) and there's an option to mount a full fairing (making it a velomobile).

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Re: Mebbe I want a Recumbent...

I have been riding a recumbent trike for 4 years now and it is the most comfortable bike I have ever had it is a tadpole type (2 wheels in the front) so the wheels are only 32 inches apart at 15 mph it is easy control riding almost anywhere but anything over that and it gets a little squirrely in fact I rolled it once because I took a corner at to high a speed. If you want a bike with the ability to travel at 25 plus mph get a delta (2 wheels in the rear) or a 2 wheeler. Recumbents use the same parts as any other bike the only difference is the seat and the frame unless you have under seat steering then there is the steering shaft. They are light weight, my trike weight was 34 pounds before I added the batteries and motor. Replacement parts for the things that wear can be purchased anywhere. the seats are adjustable, so you can adjust the back incline as you want and the seat can also be moved forward or back. To answer your question about putting your feet on the ground without getting off the seat most of the bikes I have seen you can. I am currently building a two wheeled recumbent so I can set it up to 72 volts and get there in a hurry I dont have the guts to try that on my trike.

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