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For some reason, I've decided that I must get a recumbent bike. So I'd like to hear from anyone on the ORG who has a recumbent bike of any kind. Specifically, I'd like to know...

- What do you like and disklike about recumbents in general, and your bike in particular?

- Do you have any caveats for folks in the market for a recumbent?

- Do you know of any good sources of recumbents, either web sites or stores which will sell and ship?

Thanks!

--Marne

P.S. Currently, I'm most interested in BikeEs, specifically the RX model, or possibly an AT with the optional top loading stem so I can use wider handlebars. (You folks know that I like to customize my wheels!)
 

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Bike talk...

When I was in college I used to work at a bicycle shop and still am a "bikie"...

Recumbents can be a fun way to bicyle, but there are some downsides to ANY vehicle design.

For recreational use I have found recumbents are REALLY sensitive to the surface conditions: gravel, sand, rain mean braking and steering can be MUCH more difficult than on a traditional bicycle. Similarly, the ability to steer at low/in-town speeds is "FIXED" by design, on a traditional bicycle you can move around and shift your weight to help with handling, on 'bent you have to keep your butt where the designer planted it.

The other negative I have with 'bents is the visibility factor. First, YOU cannot see as far down the road when you are low. SECOND motorists are UNACCUSTOMED to looking down for "obstacles". Makes for a unhappy sharing of the roads...

Having said all that, my wife and I did borrow a tandem Linear recumbent one weekend from friends who keep it at their vacation home in northern Wisconsin and MAN OH MMMAN does that ride HAUL MAJOR BOOTY!!! We were able to AVERAGE 25 miles an hour without working hard! We were able to sprint/downhill-it at over 35 mph. That is an incredible amount of speed. The ride is very comfy too, with the medium high seat backs taking nearly all pressure/fatigue out of "all day" (6+ hours on the bike) riding. Steering was not a problem AT ALL on open country roads, but you have to get used to the "under the fanny" steering and the 'stoker' is really bored fast, as all they do is PUSH! That ride is PRICEY too, around $4K, with highend gruppo/disc brakes.

Here is a summary I found that lists the compromises each type of design makes, w/o "namimg names". GREAT LINK -- http://www.lightfootcycles.com/HTML/cycledesign.htm

Personally I prefer the under seat steering, both from ability to levearge the grip for hill climbing (and even a slight hill DEFINATELY requires lots more input on a 'bent) and the ability to wiggle your fingers while steering with palms...

As far as the "in front of you" steering recumbents, I have been VERY impressed with the quality and options of RANS. They aren't as widely available as BikeE, but as an MDXer you know availabilty isn't all it's cracked up to be...

WHATEVER you do make sure you spend LOTS of time test riding the bike you get BEFORE you pay for it! The fit/reach issues of 'bents are FAR MORE critical than on traditional bicycles. A tiny two centimeters can mean the difference between safely being able to pedal through turns and whcking yourslef onto the pavement!

I would HIGHLY recommend seeking out a shop that specializes in 'bents. I was able to find a few my searching google, but have experience with only one in Illinois, so I will make no recommendation to you in California...

Good luck!
 

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Great Post renov8r

Ya know, the wealth of knowledge folks have around here never fails to amaze me.
 
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