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Recumbents For Dummies

Old 01-25-20, 10:19 AM
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spinconn
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Recumbents For Dummies

I have gone through the threads here and have spent some time googling, and I could do more online if I must, but I have some very basic questions as someone not familiar with recumbants. I don't understand the references I keep seeing to "DF" bikes, or the advantages of short v. long wheelbase, or 2 v. 3 wheel bikes (other than the obvious balance issue), etc. Most of these posts seem to involve some sort of basic knowledge.

Is there a source, online or in a book, that can give a very basic primer on recumbants; types, purposes of each, comparisons, etc.? I don't need a recumbent for any particular reason but they look like a lot of fun but I don't know where to start.
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Old 01-25-20, 10:49 AM
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DF means "diamond frame" like in a regular upright bicycle.

As to the other questions like short vs. long or 2 wheel vs. 3, you'll get a lot of differing opinions.
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Old 01-25-20, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
Most of these posts seem to involve some sort of basic knowledge.
I don't need a recumbent for any particular reason but they look like a lot of fun but I don't know where to start.
Recumbents are a developing technology. The technology is changing faster than I can absorb.
FWIW, I suspect there's a lot more data available here than there is understanding.
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Old 01-25-20, 01:30 PM
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There are numerous recumbent overview documents online. Here is just one. I live in a built up urban area I have seen one recumbent trike in 3 years. I've never seen a lowracer. Bicycle Man doesn't even sell lowracers anymore because they all get returned. Trikes and lowracers sit about the same distance off the ground. Very intimidating to ride in heavy traffic. A long wheelbase bent can approach the length of a DF tandem but will only carry one rider. They can only get so light unless made from carbon fiber ($$$). They remain popular because they can have much more predictable handling than the more sporting designs. With fairings and/or bodysocks they can be very fast. Highracers and lowracers are both considered SWB in layout and put the riders feet high and their heads low and this makes for a less intuitive handling paradigm. For those with the innate aptitude or the will to acquire it through practice they offer the reward of high performance and low weight. As always there are exceptions to every generalization.
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Old 01-25-20, 03:08 PM
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Lots of good info in the BicycleMan link above.
Really basic info: If it has 2 wheels, it's a recumbent bike and if it has 3 wheels, it's a recumbent trike.

I ride 2 recumbent bikes, one a short wheelbase and the other a long wheelbase. Pretty easy to tell which is which.



I also share a recumbent tandem with my stoker/spouse.
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Old 01-25-20, 05:17 PM
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Heh! Personally I don't get why lowracers are too low but trikes of the same height represent 90% of the current market. Lowracers are awesome and the feet-higher-than-the-seat has never been a problem for me. Recumbents used to be defined by their wheelbase, which put lowracers in limbo between Short and Long wheelbases. But I've always defined them by where the pedals are in relation to the steerer tube - ahead of steerer = short wheelbase, behind steerer = long wheelbase. To be a lowracer, the lowest part of the seat should be at or below the axle of the drive wheel. One of the checkpoints is the ability to put a hand down at a stop. The advantage is that the wheels share the same frontal area as the rider's body; and in fact a rear wheel with spoke covers can act as a tail fairing to help minimize that sucky draft thing going behind most cyclists. The disadvatages (if, like me, you don't consider lowness a problem,) is the less-efficient chain line and the small front tire. Rolling resistances for even the best 20" tires are about double a good 700c tire.


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Old 01-26-20, 08:19 AM
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Thanks guys. The BicycleMan site helped a lot and I figured out I needed to research recumbent "road" bikes instead of just recumbent bikes, which kept bringing up stationary gym bikes.
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Old 01-27-20, 11:36 PM
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I kinda speed-read thru the replies above, so just in case no one mentioned it,
Bent Rider Online is THE web resource you want to peruse for all things recumbent:

BentRider Online Forums - Powered by vBulletin

Good luck!
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Old 01-28-20, 08:28 PM
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FWIW I have a 'Delta' AND a 'Tadpole' trike and an Easy Racer Tour easy LE model, and that one Is a Long Wheel Base recumbent.
Keep In mind LWB means a Long Bike, like 96 Inches long, It handles like a dream and a company called Rans has them perfected IMHO..
BUT Living with and transporting a Long Bike is an adventure In It self..
Be prepared to drive great distances to test ride before you buy.... remember that.
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Old 01-29-20, 10:14 AM
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I started with a recumbent bike back in 2011.

My recumbent trike is actually a Strada velomobile that is my go to winter commuter.

I still want a trike for trail and off road riding, but that's going to have to wait until I buy a house with a bigger garage.
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Old 01-30-20, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
I still want a trike for trail and off road riding, but that's going to have to wait until I buy a house with a bigger garage.
Gee , and I used to think that buying a minivan to go with our tandem bicycle was a pricy accessory.
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Old 01-30-20, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Gee , and I used to think that buying a minivan to go with our tandem bicycle was a pricy accessory.
LOL. Yeah, currently in my garage: my wife's car
my 2 motorcycles
recumbent bike
velomobile

The minivan won't fit in the garage, so it stays out on the driveway.
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Old 01-31-20, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
LOL. Yeah, currently in my garage: my wife's car
my 2 motorcycles
recumbent bike
velomobile

The minivan won't fit in the garage, so it stays out on the driveway.
Kids these days... I started riding and building recumbent trikes back in the 1980's. I have 4 recumbents and 4 uprights in my garage and the van and the sedan stay out on the driveway.
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Old 02-01-20, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
Kids these days... I started riding and building recumbent trikes back in the 1980's. I have 4 recumbents and 4 uprights in my garage and the van and the sedan stay out on the driveway.
Yeah, I do the same, all my toys park in the garage, all regular vehicles outside except my wife's car, and it's a 3 car garage with a bit of extra depth !
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Old 02-01-20, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilbur Bud View Post
Yeah, I do the same, all my toys park in the garage, all regular vehicles outside except my wife's car, and it's a 3 car garage with a bit of extra depth !
Mine is a 2 car garage. If I had a 3 car garage I'd get more bikes!
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Old 02-03-20, 07:14 AM
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My third garage bay holds my tractor and 4 bikes. Any excess bikes have to go in the pole barn.
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Old 02-09-20, 08:07 AM
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FWIW a long wheel base bent is the most easy to transition to from a DF bike. A good example would be a RANS Stratus.
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Old 02-23-20, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by spinconn View Post
I have gone through the threads here and have spent some time googling, and I could do more online if I must, but I have some very basic questions as someone not familiar with recumbants. I don't understand the references I keep seeing to "DF" bikes, or the advantages of short v. long wheelbase, or 2 v. 3 wheel bikes (other than the obvious balance issue), etc. Most of these posts seem to involve some sort of basic knowledge.

Is there a source, online or in a book, that can give a very basic primer on recumbents; types, purposes of each, comparisons, etc.? I don't need a recumbent for any particular reason but they look like a lot of fun but I don't know where to start.

It's not very complicated. I am not sure it is worth a book. But if you really want one, try https://www.amazon.com/Recumbent-Bic.../dp/189259059X. It's the only book on recumbents that I know of. I have never read it myself, but maybe I should. YouTube is another great resource.

DF means Diamond Frame..in other words, a standard bike.

A short wheel-base will result in a more maneuverable bike, maybe even a little skitterish. Good for racing and aggressive riding. A long wheel-base will result in more stable and docile handling and a wider turn radius. Great for carrying loads, and easy leisure riding. 3-wheel bikes are good for those who may have balance issues, or trouble putting their feet down to hold the bike up at stops, such as someone with MS, or leg numbness from diabetes. Other than that, they are just a lot of fun to ride. I love mine. I use it to run errands to Walmart and the grocery stores. I get a lot of positive comments from onlookers. They're just cool.....
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Old 02-24-20, 02:30 PM
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I prefer to refer to my SWB bent as 'agile'.
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Old 03-02-20, 07:41 AM
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One man's "squirrely" is another man's "responsive." My Nocom (avatar bike) is a handfull at low speeds; but once you get it up to 18-20+ mph, it tracks like it's on rails. As such, it would be a poor choice for commuting - for that my V-Rex would be 'King.' It isn't particularly fast but it handles well at all speeds.
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