Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Recumbent
Reload this Page >

Touring on a Recumbent

Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

Touring on a Recumbent

Old 07-20-08, 10:02 AM
  #1  
rpmbuilder
rpmbuilder
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 5

Bikes: Trek 1000, Recumbent (soon)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Touring on a Recumbent

I am fairly new to the sport of cycling (~1000 miles) via a Trek Road Bike. I have a weak core and place too much weight on the grips, which leaves my hands and arms tingling and sore. I change hand poitions often and stop too frequently in my opinion. I want to ride Centuries and beyond, but that would take 10 hours with all the stops and pain - no thanks.

Two questions: Will a recumbent solve my pain issue as I believe it will? And what are reasonable distances I should expect to be able to ride on a standard recumbent? I never tire in the legs and have gone only 55 miles as a max ride. I know I can do more.

Great forum, thanks for everyone's input.
rpmbuilder is offline  
Old 07-20-08, 11:43 AM
  #2  
sanitycheck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 225
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Can't promise that a 'bent would eliminate your pain -- you'd have to try it and find out. But a lot of people, some with medical conditions that gave them serious pain on upright bikes, find recumbents painless.

My own experience: I don't consider upright bikes "torture devices" as some recumbent enthusiasts like to call 'em. In fact, give me any sort of bike and a week or two off work, and I will have a great time touring. But at the end of a long day on an upright bike, my wrists will be sore, my feet will be sore, my neck will be sore...not enough to ruin the fun, but definitely enough to get my attention.

On my LWB recumbent, after a full day's riding, my legs are tired, but absolutely nothing hurts. (Unless I got sunburned.) And it's more fun to ride than an upright. I find this bike the ideal touring machine.

You also asked how far you can reasonably expect to go on a recumbent. The answer is: as far as you want. If you get too tired to press on, you'll have to stop...but that's true of any bike. If, as you said, your legs never seem to give out on you, then there's no reason to stop riding until you want to stop.
sanitycheck is offline  
Old 07-20-08, 02:22 PM
  #3  
jeffh129
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hartland, WI
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
rpmbuilder- there is a very good chance that switching to a recumbent will eliminate or greatly decrease your pain. That is one of the major reasons that many people switch to recumbents. However, nothing is certain. See if you can get one for a long test ride. Better still, some companies like Rans and Baccchetta offer 30 day return policies if you buy directly from them. So does the Hostel shoppe on their products.

Lastly make sure you also check out bentrideronline.com a huge site devoted to recumbent riding.

Good luck and keep us informed.
jeffh129 is offline  
Old 07-20-08, 02:25 PM
  #4  
rpmbuilder
rpmbuilder
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 5

Bikes: Trek 1000, Recumbent (soon)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Great advice Jeff - THANK YOU
rpmbuilder is offline  
Old 07-20-08, 05:19 PM
  #5  
Abneycat
Hooligan
 
Abneycat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Base of the Rocky Mountains, Canada. Wonderous things!
Posts: 1,431

Bikes: 2010 Cannondale Hooligan 3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A 'bent set up with understeering might be worth trying out, your arms aren't stressed, and are placed in a good spot for relaxation and blood flow. I found it a little less nimble and possibly not good for high intensity group riding/racing, but it would be great for long distance.
Abneycat is offline  
Old 07-23-08, 09:23 AM
  #6  
geraldlanc
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
pain

After 15 years on my Cannondale touring bike and many thousands of miles, I switched to a recumbent because after a mile or two my wrists started hurting. Longer distances were becoming uncomfortable and creating soreness in my neck and shoulders. Now, at the age of 64, I can ride comfortably and pain free on my new bent. Best money I ever spent.
Gerald
geraldlanc is offline  
Old 07-23-08, 02:36 PM
  #7  
Mentor58
'Mizer Cats are INSANE
 
Mentor58's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Clarksville, TN
Posts: 808

Bikes: C-dale T800

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I love my 'bents, am in the process of getting almost all the other bikes ready for sale. I enjoy the fact that on the TE (especially) it's like I'm sitting in the world's biggest IMAX theater, just watching the world roll by. No having to strain my neck, no achy-breaky bits, nothing but pure riding enjoyment.

As for models, (not that you asked, but what the heck), pretty much everybody thinks theirs is the best, and brand loyalties can run deep. For touring, casual / moderate paced riding I love my Tour Easy, it's a LWB bike, very solid, easy to start and stop in traffic. The F5 is a lot more aggressive in nature, it's not as easy to ride when you are doing lots of starts / stops, and doesn't like going slow as much as the TE. That said, I love 'em both, and really think that with those two bikes I've covered the entire gamut of riding I'm likely to do.

Both my bikes are ASS (Above Seat Steering) (sometimes called OSS - Over Seat Steering) and on the Tour Easy it's easy to move around a bit, let go of the bar, wave the arms around, get a new position. Imagine a Cadillac seat. The F5 is more like how I imagine a fighter plane. You are in a very efficient position, but you can't really shift around much in your seat.

I think once you get to ride one, you'll be hooked.

Well, that's my .02

M58
Mentor58 is offline  
Old 07-23-08, 02:51 PM
  #8  
Longfemur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,936
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just make sure you won't be going up too many steep or long hills. Seriously, recumbents aren't cheap. Don't jump into it without knowing what you're doing. There may be some advantages but there are also some disadvantages, often not mentioned by enthusiasts.
Longfemur is offline  
Old 07-24-08, 11:18 AM
  #9  
rsbeach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Maumee, Ohio (near Toledo)
Posts: 122

Bikes: Rans Stratus XP, Trek 740 hybrid

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
+1 for all the above comments.

I bought a Stratus XP about two months ago and I still can't believe what a difference it makes! I had the big four: butt, back, neck, wrists - my legs rarely got tired. Now, after 70 miles, NOTHING hurts. I haven't started touring yet, but by the end of summer I'll be on the road.

Down sides as mentioned by others above: harder to climb, not very maneuverable in traffic (LWB), less visibility, different set of leg muscles. The first and last can be overcome with road time and improving the engine. The third by judicious clothing and displays. A long wheel base is pretty awkward in taffic, but a short wheelbase is as easy as a DF (although not as good for touring IMHO). Bought another LWB yesterday for my wife, who has similar pains to mine.

Good luck with your purchase.
rsbeach is offline  
Old 07-25-08, 07:23 AM
  #10  
Drifty Baker
Junior Member
 
Drifty Baker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Richfield, MN
Posts: 12

Bikes: Bacchetta Giro 26

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My advice is to try as many different bikes as you can. The right bike will choose you as much as you will choose the right bike. Be warned though that if you like to climb hills now you will not like the way you climb in a recumbent. I climb very slowly in my Giro 26. The up side of that though is the ride down the other side of the hill. That is fun! I often times lose my riding partner on the climb up the hill but can catch up on the down hill.

The pain I used to suffer when riding my upright bike went away when I got my bent. However, until I got the bike seat dialed in and built up my bent legs (you will use different muscles) I did experience what is called "recumbutt" and hot feet. It took a couple of months though.

Whatever you do rpmbuilder, enjoy the ride!
Drifty Baker is offline  
Old 07-25-08, 07:15 PM
  #11  
wologan
Olly
 
wologan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 32

Bikes: Touring bike, MTB, two recumbents, some spares for visitors, a trailer.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have toured around 20,000km on recumbents, and another 20,000 on my regular bike. More than half the riders on our recent Beijing-Paris expedition used recumbents. I find the recumbent more comfortable on everything except steep hill climbing, and hill climbing combined with really rough roads (eg much of Kyrgyzstan) or sandy roads (eg. parts or Kazakhstan). It gets worse with 406mm wheels, but better with suspension.

The only place I wouldn't prefer a recumbent is somewhere you know you will be climbing hills all day.

Some things I watch out for for me when designing/chosing a recumbent are:
Numb feet - some people find this worse on recumbent. More important to use a high cadence. May help to avoid a really high position for the cranks.
Sweaty back - Not such an issue in cold places, but annoying in Australia.
Sore Neck - If it is too low without head-rest. Again some people have no trouble.
Pressure sores - Particularly the end of the tail bone, and the bit where the hips poke out on your back side. Maybe I have a particulary boney backside.

Arguably the last two points are more likely on a regular bike anyway.

Good luck

Last edited by wologan; 07-25-08 at 07:18 PM. Reason: Made a mistake
wologan is offline  
Old 07-25-08, 08:16 PM
  #12  
Mentor58
'Mizer Cats are INSANE
 
Mentor58's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Clarksville, TN
Posts: 808

Bikes: C-dale T800

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I don't know where in Central Illinois you are, but there is an excellent Bike Shop in Mascoutah, IL (down around the St. Louis end of the state that you may want to check out. It's called "Midwest Recumbent Bicycles" and here's a link to its website.

Yes, 'bents have their disadvantages, but I think that for the type of riding I do (touring, Social and Recreational, 60 - 100 mile group rides) the benefits far outweigh the downsides. I think you can tell that from my signature.

M58
Mentor58 is offline  
Old 07-26-08, 02:59 AM
  #13  
recumelectric
It's easy being green.
 
recumelectric's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: in the desert
Posts: 932

Bikes: Trek Beach Cruiser, Sun X-2 AX (bent)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've found that I can ride much further on my recumbent. I also don't come home exhausted and dripping sweat. I feel more like I was walking at a moderate pace for a long time. I'm not up for 55 miles, and probably never will be. But I can go 2-3 times the distance that I used to, without any shoulder pain. I also haven't experienced so much of the leg muscle development pain that I have read about. I can "feel it" after a long ride, but it's not really sore or anything. Hard to explain.

I have, however, been complaining about a sore butt, and working on seat adjustments to correct this.
recumelectric is offline  
Old 07-26-08, 09:31 AM
  #14  
LWB_guy
Senior Member
 
LWB_guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 296
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sensations unique to an LWB recumbent

I just started riding an LWB recumbent this year. My longest ride so far was twelve miles. Before this, I had only ridden a diamond frame upright bike. Three major factors I notice about riding the recumbent with underseat steering:

(1) Balancing depends on having my neck, shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, and hands absolutely and completely relaxed. It took me twenty or thirty hours of riding to get comfortable with this idea.
True, you have to flex your arm muscles to steer, but only once in a while. You don't have to bear part of your weight with your arms, or have continuous tension or pressure in them.
This idea is so alien to riding an upright where you place a third your weight on the saddle, a third on the handlebars, and a third on the pedals. It explains why you can travel so much farther by recumbent without discomfort (not to mention that saddle between your legs!!! ) Of course, this only applies to USS.

(2) You cannot unweight from the saddle when you see a big pothole
right in front of your front wheel! So you must be able to see the road in front of you. This is easy for me. And your long-wheelbase recumbent flexes when you hit a pothole--you bounce up off the seat, becoming momentarily weightless, then come back down as you ride over the obstruction. This makes your bike frame flex. (Mine has no shock absorbers.) So , when you test ride recumbents, try hitting one of those asphalt speedbumps at 20 mph to get the feel for this. Obviously long wheelbase bikes and short wheelbase bikes will feel different under the flexing from hitting a pothole. This is not something to fear, just a momentary thing like hitting the end of a diving board before springing off the end. It was just a big surprise for me the first time I experienced it. Now that I've come to expect it, I rather enjoy the sensation.

(3) If your seat height is around 24 inches like mine, you can put your soles flat on the ground if your brake fails for some reason. I haven't tried this yet, but it's nice to know I can do it if my brake fails. It has kept me from wanting to add a second brake. You can't do that on an upright! For me, this is just theoretical so far; I haven't tried braking like this at speed yet. Has anybody done it?

Last edited by LWB_guy; 07-26-08 at 07:15 PM.
LWB_guy is offline  
Old 07-26-08, 07:57 PM
  #15  
guns90
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hi M58,

About that bike shop in Mascoutah, it looks like they have the vast majority of recumbents made listed on their website. I have a TerraTrike Tour, but am considering a lower-end Rans or Bacchetta. Are they stocking all of those brands? I'd like to find a shop that has both in stock that I can test ride when I come to Springfield, Il in a few weeks. We don't have much here in CT. Thanks. Gary
guns90 is offline  
Old 07-26-08, 07:58 PM
  #16  
cycle2work
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 45

Bikes: 1994 Trek Multitrak 720, 2005 Cannondale Road Tandem RT2000, 2007 Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I bought my first recumbent, an LWB RANS Stratus LE, this spring. I've put approximately 800 miles on it so far, including several 65+ mile rides, one century, and a four day solo camping trip.

It is by far my bike of choice for longer rides.

The one issue I have with it is that it is hard to keep in a straight line when your speed drops to around 5 mph or less. If you're climbing major hills/mountains with a bike fully loaded with touring panniers, your speed WILL drop to 5 mph or less! On an upright touring bike, I know from experience I can crank up a hill at that speed and pretty much keep the bike on a straight line. With the LWB, I can only keep it within say a three to four foot range of pavement, zig-zagging back and forth. This is a known issue with recumbents - instability at low speed - that will impact your pleasure if you have lots of hill climbing on your planned tours.

Doing a gentle zig-zag up a steep climb at 4-1/2 mph is fun on some back country roads, but it sucks when you've got a stream of traffic buzzing by your elbow at 60 mph.

I'm very happy with my RANS Stratus, and plan to take it out a 65 mile spin tomorrow. I'm not 100% sure I would take it on my next camping tour, though. The bike is extremely comfortable, but an unstable slow speed climber.
cycle2work is offline  
Old 07-26-08, 08:06 PM
  #17  
phinney
Senior Member
 
phinney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 748

Bikes: Schwinn Rocket 88, Schwinn Fastback, Cannondale Road Tandem, GT Timberline rigid steel mtb

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
rpmbuilder,

It sounds like your bars are way too low for your cycling fitness level. This is common as bicycles with the handlebars at a height only a very small fraction of the population is fit enough to ride comfortably sell better. If you raise the bars a few inches your problems may disappear.
phinney is offline  
Old 07-28-08, 06:47 AM
  #18  
rpmbuilder
rpmbuilder
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 5

Bikes: Trek 1000, Recumbent (soon)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Hey Phinney et al:

I recently had an adjiustment made at my local dealership. They tilted the handlebars back and moved up the seat. I ride a Brooks B-17 saddle and love it by the way. I had already added a new adjustable stem that is set as high as it will go so I am not sure what else I can do for that. Once the adjustment was made the pain subsided, but by no means did it cease as I hoped it would. At my fitness level (6'2" 210 lbs) I know I lack core strength as well and lean into the bars too much. Hopefully that will change with time.

I rode my first Century this past weekend, which was great! It took me just less than 7:30 hours in the saddle and ~ 10 hours overall. There were numerous tough hills that kicked my butt in the last 50 miles. And yes, Illinois has hills.

I lost feeling in my hands and arms with numbness and shoulder during the first 50, but wasn't feeling too bad by the back half. It took me a day to regain feeling in my right pinkie finger, but I was surprised I was otherwise okay.

I believe the future of cycling for me includes the purchase of a recumbent. It is my mission now to visit the St. Louis area bent dealership (2.5 hours away) and see what they have. I would have bought the Tomahawk LBW they had locally, but my dealership had no accessories such as bags. Nobody should ride without the ability to carry the basics such as extra tubes so I did not buy it.

Perhaps the bike of my future exists near STL. Thank you for pointing this location out to me. And thank you to everyone that took the time to respond to my question. This really is a great forum!
rpmbuilder is offline  
Old 07-29-08, 04:20 PM
  #19  
Mentor58
'Mizer Cats are INSANE
 
Mentor58's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Clarksville, TN
Posts: 808

Bikes: C-dale T800

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by guns90 View Post
Hi M58,

About that bike shop in Mascoutah, it looks like they have the vast majority of recumbents made listed on their website. I have a TerraTrike Tour, but am considering a lower-end Rans or Bacchetta. Are they stocking all of those brands? I'd like to find a shop that has both in stock that I can test ride when I come to Springfield, Il in a few weeks. We don't have much here in CT. Thanks. Gary
Never been there. I'm down around Nashville TN, my Dad lives in Southern Ill, so I've heard of the shop, but haven't actually experenced it.

Sorry.

M58
Mentor58 is offline  
Old 07-29-08, 04:24 PM
  #20  
Mentor58
'Mizer Cats are INSANE
 
Mentor58's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Clarksville, TN
Posts: 808

Bikes: C-dale T800

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by LWB_guy View Post
(3) If your seat height is around 24 inches like mine, you can put your soles flat on the ground if your brake fails for some reason. I haven't tried this yet, but it's nice to know I can do it if my brake fails. It has kept me from wanting to add a second brake. You can't do that on an upright! For me, this is just theoretical so far; I haven't tried braking like this at speed yet. Has anybody done it?
You might want to do a search on "Leg Suck" on that one before you give it a try. It may seem like a good idea, but the downside is not going to be fun.

M58
Mentor58 is offline  
Old 08-02-08, 02:28 PM
  #21  
LWB_guy
Senior Member
 
LWB_guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 296
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the warning, M58 !
Guess I'll be looking for a hedge if my brake fails.
LWB_guy is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
stully05
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
3
10-01-09 11:46 PM
Tim Mosquito
Southeast
2
08-27-08 06:39 AM
hr2510
Bicycle Mechanics
9
07-10-07 11:24 PM
hackybiker
General Cycling Discussion
6
09-10-06 10:16 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.