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recumbant question



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 4th 05, 09:27 PM
Jim Bianchi
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Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question


I'd like some info on 'recumbant bicycles,' specifically downsides,
things to watch out for when buying one, things to watch out for when using
one, and so forth.

I'm aware of a problem involving the long drive chain, and have
heard there are designs using an intermediate gear to help this. How well do
these work out?

How about seats and handlebars (I've seen a few of these being used
and the handlebars seem to always be 'ape hanger' style).

I'm NOT a regular bike rider (haven't been for more than 20 years
and even then it was just a casual thing). My physical situation is such
that the sheer height of a std bike would cause me to fall over at stops,
as my legs are not 'lockable' (in the knees), but from the knee down, not as
much problem is anticipated.

If I do get a recumbant, it'd not be used for long distance touring
or mountain biking, just super casual going places and back (sometimes).

--


"I used to be self employed until my job got outsourced.."
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  #2  
Old November 4th 05, 10:07 PM
Doug Huffman
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Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question

What might this 'problem involving the long drive chain' be? My current 240
link (ten feet) chain is many thousands of miles old. The bike, a Vanguard
by Longbikes, is over fifty thousand miles old. I'm off to Key West next
week for BubbaFest on it.

DAGO "Recumbent" and maybe all your questions will be answered.


"Jim Bianchi" wrote in message
...

I'd like some info on 'recumbant bicycles,' specifically downsides,
things to watch out for when buying one, things to watch out for when
using
one, and so forth.

I'm aware of a problem involving the long drive chain, and have
heard there are designs using an intermediate gear to help this. How well
do
these work out?

How about seats and handlebars (I've seen a few of these being used
and the handlebars seem to always be 'ape hanger' style).

I'm NOT a regular bike rider (haven't been for more than 20 years
and even then it was just a casual thing). My physical situation is such
that the sheer height of a std bike would cause me to fall over at stops,
as my legs are not 'lockable' (in the knees), but from the knee down, not
as
much problem is anticipated.

If I do get a recumbant, it'd not be used for long distance touring
or mountain biking, just super casual going places and back (sometimes).

--


"I used to be self employed until my job got outsourced.."



  #3  
Old November 4th 05, 10:13 PM
Chalo
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question

Jim Bianchi wrote:
I'd like some info on 'recumbant bicycles,' specifically downsides,
things to watch out for when buying one, things to watch out for when using
one, and so forth.


There is a great summary of the characteristics, benefits, and
drawbacks of recumbents on Wikipedia. It's largely the work of
frequent r.b.t contributor Guy Chapman:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recumbent

I'm aware of a problem involving the long drive chain, and have
heard there are designs using an intermediate gear to help this. How well do
these work out?


Recumbents with rear wheel drive must necessarily have long chains.
When the rider is seated up above the chain line, chain management
measures are used simply to keep the chain from flailing around so much
that it derails unintentionally. Usually these measures consist of
simple frame-mounted flexible tubing or guide loops in the middle of
the chain's span.

When the rider is seated low, such that the chain would drag against
the underside of the seat if not rerouted, then load-bearing idler
pulleys are used. These are often like skateboard wheels with grooves
cut into them for the chain to follow. This type of chain management
device has a noticeable effect on drivetrain efficicency, and is
usually used to effect a lower rider position that offers better enough
aerodynamic efficiency to fully compensate for additional drivetrain
losses.

How about seats and handlebars (I've seen a few of these being used
and the handlebars seem to always be 'ape hanger' style).


Recumbents usually have one of three different kinds of handlebars--
the "ape hanger" type you have seen, used on some long-wheelbase
'bents; wide handlebars with upturned ends, which attach beneath the
seat; or short flat handlebars mounted on long, often articulated
stems, which are used on short-wheelbase 'bents.

The following links have pictures of all three handlebar types:\
http://www.sunbicycles.com/03/html_0...ts/ez1_sx.html
http://www.sunbicycles.com/03/html_0...s/ez3_usx.html
http://www.sunbicycles.com/03/html_0...edster_sx.html

I specifically chose to show Sun bikes because they are among the least
expensive 'bents available, and because almost any bike shop can get
them.

I'm NOT a regular bike rider (haven't been for more than 20 years
and even then it was just a casual thing). My physical situation is such
that the sheer height of a std bike would cause me to fall over at stops,
as my legs are not 'lockable' (in the knees), but from the knee down, not as
much problem is anticipated.

If I do get a recumbant, it'd not be used for long distance touring
or mountain biking, just super casual going places and back (sometimes).


In my experience, recumbent bikes can be awkward to balance at a stop
and wobbly on startup-- more so even than upright bikes. However,
recumbent trikes offer most of the benefits of recumbent bikes while
resolving any such issues. A trike rider can come to a stop without
removing feet from pedals, and can climb hills as slowly as necessary
without struggling to maintain balance.

Chalo Colina

  #4  
Old November 5th 05, 12:55 AM
Jim Bianchi
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question

On 4 Nov 2005 14:13:55 -0800, Chalo wrote:
Jim Bianchi wrote:
I'd like some info on 'recumbant bicycles,' specifically downsides,
things to watch out for when buying one, things to watch out for when
using one, and so forth.


There is a great summary of the characteristics, benefits, and
drawbacks of recumbents on Wikipedia. It's largely the work of
frequent r.b.t contributor Guy Chapman:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recumbent


Thank you for this link. It sure tells me all I might want to know.

I'm aware of a problem involving the long drive chain, and have
heard there are designs using an intermediate gear to help this. How well
do these work out?


Recumbents with rear wheel drive must necessarily have long chains.
When the rider is seated up above the chain line, chain management
measures are used simply to keep the chain from flailing around so much
that it derails unintentionally. Usually these measures consist of
simple frame-mounted flexible tubing or guide loops in the middle of
the chain's span.

When the rider is seated low, such that the chain would drag against
the underside of the seat if not rerouted, then load-bearing idler
pulleys are used. These are often like skateboard wheels with grooves
cut into them for the chain to follow. This type of chain management
device has a noticeable effect on drivetrain efficicency, and is
usually used to effect a lower rider position that offers better enough
aerodynamic efficiency to fully compensate for additional drivetrain
losses.

How about seats and handlebars (I've seen a few of these being used
and the handlebars seem to always be 'ape hanger' style).


Recumbents usually have one of three different kinds of handlebars--
the "ape hanger" type you have seen, used on some long-wheelbase
'bents; wide handlebars with upturned ends, which attach beneath the
seat; or short flat handlebars mounted on long, often articulated
stems, which are used on short-wheelbase 'bents.

The following links have pictures of all three handlebar types:
http://www.sunbicycles.com/03/html_0...ts/ez1_sx.html
http://www.sunbicycles.com/03/html_0...s/ez3_usx.html
http://www.sunbicycles.com/03/html_0...edster_sx.html


I've not yet seen these, but I will. Thanks again, sir.

I specifically chose to show Sun bikes because they are among the least
expensive 'bents available, and because almost any bike shop can get
them.

I'm NOT a regular bike rider (haven't been for more than 20 years
and even then it was just a casual thing). My physical situation is such
that the sheer height of a std bike would cause me to fall over at stops,
as my legs are not 'lockable' (in the knees), but from the knee down, not
as much problem is anticipated.

If I do get a recumbant, it'd not be used for long distance touring
or mountain biking, just super casual going places and back (sometimes).


In my experience, recumbent bikes can be awkward to balance at a stop
and wobbly on startup-- more so even than upright bikes. However,
recumbent trikes offer most of the benefits of recumbent bikes while
resolving any such issues. A trike rider can come to a stop without
removing feet from pedals, and can climb hills as slowly as necessary
without struggling to maintain balance.


Again good advice. This kinda stuff is exactly what I was looking
for. At that Wikipedia site, I got sucked in by the Windcheetah (AVD).
Specifically the HyperSport. Too bad they cost so much. Oh, well. I'll have
a look at those Sun bikes. Thanks again..

--


"There are only 10 kinds of people in the world;
those who understand binary, and those who don't."

  #5  
Old November 5th 05, 02:10 AM
JeffWills
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question


Chalo wrote:

In my experience, recumbent bikes can be awkward to balance at a stop
and wobbly on startup-- more so even than upright bikes. However,
recumbent trikes offer most of the benefits of recumbent bikes while
resolving any such issues. A trike rider can come to a stop without
removing feet from pedals, and can climb hills as slowly as necessary
without struggling to maintain balance.


In my experience, wobbliness at start-up goes away after a month or
two. I've been riding recumbents for about 25 years- the newer bikes
are far better than they were in the "good old days". Much of the
wobbliness is caused by people yanking on the handlebars, which does no
good on a recumbent. Learning to push with the legs while relaxing the
upper body is one skill you'll need for fruitful recumbent bike riding.

You might want to wander over to the message board at Bentrideronline:
http://www.bentrideronline.com/ . There's an area specifically set up
for new riders- you'll find that you're asking questions that many
other people have asked. You'll also find that there are many different
opinions- I've heard twice as many opinions as people expressing them.

After all that, I'd recommend you try to track down a recumbent rider
or shop and try out a couple bikes. There's many different styles of
recumbent, and what's right for *me* may not be what's right for *you*.
There's an area for "riding partners" on the Bentrideronline message
board, too.

FWIW: I rode a "short wheelbase" Lightning for 12 years before
switching to a "long wheelbase" Tour Easy:
http://www.pacifier.com/~jwills/Gall...s/photo_1.html . Very
different bikes, both of them lots of fun.

Jeff

  #6  
Old November 5th 05, 02:33 AM
5x5.net
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question

Practical issues:

1) Starting up going uphill can be a problem on some recumbents. God
help you if you forget to downshift before you come to a stop facing
uphill.

2) While not entirely necessary, it is best to use clip-in pedals to
help keep your feet on them even while riding over rough stuff.
Without cleats on your shoes and matching clips on the pedals, your
feet may get bounced off the pedals. As the crank height goes up, it
becomes more and more important to use clips.

3) The chain management solutions such as tubes and idlers make noise
and add drag to the pedaling force. Mid-drive systems that do away
with idlers are usually very quiet, but not always. If you are used
to DF road bikes and get on a recumbent with idlers you will
immediately notice the increased noise level and lack of smoothness -
more like a grinding sensation- while pedaling. You may or may not be
able to get used to it.

4) Chain tubes help protect clothing/skin from oil on the chain, but
you can live without them by either tucking your pants leg into your
sock or using a pants clip.

5) Long wheelbase bikes tend to be wobbly at low speeds, and need
lots of room to turn around. On loose stuff like sand/gravel the
lightly loaded front wheel can get skittish. They tend to absorb road
shock because the long frame has some flexibility.

6) Short wheelbase bikes have a tendency for the rear wheel to lift
up in hard braking situations because so much of the rider's weight is
over the front wheel. The frames tend not to be flexible so you will
feel road bumps. Suspension helps a lot here.

7) An upright seating position will tend to give you recumbutt, a
numbing of the feet/toes and ass.

8) It can be hard to turn to look behind you so you will need a
mirror.
  #7  
Old November 5th 05, 04:08 AM
Chalo
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question


JeffWills wrote:
Chalo wrote:

In my experience, recumbent bikes can be awkward to balance at a stop
and wobbly on startup-- more so even than upright bikes.


In my experience, wobbliness at start-up goes away after a month or
two.

....
Learning to push with the legs while relaxing the
upper body is one skill you'll need for fruitful recumbent bike riding.


This is consistent with my experience riding choppers. It's feasible
to become accustomed to the way choppers handle-- but there is no
denying the fact that they are intrinsically less stable and more
difficult to ride than upright bikes. The same goes for recumbents.

Chopper riders embrace the difficulties imposed by their fanciful
machines and build a cult of skill around them. Somehow, 'bent riders
seem to prefer denying the more challenging characteristics of their
mounts, as if it's a matter of shame that 'bents take more skill to
ride than uprights. I don't get it, but I've observed it time and
again.

Choppers are hard to ride, but mastering them has its rewards. 'Bents
are hard to ride, but mastering them has its rewards. What's wrong
with that?

Chalo Colina

  #8  
Old November 5th 05, 04:47 AM
JeffWills
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question


Chalo wrote:
snip

Chopper riders embrace the difficulties imposed by their fanciful
machines and build a cult of skill around them. Somehow, 'bent riders
seem to prefer denying the more challenging characteristics of their
mounts, as if it's a matter of shame that 'bents take more skill to
ride than uprights. I don't get it, but I've observed it time and
again.

Choppers are hard to ride, but mastering them has its rewards. 'Bents
are hard to ride, but mastering them has its rewards. What's wrong
with that?

Chalo Colina


Hmmm... I ridden different recumbents, and they've all had different
characteristics. None has ever been "hard" to ride. Slightly different,
and requiring different responses, but nothing intrinsic about them has
made riding my (two) recumbents more difficult to ride than my (four)
uprights.

The *best-handling* recumbent I've ridden is a Terracycle
Terra-za:http://www.terracycle.com/terraza1.htm . It's the only
recumbent I've been able to track-stand. This ain't surprising,
considering the lengths the designer went to figure out the steering
geometry: http://www.terracycle.com/adj_geom.htm

Chalo, if you ever get down to Portland, look in on Terracycle- you'd
probably have fun talking machinery with them.

Jeff

  #9  
Old November 5th 05, 06:44 AM
Jim Bianchi
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question

On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 20:33:56 -0600, 5x5.net wrote:
Practical issues:


Thank you for this. I've gone to the AVD website and found the
Windcheetah, specifically the Hypersport.

http://www.windcheetah.co.uk/dollar...._thumb_big.jpg

(So it costs $5350 -- I also want a REAL Mini-Cooper S, a Norton
Manx 500cc single, and a pre-64 Winchester M70 in 22-250). Even though my
chances of obtaining any of those things is effectively zero, I can dream.

At any rate, I feel I could best use a trike 'bent. I repeat, this
would just be used for (relatively) short occasional outings, nothing long
or particularly hazardous.

--


I'd be the one driving a new Ferrari at 45mph..


  #10  
Old November 5th 05, 05:29 PM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default recumbant question


Have a look at the 'bent' I built ( http://geocities.com/throwaway888/ )
I have thousands of kilometres on it and it's dead reliable (note that I'm an aircraft mechanic and
spend time fiddling with it and have fixed a lot of bugs that might have caused some unreliability).
I've found the commercial bents to be hopelessly overpriced and terribly underbuilt and designed. I
test ride new bents from time to time and have yet to be impressed with the commercial offerings.

On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 21:27:55 GMT, (Jim Bianchi) wrote:


I'd like some info on 'recumbant bicycles,' specifically downsides,
things to watch out for when buying one, things to watch out for when using
one, and so forth.

I'm aware of a problem involving the long drive chain, and have
heard there are designs using an intermediate gear to help this. How well do
these work out?

How about seats and handlebars (I've seen a few of these being used
and the handlebars seem to always be 'ape hanger' style).

I'm NOT a regular bike rider (haven't been for more than 20 years
and even then it was just a casual thing). My physical situation is such
that the sheer height of a std bike would cause me to fall over at stops,
as my legs are not 'lockable' (in the knees), but from the knee down, not as
much problem is anticipated.

If I do get a recumbant, it'd not be used for long distance touring
or mountain biking, just super casual going places and back (sometimes).

 




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