Recumbent bikes!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Wright, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    A coworker of mine just bought a recumbent bike to ride to work. He showed it to me, and I'm hooked! I've always wanted to commute to work without a car, and now I have proof that it's possible (This coworker lives less than a block from me).

    He says the trip is 12 miles one way and takes him, who is not in shape at all - just like myself - about an hour. He's hoping to cut that down to about 30 minutes when he gets into better shape. There are paved bike trails nearly the entire way from here to our place of employment. Along the river, no less! Talk about a stress reducer. So, I see a number of benefits: 1, less gas & less wear and tear on my car, as I might only drive it a couple of times per month, 2, save money, 3, get in shape.

    So, I'm in the market. I want a nice bike with an electric assist. Why the assist? Well, most of the time I won't use it, but I want to be able to. There are a couple of hills that my coworker says are "not bad", but they take him a bit of time and effort to get over. I'd like a little boost getting over them. Also, if I'm just tired, or if the weather turns nasty during my ride, I'd like to be able to scoot home faster and easier on occasion.

    The problem? I don't know a darn thing about bikes. Let alone recumbents. I know there are some crazy bike people here, so I ask of you: Assimilate me! Bring me into your collective and make me a crazy bike person, too. Here's what I want in my bike:

    - A nice, comfortable seat.
    - Room for a water bottle or two AND a backpack of some sort (perhaps on the back of the seat?) that I could put a few books and my lunch into.
    - Something that is meant to be ridden "long" distances. I consider 24 miles of bike riding in one day a very long distance. I want to get in shape, but at the same time I don't want to have to pedal my ass off and arrive to work a sweaty mess. So, at that, I need some great gearing. Something that can go nice and low for climbing hills, yet also nice and high for fast cruising.
    - Electric assist with considerable range. Some days I might want to pedal very little. I'd like to be able to run a minimum of 20 "real life" miles on a charge. Mostly, it will just be used for helping me over hills, but if I want to get home fast with little effort one day I'd like to be able to just hit it and go. Oh, and I prefer the assist to be chain driven. Someone said something about friction driven assists that put a rubber wheel on your wheel. These don't sound appealing or even very effective to me.
    - Mirrors, fenders, and actual lights would be nice. At the least I should be able to add these later. I don't want nor need a windshield of any sort.

    First, what kind of money am I looking at?

    Second, are there any issues with buying used? I'd like to save as much money as possible. I can always upgrade later on if I really enjoy riding to work.

    Lastly, what else do I need to know? I'm sure I'm missing a lot. What should I look for, what brands are good, what should I do or not do, etc.

    Thank you for your input!!
     
  2. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Please understand, I mean no disrespect, but here goes...
    I know that riders of repugnant recumbent bikes love their rides, and I don't blame them one bit. They're fast and by all accounts unequalled for comfort. I have two problems with them: Visibility and problems working in a group. I'm guessing that the latter is not a major concern to you, but the former is an issue to be considered.
    Electric assist-I'll ask you to take my word on this-you don't need it and won't want it after a couple of weeks. I went from sluglike couch potato to 5 miles to 100 miles (twice) in my first year of riding. It will be dead weight and an embarrassment to you within a month.
    If you're really good with a wrench (ready to stake life and limb on your skills) and want to stay under $1500, then a used recumbent might be the way to go. Good ones can cost much more than that new.
    For something than you can load up with everything, is built to go for many miles, and has enough gears to climb a tree, I would (and did) go with this: Trek 520 mine is a 1993 model that's been well used and abused, but it's still as solid as can be.
    Sorry I couldn't be of more "on topic" help. I trust that someone more astute on the topic of recumbents will be along shortly.
     
  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Recumbants are definitely easier on the lower back. I use them all the time at the health club, but I still use a traditional upright bike for regular riding. My local bike dealer sells recumbants and let me take one for a test spin in the parking lot about a year ago. Very odd sensation shifting your weight left and right. I do agree that sightlines could be a problem. I like to be able to see over or around a car or at least through the front and rear windows to see what's ahead. Most recumbants are too low to allow this. Finally, I just couldn't deny the huge cost differential. The model I tried out was about $2K. I could get several good touring or off-road uprights for that kind of money. Wish you luck , though.
     
  4. Bill Eberhardt

    Bill Eberhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out some of the websites devoted to recumbent bikes. There is a lot of information out there. The International Human Powered Vehicle Association website is a good place to start: or do a web search for "recumbent bike".

    As far as visibility goes, I fly an orange flag on a tall pole when I ride in traffic. I actually get more respect and room from cars when I'm on a recumbent.

    I have had a number of bikes and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Recumbents eliminate the pressure points and numbness in the hands and butt and that can lead to longer rides. The more I ride the better shape I get in and the more I enjoy my rides. Also, by sitting back on a recumbent it's easier to turn your head and take in the scenery.

    My stable:
    Greenspeed recumbent trike
    Rans Screamer recumbent tandem
    Boulder TSL26 mountain tandem
    Softride road bike
    Cannondale mountain bike
     
  5. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    Go for it! I might even forgive you for owning that gas-guzzling SUV![​IMG]
    Seriously, 24mph average is going at a pretty good clip, and not a sweat-free ride, IMO, in all but cold weather.
    I live 20 miles, across town, from work. I'd like to ride, but Orlando roads are decidedly unfriendly to cyclists.
    I have only a mountain bike (Trek 6500-'98 model). I'd like a road bike, but again, there's not many places to ride from home. I couldn't get into recumbents when I tried a few years ago, but I bet they are easier on the, uh, "package."
    Todd
     
  6. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  7. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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  8. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Cameron - thanks for the info.

    I went down to the local Schwinn shop today and rode some recumbents. You're right, I don't need the electric assist - nor do I want it! These things are nothing like the $150 mountain bikes I rode as a kid. I haven't been on a bike for over 10 years and I really thought I needed that assist. After riding a recumbent for 10 minutes, there's no way I'd buy one (an assist) now. It's "effortless" to pedal. I'm sure I'll really start to feel a workout riding for a full hour, but, I certainly don't need that electric assist.

    I also decided on the bike I want - the Burley Canto. It's a long wheel base recumbent that is convertible to short wheel base. I prefer the long, as it's easier for me to steer and enjoy. Now, I've got to go looking for the best price. As a computer geek, I haven't paid MSRP for anything in a long time (nobody buys computer parts at MSRP). Are bikes available for much less than MSRP? Schwinn wants $1250 for this bike which is exactly MSRP. I don't mind paying that, however, I don't want to throw money away if I can get it for less.

    Are there any good online bike retailers that sell below MSRP?

    Thanks again for the info!
     
  9. Bill Eberhardt

    Bill Eberhardt Stunt Coordinator

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