Recumbents: all talk no action?

What is it with recumbents? In a fully faired version they hold the speed record, 132km/h (82mph), which is just staggering. And if you ever talk to a recumbent owner they will tell you about how fast they are, yet the only time I ever see one is when I'm overtaking it.

I went in a 100km charity ride recently and every time we hit a hill the recumbents were doing half the speed of everyone else, even the fat ladies were overtaking them.

On another occasion I rode alongside a recumbent rider and he gave me the usual story about how they're "a bit" slower on the hills but they catch up on the descent and flats. "You'll see, over the next hill" he said. Well we eventually got over the next hill and I had to keep braking to prevent myself from slamming into the back of him.

There is something about these bikes that seems to work in "lab conditions" but doesn't translate very well onto the road for the average rider.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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Them things dont go up hills very fast and get very hot inside when out in sun
but yes they can get up to some very fast speeds.

They take a bit of getting up to speed but ounce flying they move
I tried pacing with one and was doing 50 kmh no probs
 
Polyarmour said:
What is it with recumbents? In a fully faired version they hold the speed record, 132km/h (82mph), which is just staggering. And if you ever talk to a recumbent owner they will tell you about how fast they are, yet the only time I ever see one is when I'm overtaking it.

I went in a 100km charity ride recently and every time we hit a hill the recumbents were doing half the speed of everyone else, even the fat ladies were overtaking them.

On another occasion I rode alongside a recumbent rider and he gave me the usual story about how they're "a bit" slower on the hills but they catch up on the descent and flats. "You'll see, over the next hill" he said. Well we eventually got over the next hill and I had to keep braking to prevent myself from slamming into the back of him.

There is something about these bikes that seems to work in "lab conditions" but doesn't translate very well onto the road for the average rider.
For those that ride them they are somewhat more than a religion. If somebody has a physical reason he can't ride a well fitting upright, well, good for them being on a self propelled 2 wheeled vehicle. But for the rest, an answer to a not asked question. They are complicated, heavy(unless WAY expensive), use unique parts, are tough to see from and be seen on(flags anyone?).

I would rather walk than ride one. Even after I broke my back and it was suggested to me by my quack that I 'might' need to get one..no thanks.
 
Jan 18, 2010
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Well.. Suffice to say I wouldnt be seen dead on one, more chance of me riding a trendy fixed wheel bike. Actually there's virtually no chance of that either.

Maybe competing in a downhill ITT would be a lot of fun on one but on the negative side you cant bunnyhop obstacles or go off road, plus the chances of being squished by a juggernaut has to be very high because you cant see the damn things at the best of times.
 
sublimit said:
Well.. Suffice to say I wouldnt be seen dead on one, more chance of me riding a trendy fixed wheel bike. Actually there's virtually no chance of that either.

Maybe competing in a downhill ITT would be a lot of fun on one but on the negative side you cant bunnyhop obstacles or go off road, plus the chances of being squished by a juggernaut has to be very high because you cant see the damn things at the best of times.
Has the fixie grommet weirdness come to the UK? It seems to be waning somewhat on the left side of the Atlantic...pretty tired of lime green bikes, rims, chains ridden by somebody that can barely ride a bike...then w/o brakes and converse high tops...
 
Bustedknuckle said:
Has the fixie grommet weirdness come to the UK? It seems to be waning somewhat on the left side of the Atlantic...pretty tired of lime green bikes, rims, chains ridden by somebody that can barely ride a bike...then w/o brakes and converse high tops...
seeing a few less here in southern california also. anyone riding a bike is ok with me, but a fad is a fad, with no commitment.
 
Aug 8, 2009
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I got passed by a recumbent once. It was kind of embarassing -- I passed the dude and was trying to distance him and dropped my chain.

I'm not sure why I don't like those things -- CORBS was great.
 
Dec 5, 2010
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>Has the fixie grommet weirdness come to the UK?

Fixies aren't that uncommon in London, and it's been that way for some time AFAIA.

Re recumbents - I've got one - together with various mtbs - I had to give up my road bike some years ago after riding it set off some neck muscle spasms - it's not been the same since. An mtb is just about ok, depending on the day.

There's two parts to 'recumbents not being that fast'. I suspect a lot of people come to them through injury/comfort (etc saddle sores) - particular re touring. So they're probably not yer average fast roadie whippet to begin with. Judging by one US forum (bentrideronline.com) the old/fat/beardie (sandals optional) stereotype is at least partly true. But to look at it another way, if you're..ahem..large, then a normal saddle is probably less likely to be comfortable. Also the relative cost of a recumbent - whilst not more than a particularly nice road bike - is perhaps less likely to be offputting the older you get (and perhaps paid off the mortgage !). Not to mention if you're a bit older you'll probably not be too bothered what anyone else thinks about riding one ('I wouldn't be seen dead', etc).

That's the engine kinda covered, now the bikes..
Most recumbents tend to be intended as commuters/tourers - so tend to be a bit on the lardy side - and even just losing the jersey pocket space means you'll probably be using a rack of some sort (extra weight). Having at least rear suspension prevents some road shock from hitting your back - tho' it's handy on the front too. Some manaufacturers are in the Netherlands - weights not so much of an issue if it's dead flat.
That said, one Netherlands manufacturer - Challenge- also produce some of the lighter bikes around (SL range), at about 22-23 lbs (compared to 32-ish), by using variable tube thickness, thinner guage seats, and carbon fibre - but they're not *that* significantly more expensive than the rest of their offerings - the difference is load weight and - I'd guess - crash damage resistance - but they're still got a 10 yr warranty.
Trikes tend to be a little heavier, unsurprisingly - but if you're in a really low gear for a climb, at least you can't fall over ;)

There's assorted carbon fibre mid/lowracers around, they are somewhat more expensive - cf lowracers especially are really aimed at racing, and tend to suffer from low ground clearance and limited turning circle if used on the road (not impossible though).

Another engine-related issue - if you've gone from a DF to a recumbent, muscle usage is somewhat different, legs only. The position's more 'open', I find my hamstrings contribute less, but the vastus medialis - front/inner muscle about the knee - gets more grief. After a summer's commuting (mebbe 20+miles/day, 3 days a week) - if I miss a week or two it's back to feeling like I'm doing less presses ! Meanwhile last week I was back on the mtb having not touched it for over 6 months, and had a 4 days of pretty fast commutes. It takes a reasonable time to become acclimatised to one, and I suspect a lot longer to actually become fast on one..which may be relative if it's still a heavy bike..

Complicated ? - not really, transmission's the same, suspension (if present) is pretty basic, my rear airshock was off-the-shelf. It's just a bike. Yes, there's some unique parts, if that means the frame/fork/seat/rack.

Visibility ?- there's the WTF? element, most drivers give a wider berth, I get less stupid passes than I do on a DF. Even on my lowish bike - an hpvelotechnik speedmachine - your head height's about the same as that of the driver of a Lotus Elise, MX5, Lotus 7 replica etc. You can't filter in the same way as on a DF and your view of the road's different, but you ride differently to compensate - not a problem.

Err...I think that's covered most of it ;)
 
Dec 5, 2010
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I forgot to add...if the UCI hadn't, in their infinite (!) wisdom, banned recumbents from UCI events in 1934 (and have continued likewise to 'level the playing field') - or had at least provided a different class (even in hpv racing there's several), recumbents would be more common, less seen as 'oddball', they'd probably be a bit cheaper...and you'd get probably get passed by fast riders on them a little more ;)

A little history here:
http://www.helsinki.fi/~tlinden/winforb.html
 
Jan 18, 2010
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Bustedknuckle said:
Has the fixie grommet weirdness come to the UK? It seems to be waning somewhat on the left side of the Atlantic...pretty tired of lime green bikes, rims, chains ridden by somebody that can barely ride a bike...then w/o brakes and converse high tops...
I occasionally see them, Its not so much the bike more the idiot commuter riding them. I have been passed by them when dawdling on my mountain bike on the way to work going at about 12 mph and these trendy riders have gone past flat out at 15 mph thinking they're Eddy Merckx. :rolleyes:

But I dont see people training on them as such.
 
sublimit said:
I occasionally see them, Its not so much the bike more the idiot commuter riding them. I have been passed by them when dawdling on my mountain bike on the way to work going at about 12 mph and these trendy riders have gone past flat out at 15 mph thinking they're Eddy Merckx. :rolleyes:

But I dont see people training on them as such.
I used to have a Moots fixie that was perfect for cold, crappy weather but I converted it to a geared bike cuz of the fixie grommets. Didn't want to be identified with young hipsters with their sister's pants on, empty messenger bag strapped tight to their little wimpy shoulders....
 

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