Weaknesses: Only cons were it seemed unstable going down hill, and it was difficult to go fast uphill. Also the chain gets my right leg greasy on every ride.
I like this bike. No more pain in my wrists, neck and sholders on long rides. I don't plan on giving up my mountain bike, but for the road a bent can't be beat. Less than week after purchase I took it on the Santa Fe Century. 104 miles of pure pleasure. The riders of regular road bikes said how much they envied me.
I don't like the handlebar; plan to change it soon.
Strengths: Ride of a LWB on a compact frame; rapid acceleration; sweet frame flex; comfortable RANS seat; excellent ergonomics on the handlebar; adjustable seat/handlebars; lightweight, easy to transport; quick learn, handles like a dream. This bent is perfect for a smaller person such as myself (5'4", 38 x-seam, 29 inseam). Flex in handlebar riser makes for smooth handling. I like the older RANS seat as it offers a full length interior space for jackets, caps, etc. on the trip. Plenty of RANS accessories available, including the possibility of modifying the handlebar set-up if I wanted to do so. The SRAM 7 8spd is acceptable, but I might upgrade. The bike is geared quite high, but not as low as some might prefer. I find it adequate as I don't ride many hills. Other strengths? Comfort, comfort, comfort! This one is particularly comfortable because riding it one feels so carefree as it is so easy to ride from the start. I almost feel as relaxed on this as I do on my trike. Not a twitchy ride that you have to constantly monitor or risk running off the path.
Weaknesses: Paint job is beautiful, yet chips easily. A nice powedercoat would have been much better. Notorious RANS seat slippage-fixed with a trusty hose clamp enclosed in a bit of black innertubing. It has a wider turn radius than an EZ1, for example, but that's to be expected due to it's length and extreme fork rake. Not as cumbersome as a Tour Easy or Stratus on tight turns.
This is for the 2001 Tailwind, which I recently picked up used on Ebay from a local seller. Less than 100 miles on this mint bike. I like this older red color of the TW and in this model year the tubing has been increased to 2" diameter, which offers the sweetest ride. I wanted one of these for a while, but could never find one locally to try out. Finally I just took the plunge, un-test ridden. I haven't been disappointed. It has become my favorite two wheeler. This bent is the cousin of the Rocket (which I own and love) and they are very similar in that they both accelerate rapidly, cruise with hardly any effort, and coast on forever. Both are just a blast to ride! The TW feels a little more stable, of course, and it takes very little effort to get it up to a good cruising speed. Though the TW is a "compact" LWB, it feels and handles more like a LWB, which gives it that "Caddy" feel-smooth, fast, easy to handle. I was concerned about "tiller effect" in this handlebar set-up, but I experience none or if I do, I surely don't notice it. The bar can be adjusted lower or higher in two places. In it's lowest position it allows me to have a good, relaxed hand/arm placement and it does not put the bar in my face in the "hamster" position like the stock Rocket or V-Rex can do. I'm short and I can sit flat-footed at a stop, which I like. The bike just feels comfortable, stable, and is fast as well as stable at low speed cruising. There is very little wobbling going on during start-up, which I found to be difficult on most LWB bents. Someone who plans to tour might want to modify for a lower gear than is on the bike. My Rocket is geared the same and it climbs like a billy goat, so I don't see the need, but what do I know? If I ever tour, it will be on this bike.
Similar Products Used: OWNED IN PAST: Bacchetta Giro (boring and rough); RANS V-Rex (too big); Tour Easy (too long, not peppy enough to suit me); BikeE CT/AT (too slow); EZ1 SC Lite (too heavy/slow); Catrike Pocket (too rough and uncomfortable, too slow).
NOW OWN: RANS Rocket (fun and peppy); Wizwheelz Terratrike 3.6 (fun, comfortable, fast, fun); RANS Tailwind.
TEST RIDDEN: EZ Rider, EZ Sport Ltd; RANS V2; RANS Fusion; KMX trike; RANS Force 5; Burley Jett Creek; Burley Koosah; Sun EZ3.
ASPIRE TO RIDE? RANS Stratus.
Bike Setup: Stock Primo Comets; Garmin Fortrex 101 GPS; FastBack Design hydration system; Delta rear rack; Greenfield kickstand; mirror; fanny pack gear bag & Arkel tail pack; BMX platform pedals alternated with SpeedPlay Frogs; Cane Creek ergo bar ends.
Strengths: Seating comfort, shock absorbing frame and steering post, acceleration and speed. Riding comfort without need for fancy and expensive riding gear: shorts, gloves, shoes, etc.
Weaknesses: Seat slips on track as received.
Important addendum to 3/24/05 review of RANS Tailwind Recumbent: Added RANS 20" fenders @ $50/set + shipping from RANS. Included in bent sale price was a handy RANS kick stand. Stock bike weighs 33 LB. Bike is transported and easily stored in covered-locked PU truck bed of '98 GMC Sonoma (std.cab). Bracket Sensor Kit (Long) for CatEye Computer(s) is P/N 169-9305. Fits most CatEye computers and must search hard to find/order in cycle shops. Also can use the CatEye Astrale 8 Cadence computer with long wire. Seat and handlebar comfort of RANS Tailwind recumbent does not require fancy road bike gear, including gel shorts, gel gloves, and fancy clip-on road shoes. The RANS Tailwind is a real winner!
Strengths: Seating comfort, shock absorbing frame and steering post, acceleration and speed
Weaknesses: Seat slips on track as received.
I developed a shoulder problem from the “jack-hammering” my arms took riding my wedgy road bike, and I was forced to try a recumbent (bent). I selected the RANS Tailwind because I can remove the front wheel and easily place the bike into my pickup truck and lock the bed cover; the bike is with me, then, wherever I go. I must say; I thought I’d never get use to the RANS steering. After about two weeks, however, I was totally use to it. I feel as though I could ride the RANS all day and I cannot wait to get on it again. I ride the recumbent three days a week, 23 miles each trip. I no longer feel any stress on my arms or shoulders. I am very impressed with the comfortable ride, including the nice flex in the frame and the steering column when going over bumps and rough roads. The recumbent riding position has removed all stresses from my back and from my neck (not to mention my rear end). Amazingly, because of the folded riding position, I can actually go faster with the recumbent than I could with my fancy wedgy. The acceleration on the bent is impressive, probably due to the smaller wheels and the leg-power advantage. In spite of comments from others about leg discomfort due to the new leg position, I never experience any discomfort at all. My legs loved this bike from the get go. I purchased the RANS from Quality Bicycle in San Diego. Since I did my homework on the Internet, I was clued in to the seat bracket in the earlier models that would slip. I noticed the recumbent I ended up purchasing was probably a 2003 model with the old bracket, so I mentioned it to the salesperson, and I got a 10+% discount. Yes, the bracket really does slip no matter how tight it is fastened. I fixed that by inserting a stainless steel sheet metal screw into the aluminum seat track just behind the seat bracket. Now the seat doesn’t move. The bike is so well designed and built, it is hard to comprehend that their engineers allowed this flaw in production. Another dilemma I had was to find a cycle computer with a wire long enough to reach the handlebars. After a long search, I found CatEye sells an adapter kit for about $17 with a wire at least 48” long that reaches from the front wheel up to the handlebars. I picked up a backpack that carries everthing I need for about $10 from Costco and hung it onto the two seat back posts. Everything else on the bike is stock and is performing well. It is obvious that the brakes and the shifting components are lower end, but they work just fine. Shifting on the RANS is perfect. The brakes are superb without any squeal. The seat is tops. It fit me everywhere like my favorite recliner chair. Happy riding.
Similar Products Used: Giant Cypress Cross, Specialized Sequoia Elite standard road bikes
Bike Setup: RANS Stock, Magellan GPS, CatEye Cycle Computer, air pump, water bottles, backpack from Costco.
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2003
Strengths: Climbs just about anything with lower gearing, incredibly stable at verry high speeds, quality frame, spectacular RANS seat
Weaknesses: Stock gearing taps out ~45mph, Deore LX brake pads suck for heavy use, wedgie riders will want to sit on your bike after long rides.
Update to last review. With almost a year of riding on the Tailwind, it's even better than my first impression. As my skills have increased, the frame quality becomes even more obvious - it easily accomodates and exploits component upgrades. The RANS seat is even better with more miles. Moved to pure road tires - more fragile for commuting, but efficiencies are worth it. And this bike in road trim is verry quick and fast. 20" wheels = small flywheel = blistering acceleration. And the bike is routinely over 40mph downhills without a fairing - wow! Plus stability increases remarkably with speed - more like motorcyle dynamics than a bike. There might be faster bikes out there, but I haven't seen 'em on my roads! Biggest breakthroughs have been in climbing - with a 22 gear-inch granny, the stroke/cadence efficiency can't be matched up a long, extended grade, like Hwy 9. I'm still slower than the fastest climbers, and you can't sprint uphill on recumbents due to the fixed posture, but you can sustain it all day, enjoying the view the whole way (unlike a wedgie!). And once we reach the downhill, they haven't got a prayer...
So, how many things do YOU own that you can honestly say are better a year after you bought 'em than when new?