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So, I researched recumbents all winnter. I went to a bike shop, and went on a SHORT test ride, 5 to 10 minutes. It felt prety cool, so I went back the next week and bought it. Now, my test ride was w/ regular flat pedals. When I bought it, I had him instal a pair of look pedals. I took it home, and had a HARD time starting off w/ clipless pedals. I took it on rides. After the third, I called and told him that I was (no lie) experiencing shoulder pain from an old injury, that I was not experiencing on a regular road bike. After a long discussion, (and only 7 miles on the bike) he said that he would take it back. I decided to try one more ride today. I HATED it. They climb for s*&t, and the handling is verry different. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I'm going to return it, before I loose the chance. Just my 2 cents about my recumbent experience.
 

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No...

Cartman said:
So, I researched recumbents all winnter. I went to a bike shop, and went on a SHORT test ride, 5 to 10 minutes. It felt prety cool, so I went back the next week and bought it. Now, my test ride was w/ regular flat pedals. When I bought it, I had him instal a pair of look pedals. I took it home, and had a HARD time starting off w/ clipless pedals. I took it on rides. After the third, I called and told him that I was (no lie) experiencing shoulder pain from an old injury, that I was not experiencing on a regular road bike. After a long discussion, (and only 7 miles on the bike) he said that he would take it back. I decided to try one more ride today. I HATED it. They climb for s*&t, and the handling is verry different. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I'm going to return it, before I loose the chance. Just my 2 cents about my recumbent experience.
Never ridden one, and never will either. Recumbents are the devil.
 

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Memories, fantasies.

Out of idle curiosity, I rode a few miles on a recumbent a couple of years ago. Even before I took the first pedal stroke, I knew I would never ride one again. I thought about my instant dislike of a recumbent and came to the conclusion that a large part of my cycling is grounded in memories of my younger self on a racing bike, and in fantasies of who or what I could have been in the sport. Probably because all these mental images center on a rider on a traditional bicycle, my brief recumbent ride was an empty experience - akin to pushing a wheelbarrow. The recumbent idea and technology is fine and admirable - they just don't fill the inner need I apparently have for images of myself and others racing.
 

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No, but I've seen quite a few and hated the way they all looked. BUT, two days ago a saw a bent sporting a tallish, lithe yet curvy, blonde that seemed to have been designed for speed.....the blonde, not the bent. She was everything the bent stereotypical rider isn't: not hairy; clean; trim around the midriff; not festooned w/ all manner of helmet mirrors; not sporting knee-high tube socks......attractive.....
 

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Cartman said:
So, I researched recumbents all winnter. I went to a bike shop, and went on a SHORT test ride, 5 to 10 minutes. It felt prety cool, so I went back the next week and bought it. Now, my test ride was w/ regular flat pedals. When I bought it, I had him instal a pair of look pedals. I took it home, and had a HARD time starting off w/ clipless pedals. I took it on rides. After the third, I called and told him that I was (no lie) experiencing shoulder pain from an old injury, that I was not experiencing on a regular road bike. After a long discussion, (and only 7 miles on the bike) he said that he would take it back. I decided to try one more ride today. I HATED it. They climb for s*&t, and the handling is verry different. I'm sure I could get used to it, but I'm going to return it, before I loose the chance. Just my 2 cents about my recumbent experience.
... with all due respect, given the nature of the recumbent world, you might be "guilty" of giving it 2 cents worth of effort given your description...

Obviously, your opinion and experiences are worth as much as any, including what I'm about to say, but I'll bring the grand total up to 4 cents at least...

First, I think it's fair to remember that most often in the cycling world, the term recumbent is used generically... pretty much lumping the various types (from low racer HPV to short wheel base to long to casual recumbent cruisers) all under one somewhat nerdish label. And, while I appreciate your research, your test ride and time spent thus far (even given other problems you've noted), it may have been... inadequate.

Second, while the overall mechanics of riding a bicycle seem similar, experience teaches us the different techniques and muscle groups needed for cycling niches (from BMX, to trials, to MTB, to road racing to time trials). Recumbents, in general, are no different... often requiring several K to develop your "recumbent legs". Also, you mentioned a pain in your shoulder that you'd not experienced before. Could this have been an issue of fit or the type of steering (I can't stand above seat steering on most recumbents I've tried)? I'm luckily unlucky I guess. I'm torn 'tween two worlds due to illness and injury whereby I use a recumbent as a recovery/rehab tool at least... and as a primary ride when my physical condition persists... so I'm a bit defensive of this alternative cycling mode (while I do have a beard, it's a winter thing for me... and I'll be shedding it soon, and I only have one cat who I generally ignore).

Many recumbents can climb, albeit a bit slower than your average road machine with your average roadie aboard... it's a matter of gearing and technique (you can't stand to aide, but you can spin up a vertical wall if you've got the gams). Often, a person with cycling experience expects a direct translation over to a recumbent and are disappointed in the bike when it fails to live up to certain expectations... but rarely do they look at the engine.

Lastly, recumbents aren't for everyone... and this may indeed be your case... but for many it's a viable alternative... for a few with illness/injury and/or disability, it might be the only alternative.
 

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Akirasho said:
... with all due respect, given the nature of the recumbent world, you might be "guilty" of giving it 2 cents worth of effort given your description...

Obviously, your opinion and experiences are worth as much as any, including what I'm about to say, but I'll bring the grand total up to 4 cents at least...

Lastly, recumbents aren't for everyone... and this may indeed be your case... but for many it's a viable alternative... for a few with illness/injury and/or disability, it might be the only alternative.
Well stated Akirasho.
I have only ridden a recumbent once for about an hour and I did not came away thinking this form of cycling was for me. The recumbent I rode was an inexpensive cruiser, I have since seen many a recumbent with body sleeve that I thought would be more to my liking.
 

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magnolialover said:
Never ridden one, and never will either. Recumbents are the devil.
They are worse than the devil, they are the toys of geeks who want the world to be a better place because of recumbants. The world will come to an end because of people with ideals, it's much more destructive than greed.
 

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I was curious. I did a lot of research and tested a couple of varieties of bents before I took the plunge several years back. Then I spent much of the spring and summer riding myself into form on it. I found it a ton of fun.

I learned early on that the only real similarity between a bent and a wedgie is the two wheels and the means of propulsion. Throw out everything else, toss the instinctive conventional cycling concepts and start from scratch. It's learning how to ride all over again. Riding a bent is to cycling as skating is to skiing.

I'm a traditional cyclist at heart. Riding the Bent is one of a couple fun activities. I don't really think of the Bent as a 'bike ride' as much as many others might. I rode well over 12k miles last year and a little over a hundred on the Bent. If you didn't like the experience, I certainly wouldn't give you a hard time about it.

I'm with Akirasho on this one.
 

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If bents had come first, we'd never have seen wedgies

I'm not a bent owner, but I have ridden them quite a bit, and I can understand your dislike. How can you feel like a man on something that doesn't hurt your back, coddles your @$$ and lets you ride all day without getting off to stretch and walk around . . .?
No, but seriously: This seems to come down to a decision about who's more likely to be right, somebody who rode a bent for 20 minutes or somebody who's owned one for 20 years. I've almost bought one a couple of times, but changed my mind for one reason or another. I may wind up with one eventually. What intrigues me is that I see a lot of them around here on centuries and longish group rides, and I've never once heard an owner complain about the bike, the concept or the way he or she feels at mile 85. Riding with the wedgies, that's a constant drone. I can't help thinking that if bents had come first, so they were considered "normal" bikes, only circus clowns would ride uprights.
 

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Cory said:
I can't help thinking that if bents had come first, so they were considered "normal" bikes, only circus clowns would ride uprights.
A lot of folks already know that a recumbent was not the invention of some seventies hippy wannabe, but have been around almost as long as the double diamond in one form or another... and while arguable, there is evidence that their efficiency over flat to rolling terrain spelled their doom in mainstream cycling when the UCI fundamentally banned them from competition.

http://www.bicycleman.com/history/history.htm

In 1933, Francois Faure, a Frenchman, rode a recumbent 49.99 km in an hour, a new record. The day of Faure's hour attempt the other racers jeered at him and his bike. Stand up and pedal like a man they joked, lying down will make you sleepy. Their laughter died as he out paced two professional riders. Faure went on to beat the world hour record, going 45.055 km in one hour. In 1934 the UCI (Union Cyclist International) ruled that the Velocar was not a bicycle and could not be raced in UCI events of for UCI records.

Faure's record was relegated to a foot note in cycling history with the stroke of their bureaucratic pen. The recumbent was faster, and they didn't want to have to compete with it. They have not relented to this day.
In 1938 Marcel Berthet rode a streamlined velocar 50.5 km/hour, another new record. Francesco Moser surpassed this mark on a wedgie. Moser rode 51.1 km/hour, but not till 1984, 46 years later!


Without the UCI's endorsement to race or have the record, Mochet's recumbent never had a chance to become a mainstream item. That is why recumbents have not been mass-produced until now. Who knows, if the UCI hadn't banned recumbents from racing you could have been riding a recumbent years ago.


http://www.physics.helsinki.fi/~tlinden/winforb.html

And, there is a bit of data and evidence that indeed does suggest that over certain courses, a rider of lesser physical means could best a better rider on an upright. In my humble opinion, there is a lot of fundamentally unfounded bias against recumbents when mixed into the general cycling community.

I've heard arguments about how unsafe they would be in a crit race (arguably, not the safest race form on the planet) without a lot of data or experience (since you won't see them mixed in any sanctioned event anyway). If an upright rider takes out the field on a corner... someone will say, "tough break"... but if a recumbent rider did it, I suspect the sentiment would be "damn recumbents konphuz me!!! They're UNSAFE!!!". Of course, this is my opinion and scenario... cuz as I've said, they rarely mix in competion (one exception are certain HPV speed events which allow upright bicycles... indeed, I've seen both recumbents and uprights ply Major Taylor Velo at the same time with no NASCAR Daytona BIG ONE).

Sometimes when out and about, I'll pull up to a group of riders, breathing heavily... drenched with sweat. Someone will look at my "recumbent" position and quip, "not working very hard are ya?" Folks, it still takes a motor to make one go! Easier doesn't mean easy!!!

Alas, I still feel that, like a sign in my basement that, for most folks "My mind is already made up. Don't confuse me with the facts" will hold true. Sorry, but as a person who floats 'tween both worlds... this is how I see it.

Isn't the cycling world big enuff for a bit of variation on a theme?
 

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Akirasho said:
Isn't the cycling world big enuff for a bit of variation on a theme?
Spot-on. I spend time in both worlds too, though for the last couple of years I've been infatuated with the uprights. Gotta say I'm not crazy about the idea of pack racing with recumbents, even in a non-mixed field. The SWB's (chainrings the first thing to greet you) spook me in a pack, even tho that's what I ride. And because of the lower CG and restricted ability to move body weight independant of the bike, I can't hold as good a line on a 'bent. If pressed that the UCI ban was because of safety or because of unfair advantage, I'd have to say it's legitimately a little of both, weighted towards the unfair advantage/traditional equipment argument. No excuse for not letting them in TT, and that would be a sight to see.

On the other hand, I was out riding in 44 deg weather yesterday - comfortable enough, but cool. Saw a pair of 'bents riding behind fairings, and my knees were just a bit jealous. This morning, my shoulders and butt are.

On most routes I ride, I find no meaningful speed difference between the two, given the same effort. On the other hand, I feel more like hammering on the upright, and more like enjoying the ride on the recumbent. If I'm laying down a lot of miles in a day, I need a darn good reason to choose an upright.

To the original poster: Not sure about the shoulder pain - that's unusual. Maybe tension from the more active steering sensation? Or maybe you have the seat tilted back too far for a start - it takes a while to get your neck used to supporting your head in the new direction. But if it's not your thing, then go find something that is. Points on for trying the thing before deciding you dislike it. My original experience was a lot like yours - liked the idea, researched a ton, test rode, bought, then wondered what the hell I had done. I worked through the differences and found that I liked both. A few other thoughts: Clipless pedals seem to work better on a 'bent if the cleats are well back on the shoes, though 'bent clip-ins are generally more difficult because of the leg position. Eggbeaters are my favorite 'bent pedals, since you can hit them from both front and back entry.
 

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Akirasho said:
Isn't the cycling world big enuff for a bit of variation on a theme?
:D Absolutely not. We should all ride the same exact bike.

All bikes should be steel, weigh exactly 20.0 lbs. If you can't handle the weight, then you shouldn't ride.

They should all have the same saddle, a nice hard narrow saddle. If it doesn't feel good, then you shouldn't ride.

They should all have the same gearing. If you are not strong enough or live in hills or mountains you should just learn to live with bad knees or just give up riding and go buy a 4x4.

All bikes should be painted Bianchi celeste.

The only option for a gruppo will now be SRAM. I don't care if you like your Shimano or Campy. We must be all the same.

The only option for clothing should be wool. We don't need any hi-tech crap.

Shoes, sorry, but it's a Nike, size 47 narrow. If you have fat feet, take up snowshoeing, or swimming.

By the way, if you own a bike you must commute on it. You can't own a car or truck. You can take the bus but only on snow days in Florida.

You might have gotten my point by now. We ride different things for different reasons. Not every ride is a race to be won. Some folks only ride for recreation, other for sport, some because they don't have an alternative.

I spent this last Sunday following the slowest runners in a 1/2 marathon. We on a MUT for most of the event (3.5 hours!). We saw a few hundred riders and all seemed to be having a good day. Some were on bents, most were on standard bikes, even one was on a hand bike. If they are riding, who cares what they are riding, wearing, not wearing.

Ride & have fun.
 

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My two cents

I don't ride recumbents for these reasons:

I have much more flexibility of my position and weight on a standard road bike.:)
Getting positioned that low on a moving vehicle in traffic is dangerous:eek:
I am higher up so I can hopefully anticipate someone opening a car door:eek:
I can manuever much quicker on a road bike.:)
I am too old to change my habits now.:p

I used to work with a guy that rode a recumbent into work every single day.
He had emergency numbers and his blood type labeled all over his bike,
I wonder why :rolleyes:
 

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We had a recumbant in the Tour de Phoenix this weekend, and he was the cause of a 10 rider pile up. They may be fine bikes, and fast, but they DO NOT belong in a racing peleton. They are hard to see when amongst a group of upright bikes and that is dangerous.
 

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I would no sooner ride a "bent", than I would ride a unicycle with clown make-up on. (same thing)
 

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I might get myself a recumbent (a lowracer, something like the cobrabikes carbon bike maybe) some day because...

It is different from what everybody else has.

On the other hand, I might get a custom single speed titanium bike with TT geometry because...

It is different from what everybody else has.
:D
 

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Baaa, Baaa

that is the sound sheep make while riding the same bike, the same way... while poo pooing anothers ride. What can I say?

"They are hard to see when amongst a group of upright bikes and that is dangerous."

yep, the only time I use a flag is around self centered, arrogant roadies who imagine they own the road. Cars see me better, even on my low rider, the only close encounters I've had were on regular bikes. It seems to be an unexpected shape that draws a driver out of his daydream. A road bike looks like a pedestrian and even the bright colors don't snap some back into reality, but the odd shape sure does. Tandems have a similar effect, anything out of the norm

It is a new skill set, don't expect to jump on and ride fast for a long time, maybe 1000 miles.

To the original poster, I've had one recumbent that had a riding position that I didn't like. I've got three I like. Finding and testing a bent is tough, and, in my expereience, even a wedgie requires several long rides to get tweaked for best fit.

Something to contemplate, instead of the hostility that is often shown on this board (and occasionally in person), how about thinking something like "we have a rider now, not a driver, when he does drive his car now, he is more tuned in to be aware of all cyclists, making the road safer". A lot of bent riders are middle aged fat old guys who are tying to regain some measure of health. once out on the road, they become aware of its hazards and are one more vote for safer saner roads for all of us, rather than a vote to relegate us to sidewalks and bike paths.
 

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Timmons said:
We had a recumbant in the Tour de Phoenix this weekend, and he was the cause of a 10 rider pile up. They may be fine bikes, and fast, but they DO NOT belong in a racing peleton. They are hard to see when amongst a group of upright bikes and that is dangerous.
There were a dozen or so pileups in the 2005 TdF - all pro riders, not a recumbent in sight. Clearly, pro riders on uprights DO NOT belong in a racing peloton.:rolleyes:

Maybe this guy did cause a wreck. His bike didn't. Hard to see in a group? How you figure? They suck up a heck of a lot more roadspace.

All that said, I don't think tight mixed groups are a great idea. Bumps happen in a tight group, and the lower CG of a 'bent means that there's a mismatch that makes bumps more likely to turn to crashes. Shoulder-to-shoulder bumps are no big deal, but shoulder-to-knee bumps are a fair bit more exciting. And the bent usually wins.
 

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Tested one back in the 80's.

Harder to climb and accelerate, rolled very nicely. Got back to town, couldn't see over parked cars and felt invisible to drivers on side streets. Imho, strictly for rural riding.
 

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Bents and Wedgies happily cohabitate at PBP

The Frenchies call recumbents, tandems, triples, and other assorted non-standard bikes "Special Machines," and they have their own start time at Paris-Brest-Paris (just 15 minutes ahead of the 90- and 84-hour start groups). After a few dozen kilometers, both the uprights and the recumbents happily pedal together for the rest of the 1200-and-some kilometers. No discernable conflicts are evident, other than the envy rays I shoot at the 'bent riders when my butt and hands are hurting.

One of the most interesting aspects of PBP is the variety of "Special Machines." There are lots of 'bents of various constructions, including partially- and fully-faired models, and truly exotic tandem and even triple two- and three-wheeled machines (some bent, some upright) are part of the mix. One of the most famous machines is a Brit-powered tandem recumbent trike, affectionately dubbed the "Repugnant."

The PBP rules are simple: "Any form of human-powered vehicle is acceptable. The only stipulation is that the vehicle must be powered solely by the rider." In 2003, a Finnish fellow rode/pushed a scooter for the distance.

I'm a wedgie/upright guy for now (and for the previous 45 years before that), but I could see going over to the other side. The smiles on the faces of the 'bent riders at the PBP finish are a pretty convincing argument. I have never heard one of them complain or say they wished they were on an upright.

Dale
 
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