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HPV Grasshopper

Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
edited June 2007 in Road general
I've just broken my scaphoid bone & am looking for wrist-friendly cycling...
Bent Mikey, in another thread, suggested a 'bent, which made me think. So I took a trip to Kinetics today & they recommended this:
http://www.kinetics.org.uk/html/grasshopper.shtml
With racks & USS it comes in just shy of œ1600, which I can almost afford if I sell one of my uprights (& ignore the hideous colours so I don't have to pay œ75 for a custom colour)...
I haven't tried it out & am still very much undecided on whether to or not. I've only ever ridden uprights, but always liked the idea of 'bents: I've just never had the motivation to make the (emotional & financial) leap.
I want to be able to ride fast on a none-too-hilly commute & carry (smallish) loads in a way that puts <i>no strain at all</i> on my wrists.
So, is this a good starting point to try out? Are there better options? What extras are needed? Am I going to be able to control it with one hand being only slightly more than completely useless? Does anyone here have experience this model? Which tyres would folk pick?
Then my stupid-newbie questions? How important are mudguards on 'bents? How easy are they to carry (I live in a third floor flat & am used to <8kg road bikes)? Can I mount my GPS? &, if so, where? Can I use my upright bike panniers?
Sorry if these are dumb questions, but I know nothing about these machines (other than I would quite like one & that my GF thinks I'm mad for thinking of getting one).
For info, USS seems far more comfortable & really don't fancy "proper" steering, so am only thinking of this. Correct me if I'm wrong but...
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Posts

  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Here goes......

    Any recumbent is an acquired taste, you need to ride to make sure you are happy with it. This goes for all models, makes and types - one will be perfect, and feel that way from the start.

    HPV have a good longstanding pedigree and reputation (my SMGT is now in it's eighth year).

    Mudguards are less important as the frame keeps th body cleaner, and the seat prevents a "skunk stripe" however they will keep the bike cleaner

    Carrying is heavier especially up stairs, they are also longer and hence bulkier..

    Any normal cycle parts can be fitted. A Minoura "Spacegrip" will allow the GPS to be fitted to the front derailleur post in ideal position.

    The HPV rack will take most panniers like a normal bike, but the rack has thick tubing (10mm) so you need large clips. Most will fit though. I use Ortlieb, Karrimor and Altura on my Street Machine

    Finally - Ben is a knowledgeable and fair advocate for recumbents, you will not do any better for advice.


    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Cunobelin, thanks for that. I think you're saying that it will do the fast-but-load-carrying-rides that I am looking for, but that model-to-model difference is far more a question of personal taste than it is with uprights, am I right?
    TY, also for answering my newbie questions: it must be irritating to answer these things repeatedly for folk.
    OK, sounds like I need to wait until my fingers function a bit in my left hand, then spend a morning chez Ben trying stuff out. (Then find a reason to give to GF why I <i>need</i> this bike..)
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Ben will guide you.

    It is much to do with personal taste (after 15 years on recumbents I still can't make up my mind and hence I have 4), but the most critical thing is to be able to put your feet down comfortably. The seat eight is fixed (leg length is catered for by the boom) so you need to get it right from the start.

    This bike will do light touring, or like my Street Machine be a work horse with full panniers and a trailer!



    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    I'm prob going to be OK on the putting-feet-down thing since I'm 1.92m: if variation for height is in the boom (& given that I have very long legs for a man), I'm guessing that I'll be fine on most models.
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"> Ben will guide you.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    is almost Star Wars, but quite reassuring, since have spent quite a lot on badly recommended things (& that I am thinking of spending 4* as much as my first proper bike, which was a really bad choice) & it's good to not feel so anxious about wasting money when one spends that much.
    I was impressed today when comparing advice given to on-line resources, but am still seeking input since I'm quite anxious about parting with that sort of money for a bike I'm going to struggle to lump up 3 flights of stairs...

    I don't do self-supported touring, but ability to carry loads is useful. The Speed Machine looks kinda fun, but takes me well beyond budget...
  • onewallfreeonewallfree Posts: 415
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Richrd2205</i>

    I'm quite anxious about parting with that sort of money for a bike I'm going to struggle to lump up 3 flights of stairs...
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    I live on the fourth floor and have a Trice trike. Obviously, it's a lot harder than throwing a racer over your shoulder, but it's really not that big a deal.

    <font size="1">
    Me via SMS: Are you home yet?
    Colin on my Trice: No. I'm completely lost at the moment, but I'm having loads of fun!</font id="size1">
    <font>
    Me via SMS: Are you home yet?
    Colin on my Trice: No. I\'m completely lost at the moment, but I\'m having loads of fun!</font>
  • banjokatbanjokat Posts: 632
    Agree with Cunobelin. I wouldn't want to carry mine up three flights of stairs, however the comfort and total lack of wrist pain will almost certainly make it worthwhile.

    .........................................
    My Bikes Updated at last!
  • TimothyOTimothyO Posts: 395
    You are going to have to try it out to have any idea whether you will get on with it, and since you aren't used to recumbents at all, it'll probably feel very weird to start with. Seeing if you can rent a recumbent (not necessarily this one) might be useful just to get a feel for some of the more general elements of cycling a recumbent, ie the position and the feel as you cycle around.

    I've seen some recumbent riders put a hand down at traffic lights and the like, rather than a foot, but that only really works with lowish seats, like you get on LWB bikes sometimes, so you wouldn't really try it with this one.

    You won't get zero strain on your wrists with any cycle, you still need to turn the handlebars (or lever or whatever), change gears, and use the brakes. You could rearrange those to minimise the strain, ie like any bike you mostly need to pull the front brake on hard, so you'd make sure that was pulled by the undamaged wrist. You may also want to change the brake levers depending on what sort of movement is easiest (ie grip shift type vs levers or some other species of changer).

    Things like panniers, GPS, cycle computers etc will often fit on recumbents fine, although sometimes you need to modify things to make them work, or use them differently. I used to put my panniers on backwards so the rear pockets were at the front, and I could put water bottles in them.

    <hr noshade size="1">
    Yes, actually it is Rocket Science.
    Yes, actually it is Rocket Science.
  • ArellcatArellcat Posts: 1,218
    A few of us used to go riding with a guy from NZ, and he'd broken his wrist in some spectacular fashion a while before. To carry on riding he'd bought himself a Streetmachine [1] with exactly the same intention - to put as little strain on his wrist as possible. I think underseat steering is preferable to overseat steering in this case. I never heard him complaining about his wrist hurting in all the time we were riding.

    [1] From Uncle Ben, too.

    <font size="1">--
    Windcheetah 202
    2001 Speedmachine</font id="size1">
    <font size="1">--
    Windcheetah 202
    2001 Speedmachine</font id="size1">
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    TY for all the responses: I feel a wee bit more confident about what to think about in making a choice... Soft tissue damage has now gone down to the point that I have some strength in my left hand, so I may pop back up tomorrow to have a try & see how things feel. Cheers.
  • alexjricealexjrice Posts: 2,511
    Once you get the hang one handed control should be no probs at all, but make sure your strong hand controls the front brake. You could also combine a grip shifter and a bar end and have all gears on one side leaving the off hand for rear brake duties.

    I personally really like the grasshopper, and if a speedmachine hadn's come up for sale at an opportune time I'd probably have one.

    Upright bike panniers will be fine, the grasshopper comes with a very nice rack, in fact this is one of HP Velotechniks particular strong points - they take proper racks which in turn take proper panniers.

    try both oss and uss, both are very comfortable.

    grasshopper is going to be about in line with a road bike on the flat, and it's high enough to mix with roadies quite happily. The bodylink seats are really comfey and the suspension is very good indeed which should help with the wrists.

    I've seen gps units mounted on the main tube underneath the rider's knees on bikes with uss.

    Only thing i'd say is that manipulating any bike up stars with one hand isn't going to be all that easy, you might consider a challenge mistral sl which is similar position but only about 10kg, but from memory they're about œ2000.

    Bear in mind also that recumbent bikes keep their value a lot better than uprights.

    ---
    http://www.ajjrice.plus.com
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    On any recumbent that has a post for a front derailleur can be fitted with a Minoura "Spacegrip" without compromising the gear change.

    Putting this low on the post, facing down and back allows a good position for a GPS, computer etc. Much better eyeline for the rider.



    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    OK, thanks again all. I went back to Kinetics yesterday & Ben gave me some time on the Grasshopper. I have to say that I found it really difficult: I think that I was overly tense in my working hand (my right) & found I kept veering to the right. I gave up after about 10 mins since the sensation of trying to learn to ride after 20,000+miles of riding without prob was just dissonant & strange. Having to think about what I needed to do was weird & odd & uncomfortable... However, worth trying again with I think. So have decided to go back next week & ask for 1/2 an hour & if I'm still uncomfortable/incompetent/incapable of 5+mph without falling then knock the idea on the head.
    (so, Alex, I can operate the front brake with no bother, hub gear & rear brake are impossible just now... OSS would be impossible just now with my cast (& I read today that c.10% of these injuries require casts on for more than six months[B)][:(]. Och well, I've had it on for six days, so not long now!!! )
    Ben has been wonderful & recommend the shop very strongly to all here.
    The bike I'm looking at doesn't have a front derailleur stem (dual drive: 24 gears with 20-120 gear inches), but does have a wee hole behind where it would be to fit gubbins to.
    A further question but: anyone use non-dynamo lights on their bents? I would really struggle to afford this & have loads of lights for other bikes (cateye double shot, TL-LD1000 rears,
    HL-EL220 front & some SMART RL307s (& don't anticipate riding much at night)). I can fit the Smarts to my panniers, the fronts can be "bodged" according to Ben, what lights do folk use?
    Please let me know that I can light it cheaply & wish me luck on Friday next week when I try again to learn recumbent riding! This bike makes so much sense if only I can learn to ride it...
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    I have a set of Dinotte lights that fit all of my bikes.

    Each bike has a permanently fitted rear light (Cateye TL1100 or Infini Supernova) and the rear LED fits on if required. I only use the Front LED at the front, but carry a small Cateye LED (EL410) as a backup.

    PS - The space grip is held in place by a thin metal band. With care it is possible to make your own band and fit this to the boom.



    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • cyclemancycleman Posts: 688
    if you find one recumbent cycle to difficult , do not give up. try some different models/makes as some are much easier than others to handle. a lwb recumbent cycle is usually easier to learn on than a swb. . the linear lwb has a folding version and is uss and fairly light being made of ali. once you have mastered the basics moving on to a faster / lower swb machine is much easier.
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Cycleman is right, as I always try and make clear - Recumbents are an acquired taste. TAke th etime and effort and you will rep the gains eventually.

    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • alexjricealexjrice Posts: 2,511
    They're not actually _difficult_ to ride, merely different, but especially as you're learning with one hand it's going to be tricky to start with. SWB bikes like the grasshopper are not the easiest to learn on, I learned on a bike-E and gradually progressed it took about an hour before i was reasonably confident and within a couple of hours I was buzzing around on a challenge hurricane. I started out with recumbent trikes, but eventually bought a bike and once i got it it took a few days before i was as confident riding it around town as a trike and have been fine since.

    You could always order one of the dual drive ones with a front derailleur stub, simply as a place to mount things.

    Had you thought about having a play on a recumbent trike - they really are simply hop on and ride away and my Catrike Speed at ~12kg is probably the easiest bike to move if you have to do it one handed, it can be picked up a bit like a suitcase. One handed riding is zero problems, and at œ1595 it's just within your budget.

    ---
    http://www.ajjrice.plus.com
  • ArellcatArellcat Posts: 1,218
    When I tried a recumbent the very first time, it was a Streetmachine at Kinetics. I did a little test ride and scared the heck out of myself, and decided that maybe I didn't want one after all! I tried out a Speedmachine a good while later, sort of on loan from Ben, and scared myself to death riding to work the one time I dared. Spent the next two years riding a trike instead. Then I came back to try a Speedmachine again, and it was suddenly no problem at all.

    The main thing is 1) to force yourself to relax against the seat - you're not going to fall backwards; and 2) push the pedals, and keep pushing! If you're concerned, try as Cycleman suggested a long bike first, or perhaps something like the HPVelo Spirit. Then move up to the fancy bikes later. [:)]

    As for lights, a Vistalite VL300 LED is permanently bolted to my rear rack, <i>a la</i> Cunob's bike, and on the front I use a LED light plus a 5W halogen (or 10W if it's mega dark). They're attached to a 4 inch piece of handlebar bolted to the derailleur post, nothing fancy. It stays in place better than a Spacegrip and certainly better than the cheeselike Swinggrip.

    <font size="1">--
    Windcheetah 202
    2001 Speedmachine</font id="size1">
    <font size="1">--
    Windcheetah 202
    2001 Speedmachine</font id="size1">
  • ankev1ankev1 Posts: 3,686
    It's odd how people take differently to recumbents on first trying them. The dealer first gave me a HP Spirit to try as it was not "quite so recumbent". There was not a chance that I would ever be able to ride one, I was hopeless and my spirits sunk at the thought of trying the Street Machine (which was what I wanted). I was delighted to find that the SM was a much easier ride and within ten minutes was confident (but still a little wobbly) enough to order one. OTH a mate of mine who had never been on a recumbent before in his life, tried out my SM and shot off half a km down the road and back on it straight away.
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    I am a useless advocate really....

    I own a Catrike Expedition, a prototype Challenge Hurricane, a 1997 Street Machine and a twenty year old Linear.

    Now if you were to ask me which one is best...................

    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • cyclemancycleman Posts: 688
    well now cunobelin, which ones best then ;)
  • The Kingcycle he hasn't got [:)]
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Nah - Didn't like them.

    Toyed with a Kingcycle in the early 90s when I bought the prototype Hurricane.


    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • BilliusBillius Posts: 26
    During my first commute for months on my Condor Pista EOM Fixie from Stoneleigh to Blackfriars a month ago, a twinge in my lower back turned into a bulged/slipped disc (L4/L5) - total agony - weeks off work - nightmare.

    This Wednesday I bumped into another portly colleague who has had (upper) disc problems who has just bought a HPV Spirit from Bikefix. I was totally gobsmacked when I saw the 'bent in the office - yes I knew they existed - but hadn't really thought about owning one - suddenly (and after some googling) I could see that this could be an excellent bike which would not wreck my back! And believe me I need to get out of the pub/off the train and onto a bike again.

    So... Thursday / yesterday am, didn't get out at Waterloo but on impulse got the tube to Holborn - two hours later had wobbled down the street on a HPV Spirit THEN on a Grasshopper! Scary as hell but hmm... nice too. (Stuart has a pretty hands-off attitude on the demoing but was very friendly and helpful)

    This afternoon nervously/carefully rode my fixie from Waterloo where its been unused stuck in the office for a month to Dulwich Village Park where I met the very helpful Oliver at londonrecumbents who I'd arranged a demo of a Challenge Mistral with. Another nervous start (this time held upright by running Oliver!) but after a couple of laps of park - really enjoyed myself. I must say it fills me with trepidation - I'm not a natural balancer - e.g. I've never been able to cycle with no hands! but a trike looks just too wide for filtering and I believe in taking the plunge rather than dipping a toe in...

    3 days from knowing nothing - to now knowing next to nothing but seriously considering a Challenge Mistral Deluxe with censored , 3x9 (SRAM Hub + back derailleur) Gears. Keep empty derailleur post at front for lights etc.

    I liked the grass hopper but thought its a bit aggressive/sporty for my commute - so was looking at HPV StreetMachine GTe - but I think I've fallen in love with the looks of the Mistral and the HPV just looks like too much metal at the back now!

    Probably going to double check with my Physio that this is not a "Really Bad Idea (tm)" but already day dreaming about multi-day tour up to Peak District (having never done more than 5 hour Oxford->Cambridge ride) :)

    Good luck with your wrist and your choice!

    Bill
  • alexjricealexjrice Posts: 2,511
    Considering that the seat on a recumbent is usually much more comfortable then the average office chair and hence much better for your back I can't see your physio having any problems with you riding a recumbent.

    Recumbents really come into their own when you're considering long distances, you get off the bike after a day's cycling with slightly tired legs and that really is it. None of this padded shorts and sudocreme malarkey.

    Round town you can filter on a trike, but not as effectively and it requires a rather different riding style. They're not best suited to heavy traffic I admit.

    The mistral is a really nice bike, good height, good load carrying, no slouch on the speed front and the deluxe with the hidden suspension is very pretty especially compared to the rather utilitarian looking rear swingarm of the standard mistral.

    ---
    http://www.ajjrice.plus.com
  • SeamusSeamus Posts: 838
    Seamus
    Cycling Films Big List with over 100 movies...
    http://uk.geocities.com/mikstar123/films.html
    Byke Kultuur Never at....
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  • SeamusSeamus Posts: 838
    Seamus
    Cycling Films Big List with over 100 movies...
    http://uk.geocities.com/mikstar123/films.html
    Byke Kultuur Never at....
    http://uk.geocities.com/bykekultuur/never.html
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    I've been offline for a wee while, so sorry for the belated response...
    I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about this over the weekend & have booked to go thro to Embra on Friday to try out some Nazca bikes with Dave at Laid Back Bikes. (So please wave if you see someone being useless on a bent in Meadows Parks on Friday morning!) The Nazca Fuego looks quite lovely & Dave was great on the phone, so thought it would be worth trying to take advantage of his teaching skills. Then on to Kinetics later in the day...
    If two wheels are too difficult (or just too different) for me, then I'll try the Scorpion & then look at the ICE S trike (or that rather gorgeous Catrike Speed, Alex. Can you fit a rack on this?). If I can manage them , then compre & contrast...
    Seamus, are there UK dealers for the M5: the site only lists Dutch ones & don't want to buy something without trying it out.
    Anyone tried a Nazca?
    This: "There were a couple of people at York Rally that "couldn't ride a recumbent bike, just trikes" but were very happy riding this bike around the bumpy grass field." from:
    http://www.bentrideronline.com/index.ph ... 1&blogId=1
    looked very appealing & they seem quite well priced...
    TY so much everyone for plenty of food for thought: I go back to the hospital on Thurs to see what's going on with my wrist & am, at best, going to be off uprights for a further 10 weeks & am <i>so</i> miserable not riding. So thank you all for your support! Hopefully I can be riding again in a few weeks!
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    All the Catrikes have two braze-ons that take carriers with a slight modification, but the new headrest is even better as it will take any standard rack as it comes off the shelf...

    Images here and here

    I bought the "Expedition" because I wanted a 26" rear wheel. Superb machine, and will take full Ortleib Classics

    Trikes are a whole new game, more fun in some ways, but can be slower and heavier. They are certainly unable to get through some gaps and will not go on trains. However the stability and solid tracking mans faster corners and nightmarishly fast downhills!

    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    That's a fairly well lit trike!!!
    I'm aware that trikes are a different ball park; not least in lugging them up 3 flights of stairs!
    I'd rather have a horrible 3 flights of stairs than a horrendous bus journey & no bike commute...
    A rack on a Catrike Speed seems like a good alternative to the c.œ2000 fully equipped HPV Scorpion.
    First up tho, trying to learn 'bent bikes!
    Trikes are a fall-back option if I'm going to be in a stookie/cast for a while & can't learn two-wheel 'bents...
    (& BTW, how do you do that putting links-under-text thing? I can do it in HTML but not here...)
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    (Oh, & BTW, thanks for answering my question so well...)
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