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Recumbents - why?

robbie the roadierobbie the roadie Posts: 423
edited October 2007 in Road general
I haven't seen many to be fair but when I do see one it just strikes me as a particulally inefficient way to pedal, especially if you had to climb a hill on one! I also suspect that cornering on a fast downhill is out of the question to and the low down/harder to see/wider aspect of them must make them harder to ride and/or more dangerous in an urban environment.

Obviously having never ridden one my theories are a bit unfounded so come on recumbent riders of the world enlighten me. Or is it just because you like to be 'different'?
Cycling - The pastime of spending large sums of money you don't really have on something you don't really need.

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  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    I haven't seen many to be fair but when I do see one it just strikes me as a particulally inefficient way to pedal, especially if you had to climb a hill on one! I also suspect that cornering on a fast downhill is out of the question to and the low down/harder to see/wider aspect of them must make them harder to ride and/or more dangerous in an urban environment.
    How is it inefficient? Do you mean the inability to honk? Climbing is harder, but this is largely because they are typically heavier. You can get lightweight ones & I suspect that they would climb similarly to a similar weight upright. I've done some fairly big hills on mine & only really struggle when you get to c20% inclines...
    The wheelbase makes low speed handling harder: high speed handling is not that different & the ability to pedal round corner means that many recumbent riders can leave DF riders behind on corners (not me, I'm quite new to this & am still adapting to different cornering techniques). The "dangerous in traffic" bit is just nonsense & oft trotted out: looking different tends to get drivers attention in a way that an upright never will. The only real difficulty I have in traffic is exiting a T-junction where big cars are parked too close to the junction because of visibility. On uprights, the widest part is the bars, which are a similar width to my shoulders, on my recumbent, my shoulders are far wider than the bike (this isn't the case for USS bikes or those with "aerobars")
    Furthermore, on a semi-low bike, my head is 4-5cm below that of the driver of a normal family saloon, which isnae that low, is it? I trust you ask Ferrari drivers about how they see anything being so low down... Most recumbents are far more upright that mine, so would be above the eye line of drivers
    Obviously having never ridden one my theories are a bit unfounded so come on recumbent riders of the world enlighten me. Or is it just because you like to be 'different'?
    I ride one because I broke my wrist 5 months ago & it was the only way I could carry on cycling. I'm still unable to ride uprights & am quite tempted to sell my 3 DF's and just go completely 'bent since they're so much more fun than DF's. They're also faster on the flat & (especially) downhill, far more comfortable & a lot more fun. The only thing I dislike is the attention that you get: they're not for the shy & retiring types. There is also a fairly strong theory that they are also safer since you're lower down & any frontal impact will damage your feet not your head...
    Have a look round the internet & you'll see the phrase "recumbent grin," this comes about 'cos they're so much fun to ride. Just about the most fun you can have on 2 wheels IMO.
    Why no try it out for yourself?
  • byegadbyegad Posts: 14
    Nice reply Richrd2205, you did however miss two things. One; the comfort, I now end long rides with no aching wrists or backside and two the fun, I feel like a kid with a new toy every time I go out.
  • Thanks for your responses guys. Could you please explain what "DF's" are though?
    Cycling - The pastime of spending large sums of money you don't really have on something you don't really need.
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    i'm sorry guys - comfort, efficiency and all that means nothing.

    recumbents can only travel on one road - the one heading for geekvile - population, YOU!

    whats a DF?
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Sorry, DF stands for diamond frame, which doesn't really apply to all uprights, but I use it cos it's quicker than typing "upright" all the time.
    gkerr4 wrote:
    i'm sorry guys - comfort, efficiency and all that means nothing.

    recumbents can only travel on one road - the one heading for geekvile - population, YOU!

    Och well, if being faster & happier means that certain folk think I'm odd, I'm not that upset. You're more than welcome to stay on your upright if it makes you feel better about yourself, I'm not fussed at all, for me the point is enjoying what you do, not worrying about what folk think. I personally don't understand why people would want to do muddy single tracks when there's a perfectly good road, but each to their own, eh? :wink:
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    sorry, my statement was meant, on the whole, to be light hearted - but I do think there is something odd about recumbents

    they are a bit like the goldwing of cycling - quite fast, but not that nimble and seems to have the downsides of both a car and a bike - i.e. not that great in traffic and you still get wet!
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    Likewise, with the light-heartedness, I just missed by a larger margin, sorry!
    I can't, however, agree with your assessment of them: they're fine in traffic & with a front fairing, you can stay dry! They're also seriously fast & (above 10kph) as nimble as my road bikes. My commute is quicker on the 'bent than it was on my £2k road bike, despite the latter weighing about half what the former does & being shod in far better kit. I may or may not get a lightweight low racer next year & I'd expect to be as fast uphill & faster on the flat & downhill as said road bike at about the same price. I'd agree that the Goldwing is seriously strange, but recumbents are just different, rather than being an odd compromise. 'bent riding is not for all, but I find the negative comments a little irksome. I see cycling as a broad church & encourage all to do whatever they enjoy. I used to consider anything that wasn't a road bike as not really much fun to ride, but a broken wrist has opened my eyes.
    Maybe I'll get a velomobile at some point :wink:
    http://ohpv.org/questvelo/questvelo.htm
    That said, Moultons are odd....
  • gkerr4gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Hmm - i'm still not convinced - anyway, as you say, whetever floats your boat I guess

    you are right about moultons though - proper weird

    and the goldwing statement - you a motorcyclist too by any chance?
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    gkerr4, no I'm not a motorcyclist, but any motorbike with a reverse gear & a stereo is just a bit strange. I've seen a few & they've always struck me as a car with two wheels rather than a motorbike. (How do you hear the stereo anyway with a helmet, wind noise and engine noise? Let alone the sat nav instructions...)

    andrewgturnbull, the Quest comment was me kinda humorously suggesting that recumbents aren't that odd, but if I had four or five grand lying around I'd seriously think about one. Yes, they are heavy, but with this sort of vehicle, the weight is offset by the aerodynamic qualities. There was an article about a guy who rides one through hilly bits of Wales in Velovision a wee while ago. Not something for stop/start riding, I accept, but on a route where you don't have to stop much without mountains or 20% inclines, you'd prob be fine.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Can I come from a different angle. I don't see why recumbants aren't the norm. rather than the exception. Surely a bike which is aerodynamically efficient and comortable should have been the winner, it seems to make more sense to me than an upright bike for a lot of purposes.

    Ok I've never ridden one, but when I'm stretched out on my tri bars trying to do my flat commute as quickly as possible, I often wonder is there a more efficient and quicker way to get to work.

    So why don't I get on, well I'm a fashion follower and unfortunately I get enough stick for just being a cyclist, let a lone a recumbant cyclist.
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Interesting debate.

    I get the sense that recumbents are more efficient, more comfortable and that the only drawback is that they are abnormal.

    however, I have another problem with them altogether. I hate birds.

    What? I hear you say. Well, every time I see someone on a recumbent, the first thing that strikes me is that they are lying on their back with all their vital organs open to the sky. The next thing that occurs to me is that evil black ravens will swoop down and peck their livers out. That is why all mammals protect their fronts - obviously.

    Compared to that, what's weird about a Moulton? I had one as a child.


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • Ah, a simple case of ornithosupinefiferphobia then.

    May I suggest either a full fairing, or paying more attention to your medication?

    Cheers, Andy
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    NO, I'm sure the doctor told me it was ornithocheekystirlingshiteignoramus syndrome. :D

    Anyway, the point is that, even though I once got completely burnt off by a Belgian recumbent cyclist, Hitchcock was right. They ARE gathering again. There were 40 thousand of them on the A80 this morning, for example:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tay ... 038953.stm


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • I asked the Doctor for a second opinion...

    ...he said you're ugly as well!

    ;-)

    Cheers, Andy

    ps Apologies to the late Tommy Cooper
  • byegadbyegad Posts: 14
    chrisw12 wrote:
    Can I come from a different angle. I don't see why recumbants aren't the norm. rather than the exception. Surely a bike which is aerodynamically efficient and comortable should have been the winner, it seems to make more sense to me than an upright bike for a lot of purposes.

    It does make sense. However in 1934 the UCI banned them from their events so development of the recumbent went into abeyance. This lasted until the 80s when, in my opinion, the number of mountain bikers riding none UCI compliant frames made people see that there may be a market got recumbents.

    Where there is a speed record set for UCI bikes and recumbents, the recumbent is the faster. The UCI meanwhile ignores progress, even Chris Boardmans Lotus bike was later disqualified.
  • Richrd2205Richrd2205 Posts: 1,267
    pneumatic
    I'd not thought about the bird issue...
    & probably never will do again.
    The Moulton line was a throwaway joke, apologies for any offence.
    Chrisw12, you make a very good point and then make an odd one. Having moved from road bike commuting to recumbent commuting, I have to say that I get less stick now. People seem to be more interested than threatened, so less need to make stupid comments. That said, you'd need to get used to answering questions regularly from random strangers. The other thing is that it would take about 2 months to adapt to a different pedalling style, so it gets harder before it gets easier. Borrow or hire one for a wee while & you'll wonder why you stayed upright for so long: especially if you have a commute like mine (SW from Glasgow to Paisley into a strong headwind home)!
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Richrd2205 wrote:
    pneumatic
    I'd not thought about the bird issue...
    & probably never will do again.
    The Moulton line was a throwaway joke, apologies for any offence.

    I'm sure Sir Alex would forgive you (Moulton, that is, not Fergusson)

    If you can look a bird in the eye and not feel the cold hand of fear grabbing your throat from within, then you are, in my opinion, enviably secure. Until they peck your eyes out!


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

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