Author Topic: First bent  (Read 696 times)

First bent
« on: March 26, 2020, 12:24:10 pm »
Every time I do a long ride my neck goes.  On PBP last year at 800k. It is getting worse as I get older.  Therefore would a recumbent be an answer, would the neck issues disappear?

If so which one, two wheel or trike, what is the loss in speed / efficiency with a trike?  Ido feel a trike would be good as they look to be more stable at low speeds and on hills.  I want to do LEL again next year so be good to get a machine for this summer (C-19 permitting) so as to get some experience.

The ICE looks like a lovely bike but seems a bit more expensive than other trikes on the market, is it worth the extra?  I will go and try a few options but really looking for information and ideas, any thoughts gratefully received. Thanks.

LMT

Re: First bent
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 12:35:45 pm »
Your neck issues would disappear for sure.

Would suggest a visit to Kevin at Dtek which is just south of Ely IIRC.
http://www.littlethetford.org/?page_id=529


Socks

  • FFCT rally, France 2012
Re: First bent
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 01:11:45 pm »
Definitely try before you buy, there are many different variations with recumbents, both two and three wheel.  Depending on where you live, Laid Back Bikes in Edinburgh is another good option for advice and gets rides. 

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: First bent
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 01:24:06 pm »
DEfinitely worth talking to someone like Kevin.  He will tell you there are fast trikes and slow trikes, but even fast trikes are slow compared with fast 2-wheelers. It all depends what you want. 
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: First bent
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2020, 01:30:29 pm »
ICE trikes are wonderful machines, but I'd suggest that two wheels would be a better choice for audax.  As with uprights, recumbent trikes work out about 10-15% slower than an equivalent recumbent bike, and while you can climb as slowly as you like (gearing down to the limit of traction), thats more useful for weaker riders and loaded touring than for someone who expects to achieve audax pace.

For audax I think the ideal recumbent is large-wheeled and relatively high up.  This will roll efficiently at lower speeds, perform well on crap road surfaces, give you a good view and work well for group riding with uprights.

Small wheels don't react well to potholes, but help shorter riders reach the ground.

Its harder to avoid surface hazards on a trike than a bike.  On the other hand it's also a lot harder to fall off if something goes wrong (blowout, ice, diesel etc).

Low recumbents have an aero advantage (not least, being sheltered from sidewind), but you will tend to get splattered in crud by every passing wheel (cycle or motor vehicle) when it's wet.

Trikes have no real learning curve.  Bicycles require practice, and may appear hard to control to the inexperienced, even if they're actually quite stable.  As a newbie, you'll have no real idea what works best for you in terms of things like mesh vs hardshell seat, suspension options, or the different types of handlebars.

My usual advice is to buy a middle-of-the-road touring bike (something stable and easy to ride) second hand, ride that for a bit on the understanding that it won't be particularly high performance, and then commit n+1 when you've got more recumbent experience and a better idea of what you actually want.


Second the recommendation for a trip to D-Tek - he's hard to beat for the sheer variety of things to test ride.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Tigerrr

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Re: First bent
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2020, 07:24:23 am »
Where are you based?
Humanists UK Funeral and Wedding Celebrant. Trying for godless goodness.
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Re: First bent
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 10:26:04 am »
ElyDave has a Cruzbike S40 and I have a Lightning P-38 for audax.

I haven’t been above 200km on my P-38 yet as I only built it up from a frame set in November. But I have now done 6 200km since then and am now as fast as I was on my road bike.  With audax suspended I’ll have to wait to try it on the longer distances.

Dave’s is a high racer (2 x 622c wheels) where as mine is a compact mid racer with a 20” (406) front wheel but 622 rear wheel..

As others have said best to try a few to see if you have a preference.

Any trouble balancing and steering is just the initial learning curve and you’ll find it as easy as your road bike after a while. How long that takes is individual.

I turned to bents after Shermer’s neck on WAWA in 2016. The P-38 is my second recumbent.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: First bent
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 11:09:52 am »
As Phil says, S40 for me, that is my third, I went

ICE B2 - don't see many around and I'd have another one any day. Good learner, quite high. I had to ride this on 26" wheels, 622 being a bit too tall to get my feet down easily
M5 M-Racer - very low, you could get a hand down when stopped, perched very much between teh wheels. Low speed balance very tricky initially, but I got an A-Ha moment one day in traffic. This had 622 rear, 26" front becasue the seat angle was so reclined it was difficult to see where you were going - sold it to a much taller bloke

S40 - built from a frameset, 2 x 622 wheels.  Not audaxed past 100km on thsi yet, but the year I built it did an extensive tour around Islay, Arran, and then from Ardrossan back down to Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria, longest day in the saddle being around 175km.  I built it for audax and touring, and it's very good at it, I've been up 14% hills with light touring luggage. I could also configure it for more speed if I wanted (did a rgular TT circuit last summer).  I'd not be selling this one, but could go with a smaller wheel or more conventional 2-wheeler or a trike as a N+1 local runabout. Found this one easiest to get used to despite warnings, perhaps that's becasue I had existing experience
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens


Re: First bent
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2020, 07:17:46 pm »
My first recumbent was a rans rocket  which if you can find one I would really recommend. Completed the Dorset coast 200 on it and managed to ride up all the hills. I got round with 30 minutes to spare but hadn't been riding it long at that time  :)
the slower you go the more you see

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: First bent
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2020, 09:55:35 pm »
My first recumbent was a rans rocket  which if you can find one I would really recommend. Completed the Dorset coast 200 on it and managed to ride up all the hills. I got round with 30 minutes to spare but hadn't been riding it long at that time  :)

I've heard good things of Rans Rockets as well, that was one on my list of N+1's
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Mr Larrington

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Re: First bent
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2020, 12:12:55 pm »
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ross-Crystal-Orbit-Recumbent-bike-very-light/223951463134?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

There's always this.

Chairman Al bought one of them off the 'bay last year and speaks very highly of it.

I did try a RANS of some sort a million years ago at a BHPC race in Milton Keynes and hated the seat with a vengeance.  Huge squashy bases may suit some folks' behinds but not this Unit's.
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Re: First bent
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2020, 09:23:15 pm »
BP that's links for a bent a matter of 10 miles or so from my house. I can neither afford/justify/fit in shed any more two wheeled vehicles so please remove the ljnk immediately.... And stop ebay sending me messages saying are you still interested

Re: First bent
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2020, 11:05:16 am »
Thanks folks, a lot to be thinking about.  Currently I am self isolating in London but once this passes then a trip to Ely seems to be a good option.  Some of the bents you mentioned look really good, I presume they are not much slower than a straight bike over a 200k audax?  I hope to do a two week tour in France in August (?) and would be good to do that on a new bent.  Thanks again.

Re: First bent
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2020, 02:31:28 pm »
I’ve owned a Crystal Ross, rans rocket, kingcycle windcheetah, among others. They have all been fun in their own way. Per Legs comment, seats are very individual. For me, higher BB worked better to relieve pressure.

Some disadvantages. Can’t see over hedgerows, and therefore miss the scenery. Lower bikes expose you to more muck from the road, and make your visibility to cars worse. They can feel like torture machines up long grades where you are pinned to the seat. Bike racks / car boots can be challenging too.

But.... they have a certain something that you can’t get elsewhere in cycling. On downhills they can feel like flying in the best way.

If solving neck ache is the issue rather than experimenting with new bike types then obviously you’ve done the higher stem/ shorter reach  / different bars first?

Re: First bent
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2020, 05:35:58 am »
Some of the bents you mentioned look really good, I presume they are not much slower than a straight bike over a 200k audax?

Other things being equal, a recumbent will always be faster than an equivalent upright except on the climbs (and even then, you'll probably net out ahead over the course of a climbing stage). But that's assuming muscles equally conditioned (which will probably take a year) and a corresponding bike design - a heavy touring recumbent will be faster than a heavy touring upright, but a TT bike will still whizz past you. Be prepared for climbing to be grim for the first month or so as your technique adapts, and slow and grindy even after that; I don't know which part of France you're headed for, but I'd definitely make sure you have some flat days in your first recumbent tour.

My Audax philosophy favours comfort and consistency over speed - what I lose in moving speed, I gain in spending less time stopped - and I simply wouldn't be up to finishing even a 200k on an upright, so in a sense the full-value rides I do on my (heavy touring) recumbent are infinitely faster than an upright would be for me. But you can definitely go the carbon-fibre speed-demon route if you want as well. I'm afraid that even after deciding you want a recumbent, you have to make just as many choices as before in terms of what kind of bike you want :).

Re: First bent
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2020, 11:39:09 am »
I presume they are not much slower than a straight bike over a 200k audax?

Just looked through my brevet cards from pre and post recumbent audaxes.  In general yes, my elapsed times over 200km of the same audax in different years, are very comparable.  Within 30 mins for me. So within the realms of how I was feeling on the day, and how long I stopped for.

As above, you will initially be slower on a recumbent.  Over time you’ll adapt and get quicker. I’m comparable between my new recumbent and road bike now. But was initially slower on the first 200 I did on it in December. I was 1.5 hours quicker on the last 200 I did this month just before lockdown. The audaxes were comparable in terms of terrain and if anything the recent one had stronger headwinds.

You do have to be aware you can’t get out the seat for a hill if your legs are shot. So you don’t have that compensating factor you can use on a road bike of standing up to save the legs.  So on hills always change down and spin a low gear, work your cardio don’t fatigue the leg muscles. The fitter you are the faster you can spin the cranks to compensate for the lower gear. On the flat or downhill a lower cadence is often fine as your working at lower effort and putting less force through the pedals.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: First bent
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2020, 12:05:34 pm »
I find the break-even point for my Streetmachine (~24kg full-suspension 20:26 tourer with 40mm Marathons) is about 1% climbing.  Flatter than that, and the (relatively modest) aero advantage wins.  If it's much hillier, carrying all that weight starts to add up, and the upright wins (for a couple of hours, until contact point issues make you want to throw it in a hedge).  Being designed for crap roads, it can cope with most things except serious potholes (where the small wheel is a limiting factor) *much* better than a rigid upright with similar tyres (partly due to the excellent suspension, partly because the seat position decouples the sensitive parts of the rider from the vibration).

The Red Baron (20:26 low-racer with fast tyres and a *much* more aerodynamic riding position) is lighter and less stable at low speed, which means you tend to climb a bit faster.  It blats along on the flat.  Sometimes you have to take it easy so as not to be rattled utterly to DETH by bad road surfaces, and while it doesn't actually hurt like uprights do, it's not in the same league as the Streetmachine comfort-wise.

The ICE Sprint (20" rear-suspension tadpole trike) is a similar weight to the Streetmachine, and I find climbing performance is about the same.  Being a trike there's no lower limit to climbing speed, but there's a relatively modest upper limit to cornering speed.  I find that I tend to settle to a natural cruising speed that's a fair bit lower than the Streetmachine, though that seems to be mostly psychology rather than inefficiency - I think because being lower down and shaken about more makes it feel faster.  It's notably slower-rolling than the Streetmachine (or my 700c hybrid with similar tyres) when you freewheel on very gentle downhills.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: First bent
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2020, 12:40:31 pm »
Overall I've foud it about the same between upright and recumbent, there are weather and terrain related responses, rough road surfaces as Kim alludes to etc, but those things all also affect the upright to a degree.

Main difference i find is that I tend to either be at the same speed, but more comfortably, or at the same effort but higher speed.  Example being on Islay last summer on the main drag past the airport, into a stonking headwind I was able to slowly but surely ride down a pair of uprights working together in the distance. All of us working hard, but me with an aero advantage. 

On the hills, I have a better performance than Kim it seems, it's >5% I'd say before the upright starts to be easier, and I can maintain similar speeds further than that. Perhaps the Cruzbike design comes in here with FWD and short chain vs all those Kim mentioned, also the moving BB design allows a bit of upper body effort to come into it as well.  Also lighter than the SM or ICE Sprint.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: First bent
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2020, 01:03:45 pm »
I'm not surprised that your Cruzbike climbs better than a Streetmachine, it's a much more performance-oriented design, and probably getting on for half the weight!

The Streetmachine excels at riding all day with heavy luggage.  As soon as you're not carrying luggage, you're carrying an awful lot of excess bike.  It's what's technically known as Good Training™.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

LMT

Re: First bent
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2020, 01:19:30 pm »
Some of the bents you mentioned look really good, I presume they are not much slower than a straight bike over a 200k audax?

Other things being equal, a recumbent will always be faster than an equivalent upright except on the climbs (and even then, you'll probably net out ahead over the course of a climbing stage). But that's assuming muscles equally conditioned (which will probably take a year) and a corresponding bike design - a heavy touring recumbent will be faster than a heavy touring upright, but a TT bike will still whizz past you. Be prepared for climbing to be grim for the first month or so as your technique adapts, and slow and grindy even after that; I don't know which part of France you're headed for, but I'd definitely make sure you have some flat days in your first recumbent tour.

My Audax philosophy favours comfort and consistency over speed - what I lose in moving speed, I gain in spending less time stopped - and I simply wouldn't be up to finishing even a 200k on an upright, so in a sense the full-value rides I do on my (heavy touring) recumbent are infinitely faster than an upright would be for me. But you can definitely go the carbon-fibre speed-demon route if you want as well. I'm afraid that even after deciding you want a recumbent, you have to make just as many choices as before in terms of what kind of bike you want :).

Depends on the gradient

Depends on the gearing

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: First bent
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2020, 03:06:14 pm »
I'm not surprised that your Cruzbike climbs better than a Streetmachine, it's a much more performance-oriented design, and probably getting on for half the weight!

The Streetmachine excels at riding all day with heavy luggage.  As soon as you're not carrying luggage, you're carrying an awful lot of excess bike.  It's what's technically known as Good Training™.

Yes and no, the V20 is the real racer, whereas the S40 is more of a tourer, albeit a fast tourer.  I've used it on a credit card tour rather than full-on camping tour and I was about 5km/h slower than audax speed, but over lumpier terrain as well, so I considered that a win.

If your SMGT is 24kg unladen, then I'm about 8-10kg lighter than that even with the complicated front end

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: First bent
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2020, 06:47:01 pm »
I'm not surprised that your Cruzbike climbs better than a Streetmachine, it's a much more performance-oriented design, and probably getting on for half the weight!

I thought you were referring to the overall climb ratio of a ride rather than individual climb gradients. So in your 1% you’ll ascend 1000m for every 100km ridden. Where as Dave is referring to the gradient of a single climb.

In Hertfordshire the overall climb ratio is about the 1% you mention.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.