Author Topic: Best bent for a tourer  (Read 3840 times)

Best bent for a tourer
« on: August 06, 2010, 01:59:33 pm »
Yet another request for advice from all you knowledgeable and helpful folk.   I've been pondering buying a 'bent for some time but don't know anyone who has one so hopefully I will get the help I need here.

I love cycling and being semi retired spend a lot of my time pottering about the lanes of the North East and touring anywhere and everywhere.   Quite a lot of my trips take me along tracks and trails which are sometimes less than smooth.   I guess I'm looking for the equivalent of my Dawes Karakum.   I'm also looking for a reasonably tall bike, I don't like the idea of being too close to Mother Earth.

I haven't mentioned the all important price range but max would be £2k and I'd have to think awfully hard about that.   Second hand is also a (very good) option.

any suggestions?

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2010, 02:02:33 pm »
I've had a test ride on a Trice B2. It was a bit too tall for my little legs, but still very stable steering.

The B1 would be my choice ('cause I have very short legs)

B2 for someone taller.

Both under £2k, both 2010 models fold as well.

I believe that D-Tek do short-term hire to try them out. Trice also let you take them for a ride for an afternoon if you go visit.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2010, 02:04:00 pm »
Nazca Gaucho
Nazca Pioneer
Challenge Seiran
Optima Condor

I already sold my 23kg Pioneer(newer versions weigh less), so I can't help you though.
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been too many days since I have ridden through the night with a brevet card in my pocket...

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2010, 02:26:44 pm »
Most of the recumbent tourists I know use trikes - predominantly the Trice.  But this is probably too low for you.  Although have you had a test ride of one?  You might be surprised.

For a two-wheeled tourer, I'd be looking at a Streetmachine like Kim's.

Either way, your first action should be to ring Kevin at D.Tek in Ely.  He has a wide range of machines and is immensely knowledgeable and highly regarded.
Getting there...

Tim

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2010, 06:38:00 pm »
Street Machine. Quite possibly the definitive beast.

It's not fast, but is comfy and carries much stuff.

rwa.martin

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2010, 08:33:46 pm »
I've got a Bacchetta Giro 20 for sale which is a good touring recumbent; not too low and reasonably quick.  http://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=31301.0 I think this would be quite a good option for you. Also, there is a Bacchetta Agio for sale somewhere on the forum (which I have no connection with) which is a long wheelbase bike. I would also agree that the streetmachine is a good bike although quite heavy. It's probably the definitive touring 'bent.

Feel free to pm me if you want to know more about the Giro - I'm happy to discuss it even if you're not interested. I'm keen you get the right machine as they're an expensive mistake if you get it wrong.
Rich.

Sigurd Mudtracker

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2010, 08:58:54 pm »
If you've never tried a trike, I would put your preconceptions aside for an hour or so and have a go.  Having a couple of trikes and a pretty high (home-built) recumbent bike, the trikes are far more fun.  You can carry as much as you want, go easy, go fast(ish!), soak in the view, and never have to worry about balancing the thing.  They have tremendous road presence despite being lower - I feel far safer on mine than on any bike and regularly ride roads that I would think twice about on two wheels.  Being "low down" does not limit what you see - in fact, you see far more on any recumbent than on a DF bike.

If you are in North East England, you could try taking a trip up to Edinburgh to try out some trike and bikes at Laid Back Bikes.  Not tried personally (yet) but have corresponded with David and he seems a nice guy.

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2010, 10:32:28 pm »
How do you get to the Start?

Trikes as a rule don't go on a train, so you are restricted.

The larger tourers are also a problem where space is limited.

I tour on the Hurricane if light, and the Street Machine for heavy duty.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2010, 10:35:52 pm »
Fairly obviously, I'm in favour of the Streetmachine and relatives.  Its only real flaw is its weight, and that's going to be less of an issue once you're carrying some luggage.  It carries a massive load beautifully well.  The riding position is fairly high up, with some adjustment in the seat angle (I rode mine with the seat fully forward for a bit while teaching someone to ride it earlier today and was shocked by how much higher up I was).  Your head height is roughly the same as that of people in normal cars, and you're certainly high enough not to need to worry about flappy orange flags.

You mention tracks and trails.  The awesomely good HPVelotechnic suspension is likely to be a major advantage on naff surfaces, and well worth the extra weight.

I'm a big fan of under-seat steering (and the equivalent positions on trikes).  Not having to juggle wrist issues against a sore bum is what really does it for me about recumbents, and USS puts the arms in a completely relaxed position that you can happily maintain for hours with no ill effects.  It's arguably a bit weird to get used to, but you don't want to be basing your bike choices on what a couple of hours of riding will put right.

As for three wheels vs two, that's worth some real consideration.  Two wheels are going to be helpful if you're dealing with rutted unsurfaced roads or stupid bollards with any regularity.  They arguably make fitting it on a train a bit easier (though recumbents and trains are likely to be a major headache regardless).  Three wheels mean, amongst other things, you're not worried about maintaining a minimum speed on climbs, which I'd regard as a fairly serious advantage.  While I find that, with a bit of practice, the Streetmachine is capable of amazing feats of staying balanced at low speeds, getting started on an uphill slope is distinctly nontrivial, especially with a load.  
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 11:15:50 pm »
Definitely have a look at the Grasshopper too, as piloted by Rower40 of this parish.  I have to say, if I was ever in the market for another touring 'bent, it would be a Grasshopper fx, a foldable 20/20" wheeled version of Kim's SMGT.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2010, 11:47:52 pm »
The manager of the office where I work has a Grasshopper.

It's very very similar to the Trice B1. Not much to choose between them.  Both fold, similar shape and proportions.

His previous bent was a HP Spirit, and the grasshopper is very much faster and with better handling.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2010, 12:08:48 am »
Definitely have a look at the Grasshopper too, as piloted by Rower40 of this parish.

Absolutely, having had a good thrash round the field on it I was rather impressed.  Handling is a little bit nippier than the SMGT, but all the comfort is still there, and from our non-scientific but thoroughly fun experimentation on the B480 last Sunday, it seems to benefit aerodynamically from the lower position.  Being slightly lower also means you can get a foot down more easily.

It'll take racks for a full set of four panniers too, though not quite as well distributed as on the Streetmachine.  I doubt that makes a lot of difference in practice.

...and of course the folding version would make train problems evaporate.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

RichForrest

  • T'is I, Silverback.
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2010, 12:51:59 am »
There are so many different types that would work for you.
You could fit a trailer to any of the recumbents listed or any recumbent as it happens.
Any Bacchetta can have a under seat rack fitted which will take panniers.
Try as many as you can and get the one that feels best.
As others have said, if you can get over to Kevins near Ely* you can try loads of different bikes.
It's well worth the visit.

Rich.



*01353 648177 call him or get over to Mildenhall and have a chat.

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2010, 10:58:18 am »
Many thanks everyone for all the information, I'm going to start browsing the various makes you've mentioned to find out more. 

I was planning a trip to the Brecklands next week so a trip to Ely at the same time looks as if it will be invaluable.

I hadn't thought about a trailer in this context but it makes a lot of sense.   I recently weighed my racks and pannier bags and they came to about 6kg whereas a Bob Yak with bag weighs 8kg.   More to think about and a top tip.

Hmm! Suspension.   That makes a lot of sense.   NCN 1 in my part of the world is decidedly bumpy in places.

And another thing I hadn't thought about was negotiating the crushes on various cycle paths.   The people who put them in certainly never seem to have thought about people with loaded touring bikes.

I'll follow up on the trike idea as well.   I have to admit I'm a little wary about the height but having read your comments, I'll explore it further, especially with the mentioned advantage of hill starts.

Thanks again to everyone.

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2010, 01:16:06 pm »
And another thing I hadn't thought about was negotiating the crushes on various cycle paths.   The people who put them in certainly never seem to have thought about people with loaded touring bikes.

I'll follow up on the trike idea as well.   I have to admit I'm a little wary about the height but having read your comments, I'll explore it further, especially with the mentioned advantage of hill starts.

Thanks again to everyone.
     The Oracle (aka kevin @ d-tek) is the one to see, re crushes they are really illegal, I mean how does a wheelchair negotiate them, I shall have a  go at my local council on disabled access.
      Re trikes, the newest Trice would press all the buttons for you, folds etc and as someone else said their road prescence is amazing despite a lowish profile, our trikes have liberated us travelling further afield than anything else we have ever owned.
       Best of luck and when you see The Oracle try everything he offers.
                                             8)
The problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so sure of themselves, and wiser men so full of doubt.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2010, 03:26:26 pm »
Hmm! Suspension.   That makes a lot of sense.   NCN 1 in my part of the world is decidedly bumpy in places.

It's beneficial on a 'bent even on normal (that is to say, normal levels of crappiness) roads.  There isn't really an equivalent of the get-out-of-the-saddle-and-absorb-the-impact-with-bent-knees manoeuvre.  Suspending all the luggage, in the style of HPVelotechnik machines, is also a bonus - both for the benefit of the luggage and the rolling efficiency.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

rower40

  • Not my boat. Now sold.
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2010, 04:53:10 pm »
+1 For all-round suspension.
The facility to ride off a full-height kerb and land on the road with just a BOING and a big grin is invaluable.
Definitely have a look at the Grasshopper too, as piloted by Rower40 of this parish.

Absolutely, having had a good thrash round the field on it I was rather impressed. 

Kim - I'm glad I gave you a nice ride. 8)
Be Naughty; save Santa a trip

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2010, 04:59:02 pm »
Already kind of mentioned via 'relatives', a Speedmachine might also be worth considering - IIRC takes panniers in the same way as a SMGT, a bit lower and more reclined (tho' I have mine fairly upright). Front suspension is in some ways a little more basic than that of a SMGT, but it works well enough. Head height's about the same or higher than that of a driver in a sports car.

itsbruce

  • Lavender Bike Menace
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2010, 07:06:18 pm »
Looking at the new threads list with bleary eyes, I read this as "Best bent for a torturer".
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked: Allen Ginsberg
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads: Jeff Hammerbacher

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2010, 08:21:46 pm »
Certainly on the "tracks and trails" in this part of the country "the crushes on various cycle paths" would make a trike pretty inconvenient. I've had a short test on one and while I liked it V much it simply wouldn't go many of the places where I ride.
Let right or wrong alone decide
God was never on your side.

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2010, 10:03:20 pm »
i ride a qnt which has just been fitted with the new folding rear end . i have managed most of the cycle gates on sustrans routes with little problem .i use a carry freedom city trailier which is used as a trolley for the trike folded in it's bag when i use the coach or train. traffic gives the trice plenty of room unlike my lwb recumbent which is treated like any other bike ie passed to close to fast ,cut up at pinch points ect .i find the trike more relaxing to ride as without the need to balance i can take in more of what is about me. my lwb recumbent is faster and easy to ride. if you need a lwb recumbent but also use the train have a look at the linear lwb. d tek i think still has a few which fold as the current no longer do  :)
the slower you go the more you see

Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2010, 10:24:59 pm »
Looking at the new threads list with bleary eyes, I read this as "Best bent for a torturer".

Empirically, that would have to be an Optima Baron.
Never tell me the odds.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2010, 11:44:43 pm »
I have a little list, you know Roger...

::-)
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Andrij

  • Андрій
  • Ερασιτεχνικός μισάνθρωπος
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2010, 11:48:49 pm »
I have a little list, you know Roger...


Port, or starboard?



IGMC
;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup:

Pedaldog

  • M' back!
  • Head Banger.
Re: Best bent for a tourer
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2010, 12:35:29 am »
Will people STOP mentioning the Streetmachines and Grasshoppers please!
I have been the owner of four different streetmachines and am now the owner, through my own idiot head, of none and I miss them. Yes they are a bit heavy but they are also solid enough to feel good.  Take all the luggage that you want and the only negative is the occasional hassle on trains.
Best recumbent touring bike in History.
If somebody bought my Bachetta Agio that would go somewhat towards SMGT (or SMGTE) number 5.