Recumbents – anyone tied one / got one?

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  • Recumbents – anyone tied one / got one?
  • ooOOoo

    Yes-they are more efficient. Especially the egg shaped ones.
    But they call themselves 'bent riders'
    Don't go there

    Ha, you're braver than me. I was gonna ask about thes – as my husband has recently become slightly obessessed with the idea – But was too scared about the mocking I'd get!

    After weeks of research he ordered a frameset and it should be arriving today. He's going to tweak it a bit and build it up as a commuter – he's hoping that it'll be comfy enough for his 50+ mile (round trip) commute. He'll be commuting down the A38 which is pretty windy, so he's also hoping the lower position will help with the drag and so be a bit quicker too.

    Anyway, he'll have it built up in a few days and can report back on how well it performs then.

    Personally I've been quite cynical about it, but I am a little intrigued and really hope it works out well for him. We're hoping it'll be a workable alternative to running two cars, which we can't really afford to do. At least it should be more comfy than his current bike, and he is very very excited!

    P.S. Yes, unfortunately they do call go by 'bent riders', not good when doing research on the school network apparently!


    I have an Optima Orca. Very nice indeed! 🙂

    The main advantage, IMO, is comfort. All-day riding, with no stiff neck, no aching shoulders, no sore bum. Bliss!

    Efficiency: Depends how you measure it, and what terrain you're on. There are aerodynamic advantages to be had but these vary from machine to machine – mine is only slightly better than a diamond frame (DF) bike. Comparing like-for-like quality bikes, a recumbent will also usually (but not always) be heavier, and the bio-mechanics of the riding position mean that the maximum power available from the rider is lower than on a DF. That makes them slightly slower on the climbs and in sprints. But on flat or rolling terrian (where momentum takes you over the rises), a low-rider recumbent will definately have the edge. 🙂

    The human-powered record for Lands end to John O'groats is held by the rider of a faired recumbent trike (A Windcheetah, to be precise).

    41 hours! 😮


    MM – i'd really like to hear about it. My missus thinks i wouldn't use it as it looks daft. i'm not bothered about the sniggers! i'd like to ride to the peaks from Coventry which is about 85 miles. The low ones and the 3 wheelers concern me – but the mid height ones look alright i reckon.

    keep me updated! 😉


    yeah i read about that LE to JoG ride – amazing, just kept going!…
    So, where are the clubs and shops that sell them?


    "anyone tied one" – oh dear, I can spell, honest!

    No probs pj – will definitely keep you updated. Tbh Mr. MM will probably want to fill you in himself, so I'll let him use my log in.

    We went to a little village somewhere in Cambridgeshire (bit of a drive from Bristol!) to a shop run by an enthusiast. Mike paid £25 to spend the whole afternoon (approx. 4 hours) trying out every kind of recumbent the guy had (he had lots!). It was really useful to work out what he liked and didn't like. The guy sells lots of secondhand stuff so there are some good deals to be had too.

    I'll find out the name of the place, but besides guy liking the sound of his own voice a little too much, it was well worth the trip – and probably saved a costly mistake.

    I had a go on the trikes – they were fun, but I didn't really 'get it' – Mike much preferred the higher bikes too and said they felt a bit safer. I think the one he's gone for is a high racer but I'm not 100% it could be a mid racer. Either way, it's got 26" wheels so he's going to build it with hope hoops and disc brakes. Should work out reasonably light but be very reliable and nice to have something with cross over to our mtbs.

    Anyway, I'll get Mr. MM to fill you in on the details of that shop and the bike he's gone for.



    Always fascinated me – any knowledge out there. I'm intrigued by the efficiency / low drag of them. And if they're a lot comfier than a road bike… ?


    We went to a little village somewhere in Cambridgeshire (bit of a drive from Bristol!) to a shop run by an enthusiast.

    That'd be D-Tech at Little Thetford, I presume? Not been myself, but I understand that it's one of the better places.

    A few other retailers jump to mind:

    Future Cycles – Forest Row
    Bikefix – London
    London Recumbents – er… London
    West Country Recumbents – Melbourne, Derbyshire(honest!)
    Laid Back Bikes – Edinburgh
    Kinetics – Glasgow
    Rainbow Recumbents – Merseyside, I think, but their website doesn't say!

    Plus a few others.

    Clubs: You want the BHPC:

    That'd be D-Tech at Little Thetford – yep that sounds right! Nice guy who obviously knows a lot about them. He's been running the shop for over 20 years! As I say, well worth a visit before parting with you cash. Good fun too.

    I got bent for a while. It took a bit of getting used to but wasn't too bad after a couple of hundred miles. I had an optima baron, a low racer but no fairing. It was faster than the mountain bike with road tires I had been commutting on but not that much to be honest. I expected it to be a rocket by comparison but no. I worried about being seen on it by drivers but not much of my ride was on road (lots of bike paths). There is a theory that car drivers don't notice regular bikes because they don't register but a recumbent is different and stands out so they take them in. Not sure I'd trust my life to the theory.

    I sold mine when I moved to the hills where it just didn't work, especially since I have 5 miles of off road track. I went for a 29er instead. Now I see a couple of bents fairly regularly and have talked to them both. One I go past without effort, the other goes past me like I'm nailed to the scenery and I know that guy has a good 20 miles in both directions to do with some hills included. He's no faster than some of the proper road bikes that pass me tho.

    Review of Nazca Fuego and Raptor Lowracer in this month's VeloVision. Want, Want. Problem is, I don't ride on roads.

    Hmm. Need to live in the Netherlands a long way from the office.

    A friends has a tandem 3 wheeler recumbent and I stoked for him once. It was a lot of low-slung metal going very fast. Cornering was esp interesting as it has a long beam that you could feel twisting as you cornered. Not being able to lean was odd as you felt pushed sideways. It was fun.


    Anyone know if you're statistically more or less likely to get squished by a car if you're on a recumbent? My assumption would be that they were less safe in that respect, but I wondered what the truth was.


    thanks for all the responses guys n gals. i probably should just get a regular road bike but i'm a little contrary and these 'bents' really do get me going – i'm sketching them now instead of working!

    I'll have a look into d-tech – ta


    Apparently the level of abuse went up significantly after the smoking ban, due to the increased amount of drunk people on street level.


    Anyone know if you're statistically more or less likely to get squished by a car if you're on a recumbent? My assumption would be that they were less safe in that respect, but I wondered what the truth was.

    They aren't around in sufficient numbers for any statistics.

    FWIW, you do get the feeling that you are given more room by other traffic when your're riding one. Certainly not the 'death traps' that many would have you believe.

    Premier Icon firestarter

    i borrowed a three wheeler low to the ground jobbie . it was like a race cart i loved it only thing that put me off was storage and the 3grand price tag


    FWIW, you do get the feeling that you are given more room by other traffic when your're riding one. Certainly not the 'death traps' that many would have you believe

    Interesting. I found that with having a tag-along on.

    Maybe cars are more likely to end themselves by crashing into something else while gawping?



    Another recumbent rider here..I think the term 'bent' is more of a US-ism, due to the connotations this side of the pond. One other site of interest – – even sells shirts with 'bentrider' on, I bet that'd go down well if walking past the pubs at chucking out time…

    It's worth trying quite a few different types (lwb/swb, ass/uss, trike), 'cos you might get on better with one than another. Re DTek – the guy was kind enough to let me have a go on quite a few, late afternoon as a freebie over an hour or so – he also has a buy-but-return-as-a-hire-if-you-don't-like-it scheme.

    I'd pretty much convinced myself at one point to get a Hurricane, new (don't see bikes with underseatsteer s/h in the uk) from London Recumbents. Couldn't quite convince myself of the seat, tho' in retrospect it's probably spot on. Actually bought a HPVelotechnik Speedmachine (bit of a misnomer, more of a touring lowracer) but which has a far more adjustable seat length, and plus a basic take on a Headshok at the front end which probably works a bit better than the (Challenge Recumbents) Hurricane. Both have rear susp., but it's more for avoiding big shocks up your spine rather than improving handling.

    Since then I've bought a s/w Hurricane too, but I need to get used to the tiller steering again (it's USS on the Speedmachine) – the rear disk caliper dumped it's load recently, so it's gonna get a BB7 a a replacement..

    You're definitely given more room, on the whole, even if it is only the 'wtf' factor. My head height's slghtly less than that of a driver (ok, apart from those in **** tractors) – tho' the route/time I commute is chosen so I can avoid filtering. Not that it isn't possible, there a guy that's posted his commutes into London on youtube, and he rides a Hurricane whci ha is lower still. I'm lacking a little confidence in starting off next to large things with paintwork to scratch, so I'll be leaving filtering for a while.

    One thing about trikes – tadpoles are great to ride(two wheels front, one rear) 'cos they can handle like go-karts, and climging hills there's no issue about toppling over, from going too slow – plus you can start again relatively easily if you stop – likewise pulling away from lights. But your head is a lot lower, so a bit dangerous to filter on, plus more easily missed but drivers coming towards/turning across you – but that'll all in IMO, having not ridden one in mch traffic.


    I had an ATV R-45 for a couple of years while I was living in the US. A Cromoly, 29 lbs, short wheelbase and my only complaint about it was that the steering was a bit twitchy. It was fast, on the flats my century rides were 3 mph faster than with my regular road bike. And I was able to ride for longer than with an upright bike.
    On sustained uphills it was slower as you can't change your position and stand on the bike. I highly recommend trying it. The bacchetta giro and strada are ace.

    The long chain was a bit inelegant for me. If I had the chance I'd like to try the Cruzbike. The silvio looks interesting.

    Still haven't rulled out another sometime and do keep an eye on them. The Bacchetta giro does seem to keep coming up as a classic all rounder as Tiagao says


    If anyone's still reading…

    >The long chain was a bit inelegant for me

    Pretty much the nature of the thing – unless you go for a fwd drive machine (probably all v low):

    And if you fancy some carbon fibre pron:

    One thing about bike weights – many are about 16kg or (a fair bit) above – the one difference (other than perhaps the Barchettas) are the Challenge SL/SLII variants, carbon fibre booms/swingarms and thinner wall tubing, which weight more like 21-26 lbs:

    I think the Challenge Furai (one of the bikefix links above) has a normal (less dingable) frameset with the option of a carbon boom and light ally or carbon seat.

    The Challenge stuff isn't too bad pricewise – I bought my speedmachine for about 2k a few years ago, same build's nearer 3k now I think.
    My s/h Hurricane was about 600 quid, tho' one in better nick would be more like 900. If buying something else s/h and knew what I was after I might consider looking at Dutch websites or recumbent shops, there's far more for sale:
    (ligfiets = recumbent in Dutch)

    I forgot to add before – I bought a recumbent 'cos I can't ride a road bike any more – if my bars are too low my neck goes into spasm.

    i've often wondered how far/fast one of the fully faired ones would go with a 1000w motor in there too? pretty fast i reckon, given that a (very fit) bloke can pedal one at 80mph.

    Not sure where you'd use it though!


    I have always wanted one but not being seen puts me off – altho its interesting what folk say about being given more room.

    How do you manage with not being able to see so well? I look over the top of most cars when commuting on my bike – you can't do that from a recumbent


    I've ridden a couple.

    The first was a Peer Gynt and I had to ride it across London on the first ride to get it from one of our shops to the other. Not a pleasant experience TBH as I felt very vulnerable low down though I can't say that anyone actually really cut me up but the fumes did seem noticeably worse. Obviously not a problem in the countryside but the A38 in rush hour… Also, the steering was some sort of linkage design which had a nasty habit of tending to go from lock to lock.

    The second was a more racy one which had two small wheels up front and a bigger wheel at the back plus dual Hope discs up front. That was much better – faster, felt a lot more happy pushing it into the corners but again, it was horrible in traffic with the fumes.

    So, for me, an interesting experience but not something that I'd want to invest in so I'm out… 😉

    EDIT – TJ's post also reminded me – I also really missed being able to see over cars – being tall, I'm very used to having a good view ahead when in traffic. I really didn't like the reduced visibility of being low down.


    Re visibility – I'm probably not the best person to answer 'cos I try to pick my routes to miss out nastier stuff (including more extreme hill starts, getting better at 'em as my low-speed balance improves tho'). I look ahead even more than I do normally, and try to time my entrance to lights and roundabouts to avoid having to put a foot down. I find I also have to 'take the lane' earlier than I would normally to accomodate my timing to lights or a give-way line, else some c*ck overtakes and takes up my slowing/idling distance, dispite the fact that they're gonna get stuck behind the car in front anyway.

    Re filtering – this is the guy commuting in London on a Hurricane from Hyda Park corner:

    Premier Icon one_bad_mofo

    I've ridden a couple in my time. One was while I was working on Cycling Today magazine was a load carrying recumbent. This meant the rider say quite high up above the load carrying area. Basically when you rode it your feet were at car door mirror height and your head was about level with car drivers' heads.
    It was huge fun to ride once I masteer the art of balancing it. Not to mention beign great for doing the weekly shopping with.
    The second I rode was a three wheeled tandem that has been adopted by Swallow Tandems for a disabled stoker and had hand cranks. Going down a hill on the edge of Wales on the back of that was stupid fast and even more stupidly scary, yet at the same time weirdly good fun.

    Premier Icon Esme

    I ride a Pashley PDQ3 – an upright recumbent trike, which feels very safe in traffic

    Here being ridden by Dave Brailsford's dad (if you're into Olympic cycling, you'll know who Dave is)

    PJ – right, my husband has pretty much finished building up his bike (after some frustrating waits and difficulties with various parts) and so, as promised – here are his initial thoughts…

    He's only taken it around the block so far, so will update his comments on the how it rides when he's got it all working (the mixture of road and mtb bits on a recumbent frame hasn't worked as smoothly as hoped!).

    Here are his initial thoughts and details of the build so far though.

    The bling gold front hub and red levered brakes do look particularly interesting…


    My only concern with one would be in traffic – fine for nipping about the 'burbs but commuting into a city? Parking in a city?

    Yep, totally agree – I don't think they're great in traffic. Thankfully Mike's commute is up a big A road out of Bristol and into the Cotswolds, his also isn't super low like some of them.

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