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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been thinking about purchasing my first recumbent bike. What attracts me is the added comfort of riding. I've never liked the discomfort of the seat on my Trek 7100 hybrid, even with the added Gel-base cover. I would not give up that bike, but like the idea of a second bike option. Also , I am 70 years old with some back issues. I just do casual riding on paved bike paths nearby, typically for a couple of hours 2 or 3 times a month in the warmer months. My typical pace is about 12 MPH. So the first question that comes to mind is, 2-wheel or Trike? I would spend between $500 and $1000 new or used. Don't want to hear that I need to spend more than $1000 given that I am not on the road that often. Perhaps I should try one somewhere, but renting recumbents seems difficult to do unless you're in a resort area with a lot of bike rentals. Suggestions, pros and cons, welcome.

Gary
 

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Old, fat, and slow
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There is at least one recumbent rider here----and we let him stay, because he also has a Real bike---who might help you.

Just kidding. I think a couple posters here ride recumbents, at least part time, so when hey finally check in they will likely have some useful ideas.

I am the hired harassment---management keeps me on hand to bother new posters. Don't ask me why---just doing my job.

(Welcome aboard. I have wanted a tadpole trike for years but I have a fear of being run over---too much traffic where I ride. Taller recumbents seem to offer both comfort and visibility.)
 

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I have no experience with recumbents. If you do a recumbent search here there’s a bunch of hits that might prove helpful. Glad you’re still going at 70+. I’m not far behind you.
 

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Welcome! I got into riding 'bent a couple of years ago when I found a really good deal on an old BikeE brand CX. Wasn't long before it was joined in the stable by a Sun X1-SX. I've found that around the Denver area of CO, quality used recumbents are available if one pays attention and is ready to move quickly on the right ride. A local bike sharing group gets them with some regularity and usually lets them go at low cost thanks to minimal demand.

FWIW, I haven't seen any trikes in similar circumstances, except upright deltas (traditional 2 wheels in back, 1 wheel in front), in which I have little interest. I initially went with a used, older model based on the fact that I wasn't sure I'd use it enough to justify investing a bunch of money. Now I know that the investment is worth it, but am so happy with my Sun 'bent in particular that I've chosen to simply ride the wheels off it and worry about purchasing more expensive models once the Sun comes up short.

On the road, I have found that most traffic passes me with wider margins when I ride recumbent than when I'm on my diamond frame touring bike. Both are equipped with comparable lights. I think the answer may have to do with driver habituation: everyone knows what a cyclist on an upright bike looks like. Recumbents present a sufficiently different view to cause drivers to 'lift' momentarily off the accelerator as they wonder just what the heck is in the road ahead. YMMV, of course.

When it comes to comfort, there's really no comparison: a properly adjusted recumbent is like riding a comfortable recliner. I seriously love it. At stop lights, my feet drop easily from the pedals to the pavement and I lounge back in my comfortable chair while waiting to go. I've never had sit bone pain, though longer rides can result in some general butt soreness which works itself out as I ramp up my mileage and frequency of rides.

On the trail, I see a lot more as the recumbent riding position leaves my head up, eyes forward rather than staring down and my front wheel and the pavement in front of it. That can make it a little harder to maintain awareness of obstacles such as edge traps and potholes, but overall it's not a big deal. Like on a diamond frame, I do best when I keep my eyes moving at all times, scanning ahead, to the sides, and behind (using a rear view mirror) in turn.

I hope this helps. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hope this helps. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have.
I am looking at a used Vision R44 Custom, says just tuned up in excellent condition, for sale by bike tech. I am aware that Vision is out of business. What gives me anxiety is the relatively high pedals. Some recumbents have high pedals, ,some low. Are high pedal bikes harder to mount or get started? Going to look at it today, they are asking $500.

Gary
 

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I am looking at a used Vision R44 Custom, says just tuned up in excellent condition, for sale by bike tech. I am aware that Vision is out of business. What gives me anxiety is the relatively high pedals. Some recumbents have high pedals, ,some low. Are high pedal bikes harder to mount or get started? Going to look at it today, they are asking $500.

Gary
With the caveat that you're looking at a Short Wheelbase Recumbent - SWB - (rider's feet out ahead of the front wheel) and my Sun is a Long Wheelbase Recumbent - LWB - (rider's feet behind or even with the front wheel), the riding positions appear comparable. Mine is equipped with standard platform pedals and I've never had an issue either starting out or with my feet flying off the pedals during shifts or other maneuvers. FWIW, I ride it both on pavement and mild to moderate dirt trails. Clipless pedals are always an option if you do run into such an issue.

One nice thing about having the pedals up higher is that you can carve turns, even tight ones, under power without worrying about pedal strikes on the ground as can happen with upright bikes. It takes practice and feels quite unstable at first, but can allow for deep leans and sharp turns without ever coming off the 'gas'.

Pulling up to a stop, I drop one foot off the pedal and let the other rotate the crankset naturally down and forward. This places the empty pedal up and back, at a perfect starting position for when I'm ready to go. Also telegraphs to any cross traffic that I plan to stop rather than running the traffic signal as some cyclists are wont to do.

I understand SWB bikes can have interference issues between the rider's heels and the front wheel on tight turns, but I've never ridden one, so I can't really say. It doesn't appear to be a deal breaker for those who ride and love SWB bikes. Mine are LWB because that's what I happened to find. I'd ride a SWB without qualms, just haven't had the opportunity.

Whether SWB or LWB, if you are riding a bike with over the seat steering, look out for your knees interfering with the handlebars on turns. It's a shallow but potentially painful learning curve. Avoidance quickly becomes second nature. I have no experience with underseat steering, so can't comment on any bugaboos hiding there.

As for the bike being out of production, it's probably not too big a deal unless you manage to break proprietary parts. If you do, it may be possible to adapt parts from other brands. I've seen some references to such things here and there, though I've happily not had the need to explore the subject in detail. On most models, the 'consumable' parts - chain, cogset, chainrings, brake pads, etc. are common with upright designs. Worth checking before your plunk down money, though.

Best of luck and please, let us know how you make out!
 
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