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2006-05-28 12:58:49.17782+00 by meuon 24 comments

Bought a slightly used recumbent bike yesterday, It's a Canadian made cromoly frame long wheel base recumbent labelled 'Mikado C-35 Touring' aka "Quetzal C105" with 105 gears.. (3 gearsets..). It's a little heavy by 'Elite' standards, but it was $500.00. - A good price for a like new bike and a great way to find out of I really want to invest in an 'Elite' one later. Taken it on some short rides already, it likes to go fast, uphill/upMtns will be interesting.

[ related topics: Photography Invention and Design Bicycling ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 00:11:42.065622+00 by: meuon

Just got back from a couple of loops on Sunset Drive (very hilly/curvey residential). It's fantastic on flats, good on gentle grades up, walked up steep long hills unless you get a really good running start with the right gear range selected in advance. But going downhill.. It's not a bike, it's a 2 wheeled luge. Fast. Stable, Smooth. I don't think I've ever gone so fast, and felt so good about being at that speed. The brakes make need help, I'm big and the hills and mountains are steep around here, but what a ride.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 01:30:08.297012+00 by: Dan Lyke

Sweet! Yeah, I've heard that climbing on a 'bent takes some time and isn't always possible, but... put a fairing on that sucker and you can probably cruise it at over 30MPH on level ground. So is climbing just a gearing issue, or that you can't keep it upright that slow 'cause sitting down you don't have all the body english to apply, or something else?

I've always wondered about descents on a 'bent, too.

The nice thing about $500 bicycles is that you can learn what's good and what isn't, so when you finally ride the full-on high dollar thing you know what bits you can pick and choose. And I've been looking a bit at fabricating carbon fiber frames...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 03:09:33.324766+00 by: meuon [edit history]

The climbing issue is keeping your balance at lower speeds. Possible, but takes finesse I haven't mastered although I got better today. The easy answer many older people take is 'trike'. As for carbon fiber frames, the Haluzak Traverse is one, few seem to make it as production models. The king of the hill for this kind of bike design is Titanium. As of this wekeend, it looks like he is no longer taking orders anymore.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 03:26:36.816921+00 by: Dan Lyke

Varnahand Cycles has some sweet HPVs, and there's some sweet recumbent bike porn at http://www.effendibikes.de/cv2006/rundherum.html and http://www.effendibikes.de/cv2006/cv2006_impressionen.html

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 11:06:36.356973+00 by: meuon

Wow, never seen "pushme-pullyou" tandems before. There are some other very sweet designs and builds as well in those bike porn pics, but a lot of those are just not practical for casual street use. I need to be a productive geek today, but I'm hoping for a ride down the riverwalk later today.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 15:40:43.255308+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, the ability to do 80+MPH on flat ground is not exactly a positive trait on a multi-use path, and the ones that can do that have a hell of a sideways aerodynamic profile, the first big truck that passed and you'd get whipped all over the road.

The rules of standard bike racing have held back innovations in geometry a lot, but part of the reason I've got a standard upright is that being in a pack of similar riders is as much a social experience as it is an exercise one, and I wanted something that worked well in that context. So, yeah, there are a lot of trade-offs in bike selection.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 16:38:35.806633+00 by: DaveP

There are recumbent clubs if you want the social aspect of riding, too. Or if you can't find one in your area, contact the HPVA and start one. You'll find at least a few other people with "funny looking bikes" who'll be happy to ride around with you.

The local Minneapolis club has guys like Jeff Caswell and Mark Stonich who are doing interesting things with 'bent design.

I took the trike approach and geared way low on an SUV or station-wagon like model. 100rpm on the pedals in the lowest gear nets me a speed of 3mph. But I can haul my mass plus a lot of gear up any slope I can get traction on. It just doesn't happen very quickly. 100rpm in top gear gets me just about 30mph, which is nice, since I can keep up with traffic in a sprint.

The only issue with getting gearing that wide is that I have the maximum difference in number of teeth that my front derailleur can handle, so chainring shifts aren't always as smooth as they could be.

The biggest problem with a trike is that there aren't a lot of places to park it, so I don't use it for things like riding to the grocery store. Grumble.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 17:48:52.722709+00 by: Diane Reese

I've long thought about getting a recumbent, and only just rode my first one a month ago at the Maker Faire. Those of you with experience: I notice that some have handlebar-like grips, some have pole-type grips around mid-thigh, and some have lower grips nearer the hips. What are the relative dis/advantages of each configuration?

And are you more likely to get completely muddy from road dirt as you ride, being so much closer to the ground?

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-29 18:32:43.784432+00 by: meuon

I just got back from a cruise from Coolidge Park to the Chickamauga Dam and back. I'm out of shape, but I can still walk when I got off the bike, and my hands, wrists, shoulders, back.. etc.. feel great. Notes: 105 may still be too many gears, but I have room at the high speed end to explore. I had some trouble with the hills around the art district when I started, but on the way back I was much better at selecting gears and speeds for the occaision and rode up the hills in the Art District and other places that others were walking their upright bikes up. Ride Summary: [Big Grin]

Diane: Lots of differences possible in Under Seat Steering (USS) with grip angle and position. Some of it is the ergonomics of the bike, a lot of it is personal preference. Mine are adjustable, and I leave them a little loose so I can change their angle some as I wish, while riding. Ride as many different geometry bikes as you can to get a feel for what you like.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-30 04:42:54.063699+00 by: ebradway

I was just thinking last week about getting a 'bent for bombing around Boulder. Evidently there's a guy on Signal who makes them as well. Wish I were staying longer so I could testdrive meuon's... Loading tomorrow - leaving the next day...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-30 11:06:04.066101+00 by: meuon

Art, at Easy Chair Bikes is who I got this one from. It's a bike shop in the garage out back, with a gracious attitude and a 'lets hang around and play with bikes' attitude. He'a a zealot level recumbent evangelist. Be prepared and enjoy it. I'll have my bike in the back of the truck so you can play.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-30 12:37:14.359593+00 by: DaveP

Diane, like Meuon said, the best bet is to try the different styles. I prefer USS with grips near my hips. I sometimes shift my hands in on the bars to they're almost straight under me, letting my arms dangle more, too.

As for getting dirty, the distance from the ground doesn't matter too much (except when I drag my knuckles on the pavement - ook!), but I also have full fenders. Most of the dirt I've gotten when biking was thrown from my own tires, so full fenders means a cleaner me.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-01 14:04:32.519378+00 by: meuon

Luge. Rode down Signal Mtn to work his morning. Wow. I think I have the odometer/speedometer calibrated correctly, and if so: taking it easy, riding the brakes a little I hit downhill speeds of 55+mph. Slow easy cruising speed on flats: 15mph, cranking on it I can cruise for decent periods at 30-35+. I could probably do 20mph for appreciable distances. Chattanooga's pretty hilly, so that is not that easy. I've only been riding a little for 5 days, and I can feel the difference.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-02 20:14:03.77286+00 by: Dan Lyke

And it also looks like you're getting that sort of performance on fairly thick tires, so terrain isn't quite as much an issue as my skinny little 120PSI things.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-02 20:45:28.881225+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Those are 110 PSI "special" tires, with a center section like your skinny tires, and then some shoulders so they don't sink on softer stuff too bad. They work very well, caveats being they like smooth roads.

I know enough now to know what I want is more like a Rans Formula 26 with the disk brakes and larger diameter tires, but with under seat steering. Art has one, and I've considered converting it to USS.....

Gonna have to sell some toys just to make room.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-02 21:58:55.823127+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, 100+PSI tires do like smooth roads.

With the modern deep rims for low spoke count wheels I'm back to being a fan of rim brakes unless you're really concerned about overheating (at which point a drag brake for long descents, like an Arai Drum Brake on a bar-end shifter, might be a good idea). On a mountain bike where the rims are likely to be bent out of shape often disk brakes rock, and I have to admit I like the control they offer on our road tandem, but make sure you're making an informed decision. It might be cheaper to outfit with rims than with really nice wheels (and I don't know what's available in non 700mm rims), but really nice wheels are indeed really nice.

On the other hand, as I'm learning from aerodynamics (cargo shorts cut half a mile an hour off my speed), weight ain't everything, and if you're already five miles an hour faster than the pack...

And have you looked at fairings yet?

(Proof that guys can geek out over just about anything...)

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-14 07:59:14.812064+00 by: ebradway

Just rode a 'bent for the first time today. I'm actively shopping for a bike. I've decided that a long-wheel-base, like meuon's, would be too cumbersome for commuting (won't fit on the front rack of a bus) and most short-wheel-base bikes are too unstable for maneuvering around peds. Thanks to the folks at High Gear Cyclery in Longmont, I got to ride a Rans Tailwind (LWB), a Rans Force5 (SWB), and a Burley Django. The Django is an SWB but with a geometry that feels alot like the LWB:

But all were out of my price range. I'm going to Boulder Bikesmith in the next couple days. They sell used and ex-rentals - hoping to find a possible deal there. I'm going to rent an Bike E probably for the weekend:

I also found shop from Arvada that recently went out of business but the owner (who works at IBM just about .5 miles from my condo) still has two Sun EZ-1 SC's in storage still in the original boxes:

When I got on the Rans Tailwind (LWB), I immediately thought "this is way-cool - this is what I thought bikes should be like when I was a kid". Big comfy seat, ape-hanger handlebars and cruising speeds that'll make my 11 mile commute doable on nice days. Supposedly, both the Bike E and Sun EZ-1 SC are comparable.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-14 11:31:07.557623+00 by: meuon

Nancy and I rode Sun EZ's in Alaska, they were fair. Kinda of crudely made but worked well. It's taken me a while to feel stable on the 'bent, and it will take you a while riding to adjust to the different geometrey and balance as well. In other words, once you adjust to SWB, it may work for you. As physically fit as you are, consider more advanced touring/racing recumbents, where your legs are higher for more aerodynamics and power against the seat. Check e-Bay as well often used better 'bent bikes are running 50% of new..

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-14 15:50:30.647271+00 by: Dan Lyke

eBay can indeed lead to bargains if you make a list of what you want, which prices trade-offs you're willing to make, and wait for it to show up. That's how I got my current one.

However, beware of stolen bikes. Before you buy, get the serial number and check it against the National Bike Registry and do some searching on the bike description to make sure that it hasn't been reported stolen on the various biking mailing lists.

Keep me updated on the 'bents on public transit issues, I've thought it should be possible to build a bike that fits on the bus-front bike racks, but haven't seen confirmation yet.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-15 12:40:25.045807+00 by: meuon

I got up early this morning feeling good, it was just a little cool outside. My bike was at the house, the truck was downtown. Although I was leaving my beautiful snuggly bride in bed, alone: the compulsion to ride to downtown was too strong. I've gotten a lot stronger, and better as a rider in the last month and it showed this morning. The ride down the curves was a blast, and I was in top gear pushing it on the straights. (note: make sure your bike has a gear for 40+mph for downhills) No-one passed me coming down the mountain, or seemed to feel a need to. At the bottom, I stayed up with traffic past the Bi-Lo at the bottom (hit the green light at about 40, with traffic), and then pulled over for what had been a gentle uphillto Dayton Blvd and then a bit of a hairy ride up to through the Red Bank tunnel. Stop. Fix seat. Suprise! While still tough, it'd been a while since I did this and the difference was amazing. I was not compelled to get off and walk, I got into a good gear and decent cadence and just pumped on through it. A great ride through N. Chattanooga, over the Walnut Street Bridge, and arriving at work hunsgry, but very happy. The bike odometer shows I've done over 200 miles.. not bad for mostly around downtown jaunts over a few weeks of just getting started again. Bike needs: comfy sturdy seat, that adjusts.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-15 17:22:29.922972+00 by: Dan Lyke

Even though my hiking consistency has been horrid recently, one of the things we've noticed over the years in the hiking group is that it only takes two or three weeks of one day of two to four hour hike per for people to go from gasping to generally pacing the group.

What I'm concerned about this week is that I did a lot of heavy lifting this weekend and Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, but nothing with sustained heavy breathing (yes, make of that what you will), I think this weekend's likely to be similar (although it'll be roofing, plumbing and electrical, not slinging around two tons (measured dry) of concrete and a whole bunch of 2x8s), and I've got that century coming up Saturday after next.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-16 05:39:59.476032+00 by: ebradway

I rented a Sun EZ-1 from the shop in Fort Collins. I took it back this morning and noticed that they had a Bike-E on consignment. Turned out that the owner of the Bike-E flaked out on the shop owner. She originally was asking $1100 for it and, a year later, the price was down to $699. The shop owner let me have it for $475. It's still at the shop but I hope to have it home soon.

Aluminum frame (vs. the steel frame of the EZ-1), air-suspension (vs. none on the EZ-1) and much better components. I liked the "ape-hanger" handlebars on the EZ-1 better but I'm sure I'll adjust to the t-bar on the Bike-E. It's an inch or two shorter than the EZ-1 so I stand an even better chance of getting it on the front of a bus.

I'll probably ride this bike until I'm ready to move up to a Burley Django or the like... And the shop in Fort Collins had some of the craziest bikes you ever saw - like a tandem-tad-pole-tricycle with under-seat-stearing 'bent...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-16 05:50:52.479937+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... Did a little research... Turned out I bought a BikeE RX:

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-16 14:03:56.447893+00 by: meuon

Sweet Deal! Welcome to the club!