Friday, March 12, 2010

What Recumbent is Best For Me?

The unspoken question when new Recumbent buyers come to me at the store is what bike will be best for them.
Recumbents come in a huge selection of styles for the simple reason that designers as a whole have different ideas of what a Recumbent should look like.
There has been some pretty silly designs in the past, some unrideable, but, Oh Well!
The first thing I like to do when a customer comes to me is to ask, What kind of riding are you doing now, if any. Where do you see yourself using your new recumbent and why?
I usually get a response that can narrow down the selection quite a bit.
Higher performance Recumbents are usually for riders that have ridden recumbents for a while. A large front wheel will put a rider higher off the ground and because of the design difference from a small wheeled bike, you should have a little experience. One foot up to start and one foot down, can be a little difficult if you have short legs. Because the human body will only bend so far, the higher the front of the bike, the lower that back of the seat must be. If the back of the seat is placed up, the cranks must be lowered so that at the top of the stroke, you still have full movement of your legs. Folks with bigger guts will have there leg hitting their belly at the top of there stroke unless the seat is angled so as to be clear.
A recumbent bicycle by definition, has you laying down, To see where your going you need to bend your neck in a position that may be uncomfortable for some people.
Sitting upright not only ruins the aerodynamic advantage of a Recumbent Bicycle, but also has you sitting on your gluts and wont allow blood to flow to the muscles needed to pedal the bike. "Recumbent Butt" is from just that.
Softer seats weigh more, but do allow you to sit in a position that is not laying down. The softer cushion will allow your legs to move and blood to flow where needed.
The longer you like to ride and the further you like to go is important when choosing the correct bicycle in any case.
Shorter rides can be done on any style, but when speed and distance is important, lighter weight and more aerodynamic bicycles work better and are easier to use.
Test rides help, but don't answer all the questions. Many a New Recumbent Rider will buy a cheaper bike to test the water of the sport and then end up spending more in the long run to ether lighten what they have or sell up to buy what they should have bought in the first place. I was one of those buyers.
A good rule of thumb is that match what your friends are riding and the type of bicycle that you will find yourself riding along with on group rides.
Recumbents work well with other recumbents best, but if you have a "Round Town" style of bike, Recumbent or Up-right, and you try to keep up to the racer types, your just not going to have a good time.
Careful seclection of your new bike and having an experienced sales person can help in choosing what will be right for you now as well as in the future.

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