Sunday, May 15, 2011

Choosing the Right Recumbent

Choosing the right recumbent can be difficult. It sometimes takes having to buy a couple of bikes over time to really get what you should have bought in the first place.
Many buyers shop with price in mind. They have a limit as to how much they want to spend and if they go over they will only have to answer to them self's after all is said and done. Spending mony to lighten the bike up is what I have done with cheap bikes and when I was finished, afterall the money I spent, I could have bought the bike of my dreams to began with.
I'm sure all readers have bought something at one time realizing that they should have bought "up" and in the long run could have actually saved them money. Cameras come to my mind.
Because designers are not always bicycle mechanics, its not always easy to get a recumbent that makes sense.
Small rear wheels for Recumbents are a bad idea. Good for folding bicycles but the whole road bicycle industry is based around the 26" wheel and if a smaller wheel is chosen for the job of powering the bicycle, it will not have a large enough gear ratio to keep up in traffic or keep up with bikes that have large wheels. Unless the chainset is equipped with a larger then commonly available sized large chain ring, the bicycle will be too low geared and too slow.
Suspension is a great idea for cars, motorcycles and off road bicycles, but the simple road bicycle design is forgoton when it comes to climbing hills. Shock pivot points wear out and are not always available in the future. Shocks fail and for most of the riding, reading the road, you can do just fine without.The weight of a bicycle, especialy recumbents is so important with our stop and go world here in New England. Heavier bicycles are fine for the flat, but dabbling at speeds from 0-8mph, you need a light bike and a light wheelset. Smaller wheels can be light as long as their under 1" cross section. Most small wheels actually weigh more then lightweight road wheels. Imagen having a wheel made of stone. How long would it take to bring it up to speed and how long would it take to stop it?
The proof is in the pudding. All of my Recumbent events have small wheeled recumbent riders with shocks dropping off the back of the ride. Slower bikes are harder to ride, and a heaver bike is harder to climb hills.
Customers need to buy any item from people who use them. In the case of bicycles, for the most part, all the sales people I have worked with over the past 30 years have been honest folk. They would never sell anything that they thought the customer would be unhappy with and have to return. Honesty is the best policy with both party's and when it comes to buying a Recumbent, ask yourself exactly what are you planning to do with the bike and let the experts help you decide.

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