Author Topic: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams  (Read 4010 times)

Andre Jute

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Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« on: September 19, 2014, 06:20:52 PM »
WILL A RECUMBENT FIX YOUR HURTIN' BACK?
Mmm. Elsewhere people are talking about solving back problems by buying a recumbent. To them I say, from what little experience I have, A real recumbent will do your back absolutely no good, my old son. How do you think a guy with a bad back will even get into it, down there at the knee-height of fleas?

NO, BUT A SEMI-RECLINER MAY HELP: INTRODUCING THE LATE GIANT REVIVE.
A semi-recliner may be more like it, easier to get in (rather than on), better posture than on the drops (which is what killed your back, for sure), back support, plenty of padding, super ergonomics all round. However, there are downsides.



This one has seven hub Nexus gears. My memory is that mine had eight hub gears, but maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm thinking of another of my bikes (I have several bikes still with 8-speed Nexus hubs), maybe it was only seven gears. Whichever, it's about 300% gear range, just enough for my hills, and most people's I suspect, if you're young and energetic.



A derailleur model demonstrates one of the downsides: those small wheels put the hanging bits of derailleurs right into the edge of the first pothole you run through ... at the end of your street, before you even get into the country.

ON BEING OVERLOOKED BY MOTORISTS
There's another serious problem, for me at least, with even a semi-recumbent, never mind a recumbent. On my Kranich, and on my Gazelle, and  on my Trek, I figure huge to a motorist, higher than a Range Rover, an eight of a ton of expensive damage. You can understand why I don't want to undermine the effect, which keeps me safe, by slinking around apologetically near the ground.

The Revive I had caused motorists to overlook me altogether. I felt exposed on it. That ruined the experience for me. The ride and the handling was good on the flat and especially on good tarmac. When somebody offered me a good price for it after a very short while, I was relieved to let it go.

Another fellow who had one and sold it on told me, "I felt like an idiot on it. It's a bike for exhibitionists." I don't care what people think, but that's probably a consideration for old roadies, in whom I perceive a powerful urge to conform to group norms.

THE UTOPIA PHOENIX, A SERIOUS SEMI-RECUMBENT TOURER FOR GROWN-UPS
Nevertheless, I was impressed enough by the unrealized possibilities of semi-recumbents to put a properly developed, grown-up, non-gimmicky semi-recumbent on my shortlist. Since my shortlist was only another Utopia Kranich, a Thorn Raven, and the Utopia Phoenix, you can see that only serious bike got on the list after serious consideration; as examples of it's status as a bike for adults, the forks are designed to take 60mm low-pressure balloon tyres, it comes with a Rohloff, of course, and serious disc brakes, and is capable of being electrified, and of course it will carry serious luggage including substantial panniers on a specially developed rack; note also that no component is so low that the first pimple in the road will destroy it; as I say, a serious semi-recumbent for serious riders. Utopia recently stopped making the Phoenix, presumably because sales were never high enough. Second-hand ones are tres pricey, but are usually in good nick with very low miles because they were bought as fifth or sixth bikes by people with several Utopia, and professionally serviced by factory-trained dealers. Click on the attachment below to see what a world-crcumnavigator's semi-recumbent looks like.



The reason I didn't buy one is the same I didn't buy a Thorn. The thing is welded, not brazed, which offends my aesthetic sensibilities.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 10:55:17 PM by Andre Jute »

jags

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2014, 06:59:43 PM »
like the look of that last bike but cant find any more info on it .i would have to test these out before i committ myself to the dark side.
thanks Andre your one very clever bucle.

anto.

Andre Jute

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2014, 10:50:06 PM »
like the look of that last bike but cant find any more info on it .i would have to test these out before i committ myself to the dark side.
thanks Andre your one very clever bucle.

THE SCOOTERBIKE
Orignally the Pheonix was the Scooterbike, a crossover bike designed by Klaus Schröder (who still runs a hardcore recumbent bike shop in Germany, see http://www.veloladen.com) and made in two-wheel and tricycle form but so obscurely that it was hard to find out anything about it, never mind actually take delivery of one; believe me, I tried, and I'm much more than adequately experienced when it comes to having obscure bikes of technical interest delivered to my door in Ireland (see http://coolmainpress.com/BICYCLING.html). Here's a Scooterbike test, though the photos no longer appear: http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=1521. And this is what it looked like:



And here's the tricycle version of the Scooterbike:



UTOPIA'S PHOENIX
Utopia, who are generally considered the Rolls-Royce of bike makers, took over the Scooterbike design and in their usual style (nothing short of perfection is good enough) did a thorough development and quality control job on it, turning it into a proper world tourer. Utopia also eventually made both wheels 20in, where previously the front wheel had been 16in.



The Phoenix and the Revive, incidentally, have the same size wheels, except that the Pheonix has 60mm tyres so the total diameter is much larger than on the Revive, so you need to scale up the Phoenix against those photos of the Revive -- it is a much bigger bike than the scaling of the photos on this page will lead you to believe. The pic of the Phoenix above, with a rider aboard, will give you an idea of the scale of the bike.

Of course, by the time Utopia finished with it, it was a bike for the sort of money for which you could get a very nice pre-loved BMW; it was probably the most expensive bike on the Utopia list. But it was always an outright luxury item, even on the list of a bike maker whose clientele generally won't ask the price until they're making out the cheque, and last year Utopia stopped making it, presumably for lack of sales in hard times.

A SECONDHAND UTOPIA PHOENIX?
Secondhand ones are pricey, the desireable all-big-wheel ones are rarer still, and I have no idea where you can get to ride one. But at least the Phoenix is a bike I can recommend. Here is a guy who has developed a Phoenix he bought used as I have developed my Kranich to fit me like a glove; since I expect you don't have too much opportunity to practice your German, I give it in translation, and you should follow the link to his diary which will also come up in translation: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.belcl.at%2FElektrofahrzeuge%2FUtopia.htm&edit-text=

A NOS GIANT REVIVE EZB
I know where you can get a Revive EZB, brand new old stock, with 8sp hub gearbox, down from €1695 to €750, or whatever better deal you can cut. (If I were buying, I'd offer €500 and see what happens.) That one's been in the upstairs storeroom of Kilgrews in Cork for years. Whether I can recommend it, especially when we've already mentioned the Phoenix, is a different matter. Compared to a Utopia or a Thorn it is what it is, expensive Giant rubbish, slightly better than cheap Giant rubbish, but not a bike that anyone should expect to last decades in constant use, which is really what you pay for in a Thorn or a Utopia or suchlike. I mention it only because you ask. This is what that one looks like, but note that those aren't cast wheels but plastic covers on spokes; also, I seem to remember that my Revive wouldn't take tyres wider than 38mm or something equally inadequate:



Not a mile-eater, like the bikes you're accustomed to.

jags

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2014, 11:38:02 PM »
emm pretty and all as it is and  really well built its not for this kid. if i live another 10 yeas maybe yes it would suit me fine.i rode a moulton one time felt like a clown on it .bikes like this are only a fad  pretty useless,  ok for popping to the shops or if you live in a city.
i could outrun a mad dog on my audax but  on that thing i reckon i would be missing a leg.nah back pain or no back pain i'll stick to what i know.

sorry andre   each to there own i suppose.

anto.                       

Andre Jute

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2014, 11:45:05 PM »
Nah, don't be sorry. Getting rid of the Revive was the right decision for me, and not getting into it will probably be the right decision for you.

Recumbents, and most semi-recumbents too, and most small-wheel bikes, are good as fifth or sixth bikes for people who have a chauffeur to drive a Range Rover behind them with a sign on the back: "Don't overlook the recumbent bike directly in front of me."

jags

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2014, 12:05:41 AM »
ah i'm just going to spend money when ever i get it on my audax,
respray
good dynamo system
sti leavers shimano.
that new funny looking seatpost
grand bios tyres 700x 25or28.

that will see me out i'll leave it to one of my grandkids in my will.

anto.

btw i see i've become a super hero ;D ;D

JimK

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2014, 12:20:05 AM »
"Don't overlook the recumbent bike directly in front of me."

When I get on my big upright bike, my Azor/Workcycles Transport, it is really glorious - extremely comfortable, I can easily turn my head and see all around me, and I am way up high and very visible to everyone on the road.

The big problem with that bike, why I don't ride it at all anymore, is the bottom gear is stupid high. Yeah the top gear is stupid high too but that doesn't get in my way. We lived right in town in Woodstock. There is a decent hill through town but I could ride the Azor up that & it was not too far past exhilarating. But now we're outside Kingston up on top of hill that rises maybe 125 feet with some 11% bits in there. Just too much!

I bought a big sprocket to try to lower those gears. The whole mechanism back there is really a wonder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ixDQN-abkc

one of these days I will get around to it!   

Andre Jute

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2014, 02:18:27 AM »
Congratulations on becoming a SuperHero, Anto. Now you can save the world on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Andre Jute

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2014, 02:32:05 AM »
When I get on my big upright bike, my Azor/Workcycles Transport, it is really glorious - extremely comfortable, I can easily turn my head and see all around me, and I am way up high and very visible to everyone on the road.

Visibility, seeing and being seen, is a big factor on how secure I feel on the road. In town, and in the lanes too, I try to make eye-contact with every motorist crossing my path.

About hills, Jim. The steep section that in the end caused me first to buy a Rohloff bike after looking for a few years and meanwhile finding the 8-speed Shimanos good enough, is probably only thirty feet long, but it is in a dangerously exposed position where a narrow  road through town becomes the open road and drivers expect to speed up, not to slow down to wait for me. I've never regretted the cost of moving up to Rohloff and then the electrification; in fact, when my health deteriorated, I was ready to rock, and after my first cardiac surgery was back on the bike on the third day, because the bike was suitable. It wasn't just lucky timing either; when I bought first the Kranich and then the electric bits, I said to my wife that the expense would be justified by advancing age; in the event it just happened a year or two before I expected it.

But a recumbent is not a solution: I reckon it could be a stress-riser, whereas a big upright bike is a stress-reducer, for the cyclist at least -- and I don't care if that stress is instead transferred the motorist.

JimK

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2014, 03:06:56 AM »
Nice work there, Andre. Staying ahead of the curve like that, it's the finest art. I look at my 11,000 books... to retrieve a book from that pile of boxes... it's easier just to buy another copy! At least for most of them. The number I can reasonably read in xxx years, well it is far fewer than 11,000! I'm way behind the curve, but at least I know there's a curve!

Another interesting puzzle down that line... I like to do yoga, too, headstands and what-not. A great way to stay agile. A good complement to biking. How much time to devote to biking, which is going to increase my range most directly... but how far I will ever really be able to go anyway... I have some serious biker friends who have really been limited by arthritis, which yoga can often address quite wonderfully... ah, life is a puzzle!

Best to enjoy the perplexity of it, surely, because the only real solution, ha, no need to rush!

Andre Jute

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2014, 05:16:33 AM »
Ha! I started early. I went all-electronic for my comms in 1980 and moved to a small village in the countryside. In 1992 I gave up the car altogether and announced that I would no longer travel to see clients. By 1996 I had never met more than 80% of the people I worked with that year. Some of them found working with me so agreeable that they would travel to the wilds of West Cork afterwards just to come say hello.

BTW, I pared my books down to fewer than yours, about 8000, a few years ago, and again when we moved, and now have only a couple of thousand, mainly heavily illustrated art and engineering books that are not available electronically. I read mostly on an iPad armoured by a Griffin Survivor case, further protected when I take steam by a diving bag. The Griffin case is also good on my treadmill, where the iPad occasionally slides off the so-called (incompetently designed) magazine retent and crashes onto the roadbed among my feet.

Relayer

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2014, 09:19:38 AM »
Congratulations on becoming a SuperHero, Anto. Now you can save the world on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Brilliant!!   :D

triaesthete

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Re: Recumbent and semi-recumbent dreams
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2014, 09:37:33 AM »


 Super Father Anto. You've always been a hero. Don't forget to put your pants on over your trousers before posting  ;D

Ian