Friday, June 08, 2007

Recumbent bikes?

Now and again I see a recumbent bike, but they are still pretty rare.

Like many hardcore cyclists, I have an awareness that logging a lot of saddle time just can't be good for the delicate and fun parts that sit directly on the small racing saddle.

A few years ago I had some neck and shoulder problems, and I couldn't tolerate the bent over position of my racing bike. So I bought a high performance recumbent.

It was a Rotator Tiger. I had read up on the assorted flavors of recumbent bike designs extensively, because I wanted a fast bike, not a slow cruiser like the quebec-made Quetzal. The Quetzal is a fine bike, but it's heavy and overbuilt. The Rotator was billed as a real racing bike, with road bike wheelbase and handling, so that's the one I got.

I really liked it.

I really, really, liked it.

For 4 years It was my principle open road bike.

I returned to my custom racing bike last year, well, because my neck and houlders are happy now. And because I decided to start doing all the big hill rides I could find (and as this blog attests, I found lots of hills and keep finding more!), but with distances over 100 km I am again thinking of comfort, and the Rotator delivers this and a lot more.

In fact I see several advantages for a recumbent. These are all based on my personal experience using a recumbent:

  1. bent's are hugely more comfortable
  2. bents are way more aerodynamic than even a pro-team Time Trial bike.
  3. bent's have a great view of the road and the scenery (not just of the next rider's rear wheel)
  4. the small 405 wheels acccelerate rapidly, which offsets lack of "stand up and hammer" method used on a trad bike
  5. I can ride all day without destroying neck and upper body, I actually feel fresh after a 100+ km (not fresh that way--I still need a shower!)
  6. A trad bike behind me doesn't have the view ahead blocked
  7. A simple to build tailbox adds 2 km/h to my avg speed. Wow.

And yes, there's some minor disadvantages:

  1. Climbing is slightly slower
  2. no standing on the pedals for acceleration
  3. low seating means not a good city bike (tiger seat is same height as a Miata)
  4. This bike attracts lots of attention
  5. No drafting me by bikes behind me

The regular bike has a bit more fun factor because you interact with the bike more, but the recumbent's advantages add up on a longer ride.

I'm thinking I should go back to bent because maybe I'd rather ride fast in comfort (ok, I'll admit it, I'll also look a bit goofy), instead of the traditional racing bike where I end a ride needing a spa treatment. Not that there's anything wrong with a spa treatment, I'd love a spa treatment!

As for the bike itself, I am very highly impressed by the Rotator Tiger and would recommend it to the performance rider with some upper body or seat comfort issues, without hesitation. It's a great bike.


At 8:14 AM, Blogger Bernard Wolf said...

I have been using a trike - tadpole - for 6 months now and at this point have no urge to get back on a DF. Vive la difference !!

At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In which store did you buy Rotator Tiger?

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Cycle Fun Montreal said...

from rotator company direct.

At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there recumbent bike clubs or people to ride together in recumbent cycles In Montreal and surroundings


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