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    Should I choose a recumbent?  
    I would be interested in hearing from anyone that owns a recumbent about their experiences. I am contemplating making my next road bike a recumbent.

I would like to know what you own. Is it a long or short wheelbase? Is it above or below steering? What accessories have you purchased that you would recommend? How do you transport them? If you were going to buy one again, what would you get this time? Any bike store you would recommend? and ETC.

Ron Zahm

Ron - I can give you more information than you probably want.... It may be easier for me to send you one of our club magazines than fill this egroup with my ravings! I'll "try" to keep it short. I'm positioning myself up on my soapbox now....

In my personal opinion, the BEST recumbents on the planet are Easy Racers. I have an EZ-1, a Tour Easy and a TiRush. The EZ-1 is an entry level recumbent and can be purchased for about $495.00. I use mine for crappy weather riding. The Tour Easy and TiRush are both LWB (long wheel base) recumbents and the only difference is the materials used in the frame... and the Ti comes with upgraded components and about $3,000 added to the price tag. All 3 are OSS (over seat steering). Accessories that are mandatory are a Zzipper fairing, a rear rack and a double-kick stand. As far as transporting them, I've used a truck, a van, a station wagon... a rear rack (same as used for up rights), a roof rack and with the van, I just wheeled them in and bungied them down. I no longer own a car, so I transport my bike now either under my own power or with the help of friends going the same direction for a group ride.

If I were to "get" another one, I would purchase a tandem. The only problem is,... Gardner Martin doesn't want to build any Gold Rush tandems... :(... or I'd have already sent in my deposit.

If you want to test ride recumbents, go to Coventry Cycle Works in Portland. They are on Hawthorne and 20th (SE). Their phone number is (503) 230-7723. Ask for Heintz. Not only is his head filled with good 'bent knowledge... he's one of the nicest guys you'll EVER meet. They have SWB, LWB, OSS, USS... you name it. They'll put a helmet on your head, fill your ears with information and send you out on a test ride... A fun way to spend the afternoon!

Also, visit our club website. There's not a whole heck of a lot on there, but the photos do show a lot of smiling, happy 'bent riders!

Lastly (I can't keep things short to save my soul it seems...), look for me on Cycle Oregon [CO 13]. I'll be the grinning 'bent rider with a sky-blue & white body sock. Depending on your height, I'd be glad to let you take "wicked" (another long story) out for a spin or at least let you sit on her.

Laurie BentLover Smith
Easy Riders Recumbent Club

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Hi Ron,
I will answer your questions following your paragraphs.

Ronald Zahm wrote:

>> I would be interested in hearing from anyone that owns a recumbent about their experiences. I am contemplating making my next road bike a recumbent. <<

I've been riding a Recumbent (Bent) now for four years. Next to piloting an aircraft, it has been one of most exciting experiences of my life. I was a mediocre rider at best on a regular bike, and I'm now considered by some as a very strong Bent pilot/rider. The machine can make one bloom with a performance advantage that no other bicycle can do. If you select the right one - you'll never look back.

What kind of riding do you like to do most Ron ?
1. around town mostly.
2. mostly club riding
3. playing with the pacelines :-)
4. self-supported tours (panniers)
5. supported tours (like CO)
6. what are your expectations in a bicycle ?

give me some idea ?

>> I would like to know what you own. <<

I own a Tour Easy made by Easy Racer.

>> Is it a long or short wheelbase? Is it above or below steering? <<

It is a long wheel base, above seat steering (looks like a Harley).

>> What accessories have you purchased that you would recommend? <<

Bent accessories such as a Fairing, and Fenders, are a must do if your going to enjoy aero-efficient/all-weather riding.

The Fairing is for improving the aerodynamics of the rider/bike package. It is the one most efficient accessory that you can buy. There is more performance return for the dollar then any other bike accessory available - enough said.

Because of being lower and behind the front wheel on some Bents – fenders are very important for all-weather riding. I remove my fenders if I know there is going to be clear weather. For the most part they remain on. They don't weight much and gramming isn't as important on a Bent as it is on regular bikes (Wedgies).

Other toys bells and whistles are up to the individual.

My equipment - a Super Zipper Road Fairing, Conti 3000/Grand Prix tires, light weight wheels that are disked when raced, 54X36X26 chain ring -11 X 32 cogs set, and a lycra body sock for streamlining. (Different set of wheels when I tour loaded.)

>> How do you transport them? <<

1. Yakima roof rack - just extend the existing rail with a second rail and attach them together with two Yakima wheel tie down straps – therefore making an extra long rail for the long wheel based models. Short wheel based models just use a regular length.

2. My favorite is a receiver hitch bike rack that swings out. It has two bars that extend out so a Regular bike (Wedgie) can hang from them - except for a Bent you set the bike on top of the bars and secure the bike.

>> If you were going to buy one again, what would you get this time? <<
>> Any bike store you would recommend? and ETC. <<

After test riding many different brands of Bents - I found the Tour Easy by Easy Racer satisfied my need for speed the best. I can also load it down with touring gear and do self supported touring like I did mid-July of this year on the Oregon Coast. I was fortunate, and selected the right "bike for me" the first time. I would repurchase the Tour Easy again for practical reasons of "exceptional" all around "High Performance" use. I am looking to add to my stable of bikes a Gold Rush made from aluminum, also made by Easy Racer. It's a couple of pounds lighter and has a different performance feel.

One needs to ride as many Bents as you can (just like regular/wedgie bikes). If possible, ride the same streets and climb the same hill the same day for an accurate comparison. Find the one that feels right for you. Most all of them are comfortable so don't use that as measure. Some of the models are more user friendly than others. AND as in Wedgies - there is always something to up-grade to.

Bike Shops are just getting into recumbents and I find are NOT informed like they should be. There are a couple of shops in the Portland Metro area that know their stuff - Coventry Cycle Works and Beckwith Bicycles. These two shops have been handling Bents for some time now and are quite informed of how to fit "You". The Bike Gallery is handling a few brands now and I'm sure they will be getting up to speed as soon as they get someone who is as knowledgeable about Bents as they are about Wedgies.

Lonnie "'Capt. Dink' Morse
Bent Elite Recumbent Consultants

In your search for a new bike - Don't forget about the recumbents that are becoming the logical choice for many riders today. Not only are they comfortable but very utilitarian. River City has just brought in 3-4 popular brands of recumbents "Bents" one of "Tour Easy" is my favorite. It can be a "SUV" of Bents or with a speed kit installed, it can also become a very fast ride. Perhaps you saw some of the lycra covered racers last year on Cycle Oregon. Why don't you go on down and take look and ride one.

A few of many pros & almost all the cons :

1. - Comfort - rarely anyone goes back to a regular bike "wedgie" after being on a Bent for any length of time.
2. - Upgrade your performance level with better aero-dynamics and power delivery. Side benefit - Bents also will make you a much stronger wedgie rider.
3. - With the exception of mountain biking - Tour Easy can be used from track racing to full blown heavy self contained touring.

1. - The performance level will separate you from the normal "wedgie" crowd - so if socializing is a priority, that's something to think about. ( I witness the peer pressure thing on every ride. ) You will most likely be in front of them on the flats/downhill and with them or behind them on the climbs, depending on your conditioning of course.
2. - Long Wheel Based Bents require a little extra consideration for transport. Not much though - I haven't had any real challenges for mine (other than Tri-Met MAX ) "Go figure". One example is an extra rail added on to the Yakima Rack. My favorite though is a receiver hitch rack. I have three different configurations that I use for different reasons.
3. - Ride conditioning will take a little patience to "wake-up" some of the muscles and tendons that are not normally used. If you start in early spring with your normal training - you will be passing "your groupie" by the time Cycle Oregon gets here. Each year following you will improve significantly. Some of those fast flyer's you saw on Bents last year had only owned their Bents for a short time before CO. It was over heard by one saying that he had "never had so much fun on a bicycle".
4. - If you don't like to talk to strangers, then don't get one. You will be answering questions till the cows come home - Mmooooo.

NOTE - there is a mis-nomer about recumbents that I think is app-pra -po here. Bents aren't slow climbers. It's all in the conditioning of the rider and equipment used. It's been interesting to me that when someone say's anything about a slow climber, I've noticed that if they are on regular bike it's the rider's fault and if they are on a recumbent, it's the recumbent's fault.

If anyone is interested in having their questions answered about the wonderful world of recumbents don't hesitate to contact me through this forum or (private email). "Bent 101" is yours for the asking.

Lonnie "if it aint Bent - fix it" Morse

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Lonnie's points are all well-made but he's omitted one aspect of riding a 'bent that will be vitally important to some and of no consideration at all to others: It's really tough to sit in a paceline of uprights if you're on a 'bent. This is not because of any performance limitations, mind you, but because of simple aerodynamics. Because the 'bent is lower and longer than an upright bike (sorry, I can't call Dream a "wedgie"), the air pocket created is of very little use to upright riders and you'll find yourself at the back of the pack because no one wants to follow you.

As I said, this is crucial to some and trivial to others, but there it is.

As for transporting a long 'bent, maybe what you need is a tandem-sized roof rack?

Remember the verse added to our Climbing Song after COXII, Day 2:

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's up the hill we go!
Tandems CAN climb, recumbents too!
Heigh ho, heigh ho heigh ho heigh ho...

The Other Amy [Buondonno]

If you're considering a recumbent, be sure to check out a local manufacturer of hand-crafted bicycles, TerraCycle.

You may have seen Pat riding one of his pre-production models on previous Cycle Oregon tours (VIII thru X, I think).


You can find a complete listing of the current models of recumbants at
BikeE has a new model called the RX that is getting good reviews.

"Hardy" Bob (BikeE AT rider)

Also consider looking at the Bike Friday bikes. They have every kind of bike and all of them are easy to transport. Even the recumbents fold for easy transport. They can design a bike how ever you want it. Drop bars or upright. Recumbent with the bars over or under. You can go to the shop in Eugene and test ride them all. The great thing is they will design the bike you need based on your riding habits. And they all fold!

My son, Mikkel, has ridden his BikeFriday Pocket Rocket for the last several years on CycleOregon. It is his touring bike.

Geri Bossen

Thus spake Curt Coleman >> A better solution would be to get a nice low recumbent with a full fairing. Or better yet, a body sock - Right Laurie?!! <<

Don (my bike rim test engineer) Bolton and I were discussing this point at work. I would not hesitate to ride a recumbent on nice flat roads. When I'm climbing steep hills and going downhill through turns at 30-40 mph I want to have body English to my advantage. I throw my knees out on turns and really shift my body as required.

If I could do this on a recumbent I feel that I would ride one. The fact is that I no longer live in the flat lands of So Cal and I can not envision myself on a recumbent going up Holcomb Loop or Newberry Road or Rocky Point Road. If I see recumbents on the West Hills of Portland I'll take notice and ask the riders how they do it. I have only seen recumbents commuting downtown from the east side and have yet to see one climbing Laidlaw.

Lonnie 'If I see it then I believe it' Wormley

I've been able to try three different 'bents, though all for fairly short periods. While I haven't had an opportunity to try a really fast, really tight corner, I can say that piloting a sofa down a hill is a lot of fun... think F-16 body position and a coordinated turn (smooth roll, yaw follows along nicely). Gee, now that I think of it, underseat steering would really complete that illusion! I could get used to that "flying on the ground" feeling.

It's that other side of the hill that I have a problem with.>

For better or worse, I'm kind of a "whole body" climber, even while seated. 'Bents pretty much demand that you keep your upper body very quiet and let your legs do the work... which of course means a good, rapid spin in a quite low gear. At least, this has been my limited experience. It's a different style, and one that I can certainly appreciate, but it's not MY style.

Scott Saulsbury

Now, some of you know I could hardly _SIT_ by with my FEET ON THE GROUND, hands HARLEY-ESQUE on my handlebars, and let these remarks pass without comment.

I might be a better spokesman for 'bents if I had a younger-harder body. So, I will speak mostly from observation and from what I have read.

First, there is some truth in what Scott and Lonnie say: A recumbent rider's leg and lower body muscles do the work. There is no way to put your weight into it - from the top.

But then there are curves.

As to the body English, you bet I keep my knees close to the top tube on curves - but lean-into-the-curve I do. Trust me: even this ol' fart gets a large charge out of flying my Gold Rush around a curve. If I had one on the bike, my turn-and-bank indicator would be rock steady, with a perfect seat-of-the-pants feeling.


Those of us who have ridden Cycle Oregon in recent years are aware of an increasing number of recumbents in the mix. Of those who ride 'bents, the majority are every bit as fast on the climb as a comparably endowed wedgie rider - and a lot more comfortable.

And - there ain't a wedgie rider that can keep up with an experienced bent rider on the downhill. If I am not mistaken, Laurie Smith (at 55 mph) was the only one faster than me (at 54 mph) on the hill coming down from Mt. Bachelor last year.

I invite all bent riders to speak up with your own stories.

I am reminded of at least two other CO bent drivers who consistently hold their own with the wedgies: Capt Dink with his Tour Easy, and Laurie Smith with her Ti Rush. There are others who regularly ride CO and do just fine in the speed department, thank you.

And - they are more comfortable than ANY wedgie rider; they see more as they ride; no stiff necks there, Bucky.

Then there is a fellow most CO riders have not seen yet, Rand Milam. Last year, when some of us were riding the full Reach The Beach Portland Route in one direction, Rand rode it out and back on the same day - probably finishing about the time the last person was rolling into Pacific City. He also did the Cannonball last year, riding the 275 miles in 13 hours and 17 minutes with 6 flats and one stop. He holds the Vancouver Bicycling Club 10 mile time trial record of 22.07 mph, and ran the Oregon state time trials last year (35 kilometers with no wind and small climbs) in 00:45:03 at an average 28.91 mph _INCLUDING_ a wrong turn, losing about a minute. His top speed was 38.1 mph, and his _slowest_ climbing speed was 16 mph. When you see Rand ride, it looks like his Gold Rush is on rails.

Are recumbents slow on the climb? They don't have to be.

The Ol' Fart (all bent up) From Happy Rock

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So, I was just wondering - is the biking world ready yet for a 'bent tandem? Or maybe they exist and I just missed it. How about a hybrid - 'bent in front with a wedgie stoker? Think of the improved view the stoker would have.

Just think of the transport difficulties of a tandem 'bent!

Don "short bike rider" Gross

They've all been done.

My first experience with a 'bent tandem was riding most of my first Strawberry Century with a Double Vision crew. The pilot and stoker could pedal at independent cadences... or the stoker could just hang back and read a book (and she did!) while the captain spun away up front. I would really love an opportunity to find out just how fast I could help push a luge like that down a straight, level road.

The owner of that DV had a "maxi-van" that was reduced to a two-passenger unit once the bike was in the back.

I can't remember the name of the model that had the recumbent position in front and the wedge rider in back, but I know I saw ads for them for years.

Scott Saulsbury

There are several 'bent tandems on the market. They are the true limo's of the cycling world.

And, yes, there was a production wedgie-bent called the Counterpoint, made in the Seattle area. There are still quite a few in use today.

Another class of tandem recumbent is the tandem trike. The model I am thinking of is a low rider, manufactured in Australia. FAST!

Curt Coleman

I rode with a friend of mine who had one of these on CO XI. The stoker is recumbent in front; the steersman is on the wedgie part in the back. Theirs was a short wheel base design, with the front wheel under the stoker. By using beams of different lengths, it could be adapted to work for both adults and small children.

I have also seen a long wheelbase double recumbent tandem (on the Monster Cookie Ride). You need a wide road to turn it around ...

Andrew Black

Yes there do exist tandem recumbents and as if recumbent singles didn't look strange enough...

Steve "Call me old fashioned" Heim

On CO IX I was repeatedly passed by a three seater 'bent. Its rear most rider faced rearward. Also there was a tandem and its stoker I saw reading a book most of the time. I got the distinct impression that a stoker on one of them was bored to tears. The "three way" had a rowdy bunch and they made it fun.

My concern regarding a 'bent is my inability to comprehend how one can use body placement to affect high performance weight transfer in order to cheat the co-efficient of friction and gain cornering speed. On a normal bike one can move fore and aft as well as off the sides to specifically load wheels to gain bite in order to perform near extreme maneuvers.

Seems to me on a 'bent, past a very small range of torso twisting you are more or less a spectator in certain situations.

I admit sitting on one in a show booth is very comfortable, though.

Don "edge of control downhill cornering is what I live for" Bolton

Bent riders use their hips to help steer the bike and with a lower center of gravity we can really lean into curves.

When bad things happen and a bent rider goes down, they usually fall to the side and get road rash as opposed to a wedgie rider who usually go over the top of the handle bars and get a broken collar bone or worse.

"Hardy" Bob

I too was skeptical of bents ascending hills....till I got one.......if you tried one, quite possibly your wedge would accumulate dust.....see you on the hills in Sept

bentdude2001 aka Dan Christianer

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I bought a recumbent on the layover day in Bend during Cycle Oregon XIII.

I walked into Sunnyside Cycles, laid eyes on the red Trek R200 - there was a swell of organ music, a light from the heavens shone upon it, momentarily dimming everything else in the was The Thunderbolt. I was in love even before the test ride but I managed to do the decent thing and take it out on the road for a bit before smacking down the plastic.

A bit nervous about my first ride with it (you ride WITH a recumbent, not ON it) being a century, I chickened out, but rode it the day after, from Antelope to Dufur, 65 miles, a couple of stout climbs, no problem. Certainly slower on those ascents, but consultations with Team Dink had me expecting that.

The next day, back on the upright for the trek to Hood River, when I stood on the pedals for the first climb, my hamstrings & glutes were jelly, evidence of the workout received on the Trek.

Since Cycle Oregon, I haven't ridden anything but the Trek. I find there are many subtle ways to adjust position, recruit different muscle groups etc. while ascending and descending, all of which may not be obvious to an observer. I'm getting more comfortable at fast, curvy descents as I discover what the bike & I are capable of together, but I was hardly a screaming downhiller on the upright. An impressive thing to me about the Trek is the way it takes the hairpin turns on our gravel driveway – WAY inside and stable, something I couldn't do on the upright. The Trek is a shorter wheelbase than Tour Easys - advantages & disadvantages to that, but working very well for me. I'm just wondering why Trek has discontinued production - I was hoping to try out a fairing, which months ago they said was "in production."

Jeanne Gostnell

Well, we had sorta decided on recumbents.... we were thinking of getting an EZ-1 or Bike E to ride all summer to get used to a recumbent to buy for next year... then Bob rode his bike downtown today and visited River City Bikes... he test rode an EZ-1... then he test rode a Tour Easy.... then he called me up and said it wasn't gonna take all summer to make up his mind and that I needed to beat feet down to River City cuz they have a sale on and this afternoon was the only time we could go... so we measured bikes and test rode bikes and decided it all.... we now own 2 bright red Tour Easys! We get them in about a week since they didn't have what we wanted in stock.

So we went home and told the kids they had one week to clean out the garage!

Does anybody know if the standard Tour Easy luggage rack is compatible with the body socks? And I still need to figure out which gearing I want...

Rox Heath


The body sock needs the heavy fairing & mounting brackets. The fairing that you are getting is lighter weight & will distort with the sock attached. Your rear rack should work with the sock. Check out your low gearing for hill climbing. I pull 15" bottom & 105" top. Good Luck

3 Cycle Oregons Looking forward to #4 in September

Charlie Fromherz
Gold Rush W/ Sock

Bob and Rox:

With a primal scream - - - Yeeeeoooowww!

Welcome to the bent world!

At the end of a long Cycle Oregon day - - - you are gonna feel soooo good!

Take a look at Laurie Smith's TiRush with body sock. Charlie F. is right: The fairing for the body sock is thicker. There is also a different mounting frame on the front, and one on the back. I bought the front heavy duty mount, which gives me a little more control of fairing position and shape than the regular one.

As to gearing, my gear-inches run from 19.5 to 110.2 (13-34 cogset and 24-42-52 chain rings). Charlie says he goes down to 15 g-i's, I will be asking how he does that. And I thought my gears gave me stump-pulling power...

I'm happy for you that you did not get an EZ-1 or BikeE. That is not a cheap shot at them. They are each very good bikes, but nowhere near the quality and capability of the TE. By way of a related story, my wife had a BikeE and loved it. When I got my Gold Rush, I told her that when we rode together, I would ride the BikeE and she could ride the GR. Now I am not a fast rider ON ANY KIND OF BIKE - - - but she is even slower. The first day after taking delivery of my Gold Rush we went out in the French Prairie area (read that "flat land"). In three words: SHE SMOKED ME!! At the first stop sign, she said "I _like_ this!!" On the way home, she asked if I had any idea how much we could get for the BikeE. A week later she had a red Tour Easy that we bought from a friend of ours who was upgrading to a Gold Rush.

You are going to like your TE's!!

Curt ('bent all into shape) Coleman

The front is 110 XTR crank with 20-36-52 chain rings the rear is a 9 speed 12 - 34. I like to spin & not have to push so hard on the long hills.

Charlie Fromherz

Can anyone point me to a few websites that display and give technical stats for these recumbents? Getting more and more curious ......."Look what you have created".


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A good website for the latest information on recumbent bikes is

You can check out the January 2001 issue for a review of many of the 2001 models of recumbents. Just click on "previous issues" and then select the January 2001 issue.

Hope this helps,
"Hardy" Bob

The current issue of Recumbent Cyclist News (#62 - March/April 2001) has an article (page 22) on how to choose a recumbent. You can probably get a copy at Coventry Bikes on Hawthorne near 21st Tues-Sun.

Also, there is a website called "Bent Rider Online" with the URL They often have good bent stuff.

If you are looking for first-hand information, talk to Lonnie Morse and Laurie Smith. While they may have an Easy Racer bias, they can both introduce you to recumbent riders with other makes, designs, and models, including a few home-builts. I think I referenced a few email addresses for making these connections in a reply to the Heath's.

Have at it Dave.
Curt Coleman

Check out Easy Racers web site.

Easy Racers recumbents are a true pleasure to ride. You sit slightly reclined; back fully-supported, arms relaxed, neck straight; in a normal sitting position. Compare this with the contorted riding position on a diamond-frame bike. Even after a long day of touring, you're still riding in comfort. No more stiff neck, aching back, numb hands or crotch. No straining either. A combination of lower mountain bike gears with higher road bike ranges ensures the correct gear ratio for any terrain. You can choose from four models- the Gold Rush, Tour Easy, EZ-1 or the TI Rush.

Charlie Fromherz

OK let's be fair now. I'll concede the benefits of bents. I've actually help build some as part of the California Chapter of the Human Powered Vehicle club in Santa Ana way back in the 1980s. I'll not take issue with it, but I do take issue with your statements above. All of these may be symptoms of a bike that does not fit the rider. This will affect the performance of any cyclists no matter what the frame design.

I had all of these symptoms on my mountain bike before I had a proper fit from Mike Sylvester. My current bike is a custom diamond frame and I can ride in comfort when I'm in shape. If I get a bent as I get older I'll approach it the same way. I'll get a bike fit to make sure that a professional sizes all components to my unique body geometry.

I advise anyone buying a bike (unless you get it from K-Mart) to have a bike fit before you pay for it.

Lonnie 'some of my best friends ride bents' Wormley

Ok Lonnie, I will cite my experience only.

Fair enuf?

I have a custom-fitted - custom-made Rodriquez (R & E Cycles in Seattle). It was a gift from my two elder sons, and built for me and my riding style. It could hardly be a better fit. My first long tour on it was Cycle Oregon V. I rode STP on it earlier that year. I put about 20,000 miles on it before I received my Gold Rush.

Over the years, as I aged and grew in girth, I modified such things as the stem length, etc, having it re-fitted late in the game. Then, in 1998, perhaps because of me - and - perhaps because of some exposure to recumbents, I began to ride my wife's BikeE. To be sure, the end of those rides on the bent were much less painful than on my "Rod". The single ride I recall having the most pain (neck, back, arms, hands) on was the '98 STP. My body still felt the ride two weeks later. On the STP, I encountered a lady on an EZ-1. She was beating me on climbs! She was also 68 years old - then. I was only 61. That got me thinking! How could bents be as slow on hills as I had heard?

I took delivery of my Gold Rush in June 1999. I have never looked back.

I have NEVER had anything remotely like the pain I experienced in 1998.

I rode my Rodriquez for about a mile last fall. It was a very strange experience. I felt high and unstable, and as I looked down the road to where I was going, the memory of the old neck pain returned. It is a beautiful bike, but now it is enshrined in my family room, and kept clean and bright with it's pearlescent white and red paint job. It is indeed a treasure - now, just to look at - and perhaps to ride on my trainer stand when the weather is bad.

Curt Coleman

Wow ... I clearly missed an episode in this unfolding tale. When and how did we get from hybrids and touring bikes to 'bents? Congratulations!

I really am curious about the decision to move over to the reclining side. I'm thinking someday, when I've more fully explored the limits of wedgie riding, I might also be drawn over ...

Don "miles to go" Gross

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New bikes – how our new hybrids became bent(s)

Don't ever test ride one - its the beginning of the end....!

We kept looking at the hybrids and test rode hybrids and touring bikes. The final decision was to go with a Trek 520 touring bike with straight handle bars, lower size chain rings, and super wrap around bar ends. My opinion was that I really liked the feel of the bike - it felt just like mine with better gearing. But then we were both saying - why pay a couple of thousand to get two bikes just like what we have (with 9 speeds instead of an extended range 7). In the meantime they have 4 recumbents sitting at Beaverton Bike Gallery and while we were standing around talking to Colin we test rode 3 of them. The Visions clearly were going to take some getting used to (although very nice bikes), but the Bike E they had was comfortable from the start.

So then we head back to the Portland Bike Show and look at recumbents... still just kind of curious. After we look at everything around and talk to the man from Coventry for a while we end up talking to Lonnie (Capt. Dink). By this time the show is closing down and he gets us riding around the center of the room on an EZ-1. This is fun!!! We start talking about buying one and messing around with it for the summer to decide what we like in different kinds of recumbents. We know the kids will have a blast with it.

Bob ended up with this last Saturday free. And a desire to choose between a Bike E (CT or AT) and an Easy Racer EZ-1 as a first bent bike. He rode down to River City Bikes and started test riding. The EZ-1 was winning. But they had this sale on and 2 different Tour Easys sitting there. So he test rode the one that fit best. And called me up. So I came down and test rode the smaller one and then we started measuring both of us...

So we each got one (and the kids can ask real nice if they want to ride!)

I can tell from the info I have gotten already that we need to change fairings and so on. I am going to call Easy Racer tomorrow and find out what they have for options we don't know about.

Thanx everybody for your help!!!!

Rox Heath

P.S. Don't test ride a longer wheel base recumbent such as the Bike E's or the Easy Racers. It's too hard to say "no!" I am not saying these are necessarily the best styles to end up with - it is just that they are so easy and fun to ride at the start that you have a much harder time putting it off till "someday..." ;-)

Rox, congratulations!! I just saw this message, and I'm sure there are already many responses, but I just couldn't contain my enthusiasm! My Red Zinger has 35,000 wonderful miles on it, and I wouldn't dream of riding anything else on long tours... well, except for a Gold Rush, which I hope to be able to afford someday!

Susan Christie

I do not want to see any of you Bent and Hybrid folks in the late night massage tents on CO. No pain pills either. Beware of my tow rope that I cast your way to help me up the hills.

I'll forward your bent emails to my wife as she will be thrilled that I have been converted and will buy a third bike. Now if I can get my $64,000 Millionaire question from Regis to be about bents I would buy the whole herd one

Seriously I'm glad that the bike knowledge base on this list is so deep.

Lonnie Wormley

Hi Rox
Good choice with the TE's -- You'll have time to adjust to the new "comfort" position and learn to manage the gearing to it's maximum potential. I would be happy to ride with you and Bob to coach you with some of the technique that I have acquired through the years. Some of my students have said that I have saved them a year's worth of training.

Yes, a standard mountain/touring bike rack is used for the "body sock/speed kit" application.

I have just made my lycra cover for the speed kit this last week end - - unless your familiar with working with lycra - I would recommend buying one.

Fairings - - the body sock usually requires the .009 thickness fairing - -.006 is the standard. However - I'm seeing a few exceptions to the rule now - - it will depend on the mounting hardware that you will be using.

Capt Dink ~

To further the thread for those also thinking of bents (or just curious!)... Just talked to Gardner at Easy Racer....

We have the gearing figured out. It will be a 9 speed 11-34 on the back and 24-42-52 on the front. This gives us a gear-inch range of 19-128. Don't know what we'll use the 128 for... sounds fast...! ;-)

Basically we are buying an EX model bike (which has a 700 by 35 tire) and putting SS model gearing with a better granny gear on it. The rim for the back tire should take tires sized 25 to 40 so we have some options for change here (and rougher roads). Easy Racer is doing this change for free.

We found we should not only cancel the fairing (thanks for your input, folks) but also the back rack. Both are included in the speed package with the body socks. We are getting red body socks.

Another option not listed at the website is the double kickstand.

Should have the bikes in a week or so.

A big thank you to Lonnie Morse (Capt. Dink) who is mentoring us through this process.

We sure would be making some costly mistakes without everyone's (especially Gardner at Easy Racers) help.

Hope to see you on the road pretty soon. I have my sights set on the Monster Cookie if they weather isn't really lousy. I am not into cold, driving rain riding if I don't have to be. Light rain is okay.

Rox Heath

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On Easy Racer LWB recumbents, XTR derailers will easily handle chain rings from 20 to 52 teeth and rear cogs from 11 to 34. With the long chain run and the added middle tensioner on the return "cross chaining" is no problem either. This combination gives a gear range of 16 to 128 inches. Low gear provides 2.8 mph at 60 rpm and high gear provides over 34 mph at 90 rpm.

Larry Scheetz

You are getting good advice from all. The body sock includes everything. I wish I had one!! Ibetyougonnalikeit!!

One small thing you will need to get creative about: Where to mount your cyclometer so that you can see it when using the sock. Charlie Fromherz has a window on the top of his body sock so he can look into the instrument; the Delta Airlines pilot I recently mentioned to somebody has his mounted outside the sock on the top edge of the fairing - you know - like aircraft instruments (!!).

The double-legged kick stand is really nice. Much better than the single-legged stand.

Curt Coleman

<disclaimer this is in good fun...not trying to start a flame ware on bents>

When I was heavily involved with Human Powered Vehicles in So Cal I recall that at one race the winner was a guy who was on a diamond frame bike with a full canard. All this talk of recumbent speed forgets to mention that the advantage one gets just from the aerodynamic front and rear spoiler.

Do any of the bent riders do leg lifts? No one has mentioned the advantage that one gets with just the seating position alone. You can generally lift more weight in a reclining leg press than you can from a standing squat.

When comparing bikes take into account what you are designing for. The type of rider, the type of terrain and age seems an important factor in this discussion.

Just for an objective twist to this discussion. Could Lance Armstrong have won the Tour de France on a bent? On the mountain stage could he have pulled away from the Pirate? Are bents legal on the Tour? Has any pro rider ever ridden one? With all of the advantages of bents being spoken for on the list and that fact that the frame design has been around for almost 30 years why has it not been more adopted?

Generally in all sports including car, motor cycle and cycle racing the technology is passed down to the consumer by pro riders and drivers. Where are the pro bent riders? Is there a pro bent circuit? Is there a bent verses diamond challenge ride? Should we organize one here in Portland? Do bents got to the Portland Wheelman time trials?

I'm not a speed demon but I'll be the wedgie fall guy to any Billie Gene King who wants to say 'eat my dust you wedgie!

If you are going to convince me on a bent, and you may, you are going to have to do better than this. (;-}

Don do you still have your Tour de France tape?

Lonnie 'hard to teach an old dog new tricks' Wormley

Hey Lonnie!

You sound like an interesting guy! Like you, I am not trying to sustain or start a flaming thread - far from it. But, like so many religious converts, when it comes to citing recumbent chapter and verse, it is tough for me to be neutral and remain quiet.

And so - the beat goes on.

If you have been active in HPV's, maybe you would enjoy hanging out with some of the Oregon HPV people - who do a lot of home builts, compete on closed tracks, and ride low racers and the like. URL = for Rick Pope, chief cook and bottle washer, and Jeff Wills. There is actually quite a large group of HPV'ers between Portland-Vancouver and Corvallis and Eugene. I often refer to them as being on the lunatic fringe of cycling - but with a huge dollop of respect.
Like so many of us, I am a desk jockey. To counter that, I have been doing weight training in the fond hope it would improve my cycling abilities. At age 66, about 50# over and angioplasty in 1996, do you think I have a chance? Under the guidance of a personal trainer, I am _carefully_ working on every muscle group. As far as leg lifts go, I am up to leg pressing 290 pounds plus the weight of the machine (~50 pounds ??) - maybe not much compared to a 20-30 something hardbody, but not bad for an ol' fart like me - huh?

Since the international cycling association (France?) disallowed recumbents from their competitions in 1934, nobody can really tell for sure what bike style might be faster - all other things being equal. I, for one, would like to see some bent vs diamond races - especially with equivalent riders. (Now how would we determine equivalency?!)

As to the pro's, they and the market go where the money is and visa versa. And the money went where the French effectively channeled it in 1934. Now, those nice comfy recumbents are starting to look pretty good to graying baby boomers. Recumbent market share is growing - albeit slowly.

In the meantime, the big speed purses of 5 figures or more continue to be won by some sort of recumbent - enclosed or open. If I am not mistaken, the world's official flat-land two directional speed record for bicycles is held by the antecedent of my Gold Rush Replica at 65 mph, a record that has stood since 1978. There is now a new prize being offered. Does anybody _REALISTICALLY_ believe a wedgie will win it?

I would NEVER try to argue somebody into a recumbent. That would be like me expounding the apologetics of recumbentism. I might be able to give you the facts, but it is _YOUR_ leap of faith that will convert you - if at all.

Finally, if you, or anybody out there wishes to compete bent vs diamond by some set of rules, I know just the guy who would give any wedgie-wonder a run for the money.

This sounds like fun!!
Curt (go for brok' - - er - - 'bent) Coleman

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That be me...on the lunatic fringe. If my welding skills were half my art and computer skills I would be making frames today. Bike frames, wind sail frames, dune buggy frames. But alas my master welding mentor banished me from the school of Lincoln Arc. I always tell folks this story when they wonder why I'm such a wiz at art and computers. I just say have you seen my welding?

And no I do not want to be embarrassed by racing a bent, unless there is a way to handicap the bent by having it haul 50 pounds of lead shot in the saddle bags and I have a half mile head start.

If there are bent manufacturers on CO letting you ride a day on a bent I'll be sure to stay away. If you see me ogling at any of the bents in the herd please whop me on the head and remind me that I have a mortgage, a wife, and kids. On the other hand if I can store the bent in your garage...hmmm, the possibilities.

Lonnie 'as long as it's fun and human powered' Wormley

Bents in races

According to the official rules of USCF and our local OBRA a 'bent is not allowed to race.

USCF (U.S. Cycling Federation) 1999 rule book says "1.3.018 bis #2 As of 1 January 1998, the structure of the bicycle connecting the saddle, pedals and front fork shall be triangular. [snip] The wheels of the bicycle must be of equal diameter." There are other rules that disallow a 'bent from competing with wedgies (triangular frames).

I can tell you from watching Tour de France, with my son (lots of times), there are no bents in the tour. They are, from my observation, not allowed in international competition.

I think it also has to do with visibility both of the bike and from the bike. Mixing the two types in a race would be very dangerous.

If some of you 'bent riders were interested in competing in your own 'bent category in some local time trial race I might be able to arrange it. (Time Trial is a race against the clock. Riders race the same course but are sent off in 30 second intervals. The one with the fastest time in the category wins.)

My son, Mikkel, started racing this last summer and I have been helping out at the races. I could see if they would put in a special category for 'bents at some race.

If you have never seen a local race it is really something to experience. I drove the lead car for the Juniors at the Banana Belt race at Hagg Lake last Sunday. It was an amazing experience. The older faster group of racers, about 70-80 of them, passed the juniors as a big pack. That is quite a sight and sound. It was like a live, smaller, slower version of the Tour de France.

Geri Bossen

Hi Geri

Most of us compete at the Vancouver Time Trials. Recumbents have done well up there. We have a couple of members that currently hold records. We do compete in our own competitions at Portland International Raceway, PIR being one of our major meets. One of our members competed also in the factory races last year in CA. She beat the pants off a factory rider and won the race. By the way - I heard there was some" fender banging" also. Sounds exciting to me.

As you have stated USCF have rules forbidding Recumbents in their competitions. It's still a political issue after all these decades - has nothing to do with safety, or visibility. For some of us it's frustrating not to be able to show the real competitiveness that we have and others wouldn't want to be involved because of the politics. Our organizations are pretty solid. I find it interesting there still is the fear of being dominated again like in April 1, 1934. That's when Recumbents were banned from competing in all UCI sanctioned racing.

Go to for the story of how Recumbents embarrassed the cycle racing world. After reading the story - it's not hard to understand why Recumbents have been suppressed for decades as not being recognized by cycle federations.

It's all coming to a head now. As youth start riding Bents, they will become more common on our streets. There will be no choice but to deal with the efficiency of the machine because of it's merits.

To answer Lonnie Wormley's question -"where are the Pro's?" They are breaking maximum speed records. One was Fred Markham, "Fast Freddie", who piloted the Gold Rush to 65.5 mph on the flat with no wind breaking auto running in front of him. All pure grunt power. The Dupont prize of $25,000 was awarded Gardner Martin, builder and owner, and the Gold Rush was place in the Smithsonian Institute. These Guy's are pushing above 70 mph now.

The reason you don't hear about these feats much is because it's a different circle of interest.

Geri - thanks for the invitation - I'll pass it on to see if there is any interest.

Who knows - Mikkel could be the first bent pilot to ride 60 mph for one hr. That's right ! ONE HOUR ! It's already been done at 52 mph. :-)

Capt. Dink ~

Please note that my tongue in cheek comments are more of a defense for ME NOT to buy another cycle and not intended to be a bent basher. I'm quite serious in my conviction that as soon as I ride one I will buy one. This is why I do not want to ride one.

I'm sure that you bent riders understand my position. So when you bent riders pass me on the way to Steens please have mercy on me and remind me how awful your bents are. My wife and kids will thank you.

Lonnie 'Lawd deliver me from the temptation of cycle shops' Wormley

Hey, Captain, when I succumb to joining the 'Bent Brigade, I'll fly up to Oregon if you'll teach me the way to ride one of those critters . . . how likely is one to crash on a 'bent? I certainly could do without any more of those!

Penny (lucky to live in Colorado) Overdier

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Hey there "pretty girl" you get yourself over here and we gotta date. :-)

When one goes down on a Recumbent "Bent" it's usually a little road rash/bruises - broken bones are rare because of being so laid-back and low to the ground and most bents won't throw you over the handle bars.

Long wheel based Bents are the safest because they won't "cart wheel" and are not as twitchy as the shorter models. The Easy Racer products have a reputation as being more user friendly learning to ride than others, because of the lower bottom bracket.

As Curt said - I'm a little biased. I really don't intend to be. It's just that Easy Racer products have Ssooo many Pro's and just not very many Con's. Even when I test ride other brands - it reconfirms that I made the right decision the first time.

As we ride together for a couple of hours - you'll will be able to maneuver your bent as well (maybe better) as you did to ol' wedgie Penny.

Capt. "If it ain't bent - fix it :-)" Dink ~

What do these things weigh? I saw so many of them struggling on climbs last year. I think most I saw had triples....and needed them. Can you shift body positions?? On my road bike I change from seated, to standing, to drops...never getting rigamortus (sp?) from one position. How are they in a pack?? Can you see over, or around other riders? Is the drafting efficient in a headwind? Can you 'unweight' over a stiff bump? If you should slide, can you maintain control?

I think they are interesting machines, and am curious, but still not convinced.


If I recall correctly, my Gold Rush weighed around 28 pounds from the factory, before I loaded it up with all the stuff I have a habit of carrying on my bike - much to the dismay of my 30-something eldest sons. To be sure it is not a light-weight - but it ain't no heavy-duty mountain bike either.

Yes, most have triples, but I don't see that as unusual in and of itself. Most Touring, hybrid and mountain bikes have triples.

My climbing experience with my 'bent is that I was very slow during my first year, and faster in my second, when I was slightly faster than I was on my custom touring bike. This year - who knows? That remains to be seen. The people I know that have 'bents ALL do better on hills than I do - on my upright or on my 'bent.

While it may be possible for people to shift weight on a recumbent, I doubt if many do. There is virtually no way to stand up on a recumbent. I do "unweight" (as in skiing) on occasion. 'Bent drivers get stronger thighs, calves and stomach muscles.

As to body stiffness, I personally experience much less on my GR than I did on my touring bike.

Regarding stiff bumps, the geometry of my Gold Rush (aluminum) is such that I just glide through them. Aluminum is not near as stiff on a Gold Rush as it is on a fat-tube upright. A Gold Rush ride is a smooooooth ride. Cattle guards are no biggie.

For my money, recumbent visibility is far better than on an upright: I do not have to contort my neck in all directions to see what is going on around me. I have never had a visibility problem with my 'bent. My full size fairing serves me well - especially in a head wind - no need for a pack.

When there is a tendency to slide, I have found the 'bent to be more stable than my upright. Keep in mind that the center of gravity is lower than on an upright. I have never had to panic a slide, but be certain on this point: All I need to do is put my feet down and go with the slide.

Please don't get me wrong. I do not expect a recumbent sales boom any time soon. Furthermore, I do not believe a recumbent is for everybody, just like I do not believe touring bikes, mountain bikes or hybrid or racers or . . . are for every rider. Nonetheless, I rejoice when a friend moves into a recumbent.

I saw my first recumbent around 10 years ago at a bike show. I thought they were weird and unwieldy then. Frankly they were pretty clunky. Then, eight years later, I tried one, studied up a little, tried another, and bought one two years ago. Clearly, I think differently today.

I would not expect you or anyone else to rush out and buy a 'bent on the basis of what has been posted on the mail list and forum in the last couple of weeks. ... FYI only ...

Curt Coleman

The reason you saw some of the Bent riders struggling is because Bents are a minority right now and they stand out as being different from the wedgie riders. So perhaps you noticed them and not the other struggling wedgie riders that were there, also. I'm pretty sure that if you took the same bent riders you saw struggling up those hills, they would also be struggling it they were on a wedgie.

It's not the bent - it's the condition of the rider.

If you were up near the front of the pack last year's CO [CO 13] you probably saw a woman, Laurie Smith, and a couple of mid-fifty year old guy's, all three were in body socks, blowing the doors off of the pace lines up there. I overheard a couple of guys (they were buff) talking about her and they couldn't figure out how she passed them going so fast up hill.

It has been my observation, when a super buff young rider finally mounts a "roadie type" of recumbent - they become a prime candidate to pilot a full faired racer into the international competitions where now 70-75 mph on the flats is acquired. The "big deal " now is to maintain 55 mph for one hour.

Capt. Dink ~

I hate to have to ask, but what IS a "body sock"?

Andrew Black

On an Easy Racer such as a Tour Easy, Gold Rush, or Ti Rush, it is a specially shaped nylon shroud which velcro's to the fairing, and comes to a more-or-less knife edge behind the rider. The rider sits inside, with only his/her head poking through the top, and feet cycling front to back on the bottom. Everything else is inside. The appearance is that the rider is in a kind of wedge-shaped cocoon.

The effect is increased speed.

Curt Coleman

Another GREAT thing is I don't get sun-burned in the summer and with the added protection, I don't get as cold in the winter.

Laurie "Wo" Smith

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