Recumbent

December 6th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Why recumbent bicycle?

It’s faster.

It’s more aerodynamic (less air resistance) therefore you can ride faster with less energy consumption. You can cover more distance under the same period of time.

These are all true if we only carry a credit card like the man in blue T-shirt. As soon as we mount the bikes with bags, the additional air resistance the gain won’t be too much. Despite these the previous statement still stands: it’s faster! This is more significant on an undulatuing terrain because the less resistance will keep our momentum longer.

There’s another key fact that you have a support for your back, so you can really push those pedals hard more efficiently than on an ordinary bicycle where you “only” use the gravity when you stand up. A good fitness is required for this of course.

It’s more comfortable

While on an ordinary bicycle you sit on a tiny saddle and you support your upper body on the handle bar, on the recumbent your entire back is supported as you were pedalling in a sofa. The position reduces strain on the body, especially the neck, hands, arms, back not mentioning the “siting bones”, therefore you can stay on your bike longer and you get off it less tired after a long day.

The view is better

Riding a recumbent allows you to enjoy the scenery form a different angle. Almost as if you were relaxing in your sofa watching your TV. The widescreen view is so much better from the recumbent.

Disadvantages

There are a few we have to mention, we’re not that biased. We have to stress it though, for bicycle touring the recumbents side tips the balance by far. You sit lower than on an ordinary bike but it depends on the type of bike. On our bikes the seats are positioned a bit higher than a carseat. Therefore you can’t look over the cars well and you get the smoke in the cities more.

Our recumbents are heavier by 1-2 kilos than the same equipped touring bikes, plus they’re longer too, so for me at the beginning I was struggling more to lift it but I got used to it, because now I carry the same way as I did with the touring bike last year.

At the beginning it is harder to start and stop. The reason is our body’s lower center of gravity and the high positioned pedal – our legs are higher, also the bike inclines faster and more than an ordinary bicycle. The balancing on this bike is not difficult though, just matter of practice and you can ride this the same way as any other bikes.

You draw attention!

I didn’t put this among neither the pros or the contras because it really depends on the rider how he/she reacts to the approach of curious people who haven’t seen a machine like this before. There was a couple, who stopped us in extatic state along the lakeside of Balaton to admier this never seen recumbents. There was a father who called out his kid to the street to see this miracle, and in Bosnia there was a man who cycled a few kilometers along continuously saring at our bikes while you could see on his face that lightbulbs got lit over his head. We also had people laughing at us and also when the staring crowd became a bit annoying. This was inconvenient when we didn’t have the confident start. They were expecting us to jump in the seat and start riding while we were afraid that we will fall over in front of the dear audience.

Summary

In our opinion recumbents are lot more suitable for multi-day tours. You can cover more ground by spending more time on it with a higher speed. Maybe it’s not entirely true in mounainous areas but I hope I can disprove my statement after a few thousand kilometers.

All is true only if you learnt riding the recumbents! This is a bit different, the body’s center of gravity is lower, the balancing and steering are different, your leg on the pedal is ahead of the front wheel, it’s a different feeling to ride a recumbent. The learning process is done in a couple of weeks but that’s not everything. You use different muscles so don’t expect to become an expert straight away and be able to do 50% more distance. Apparently it takes a few hundred or thousand kilometers to develope the “recumbent muscles”. There must be some truth in this because on the 4th day of our Balaton-Bakony tour we felt so much better pedalling.

Why the Nazca Guacho sponsored by Evobike?

Frame

If we can talk about an actual frame in a recumbent. Steel! It can be welded even at the local grocery store. Hopefully it won’t happen, ever. Is so, we’d be in trouble with an aluminium frame even if that’s a half kilo lighter (that weight won’t matter when our ride weighs 20-30kgs). Few bag racks can be mounted on the Gaucho, so it’s possible to carry 2 regular pannier bags or one recumbent bag on each side.

The wheels

Both are 26″ regular mountain bike wheels. It’s important for us to mention because usually the front wheel is smaller. We didn’t want that type of recumbents so we could aviod the potholes, kerbs caused inconveniences, also we don’t have to carry different size tyres and inner tubes. Also we have great chance to buy tyres/tubes anywhere we go, if needed the wheels, spokes too. The facory tyres we’re going to use on this trip are Schwalbe Maraton Plus tyres.

The handlebar

There are different options for steering, this model could be bought lower, upper and AERO handlebars or steering wheels. We chose the lower handlebar because this felt the most comfortable.

SON bike dynamo hub

In the front wheel there’s a SON bike dynamo hub, that provides energy for the serious front/rear lights and for the charging of several other toys (netbook, GPS, telephone, MP3 player, camera).

Rohloff speedhub 500/14

Well, this isn’t cheap… We were thinking about this the most.

The features:

- The Speedhub has a 526% range between the highest and lowest gear which means that the 14 gears performs the same way as a 21 or 27 speed gearset.
– Doesn’t depend on the weather and environment. All the parts move in an oiled hub therefore they don’t get worn out faster when riding in rain or dirt.
- Doesn’t require any extra maintanence, we change oil after every 5000kms, and that’s all.
– There’s no chainset, neither front disks, so the chain can be thicker that lasts longer.
– It’s not neccessary to change the chain and the sprockets every few thousand kilometers. There’s only 1 pair of sprockets.
– The derailleur can’t be broken by a higher bush.
– The hub is bigger and the spokes are shorter that makes the wheel stronger.
– There’s no wide set of sprockets, therefore the rear wheel with a Rohloff speedhub will be symetrical which results even forces on the spokes and that will lead to a strong wheel again.

Apart from these we have to think of the failures too. Since Murphy has his damned laws, everything can break down even the German high-class technology too, and this isnt’t a part we can fix along the road, so after browsing though the Internet and exchanging e-mails we’ve chosen the Rohloff.

I found only 1 single case when the hub failed and that was an external damage, a sporke hole sice part broke off the edge of the hub. But we won’t use our recumbents on a downhill race, maybe this danger won’t affect us. These facts didn’t calm me down so I started to exchange e-mails with Rohloff. Their customer service amused me, I even exchanged mail with Mrs. Rohloff and they guaranteed that they are going to send a spare hub anywhere in the World if we had a fatal failure that we can’t continue our journey. Following these we started to calculate and compared with the regular groupset maintanence, we took a deep breath and ordered the Nazca bikes with Rohloff hubs.

Summary

All the previously mentioned options were available in Nazca’s newest model, the Gaucho what was designed exactly for the same type of tours we’d like to do. For single or multi-week but at least for a full weekend long tours in the outdoors mainly on tarmac mounted with tent, campsite kichen. And why from Evobike? They’re the distributors of the Nazca recumbents in Hungary and we had an excellent relationship regarding my 100 days bike ride in Europe. It’s not a secret that we’d like to promote the great, innovative products of Evobike, the bicycle touring and the recumbent bike riding.

Why recumbent bicycle?

It’s faster.

It’s more aerodynamic (less air resistance) therefore you can ride faster with less energy consumption. You can cover more distance under the same period of time.

These are all true if we only carry a credit card like the man in blue T-shirt. As soon as we mount the bikes with bags, the additional air resistance the gain won’t be too much. Despite these the previous statement still stands: it’s faster! This is more significant on an undulatuing terrain because the less resistance will keep our momentum longer.

There’s another key fact that you have a support for your back, so you can really push those pedals hard more efficiently than on an ordinary bicycle where you “only” use the gravity when you stand up. A good fitness is required for this of course.

It’s more comfortable

While on an ordinary bicycle you sit on a tiny saddle and you support your upper body on the handle bar, on the recumbent your entire back is supported as you were pedalling in a sofa. The position reduces strain on the body, especially the neck, hands, arms, back not mentioning the “siting bones”, therefore you can stay on your bike longer and you get off it less tired after a long day.

The view is better

Riding a recumbent allows you to enjoy the scenery form a different angle. Almost as if you were relaxing in your sofa watching your TV. The widescreen view is so much better from the recumbent.

Disadvantages

There are a few we have to mention, we’re not that biased. We have to stress it though, for bicycle touring the recumbents side tips the balance by far. You sit lower than on an ordinary bike but it depends on the type of bike. On our bikes the seats are positioned a bit higher than a carseat. Therefore you can’t look over the cars well and you get the smoke in the cities more.

Our recumbents are heavier by 1-2 kilos than the same equipped touring bikes, plus they’re longer too, so for me at the beginning I was struggling more to lift it but I got used to it, because now I carry the same way as I did with the touring bike last year.

At the beginning it is harder to start and stop. The reason is our body’s lower center of gravity and the high positioned pedal – our legs are higher, also the bike inclines faster and more than an ordinary bicycle. The balancing on this bike is not difficult though, just matter of practice and you can ride this the same way as any other bikes.

You draw attention!

I didn’t put this among neither the pros or the contras because it really depends on the rider how he/she reacts to the approach of curious people who haven’t seen a machine like this before. There was a couple, who stopped us in extatic state along the lakeside of Balaton to admier this never seen recumbents. There was a father who called out his kid to the street to see this miracle, and in Bosnia there was a man who cycled a few kilometers along continuously saring at our bikes while you could see on his face that lightbulbs got lit over his head. We also had people laughing at us and also when the staring crowd became a bit annoying. This was inconvenient when we didn’t have the confident start. They were expecting us to jump in the seat and start riding while we were afraid that we will fall over in front of the dear audience.

Summary

In our opinion recumbents are lot more suitable for multi-day tours. You can cover more ground by spending more time on it with a higher speed. Maybe it’s not entirely true in mounainous areas but I hope I can disprove my statement after a few thousand kilometers.

All is true only if you learnt riding the recumbents! This is a bit different, the body’s center of gravity is lower, the balancing and steering are different, your leg on the pedal is ahead of the front wheel, it’s a different feeling to ride a recumbent. The learning process is done in a couple of weeks but that’s not everything. You use different muscles so don’t expect to become an expert straight away and be able to do 50% more distance. Apparently it takes a few hundred or thousand kilometers to develope the “recumbent muscles”. There must be some truth in this because on the 4th day of our Balaton-Bakony tour we felt so much better pedalling.

Why the Nazca Guacho sponsored by Evobike?

Frame

If we can talk about an actual frame in a recumbent. Steel! It can be welded even at the local grocery store. Hopefully it won’t happen, ever. Is so, we’d be in trouble with an aluminium frame even if that’s a half kilo lighter (that weight won’t matter when our ride weighs 20-30kgs). Few bag racks can be mounted on the Gaucho, so it’s possible to carry 2 regular pannier bags or one recumbent bag on each side.

The wheels

Both are 26″ regular mountain bike wheels. It’s important for us to mention because usually the front wheel is smaller. We didn’t want that type of recumbents so we could aviod the potholes, kerbs caused inconveniences, also we don’t have to carry different size tyres and inner tubes. Also we have great chance to buy tyres/tubes anywhere we go, if needed the wheels, spokes too. The facory tyres we’re going to use on this trip are Schwalbe Maraton Plus tyres.

The handlebar

There are different options for steering, this model could be bought lower, upper and AERO handlebars or steering wheels. We chose the lower handlebar because this felt the most comfortable.

SON bike dynamo hub

In the front wheel there’s a SON bike dynamo hub, that provides energy for the serious front/rear lights and for the charging of several other toys (netbook, GPS, telephone, MP3 player, camera).

Rohloff speedhub 500/14

Well, this isn’t cheap… We were thinking about this the most.

The features:

- The Speedhub has a 526% range between the highest and lowest gear which means that the 14 gears performs the same way as a 21 or 27 speed gearset.
– Doesn’t depend on the weather and environment. All the parts move in an oiled hub therefore they don’t get worn out faster when riding in rain or dirt.
- Doesn’t require any extra maintanence, we change oil after every 5000kms, and that’s all.
– There’s no chainset, neither front disks, so the chain can be thicker that lasts longer.
– It’s not neccessary to change the chain and the sprockets every few thousand kilometers. There’s only 1 pair of sprockets.
– The derailleur can’t be broken by a higher bush.
– The hub is bigger and the spokes are shorter that makes the wheel stronger.
– There’s no wide set of sprockets, therefore the rear wheel with a Rohloff speedhub will be symetrical which results even forces on the spokes and that will lead to a strong wheel again.

Apart from these we have to think of the failures too. Since Murphy has his damned laws, everything can break down even the German high-class technology too, and this isnt’t a part we can fix along the road, so after browsing though the Internet and exchanging e-mails we’ve chosen the Rohloff.

I found only 1 single case when the hub failed and that was an external damage, a sporke hole sice part broke off the edge of the hub. But we won’t use our recumbents on a downhill race, maybe this danger won’t affect us. These facts didn’t calm me down so I started to exchange e-mails with Rohloff. Their customer service amused me, I even exchanged mail with Mrs. Rohloff and they guaranteed that they are going to send a spare hub anywhere in the World if we had a fatal failure that we can’t continue our journey. Following these we started to calculate and compared with the regular groupset maintanence, we took a deep breath and ordered the Nazca bikes with Rohloff hubs.

Summary

All the previously mentioned options were available in Nazca’s newest model, the Gaucho what was designed exactly for the same type of tours we’d like to do. For single or multi-week but at least for a full weekend long tours in the outdoors mainly on tarmac mounted with tent, campsite kichen. And why from Evobike? They’re the distributors of the Nazca recumbents in Hungary and we had an excellent relationship regarding my 100 days bike ride in Europe. It’s not a secret that we’d like to promote the great, innovative products of Evobike, the bicycle touring and the recumbent bike riding.

  1. No comments yet.