Monday, September 3, 2007

Laid back and loving it

Laid back and loving it
An intro to getting Bent

Marty Garnick

In 1998 I was becoming a real bike enthusiast. I road 5000mi, my most mileage in a year. I had a Bianchi road bike, which I loved but just couldn’t get quite comfortable. I swapped out the stem, seats, and tires. Still no luck. That’s when I discovered recumbents. I bought my first compact long wheelbase (CLWB). a Bikee. It was a new mass- produced recumbent, and could be found in most bike shops. It also had no learning curve. Within no time, I was riding in comfort.
Recumbents offer the rider comfort with it’s reclined large seat. No more back, butt, neck and wrist pain on long rides. It also offers a panoramic view. No more straining to keep your head up. You notice things not seen on routine rides. The only thing hurting after a long ride are your legs.

I think the reason recumbents are not more mainstream is that there are so many styles. Long wheel base (LWB), Short wheel base (SWB), Above seat steering (OSS), Under seat steering (USS), big wheels, small wheels, same wheels, different wheels, 3 wheels. It is initially confusing and intimidating. Recumbent manufactures are also smaller. Bikes are hard to find and test ride. Fortunately the WWW has made our world smaller. One great site is where you can find reviews, classifieds and general discussion groups. Another great source of information is

One misconception is recumbents are hard to ride. While some do have a small learning curve, most can be mastered in a few minutes. Be aware that “Bents” use different leg muscles than Diamond frames(DF). It takes a few months to get up to your usual speed. Recumbents are more stable at speed with their lower center of gravity. In spite of their lower height they are actually more visible to cars and are generally given a wider birth when passed. Can bents climb? Some bents climb better than others. Usually a High bottom bracket(SWB) climb better than a Low bottom bracket bike(LWB), but not always. I think climbing has to do with the motor and proper gearing. I think most road bikes are geared for Lance and not your average rider. Why do you think those heavy mountain and touring bikes climb so well.

Recumbents cost more than a standard bike. They usually start at $500 and go up depending on groupo and frame material. $800-$1500 will buy you a good quality bike. Some larger bent manufactures are building oversea with excellent quality , helping keep costs down.

Unfortunately there is nothing like a hands on test ride, and NJ has only 2 shops I know of;
Northeast recumbent, Fairfield, NJ (Very knowledgeable and helpful, good selection By appt only)
Economy bikes, Hamilton square (no info)
Jays pedal power, Philly, Pa ( Nice selection, some knowledge)

Recumbents are a great way to add to the excitement of cycling and that perpetual recumbent grin. When searching for that next bike why not consider Getting Bent.


Questions, further information and test ride of my 2 bents

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