Potential new recumbent owner..

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roshi chris

New Member
I'm thinking of getting a lovely recumbent through my companies cycle2work scheme. I have always thought they are really cool but never given it any serious thought until now. I've always had the impression that they must be a bit more dangerous than conventional bikes.

So, am i right, are they more dangerous? bear in mind i live in London and most of my cycling is though busy and/ or slow moving traffic. Do you get noticably more stick from local chavs?

Basically what are the main differences when you ride a recumbent? Any general info or advice greatfully received.

Thanks in advance.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
The most noticable difference is that a lot of people look at you, and mostly, they go "wow!"

There will be more experienced recumbentists along soon, I'm sure, but on the traffic issue, I'd say there are 2 main points.

1. You are more noticable on an 'odd' bike. Drivers are more likely to see you, than do what they normally do, whihc is look in your direction and see though you. Also, the bike may appear wider, giving you a greater road presence. If you are still worried about height, you can have a flag or spinner on a pole.

2. There are many types of recumbent (bike, trike, tourer, commuter, racing), so you can get one suited you your sort of riding - commuting as opposed to racing, for example. Some have higher seats than others - these tend to put you at the same height as a car driver - good for eye contact.

Actually, here's a third: If you are involved in any sort of incident, as you might be on an upright, you have less far to fall, and cannot go over the handlebars onto your head like you can on an upright.

There's no reason why, once you've had a bit of practice at handling it, you can't be as competant and confident on a recumbent as on an upright. You may finding learning to ride one confidently takes a few goes (or you may take to it straight away). I'd recommend going to a dealer where you can try them out, and get good expert advice on what's right for you. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a good dealer in London, but DTek near Ely are also highly recommended.

Andy in Sig

Vice President in Exile
You've got to get a model that suits you i.e. try a few. I've got an HPV Street Machine and I swear by it and would happily use it for commuting but you may wish to get something lighter and nippier if you don't ever intend to do any touring with it.


Rider of Seolferwulf
South London
I regularly commute on my Challenge Hurricane in London, from Bromley, and have done about 6,000 miles on her. I feel much safer on the bike than on my upright, and that's because:

* People see me just as often, and give me far more time and space than on my normal bike.
* Any accident is met feet first, not headfirst over the handlebars
* You haven't got far to fall
* Braking is extremely powerful in the dry - I can stop maybe twice as quick as my mates on uprights can. In the wet braking isn't so powerful any more because tyre friction with the road becomes the new limiter, so that brings you back to what a normal bike can do.

There are other advantages too, in that I love the comfort and the speed of my bike. It has awesome handling, especially rocketing through turns on downhills, you feel like a jet fighter pilot, and I love being able to bore through a strong headwind, dropping other cyclists so easily due to the relatively low air resistance.

There are a few disadvantages as well:
* You'll get a lot of attention, perhaps more than you will be comfortable with at first. Actually, for me this is an advantage, since I'm a tart and like attention, plus I'm about to put advertising on my tailfairing.
* You'll not be able to filter quite as aggressively as you can on an upright, but this is a relatively minor difference.
* Visibility from the 'bent is fine most of the time. One exception, again a minor problem, is when you come to a T-junction you sometimes have to sit up to have sufficient visibility to be able to see if it's clear to go. I have only a couple of these on my commute, and it's really not a big problem.


Über Member
A few more points

BentMikey's covered most of it, but I'd add a few points:
  • As you can't really turn your head around much in the recumbent position, you need to use a mirror, which I've found really useful anyway (neither of my upright DF bikes have a mirror) as you get a much better idea of what the traffic behind you is up to. (The alternative is to sit up, doing an ab curl, but this can pose balance problems until you get used to it: a mirror is far more practical IMHO.)
  • Angled T-junctions can be a bit difficult, partly because with a bike it helps to point it where you want to go, and you can't look over your shoulder to see what's coming - again I find a mirror really useful.
  • Theft - tempting fate, but I don't suppose there are many 'bents traded in Brick Lane?
  • Recumbent trikes are about 10% slower than recumbent bikes (on average - my experience + comments from others).
  • For me, the combination of comfort and speed are a recumbent bike's USP.

Johnny Thin

New Member
I've been using my upright folder to hop around between home, my lift's home, his work and my work, and it feels so precarious and unsafe, you daren't apply the brakes hard and worry about tipping over going through the middle of the traffic. Bents are so much safer and more steady. With something around the 50cm seat height mark you'd be absolutely fine - Bacchetta Giro?


I have a trike and have done about 150 miles on it so far in London. Other road users take notice, give you loads more room and usually slow down to ask how fast/price etc. The local chavs love it cos they see it more has a go kart then a bike.
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