Sister looking to switch

Bazzer

Setting the controls for the heart of the sun.
My sister has an ongoing back problem and she is now finding riding a normal and static bike challenging. When I saw her today she asked about a recumbent. I have never ridden one, but have in the past been on a couple of rides with a (2 wheel) recumbent rider.
My knowledge is limited to: potentially there are many more gears, going up hills is likely to be slower and getting started will be a new technique.
A few questions sprung to my mind, which I hope some may be able to answer for me to pass on:
Aside from the wider wheel base and stability is there any riding difference between a two and three wheel recumbent?
Is there any riding difference between a recumbent with one front and two rear wheels and a tadpole (?), or does this come down to personal preference?
Does anyone know where different recumbents could be test ridden in the Greater Manchester area?
Any other advice would be welcome.
I would add my sister lives in a modestly hilly area in an urban area. With family commitments she is out of the house for a (max) couple of hours and coupled with traffic, she isn't going to be racking up high mileages. She is looking for comfort combined with exercise.
 

HMS_Dave

Grand Old Lady
Location
Midlands
Are you talking about these types when referring to 2 wheels at the back and one at the front?
kw_allround_totale.jpg

A trike sounds like it might be good option. But i would consider planning routes carefully. There's always a chance of an impassible chicane that will require physically bending down and mauling the trike through it. Not great if you have back problems. Also, track width is a consideration to take if there are any routes that take it down a narrow pathway. I don't think it's all that bad though. On roads people report drivers tending to be more cautious around them. Tadpole trikes are likely to be quicker and more stable mind.
 

DRHysted

Veteran
Location
New Forest
This is my 73 year old Mum on my tadpole, I fitted e-assist so she can cope with hills and such. Once set up correctly it is extremely stable, I have to be riding like a loon to get a front wheel to lift (it’s great fun to ride like a loon though).
My advice would be to find a place that either rents them or let’s you test ride them, and see how she feels. Hills are more difficult!!

View: https://youtu.be/LzRZ2lc_J8E
 

classic33

Legendary Member
The lower speed afforded on three wheels is an advantage over two, almost no chance of tipping it. You can remain stationary with no problems. Hills you can be taken at your own speed.

The wheel layout, I'd say, comes down to personal preference. As mentioned, they tend to stand out a bit, getting a bit more room on the road.

582379
 
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numbnuts

Legendary Member
Location
North Baddesley
This is my 73 year old Mum on my tadpole, I fitted e-assist so she can cope with hills and such. Once set up correctly it is extremely stable, I have to be riding like a loon to get a front wheel to lift (it’s great fun to ride like a loon though).
My advice would be to find a place that either rents them or let’s you test ride them, and see how she feels. Hills are more difficult!!

View: https://youtu.be/LzRZ2lc_J8E
Nice video. know that area quite well :okay:
 
OP
Bazzer

Bazzer

Setting the controls for the heart of the sun.
Many thanks for the responses.

Are you talking about these types when referring to 2 wheels at the back and one at the front?
View attachment 582343
A trike sounds like it might be good option. But i would consider planning routes carefully. There's always a chance of an impassible chicane that will require physically bending down and mauling the trike through it. Not great if you have back problems. Also, track width is a consideration to take if there are any routes that take it down a narrow pathway. I don't think it's all that bad though. On roads people report drivers tending to be more cautious around them. Tadpole trikes are likely to be quicker and more stable mind.
Yes, like that. For some reason mentally I associate the word tricycle with three wheels and sitting upright.

I knew there would be an increased in weight, which is potentially a problem when someone with a back problem is man handling it, but one (generally) not insurmountable.

As to the width, yes I knew that some routes would require planning, but again not insurmountable.

The lower speed afforded on three wheels is an advantage over two, almost no chance of tipping it. You can remain stationary with no problems. Hills you can be taken at your own speed.

The wheel layout, I'd say, comes down to personal preference. As mentioned, they tend to stand out a bit, getting a bit more room on the road.

View attachment 582379
I did mention to her that from what I have read on here, she would be more visible. She would appreciate that from a safety point of view. As to drawing attention to her for other reasons, she wouldn't be bothered. She isn't backward about coming forward. :laugh:

Other than (potentially?) the turning circle, I wasn't sure if there was difference between two wheels at the front/back, or if it was personal preference.
 

PaulM

Veteran
Location
Portsmouth, UK
There's a world of difference between 2 and 3 wheeled bents. Trikes are just get on and go, are heavier and slower, but with the right gears can climb a steep hill at 2 mph. Also more expenive to buy and not easy to put on a train. OTOH there's no risk of breaking a hip or elbow which is an important consideration as one gets older. I use my trike for commuting but prefer the speed and lack of width of the 2-wheelers when heading out into the countryside. Bikes have a learning curve and require "fitting adjustment" of boom, handlebars and seat.

Also there are big differences between short wheelbase bent bikes (SWBs) and long wheelbase ones (LWBs). Again I have both. LWBs tend to be easier in traffic but it does depend on the individual. Having one trike, two SWBs and one LWB I could write pages and pages on differences, pros and cons. However much of it comes down to the rider's abilities and preferences.
 
Many thanks for the responses.

Other than (potentially?) the turning circle, I wasn't sure if there was difference between two wheels at the front/back, or if it was personal preference.
Excluding the wheel position, the main difference between a delta and a tadpole trike is the seat height.
To keep the trike from being over long a delta trike tends to have the seat high up between the back wheels. This makes the trike easy to get on and off. Also the riders weight is near the back wheels so good uphill grip if the going is a bit iffy. Downsides are the high seat position isn't very aerodynamic and the higher CoG is slightly less stable in high speed corners.
It's a lot easier to design a tadpole trike with a low seat height which can make it slightly more tricky to get on and off. The lower seat is more aerodynamic and more stable in high sped corners. But with the riders weight more central between the wheels you will have less grip uphill if the going is iffy.
So it tends to split ease vs speed.
The extremes are something like a Hase Lepus delta with a seat height of around 22½”–25” and an ICE VTX tadpole with a seat height of only 5.9".
One is designed to make it very easy to get on and off and the other for pure speed.
Somewhere in the middle the line differentiating between the two types with respect of ease vs speed gets a bit blurred.

Luck .......... ^_^
 

byegad

Legendary Member
Location
NE England
I bought a 2 wheel 'bent in 2005, I took two months to reliably start and stop without toppling over.
I bought an ICE recumbent trike in 2007 and was riding confidently in 2 seconds. They are very different beasts.

I now ride a Catrike Trail, 2 wheels at the front and a Hase Kettwiesel, 2 wheels at the back, like the one pictured above. Both are stable and the Kett' has a seat 18" off the ground, which is easier on the back getting on and off than the 8" one on the Trail. However, some trikes with 2 at the back are less stable than the Kett', try before you buy..
 
OP
Bazzer

Bazzer

Setting the controls for the heart of the sun.
There's a world of difference between 2 and 3 wheeled bents. Trikes are just get on and go, are heavier and slower, but with the right gears can climb a steep hill at 2 mph. Also more expenive to buy and not easy to put on a train. OTOH there's no risk of breaking a hip or elbow which is an important consideration as one gets older. I use my trike for commuting but prefer the speed and lack of width of the 2-wheelers when heading out into the countryside. Bikes have a learning curve and require "fitting adjustment" of boom, handlebars and seat.

Also there are big differences between short wheelbase bent bikes (SWBs) and long wheelbase ones (LWBs). Again I have both. LWBs tend to be easier in traffic but it does depend on the individual. Having one trike, two SWBs and one LWB I could write pages and pages on differences, pros and cons. However much of it comes down to the rider's abilities and preferences.
Excluding the wheel position, the main difference between a delta and a tadpole trike is the seat height.
To keep the trike from being over long a delta trike tends to have the seat high up between the back wheels. This makes the trike easy to get on and off. Also the riders weight is near the back wheels so good uphill grip if the going is a bit iffy. Downsides are the high seat position isn't very aerodynamic and the higher CoG is slightly less stable in high speed corners.
It's a lot easier to design a tadpole trike with a low seat height which can make it slightly more tricky to get on and off. The lower seat is more aerodynamic and more stable in high sped corners. But with the riders weight more central between the wheels you will have less grip uphill if the going is iffy.
So it tends to split ease vs speed.
The extremes are something like a Hase Lepus delta with a seat height of around 22½”–25” and an ICE VTX tadpole with a seat height of only 5.9".
One is designed to make it very easy to get on and off and the other for pure speed.
Somewhere in the middle the line differentiating between the two types with respect of ease vs speed gets a bit blurred.

Luck .......... ^_^
I bought a 2 wheel 'bent in 2005, I took two months to reliably start and stop without toppling over.
I bought an ICE recumbent trike in 2007 and was riding confidently in 2 seconds. They are very different beasts.

I now ride a Catrike Trail, 2 wheels at the front and a Hase Kettwiesel, 2 wheels at the back, like the one pictured above. Both are stable and the Kett' has a seat 18" off the ground, which is easier on the back getting on and off than the 8" one on the Trail. However, some trikes with 2 at the back are less stable than the Kett', try before you buy..
Many thanks for the detail. I shall pass them on to my sister.
If she can sort out a test ride I may go along with her as a second pair of eyes/opinion.
 
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