Toscana Trials

Recumbents and all feet forward machines

Postby europa » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:28 pm

Birdman wrote:I imagine you are liking it?


Mate, I feel more at home than I do on a df bike, which is weird considering how nervous I still am. It might only be 'new toy' syndrome but most people who turn to bents don't go back and I think I can see why.

Anyway, we'll see.

Richard
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by BNA » Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:40 pm

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Postby Bnej » Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:40 pm

New Toy Syndrome? From Richard? Naaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.... :roll:

Now are you going to convert it into a fixed gear? ;)

I'd be interested in hearing how the braking performance is, since you have weight further aft of the front wheel I imagine you could conceivably lock the front wheel.
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Postby europa » Thu Jan 10, 2008 3:30 pm

Bnej wrote:Now are you going to convert it into a fixed gear? ;)


Graeme won't let me :(

Weight distribution? There's probably more weight on the front wheel than a df bike because I'm sitting in front of the rear wheel, not over it.

Richard
trying hard not to think about a front wheel lockup on the bent :shock:
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Postby Hotdog » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:02 pm

europa wrote:Weight distribution? There's probably more weight on the front wheel than a df bike because I'm sitting in front of the rear wheel, not over it.

Your centre of gravity is indeed probably further forward on the 'bent than it is on a DF, so (at a steady speed) more of your weight will be on the front wheel. A short wheelbase recumbent typically has a close to 50/50 split of the load between front and rear wheels as a result, and this generally does nice things to the handling.

Under braking the lower height of the C of G on the recumbent means there's less 'weight transfer' forward. This will more than compensate for the forward C of G position so you can brake harder without lifting the rear wheel. Because you can brake harder locking the front wheel is conceivable, but unless there's a serious lack of traction you'd have to be doing the sort of braking that would pitch you over the handlebars on your DF.

I haven't managed to lock the front or lift the rear on my 'bent yet....
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Postby Leigh_caines » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:12 pm

I haven't managed to lock the front or lift the rear on my 'bent yet....

I don't think you will
i've tried to lift the back and no go

And if ever you do go down it will be sideways not over the top
but I don't wish that on you
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Postby Hotdog » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:47 pm

Leigh_caines wrote:I don't think you will
i've tried to lift the back and no go

If you're talking about trying it on a long wheelbase 'bent (like the one in your profile picture) then I'm not surprised, having the front wheel so far ahead of the C of G makes it extra impossible...

I reckon you're right about it being very unlikely even on a high racer short wheelbase recumbent though (which would be the most prone to endo of all 'bent types). A front wheel lockup followed by going down sideways is probably the most likely outcome of braking too hard.
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Postby europa » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:40 pm

Just got back from a decent ride on her. 15km along the old Railway Reserve from Honeypot Rd, past the end of the Expressway, down that nasty little hill to the Onkaparinga River, across the bridge, climbed up off the flood plain and basically followed through to where the track turns to drop down under Main South Road.

That's right Dave, I could have lobbed rocks on your roof but didn't drop in :oops:

The lad came with me for moral support and I was mightily glad to have him. That track is up and down - nothing really nasty but I did have to do some climbing in bottom gear. There's a sharp little hill down to the river - only about 100m but very steep and I've seen all sorts of riders struggling on that. I powered up it with a cadence of something over 100 without a real drama.

Max speed, dropping down onto the flood plain was 45km/hr. At that speed, I was just coasting but my son reckonned he had to pedal hard to keep up.

The instability reduced throughout the ride as I relaxed.

I seem to have a tendance to sit to the right on the bike - I reckon it comes from where I position myself on the seat before leaning back. Once the lad pointed it out, I was able to correct it, but as I started to get tired, it crept back in again.

I seem to use a lot of my body when riding hard - on the climbs my abdomen is taut and I can feel my back muscles driving the bike from side to side with each pedal stroke, much as you do when sprinting on a df. My normal climbing style is to spin anyway so I'm not expecting any real dramas. On that steep climb, bike in bottom gear, legs pumping, back gaining support from the seat, I started pulling on the bars at one point and gained extra power - it really seems to be an all of body effort which is counter to what I've read from other bent riders.

The speed wobbles are still there but are due to those big, heavy legs flailing around in front of me and probably the back as well. I'm sure that'll all sort itself out in time.

And guess what, about 5km into the ride, one finger on my right hand developed that dreaded tingle indicating that the nerves were being messed with. Going bent hasn't cured my hand problems, but on the basis of this ride, they'll be far, far better. I haven't booked it in yet, but I've discussed it with my son's physio and he's certain he can help.

All in all, a good ride. I'm a lot better now, but not ready to play in the traffic and probably not ready to tackle the Torrens Linear Park on a weekend (narrow, twisty and crowded).

Now I've got to work out where I'm going to ride to tomorrow :D

Richard
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Postby Leigh_caines » Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:16 pm

Nice going :D

but forget that pulling with the arms ,,,
it just isn't doing anything to help

Relax and spin :)
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Postby europa » Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:48 pm

Another 26 km today. I'm feeling like a bent rider now, not just someone struggling with some weird machine.

Today's route was down the Sturt River, Tapley's Hill Rd, Torrens River, beach front and back up the Sturt River. Quite tight and twisty in places plus riding on roads with traffic.

It can be a rough trip in places thanks to tree roots and bits of path under repair. It's interesting going over bumps - the front wheel rolls over them, then the back, with you suspended in between. You don't get those jarring jolts that a df bike gives you, rather a more moderate bump.

Therein lies a problem, everytime I hit a bump I slide forward on the seat - it seems as though the front of the seat isn't supported me. It's possible that as I get used to it, I'll ignore this, but there isn't much underneath for me to slide off. The seat can be tilted back further and I'm guessing that would help. Graeme, do you remember the seat being particularly upright when you rode her?

The rest of it's doing well though. I topped 30km/hr on the flat (this was a very flat ride). I'm still all over the road - it'd break a snake's back to follow me, but that's all under control and I'm riding with the dips and swerves and it's probably not a lot worse than normal df practice, just that I'm noticing because of the way the bike moves underneath you and that large contact area with your back muscles.

You are certainly more 'at one' with a bent than a df where, at best, you are just perched on top. Riding a bent is a more intimate experience than a df bike.

Maybe I should grow a beard 8)

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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:29 pm

Richard,

I had the seat fairly laid back to get it close to my bike's geometry. I suggested that you have the seat more upright than I would like while you're learning, so I'm not suprised that you feel like you're about to slide off.

I would suggest putting a wad of high-density foam between the shell and the cushion at the very front of the shell. That will give you a bit of a lip to help remove the feeling. (I'm pretty sure you won't slide off in actual fact: your legs will keep you pushed back into the seat.)

The trick of placing a wad of foam under the cushion can also offer extra lumbar support if placed on the sides in that region. Some riders do that to help them feel like they are snugly held in place.

I'm glad you're having fun and learning the skills you need. How are you finding the reactions of others who see you riding?

Cheers,
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Postby europa » Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:49 pm

Kalgrm wrote:How are you finding the reactions of others who see you riding?


The look on one bloke's face had my son in hysterics :D

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Postby europa » Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:29 pm

Kalgrm wrote:I had the seat fairly laid back to get it close to my bike's geometry. I suggested that you have the seat more upright than I would like while you're learning, so I'm not suprised that you feel like you're about to slide off.


I haven't moved it from where it was when it came out of the box ie, it's where Craig left it. I guess the question is, had he moved it upwards or not. Just looking at it, I reckon I could lower the seat no more than an inch, if that much, on it's support strut. Does that ring any bells? This is the hard part of setting things up over the internet - you're guessing and I don't have a flamin' clue.

I would suggest putting a wad of high-density foam between the shell and the cushion at the very front of the shell. That will give you a bit of a lip to help remove the feeling. (I'm pretty sure you won't slide off in actual fact: your legs will keep you pushed back into the seat.)


I'll see what I can do. If nothing else, everytime I hit a decent bump, I slide forwards and would like to stop that. Of course, experience may indeed lead me to ignore this movement. Do you move around on your seat much or do you tend to stay in one place? It's okay on the smooth, but as soon as I start hitting tree root humps or cross gutters, I move forward.

The trick of placing a wad of foam under the cushion can also offer extra lumbar support if placed on the sides in that region. Some riders do that to help them feel like they are snugly held in place.


I've no problems with side support. If anything, there's too much. The seat is a tad wider than my shoulder blades which isn't the best. At the moment, I feel I'm well supported but not willing to buy into the 'comfy chair' description - that may change as I learn to relax, my abdomen is still doing a lot of work. I also sweat like a beaut and this seat doesn't breathe. I'm already thinking that a wide, open weave seat might be a good modification later on.

I'm in two minds about the shifters too - the twist grip shifters are certainly living down to their reputation yet with my hands where they are, I'm not sure that I want to buy into other sorts of shifter. In any case, they are efficient enough for the moment. I can't move the bars forward as evidenced by a few taps on the left knee (only the left for some reason) by the brake lever. The big mod will be USS, but that's for muuuuch later.

I'm having trouble with the gears jumping at the back end again too. Either these are very stretchy gear cables (third adjustment in the nearly 70km I've done, but that's cool, I can adjust drs) or I've got other issues. There is stuff all tension in the chain and maybe that affects it on roughish roads ... and there's not much I can do about that as it's the spring in the rear dr that controls things. Is this where idlers and open chains have an advantage over the long, curved chain tubes?

Leg extension - do you aim for the same sort of leg extension that you do on a df bike? I ask because if so, I need to move the boom out a tad, but have also observed a number of bent videos where the riders did not extend their leg fully.

Leg effort is certainly very different to on an upright bike. There seems to be more force (as in pressure on the pedals) in the legs. My first reaction is to drop a gear, but that results in over revving very quickly. It's got the same cassette as I'm used to with the Jamis and Black Beast, so I'm pretty sure it's not large jumps in the ratios, but to maintain a reasonable cadence in the mid eighties, I seem to be applying a lot more pressure on the pedals than I do with the uprights. Maybe having to run the legs out in front of me rather than below me is producing sensations that I'm mis-understanding. I certainly don't have a problem with cadence and although my average cadence is lower than it usually is on a df bike, it's in line with the sort of casual riding I'm doing - as soon as I up the pace, the cadence comes up and when working on a hill or a fast, flat run, the cadence is right up where it needs to be. It just feels like I'm putting more pressure on the pedals.

Weird, weird, weird.

Best line of the day. Riding along the Torrens Linear Park, I had to pass a mother and her two kids on their bikes. As I cruised past the mother, I said "Learner on a weird bike", and was rewarded with a gale of laughter :D

Another run tomorrow, then I've got the lass again for a week.

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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:25 pm

I don't slip on my seat, but I have this weird "padding" on there which would make slipping difficult. It's actually heavy duty aquarium/air conditioner filter foam, believe it or not! :shock: However, I also think the way the euromesh seat frame on the Bacchetta is formed prevents the tendency to slump.

When I hit a bump of any significance, I'm in that "arched back" position I described in another post. If one sneaks up on me, I do indeed have a tendency to bounce forward, now that I think about it. I just slide my butt back into position. Your seat is more slippery though .....

When I was playing on your bike, we did not have the cushion stuck to the shell. It was slipping around when I first tried to get going, but once I was used to the geometry of the ride, I don't remember sliding forward markedly. (Didn't go over any bumps though.)

Your description of the amount of seat post showing sounds like it is still set up as we had it. Looking at the photos from that day, I'd say there was an inch showing. That being the case, you do need to find a way to reduce the slumping.

Extending the boom is not going to help matters either. With your feet further out, you will tend to slide even more. (That's how I worked out my seat was slipping back on the first few rides - I had to slump more and more just to reach the pedals!)

Your leg extension rules apply to both DF and 'bents. The videos you've seen were most like to be of people who don't have their bikes set up properly. Having said that, the seat/BB distance is not so critical on a 'bent because you can move your body up or down the seat a little to adjust leg extension "in-flight". That slipping you're getting can be used to your advantage a bit.

I would posit that your feeling of extra pressure on the pedals is arising from a reduction of hamstring use. In other words, you are mashing the pedals rather than pulling on the "upstroke". I find myself slipping into this habit sometimes too. I get around it by concentrating on proper technique and resorting back to single foot pedalling for a minute or so on each ride (ie unclip on one foot for 30 seconds, then swap). This is part of the getting of your bent legs, so don't panic yet.

I'd say the gear cables are a little stretchy. They wouldn't be high end ones, and you have about 2.5 to 3 times the normal cable length to deal with. It should settle down eventually.

As far as I know, idlers and teflon tubes offer no distinct differences regarding gear "stability". There may be a little extra friction in the drive train with the tubes, but even the fastest low-racers have the tubes .....

Having "stuff all chain tension" worries me, but you can't set your final chain length until you're fully comfortable with boom length. When you've settled on your boom length, you can optimise the chain length. That should make the chain as tight as it's going to get witt that derailleur.

On the matter of the RD, I was drawn to inspect the RD when I saw it. It says Shimano XT on it, but the finish was not up to Shimano's normal standard. At the time, I thought to myself "That looks like a counterfeit", but I also thought "nah, why would the Chinese go to the trouble of copying a RD?". Perhaps the spring is not up to the job after all if it is a fake.* In any case, I can't see how the RD chain tension spring would affect the gear selection stability. It's on the "return end" of the cassette.

Cheers,
Graeme

* Edit: Not this bike. I'm confusing this with another cycle. Please disregard.
Last edited by Kalgrm on Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby europa » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:34 pm

Hmm, keep on keeping on more of the same and think about the slippery seat.

Okay, I can live with that.

I'll work a bit more on my pedalling action too. I haven't given it a lot of thought up to now, I've just been happy to have those big lumps of meat thrashing about in front of me. I'm happy to accept that much of it is just different sensations.

I'll keep adjusting the dr cables. Eventually they'll settle down. I didn't think of them being longer, is this going to be an issue come replacement time?

Man it's a steep learning curve.

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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:45 pm

europa wrote:I'll keep adjusting the dr cables. Eventually they'll settle down. I didn't think of them being longer, is this going to be an issue come replacement time?

Man it's a steep learning curve.

Richard

The rear cables are tandem gear and brake cables, so any decent LBS will be able to order them in for you.

I know the curve is steep, but that's why you paid for the front row seat. I know you love it! ;)

Cheers,
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:02 pm

I need to take that back about the XT derailleur being a fake. That RD was on another of Craigs 'bents (a trike). Your one is a Deore.

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Postby europa » Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:12 am

The Deore wouldn't have a weaker spring than an LX would it?

Anyway, I'm not sure if it's a problem yet, and it probably isn't. I'm just used to seeing more tension in a chain.

Looks like I'm going to miss today's ride. The lad has soccer training and I was going to go for a spin while he was doing that ... but it's raining. That doesn't affect the soccer of course, but it's too early in my bent career to learn about wet roads. Maybe this arvo. At least the dog gets to go for a drive now (he's been missing out).

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Postby Kalgrm » Sun Jan 13, 2008 8:01 am

The deore may have a weaker spring, but not by enough to make much of a difference. I'd be willing to bet that the tension in the chain is similar to that on a MTB, but the sag in the chain is more apparent because the span between the RD and the chain support tube is MUCH longer than you're accustomed to.

To check, pull the chain with your hands in a way which makes the RD move forward. Compare it with another RD with a similar length swing arm.

In the end though, it doesn't matter, since the tension we are discussing is in the return side of the chain. It's the tension in the drive side which counts when you're riding: the higher that tension, the better your acceleration! ;)

Rain sucks ..... hope the lad wins.

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Postby Leigh_caines » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:09 am

Wet roads and sidewalks [with mud on them] can and are a might tricky on the SWB.
First time I road in the rain I near [managed somehow to stay up]went down
Made me go straight out and buy a better front tyer...one with a bit of tread on it...
I haven't had a problem since even on very off road stuff....
I've found ...slicks and mud are no go :)
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Postby europa » Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:59 am

It was soccer training this morning. They were in the sand dunes behind the police accademy, in a bowl called the Snake Pit. He reckons he's tired now, the woose :D

It rained all the way down but cleared as we got there. Very strong winds so the roads dried really quickly. I probably could have gone riding but the winds meant that it wouldn't have been a lot of fun.

The Outer Harbour crit racing was on so I kept seeing groups of riders battling into the wind as they tried to roll past. I kept thinking how much easier headwinds are on the bent (you don't really notice them). Side winds on the other hand :roll:

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Postby europa » Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:01 am

Jan's away for a week, so I'm riding over to her place every day to feed the cats. Naturally I take the Hamster. It's only an 8km round trip, but it's a test - a bit of main road riding, roundabout, crossing a road with a blind approach ... oh, and some climbing.

Here's the profile - I think I understand why I'm sweating when I get home.

Image

That little red bit at the end (really the middle as this profile is one way only) is 170m long but climbs 16m :shock: I tend to use bottom gear here ... and then there's the other wee steep bit on the return, longer and flatter (300m with a climb of 20m) but that's where the HRM starts beeping at me.

At the moment, I'm averaging 18km/hr on this run, but I'm also loafing where possible - funny how easy that is to do on a bent.

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Postby Hotdog » Fri Jan 18, 2008 11:27 am

europa wrote:That little red bit at the end (really the middle as this profile is one way only) is 170m long but climbs 16m :shock: I tend to use bottom gear here ... and then there's the other wee steep bit on the return, longer and flatter (300m with a climb of 20m) but that's where the HRM starts beeping at me.

So a roughly 10% pinch and slightly longer almost 7% section. Yep, that'll certainly help develop your 'bent legs :)
At the moment, I'm averaging 18km/hr on this run, but I'm also loafing where possible - funny how easy that is to do on a bent.

I discovered that pretty quickly too, when I first got my 'bent there were rides where I kept having to remind myself to put some effort in because reclining in my comfy seat while cruising along a picturesque road on a nice day was just too damn relaxing!
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Postby europa » Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:35 pm

Just got back from the library. More 'firsts' - first time with a pannier on, first time chained up outside somewhere (and no-one nicked her). Have I ever mentioned that I hate locks?

Thought - you know those locks that stay on the bike and just run a bar through the rear wheel? They might be an option for casual parking on the grounds that a thief would have to pick up the bike and carry it (not easy with a bent) and a bent isn't as likely to be nicked as some other bikes. Flawed thinking? I'd still use the chain and something solid for long term parking (half an hour or more).

Something I've noticed is that I'm tending to put more force into the pedals by using my back and torso pressed against the seat. On the df, I'm a spinner, generally only standing for a short sprint up a hill. However, on the bent, I'm more likely to 'put my back into it'. I was thinking this was just a new sensation but on the two hills shown above, plus two more on the run to the library and back, I was faster or in a higher gear than I'd be on one of the df bikes. It's nowhere near as effective as standing to sprint, don't get me wrong, but for someone who spins his way around the world, I'll probably do light climbs better/faster than I do on a df bike.

Fascinating new world all around. In some ways, having to ride the Black Beast to Uni will be good because it'll keep me riding df bikes - at the moment, I'm not really tempted to ride them, and I don't know that it's just 'new toy' syndrome. I've already decided to go for a much higher bar position on the Black Beast than I would have otherwise (and hope the wider bars handle it) because the bent keeps reinforcing how nice it is to ride without hand problems.

The slippery seat I mentioned earlier in this thread seems less of a problem now, but that might be a change of shorts (my cotton khaki's rather than the nylon shy shorts) and it might be that I haven't hit the bumps I was before.

Jumped a kerb today :D No problems at all ... apart from the fact that I was aiming for the crossover and missed :roll:

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Postby Leigh_caines » Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:56 pm

Richard
2 questions on your baby
how high is the seat from the ground?
how high are the cranks to the seat? [higher or lower?]

Been thinking about a 26-26 inch set up but having short legs and a longer body means I don't fit many set up this way.

Thanks
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Postby europa » Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:05 pm

Leigh_caines wrote:how high is the seat from the ground?


A bit under 60cm - the top of the padding is about 60, but that squishes when you sit on it

how high are the cranks to the seat? [higher or lower?]


Bottom bracket is 82.5cm from the ground

I'm a six footer and don't have any troubles. Sounds like that's not a fair comparison though.

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