Recumbent bikes?
March 7, 2004 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Ever since this I've been looking into recumbent bikes with an obsessive toy-hunger. At nearly 50lbs, the Bigha is widely denounced as heavy. My question is: how heavy is the average mountain bike, hybrid/commuter bike, and road bike? I can't find overall weight specs on the Cannondale website or the Specialized site. I'm not incredibly into bikes and have no frame of reference. Help me out if you can. How porcine is 50lbs?
posted by scarabic to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total)
50 pounds is about twice the weight of an average road bike. I have no idea what mountain bikes weigh now with all the new fangled shock absorption. Weight is not often listed because it varies depending on frame size.

50 pounds is heavy to carry and these bikes are big and awkward to carry up stairs, etc.
posted by n9 at 4:58 PM on March 7, 2004

50 lbs is pretty damn heavy for a bike. Not sure re: recumbant, but mountain bikes and road bikes are usually between 15 and 25. Rocky Mountain ( lists frame weights on their site--the frames by themselves are between about 4 and 9 pounds.
posted by dobbs at 5:25 PM on March 7, 2004

My aluminum-frame mountain bike, with only a front shock, weighs 24 lb. My road bike weighs less. My *old* mountain bike, which everyone who's ever picked it up has exclaimed at the incredible heft of it, is likely more around 35. Fifty is HEAVY.
posted by notsnot at 5:33 PM on March 7, 2004

My full suspension mtb weighs just under 30 pounds - more germane, I suppose, is what other recumbents weigh. 50 lbs does sound heavy, though.
posted by jalexei at 5:39 PM on March 7, 2004

I think comparing recumbents to regular bikes is an apples to oranges issue. Recumbents are great if you are biking for comfort or distance or need to carry loads. If you are biking for speed or to ride on on trails, etc. then a recumbent isn't for you. One nice thing about recumbents is that the seating position does not pressure the perineum, which is often a cause for infertility in men who ride a lot.

There are a lot of different types of bikes out there. Think about the kind of riding you will do and get one that best fits your needs. The reason mountain bikes are so popular these days is that they are a really flexible platform- they are good at many kinds of biking, albeit not excellent at anything except offroad riding.
posted by gen at 6:13 PM on March 7, 2004

Where are good places to go looking for recumbants? What should you look for in one? What kind of price range can you expect corresponding with certain features?
posted by weston at 7:04 PM on March 7, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, all. Now I have some ballpark. It seems that with the improved comfort and leverage of a recumbent that a little more weight is ok. The configuration itself seems best suited for rangy road riding, anyway. I think 50lbs is heavy for most recumbents, though, as $3000 is expensive. Bigha sure captures the gadget magic, and if I were living somewhere flat and open, I might consider one someday. But it's looking like a nay at this point. Unless I win that contest, of course ;)
posted by scarabic at 8:01 PM on March 7, 2004

I've spent a few days on a bigha (they let me borrow one for testing and review) and it's taking a little getting used to. Frankly the 50lbs vs 30lbs I normally ride is only felt when taking off from a dead stop. It does take a little more energy to get up to speed. That said, my first ride after months of hibernation was still over 17mph average on the heavy bike. Once it gets going, it's easy to keep it going.

There's one thing you need to get used to on most recumbents and it's that you use your muscles in a slightly different way. On a normal bike, the power is in the downstroke, with gravity acting with you. When you're laid out sideways sorta, you're pushing the power, with gravity working against you slightly. It takes some getting used to but feels like a bit more of a burn vs. regular bikes. Aside from the extra burn in my legs, the rest of my body feels great, the seat is amazing.

Oh, and if you're looking to save a few bucks, check out ebay for Bike E recumbents. It was the company the founder of Bigha used to head up and shares a lot of the same ideas. You can find used ones for about $300-500 on ebay, though if you don't like it you're stuck with it, whereas with the bigha they give you a two month return policy.
posted by mathowie at 9:17 PM on March 7, 2004

I love my handmade Burley Samba tandem, and they make recumbents that weigh and cost less. Rans Rocket is a long-standing favorite in the class.
posted by planetkyoto at 9:19 PM on March 7, 2004

$3000?! Have you considered buying a Segway instead?
posted by crunchland at 9:35 PM on March 7, 2004

Response by poster: Yeah, I've checked out the Burleys and they seem to have a nice, diverse line. A couple attractive models under $1000. I'll do some checking into Bike E as well. Looks like there are a few deals to be had on eBay right now.

The two month return policy (the whole Bigha company, in fact) reminds me of Saturn. I actually returned the Saturn I bought after about 20 days of driving. No questions asked. Very cool of them. What more can you ask for than a very long, no-risk test drive? I look forward to your review, Matt.
posted by scarabic at 10:58 PM on March 7, 2004

If you've seen many people on recumbent bikes you probably know this already, but in case you don't, be aware that they're much more difficult to get up hills, and impossible to get up steep hills.
posted by Dasein at 11:11 PM on March 7, 2004

Yep, hills are harder on the recumbents. They're usually geared a bit lower than a road bike to make up for this, but it still feels like more work to go up hills on them.
posted by mathowie at 12:47 AM on March 8, 2004

50 lb is too much, period. I have a recumbent trike that weighs about 35 lb, for cryin' out loud, and that includes the weight penalties for driveshaft, ackerman steering, drum brakes, and rear suspension.

There are a lot of recumbent makers that have been in business for quite a bit longer than Bigha, selling well-made bikes that weigh less and cost a lot less.

FWIW: A good road bike weighs about 20 lb; the most stupid-light disposable models (used by some pro racers) weigh about 14. A good mt bike weighs at least 23.
posted by adamrice at 6:37 AM on March 8, 2004

I saw those, and thought "50 pounds?!?". I live on the second floor of a walk-up apartment building, and even on the second floor, I do not want to drag that up and down stairs.

My current mountain bike is about 25 pounds.
posted by benjh at 7:14 AM on March 8, 2004

Response by poster: The consensus is pretty clear on Bigha's weight problem. I wonder if they'll produce a lighter product in the future?
posted by scarabic at 12:42 PM on March 8, 2004

Frankly, I have a hard time seeing how they managed to cram 50 lb onto that frame in the first place. Anvils inside the main tube perhaps? Anyhow, here's a list of other recumbent sources. Bon ap├ętit.

Rans, Haluzak, and Vision are some pretty well-established U.S. shops.
posted by adamrice at 1:30 PM on March 8, 2004

I think I learned that the seat is something like 12lbs on a bigha, which would contribute greatly to making it around 50lbs if it should be a 30lb bike. The seat is very supportive and comfortable though, unlike some of the simple mesh seats.
posted by mathowie at 10:47 PM on March 8, 2004

I like my BikeE. It is not very sexy, but works great. The Bigha is frankly too expensive and too heavy. Vision in Seattle, Rans in KS, there are a bunch of established manufacturers who make very nice, dialed-in bikes. They know the business, and avoid many of the mistakes newcomers usually make.

There is a recumbent news group--check
posted by mecran01 at 8:39 AM on March 9, 2004

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