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Old 11-28-2007, 08:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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First ride on a (semi-)recumbent bicycle: BikeE - got a CCM Evox 120

Originally written in Nov./06 ...



First ever ride on a recumbent today. "BikeE" Owner says: one of the lower end 'bents available at the time.

Very cool. Like sitting on a lazy boy. Suddenly riding my junk 10-spd around feels like mild torture by comparison!

Riding impressions:

- steering is twitchy. Seem to be steering a lot - correcting. Maybe it's the steering geometry, or else it's just the low mass of the tiny front wheel not helping out with the gyroscopic stuff. Anyway, I'm sure I'll get used to it and calm down the mini-swerves.

- Feels fast, because you're lower down.

- Also feels like you can put the power down more efficiently because you push against the pedals while the seatback pushes back.

- Very fun. I went out several times just to ride around on it. Was like being a kid again, discovering the joy of biking all over.

The owner (the same guy who orchestrated the lobbying effort that saw the introduction of Ontario's new law permitting electric assist bikes on the roads) is letting me borrow it for a couple of weeks. Cool!

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Old 11-28-2007, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The owner says these BikeE things aren't that much money: $300-$500 ish used?

You should really try one. If you like to bike, I bet you'll have a blast on a recumbent. Track down a local cycling club - I'm sure they'd be happy to let you take one for a spin.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How is it on hills?

Steepest hill I occasionally climb on the junker 10 spd is a 50-foot cobblestone driveway where I have to stand and lean forward. It's steep enough that the back tire slips a few times on the way up as it goes over over the cobblestones. A difficult first gear grind (more from the uneven surface & traction probs).

I just took the bent up the same driveway. It has a gearing advantage over the junker. Its 1st is comparable to maybe 2nd gear on my mountain bike (which can go up much easier than the junker 10 spd).

But I went up without too much fuss. You can really put the power to it because of the seat back. My line was a bit more erratic though: low speed = even more sketchy steering, as already noted. Plus the weight transfer back contributes to the steering issue, and you can't compensate by leaning forward as on a standard bike.

--

One other drawback I realized on this trip: you can't use your legs as "suspension" for your butt. On a standard bike, you often stand or at least tension your legs to go off a curb or through a sharp bump. But you must remain seated and get it full force on the bent. Rear suspension would be good.

But still a lot of fun. Total grin factor. I'll be making up reasons to go places on this bike.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yet more bikeE observations...

- you can't hop the front wheel up for bumps & obstructions like a standard bike. You really do have to watch the road surface more intently, and plan where you're going to go carefully when not on smooth pavement.

- be prepared to talk to people about the bike, and have kids run after you to see what you have. (Sort of like what happens when a kid saw me pulling my utility trailer behind the junker 10 speed, yelling, "cool! Where'd you get that!"

Doesn't diminish the fun though.

I didn't think I'd be able to track stand on it, but I can... sort of. I tend to roll ahead a bit more than on the junker or the mtb though.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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After 1 week...

So I've had this BikeE thing for a week now, and I've easily put 4x the distance on it than I would have on my beater 10 speed. I still look for excuses to go places on it.

Definitely not a bike for the shy: It draws A LOT of attention. Some people think I made it (one guy yelled: "you did a good job on that!", and some kids told me it looked "gangster". (I think that's good )

My arrest-me-red Ninja motorbike didn't draw half as much attention.

I have to give it back in one more week.

I'm hoping to take it for a long-ish tour to really try it out. Maybe 70 km. I don't think I've gone that far on a bike in one day before. (Most of my biking has been MTB, so I've spent that long in the saddle - or out of it, actually - but not covered that much distance.)

The steering is still the big issue: light & twitchE. It's like there's not enough caster/trail. I could see it turning some people off it entirely. It makes me a little hesitant to ride it on roads with traffic passing close to me.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Not quite 70 km...

Went for a 39 km tour. Didn't push hard, just nice and steady. Knees ached a little by the end, but it's hard to say whether that's just me or the bikeE; I don't do 39 km rides on my regular bike, so I have nothing to compare it to.

Aside from being tired at the end (I'm not in particularly awesome shape), I can say that my butt/back/neck were NOT sore at all. And that riding the BikeE is much more condusive to sightseeing.

I'd put a fairing on it though.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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FIVE years later... I got one!

Ever since I rode that BikeE, I've been interested in recumbents.

I just loved the "sit up and enjoy the scenery"-ness of it, and it was such a fun riding experience, I felt like a kid again every time I hopped on it.

I kicked myself when I found out the guy who loaned it to me later sold it for 2 or 3 hundred bucks. (I didn't know, and would have bought it, no question!)

So, in the past 4 years, I've been occasionally searching for something like it. And I found something "BikeE-ish" this weekend:




It's a CCM Evox 120. 80 bucks.

Mechanically it's OK. Structurally - well, one of the seat stays has a crack, but it's not mission critical. And it's a steel frame, so I can fix it.

The seat back / lumbar support is bent (pushed back) - a design flaw (its support should have been stronger or stayed).

Aside from those issues, the biggest drawback is that its design makes it a little less comfortable than the BikeE. It may be a little too small (I'm 5'10") - but I haven't decided yet.

Like the BikeE, it has a 16 inch front & 20 inch rear wheel. The CCM's wheelbase is about 10 cm / 4 inches shorter than the BikeE's. That's not a problem.

The problem seems to be that the CCM's bottom bracket is ~12.5 cm / 5 inches further back from of the head tube - and they both have the same head tube angle. That means when the CCM's seat is adjusted for comfortable pedaling, the handle bars are too far away, like the steering wheel in expensive Italian cars (or so I've read).

If I adjust the seat for a comfy, relaxed grip on the handle bar, my legs are too squished up.



BikeE vs CCM Evox 120

This may be partly addressed by sorting out the CCM's FUBAR'ed backrest, which well let me sit upright more easily, making it feel like less of a stretch to the bars.

I also liked the BikeE's full back rest. I want to feel like I'm riding around on a Lazee Boy, and even with the angle of the CCM's backrest sorted out, it's not going to be the same.

And I suspect I may still need to modify the bars to bring them back a bit closer.

But I'm looking forward to playing with it, and modifying it to suit me. The steering is much less twitchy than I remember the Bike-E's being. I bombed around on it today and it's a fun ride.
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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They're selling those on Ebay as kids bikes. 80 bux is a good deal.

CCM Evox 120 recumbent kids bike Canada Shimano | eBay
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Old 10-30-2011, 09:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah, I saw those ads as well.

I'm not convinced it's a kids bike, despite the description in that ad. Maybe the wheel size causes people to post them that way - they're the same size on the "adult" BikeE. The handle bar & seat post max. adjustments are well beyond kid size. Plus it's 18 speeds. And the guy I got it from is the same height as me.

But the minimum adjustments would certainly let a kid ride it.

From what I understand, CCM made 3 sizes of the EVOX and this one is the middle one. The largest one was more of a touring style.
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Old 10-30-2011, 11:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Darin,

How far are you from Toronto? I am tempted to visit BlueVelo, who build a licensed version of the Quest velomobile: quest velomobile - bluevelo

Decidedly not cheap, but decidedly gorgeously aerodynamic...

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