Recumbent Users around Tokyo

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#2
I'd suggest riding the particular design you want as much as possible before you buy. DO NOT BUY unless you are able to do that. Once upon a time, I had this Vision (VR64?), and found it hard to ride/balance on, in spite of it supposedly being a speed machine.

Also, at least for this particular design (large front wheel), stoplights and any other stopping (and then getting going again) = a huge hassle. Please imagine stopping, unclipping and putting a foot down at a light (easy enough), and then somehow getting started and clipping back in when the light changes (yikes).

I was lucky to re-coup just over half what I paid for it, and sold this to someone who happened to be coming to Japan to tour and wanted a recumbent. Otherwise, it was an objet d'art parked for 2-3 years in one place or another, until that one in a billion buyer came along...

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There are other designs, so your mileage may vary. But up front, be careful and buyer beware.
 
Likes: Forsbrook

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#3
Of course, if I hadn't sold it then and still had it, I might be singing a more appealing tune...! ;)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#4
I've come across maybe half a dozen recumbent riders around Tokyo so far, three of them together on a trip down to Miura peninsula. They're a rare sight, compared to the US.

I don't know of any current recumbent users on the forum, but one of the Half-Fast Cycling regulars (Jeff) rides one. If you send me a private Forum Conversation with your email, I'll pass it on to him to contact you, if he's willing to offer advice.
 

bird

Speeding Up
Nov 30, 2010
322
18
38
Kawasaki
#5
A colleague at my previous workplace used to commute on a Optima Lynxx.
One day we went together on a ride into Okutama area (me riding a regular road bike), and just as we hit the hilly part he kindly switched his bike with my road bike! :D
Man, that was hard!!!

He got the bike at a shop called LORO in Setagaya.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#6
I've passed that shop a couple of times (one of my regular supermarkets is just round the corner from there) but never been inside.

Yes, recumbents tend to have better aerodynamics in the flat, but other riders catch up going uphill. They do work very well for a lot of people though who can't ride regular bikes because of back problems.

I would be worried about drivers not seeing them properly because of the lower height and just not recognizing them for what they are, as they're not used to them. A recumbent riding friend of a friend of mine always has a short pole with a flag on his, for visibility.

As it is, a lot of Japanese motorists have enough problems figuring out what to do with road bikes on the road, as they're more familiar with mamachari on the side walks.
 
#7
Thanks all, for the great advice!

jdd: Good advice. My plan was to rent one for a few days, but unfortunately Loro doesn't do rentals. How long before you realized it wasn't just a "getting used to it" thing and you decided to sell. I won't be using clipless, so hopefully that won't be a problem for me.

bird: Thanks, I've been talking to Loro.

joewein: Thanks, got in touch with Jeff. I'm also considering this due to chronic wrist pain and finger numbness. Hoping to avoid the visibility problem with a more upright version like the Cruzbike Silvio. I'm not sure I could handle trailing a little flag on a pole around after me:eek:
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#8
joewein: Thanks, got in touch with Jeff. I'm also considering this due to chronic wrist pain and finger numbness. Hoping to avoid the visibility problem with a more upright version like the Cruzbike Silvio. I'm not sure I could handle trailing a little flag on a pole around after me:eek:
I see a guy quite often commuting on one along ome kaido. He has a flag pole but IMHO he is still very hard to see. Tokyo is a very crowded city, lots of cars, scooters, bikes, cyclists, and walkers. Anything that reduces your visibility and has you existing in a space that other people are not used to looking in is a risk I wouldn't want to take. But it might be nice for long river runs.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#9
Sakamano,

A couple few thoughts...

I always thought clipped in was the way to go on these (perhaps one of my mistakes in trying to get used to that bike). Probably I should have tried standard flat pedals, but I didn't think to do that, and didn't have any instruction or youtube help.

There's been some recent discussion on this forum about pedals, and as opposed to when you're riding traditionally, almost directly above the bottom bracket, I would think that without clipping in, on a recumbent it would be even harder to keep your feet on the pedals or have any useful power transfer on certain parts of the stroke. This was ten+ years ago, so I'm commenting from memory, but still, given the rider position vis-a-vis the pedals, I would've thought being clipped in was the way to go.

Next, the Silvio does seem to have a lower BB/crank than the bike I had (and a lower sit position?). I think that's a positive for getting one or both feet down, but you may want to look at recumbents with smaller front wheels, which I think may be even easier to get going, tho the trade-off will be in the ride.


That's the best (most neutral) video I've found on how to take off on one. The meat of that video is at about 5:30-5:45, tho you can start 30 sec or a minute earlier to hear him explain what he's going to do. Note that he has cherry-picked the conditions there, understandable for an intro to riding one. But still, how often in the normal world do you start off "paddling" on a mild downhill incline like that and in traffic (and other bike/pedestrian)-free conditions like that?

I'd like to see that same rider negotiate the intersections I do on the way to/from my most common course (a bike path along a river). Once on that course, he'd be fine, but the first and the last 5k getting to and from there would be a bitch.

How do you "paddle" along and start on even a mild uphill (or more)? In traffic? And keep from swerving?

And that tendency to swerve when you're starting (which he shows even happens on a downhill), and that he says to avoid, well, good luck. ((My guess is a slower start on an uphill, some swerving will be more likely.))

There are other recumbent instructional videos, but please realize how few (if any) of them deal with how you get started from a standing stop. Most just show a start under ideal conditions, and then give you several minutes of continuous happy riding, and NOT how a recumbent is able to deal with stop and go traffic, uphill starts, and so on.

I understand your physical issues--and fully agree that a recumbent will change or eliminate your pains and numbness-es, but please do go into it with your eyes open.

As for visibility, I think a helmet light or two, plus another on the rear of the bike, would be enough.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#10
There is an abandoned recumbent on my morning training route.

Also from time to time I pass a recumbent rider and apart from one of the Japanese Para Olympians (he has a trike) that also use the same training route as me they are the only ones I've ever seen in Japan.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,658
477
103
Japan
#11
There is a guy up here that has one, but he spends more time walking it through town. my observations: slow compared to regular bike, difficult to lock up as they are long, more expensive.
I would suggest you get fitted to a road bike so that your wrist and fingers can be numb free. There are a number of reasons for numb hands but usually it's a fit issue.Good luck.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#12
There is an abandoned recumbent on my morning training route.
Removing it and resuscitating it would be a public service.

That Cruzbike Silvio above looks a lot neater than most recumbents I've seen. But the more I think of it, the more dubious I am about FWD, particularly for going uphill. I think I'd be happier with the customary long chain(s) to the back wheel, ugliness notwithstanding.

If you haven't seen it already, here's Sheldon Brown on finger numbness.
 
#14
Thanks again for the detailed advice.

About hand numbness and issues with my road bike: I've had my bike modified at Y's 3 times now. The next step is to swap out the stem for a shorter one. The problem is now when I experience pain I'm not sure whether to attribute it to the new fit, or to the original nerve damage/sensitivity, which doesn't seem to be going away. In the meantime, I've seen an orthopedist (nothing unusual found), bought new gloves and am trying to improve my core strength through pilates. Who knew finally buying a decent road bike would involve such work?:D

Even if my road bike numbness goes away though, I'd still like to try a recumbent. Always been vaguely fascinated by them.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#17
I can't help thinking about the likely outcome of a collision between a Cruzebike and either pedestrians or other cyclists. I think it makes a significant difference whether you hit something or someone with a front tyre or with upfront chain rings, a bicycle chain and some pedals.

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jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#19
Good point, Joe (but I can't remember having hit anyone).

I have somersaulted over the bars a couple times in emergency/panic stops, and that would not happen on a recumbent.

*****

Someone mentioned above the difficulty of locking one up, but due to their uniqueness factor, and maybe a thief's doubt about how worthwhile nicking one might be (and how to ride it away), they are probably pretty low on the theft scale. (And nobody's going to steal your saddle, either!)