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I've ridden many different types of bicycle from fixed gears, single speed mountain bikes and more traditional mountain bikes and racing bikes. Recumbent is horrible to ride in traffic (you are below the height of most traffic) and the handling is atrocious.

Yes they are maybe more efficient but they are not pleasant to ride.

TBH the current design is efficient enough, is well understood both in terms of the technology. Almost all improvements now are iterative.

Also more modern materials (carbon fibre, aluminium) are either expensive, brittle (carbon fibre is easily damaged in a crash) or both. A lot of riders (especially the fixed crowd) have a saying of "Steel is Real", frames are normally cheap, easy to come by and even after crashes easily repaired (you can just bend it back most of the time).

The same can be said about many of the more modern gearing systems. Anything past 2 up front, 8 speed at the back is again typically more expensive to fix, parts are less easy to come by and is prone to failure.

Shimano's hub gears need regular maintenance where traditional derailleur setup will go on for thousands of miles with only basic maintenance. Maintenance on a derailleur system is typically cleaning (fairy liquid is fine) and using cheap lubrication that can be bought for a few pounds/dollars will suffice in most cases.




> Shimano's hub gears need regular maintenance where traditional derailleur setup will go on for thousands of miles with only basic maintenance.

I think you got that bit wrong: you have to clean and change parts more often with derailleur systems (the teeth for example erode much quicker). Insurances for hub systems bikes are cheaper because of this reason, at least where I am in Germany.

Not a bike expert but I happen to have a hub-geared bike with an insurance and I was told that by the insurance guy.


> Recumbent is horrible to ride in traffic (you are below the height of most traffic)

Depends on the recumbent. Mine (an Azub Six) isn't - I commute through London on it every day. And cities are (slowly) getting better at keeping traffic out of the way.

> and the handling is atrocious.

How so? You have to take a different line through corners, but you turn later (front wheel is further back) so it's if anything easier to go through the kind of right-angle turns that are expected in cities.

> Yes they are maybe more efficient but they are not pleasant to ride.

That's the opposite of my experience - upright bikes put so much weight on the wrists and, uh, taint, that they simply can't be pleasant for any length of time (particularly for those of us of an, ah, less athletic physique). A certain proportion of the population is able to sit comfortably on a traditional bike saddle, but many people aren't. As scooters and e-bikes open up more of an on-ramp into cycling for a wider demographic, I'd expect more and more people to find that saddles aren't working for them.

> Shimano's hub gears need regular maintenance where traditional derailleur setup will go on for thousands of miles with only basic maintenance. Maintenance on a derailleur system is typically cleaning (fairy liquid is fine) and using cheap lubrication that can be bought for a few pounds/dollars will suffice in most cases.

Ordinary consumers aren't up to even basic maintenance - cars went through the very same progression, in the '50s or '60s it was normal for a car to require basic maintenance by its owner. Low-maintenance hub gears will continue to get cheaper (an expensive model like the Rohloff already goes for thousands of kms without maintenance) and commuter bikes are increasingly switching. I'm sure that racing bikes for enthusiasts will use derailleurs for many years to come, but for commuters who just want to get to work the hub gears are already taking over.


How do you find day-to-day usability of the azub once you are off the bike? I.e. locking it to a post or bringing it into a building. Do you have the under seat stearing?

How do you store it at home/work?


I'll generally just lock the rear wheel to something, sometimes through the luggage rack - there's no real way to lock the frame, but it hasn't been a problem yet (I suspect it's a less attractive target for thieves than a conventional bike). Moving it around a building is pretty much the same as an upright - it's a little longer but still just about fits in trains, bicycle racks etc., and you can wheel it around upright on its rear wheel the same way as an upright - I do this to get it in the lift at home. At home I just keep it in the hallway of my flat, inside my front door on the third floor (there are bike racks outside but I've had too many bikes stolen from there in the past).

At work I can't actually fit it in the wheel slots of the racks they've got but that's more about having wide tyres/tubes than it being a recumbent (an upright mountain bike would have the same problem) - I've got a stand so I just park it in the rack row resting on its stand, it takes up the same amount of space (no problem with having other bikes in the slots on either side).

I went for the above seat steering - I do touring in various countries so didn't want anything that would be too unconventional / hard to fix.


I found moving it around in buildings (HP Velotechnik Speedmachine) quite a lot more cumbersome than my regular trekking bicycle. Fitting it through doors/elevators (especially with panniers) but I guess that is what you are eluding to, wheeling it upright and all that.

Did you ever bring it on a train in the UK?


Obviously it's a little longer than an upright (possibly helps that I'm fairly short), so the threshold for how tight a corner is before I have to put it vertical is a little lower than it would be for an upright. But I was mostly thinking of cases where you'd have to do the same either way - my building's lift is too small to fit any kind of bike without putting it vertical on its rear wheel.

And yeah I take it on UK trains fairly often.


I bike everyday in a large city in south east Asia and I would be dead a long time ago if I had been riding a recumbent bicycle.


> Depends on the recumbent. Mine (an Azub Six) isn't - I commute through London on it every day. And cities are (slowly) getting better at keeping traffic out of the way.

I cycle through through and around traffic. I don't keep myself out of traffic I am part of it.

I personally hate being in a cycle lane, because I know that many other cyclists normally aren't paying attention, don't know how to ride (they never check over the shoulder, poor handling skills etc). Also separating cars from cyclists just make car drivers less aware that cyclists exist. Not everywhere has cycle lanes.

Then again I don't live in London which has to be now the worst city in the UK.

> How so? You have to take a different line through corners, but you turn later (front wheel is further back) so it's if anything easier to go through the kind of right-angle turns that are expected in cities.

Handling isn't just about going round corners. I can track stand at lights, ride down stairs and going round a 90 degree bend is easy. I can almost turn in the bicycles own circle on my old mountain bike. If I need to bail of the bike, I can just drop the bike and roll off.

> That's the opposite of my experience - upright bikes put so much weight on the wrists and, uh, taint, that they simply can't be pleasant for any length of time (particularly for those of us of an, ah, less athletic physique). A certain proportion of the population is able to sit comfortably on a traditional bike saddle, but many people aren't. As scooters and e-bikes open up more of an on-ramp into cycling for a wider demographic, I'd expect more and more people to find that saddles aren't working for them.

You need to get the right saddle and yeh if you try riding 60 odd miles on a new saddle and you don't cycle regularly you are going to have a bad time. It would be like trying to run a marathon in a pair of new trainers, not a good idea. As for cycling putting pressure on wrists or too much weight on your arse then the bike probably isn't the right size.

As for the wider demographic. I don care what they do. There was a fad in the late 90s early 2000s for mountain bikes, mountain bikes are rubbish on road unless you kit them out with touring tyres, there is simply too much road drag. Also suspension looks flashy but is pointless on a tarmac road.

A lot of people follow fads. I don't.

> Ordinary consumers aren't up to even basic maintenance - cars went through the very same progression, in the '50s or '60s it was normal for a car to require basic maintenance by its owner. Low-maintenance hub gears will continue to get cheaper (an expensive model like the Rohloff already goes for thousands of kms without maintenance) and commuter bikes are increasingly switching. I'm sure that racing bikes for enthusiasts will use derailleurs for many years to come, but for commuters who just want to get to work the hub gears are already taking over.

It is still simpler to repair derailleur setup than any hub. Any bike ship can fix your derailleur gears (unless it is a BMX shop). I doubt the same is true about hubs. Also derailleur gears will work still without maintenance, almost none for years on end. Modern 8 or 9 speed chain is very reliable.

Hubs normally require specialised tooling parts and are always more prone to failure due to the nature of a hub. The only hubs that do work well are the really old sturmy archer hubs because they are again much more mechanically simple than anything else.


There was a fad in the late 90s early 2000s for mountain bikes, mountain bikes are rubbish on road unless you kit them out with touring tyres, there is simply too much road drag. Also suspension looks flashy but is pointless on a tarmac road.

A rear suspension is stupid on any road better than cobblestone, but the shocked front fork on a hardtail is nice in many situations. If the commute is less than five miles or so, wider tires won't hurt anyone. I agree that I don't want knobby tires on the road, but it's easy to change tires. (All mountain bikes have easier-to-change tires than several road bikes I've serviced.)


On even gravel tracks having wider tyres will help you more than a front shock. Cobblestone or similar is easy to ride on a racing bike, a shock is totally unnecessary.


> I can track stand at lights, ride down stairs and going round a 90 degree bend is easy. I can almost turn in the bicycles own circle on my old mountain bike. If I need to bail of the bike, I can just drop the bike and roll off.

Recumbent handling is different but has its advantages. Steep downhills are easier (while there's no bike I'd be happy riding down stairs on, if I was forced to pick I'd take my chances on the recumbent), the turning circle is zero at low speed, if you do get into a front-on collision your body's in a better position to absorb the energy before you hit something with your head, and if you fall off sideways you can shrug it off.

> You need to get the right saddle and yeh if you try riding 60 odd miles on a new saddle and you don't cycle regularly you are going to have a bad time. It would be like trying to run a marathon in a pair of new trainers, not a good idea. As for cycling putting pressure on wrists or too much weight on your arse then the bike probably isn't the right size.

This is "you're holding it wrong" logic. Nope. I did cycle regularly, got my bike fitted, and all that. But there's no getting away from the fundamental physics of pressure = force / area.

> Also suspension looks flashy but is pointless on a tarmac road.

Not having to slalom around the potholes comes in handy. Yes you can work around not having it.

> It is still simpler to repair derailleur setup than any hub. Any bike ship can fix your derailleur gears (unless it is a BMX shop). I doubt the same is true about hubs.

Derailleurs are more popular at the moment so more shops can handle them, but does that matter? If we're talking about a non-enthusiast commuter they're probably going to take it to the bike shop they bought it from for any required maintenance.

> Also derailleur gears will work still without maintenance, almost none for years on end. Modern 8 or 9 speed chain is very reliable.

> Hubs normally require specialised tooling parts and are always more prone to failure due to the nature of a hub.

This is backwards - a derailleur's parts are inherently exposed and vulnerable, an unmaintained derailleur is always going to fail faster than a good-quality hub. The Rohloff recommends an oil change every 5000km, but in fact people ride them for 10000 or 15000 without problems. Derailleurs make sense for enthusiasts who do their own maintenance or racers who want the lightest weight gearing possible, but for commuting or touring they're only used because of price, and the price of hubs will keep coming down.


>This is "you're holding it wrong" logic. Nope. I did cycle regularly, got my bike fitted, and all that. But there's no getting away from the fundamental physics of pressure = force / area.

Nope sorry it isn't the "your holding it wrong logic". If you do any physical activity that you are unused to you will have slight pains etc. I recently started Thai boxing again and loans behold my body hurt after the workout. Pretending otherwise is simply denying reality.

> Not having to slalom around the potholes comes in handy. Yes you can work around not having it.

Unless the pothole is massive then it is usually moving a foot to the left or right, hardly a slalom. if you can't avoid it then you can either just unweight the front wheel by moving your weight back slightly or just hop it.

None of these are particularly difficult to do (except for maybe the bunny hop, but potholes are rarely that large).

> This is backwards - a derailleur's parts are inherently exposed and vulnerable, an unmaintained derailleur is always going to fail faster than a good-quality hub. The Rohloff recommends an oil change every 5000km, but in fact people ride them for 10000 or 15000 without problems. Derailleurs make sense for enthusiasts who do their own maintenance or racers who want the lightest weight gearing possible, but for commuting or touring they're only used because of price, and the price of hubs will keep coming down.

No it isn't backwards. Derailleur gearing has had over 110 years of development and improvement. They are cheap, reliable and easy to fix and almost never go wrong. Typically only the cassette and chain need replacements (and that is after years of abuse) and a 8-9 speed chain is £10-15 and a 8/9 speed cassette is a few pounds. They take maybe 10-20 minutes to change.

I am sure the Rohloff is better but that is like comparing a Rolls Royce to a Ford Fiesta. Sure the Rolls Royce is better and will last 20 life times but it costs 100 times and the cheap Ford will do most of what you want. If we compare Shimano hub gears (which have a terrible reputation) they are more expensive and less reliable and give you less gears.

What you don't seem to understand is that just as I said at the start just because something is technically better on paper it doesn't actually make it better in practice. Sure I am sure hubs are better for most on paper, but much like old languages like Fortran, Shimano, Campagnolo and a bunch of other companies have been working out the quirks in the design since the 1930s.

I would say the whole conversation comes down to the"Worse is better" principle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worse_is_better


> If you do any physical activity that you are unused to you will have slight pains etc.

It's not about being used to it - I'd been cycling for years. There will always be muscle soreness from using your legs, but an upright brings a totally unnecessary set of aches and pains in other places - wrists, taint, shoulders, neck - because of the awkward hunched position and the fact that you're supporting your body weight on a handful of tiny contact points. I made the switch to a recumbent and even with far less experience than I'd had on an upright, I was easily riding twice as far per day before things became too uncomfortable to continue - and I was able to stop needing padded shorts or gloves as well, which means less luggage when touring or less need to store special clothes in the office.

> Derailleur gearing has had over 110 years of development and improvement.

Derailleurs having so much history of development is precisely why I expect hub gears to take over as they go through their own years of development and improvement.

> They are cheap, reliable and easy to fix and almost never go wrong.

They jam or fall out of alignment pretty often, so I wouldn't say "almost never go wrong". Yes an experienced cyclist can fix them pretty easily, but it's a barrier for newcomers and for non-enthusiast commuters who just want something to get them to/from work.

> Sure the Rolls Royce is better and will last 20 life times but it costs 100 times and the cheap Ford will do most of what you want. If we compare Shimano hub gears (which have a terrible reputation) they are more expensive and less reliable and give you less gears.

The technology trickles down though. If you go back far enough then things like ABS, electric windows, or fuel injection were something you'd only find on the Rolls Royce (because carburettors were cheaper and more reliable and just required a little bit of manual adjustment occasionally); now you find those things in the cheap Ford too. It'll be the same for bicycles: right now you only find good hub gears on the Rolls-Royce tier tourers, but that will change as the technology gets cheaper.


> It's not about being used to it - I'd been cycling for years. There will always be muscle soreness from using your legs, but an upright brings a totally unnecessary set of aches and pains in other places - wrists, taint, shoulders, neck - because of the awkward hunched position and the fact that

Your bike doesn't fit! This is like saying "I wore shoes that are two sizes too small and my feet hurt". This isn't a valid argument.

> you're supporting your body weight on a handful of tiny contact points.

Your hands, feet (those thing that are at the end of your legs that you can stand on all day) and arse are a tiny contact points? Give over, this is nonsense.

> I made the switch to a recumbent and even with far less experience than I'd had on an upright, I was easily riding twice as far per day before things became too uncomfortable to continue - and I was able to stop needing padded shorts or gloves as well, which means less luggage when touring or less need to store special clothes in the office.

You are not everyone and just because you have problems the vast majority of people do not. My nan who is 4ft 11 (so a very small lady) managed with a regular bicycle until she was in her late 70s. Are you saying that you are frailer than a woman in her late 70s?

I ride almost everywhere in jeans and t-shirt unless when it is boiling hot in summer when I wear T-shirt and shorts. I don't ride like some people who seem to think it is the tour-de-france everyday.

In my bag, I have a set of lights, a pump, a puncture and repair kit (which is the size of a small wallet), some light water proofs (I am driving if it is tipping it down) and my lunch.

> They jam or fall out of alignment pretty often, so I wouldn't say "almost never go wrong". Yes an experienced cyclist can fix them pretty easily, but it's a barrier for newcomers and for non-enthusiast commuters who just want something to get them to/from work.

No they don't fall out of alignment often. Fixing the chain coming off is literally just feeding it back on. Does it take years of experience to loop something round cog ... no.

You are just making stuff up to win the argument at this point.

> The technology trickles down though. If you go back far enough then things like ABS, electric windows, or fuel injection were something you'd only find on the Rolls Royce (because carburettors were cheaper and more reliable and just required a little bit of manual adjustment occasionally); now you find those things in the cheap Ford too. It'll be the same for bicycles: right now you only find good hub gears on the Rolls-Royce tier tourers, but that will change as the technology gets cheaper.

Except it hasn't. Hub gears have never worked well, the only ones that have stood the test of time are the extremely limited 3 speed sturmey archer models (which require oiling) and very expensive Rohloff models. Every so often hub gears come up, or belt drives and they don't go anywhere.

At this point I am pretty sure you want to be right so this is my last reply to you on this thread.


> Your bike doesn't fit! This is like saying "I wore shoes that are two sizes too small and my feet hurt".

Happened with multiple bikes, after having a fit, and it's not like I got the recumbent fitted. And a post back you were saying it was normal for cycling to feel like boxing training. (It is - for upright cycling).

> You are not everyone and just because you have problems the vast majority of people do not. My nan who is 4ft 11 (so a very small lady) managed with a regular bicycle until she was in her late 70s. Are you saying that you are frailer than a woman in her late 70s?

So someone who's about half the weight of the average person didn't suffer issues from having too much weight on too small an area. That's exactly what I'd expect. The vast majority of people do find cycling uncomfortable - and don't cycle as a result.

> I ride almost everywhere in jeans and t-shirt unless when it is boiling hot in summer when I wear T-shirt and shorts. I don't ride like some people who seem to think it is the tour-de-france everyday.

Does this not suggest that it's you who's unusual? People don't wear those padded shorts for fun, they wear them because it's unpleasant not to. Maybe you're some combination of light, riding short distances, insensitive to particular kinds of pain, or just unusually suited to saddles via some random quirk of anatomy. Lucky you, but you are not representative.

> Fixing the chain coming off is literally just feeding it back on. Does it take years of experience to loop something round cog ... no.

You think that as an experienced cyclist. I've had to stop for people on the side of the road who couldn't/wouldn't put their chain back on, more than once. A normal commuter just isn't interested in learning how to do maintenance, even something that basic.

> You are just making stuff up to win the argument at this point.

Wow, that's some first-tier projection there.


> And a post back you were saying it was normal for cycling to feel like boxing training. (It is - for upright cycling).

I know I said I wouldn't reply but that is a totally disingenuous interpretation of what I said and there is no way I could leave that be.

I never said such a thing. I said if you don't do something for years you will ache. Thai boxing was an extreme example to ram the point home as you were being thick headed about the subject.

> Does this not suggest that it's you who's unusual? People don't wear those padded shorts for fun, they wear them because it's unpleasant not to. Maybe you're some combination of light, riding short distances, insensitive to particular kinds of pain, or just unusually suited to saddles via some random quirk of anatomy. Lucky you, but you are not representative.

No not at all. I see many people cycling in normal-ish clothing on fixed gears, racing bikes, mountain bikes etc.

It is really frustrating when you will deny reality. I've cycled to work in many different countries (UK, Spain, Denmark, Germany) and the vast majority of people where normal clothes.

Here are some from Denmark (not taken from me but I did live there)

https://imgur.com/a/9b4O5l5

https://imgur.com/a/IoXzYVx

This was taken by me while waiting in Gibraltar.

https://imgur.com/a/xkDXWal

This is a picture from Bournemouth

https://imgur.com/a/dHdpA5J

A shot from Manchester (I used to live there as well)

https://imgur.com/a/wlr2xWx

All wearing normal clothing and not struggling. I am sorry but it simply isn't true that I am unusual.


> Almost all improvements now are iterative.

Improvements are directed to where the money goes. UCI racing rules hold back experimentation outside of concept bikes. E-bikes may have broken the dam open and we'll start to see a lot of interesting things come out in that direction.


This is another silly argument, the UCI doesn't regulate bicycles sold in the shops. I can (in theory because the bike will cost as much as a good second hand car) go to the boutique bike shop and get a bicycle with all sorts of fancy electronic shifters, carbon fibre frame that is under 6kg. Those bikes are lighter than the bikes in the tour de france.

The fact of the matter is that the current design is near optimal and other designs aren't as well understood, aren't as cheap to make (it is three triangles made out of tubes stuck together with a fork shape at the front) and normally have some horrendous downside.


>Recumbent is horrible to ride in traffic (you are below the height of most traffic) and the handling is atrocious.

I disagree. Some of them certainly are 'below eye level', but that is an awfully broad criticism of the group as a whole.

I ride a LongBike Slipstream. The length of the bike is LONGER then a Smart Fortwo. I sit eye-level with almost every sedan I've encountered. SUV's and raised pickup trucks are indeed above my eye-level, but sporty cars are usually below it.

I usually get exceptional room allotted to me by other drivers when I'm on the road. The exception being assholes, but luckily the are the exception and not the rule.

>TBH the current design is efficient enough, is well understood both in terms of the technology. Almost all improvements now are iterative.

"Efficient enough" ? All of the land-speed records for human-powered vehicles are held by recumbents. http://www.ihpva.org/home/

It's ok if you don't like them. But please don't pass off your opinion as fact.


> "Efficient enough" ? All of the land-speed records for human-powered vehicles are held by recumbents. http://www.ihpva.org/home/

I am not trying to break the land speed record on the way to work. I just want to get there in one piece.

The point I was making is just because something is on paper technically better there are other considerations, for someone that commutes regularly being able to go to the local bicycle shop and pick up a spare whatever is more important to me than any perceived efficiencies.

I own a fixed gear with some rather fancy kit on it. Despite the simplicity of the bike, getting replacement parts requires me having to order things online. The cheap 1990s Marin Hawk Hill mountain bike I cycle to work on, I can literally get parts for it anywhere and an be fixed with a set of allen keys and a spanner.


> The length of the bike is LONGER then a Smart Fortwo

Yes, and that's another big disadvantage. One of the criticisms against cars is that they waste a lot of space, but recumbent bikes reduce that advantage. Bicycle lanes can get quite packed already.




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