I want to buy a bicycle …

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

by Queen

Change the word “ride” to “buy” and you’ll have the song that has been going through my head for the last day and a half.

We have this grand plan of riding our bikes around the world, but we haven’t yet identified what “our bikes” will be. We each currently have mountain bikes and touring bikes, but we are not certain that either are ideal for the trip.

Unfortunately, I find that my road bike causes stiffness and pain in my upper back. I also fine that my wrists and hands can get very unhappy. We read about recumbents as an option, but hadn’t really tried them … until today.

We have ventured to Alfred Station, New York to visit Peter Stull – the Bicycle Man. Peter’s shop is in an old building that was purchased for $5,000 in 1979. It doesn’t have running water, but it does have electricity, composting toilets, and a lot of recumbent bicycles (14 different brands and around 100 bikes in stock). I did notice a few regular road bikes and mountain bikes hung from the ceiling too, but his shop definitely focuses on recumbents.

One thing about recumbents is that they are all different. This meant that you need to test drive quite a few to determine which suit you best. It has been quite the alphabet soup trying to sort through the taxonomy. USS vs. OSS, SWB, LWB, CWLB… Fortunately Peter has a nice glossary on his website, which we studied before arriving. Recumbents aren’t just different from regular bikes – they’re very different from one another too!

The bikes we rode today included a variety of features such as:

  • Under-seat, under-bar steering. (USS)
  • Under-seat, over-bar steering. (USS)
  • Over-seat steering. (OSS)
  • Big back tires with small front tires (26″ or 700c with 20″ front).
  • Big front and back tires (26″ or 700c).
  • Small front and back tires (20″).
  • Short wheel-base. (SWB)
  • Compact Long wheel-base. (CLWB)
  • Long wheel-base. (LWB)

Today, Titus (one of the guys working at the BicycleMan store) helped us try out:

Note, I may not have the classifications 100% right. I’m not clear on short wheel base versus compact long wheel base. Here are a few action shots …

Scott on an Oracle Omega Tour

Scott on an Oracle Omega Tour.

Becky on a Linear

Becky on a Linear

Scott on a Linear

Scott on a Linear.

Becky on a RANS Stratus.

Becky on a RANS Stratus LE.

Becky on a RANS Rocket.

Becky on a RANS Rocket.

Becky on an HP Velo

Becky on an HP Velotechnik Streetmachine Gte.

Scott on the HP Velo.

Scott on the HP Velotechnik Streetmachine Gte.

7 thoughts on “I want to buy a bicycle …”

  1. I liked both of them. The StreetMachine and Oracle Omega Tour were my two finalists. We’ll be posting our analysis and final decisions in a day or two (once we’ve actually made them).

  2. i have been shopping for a short wheel based recumbent, what were the biggest differences between the street machine and the oracle tour? i am thinking very hard between the 2 and will decide soon. what’s your opinion on the differences?

  3. The short answer is that they fit different. The Oracle has a fixed headrest and the handlebars are lower (necessitating longer arms or shorter torso). Scott will have a post up soon (hopefully tonight) that outlines what our thoughts were of the differences and why we chose the way we did.

  4. there is a bike (’07 street machine)in massechusetts for 2100 if you want the info — i ordered an omega tour– it had better shocks and ammenities. and also i am on the taller side so it won’t be as difficult to fit as a shorter person – so i read from the articles you posted. good luck with your ride. thanks for your info also……

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