Going bent Ver 4.0?

14 06 2010

Catrike Expedition...

I’m starting to get the hankering to ride a recumbent again.  No specific goals this time other than to try something new and see what I think.  This will be my fourth venture into the bent world.

My Recumbent resume:

  1. Vision R40 SWB was my first bent. I never felt at home with the handling and sold it after 1 season.  Then I took a couple years off bents altogether.
  2. BikeE CLWB was my second bent and a lot of fun, but I got the dreaded recumbutt after more than an hour in the saddle and the performance was not remarkable.  I took another couple years off at this point as well.
  3. I started back up with a Volae Expedition high racer, then tried a Challenge Taifun and Fujin SL SWB low racers.  There was also a RANS Rocket SWB and a Challenge Hurricane in the mix for my riding partner.  I sold all my bents in late 2008 so I’m coming up on 2 years bentless.
  4. The question is what bent to get and why?

The two front runners for my next bent are:

The Catrike Expedition shown in the photo above.

  • I’ve always been intrigued by trikes and in particular the space frame design of the Catrike seems like a beautiful form and function mix.
  • I’m pretty sure the go cart like handling and low slung riding position will be a ton of fun.
  • This is about as different as it gets when it comes to my previous recumbents.

The RANS X-Stream shown in the photo below.

  • I’ve never really “got” the LWB style recumbents until I saw the X-Stream.
  • It looks fast, comfortable and easy to start/stop.
  • I like the higher riding position for mixing it up with traffic as well as for riding with folks on DFs.
  • My previous RANS Rocket was a sweet well made bent as was the RANS Street Crank Forward I had.

RANS X-Stream

I’m not in any rush to make a decision as I’ve got a busy summer ahead of me, but I thought I would throw out my ideas so far and get some feedback to incorporate into the process.  If you’ve got some thoughts about either bent or a totally different make/model I’m open to hearing from you.



16 responses

14 06 2010

Ever been to Bentley Cycles? Neat place, they had some catrikes in stock last time I was there. I’d recommend test riding one of those before you bought.



14 06 2010
Duncan Watson

I think the X-Stream will be a good choice given why you gave up the Fujin. I think it will be a better choice to mix it up with road bikes. Transportation may be an issue but …

The trike will be very different. Going to a trike really changes your pacing and ride types. They are fun, a lot of fun actually. Having three wheels makes it a fun choice in bad weather as well.

I chose a Mango Sport velomobile for my most recent choice, I am waiting on shipping now. I get the stability of a trike with excellent weather protection. The speed potential is great though it doesn’t mix well with road bikes as it has the lowracer problem in spades, slower uphill and fast downhill and on the flats. It handles rollers well, but keeping so much speed on uphills when rolling over them is not conducive to riding with road bikes either.

Good luck on V4, take your time.

14 06 2010

@ Mike – I’ve been to Bently Cycles a few times. My boss owns a Catrike Expedition which I’ve tooled around on a bit. I sort feel like to get a better grip on the trike thing I’d need to own one or get a really long term test in. I don’t think a quick test ride would add a lot to what I know about Catrikes.

14 06 2010
Ihab Awad

Be sure to try out the X-Stream before you buy it. Zach Kaplan, in Alameda, told me he doesn’t carry it any more because the leg interference with the handlebars is too scary at low speeds; he says it’s great for long flats in Kansas but not the windy, hilly roads around the SF Bay Area. YMMV. Good luck! 🙂

14 06 2010

With the exception of your fabulous errand running blog entries involving the tikit, my impression is that you are a social rider. In my opinion, the trike doesn’t mix with anything else very well. It’s truly a “third wheel”. But it is also the most fun riding format I have experienced yet – ‘bent or otherwise. My bent experience is similar to yours… low racer, high racer, suspended quasi low racer…etc. I have a half dozen machines now – and if a fire broke out in my apartment and I only time to rescue one machine from the flames …. it would be the trike.

14 06 2010

Hey Vik,

If you were thinking about getting a faster machine that you will be adapting. I would suggest you get a Road and then get a xtracycle attachement to make it into a monster hauler with 26in wheels. Or get a Performer and be like Barbara Bautois, win RAAM. 🙂


14 06 2010
steve Fuller

I loved both my trike and my Bacchetta high racer. The trike is a hell of a lot of fun, especially on curved bike paths. Even your normal bike routes will look a lot different just because of the view from down low.

14 06 2010

@Ihab – unless I do some traveling there is little chance I’d get a test ride on an X-Stream. Bents are very rare around here and that’s rare for a bent!

14 06 2010

@Brian – I’m not going for an Xtracycle cargo bent! I also don’t want a Performer…if I wanted another lowracer I’d just get a second Challenge Fujin SL.

15 06 2010

Yr appetite for new toys never cease to amaze me Vik!!!! 🙂

15 06 2010


I’ve owned several bents; SWB, LWB and now a Virginia Ti and HP SMGTE. I took a test ride on a Catrike Villager and was hooked on trikes. I am now the very happy owner of a Catrike Road and it is my “go to” ride every day. It is fast enough for me, and i do like speed, extremely comfortable, and just plain fun to ride.

Good luck in your search, and I’ve been enjoying your blog for years.

15 06 2010
Ihab Awad

Too bad about the paucity of your bent environment. :/

As for the X-Stream leg interference: I suspect the reason is that the long tiller means that, to steer, you need to move the bars a relatively large distance to the side, which, with a “tweener” setup, means you would hit leg interference pretty soon….

If that is the case, then perhaps a hinged mast (like a Terracycle GlideFlex) would allow the rider to fluidly lift up the bars for clearance to make a sharp turn, then lower them again for a comfortable aero position. Hmm….

15 06 2010

I test rode the Catrike Expedition (stock). It rode quite well. I liked it except for its steering. It was hard for me to maneuver the trike, even when it was not loaded. May be I am not strong enough for a trike! BTW, I think Utah Trikes sells them (in the USA) with a Rohloff configuration.

Peace 🙂

20 12 2010
Easy Racers… « The Lazy Randonneur

[…] I mentioned a while back that I was contemplating getting a recumbent so I can enjoy the reclined bi…….=-)  I’ve been pondering what to get that would be interesting to ride and fit into my current bike mission profile.  One bike that keeps popping up on my radar is the Easy Racer Gold Rush Replica like the one pictured above. It’s a long wheelbase recumbent that’s got a reputation for speed and solid climbing performance.  It makes a great touring rig and long distance bike as David Cambon has proven on many occasions.  The GRR is particularly suited for fast riding with a front fairing and body sock. Living in Victoria BC the warmth and weather protection these items offer is definitely of interest for year round riding. […]

14 02 2011

Hey Vik,

Just bought a 2011 Catrike Expedition from the good folks in Utah. Although there is still piles of snow to get around in Calgary I am training on it in the basement and looking forward to the commute into downtown from McKenzie Lake. I test rode a few of them at Bentley Cycle which ultimately sold me on the Expedition other than the 700. There are a few good hill climbs the 700 would have an issue with. I also have a pretty sleek LWB 2004 Burly Koosah with a killer fairing on the front. Its great on the flats but a snail if you are riding out to Priddis. Looking forward to meeting up with some Fish Creek riders this summer. If you are in the area on a sunny day down by the Ranch let us know. Cheers and good luck with the recumbent, whichever one you get that is.

15 02 2011

Awesome Jason – have a blast…send me pics and a bit of a report and I’ll post it on my blog…=-)

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