Gallery: Perry’s Easy Racers Tour Easy

Most of my bike trips involve some sort of errand run. Even if just I want to take a nice ride for the sheer fun of it, I usually find my way back in town for a stop at the grocery store, hardware store, health food store, library, etc. This means that my Tour Easy must be ready for action with bags, blinkies, fenders, a double kickstand, a bell, tools, spare tubes, a pump, and other useful items. Right now, I am riding without the fairing for that “wind against my skin” feeling. Seems about right for Summer. I’ll add the fairing again once the air has a chilly feel to it.


Keep ‘em rolling! —Perry

10 Responses to “Gallery: Perry’s Easy Racers Tour Easy”

  • Julian Smith says:

    The bike looks great and makes me feel slightly (but not very) guilty that ourEasy Racers bikes are not so clean. I must admit that I don’t use my Tour Easy for errands. However, I do find that the more weight I add to a bag on the back of the bike, the less stable becomes the front of the bike. I think this is particularly true for those who have the seat far back in its range. I find the bike is more stable with underseat racks and panniers that are in front of the rear wheel. I also suggest that anyone thinking about an Easy Racers bike who is towards the end of a size range and is not sure which size to buy, should get the larger size for stablity. I agree that the smaller size is theoretically smaller, lighter, easier to transport and presumably has slightly better performance, but I have regretted getting the smaller size since relatively soon after I bought it. After I installed shorter cranks, it was necessary to move the seat back an equivalent amount. This was difficult to achieve, and reduced the stability even more.

  • John says:

    It’s a thing of beauty Perry. I’d so love to see and try one but I’ve never seen one here in the UK. How do you manage to ride it yet keep it so clean?

  • andy parmentier says:

    i have got to keep my bike somewhat the way you fellows do-immaculate.
    on another note, i have found a “sweet spot” of pulling/hanging onto my tour easy handlebars, which pulls me into the front of the seat. this sweet spot involves some experimentation to find the right handlebar/seat combination. so this sweet spot set-up, once you find it, puts your upper body into the riding.
    i used to PUSH on my handlebars. then a discussion with gardner martin, where he said he’d heard of PULLING on the bars.
    if you visit the rans cf forum, they’re talking about pretty much the same thing, only with a different bike.

  • andy parmentier says:

    a further note: i hook my 2 middle fingers (ring and index) onto the brake mounts. this makes it possible to pull/hang onto my tour easy handlebars. i don’t pad the area, i just wear cycling gloves. but my hands still can go numb.

  • Geoff says:

    If your hands are going numb on an ‘above seat steering’ recumbent, then there’s either something wrong with your ergonomic position, or you’re riding very long distances. One option is to try a very comfortable underseat steering bike with a longer wheelbase…and there aren’t many.
    You can try the Longbikes “Slipstream” (see: http://www.longbikes.com/Slipstream.html), or the newly redesigned Linear ‘Limo’ 3.0 model
    (see: http://www.linearrecumbent.com/linear-3-lwb-limo.htm).
    Both are recommended highly… The underseat steering (USS) configuration puts your hands comfortably down at your sides in a ‘natural’ position…like walking. Having your hands raised all day long can make your arms and hands a tad tense and tired, but I’ve ridden USS bikes for 100 miles in one day with not even the least sign of fatigue in the arms, wrists, or hands.
    Geoff

  • andy parmentier says:

    it’s not that my HANDS are going numb, it’s my FINGERS-from “hanging” (literally) onto my handlebars. then that hanging upper body weight gets manipulated into pulling me into the front edge of my seat. it’s a performance sacrifice to get slightly numb fingers-and then only after hours of riding.
    -andy

  • Perry says:

    @Julian: I generally agree with you to go for the larger size in your size range–especially if you plan on shorter cranks. However, I did not know this when I bought the bike and so I got the next size smaller. Fortunately for me, I have had no problems with stability/handling–even when I load up the rear bag with 25 lbs. of groceries. In fact, I like the ride so much that I have not missed getting the longer frame.

    Perhaps some of this has to with riding style. I have my seat back pretty upright and I make good use of my upper body in turns and slow speed handling. I lean forward and it changes the weight ratio of front to rear weight and it also allows for body english. I find this to be a very good technique on this bike regardless of how far back in the frame the seat is. It seems to me that the semi-upright position of the bike begs you to use body english–something a more reclined recumbent does not lend itself to.

    @John: I don’t fuss with my bike much or it clean it often. I think that the black powdercoat does not show dirt much, so that may account for it. I have also found that if you use good fenders (or do you call them mud guards over in the UK?) and a fairing, the bike stays very clean. As for getting to ride an ER bike, I can’t say enough good things about it. I hope that you get a chance to ride one someday. If you get the chance, put it very high in your list of priorities.

    General comments. Of all the bikes I’ve owned, this is by far and away my favorite. Second is an Italian racing bike from the 1970s (because it was the smoothest feeling road bike I’ve ever ridden) and third is a mountain bike with a shock fork and disc brakes (because I never knew riding wooded trails could be so much fun until that bike). For the road, however, the TE has set a new standard in comfort, speed and utility.

  • John says:

    @John: I don’t fuss with my bike much or it clean it often. I think that the black powdercoat does not show dirt much, so that may account for it. I have also found that if you use good fenders (or do you call them mud guards over in the UK?) and a fairing, the bike stays very clean.

    Perry – I think that perhaps your clean bike has more to do with your weather than the powdercoat or mudguards. We get some pretty severe conditions here on the west coast of Scotland and I use my bikes every day regardless, often off road too. Suffice it to say that my battle against grime is a losing one however, I am not too upset by this. A dirty bike is one that is being used which is better than a polished, unused bike in a garage (not that yours is).

    @John: As for getting to ride an ER bike, I can’t say enough good things about it. I hope that you get a chance to ride one someday. If you get the chance, put it very high in your list of priorities.

    Perry – I love my cycling but as I get older I find that comfort becomes more important to me. My main bike, a Trek Navigator with Specialized Body Geometry saddle, has quite an upright riding position and is very comfortable to ride. However, I am attracted to bikes with a more laid-back riding position. Occasionally I see a friend on his HPVelotechnik StreetMachine recumbent. He loves this bike and swears that it is the most comfortable bike he has ever ridden but, the riding position may be just a little bit too laid-back for me. I admit that could be wrong about this though. The Easy Racer though looks as if it has got the balance just about perfect and, it is such a good looking bike as well. How well the Easy Racer would cope with our narrow, twisty, hilly, crowded roads and all the inconsiderate drivers is a different matter. I guess I’ll never know for sure though until I can try one for myself.

  • Perry says:

    @John: I went the more upright route myself:

    http://thevelvetfoghorn.com/?p=46

    It worked very well at first but I found that I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. By that I mean, it was great for my hands, wrists, shoulders, and neck but my butt started to take all the abuse from the additional weight it had to support. Of course, this is as it relates to my body. Other’s mileage may vary.

    As for how an ER would handle in your situation, hard to say but I will tell you that the bike is surprisingly nimble and easy to handle at all speeds. I look at the bike from the side and think, Good God that is one long bike! That will never do in town and in tight situations. But when I get on it, it feels very maneuverable and tight turns, low-speed handling, and u-turns are no problem. It was pretty easy to get going on it right from the start and it’s really all second nature now.

  • John says:

    I spent years going around on an old, three speed, solid linkage, Triumph Hercules. (I’ll need to take a photo of it.) That has a very traditional, upright riding position and, once I’d found a comfortable saddle, it was a great ride. Unfortunately three gears are just not enough for our roads so I bought myself a mountain bike. After around 8,500 miles I came to the conclusion that the riding position on the mountain bike wasn’t comfortable enough. There was too much leaning on my wrists and, on longish runs, I got a sore neck holding my head up to see ahead. My back was also starting to hurt. Time for another change then so I started looking.

    As a volunteer Sustrans ranger (www.sustrans.org.uk) I needed a fairly robust bike for on an off road use. It should roll fairly well but be happy in mud. Front suspension and mudguards were a must and, it would need to be able to carry a reasonable load. I settled on a Trek Navigator 200 Equipped and I’ve never regretted my decision. It does everything competently and I’ve now covered 11,500 or so miles on it.

    Since then I bought myself a Brompton PR6 XDL which I’ve had upgraded with a Highpath 12/18 rear chainset and a Schlumpf Speed Drive up front. This is a wonderful little machine which I can stick in the boot of the car and go anywhere. I’m still getting acquainted with my Brompton and I’ve only done 3,000 miles or so on it.

    Believe it or not I don’t stray too far from home on my bike but, I am out on it every day come rain, hail or, shine. That’s how I clock up the high mileage. A few miles each day doesn’t half mount up over the course of a year.

    Now however I find myself hankering for a bike on which I can go for a longer distance in relative comfort. I would like to do a bit of touring and a recumbent could fit the bill. I have only heard good things about Easy Racers but, since there just don’t seem to be any in the UK I’ll probably have to settle for one of the European recumbents like the Street Machine, the Nazca Gaucho or, the Hase Tagun. I might even pop over to the States and buy myself an Easy Racer. :-)

 
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