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Thread: Need input on which Handcycle to get!

  1. #1
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    Need input on which Handcycle to get!

    Hey guys, I've been researching handcycles for about a month now and just wanted to get some opinions on the best cycle for me given my needs and desires with what exactly I want to use it for.

    I'm a c5-c7 quad, I'm able to walk unaided and use a cane for long distances. I've tried the top end force r, force g, and fr-lean steer so far and am able to successfully get in and out of each on my own so accessibility is pretty much not an issue.

    What I want to get out of handcycling: I guess my number one reason is of course to stay in shape and get a great cardio workout. It would also allow me to be more active throughout the day aside from just going to the gym and back home. Secondly, it will let me enjoy the outdoors again and go out on great trails with friends and just take in the beautiful scenery. Finally, I know as soon as I build up my stamina I will definitely want to begin racing competitively. I have a very competitive personality and whatever handcycle I do end up going with I would want to be able to hang with the best and push myself to my limits.

    The lean steer is pretty much out of the picture as my core is not strong enough to control the cycle (was looking at that one because it would definitely be the best for getting a great overall body workout)

    The force R I tested had a flat front tire so I couldn't really get a good idea of speed, but everyone I talk to says if I want to get into competitive racing that is hands down the best bike in terms of weight, aerodynamics and overall speed.

    The force g was the most comfortable and practical for everyday use and I honestly felt like I can get a little better thrust into the cranks sitting a bit more upright than the lay down position of the force r, but of course aerodynamics would suffer. (would the lack in ideal aerodynamics still outweigh the increase in thrust I get from putting my core into it?)

    So now I am trying to find a top end force to get into because I feel it may be the best cycle for my needs.
    1. the seat comes up close to where the force g sits so I can still get a good core workout and be more upright to enjoy the scenery riding recreationally.
    2. I believe the seat comes down close to where the force r position is for better aerodynamics when I would be racing.
    3. The clearance of the force is better than the force r, so I won't be bottoming out rolling around the neighborhoods and going over speed bumps or what not, so it is more practical for everyday use, which realistically is what I'm going to be using it for 90% of the time.

    Also I was looking into a schmicking as the seat is adjustable, the cycle comes apart for easier transport and I believe that's what the force series is based off of, but the guys at the local track team said it was to heavy? strange.

    I know they're expensive but I'm willing to put up the cash on top of my grant, as I will take this very seriously as a part of my everyday routine.

    So what do you guys think would be the best cycle for me given my needs?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Wow, that is a loaded question. Which ever works best for you, is the best bike.

    I personally have driven the G and the R. I really like the G with the S cranks.

  3. #3
    If you want to race, you need a Force R or Schmickling. If you want to do the odd marathon and just want to get out there and get in shape, I's suggest the Freedom Ryder FRH-1; it's basically bullet proof. No rubber dampners that need changing due to ripping off like the Top Ends do. I've owned a lot of handcycles, the FRH is by far the easiest to ride on and off road with very little maintenance and great for conditioning. My very favorite was the leansteer, but I just didn't have the core for it.

  4. #4
    Second that on the FRH, I love mine, no problems and a great ride, very comfortable and easy on and off. The Force bikes are faster, but not as good a daily rider.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  5. #5
    If money isn't much concern, try and check out a Carbon Bike.

  6. #6
    1) Force R - the best bike I've ever ridden. As long as transfers are manageable this is a great racing/cruising bike.
    2) Force G - you will get just as good "push", better aerodynamics and more efficient on the R. I'd say the only reason to get the G is for the transfers.
    3) FRH - I'm not a fan of lean steer (and I have pretty good ab's) but it works for some.

    I don't think the carbon bike is a valid option. For me I thought the advantage would be weight, but a bike guy told me carbon frames (if built properly) will be no lighter. What's left then must be stiffness but the R is plenty stiff.

    You've got a good problem to have.

    Good luck, and have fun!

  7. #7
    The Force R was the best bike I owned, until I got a carbon. I do agree there's a little more flex (the newest model is lighter and stiffer) but it's lighter and faster than an R, and a better comparison would be the Force X.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jschism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheClrkstr View Post
    1) Force R - the best bike I've ever ridden. As long as transfers are manageable this is a great racing/cruising bike.
    2) Force G - you will get just as good "push", better aerodynamics and more efficient on the R. I'd say the only reason to get the G is for the transfers.
    3) FRH - I'm not a fan of lean steer (and I have pretty good ab's) but it works for some.

    I don't think the carbon bike is a valid option. For me I thought the advantage would be weight, but a bike guy told me carbon frames (if built properly) will be no lighter. What's left then must be stiffness but the R is plenty stiff.

    You've got a good problem to have.

    Good luck, and have fun!
    the FRH is NOT a leen-to-steer
    I'd say you want a Force or the FRH. The freedom ryder also lays back some, curt has one with a back that is adjustable. The FRH is a better price with components that top end considers "upgrades" and just as good.
    If you do any riding in traffic or busy rides, the R has terrible sight. Plus, like you said, you want to do some sight seeing when riding.
    Last edited by jschism; 04-08-2012 at 09:32 PM. Reason: add

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the input so far guys, hopefully I will be trying a force this week and I'll keep you all posted. I too believe the force r will be the best for racing, but wouldn't you think I will have trouble around neighborhoods going over bumps and other practical aspects like site seeing?

    How much better is the force r than the force for racing? They're the same weight (30lbs) and I think the force seat reclines about as far as the r, so the only question is quality of parts on the r over the force and frame flex?

    tia

  10. #10
    The recumbents have no problems with forward view unless you're illegally low (eyes must be above the bottom bracket), it is the rear that is a problem as it's harder to turn your head, a rear view mirror like Take a Look is a must. My friend who bought my R last year and had a Force isn't sure if he's much faster, but he says the R maintains speed better. Muffy Davis, the woman's national champ said her R was at least 2mph faster than her Force. I will say the R cyclists I ride with all are impress with my Carbon, and if I'd loan it to them they'd take it to the Nationals instead of their R's. Tony Pedefferi is the best H1 in America, and he switched to a Carbon from the R. The Euros are the top handcyclists and most ride a Carbon, such as Ursula Scwaller. I've never heard a Carbon owner wishing they'd kept their R's, or switch back. The Carbon is the last bike I'll ever own
    Last edited by Craig80; 04-09-2012 at 12:24 PM.

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