good explanation. i've never cycled. some of your info surprised me - it was sort of counter-intuitive to me. i'm sure you're right though based upon your experience.
i would have thought that having all of the force you exert going into the pedals would be an advantage for the recumbent rider. just in case this statement isn't clear, what i'm naively thinking is that the seat back reacts the force the rider exerts on the pedal, so very little loss. the rider on the more traditional bike has nothing to react the force of the push down on the pedal. so, depending upon the force of the push, the rider's body will want to rise up, right? sure, the rider's hands & arms intuitively try to keep that from happening, but i would think that there would be more "slop" in the system, resulting in losses, than with a rigid seat back. i'm also assuming that many riders have an extremely strong lower body and can (other than perhaps for the "balance" aspect) perform a one-legged deep knee bend. so they easily have the power/strength to lift their entire body weight upward significantly with just one leg pushing down.
is all this true, but the advantage is as you stated that position can be varied such the muscles are recruited and exercised in a slightly different fashion?
but then, this doesn't really address your observation as to "gear" and "turn over". are the two diff. types of bikes geared the same? oh..also, do they weigh the same?
another thing that interested me was the "rocking" of the bike frame. i've seen this, but can't picture right now, the angle of the leg to the pedal. if the body is held pretty much vertical and the leg also, then the pedal is angled (of course the ankle joint bend to keep the foot flat on the pedal). is this right? if so, wouldn't there be a reduction of force (simple trigonometry) going into the pedal. what i'm thinking is that it's like torquing a wheel nut on a car. change the angle of the torque wrench and you've applied less torque to the nut than the torque meter reads. is the bike frame moving sideways just an undesirable reaction to the force pressing down on a pedal on just one side at a time?
could you help clarify my confusion, please? just once again, i feel that you must be right based upon your experience (and my extreme ignorance of cycling), but i'm just trying to understand it on a more fundamental level - and i'm failing to do so.
thanks, in advance, for taking the time to teach me something. take care, pj