- Ranger Recumbent Bicycle
along New York's Erie Canal
Lightfoot Cycles designed the Ranger
recumbent bike in 1999. It has become one of their more
popular models. It is a big bike with dual 26" wheels and a relatively
high seat. This design makes it ideal for larger riders and riders who
want to go off road on rougher trails. It is more stable for off-pavement
riding and rolling over bumps. On the road it is very stable, it is a good
rough-country touring bike. You can set it up with fat tires for rough
riding or thin, high pressure tires for faster road performance. The
ranger with a warranty good up to 350 lb, is excellent for large riders.
I found the Ranger stable at higher speeds but a bit wobbly on slow
climbs. On rough or loose surfaces it is the most stable recumbent I have
ever ridden. It has plenty of low gears. It is a super rugged bike; the
warranty covers a rider up to 350 lb. The disk brakes work well. A
customer of ours is riding his Ranger from coast to coast this summer. We
will have updates as he emails them in.
The Ranger seat height places you high enough to see and be seen well in
traffic. The higher seating position makes the Ranger easy to balance at
slower speeds, and reaction time is better on gravel and on narrow trails.
Shorter riders will have trouble reaching the ground with this bike.
The Ranger’s seat is 7” above the bottom bracket, a position many find
especially easy to get used to and ergonomically relaxing. This
sit-up-and-enjoy-the-scenery position gives it a larger frontal area,
increasing wind resistance and slowing it down on the road. The standard
medium-pressure mountain-bike tires slow the Ranger further. We can swap
these for high-pressure, high-performance road tires if you will primarily
be on pavement. A fairing is also available, but this will never be a race
If you do not intend to do much off-road riding and prefer a faster bike
with a higher pedal position look at the dual-26"-wheel Traveler. It’s
higher bottom-bracket, a shorter wheelbase and a more reclined rider
position make it faster on the road. The Traveler’s seat is only 2” above
the bottom bracket.
The standard Avid mechanical (cable-actuated) disk brakes work well even
if the mud is deep and the trail is steep.
The high pedal to ground clearance (bottom bracket 19" above the ground)
helps the Ranger clear small logs and bumps when on single track or
off-road. The large front wheel climbs over obstacles, for steady steering
in the rough. Weight distribution is about 70% rear, 30% front. The
well-padded seat and high profile tires soften the “hard tail” ride
substantially. Having the seat well in front of the rear axle helps make
this a smooth riding bike.
"Everybody commented how smooth the Ranger seemed to be, even on the
roughest portion of the trails." -- Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine,
The Ranger does not handle technical, twisty or rocky trails nearly as
well as an upright mountain bike. No recumbent does. You may find yourself
walking and pushing this bike through rough stuff that upright bikes ride
through. When the trees are to close you may have to lift it through sharp
corners. You will walk sooner on steep up-hills. Do not expect to ride
rough technical single-track and keep up with upright mountain bikes. Do
expect to be a lot more comfy riding along moderate trails, forest roads,
twin track, pastures and country lanes.
"I was amazed at how the Lightfoot recumbent stayed right in there with
our mountain bike group,
both uphill and downhill." -- Lisa, MT
The Ranger is available with Underseat Pannier Racks for touring; even
when heavily loaded it handles well.
With the Underseat Pannier Rack, the Ranger can carry as much cargo weight
as a single-wheel trailer, but without the weight, length and complexity
of a trailer. Placing your densest, heaviest cargo two medium-size
panniers under the seat will barely affect handling. A pair of large
panniers on a rack behind the seat work well to carry the les dense and
most bulky cargo.
"We all felt that the Ranger is probably the ultimate touring machine,
especially for those roads and trails that hardly show on the map." --
Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine, Issue #10
Like all of Lightfoot cycles, Rangers are built of aircraft-grade 4130
Chromoly steel in the US, and powder-coated for durability. Lightfoot does
not sacrifice strength to shave weight. The large diameter bottom tube
makes the frame stiff to improve stability and power transfer. The Ranger
has plenty of room for fenders, and has several mounting points for racks.
"It felt (like) riding a "chopper" motorcycle but (with) much better
steering characteristics... (It) can be turned... easily and with
stability" -- Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine, Issue #10
"I've tried all of the dual 26-inch LWB recumbents on the market...and the
Ranger has the best steering geometry and fine-tuned handling of any of
them." Recumbent Cyclist News, #70, July 2002
The large percentage of weight on the drive wheel gives good traction in
almost all conditions, with or without cargo.
Long frames like the Ranger’s need a tandem-size rack to car top them. A
rear mount car rack works if you take on one or both of the quick-release
wheels. They do not fit bus racks and are awkward to carry up stairs or
maneuver through tight corners and corridors. They wobble more on slow
up-hills, and take a little time to learn to climb well. They are heavier
than short frames.
The Lightfoot mesh seat is very sturdy, breathable and has a well padded
contoured bottom. Simple tension adjustments allow you to adjust back
support by shaping the seat back's contour. The seat base foam pad is
easily replaceable and adjustable to your preference. Pads are available
for customization of lumbar and shoulder support.
Some riders prefer Over Seat Steering. They feel more at home with
handlebars in fort of them, like their old bikes. OSS handlebars allow you
to push and steer the bike when walking either down a hall or up a rough
trail. Other riders prefer Under Seat Steering. They find USS more
ergonomic, comfortable and intuitive. The first recumbent reviewer (in
1905) rode a bike with USS and found it not only comfortable but also easy
to control. Test riding is the best way for you to find which you prefer.
Taller recumbents like the Ranger offer good view and visibility in
traffic. Their height makes them less suitable for a fairing. Side gusts
that blow on the fairing can affect your steering more than they would on
a lower recumbent. Only smaller fairings are recommended.
SUITCASE-ABILITY: Custom Rangers are available with S&S Couplers and cable
separators, providing a take-apart frame for more compact multi-modal
traveling. This folding configuration is not meant for a train commuter
needing twice-daily disassembly. The assembly/disassembly can take 5
minutes or more.
Specifications are subject to change. Components are subject to
substitution with components of approximately equal quality.
Frame: Chromoly steel
Finish: Powder coat; polyester, UV-resistant, baked-on
24 speeds; 19 to 99 gear-inches
Shifters: SRAM 3.0 Comp
Derailleurs: SRAM 4.0
Crankset: TruVativ 5D,
Bottom Bracket: Shimano LX
Brake Levers: Avid FR5
Brakes: Avid Mechanical Disk
Headset: Cane Creek Aheadset
Wheel rims: Alex DA-16 or Sun Rhynolite
Hubs: Shimano Deore
Tires: IRC Avantage Pro or Kenda Kontact 2.25
Weight: 36 pounds
Max rider weight: 350 pounds
Seat Height: 25"
Total Length: 94"
Total Width: 18"
• Polycarbonate front fairing.
• Chain cover tubes or idler wheel.
• Under Seat pannier rack.
• Linkage steering to replace tiller steering.
Lightfoot has stopped selling through dealers. We stock the similar (but
lighter) RANS Stratus XP.