So I borrowed a set of shorter cranks (152mm) and smaller chain rings to see what it would do.
The running gag with these things apparently is that Michael Priest at Fuse Recumbents wants to try these out but every time he gets a set in a customer borrows them 1st and promptly buys them.
I may be the third customer in a row to do this to him.
The theory was that with the lower gearing range (12" to 75" for those who know what that means, in which category I alas do not qualify) would make it easier to spin the cranks, and easier to get up hills.
The inner chain ring is tiny, about 8-10cm diameter, and the large ring is about the size my middle ring used to be.
The alleged downside would be a reduction in top speed on the flat and downhill... but I'm already faster freewheeling downhill than I'm comfortable with sometimes so that didn't worry me.
Summary Verdict: Yeeehaaaa!
I am spinning easier and feel like I'm going faster for less effort on the flat. If I change down low enough before I stop, I accelerate faster when I get going again. I can accelerate up short hills.
And I actually use the big ring occasionally, which I almost never did before.
These rings are ideal for me, and may be worth considering for anyone who struggles on hills.
It is a personal thing though as I've just seen two of the recumbent group I ride with go in the opposite direction: enormous front chain rings for power...
If you cannot see the causal relationship between "I have chocolate" and "Life is Good", you simply aren't trying hard enough. Pirates of the Burley Griffin