What a lot of people don’t realize when it comes to recumbent bicycles is that they’ve been around for a very long time. In fact, even in 1892, recumbent bikes were being made and manufactured for the general public.
The recumbent form of biking then, isn’t some new fad or quirky design that’s only come to the fore in the last few years; it’s been around for ages. It even set some speed records that stood for over 50 years, finally only being beaten by a standard upright bike in 1984.
In fact, recumbent bicycles were actually banned by the UCI in 1938 because of the un-sportsman like advantage they held over the more traditional upright bike we all know today. So where did they go after that decision? Well, unfortunately, the UCI ban knocked them sideways and out of common knowledge for a long time after that.
Because people couldn’t race them at a recognized competitive level, bike manufacturers stuck to the market there was, and the upright bicycle remained the main type of bike. It wasn’t until almost 5 decades later that they started to make a reappearance.
Yes, they’re resurgence was slow, and at times teetered on the brink of falling back into obscurity, but recumbent bikes have, in the last 10 years made such a string impression on the cycling world that more and more bike manufacturers are beginning to make them, and are finally coming round to the fact that there is a market for them.
As more and more riders rediscover the recumbent form of cycling, that market is growing
So, what are the main differences between a recumbent bicycle and the ordinary everyday bicycles we all know?
A very good question. The answer is; not very much, and quite a lot. The major difference is of course the way you ride them. Instead of sitting upright as you would on an ordinary bike, on a recumbent bike you sit in a reclined position with the pedals in front of you instead of underneath you.
As a result, your actual style of riding does change somewhat from what you’re probably used to, but this change is more a matter of aesthetics than anything else. Getting used to one is very easy, trust me on that.
You’ve forgotten to mention how you look when riding one…
Yes, there is that. There is the perception that recumbent bikes look more like furniture than speed machines. In reality nothing could be farther from the truth! They also do look more cumbersome than practical, and everyone is going to look at you as you go past. Despite their growing popularity, they are still something of a rarity out on the road.
The hard cold truth of the fact is that recumbent bicycles handle very well, can go much faster than almost all road bikes and are very, very comfortable. And that comfort extends to even the high performance speed freak competitive variants as well! (Just not as much….)
Why recumbent bikes are different…and the rise of the recumbent grin…
Ok, so there’s no getting away from that fact. There I’ve said it. Starting and stopping and steering are all a little bit different on a recumbent bike than they are on ordinary bikes.
But they are fun to ride. And by ‘fun’ I mean actual fun. I don’t mean fun as in, adrenaline, riding on your wits at every turn, ‘fun,’ but just sheer enjoyment. Riders of recumbent bicycles often refer to a term known as the ‘Recumbent Grin’ as they ride.
The recumbent grin is a reference to the amazing feeling recumbent riders experience as they bank into corners and ‘swoop’ through them with the greatest of ease. It has been described as the same feeling pilots go through in small planes when they bank their planes in midflight.
Recumbent bikes…Break the rules
Recumbent bikes are the perfect fit for the little rebel in all of us. Bike design in the modern age hasn’t really changed at all in maybe over a hundred years.
When you think about it, the last great revolution in the biking world, was the invention of the mountain bike. That in itself was a refinement of a bunch of guys who took some beach cruisers down the side of a mountain and decided they wanted more.
Recumbents are the result of what would happen if someone had to design ‘the bike’ today from scratch. Once the whole idea that a bike must be made in a diamond shape is lost, then anything is possible.
But why is that so great, I hear you ask. You did ask that right? No? I’ll tell you anyway.
Recumbent bikes are…Fast
And that’s all there is to say about that. Except that the speed you go in them will be determined by your own level of fitness. But for us ordinary folks, we will still find ourselves going faster than on standard bikes.
Outside of the recumbent community few people realize that recumbent cyclists have actually broken almost every human alone powered machines speed record there is going. Seriously, they have.
But you probably won’t have heard about that because no official international cycling organization recognizes records broken by any bike that isn’t made in a traditional diamond shaped frame. Boo.
So why are they faster? Because of aerodynamics. The riders seating position provides a smaller target for aerodynamic drag, and thus wind resistance. That’s it. Also, apparently wind speed is less, closer to the ground and that has an effect too. I’m thinking that might be more marketing blurb than anything else though, but trust me on the aerodynamics.
Recumbent bikes are…Comfortable
This is perhaps the main reason that most people start thinking about recumbent bikes. Be under no illusion, recumbents are comfortable. All the weight in a recumbent bike is on the seat you’re sitting on. There’s little to no pressure on wrists and arms, which is a good thing really, as there’s less chance of stress related injuries occurring.
If you ride 20 miles on an ordinary bike, your but will make you feel like you just rode 20 miles, and you’ll do the cyclists shuffle as you wander to the rest rooms, in order to accommodate the inner thigh chaffing. But you won’t on a recumbent. On a recumbent you’ll just walk normally after a long ride.
Also, you won’t ride out your padded bike shorts, ever on the plastic road bike saddle, because it doesn’t have one.
Recumbent bikes are…Safe
Yes, they are. They are no less dangerous to ride than any other type of bike. They actually have a lower center of gravity than normal bikes, and as the rider is lower there’s less distance to fall if you do ‘tip out.’ And if you do crash one it’s your feet that will take most the impact, as opposed to your head. Speaking of which, it’s almost impossible to go over the handlebars in the event of an accident.
Recumbents also make you more visible on the road to other road users, especially cars! There’s more of you to see through a car window than there is on an ordinary bike. The larger part of your body will be in drivers forward vision and you will have a larger silhouette, and thus less likely to blend in.
Recumbents also stop quicker than ordinary bikes as your weight will be mostly directly over the rear wheel.
Recumbent bikes…Can do hills!
No, you can’t stand up in the pedals to get that ‘extra power,’ so it may take a bit of effort, but not anymore than on an upright bike. What you may find is that you are slower than you might be on an ordinary bike. But by selecting low gears you will probably be able to spin your way to the top with the greatest of ease.
In any case, you will more than make up for this on the downhill sections and on the flat, and probably sporting the ‘recumbent grin’ as you do so.
Recumbent bikes are…Less likely to get stolen
And that’s got to be a good thing. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Firstly, it’s not like the thief would have an easy time selling your recumbent on to others, and secondly, he probably wouldn’t be able to ride it anyway, think about that!
Recumbent bikes…Come in a range to suit everyone
From the pro racer to the Trans America Tourer, there’s a recumbent for you. Many recumbents are designed with comfort to the fore, and others are built purely for performance. The great news is that at whatever level you are thinking about getting involved in, they are all pretty much very comfortable to ride in.
Recumbent bikes are…Fun with a capital F
They are novel, they will turn heads, and people will point at you, but in a good way. Be prepared to answer questions from anybody and everybody you meet on your travels. Everyone will wave as you go past as well.
And that’s all great, but the best thing is the sheer Fun factor to be had on a recumbent. Recumbents are just sheer pleasure. The closer you are to the ground you faster you feel you’re going, and you’re close to the ground in a recumbent. There’s just something so exhilarating about banking into corners like you’re on rails that is indescribable.
Recumbent bikes…Give you a great view
It sound ridiculous, I know. You’re lower to the ground, you can’t see as much surely? It’s all a question of perspective. On an ordinary bike, you look down an awful lot. It’s a physical thing.
But on a recumbent you find yourself looking up, and you take a lot more in. It’s like having a wide angle lens suddenly fitted to your head. All of a sudden you want to take more of the world in, and that’s a good thing. Also, it’s much harder to take your eyes off the road, which is also a good thing.
Recumbent bikes…require different clothes
I’ll never forget the time I was on vacation in Australia. I had been out for an early morning run through the center of Sydney and was enjoying a well-deserved coffee and watching all the antipodean workers scurry back and forth as they struggled bleary eyed to work in the brilliant sunshine.
I was just about to go, when I saw a cyclist arrive at this office block. He unslung his back pack, and starting stripping all his lycra off and began putting on a really smart suit. He covered himself in deodorant and then walked all disheveled and sweaty looking through the doors.
Inwardly I smiled, recognizing almost the exact same routine I had gone through myself for years before I started working for myself, when all of a sudden, this guy in a full 3 piece suit rocked up beside me on a recumbent bicycle.
I was amazed because I had never seen one before, and I asked him why he had one, and he said: ‘Strewth, shoot the crows, you little ripper, throw another shrimp on the barbie you little beauty.’ –OK no he didn’t; but he did say, his recumbent bike allowed him to cruise in and out of work in really good time, and he didn’t have to change when he got there as he was still fresh. At which point he pulled an apple out of his pocket, bit into it, and walked away.
So you don’t need Lycra to use one. In fact it’s quite easy to go a long way on a recumbent in a pair of jeans. I have and it worked out ok for me. Also, if you liked recumbent bikes, then be sure to also try the electric trikes, I’ve heard they are amazing!
53 thoughts on “10 Reasons A Recumbent Road Bike is the Best Choice”
And the advancement of recumbent design came in the Australian front wheel drive Cruzbike. Incorporating the diamond frames special triangulated drive system. This triangulated format upfront gives a cruzbike rider, like a diamond.frame rider the opportunity for full body workout. The recumbent world is catching on to this one though the first time recumbent riders tend to find cruxbike from researching it.
We find that making generalizations about recumbents doesn’t help newcomers to understand what the advantages are or which one to buy, because different advantages belong to different types of recumbents.
You cannot, for example, say that all recumbents are faster than road bikes and then show a trike underneath, when that type feels fast and is a lot of fun but simply cannot keep up with road bikes because of third wheel’s extra drag.
Many first time clients make the mistake of purchasing a recumbent bike that is the fastest in theory, then give it up when they find out it’s difficult to master or difficult to get comfortable on, or they buy a trike and expect to keep up with their friends on road bikes but are disappointed when they find out that they can’t.
It’s a little bit like saying traditional/diamond frame/upright bikes can be used to take your kids to school! They can be used to win a time trial! They can be used to perform awesome tricks! They can be used to take you around the world! When it’s clearly different types of bikes that allow this, and why there’s separate articles about bakfiets, TT bikes, trials bikes, and touring bikes.
We do use the keywords “recumbent road bike” ourselves, because the type of recumbent we produce ( http://www.schlitter.bike ) is as close as possible to what you would expect from a “standard” road bike. And that’s only before we come up with a new name, because as explained above, “recumbent” specifies only the position and does not help to figure out which use is expected.
Good explanation. Thanks.
Racing trikes with a very reclined seat like the greenspeed aero and catrike 700 are faster than road bikes. They may not be as fast as 2 wheeled recumbents but they are faster than uprights. There is a vid on youtube which clearly shows how fast they are. Search ‘why do old people ride trikes’. It shows some older men ripping past road bikes, albeit not ones in a pelaton. Its comical how much faster they are on the flat, and they climb well too, if the competing roadie doesnt cheat by standing, which will not help anyway if the speeds get too high. The frontal aspect advantage of a very reclined seat totally outweighs the extra wheel. If you compare these trikes with a roady in anything other than a time trial position, their aspect is alot smaller.
false. racing trikes are easily as fast as road bikes. i have absolutely no problems passing most road bikes on my catrike 700 on the flats ot downhill. climbing is about the same as on my other bikes when not standing (aka ‘cheating’). it is about 15% more aerodynamic than a road bike which more tha makes up for extra weight. roll down tests prove without a doubt that trikes with a very reclined seat angle are much more aero than even aero framed racing bikes let alone a normal roady on the hoods. drag from the extra width and the wheel is actually insignificant in practice. only a aero tt bike rider in tucked position is as aero as a racing trike but that is highly impractical and painful while the trike rider rides in total comfort. mine has wheel covers on all wheel surfaces making it even more aero than standard and its speed even more impressive. over 30 mph is possible sprinting on a decent flat road. given any hill its over 30 mph without peddling. you can only fit aero wheels to the back wheel of a normal bike. its true racing trikes are not as fast as recumbent bikes. they are intermediate in speed between a road bike and true recumbent bikes but they are impressive nontheless.
I mostly agree but to me the article addresses the recumbent world generally and does not point out the different bike types. As you have many different types of bikes in the world of standard bikes, you have the same differences in the world of recumbents. Not all of them are faster then road bikes and some arent comfortable at all. And as there is no perfect system in the world, there is no perfect bike: some recumbents can also have some disadvantages to upright bikes (turning circle, long chain, lower body position – not as safe, starting/stopping issue, etc.)…
I generally think the world is changing amaizingly fast. I think, this general change will sometime discover recumbents “again” and will reach a greater audience, simply because today’s world is practical and recumbents are (or should be) a part of our practical environment.
Good point. Thanks a lot for the comment.
Have you ever seen a guide to the different types of recumbents?
i use a catrike expedition
and use a kona jake ,so far i have about 3000 miles on catrike i often do the same routes on both bikes, i do notice that riding the jake i can go allot faster uphill and my average speed does go up
but when i ride the catrike it seems way easier to get where i am going , and its nowhere as much work to get there
on reg bike i definitely breathe way harder and work way harder to get where i am going
my catrike is equipped with a fairing ,makes it allot easier gearing on catrike is wider range great on hills just gear down and take a break going uphill.
i use the bike for errands in the city because its narrow and can cut traffic at lites and i can carry it in places like post offices or stores
but for longer trips 20 miles to other towns i use exp catrike
Thanks a lot for the comment.
I am an avid road bike tourist. I have done many long rides including the coast to coast tour. I’m looking to buy a short wheel base, light weight, fast recumbent bike. I’ve had my neck surgically fused from c-5 to t-1. I will never give up cycling. I had a vision, short wheel base bike in 1999 and I’m looking to sell it because it was to high off the ground for starting and stopping. I am 5 ft 3 inches tall with short legs, inseam about 28″. I weigh 130 lbs. I would love to have the electronic shifting, as I’m loving that on the road bike I bought last year.. Is there a light weight, preferably carbon, short wheel base, above seat steering, recumbent with electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes. That’s what my road bike has and I would love to stick with it. I do have pretty bad arthritis in my hands and wrists. I love riding in the mountains and the brakes and shifting really is sweet. Please help me find this recumbent…I know somebody must make one!
Must confess that I’m not expert on recumbent bikes myself, but I’ll ask some people I know and see if they can help you.
If there’s one thing our Schlitter Encore excels at, it’s keeping road cyclists rolling without requiring them to give up the experience and riding partners that a road bike provides.
It is indeed fast, smooth, and it cohabitates very well with fellow road cyclists especially as it won’t be left behind in climbs.
Full carbon fiber, road 700c wheels, road components, and electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes (disc or rim, not sure which you have experience with) aren’t a problem.
In recumbent enthusiast jargon, it is indeed short wheelbase and above seat steering (SWB, OSS), of the “open cockpit” variety.
We are recumbent enthusiasts and athletes, one of us is even an industry pioneer who was previously behind two of the largest brands. Over the years, we have designed, built, tried and refined many different configurations and continued to benchmark them against the latest in road bikes.
We believe that we have now managed to boil the recumbent experience down to its essence: the enjoyment of riding longer and farther, in good company (including that of road bikes!) with as little as possible getting in the way.
Since we custom size each frame, ours is probably the only one that can accommodate your size while keeping seat height to a minimum, quite a bit lower than a Vision I believe. Ours is also the only model in that category to accept both disc brakes and wider tires that can extend your playground to neglected and gravel roads.
I invite you to visit http://www.Schlitter.bike and to email us:
[email protected] if you are in the USA,
[email protected] if you are in the EU or anywhere else.
I wonder if you have already found your recumbent bike. Carbon recumbents are expensive, but their weight is similar to an aluminum-frame road bike.
Schlitter are certainly up to the task, as well as Metabikes. Both are pretty much the best choices for carbon recumbents.
I’d like to invite you to take a look into http://www.bentrideronline.com/ In that site there are tons of information and better yet, long-term test rides of almost a hundred recumbent bikes and trikes and related products.
contact Dana Lieberman at Bent Up cycles in LA. They make a carbon one that they will customize for you. Be prepared to fork over about $6K
Awesome article, I picked up my trike, a GEKKO, in July 2015 on for my birthday, so far its been the best thing I have ever done. this was after being away from biking cine I left Denmark, roughly 25 years of no bicycles because the infrastructure in Los Angeles at best is scary. because of that I regrettably use the trike mostly for exercise, on established bike trails, nothing like doing laps on the trail between Malibu and Palos verdes, I mean where else can you ride 80 miles and climb less than 500 feet. 🙂
I miss the nimble-ness of my diamond frame bikes in the eighties, but enjoy longer sessions on the trike much better.
Thanks a lot for your comment. Happy to hear you have found a nice trike.
“I *here* you ask?”
Really? Are you using dictation software and then not proofreading?
Hey! I like recumbent bike a lot. Normally i use it at my home.It’s quite effective. I have a business of recumbent bike also.
I suffered a cerebellum stroke last year and my balance issues mean I can’t ride my road bike or hybrid any more. A trike may be a way back into cycling for me. Does anyone have experience they can share or recommend good trikes?
I have also had a stroke and have balance and strength issues. I recently got a TerraTrike, and consider it one of the best decisions of my life. It is fun, and so much easier to get out for my daily ride than to get on an exercise bike. It also gives me a sense of control and agency that I haven’t really experienced since the stroke. My left leg is noticably stronger, I don’t fatigue nearly as quickly, and I’m able to ride long enough to actually work up a real sweat. Also, I feel like I’m doing much better on stairs, though that may be just my perception. I would highly recommend it, especially if you are missing sports and outdoor activities.
I have arthritis in both knees as well as meniscus damage. I had to abandon riding with pedal cleats and now even just riding a traditional upright causes quite a bit of swelling for me. Every time I see a recumbent, my brain tells me that would be a better solution for me. It’s very difficult, however, to find people who can help me select a good one. Even the high end bike stores in our area that carry a variety really don’t know much about them.
I want a two wheel cruiser that doesn’t sit too low to the ground, and I really don’t want to spend more than $1k on a solution. Can you point me in a good direction for finding good quality options?
Ken…you described exactly the type of recumbent bike I am looking for also! Did you find one? Please share anything you have as I am a complete newbie in this!
I would actually suggest a trike. A bike is a bit more demanding, and could cause some loss of balance while pedaling. Terra Trike is by general industry standards, a slower trike. This is for 2reasons. It sits up a bit higher, and has a more upright seat. This would almost certainly meet your needs. If you find you have DESIRES, like more speed, well, you can move on from this. But this would likely do you well.
I would not buy a “delta” trike based on my experience. I own a Sun 3sx.
It is not as stable as a two-wheeler in turns. It is very tippy in turns. I discovered by “trial and crash” I needed to take turns very slowly to avoid an upset. A delta trike will upset with almost no warning if you enter a sharp or off-camber turn at more than a few mph. It appears to be an issue with the relatively narrow spacing between the rear wheels, the diameter of the rear wheels, and the high seating position compared to most “tadpole” designs.
You say: “Recumbents also stop quicker than ordinary bikes as your weight will be mostly directly over the rear wheel.” Actually that is not the reason. This is why: When you brake, inertia shifts your weight to the front wheel and away from the rear wheel, both on a recumbent and on a traditional bike. On a traditional bike you break mainly with the rear wheel (else you go over the handlebar), but you have to breake gingerly because that is the wheel that is not supporting your weight. However, since you can’t go over the handlebar on a recumbent, you need not break with the rear wheel; you simply break hard with the front wheel, which is the one that wil not skid as easily because your weght is on it. THAT is what makes recumbents stop in a shorter distance.
Sorry but you are mistaken. Most of the braking on an upright bike is done by the front wheel, also with motorbikes. This is why they often have bigger discs on the front when fitted and also why Campag offered single pivot brakes on the rear. On an upright you just shift your weight rear and down further as you brake harder. Its basic physics. Try braking on a road bike with just the rear and you will take forever to slow down,
that is incorrect. on all vehicles, incl bikes most braking is done mainly by the front brake because weight shifts to the front. this is exactly the same as a car, which also brakes mostly with the front brakes. braking hard with the rear will just make the tyre skid with could be dangerous on slippy surfaces. skidding is possible with the front, but less likely due to weight transfer which gives the tyre more grip. the rule is not to brake harshly while cornering, again, same as in a car. going over the handlebars is a bit of a comedy myth. its unlikely because in practice, even with powerful disk brakes, you quickly learn to moderate your braking, taking into consideration the road surface. you would need to be incedibly reckless to be suprised on a bike, due to its very low speed, so should not ever need to brake harshly, but leaning back while hard braking with the front brake means going over the handlebars is next to impossible.
Thanks for sharing these insights!
I am starting to do workout for health improvement. I do a lot of biking for starter. This would really help me.
Hello, Recumbent bike is my favorite. I use it. It is very effective.Thanks for sharing your ideas.
Great read – for all the bike riding I’ve done, I’ve never tried a recumbent bike on the road – only a stationary recumbent at the gym. I’ve been toying with buying a recumbent tricycle though. I’m worried that on a 2 wheeler I would be concerned about tipping over – particularly when turning or taking on hills. Also a little worried if I would be unable to start and stop. I’m newer to biking as a regular activity. Thanks again for the awesome read!
Great article. Almost 20 years a good friend of mine and I were huge into inline skating. After years of it, we decided to try cycling some as an alternative activity. His wife (also a skater) just couldn’t handle the upright bike saddle, too painful for her. He saw a Bike E at a store, and purchased it for her. He took it home, and test rode it around the neighborhood. He went right back to the store and bought another one for HIMSELF, LOL! (Yeah, my friend had “deep pockets”)
So that meant he had two, and I could ride his wife’s Bike E when she wasn’t riding with us.
It only took a few rides on it before I was hooked. Bought myself one, and I still have it.
Keep in mind I was in my early 30’s, and in excellent health/shape then. I didn’t experience any undue pain discomfort on my upright Mountain bike, but the recumbent was just plain more fun.
Not too long after that, I got married myself, and started using that Bike E to commute to work, and did that for almost 3 years, 16 miles a day, five days a week.
20 years later, riding any of my uprights (have 2) does cause me some aches if I go a good distance, now. I almost ALWAYS choose my recumbent Bike E whenever I ride, which I do recreationally at least 4X a week.
I can totally understand and appreciate an upright bike’s advantages for things like off-road, or even BMX tricks in a stunt park.
But to this day it just BAFFLES me that recumbent bikes still aren’t the NORM/plurality when it comes to almost any other application, ie on just about any paved surface.
I still keep my uprights, and always will, though I barely ride them anymore. But I know if I had to choose only one bike to keep and ride for the rest of my days, I wouldn’t miss a beat making my decision: Gimme that recumbent bike!
Great article on recumbent bikes – why aren’t they listed on your menu bar?
It was a leap of faith to buy a Catrike Expedition not only for the expense but for fear that it wouldn’t be used. A relaxing test ride screamed “do this”. Now, I walk in the AM for exercise and ride for pleasure. Ranks among the best purchases I’ve ever made. Considering a trike ride requires about as much angst as a vanilla milkshake. Comfort and fun factor is amazing and likely is for most recumbents. Well, 3 years and 4,300 miles later I am a happy camper…!
Recumbent bike is one of my favorite. Although I use exercise version.
I have been building and riding recumbent bikes for 37 years. If you are thinking about buying your first recumbent look at a Easy Racer. Don’t get a bike were your feet are higher than the seat. They may be a bit faster but there is more to riding than just speed. Gardner Martin knew what he making back in 1978 and it is a wonderful bike.
I have ridden a cruzbike softrider – front wheel drive bike – a real disaster – hard to balance – very hard to get started, cannot keep up with upright bikes – can’t make it up some hills and go so slow going uphill I can never catch up going down hill. I have not seen anyone able to start a recumbent on an uphill – incredibly frustrating! When I stop and stand my chest hits the steering column very hard! There is no place to put your water bottle where you can easily reach it and drink while riding. Crashing is very nasty and very sudden – I have bad scars on my elbows, arms and legs. Worse on gravel trails the front wheel spins you lose traction and fall! Always worried going up steep hills that you are not getting proper traction on your front wheel – they don’t make sofriders anymore I guess because they are such a disaster – It feels like you are always going uphill because your feet are above your seat. I guess recumbents are only good for very flat country – going fast is a real myth!
Don, I think an important message discussed here (and evidenced by your impression) is that there is probably a recumbent that works for you even if the one you own right now does not. Perhaps a low slung fast trike with a safety flag would be more suited for you. They sound like a lot of fun especially if you live in an area with fast bike trails. I live in Houston where half of the honking is hostile and half is friendly and the only real place to ride is out on county roads. I started riding a Cruzbike V20 about three months ago and methodically burned down the learning curve item by item. I have plenty of learners road rash from the effort. For some reason, I have only fallen to the right side. Like learning a DF, you have to focus on each skill and try, try again.
Currently, I ride about 15 lengths back behind a Cat 1/2 racers on weekend group rides. You will need to ride between 500 to 1500 miles before all of the necessary skills become automatic, and then you still need vigilance. Going fast is not a myth. When I am not encumbered by cars, potholes or turns, I often cruise solo at 23-24 mph at an elevated but sustainable heart rate. Get low and tight, get smooth, get the right cadence and go fast.
Use bright lights day and night,
Don Brown, sounds like you picked the wrong recumbent. I have to say my experience with the Cruzbike V20 is just the opposite. With a recumbent, and especially with a moving bottom bracket recumbent, you will need to be patient and structure learning how to ride over at least six weeks. After six weeks you should have sufficient muscular adaptation and reflexes to ride around cars. You will need to log 750 to 1000 miles before the bike is totally relaxing to ride. After that it is just amazing. I am 60 and still do group rides like when I rode a diamond frame. The difference is that I ride about one pack length behind the group back in the breeze. My favorite group is the 23 mph group because that is my cruising speed solo at the high end. In a group you are starting and stopping all the time so you get to rest. The only group I cannot keep up with are the racers who are averaging in the 26-30 range. I’m too old and fat to keep up. I find that climbing is on par with cyclist my age and training/fitness level compared to diamond frame. To be a good climber you just have to drop the weight and train the hills. I have had my share of crashes especially early on and nearly destroyed some expensive derailleur components. But the bike is tough and I love it. I rode a 100 miler last summer and it was by far the best time I have ever had on a bike despite having only 500 miles under the belt. The V20 is a rocket sled on modest hills and flats. I have found room for a bottles under the steering tube, under the seat, and behind the headrest. I have mounted up to five at a time. One thing that is important on any bike is to have the highest quality day and night lights you can afford. So my experience is 180 degrees out from yours. I hope you were able to sell your Cruzbike Softrider to someone who could appreciate it better.
Just great stuff! It’s a really amazing and informative article on the recumbent exercise bike. I have learned some new cause for using a recumbent bike for exercise. Many many thanks for sharing with us. Looking forward to getting more resource from you about exercise bike.
Started riding recumbent a week ago, the grin might be permanently embedded in my face. Wrote it up on Medium below, it’s a bit of fun.
Keeping fit of your body can be a challenge at the best of times, but a solid, comfortable exercise bike is a great addition to your home gym and can help give you the motivation you need.
You have explained nicely why we should choose recumbent bike as a 1st option.
Good view on the benefits of recumbent bikes. The best advantage is the comfort that the recumbent bikes provide when on roads. You can keep riding these bikes on forever and enjoy the nature. And also, great analysis on the aerodynamics of recumbent bikes.
Best recumbent exercise bikes are instantly recognizable. Any exercise bike that has the pedals at the same height as the seat is technically a best recumbent exercise bike. Notably, these bikes will often come with a comfortable bucket seat which will lend itself well to a lounging posture when pedaling the bike.
The fact that recumbents have been banned by the UCI seems to to be a major hindrance in the public accepting recumbent bicycles. They aren’t seen in major races so they are not bikes (trikes) so they don’t count. I had bending in my neck (kyphosis) and all sorts of problems with my body because of the standard bicycle. Did I consider getting a recumbent? Of course not. The recumbent was a weird thing that was too expensive made for a niche market so I never considered it. I was given a Burley Koosah by my stepson in 2006. Well, I had to learn how to ride it. That was minor. It was not a great recumbent but it was much easier on my body than the standard bike. I am now riding an E2 which was put together by Edge (bankrupt) and they did a lousy job of putting this together. From the amount of serious problems I got from the shoddy construction I should really regret having gotten the trike. Unfortunately the ride is fantastic for me and the fact that it folds so nicely won’t let me curse Evolve (www.evolvetrikes.com designer not in production) for their design. I just can’t depend on it for a long ride away from home because I think it will break again. I also have an ICE Adventure which folds (hate the fold and almost never fold it). The ICE Adventure I will take for a long ride on because it is very well made.
I never considered taking the plunge into a recumbent. Now that I am riding one I won’t consider anything else. I am 72 years old and a recumbent trike is an excellent transportation vehicle for the elderly. The fact that the recumbents do not appear in bicycle races is a disservice to the industry and the public which needs exercise for pure health improvement. Major bike manufacturers don’t develop recumbents because they are not mainstream. They are not in the public’s mind because of not seeing them in bike races. All the excuses for not having them in the races are geared toward couch potatoes who participate in the races with a can of beer instead of getting out there and cycling. They should be allowed in the professional bike races and sink or swim on their own merit not some arbitrary regulations. Bike magazines barely show recumbents but they constantly talk about aerodynamics. Look at the recumbent rider and the standard bike rider and tell me how great the aerodynamics of the spokes and frame is compared to rethinking the whole riding position is. In a horse race when one horse is better they give him extra weight to carry. The cycling way is to kill the horse.
Two retired greyhairs who purchased 2 3-wheel recumbents in August. I had to give up 2 wheeling over 20 years ago due to a blown meniscus. Have really missed being on the road. We purchased the Catrike Expedition for him and the Catrike 559 for me. Such an improvement in balance, strength, and stamina in a very short time. No issues at all with the problem knee. Doc was very pleased with me taking up this type of biking.We now plan trips to experience the “Rails to Trails” that are popping up everywhere. The article hits on some good information but the purchase of a recumbent can be daunting. Keep looking for a good dealer – you will not regret thr purchase.
I like to read & listen, the Recumbent bike also is my favourite one. Although I use the exercise version.
compared to road bike recumbent bike is way cooler and relax.. it is not very common to see a recumbent bike on roads. but I have seen a couple of guys used this bike for touring and it is way cooler. i totally envy them.
This is a great list of the best recumbent exercise bike! Thank you for sharing this! I always wanted to buy one so I can use it at home because I don’t have enough time to go to the gym every day. I know it’s quite expensive but I think it’s worth investing for.
A recumbent bike is surely worth the investment. Be sure to let us know how it goes once you get one!
At 73, I am considering a recumbent e-trike as an alternative choice of recreational transportation. I have been using a stationary recumbent for my cardio exercise for at least the last 10 years. My initial concerns with the recumbent trike would be potential limitations in an urban environment using the same roads as autos as opposed to using my two while diamond frame e-bike, and also what I have read so far about the trike’s wide turning radius as limiting off road use to wide trails. Any thoughts/feedback on this would be appreciated. Thom, alias Sierra Roadrunner
You have very good experience in road bikes. I really love to travel with my bike on roads. This is so amazing and informative article for to know about the best reason to choose the bike for road trip. I really enjoy this amazing reading. Thank you for sharing this article.