They might look a little different, but despite what many people think, recumbent road bikes aren’t some new fad—they’ve actually been around since the late 1800s. Though they aren’t as mainstream as an upright bicycle, recumbent bikes are making a huge comeback in the cycling world.
Over the last decade, more and more cycling enthusiasts have taken the plunge on a recumbent bike. Not sure if it’s the right option for you? Let’s dig into what a recumbent bike is and the 8 major reasons cyclists are making the switch.
What is a recumbent road bike?
Unlike a traditional upright bike, the driver sits in a reclined position in a recumbent bike. A recumbent bike positions the pedals in front of you, which allows you to sit back while you cycle. Recumbent road bikes come in either two- or three-wheeled options, although the three-wheeled trike is more popular because it provides more stability and comfort.
Aside from the different wheel options, there are several variations of a recumbent bike, including:
- Tadpole trikes: These models have two wheels in the front and one in the back. Tadpole trikes are lower and have lighter frames, which make them great for speed. However, that makes them a little harder to maneuver in tight spaces.
- Delta Trikes: These trikes have one wheel in the front and two in the back, which is the recumbent bike style most people are used to seeing. Delta trikes have a higher seating position, which makes them easier to get in and out of, and they have excellent maneuverability.
- Racing Trikes: Racing trikes are super lightweight and built for speed. We offer a great selection of racing trikes, including the 2020 world’s fastest recumbent trike, the ICE Trike VTX Black.
- Recreational Trikes: Recreational trikes are perfect for people who are into more casual cycling. For everyday riders, a recreational trike is a joy to ride. Enjoy the scenery with a recreational trike’s added stability and comfort.
- Tandem Trikes: Tandem trikes have two seats and two sets of pedals. With a recumbent road bike, both riders can pedal together or just one rider can pedal while the other enjoys the view. Tandem trikes are a great way to take children or those who are differently-abled along for a ride.
8 reasons to switch to a recumbent bike
Traditional bikes can get you where you need to go, but they aren’t always the best choice. Both hardcore cyclists and recreational weekend riders choose a recumbent road bike for 8 reasons.
This is probably the number-one reason people choose a recumbent bike. This bike style is simply more comfortable than a traditional bike. Recumbent bikes seat you in a more comfortable position because you’re on an actual chair that distributes your weight more evenly.
A Recumbent road bike cause way less pain and chafing, which is always a win. With this design, there’s less stress on your wrists, lower back, and pelvis, so even the longest rides feel like a dream. You can even get rid of your padded pants!
Recumbents may look more cumbersome than a sleek diamond frame bike, but they’re actually faster. In fact, a recumbent bike set the speed record for a human-powered vehicle back in 2016.
Recumbents are more aerodynamic because you’re positioned lower to the ground. There’s less wind resistance, which means you’ll have an easier time with headwinds. If you want to go even faster, you can purchase fairings for your recumbent bike, which are a type of shield that improve your aerodynamics even more.
Recumbent bikes—and especially trikes—are extremely safe. Your center of gravity is lower, so there is less chance of tipping. And if you do fall, you’re already closer to the ground, so you have a lower chance of injury.
In a recumbent bike, you’re positioned with your feet in front. If there is an impact, your feet will take the brunt of the injury instead of your head. Plus, you don’t have to worry about flying over the handlebars.
Recumbent-style bikes allow people of all abilities to enjoy the sport of cycling. If you don’t have the ability to power a traditional bike on your own, a recumbent bike can give you the benefits of cycling in a way that works for your body. For example, handcycles and adaptive bikes are also considered recumbent bikes. These options allow just about anyone to reap the benefits of cycling and enjoying the outdoors.
On a traditional bike, you usually need to look down at the road ahead of you. But on a recumbent bike, you can look up and take in more of the scenery. Sure, the difference seems minimal, but a recumbent bike gives you a completely different perspective. It’s like viewing the world through a wide-angle lens—and once you switch to a recumbent bike, you might not want to go back!
Recumbent bikes are more unique and fewer people know how to ride them. This makes them less desirable to bike thieves who are trying to make a quick buck. It’s admittedly a small perk, but if you’re sick of people stealing your bikes, a recumbent bike may be a safer option.
No more lycra!
You can pretty much wear whatever you want and still be comfortable riding a recumbent bike. We’ve even seen people zipping around in jeans—try that on an upright bicycle! This is one reason why so many commuters who switch to a recumbent will never go back.
The “recumbent grin”
Let’s be honest: recumbent bikes are just fun to ride. In fact, they’re so fun that people coined the term “recumbent grin” to describe the look on so many riders’ faces. This isn’t just because they’re comfortable, but because recumbent bikes are legitimately a joy to ride. The feeling you get when you’re swooping around corners feels like you’re flying a small plane!
The bottom line
Over the last decade, more and more people have switched to a recumbent bike—and with good reason. This bike style is safer, more comfortable, and gives you a better view than a traditional bike.
But we know the switch can feel like a big change, especially if you’re used to traditional bikes. Not sure if a recumbent bike is for you? Reach out to Bike-On’s experts now to find the perfect bike.