Recumbent Bikes • History of Recumbent Bicycles • About Us
A recumbent bike is a bicycle that the rider propels from a seated
position. The rider's back is supported and the rider's legs extend
forward to pedals that are roughly the same height as the seat.
Steering is either above the seat or under the seat. Above the seat
steering uses a handlebar located in front of the rider; under seat
steering uses a handlebar located underneath the seat. Recumbent
bicycles are categorized according to their wheelbase length: long
(LWB), short (SWB), and compact long (CLWB). Recumbent tricycles
are similar, except that they have three wheels instead of two. The
delta variety has two rear wheels whereas the tadpole has two front
wheels. An additional type of recumbent is the handcycle, which
is pedaled by the arms instead of the legs.
Many recumbent riders consider their bikes to be safer than standard upright bicycles due to better braking performance, lower center of gravity, and feet-forward riding position. The seating position also reduces strain on the upper extremities and the gluteus, making it more suitable for long rides and touring. There are also usually better aerodynamics with a recumbent bicycle. This can be aided with an accessory called a fairing, which reduces wind drag and can be added to the front or rear of the bike. Recumbent bicycles are also generally faster on flat ground than upright bicycles, and forward visibility is good.
The disadvantages of a recumbent bicycle include the fact that it needs a much heavier seat to support the weight of the body, it requires long chainlines, and the choice of tires is limited. There is also not much variation in seating position during the ride, and it is much harder to balance on non-paved surfaces. Additionally, certain phenomena known to happen with recumbents have been given their own name. "Leg suck" occurs when a foot touches the ground and the bike continues to run forward, causing ligament damage. Clipless pedals are advised to avoid this situation. "Recumbent butt" occurs because the gluteal muscles have to work harder while being compressed. This can be ameliorated by adjusting seat and pedal positions. Recumbents are larger than conventional bicycles, so they are more awkward to transport and store. Recumbent bicycles also happen to be more expensive, typically costing between 10 percent and 25 percent more than comparable upright bikes.
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Recumbent Bikes • Recumbent Bike History • About Us