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What is a Recumbent Bicycle?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 23, 2024
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A recumbent bicycle is a two or three wheeled vehicle that is similar to a traditional bicycle. Unlike a traditional bicycle, which forces the rider to sit upright and provides no back support, a recumbent bicycle offers back support and is typically designed to allow the rider to lean back. In addition, the pedals of a recumbent bicycle are located in a position that is parallel to the seat of the bicycle, which puts the rider’s rear end in a position parallel to his or her feet.

There are three categories of recumbent bicycles for a rider to choose from. The first category is the long wheelbase (LWB) recumbent bicycle. This type of recumbent bicycle can be difficult for the rider to maneuver when riding at slow speeds or on narrow streets or pathways. On the other hand, the LWB recumbent bicycle is the fastest design and provides a smooth ride. In addition, the pedals can be located anywhere between the front and back wheels that is comfortable for the rider.

The second category is the compact long wheelbase (CLWB) recumbent bicycle. Unlike the LWB recumbent bicycle, the pedals on the CLWB design are located either very near to the front wheels or very near to the back wheels. For this reason, and because of its smaller size, the CLWB recumbent bicycle is very responsive and stable. This makes the CLWB design the best choice for beginning riders. In addition, the CLWB design includes a higher seat, which makes it ideal for riding long distances and makes the rider highly visible when riding on busy streets.

The final style of recumbent bicycle is the short wheelbase (SWB) style. The pedals on the SWB design are located in front of the front wheel, making it highly maneuverable and easy to handle. The SWB design is also convenient for those who travel with their recumbent bicycle, as it is lightweight and small. This also makes it easy to store.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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