By reading What Is A Recumbent Trike? – Keep on Trikin’ in Comfort and scouring our list of 21 features you should consider in an adult recumbent trike, we hope you’ll feel less intimidated by this newer form of exercise.
What Is A Recumbent Trike?
A recumbent trike is a three-wheeled, pedal-driven bicycle that provides a more comfortable and natural riding position than an upright bike. Recumbents provide riders with several advantages over upright bikes and perhaps the most important is having a more comfortable, smooth ride while feeling too much strain on areas such as joints or backs.
This type of bike provides an alternative for those who have trouble riding upright – it can be more comfortable on your back, neck, or knees. In addition to being better suited for individuals with physical limitations, these bikes also allow riders to sit closer to the ground, which gives them greater stability when going over bumps or around corners.
Recumbents accommodate different body shapes and sizes from small children to adults, from shorter to taller individuals. Also often, recumbents have higher weight capacities when compared to other types of bicycles due to their design, making it possible for a wide variety of people to ride. With a comfortable padded seat, you will be ready to discover new horizons.
How It All Began
Recumbent trikes have three wheels and have only been around since the 1980s. These Trikes were built originally to aid people with disabilities and lower body injuries in their mobility and have easier access to riding a bike. Many of these early recumbent trikes were designed for disabled people who still retained an ability to pedal, such as paraplegics or quadriplegics. These recumbent trikes had a front seat with two pedals connected to the rear wheel hub via a chain, which would allow someone to pedal from their seated position.
As other riders began experimenting with bikes, an additional market was created for people who didn’t have any disabilities but wanted to experience different, lower body positions while cycling. The format has evolved to allow for many various additions and adaptations, creating the modern adult recumbent trike that both casual and serious riders enjoy.
Are Recumbent Trikes Safe?
Compared to conventional bicycles recumbent trikes are as safe and in some respects safer. When riding any type of bike there are inherent risks. If you’re riding in traffic you face the dangers of cars. The design of recumbent trikes, can make it difficult to stay visible on the road.
Wearing bright clothing, putting a flag on your bike, having lights, and even having a mirror to see what’s behind you are a few precautions you can make to make you more visible.
Having three wheels and a low center of gravity, you’re much less likely to fall off compared to an upright bike. If you were to fall off a recumbent, you’re much closer to the ground.
Are Recumbent Trikes Expensive?
The price of any product and its being expensive is subjective to the buyer. Like all things, what’s considered expensive to one person may seem like a drop in the bucket to someone else. But in general a recumbent bike averages from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The price of a trike most times coincides with its features and components.
21 Features To Look For In An Adult Recumbent Trike?
Some of the important practical features to look for other than top brands when choosing an adult recumbent bicycle include the following:
#1 – Comfort
The most comfortable trike will have a fully adjustable backrest, mesh or padded seat, and handlebar setups. Some trikes also come with full suspension systems that allow you to traverse bumpy terrain, minimizing the jarring effect of riding on uneven ground. A suspension system may prove vital in areas where you must maneuver over many bad roads with potholes, for example, versus a trike fitted with a sportier seat and handlebars for road racing.
Remember not every recumbent bike has a comfortable riding position, so make sure to get one that is suitable for long commutes or rides up hills.
A padded seat, a breathable mesh seat, or a wide seat are popular choices that add to the comfort of your ride.
#2 – Safety
You want to ensure that the handlebars on your trike feel right and that you can reach them without straining any part of your body. The trike should have easy access while getting on and off while riding; this helps prevent accidents on the open road and makes for a more enjoyable experience overall.
It is always best to choose a trike with special safety features like puncture-resistant tires and chains that do not rust easily. If the bike has adjustable handlebars with grip throttle controls, you can use them in traffic. These safety features will be helpful when you ride in heavy traffic or paved bicycle paths, but they can also help when riding off the beaten path, on gravel paths or rocks because these materials can damage the bike or wheel rims.
Depending on your body size and mass, most manufacturers will advertise the maximum weight capacity for their trikes. Some can hold up to 300 pounds, while others have a bit lower capacity rating. As you shop around, ask the vendor for details about their trike’s weight capacity and ensure it falls within your desired range.
#3 – Weight Capacity
For example, if you are a large man with a lot of body mass and bulk to carry around on your bike, you may want to get a trike that can hold up to 300 pounds or more. You’ll have to pay a bit extra for this upgrade from the standard trikes that only carry 200 pounds or less of weight capacity, but it will be well worth it if heavy riders are using the bike.
#4 – Speed
A recumbent bike that is one of higher quality will offer a range of speeds, typically from 10 to 20 mph. The more expensive trikes may even reach upwards of 30 or 40 mph going downhill on a flat road making for an exhilarating performance. This is because the rear wheels of these recumbent bikes are both larger and closer together than your average bike, allowing for better traction and speed.
#5 – Shifting Mechanisms
Shifting mechanisms will depend on the type of trike you get. Some trikes require you to pedal backward to shift, while others work with a more typical bicycle-style shifting system. You want to look for an adult trike that offers the kind of shifting mechanism that is both easy and comfortable for your use case.
For instance, if you plan to ride in crowded areas or traffic, you may want a trike with the standard front and back gear shifters.
#6 – Dérailleur
If you are looking for a more advanced trike than the basic models, look for one that offers a dérailleur system. This type of shifting mechanism allows you to change gear easily and quickly while on the road. It gives you more control over your pedaling speeds and can help to ease the stress on your knees. If you choose a trike that does not have this feature, be prepared to do some work for every gear shift; this can help you burn more calories during your ride, but it is far less efficient.
#7 – Weight & Dimensions
Depending on your shape and size, you may want to get a trike with dimensions suited to your body. Taller riders will want to consider the height of the handlebars on recumbent tricycles, while shorter individuals will want to look for models with a low seat height. This is so that you can get on and off the bike easily while out riding at any point in time.
#8 – Frame & Material
The frame of any trike is an important part because it supports all of the other parts and holds everything together and should be made of rust-resistant materials.
If you want a trike that will last you forever, then look for one made from high-quality steel or aluminum.
Steel is a good choice if you want to ensure that your trike lasts for years to come, while aluminum can be another great option depending on the model you get. Trikes with metal frames are known for being more durable than plastic models, even though they weigh slightly more (this is true in the case of steel vs. aluminum).
Aluminum frames create a lightweight ride that dampens vibration, adding to your comfort.
#9 – Suspension System
There are two types of suspension systems for adult recumbent bicycles: front wheel/front fork and rear suspension (RWS). The former is located at the front end, while the latter is positioned toward the back end of your trike.
The front-wheel model will let you ride over bumpy roads with ease, while the rear suspension model offers a smoother ride when you are cruising at faster speeds. If you plan to use your trike for long commutes or if you live in an area where the streets are horribly uneven, the front/front fork suspension system is probably best for you.
#10 – Pedal Type
A recumbent tricyle uses both foot pedals and hand brakes. The former is located on the recumbent seat, while the latter is located on the handlebars. Both types of pedals will allow you to put more power into every ride, but only one type is better for your knees. The foot pedal system can lead to knee injuries if used improperly, so be careful where you place your feet during each ride. The hand brakes are a safer option for your joints, but they can be less effective when you are going downhill.
#11 – Security
Make sure that the trike you get has a secure lock system. This will prevent people from riding off with your trike when you are not paying attention, and it will help protect your property when out on the road. You can use an anti-theft lock if there is no specific storage area on your trike, or you can choose a trike with a built-in lock if you will be leaving the trike in the open for long periods of time.
#12 – Price Point
The best trikes are not always the most expensive, but you will have to pay more for a durable model that is made from high-quality materials. If you want a less expensive bike that performs well, look for one that has the new technologies but comes with all of the old design elements used in older models. Another option is to look for an entry level trike that packs a lot of features.
#13– Additional Features
Finally, look at any additional features that come with the trike and keep them in mind during your selection process. For example, if you like playing music when riding, then find a trike that comes with a built-in speaker system so you will not have to carry your phone around all the time. Other examples of useful additional features include cup holders, LED lights, and smartphone mounts.
#14 – Warranty
The warranty for any recumbent bike is crucial because it tells you how long it has been since the manufacturer made any adjustments to the frame. If a trike has a lifetime warranty, then this is a sign that it will last you a long time, but if its warranty only lasts for six months, then it may not be that durable.
#15 – Where You Ride Your Trike
Finally, the environment where you will be riding your trike is important because it can sometimes affect its durability. If you are going to ride in an area that receives a lot of heavy rain, then look for a trike that has excellent weather resistance or one that is waterproof. You should also consider other environmental factors when choosing a suitable trike for your needs, such as dust or salt from the roads.
#16 – Frame Size
The size of the frame is an important factor to consider because it affects how well the trike will fit you and if it will be able to support your weight. If you are tall then look for a trike that comes with a large frame, but shorter people should select models with smaller frames.
#17 – Wheel Size & Type
The wheel size of both the front and the rear wheel of a trike is one of the most important factors to consider, but it also depends on your weight because if you are over 100 kg, then larger wheels are generally better. You should also check what type of tires come with the trike, whether they are solid or air-filled. Air-filled tires tend to be more comfortable and powerful, but solid tires are usually cheaper and more durable. You’re going to want to consider the
#18 – Brakes
Most recumbent trikes come with a hand brake system, including a front hand brake for quick stops in traffic and a rear foot brake for slowing down while going downhill. These brakes must always be in excellent condition because they are responsible for your safety, but the type of brakes required will depend on where you ride. You definitely need to know you can come to a complete stop when needing to.
A trike that has an emergency brake is usually ideal if you plan on using it for your daily commute to work or school every day because this system can be used quickly from anywhere on the bike.
#19 – Brake Lever Type
The type of brake lever system that comes with a recumbent bike is also important because it affects how easy the brakes will be to operate. In general, internal hub brakes are best because they keep dirt and water away from the braking system, but there are other types of systems available as well.
#20 – Ease Of Use
The most important things to consider here are how easy it will be for you to control the bike and if you will have a comfortable ride when riding for many hours.
#21 – Your Ability To Control The Bike
If you are not very confident when it comes to riding a bicycle, then getting a recumbent bike with three wheels or even four wheels is the best choice because these models provide more stability and safety than two-wheeled bikes. However, if you have good balance and want the thrill of riding fast along narrow pathways, then a three-wheeled trike will be the best option.
With the many upgrades available giving riders even more versatility you may have the most fun you have in a long time. If you’re looking for a comfortable trike that offers practical features for everyday use and as a way to ride around town, or if you want something more low-impact than a traditional bike for your next adventure then a recumbent trike may be perfect for your needs!
If you want to look further into purchasing a recumbent bike, an article you might find helpful is 3 Best Adult Recumbent Trikes Buying Guide – Ride In Comfort.
There are also recumbent stationary exercise bikes for indoors. See the 5 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes – Buying Guide to read more about this type of bike.
By reading What Is A Recumbent Trike? – Keep on Trikin’ in Comfort, you now know what a recumbent trike is and 21 items to check off as you look at purchasing your perfect trike. I’m convinced you will be able to find the perfect first trike for beginners or a high performance machine for experienced riders alike.
Is there one particular item you found in the list of 21 that you find most important? Please comment below.