Best 3 wheel recumbent bikes

What are recumbent bikes?

Recumbent bikes have been around since as far back as 1895 when they made their first appearance at a geneva bicycle show, and come in both 2-, 3- and 4-wheel options.

Once described as ‘forbidden’ machines recumbents began their official debut in the early 1900s when french pioneer charles mochet was tasked by his wife to build a safe bicycle for their son george. This led to the creation of; a pedal-driven four-wheel-drive vehicle described as the first ‘human-powered vehicle’ (hpv). The vehicles were later banned from races and production following a controversial ruling that described the recumbents as ‘non-bicycles’ and thus disqualified from being used in all uci track cycling competitions.

In 1979 the “avatar 2000” became the first mass-produced modern recumbent on sale and has helped revive and establish the design of later generations of recumbents.

Comparison between recumbent bikes and upright bikes

Recumbet bikes differ from upright bikes in a number of ways:

Pedal positioning: pedals on a recumbent bike are positioned in front of the body whereas those of an upright bike are positioned under the body.

Body positioning: with a recumbent bike the user’s body sits in a reclining position while user using an upright bike holds an upright body position.

Size of seat: the incumbent bike has a larger, wider seat span than that of an upright bike.

Work out emphasis: while both of these bikes work out your body, recumbent bikes hit lower body muscles harder while upright bikes tend to concentrate of upper body muscle groups.

Points to ponder when considering a recumbent bike

  • Think about the purpose of your cycling, whether it is for touring, racing, recreation, commuting, exercise or all the above.
  • What kind of recumbent would suit your purposes? A two-wheeler, a three-wheeler, a quad or a tandem?
  • Endure you test ride one first before purchase to ensure that it meets expectations.

The stationary recumbent bike

As you contemplate exercise bike options take into consideration the stationary recumbent bike. It is considered an excellent exercise bike and comes loaded with benefits, some of which include:

Safety: the design structure of the recumbent bike with its lowered seat and pedal in front rather than below the rider allow for a lowered gravitational pull on the body which translates to a greater sense of balance.

Burning calories: burn plenty of calories and work on your cardio while reducing the risk of injury or strain.

Speed: recumbent bikes are generally faster than traditional bikes it is possible to experience the sensation of speed and thrill associated with outdoor cycling in the safety and comfort of your home

Comfort: recumbent bikes come with wide, padded seats and optional backrests that ensure comfort and relaxation as you go through your work-out.

Multi-tasking: due to its unique upright design, you do not have to hold on to the handlebars as you work out. The hands-free capability allows you to read, do some light sewing or even bond with your pet as you pursue health and fitness.

Health benefits of a recumbent bike

  • Recumbent bikes exert less pressure on the lower back due to the sitting position. They encourage better spinal posture and better circulation than an upright bike which has one arched over the handlebars.
  • Due to lower back support afforded by the bucket seat joints get an all-round gentle treatment during use and are safe from damaging impact.
  • The larger size seat on a recumbent bike is generally more comfortable than that of an upright bike, offering more support and cushioning.
  • The pedal positioning at the front of a recumbent bike translates to is higher safety because you cannot stand on the pedals. This also eliminates injuries common to standing on an upright bike.
  • For male riders, the positioning of the pedals and the wide padded seats help in better weight distribution and less pressure applied to the perineal nerve, which in upright bicycles can be a cause of impotence.
  • Recumbent bikes come highly recommended for people with neurological conditions such as parkinson’s disease, stroke, epilepsy and alzheimer’s. These bikes are versatile as they can be used by individuals of all ability levels and ages. They are a safe, proven option for total body workouts.

General pros and cons of recumbent bikes

 

Pros:

  • Are comfortable
  • Improved breathing while riding due to the reclined nature of the seat
  • No soreness during or after a workout
  • Are suitable for the elderly, the physically infirm and the overweight
  • One can multitask; it is easier to read a book or watch television while working out due to the body positioning
  • Are good for those who are new to cycling

Cons:

  • Take up more floor space
  • Are generally more expensive due to their custom nature
  • Some difficulty in making sharp turns
  • Can be boring to work out on compared to upright bikes
  • Can be difficult to maneuver uphill due to the bike’s reclined structure

Alternative configurations

Recumbents are available in an extensive range of configurations including:

Long to short wheelbase: the wheelbase refers to the distance from one axle to another axle. The longer the wheelbases, the more the bike becomes stable. Longer wheelbases also help to keep the bicycle travelling in a straight line. On the other hand, shorter wheelbases make the bicycle feel nimbler and agile. Many of these bikes feature in cycling sport events

Wheel sizes: factors to consider include roll resistance, allowance and handling.

Over seat vs under seat:  certain people prefer the over seat steering (oss) as it is considered more aerodynamic and are easier to walk alongside. With under-seat steering (uss) hand placement is relaxed at the sides, little interference between hands and legs when riding. It also offers a more comfortable view of the road being traveled.

Tandems: also called a twin, a tandem is a bicycle or tricycle designed to be ridden by more than one person. Their high level of safety makes them a good recommendation for people with disabilities.

Folding: a recumbent fold has a principally horizontal axial plane. This type of bike is easily portable.

Hand cycles: this is a form of recumbent bike that allows the user to propel themselves using their hands rather than their feet.

Touring: for the adventure cyclist seeking an off-road, relaxed experience without the strain or injury that may come with riding a regular upright bike. Similar to this would be the mountain recumbent bike.

 

A variant with three wheels is known as a recumbent tricycle or a trike.

Best Recumbent Bike for Adults and People with Disabilities

Mophoto Adult Tricycle 7 Speed Three Wheel Bikes for Adults, Meridian 26 Adult Tricycle for Men/Women/Seniors

This recumbent bike is suitable for commuting, running errands or simply just unwinding. Here are some of its key features:

Features:

  • Comes in an easy-access, super-low, stand-over aluminium frame for easy access with a large, fold-down basket for maximum storage.
  • The wide and upright handlebars adjust from 37 to 40 inches high.
  • Comes with 24” wheels and fenders
  • A Load capacity of 150kg (330lb)
  • Front and rear brake action for double protection
  • Seven-speed Shimano drivetrain for easy and quick speed change.
  • A one-speed or 7-speed design allows for mechanical simplicity and low maintenance.
  • The 3-wheel frame provides stability especially for the elderly
  • Comes with equipped with a manual, assembly tools and water bottle cage

Pros:

  • Has a padded seat
  • Is relatively affordable
  • Can be used during all seasons

Cons:

  • Does not come with a horn or headlights

Best Unisex Tricycle for Adults

3 Wheel Adult Bicycle Tricycle Cruise Trike Pedal Cart Cargo

This traditional single-speed shift 20″ 3 wheel adult tricycle cruise made of high carbon steel, aluminium alloys and steel post tensioner is specially designed for the elderly people. It can also be used for exercise, and is environmentally sound and safe, and is suitable for grocery shopping.

 Features:

  • Mud support with O type anti-collision beam
  • Front and rear brake system
  • Single-speed
  • Carries a maximum load of 110kg
  • Has a parking lock function
  • Has a rear, spacious carrier basket
  • Comes with a bell

Pros:

  • Can be used by inexperienced riders
  • Solid-body structure
  • Durable, light tires

Cons:

  • Professional assembly may be required
  • Does not come with a horn or headlights
  • Does not come with batteries

Best Adult Tricycle

Ammaco 26″ Wheel Alloy 3 Wheel Adult Tricycle

The Ammaco 26” lightweight alloy frame is the perfect go-to for the recumbent enthusiast. Its cruiser-style, upright, wide handlebars facilitate a very comfortable riding experience.

Features:

  • 6 speed
  • Top-quality Shimano gears
  • Alloy quill adjustable handlebar stem
  • Front and rear brake system
  • Lightweight rims and fitted with a full mudguard set
  • Fitted with a metal mesh basket
  • Extra-wide saddle
  • Suitable for all adults
  • Comfortable mount and dismount

Pros:

  • Strong and sturdy
  • Good front brakes especially on slopes
  • Comes with an optional backrest

Cons:

  • Getting used to camber may take some time
  • Needs an expert to assemble
  • Does not come with a horn or headlights