Recumbent bikes have pros and cons.
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Recumbent bikes sit low to the ground and offer the rider back support. They come in diverse designs and styles. When it comes to selecting the bike that's right for you, consider your fitness goals and riding style. If you're a fitness-focused velocipede who enjoys riding at a good clip, choose a recumbent bike with quick handling and a short- to medium-size wheelbase. If you like spinning while taking in the sights at a more leisurely pace, consider a recumbent with a long wheelbase and soup-to-nuts comforts built in.
When it comes to back support and comfort, recumbent bikes deliver. Although seat designs differ between models, recumbent bike seats have a wider base than most uprights, distributing weight more evenly and, therefore, providing more comfort. The low position and angle of the recumbent helps riders avoid lower back and upper body pain; however, solid seats often don't provide good ventilation, so heavy sweating might pose issues during your ride. Choosing a recumbent bike with a mesh seat typically provides greater air circulation.
The pedal position determines the length of a recumbent bike's wheelbase. Pedals on a long wheelbase bike sit between the front and rear tires, while pedals of a short wheelbase are in front of the front tire or very near to it. A long-wheelbase design can make climbing steep hills difficult for the average rider, since your legs are outstretched in front of you and you can't use upper body strength to push forward as you do with an upright. However, the immediate and responsive steering of a short wheelbase can create a skittish -- and dangerous -- ride for the inexperienced rider.
Seat height on a long-wheelbase design tends to be more upright than the short-wheelbase models, offering additional safety due to greater visibility when cruising in congested areas. California-based Jax Bicycle Center recommends installing a safety flag so drivers can see you, as well as a rear mirror so you can see what's going on behind you without turning your head.
Riding a recumbent bike takes some getting used to. Most riders need a few weeks to acclimate to the low-ride dynamics. Expect your experience climbing hills and navigating headwinds on your ride to be a much different than on an upright. One of the pitfalls new riders need to overcome is a false sense of super-charged power, particularly on flat terrain, on the recumbent. Because you've got a back support to press against for power, it's easy to disregard using the gears properly. This can lead to problems. Learn to use the gears for power and control to build strong recumbent riding muscles to avoid injury particularly to the knees, notes the Jax Bicycle Center.