Recumbent vs. Traditional Cycle

February 8, 2018     |     Choosing Your Cycle

Cycling is a great option for low-impact cardiovascular activity. But sometimes biking with a traditional upright cycle can be uncomfortable, especially for those with low back pain. And let’s be honest, a traditional bike saddle isn’t exactly the most comfortable seat around. Upright cycles can also be difficult to handle and unstable for those with balance concerns.

With traditional cycles, the pedals are positioned under the body where the body is in an upright body position. With a recumbent cycle, the pedals are positioned in front of the body and the body is in a reclined position. Your body weight is more evenly distributed across a larger surface area and seats tend to be larger with back support. All of this makes for a much more comfortable, and stable, ride.

Infographic – Recumbent vs. Upright Cycles


Beyond comfort and stability, there’s other benefits to riding ‘bent’:

  • You’ll maximize your pedal power by being able to push against the back seat, leveraging your muscles rather than your weight
  • You’ll experience better aerodynamics (did you know the human powered speed record was achieved on a recumbent?).
  • Your legs are elevated for more efficient blood flow to more easily get oxygen to your muscles
  • Your field of view is different on a recumbent – you’ll be able to see and enjoy more of your ride as your head will be looking out opposed to down.

A recumbent cycle might be right for you if…

  • You find it uncomfortable to ride a traditional upright bike as you experience wrist, back, shoulder, and/or knee pain or experience prostate pain
  • You are concerned about balance or stability
  • You can’t ride a traditional cycle and need something built for your adaptive needs
  • You prefer to ride a bike without the constant feeling of a wedgie 😉

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