How to Buy Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent bikes are a type of bicycle that enables riders to sit low to the ground in an upright, chair-like position while pedaling. These bicycles first appeared in France during the late 1800s but have only recently garnered attention as more people of different physical abilities discover the many benefits of this bicycle riding style. From tricycle models to compact city commuting designs, recumbent bikes allow practically anyone to enjoy bicycle riding in the bucket seat design. Before potential riders buy recumbent bikes, making an assessment of one's riding abilities, transportation needs and budget is critical for making the best purchase decision.


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    Assess your riding abilities. Riders who enjoy commuting, racing or touring all have different needs that can be accommodated through different recumbent bike designs. In addition, physically-challenged riders should consider their unique requirements before purchasing a recumbent bike.
    • Limited mobility riders and beginners may want handlebars located below seat level, to put less stress on the back and neck muscles. One-handed controls can be incorporated near the leg area to enable wheelchair-bound riders to steer without handlebars.
    • Physically strong riders seeking a comprehensive workout may enjoy a recumbent bike with arm and leg pedals that enable a full-body workout.
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    Determine your transportation needs. Where you want to go and how you want to get there determines the best recumbent bicycle styles for your needs. Three popular designs dominate the marketplace.
    • Long wheelbase (LWB) recumbent bikes are good for low speeds and touring to long-distance locations.
    • Short wheelbase (SWB) bikes feature a compact design good for commuting and city riding.
    • Compact long wheelbase (CLWB) enable beginners to learn rapidly. Their higher seat-heights make riders more visible in traffic and the frame design is more stable than others.
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    Analyze your budget. Recumbent bikes comprise a fraction of the bicycle market, which makes them more expensive than standard bicycles. Good quality beginner recumbent bicycles start at about $800 USD.
    • Recumbent bikes are often custom-made for riders' needs. The more customization, the higher the cost.
    • Riders seeking a lightweight recumbent bike will also pay considerably more than those who purchase a standard upright bicycle of the same weight.
    • A single recumbent bicycle style may not be suitable for riding on different terrain types, such as dirt and asphalt. You may want a second bicycle for activities like mountain biking.
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    Test different models in your budget. Visit a recumbent bicycle store or manufacturer to experience the different wheel bases, pedal and handlebar locations.
    • Visit the store during off-peak weekday hours to ensure you can practice riding in the parking lot. Allow ample time to try each model.
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    Buy a used recumbent bike if your budget is tight. Purchasing a pre-owned recumbent will enable you to talk to the owner and ask about their experience using the bicycle.
    • Call bicycle stores specializing in recumbent bikes to inquire about used models for sale. Checking classified advertisements such as can also help you locate your perfect bike.
    • Only buy a used recumbent bike after trying the model. Ensure that the bicycle is equipped to meet your needs, both physically and while in operation. Ask the owner why the recumbent is being sold.


  • New riders need time to get used to riding a recumbent bicycle. Before venturing into traffic, practice riding techniques in large parking lots.
  • Recumbent bicycles are not designed for carrying large amounts of cargo, such as groceries. Purchasing a recumbent-bike bicycle trailer may be required for hauling loads.


  • Practice extreme safety precautions when riding in traffic. The chair-like riding position presents difficulty when looking behind at traffic. Ensure visibility and safety with large mirrors, reflector tape and lights.

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Categories: Bicycles