Choosing the Right Recumbent

So you've finally decided to start looking at recumbents. Perhaps your back or neck hurt when you ride, or you are tired of numb hands and groin while cycling. You might have been recommended to us from your chiropractor due to overall back issues or you are concerned about your balance as you get a little older. Whatever the reason, a recumbent is a great way to get all of the benefits of cycling without the pain. Unfortunately, choosing the right one can be a somewhat challenging task.


We've put this series of articles together to help the new rider make an informed decision before purchasing. First, though, we have a couple of recommendations:


  • Nothing beats a test ride. You can look at specifications on-line, you can talk to other owners, but ultimately each recumbent fits a bit differently and you should try to test a few different models before making a decision.


  • There are no recumbents that do everything well. Just as you would not expect your beach cruiser to double as a touring bike, your ultra-fast sport recumbent is probably not going to be your best commuter bike.


  • Buy from a recumbent specialist. What do we mean by this? Any shop can order a "recumbent" from Sun Bicycles and call themselves a recumbent shop. We recommend that you go to a shop that carries a minimum of 2-3 brands of recumbents and has a history in the recumbent industry. These bikes are definitely specialized and you will appreciate a shop that knows how to work on them and make sure they are set up correctly.


  • If there are no local shops available, be willing to travel. If you are going to invest thousands of dollars in your purchase, don't you owe it to yourself to make sure you are getting the right bike? Our shop is located a few miles from Bob Hope Airport in Los Angeles and there are a few different hotels in the area that we can recommend. Make a weekend out of it and spend some time exploring Los Angeles!


So let's start by exploring the different kinds of recumbents available.


Short Wheelbase Recumbents

Two HP Velotechnik Grasshoppers cruising the river


Short wheelbase recumbents are more compact and easier to transport than other recumbents. They easily fit on most traditional bicycle racks, and are shorter for transporting inside a vehicle. Like all bikes, they come in a variety of types. Are you looking for the ultimate touring bike with full suspension and the ability to carry cargo? Look no further than an HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTe or Grasshopper Fx. Are you looking for a sporty road bike capable of knocking out a club century ride with the A group? A Bacchetta Carbon Aero 3.0, Corsa or Carbent HPV Raven may be in your future. Do you really just want to cruise around in comfort to enjoy the local bike paths and beach? The Bacchetta Giro is the perfect bike for you.



Boarding the train for an Alaskan adventure!


Long Wheelbase Recumbents

Pamela's Bella, courtesy of the Bacchetta Blog


Long wheelbase recumbents are less popular than their short wheelbase brethren, but it isn't due to comfort. The Bacchetta Bella cruises in style with a lower seat and pedal position for easy starts and stops. Unfortunately, they are more difficult to transport due to their size.





Trikes are the most popular choice in recumbents. Ease-of-use and stability are cited as the most common reasons that customers gravitate towards them. Like other types of recumbents, there are trikes for every style of riding. If you are looking for a folding trike that is easier to transport, ICE, HP Velotechnik, and Catrike all produce fantastic trikes that fold up to fit in the back of your SUV or truck. For sport riding, the Catrike 700 and ICE VTX are fast and comfortable. Are you really just looking forward to relaxing rides along the beach? The Catrike Villager, ICE Adventure or Terratrike Gran Tourismo provide exceptional riding and value. 



So now it's up to you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a private, one-on-one appointment, give us a call or use our online calendar! Let us help you build your dream bike.


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