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What's the Deal with: Recumbent Bikes

What's the Deal with: Recumbent Bikes

Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed a bicycle with a chaise lounge? I think that happy union would result in a Recumbent Bike. Gentle on your back and bum, this style of bike is becoming more popular.

Also known as "bents," recumbent bikes usually have 2 wheels, although I've seen some with 3 (technically I think that makes them tricycles). Recumbent simply refers to the seated position, because there is actually a seat instead of the pedestal-like perch you find on upright (regular) bikes. That means you can say goodbye to saddle soreness, even on the longest rides.

The handlebars are either above the seat at shoulder level or below the seat at a position where your arms can hang down naturally. This arm position combined with the actual seat makes this a very comfortable ride. This is one of the reasons why this bike style is great for a cyclist with bad back or neck problems.

When it comes to powering recumbent bikes, there are many variations. You can pedal with your feet, power the bike with your hands or both for a more total body workout.

There are some drawbacks to this bike design though. Since you are in a seated position, going up hills may be a little bit more difficult compared to an upright bike. Recumbent bikes are also less visible since they are lower to the ground, so if you share the road with cars, it's a great idea to add a flag or reflectors to your bike, or wear a bright helmet to make yourself more visible.

The price might be a drawback as well since the starting price is generally around $1000. While they are more expensive than many upright bikes, the price might be worth it if your back or neck injury was preventing you from biking at all.

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