What exactly is a folding recumbent bike? You’ve more than likely seen a recumbent bike if you’ve ever been to the park before but you’ve probably never heard of the name or would know what to look for if you wanted to buy one. You’d probably look up terms like “laying down bike” or “low ground bike” and other search terms of that nature. These things are highly practical in terms of comfort, style and health benefits but they’re not as popular because a lot of people don’t know about them. They’re also a hit among senior citizens due to the various health benefits.
What is A Recumbent Bike?
The word recumbent simply means that a person is laying down, usually it’s tilted backwards with their back towards a cushion. A recumbent bicycle is simply a bike that places a person in the laying down position with their back laying down on a seat and the bike functions like every other normal bike. There’s still pedals, there’s still a handlebar and usually its own kickstand as well to help it stand upright. However, there are also folding recumbent bikes that are hitting the market and making new waves.
Why Do People Get Recumbent Bikes?
There’s a number of reasons as to why some people have taken a shine to recumbent folding bikes over traditional folding bikes or exercise folding bikes. Some of those reasons are practical and some of those reasons are for more health and safety concern. It’s not so much a matter of cost either because the price of all folding bikes varies wildly. Some of them are very cheap and some of them are very expensive. We’ll go over a comprehensive list of why people get recumbent folding bikes.
Ergonomic – The design of recumbent folding bikes is highly ergonomic and has that modern look to them. When you get a recumbent bike, you get a sleek looking ride that stands out from the crowd and definitely stands out from the older traditional look that all the other bikes have.
Weight Distribution – On a recumbent bike, rather than putting all of the weight onto your tailbone or on your rear end, a recumbent bike helps distribute your weight evenly all over the bike. This will relieve a lot of pressure on your back, your tailbone and other muscles in the immediate area.
Comfort – Aside from having great weight distribution, people find recumbent bikes far more comfortable to ride on. If you’ve ever spent a couple of hours on a traditional bike seat, then you’ll know what I mean. Bike seats are usually uncomfortable and tough to make sure they’re durable to withstand impacts and longevity reasons. Recumbent bikes are built for comfort in mind with padded seats that you lean back in. The majority of the stress will be put on your legs as you pedal, depending on the amount of resistance.
Speed – Believe it or not, you can actually gain speed because of the design and tilt of the bike. While we don’t want to get into the physics of aerodynamics and the advantages of recumbent bikes give here, the world record for a bike in speed is actually held by a recumbent bike. Not a lot of people use them to race or for speed, most people use them for practical reasons and health related reasons but they can definitely move if you want them to.
Fun Fact: These bikes offered such an advantage to people who used them in racing, they were actually banned from racing per the Union Cycliste Internationale in 1934. Today, they have their own racing events.
Different Configurations – One of the final reasons a lot of people like recumbent bikes is because not a single one is like another. They’re all unique in their own way and you can configure them to your own liking.
You can configure the wheelbase, depending on how fast you want the bike to go, although most people prefer medium sized wheels.
You can configure the seating, which includes the over seat and the under seat of the bike. Comfort is the keyword here when you’re looking for a best type of seating. You want to make sure you’re comfortable because that’s why these bikes were designed in the first place.
Steering is something you can also configure as well. While most people traditionally like to use the handlebars to steer for more control, you can actually get no handlebar steering with a recumbent bike if you wish to do so. I would advise this for intermediate and advanced recumbent bikers and not for beginners who are getting a feel for the ride.
The drive can even be configured in terms of front wheel or rear wheel. There’s actually a recumbent tricycle although you might have a hard time finding a folding recumbent tricycle.
#1 - Exerpeutic 2000 High Capacity Programmable Magnetic Recumbent Bike with Air Soft Seat and Heart Pulse Sensors
One of the best things we liked about this recumbent bike was the seating. It takes up a bit more space than some of the other items on this list but this also makes room for more functionality, a larger screen and it’s pretty versatile. The display prompts sit at a comfortable level and isn’t too much of an eye strain.
Has an air soft seat for maximum comfort and tailbone support
A complicated control system completely guided by magnetic forces
Allows users to track their heart rate and monitor their heart rate at all times
For larger users, this product has a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds
There’s different workout programs with preset settings to help you choose something more to your pace
The program will read out loud how many calories you’ve burned, what your heart rate is, the RPM and other useful features
The product is a bit on the heavy side due to the metal base as it weighs 63 pounds
#2 - Mobo Triton Pro- The Ultimate Three Wheeled Cruiser (Adult)
For hitting the open road and getting some fresh air, we have the Mobo Cruiser, which is a versatile adult themed recumbent bike. The steering system was exceptionally smooth and the seat while it’s a bit on the thin side is exceptionally comfortable. One of the best things that customers will love about the Mobo Triton Pro is that it’s made for just about any height.
A steering system that was designed with improving cardiovascular health in mind
The length is completely adjustable to accommodate your legs, depending on if they’re shorter or longer than average
Has safety features included such as a high visibility flag and it sits low to the ground
The design will reduce the amount of stress put on your shoulders and arms
This bike is able to fit anyone between 4’2 and 6’3
The steering system is unique and easy to navigate
While this is a great bike for the casual rider, it’s not for racing or high speed biking as it struggles during high speeds
#3 - Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
One of the most common complaints that we see about recumbent exercise bikes is that they don’t have foot straps built in. It’s annoying and usually accompanied by pain when your foot accidentally slips off of a pedal and hits something else. This bike from Marcy comes with its own foot straps and they’re adjustable as well. It’s slightly on the heavy side but it doesn’t take up much space at all.
Comes with pre-balanced pedals that were made for ease and comfort
Additionally attached transport wheels are built in as well
There’s a tension knob for people who want to increase the intensity to something they’re more comfortable with
There’s 8 different levels of resistance that you can choose from, so you can feel like you’re cruising on a flat side walk or climbing up a steep hill
A large console display is present with distance, calories burned and other useful information
A tightening knob that adjusts the tension helps people find a relative speed and resistance level they’re comfortable with
Adjusting the bike’s speed and resistance levels is a bit difficult to switch between
What Kind of Recumbent Bikes Are There?
You’d actually be surprised at all the different kinds of recumbent bikes out there. There’s more so than the traditional folding bikes and exercise folding bikes.
Mountain Bikes – Simply put, mountain bikes were designed to withstand mountainous terrain or rugged areas. These bikes were built for extreme sport racing, tough hills and rocky roads. If you’ve ever wanted to get into off-road biking, this is what recumbent mountain bikes were made for. Just be warned that mountain bikes in general, regardless of the type of folding bike costs a bit more. This is partly due to the heavier materials needed to make mountain bikes as durable as they are.
Low Racer – When you see one of those recumbent bikes that sit really low to the ground and the seating seems to be right in line with the handlebars, that’s what a low racing folding recumbent bike is. They were designed for racing in mind and are very popular in populist areas of Europe. Their wheels are usually only 20 inches in the front and usually are accompanied with a 26 inch wheel in the back or vice versa. Due to the position of the wheels, the seating and the handlebars, these bikes are the quickest folding recumbent bikes on the market today.
High Racer – Like the low racer, these bikes were designed for speed but there’s two main major differences here. First, there’s the wheels which are larger and then there’s the seating which doesn’t sit directly in front of the handlebar. What these bikes do handle better than the low racers is maneuvering obstacles and turning. This is because they’re slower at lower capacity speeds and this allows the user to turn the bike easier. One of the downfalls to high racers is that it’s not uncommon to hear of hip and elbow injuries from them because of how the seating position is.
Crank Forward – In these particular type of bikes, the aerodynamics advantage of speed is usually sacrifices so that the leaning position can be adjusted at will. With these bikes, you can switch back and forth between an upright position and a semi-recumbent (which is more commonly known as a crank forward in the cycling community). They don’t necessarily have an advantage over other types of folding recumbent bikes but some people seem to like them.
Tandem – Believe it or not, there’s actually tandem recumbent bikes out there. A tandem bike is simply a bike that has more than one seat and some couples find it to be a relaxing therapy to bike with your significant other. Some may not like the idea and do it for their partner but a tandem recumbent bike can be a little costly. They’re not exactly popular and not a lot of manufacturers make them for this reason. Instead of the traditional hard seating, you get the laid back seat that’s usually featured on a low ride recumbent bike.
Tricycles – They’re more commonly known as trikes and are the least popular option among folding recumbent bike owners. They’re not very practical and some of them are very hard to fold. They’re also difficult to find as well, because manufacturers don’t spend a lot of time producing them due to their low demand. The only difference is, they have three wheels instead of two which produces their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Custom Made – Like every other style of transportation, you can have a completely custom made recumbent bike, some that are foldable and some that are not. There’s custom manufacturers out there who have taken the time to make vehicle like covers to make it feel like you’re in an actual car or drag racing vehicle. These obviously won’t be foldable but some of them do break down into smaller parts to help make storage easier. These are very costly and only recommended to people who are extreme hobbyists of recumbent bikes. There are limitless possibilities if you’re looking to get a custom made recumbent bike, but be willing to fork up a lot of cash.
Benefits of using a Recumbent Bike
Why should you get a folding recumbent bike and is it worth it? What are the main reasons to get one and what kind of health benefits do they offer?
They’re far easier on a riders’ back, which is why they’re such a common commodity for older people and senior citizens who like to take up bicycling as a hobby. It’s unrealistic to expect an older person or someone with a bad back to subject themselves to the hard seating of traditional bikes.
They support neck and upper back health as well. Gaining momentum on a recumbent bike is all in the legs and doesn’t solely rely on you to use your upper body weight. This is a problem with traditional bikes and people often complain about their neck or upper back being sore after a lengthy trip. This is because you have to lean in to gain momentum and speed. This is not the case with a recumbent as you solely rely on leg power and the design of the bike to pick up speed.
They’re a lot faster than your traditional folding bike as well. You can control the speed and thanks to the thin wheels of the normal recumbent bikes, you can go as fast as you want (be careful on the road ways and always be on the lookout for traffic). They’re one of the most popular bike racing commodities of today but make sure that recumbent bikes are allowed in the race before entering one.
They’re far more comfortable than the traditional bike. They offer a lot more wiggle room, they allow you to lean back and relax and you won’t feel sore after getting off of one. Riding 20 miles on a traditional bike will leave you sore in areas you didn’t even know could get sore. Not with the recumbent bike.
These bikes are also a lot safer than other types of bikes. When you fall off of a traditional bike, I hope you’re wearing elbow pads because you’re going to hit the ground hard and the first thing people usually hit is their elbows or hips. With recumbent bikes, it’s a shorter fall to the ground allowing you to brace for a much smaller impact. You should still wear safety gear though, no matter what kind of terrain you’re going on.
Lastly, recumbent bikes are rarely ever stolen. It’s easy to make a getaway on a traditional folding bike. It easily comes out and the thief can ride off into the sunset. It’s not like that with a recumbent bike. Any would be thief probably won’t be able to figure out how to get the thing unlocked and I doubt the thief wants to be seen riding down the road in a stolen recumbent bike.
Recumbent bikes are great for exercise, older people and your overall level of comfort. They’re extremely quick but they aren’t the best for building cardio and muscle strength. So, if you’re looking for comfort and back support, we definitely recommend a folding recumbent bike.
Recumbent bikes are a great exercise tool to have in your arsenal, whether you’re targeting weight loss, heart health or just generally enjoy riding on a recumbent bike. The price of recumbent bikes is generally more expensive than other types of bikes out there because the manufacturing process to create them is completely different than your traditional style of bikes. They’re a lot of fun and well worth the cost. We recommend going with something for outdoors if you live in an area that permits it as it’s great to get outdoors and take the bike out on a bike path.