Posted by Joe Reichert on May 31, 2011
The Recumbent Cycling Experience
The bike seems to vanish beneath you as you cruise along, experiencing the scenery (and potential hazards) as never before. You'll find yourself cycling longer and farther than before, and arriving at your destination refreshed. Once you've experienced a recumbent, it's difficult to ever go back to a conventional bike!
You may as well be driving a Ferrari for all the attention you receive. Motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists do double-takes as they watch you breeze by -- seemingly without effort.
Recumbent Bicycle Performance
Wind resistance, friction, and rolling resistance impose limitations on the performance of any cyclist. All other things being equal, even slight aerodynamic advantages will exhibit significant cycling speed improvements. A recumbent bicycle provides between fifteen to thirty percent lower wind resistance (coefficient of drag) over the typical racing bike.
All existing open human-powered speed records (i.e. top speed, time over distance, and distance covered per hour) are held by recumbents! The Race Across America record of just over five days is held by a recumbent design. Recumbent performance advantages are not new. In 1932, a recumbent bicycle won an important French pro bicycle race, wherein a new world hour record was set. The record was revoked due to unfair design advantage, and since then recumbents have generally been outlawed from racing against conventional bike designs.
Certainly not all recumbent bikes provide record speed capabilities. As with any bicycle purchase, it's best to match the machine and intended use to the rider. Amling’s Cycle offers several models for commuting, touring, recreation, and performance applications. All provide outstanding aerobic fitness.
Do recumbents climb hills well? In fact, recumbents do climb well provided they are geared to do so (as with any other bike). Despite the fact that you cannot stand on the pedals, you can leverage power against the seat. Different muscle groups are employed, and a short period of adaptation to recumbent climbing should be expected. Shorter wheelbase versions tend to do better at climbing than longer models.
Cornering and overall control is enhanced by the recumbent's lowered center of gravity. Many riders report feeling that the bike seems to be "running on rails."
Again, the lowered design offers advantages. Most obvious is that you can easily place both feet down to the ground! Recumbents tend to stop faster and smoother than typical designs. Their enhanced handling and cornering provide superior accident avoidance capability. In an unavoidable accident situation, rather than taking a long head-first spill over the handlebars as with a conventional bike, a recumbent rider can simply roll over sideways and can better avoid head and shoulder injuries.
Visibility in traffic is a concern for any cyclist. Many recumbent riders indicate that they are generally better seen than other bikes because they are noticed more. Furthermore, the "head-up" position lends itself to making better eye contact with motorists. Nonetheless, use of safety reflectors, markers and flags is recommended for riding in traffic. Helmets are a must for any bike rider!
Although the overall designs of our bicycles are exotic, their components are not. In fact the chain, brakes, grips, shifters, pedals, wheels, tires, and other components are the same as those found on other elite road or mountain bikes. This means that your recumbent can be serviced at any of thousands of bike shops throughout the world.