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Recumbents Explained

Here at ICE we’re proud to have a wide range of customers, from those buying their second or third trike to first time recumbent buyers. We’ve put this section of the site together to give an introduction into the world of recumbent trikes and what makes them so addictive and exciting!

2012 sprint FS+So what is a Recumbent?

A recumbent bike or trike is a bike or trike where the riding position is reclined with the rider’s feet being placed in front of their body as opposed to the more upright riding position found on the traditional diamond framed bicycle.

Why a Recumbent?

There are a thousand different reasons to ride a recumbent. The excitement of the descent, the thrill of experiencing the sights and sounds of new places, knowing that you’ve done the journey powered by legs and willpower, the first ride of spring after the cold of winter: all these form what is arguably one of the most enticing machines known to man.

Great Comfort

The saddle has long been the bane of a cyclist’s life. Many designs have come and gone, but the basic problem remains, high load on a small area equates to a lot of pressure on delicate parts! A recumbent gives a comfortable seat which spreads the load over a bigger area. Many riders choose a recumbent due to back problems and find the recumbent seat gives the comfort they need to keep riding.


At 20 mph most of an upright bike rider’s energy is spent overcoming air resistance. Air resistance is affected by the drag factor (a factor that is used to quantify the drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment such as air or water) and the frontal area of a bike. Due to their unique riding position, recumbents have a lower frontal area which reduces air resistance. This means that on the flat, a rider on a recumbent will be travelling at a faster pace than the same rider would be on an upright bike. When fitted with aerodynamic fairings, recumbents can go even faster. The world speed record for recumbents on the flat is now over 80mph (130km/h) – though we can’t promise all riders can achieve this speed!

The Ultimate Distance Machine

Recumbents are frequently used for long distance rides and world tours. The combination of great comfort, performance and speed makes them machines which you can happily spend many hours in as the miles and landscape speed by.

Learn more about journeys done by ICE trike riders.

Types of Recumbents

At ICE we manufacture recumbent bikes and recumbent trikes. As you would expect bikes have two wheels while the trikes have three wheels.

Types of RecumbentTypes of Recumbent Trike

There are two main types of recumbent trike, the delta type, which has two wheels at the rear of the trike and one at the front. The other type of recumbent trike is the tadpole type. Well loved by recumbent riders, the tadpole trike gives a thrilling ride combined with exceptional comfort. The inherent low centre of gravity gives exceptional stability and the seat gives great comfort particularly when combined with suspension.

At ICE we manufacture three tadpole trikes, the ICE Adventure, the ICE Sprint and the ICE VTX.

Types of Recumbent Bike

There are two main types of recumbent bike, long wheelbase and short wheelbase. Long wheelbase recumbent bikes have the front wheel well in advance of the rider and are quite easy for new riders to master, however they are not quite as portable as short wheelbase recumbent bikes. Short wheelbase recumbent bikes have the front wheel located beneath the rider and provide scintillating performance combined with great comfort and mobility.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will cars and other vehicles be able to see me?

A: Yes, We find that other vehicles tend to give trike riders a wide berth as they are not used to seeing trikes on the road. The trike comes with a hi-visibility flag for extra visibility. People in cars have no problem seeing the trike and rider; after all, road markings are a lot lower and are easily seen by motorists.

Q: Will I be able to climb hills?

A: Yes, but not as fast as you can on a diamond frame bicycle. The fact that you cannot get out of the saddle and use your body weight means that you need to use a lower gear and pedal smoothly up the hills. Our range of trikes come with wide range gearing for this very purpose. If you get tired on the way up you can just put the brakes on and have a rest right where you are without even taking your feet off the pedals.

Q: How does it steer?

A: Sounds like an odd question but we hear it a lot, the trike has handlebars to either side of you with all the brake and gear controls mounted on them, simply pushing the left bar away from you while pulling the right one towards you turns the trike right (with the opposite turning left) It is completely intuitive when you sit on the trike.