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Recumbents Explained

Recumbent trikes are very comfortable, easy to ride, safe and great fun. There are many types of recumbent trikes. With all recumbents the rider reclines in a seat with their feet facing forwards to pedal.

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Why a Recumbent?

There are a thousand different reasons to cycle; the liberty to explore places, the thrill of speed, and the satisfaction of making a journey by your own efforts are some. Riding a recumbent is just as liberating, thrilling and satisfying, and has added benefits.

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 RecumbentRecumbent Trikes

Recumbent trikes have two wheel configurations. "Delta" trikes have two wheels at the back and "Tadpole" trikes have two wheels at the front. Both types are usually rear-wheel drive, with front wheel steering. 

Delta trikes typically have a small turning circle and high seat position. However, they can be unstable, especially at speed.

Tadpole trikes are typically more stable, easier to handle and more aerodynamic. All ICE trikes are in the tadpole configuration.

Recumbent Bikes

There are two broad configurations of recumbent bike; long wheelbase and short wheelbase. Long wheelbase recumbent bikes have pedals between the front and rear wheel. Short wheelbase recumbent bikes have pedals in front of the front wheel.

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.

Technical FAQ's are answered in the support area of our website