Recumbent Bike

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  • Check.pngTop page on recumbents - including brands for each type. [1]
  • Check.pngGood info on moving bottom bracket, and pro/con of FWD-MBB design (can use upper body to assist drive) - [2]
  • Why are Recumbents not as popular? Outside of being banned in races - having a bike that can be climbed and sprinted at low RPM nearly as effectively as DF (non-recumbent) bike is only part of a problem of 'ending bikeism'. - fascinating technical thread - [3]
  • Recumbents are banned from bike racing competitions because they outperform the rest [4]
  • Self-stability in bikes - fascinating video on front wheel drive [5]
  • World record in human-powered speed - 87 mph - is held by a recumbent [6]
    • 257W at 100 km/h!

  • History of recumbent bikes [7] and its politics [8].
    • Fascinating story of a faster and more comfortable bike languishing behind industry standards - for 100 years and remaining fringe today.
  • Terms - bent bike is 'bent bike - or recumbent bike.


  • Lowracer - Barcroft: Oregon - Lightning. Challenge Walter Zorn:Kreuzotter V5 Optima:Baron, X-Low, Cobra M5: Titanium Low Racer, Carbon Low Racer Velokraft: NoCom (No Compromise)
  • Highracer - ActionBent: HiRacer, Attack, Bacchetta: Giro 26, Giro 26 ATT, Strada, Corsa Corsa 24, Corsa S/S, Carbon Aero 2.0 and Ti Aero RANS: Force 5, Force 5 Pro, Enduro Volae: Club, Expedition and Sport.
  • Midracer - ActionBent: Mustang, Rans: X-Stream, Fujin: Tour Challenge: Hurricane 2009, Furai
  • High Bottom Bracket refers to height of bottom bracket above seat


  • High BB v low - [9]




  • Turner Recumbents T-Lite1 [20]. $1400. Reviews - [21]
  • ZOX 20 low - [22]. Check out their S and Z frames - they look sensible for simplicity - [23]. This is FWD (front wheel drive), non MBB (moving bottom bracket).

Moving Bottom Bracket and Front Wheel Drive

  • About - see diagram of geometry types - [24]
  • Cruzbike - [25]
  • Discussion on FWD - [26] - it appears it is ok but some don't like it

How to Design

  • Ergonomics - [27]. Note: images are available, need to 'copy image URL' and view in a different window.
  • 12 steps for great handling - [28]
  • Bottom bracket (BB) height - if high, less wind resistance - [80% of riders effort is used to overcome wind resistance at 32 kph (20 mph.) To reduce the frontal area, you want the riders body to present as small an area from the front as possible. By having the BB and therefore the legs, above the riders butt, you achieve that.]


  • Lowracer recumbent - [29]

Alternative Design(s)/Features

Trike? Adding another wheel improves stability and eliminates the issue of learning dynamic balancing (how to ride a bike) --- it adds the question of wheel configuration, traditional trike (single front wheel, two in back) vs. tadpole (two front wheels, single back wheel).

Folding? Bikes can be large awkward things, being able to fold them, while adding mechanical complexity can be a huge win for convenience

Storage --- one innovative effort in this space was the Sinclair C5: which was designed to be stood on end for storage

Usages other than traveling --- why not have a stand for the bicycle which allows using its gearing to run an electric generator?


  • Bicycling Science by David Gordon Wilson
  • Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing