A recumbent bike is a great way to get some cardio and have a blast doing it! Recumbent road bikes can be the answer for those of us who have back or knee issues but still want to hit the open road. Also, for people with mobility or balance issues, a three-wheel option can provide a great ride.
Here we look at the best recumbent road bike around, plus some other great choices for more specific ride experiences.
Related: Best Endurance Road Bike
Top 5 Recumbent Road Bikes
Best recumbent road bike overall:
The Performer Unicorn Touring recumbent road bike is a high-quality, versatile, performance-oriented bike at a reasonable price point. The aluminum frame ensures a sturdy build and is lightweight, and the carbon front fork provides strength along with good flex to smooth out bumpy spots on the road.
It comes available with a slew of options for gearing and braking, handlebar type, frame size, and color, so you’ll get exactly the bike you are looking for. It’s good for long rides in comfort without sacrificing performance. One of the outstanding features of the Performer Unicorn is the 20” front wheel size, which adds stability and maneuverability to the bike.
The Unicorn brings out the best performance aspects, builds quality, comfort, and price of a recumbent road bike and puts it all together in one machine. That’s why it gets the #1 spot for the best recumbent road bike.
- Perfect blend of comfort and performance
- Lots of customization options
- Good maneuverability for a recumbent
- Good price point
- Not much!
Another worthy option for a recumbent touring bike is the Bacchetta Giro A26 touring cycle. It boasts a sturdy aluminum frame and forks, mechanical disc brakes, and 26” wheels. Bacchetta is known for its build quality and the sleek beauty of its designs, and in both respects, the Giro A26 will not disappoint.
The 26” wheels give the Giro a bit more of a high racer feel and a bit more speed. The flip side of this being a less stable feel and a steeper learning curve for handling. But once you get a feel for this bike, it delivers fantastic speed and quick, adept handling.
Another standout of the Giro A26 is its comfort. You can ride all day long and come home without a sore back or a pinched nerve in your neck. All recumbent bikes offer a more comfortable ride, generally speaking, than their traditional counterparts, and Bacchetta seems to have taken this to an even higher level.
- Very comfortable
- Sleek design
- Superior build quality
- Lots of speed
- Less stability than the Performer Unicorn
- Higher price point
Best foldable recumbent:
For those of you who need a solid machine for commuting or touring rides, and storage spaces are at a premium, the HP Velotechnik Grasshopper FX is a perfect choice. It’s also ideal for anyone who is looking to travel with their recumbent. The reason? This bike can be folded for easy transport and storage.
However, the GRasshopper FX is not a one-trick-gimmick. It features an aluminum frame, front and rear shocks, 20” wheels for optimal stability and maneuverability, and a rear rack, all as standard equipment.
As if that weren’t enough, HP Velotechnik offers so many customization options. It’s almost dizzying: air shock suspension, under-frame steering, electric-assist motor, pannier racks, and trailer hitch, to name a few. This is the ultimate machine for anyone from a city dweller looking to commute on a recumbent to someone looking to get out to the country with a trailer full of camping gear.
- Foldable for easy storage
- Insane amount of customization options
- Good stability and maneuverability
- Excellent build quality
- Smaller frame options
- A bit heavy for the size
Best 3-wheel option:
Some of you out there might be looking at recumbent cycles due to mobility or balance issues, and if that’s the case, check out the Performer JC70 trike. Three-wheel designs are not uncommon for recumbent bikes, and the JC70 is a top choice for those looking to try a three-wheel option.
The JC70 features a sturdy aluminum frame, 20” front wheels, and a 700c rear drive wheel, disc brakes, and lever steering. The larger rear drive wheel gives you added speed and efficiency. In comparison, the smaller dual 20” front wheels offer excellent stability and balance.
Of all the recumbent cycles on the list, this one might be the most fun to try out simply for the steering and the stability of the tri-wheel setup. It also features a standard rear rack and, being a performer product, the build quality and design are excellent.
- Top choice for 3-wheel cycle
- Excellent stability and balance
- Good speed for a 3-wheel cycle
- Less maneuverability than a 2-wheel
- A bit heavy
#5: Fat Tire FTR100
Best off-road recumbent option:
Maybe you’re looking for a recumbent that can take you on some sweet off-road adventures? If so, you’ll want to look at the Fat Tire FTR100 off-road recumbent trike. It sports a super durable high carbon steel frame, two 20”x4” knobby front tires, a 26” knobby rear tire, Shimano shifters, and a 750-watt brushless rear hub electric motor.
The FTR100 can be pedal-driven or can move along with the help of the Lithium battery-powered motor, which provides six levels of power assist. A DAPU LCD has indicators distance, speed, battery level, and several other details of your ride.
The big cushy tires and carbon steel frame help give this beast a super comfortable ride, and the price point is outstanding given all the technology on board this machine. The FTR100 is the bike to have if you want off-road adventure with the stability and comfort of a recumbent.
- Built for off-road
- Battery assist
- Quality components
- Good price point
- Difficult to pedal without assist
- Not ideal for road travel
Things to Consider
Recumbent cycling can be a lot of fun and a whole new way to enjoy biking. It is also a different feel and dynamic, so be prepared to do a bit of relearning. Here are a few things you should consider before choosing the best cycle for your needs.
First, do you want to go with a two-wheel or three-wheel design? Two wheels will give you added speed and maneuverability, while a three-wheel recumbent offers more stability and is ideal for anyone with mobility or balance issues.
Are you looking for aerodynamics and speed? A good commuter bike? An off-road adventure? Perhaps something in-between? Think about how you are going to use your cycle, and that will help inform your choice.
The Performer Unicorn Touring gets our vote for the all-around best recumbent bike. It’s a perfect blend of performance, comfort, maneuverability, and speed with superior build quality and at a reasonable price. The Bacchetta Giro A26 is another great all-around recumbent in the two-wheel category.
For those looking to try out the three-wheel experience, the Performer JC70 is hard to beat.
Each of these recumbent cycles has a lot to offer; check them out and find the perfect one for your next road trip.
Related: Best Budget Road Bike