What Wheelbase Works for You?
All bikes and trikes have a choice of wheelbases. The wheelbase of a recumbent trike is based on the distance between the axles of the front and back wheels. You have your choice of a short or long wheelbase, with both offering comfort, stability, and a safe ride. Here we look at the differences between the two to help decide what wheelbase works for you.
Short Wheelbase Recumbent Trikes
Short wheelbase recumbents are about 35 to 40 inches. They have a smaller turning radius and, therefore, better maneuverability. Because they have a more equal weight distribution between the two wheels, front-wheel skids are less likely. The trike is also shorter overall, making them easier to lift, store and transport by car. The short wheelbase is best for people who have a smaller vehicle or who travel with more than one trike in their vehicle.
Long Wheelbase Recumbent Trikes
A long wheelbase averages about 64 inches. They are stabler than short wheelbase models, and many people find them easier to learn to ride. In theory, they will stretch your whole-body weight across the frame, which some say gives you a little softer ride. However, they are harder to lift and transport. A long wheelbase is favored by people who travel longer distances. However, they do require more space for transporting them via car so that you will need a pickup or SUV. You can also consider investing in a foldable long wheelbase trike, but this will be more expensive.
What are the Benefits of Recumbent Trikes Despite Wheelbase?
More people are discovering the joy of triking over biking thanks to the many benefits they offer, including:
Recumbent trikes are lower to the ground, which reduces the risk of taking a tumble and experiencing serious injuries. As people get older, the idea of the trike is appealing, especially if they begin to experience balance issues. You can stop safely if you encounter wildlife, other cycles, dogs, or small children darting in front of you and are far less likely to tip when taking corners. You can also ride faster with less worry of falling.
The recumbent trike is far more comfortable than traditional upright bikes. Because you feel safer, you can relax more while riding, which is easier on your body and mind. They are also designed using ergonomics so that your body experiences less stress on the joints, spine, neck and even wrists. Recumbent trike riders often find they can ride longer and get in more exercise because their joints don’t ache like they do on an upright bike. People who find walking difficult can also discover the recumbent trike as a comfortable way to exercise.
No Balance Worries
It takes skill to master riding a bike, but the extra wheel of the trike means there’s no learning curve. Although you have to get used to how everything works, such as the breaks and gears, you can take to the trails without worries about the balancing act involved with cycling. They are easy to ride with a nice smooth spin on the peddles for an easy gait you can maintain for miles and miles.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Say bye to padded bike shorts and spandex tops. You can wear whatever you like without the worry of feeling uncomfortable, thanks to the chair that accommodates your entire body. There isn’t any pressure in the “crotch” as you ride so you aren’t restricted by those chunky, bulky padded shorts. The seats of the recumbent trikes are more like chairs, designed for long-distance rides that distribute weight evenly for comfort. You’ll still need a helmet, but padded shorts are a thing of the past, even for the long-distance triker.
It’s Exercise That’s Loads of Fun
There’s no getting around the fact that triking is fun. It is a unique way to get exercise and fresh air so you can continue to live a very active lifestyle well into your 70s and even 80s. You can easily travel further distances and keep the pace you desire, whether you’re a speed demon who wants to beat your personal best or someone who likes a leisurely pace to take in the scenery. Regardless of the speed you prefer, you’re getting a good low-impact aerobics workout that’s easy on your joints and great for your heart. You can burn calories, build strength in your legs and hips, and have fun doing it.
If you used to get out running or cycling with friends or family often but just can’t keep up anymore, the recumbent trike is the answer. You can join in the fun, remain more social and not feel you’re being left behind. Your recumbent trike is speedy fast, allowing you to keep up comfortably. It’s also a great conversation starter. You can meet new people anxious to learn more about your unique little trike.
With more storage, you can travel farther and feel more prepared for any eventuality. The trike also has tons of accessories for all kinds of gear, whether it's your trike safety kit, a change of warmer or lighter clothing, or camping gear for long-distance road trips.
Which Is Right for You?
Whether you choose the short wheelbase for easy storage or the long wheelbase for added comfort, the recumbent trike is one of the best ways to keep active.
Choosing between a long and short wheelbase still comes down to one thing: comfort. You should always test ride your recumbent before you make your choice. It needs to feel right for your body. Everyone is different, and with your lifestyle, you want to know if your recumbent trike will meet your needs and allow you to travel the trails comfortably.
For more information on recumbent trikes, speak to the Laid Back Cycles team. We will make sure you find the perfect wheelbase and features perfectly suited for your activity level.
As always, the best way to determine which trike is right for you is to test ride them all. With so many options, fits and features available these days, it is impossible for a “one trike fits all” model. Test riding is crucial. Stop in and ride them all!