5

Is there a clear technical definition for a recumbent? Is it the position of the knee in relation to the crank? The presence or absence of a back rest?

There seems to be a fine line between, for example, stretch cruisers and recumbents:

recumebt

ceuiser

  • 3
    There's not an agreed upon definition I've ever seen. The term "semi-recumbent" is also around, used on bikes such as the Rans Fusion and Cruz. And then between those and a normal upright bike are the "crank forward" bikes, such as Electra. – Nathan Knutson Jan 18 '17 at 0:04
  • 4
    I'm not sure there's even agreement on the need for a definition, since none of them are used by the racing crowd who are the primary users of definitions. Once you step off the tiny island of UCI-compliant bikes into the big wide world of "wheels and pedals" questions like "is this a recumbent" pale compared to "does the bike work for you?" (and "where will I store it" or "does it fit through my doorway") – Móż Jan 18 '17 at 0:32
  • I'd guess that if your back-side is on a saddle, its an upright bike. If you're seated on something that has a backrest, or could be describes as a chair, then its recumbent (or semi-) and if your shoulder blades or mid-spine is resting on a backrest then its fully recumbent. Comment because its opinion. – Criggie Jan 18 '17 at 3:03
  • I don't think there is. Sheldon has some classification system for recumbents, but I don't think anyone else uses that system. – Batman Jan 18 '17 at 3:14
  • @Batman do you mean the short vs long wheelbase, high vs low handlebar stuff? That is fairly standard, but commonly the handlebars are "above seat" and "under seat", with acronyms: SWB, LWB, ASS, USS. But those are almost exclusively bikes, because there are so few LWB or ASS trikes and quads. Unicycles tend not to be recumbent :) – Móż Jan 18 '17 at 5:50
8

Short answer: whoever is describing it.

There are a bunch of dictionary definitions around that all centre on the "lying down" part, which doesn't help when there are recumbents with quite upright seating positions:

lwb recumbent with upright seating position

as well as (semi?) recumbents with quite small backrests and seats off upright bikes:

semi-recumbent with seat back behind upright seat

At the other extreme, of course, you have the virtually horizontal positions mostly used for racing:

very laid back recumbent

I am inclined to the view that anything with a laid back seating position and a backrest is probably a recumbent.

Note that the racing world has side-stepped the whole definitional question in favour of using "human powered" to describe what they care about. You get the "International Human Powered Vehicle Association" which sadly doesn't have a space vehicle category yet. They do have categories for number of riders, multitrack and single track, and age/sex ones. But no "recumbent vs prone vs upright" rider position ones.

  • 5
    I especially liked I am inclined to the view :-) – andy256 Jan 18 '17 at 11:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.