Recumbent bikes are a special type of bike that provide the rider with back support and have pedals that are located parallel to the seat of the bike. There are three broad categories: long wheelbase (LWB), compact long wheelbase (CLWB), and short wheelbase (SWB).
In LWB recumbent bikes, the pedals are located anywhere between the front and back wheels. They offer a smooth ride that is both fast and comfortable. On the other hand, these bikes can be difficult to maneuver at low speeds when ridden on pathways that are narrow or streets that are filled with pedestrians or other cyclists.
If the pedals are located very close to either the front or the back wheels, recumbent bikes are referred to as CLWB. These are the easiest to learn how to ride, because they are very stable and they respond well to the rider. They also have a higher seat, which makes it easier for the rider to see long distances and makes the rider more visible to other bicyclists and vehicles.
SWB recumbent bikes have pedals located ahead of the front wheel. They are easy to handle and to maneuver. Their compact size also makes them easier to move from place to place and to store when not in use.
Within these different categories, one can purchase styles meant for different purposes. Lowracer recumbent bikes, for example, are intended for fast riding. In fact, this style holds the world record for speed with a bicycle. They get their speed from their streamlined design and the severe reclining position it places the rider in.
Tricycle recumbent bikes are another variation of this type of bike. These can be configured with the two wheels in either the front or the back. They are ideal for handicapped individuals or for those who have difficulty maintaining their balance. For handicapped persons who have cannot use their legs at all, these tricycles are also available in a hand-powered variety.