Recumbent Road Bikes & Normal Road Bikes – Detailed Comparison

Want to buy a bike, but you can't decide between a road bike and a recumbent bike? These two types of bikes are designed differently and serve different purposes.

Before you buy either of them, it is good to have as much information about them as possible so you can make an informed decision. In this review, we compare the two models touching on their features.

But before we get into details, let us know what a recumbent bike is and what a road bike is. You will also find a detailed comparison on the two bikes that will help you make a wise selection.

Recumbent Road Bikes & Normal Road Bikes – Detailed Comparison

Recumbent Road Bike

A recumbent road bike refers to a type of bike that allows riders to sit in a laid back posture for effective distribution of weight on the back and the buttocks. These bikes are comfortable as compared to the normal road bikes and you can enjoy longer rides without pain because there is effective distribution of weight. Recumbent bikes feature an aerodynamic design as the legs of the rider as reclined forward. These bikes are faster and they come in different sizes on the market.

Normal Road Bikes:

Road bikes are types of bikes that are made for people who love riding at a high speed especially on cemented surfaces. The bikes feature a light metal construction that makes them fast.

Road bikes offer more endurance because they have a combination of more gears. They are great for riders who love traveling and touring and many people love them for their great speed. If you are looking for less maintenance bike then you can read our review of Best Fixie Bikes.

Differences Between Road Bikes and Recumbent Bikes

There are many uses of bicycles. Some people use them to carry luggage while others use them for sporting activities. Some people use them to commute to their workplaces, while others use them for exercise. Whatever the case, you need to choose the type of bike that suits the use you want to put it into. If you have to choose between a road bike and a recumbent bike, the differences highlighted below can help you out.


Road bikes are lightweight and are not as comfortable as recumbent bikes. Generally, road bikes are great for daily use. Recumbent bikes have seats that are put in laid-back positions to increase comfort by spreading the weight of the rider through sitting bones and back.


The seat of a road bike is hard and is smaller than that of a recumbent bike. It can also be semi-hard, depending on the material used to make it The recumbent bikes have soft seats. Their seats are made of a frame covered by a soft material to protect the rider from wetness and coldness.


The recumbent bikes have handlebars that are a little away than that of the road bikes. When riding a road bike, you can stand and lean on to paddle harder. This is not possible with a recumbent bike. A road bike has a handlebar that's bent and is designed to help the rider move through wind smoothly because it offers less resistance.

Speeding up:

In a recumbent bike, the speedup paddle depends on your back. Meaning, if you want to ride faster, you'll have to use your hands and legs. On a road bike, you'll depend much on your legs to ride faster.


Road bikes have evenly-made wheels, meaning the two wheels have equal sizes. On the other hand, incumbent bikes can have unequal wheels - one wheel is usually more prominent than the other.


When safety is your priority, then you can choose a recumbent bike. The design of the recumbent bikes makes them safer to ride than road bikes. When riding a road bike, you'll likely fall when you are still new to riding. And even if you are good at riding, there'll always be that fear that you can fall. Such worries are not there with a recumbent bike.

Climbing up:

The recumbent bikes are built on a mechanism that makes it difficult to go uphill. So, they are not suitable for climbing. Climbing is even more difficult on these bikes because they are not good in the wind; they have more resistance. In a road bike, the upright position and the bent handlebar makes it easy to ride uphill, even when it is windy. So, if you are in a windy area or if you want to ride on a windy day, it's better to choose a road bike.

Touring With A Bike:

When you want to enjoy a tour on a bike, use the recumbent bike. With this bike, you can get a 180 degrees view of your surroundings while sitting in a neutral position. Since it is also not easy to fall from this bike, you can relax as you enjoy your tour.

A road bike isn't as good for touring as a recumbent bike. This is because it doesn't give you much room to look around and enjoy your surroundings. You can't even relax because you'll always have a fear of falling. With this bike, you must always be watchful lest you end up getting involved in an accident.


Road bikes tend to be very versatile. So, if you want to rush to the grocery and buy a few items, you'd better use a road bike. That's why on our roads, you'll see more of the road bikes than the recumbent bikes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Are recumbent bikes more comfortable than road bikes? 

A: Yes. Most people think that recumbent bikes are more furniture than speed machines, but they are actually more comfortable than road bikes. They also move faster than nearly all road bikes.

Q: How fast can a recumbent bike move in comparison to road bikes?

A: Many riders who have handled both types of bikes report that recumbent bikes can move 3 - 8 miles per hour faster than road bikes, going uphill. Recumbent bikes have aerodynamic mechanisms that give them the ability to move very fast. 

When going downhill, the recumbent bikes can move 15-20 miles per hour faster than the road bikes. In fact, they are the fastest human-powered bicycles. If you are after speed and are not fashion freak, you'll be better off with a recumbent bike.

Q: Why are recumbent bikes more expensive than road bikes?

A: The high price of the recumbent bike mainly results from the seat, which is made to be more comfortable.

Q: Why does a road bike have a narrow seat?

A: The seats on road bikes are purposefully made to be narrow. This is to give the rider more freedom when coming off or on the saddle. If the seat were to be made more extensive, it would rub the inside of the cyclist's thighs.

Final Words:

There are many differences between road bikes and recumbent bikes. These bikes are made for different purposes. You can buy the one that suits the purpose for which you need a bike. Having both of them can also be a good option. This is because you can interchange them depending on a particular need. You can use the road bike for small errands and use the recumbent bike for touring and other activities that need comfort.

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