laid back vs upright position

What’s your angle?

One of these is somewhat “recumbent” while the other one is not …

not at all.

will probably get myself in trouble over this one. We’ll see. The question popped into my head just a few moments ago … when is a recumbent not a recumbent? Now I ask ya. Hey, it is a fair question. To start with I think we need to take a look at what the word recumbent means. The most literal meaning is “lying down”. So using the definition of recumbent we don’t have any factory made recumbent cycles … not really! The most laid back seat angle on tadpole trikes I know of is 25 degrees. Most are much more upright. My own trike, for instance, is at a 45 degree angle.  And several are more upright than that. Yeah, I know … I am getting too technical … nit picking. I just find it interesting and somewhat amusing that so many tadpole trikes are referred to as recumbent when the seating position is nearly upright. At the same time I reckon I would have to go along with the fact that we have a problem … I mean … what else are we going to call them … especially without making things all the more confusing?

I rode another tadpole trike recently which had the seat angle extremely upright compared to mine. I didn’t care for it at all. I definitely did not feel “recumbent”. The office chair I am sitting in now as I type this is far more ‘laid back’ than that trike seat was. It was very uncomfortable compared to my trike. The seat was quite high and the pedals were quite low. It definitely did not seem like I was seated on a recumbent trike. It was more like a “cruiser” bicycle position. I guess it comes down to “different strokes for different folks” … and in case you hadn’t noticed a cruiser is not at all recumbent. Yep, we are all individuals with different likes and dislikes. So I reckon we will continue to see tadpole trikes that are not at all recumbent. One thing about it … riding one of these “non-recumbent” recumbent trikes one does not have to be concerned about losing stuff out of pants pockets.  Another thing about riding a non-recumbent recumbent … it wouldn’t be as easy to fall asleep while riding it. 🙂 

Whether you are really laid back, semi-bent or straight up … by all means …


Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (


  1. I enjoyed the read very much. I am a recumbent trike rider as well and really love it. You hit the nail on the head with the different strokes, different folks. I for one agree the desk chair riding is very uncomfortable for me. I would like to recline more but I also need to see my phone and what is going on with the computer. Bifocals are evil but we need what we need so I suffer through. Bending the head far enough down to see over the bifocals gets worse by the minute as you ride well reclined. Oh yes falling asleep it only happened once waiting for someone else thankfully at a full stop.

  2. HI Steve, I wonder if the hight of the legs compared to the heart could be any measure of just how recumbent a trike or bike is.

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