Video: Can recumbent bikes climb hills?

Yes and faster than a regular bike says legendry bike designer Mike Burrows – to a point

Mike Burrows explains why recumbents can ride faster up hills than normal bikes

Recumbent bikes can’t climb hills. Well, that’s the conventional wisdom but it’s been challenged by Mike Burrows, the legendary British bike designer.


In the second video from, Burrows says that recumbent bikes, such as the RatRacer SL, can climb faster than standard bikes – in the right conditions. 

Burrows said: “Riding up a sustained hill on a laid back bicycle up to a certain point in terms of heart rate is actually slightly faster than a regular bike of the same weight.”

However, Burrows, who has made a series of videos for bike maintenance website, adds a caveat that at maximal effort, the traditional bike will inevitably catch up.

Watch the full explanation here:

Mike burrows on fast climbing recumbent bikes

Video: Mike Burrows on climbing on recumbent bikes


Burrows is known for having designed Chris Boardman’s Olympic medal winning Lotus 108 as well as recumbent bikes. His first video explored the relative merits of steel, aluminium and carbon as a bike frame material.