New Member
What are the pros and cons of each? As far as I can tell, USS is more comfortable but the indirect linkage to the wheel is presumably more complex, and means your hands are quite close to the ground.


Über Member
I like a nice ASS.


Well-Known Member
You're right: they are very comfy.
Easier to get on and off the bike (no handle-bars in the way).

In theory USS less aerodynamic, though I'm not sure it's a difference you'd notice - anyone done a comparisson?
USS bars make the bike wider - which can make it harder to park.
No space where you'd want it for computers, mirrors etc.

As for complexity & closeness of hands to the ground: it depends on the bike. My USS recumbent has a very simple steering mechanism: a long stem. It is also relatively high compared with other recumbents - so hands aren't that close to the ground.


USS exposes more of your body to the wind, so might be a bit slower, but is very comfortable and "natural" feeling. It's harder to wheel a bike with USS, though.

ASS comes in two distinctly different types - "open" and "tiller". Either is fine once you're used to it; my preference is for open, but that's just because it's what I'm used to.

mcd, he faster than me xx(

but me, I have more beer :smile:

Andy in Sig

Vice President in Exile
I think the relative aerodynamic efficiency of ASS will only be of importance to someone who is seriously into racing i.e. a recumbent has a massive aerodynamic advantage over an upright but ASS will have relatively little advantage over USS.

My Street Machine has USS and it is so relaxing and easy that I've begun to think that ASS almost goes against the spirit of 'bents. I've also found USS to be of benefit in a safety sense. I've only come off the bike three times (twice on mud and once on fine gravel) and each time the left handle bar took most of the impact and saved me from injury - except for a bit of gravel rash in the third case. Therefore I would suggest that unless you are a mega serious racer, go for USS every time.


How about going down steep hills? Doesn't USS feel a bit vulnerable then? I have only ever had a short test ride on a USS bike, so I don't know; but having bars and hands in front of my face is somehow reassuring when descending at speed.


New Member
I found ASS more natural, hence what I ordered my bike with. USS was just not right (for me).


Legendary Member
NE England
I found USS difficult to learn. The steering, which is all you've got to balance with, is intrinsicly different from a DF and I found stopping and starting a challenge to begin with until suddenly it became natural. My learning wasn't helped by my age, 56, or the fact I was recovering from vertigo at the time.
As to feeling secure at speed, right from the beginning I felt OK once moving. With 81 gears ranging from 15" to 150" I find that I'm happy to keep on pedaling on descents right up to where I spin out which is around 45mph. I find descending feet first at speed feels more secure than the almost head first position while ducked down to reduce drag on a DF. The fact that you can use a LOT of front brake without risking going over the top and ,if things go wrong, your going to hit feet first helps with the feeling of security. Unfortunately as my mileage with ASS is limited to a few tryout rides I cannot give a direct comparison.


Senior Member
South Staffs
My take on it is..
Open/tweener cockpit ASS is a more "normal" position to start out in, more "chopper" than anything else. I find it pretty useful on the open road at speeds past those on the race track (ie down big hills) as I've always found it a bit easier to hold a line. Also gives options for different hand positions.
Tiller/hamster/closed ASS is pretty different to what people are used to, it's worth an extra mph (according to a certain designer from Norfolk) at race speeds. Once you get used to the position it can be very comfortable, also looks cool/even more out there, to the non-cyclist.
USS can take longer to learn to use as there's no correlation with an upright, with ASS you at least see the bar in front of you, which is something people seem to find helps them initially. USS is great for touring (yes I know cliche) as it allows you a more uninterrupted view, plus the benefits the others have said.
I remember vividly the first time I went down a very steep hill on my old SWB and was convinced I was going to fall out of the front (managed it off the back a couple of times climbing though)..
I've got 'em all, my preference depends on my mood, but I still don't like ASS on trikes ;)


This ^ man's usual preference is for dropping down bumpy hills like a sack of stones on his Catrike... I couldn't keep up on two wheels because at 40mph they wanted to leave the ground and I got The Fear. He didn't ;)


Senior Member
South Staffs
NickM said:
This ^ man's usual preference is for dropping down bumpy hills like a sack of stones on his Catrike... I couldn't keep up on two wheels because at 40mph they wanted to leave the ground and I got The Fear. He didn't :evil:
got the fear down there last time on the wyre.. drum brake, flexy lowracer with big tailbox and skinny tyres on a rippled surface may not be the best mix.. 45mph+ on a coastdown there when my wheels were on the floor. suspension is good :evil:

this one's much easier and on the way in to work if i feel like it

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