human909 wrote:Being able to recline comfortably makes recumbents great for uphill. Weight is largely not a big issue with we are only talking a small percentage of total weight. Ultimately though it comes down to the rider and appropriate gearing. Hills would be far easier for the average road cyclist if they swallowed their pride and got some proper gearing like MTBers have!
Weight does play a bit of a part though, considering an average trike in "naked" (unfaired form) weighs at least double an average upright bike (for reference, my racing HPV chassis weighs 16kg without the fairing!). But it's true that it's not the only reason why trikes & uphills are not the best of friends. Firstly, the position means you can't just stand up & "muscle" it to keep the momentum going up short pinches. Secondly, the smaller wheels (plus the extra one) increase rolling resistance, and carry less inertia (which helps maintain momentum), so the trike decelerates faster than a big-wheeled upright, regardless of slope. So it's not so much a matter of "trikes can't go up hills", rather they can't go up hills quickly. The rider has no real choice but to find a gear they can spin comfortably, sit back (literally) and enjoy the view.
On another side, the suitability of a trike could depend a lot on where you intend to ride. I wouldn't be so keen in areas with a decent amount of traffic - most motorists are not looking out for things that don't even come up to their door handles, and your own line of sight is compromised by being so low. I had a trike (ex-school team race-ish chassis) that I commuted on occasionally before it broke (it was already on its way out when I got it). I found that passing traffic gave me more space than when I was on the upright, but I just couldn't see around me as well as I'd like. I also did a partial BBC ride in my racer, and again, while the fairing is even more eye-catching for others, the outward visibility is even more compromised due to the roof.