Using a stationary bike is one of the easiest forms of exercises because of its low-impact nature. Low-impact exercises are generally beginner-friendly for they don’t need excessive movements, saving your joints from too much work.
Unfortunately, some people still can’t handle stationary bikes due to certain health conditions. They need more support, especially on their back. That’s why recumbent exercise bikes exist.
Those stationary bikes are known for their wider, more comfortable seats, backrests, and pedals. They will require you to put your legs and feet forward just to get to the pedals.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes Review
- 1.1 Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series
- 1.2 Nautilus Recumbent Bike Series
- 1.3 XTERRA SB2.5r Recumbent Bike
- 1.4 Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike
- 1.5 Progear 555LXT Magnetic Tension Recumbent Bike with Workout Goal Setting Computer
- 1.6 Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
- 1.7 EXERPEUTIC 900XL 300 lbs. Weight Capacity Recumbent Exercise Bike with Pulse
- 1.8 Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Bike with Adjustable Resistance and Transport Wheels NS-716R
- 1.9 3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike
- 1.10 Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
- 2 How to Choose Good Recumbent Exercise Bikes
- 2.1 LCD Screen
- 2.2 Resistance
- 2.3 Adjustable Features
- 2.4 Comfort
- 2.5 Pedals
- 2.6 Additional Features
Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes Review
The downside of a backrest is the risk of breakage and the inconvenience of having it much shorter or taller than the appropriate height for your body. Don’t worry; we’re here to introduce the best recumbent exercise bikes in terms of durability, convenience, and versatility.
It goes without saying that people always have different preferences about anything, even on the type of stationary bike they’re going to use. So, we highly recommend the Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series with three well-designed models: the 230, 270, and A20.
The Schwinn 230 features unbelievable speed, high level of inertia, quick start, adjustable seat, and the Goal Track. It lets the user program different goals for their workout with the help of the DualTrack LCD display. It can even allow two profiles so you can share this exercise bike with another person as long as his weight doesn’t exceed 300 pounds.
Meanwhile, the Schwinn 270 promotes Bluetooth connectivity for a more realistic simulation. It can sync with training apps for more detailed monitoring of your progress. And, more importantly, you can experience a virtual world and use its interactive features, especially the one where you can ride with other people online.
Lastly, the Schwinn A20 only has eight resistance levels, but it’s still ideal for some people. It’s much simpler than the 270, which is appropriate for users who prefer basic features. For comfort and storage convenience, this exercise bike has a padded seat and a set of wheels.
- Three models for different needs and preferences
- Schwinn 230 for multiple fitness goals and profiles
- Schwinn 270 for simulation
- Schwinn A20 for basic use
- Produces unnecessary sounds
- Uncomfortable plastic seat on some units
- Wrong angle of the seat
- Requires a lot of adjustments
Here’s another set of models you might like. The Nautilus Recumbent Bike Series introduces the R614, R616, and R618.
The Nautilus R614 also has the Goal Track feature. That can prove how effective the Goal Track is in helping users program separate goals for their workout. Speaking of programming goals, this recumbent bike has 22 modes or settings: nine profiles, eight heart rate functions, two fitness tests, two custom adjustments, and one quick start.
Let’s proceed to the Nautilus R616. It’s more advanced than the R614 because of its Bluetooth connectivity. Just like the second model of the first product, this exercise bike enhances monitoring and simulation. It smoothly syncs with some training apps that can give you realistic courses, places, and scenery.
Now, the Nautilus R618 is similar to the R616 when it comes to Bluetooth connectivity, but it’s so much more than that. It has a 30-pound flywheel for smoother rides. It also kicks versatility up a notch with its 29 programs. This recumbent bike even takes weight capacity to a whole new level for it can support 325 pounds.
- Three models with different technological designs for a wide range of users
- Nautilus R614 for better monitoring without complex features
- Nautilus R616 for virtual training
- Nautilus R618 for enhanced basic features
- Hard plastic backrest
- Slippery surface of the smooth plastic seat
- Tricky seat adjustment
- Messy placement and design of the buttons on the control panel
Packed with programs, the XTERRA SB2.5r Recumbent Bike has a total of 24: 12 presets, four custom settings, four heart rate controls, one manual mode, one body fat monitor, and one for the wattage. The number of programs can be intimidating, but they’re all easily accessible through a control panel with a big LCD screen.
Just like any other advanced recumbent bike, this one has an audio jack and an MP3 player with speakers. Both features are integrated into the control panel to eliminate the hassle of finding ways just to get entertained while working out.
Meanwhile, one of the problems of using a recumbent bike is the difficulty of positioning yourself on the seat. Fortunately, this model has a walk-thru design. You can instantly make yourself comfortable on the bike because of the molded seat and the big backrest.
And, when it’s time to move, rest assured you’re still comfy on the seat thanks to the 22-pound flywheel. It’s heavy for smoother movements, reducing the noise level of the unit. As a plus, it doesn’t need maintenance.
- High-grade steel frame
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
- Built-in pulse sensors in the grips for the heart rate monitor
- Wheels for transport and storage
- Adjustment knob for the seat
- Extra-large, non-slip pedals
- 5-year warranty for the frame
- 1-year warranty for the components
- No effect from lower resistance levels
- Uncomfortable seat material
- Flimsy pedal straps
- Too much flex from the backrest
- Inaccurate pulse sensor
- Clicking sounds
Magnetic resistance has a bad rep for being too loud. However, the design of the Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike significantly reduces the noise level of its magnetic system. It promotes more peaceful workout sessions by staying quiet as much as possible.
When it comes to comfort, you can adjust your position anytime without worrying about breaking anything. Aside from the fact that the backrest is at an appropriate angle, the frame is extremely sturdy because of its steel construction.
Sure, that contributes to a heavier structure, but this equipment is designed for home gyms. It’s not meant to be portable. On the bright side, it doesn’t need too much space because of its compact form. It can even work on its own without an electrical outlet. Besides, it still has wheels so you can still move it.
Meanwhile, monitoring your progress with this exercise bike will be so easy. Its display can show the duration of your workout, the distance you covered, and other personal data such as heart rate, calories burned, and speed.
Not only is this recumbent bike fit for leg workouts; it also has upper pedals for your arms. Even while you’re sitting comfortably on the cushioned seat, you can still expect a good workout for your entire body. The seat is even adjustable to ensure that your position is ideal for your height.
- Multifunctional display
- Upper and lower pedals
- Cushioned seat and backrest
- Tough steel frame
- Can make your elbows and knees hit each other
Simple yet efficient, ProGear 555LXT features a digital LCD monitor with large numbers for easy viewing and three easy-to-use settings for you to choose according to your workout goals: time, distance, and calories.
The minimalist design features a thinner yet robust metal frame so it can easily be transported anywhere. It can also be used even in tight spaces. Meanwhile, the step-thru design will allow you to easily get on and off the bike.
Another plus is the seat mounted on a rail, which can be seen on more expensive bikes. The rail-mounted seat is angled, which allows for a lot of adjustments for a more comfortable ride. It also has an extended design for additional comfort. It even features a water holder and a smartphone/tablet holder for you to get entertained, although it can partially cover the digital LCD.
- High-grade, lightweight steel frame
- Weight capacity of 250 pounds
- Angled rail-mounted seat for young and old users
- Extended cushioned seat
- User-friendly control module
- Large numbers on the display
- Sturdy and silent pedals
- Big pedals
- Step-thru design for easier access
- Wheels for transport and storage
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Easy to use especially at the lowest resistance setting
- Insufficient cushion on the seat
- Smartphone or tablet holder partially covering the LCD monitor
To let you monitor a lot of factors while working out, the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike has two LCD screens. Even though the two displays come in different sizes, you won’t have a problem checking the data for every detail is organized and the backlight has a bright blue color.
And, the best part? You can export the data so you can study your progress anytime, anywhere. However, you should only use Schwinn Connect and MyFitnessPal if you want a more efficient system.
For a more versatile workout plan, you can set different profiles. More importantly, this recumbent bike has a total of 29 programs and 25 resistance levels. Whether you’ll use lower or higher resistance levels, the heavy flywheel will work smoothly to remain quiet.
To be more specific about the 29 programs, you can enjoy the benefits of one quick start, one recovery test, two different fitness tests for beginners and experts, four custom settings, nine controls for your heart rate, and 12 profiles.
If you can’t imagine exercising without any form of entertainment, this stationary bike promotes the use of phones and other devices. It includes a USB port so you’ll never have to deal with a dead battery.
- High-speed and high-inertia flywheel
- One-piece frame
- Two built-in levelers
- Transport wheels
- Cushioned seat
- Ventilated backrest
- Charging port
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
- Includes a holder for your water bottle and a set of loudspeakers
- Not enough resistance for some users
- Can still produce a loud noise
Comfort isn’t just about padded seats and backrests. Sometimes, adjusting the height of the stationary bike makes a huge difference. That’s one of the reasons why the EXERPEUTIC 900XL Recumbent Exercise Bike is a must-have.
Aside from the adjustments you can make on the bike’s height, this product also has eight magnetic resistance levels. Simply use lower levels when you want to feel more relaxed or higher levels when you’re in the mood for a real challenge.
To instantly present each important detail based on your command, the LCD screen is big enough to show different kinds of data at the same time. It can display your heart rate, speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
Despite its compact width and minimal weight, this recumbent bike can support weight up to 300 pounds. Its extra-wide seat, backrest, and pedals have a lot to do with its generous capacity. No matter how heavy you are, this equipment can keep the noise level at the minimum to remain quiet, especially for people living in apartments.
Speaking of apartment dwellers, they’ll surely appreciate the portability of this product. They can store the bike after ever use by pulling or pushing it through its transport wheels.
- Can support weight up to 300 pounds
- 8 magnetic resistance levels
- LCD monitor
- Built-in heart rate sensors
- Oversized seat and backrest
- Quite drive and flywheel
- Transport wheels
- Loose pedal
- Bumpy rides
- Wobbly seat
- Becomes noisy when the speed increases
Being one of the most affordable recumbent bikes in the market, Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Bike NS-716R boasts its heavy-duty but compact design which has a high weight capacity of 300 pounds. Having a compact and lightweight frame means it can be a perfect fit for small spaces.
This bike features eight magnetic resistance levels. Assembly of the machine can also be easy, as it was already half-assembled upon delivery.
About the seat, it can be adjusted just by sliding it forward or backward on the bottom of the frame. Don’t worry; the seat and the backrest are fixed. The handrail is fixed as well, but it may cause some discomfort for people who have particular seat positions.
Additionally, cushioning on the seat and backrest isn’t too thick to reduce the overall weight of the equipment. The step-thru frame design feature is also a plus.
- Heavy-duty, lightweight metal frame
- Compact design
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
- 8 preset resistance levels
- Step-thru frame design
- Water bottle handle
- Wheels for transport and storage
- Easy to assemble
- Easily adjustable seat
- Soft foam-covered handles
- Quiet rides
- Thin cushioning on the seats which can be uncomfortable
- No smartphone or tablet holder
- Manual recording of the weekly progress
The uniquely-designed, heavy-duty, and relatively lightweight 3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike features a large backlit LCD screen with great readability, 12 presets, and the ability to track time, distance, calories burned, RPM, wattage, and heart rate.
Although this stationary bike can be confusing to operate, you can actually choose among the 12 presets according to your fitness goals. And, if you’re an advanced user, you may choose to use the manual program to accommodate your fitness needs.
Another plus is the adjustable four-way, rail-mounted seat. The seat itself has thick cushioning and a contoured design. We should also highlight the handrails with EKG sensors and resistance control as well as the mesh backrest which can add breathability and effortless support on your back.
Now, what makes this product unique compared to other recumbent bikes is the position of its flywheel which is located at the bottom of the seat. The purpose of that placement is for smoother and quieter cycling.
The flywheel weighs about 20 pounds, so it provides very consistent momentum and smooth pedaling motions. Also, it’s basically maintenance-free and guaranteed for a lifetime of use.
- Modern design for added motivation
- Heavy-duty frame
- Lifetime warranty on the frame and 7 years on other parts
- Weight capacity of 350 pounds
- Angled, rail-mounted 4-way seats
- Thickly cushioned and contoured seats
- Sturdy mesh backrest
- Large LCD screen
- 12 presets, 3 heart rate programs, 1 watts program, and 1 manual program
- User profiles (up to 4)
- EKG sensors and resistance controls integrated with the handlebars
- Smooth, silent drive
- Smartphone/tablet and water holders
- No step-thru design
- Smartphone or tablet holder partially covering the LCD
Uniquely designed, Sunny Health & Fitness Recumbent Bike SF-RB4708 features arm exerciser handlebars attached and in sync with the movement of the pedals. It allows the user to have a low-impact, full-body workout on a single machine right in the comforts of your own home.
Integrated with the handlebars are pulse sensors to read heart beats per minute. However, because of the huge size of the handlebars, this model is not as lightweight and compact as other models.
Meanwhile, this recumbent bike features a digital monitor that tracks time, distance, calories burned, and pulse rate. As a plus, if you’re going to use an app to help monitor your progress, attached on the monitor is a smartphone or tablet holder. That extra feature is great for your entertainment needs.
Lastly, this machine features an eight-level tension so you can control the desired resistance. And, to keep you comfortable when you use higher levels, it includes an adjustable, rail-mounted angled seat. The seat has a contoured, extended design and modest padding. You don’t need to get off the bike anymore just to adjust it for it also comes with an easy seat adjustment lever.
- Belt-drive mechanism
- Heavy-duty metal frame
- Weight capacity of 350 pounds
- Large handlebars synchronized with cycling for upper body exercise
- Low-impact, full-body workouts
- Self-leveling pedals
- Pulse reader integrated with the handlebars
- Angled, rail-mounted seat
- Lets you adjust the seat even while you’re sitting
- No side handlebars
- Not as silent as other models
- Not a space-saver
- No water bottle holder
- No air circulation around the seat
- Difficult to assemble
- Not recommended for barefoot cycling due to the pedal straps
How to Choose Good Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Read on to learn the things you have to think about before buying a recumbent exercise bike.
LCD screens are highly useful to track the time, speed, distance, calories burned, and heart rate of the user. The modern, sophisticated design doesn’t only have the basic features; it also has its own preset workout programs you can choose from depending on your fitness goals.
However, since some recumbent bikes still use the old-school design, we’re going to focus on the basic factors to consider. Learn the importance of backlight, readability, and data.
Even though it’s not exactly present in all LCD screens, the backlight is an important feature for any display. Blue light, in particular, is the most common backlight color for LCD screens on recumbent bikes.
Blue light is scientifically proven to boost alertness, help memory and cognitive function, and elevate mood. It can also help in regulating the waking and sleeping cycle of your body because of your increased alertness while using the equipment, making you use a lot of energy during the day and helping you sleep immediately at night. Overall, it can improve your fitness goals and motivation in ways you’re not aware of.
Another important factor in choosing the LED screen is readability. The bigger the texts, the better. Smaller texts are also acceptable as long as the screen isn’t too crowded. To avoid unnecessary strain in your eyes, check if the display is adjustable.
The most essential feature of LCD screens is the set of data available. It should be very accurate.
The basic data needed in LCD screens are time, distance, speed, and heart rate. Time is essential in measuring endurance. Meanwhile, distance helps measure speed. It can also give you a clearer view of your progress.
Lastly, monitoring your heart rate is essential in achieving your fitness goals. However, you should determine your target heart rate first depending on your cardiovascular health or weight loss goal. That can lead to a more efficient exercise, hence better results.
Resistance is crucial for any recumbent bike to simulate the sensation of riding an actual road bike. It offers tension equal to pedaling an actual bike moving straight, uphill, or downhill.
The most common resistance types found in the market are magnetic and direct contact, but there are other variations you ought to know.
Most commonly found in older recumbent bike models, a strap resistance system generally consists of one belt and two brakes. The mechanism goes this way: the strap runs through a pair of brakes and when you turn the tension knob, the brakes come in contact with the strap or belt, making it harder to pedal. On the other hand, less contact means lower resistance.
Instead of a flywheel, a huge resistance fan is used. It’s connected to the pedal through the belt-and-pulley system.
Just like the science behind DC motors, as the speed increases, the resistance becomes stronger. That’s why you have to pedal faster to feel the challenge. It may feel weird at first, but it’s very effective once you learn how to use it.
The wind generated by the fan to help you cool down is a bonus. And, less maintenance needed is always a huge plus. However, this kind of system may disturb other people because of the noise.
The most in-demand type of resistance in the market, magnetic systems have no direct contact. They promote a friction-free workout to preserve the quality of the entire equipment.
Magnetic resistance uses electromagnetic induction, just like the bullet trains of Japan. It can be controlled digitally, so it’s more expensive than friction-based systems. But, if you compare the maintenance costs, it can still be practical to buy a magnetic recumbent bike.
This type of system is also very smooth and quiet. You can change its resistance just by paddling faster.
This kind of resistance uses friction. Durable braking pads are applied directly on both sides of the flywheel to reduce the rotational speed while paddling. They’re usually made of felt, but other materials can be used as well.
The direct contact system is very accurate, making it unbeatable in providing the user’s desired resistance level. However, it tends to wear and tear over time. This is due to mechanical abuse. That’s why the brake system, including the flywheel, has to be replaced periodically.
Direct contact bikes come at cheaper prices but due to maintenance costs, they can still affect your budget. Not only that but friction can make loud noises. It all comes down to accuracy versus durability before you decide to buy one. Again, this resistance type is accurate but not tough enough for years of use.
Both direct contact and mechanical resistance systems use brakes. The difference is that direct contact has fixed brakes and a flywheel, forcing you to increase speed to gain resistance, while the mechanical system allows you to freely control the contact of brakes on the flywheel, similar to road bikes.
With mechanical resistance, you can increase the pressure applied by the brakes on the flywheel by turning the knob. However, it tends to create undesirable noises due to its mechanism.
The following features should allow adjustments to ensure comfort, convenience, and better performance.
The seat should be adjustable for it to be comfortable. Different bikes offer different ways in adjusting seats, but the easiest and most common one is the slider adjustment. However, it’s better if it’s angled. Also, it’s more convenient if it can be adjusted without stopping your workout.
Sliders can be wobbly so a locking mechanism should be included. It makes the seat sturdier for added comfort.
Most of the handlebars are fixed, but moving ones can also be a good choice. Some recumbent bikes offer an adjustable handlebar system. Even though it shouldn’t be a deciding factor, you can consider it.
Adjustable pedal straps are always a must. With that feature, foot size won’t matter anymore. Rest assured your foot fits and is secured all throughout.
This factor relies heavily on the seat, backrest, and armrests.
Seat designs vary, but the most effective one is the contoured design with thicker cushioning. That design can provide optimal comfort and can conform to any shape. A wider, extended style is a plus, which is one of the reasons why some people choose recumbent bikes over upright bikes.
Most backrests are padded, but the ideal one is the durable mesh attached on huge frames. It can conform to any size and allow airflow around your back.
Foam armrests provide optimal comfort but can be difficult to maintain. They can also be possible breeding grounds for bacteria, which can irritate your skin after prolonged contact.
On the other hand, rubber can be maintained easily. However, it’s an uncomfortable material for some users.
The best armrests will always be padded, ideally with the same amount of foam as standard seats.
Recumbent exercise bikes either have fully exposed pedals or strapped ones. It all depends on your preference. Whether you’ll go for straps or not, remember these tips:
Pedals without straps should be self-leveling and bigger compared to the strapped type. They should also have rough surfaces for better grip just like skateboards. That design allows the shoes’ outsoles to stick.
Straps should be adjustable for the best fit. Most fixed straps can’t accommodate larger foot sizes. A perfect fit is important to enhance your experience on the bike.
The following features aren’t important, but they can significantly improve the quality of your workout.
MP3 Player or Device Holder
In this age of smartphones and streaming services, entertainment becomes a necessity for most people. Almost every activity in households requires access to the internet–including workouts!
Listening to music or watching shows while working out helps you endure the challenge. You can exercise longer without forcing yourself.
Hydration is essential during exercise, so storing water just within your reach is a total must. Though the bottle can be placed right next to the equipment, it can still distract you. You might even hit it. So, it’s a good idea to use a recumbent bike with a bottle holder.
Recumbent exercise bikes are more than just their backrests and front pedals. Just like any other stationary bike, you must still focus on the quality of the system. A good recumbent bike should have all the necessary data on a backlit LCD screen and the convenience of multiple resistance levels. Magnetic resistance is the best type because of its friction-less system, resulting in a durable bike. It’s also easier to adjust.
The Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series is a good starter product for it offers a variety of models for different skill levels. Some units have basic features for beginners while others use advanced technology for people who prefer realistic simulation to really test their skills. In particular, we recommend the 270 so you may use it with training apps. It’s one of the most exciting models out there, saving you the trouble of creating a playlist or finding the perfect show to watch.