Getting a recumbent bike is not a difficult thing, as long as you have an idea of what to look for. However, it can be challenging when you are not sure, which is why we made this guide to help you make the best choice.
The main feature that separates recumbent bikes from the rest is the less stress and emphasis they put on the joints and knees, which makes them a great option for people struggling with arthritis, injuries or are overweight and want to get into shape.
Schwinn 270 recumbent bike – our pick
This might be among the most expensive recumbent bikes on this list, but it certainly lives up to much of its reputation, thanks to the numerous features it comes with.
- Bluetooth connectivity, helps you sync with Schwinn apps for training and tracking progress
- 25 resistance levels
- 17 pounds flywheel
- Ability to sync with RideSocial smartphone app
- High inertia and high speed drive system
- 29 programs – 4 custom, 9 heart rate control, 12 profile, 1 quick start, 2 fitness test
- Perimeter weighted flywheel
- DualTrack LCD display, in-console speakers, media shelf, adjustable fan, USB media charging
This bike has a ton of useful features, most notable being the 29 preset workouts and 25 resistance levels that provide some extra variety when you need it.
You likely want to keep track of your heart rate as you work out, and the bike solves this need through the heart rate pulse grips that are on the seat grips. Even though it lacks a chest strap, the machine can still monitor the breathing rates due to the telemetry abilities it has. The seat itself is quite padded, which helps you stay comfortable throughout your workout, and there is plenty of back support that keeps you cool when you are exercising.
Even though the handlebars are not adjustable, you can change the console’s angle. The bike takes up quite a large footprint and is quite heavy though – it weighs 86.6 pounds and us 64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches in dimensions (L, W. H).
Other convenience aspects are pedal straps to keep your feet firmly on the pedals, an accessory, and large water bottle holder, sealed acoustic chamber speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and a three-speed workout fan. In addition, you get a warranty period of 10 years on the frame, one year on electronics and two years on the mechanical parts.
- Strong construction
- Bluetooth connection and all other features are great
- 29 workout programs
- Easy adjustment of the resistance levels
- Comfortable seating
- Four user profiles, making it easy to use for the family
- High weight capacity
- The handlebars are not adjustable
- The flywheel is lightweight
- Some users might complain due to the brightness of the display
- Not for tall people
This is the best recumbent bike you can choose if you want multiple user profiles, and many people choose it due to the low-impact design. It is however best for you if you are a maximum height of 6 feet tall – anything more than that, and you will struggle to get the most benefits from it.
EXERPEUTIC 900XL recumbent bike – best budget buy
This is another of the smaller recumbent bikes for seniors, mainly due to the handlebars that make your experience comfortable and easy to adjust.
- Magnetic tension system, eight resistance levels
- Large LCD display – shows heart rate, speed, calories burned, distance, and time
- Limited manufacturer warranty of one year
- Maximum user weight of 300 pounds, machine weighs 63 pounds
- Hand pulse sensors
Assembling the bike is easy since most of the parts come pre-assembled for you. The main complication though will happen when handling the tension cable, which you need to attach to the knob, and the instructions are unclear on how it should be done.
Even though this is largely a recumbent bike for those on a budget, the manufacturer still applies a lot of care into setting it up. It is very comfortable to use, with the back support and seat having extensive padding. The seat itself is quite large, helping you stay comfortable throughout use, but it is quite challenging to adjust which can be frustrating at times.
The resistance in use here is the magnetic type, and there are 8 resistance levels, which is quite the feat for a budget bike. The resistance system also makes the bike quiet during use.
However, since it is on a budget, multiple user profiles are the last thing to expect here. The good news is you can monitor many important metrics regarding your activity, such as your heart rate.
- Comes with large pedals that help you stay stable while cycling
- The storage and transportation is easy due to the wheels
- Easy to track progress through the LCD monitor
- Quiet mechanism
- Assembly is challenging in some cases
- The materials making up some parts are not high quality
While this is a bike for entry-level use and those on a budget, it still satisfies many important things and is of good quality to last a long time.
EXERPEUTIC 400XL 300SR folding bike – our pick
This has many advantages that come with its use – not only does it meet all the expectations from a good recumbent bike, but it also has a fold-up option that makes it very easy to store and move around.
- Large seat with plenty of padding
- Adjustment of the seat to accommodate users between 5’2” and 6’2”
- Weight capacity of 300 lbs.
- Magnetic brake resistance, 8 resistance levels
- 6 programs available
- Includes transportation wheels
Thanks to the features like the padded seat, large pedals (straps included), side handlebars that are level with your hips and the full backrest, it is a safe choice that helps you remain comfortable and keeps good form as you use it.
The bike uses a magnetic tension system, which is in 8 levels. This allows you to change the intensity of your workouts as much or as little as you want. For a quiet, smooth ride, the v-belt drive system and the precision balanced flywheel make the experience as smooth as possible.
In addition, it also includes a health monitor that keeps track of your fitness progress through its easy-to-read LCD computer screen. This will display various aspects – pulse, calories burned, speed, time, distance, and it also has an odometer. The pulse sensors are also conveniently located, right on the handlebars, to increase the accuracy.
- Very compact design and easy to fold up and store
- It is the most practical option on the list
- Very affordable
- It might be too small for bigger people
- It does not have as much intense workouts in some cases
This model has plenty of great aspects about it, and its compact nature is a major bonus. It is a good addition to your home gym and will be a great option for someone on a smaller budget.
Sole R92 recumbent bike – best for large spaces
This is a great choice that happens to be among the most affordable picks, especially if you want a cardiovascular workout that is also low impact. The company is widely known due to its focus on biomechanics, and the bikes are designed to put as little stress on the joints and feet as much as possible.
- Zero levels of ECB resistance to give a smooth and quiet transition
- 10 pre-set programs
- Cooling fan
- 20-pound flywheel
- 12-position adjustable seat, and ergonomic design of inward cant to prevent sore feet and knees
There are 10 workout programs on the console. There are the classics you would see in most recumbent bikes, such as hill climb, heart rate control and user defined features. Everything is nicely displayed through a backlit LCD screen of 9 inches, which allows you to monitor relevant statistics quickly.
The design of the bike is quite good, featuring a steel frame, flywheel of 20 lbs., foam seat, and oversized pedals. If you have issues with your knees or joints, you will definitely appreciate the 2O inward design of the pedals, which will help you maintain correct body posture.
In addition, the seat is adjustable and padded, and the back support. You can adjust it according to your own preferences, and the built-in speakers and iPod dock will allow you to enjoy your favorite music without using a separate sound system.
The warranty is three years on the parts and electronics, as well as ten years on the frame, and it is a good deal for the price.
- The frame is very strong and durable
- Quiet operation
- The flywheel is heavy to support smooth operation
- Ergonomic pedals
- A variety of pre-installed programs and features
- Adjustable seat
- The bike is very large in size
- The integrated workout fans are not strong
This is a great bike if you have a home gym, especially a large one. However, it will not have the suitable intensity that an elite athlete may require, although it will work well for most trainees.
Nautilus R616 Recumbent exercise bike – best for heavier users
This is quite similar to the Schwinn 270 in its offerings, as it offers quite a range of luxury features compared to most of the competition, though at a more affordable price. Its build makes it suitable for heavier users, as it is strong enough to offer a smooth riding experience compared to the former.
- 29 customizable workout programs
- 25 resistance levels
- Padded seat, featuring a sliding seat rail that makes it easy to adjust the seat
- Improved Bluetooth connectivity
- Track progress through the Explore the World app
Part of the appeal it has is the wide range of offerings – there are 29 workout programs, media shelf, 25 resistance levels, and many more. In terms of appearance, it does look like the Schwinn 270, but there are some differences, especially the improvement of the console, making it better when monitoring your performance.
The frame is made from steel, which will keep you steady as you pedal, regardless of the resistance you are using. In some cases, you might hear creaks from the seat, but that is only due to loose bolts – you can correct this by tightening them. In order to use the bike on uneven surfaces (which can happen), the bike has two levelers at the middle and rear areas, which you can adjust to stop the bike from rocking too much.
When you want to adjust, keep it in mind that it can accommodate heights between 4’11” and 6’3”, giving it a great range than the Schwinn 270. The seat is also easy to adjust, since it moves on an aluminum rail, and there are no pre-set positioning slots.
The bike has magnetic resistance in 25 levels, and it has a quiet working mechanism with no extra maintenance needed. The transitioning of different resistance levels is also quite smooth due to the small increments. On the other hand, it uses a perimeter weighted flywheel that gives a smooth pedaling motion, and the pedals are oversize in order to allow you to use it regardless of your shoe size.
The warranty is 1 year on electrical parts, 10 years on the frame, 90 days for labor, and 2 years for mechanical parts. Compared to some recumbent bikes, this is among the best on the market.
- Low impact workouts regardless of the specific resistance level
- You can measure your heart rate through compatible heart rate strap (comes in package) or pulse sensors
- Quiet cycling
- Easy assembly
- You can add four user profiles
- Comfortable to use
- Lacks a guest profile
- Short power cord, which will force you to buy an extension cord
Most of the features here are not really necessities, but it will still give you a good experience if you have the patience to learn using the bike and its features.
What to consider when choosing a recumbent bike
Who would benefit from their use?
The best aspect of recumbent bikes is that anyone can experience their benefits, unlike the case with most exercise bikes. The main factor here is the resistance – as long as it is sufficient to make it challenging for you, it is easy to receive maximum benefits from using it.
What should you look for?
The main reason why recumbent bikes are highly popular is because of their seats – they have some of the most comfortable seating aspects compared to other exercise bikes. This is better from most spin bikes that are highly uncomfortable, or the traditional upright bikes which are not any better.
When checking recumbent bikes, make sure to check the seat height and that it is easy to adjust. Some of the high-end bikes will allow you to adjust the reclining angle or do other customizations as well. They will also have mesh backs that boost the airflow and reduce uncomfortable overheating or allow you to adjust the height of the backrest.
The technology it offers
This is entirely up to your preferences, as some might want a lot of extra features while some are comfortable with the basics. These include:
- Workout programs – plenty of bikes will have pre-programmed workouts, though the number will vary.
- User profiles – this will allow you to save your workout settings and your information like weight and age, all for tracking your progress
- Integrated speakers – will allow you to enjoy your music as you do your workouts
- Heart rate monitor – all bikes will have a grip heart rate monitoring system, but the high-quality ones add wireless monitoring or chest straps
This is among the most important factors to look at because it will tell you the sturdiness of the machine itself. When looking at the weight limits, the higher ones are always better because they will tell you that the bike is more durable – especially if the capacity is at least 250 to 300 pounds.
If you are buying a bike that will be used by your family as well, then this is even more important to consider.
The warranty period might be among the last things you will look at, but it is also an important factor to consider when you are looking at bikes. It essentially acts as your insurance policy, so the longer it is, the higher the quality of the bike. For a budget bike though, the warranty might not be as long, lasting for about a year or so – although this is not always the case.
Whatever the case, you should avoid bikes that have no warranty on them, because it is a sign that the manufacturer does not have much confidence in their product anyway.
The best recumbent bikes for your money will depend on your preferences, as well as your lifestyle and what you want to achieve. Hopefully, this list will help you to make the best decision that will work for you.