There’s no doubt that recumbent exercise bikes are popular. Their relatively high level of comfort is probably the main reason why these bikes are so popular.
Additionally, they also provide an effective workout. On average, a 150-pound who uses this machine on a moderate pace will burn about 330 calories per hour. 330 calories might not sound like much, but you can do this while watching your favorite show without feeling exhausted.
In this article, I’ll share in-depth information about this type of bike. Plus, I’ll share my top 5 best recumbent exercise bikes. So, let’s take a look!
What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
What makes a recumbent bike different from other types of exercise bikes is the position of the seat. The seat allows users to exercise in a laid-back reclining position, which provides extra comfort and support.
Cycling in a seated, reclined position with back support, reduces the stress on your back and arms. This makes it especially suitable if you’re recovering from an injury or if you’re less flexible. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking for a low-impact stationary cycling machine.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
Using a recumbent exercise bike provides many benefits for a variety of different users. However, the users most likely to benefit the most are those looking for an adapted, more comfortable cycling experience. People of all levels of fitness can enjoy a challenge on a recumbent exercise bike as the intensity can be adjusted very easily.
With the majority of recumbent bikes featuring magnetic resistance, your body will be working most of your leg muscles. As you speed up or slow down on the bike your glutes, calves and thighs will all be engaged. Your abdominal muscles will also be engaged as your body maintains the position of your legs. (1)
A recumbent exercise bike is great because it works a variety of muscles in your body, without an increased risk of strain. Unlike using a different kind of exercise bike, like an upright spinning bike, added back support reduces the risk of strain or injury. The unique seating position of a recumbent exercise bike is very ergonomic and a good choice for those with previous back or knee injuries. (2)
The majority of recumbent exercise bikes also come with a variety of features to help you monitor and track your body during a workout. Similar to other kinds of exercise bikes, users will be able to track their heart rate and follow pre-programmed workouts for added resistance and challenge.
Overall, a recumbent bike gives users a great workout with extra back and knee support.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Recumbent Exercise Bike
Here are some key factors we think are important to consider before getting a recumbent exercise bike to use at home.
Resistance and Workout Programs
One of the most important features of a recumbent exercise bike is resistance. This is the key element and base of the workout, so it is essential to choose a bike that allows you to easily alter the resistance as you go. The ability to customize the resistance is important for you to get the most out of each and every workout.
Some recumbent bikes will also come with a number of pre-programmed workouts built into the system. This is a great feature to have as it will provide extra challenge and variety for you during your workouts. Before purchasing your own recumbent bike, be sure to check the variety of pre-programmed workouts included, if you think this is something you will benefit from.
It is important to keep track of your body during a workout, as well as your progress over a longer period of time. Many recumbent bikes will come with a variety of useful features built in to the machine to help you with this. Some great features to look for in a bike is the ability to track time, distance and calories burned as well as your heart rate.
Depending on how you wish to use this data, you may want to consider getting a bike that stores your data and tracks your progress. There are bikes that will also track and save the data of multiple users. While this feature is not essential for the overall use of the bike, it could be a useful motivator for some.
Comfort and Experience
As the main feature and function of a recumbent exercise bike is to provide added support to the back, it is very important that you choose a bike that is comfortable. Ensure the seat provides enough support so that you will be able to comfortably work out whenever you like.
An important feature to look for when selecting a recumbent bike is the seat’s adjustability. Look for a seat that can easily be adapted and adjusted for extra comfort. Not only will this provide you with the best experience possible, but it also means that others can easily use the machine too.
Finally, be sure to check the weight capacity of the recumbent bike you choose, particularly if you are over 250 pounds. This will ensure that machine can comfortably and safely support you.
Warranty and Maintenance
Exercise equipment is not cheap, so it is important to make sure the bike you choose comes with a warranty to keep you protected. Look for a bike that is covered under warranty for as long as possible. This shows that the bike manufacturers have confidence in their equipment and the quality of the finish.
The best way to get the most out of a recumbent bike, is to take care of it. While most of these machines are built to withstand a great deal of use, make sure it does not get wet. Keep your recumbent bike indoors and take your towel off the bike when you are done.
Sweat or moisture can damage the electronics of the machine. Making sure to wipe down your machine after each use is a simple and easy way to keep your bike in the best shape for as long as possible.
Consider any extra features that come with the bike and if you will be likely to use them. Some bikes come complete with things like built-in speakers, MP3 players, fans or USB ports. If there is a particular feature that you think will be essential, then it is worth considering that when purchasing a bike for home.
However, some extra features come with extra costs. So, with that said, make sure to consider how valuable these added features will be to you. If the novelty is likely to wear off after a few uses, then it is not worth spending the extra money.
Tips When Using a Recumbent Exercise Bike
Ensure that you are wearing the correct clothing and footwear when using a recumbent exercise bike, for both comfort and safety. Wearing a running shoe is perfect for extra grip to keep your feet securely inside the pedals.
Also make sure not to wear any clothing that is very loose fitting when using your bike. Shorts or gym leggings are the best option to avoid any clothes hanging down near the bike gears. Trapped clothing can cause injuries while cycling.
The Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes Reviewed (Our Choices)
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
The ME-709 recumbent exercise bike by Marcy offers some great features. It comes with eight different levels of resistance as well as a screen that tracks time, distance, speed and burned calories.
As these bikes are designed for extra back support, Marcy has you covered with a foam padded seat. Their pedals also come complete with adjustable foot straps for extra grip and comfort which is a nice feature.
Users of up to 300 pounds can use this bike and it comes complete with transport wheels for added portability. Finally, the warranty of this bike covers you for two years which is pretty good as far as warranties go.
- The seat has thick foam padding and is adjustable.
- Foot straps and handles are adjustable, so you can choose your favorite position.
- The large screen offers easy monitoring of speed, time, calories burned and distance.
- The built-in transport wheels make it easy to move about.
- Comes with a two-year warranty.
- Only eight resistance settings, which is a relatively low number compared to other bikes.
- No heart rate monitor.
- There are no pre-programmed workouts.
PROGEAR 555LXT Magnetic Tension Recumbent Bike
The 555LXT is a great choice for a few reasons. First of all, it comes with 14 different levels of variable tension resistance. This makes it perfect for easily adjusting the intensity of your workout. However, it does not feature any pre-programmed workouts.
This bike keeps track of the time, distance and calories burned during your workout. I also like the compact design of this bike, making it great for smaller spaces at home. The bike can accommodate users up to 250 pounds and comes with a one-year warranty of the structural frame.
The other parts of the bike are only covered for 90 days though. So be sure to take care of the pedals and seats to prevent any avoidable damage. While the seat is adjustable, it can only comfortably seat users with a minimum height of 5-foot-3-inches. So, if you are shorter, this might not be the best option.
- Compact design so will fit in smaller rooms, plus it is lightweight so can easily be moved around.
- 14 levels of variable resistance for different types of workouts.
- Padded seat and backrest.
- Computer tracks time, distance, speed, RPM and number of calories burned.
- Adjustable pedal straps.
- Features a bottle holder, so you can easily stay hydrated.
- No pre-programmed workouts.
- Seat is not fully adjustable, so not ideal for short people.
- No screen—you need to place a tablet on the holder to see your stats.
- There are no front handlebars for support.
- Short warranty on some parts.
Nautilus R614 Recumbent Bike
This is a great option for anyone interested in a challenge and mixing up their workout. The R614 is complete with 22 different programs and 20 different resistance levels. This bike seems like a great choice for those really looking to challenge themselves with a variety of different cycling workouts.
Another great feature of this bike is its built-in LCD screen, which tracks your workout as well as your exercise goals. Users can easily keep track of their heart rate, distance traveled and the calories they have burned. I also really like that this bike comes with a ventilated seat, to help keep you cool during your exercise.
The R614 also comes with some handy extra features like a USB port for charging your phone and built-in speakers. It can support users up to 300 pounds and comes with a ten-year warranty on the frame. Other parts of the bike are also covered for up to two years which makes me think this bike is built to last.
- 22 different programs for a variety of workouts.
- 20 resistance settings.
- Ventilated seat helps to keep you cool.
- Comes with a 10-year warranty.
- Built-in speakers and USB port.
- Easily adjusted for different users.
- Seat is not padded, so perhaps not very comfortable when exercising for a long time.
- For some features to work, bike needs to be plugged in.
- Only two user profiles available on the computer.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RB1117 Magnetic Recumbent Bike
Here is a great option if you are tight on space at home. The Sunny Health and Fitness recumbent bike features a foldable and compact design. This means you can easily fold the bike away and store it after use, without it becoming a permanent feature of your dining room.
The SF-RB1117 comes with a one-year warranty so you are covered for a decent amount of time against damage or breakage.
We love that this bike is not only compact and portable, but also features different options. Users can choose from eight different levels of intensity and track different elements during the workout. This bike can monitor speed, calories burnt, heart rate, distance and time.
- Compact and foldable design.
- Built-in computer helps to track your progress.
- Quiet when in use.
- No pre-programmed workouts.
- Seat is not particularly comfortable.
Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike
With eight different levels of tension to choose from this bike gives you flexibility when working out. The 900XL keeps track of your workout by monitoring your heart rate through hand sensors on the arm rests. However, this bike does not come with built-in pre-programmed workouts.
The 900XL features a slightly wider seat for added comfort. This exercise bike can accommodate users up to 300 pounds in weight. This is great for users with a larger build, as it will comfortably and safely support you through your workout.
Another great feature of this exercise bike is that is comes fitted with wheels on the base for you to easily move it around the house. Finally, the 900XL comes with a one-year warranty on the frame. However, the other elements of the bike like the display, electronics, pedals and upholstery are only under warranty for 90 days.
- Wider seat for added comfort.
- Transport wheels make it portable.
- Heart rate sensor to check your cardio.
- No pre-programmed workouts.
- Only eight levels of tension, so not possible to tailor workouts exactly to your fitness needs.
- Short warranty for some parts.
Recumbent exercise bikes are designed for added support and comfort. Particularly for those with previous back, neck or hip injuries. If you are uncomfortable on the bike you choose, then it isn’t going to work. Once you’re set up and comfortable, a recumbent bike can give a great resistance-based workout.
Be sure to choose a machine that has a variety of options in terms of tweaking the resistance. This will help you to get the best use out of your machine. A bike that tracks your progress is also handy for those with specific fitness goals.
When it comes down to our favorite we would have to go with the Nautilus R614. This bike comes with such a great array of features as well as some bonus extras like built-in speakers. The amount of options and resistance levels offer a range of different workouts for every fitness level.
We also love that this bike has such a long warranty. With 10 years of cover we know that this bike must be great quality. The Nautilus R614 will keep you busy for years to come.