Using an exercise bike to lose weight is a good idea. They're relatively low-impact exercise machines, which is particularly useful if you're a heavier person because other types of machines might put too much pressure on your joints.
In this article, you’ll find the best recumbent and upright exercise bikes for heavy people. Plus, I discuss which of the two machines is better for heavier people.
Quick Overview: Our Top 5 Heavy-Duty Exercise Bikes
- Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike (300 Lbs.)
- Marcy ME-709 (300 Lbs.)
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4708 (350 Lbs.)
- Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS (400 Lbs.)
- Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR (400 Lbs.)
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
Differences between Recumbent bikes and Upright bikes
There are two popular types of exercise bikes. The upright and recumbent bike. An upright exercise bike makes you hold the handles. Like the name says you’ll usually sit upright. You could compare it to a regular road bicycle.
On a recumbent bike, you’ll have to use your feet to pedal in front of you instead of below. It usually also has a backrest and a seat.
In the next few paragraphs, I’ll discuss what the advantages and disadvantages of recumbent bikes are. I'll do the same for upright bikes. Some of the pros and cons are general, but most are specifically for heavier people.
Pros of Recumbent Exercise Bikes
- They tend to be more comfortable. The design allows you to divide your weight more equally. Your body sits well into the frame. This might also be useful for seniors.
- The more natural reclined body position might help to reduce fatigue and muscle soreness in the upper part of your body.
- Your back usually feels less strain during your workout because of the reclined position of the seat. Plus, you can sit against the back seat. This might be helpful for people with back pain.
- You can use the machine without holding on to anything. So, you can hold a book or tablet during your training.
- They tend to be larger than upright bikes. If you’re looking for a space-saving machine, then this might be a disadvantage.
- You may get too comfortable, which isn’t helpful if you want to burn calories. Although, because they tend to be more comfortable you might work out for a longer period.
- You can’t lift your body off the seat and stand on the pedals. So you won’t be able to vary as much. Of course, depending on the model you can still adjust the resistance or your cycling speed.
Pros of Upright Exercise Bikes
- The machine allows you to stand on the pedals. This could be helpful if you want to do a hill climb.
- They're usually smaller, so it might be a better option if you don’t have a lot of room.
- The slightly hunched over position with a slight bend in the back and neck may cause fatigue and muscle soreness.
- The relatively smaller seat could cause pain and aches in the buttocks. Or, what you might call ‘saddle soreness’.
Which exercise bike is best for heavier people?
If you want to lose weight, then both the recumbent- and upright bike are a good choice. There’s no right or wrong machine. Both machines can give you a challenging workout, which you’ll need to lose weight.
You might have a personal preference for one of the two machine. Maybe, you think the upright version is more comfortable because this machine is more like sitting on a traditional bicycle.
If you want a more comfortable workout, then I recommend a recumbent bike. This is especially a good machine if you know your body can use the extra support. The design distributes your weight over your back and buttocks, which tends to make your workout more comfortable. Plus, you’ll most likely experience more support from the back seat.
In my opinion, upright exercise bikes are a better choice if you like to cycle on a traditional bicycle. If that’s the case, then you’ll most likely have a comfortable workout experience on an upright bike as well. It’s also a good choice if you’re looking for a small machine because they tend to take up less space.
How many calories can you burn?
You might be wondering how much calories you can burn per workout. Well, the amount of calories you’ll burn mainly depends on your weight and the intensity of the workout.
According to the Harvard Medical School, a 125-pound person burns about 210 calories per 30 minutes at a moderate pace on a stationary bicyle.
Stationary Bicycling (moderate)
Stationary bicycling (vigorous)
The Best Exercise Bikes For Heavy & Obese People (our choices)
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike (300 Lb)
The magnetic upright bike from Exerpeutic is a relatively basic exercise bike with a maximum weight capacity of 300 Lb.
The relatively large seat cushion provides a more comfortable workout for heavier people. You can adjust the position which allows users from 5 feet 3-inch to 6 feet 1-inch user heights.
- Compact folding design allows for easier storage. It can fold to 1/2 the assembled size.
- Relatively large seat cushion.
- Some might argue this is not a real upright model because the pedals are not straight underneath the machine.
Marcy ME-709 (300 Lb)
The ME-709 from Marcy has a weight limit of 300 Lbs. Many of the features can be adjusted, which helps to make your workout more comfortable.
A few examples of the adjustable features are; the padded seat, the counter balanced paddles and eight levels of magnetic resistance.
Furthermore, it has a step-through design. Just like the name says it makes it possible to ‘step through’ the bike. This is especially helpful if you’re a heavier person because it will make it easier to get on and off the seat.
- The relatively comfortable padded seat with high-density foam reduces the chance of saddle soreness.
- The design of the machine makes it easier to get on and off.
- Its made from PVC, premium 14-gauge steel tubing and rubber, which make it relatively stable and fit for daily use.
- Some users might want a training computer with more advanced workout metrics.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4708 (350 Lb)
If you’re looking for a recumbent model with an option to train your arms, then the SF-RB4708 might be worth considering. You can use the movable handlebars while you’re pedaling. So you can target both your arms and legs for a full body workout.
Furthermore, this model has an oversized seat and back. This is especially an interesting feature if you’re overweight because a larger seat and good back support make your workout more enjoyable.
- The movable handlebars allow you to target both your arms and legs.
- The heavy duty frame supports a maximum weight of 350 Lbs.
- Relatively large seat and back.
- The handlebars might be annoying, if you don’t plan on using them.
- The assembly process might be a bit difficult for some people.
Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS Foldable Upright Bike (400 Lb)
The Gold 500 XLS is an upright version with a maximum weight limit of 400 Lb. This is a relatively basic model, just like the other Exerpeutic exercise bike in this article.
The high durability steel frame construction provides enough stability for a heavier person. According to Exerpeutic, the construction has 20% more steel than the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike, which might make it a better choice for a heavier person.
- It has a relatively high maximum weight capacity of 400 Lbs.
- According to Exerpeutic, it has 20 percent more steel than the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike
- The pedals are not directly underneath the machine.
Exerpeutic GOLD 525XLR (400 Lb)
The Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR is a heavy duty machine with a relatively high weight limit of 400 Lbs. It has a durable steel frame and according to Exerpeutic 27% more steel than the Exerpeutic 400 XL.
Furthermore, the design doesn’t look like the more ‘traditional recumbent bikes’. This is probably the reason why this model can fold to almost half the size. The dimensions when folded are; 27” (L) by 18” (W) by 48” (H).
- It supports a maximum user weight of 400 Lbs.
- The machine is foldable to half its size.
- It has transport wheels, which makes it easier to store.
- Some people might not like the ‘semi-recumbent design’.