10 Best Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews
Recumbent exercise bikes are becoming more popular, as they are much more comfortable and supportive in comparison to traditional upright bikes. Here we review 10 best recumbent exercise bikes that are in the market today.
In this review our favorite exercise bike ended up being the Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike by Stamina Products.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 10 hours of research
Silent, Magnetic Resistance
Sturdy Steel Frame
Adjustable Padded Seat
Small And Portable
- Stamina Elite Total Body
- Schwinn 230
- Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR
- Exerpeutic 900XL
- Exerpeutic 400XL
- Nautilus R614
- Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic
- Marcy NS-716R
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RBD4703
- Merax RB1020
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Stamina Elite Total Body
Silent, Magnetic Resistance
Sturdy Steel Frame
Adjustable Padded Seat
Small And Portable
Handles Do Not Have Resistance
As this bike has a semi-reclined position, it is perfect for workouts to work the hips, thighs and buttocks. This machine is also good for upper body workouts, as you are able to push and pull using the rotating handlebars.Read more
By having silent, magnetic resistance, the bike offers less impact on joints when doing aerobic and cardiovascular workouts. With eight intensity levels that can be changed without having to stop exercising, this bike is a great choice to challenge yourself while working out.
It has a sturdy frame and is made from high quality products, which ensures a safe environment for exercising. The flywheel and seat are both adjustable, and you are also able to monitor your heart rate with this bike.
2. Schwinn 230
20 Levels Of Magnetic Resistance
22 Pre-set Programs
High Speed Inertia Drive System
Slider Seat Rail
No Bluetooth Connectivity
The Schwinn 230 is a hugely popular model which is used in gyms, fitness studios, therapy clinics and homes the world over. This bike maximizes user comfort and customization thanks to its slider seat rail system that features easy adjustment levers that allow you to get just the right fit.Read more
You get 20 levels of whisper quiet magnetic resistance on this bike, which is enough to challenge most exercisers. Thanks to the high speed, high inertia drive system the cycling motion is very smooth and natural. The Schwinn 230 features an impressive monitor, with goal tracking capability that enables users to set and monitor individual exercise goals. In addition, you get 22 pre-set programs; 8 heart rate, 2 custom, 2 fitness test and one quick start. You also have the added advantage of two dual track LCD screens to provide enhanced visibility and goal tracking ability.
Unlike the Schwinn 279, this bike does not feature the RideSocial app or the Schwinn training app as there is no Bluetooth connectivity. However, in our review we found that in terms of ride performance, it is on a par with the 279.
3. Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR
Dual Transmission Flywheel
Heavy Duty Steel Frame
The Exerpeutics GOLD 525XLR recumbent bike offers effective workouts for people who are either beginners at exercising, or are really looking for a challenge. This bike has many therapeutic benefits too and is suitable for people who are suffering from arthritis or other chronic pain and injuries. It is also suitable for women who are pregnant. Essentially, this is a great bike for anyone who has difficulty doing exercise in an upright position.Read more
Through adjusting the positions of this bike, you can create a more tailored workout for your needs, while listening to your music through the speakers, or by connected a headset through the headphone jack. All of the information for your workout is displayed on the LCD display, which is large and clear, so you don’t need to strain your eyes.
An excellent machine with a great design, seriously good performance and perfect for use as a home exercise option or in a busy gym.
4. Exerpeutic 900XL
300-Pound Weight Capacity
8 Levels Of Tension
Oversized Seat Back
Hand Pulse Sensors
Can Be Jerky
The Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike is a budget model that provides good functionality and fitness monitoring. It offers an extended weight capacity of up to 300 pounds. This bike features a step through design which makes it easy for people with mobility problem to get on and off the unit. An eight level magnetic tension system provides for progressive exercise resistance, though this is quite limited in comparison to some of the more mid to high riced recumbents that are on the market.Read more
The LCD computer onboard this bike is quite basic but still provides you with the key training diagnostics of times, speed, distance, calories burned, scan and heart rate. Hand pulse sensors pick up your training pulse to allow you to stay within the fat burning zone. However, these hand sensors are not overly reliable.
The 900XL has an oversized seat back and cushion to protect the lower back and provide enhanced comfort while riding. It can adjusted to suit your individual user requirements. The precision balanced flywheel along with the v-belt drive ensure that you get a smooth, jerk freecycle action. You will also appreciate just how quiet this bike is when you’re riding it. This means that you easily exercise in the same room as family members who are watching TV without upsetting them.
The 900XL has a compact design and even comes with transportation wheels for ease of movement.
5. Exerpeutic 400XL
V-belt Double Transmission Drive
Tension Control System
Easy Entry And Exit
Not A Full Recumbent
The Exerpeutic 400XL is the budget recumbent in the Exerpeutic stable of home exercise bikes. It features an extremely compact, foldable design and is operated by a very quiet v-belt double transmission drive.
It also has a precision balanced flywheel to give a smooth action. The magnetic control system is adjustable to eight levels, providing for progression in intensity and suitability for different members of the family.Read more
This bike is surprisingly secure, supporting up to 300 pounds of user weight. It is clearly not designed for hard out training but it does do a good job of burning the calories, is well priced, efficient and can be easily stored away when not in use. It should be noted that this bike features, not a full, but a semi-recumbent design. It also has a large cushion and seat back for added protection and comfort.
6. Nautilus R614
22 Workout Programs
Dual-track Multi-display LCD Console
High-speed Drive System
Inaccurate Heart Rate Monitor
The Nautilus R614 is a mid-priced recumbent that provides you with 22 workout programs, including fitness tests, hill climb and fat loss specific workouts. It features a dual-track multi display LCD console with goal tracking ability so that you can set and monitor your own individual goals.Read more
This bike is powered by a high speed inertia drive system coupled with a perimeter weighted flywheel. Together they provide a very smooth, fluid and quiet operation that feels just like you are cycling outdoors. The vented seat is a welcome addition, preventing the torso from overheating and allowing for cool air to circulate around the lumbar region.
The hand-held contact heart rate monitor on this model is not nearly as accurate as the telemetry strap unit on the Nautilus R616, but otherwise this unit does a great job of monitoring your workout while giving you a smooth, quiet training experience.
7. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic
Smooth Transition Between Resistance Levels
350-Pound Max User Weight
Extra Seat Padding
The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic recumbent bike RB 4708 is a fairly large sized step through design model which makes it very easy for people to get on and off the seat. It features a rather simple digital monitor screen which provides you with an ongoing record of your training heart rate, along with training distance and time. A centrally located adjustable resistance tension knob allows you to set your pedalling intensity at one of weight levels.Read more
The transition between intensity levels is smoother than many other models at this price range in all the recumbent bikes review we conducted. The maximum user weight on this recumbent bike is an impressive 350 pounds, which gives testament to the solid frame construction and overall sturdiness of the bike. The extra high contoured and cushioned seat back provides extra protection for your back while exercising. Extra padded has been provided to help bring relief to pressure points in the tailbone. A patented easy seat adjustment system even allows you to adjust the seat without having to get off the bike.
8. Marcy NS-716R
Fully Adjustable Seat
Mould Injected Seat
Digital Tracking Panel
The Marcy Magnetic Recumbent NS-716R is a more compact version of their popular 709 model. It features eight levels of pre-set magnetic resistance on a solid foundation with a simple, step through design. The seat is adjustable from 31 to 36 inches to allow the user to get just the right pedal distance.Read more
It should be noted that this is a considerably shorter than the 40-49 inch adjustable length on the 709. The mould injected seat on this bike has been ergonomically designed to support the proper body positioning as well as to provide for maximum seating comfort.
This recumbent bike has a simple monitor that provides accurate renderings of your time, distance and speed. However the calorie and pulse monitoring is fairly inaccurate, as is the case with most hand sensor models. The LCD display is 3.5 inches in diameter. The bike also has transport wheels for ease of movement.
9. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RBD4703
Step Through Design
Oversized Cushion Seat
Removable Work Table
Does Not Fold Up
The Sunny RB4703 is a solid, medium priced recumbent that operates off a magnetic belt drive mechanism. It provides eight levels of tension knob adjusted resistance and has a simple step through design so you don’t have to worry about getting in and off,even if you have restricted mobility.The oversized cushioned seat features extra padding to provide for relief in the pressure points during prolonged workout sessions.Read more
The RB4703 comes with a removable work table that allows you to safely position your tablet in front of you so you that can multitask as you exercise. Patented seat adjustments also allow you to position the seat just where you need it in order to get the right stride length for you. With the extended lever arm you don’t even have to get off the seat while you are repositioning it. This is non-folding version of Sunny’s mid-priced recumbent range. It provides a decent workout, though the pedalling motion is not as fluid as some of their more expensive bikes.
10. Merax RB1020
Very Adjustable Seat
Digital Tracking Panel
Good Weight Capacity
Convenient Transportation Wheel
Durable Foot Pedals
Not For Tall People
The Merax RB1020 is a budget offering that stands up well against mid priced bikes from some of its competitors. It offers 8 levels of magnetic tension knob adjusted resistance.This is a solidly framed heavy duty bike that can support a 380 pound user weight, which is impressive in the budget category. The simple LCD screen gives you a readout of your time, distance, speed, odometer and calories as well as pulse, via handheld sensors.Read more
This unit features an easy to reach lever which allows you to adjust the seat while you are on the bike. This allows you to get just the right seat distance for proper ergonomic pedalling positioning. The seat back pad is especially large and well padded. The textured non-slip floor pedals provide secure foot positioning. The pedals also come with adjustable foot straps. This bike also features wheels so you can simply tilt and roll it away when your workout is over.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Truth be told, using your recumbent bike is an easy task. All you have to do is climb on it, strap your feet in and you’re good to go! But there are many different ways you can use your bike, and we will highlight some ways you can enrich your experience.
Surprisingly, there’s actually a lot of people that do not use their recumbent bikes the right way. The very first mistake many people make before they even get on their bike is not adjusting their seat the right way. This is something that you can do in just mere seconds. Not only will adjusting your seat make the recumbent bike experience more comfortable, but it will also make the workout more effective. You need to slide the seat forward or backward until the leg you extended has a slight bend when the pedals are on the far end on the cycle.
There’s one more thing you should do before getting on your bike, and that is warm up. A recumbent bike is an exercise just like any other, so you need to be ready for it. Dynamic stretching, or stretching while you move, is just one way you can properly warm up for the recumbent bike. You can also try fast walking on the treadmill for ten minutes or so. After you are properly warmed up, pedal lightly for five minutes on your bike before you jump into the exercise. Start out slowly, at a steady pace, and then increase both as time goes by. After those five minutes are up, you can again stand up, rest for a few seconds and stretch out, and then get back on the seat for the actual workout.
Just like with any other exercise we do, maintaining the proper form is a must. In the case of the recumbent bike, proper form is actually critical, unless you want to hurt yourself. Riding the bike properly will also burn off more calories. The most important thing to keep in mind is to never, ever lean forward. Keep your back against the back of the seat, and do it firmly and tightly. When things start getting intense, you can hold onto the handles and the exercise will still be effective, just remember to keep your form!
Selecting the right resistance is also vital to your progress. Many beginners struggle to figure out which resistance level to select. In fact, many people actually tend to set the resistance too high. Do not go all out as soon as you get on the bike! Choose a resistance level that is comfortable for you until you get familiar with the bike. You have to make sure that you can pedal the bike comfortably, and also fast enough to get your heart rate up (around 60 to 80 rpm). If you adjust the resistance level more than once during your workout, you will gain the most benefits. Switch out high and low resistance levels to give your body a little break - you will be able to go for a longer time this way!
You can give interval training a try. Simply pedaling on the bike is a great way to start out, but interval training can push you into a whole new level of success. Many people find that doing interval training on the recumbent bike is the most effective way to use it! Interval training consists out of light pedaling for a longer time and then mixing up short yet very intense bursts of pedaling.
You also have to pedal for long enough in order to actually feel any progress. You should aim to go for at least 30 minutes on the bike per day. 60 to 90 minutes of cardio per day, for five days a week, is the best recipe for fat burn and gaining lean muscle mass.
Last, but not least, keep yourself entertained when you ride the bike! You will get bored of simple cycling after about five minutes or so, so grab a magazine or your phone, or you can even study while you ride, but keep your focus laser sharp during those intense bursts of pedaling.
We’ve told you how to use your recumbent bike, and now it’s time we told you just how effective riding a recumbent bike actually is. Recumbent bikes seem like a very easy way to work out, give that you sit comfortably all the time. But looks can be very deceiving! The recumbent bike can offer you both low and high impact exercises, and when you couple that with many programs the bikes have to offer you get a very effective session.
One small study claims that healthy older women improved their muscle strength, endurance, and even functional abilities after using the bike for eight weeks. When compared to the upright bike, the recumbent bike showed no difference in muscle activity, so no matter which bike you choose the results will be the same. Yet, pedaling on a recumbent bike actually showed a greater activity level in two of the four muscle groups studied.
The recumbent bike is a great way for you to improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and to increase your range of motion. Besides this, recumbent bikes can offer you much more. Firstly, their seat supports your back fully during both low and high impact exercises. The stress your joints suffer will be much lower as a result. If you have lower back injuries, the reclined body position on the recumbent bike will make it easier on your back. The large seat will save your body from that all-familiar saddle soreness we all undoubtedly felt after riding a standard bike. These are aspects unique to the recumbent bike, everything else that the upright bike will provide you with, the recumbent bike will offer the same.
Truth be told, a recumbent bike will not give you a full body workout. It is a cardio exercise so your heart will benefit the most, but the muscles that will work are limited to the ones belonging to your lower body. So combine the recumbent bike with a different type of exercise and you’ll be set to rule the world!
A recumbent bike is a pretty safe piece of equipment, but there are still some things you should follow in order to avoid injuries. Getting hurt on the bike could keep you off it for weeks on end, which is really not good for your fitness progress!
As we mentioned before, make sure that you’re properly warmed up before you get on the bike. And don’t rush! Rushing will make you miss some possibly crucial steps in setting the bike up, which can hurt you as a result. The seat has to be high enough so you can almost fully stretch out your legs when in a stationary position, in order to avoid back and knee injuries. Again, avoid leaning over the bike, and stay glued to the seat. Also, if the resistance is not good enough, your joints are the ones that will be pulling all the weight instead of your muscles, so make sure to amp it up until your muscles are engaged. Make sure that the bike is stable enough, and that no parts are wiggling and jerking about when you ride! This can mean that the construction is unstable, and your risk falling off the bike because of it! Don’t grip too hard, keep your knees parallel and strap in well, and you’ll be safe throughout the duration of the ride.
What your bike is made out of will determine its fate in the long run. The materials will directly affect the durability of the bike, and the comfort as well. Choose wisely when buying your bike, and you’ll have a worthy companion that will last a long time.
The first thing you need to consider is what the frame is made out of. Sturdy steel frames are the best option out there, and they will withstand everything you throw at them. The weight limit of your bike will also increase if it has been constructed well, which is very important for people who just started their fitness journeys. The upholstery of the seat is also something to consider. Leather or synthetic leather seats, with dense foam acting as padding, tend to be the best. They are easy to clean and maintain and are good at remaining hole and tear-free. The pedals, screws, bolts and everything in between also have to be of satisfying quality. One way you can figure out whether your bike was cheaply constructed or not is to listen to how it works. If there’s any excessive noise, or if the bike wiggles and jerks while you ride it it’s likely that it won’t last long! Make sure that you take everything we listed here into account before you buy your bike, and you’ll have a piece that will last for a long time.
No recumbent bike is just a recumbent bike. They all have a huge variety of features that help them stand out from the crowd, and they help you make an easier selection. While there are some features that are fun but not necessary, other features are a must, and every recumbent bike should have them if they want to be named as top-notch.
The most basic features your bike needs to have must be present, no matter the price. The bike has to have various resistance levels you can change with ease. This way you can use the bike for a long time, and it can keep you fit and give you an even better form. The seat must be comfy because that’s where you will be spending most of your time while riding the bike. And it must be adjustable, because no human was born the same way, and we all have individual needs and shapes and sizes. Pedals must have a strap of some sort so you can ride the bike safely. They also must be wide enough for your feet to fit in. The built-in screen and computer must give you basic facts about your ride, facts like time, distance, pace, calories burned, and your heart rate. Some bikes have fans that provide you with the resistance level you need and cool you down at the same time. If you like to listen to music while you ride, you’ll be happy to know that some recumbent bikes have built-in speakers that blast your favorite music. A water bottle holder is a handy feature, and so is a phone holder, and Bluetooth connectivity, but they are not essential for your fitness journey.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
You’ll be happy to know that a lot of recumbent bikes do not require that much maintenance at all! The system that drives the whole bike is often enclosed to keep it safe from damage. You just need to make sure that the screws and bolts holding the whole thing together are secured tightly, every few weeks or months. The pedals and toe straps also have to be check regularly. You don’t want them to fly off mid-cycle! Replace the batteries every now and then, if the console has them. If your bike has a chain, keep it lubricated for a smooth and nice ride!
Other Factors to Consider
When we say weight, we mean both the weight of the bike and its weight capacity. Truth be told, your recumbent bike will probably weight 100 pounds or more. This isn’t too heavy, but if you are not so strong, or if you have an existing injury or disease this can actually become a problem. Luckily, the bikes have transportation wheels that make it easy to move them around. The bikes also have to be heavy so you don’t wiggle and lose stability when you ride it. A bike that is too lightweight is probably cheaply constructed, and you should avoid it. Also, make sure to check the weight capacity of the bike. If you weigh more than what the maximum weight capacity of the bike is, do not risk buying it! There are bikes out there for everyone, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Recumbent bikes are a piece of equipment that everyone should try out just once in their life. Once you do, chances are that you will get hooked on them! They allow you to sit comfortably while you let your legs do most of the work. They are much safer for your back and hands too and are great for people that have health issues. Recumbent bikes are small and portable as well, so they work great for people who are low on space! We hope our guide has helped you understand bikes on a deeper level, and that you found just what you’re looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should I clean my recumbent bike?
If you care about your hygiene and looks, you definitely should! You will sweat while riding the bike, just like you would sweat normally when exercising. This sweat will get stuck on the seat, the handles, and maybe even the pedals. This is why you must wipe down the seat, the handles, the pedals and even the frame after every use. Keep a bottle with water or disinfectant spray nearby so you can do it in just mere minutes!
q: Are recumbent bikes effective?
If you ever tried one out, you already know the answer to this. Recumbent bikes work on your lower leg muscles and help build their power, strength, and endurance. They are also a great cardio workout and will make your heart healthier. You just need to make sure that your form is good, and that you are using the bike correctly, and you will see that it is definitely an effective exercise tool!
q: Can I do HIIT on a recumbent bike?
HIIT is a very special way to exercise. It refers to high-intensity interval training and is a super effective way to remain in shape and build muscle in just mere minutes. It’s characterized by just a few minutes of high-intensity bursts, with a few seconds of rest in between. A recumbent bike can actually help you do this - all you have to do is pedal super fast and intensely for a few seconds or minutes, then take a short break and do it all over again.
q: Can seniors ride recumbent bikes?
A recumbent bike is actually a great option for older or injured people. They are very easy to get on and off, thanks to the low seat. The seat also gives your back a break, as you will be leaned onto the seat as long as you ride the bike. The position in which you will be pedaling saves your joints from extra strain and stress so you can pedal away safely no matter how old you are.
q: Are recumbent bikes easy to assemble?
If you are ordering your bike online, and even if you buy it in a store, chances are that it will not come fully assembled. This is because recumbent bikes are large, not too large, but large enough to not be able to be transported safely in one piece. Also, they might not fit through your door either! So, you will need to assemble it, either by yourself or with the help of someone else. Most bikes are quite easy to assemble, and if they’re not, there are handy instructions to help you. If you still struggle to assemble them, you can call the company you bought the bike from to help you out!