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Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Updated October 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 35 Models Considered
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 348 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best recumbent exercise bikes

    Last Updated October 2018

    If you’re interested in exercising at home, an exercise bike is certainly at the top the list for aerobic or cardiovascular workouts. But if you have a bad back or other joint issues, it isn’t always the most comfortable machine to use. That’s why a recumbent exercise bike is an ideal alternative, offering all of benefits of a traditional exercise bike but with an eye toward comfort.

    Choosing the right recumbent bike for your home gym can be difficult because there are so many to choose from. You have to know which size, seat design, resistance levels, preset programs, and other features to look for if you want to find the best option for your workout needs.

    If you’re looking for a recumbent exercise bike, our top picks are on this page. If you want some general tips on how to choose a recumbent bike, keep reading our shopping guide.

    For the most effective fitness routine, aim to ride your recumbent exercise bike for at least 30 minutes a day.

    Recumbent exercise bike benefits

    Like a traditional exercise bike, a recumbent exercise bike is a stationary bike meant for indoor exercise. A recumbent bike has a larger seat that’s lower to the ground, as well as support for your back, which a regular exercise bike doesn’t offer. That means you don’t need to hold on to handlebars for balance during your workouts, which puts a lot less stress on your body. Here are some of the benefits of using a recumbent exercise bike instead of a regular exercise bike.

    • Greater comfort: With its larger seat and back support, many people find a recumbent exercise bike to be much more comfortable to ride than a traditional exercise bike. It’s lower to the ground, too, making it easier to get on and off.

    • Less stress on joints and back: The bike’s design helps to relieve stress on your knees and hips because they don’t need to flex as much as you pedal. The back support also helps improve your posture and takes pressure off your back.

    • Hands-free exercise: A recumbent bike doesn’t require that you hold handlebars, so your hands are free as you work out. That makes it easier to read a book or hold a smartphone, tablet, or other device as you exercise.

    • Better balance: The fact that a recumbent exercise bike’s seat is closer to the ground means that its center of gravity is lower as well, which makes it easier to balance yourself, particularly for anyone with balance issues.

    • Effective cardiovascular exercise: As with a traditional exercise bike, pedaling a recumbent exercise bike is an ideal aerobic or cardiovascular workout. It helps improve heart and lung function, and it works major muscle groups for highly effective exercise.

    • Weight control: Because a recumbent bike can get your heart rate up, it helps burn calories and build lean muscle, which can aid in any weight-loss program.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some recumbent exercise bikes have cup holders, making it easy to stay hydrated as you ride.

    Recumbent exercise bike features to consider

    Size

    • Footprint: Recumbent exercise bikes can vary quite a bit in size, so it’s important to measure the area in which you plan to place the bike before you buy. If you don’t have much room, you can find a folding model that is easy to put away for storage.

    • Height: It’s also important to consider the height of the people who will use the bike. Most models have a maximum height accommodation, so you can be sure that you’re able to use the bike comfortably. Most recumbent bikes can fit individuals who are six feet and under. If you’re over six feet, you may have fewer options.

    • Weight: Weight capacity is another essential feature of a recumbent exercise bike to keep in mind. Most models can accommodate individuals who weigh up to 300 pounds, but some models have a weight capacity of up to 400 pounds.

    Seat

    Recumbent exercise bikes usually have very comfortable seats with contoured backrests to provide adequate back support.

    • Padding: For the most comfortable workout, choose a model with a thickly padded seat made of vinyl, faux leather, or rubber.

    • Ventilation: Some seats are also ventilated, which can help keep you cool during lengthier workouts.

    • Adjustability: If you have a back issue, you might want to choose a recumbent bike with an adjustable backrest. You can usually choose from three positions, so you can have the best support for your back based on your particular needs.

    Handles/armrests

    • Handles: Recumbent exercise bikes usually don’t have traditional handlebars because they aren’t necessary for balance. Some bikes do have small handles just beside the seat that you can hold during your workout. Some recumbent bikes raise the handles, so they’re at a more comfortable height.

    • Armrests: Some recumbent bikes provide padded armrests to increase comfort and decrease the strain on your back.

    • Hand pedals: Some bikes have handles that you pedal with your hands for an upper body workout.

    Pedals

    For the most comfortable workout, choose a recumbent exercise bike with oversized pedals to make sure your feet fully fit on them. If you need help keeping your feet on the pedals, consider a model with adjustable straps or toe cages.

    Display

    Most recumbent bikes have a digital display that enables you to track the progress of your workout. You want a model with a clear, easy-to-read screen, which is why larger is usually better. If you use the bike in a room with low light, look for a model with a backlit display. Most recumbent exercise bikes enable you to track some or all of the the following:

    • Speed

    • Distance

    • Time

    • Revolutions per minute (RPM)

    • Calories burned

    • Heart rate

    Resistance level

    If you want to customize your workouts and make them more difficult as your fitness level increases, choose a recumbent exercise bike with several resistance levels. You can then increase the effort it takes to turn the pedals for a tougher workout. Some bikes have as many as 25 resistance levels to enable you to customize your training very precisely.

    Preset programs

    Some recumbent bikes have preset programs to help guide your workout. As you pedal, the bike automatically adjusts the resistance level so you don’t have to. Some bikes have as many as 30 preset programs to keep your workouts varied and interesting.

    Heart-rate monitor

    To get the most out of your exercise, it helps to know what your heart rate is. Many recumbent bikes are equipped with a heart-rate monitor that makes it easy to know if you’re in your target zone. In most cases, the monitor is built into the handles, so you simply need to grip them to track your heart rate.

    Extras

    Many recumbent exercise bikes are equipped with extra features that can enhance your workout.

    • Speakers: Some recumbent bikes have built-in speakers and a USB port, so you can hook up your phone or another device and listen to your favorite workout music as you ride.

    • WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity: Some recumbent bikes have WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to connect to an app from the manufacturer. This allows you to track your workouts and monitor your fitness progress.

    • Fan: Riding a recumbent exercise bike can get hot and sweaty. A model with a built-in fan can help keep you cool no matter how long you work out.

    • Cup holder: A cup holder makes it easy to stay hydrated while you exercise.
    EXPERT TIP

    For the most comfortable ride, adjust your recumbent exercise bike’s seat so your extended leg (with your foot on the pedal) is slightly bent.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Avoid leaning forward when you ride your recumbent exercise bike. Leaning forward when cycling could put unnecessary stress on your back.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Recumbent exercise bike prices

    Recumbent exercise bike prices vary based on the number of resistance levels, preset programs, and other features they offer. In general, you can expect to pay between $100 and $1,000.

    • Budget-friendly

    A basic recumbent exercise bike that offers fewer than ten resistance levels, no preset programs, and few special features usually costs between $100 and $300.

    • Mid-range

    A recumbent exercise bike that offers up to 15 resistance levels, 15 to 20 preset workout programs, heart-rate monitor, built-in speakers, and fan usually costs between $300 and $600.

    • Expensive

    A recumbent exercise bike that offers more than 15 resistance levels, more than 20 preset programs, heart-rate monitor, built-in speakers, and fan usually costs between $600 and $1,000.

    If you’re new to using a recumbent exercise bike, start with a low resistance level. When you’re more comfortable with the bike, you can gradually increase the resistance.

    FAQ

    Q. Can I burn as many calories on a recumbent exercise bike as I would on an upright bike?

    A. You can usually burn just as many calories on a recumbent exercise bike as you would on an upright model. However, a recumbent bike typically doesn’t provide as intense a cardio workout as an upright bike. Because the recumbent style is so comfortable, you may be able to workout longer, which can increase the aerobic benefits and help you burn even more calories.

    Q. Can I use a recumbent exercise bike if I have arthritis?

    A. A recumbent bike is an ideal option if you suffer from arthritis. There’s little impact on your joints when riding the bike, and the bucket seat provides more support for your back and hips to avoid discomfort in those areas. In fact, the slightly reclined position distributes your weight more evenly across the back and hips, so it’s much more comfortable for people with arthritis than an upright exercise bike.

    Q. Is there any way to get an upper body workout with a recumbent exercise bike?

    A. Some recumbent exercise bikes have hand pedals that enable you to work your upper body at the same time. If your bike doesn’t have arm pedals, you can still work out your arms by using hand weights as you pedal.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer

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