The 9 Best Recumbent Bikes

New Year’s resolutions, oh, how fit we will be by Easter. But then it is January, and it’s too cold to go outside and run, and the gym was too crowded with all the other New Year’s resolvers trying to honor their promise. It’s easy in theory, but not always in practice.

Going to the gym isn’t for everyone. It can be really intimidating, seeing all those crazy fit people, or maybe you just don’t like crowds. You spend more time waiting for a machine than actually using it.

There are plenty of ways around that, and plenty of ways to keep yourself fit without paying for expensive gym memberships or getting locked into a contract you can’t use. If you are not inclined to jog or the weather isn’t allowing it, consider investing in home gym equipment.

Buying a particular machine to use in you home gym can save you a lot of time and money, allowing you to work out any time. Investing in a bike is also a great way to keep in shape, and you can find bikes for in-home use or outdoor riding. For indoor at home use, you can find the regular, upright bikes or spinning bikes, or the laid back, recumbent bike.


SOLE Fitness LCR Light Commercial Recumbent BikeSOLE Fitness LCR Recumbent Bike

They claim to be affordable, but they do clock in near the top of the price range. Sole Fitness is a name you can trust for strong, durable, easy to use exercise equipment, and their recumbent bike classifies there. You will not be surprised to see this bike in health spas, gym fitness classes, and even physio clinics.

Built to be strong and dependable, this light commercial recumbent bikeremains steady even at top speed, and is built with everyone in mind, from beginner to professional. The heavy flywheel has 40 different levels of resistance to allow you to progress through your strength levels. The seat and handlebars can be adjusted for your comfort, and the pedals are large enough to accommodate and have adjustable straps. The large display computer screen allows users to monitor stats on their workout, has six preset programs and two for you to customize, two heart rate programs, and an MP3 player with great speakers.

It’s a great machine, perfect for multi-users, and is built to take a lot of constant use. It comes with a decent warranty, and has easy assembly.


Schwinn 270 Recumbent BikeSchwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

You always win with Schwinn! Trusted name for bikes and exercise equipment since all of us were small, this 270 model is boasted to be the best on the market. The price is right and it has a lot of amazing features.

Let’s start with the 29 preset workout programs and 25 different levels to increase intensity – you can plug in your MP3 player and use Bluetooth to keep your workout data. Dual Track for two LCD windows allows you to monitor as many as 13 different outputs. You can keep track of speed, time, distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, and more.

You can download all your exercise data to set new goals for yourself, stay connected with the media shelf, and enjoy the various workouts provided.

Data can be stored for four different users. It also has a three speed setting for built in fan, water bottle holder, heart rate monitor, and transport wheels for easy moving. With a promising warranty, this bike is a best seller for a reason. Schwinn has been around for over 100 years for a very good reason – high-quality bikes.


Nautilus R616 Recumbent BikeNautilus R616 Recumbent Bike

This bike is very close in quality to the Schwinn bike mentioned above. The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike comes with a lot of great features, including 25 intensity levels, 29 preset workouts to keep you interested and your workouts varied, a heart rate monitor on the grips of the handlebars, and a place to connect your MP3 player for your own music or workout programs with in console speakers.

You can download all your exercise data to watch your great progress. There is also a media shelf, Bluetooth and USB to transfer workout data to other sources, a three-speed fan, and transportation wheels.

This bike is compact and sturdy, able to withstand up to 300 pounds comfortably. Four users can store and track their progress, and you can monitor time, calories burned, heart rate, revolutions per minute, distance traveled, and much more.

This is a great piece of equipment at a great price, and is durable, solid, and has a good warranty. Once again, the brand name says it all. The name stands for quality and they stand behind their name.


Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with PulseExerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse

This is a great bike that comes in around the lower end of the price range. You won’t get a lot of fancy extras, but you will get a great, solid bike, and it does what it is built for. It has a capacity of up to 300 pounds, and it also has an LCD monitor to track heart rate, speed, duration, distance traveled, and calories burned. You can easily scan through the data to find and set what you need.

The heart rate monitor is in the hand grips and you can use this bike in a more upright position or reclined.

Other features include a large, padded, comfortable seat and backrest, large pedals with safety straps, and transport wheels for easy moving. This bike has extended leg stabilizers, which gives a quiet ride due to the precision balanced flywheel. It’s also very easy to get on and off. Overall, it’s perfect for those on a budget, or someone who wants to work out without all the gadgets and extras, things which drive up the price of the bike.


ProForm 400 ES Recumbent BikeProForm 400 ES Recumbent Bike

This bike from ProForm is in the mid price range but is top of the line for quality and performance. This bike has a great oversized chair seat with ventilated back and lumbar support. It also has upper and lower handles, a heart rate monitor, and a fan with two settings.

There are 25 resistance levels, all changed digitally with the tap of your finger and 32 preset workouts, all put together by a professional trainer. They range from top calorie burners to increasing speed and endurance.

More features include extra wide pedals with security straps, a place to attach your MP3 player or tablet (to watch your own shows or listen to music), speakers, and a charging station.

With a 350 pound capacity and a decent warranty, this mid to high priced bike is a great bike with enough features to keep you fit and on track.


Diamondback 510SR Recumbent BikeDiamondback 510SR Recumbent Bike

Diamondback are no strangers to the world of fitness equipment. They have two models of recumbent bikes and this one is lower in cost than the other one, falling in the mid range for pricing.

This model has a sculptured back and seat, with the seat having great padding for comfort. It provides a smooth and quiet ride, has 20 workout programs and 16 levels of resistance for hills, strength, fat burn, etc. There are four heart rate programs, all to keep you working hard toward your goals.

This bike also has an LCD display with a large screen for distance traveled, calories burned, speed, revolutions per minute, time, and more.

It also boasts of a built in speaker system with MP3 connection, pull out magazine holder, two speed cooling fan, and space for water. The weight capacity is up to 300 pounds.

It’s a great bike with a lot of standards and great extras for a mid range price and a standard warranty.


Exerpeutic 4000 Magnetic Recumbent BikeExerpeutic 4000 Magnetic Recumbent Bike

Another recumbent bike from the Exerpeutic family, this one has a few more features than the one mentioned above. It is still well within the lower scale for pricing and a great deal.

It offers a precision balanced flywheel with a V belt drive with magnetic resistance, and 24 levels of intensity. These are all electronic in the console. There is room for four separate users to store their data and track their progress.

There are also 12 preset workouts and 7 separate training programs, heart rate monitoring through the hand grips, large pedals for security, and a large, oversized “Airsoft” seat for comfort.  This bike will accommodate up to 325 pounds, so it’s a solid piece of equipment.

The office chair type of arm supports you while you workout, and there is a space to secure tablets and smart phones, as well as transportation wheels for moving.

It’s a great bike for the price.


Schwinn 230 Recumbent Exercise BikeSchwinn 230 Recumbent Exercise Bike

This is another great bike from the Schwinn family at a great low price. This model offers a bit less than the other model we talked about, but it is still a great piece of exercise equipment. Compared to other recumbent bikes in this price range, this bike delivers.

The Schwinn 230 comes with 20 levels of intensity and 22 workout preset programs, which is only a few less than the 270 model. Two users can store and track their data.

You can connect your MP3 player and listen with the built-in speakers and access Schwinn Connect. There is a media shelf, and you can monitor speed, calories burned, watts, distance traveled, revolutions per minute, as well as time, pulse, and several more.

The main difference between this model and the other is the Bluetooth data transfer and the strap for heart rate monitor, so if you don’t care about that, you will be fine with this bike.

There is a three speed fan, bottle holder, and transport wheels to move around. The weight capacity is 300 pounds.

Even more features include ventilated back support and a cushioned seat, which provides a great workout. You can get these great features for a lot less than many other recumbent bikes priced well higher that this bike. There is a great warranty for a bike in this price range, which speaks of the quality that the Schwinn name brings.


NordicTrack VR21 Recumbent BikeNordicTrack VR21 Recumbent Bike

Here is another trusted name in the world of exercise equipment. This bike is built with a unique design to be comfortable and minimize any strain. It is easy to get on and off with its wide open frame, and the padded seat and specially designed back support allow the rider to work out without the risk of back stress.

The computer console has 25 different settings for resistance and 32 professionally designed workout programs to keep you interested and motivated. The levels and adjustments are OneTouch, and the backlit screen shows all of your data in real time, including calories burned, revolutions per minute, speed, distance covered, time, and more.

Additional features include grip sensors to monitor your heart rate, iFit compatibility that allows you to access any program around the world, and their own AutoBreezeTM fan that adjusts to you and how intense your workout is, and fans you accordingly.

This bike, compared to many here, is in the higher range but is still affordable. It is a well built piece of machinery and perfect for those who need a recumbent bike for therapeutic reasons, with mobility concerns, or are recovering from injuries.

NordicTrack offers a good warranty with a 30 day money back guarantee. This is a company that knows how to build exercise equipment and they stand behind it.


What is a Recumbent Bike?

 A recumbent bike is one that allows the rider to pedal from a reclined or recumbent position. Many people choose this type of reclined bike for comfort reasons, as it allows the weight to be more evenly distributed across the longer space and gives support to the back and buttocks, while taking it off the feet, arms, and hands. There are hands-free models, which allow you to read, watch a workout video, or catch up on work while you workout. Obviously, the outdoor models will have handlebars.

Recumbent Bike vs. Regular Bike

The biggest difference between a regular, upright bike and the recumbent bike is the comfort level. On an upright bike, you put strain on your back to lean over the handlebars, which can cause muscle fatigue in the back and the neck. For home use, the upright bike provides a better cardio workout.

With the recumbent bike, you are leaning back in a reclined position as you lie along the bike frame. The seat is much bigger and more comfortable, which means you can go a lot longer. The recumbent bike is much easier on the joints and since you cannot stand up, it takes the pressure off of ankles, knees, and hips. There is also back support that you don’t get on an upright bike, which is important for those who may have suffered back strain or are in a job where they use their back all day. The cardio burn is slower than an upright bike, but you are more comfortable and will have the wind to pedal longer.

Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have covered some of the available models and types of recumbent bikes on the market, let’s look at what to look for so you can make better choices.

Cost ~ Price is always something you need to consider when investing in a piece of exercise machinery. The lowest cost doesn’t always mean it’s the lowest in quality, and the highest priced equipment doesn’t always mean it’s the best. Often the higher price is due to the name brand you are paying for or the extras, like fancy computer features you may not need.

It’s important for you to make a budget plan for this investment, because even if price is not a problem for you, you want to know you are going to be using it, and not have it taking up space and gathering dust. Always compare the pieces to your needs.

Test Drive ~ It is really important to try out the machines first. You can do this in the store, where you are planning to buy it, but a better idea is to take a few classes at the gym or health spa to really get a sense of what you like and don’t like. This will also be important for what you are looking for in the bike.

If you need it to recover or for physical therapy, then those needs are different from someone wanting to buy the bike for exercise. While trying the bike, check for comfort, durability, how it fits, and also make sure that you feel secure and safe on the bike, that you are comfortable using it for a long enough period of time, and that it all fits with your body type.

If you like the bike but it seems too small or too big, make sure there are provisions for adjustments to make it fit. Many of the bikes have some kind of adjustment ability, so make sure they are what you need.

Only you are able to decide if the bike fits you and your needs and if it is comfortable. Buying something that looks good but doesn’t feel good is just a waste of money, as you will never use it and it will just be taking up space.

Be sure to test drive several different types, as well. There will be features you like on one bike but not the next one. Keep a list of the features that work for you and try to find as many as you can in the one bike. It will be impossible to find the perfect machine, but with all of the choices available, you should be able to come close.

Size ~ The size of these machines doesn’t vary a great deal, but it will be important if your space is limited. Measure the space you are in and measure the bike you are looking at. Make sure you will have enough space to place the bike, but also enough space to move around, get on and off easily, and allow others to get past, if necessary.

It is also a good idea to see if the unit you are considering will fold up, or collapse for storage, if you need the space during non use of the bike. Many have transportation wheels to easily move the machine from room to room or just to move it out of the way. There may be some that have vertical storage capability, which is good for those with small rooms or apartments.

Resistance ~ The resistance on the bike can have different systems, so find out which one you like best. The magnetic braking systems in the flywheel tend to be the most popular, requiring little maintenance. They also provide the best, most intense resistance, so if you are going for the best workout, you may want to consider those.

Some of the flywheel resistance systems can be noisier than others, so that is something to consider, as well. If you share the space with other people, or workout when the baby sleeping, or are concerned about the downstairs neighbours, then keep that in mind while looking at bikes. However, most machines tend to run on the quiet side, and it is a good idea to know how it will affect others.

Computers ~ Almost all exercise equipment comes with some kind of computerized monitor or pre programmed workouts, so take a look at those if you want it. There are varying levels of what the computer will be capable of, and there are many brand names that have their own data storage system that you can connect to to keep tabs on your stats and progress. Many of the brand name fitness data banks require an extra fee, and are not always included.

If you are budgeting and these things are not important, then be aware that these types of added extras do drive up the price of the bike quite a bit. If it is important to you, then look for what you need. Some screens have different sizes, and make sure the numbers and screen readouts are easy to read for you, that you understand how to operate the features and if not, ask about a manual for guidance.

The computers and their exercise programs can be a real incentive to keep you exercising more, driving you to try all of the programs and to keep trying to improve your most recent statistics.

 Construction ~ This is also something to look at for the recumbent bike – you need to know it will last, you want to know about certain areas of the bike that may have different or lesser materials used, and you need to know about certain substances used in coverings, mostly if you have any kind of allergies or reactions to certain substances.

The weight allowance might be something to consider if you are heavier than average and if others will also be using the bike. You want to know if there are parts that will wear out faster than others, if they are easily repaired or replaced, and if it is worth your time and money. Also, will point of purchase do the repairs or take care of that, or do you need to go somewhere else?

Ask about maintenance, as well. Besides regular cleaning, will it require oiling, parts changed, batteries, and other considerations? When you are in the store, ask about the best sellers, if any will be going on sale soon, if there are any that are discontinued, and if it will be difficult to get parts for those bikes, if you choose to buy the lesser priced, older model.

Warranty ~ All machines come with some type of warranty, and most of them cover the frame for a lifetime, but there will differences between them for parts and labor. Be sure to ask about them and if there are extended warranties, if that’s a way you choose to go. Also, if you are unsure about what you want, avoid buying something second hand just to save a few dollars. There will be no warranty and you won’t know the real reason they are unloading it.

Well, you should be all set. We’ve tried to cover the ground here for your recumbent bike needs. Do your own research and find out what you like. Look online, try out as many different types of bikes as you can, and make some informed decisions.

Ask at the gym, ask your doctor or physical therapist, ask your friends and family, and ask around at work. People may be brand loyal, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Make a list of the things you want to know and then ask away. The best recumbent bike is out there, waiting for you. Happy pedaling!