If you’ve been riding a traditional stationary bike forever, you might not realize that there are other options out there.
Even if you’ve never heard of a recumbent bicycle, I’m sure you’ve seen someone riding one either on the street or at the gym.
A recumbent bike puts the rider in a more comfortable position and is often recommended for anyone in physical therapy or with joint or muscle pain.
I didn’t think the type of bike I used during my workouts would make such a difference in how I felt, but after reading through a few recumbent bike reviews, I decided to at least give it a shot.
Keep reading to learn all about recumbent bikes and which brands are my favorite. I’m sure you’ll be rethinking your biking strategy very soon!
1. Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
This might be the best recumbent bike for beginners.
It features a very simple design and an easy to read LCD display that tracks your distance, calories, time, speed, and heart rate.
It’s not a complete recumbent bike as the seat is a little higher than most, but this allows you to get in and out much faster. The size of this bike makes it perfect for an apartment or small space.
2. Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike
This is a full recumbent stationary bike with an eight level magnetic tension control system.
I was able to completely customize my ride and challenge myself as I got stronger and more advanced.
It also includes an LCD display and only weighs 63 pounds, making it easier to move around if space is an issue.
3. Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Marcy Me is the perfect starter bike according to many recumbent exercise bike reviews.
It has eight levels of preset resistance, and the tension knob is easy to adjust.
It has a very large color display that gives you all the information you need.
It also comes with foot straps for safety and built-in transport wheels for convenience. You can easily adjust the legs and seat to customize your comfort level.
When I used this bike, I put a pillow between the seat and backrest just to make it even more relaxing.
4. Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
If you’re really into tracking your results and data, this is the bike for you.
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike features a dual track LCD window system that allows you to keep an eye on 13 different feedback displays.
There's also goal tracking capabilities and data export so you can stay on top of your progress.
This bike is perfect for anyone training over winter for an early spring race. I loved the 25 levels of resistance, and each workout with this bike was incredibly smooth and quiet.
5. Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike
Have you ever been in the middle of a workout and your music-playing device runs out of battery?
I don’t know about you, but I literally can’t workout unless I’m listening to my favorite playlists.
The Schwinn 230 has a built-in USB charging port to solve this problem. It also has two user settings, making it perfect for roommates or couples that want to track progress without erasing each other’s user data.
Just looking at a few recumbent exercise bike reviews will tell you how important these features are.
6. Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike
It doesn’t get much simpler than this, at least when it comes to design.
The Velocity bike’s design is simple and functional but still looks great.
It has a two-way flywheel that makes for a smooth and comfortable ride, plus eight levels of preset resistance. I enjoyed the padded foot pedals and the large console display.
The display tracked my pulse, which is great for when you’re keeping track of heart rate for cardiovascular reasons.
7. Stamina 1350 Magnetic Resistance Recumbent Bike
Don’t be fooled by this bike’s simple appearance.
It’s incredibly effective and comfortable. It features a smooth magnetic resistance system with a tension dial for easy adjustments, making it a contender for the best recumbent trike.
It has a large display monitor and the seat and handrails are all adjustable. The bike is very light, so if you’ll need to move your bike around a room, you won’t struggle with this model.
The bike is also very quiet. It is a bit difficult to put together if you’ve never done so before, but with a little patience you’ll be up and running in no time.
8. Exerpeutic 4000 Magnetic Recumbent Bike
My favorite part about this bike was the armrest feature.
I felt like I was just sitting at the office getting some work done instead of working out.
The seat has a really neat feature called aerodynamic health care technology. It allows air to breathe through the fabric.
The bike comes with 12 workouts programmed into its computer display and utilizes Bluetooth technology to let you easily track your results. The tension system was easy to use, and I loved the challenges this bike gave me.
If you like this one, check out the Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike as well.
9. Nautilus R614 Recumbent Bike
Now this was a comfortable bike! I loved the charging USB port and how it exported all of my data.
I also enjoyed the 22 programs and was never bored with 20 levels of resistance.
But I really loved the large backrest and the acoustic chambered speakers. It was more of an experience than a workout.
If you are serious about your workout results, you’ll appreciate the grip heartrate feature that’s both accurate and convenient.
10. Velocity Exercise Dual Motion Recumbent Bike
Do your legs tire out a bit earlier than you’d like?
According to exercise bike reviews, this is a common issue. If you’re one of the many who have this problem, then the Velocity is the perfect bike for you.
When your legs start to give out, switch to using the upper body pedals. You’ll still be burning calories while you sit.
You can also use both the foot pedals and the upper body pedals simultaneously for a really amazing workout, all while you sit.
This bike is also incredibly easy to put together and quiet when you’re pedaling away. This might be the best recumbent bike for seniors because of the dual motion feature.
What Is a Recumbent Bike?
A recumbent bike allows the rider to remain in a reclined position. Many choose this type of bike for ergonomic reasons.
With their weight more comfortably and evenly distributed, there is less stress placed on the joints. The rider will in theory be able to ride for a longer duration of time with less muscle fatigue and discomfort.
How Do They Work?
The design of a recumbent bike is quite unique. The seat is located at almost the same level as the pedals, compared to a traditional bike where the seat is almost directly above the pedals.
This allows the rider to have a very low center of gravity. It also makes for a more stable and safe ride.
When you’re reclined back, your arms are allowed to hang naturally instead of being tense for most of the ride, eliminating sore hands and wrists.
How Do They Help with Weight Loss?
Don’t think that just because you’re lying down you won’t get a good workout. The opposite is actually true.
Riding a recumbent bike has given me some of the most intense workouts I’ve ever experienced, and plenty of recumbent bike reviews agree. Because I’m more comfortable during my rides, I find myself going for miles longer than I normally would.
Since switching to a recumbent bike, I’ve lost a few stubborn pounds, have more energy, and just feel better overall. If you want to ride a bike for weight loss purposes, riding a recumbent bike could be more efficient than a standard bike.
Check out these exercise bike reviews to get some great tips on getting the most out of your workout.
What Muscles Do They Improve?
Because you’re reclined, your gluteal muscles will get a better workout compared to a traditional bike. Your quadriceps, located on the front of your thighs, will also receive quite the workout.
The hamstrings, located on the back of your thighs, are the opposing muscles of the quadriceps, so with every full pedal, both muscle groups will receive a workout.
Your calves are also worked every time you complete a pedal rotation. But what excites many riders is the fact that your abdominal muscles can be transformed while riding a recumbent bike.
Because you’re using them to balance your upper body, they are being flexed nearly the entire time you’re riding.
I was surprised by how sore my abs were for a few days after my first ride on a recumbent bike. But with each ride I take, they seem to get stronger. I’ve really noticed an improvement in their appearance.
Can Recumbent Bikes Be Used at Home?
Yes, there are plenty of stationary recumbent bikes that can be used for at-home workouts. I love being able to use my bike in front of the television.
It’s about the most comfortable workout in the world!
If you’re not sure, check out some spin bike reviews to give you an idea of how great working out at home can be.
Features to Consider When Choosing a Recumbent Bike
If you’re ready to buy your first recumbent bike, you might be a bit overwhelmed with what’s on the market. There are tons of different models, all with their own list of pros and cons.
Here are a few tips to consider when making your final choice based on recumbent bike reviews.
This is mostly a concern if you’re choosing a recumbent stationary bike. Make sure that it will fit in the space you have available and still give you enough room to get around it. You won’t be as excited to hop on if the machine is constantly in your way. If you’re choosing a traditional recumbent bike, make sure that you have the proper storage space available in your garage or shed.
This is probably one of the more critical tips to keep in mind when looking for the best recumbent bike. So many rush into a purchase that they can’t afford. Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming that more expensive is better. There are plenty of perfect options out there for any size budget.
You’re probably choosing a recumbent bike because of how comfortable they are, so make sure you pick one that meets your standard of comfort. I like to check out recumbent bike reviews to see how others are enjoying the comfort levels of their bikes.
You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a long ride and discover the hard way that your seat isn’t as comfortable as you had hoped. Using a recumbent stationary bike is a great way to take the pressure off your lumbar spine and still get the workout you need.
Because you’re able to sit back and enjoy the ride a bit more on a recumbent bike, you might want to see if there are any added features available that appeal to you. For example, you can choose a stationary bike with a magazine rack or even an area to safely place your laptop.
If you’re going for a traditional recumbent bike, look for water bottle holders or music playing capabilities. With a little work, you can purchase what feels like a custom bike without breaking the bank.
Health Benefits of Using a Recumbent Bike
There are so many benefits associated with recumbent bicycle workouts, many of which I didn’t realize at first. Check out some of the main ones.
Cardiovascular exercise is so important, but we often equate it to an hour-long workout full of sweat and tears. It doesn’t have to be that intense, though. A relaxing workout on a recumbent bike helps strengthen your heart and lungs while improving your body’s oxygen use. You can also lower your blood pressure over time with regular cardiovascular exercise.
You’re less likely to topple over or accidently crash into a car or mailbox while cruising around on your recumbent bike than you would be on a traditional bike. They’re also gentler on your muscles and joints, so you’re less likely to suffer an injury while riding one.
As previously mentioned, you’ll never have a more comfortable workout than you will with a recumbent bike. You’re practically lying down, which makes pedaling almost effortless and leaves you with more energy to enjoy the scenery.
It’s easier to literally go the extra mile when riding a recumbent bike. You can reach your weight loss goal much quicker and easier than you might on a traditional bike.
A Recumbent Bike vs Upright Exercise Bike vs Spin Bike
Looking for a stationary bike and still not sure if a recumbent bike is your best option? Here are some of the main differences between recumbent bikes, upright bikes, and spin bikes.
All of these options will provide you with a beneficial workout. You’ll be targeting your hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and quadriceps at the same time.
You can lose weight and tone your body with each of these types of bikes.
If you’re used to a traditional bike, an upright bike is going to make you feel right at home. You can adjust the resistance and also get a bit of an upper body workout.
But you might experience pain in your neck or lower back.
Spinning allows you to imagine that you’re turning the final corner during a bike race. You have the option of standing or leaning, giving your lower body a more intense workout.
You can simulate hill climbing and burn a ton of calories. However, some find that a spin bike is a bit too intense for their needs.
A recumbent bike is the most comfortable of all your options. It still works the same lower body muscles, but takes away the stress on your body that more traditional models come with.
A 2005 study actually found that pedaling in a sitting stance makes leg muscles work harder. Why not burn calories and work muscles while staying comfortable?
While I still enjoy cruising around town on a traditional bike, I love having a recumbent bike to use as well. I also find myself choosing recumbent bikes when I’m at the gym now.
I love that I can burn off the extra calories from the weekend while watching television or working on my laptop.
When I’m pedaling down the street, I have more time to enjoy the landscape and the ride. Overall, a recumbent bike offers me so much more than a traditional bike ever could.
If you want to take your riding to a new level of comfort, get yourself a recumbent bike today. You’ll be cruising in comfort in no time!
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