10 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes in 2020 (Review)
Stationary recumbent bikes come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and styles, and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. Being able to tell the difference between a good bike and a bad one can be tricky, especially when the price range is so varied.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best recumbent exercise bikes in 2020. We looked at hundreds of models to bring you the cream of the crop. We’ve tried to identify bikes for people of different fitness levels and needs.
Whether you’re looking for a bike packed with tons of professional features, or a compact recumbent exercise bike to fit in your living room, we’ve got something in our recumbent exercise bike reviews that will suit your needs.
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The Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes
1. Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike has a step-through design that makes it easier to mount and dismount than other, lower bikes. The cushioned seat ensures your comfort throughout your workout, and the heavy-duty 14-gauge steel tubing is tough enough to handle anything you throw at it.
The pedals have counterweights, giving you a feeling of control and resistance. They also have a convenient strap for those times when you want to kick into high speed.
The LCD screen on this bike is clear and easy to read, no matter how far away you’re sitting. The control panel measures your distance, speed, and estimates how many calories you’ve burned. You can also use it to change resistance settings on the fly, or program a workout that is sure to build up a sweat.
If you’re looking for a no-frills fitness recumbent bike for under $200, this is a great option to keep an eye on.
2. Exerpeutic 300SR Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you’re looking for an extended capacity recumbent bike that also folds away when you’re not using it, look no further than the Exerpeutic 300SR Recumbent Exercise Bike.
This bike has eight levels of magnetic resistance ranging from very easy to very hard. The V-belt drive is ultra-quiet, so you can exercise without disturbing anybody else. You can easily watch TV or listen to podcasts while exercising and not miss a thing. This also comes in handy if you have neighbors – no one will hear you working out!
It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, and the large seat and step-through design ensure your comfort whenever you use it. Despite being able to handle large amounts of weight, the space-saving design allows even apartment dwellers to take advantage of the benefits of owning a semi-recumbent exercise bike.
3. Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Exercise Bike is the brand’s mid-range model, offering a good compromise between price and features.
The bike has all the features that you’d expect from a quality exercise bike, including an LCD console and sensors in the handles which measure your heart rate throughout your workout. The seat is adjustable and is suitable for tall people up to 6’6″. It has an adjustable height so multiple family members can use it and feel comfortable (this makes it easy to share). It also has a carrying capacity of 300 pounds, so it’s suitable for people of all shapes and sizes.
While the 900XL is large and quite heavy compared to foldable models, it does come with transport wheels that make moving it a breeze. If you’re looking for a good bike under $200 that doesn’t compromise on quality, stability, or usability, the 900XL may be the bike for you.
4. Schwinn 270
The Schwinn 270 is a great mid-range bike for beginners and experienced athletes alike. It’s one of the top-rated exercise bike in 2020, getting high marks from professional gyms and homebodies alike.
For under $500, it’s packed with features that put it on a similar level as $1,000 recumbent bikes. Not only does it have the high-end build quality that Schwinn is known for, but it also comes with a 10-year warranty in the unlikely event that something fails. We think it’s one of the best recumbent exercise bikes that you can buy for personal use.
There are even two fitness tests for you to use as a measure of improvement. The console provides all the information you’d expect, including speed, time, distance, resistance setting, heart-rate, and calories, but it also gives you revolutions per minute and level to help fine-tune your workouts.
The console has built-in Bluetooth functionality, a three-speed cooling fan, a water bottle holder, and USB transfer functionality that you can use in conjunction with MyFitnessPal. The bike even comes with a media shelf to hold your tablet, allowing you to exercise while enjoying your favorite shows.
5. Nautilus R614
If you’re looking for a solid offering from a well-respected exercise equipment manufacturer, the Nautilus R614 is a solid choice. It’s received an overwhelmingly positive rating in recumbent exercise bike reviews for a reason, being well-priced at under $500, well-built, and packed with useful features that are usually only found on more expensive, commercial bikes.
The Nautilus console has 22 different programs for all sorts of different fitness requirements, ranging from heart-rate control workouts to fitness tests. Unlike other recumbent bikes that have cushions on their seats, the Natilus has a vented seat back and bottom, which you’ll appreciate during summer.
The control has a dual LCD screen that gives you the flexibility to choose the feedback you want to see. You can switch between time, speed, difficulty, and heart-rate on the fly, allowing you to adjust your workout depending on your performance.
6. Marcy NS-716R
The Marcy NS-716R is a well-rated recumbent exercise bike due to its compact size and robust build quality.
It comes with standard bike features like seat adjustment, control panel, and pedals with straps. It’s a no-frills, no-fuss lower body recumbent exercise bike for home use. It doesn’t have preset programs, which makes it easier for complete novices to use and understand. This would be a great gift for someone who isn’t great with technology or for someone who just doesn’t want all of the extra amenities that these machines can come with.
Luckily, you can still change resistances manually, which makes this a good choice for budget-conscious athletes who want to train without paying for a commercial gym. Its foam-coated handlebars make it great for comfortability, as well. This means that after you’ve been training for a while, you’ll be able to exercise for as long as you’d like.
7. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4708
If you’re looking for a total body recumbent exercise bike, you can’t go wrong with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4708.
This bike comes with movable handles that you can use to train your upper body as well as your lower. While the position may look awkward initially, the handlebars move in sync with the pedals, giving you a natural-feeling range of motion. The handlebars also have heart-rate monitors, allowing you to track the effectiveness of your workout.
The extra-large cushioned backrest and seat, and 350-pound carrying capacity means that anybody can use the Sunny with ease. One drawback of the design is that you can’t adjust the backrest individually. You can only move the full seat backward and forwards along the track, though. People who prefer a more reclined position may find this setup annoying and uncomfortable.
8. Progear 555LXT
If you’re frustrated by the fact that you can’t find the perfect position on your recumbent bike due to preset positions, check out the Progear 555LXT. Unlike many other recumbent bikes, it has a slider that locks into place, allowing you to find just the right spot for your seat. Despite its flimsy looks, the bike is very well constructed and feels solid even during the most vigorous workout.
The bike comes with 14 levels of resistance, which you control with a tension knob on the front post of the console.
The console is relatively basic as you can only view one measurement at a time, though you can set it to rotate between all of them every four seconds. If you prefer watching YouTube instead of looking at the seconds tick down, there is a tablet holder that you can use to place your electronic device of choice. It will obscure the console, though, so you may find yourself switching out between the two.
9. MaxKare 3 in 1
Different types of exercise bikes offer different advantages. Full body recumbent exercise bikes are great for low-impact workouts that target the lower body, while upright bikes offer more upper body engagement.
Spin bikes combine the two positions and allow for higher intensity workouts. Unfortunately, even top-rated recumbent exercise bikes can’t generate the intensity of spin bikes or the upper-body motion of upright bikes. So instead of buying three separate bikes and starting your own gym, the MaxKare 3 in 1 Recumbent Exercise Bike gives you the best of all three.
This tiny little bike folds away neatly but still is robust enough to handle 265 pounds of weight. The bike has tension ropes that you can use to train your upper body while in the recumbent position, adding a whole new dimension to your workout. The LCD screen is clear and easy to read and measures all the standard parameters you’d expect.
10. Schwinn A20
The Schwinn A20 bike offers several features that are relatively rare on lower-end models. It has some novelty features, including a media tray, a water bottle holder, and a small speaker set with an MP3 player.
The control system comes with six pre-designed workout programs as well as a quick-start option for people who hate messing around with settings. The very low design may make mounting and dismounting the Schwinn difficult for people with bad knees or mobility issues, though the step-through design can help mitigate these concerns.
The bike also comes with several resistance settings, making it ideal for people who are looking for low-impact cardiovascular exercise without breaking the bank. The contact heart-rate monitor that comes with the console is relatively accurate, which is something of a pleasant surprise, as many heart-rate monitors tend to produce less than stellar results.
5 Key Features to Look for When Buying a Recumbent Exercise Bike
When you start shopping around for your ideal home recumbent bike, you may think that they are all are the same. While they all share certain similarities, there’s a wide range of differences between brands and even between different models.
Recumbent bikes work differently to other types of bikes and offer different benefits. They tend to be more low-impact and low-energy than other stationary exercise machines. If you’re looking at indoor cycling bikes that will force you to break a sweat, why not check out our best spin bikes instead?
The type of fitness recumbent bike you choose will depend on several factors, including whether it works for your body shape, how big it is, and how much resistance it has. Understanding what you’re looking for in a recumbent bike for home use will help you narrow down your options and ensure that you find a bike that works for you.
The two main aspects that you need to focus on are the seat and the pedals. Most high-quality bikes will have an adjustable seat on a track which you can set to your desired distance from the pedals.
When it comes to foot pedals, pay attention to how high and wide the pedals sit in the frame. Some recumbent exercise bikes will have the pedals high up so that your legs are in line with the seat, while others will have them lower, in line with your body’s natural position.
Each person has their preference, so try out a few stationary recumbent bikes and find the position that you like best.
The recumbent design of a fitness recumbent bike means that it’s stable and unlikely to move around. Most recumbent bikes have heavy-duty frames that can last for decades, even if you exercise daily.
The biggest drawback of having a sturdy frame is that recumbent bikes take up a lot of space. Unlike folding exercise bikes, recumbent bikes are heavy and not very portable. If you have an established gym space and you don’t plan on moving your bike around, this isn’t a problem. However, if you want to move your fitness recumbent bike often, consider buying one with transportation wheels to make the task a bit easier.
Most indoor cycling bikes have a console where you can set up your workout, track your heart rate, and measure the number of calories burned. Some higher-end models also offer extra features such as a USB port, tablet holder, and even a cooling fan.
While these extras are nice, they aren’t necessary for a good cardio workout. Many manufacturers charge extra for such luxury options, so it’s up to you to decide whether you’re committed to having the best possible console, or whether you’re willing to settle for something a little bit less feature-packed.
Resistance is what decides how difficult your workout is going to be. A good cardio workout should get your heart rate up, and a simple way of doing so that to up the amount of resistance you have to push against with your legs or arms. Most bikes will have several resistance levels that allow you to adjust the resistance according to your fitness level and goals.
One way to achieve resistance on recumbent exercise bikes is to use a magnetic flywheel. Flywheels offer a good amount of resistance while being very quiet and smooth to operate.
Magnetic tension controls the amount of resistance by attracting or repelling the belt in the flywheel—the stronger the force, the stronger the resistance. The weaker the force, the less the resistance. By giving you control to lower or raise this resistance by varying degrees, you can have control over the intensity of your workout.
What are the Different Types of Recumbent Bikes Available?
The major difference between recumbent exercise bikes is mainly down to style and features. Most recumbent bikes function similarly and have a similar range of motion. Some bike features that may differ between different types of bikes include:
- Recumbent exercise bike with moving arms: this type of recumbent bike is great if you want a total body workout as it includes an arm workout as well as working your legs.
- Folding recumbent exercise bikes: these are rare, but they do eliminate one of the biggest disadvantages of recumbent bikes, namely that they take up a lot of space. Folding bikes tend to be a bit more flimsy, but they’re portable and much easier to move around.
What are the Main Health Benefits of Using a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
Promotes cardiovascular health
Aerobic workouts, such as running, cycling, and swimming, all strengthen your heart and lungs. A stronger heart, in turn, promotes better circulation and also ensures that you have a steady supply of oxygen to all your organs.
Improved cardiovascular health decreases your chances of diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes. Many people find that exercising once a day helps with mood issues, raises energy levels, and improves stamina.
Aids in weight loss
Regular exercise is a key component in any weight loss program. While exercise alone isn’t enough to fix a bad diet, an hour of cycling can burn up to 600 calories, depending on the intensity of the workout.
One of the main benefits of a recumbent bike over other types of exercise equipment is that it provides a low-impact workout. Recumbent bikes promote smooth motions that have very little impact on your joints, making them ideal for people with bad knees or other joint problems.
Builds lower body strength
While riding a stationary exercise bike is mostly a cardio-based workout, you can also use it to build up strength gently by turning up the resistance. The more resistance you use on your bike, the harder you have to push your legs, which fatigues your muscles. When they become fatigued and slightly damaged, your body will send a signal to produce more muscle, leading to strength and stamina gains.
Pedaling alone can help strengthen your leg and hip muscles, as well as your glutes and abs. If you use a fitness recumbent bike with moving handlebars and high magnetic tension, you can work your full body in one simple exercise.