The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is our best recumbent exercise bike, which has an intuitive LCD screen for stats, a total of 25 levels of resistance, a cooling fan for comfort and 13 display feedbacks for your personal statistics.
Our step-up pick is the Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike and it has a dual LCD screen system and is beneficial for cardio and strength training. The comfortable seat back is ventilated and the weighted flywheel barely makes noise.
The budget pick is the Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike and it has large pedals, a smooth torque, an LCD screen and takes up to 300 lbs of user weight.
- A Little Background
- How We Picked
- Our Pick
- Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
- Step-up Pick
- Budget Pick
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Stamina Training
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with a Magnetic Mechanism
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with Speakers for Music
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike that is also a Rowing Machine
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Home Use
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with a Compact Design
- Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Heavy Users
- The Competition
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping It Up
A Little Background
A recumbent exercise bike is a kind of bike that allows you to move your legs like a real bike or an upright bike but with a pedaling motion or position that is recumbent or with your body in a reclined position. This puts less stress on your knees because of the way you are seated, making the recumbent exercise bike great for those who need a low impact workout at the gym or at home.
The purpose of a recumbent exercise bike is to have an exercise bike but without the stress on our joints or knees. This is important for those who have injuries, got past surgeries, people with special needs, people with lack of motor skills, people who are too old to ride an upright bike and those who simply want a recumbent exercise bike because it’s different from an upright bike.
Many people can use the recumbent exercise bike. For example, those with problems on their joints such as their kneed and hips can benefit well from an recumbent exercise bike. This is because of the fact that it does not bother your body when it comes down to the gravitational pull as compared with a regular upright bike.
With a recumbent exercise bike, you are at a reclined position so that your legs and knees do not suffer much due to the more relaxing position you are pedaling with. What’s more, people who have just endured surgeries or are injured can use a recumbent exercise bike as a low impact gym activity that will still get them burning fat, building muscles and reducing stress in a safer way.
One of the best reasons to own a recumbent exercise bike at home is when you have a very bad climate in your area or riding a real bike outside can be dangerous due to the lack of safety rules and regulations. While indoor bikes can be more expensive than the regular outdoor bike, they can be beneficial to those who want to stay fit but do not have time to go out to the nearest gym.
One must keep in mind that to ride a bike outdoors, there are many factors to consider, such as weather, wind resistance, safety and problems with traffic. Therefore, if you just want to exercise at home and have the necessary budget then a recumbent exercise bike is a good investment, especially if you are on a recovery stage.
Whether it is an upright exercise bike or a recumbent exercise bike, indoor bikes are quite beneficial in some ways. It gets you motivated when you see them in your room and they can help you exercise at the comfort of your home even when it is raining, snowing or storming outside.
People of all ages can benefit from an indoor bike, especially for old folks, seniors, those above 40 or those who don’t have the opportunity to go outside very often to exercise. In the long run, indoor bikes can be just as effective as a regular outdoor bike if you spend more time with it and also double or triple your workout intensity if you want to do some muscle toning or fat burning at home.
How We Picked
In choosing the best recumbent exercise bike, you should take note of the following factors first:
Electronic display: the display of the recumbent exercise bike should be clear and concise so that you will be able to read the metrics and the like. A good recumbent exercise bike is one that has a switchable display so that you can customize to add more information and for you to easily view the text when you are working out on the recumbent exercise bike and tweak the settings in a simple manner.
Media holder: most recumbent exercise bikes have a media holder or phone holder, just like most exercise machines. This lets you read your favorite book or e-book as well as catch up to your favorite TV series or movie. In addition, the recumbent exercise bike can potentially help you listen to your favorite music or take calls, answer social media notifications and reply to texts.
Foldable: a good recumbent exercise bike should be foldable so that you can be able to take the recumbent exercise bike wherever you go. It is important for people who want a recumbent exercise bike but don’t want to travel with a bulky item. In fact, most recumbent exercise bikes today are so well-designed that you can take them from your home gym to your local gym with ease.
Comfortable seat: do consider a recumbent exercise bike that has a very comfortable seat, very much padded or reclining to the way that you want it to be, much like a reclining chair. This is the main reason why you would want a recumbent exercise bike because it gives you a more comfortable seating versus an upright bike machine.
Heart rate monitor: a good recumbent exercise bike to consider is one that has an HR monitor or a heart rate monitor or heart pulse monitor. It is a kind of recumbent exercise bike that helps you identify your target heart rate so that you can maximize your workout without tiring yourself. This is important for those people who want to use a recumbent exercise bike as a low impact activity and need to watch for their heart rate.
Durability: do consider a recumbent exercise bike that has a durable frame and with parts that don’t easily wear down. In fact, most companies that sell a recumbent exercise bike can offer separate warranties for the frame and usually longer than the parts and labor.
Preset programs: a good recumbent exercise bike to consider is one that has many preset programs as well so you can just focus on the exercise or set your goals depending on how you want to use the recumbent exercise bike. It is a good thing to consider for those who just like to sit back and relax as they pedal their way with their recumbent exercise bike.
This recumbent exercise bike has data export for easy data keeping. It accepts up to four user profiles and has 6 LED tracking lights as well. It powers up on 120-volt system and has a 3-speed fan for comfort while you workout. It also has a heart rate control feature and has a large vented seat back.
Flaws but Not Dealbrakers
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike may have a small flaw but it’s not a deal breaker – it’s not that suitable for people with higher heights than 6 feet. However, it is only a minor annoyance and works well otherwise.
With 29 programs, it has an mp3 player for music to enhance your cardio and strength workouts. It has 25 resistance levels for you to choose from and the aluminum rail system for the seat makes it durable. The weighted flywheel is quiet and the vented seat back makes it comfortable.
With a magnetic tension system, it has a quiet operation while the pedals are large and comfortable. It has hand pulse sensors for heart rate and wheels for mobility. Giving you a smooth torque, the bike is backed by a 3 year limited warranty.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Stamina Training
The seat is adjustable and padded for extra comfort and the magnetic resistance is very quiet for reading your book or watching your favorite shows. In addition to that, the steel frame is durable for the years to come.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with a Magnetic Mechanism
The handlebars are soft to keep you comfortable during workouts. Great for enhancing your cardiovascular endurance, it has an LCD screen for stat tracking. It uses magnetic resistance and can help you burn calories in no time.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with Speakers for Music
It has a heart pulse rate grip, good seat adjustments, level adjustments, easy foot pedals that are big enough and transport wheels. It is backed by a warranty of 5 years for the frame and 1 year for the parts.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike that is also a Rowing Machine
With enough magnetic resistance that isn’t too loud, its foam padded seat and back can help you relax while working out. There is a knob with 8 positions for setting the intensity of your workout depending on how you want it.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Home Use
The seat can be easily adjusted even when you’re seated in the bike. Its belt drive is quiet and its steel composition is very durable. It is great for home and gym use.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with a Compact Design
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Heavy Users
Other recumbent exercise bikes did not make it to our list because they were not fit enough to be a good bike for the gym that does not cause discomfort for your back and your seating position. Moreover, the pedals seem to be faulty on the other bikes. It is important that if you have a recumbent exercise bike, all of the parts should be working properly to avoid the likelihood of injuries ahead.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a recumbent exercise bike and why is it popular?
A: The recumbent exercise bike is a popular type of indoor bike machine that helps you train while indoors but seated in a recumbent style. Most people who have a bad back or bad knee can use an exercise bike that has a recumbent design.
People use an indoor bike for a number reasons, such as the fact that the weather outside might not be ideal all the time so you may not have time to go outdoors and ride your bike. Furthermore, some people also don’t feel good with upright bikes all the time, even indoor ones, because of the pressure on their hips and thighs. A recumbent exercise bike solves that problem.
Stationary bikes are great alternatives to real bikes if your daily weather consists of snow or your country or state doesn’t have enough bike lines or safety around the streets for bikers. The stationary bike can either be upright or recumbent and most people choose a recumbent one because not only is it easier on the joints but it is also easier on your back.
Q: What are the main benefits of using a recumbent exercise bike?
A: The recumbent exercise bike has a number of main benefits, such as the following:
It helps with your cardiovascular health. The recumbent exercise bike can help strengthen your heart because it is much like a regular bike that pushes your blood circulation to a more healthier level, resulting in the test of endurance. The more you ride a recumbent exercise bike, the healthier you become because it is good for the heart and for your overall endurance.
It can help you burn calories and more fat. A good amount of exercise session with a recumbent exercise bike can help you burn more fat because it is still a good physical activity that not only burns calories but can also help you build muscles. Like a regular bike, a recumbent exercise bike can also help you attain your target body shape and also keep you fit in no time with regular sessions on it.
You can also gain more strength with a recumbent exercise bike. For those athletes who want to do some strength building, stationary bikes are the best. For those who want to use an indoor bike but do not want to have too much stress, a good strength builder is a recumbent exercise bike because it helps tone your leg muscles and may also strengthen your core and endurance.
Your hips don’t get a lot of stress. Compared to using an upright bike, the recumbent exercise bike does not put stress on your hips because of the very fact that it does not use a lot of gravity that pulls your body down and does not put your hips to a lot of stress. This is important for those with hip problems, such as seniors and those who went though surgery.
Your knees become well protected against joint pains. In addition to your hips getting out of the stress, one of the main benefits of using a recumbent exercise bike is that your knees get a lot of benefit overall. The fact that your knees don’t get pulled down too much when you pedal the recumbent exercise bike is a good thing, especially for those with joint pains and those who went through surgery as well as those with knee injuries.
Recumbent exercise bikes are safer than upright bikes due to the laid back seating. Unlike in an upright bike, the recumbent exercise bike does not require you to lean your body forward so you have less risk of falling over and you feel relaxed because your back is laid down easily. If you want an indoor bike that allows you to balance easier without falling over then a recumbent exercise bike is good for you.
Recumbent exercise bikes are good for people with high blood pressure. If you suffer a lot from hypertension but want to stay fit with an indoor bike, the recumbent exercise bike is a good choice for you because it is a low impact exercise that does not cause your body to have too much blood pressure, yet it keeps you fit due to being a cycling activity even while indoors.
There is no pressure on your back due to the seating design. The seating of the recumbent exercise bike is reclined so you feel like you are in a rocking chair or a reclining chair. A good indoor bike for seniors, the recumbent exercise bike is an ideal choice if you have a bad back or you are prone to having back aches due to age and other factors.
Your legs, buttocks and thigh muscles also gain strength. One of the key benefits of a recumbent exercise bike is muscle building on the lower body, much like in an elliptical machine, in a treadmill and in an upright indoor bike, but without the stress on your knees. The recumbent exercise bike is a good toning exercise for your lower body muscles.
Recumbent exercise bikes are ideal for those who just went through surgery or in a rehabilitation program. Most people who use them are those who have bad backs or bad knees and don’t need to move too much due to their medical condition. Consequently, those who lack motor skills, people with special needs, people with disabilities and the like can also use a recumbent exercise bike instead of an upright one if they feel uncomfortable with regular indoor bikes.
Q: How do you make a session of using the recumbent exercise bike into a high intensity training?
A: The recumbent exercise bike may be a low impact exercise but you can turn it into HIT or high intensity training with the following:
Fast pedaling or racing can help you add intensity and difficulty to your recumbent exercise bike session. This makes the recumbent exercise bike a higher intensity training rather than a low intensity one. Just make sure that you are prepare to speed up and also do take frequent breaks so that you don’t overwork yourself with fast pedaling.
Combining pedaling exercises with a shift of sitting and standing is a good choice, also known as interval training. To define, interval training means that you switch from easy mode to hard mode and back to easy mode. The purpose of interval training is that you don’t push yourself too hard with difficult training but don’t slouch too much with easy training.
You can also add ankle weights from your favorite weight set (e.g. from your dumbbells) so your legs can fell the workout the best. This is a good idea for those who have a set of weights at home or in the gym so you can challenge yourself for strengthening your legs while riding a recumbent exercise bike.
While you ride the exercise bike, feel free to perform arm workouts to add to the difficulty and the intensity of the training. Because a recumbent exercise bike is mostly a leg work out or lower body workout, you should add arm workouts and other upper body workouts to suffice so that the recumbent exercise bike can be an effective whole body training for you and will not result to muscle imbalance as well as muscle pains.
If you follow these unique options of adding intensity to your workout, you can lose more fat in no time and gain muscle along the way.
Q: Is a recumbent exercise bike effective for weight loss?
A: It depends on various factors, such as the following:
You should burn more calories than you intake. The recumbent exercise bike is good for weight loss but you need to watch for your calories or what you eat. Make sure you eat just the right amount of food. It is better to eat first before you exercise (but not right away) so that you don’t have the tendency to eat too much or drink too much after you go for a workout with the recumbent exercise bike.
Adding intensity leads to better weight loss. Like with what we mentioned above, having a recumbent exercise bike can be okay for adding intensity to your workout by adding weights, more speed and more pedaling per hour or per minute. In this way, you can make the most of your workout with the recumbent exercise bike other than just sitting on a comfortable seat and pedaling away.
If you follow a workout routine and then gradually increase it, you can achieve weight loss. Most people have a target number of reps on the recumbent exercise bike so that they can feel motivated per day. This is a good thing – if you set a goal with yourself then you can be able to lose weight in no time. You should take it slow at first and then gradually add more numbers to your goals per day or per week.
Interval training can help with your endurance and make it easier for you to lose weight. Interval training helps with more workout time with the recumbent exercise bike so that your muscles do not ache too much. Interval training means that you go with easy to hard then easy pedaling again. This is important so that when you ride the recumbent exercise bike, you do not force yourself with really harsh training.
Q: How much calories does a regular indoor bike help you burn?
A: It depends on the indoor bike whether it is an upright or a recumbent indoor bike, or whether you spend too much time on the indoor bike or not. It also depends on many other factors such as intensity. Here is a chart comparing the different usual indoor bike calorie burning values depending on how much you weigh:
|Calories Burned per 30 Minutes||Typical Weight|
|210 calories||125 lbs|
|250 calories||155 lbs|
|311 calories||185 lbs|
The chart shows that the calories burned depends on how much you weigh. This is why you should not feel insecure about why others claim that they burned “more calories” – that just means that they are heavier and needed to shed more calories than you do.
Q: How is a recumbent exercise bike different from an upright exercise bike? What are the pros and cons of each?
A: A recumbent exercise bike is different from an upright exercise bike in various ways:
|Criteria||Type of Exercise Bike|
|Seating||The recumbent exercise bike sits lower so it is almost near the ground or floor. The seating of a recumbent exercise bike is usually bigger in size so it is much like a reclining chair or salon chair that is very relaxing and comfortable.||The upright exercise bike sits higher so it is far from the ground or floor. The seating of an upright exercise bike is usually smaller in size so it can be a little bit uncomfortable for people, in which you can stand while pedaling instead.|
|Back support||The recumbent exercise bike offers good back support due to the reclined chair feature in the seating.||The upright exercise bike does not offer good back support so you tend to slouch because of its smaller seating|
|Calories burned||The recumbent exercise bike tends to burn less calories than the upright exercise bike because of its lesser impact exercise nature.||The upright exercise bike tends to burn more calories than the recumbent exercise bike because of its high intensity nature as an exercise.|
|Balance||The recumbent exercise bike is easier to balance due to the presence of a lower center of gravity.||The upright exercise bike may not be suitable for people who have problems balancing on a bike.|
|Accessories||The recumbent exercise bike allows more accessories such as books or gadgets because of the design of the bike.||The upright exercise bike has little room for phones, gadgets and books so it can be hard to read or watch your shows.|
|Difficulty||The recumbent exercise bike is easier for most people so you will tend to use it more because of its simplicity and it will get you to burning more fat and calories in the long run.||The upright exercise bike is ideal for those who are experienced and have good biking endurance. It is also ideal for those who don’t have knee, back or hip injuries.|
|Workout time||The recumbent exercise bike is ideal for those who have a lot of workout time but still want to be able to burn more calories like they would on an upright one.||The upright exercise bike is ideal for those with little to no workout time so that you can push your training as high as possible to get more calories burned in no time.|
Q: What safety tips should I consider when riding a recumbent exercise bike?
A: When you are riding a recumbent exercise bike , you should consider these safety tips:
Make sure you warm up first for at least 5 minutes before you work out on the recumbent exercise bike. A warm up is necessary if you want to effectively exercise on any indoor bike without straining yourself, as with all exercises and physical activities. Try running or jogging in place or brisk walking for a while before you go for the recumbent exercise bike.
Make sure you are at 60% to 85% of your heart rate so you can feel the benefits of the recumbent exercise bike. Most recumbent exercise bikes have a monitor so that you can check out your target heart rate. This makes it easier for you to feel at ease as to when to add intensity to your recumbent exercise bike routine.
Keep your position in the right way so that your posture will not be affected by hours of spending time on the recumbent exercise bike. The proper posture, as with any exercise equipment, is important so that you do not feel uncomfortable and feel less strain on your back and shoulders when you use the recumbent exercise bike for your workouts.
You can make use of the handlebar if you feel like you are going out of balance. The handlebar of the recumbent exercise bike is also good for doing arm workouts so you can also tone your upper body other than with your lower body for reducing the risk of muscle imbalance.
Q: Which is more expensive: an upright bike or a recumbent bike?
A: The recumbent exercise bike is usually the more expensive of the two because of its comfortable seating position. Most recumbent exercise bikes are meant to give you the best comfort while you are pedaling to reduce the instance of injuries overall.
In addition to that, recumbent bikes are harder to find compared to an upright bike due to its design, its parts and its special usage for most people with injuries, surgeries or rehabilitation programs. Also, they are not much in demand since they are meant for medical purposes and not mainly for regular workout gyms for muscle building or weight loss.
Q: Which is more important: an indoor bike or an outdoor bike?
A: It depends on the situation , as not all places in the world have safer bike lanes for outdoor biking and not all places do have sunny weather all the time. For some colder countries, it can be hard to ride the bike when it is always snowing outside. In the same way, countries with lack of security and bike laws aren’t good with outdoor bikes. Therefore, some people resort to indoor bikes.
On the other way, outdoor and indoor bikes are both important. Nothing can replace the great outdoors when it comes down to adventure and fresh air, plus socialization and the marvel of life will greet you outside if you bike outdoors. The only problem with outdoor biking is that it can be dangerous to go on biking alone, so people decide to go to the gym for their indoor bike instead.
Q: Which burns more calories: indoor bikes or outdoor bikes?
A: The two types of bikes will usually burn a significant amount of calories depending on the person and depending on the situation and intensity of the workout. Here is a comparative chart of the two bikes and the usual calories:
|Type of bike||Average calories burned|
|Indoor bike||400 to 600 per hour|
|100 per hour|
|800 to 1,000 per hour|
Q: Which muscles can potentially get stronger with the use of both indoor and outdoor bicycles?
A: All bicycles have the capability to enhance or strengthen many muscles on the body, such as the following:
• Calf muscles and shins
• Glutes (buttock muscles)
• Core (with higher workout intensity)
Q: What potential injuries can I get with indoor and outdoor bikes?
A: Both indoor and outdoor bikes do have tendencies to cause injuries with improper use and position, but outdoor bikes are generally riskier than indoor bikes. This is because an indoor bike is usually set with a balancing mechanism. Here are some of the most common injuries you can get with biking outdoors:
• Achilles tendinitis
• collar bone damage
• wrist injuries
• saddle sores
• knee injuries
Q: What is the maximum heart rate you can go for when you are doing indoor cycling?
A: For indoor cycling , you can actually get more pressured because of the people around you, especially when you are in a class, so you can attain up to 95 percent of your heart rate at maximum. Here are the contributing factors as to why so:
• Compared to outdoor cycling, you can go for faster pedaling in indoor cycling because you stay safely in place and won’t bump into objects or get into traffic accidents whatsoever.
• If you’re in a gym, you feel pressured to do faster pedaling mostly because of the people looking around you.
• Indoor cycling also permits you to listen to music, watch your favorite movie or even read a good book while you are exercising, which you can’t really do while biking outdoors.
Q: Why does heart rate seem to increase more when you bike indoors than when you bike outdoors?
A: As mentioned above, indoor bikes tend to put pressure on your physical fitness because you are indoors with no restrictions on speed and usually get a lot of fans in the gym. The other reason why your heart rate can go up is because an indoor area is an enclosed space, and therefore heat can build up and cause heart rates to go up.
Q: What other forms of exercises are associated with indoor cycling?
A: If you are into indoor cycling then chances are, you might also want to try, benefit and burn fat with the following workouts:
|Pilates||Strength Training||Balance Training||Core Training|
|Stability Ball||Zumba||Yoga||High Intensity Interval Training|
Q: What are e-bikes and how are they different?
A: The electric bike or also known as the e-bike is a popular form of transport that can be an alternative to recumbent bikes for seniors, injured people, disabled people and the like. E-bikes are powered through electrical charging and mostly made in Asia Pacific countries. They are less popular in Europe and America. Here is a comparative chart of the different regions and how popular is the e-bike on these regions of the world:
|Worldwide E-bike sales (2016)|
|Continent or Region||E-Bikes Sold|
|Asia Pacific||32.8 million|
|Western Europe||1.6 million|
|Middle East and Africa||70,000|
It shows that Asia Pacific is the most popular for E-bikes, presumably because Chinese manufacturers are the ones who usually make e-bikes and sell them to neighboring Asian countries. Some Southern and Southeast Asian countries also lack rules for bike protection in the streets while some just buy an e-bike for convenience compared to a motorcycle.
The main difference between an e-bike and a recumbent exercise bike is that most e-bikes look like motorcycles or scooters but are electrically charged and can go places like a regular bike. Most e-bikes don’t need to be registered unlike motorcycles and regular vehicles because they work like bicycles and use no gas at all.
Q: What is cadence and what is the ideal cadence in cycling?
A: Cadence is the unit of measurement on biking, whether on indoor or outdoor cycling. It is expressed in RPM or revolutions per minute. The usual cycling cadence is from 60 to 80 RPM while 110 RPM is pretty fast and can be unsafe because of its speed in highways. Here is a chart showing different cadences on various grounds:
|Location or activity||Cadence (RPM)|
|Hills||60 to 80|
|Mountains||60 to 80|
|Flat road||80 to 110|
|Jumping ride||80 to 110|
|Standing ride||80 to 110|
Q: Why is an indoor cycle expensive to maintain?
A: The indoor cycle, like all exercise equipment can be hard to maintain because of its moving parts that can get worn out easily depending on how many people use it every single day. Of course, it is made for high intensity training so you need to take care of it to get it working all the time, which can cost some money to keep it running. That is added to the upfront cost.
Q: Can cycling indoors also give you endorphins?
A: Yes, endorphins or the happy neurotransmitters are released with any physical activity, and indoor cycling is no different. Endorphins are also known as what gives us the “zone” feeling when we work out, so it’s a good mood booster if you’re feeling down lately. This is why cycling and other exercises are good for depression and anxiety.
Q: Does a faster cadence equate to more calories burned or improved muscles?
A: That is not always the case but indoor cycling can always get you a higher cadence than with outdoor cycling because of the flywheel which is part of the design of an indoor cycling. Your fast pedaling indoors does not apply outdoors so you should not get used to faster cadence all the time. It will also potentially break the indoor cycle if you pedal too fast beyond 110 RPM.
Wrapping It Up
As a whole, the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is our best recumbent exercise bike due to its intuitive 25-level selection, LCD screen, tracking lights and comfortable seating.