What’s your favorite piece of equipment when you’re working out at home?
For many, the simple exercise bike is one of the default options for cardio work and with just cause.
While upright exercise bikes have dominated for years, the intriguingly-designed recumbent bikes are starting to gain more market share as fitness lovers embrace the versatility of these nifty little machines.
If you’ve got a cavernous home gym and space for all the gear you want, it’s not a bad idea to get one of each. If, like most of us, you’ve got limited space, read on to see whether the laid-back option makes most sense for you.
We’ll get straight down to it now with our recumbent bike reviews so you can get an overview of 5 of the best machines on the market.
After that, we’ll look into what you should consider when you’re buying one to make your job easier.
We’ll snap straight to it now with those reviews…
Best Recumbent Bike Reviews
Kicking off our recumbent bike reviews, Marcy produces a budget-friendly bike with rock solid build quality and more than serviceable performance.
Finished in black and copper, the powder–coated steel frame gives you all the stability you need even when you’re really hammering the pedals.
While the seat is marketed as extremely comfortable, many users beg to differ claiming that it feels progressively harder as you train for long spells. This is always to some degree subjective so we would suggest perhaps hopping on one of these bikes before committing to buy so you can see how it feels to you. If required, you can always swap out the saddle for one of your choosing.
Counterbalanced pedals with straps supplied give you a great deal of purchase when you’re pedaling and they are large enough to house most feet without you feeling cramped.
Twisting a simple knob lets you flick through 8 magnetic resistance levels so beginners are in safe hands while more advanced riders looking for a challenge are not neglected either.
The LCD display shows you all key data at a glance so you can keep your eye on things without needing to stop riding. You can either lock the settings in or allow the data to toggle between speed and distance along with the total number of calories you’ve burned.
Although you’ll get a first-rate cardio session, this bike runs very quietly so you won’t disturb anyone while you’re chasing down those miles.
Aside from the side that polarizes opinion, the absence of a heart rate monitor is a minor annoyance but by no means a deal-breaker. The lack of pre-set programs is another small gripe but both of these niggles pale when you consider the price tag and overall performance.
If you want to work the larger muscles in your body and enjoy a comprehensive cardio workout from the comfort of home, thinks seriously about investing in Marcy’s magnificent recumbent bike.
- Clear console with oversized digital display
- Extremely lightweight and easy to shift around on wheels
- Tweak the seat to fit most heights
- Very quiet bike in operation
- Mounting and dismounting is a breeze
- Handy plastic cover thrown in
- Seat feels hard after prolonged use
- Not programmable
- No heart rate monitor
Schwinn has a hard-crafted reputation for producing design-driven bikes that look great and perform just as well. The 230 is at the lower end of this mighty brand’s recumbent bike range so is it any good?
The short answer is yes. Very good indeed.
With 20 separate resistance bands and 22 programs, you should find a workout to keep you on your toes whatever your fitness level. There are 2 profiles only so this recumbent is perfect for couples but if you have more users at home, you’ll need to fiddle around with your settings a little.
The pair of LCD screens let you keep tabs on up to 13 different pieces of data. With the heart rate monitor tucked in the handlebars, you’ll be able to keep your beady eye on all key information without breaking your stride.
You can export any of this information using the USB port so you can track your goals with Schwinn Connect.
Speakers and a fan make sure that you can train in comfort.
Thinking of the comfort angle, the saddle is designed to cushion you even if you put in some hard yards. The vented back on the seat is a wonderful touch if you’re suffering from any kind of back pain. It’s also extremely supportive.
As with any Schwinn bike, there’s a superb warranty in place. The frame is covered for 10 years, mechanical problems for 2 years and electrical components are backed for 1 year. This should tell you all you need to know about the expected lifespan and demonstrates how Schwinn stands behind their products.
The only significant downside to the Schwinn is the bulk of the unit. The bike supports loads of up to 300 pounds but in return weighs over 80 pounds itself. Think about whether or not you’ll need to move your recumbent around as it’s pretty unwieldy.
Overall, if you’re looking for the extended workout provided by a recumbent bike and you’ve got a fairly fluid budget, we can’t recommend the Schwinn 230 highly enough.
- Unbeatable choice of workout programs
- Solid and built to stay the distance
- USB connectivity for your convenience
- Integrated speakers and fan
- Vented seat beak ideal for anyone with lower back pain
- Ergonomic saddle won’t leave you sore
- Pretty bulky and awkward to shift around
- Limited to 2 user profiles
Exerpeutic offers a range of extremely affordable exercise bikes so there’s no need to dip out on your cardio session even if you’re running on a tighter budget. The 900XL sits higher up their range of recumbent bikes so what makes this model worth considering?
If you’re not the most practical person in the world, you’ll appreciate the way you can set this bike up and get going almost straight out the box. Instructions are clear and straightforward with all parts labeled to make your life easier.
Weighing just over 60 pounds and supporting riders up to 300 pounds, you’ll get no stability problems with the 900XL even if you’re really punishing the machine. Wheels make transportation much easier so this is a graet bonus if you need to shunt your machine around from time to time.
The 8-level magnetic resistance gives you plenty of leeway to ramp up the intensity of your workout accordingly. Just twist the dial and you will soon feel your heart rate rising. You can make sure you stay within your target heart rate zone thanks to the pulse sensors on the handlebars.
While the bars are comfy enough, some users have reported their positioning is a little awkward since they are set very far forward.
Pedaling is smooth thanks to the Smooth Torque system in place. Riding this machine feels akin to cycling on the road and you’ll get none of the jarring impact you can experience if you’re pounding a treadmill.
The wide, comfortable seat with a highly supportive backrest enables you to really go hard without ending up pinched with pain.
If you want a fully recumbent exercise bike without needing to take out a bank loan, the Exerpeutic 900XL is the obvious choice.
- Pocket-friendly price without stiffing you on the performance front
- Absolutely seamless assembly
- LCD display is clear and easy to read
- No snags with slippage while you ride
- Rugged build quality for a budget bike
- Gives off very little noise when in use
- Position of handlebars slightly far forward
- No extras thrown in which is understandable at this price
No list of the best recumbent bikes would be complete without an entry from the powerhouse brand Nautilus.
If you’re after the cheapest recumbent you can find, check out one of our other suggestions. If, however, you’re prepared to dig a little deeper for impeccable brand heritage and build quality that should endure for years, read on…
As with most of the best recumbents, you’ll be able to choose from 20 different resistance levels so whether you’re just starting out or a died-in-the-wool fitness freak, you should find a workout to suit.
Assembly is simplified due to the thorough, detailed instruction manual. All tools you need are supplied and you should be up and running in little more than 30 minutes.
The console comes with 2 screens so you can even watch a movie as you train while still retaining access to your performance data. USB connectivity allows you to export this information to MyFitnessPal or Nautilus Connect.
The high-inertia drive system and weighted flywheel promote a smooth and consistent ride with none of the slippage that can blight less effective exercise bikes.
If you enjoy cycling vigorously with your music pounding away, the chambered speakers bring your tunes to life. A fan is also included although many users have complained that this is fairly ineffective.
Adjusting the seat is super-simple as it comes on a sliding rail so you can mess about until you find your perfect position.
While you could certainly find a cheaper recumbent bike, if you’re looking for a model that will last for years, boasts a class-leading warranty and offers all the tech-driven functionality you’d expect on a more upscale bike, you can’t go wrong with the Nautilus R614. Road test one today and take your cardio routines to new levels tomorrow.
- 22 pre-set workout programs so never get stuck for ideas
- 20 resistance levels suitable for most fitness levels
- Heart rate monitor and touch sensors to get the most from your training
- Chambered speakers so listen to your favorite tunes as you ride
- Detailed display gives you everything you need on a crisp screen
- Adjust seat using sliding rail for total flexibility
- Not the cheapest recumbent up for grabs
- Cooling fan lacks any real oomph
Last but by no means least in our recumbent exercise bike reviews is a cheap but highly effective model from ProGear.
The steel frame is built to provide the best possible stability and leveler underneath help to dial this in further if your bike is set up on uneven flooring. Even if you hit this bike hard, you won’t get any wobbling or movement so you can focus on smashing your goals without worrying about toppling off.
While the bike itself is space-saving in design, adjusting the seat accommodates users from 5 feet tall thought 6 feet 3. Beyond this point, you’ll fail to get the full range of motion necessary for a meaningful workout. The seat slides along a thin support and you can move this wherever you want rather than being limited to pre-set positions.
14 magnetic resistance levels mean you can tailor your training accordingly. As with most recumbents, all you need to do is twist a simple dial to move from level to level. Transitioning is smooth with no tiresome jumps.
The belt drive and single crank come together to serve up a smooth and consistent ride with no slippage at all.
The supremely padded seat and backrest make your ride a pleasure even if you’re putting in some serious distance. This moves back and forth so you can get your posture just right. Adjustable handlebars are also ergonomic and you can fine-tune the position to suit.
Mounting and dismounting is a cinch due to the step-through design.
While the bike does not fold down for storage, you’ll still be able to stash it in a small closet as it occupies a pretty minimal footprint.
The bike comes partially assembled and you shouldn’t need more than an hour or so to get everything else neatly slotted together.
If you’re looking for an entry-level recumbent bike that managed to pack in a great deal of functionality given the price point, the 555LXT by ProGear is well worth popping on your shortlist.
- Set targets for yourself on the console so great way to progress
- Levelers help with balancing on uneven surfaces
- Suitable for taller users
- 14 resistance levels for a varied workout
- Operates very quietly so perfect for home gyms
- Move around easily thanks to transport wheels
- Cannot export your data
- Display is not backlit so difficult to read in dimmer conditions
Now you have a good idea of the kind of recumbent bikes that are suitable for home use, we’ll dive into why you should think about adding one to your workout arsenal in the first place…
What Is a Recumbent Bike?
Cardio is central to any sensible fitness plan but the downside is that many methods of exercise can place undue strain on your joints. One of the chief advantages of exercise bikes is the low-impact workout you can enjoy without any drop in intensity.
With a recumbent bike, you have the pedals positioned in front of your body not tucked underneath like on a regular upright. The more natural position this brings about leads to less body fatigue and soreness.
Whether you’re just starting to cycle or you’re an old hand, if you want to put in the miles indoors, the best recumbent bike makes a smart place to begin.
Why Use a Recumbent Bike?
Most people who shoot for the recumbent style of exercise bike are looking for comfort without sacrificing intensity and this style delivers fully on that score.
The ability to work out hands-free is another selling point of the recumbent. If you are lightly exercising and enjoy using your tablet or reading as you pedal away, a recumbent allows you to do this with ease.
Anyone suffering from back pain of any nature will find the substantial padded seats and backrests on these bikes help to reduce the stresses and strains a normal workout might bring about.
If you want to train hard but you’re not prepared to do so feeling uncomfortable, investing in a recumbent bike is a wise bet.
How do you go about using one of these bikes, though?
How To Use a Recumbent Bike?
Luckily, getting into the swing of using a recumbent bike is child’s play.
Once you have your bike assembled, check that all moving parts have adequate clearance.
You should also account for sufficient space to mount and dismount without feeling cramped when you’re setting your bike up in your home gym.
Once you’ve saddled up and started pedaling, just watch that LCD and see those calories burn.
We’ll round out today by lasering in on 5 areas you should pay close attention to when you’re hunting down the best recumbent bike.
What To Look For When You’re Buying a Recumbent Bike
Central Console Unit
If the model you choose has a console unit, this acts as the central nervous system of your bike.
Sensors attached allow all the performance data you need to be seamlessly processed helping you to track your fitness goals.
This console will also deal with all the pre-sets and programmed workouts.
Focus here on how user-friendly and intuitive the unit is rather than obsessing over which ones packs in the most features.
Linked to the console is the LCD upon which that data will be displayed.
Since home gyms are often tucked away in the basement, it pays to look out for a backlit display so you won’t end up squinting to check how far you’ve pedaled.
Some recumbent bikes have 2 displays so you can monitor your stats on one screen while watching a movie on the other.
Clarity rules here so make sure the screen you are looking at comes well-reviewed.
Ergonomics and Comfort
Since comfort is one of the driving reasons for buying a recumbent bike in the first place, it’s rash to overlook the importance of an ergonomic saddle and neatly positioned handlebars.
Pedals should be large enough to accommodate your feet without pinching them up and should ideally come with straps so you can get the very most out of your workout.
Check that the seat, pedals and handlebars adjust to your liking. There’s no right or wrong here, but it’s essential that it feels right to you. Even if you plan to buy your recumbent bike online, it’s often a neat idea to pop to the store first so you can road test one and get a feel for the comfort factor.
Heart Rate Monitor
Most of the cheaper recumbent bikes don’t have a heart rate monitor so you’ll need to spend a little more to get this option.
In order to reap maximum benefit from your cardio workout, you need your heart beating at a certain rate so you’re fully in the fat-burning zone. Having an integrated monitor makes achieving this much easier.
While this feature is useful, it should by no means be considered a must-have. You don’t need to spend out much to get a third-party heart rate monitor so don’t base your buying decision solely upon this.
Size and Weight
You should look for a recumbent bike that’s solid and stable enough for your needs while remaining lightweight enough to move around when called for.
If you are interested in a much heavier bike, check that the model you’re scoping out comes with transport wheels. You’ll thank us later!
Hopefully, these recumbent bike reviews have given you a good idea about whether or not one of these exercise bikes with a twist would be a worthwhile extra in your home gym.
If you are struggling to find the best equipment, just drop us a line and if we haven’t already covered it, we’ll gladly review whatever you need help with. We have no particular affinity with any one brand and we’ll always honestly portray the good and bad of all equipment so you can get an impartial viewpoint to help you with your buying decision.
Come back soon!