8 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes in 2021 [Pros, Cons & Best Options]
If you are a workout enthusiast or ever been to the gym, you must have been familiar with the concept of a Recumbent Exercise bike. It is a comfortable exercise bike that focuses on providing the user as much comfortable as possible during the workout. Equipped with a cushiony and comfortable seat with back support (generally padded) along with a set of handlebars near the seat, and a more or less advanced performance monitor, a recumbent exercise bike is a better option than an upright bike & indoor bikes. It provides additional support for your upper body during the workout while reducing the stress on the joints, making it comfortable for all ages. The recumbent bike allows you to sit in a way that promotes good spinal alignment and building strength without experiencing excess pain. This type of exercise bike is suitable for:
- People recovering from injuries
- Novice Exercisers
- People who are new to workout
- Senior or middle-aged people with certain medical conditions
- Those who want to multitask during exercise
With so many options available on the online marketplaces, it is nearly impossible to find the best recumbent exercise bikes for your indoor or commercial gym. But before opting for one, you must know everything about these exercise bikes to understand which one is suitable for you according to your requirements and budget. If you are new to recumbent exercise bikes, our detailed buying guide is just tailored to answer all your queries, starting from its benefits to the best ones available in the market. Let’s check it out.
Benefits of Recumbent Exercise Bike: Why you should consider it?
A recumbent bike is great stationary equipment to promote muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness and restore range of motion. Here are some of its remarkable benefits that you must consider before buying one:
Recumbent Exercise Bikes are known for their comfort during the workout. The larger seat of the recumbent bike is more comfortable and designed to reduce “saddle soreness” that people usually experience with small seats in other exercise bikes. Also, the laidback position of recumbent bikes allows you to multitask while exercising.
2. Suitable for People with Low Back Injuries
The best thing about recumbent exercise bikes is that it causes low stress on the joints due to its reclined position, making it a great option for people with low back injuries or pain. Also, it is beneficial for people with cardiac limitations.
If you are experiencing frequent back pain, then you can go for Nautilus Recumbent Bike Series is one of the acclaimed exercise bikes you can go for and observe the difference.
For those who struggle with maintaining balance, Recumbent bikes are a great alternative as there is less risk of falling off than that using an upright bike or other standing cardio equipment.
4. Physical Fitness
The low impact nature of recumbent bikes makes them a good option for low impact workout, that causes less strain on your knees and joints. Also, cycling the recumbent stationary bike improves your physical strength by working primarily on muscles like quadriceps (front of the thighs), glutes (bottom), hamstrings (back of the thighs), calves (back of the leg below the knee), and hip flexors (bottom of the stomach).
The recumbent bike has various levels of resistance and speed for custom workouts. It works as a stationary bike and you can change its incline settings according to the difficulty level of your workout. This equipment can be easily modified according to your fitness requirement and workout difficulty, making it suitable for all ages and gender.
If you are looking for a foldable recumbent bike for your indoor gym that can be stored in less space, then you must try Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike. This user-friendly exercise bike comes with a height-adjustable desk for a better cardio workout along with eight different levels of magnetic resistance and a large cushiony seat.
Recumbent Bikes vs. Upright Bikes
Both Upright Bikes and Recumbent bikes are stationary bikes, causing less stress on joints during the workout. The primary difference between them is their position. Upright bikes come in a traditional position while Recumbent bikes have laid back position. Apart from it, there are some major key differences between both bikes that you must know to understand which one is right for you:
1. Pedal Position
Both the bikes differ significantly in their pedal position. While in the upright bike, pedals are positioned under the body, in Recumbent bikes they are positioned in front of the body.
2. Back Support
Using a recumbent bike provides full back support while upright bikes are designed to provide limited upper body support only.
3. Seat Size
One of the best things about the recumbent exercise bikes is their larger seat size, which you won’t find in Upright bikes as they have smaller seat sizes which can be uncomfortable for beginners and extended workouts.
4. Upper Body Tension
Recumbent bikes reduce upper body tension and muscle fatigue due to their comfortable laid back position but in the case of upright bikes, you may face upper body fatigue or tension because of their upright seated position.
5. Muscles Used While Biking
Upright bikes are designed more of a total body workout as the muscles involved in riding upright bikes are quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, tibialis anterior, calf muscles, abdominal and arm muscles. While in recumbent bikes, all the same muscles are involved except arm and abdominal muscles.
6. Experience Level
If you are a beginner, Recumbent exercise bikes are the better option for you as you don’t have to hold yourself up while you’re pedaling. But if you are an experienced one and require more challenge, an upright bike will be a better option to consider for you.
8 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes in 2021
Anatomy of a Recumbent Bike
Recumbent bikes can be categorized on the basis of its parts such as wheelbase, wheelsize, steering system, front-wheel, or rear-wheel drive. Before you buy a recumbent bike, you must know about the following parts:
There are three types of wheelbase in the recumbent bikes:
- Long Wheelbase: LWB (long wheelbase) models have pedals positioned between the rear and front wheels.
- Short Wheelbase: In SWB (short wheelbase) models, pedals have positioned in front of the front wheel.
- Compact Long Wheelbase: CLWB models in recumbent bikes have pedals positioned either very close to the front wheel or above it.
Based on these three wheelbase types, there are various variations available in the recumbent exercise bikes.
2. Wheel Size
There are two wheels in recumbent bikes: Front Wheel and Rear Wheel. The Rear-wheel of the recumbent bike is usually behind the rider and it can be of any size, varying from 16 inches (410 mm) to the 700c (or 27″) depending upon the model. While the Front-wheel is usually smaller than the rear wheel and generally feature dual 26-inch (ISO 559), 650c (ISO 571), 700c (ISO 622), or even 29 x 4″ oversize all-terrain tires.
The wheel size largely determines the resistance and performance of the recumbent bikes. Smaller front wheels has higher rolling resistance and more likely to attempt sharp changes of direction while crossing over sand, pebbles or dirt. On the other hand, larger wheels has low rolling resistance but a high performance.
One of the most common arrangements you can find in best recumbent exercise bikes is an ISO 559 (26-inch) rear wheel and an ISO 406 or ISO 451 (20-inch) front wheel. The reason behind this combination is that the large rear wheel and small front wheel avoid the problem on a short wheelbase recumbent called “heel strike” (a condition where the rider’s heels catch the wheels in tight turns).
There are three types of steering arrangements usually found in recumbent bikes. These are:
- Over Seat (OSS) or Above Seat Steering (ASS) Arrangement: This kind of arrangement is generally direct where the steerer acts on the front fork but the handlebars extend well behind the front wheel.
- Under Seat Steering (USS) arrangement: USS arrangement is generally indirect where the bars are linked to the headset through a system of cables or rods along with a bell crank. Usually, this type of arrangement can be seen in tadpole trikes. One of the best recumbent trikes available in the market is Razor DXT Yellow Drift Trike.
- Pivot Steering or Center Steering: Such kind of steering arrangements generally may not have handlebars at all. Examples of such bikes are Flevo bikes and Pythons.
Fairings are the aerodynamic devices fitted by some riders in their recumbent bikes to reduce aerodynamic drag. They are generally available in upright bikes but not that common.
Recumbent bikes have large cushioned/padded seats made up either of mesh stretched tightly over a frame or foam cushions to provide comfortable back and lumbar support for all ages.
6. Front Wheel or Rear Wheel Drive
Most of the recumbent bikes have a rear-wheel drive with a long drive chain and cranks attached to a boom fixed to the frame. Due to the close proximity of the crank to the front wheel, Front Wheel Drive is generally optional in these bikes. In case of Front-wheel drive, there is a short drive chain. Depending upon the model you choose, the wheel drive can vary.
Are Recumbent Bikes effective for Workout?
This is one of the major concerns of fitness enthusiasts while buying a recumbent bike. According to the experts, Recumbent Exercise Bikes provides a serious workout by working on the following aspects:
1. Cardiovascular Fitness
According to the recumbent exercise bike reviews, using this exercise bike improves cardiovascular fitness in youth and adults by strengthening your heart, improving lung capacity, decreasing resting heart rate, and reducing high blood pressure over time. Also exercising on a recumbent bike is a great way to relieve stress and calm your mood.
2. Muscle Strength
Workout on recumbent bikes involves all the crucial muscles like
- Calf Muscles
The recumbent bike reviews shows that both men and women improves their muscle strength, functional abilities, and physical fitness after using the recumbent bike regularly for few months.
3. Range of Motion
Recumbent bikes increase both your flexibility and range of motion, making it easier to move around more freely. Stationary bikes improve the range of motion in the hips and enhance blood circulation, making body tissues more elastic and easy to stretch.
Pros and Cons of Recumbent Bike
There are various pros and cons of recumbent bikes just like any other exercise bikes which you must consider before buying one. Let’s start with the Pros first:
Pros of Recumbent Bikes:
- Provides Lumbar Support: Regular exercise bikes support users’ weight on their hip bones and hands, leading to a rounded back posture which might cause back problems later. But recumbent exercise bikes provides lumbar support by reducing strain on the lower back and hips as compared to standard exercise bikes.
- Reduces Knee and Hip Pain: Recumbent exercise bikes acts as an endurance conditioning exercise for old people having frequent back and hip pain problems as its laid back posture improves hip and knee motion. Also, its low placement makes it more accessible for individuals with mobility impairments and wheelchair users.
- Good for people with Cardiac Problems: Recumbent bike reviews shows that it is a great exercise equipment for people with cardiac limitations as its smooth rhythm motion causes less starin on heart and works great for cardio workout.
- Build up leg muscles: Recumbent bikes enhances muscle activity in lower limbs while building endurance in calf muscles, glutes, and hamstrings and thus act as a great alternative for upright bikes for building up leg muscles.
- Improves Hip Range Motion: Recumbent cycling position puts less load on ligaments and reviews shows that it acts as a more effective treatment than whirlpool treatment and moist hot pack treatment in improving the hip range of motion.
- Helps in Lose Weight: Depending upon your weight, fitness level and workout intensity, you can potentially lose weight with recumbent bikes by burning 100 of calories daily. It depends upon how intense workout you are doing using it by increasing levels of magnetic resistance or trying an intense new pre-programmed workout.
Cons of Recumbent Bikes:
- Less Core Strength: Although the recumbent bikes improves muscle fitness, it may not fully engage the core muscles due to its reclining position which puts less weight on core muscles. Pedaling a recumbent bike requires less core strength as compared to the upright bikes which are more useful to build core strength.
- Less Flexibility: While exercising on recumbent bikes, a person is assume to stay in a specific position, thus offers less flexibility. While in upright bikes, users can target specific muscles by changing position as they pedal with more flexibility.
- Requires more storage & slight expensive: Most recumbent bikes do not fold and thus require more storage space as compared to foldable upright bikes. Also, a good-quality recumbent bike can be slight expensive than usual standard exercise bikes.
Primary Recumbent Bike Features to Consider: Ultimate Buying Guide
There are few primary features in every recumbent bike that determines its efficiency and performance. So if you are searching the best home recumbent bike from the bikes on the market, here are some noticeable features you must check first to make up your mind:
1. Indoor Bike Computer with hear rate monitor and large LCD display
Top recumbent Bike models like Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike features large LCD display that provides an array of useful information to track your fitness progress along with a heart rate monitor. Schwinn 270 recumbent bike display all the crucial data such as time, distance, and calories goal to keep you aware about your workout intensity and progress. Also, some computers comes with an ability to switch users, particularly suitable for the home recumbent bike so each member can track its performance to improve their fitness goals.
2. Pre Programmed Workouts and Resistance Adjustment
Resistance adjustment is one of the fine features of Recumbent exercise bikes that allows you quickly and easily fine-tune your resistance level to achieve challenging workouts. Additionally, most of the recumbent bikes equipped with Pre Programmed Workouts and heart rate monitor to suggest you a cardio workout dictated by your target heart rate level.
Even one of the known old model Schwinn 230 Recumbent bike also comes with 16 different magnetic resistance levels and a Telemetry heart rate enabled monitor to track your cardio workout progress.
3. Speakers and Fans
Most of the excellent home recumbent bikes comes with in-built extra features like fans to cool off along with speakers and charging USB port so you can plug in your favorite music while enjoying your workout.
Generally, the recumbent bikes with heavy flywheels are ideal to experience a realistic road feel momentum. But some models also comes with perimeter-weighted flywheels to enhance and mimic the feel of road bike in a smooth way. So you can choose according to your preference.
5. Weight Capacity
Various recumbent bikes comes with different weight capacity but most of them have the ideal weight capacity of at least 250 lbs (113kg) to accommodate all size of people.
6. Adjustable Seat Position
All the recumbent bikes comes with an adjustable seat position so you can adjust the seat fore and aft. This reduces strain on your lower back and hips and let you enjoy your workout without causing back or knee pain.
Almost all known brands of recumbent bikes offers a decent warranty period on bike’s frame and parts that shows their confidence in the quality of equipments they have used. Always check the warranty period while buying the home recumbent bike to get the best services at an affordable price with the assurance of long-lasting performance.
Best Recumbent Bikes by Price
With so many models and brands of recumbent Bikes available in the market, it is challenging to decide which one will be the ideal one according to your budget and requirements. To ease the process for you, we have listed few best recumbent bikes based on recumbent exercise bike reviews and price range available online:
1. Price Range $100-$300:
If you have low budget and looking to buy a decent foldable recumbent bike with heart rate monitor and other features, then the best recommendation for you is exerpeutic 400xl Folding Recumbent Bike. Equipped with 8 level magnetic resistance adjustment system and easy-to-read LCD display, exerpeutic 400xl folding recumbent bike is ideal for small spaces.
You can also try its another model known as Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike if you don’t want to go for the above-mentioned model.
2. Price Range $300-$600:
As we have mentioned above, schwinn 230 recumbent bike & Nautilus R616 recumbent bike are the great option to consider under this price range.
Apart from it, you can also try Circuit Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike equipped with 15 workout programs and weight capacity of 300 lbs.
3. Price Range $600-$1000:
Under this price range, the best recumbent bike you can consider is Schwinn 270 recumbent bike only that comes with 29 workout programs, free downloadable Ride Social and Schwinn trainer app, Bluetooth connectivity, and dual-track LCD displays for the better workout experience.
4. Price Range above $1000:
If you don’t have any budget issues and looking for the best recumbent bike equipped with all advanced features and workout programs, then NordicTrack VR21 Recumbent Bike is the perfect choice for you based on the user’s recommendation and reviews.
Recumbent Bikes Alternatives
There are some other alternatives of recumbent bikes are available to use as a home exercise bike in case if you feel the recumbent bike is not the right fit for you. Here are three modern alternatives of recumbent bikes that you can consider:
1. Upright Exercise Bikes
Those who want more intense workout or want to build their core muscles with no concerns about their back or joints pain, Upright exercise bike is the great home exercise bike alternative for them. It is an ideal choice for people who want to cross train or focus on specific muscle fitness.
2. Elliptical Trainers
Elliptical trainers are suitable for low impact workout programs just like the recumbent bikes. But the only major difference between the both are: Recumbent bikes targets your lower body while elliptical trainers are to target both the upper and the lower body.
People generally consider treadmill for only running and walking purpose. But treadmills are also effective for custom workout programs where users can incorporate strength training using their hand weight or bodyweight. There are various options of treadmills available online depending upon model, price and requirements, which you can consider as per your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long should you work out on a recumbent exercise bike?
Depending upon the intensity of your workout, the length can be vary. For example:
- For Steady-State Cardio Workout: For a steady cardio workout, it is advisable to do warm-up first for 5-10 minutes and then spending about 30-40 minutes on steady pedaling. Once you feel that this is workable for you, increase the duration according to your fitness level and workout intensity.
- High-Intensity Training: For an intense workout program, start with alternate 15 seconds of high intensity (you should pedal as fast as you can) along with 45 seconds of cycling at steady pace to maintain the balance. You can repeat this cycle for 15-20 minutes according to your fitness goals.
2. What should be the ideal heart rate on a recumbent bike?
The ideal heart rate to workout on recumbent bikes depends upon your maximum heart rate. The recumbent bike gives best results when your heart beats at 50 to 85% of its maximum rate. So to get an ideal heart rate for recumbent bike workout programs, follow these steps:
- Estimate your maximum heart rate- which is 220 minus your age.
- Now 50-85% of this maximum heart rate will be the ideal heart rate for recumbent bike workouts.
3. Can you lose weight using recumbent bike?
Yes, Recumbent bikes helps you to lose weight but its extent depends upon your body weight and intensity of workout. For example:
If you are an adult having 155 pounds of weight and you ride at a moderate pace i.e. about 12 – 14 miles per hour, you will be able to burn around 260 calories in a 30-minute workout.
But if you increase this pace around 16-20 miles per hour, you can potentially burn around 420 calories in half an hour.
So, it all depends upon your pace rate and body weight but indeed recumbent bikes act as a great equipment to burn calories and lose weight at home.
Recumbent bikes are the modern innovative workout solution for people having frequent back pain, knee pain or join pain problems, as it make sure that you can comfortably enjoy your workout session without stressing pain on your lower muscles or joints. Most of the recumbent bikes available online are equipped with the latest technology that helps you get best advanced pre-programmed workouts according to your heart rate and body weight to achieve fitness goals while watching shows on your tablet or listening songs using the bluetooth mode.
We hope that our detailed buying guide on recumbent bikes will help you to find the best recumbent exercise bike for your home. If you still have any queries that we should cover in this article, please share with us in the comments and for more gadgets suggestions, stay tuned with us.