Let’s admit it. We have all excuses for not exercising.
We are too busy. There are aches and pains that we don’t want to aggravate. We have other forms of activity anyway.
You can’t help wonder: is there a safe, simple and comfortable home exercise that can simulate a legitimate outdoor workout?
What equipment can help us do that?
A recumbent exercise bike might be what you are looking for.
It’s generally safe, easy to use, and effective. With the advent of technology, it is now even more secure and has more practical features.
Aside from the more common upright bikes, recumbent exercise bikes are stationary bikes that help you manage your weight and strengthen your heart and lungs.
Because they are designed to put you in a reclining, more natural position, you do not tire as easily. Furthermore, this position makes the bike very stable and puts less stress on your knees and hips.
Better comfort means longer exercise periods resulting in more calories burned!
In this post, we will list the key factors to consider in choosing a recumbent bike, educate you about the different types and name some of the most renowned brands. Most importantly, we will lead you to the best models available on the market.
Recumbent exercise bikes may look similar but they surely don’t feel and function equally. We don’t want you to make hasty decisions in choosing the right recumbent bike for you, so we listed down important factors that you should look for before finalizing that purchase.
Consider the following as a checklist to serve as your buying guide.
The primary attribute to look for is stability. Generally, a heavier bike is more stable. Also make sure that your weight is not beyond the bike’s maximum weight capacity.
You will spend a considerable amount of time on the bike’s seat so make sure that is it wide and comfortable. It should be positioned in such a way that your legs are almost in line with the pedals. Your knees should bend slightly during the workout to avoid straining your joints.
Various Resistance Levels
Exercise bikes have different resistance levels to resemble the feeling of actually riding a bike on the road. Most bikes have fully-adjustable direct-contact and magnetic braking systems while some have a fan that uses air resistance. These resistance types are further explained below. Get to know them to know what suits you best.
A bike’s pedals should be wide enough and have some sort of strapping to ensure your safety.
It may be a low-impact workout but you should still keep track of your progress. Look for a bike with a built-in console that measures and displays basic statistics like time, speed, and number of calories burned.
Bells and Whistles
While some features are not fundamental, they make your workouts more convenient. A heart rate monitor helps you sustain the fat-burning intensity.
A built-in fan brings additional resistance while making you more comfortable. If your space is limited, there are foldable bikes that have transport wheels for easy storage. Other extras that are good to have are a built-in sound system, a water holder, a magazine stand and a remote control holder.
Top Recumbent Bikes
There is no need to be intimidated by the vast number of choices available on the market. We made life easier for you by eliminating the inferior options and limiting your choices down to the best of the best.
Here are the reviews of the best recumbent bikes on the market right now.
1. Exerpeutic 400XL (Now Called 300SR)
The Exerpeutic 400XL may be small in size but it is definitely big in features so the fact that it got the top spot in out list isn’t surprising at all.
Whether you like an easy ride or you prefer more tension, its 8-level magnetic tension control system allows you to select the setting that suits your preference.
Another reason why it is well-loved is its smoothness and consistency while pedaling. Combine that with a perfectly-balanced flywheel and what you have is a powerful, yet smooth and quiet ride.
It’s not all about efficiency because the makers of the Exerpeutic 400XL placed a premium on comfort and convenience as well.
It has a large seat cushion and a back rest that will surely fit most user sizes. You can adjust its height between 5’2″ and 6’2″.
Your progress is easy to monitor with its easy-to-read, large window display. Its LCD shows distance, calories burned, time, speed, and pulse. You can easily make sure that you stay within your fat-burning zone through the hand pulse sensors located on the handle bars. However, the console’s location provides a minor inconvenience because you tend to hit it with your legs as you pedal.
This compact equipment is very easy to assemble. Storage is also a breeze because of its built-in wheels.
If you want a compact, but efficient, and affordable recumbent exercise bike, the Exerpeutic 400XL fits you perfectly.
If you want a feature-packed bike, the Schwinn 270 will not disappoint you.
It will surely meet your intensity requirement because there is a wide range of magnetic resistance to choose from – 25 to be exact! There are also 10 quick keys that will enable you to shift from easier levels to more difficult ones.
Its console helps you smartly plan and monitor your workout. To maintain the challenge, you can choose from the 29 built-in programs. You can easily track your progress through the Schwinn Connect program and myfitnesspal.com. Don’t worry about importing the data because you can do that through the USB port. Other household members can enjoy the benefits of this wonderful bike because it can store and manage data of up to 4 users.
The handle bars have sensors that measure your heart rate. If you don’t want to keep your hands limited, you can also use a compatible chest strap heart rate monitor. However, you need to buy it separately.
There are also two LCD screens for monitoring up to 13 displays. However, the backlight is a bit too bright and can take some getting used to.
You will love the Schwinn 270 not only for being efficient but also for being comfortable. Although there are no specific height settings, you can still slide the padded seat to adjust its distance from the pedals. The user weight capacity is 300 lbs which is quite high for a bike like this.
Other delightful features include a water bottle holder and a 3-speed fan. You won’t need to get off the bike because you have almost everything that you will need- even entertainment through its acoustic speakers.
It may be a bit bulky and expensive but you can be sure that the Schwinn 270 is very much worth the space and the price.
In terms of features, the Schwinn 230 is not far behind.
There are two levelers that hold up the frame and a thick crossbar that reinforces the bike’s stability.
With its 20-level magnetic resistance coupled with smooth and quiet operation, it can pass as a very capable commercial exercise bike. You can quickly adjust the resistance using the 10 quick keys. Depending on your fitness objectives, there are also 29 programs to choose from.
It has a dual LCD window system that displays up to 13 different statistics. There are the commonly-seen information like time, distance, pulse, speed, and calories and the more complicated factors such as heart rate zone indicator, % complete indicator, intensity meter and goal achievement. It’s as if a personal trainer keeps track of your performance!
You can share the Schwinn 230 with your spouse, your daughter, or your best friend because it can save up to 2 user settings. After all, working out with a fitness partner is more fun and effective. You can import your data through the USB port and use relevant programs like SchwinnConnect and myfitnesspal.com.
Its seat has a slider rail system that uses a lever for easy adjustment. Its comfortable back seat has lumbar support for comfort. To counter boredom and make your workout even more cozy, it has acoustic speakers and a 3-speed fan.
It may be quite costly but you will definitely not be shortchanged if you get the Schwinn 230. With all its features, you will run out of reasons to skip your workout!
If your primary interest is an affordable recumbent bike that is nothing fancy but does its job well, consider buying the Marcy ME 709.
You can start lightly and when you are all warmed up, you can accelerate to more difficult tension levels. There are 8 levels of magnetic resistance that you can adjust by tightening the knobs. You will also be pleased with how quietly it works regardless of the tension setting.
Monitoring your progress is very simple. A console with an LCD screen tracks and shows speed, distance, time, and calories burned. Sure, you can get more from expensive recumbent bikes. But sometimes you need nothing more than the essentials, right?
It may be a compact bike but you can rely on its stability. Its durable, powder-coated steel frame is strong enough to support a maximum user weight of 300 lbs. There are no height restrictions and you can adjust the padded seat’s distance from the pedals to comfortably fit different user heights.
Overall, the Marcy ME 709 is a reliable recumbent bike.
Completing our top 5 list of recumbent exercise bikes is the Exerpeutic 900XL. It is another basic but efficient bike that is also reasonably priced.
Assembly is pretty simple. All the parts are labeled properly and the instructions are easy to understand.
Its simple Step Thru frame design allows you to easily get in and out of the bike. With its leg stabilizers and large strapped pedals, you’re sure to get a safe workout every single time. It also has a large, comfortable seat that is adjustable to fit different user heights.
On top of these convenient features, it also offers a challenging workout. You can customize the bike’s resistance with its 8-level magnetic tension control. Whether you are feeling pumped up or you just want a steady ride, the bike is ready to meet your needs.
You can track relevant performance statistics such as distance, calories burned, time, speed and view them through the large LCD display. It also has hand pulse sensors so you can make sure that you stay within your intended heart rate zone.
If you are looking for an affordable option that functions exactly as intended, the Exerpeutic 900XL will not disappoint you.
There is quite a number of good recumbent bikes and it would be unfair to end this list with just 5 of them. And so, we are also recognizing two other remarkable recumbents. 🙂
1. Marcy NS-716R
Like its predecessor, the Marcy NE 709, the NS-716R is perfect for limited spaces and budgets.
Setting it up is quick because of its uncomplicated design. It can easily fit in a spare corner in your home as it’s very compact, and you can get an effective and low-impact workout anytime you want. If you have to, you can also move it around with very little effort because of its transport wheels.
The frame was designed in such a way that anyone can easily get on and off the bike. This is perfect for those who are not-so-agile or for people who are recovering from injuries. The seat is also adjustable, making it comfortable for different heights.
The Marcy NS-716R uses magnetic resistance to give you a challenging workout. There is a knob that you turn to the right for increased resistance and to the left for a more relaxed ride.
A computer screen gives you feedback on your progress. It monitors speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
Despite its affordability, the Marcy NS-716R does not disregard convenient features. It has foam-covered handles that are easy to grip and a cup holder to help you remain hydrated while working out.
Overall, the Marcy NS-716R provides good value for money.
The other half of the honorable mention duo is the Exerpeutic 1000.
Setting up the bike is easy, and getting started on your workout is as effortless. The frame’s design allows you to just step on the bike and get on the comfortable seat without any difficulty.
Compared to the other Exerpeutic models, it has a wider seat that is adjustable to fit users between 5’3″ and 6’3″ in height. A minor inconvenience, however, is the three-knob adjustment located underneath the seat.
Whether you want a steady ride or rigorous exercise, its range of magnetic resistance levels will adapt to your preferred difficulty. Its handles double as pulse sensors so you can ensure that you stay within your desired heart rate zone.
You can check how hard you have been working out by viewing the large number display on the LCD. It indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, scan and heart rate.
Meeting basic requirements and even exceeding certain expectations, the Exerpeutic 1000 is definitely a wise choice.
As you pedal an exercise bike, a flywheel provides a level of resistance that enables you to have an effective cardiovascular exercise.
Recumbent bikes can be classified based on the type of resistance they use.
Magnetic resistance is most commonly used these days. A series of magnets surround the flywheel and you control it manually or through a computer console. It is the easiest to use and the most reliable type of resistance. In addition, it is also quiet and smooth to use.
Friction resistance uses a fabric belt or felt pad against the flywheel. It requires manual adjustment and regular maintenance of the belt to ensure smooth operation. This type of resistance can also be noisy. Because of these setbacks, there has been a decrease in the popularity of bikes using friction resistance.
Lastly, high-quality, commercial-grade bikes use electro-magnetic resistance. This powerful type of magnetic resistance uses electrical current controlled by a programmable console to provide advanced resistance for hard training.
You may have your personal preference but due to their ease of use, smooth and quiet operation, and overall reliability, we highly recommend bikes that use magnetic resistance.
Top Recumbent Bike Brands
Our search for the best recumbent exercise bike revealed that among the many brands available on the market right now, three names stand out from the competition.
In your search for fitness machines, make Schwinn, Exerpeutic and Marcy your priority brands.
If there is one brand that is considered the authority in bicycles, it has to be Schwinn.
Since 1895, it has been perfecting the machine to address specific comfort and fitness needs. It has also ventured into creating other brilliant fitness and recreation equipment including treadmills and ellipticals.
Schwinn bikes may be pricey, but you cannot argue that their excellent quality and meticulously crafted features are worth every penny. They have a wide range of magnetic resistance levels for different intensity requirements. There are quite a number of preset workout programs and their multi-functional console tracks performance statistics. A USB-charging port enables easy exchange of data for connecting to fitness applications. Lastly, acoustic speakers and fans help make your workout more enjoyable.
There is no doubt that you will not go wrong with a recumbent bike from Schwinn.
Exerpeutic is under the umbrella of Paradigm Health and Fitness brands, the same family where the famous Ironman Fitness belongs. It manufactures machines that feature the latest technology trends in fitness while keeping them reasonably-priced.
Exerpeutic is a preferred name for home-use exercise equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, upright bikes, training cycles and recumbent bikes.
Their bikes are easy to assemble and they typically have smooth and consistent pedaling motion, hand pulse sensors and specific height adjustment ranges.
If affordability and reliability are your standards, go for Exerpeutic machines.
A passionate bodybuilder by the name of Walter Marcyan had a vision of building strength and fitness equipment not only for gyms but also for every household. Today, Marcy is known for coming up with innovative products to help you meet your fitness objectives.
Marcy recumbent bikes are well-known for being compact and affordable. They also commonly have preset magnetic resistance tension levels and weighted, counterbalanced pedals for a stimulating yet safe workout.
If you are in need of good quality recumbent bikes, weight benches, exercise cycles, elliptical cross trainers, or free weights and dumbbells, Marcy is a name that you can trust.
Buying A Recumbent Bike: Other Things To Consider
Are you torn between an upright and a recumbent bike? Let us go over this comparison to help you make up your mind.
While both types give similar results in helping you lose weight, recumbent bikes allows you to workout with much more comfort. It is easier on the lower back and gentler on the joints because of the bucket seat with a comfortable backrest. The low center of gravity is safer as it protects your knees and ankles from injury-causing impact.
The upright bike gets the upper hand in terms of price and size. Because it is smaller and requires less materials, it is understandably more affordable.
In terms of the muscles worked, both exercise the glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calves. The upright bike helps strengthen the abdomen, back, shoulders and arms while the recumbent gives a better workout for the glutes and hamstrings.
Whether upright or recumbent, the more important choice to make is to have the motivation and consistency to get on that bike to achieve your fitness goals.
Best Recumbent Bikes: Conclusion
Keeping an active lifestyle is not exactly easy. We usually don’t have the time or the motivation to do so.
A recumbent exercise bike makes an active and healthy lifestyle within easier reach. It enables you to get low-impact cardiovascular exercise minus the strain and discomfort. With customizable tension levels, progress monitoring systems, solid frames and adjustable seats, what will make you say no to a quiet and smooth workout that you can do even while watching television or reading a book?
Schwinn, Exerpeutic and Marcy are dependable brands of recumbent bikes. Whether affordable or expensive, basic or sophisticated, you will surely find your match.
If you are ready to go for it, get the Exerpeutic 400 XL and ride your way to fitness!