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Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes of 2017: Comparison and Reviews

By Tory Reiss / July 11, 2014
Best Exercise Bike Reviews

Best Exercise Bike ReviewsWant to build your home gym but not sure where to start? Try our Home Gym equipment guide

Purchasing the best recumbent exercise bike can be a difficult decision given all of the varying features between models. There are a number of things to take into consideration to ensure the bike you purchase is the right fit for you. You want a bike that will entice you to ride it, making the will to workout that much easier. To find the perfect exercise bike, you will need to take into account your personal fitness level, desired aesthetic qualities, comfort level, space available in your home, and your intended budget.

Comparison Chart: Top 5 Best Recumbent Bikes of 2016

Exercise BikesFull ReviewDimensionsWeightCapacityWarrantyPriceRating
Exerpeutic 900XL
Exerpeutic 900XL

Read Full Review
22 x 34 x 5463 lbs.325 lbs.Limited Three Year$4.4 / 5
Schwinn 270
Schwinn 270

Read Full Review
67 x 27 x 13101 lbs.300 lbs.90-Day Parts & Labor$$4.1 / 5
Sole Fitness R92
Sole Fitness R92

Read Full Review
30 x 50 x 57152 lbs.300 lbs.One Year Parts & Labor$$$4.2 / 5
Exerpeutic 400XL
Exerpeutic 400XL

Read Full Review
19 x 46 x 3339 lbs.300 lbs.90-Day Parts & Labor$4.5 / 5
Horizon Fitness RC-30
Horizon Fitness RC-30

Read Full Review
66 x 52 x 26105 lbs.275 lbs.One Year Parts & Labor$$4.3 / 5

Why Buy A Recumbent Bike?

In the busy world in which we live, people are constantly running from one task to the next with little leisure time in between. Finding the time to workout has grown increasingly challenging, and it is the one task that people tend to neglect most readily. Purchasing an exercise bike will enable you to workout on your schedule, rather than struggling to find the time to go to the gym.

Stationary Exercise BikePeople often avoid the gym for other reasons as well. For those who are self-conscious of their weight, going to a public gym to exercise can be a stressful and anxiety-ridden experience. Having the ability to exercise in private and within the comfort of your home will allow you to fully relax and commit to your exercise routine more regularly.

Purchasing your own exercise bike may seem like a huge investment, but in actuality it will allow you to save a considerable amount of money over time. When you take into account the cost of a monthly gym membership, owning your own equipment will pay itself off in a matter of months. Exercise bikes range in cost depending on quality, size, and model, with some models starting at low as $150.

By investing the money in an exercise bike, it will inspire you to exercise more frequently. Most people have a habit of trying to get their monies worth out of every item they buy. After investing in the bike, you will feel guilty watching it sit and acquire dust, which will encourage you to use it more frequently.

An exercise bike will allow you to customize your workout to meet your desired fitness goals. When riding a standard bike, you are subject to a wide range of terrain in which you have little to no control over. By purchasing an exercise bike, you can customize the resistance and terrain based on your level of fitness, allowing you to slowly build your strength and skill level at a pace that works for you.

Types of Stationary Bikes

If you have ever paid attention at the gym, you have probably noticed that there are three different types of exercise bikes available. There are recumbent bikes, upright bikes, and spin bikes. While each bike has its advantages and disadvantages, choosing between the three will depend on what you are seeking from your workouts. Each bike varies in comfort, intensity of workout, and core muscle groups that are targeted. Bearing in mind these essential differences will help you to determine which style of bike will best suit your needs.

Recumbent BikeRecumbent Bike: Recumbent exercise bikes are uniquely designed, insofar as the seat is positioned much lower and set back farther than that of a traditional bike. The pedals are positioned about at waist height with your legs stretched out in front of you and the seat slightly reclined. Recumbent bikes have the advantage of providing greater comfort and support, which allows the rider to exercise longer without aches or discomfort.

Upright BikeUpright Bike: An upright exercise bike is exactly as the name entails. It is positioned upright, so that the seat is positioned at a ninety-degree angle. The seat consists of exclusively buttocks support with no backrest, similar to a standard bicycle but with a wider seat. The upright exercise bike more closely emulates the actual form that one would assume when riding a regular bicycle.

Spinning BikeSpin Bike: Spin bikes are designed to emulate outdoor biking, including racing and terrain, much more closely than either the recumbent or upright bicycles. The seat on a spin bike is the same type of seat seen on standard bicycles, thereby mimicking the pose of bicyclists all the more. It enables one to bike indoors while receiving the full outdoor bicycle experience in terms of form and difficulty. When using a spin bike, many people choose to stand up fully or partially while riding, so that their buttocks is partially removed from the seat. This enables them to get an even deeper quad and thigh workout in the process.


Upright Bike Vs. Recumbent Bike

Though both the upright bike and recumbent bike are great for exercising and getting in shape, determining which is right for you will depend on what you are seeking from your workouts. The upright bike has the advantage of more closely simulating an actual biking experience, thereby working similar muscle groups.

Recumbent bikes are designed with comfort in mind and provide additional back support for users. Hence, for individuals struggling with back pain or who tend to get sore more easily, a recumbent bike will provide you with superior comfort and support. Additionally, recumbent bikes are better for posture in general, as the positioning enables you to lean fully against it while biking. Since upright bikes lack a backrest, it is easy to assume bad posture, which can damage your back in the long run.

If you are seeking fat loss, a recumbent bike may enable you to meet your goals more quickly. Given the superior comfort level of recumbent bikes, users tend to be able to ride for longer periods of time before getting tired or sore, encouraging you to burn more calories over time. Though both bikes will help you tone your thighs, quads, and buttocks, the recumbent bicycle helps to build leg muscles more rapidly, whereas the upright bike works the upper body more intensely.

The space you have available in your home as well as the money you are willing to spend should also be taken into consideration when determining between the two bikes. A recumbent bike is a bit larger, thereby taking up more space in your home and also requiring more materials to manufacture. Recumbent bikes tend to be a bit pricier than uprights, due to the increased use of materials. However, there are some low-end models of recumbent bikes that can be purchased for less than $200, as well as folding recumbent bikes available for those who are short on space. If comfort and posture are important to you when exercising, then a recumbent bicycle is going to be a better fit.

Spin Bike Vs. Exercise Bike

Spin bikes are much more similar to that of an actual bicycle, and will more closely mimic the experience of outdoor cycling than either the upright or recumbent. Thus, for avid bicyclists looking to improve their skill level, there is no question that the spin bike is the best option. Spin bikes also require the greatest level of fitness. For beginners, a spin bike is not a good option, and it tends to be more geared to advanced bicyclists.

A spin bike will allow you to train just as you would with a standard bike, but from the comfort of your own home. Furthermore, spin bikes provide a more intense workout, enabling the user to burn more calories and work their thigh, calve, and buttocks more rigorously than they would with either the upright or recumbent bike.

For those who are in great physical condition, are avid bicyclists, and free of body pain such as a bad back, bad knees, or arthritis, then a spin bike is a perfect choice. Keep in mind that spin bikes do not have different workout programs available, and therefore you cannot create a custom workout to fit your needs.

The upright exercise bike is a good intermediate level exercise bike, as it has adjustable settings that can be customized to your specific level of fitness, allowing you to slowly improve your skill level over time. For those in moderate physical condition who are looking to improve their fitness level, an upright exercise bike will be a better fit than the spin bike, as it will enable you to tailor your workout plan to your specific needs.

Pre-Purchase Considerations

Finding the Right Bike for You

Prior to purchasing your bike, you will need to determine your goals and needs as a biker. Identify all aspects of your specific situation such as your current fitness levels, your desired fitness levels, your budget, the available space in your home, and your desired comfort level. Once you have answered all of these questions, choosing the right bike will be easy.

Finding the Right BikeSize: The size of the bike will need to depend on two factors: the height of the people using it and the available space in the home. Upright bikes and spin bikes tend to be more compact than recumbent bikes, thereby allowing them to fit more easily in smaller settings. Additionally, for younger people or people with shorter legs, you will want to ensure that the bike has an adjustable seat and that all users will be comfortably able to reach the peddles and handle bars.

Cost: Exercise bikes vary greatly in cost, with bikes starting as low as $150 and going into the thousands. Obviously, the more you are willing to spend, the higher quality you can expect to receive in exchange. Nonetheless, there are a variety of budget-friendly low-end models available for those looking to spend less.

Type: Based on all of the previously mentioned factors, you should have a pretty good idea of the type of bike you will need. If you are seeking the best bike for advanced fitness, go with the spin bike. If you seek a comfortable bike with ample back support, then the recumbent bike is the best choice. If you desire an intermediate level bike that more closely resembles actual biking, but with a variety of exercise programs built-in, then the upright bike will be a good choice.

Noise Level: Exercise bikes range in noise level, depending on brand. Bikes featuring magnetic resistance tend to be much quieter than those featuring manual resistance. Most recumbent and upright bikes will have magnetic resistance, whereas most spin bikes use manual resistance and are a bit noisier as a result.

Height: Most exercise bikes come equipped with an adjustable seat, allowing you to adjust the height at will. However, given exercise bikes are geared toward adults, even the lowest setting can be a bit high off the ground. For shorter adults, be sure to review the designated height range for that specific model, to ensure the bike can cater to your height needs comfortably.

Pedals: Virtually all exercise bike pedals come with a strap that will help to hold your foot in place. This is an important aspect that will make biking much easier and ensure your feet don’t slide out of place. Some exercise bikes are now designed with pedals that are sloped slightly inward, to help mimic the natural posture of your body. For those prone to body pains or soreness, finding a bike with inward sloped pedals can help to lessen body soreness after workouts.

Weight Rating: Different bikes are prepared to withstand different weights, and you need to ensure that you purchase a bike with this in mind. If the bike is going to be used by heavier people, check the weight rating of the bike to make sure it will hold up. There are exercise bikes available that can support weights of up to 500 pounds.

Programs: Identifying the various programs available in each different model is an important factor to consider prior to purchasing. Some bikes are more geared toward cardio while others seek to build leg strength. Spin bikes have no programs, while recumbent and upright bikes do. Higher-end bikes typically have more programs available than lower-end models do.

Heart Rate Monitoring: Many cardio machines now have the ability to monitor heart rate. This is a good thing for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it allows you to pace your exercise routine at a rate that fits your needs. By tracking your heart rate, you can maintain a steady speed that will allow you to workout for longer without burning out. By regularly monitoring your heart rate, your will also get to see your progress. As your fitness level increases, your average heart rate will steadily decrease in conjunction.

Adjustable Intensity: Different bikes come with different levels of resistance, which are important to consider when identifying which bike will meet your workout needs. Most recumbent bikes and upright bikes are equipped with magnetic resistance, which allows for more versatility in difficulty levels. The resistance of spin bikes tends to depend on tension, with a manual knob that can be used to manually increase or decrease the resistance.

Warranty: Make sure that the bike you purchase has a good warranty on it. When investing in any expensive item, receiving an additional warranty is essential in the event the item suddenly breaks or is defective. Warranties for exercise bikes vary, and often depend on the quality and cost of the bike. Higher-end bikes generally come with more extensive warranties than lower-end bikes do.

Best Recumbent Exercise Bike By Price

Now that you have assessed the varying factors that you need to look for in a stationary bike, you are ready to start comparing bikes to find the one that is right for you. Different models of bikes are available to cater to a wide range of budgets, enabling you to purchase the right bike for the right price. Here is a review of some of the best bikes available to you in a variety of price ranges.

Under $200

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with PulseThis exercise bike varies in price from $169 to $199.99, depending on the store it is purchased from. It has a sleek design with a silver, grey and black color scheme, and the versatility to match virtually any home setting. While this is a low-end model recumbent bike, it has a surprising number of built-in features including an adjustable seat, an eight-level magnetic tension control system, and an LCD screen that displays heart rate, time, speed, calories burned, and distance. The adjustable seat can accommodate people from heights ranging from 5’3″ to 6’3″. It has wheels on the bottom so it can be easily moved, and it weighs only 63 pounds.

Though recumbent bikes are known to be more comfortable than uprights or spin bikes, this bike has rather firm seats, which can lead to discomfort over time. The assembly of this bike is also rather difficult, and it may serve to the purchaser’s advantage to hire a professional to help during assembly.

It has a 300-pound maximum weight limit, which is rather impressive for a bike of its size. At only 22 by 34 by 54 inches, it is fairly compact and can fit easily in most homes. However, given the bike is on the smaller side, it may not suffice for taller or heavier set users. It also comes with a 3-year limited warranty, which is rather extensive for a bike in this price range.

Due to possessing magnetic tension, it is very quiet as far as exercise bikes go. All in all, for under $200, this is a good quality bike. Nonetheless, since it is a low-end model, it will be lacking in the extensive programs and amenities that many of the higher-end models feature.

Read Our Full Review of the Exerpeutic 900XL

Under $500

Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

Schwinn 270 RecumbentWhen purchasing this bike, be weary where you buy it. The price can range from as low as $384.93 at Sears Outlet to as much as $499.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. In any case, this bike is a great deal for what it offers. It comes in a sleek looking jet-black color, with red and silver accents throughout. The seat back is ventilated, making it ideal for long, sweaty workouts. With 29 available programs and 25 levels of resistance, it can appeal to virtually any fitness level.

This bike also comes with an excellent warranty at 10 years for the frame, 2 years for mechanical issues, 1 year for electrical issues, and 90 days for labor. It can withstand weights of up to 300 pounds, and provides comfortable seating with ample support. It can track your time, distance, and calories burned, and has a USB port that you can use to transfer that data to your hard drive.

While it has wheels on the bottom to help with transporting, this machine weighs in at 100 pounds with dimension of 64 by 27.7 by 49.9 inches, making it heavy and cumbersome to move by oneself. Fortunately, the assembly of this bike is surprisingly easy, though it helps to have a second set of hands. This bike is also equipped with magnetic tension, making for a very quiet ride.

The biggest downfall of this machine is that the seat adjustment is a bit awkward. The seat will slide downward as it moves forward, thereby decreasing in height and distance from the pedals simultaneously. While there is no way to adjust the height of the seat or distance from the pedals individually, the adjustment settings manage to suffice for most body types. All things considered, this is a good mid-level bike for the money. It has a lot of features and built in amenities that cater to comfort, calorie burning, and muscle building.

Read Our Full Review of the Schwinn 270

Under $1000

Sole Fitness R92 Recumbent Bike

Sole Fitness R92 Recumbent BikeAt $999.99, this bike is about as good as it gets for shy of $1,000. This solid black machine has a clean look that will mesh perfectly in any home gym. It measures 30 by 50 by 57 inches, making it a bit more compact than the Schwinn. It has wheels on the bottom for easy moving, but at 152 pounds it may require two people to be safely transported. The pedals are sloped slightly inward, providing for the utmost comfort to users. The seats provide ample back and buttocks support and are well cushioned for maximum comfort. It has a built in sound system that hooks up to MP3s, allowing you to listen to music while you workout.

It also has a heart rate monitor, built in fan, and water bottle holder. Both the seat and the handlebars are adjustable, so it can cater to virtually any height. The best part of the machine is the warranty. They offer a lifetime warranty for the frame of the machine, three years for the parts and electronics, and one year for labor. For those who experience joint or back pain, this machine is a good choice. It is designed to provide the utmost comfort by angling the foot pedals inward, which sets your body up for perfect posture while riding.

This resistance on this bike operates on magnetic tension, making for a very quiet and seamless riding experience. It has six standard programs and two custom programs available for use. Compared to the Schwinn, it is a bit lacking in available programs. However, for those in need of specialized comfort and extended warranties, this bike is a good choice.

Read Our Full Review of the Sole Fitness R92

Best for Home Use

While the bikes listed above are all great bikes, sometimes when purchasing a bike for home use it is necessary to buy one that is lightweight, easy to move, and easy to store. With that in mind, there are a variety of folding bikes available that are specifically designed to be easy to use, transport, and store at home.

Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike

Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent BikeThis bike is incredibly cheap, at only $149. Additionally, it is lightweight and compact, measuring in at 19 by 46 by 33 inches. Weighing only 39 pounds, this bike is easy to move, even for smaller framed people. Despite its size, this bike is able to carry up to 300 pounds and features eight levels of tension settings.

The screen can track your heart rate, distance, time, calories burned, and speed, giving you a wide range of data to track your fitness goals. The main downside about the screen is that it is mounted considerably lower on the bike, making it difficult to see while riding. It is designed in such a manner so as to make it as compact as possible.

The machine is grey and black with well-cushioned seats that can adjust to your height. For those with minimal space available or who will need to be able to move the bike by themselves, this is going to be a good option for you. It is easy to assemble and can fold to about half of its height, making it easy to store.

It is very quiet, due to using magnetic resistance. However, it only comes with a 1 year limited warranty, which is considerably less than any of the previously reviewed bikes. The seat itself is not very comfortable as far as bikes go, so for those struggling with back pain, investing in a higher-end model may be necessary.

Read Our Full Review of the Exerpeutic 400XL

Best for Arthritis and Bad Knees

For those with joint pain, bad knees, back pain, or any other type of chronic or sporadic pain, you will want to seek out a bike that can cater to those needs specifically. The Horizon Fitness RC-30 Recumbent Exercise Bike is one of the higher quality bikes on the market, crafted with comfort in mind.

Horizon Fitness RC-30 Recumbent Exercise Bike

Horizon Fitness RC-30 Exercise BikeThis bike goes for $429.99. Though recumbent bikes in general should be the chosen bikes for those struggling with arthritis, back pain, or bad knees, this particular model is known for its superior comfort and lumbar support. Due to the design of the pedals and the seat, the bike promotes good posture, enabling you to exercise freely without pain or soreness.

The company offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and a one-year warranty on the parts and labor. It comes equipped with eight different workout programs and eight different resistance options, offering the user a wide range of workouts to choose from.

This is, however, a very large and heavy machine, measuring in at 66 by 52 by 26 inches and weighing 105 pounds, making it difficult to move on ones own. It also cannot bear as much weight as the other models reviewed, with a maximum capacity of 275 pounds.

It is very easy to assemble and quiet during operation. It is also equipped with a water bottle holder and features a sleek and modern black and grey design. Overall, this is a very high quality bike for the price, and certainly a preferable option for those struggling with chronic pain.

Read Our Full Review of the Horizon Fitness RC-30

The Conclusion

Once you have established exactly what you need from your bike, finding the one is easy. All of these bikes are good choices and will give you just the push you need to start maintaining a regular exercise routine. These bikes all share the crucial commonality that they can easily cater to people of all fitness levels. The core differences between them will be in terms of the warranty available, the programs offered, the resistance options, and the basic amenities like fans and water bottle holders.

Nonetheless, with any of these options, you really can’t go wrong. It will be a sturdy, well-made product that can provide you with the fitness results you need, all from the comfort of your own home. Determining which is right for you will depend on the money you are willing to spend, as well as the space you have available in your home. Remember that this bike will last you years to come, so make sure the choice you make is an educated one.

About the author

Tory Reiss

Hi! I'm Tory Reiss. I built this blog to share my fitness quest and provide informative reviews of fitness equipment, gadgets, and supplements that you can use to help reach your health goals. Hope you enjoy it!