Recumbent exercise bikes offer all of the fantastic benefits of any other kind of stationary exercise bike with the added benefit that it is an even lower impact cardio workout since you can sit in a reclined position with your legs at a less vertical angle.
The primary design difference that distinguishes a recumbent exercise bike from the rest is that the seat has a back which allows you to sit comfortably in that reclined position. The frame is also often (but not always) built lower so that your legs are more horizontal. This means you can lean back, turn on the TV or read a book and pedal away!
But shopping for a recumbent exercise bike can get overwhelming once you realize there are just so many different options out there. This short guide will give you a few tips on how to sift through all those options and then give you are suggestions for the top 3 best recumbent exercise bikes.
Tips For Shopping For A Recumbent Exercise Bike
Here are a few tips to help you as you are shopping:
- Define your priorities: some people are only looking for a basic set up: a seat and pedals that you can spin. But even then, you want to look for something with a sturdy frame and durable construction. And if you want something with a little more functionality, you can find options that have plenty of extra perks like goal setting functions, data recording and tracking, and even sound systems and Bluetooth capabilities. Decide exactly what sort of features and functions you are looking for so you can be sure you don’t end up buying something that’s either too basic or too complicated.
- Know your budget: there are recumbent exercise bikes in every price range. At the lower end, you can find one for little more than $100, and at the higher end, you can pay a thousand or more. While you don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest option just because it’s cheap, you also don’t necessarily need to go with the most expensive product on the market. Set a price range of what you are willing to spend and look for products in that price range that meet your priorities.
- Read reviews: reviews are one of the best ways to find out how a product holds up. The exercise bike’s advertisement can give you some basic ideas of what they are offering, but you won’t know for sure how reliable that information is until you read through some reviews. Check out our reviews as well as recumbent exercise bike reviews on other reputable sites and people to get a good sense of whether or not the recumbent exercise bike you are considering buying is worth the investment.
Our Top Recommendation
With these tips in mind, check out these reviews for 3 of our top choices when it comes to searching for the best recumbent exercise bike.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
This recumbent exercise bike from Schwinn is a midrange price with a lot of great features to boast that makes it surprising it only costs as much as it does. Let’s take a look at some of the best features it has to offer. Then we’ll follow that up with a few points that might be drawbacks.
We have so many favorite features about this recumbent exercise bike that make it truly earn its place in our list of the top 3 recumbent exercise bikes. A few of those features include:
- It has 29 programs which mean you can choose from a wide variety of different expertly designed workouts to help you achieve your goals and get in perfect shape. This is especially useful for beginners who aren’t used to setting up their exercise routine.
- It has 25 resistance levels which mean you have a lot of room to grow. When you first get it, you can give yourself a fitness test to see which level best matches your current skill and then gradually increase the resistance as your fitness begins to improve.
- High speed, high inertia weighted flywheel. The flywheel is an essential feature. This is the part that spins when you peddle. And the high speed, weighted design of this flywheel guarantees smooth revolutions that are super quiet. While you may not think a silent wheel is that important, you will appreciate it after a 45-minute session where you don’t have to listen to the whining spin of a loud flywheel.
- USB port. You can charge your phone or tablet on your exercise bike which means you don’t have to worry about it dying in the middle of your workout. With the USB port, you can also transfer data from your exercise bike to your phone or tablet. That means you can have the most up to date data on your workout progress wherever you go.
- LCD display and shelf. The easy to read LCD display tracks up to 13 different aspects of your workout including the essentials like speed, distance, and calories burned. It also has a shelf where you can mount your book or e-reader, and the ride is smooth enough that you can read without it shaking around.
While there are so many great things to say about this recumbent exercise bike, there are a few potential drawbacks you should be aware of:
- The LCD display is ravishing. This isn’t a problem in a well-lit room, but if the lighting in the room is low, the light from the LCD display can feel a little overwhelming. But this is the same as looking at your phone or computer screen in a darker room.
- The USB charger is a bit slow. If your device is on its last legs regarding battery life, it may not be able to charge it faster than the rate at which it is losing battery life. But if it’s at least a half-charged (or even a little under), it’s a strong enough charge to keep it from dying before the end of your workout.
This is a super versatile option that gives you plenty of room to progress toward your long-term fitness goals. In our opinion, the drawbacks are hardly enough to outweigh the long list of benefits. But not everyone is looking for a super high-tech option, so if you’re just looking for a more basic option, this one will seem like too much for you.
Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike
This is an excellent recumbent bike built in a comfortable reclined position. There’s plenty of great features to mention here.
Here are just a few of our favorite features of the Nautilus R616:
- Two LCD windows. These two easy to read window displays can track up to 13 different work out details so that you can have the most thorough data on your current fitness and how you are progressing.
- Bluetooth capability. You can easily link up your exercise bike with any Bluetooth enabled device which means no tangled up wires or displays cluttered with devices. You can even transfer data from your bike to other devices with the Bluetooth option.
- USB port. Even if you don’t have Bluetooth enabled devices (or don’t want to use the Bluetooth function), you still have the option of connecting your devices using the USB port.
Here are a few drawbacks which might make the Nautilus R616 recumbent bike not the best choice for you:
- At nearly $1,000, this is a higher end model. And as you can see from the list of pros (which doesn’t even cover all of the great things about this model), it is sure to make it worth the cost. However, for personal at home use, especially for beginners, it may be more than you need. It certainly is a great option, but if you’re still not even sure you’re going to like making an exercise bike a regular part of your routine, it may not be the best idea to invest in such a high-end model right off the bat.
While this is a more expensive option, if you are serious about fitness, the cost is worth it as you will have a long lasting and very versatile bike to use at home.
ProGear 190 Compact Recumbent Bike
This is a great basic recumbent bike that we would recommend to any beginner.
The key advantages of the ProGear 190 include:
- This is far and away the most affordable option on this list. Which makes it ideal for beginners who still aren’t ready to commit to a costly high-end machine.
- This is a very minimal machine that’s not going to take up a bunch of space in your home.
- Heart rate monitoring. Despite its minimalist design, it still keeps the essentials. The handle bars have pulse monitors to help you stay in your target heart rate zone. And the small display tracks significant info like speed, distance, and calories burned.
While it’s a reliable product with a sturdy construction, there are some drawbacks:
- No extras. It’s not very adaptable to adding extra add-ons later. There’s no Bluetooth, no USB, and it’s not easy to mount a book or e-reader on the display so you’d have to hold it in your hands.
For the person looking for high tech and lots of features, one of the first two would be better options. But for the person who just wants a basic, reliable exercise bike, this is a fantastic choice for you.
After thorough research, our top recommendation goes to Schwinn 270 recumbent exercise bike. This model has it all, beautiful design with a ton of different features it is suitable for both beginners and advanced users.