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Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for You

The best recumbent bikes offer a low-impact yet effective workout. Here's everything you need to know to find the best recumbent bike for your home gym.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes

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While recumbent bikes aren’t the first piece of fitness equipment most folks think about when outfitting a home gym, these machines can offer users an effective workout, so they’re definitely worthy of a closer look.

Unlike stationary bikes, recumbent bikes allow users to sit in a comfortable reclined position. 

With seats that are wider and lower to the ground, they also feel a bit more stable, and they’re easier to get on and off. On the whole, recumbent bikes promote good spinal alignment, and they provide a safe, effective and low-impact workout. These bikes are particularly beneficial to anyone with limited mobility, seniors and novices.

Similar to stationary bikes (or any other type of home fitness equipment), recumbent bikes come with varying levels of resistance, differences in adjustability and size, and let’s not forget the myriad high-tech and low-tech options—there’s a lot to unpack, folks.

So, to help you make heads or tails of it all, we’ve curated a list of the best recumbent exercise bikes that are worthy of any shortlist. Ahead we also cover why recumbent bikes may belong in your home gym, things to consider when buying a recumbent bike and, finally, how to use said bike properly once you’ve made your purchase.

Our Picks for the Best Recumbent Exercise Bike:

Best Commercial Recumbent Bike: Sole LCR

Sole LCR

While the Sole LCR is great for physical therapy clinics or gyms, it’s equally useful in your home. Because it’s designed for commercial use, it should come as no surprise that the Soul LCR is built with a solid steel frame which makes it quite stable. And while you’d no doubt expect a commercial recumbent bike to take up a large footprint in your home, this bike is relatively small, coming in at 30 inches wide. At that size, it’s probably not a deal-breaker for home use. This bike is equipped with magnetic resistance, so it operates quietly, and users can choose from 40 preset resistance levels. It features a wide cushioned seat and padded backrest for superior comfort, as well as ergonomically designed pedals that allow your feet to maintain a solid connection with the pedal even at the top of the stroke.

The Sole LCR features a 10-inch LCD display in the console, and it’s easy to see as the screen is backlit and displays large black digital numbers.Digging a little deeper, users will find 10 preset programs built into the console — six standard programs, two heart programs and two custom programs. Moreover, there are heart rate sensors in the handlebars next to the seats, and the machine comes with a chest strap that syncs to the machine to display your heart rate metrics on the screen.A tablet holder attached to the top of a console, fans, speakers and a headphone jack round out the goodies on this recumbent bike.

  • Price: $1,599.99
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: LCD monitor

 Purchase Sole LCR


Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with Bluetooth: Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike

Nautilus R616 Recumbent bike

Overall the R616 is a beautifully designed machine, and that should come as no surprise considering that it carries the name Nautilus. Its sleek design aside, the R616 has a ton of great features, particularly when it comes to connectivity. It may be worth noting that the R616 is one of two recumbent bike models currently offered by Nautilus. The R616 is the entry-level bike, and the R618 is considered their high-end recumbent bike. 

Unlike some of its competitors, the Nautilus R616 also allows users to connect to apps through their console. So, whether you’re using an app like Nautilus Connect™ or MyFitnessPal, you can download your workout data. Other bells and whistles of the Nautilus R616 include in-console speakers with iPod or MP3 player ports, a media shelf (so you can read a book or “Netflix and peddle” if you’re so inclined), a 3-peat speed cooling fan and transport wheels for mobility.

The R616 also features a DualTrack™ LCD screen. The larger screen displays your workout and intensity, while the smaller screen displays typical performance stats like speed, time, distance, RPM, heart rate and calories burned.

Those looking for a challenging recumbent bike workout at home will certainly find it here. Not only does the R616 have 26 resistance levels, but it also comes equipped with 29 workout programs. So, on any given day, you can choose whichever program suits your fancy. Whether it’s a ride in the park, a circle around Mount Hood, or a trip to the pyramids, you will enjoy a challenging workout with some exceptional scenery to keep you motivated. Moreover, the R616 also has additional exercise options like uphill finishes, stairs and intervals.

Users will find that the perimeter weighted flywheel adds some weight to the bike while providing a smooth, quiet and consistent workout as well as a realistic biking experience.

While the Nautilus R616 has a relatively large footprint, it’s still a pretty sleek machine that offers a stable ride even at higher speeds. Comfortable, oversized seats, a step-through frame and transport wheels for mobility round out its great list of features.

  • Price: $599.00
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: DualTrack™ LCD display

Purchase Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike


Best Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike: Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike

EXERPEUTIC 400XL folding recumbent bike

If you’re looking for a foldable recumbent bike that you can move out of sight between workout sessions, you might consider the Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike. But make no mistake, while this recumbent bike has a space-saving design, you’re not giving anything up in terms of functionality.

The Exerpeutic 400XL is a compact recumbent bike, but it still features a large comfortable seat and backrest for exceptional comfort and support, and its semi-recumbent design provides easy entry and exit. And while it’s pretty lightweight at 43 pounds, it’s a solid bike that doesn’t rock or move while you’re pedaling. The Exerpeutic 400XL also features a V-belt double-drive transmission system and a precision-balanced flywheel that further enhances the smoothness of your workout while keeping the noise to a minimum.

Users will find eight levels of magnetic resistance that are easily adjusted, courtesy of the tension control knob located just beneath the console.

Speaking of consoles, the Exerpeutic 400XL is equipped with a user-friendly, easy-to-read LCD display that tracks the performance stats you’d expect, such as distance, calories, time, speed and heart rate. It’s worth noting here that the performance stats, while available, may not be the most accurate. In order to have an accurate assessment of these performance statistics, users typically need to input specifics such as their height and weight, but there’s no way to do that with this machine which is understandable given its price point.

Other great features of the Exerpeutic 400XL include extendable leg stabilizers, pulse sensors on the handlebars, large pedals with safety straps and transport wheels for mobility.

  • Price: $152.31
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: LCD monitor

Purchase Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike


Best Recumbent Exercise Bike with Exercise Programs: Nordictrack Commercial R35

Nordictrack Commercial R35

While the NordicTrack Commercial R35 makes our list as the best recumbent bike with exercise programs, it can also sit comfortably in the splurge category, courtesy of its $1,499 price tag. Fifteen hundred dollars may seem a little spendy for a recumbent bike, but the NordicTrack commercial R35 comes with an impressive list of features to back it up. 

First, while most stationary bikes only offer a varied workout by adjusting the pedal resistance, this often causes friction which can be noisy. The NordicTrack Commercial R35, however, is equipped with SMR ™ (Silent Magnetic Resistance), which keeps the noise to a minimum. Beyond its quiet operation, this bike is equipped with 26 levels of resistance and a 25 pound flywheel for a smooth ride. It also features an ergonomic seat design to improve lumbar support, built-in speakers and a self-adjusting fan.

But now, on to the piece de resistance, whereas other recumbent bikes on the market that typically have 5- to 10-inch screens, the R35 has a sleek 14-inch HD Smart touchscreen. Through this screen, you can connect to the iFit app, where you can tune in to live and on-demand workouts, stream cycling classes, see their performance stats and take a gander at live leaderboards to give you a motivation boost if need be.

The iFit Family membership is complimentary for the first 30 days, and if you know anything about iFit, then you know it has an impressive library of workouts to choose from. Impressively , the R35 also features Google Maps™ workout technology, so whether you want to go biking in Prague or stay local and check out Yosemite Falls instead, you can go wherever your mood takes you. Even better, a single iFit membership includes up to five profiles on the R35.

 Keep in mind that the R35 is a commercial quality recumbent bike, so while it has a pretty large footprint, that also makes it a robust piece of exercise equipment. The R35 is an excellent choice for larger riders who need generous seating and a higher weight capacity, as well as those who like to lean into their tech side.

  • Price: $1,499
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: 14-inch touch screen

Purchase Nordictrack Commercial R35


Best Budget Recumbent Exercise Bike: Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike

Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike

The Marcy recumbent exercise bike is proof that you can get an effective workout on a good exercise bike at a budget-friendly price.

The Marcy bike features a premium steel frame that ultimately translates to a stable ride and durability over time. The bike is designed with a step-through frame that makes getting on and off the bike much easier, and a large padded seat means you can expect a more comfortable ride. Additionally, the seat is adjustable, so if you’re sharing the bike with housemates or partners, everyone can make the necessary adjustments to accommodate their leg and stride length.

The Marcy bike is equipped with eight levels of magnetic resistance, which users can easily adjust using the tension control knob. Beyond the adjustable resistance, weighted and counterbalanced pedals offer users a smooth and comfortable ride. The LCD display is large and easy to read. And like most bikes, that’s where users will find the usual stats like time, speed, distance and calories burned.

  • Price: $257.99
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: LCD monitor

Purchase Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike


Best Recumbent Exercise Bike for Seniors: Schwinn 270

Schwinn 270

The Schwinn 270 recumbent bike is quiet, comfortable and user-friendly in both design and technology, so it’s an excellent choice for seniors. Its smooth and quiet operation makes it a good fit for apartment living.

Designed for those who need a safe, low-impact workout, the Schwinn 270 has a lot to offer, including 29 workout programs, 25 levels of resistance and a weighted flywheel that provides a smooth yet challenging ride. The bike is relatively lightweight at 86 pounds, it’s easy to assemble and is designed with handlebars at the sides of the seat for stability, but its senior-friendly features don’t stop there.

The display console is large and easy to read, and users will find speakers, a cooling fan, an MP3 and USB ports within. Plus, the Schwinn 270 offers Bluetooth connectivity, so if you want to sync your workouts with apps like MyFitnessPal or Apple Health, it’s easy enough to do. 

This bike also features a quick start program that’s great for beginners or anyone who feels less than tech-savvy. Incidentally, the quick start is also a nice option if you just want to dive in and familiarize yourself with the bike without getting stuck in the techy minutiae. Those ready for the next level can move on to the Heart Rate Control workout programs, which monitor your heart rate and adjust the workout to keep you in your optimal heart rate range based on the goal you’ve set.

One notable and unique feature of the Schwinn 270 is that it’s VR compatible. Users can connect to a VR headset and peddle through scenic destinations from around the world using apps such as Explore the World. 

  • Price: $649.00
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: Backlit LCD window 

Purchase Schwinn 270


Best Compact Recumbent Exercise Bike: Sunny Health and Fitness

Sunny Health and Fitness SF RB4616

At just 46 inches long, the Sunny Health & Fitness bike hits our list as the best compact recumbent bike. So, if you’re looking for a piece of exercise equipment that fits into an apartment or a small room in your home, this could be it.

And while the Sunny Health & Fitness bike is compact, don’t let its size fool you; it has plenty to offer. This bike features eight levels of magnetic resistance, a step-through design (meaning you don’t have to step over anything to access the seat) and a belt drive with a weighted flywheel for smooth pedaling and quiet operation.

This bike features a large cushioned seat and backrest, so it’s plenty comfortable for any workout. For those concerned about stability, the Sunny Health & Fitness bike comes with two sets of handlebars; one at the front of the machine and one at the side. Moreover, each set of handlebars is outfitted with heart rate monitors, so users can easily keep tabs on their heart rate.

As you might expect, a $230 price point won’t get you the best tech out there. That said, the Sunny Health & Fitness recumbent bike features an LCD monitor that’s basic—but still tells you everything you need to know, such as time, speed, distance, calories burned and heart rate. You won’t find preset workouts, nor is there an option to record workouts so you can compare your results over time but, again, that’s to be expected in this price range.

Ultimately, this is certainly a viable option for anyone looking for a compact recumbent bike that’s moderately priced.

  • Price: $229.00
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: LCD Monitor 

Purchase Sunny Health and Fitness SF RB4616


Best Recumbent Bike with Arm Exerciser: Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical

Recumbent exercise bikes engage the muscles in your lower body, and while they can provide a good, low-impact cardio workout, they typically do little else for your upper body.

For those who want to keep their joints fluid and get a full-body workout with each session, you might consider the Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical. As its name implies, this is a recumbent bike and elliptical all rolled into one machine, so the machine essentially falls into the cross-training category. 

Like many recumbent bikes, The Teeter Freestep is equipped with magnetic resistance that offers a smooth ride, and you can choose from 13 resistance levels. Both the seats and the handles of the Teeter Freestep are adjustable; users can adjust the height and the recline positions of the seat independently to find a comfortable fit, and the handlebars can be adjusted to target different muscle groups.

The Teeter Freestep features a digital console that tracks the usual metrics, like time, distance, speed and calories burned. And since the console keeps it simple, there should be no expectation of pre-programmed workouts. Unfortunately, that's really all there is to it, which might be quite a disappointment to some considering its $900 price tag. 

That said, the Teeter Freestep has a built-in device stand, so you can use your own tablet or phone to access workout programs or watch a movie while you pedal. It's worth noting that Teeter also offers the Teeter Move app for both iOS and Android so users looking for trainer-led workouts can find it there. 

It's also worth noting that the Teeter FreeStep has a 300 pound weight limit. And while you may think that information may not apply to you if you don't weigh 300 pounds, there is something to be gleaned from it. Typically, recumbent bikes with a higher weight limit tend to be more robust. So, as you might have guessed, a higher maximum weight limit could point to a high-quality machine.

  • Price: $899
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Screen/monitor: LCD monitor 

Purchase Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical


Why Buy a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

Unlike stationary bikes, recumbent bikes allow you to ride in a reclined position. And while this may look like a “breezy” way to get your daily activity in, don’t let the laid-back look of a recumbent bike fool you. Recumbent bikes are an excellent way to strengthen your heart, reduce high blood pressure, decrease your resting heart rate, relieve stress and boost your mood. Also, unlike stationary bikes, recumbent bikes put less stress on your joints while you get your cardio in. Ultimately, it’s just a matter of preference or comfort. Additionally , the reclined position can be great for beginners, seniors and those with mobility issues or other physical limitations.

Who Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike Good For?

Recumbent bikes provide effective cardiovascular workouts, and they’re good for anyone at any fitness level. The reclined position can be especially good for beginners, seniors focused on longevity and those with mobility issues or other physical limitations.

What to Look for in a Recumbent Exercise Bike

When shopping for a recumbent bike, the details matter; the tech, adjustability and resistance levels all play an important role in your overall enjoyment, and they can ultimately determine whether you go the distance—or not.

Tech

When shopping for a recumbent exercise bike, it’s important to choose a bike that has the right amount of tech for your purposes and aptitude. For some people, tech can be make or break, whereas, for others, tech is just an additional feature. If you choose a high-tech option, you know what you’re looking for. If you choose a low-tech option, just be sure that, at the very least, you can see basic performance stats and fitness metrics so you can keep track of your progress and get the most out of the machine.

Size + Portability

Recumbent exercise bikes come in a wide range of sizes and portability options, so when you’re making your shortlist, be sure to keep those factors in mind. Obviously, if you live in an apartment, you’re going to want a bike that doesn’t feel like another roommate. Plus, you’d probably want a bike that operates quietly lest you annoy the neighbors. On the contrary, if you live in a house and you have enough space to dedicate to a recumbent exercise bike, this can really open up your options.

In addition to size, you may also want to think about portability. If your bike is going to stay in one spot, this is obviously not going to be a concern, but if you need to move the bike around for whatever reason, you might want to purchase a model that has transport wheels to make the task a little easier.

Adjustability 

Like most pieces of exercise equipment, recumbent bikes are not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. So, when shopping for a recumbent bike, you should think about buying a model that allows you to make any adjustments needed to accommodate a comfortable stride. This goes double if you expect to share the machine with housemates or partners.

Resistance 

Recumbent exercise bikes typically use magnetic tension resistance on the flywheel to create a smooth, realistic feeling ride. Typically, the heavier the flywheel, the more realistic the riding experience. So, be sure to check flywheel weights wherever possible.

Cost

Cost is often a defining factor for any type of large purchase. For those considering a recumbent bike, the considerations are no different. Even a cursory search on the internet will reveal that recumbent bikes come in a wide range of price points. Ultimately, you’ll need to find the bike that offers all the functionality you want at a price you can afford. 

FAQs:

What muscles does a recumbent bike work?

Recumbent bikes work the muscles in your legs; this includes your glutes, quads, hamstrings and lower legs. 

How often should I use a recumbent bike?

There are no hard and fast rules for how often you should use a recumbent bike, but as far as physical activity goes, the CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. Whether you choose to use your recumbent bike more often really depends on your own fitness goals. 

How should you sit on a recumbent bike?

When using a recumbent bike, proper positioning is important to minimize the risk of injury or discomfort. If your seat is in the correct position, you’ll have a slight bend in the knee when your foot is on the pedal. If your knees are locked out, you cannot reach the pedals, or your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle at the top of each rotation, you’ll want to adjust your seat. Also , you’ll want to make sure you can adjust the seat enough to comfortably reach the handlebars and use the controls on the screen.

Do recumbent bikes burn belly fat?

While targeted weight loss is not possible, a good workout on a recumbent bike will burn calories. Regular workout routines on a recumbent bike can lead to an overall weight loss—including your stomach. So, while you can’t specifically target belly fat, you likely see a reduction in your waistline with regular exercise. 

Are recumbent bikes good for arthritic knees?

Recumbent bikes are an excellent choice for those with arthritic knees. These bikes provide a low-impact exercise that doesn’t stress your knees and joints like running or a HIIT workout would, for example.

How many calories does a recumbent exercise bike burn?

While the amount of calories you burn in any given workout largely depends on factors like your weight and height, a good rule of thumb is that recumbent bikes can burn anywhere between 400-450 calories per hour.

Final Thoughts

Recumbent bikes are an excellent choice for anyone who wants a low-impact workout that doesn’t take an unnecessary toll on their joints. While they allow users to recline while working out, make no mistake, the workout on a recumbent bike will still be a challenge. When choosing a recumbent bike, think about resistance levels, adjustability and the amount of tech you want or what you’re comfortable with.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.