Top 6 Best Recumbent Bikes – Do NOT buy before reading this!

Last updated: – April 9th 2017.

Buying a recumbent bike can be a difficult task if you are buying it for the first time. There are plenty of models of recumbent bikes available in the market and there is no one size which fits all solution. If you are facing a trouble of choosing the best recumbent bike (or even if you have a dilemma about it) – don’t worry! You are at the right place to get recommendations for the best recumbent bike that would suit your requirements and budget. Take a look at these recumbent bike reviews and recommendations from experts who have an experience of 20+ years in the fitness industry. Following are some of the best recumbent bikes from over 75 Brands in the market. Go ahead! Find the right recumbent bike for your needs, today!

The Winners – Best Recumbent Bikes


schwinn-270-recumbent-bike

Top-end Pick – Schwinn 270

If you want a recumbent that has everything but the kitchen sink, look no further than the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike. If we were to judge this bike for its smooth operation and workout performance alone, it would still win the top honors.

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Exerpeutic-900XL-Extended

Best Buy – Exerpeutic 900XL

Second place goes to the Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike which is perhaps just as impressive for the incredible value it provides. For a paltry sum of few hundred dollars, you get a recumbent that does not compromise on its core functions

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We’ve strenuously tested and vetted the best recumbent bikes against each other in order to provide you with a definitive guide to selecting the best pieces of equipment available today. While we’re fans of many types of exercise equipment, there is a consensus that recumbent bikes are the most accessible of them all due to the comfort and ease of use they offer. We’re confident that any of our recommendations will have you spinning your way to fitness in no time. Here are few more best performing recumbent bikes:

Recumbent Exercise Bikes – Our Top Picks 2017!



With these recommendations, you’d be able to choose the best recumbent bike so quickly. Just go through these recommendations and see which is the perfect recumbent bike for you based upon your current requirements.

Top Recommended Models for The Best Recumbent Bikes

Schwinn 270 and Schwinn 230 Recumbent bike – The ultimate home recumbent

Schwinn 270 Recumbent bikeThe Schwinn 230 & 270 are not just great recumbent bikes, they are among the best pieces of fitness equipment we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing.

We’ll start with the rather impressive looking display units(2) the bikes come with; There is ample space to view all sorts of workout data. What we really like though is the 4 pre-set profiles (2 for the 230) that lets you keep the bike configured for multiple users. This means that you can quickly toggle settings for another user while keeping your own. It also features 29 (22 for the 230) different programs and allows you to enter details like your weight etc. in order to accurately track workout information. We also love the goal-tracking feature that lets you know every time you hit a new personal best.

There’s 3 speed modes for the inbuilt fan and it has the ability to raise or lower the flow of air based on the rider’s height.

Schwinn 230 Recumbent BikeThe bikes have some of the best entertainment capabilities we’ve seen on machines of this class. There’s a headphone jack and USB charging port to complement the surprisingly good speakers that pump out quality audio to keep your workout engaging. There’s also what is probably the best tablet stand we’ve seen which sits dead center in front of the main display. Of course, thanks to the second display, your workout information is still always visible.

Let’s talk about the actual bikes for a bit. They use a single-piece frame with two integrated levelers and a large mid-frame support. This makes them feel incredibly solid and stable. The step-through frame design makes it easy to get on or off them. Adjusting the seat is also fast and easy thanks to a sliding aluminum rail system. The seat Is comfortable and contoured at the leg area which along with the large, vented backrest makes riding the them a cool and comfortable experience. A high speed high inertia weighted flywheel with 25 levels of magnetic resistance (22 for the 230) keeps workouts smooth, quiet and challenging.

Rounding out the package are ergonomically placed grip heart rate sensors, oversized pedals (standard size for the 230) and a side-mounted bottle cage. Basically, these bikes have everything but the kitchen sink.

Specs & Warranty:

  • Product Dimensions: 64″ L x 27.7″ W x 49.9″ H (162.5 x 70.3 x 126.8 cm)
  • Machine Weight: 81.6/86.6 Pounds (39.3 kg)
  • Power Requirements: Plugs into any standard electrical wall outlet on a 110V-120V circuit
  • Warranty: Frame: 10 years / Mechanical: 2 years / Electrical: 1 year / Labor: 90 days
Note: Both bikes provide the same amount of resistance, just in smaller increments on the 270. The 270 uses a well-padded seat whereas the 230 uses a plastic molded one. The 230 seat is comparatively better ventilated. Other differences (apart from those listed above) are the use of a 3-piece crank on the 270 vs a 1-piece on the 230 and the ability of the 270 to support Polar heart rate straps in addition to the hand pulse sensors available on both bikes. The 270 is the newer and arguably better bike but one can consider the 230 in a pinch if the deal sounds better.

Exerpeutic 900XL – Xtra Large, XL comfort, XL value

Exerpeutic 900XLThe Exerpeutic 900XL offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to selecting a full-sized recumbent bike. Despite the modest price tag, this capable bike offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance, a large LCD display and hand-based heart rate sensors.

The 900XL is the most comfortable bike we’ve tested so far and really lives up to the ‘XL’ part of its name when you look at the large, oversized seat cushion and back rest.
Seriously, I almost fell asleep the first time I took it for a spin, It’s just so damn comfy! Of course, cranking the resistance up to high woke me right up. Speaking of resistance, the bike employs a ‘smooth torque’ cranking system which offers a very predictable and reliable experience when mashing on the rather large pedals.

The bike has wheels to make it easy to move it around and doesn’t need any external power to run. This makes it quite portable; something we like as we’re generally pretty indecisive about where to park these things.

All in all, if you’re the kind of person that gets excited by a good deal, the 900XL is right up your alley. This is a very competent bike for the money. Also, you can watch TV while you ride it because the display isn’t high enough to get in the way.

Specs & Warranty:

  • Product Dimensions: 54 inches Length x 22 inches Weight x 34 inches Height
  • Machine Weight: 63 Pounds
  • Power Requirements: None
  • Warranty: 3 Years Limited

Exerpeutic WorkFit – A better FitDesk than the FitDesk

Exerpeutic WorkFitDo you like the idea of working and working-out at the same time? Have a look at the Exerpeutic WorkFit. Not only is it a semi-recumbent exercise bike, it is also a workstation for your laptop, a platform for your book or tablet, a chair and desk combo as well as a standing desk! Whoa! Aren’t you glad you’ve stumbled across it?

Did we mention that it also folds for easy storage? Most of the working bike-parts are identical to the ones used in the 900XL so we won’t bore you with those details again, except to say that this one is just as capable an exercise bike.

What the features and specs don’t express however is how this may affect your work productivity and overall mood! We’ve all heard of the cognitive benefits of exercise but seldom think of the effects during exercise. Heightened creativity and improved cognition as a result of increased blood flow sounds pretty good to us, as does the fact that one burns more fat versus sugar when exercising at a lower intensity (which is what you want to do if you’re working at the same time!)

This is a seriously cool piece of equipment with a lot of utility.

Specs & Warranty:

  • Product Dimensions: 45.3″ L x 25″ W x 51.3″ H, folds to 21.3″ L x 25.5″ W for storage
  • Machine Weight: 64.7 Pounds
  • Power Requirements: None
  • Warranty: 3 Years Limited

IRONMAN H-Class 410 – Serious contender

IRONMAN H-Class 410This is a serious bike with a focus on the serious athlete. We’re serious. This is only meant to be used for the most serious of workouts.

Seriously speaking, while the Ironman H 410 is a well built and easy to use bike that anyone can enjoy and gain benefit from, we’re not kidding about its performance potential or its ability to train/rehabilitate a proper athlete.

The working parts of the bike are about what you’d expect from something in this class; quiet, hardwearing and generally very good. Not much for us to report here but to say that there’s nothing to complain about.

Where the bike does stand out though is its attention to detail on the rider contact points, namely the seat and backrest, something that’s at times overlooked. The seat has individual air chambers for maximum comfort and the backrest is made of memory foam. These things let a rider ride longer and therefore get fitter as a result.

The bike also features a very nice Bluetooth enabled computer & display that makes It easy to track your workout data. The frame carries a lifetime warranty. All of this adds up to making the 410 a seriously good bike. (okay, we’ll stop now)

Specs & Warranty:

  • Product Dimensions: 60 x 26.5 x 42 inches
  • Machine Weight: 101.4 Pounds
  • Power Requirements: AC Power required
  • Warranty: Frame – Lifetime, Wearable Parts/Electronics – 1 year, Labor and Other Parts – 3 years.

Precor RBK 615 – The standard in commercial bikes

Precor RBK 615If you’re interested in this bike, you either own a gym or are someone who rides a lot. Or perhaps you’re someone who wants to pass this down to your kids as a family heirloom. Either way, you’re looking in the right place.

Everything on the bike is of the highest quality and really cannot be compared to bikes intended for home use. It’s hard to think of anyone who would be wanting after checking out this level of kit. Comfortable, durable, well ventilated, these bikes are built to withstand repetitive, rigorous workouts of health clubs, hotels and spas for years and years without skipping a beat.

It has some notable additional features such as: Dual-sided pedals for use with regular or clip-in cycling shoes, Compatible with 5 Khz wireless Polar heart rate monitors, Lots of workout presets, lots of monitoring tools, lots of processing power. If you can justify the price of entry, these bikes are in a league of their own.

Specs & Warranty:

  • Product Dimensions: 66″L x 23″W x 49″H
  • Machine Weight: 200 Pounds
  • Power Requirements: AC Power is optional
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty on frame and welds, 10-years on parts and wear items

Best Recumbent Bikes Comparison Table

Here are the best recumbent bikes reviewed by Fitnesstep1’s experts team. Let’s take a look at individual bike model.

ModelResistance TypeWeight CapacityBuy Now
Schwinn 270 Recumbent bikeMagnetic Resistance300 lbsCheck Lowest Price
Schwinn 230 Recumbent BikeMagnetic Resistance300 lbsCheck Lowest Price
Exerpeutic 400XLMagnetic Resistance300 lbsCheck Lowest Price
Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101Magnetic Resistance300 lbsCheck Lowest Price
The IRONMAN H-class 410Magnetic Resistance350 lbsCheck Lowest Price
The Precor RBK 615Magnetic Resistance200 lbsCheck Lowest Price

Why Recumbent Bikes?

*Comfort

“Are recumbents comfortable? If so, how comfortable are they?” These are rather frequently asked questions. Allow us to illustrate the answer. Here is a picture of a man sitting in a recliner:

man-sitting-in-a-recliner

And here is a man sitting on a recumbent exercise bike:

man-sitting-on-recumbent-bike

Does that answer the question? It is quite obvious that a recumbent is the most comfortable type of bike out there. You get to relax in a reclined position while the legs do all the work. No more pain or numbness in weird places, just a quick and effective cardio workout.

A standard upright bike, while effective in its own way, is not designed with the intent of taking full advantage of the human anatomy. This is especially true for people with limited mobility and for those that have back/wrist pain.

Our bodies are built for our head to drop, not to pull the head back as you would on an upright bike. This means that chances of both back and neck pain are greatly reduced.

*Focus

While cycling is without question the ultimate form of cardio, recumbent bikes can take it to the next level. One of the ways they can help do this is due to the focus on the actual movements of cycling i.e. the spinning of the legs. They do so by taking everything else out of the equation. Therefore, the back is well supported, the neck is in a relaxed position and the spine is neutral. This allows even unfit or injured individuals to maintain and gain fitness and makes the great cardio benefits more accessible to a wide range of people.

*Rehabilitation

While most fitness equipment is recommended by gym instructors and other fitness experts, recumbent bikes are usually recommended by doctors. This is particularly true for people dealing with injuries, are a risk of injury or currently unfit to engage in conventional exercise.

By the same measure, it can also be a great tool for athletes recovering from an injury. A recumbent can prevent them from losing too much fitness as they recover.

Cardiovascular exercise offers many benefits but they cannot be attained by people that are unable to engage in them for any number of reasons. Chronic pain, arthritis, and miscellaneous joint conditions are usually not a hindrance for riding recumbents. Even patients that have been bed-ridden and completely immobile for extended periods of time are usually able to work with a recumbent bike. It can indeed, in many cases be easier than even walking! All of the benefits that can really help the injured or elderly get in some exercise can also benefit anyone looking to improve their fitness as long as they have a functioning pair of legs.

Setting up a recumbent bike:

Cycling, in general, is a low-impact exercise and recumbent bikes are among the most forgiving of fitness machines. There is, however, a certain amount of care required when setting them up for the first time. Once you set the bike up, it’s likely like you’d want to leave it that way and so it’s important to get this right once and for all. Take a look at the following illustration:

exercise-bike-useage-tips

The above picture outlines the correct knee angle/position for a recumbent versus an upright bike. The knees are one of the most technical parts of the human body and should therefore be treated with care.

An easier way to go about this is to raise the seat height until your knees are almost fully extended at the point the pedal is furthest from you. Not only will this ensure that you recruit all of your leg muscles into the movement, but it will also make sure your knees stay nice and protected during exercise.

Now, you might feel that you have to change the seat position to target different muscle groups but that’s actually not true. Keep the bike seat in a place that is optimal for your knees. To work for different muscle groups, play with the resistance settings. All good recumbent bikes come with adjustable resistance. Simply raise the resistance to shifting the workout to your glutes and hamstrings. If you do high-RPM speed work with the pedals, that’s going to engage more of the quadriceps into the movement. Therefore:

More resistance = Glutes, hamstrings
Less resistance, fast pedalling = quads

Adding some weighted squats and lunges is a great way to complement your bike workouts. Do them before or after your session as per your preference. Since we’ve already mentioned muscle recruitment here, let’s smoothly move on to the next topic: –

Muscles recruited while riding a recumbent bike:

Muscles recruited while riding a recumbent bike
As illustrated above, the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves are the main muscle groups used while cycling. Of these, the quadriceps are arguably the most powerful. The glutes provide a lot of support to the movement considering that it is such a large muscle group. The hamstrings help in bringing the pedal back at the end of the pedal stroke and the calves add a bit of kick to the movement while also functioning as pump in the important task of sending used up blood back to the heart for re-oxygenation.

There are however a few more muscles that are or at least can be engaged in order to make your workouts more effective. While cycling, it is possible for us to engage our core to assist the movement and also to stabilize the body. This can be done by simply pulling the abdominal muscles in, drawing the muscles of the waist to assist your back and keep you in place can be a great way to exercise your core and abs while getting a great cardio workout.

Wrap-up

We don’t believe in listing anything but the highest quality products in our top-lists. All of the bikes listed above can handle a user weight of 300 pounds or more and each one is the best in their class. Pick any of them with confidence and put them to good use.

20 comments

  • What are recumbent bikes? And what can they do for my body?

  • Micheal Willson

    Recumbent bikes are bicycles where the user is seated in a reclining position. The seat is usually low and wide and the pedals are placed in front of the rider. This allows your entire weight to be distributed throughout the chair and supported not only by your buttocks but your back too.

    Riding or exercising with a recumbent bike works your calves and hamstrings. They also provide cardio workout due to the pedaling action involved.

  • Are recumbent bikes good for cardio workouts?

  • Micheal Willson

    Recumbent bikes can be used for cardio but they are not the best equipment for a thorough cardio session. This is because they work your leg muscles and neglect your upper body. Your upper body is neglected due to the laid back seating position.

    Opt for an upright bike if you are looking for a total body workout. If you have mobility issues or you do not want to injure your joints but still work your entire body, an elliptical machine would be better.

    The important thing is to ensure that you do not use a single workout routine and equipment for so long. Your muscles get used to the motions which result in negative gains as you work out.

  • Tracey Hayden

    I hear recumbent bikes take up too much space compared to upright bikes. Is this true?

  • Micheal Willson

    Yes, recumbent bikes are actually much larger than stationary upright bikes mostly because of the seat and frame design. However, there are some models that are elevated hence take up less space. Also, some recumbent bikes come with the ability to fold and store away after use. So if your apartment is small or you do not have ample space, a foldable bike is better suited for you.

  • Paul Kruse

    Are they better than the upright bike for workouts?

  • Micheal Willson

    This seems to be the question on everybody’s mind when recumbent bikes are mentioned. To be quite frank, the most accurate answer to this question is, it depends. It depends on some factors such as your workout needs and your physical ability.

    Both recumbent and upright bikes come with their own convincing benefits. For instance, a recumbent bike is able to work your leg muscles efficiently due to the anterior placement of the pedals. It actually requires more resistance than an upright bike. To get a clear comparison between the two, check out my exhaustive article on recumbent and upright bikes.

  • Ramon Wright

    Who can use these bikes?

  • Micheal Willson

    Recumbent bikes can be used by anyone. They provide a great workout for your legs and cardiovascular system especially because you are relaxed and are bound to work out for longer. However, the elderly and people with mobility issues are the ones encouraged to use this bike as it is easy on your joints and gives you a relaxed workout session.

  • Joe Allen

    What makes recumbent bikes so different from the ordinary bike?

  • Micheal Willson

    There are numerous similarities between recumbent bikes and upright ones. However, there is one major difference between the two which is perhaps the reason behind their difference in usage. Recumbent bikes both stationary and mobile come with a reclined seat with the pedals in front of the bike frame.

    This differs from an upright bike in that, the pedals of an upright bike are placed at the sides and the seat is small and upright. This makes recumbent bikes the comfortable alternative of the two. It is no wonder recumbent bikes are recommended for the elderly as opposed to upright ones.

  • Darren Underwood

    Is this a new invention or have recumbent bikes been around?

  • Micheal Willson

    Recumbent bikes have been around since the 17th century. This is 1886 to be precise. They were used as a mode of transport back then and were great for people with mobility issues. Perhaps this is where the idea of recumbent exercise bikes was borrowed. So, to answer your question, no recumbent are not new, they have been around for a while now. This means they can be trusted to deliver a quality workout.

  • Damien Cullen

    What type of resistance should I choose for my bike?

  • Micheal Willson

    There are different types of resistance available for recumbent bikes. Although rare, some recumbent bikes come with air resistance in form of a fan installed on the bike. The fan can multi-task as a form of resistance as well as provide a means of cooling for your feet and body.

    Another form of resistance used is a belt resistance where a belt runs through the brakes and provides some resistance through friction as you pedal. Finally, you have a magnetic resistance which has grown quite popular. It is preferred over the other forms of resistance due to the fact that you can control your workouts. By a push of a button, you can easily change the resistance and speed. They are also very quiet during workouts hence are great for apartments.

  • Louis McCord

    What about maintenance, how much work will I put in maintaining my recumbent bike?

  • Micheal Willson

    Recumbent bikes are generally low maintenance but it also depends on the type you own. Magnetic resistance bikes are actually the easiest to maintain as all you need to do is wipe it down every other day to avoid corrosion due to sweat.

    For bikes that use belt resistance, be prepared to change the belts every few months when it wears out. This is usually a very simple task that you can do by yourself. The belts also quite inexpensive and readily available. So it is not as tough as it seems.

  • Raymond Partin

    Am I safer on a recumbent bike compared to other bikes?

  • Micheal Willson

    Recumbent bikes are considered safer than other exercise bikes such as spin bikes and upright bikes. This is attributed to their general design contributing to a low COG. This means that the chances of you falling off or injuring yourself while on a recumbent bike are really slim. The wide chair, as opposed to raised small saddles found on other bikes, also contribute to the safety and ease in use of this bike. No wonder it is recommended to elderly people.

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