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A recumbent exercise bike is a bike that provides a comfortable position as the rider reclines against a backrest. The unique shape allows users to sit closer to the ground while exercising.

Compared to a standard exercise bike, a recumbent bike has a larger seat, cushioned back support, and pedals situated in front rather than in line with the body as in upright bikes.

This article discusses the pros and cons of recumbent exercise bikes, the best options to consider, health considerations, and more.

The laid-back position allows users to multitask while exercising. This encourages users to stay on the equipment for longer without getting bored.

Recumbent bikes sit closer to the ground and have a lower center of gravity, making them a good option for people with stability issues. The large seats offer better support on users’ buttocks.

Recumbent bikes are a suitable choice for people who are new to working out, have certain health conditions, recovering from an injury, or those who want to multitask while exercising.

Recumbent bikes are also popular with athletes since they prevent soreness and allow for more extended periods of workout with less fatigue.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tested any of these products. All of the information in this article is research-based.

Schwinn 270

This bike has a Bluetooth connection that syncs fitness data (i.e., time, calories, heart rate, distance) with the Schwinn Trainer App and other app-based tracking tools, allowing users to set and monitor fitness progress.

The Bluetooth connectivity makes the device VR-compatible. It also syncs with Explore the World App, which allows users access to a wide variety of destinations and route lengths (App has free routes but also has a paid subscription).

Users can also use the free RideSocial app that provides an interactive 360-degree view in real-time as you virtually ride alongside others.

The company claims that the high-speed, high inertia system allows easy startup and a smooth, consistent workout.

This bike includes a media rack, bottle holder, USB charging port, and adjustable fan. It also uses two blue backlit LCDs.

  • Resistance mechanism: Friction
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 300 lbs
  • Number of resistance levels: 25
  • Warranty: 30-day manufacturer’s warranty for repair and replacement

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709

This bike has a step-through design which allows for easy mounting. The weighted pedals come with adjustable foot straps.

The bike has an ergonomic, high-density foam padded seat for comfort. Users can adjust the bike to accommodate their leg length.

The large LCD can show user statistics for time, speed, calories, and distance.

The bike comes with transport wheels that allow the user to move the bike easily for storage

  • Resistance mechanism: Magnetic
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 300 lbs
  • Number of resistance levels: 8
  • Warranty: Extended 90-day return window

Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike

This bike features a step-through design that allows for easy mounting. It comes with built-in transportation wheels for easy portability and has front and side handlebars.

The easy-to-read LCD shows distance, time, calories burned, speed, and heart rate.

Allows easy forward and backward seat adjustment with a flick of a handle, without the need of the user to get off from the device. It can accommodate user heights and height adjustments between 5 ft 3 in and 6 ft 6 in.

  • Resistance mechanism: Magnetic
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 300 lbs
  • Number of resistance levels: 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Warranty: Limited One-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty

Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike with Performance Monitor

This exercise bike has a foldable (to half of its size), space-saving design. The small frame allows a person to use it as a desk bike for adjustable desks. It also comes with transportation wheels for easy transport and storage.

The semi-recumbent design makes it easy for users to get on and off. Users can adjust the backseat and chair to accommodate people who are between 5 feet (ft) 2 inches (in) and 6 ft 2 in tall.

This recumbent bike has a precision-balanced flywheel, which the company claims operates quietly.

This product includes a performance monitor, a large 3.3 inch, easy-to-read LCD that shows the user’s distance, calories, speed, time, and heart rate.

It also comes with the MYCLOUDFITNESS app, where users can view their activity reports and see their workout stats. A premium subscription gives users access to trainer-led videos and personalized workout programs

  • Resistance mechanism: Magnetic
  • Maximum weight recommendation: 145 pounds (lbs)
  • Number of resistance levels: 8
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Sole LCR Recumbent Bike

This recumbent bike comes with a device table, a USB port, cooling fans, a sound system, and a bottle holder.

Bluetooth-compatible audio speakers allow users to listen to music from their smartphones.

Allows for forward and backward seat adjustment to accommodate users of different heights. It has two wheels up front for easy transfer and storage.

  • Resistance mechanism: Magnetic
  • Maximum weight recommendation: up to 350 lbs
  • Number of resistance levels: 40
  • Warranty: 30-day money-back guarantee, lifetime warranty for frames, and five years for parts comes with free shipping

There are various health and lifestyle risks to consider when purchasing a recumbent bike:

Pros

Regular exercise bikes require users to support their weight on their hip bones (pelvis) and their hands, causing them to assume a rounded back posture. This is not only uncomfortable but may lead to back pain. A recumbent bike provides back support and reduces strain on the user’s back and hips compared to standard exercise bikes.

A 2017 study found that recumbent bikes are beneficial for individuals with cardiac limitations. The recumbent bike’s low placement makes it more accessible for individuals with mobility impairments and wheelchair users.

A 2019 study recommends recumbent bikes as an endurance conditioning exercise for older adults with hip and knee pain.

Physical therapists sometimes use recumbent bikes as part of their recovery program for their clients. An older study in 2004 noted that recumbent cycling position puts less load on the anterior cruciate ligament, or AC ligament, making it suitable for users recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

A 2014 study found no difference in the muscle workload of major leg muscles when comparing cycling in upright and recumbent positions. However, using recumbent bikes resulted in greater activity in some muscles in the lower limb. This makes recumbent bikes a suitable alternative for upright bikes for building up leg muscles.

A 2012 study found that using bicycles was also more effective than whirlpool treatment and moist hot pack treatment in improving the hip range of motion.

Cons

A recumbent bike may not fully engage the core muscles. Users bear much less body weight while reclining in a recumbent bike, requiring less core strength than when peddling on an upright exercise bike.

Recumbent bikes only allow a person to assume a specific position. By contrast, an upright bike allows for more flexibility and enables users to target specific muscle groups by altering their position as they pedal.

Unlike most upright bikes that fold away easily for storage, most recumbent bikes do not fold. Recumbent models also tend to be more expensive than traditional upright bikes.

Similar pieces of home exercise equipment include:

Upright exercise bikes

Upright bikes may be a suitable option for users who do not have concerns about their joints or back or wish for higher intensity workouts. Upright bikes are a good option for people who want to cross-train and allow users to target specific muscle groups.

Learn more about some of the best exercise bikes here.

Elliptical trainers

Like recumbent bikes, ellipticals offer a low-impact workout. However, while recumbent bikes primarily target the lower body, ellipticals target both the upper and lower body.

Being suspended in the air also gives users a lower rate of perceived exertion, which may cause users to endure more prolonged periods of exercise.

Treadmills

Treadmills are not only for walking and running. Users can often customize their workout routine with a treadmill by incorporating strength training using their bodyweight or hand weights. There are a variety of treadmills available on the market.

Learn about the best treadmills here.

A recumbent bike may be a good option for users of various abilities, including those who may have issues with joints or sitting for prolonged periods.

Recumbent bikes come in various forms, so people should consider their abilities, fitness goals, and health concerns to find a bike that suits them before making a purchase.