Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews and Best Models for 2017

The recumbent exercise bike often gets overlooked at the gym and isn’t typically considered a solid piece of equipment which is why people who enjoy working out at home often choose an upright stationary bike instead. So, why does the recumbent have such a bad rap? It’s pretty simple really. The bike just looks too comfortable. With its large padded back rest and saddle, the relaxed position in which the user rides and the low center of gravity, it doesn’t require the user to ride in a tense, upright position that’s much more aggressive. But realistically, this type of exercise bike can provide you with a really intense workout, just as long as you know what you’re doing as far as ride intensity, length and choosing the correct resistance levels.

Ultimately, this same problem is common when using most types of gym equipment. A lack of knowhow when it comes to creating an effective workout is more about user error than the quality or power of the equipment.

Fortunately, many of these recumbent bikes feature their own workout programs, giving you a wide variety of workouts and challenges to choose from.

Even though you’ll be sitting in a somewhat relaxed position, and most recumbent bike saddles are extremely comfortable, you’ll still get a workout that gets the heart racing, the blood pumping and those calories burned.

We’ve done plenty of research for you and completed a total of five recumbent exercise reviews that will give you the skinny on which models have what it takes in terms of workout variety and resistance levels and which ones may not be very challenging for you. We’ve even rated each of these models based on the features they have to offer and the type of qualities they’re known for.

So, now all you need to do is check out these reviews to narrow down your search and find the best recumbent exercise bike that will work for you and your fitness goals.

Find a bike with these features: While many pros will tell you there are several factors to consider before you buy, which is true, we found that most consumers were the most concerned with the amount of resistance levels each bike offered, in addition to workout program options, heart rate monitoring, and ease of assembly and warranty coverage. But it’s also important to purchase a bike that will allow you to track your workout progress so you’ll know if you need to up the intensity for better results.

Top 5 Recumbent Bikes Comparison Chart

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1.      ProForm 440 ES Recumbent Exercise Bike Review-Best 2017

The Proform 440 ES recumbent exercise bike is perfect for a low impact, lower-body muscle toning workout. This model comes fully loaded with features including thirty-two workouts, a comfortable padded saddle with backrest, a quiet magnetic resistance, higher weight limit, grip pulse sensors in the handlebars, and is both iFit and iPod compatible.

Pro Tip: The bike also features a workout fan, an adapter for the large monitor, a water bottle holder and a two-year warranty on parts.

This recumbent bike allows you to easily pedal your way to your fitness goals with the help of thirty-two preset workout programs to choose from. Each of the workout programs was designed by a personal trainer and focuses on performance, intensity and calorie burn.

These programs will make any workout goal-oriented and more efficient by automatically changing the bike’s resistance levels. In total, the bike features twenty-five resistance levels.

As we have mentioned, the bike is also iFit compatible. When you add an iFit monitor, you’ll have a wider range of workouts to choose from. With an iFit membership, you’ll be able to download a new workout daily. iFit also allows you to virtually ride outside using any Google route. The bike will actually change the resistance level and display an interactive Google map view for a totally immersive experience. The HD workouts featuring famous personal trainers is another popular feature you’ll get with iFit.

Aside from the extensive workout variety, you’ll also enjoy other fitness aids including an extensive data tracking menu and a workout calendar.

Pros

  • This recumbent can enhance your workout using other special features including a tablet holder, and the ability to use social media or watch a move online. If music is a big motivator for you, then you’ll love the fact that this bike is also iPod compatible.  You’ll find ports on the console that will keep your iPod charged. The audio is streamed through a couple of two-inch speakers.
  • The built-in two-speed fan will also help to keep you cool and motivated during an intense workout.
  • The heart rate monitoring system features grip sensors located in the handlebars. Just keep in mind that grip heart rate monitors are not always accurate. For the most accurate readout, we recommend using a wireless heart rate monitor instead.
  • The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, a two-year warranty on parts, in addition to a thirty-day money back guarantee.

Cons

Some consumers found the assembly process very difficult and claimed it takes a minimum of two hours to complete. The fact that the iFit monitor is sold separately is a big downside for consumers on a budget. The manufacturer’s customer service has also received plenty of negative reviews..

ProForm 440 ES Recumbent Exercise Bike Conclusion and Rating

There’s plenty to love about the 440 ES exercise recumbent bike. Offering a comfortable design and a large variety of workout options and other appealing features, this model is at the top of its class.

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2.      Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike Review-Best Value

The Schwinn 230 recumbent bike is a mid-range, excellent piece of exercise equipment that features everything you need to lose weight and get toned. While this model is a bit slimmed down compared to Schwinn recumbent bikes of the past, it still outranks plenty of bikes in this price range.

Pro Tip: This model features twenty-two workout programs and twenty levels of resistance. Unfortunately, it’s missing Bluetooth capability and the ability to use a chest strap heart monitor. However, you’ll still enjoy connectivity to mobile devices, as well as the ability to use Schwinn Connect.

This model offers a high inertia drive system for a smoother workout experience, in-console speakers with MP3 player and iPod input ports, media shelf, three-speed fan, water bottle holder, USB data transfer functionality, and heart rate monitoring via handlebar grips. It also features a weight capacity of three hundred pounds.

Users will enjoy the Dual Track two LCD window system, nine profile programs including three challenges, three mountain rides, and three fun rides. There’s also four heart rate programs that can be customized.

The two user profiles allow two different people in the home to track their progress and customize workouts.

The bike will record such workout data as distance, speed, watts, revolutions per minute, speed, interval time, and time, in addition to the resistance level, calories burned, and speed.

The manufacturer offers a ten-year warranty on the frame, a one year electrical and mechanical warranty, and a six-month items warranty. They also throw in a ninety-day labor warranty.

Because there are so many pieces, the assembly process can take some time to complete. The manufacturer does a great job of providing detailed instructions and step by step images to help simplify the assembly process. In total, it will take you around two hours to complete.

Pros

  • This model comes equipped with everything you need for an intense workout.
  • The console is excellent and the user manual is easy to navigate.
  • The amount of workouts and the ability to download past exercise data are both huge selling points for consumers.
  • The console also keeps you connected with its app connectivity and media shelf.
  • Last of all, you’re getting a great product from a company you can trust.

Cons

The lack of Bluetooth connectivity was a downside for some users. The lack of compatibility with a heart rate monitor chest strap also prevents the user from a hands-free riding experience, which can also be an issue.

Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike Conclusion and Rating

This is a reasonably priced recumbent exercise bike that still offers plenty of workout programs and resistance levels to choose from. This model allows you to download your workout data in order to better track your performance from workout to workout. This recumbent offers some of the same features you’ll find on higher priced models, making it one of the leading models on the market and a bike that will definitely give you your money’s worth. Best of all, because it’s made by Schwinn, you know this bike was designed to last.

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3.      Sole Fitness LCR Recumbent Bike Review –Most Resistance Levels

The Sole Fitness LCR light commercial recumbent bike is highly durable and incredibly comfortable. This machine is totally gym or fitness club quality and because of that, you can expect that it’s one large piece of fitness equipment. The bike also features a weight limit of 350 pounds, making it suitable for a wide range of users.

This gym quality recumbent bike comes with a total of forty resistance levels, designed to give you a killer workout.

Pro Tip: The bike also offers two heart rate programs, two custom programs, six standard programs, a built-in fan, nine-inch LCD screen and heart rate monitoring.

You can adjust this seat easily, choosing from twelve positions. The pedals feature an ergonomic design offering the ultimate in comfort. You’ll also get comfort features including a cooling fan, water bottle holder, and a port for an MP3 player or iPod. This top of the line machine is the perfect choice for consumers who are serious about getting fit.

The bike’s heavy steel tube frame with an aluminum shroud is what makes this model nearly indestructible. The challenging programs offer more of a variety so you’ll be more motivated to workout. The built-in fan is designed to keep you nice and cool during high-intensity workouts.

Pros

  • The heart rate monitoring sensors are located in the handlebar grips, but the bike also comes with a chest strap so you can use that instead if you enjoy a hands-free workout.
  • The bike also has transport wheels which make it easy to move this bike from room to room.
  • The built-in speakers are of high quality and perfect for listening to your favorite tunes as you burn calories.
  • The bike’s computer will keep track of your time, distance, calories burned, pulse, and speed.
  • The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, a five-year warranty on the parts and electronics, and a two-year labor warranty.
  • The assembly process will take some time, but most buyers described it as fairly simple.
  • The amount of resistance levels this bike offers is twice what you’ll get with the average model. Having this many resistance levels ensures that you’re getting the type of intense workout that provides results. The ergonomic pedals are designed to relieve stress on the joints, which makes this model a good choice for users who suffer from arthritis or are recovering from an injury.

Cons

As we mentioned the assembly process can be pretty time consuming, with the average time running around three hours. This is definitely a two man job. But fortunately, the manufacturer does a great job of walking you through the process and features an assembly tutorial on their website.

Sole Fitness LCR Recumbent Bike Conclusion and Rating

This LCR recumbent bike by Sole Fitness is a top of the line model and a gym quality machine that’s made for the home. Thanks to the lifetime warranty, you won’t have to worry about costly repairs and maintenance. While a little on the pricey side, this recumbent definitely has plenty of features to keep your fitness progress on track.

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4.      Diamondback Fitness 910SR Recumbent Exercise Bike Review –Most Workout Programs

The Diamondback Fitness 910SR recumbent exercise bike features impressive workout variety and plenty of features that will definitely add to user comfort. The bike is equipped with thirty-two levels of resistance for a frictionless, quiet, smooth ride. This recumbent also offers a total of thirty-five workout programs, an adjustable seat back for a more custom fit and adjustable handlebars. This model comes with a Polar compatible wireless heart rate monitor which will allow you to closely track your workout intensity.

You’ll also love the auxiliary music source input for an MP3 player, iPod, iPhone or an iPad. The transport wheels will make it easy to move this bike from room to room or store when not in use. The water bottle holder, magazine rack, and multi-speed smart fan are totally dedicated to user comfort.

Pro Tip: The bike has a max weight of 325, making it perfect for households with more than one user.

The large LCD screen features six interval workouts, six heart rate programs, two lap workouts, five random workouts, three fat burning workouts, six strength workouts, and six hill climbing workouts. There is also a fitness test program that you can use for heart rate recovery after a workout.

The bike offers two profiles so more than one person can enjoy tracking their progress and customizing their workouts.

The bike will keep track of your heart rate, the resistance levels used, time, revolutions per minute, calories burned, and distance covered.

The frame is covered by a limited lifetime warranty, which is actually five years. You’ll also get a three-year warranty on parts and electronics and a one-year labor warranty and a ninety-day wear items warranty.

Pros

  • It’s pretty easy to see why this model has received such positive feedback from consumers over the past few years. For the features it offers, it’s priced very well.  We love the thirty-two resistance levels, the mobile device input source, and the magazine rack and water bottle holder. But the best features by far are the included pre-programmed workouts and the heart rate monitor.
  • The workout programs will vary in intensity and do a great job of making exercising fun and enjoyable.
  • They also help to take the guesswork out of ensuring you’re getting an efficient and intense workout. The workouts are grouped into categories including hill climbing, strength building, and fat burning. But the best workouts are the six heart rate workouts and the six interval workouts.
  • Both workout groups will really whip you into shape quickly and burn up calories like you wouldn’t believe.

Cons

The only thing this bike is really missing is the ability to download workout data. With all of the connectivity options and workout features, you’d think the manufacturer would also include the ability to download workout info. The ability to do so allows you to better track your performance and take note of any improvements.

Diamondback Fitness 910SR Recumbent Exercise Bike Conclusion and Rating

It’s easy to see why so many riders are raving about this model. Packed with features and offering a number of workouts and resistance levels, this is one recumbent exercise bike that’s fully loaded with features designed to provide you with the best workout possible.

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5.      Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike Review –Most User-Friendly Setup

The Exerpeutic 900 XL extended capacity recumbent bike is a popular, sturdy model that’s perfect for consumers who are on a tight budget. This model features a basic, low-cost setup, so it doesn’t come packed with a ton of bells and whistles aside from a heart rate monitor. But what this bike does offer is a user-friendly, durable design that will allow you to step through the machine to mount or dismount. It also has a three hundred pound weight limit, which means it can accommodate larger riders, even though the bike itself only weighs in at sixty-three pounds. The bike’s extended leg stabilizers and low center of gravity will allow it to remain in place during even the most intense workout. It also features a large oversized padded saddle and bigger pedals to accommodate a variety of user sizes.

The bike offers a V-belt drive, balanced flywheel, so you’ll enjoy a quiet and smooth operation.

The heart rate monitor is located in the bike’s hand grips for improved accuracy. Other features include an LCD display, scan feature that allows you to scroll through current and past workout data. The workout data includes heart rate, speed, time, calories burned, and distance.

Pro Tip: The manufacturer currently offers a ninety-day warranty on all parts and a three-year warranty on the frame.

Pros

  • This recumbent comes with an easy to follow user’s manual. The assembly process is pretty straightforward and should take no more than an hour. This is a great recumbent for the price. However, it is a very basic model. The handgrip style heart rate monitor is a handy way to keep an eye on the intensity of your workout.
  • The fact that a lower priced recumbent offers this feature is a huge plus for riders on a tight budget.
  • The bike’s well thought out design will have you looking forward to your next workout. The extended leg stabilizers and low center of gravity will keep the bike securely in place during a HIIT workout. It also features an incredibly comfortable saddle, which is another huge bonus for consumers.

Cons

Again, because this is a reasonably priced recumbent, it doesn’t come equipped with any fancy features like a higher priced model will. But on the bright side, the manufacturer has addressed some early quality issues with this model. Previously, some consumers reported that the bike was very loud and squeaky, especially during higher intensity workouts. With a few tweaks in the design, newer production models do not have this issue.

This bike offers eight resistance levels, which can make it a little challenging to tailor a workout based on your individual fitness and workout goals. Another downside is the fact that the resistance has to be manually set, however, given the lower price, this is pretty common.

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike Conclusion and Rating

The 900 XL by Exerpeutic comes in at a price that’s sure to fit any budget. It’s a great bike for beginners or intermediate users, but it may not offer enough resistance levels for a very challenging workout if you’re already ripped and lean.

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Recumbent Bike Buying Guide

The recumbent exercise bike is known for its ease of use and its exceptional level of comfort. These days, this type of stationary bike can be found in pretty much every gym, which makes it one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment on the market. Fortunately, this type of workout bike is available in several price ranges, making it a suitable choice for people on a budget. Best of all, the recumbent bike is known for being extremely easy on the joints and knees, which significantly reduces the user’s risk of soreness, aches, or injury after a workout.

However, if you’re not familiar with recumbent bikes, then chances are you may start out a little overwhelmed by the number of models, price ranges, and features that you’ll come across during your search.

Keep in mind that this type of investment can easily last you ten to twenty years, which is why making the wrong choice can be pretty devastating to your budget and can potentially hinder your fitness progress.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you make an educated choice when buying your first recumbent.  You can do this by checking out a variety of manufacturers and models, features, warranty options, and recumbent exercise bike reviews. Reading recumbent bike reviews is actually a great way to learn how these bikes hold up over the years and what you can expect in terms of quality, and durability.

Recumbent Exercise Bike Features

When you’re shopping around for a new recumbent exercise bike there are a ton of features to consider. When it comes to narrowing down your choices it all boils down to your reasons for buying one, in addition to your fitness goals. Fortunately, these bikes are very versatile.

These bikes have a few features in common, such as they’re:

  • quiet running
  • highly adjustable
  • work with magnetic resistance
  • and feature a large seat with a backrest.

For the most part, these bikes can be used by adults of all shapes and sizes and they provide an excellent low-impact cardio workout. In fact, many physical therapists often recommend them to patients who are rehabbing after surgery or recovering from an injury. But the recumbent can also be used to whip you back into shape and works to burn fat and calories at an impressive rate.

When it comes to finding the right model, there are plenty of differences in the range of features and the quality. So, the real question, is how much are you willing to spend?

If you want a bike that comes equipped with a wide range of preset programs, you can expect to pay significantly more. If you’re not interested in preset programs and instead, prefer to adjust the resistance and pedal away, then you have more choices if you’re on a tight budget.

The Benefits of Preset Workout Programs

So, what are preset programs? These programs work to automatically adjust the resistance level that you push against at certain intervals. They also often come equipped with heart rate control programs where the resistant level will be altered in order to keep your heart rate in a specific zone.  These workout programs also come with heart recovery tests and fitness tests.

The amount of programs a bike offers will also heavily depend on the price. Some models will have six to ten, while pricier models will feature twenty or thirty.

Tension Mechanisms

With recumbent bikes, the tension mechanism usually consists of an eddy brake or magnetic brake.

The magnetic brakes system is pretty simple. Usually, they consist of a basic brake pad with a couple of magnets, which move in farther or closer from the bike’s flywheel in order to create tension. With magnetic systems, the brake pad are attached to a cable which is connected to a tension adjustment knob. In order to reduce or increase the tension simply turn the knob. The pad doesn’t come into contact with the flywheel. Bikes that use magnetic resistance don’t require a power source in order to adjust the resistance levels.

The eddy brake system utilizes an electric current to work by the same principle, however, in this case, a servomotor is used. The pad is normally fixed and the tension can be changed by adjusting the magnetic pull. This is accomplished by choosing a resistance level on the bike’s console, which in turn sends data to the servomotor. The servomotor changes the magnet’s pull, for lower or higher resistance.

It’s actually a common misconception that an upright or recumbent bike doesn’t have a flywheel. All of them do. In most models, the drive mechanism includes a brake, servomotor, belt, and pulley, which come fully attached and assembled.

Pro Tip: Every recumbent exercise bike comes equipped with a flywheel, which is typically smaller in diameter than the pulley, and also much heavier. Usually, a flywheel is connected via a transmission belt. Some models are belt-driven, so the pedaling is quiet and smooth.

This type of bike doesn’t require any maintenance.  However, over time, lower priced models tend to squeak and make quite a bit of noise, usually after a year or so of regular use.

Bikes that can Offer more Variety to your Workout

There are recumbent exercise bikes that use Bluetooth technology that will allow you to connect to a fitness app that you can download on your phone. This can give you more workout variety and a more challenging workout based on your fitness goals.

If you love keeping track of your workout progress, then you might want a bike that features a high-quality LCD screen that can display such data as number of pedal strokes, distance covered, time, and calories burned.

Aside from regular amenities such as preset programs, water bottle holders, textured handlebars, padded seats and varying tension levels, higher priced models also feature interactive programs that will allow you to connect with and race other users. Some models will even allow you to export your data to fitness apps, while others come equipped with USB drives and built-in speakers for the total workout experience.

A very common mistake many people make when they buy a stationary bike is to get carried away with the models at the store and invest in a bike only because it’s loaded with a ton of bells and whistles. Space is typically the last thing people tend to consider when they’re searching for a new bike. But really, there’s no point in spending hundreds of dollars on a bike you’ll have to store outside because it won’t fit through your front door. While bigger models tend to offer more user comfort because they’re able to easily accommodate all body sizes and shapes, they aren’t exactly known for their space saving design. In fact, these are often the large models you’ll find at a gym.

So, if you’re short on space, you may want to take a look at a foldable recumbent. While admittedly, these bikes are not as solid and durable as the larger models, they can be a more practical choice for someone who lives in cramped quarters.

As you can expect, these bikes come in several price ranges and model styles. In fact, you can find a reasonably priced bike on the market if you’re willing to sacrifice any cool or techy extras. A cheaper model will often feature a small LCD screen that will allow you to track some basic information. The pedals usually tend to be fragile and the weight capacity is pretty limited.

More expensive models will offer a plethora of features that are designed to make using the bike more enjoyable. Even if you’ve previously decided to go with a simple recumbent bike, keep in mind that many of these extra features can really work to motivate you on lazy days and can actually make you look forward to your next workout.

Benefits of Using a Recumbent Exercise Bike

Unlike a traditional stationary bike where all of the body weight is pressed down onto a very small saddle, the recumbent offers a large padded seat. The larger seat works to spread the weight, taking the pressure off the rear. Since these bikes are much more comfortable to use you can end up enjoying an even longer workout. Plus, sitting on this type of wider seat makes it easier to balance your weight, leaving your hands free to enjoy a good book. Some higher end models also come equipped with their own built-in TV screens, or the LCD screen will display a beautiful landscape as you ride along.

Now let’s dig a little deeper into the benefits of using this type of bike.

If your goal is to get fit or lose weight, then in addition to a healthy diet you’ll need to regularly exercise. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that offers nice weather year round, then you may prefer jogging. Of course, for jogging, all you’ll need is a pair of running shoes and you’re good to go. Jogging is one of the simplest forms of exercise, but come baking hot summers or fiercely cold winters, a lot of people prefer to workout inside. This is where the recumbent exercise bike truly shines.

Pro Tip: Depending on your personal preference and how you enjoy working out, you may want to explore different options such as elliptical, weight training, or treadmills. However, for many people, the recumbent bike often proves to be the most versatile piece of workout equipment.

The biggest advantage of owning a recumbent exercise bike is that they’re very accessible to all members of the family. If you have ongoing joint pain, then running isn’t an option, and working out consistently on an elliptical machine can get pretty old very fast. These exercise bikes are usually the first piece of equipment many families purchase because they offer a fun and effective workout.

Modern recumbent bikes feature a host of advanced features ranging from the simple use of high-quality materials that will keep you nice and comfortable, to sophisticated display screens that will keep precise track of your workout progress. Almost all models feature adjustable resistance levels and heart rate trackers that will keep your workout tempo at exactly the right level in order to give you the best results.

You may have though that most of these features are commonly found on all exercise types of bikes, and this is true. But what sets a recumbent bike apart is the optimal seating position. With a recumbent, you’re sitting down in a reclined position. The first thing to note is that these bikes are much bigger than their upright counterparts, which tends to also make them more expensive. However, the size also brings with it a ton of advantages.

One of the biggest problems, especially if you’re just starting to work out after an injury or a long break, is joint pain. But this is what really makes the recumbent stand out.

As we have mentioned, sitting in this manner as you ride will take plenty of pressure off the lower body.

Recumbent bikes are simply much more comfortable than an upright. This can also mean that your weight will be evenly distributed across the bike’s frame. This, in turn, will result in long lasting components and parts. The reduced pressure on the ankles, knees, hips and joints make it easy and possible for people of varying fitness levels to ride this type of bike.

Upright bikes and treadmills will apply a large amount of pressure to the joints. Running and jogging can also cause an incredible amount of stress to the joints. When using a traditional upright stationary bike the amount of pressure it can put on the body can actually prevent an injury from healing properly.

Final Thoughts

When you sit in a recumbent, the bike will almost force you to sit in the perfect relaxed position, making them a great choice for longer workouts that can lead to better results.

The recumbent bikes we have reviewed on this site are impressively durable and it’s not uncommon to find models that come with a lifetime warranty and the type of durability that allows them to last for decades

 

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