Updated May 28, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

The 10 Best Recumbent Bikes

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This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in April of 2015. For people who prefer to exercise sitting down, check out our selection of the latest recumbent bikes. Choose from basic options that will allow you to pedal at home in front of the TV and more heavy-duty units suitable for use in professional gyms and rehabilitation centers. Whatever your fitness goals, you can meet them with one of these models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best recumbent bike on Amazon.

10. ProGear 555LXT

9. Marcy ME-709

8. Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR

7. Nautilus R614

6. Exerpeutic 2500

5. Nautilus R616

4. Sunny Health and Fitness RBD4703

3. Schwinn 270

2. Exerpeutic 1000

1. Stamina Elite

Special Honors

NordicTrack VR25 This model offers 26 resistance levels, many of which you can immediately jump to with one-button touch, which makes it ideal for HIIT workouts. Another one of its main selling points is its seven-inch HD touchscreen that lets you stream live, high-energy workouts or ride along beautiful mountain roads and city streets for a truly motivating workout. nordictrack.com

Life Fitness Platinum Club Series Lifecycle Coming with a range of entertainment and engagement options, this bike should keep your mind occupied as you push through your training session, making it more likely you'll stay on the bike longer. Adding to that possibility is an ergonomically-shaped backrest, 42 pre-progammed workouts, and eight custom. Its cost may put it out of reach for many buyers, though. lifefitness.com

Editor's Notes

May 26, 2019:

Recumbent bikes may look like they offer a more relaxed workout than traditional models, but this doesn't actually have to be the case. Sure you may be sitting in a more comfortable position, but you can easily burn just as much calories and enjoy a truly intense training session with one of these models. They are also great for anyone dealing with knee rehabilitation after and injury or surgery. Since, after cost, one of the biggest hurdles for most people interested in purchasing a recumbent bike is space, we made sure to include some reasonably compact models, such as the Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR, which actually folds up for storage. Our number one pick, the Stamina Elite is also actually slightly more compact than traditional models, and it is equipped with arm pedals for full-body engagement. The Schwinn 270, Nautilus R616, and Nautilus R614 most closely resemble what you find in commercial gym facilities, and offer all the features you'd expect from that type of model, such as wide range of resistance levels and workout programs. The Exerpeutic 2500 deserves special mention because of its incorporated desk. If you were considering a walking desk, but think that it might be uncomfortable to stand all day or the walking motion might interfere with your typing, consider giving this model a try instead. As we mentioned previously, we do realize that budget is a hurdle for many, so we included the very affordable Exerpeutic 1000, Marcy ME-709, and ProGear 555LXT.

Getting A Great Recumbent Bike

You can get a fine, brand new recumbent bike for around one hundred and fifty dollars, or you can get an a top of the line model for more than a thousand dollars.

The price range one encounters when considering recumbent bikes is rather striking at first blush. You can get a fine, brand new recumbent bike for around one hundred and fifty dollars, or you can get an a top of the line model for more than a thousand dollars. What explains the wide price gap? Simply put, the answer is accessories. But depending on your level of commitment to exercise and to an overall fitness lifestyle, don't conflate the word "accessory" with "superlative" by any stretch of the imagination.

Almost every recumbent bike use the same basic design: it features a pair of pedals attached to a flywheel that has varying levels of resistance applied through the use of magnets. You can adjust the level of resistance -- or in other words the difficulty -- you prefer to suit your fitness level or your present goal, and you can enjoy a low impact, productive workout from the comfort of your own home, office, or your spot at the gym.

For the casual exerciser who wants a relatively easy way to burn calories and get his or her heart rate up from time to time, a lower cost recumbent bike with few features is a fine choice. Any modern recumbent bike features an adjustable seat, so you can position your body in the ideal arrangement based on your height, and will make it easy for you to adjust the resistance settings so you can tailor each workout as needed. Even lower priced recumbent bikes also tend to have features such as a distance tracker, a burned calorie counter, and a timer. If your recumbent bike is a tool to assist with weight management and general cardiovascular health, those features are all you need, as they allow you to set goals in terms of time and/or distance and to estimate how many calories you have burned.

For the dedicated fitness enthusiast interested not in mere weight management alone, but in maintaining a trim, toned body, a more interactive recumbent bike can be well worth the investment. Consider the benefits of a recumbent bike with a built in computer that can not only track your stats such as heart rate, time and distance, and calorie burning, but that can actually help you plan workouts to help you improve and develop your speed and strength over time. Rather than simply telling you what you have done (miles "travelled" or time spent cycling, e.g.), a top quality recumbent bike can help you maintain your optimal heart rate, hit calorie consumption targets, and can help you develop and improve your physique and stamina over time, tracking your progress and results from workout to workout.

Any recumbent bike can help you stay decently fit; a great recumbent bike can help you get into better and better shape.

Making The Most Of Your Recumbent Bike

A recumbent bike is a great tool for cardiovascular exercise and for strengthening and toning your legs. These devices can also help you tone and tighten your abs and core, as many of the muscle groups of the lower torso are also at work while your legs churn away. But taken on its own, a recumbent bike does not provide a full body workout. With a bit of gear and a few modifications to your recumbent bike riding routine, however, you can turn each cycle session into a head to toe workout.

To add exercises for the biceps, shoulders, and chest, attach elastic exercise bands to the handles or base of your recumbent bike.

One of the simplest ways to get more out of a recumbent bike session is to get yourself a set of grip strengtheners and workout your hands and forearms while seated and pedaling away. You can work one hand at a time to maintain your stability with the other, or use a gripper in both hands at once, even rotating your arms in time with your legs to maintain balance and add even more productivity.

To add exercises for the biceps, shoulders, and chest, attach elastic exercise bands to the handles or base of your recumbent bike. Bands allow you to complete strength training exercises while cycling without the loss of stability an actual weight could cause.

And by taking an interval training approach to your use of a recumbent bike, with periodic changes to the resistance setting to approximate sprints and steady cycling, you can build muscle both in your legs and your heart.

A Few Words On Calorie Burning

Simply put, your weight depends on the balance of calories consumed versus calories used. While your brain uses up about twenty percent of your daily calories and your everyday actions as diverse as walking, talking, and digestion consume plenty more most of us tend to eat more calories than we need. Some of these excess calories are excreted, but most are absorbed by the body. To prevent them from turning into fat, we have to burn them up through exercise.

The amount of calories burned during a given workout depends on multiple factors. Understanding these different factors can help you plan effective workouts and more easily maintain your weight and fitness levels. Your weight directly affects calorie burning. During a half hour of moderate exercise on a recumbent bike, a 125 pound person will burn around 210 calories, while a 185 pound person will burn more than 300 calories.

However age also plays a role: a younger person will burn more calories than an older person of the same weight. And of course weight is not a universal indicator of calorie burning potential: a fit person standing 6'5" may weigh the same as an obese person standing 5'5", but of course they will burn different amounts of calories in the same amount of time.

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Brett Dvoretz
Last updated on May 28, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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