The 10 Best Recumbent Bikes

Updated May 08, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. For people who prefer to exercise sitting down — or those who are undergoing physical therapy — check out our selection of the latest recumbent bikes. Choose from basic, affordable models that will allow you to pedal at home in front of the TV, and more heavy-duty units that are suitable for use in professional fitness and rehabilitation centers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best recumbent bike on Amazon.

10. ProGear 555LXT

9. Nautilus R614

8. Exerpeutic 400XL

7. Nautilus R616

6. Marcy Me-709

5. Sunny Magnetic

4. Schwinn 270

3. Diamondback 510SR

2. Exerpeutic 1000

1. Stamina Elite

Getting A Great Recumbent Bike

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.

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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Last updated on May 08, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.


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