Top 10 Recumbent Bikes -­ Exercising In Comfort

Recumbent bikes are not getting the amount of recognition they deserve. Compared to other forms of fitness machines, recumbent bikes have a lot to offer. Today we are going to show you our top 10 picks for this category, describe our picks and generally give you an idea of what you can find on the market these days. 

Later, we are going to discuss why you should look at recumbent bikes, what makes a good one and what things to look for. By the time we’re done, you will understand why these are among the most recommended exercise bikes out there.

Top 10 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Recumbent bikes, although generally simple at their core, come with plenty of room for improvement. Diamondback 510SR has pretty much filled out all of that space. As of right now, this is one of the most capable bikes on the market. Going over this bike reveals just how much attention to detail was invested during its design process.

The frame itself is a masterpiece of stability, support and ergonomics. On top of that, it looks amazing. The seat is ergonomically contoured, fully adjustable and semi padded. you can adjust it pretty much any way you want. By far the best thing about Diamondback 510SR is its computer module. What makes it so good is the combination of displayed data and ease of use.

There are only few buttons available, making it very intuitive to navigate built in presets. Speaking of which, you have 20 workout programs to choose from, all of which are pretty challenging but also optimized for different things. Generally speaking, this bike is about as good as it gets right now. If you are looking for a serious fitness machine that will keep up with you no matter what, this is definitely one of the better options.

When it comes to higher end bikes, NordicTrack has proven to be one of the brands to reach the top of the list. NordicTrack Commercial Vr21 offers a few explanations as to why. Just by looking at it you can already notice some differences compared to other similar models.

First thing that comes to mind is the frame. They have used the same trusty H pattern, but with a twist. Basically, you have all the stability and support these frames bring to the table, but in a more optimize package. Moving up from the frame, we see a contoured, ergonomic seat with a mesh back rest. The control module is simple but powerful. You have a fairly basic display that shows you all of the relevant data. However, it is not overwhelming despite all of the controls which are numerous.

Speaking of controls, you have full iFit support with all of the buttons that come with that. Compared to other models in this market segment, Vr21 strikes as one of the more kitted out bikes you can get. In terms of bang for the buck value, it’s very positive. On top of all that, it’s fairly light to maneuver around.

Since we have just mentioned a bang for the buck value, it would only be fair to name the best model in this particular category. Xterra SB2.5r is about as good as it gets when you need to squeeze the most for your money. On top of that, SB2.5r also brings some pretty awesome solutions which you don’t see too often even though they are fairly important.

The frame is simple, modular but ultimately strong. The rear bar of the frame also houses leveling sliders. These allow you to make sure that your bike is always perfectly leveled. The control module’s the most surprising thing about this bike. Not only is it loaded with features, but it also comes with one of the most intuitive displays we have seen so far. But wait, there’s more.

Display they’ve used is a dual color unit, unlike single color backlit displays which are more or less he norm these days. At the end of the day, that second color really helps you to discern different data without confusion. 22lb flywheel, 24 resistance levels and 24 workout programs only make the whole deal sweeter. This is the ultimate value bike out there.

Moving down to the mid range segment, we still run into very attractive models. Schwinn 230 is one that stands out. You could say that it merges the upper segment with the more affordable category of recumbent bikes. It features a sturdy frame paired with a very robust seat adjustment rail. Adjusting the position of the seat is as simple as puling a lever.

There are no pins nor holes to chase. The control module comes across very strong. You have not one, but two displays at your disposal as well as a large number of buttons. Controls could be a bit confusing until you figure out what’s what, but once you do, you’ll find them to be fairly intuitive. In terms of hardware and features, you have 20 levels of computer controlled resistance, 22 different exercise programs and so much more. You have a USB port, built in speakers and a built in cooling fan.

Overall, Schwinn has found the balance between raw performance, comfort and pure convenience. At this price, Schwinn 230 is pretty much a steal. If you’re looking to upgrade from a basic bike, or you want something great as your first one, this is it.

Nautilus is a well known name in the world of fitness gear. Their reputation is that of a reliable and trust worthy manufacturer. With that said, they’re generally specialized in mid range equipment. This is what they do best. Nautilus R614 represents a very streamlined approach to recumbent bikes, and one that will give you plenty of performance for your money.

Starting with the basics, we see a sturdy but not overcomplicated frame. They have stuck to the tried and tested rail mount for the seat, which ensures that reclined seating position no matter your height. The seat itself is pretty comfortable despite lacking any padding. Nautilus has used contoured composite mesh, which does a good job at reducing fatigue. The control module is surprisingly capable. You have two displays, one displaying real time data while the other shows preset progress and similar data.

The controls are a bit extensive, although fairly straight forward. With 22 programs and 20 levels of computer controlled resistance, you are bound to enjoy challenging workouts on a daily basis. Generally speaking, Nautilus R614 brings all the features you would want in an inexpensive package that works. That makes it pretty awesome in our book.

Compared to other models on our list, Stamina Elite Total Body recumbent bike’s different to say the least. You could even go ahead and say that it is a niche model. What makes it so different is the fact that you have both foot pedals and hand pedals.

The idea here is to be able to do a full body exercise all at one go. Now, this is still a recumbent bike, meaning that your core won’t be engaged however involving your arms still makes for a challenging workout. The bike itself is well made. You have a very solid frame paired with a padded seat. The seat is mounted on a rail but lacks that aggressive incline. We can attribute that to the need to reach hand pedals. Aside from not being a computer controlled model, you still get a display that shows all the basic stats.

There are 8 levels of magnetic resistance available, which are adjusted by turning a knob found on the flywheel housing. One thing to note is that flywheel tension doesn’t affect hand pedal tension. That is limited to a fixed value. If you’re looking for something different and practical, check out this model.

Those who want the benefits of a computer controlled recumbent bike, but are working on a tight budget will be happy to learn about the Exerpeutic 4000. This bike is fairly interesting to say the least. Exerpeutic has combined convenience with ultimate comfort. When we say comfort, we mean it. This bike features the highest amount of padding we have seen out there.

Not only is the seat padded, but you also have arm rests which feature padding as well. The back seat lacks any padding but is very ergonomic in nature.Since the frame is very simple, there is no noticeable increase of weight compared to other bikes in this price range. The computer module you get is basic but ultimately functional.

Display is pretty small, legible and practical while all of the controls come down to five buttons. Now, the thing that makes Exerpeutic 4000 so awesome is the fact that you get 12 workout presets to choose from. In addition to 24 levels of magnetic resistance, that makes for a very capable bike. Additionally, those who have specific health needs will find this bike to be much more user friendly. All in all, it’s a great bike.

When you take a look at the more basic models, you will find plenty of good ones but also numerous models which are just not up to the task. Goplus Magnet is a representation of what a simple budget recumbent bike should look like. It’s all about the core performance and getting you the best bang for your buck.

A closer look reveals an extending H pattern frame, which means that adjusting the seat requires you to adjust the entire frame. However, this was a good way to preserve proper structural integrity as well as adjustability. In terms of resistance, you have 8 levels to choose from which is plenty enough for a machine of this type. What we really like is the small display unit. Not only does it show all of the relevant data such as speed, time, calories and so forth, but it is very easy to read.

On top of that, it comes with a media shelf. Another awesome feature of this bike are the heart rate sensors. Once you get into affordable and budget models, this feature becomes fairly rare. If you’re looking for a simple model that gets the job done, this is it.

Marcy is another well known name in the world of affordable fitness equipment. Their recumbent bikes offer a great combination of performance and comfort, which has earned them a good reputation. Marcy ME­709 is an awesome bike for a number of reasons. It is extremely compact, light weight and fully capable of giving you a challenging workout.

The frame is minimalist but ultimately very sturdy. Seat is padded both on the back rest and the seat surface itself. Adjusting for height is done on the frame itself. In terms of core performance, you have 8 levels of resistance to choose from. Being so bare bones in nature may turn off some users, however you still get a display unit that shows all the relevant data. Marcy ME­709 is designed for those who crave simplicity and want something that is lightweight.

As such, this bike is about as good as it gets. Now when you count in the price of this model, it really becomes obvious that it is one of the best choices out there. We definitely recommend Marcy ME­709 to beginners who are just getting into home cardio workouts. It will serve you well for a long, long time.

Looking at the most affordable recumbent bikes shows that there aren’t too many models which make the cut. One that does is ProGear 555LXT. Overall it is a minimalist model that is all about core performance. Its frame is very basic but stable, light but durable. Seat is padded in its entirety, meaning that comfort is a non issue with this bike. Interestingly enough, they have used a rail mount to attach the seat to the frame.

Overall, not a bad idea considering that it doesn’t alter the geometry of the bike. You have14 levels of magnetic resistance, which is almost twice what other much more expensive models offer. There is also a simple display which shows you the core stats and not much more. They did include a media shelf, thus allowing you to enjoy some entertainment as you work out.

When it comes to inexpensive bikes, this one is as cheap as you should consider going. While it may be affordable, it is formidable fitness machine. You won’t find yourself bored with this one, that is for sure. We wholeheartedly recommend ProGear 555LXT to both absolute beginners and those who need a good option on a budget.

What Do Recumbent Bikes Have To Offer?

It is no secret that aside from the pedals, recumbent bikes don’t really look like bikes. The whole reclined seating position, side handles and the rest of the design look like something completely different. 

However, once you go past these obvious differences, there is a whole world of benefits a recumbent bike offers. Before we get into more specific details about these bikes, lets spend a minute talking about why recumbent bikes could be a better choice than standard upright models.

Comfort

To some people, comfort and exercise are two mutually exclusive things. The general opinion is that working out has to be tough, that you have to feel the burn and so on. The truth is somewhere in between. 

While you won’t experience progress without some pain, that doesn’t mean that you should strain the rest of your body which isn’t even targeted by the exercise. This is where that reclined seating position comes into play. The angle of the seat allows you to isolate your legs without putting any strain on your upper body. 

On top of that, most of these bikes come with well padded seats which are ergonomically contoured to provide lumbar support. In practice, all of these comfort factors mean that you will be able to exercise for longer without experiencing fatigue.

Injury Prevention

Recumbent bikes have this great benefit where they eliminate a good portion of the impact your joints endure with a regular bike. For some it may be a cool bonus, but for others it is a downright necessity. 

If you have weak joints or have had injuries in past, a recumbent bike will be much better for you than a regular one. All of this comes with no real detriment when it comes to results between the two.

What Makes A Good Recumbent Bike?

There are many answers to this question, all of which will depend on what you need. With that said, the core component to look for is the flywheel. Much like with any other stationary bike, the flywheel is what makes or breaks the performance of said bike.

You are looking for well machined and well balanced flywheels which in turn guarantees smooth performance. The weight of the flywheel is going to dictate the amount of resistance available. Generally speaking more is better.

However these days most stationary bikes come with flywheels that meet and exceed the necessary standards.

Factoring In Your Budget

Talking about budgets is never fun. Unfortunately for us, the budget you have is a very big factor when dealing with recumbent bikes. With that said, we can divide recumbent bikes into two different categories. We have manually operated ones and computer controlled models. 

Former are much cheaper but are also basic in nature. If you’d like to check out some awesome affordable bikes, take a look at our dedicated guide. When you go over to the computer controlled segment of the market, you will realize that the sheer potential of those bikes is way beyond anything manual models can offer. Here comes a disclaimer. 

A cheap, basic recumbent bike is more than capable of giving you a challenging exercise on a daily basis. If that is all you can afford, there is nothing toworry about. Now lets see what goodies come with computer controlled bikes.

Computer Controlled Models And Their Benefits

Adding a computer module to a recumbent bikes is a true force multiplier. One of the biggest benefits of computer controlled models has got to be digital resistance selection. In other words, you are not adjusting resistance by turning a knob, but rather pressing a button. 

That alone isn’t what should make you wonder whether or not to go digital. Since the computer is controlling resistance, you can use preset workout routines. After all, they are nothing more than a series of different resistance values spread over a time period. 

Those presets are programmed to achieve specific goals such as calories oriented programs, stamina oriented ones and so on. In short, going with a computer controlled model exponentially boosts the amount of exercise you can get out of the bike.

The Ver(ve)dict

With everything we’ve said so far, it isn’t hard to understand that choosing the right bike comes down to your budget. Almost all models on our list meet the required standards in terms of seating position, resistance, comfort and frame quality. The main difference between them are the features and the presence of a control module. 

If you can pull together enough to invest in one with a computer, do it. Simple as that. At the end of the day, we have to point out Diamondback 510SR as the best go to model on our list. It simply checks all the right boxes no matter what criteria you look at. With recumbent bikes, it is all pretty straight forward. 

With that said, based on our previous discussion, go with one that best fits your budget. You can’t really go wrong with any model on our list. That much is for certain. If you can go without advanced features, only thing you will be missing out on is some convenience and that isn’t too bad.