- Exercise & Fitness
5 Great Recumbent Exercise Bikes | Reviews & Picks
What Is The Best Stationary Recumbent Fitness Bike?
If you're on the market for a new piece of exercise equipment, you've probably already witnessed the dizzying array of options for sale today. Treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers and bikes, it's tough to decide which is the best option. The best recumbent exercise bikes are a fantastic, healthy and fun choice for anyone who enjoys working up a sweat while riding a bike.
Spin cycling is a popular choice for exercise due to the many positive factors involved. Generally speaking, it is easier on your body than many of the alternatives and it has great benefits for your legs, core and cardiovascular health. The best recumbent exercise bikes offer all this with the added benefit of a relaxed and back friendly posture.
This article is written in order to take a close look at a few of the best recumbent exercise cycles. We'll be reviewing and comparing five of my favorite models, and also offering a bit of info on the health benefits and overall positive qualities they have as compared to alternative pieces of equipment. Hopefully this will convince you that it's the way to go! Let's get started.
Advantages of Going Recumbent:
I'm clearly a big fan of these pieces of equipment in general, I think they have a lot of positive features, especially when compared to other types of exercise. Personal preference does come into play, and I'm certainly not out to bash treadmills or stair climbers, I just want to explain my appreciation.
Better Back Health:
As someone with a history of back issues, I can tell you that a good recumbent exercise bike can greatly alleviate some of the back pain, stress and tension that can go along with cycling. An upright bike may be more what you're used to, but the position can be strenuous, especially if you don't have it set up properly for your height and specifications. A recumbent exercise cycle lets you 'lean back' as you ride, which makes a big difference.
Less Knee Impact and Pain:
Another reason that I like both recumbent and upright exercise bikes is that they have far less potential for knee damage or injury than a treadmill (generally speaking). Because you're not forcing your knees to absorb the full impact of your weight with each stride as you would while running, you get a full cardio workout while minimizing the potential for long term damage. (Like I said earlier, I'm not trashing running as a whole; often the problem lies in the running shoe, not the exercise.)
Many stationary recumbent exercise bikes are quite portable. They obviously take up a lot less square footage than a treadmill, and some of the smaller ones are built in an 'X' shape that allows you to fold them up like a pair of scissors, very handy for smaller apartments and spaces.
Ultimately the decision should come down to what you're more likely to use and enjoy. I do find that the best recumbent exercise bikes tend to review well and will offer a comfortable and sustainable way to exercise regularly, which is why I like them.
Exerpeutic: A good, folding recumbent workout cycle
The Exerpeutic 400XL is one of the best folding recumbent exercise bikes around, and it has a big following due to its lethal combination of great price point, useful features and portability.
At first glance you'll notice that it doesn't look like a folding recumbent spin bicycle; it looks solid and stable. Appearances are deceiving, because this full featured piece of equipment can fit in a mid sized closet. It is wheeled for easy transportation.
The balanced flywheel means that this bike doesn't have that 'start stop' feel, the resistance is steady and stable. The belt drive transmission means that it's also very quiet while in use. There are eight different resistance settings so it works well for beginners and pros alike.
This semi-recumbent folding exercise bike also comes with a digital display that will tell you how far you've cycled, as well as your calories burned, your current heart rate and more. To get an idea of the popularity of this product, read some customer reviews, it has been really well received.
Stamina: An impressive, magnetic, full recumbent spin bike
The Stamina recumbent exercise cycle pictured here is a good example of a fully reclined model, which can be a nice thing depending on how you prefer to exercise. Again, for the price this is an unbelievable value, and Stamina has produced a great product here.
The quiet and smooth magnetic resistance system has up to 6 variable resistances that you can choose between. The handy monitor lets you keep track of your workout as you go, and pulse sensors in the hand grips mean that there's a built in heart rate monitor with no clips necessary.
Overall I find that this is one of the best recumbent exercise cycles for anyone looking for riding comfort. The pedalling posture is fully reclined, the large adjustable seat is cushioned and comfortable even on long rides, and the large strap platform pedals keep your feet firmly planted.
It's not foldable so you'll need a dedicated space, but the feet are wheeled so you can move it around the house easily enough. Comes with a 3 year warranty from the manufacturer.
ProGear: Compact, foldable, effective
Don't have a ton of space to work with? This wonderful little exercise bicycle by ProGear is recumbent and foldable for maximum portability. Despite its small size, this is a great bike that will make even an avid rider pretty happy. It's actually remarkably stable for such a small bike, and it is as feature rich as many of the bigger models I've listed here.
It's a semi-recumbent, meaning you're still somewhat upright as you pedal, but knee and back strain are still reduced. It comes with an LCD screen with some common features like calories burned and distance travelled, and there are pulse detectors in the hand grips that will keep track of your heart rate as you exercise. With 8 resistance levels on a super quiet belt drive system, you'll love pedalling on it. It's one of my favorite portable folding recumbent bikes and it's worth taking a look at, even if you have the space.
FitDesk: A good, semi-recumbent fitness bike
If you're like me and have difficulty fitting in exercise between a busy home and work schedule, you'll probably appreciate this one. The FitDesk is a semi recumbent exercise cycle that lets you work while you work out. If you're not so big into exercising and working, you can always watch a movie or TV show as you cycle. This is the most 'upright' of the bikes I'll be reviewing, and it's just on the cusp of being a traditional stance, but I wanted to show it off because I think it's such a smart product.
It's a high function device with great features. It's a portable and folding recumbent exercise bicycle that can easy be stored in a closet when not in use. The resistance quality is smooth and easily adjustable. It does have a little cycling computer included that will keep track of your distance travelled, calories burned and that sort of thing. It's not as feature rich as some of the bigger bikes, but the utility more than makes up for that shortcoming.
Diamondback: A higher-end recumbent spin bike
I'm reviewing the Diamondback 510SR because I wanted to include a recumbent fitness bike that's a step up in both price point and features. This is a larger bike meant for a dedicated space. While it's not terribly heavy, it's not the portable kind meant to live in a closet when not in use.
The big differences with this bike are the ride options. The whole piece of equipment is longer and more adjustable; you can move the seat forward and back easily, and there are hand grips in the front and back depending on how you are riding. The large panel LCD monitor gives the standard information like calories burned, distance travelled and current speed, but it also comes with 20 preset workout routines that you can follow. There are 16 levels of resistance on this bike, more than twice that of the lower priced competition. The seat is sculpted to the human body, and the back rest is very large and gives tons of support. It's mesh so you won't get too warm while riding. Speaking of warmth, it even comes with an integrated cooling fan! That's a feature you won't see everywhere! It's one of the best recumbent exercise bikes around, and it's a joy to use.
Changing Your Habits:
The main problem I have with most exercise equipment is that it never gets used! There is no point in having a machine collect dust in your basement if it never sees any use. If you're on the fence about whether or not you'll use it, don't buy one!
That said, buying a piece of equipment like this is a significant investment in yourself. That's often enough to motivate yourself to use it.
I'd recommend militantly incorporating your stationary recumbent bike into your habits and lifestyle. Set an alarm on your phone at the same time every day (when you know you'll be free) reminding you to get on that bike!
I'd love to hear comments and success stories, feel free to post at the bottom.