Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to the Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes of 2014!
Recumbent bikes are a great investment in your overall health and well-being. For many, owning this type of workout equipment is a way to avoid expensive monthly gym fees and time-consuming drives to a gym. Anyone can get a solid cardio workout on one of these bikes. They also are extremely useful in the case of rehab work from surgery or weight loss.
If you’re in the market for one of these bicycles, picking the right one can be a bit overwhelming. The sheer number of models available is crazy. But here’s the good news…We’ve devoted a lot of time and energy to reviewing and vetting these bikes. So we constructed this guide, which hopefully ties everything together and provides a lot of high quality information to anyone trying to hunt down the right recumbent exercise bike.
Recumbent Exercise Bike Buying Guide
Here are the favorite bikes in each price range. The top links will take you to our full review of each bike. You can also price-check each bike by clicking the second link in the table.
|Our Favorite||Exerpeutic 900XL||Schwinn A20||Schwinn 270||Diamondback 510sr||Diamondback 910sr||Sole LCR Commercial|
|Price Check||900XL Extended Capacity Price ||Schwinn A20 Price||Schwinn 270 Price||Diamondback 510SR Price||Diamondback 910SR Price||Sole Fitness LCR Price|
For each bike, we take in to consideration features, warranty, durability, overall customer sentiment and product history, and manufacturer quality.
Why Should I Purchase a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
If you’re considering purchasing one of these bikes, you’re almost certainly asking this question. Let’s break it down piece by piece.
An investment in an exercise bike is an investment in your overall health. Are you overweight and looking to shed some pounds? Or are you looking for a way to keep your joints healthy while rehabbing from surgery? Or maybe you’re just looking for a better way to jump-start your mornings. Regardless of who you are, riding a recumbent will improve your overall health and well-being.
These bikes all have many different programs of varying difficulty, so there is always a new challenge. You will not get bored and neither will your muscles. As long as you put in the effort, you will see health benefits.
Having your own exercise equipment in-home is probably the best way to avoid recurring gym fees. Also consider that driving to the gym takes time and costs you money in gas.
If you have exercise equipment under your own roof, your commute time is slashed to a few seconds.
There is obviously the up-front cost of purchasing a bike, but it will absolutely pay for itself over time, both financially and health-wise.
Recumbent exercise bikes are a favorite among weight-loss experts. The bike is easy on sometimes painful joints. And it provides a low-impact way to burn a lot of calories relatively quickly, provided that the rider simply makes the effort to do so.
There are many different ideologies toward losing weight, but there is one common thread: exercise. Regardless of the specific method you use – maybe even something like HIIT – you can do it on an exercise bicycle.
Even after losing weight, many still ride the recumbent on a regular basis to keep their heart and body healthy.
Recover from surgery
Many, many people ride recumbent exercise bikes as part of their rehabilitation and recovery process from surgeries. It’s extremely common for therapists to assign their patients time on a recumbent bike, especially after joint replacements (speaking from experience!).
If you’re recovering from knee or hip surgery, such as a joint replacement or a bone breakage, having one of these bikes in your home could greatly help you as you progress through the recovery process.
What Should I Look For In A Recumbent Exercise Bike?
Considering the multitude of options on the market today, it’s easy to see how one could get overwhelmed when selecting the best recumbent exercise bike! To help, we’ve broken this down into 3 main sections.
In the year 2014, and looking forward to 2015, there is a massive amount of high quality technology that is available on these bikes.
You should expect a high quality screen from all of your new exercise equipment. For an example, look left – this is the console from the Schwinn 230 and 270. The screen (or screens) should be bright and crisp. When you’re on the bike, you’ll want to quickly and easily check your numbers, like heart rate, speed, distance, calories burned, and more. A quality screen makes sure that you can do that.
You should also look for your bike to include a heart rate monitor. This will be beneficial to you as you’re tracking your workout progress. Higher end bikes can even include a wireless heart rate monitor.
Other features that you should look for include speakers, adjustable cooling fans, and even phone chargers. But, don’t expect these on every bike. These are premium features that you will only get on the more expensive models.
Comfort should be a big deciding factor in your search for the best recumbent exercise bike for you. You should look for a bike that has an adjustable back as well as an adjustable butt plate.
Most bikes will have a cushion bottom, but we have seen a few that have hard plastic ones. In general, the cushioned ones will be more comfortable, however the plastic option from Schwinn is actually very comfortable.
The other important factor is the back rest. Some bikes have a cushion back, which is good for comfort. The more premium bikes will often include a seat back with holes to allow proper ventilation (and that also helps keep your sweat from making a smelly mess of the bike).
Other features to look for include water bottle holders, a rack for a book/magazine/tablet, and a storage basket.
We view the purchase of any workout equipment an investment, so it’s essential that whatever equipment you purchase is of good quality. You should expect it to last many years!
The quality of most bikes produced in the last several years is in general very good, but that doesn’t mean that every bike can stand the test of time. Look for a bike that has a good warranty. As with all of the other features, a pricier bike will generally get you better quality construction and a longer warranty, but this is not always the case. See our chart above for our thoughts on this.
Other factors do come in to consideration – things like warranty and weight capacity – but these three are the main concerns.
The best recumbent exercise bike for you is the one that meets all of these qualities and sticks within your budget.
What Muscles Does This Bike Work?
This bike works four main muscles, all in conjunction with one another.
The big muscle on the front of your leg is your quadricep. It is the primary muscle worked on this type of bike. When you’re pedaling on the recumbent exercise bike, this is the biggest place that you’re going to feel it.
The quadricep works to push the pedal down and out, so it’s a huge part of the cycling movement.
The glutes (your butt muscles) are constantly engaged while you’re on the recumbent. They are responsible for the bottom portion of your pedal stroke. The more you ride the bike, the stronger and more toned your glute muscle will be.
Your calves play an important supporting role in this exercise, as they keep your foot placed on the pedal firmly. As you generate powerful pushing and pulling on the pedals with your quads and glutes, your calves are working away to keep your foot locked in position.
If you really want to put the burn on the calves, put only your toes on the pedal. This will force the calf muscles to work even harder to keep your foot in place, and transfer the power from your leg to the pedal efficiently.
Your hamstrings are worked on the bike when you are in the back portion of your pedal stroke. That is, they control the motion of your foot coming towards you. The heavier the resistance that you use on your bike, the more you will feel it here.
But what exactly is it?
Still not sure about this particular type of equipment? We’ve talked a lot about how these bikes are great for comfort and those who have lower body problems, but you might still be questioning exactly what this bike is.
To explain this, let’s first look at a road-going recumbent bike.
Notice that the rider is in a semi-reclined position? This is the simple thing that makes a recumbent bike so different from a standard upright bike. This reclined position puts the rider in a more comfortable position. Why?
A rider of an upright bike sits on top of the bike, with all of their weight sitting squarely on their hips.
A rider of a recumbent bike sits in the bike, with their weight distributed between their hips, back, and feet.
More info on the road versions of these bikes available on the Wikipedia page.
What are the benefits?
First and foremost, this type of exercise bicycle takes the weight and pressure off of your bottom and distributes it evenly across your bottom, back, and legs. This is why a recumbent bike perfect for anyone with arthritis or even someone recovering from surgery.
Again, notice how the rider is sitting into the frame of the bike rather than on top of the bike? This makes for a far more comfortable ride, especially if you have any joint problems in your lower body.
Who should consider this kind of exercise bike?
If you have arthritis, hip pain, knee pain, or lower back pain, it is almost certain that this type of bicycle will be a better fit for you than almost any other kind of cardio workout equipment. To re-emphasize, this is because the bike spreads your weight evenly across your whole body, which makes for a very comfortable ride.
Many people who struggle with being overweight find that a recumbent exercise bike is very comfortable for them to start their weight loss programs on. If you struggle with weight, it’s very challenging to do impact cardio such as running, due to the strain on your joints. But a recumbent provides an extremely low impact way to exercise, which makes it perfect for someone with joint pain.
And, even those who are simply looking to live a more healthy lifestyle can derive a ton of benefit from this kind of exercise bike. Just because it’s comfortable does not mean it isn’t challenging!
Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews
If you want more detailed reviews on any of these bikes, we encourage you to browse our review section. We are constantly adding more reviews and information there to help you avoid wasting money on bad bikes. It’s our goal to help you find a bike that fits your needs and your budget!
For an example of how to workout on one of these bicycles, we turn to this YouTube video:
It isn’t hard to simply jump on one of these bikes and start riding, but the most benefit can be derived from a somewhat structured program.
One of our favorite types of programs that we commonly recommend is called HIIT, or high intensity interval training. It is a great way to jump start a sluggish metabolism and a stellar weight burner. HIIT is also a wonderful time saver, as a typical workout rarely lasts more than 20 minutes. Don’t knock it until you try it – it’s very intense and challenging! The rider performs periodic “bursts” or “surges” or high intensity pedaling. It is possible to burn 200 calories in 20 minutes with this type of program.
If you’re trying to rehab from surgery or have joint problems, talk with your therapist for some recommendations that are specific to your situation.
And remember – if you have any health concerns at all, it’s probably best to talk with your doctor or therapist before trying a new exercise program!
In short, we hope that this guide helps you to find the best recumbent exercise bike for you!
If you have any questions that we haven’t answered or need more help, you are more than welcome to leave a comment or fill out our contact form that is available by clicking on the link at the top of the page.