Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
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Last updated: May 20, 2021
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We bet you’re puzzled with the wide variety of recumbent bikes the market is flooded with. Not every option is as ideal as the manufacturer claims. Luckily, you’ve landed on the right page where we’ve done all the hard work for you to help you choose the best recumbent bike possible.
In order to make a list of six most remarkable models, we’ve considered some key factors. Firstly, we made sure the bike is sturdy enough to withstand even the harshest workouts and accommodate individuals on the heavy side as well. The high number of resistance levels is also important to ensure that the training is comfortable enough at first and can be made harder as you build muscle. The compact dimensions and light weight are also features to look into to be sure the bike fits where you want it and can be moved easily whenever needed. To see which models excel in these and other noteworthy features, read on.
If you’re looking or the best recumbent exercise bike around, the Marcy ME-706 may be the right model for you. This model is built well, with great features that are easy to puzzle out, even if it’s your first time getting onto one of these units. The assembly instructions aren’t very clear but there are online videos you can use if you get stuck.
The ME-706 is built using premium steel for the frame, so it is sturdy and strong, handling up to 300 pounds. It has a step-through design, so you can get in and out of it quickly and easily.
This unit uses self-regenerating power, which means you power the console as you pedal the bike. This means there are no batteries or power cords to deal with. The pedals are counterbalanced, with adjustable straps, and they conform to your feet for a comfortable fit.
The padded seat has an adjustable height that you can alter using the handle on the side. This allows you to quickly move it as close or as far from the pedals as needed for your height.
A large multi-panel LCD display with a backlit LED screen lets you monitor all the data as you pedal, including your current speed, distance, time, and calories burned. Your heart rate is also displayed as long as you’re using the sensors next to the seat. You can also customize your workout using the 24 resistance levels and 23 workout programs.
The ProForm 235 CSX is easy to use, with a bunch of great features that make it one of the best recumbent bicycles around. It has a recumbent frame that reclines you comfortably while you work out, plus includes a StepThru design that makes it easy to sit down and start pedaling.
The seat on this recumbent bike is oversized and cushioned, plus it is adjustable, so you can move it forward or back for the right fit. There is also a large back to lean on as you pedal your way to a fitter lifestyle. A water bottle holder keeps your beverage within easy reach to keep you hydrated throughout your workout.
The large LCD window is tinted blue for a softer light in front of you. It displays your mileage, speed, heart rate, burned calories, watts, and time. There are also 18 on-board workouts listed on the panel, so you can choose the one you want as soon as you put your feet on the pedals. This panel does require 4 D batteries, which are not included with the bike.
Other great features this bike has to offer includes the 18 resistance levels for easy or more challenging workouts, EKG Grip Pulse Sensors to track your pulse, and free-mounted transport wheels for easily moving the bike around, an integrated device shelf on the panel, and an auxiliary music port and onboard sound system for listening to music.
Though it isn’t as pricey as the best commercial recumbent exercise bike, the Nautilus R618 will give you the same type of workout, with a few extra features that make it even more worthwhile.
This recumbent bike is well-built, with a high-speed, high-inertia drive system, perimeter-weighted flywheel, and a 3-piece chrome crank system with weighted pedals. There are multi-position handlebars that include an integrated incline, a comfortable grip, and resistance controls to easily alter your workout’s intensity as needed.
There are 25 resistance levels to choose from depending on your fitness level. There is also a wireless heart-rate chest strap included with the bike monitor your workout efficiency. The Sight Line console has dual screens with blue backlighting, so you can track your data as you pedal. This console is adjustable, so you can customize it to your specific height for the best view possible.
There are a few modern upgrades to enhance your use of this unit. It is Bluetooth compatible, so you can monitor your progress and set some goals on various apps. You can also use the Explore the World app to add some virtual courses and trails. There is also a USB charging port to keep your device batteries full and in-console speakers for playing some tunes.
The seat is padded and comfortable, with a ventilated back for support. The handles may be wobbly and the seat lock is hard to use, though these issues aren’t deal-breakers for this unit.
Though it has a relatively low price, the Marcy ME-709 is still a durable recumbent bike with some great features. It is also easy to use, making it a great recumbent bike for seniors, as well as everyone else who wants to get a good cardio workout in.
This model is made of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel tubing with a powder-coated finish. It has a step-through design that makes it easy for those with knee, hip, or back issues to get in and out of the seat. The high-density foam and the ergonomically-designed saddle shape make the seat extra comfortable, so you can ride for as long as you like. The back is also padded, offering support as you pedal. The handles on the sides are foam covered as well.
There are 8 resistance levels to choose from, which you can adjust using the tension knob on the front of the unit. The seat can also be adjusted, moving it closer or farther from the pedals as needed, though this isn’t as easy to do as with some other models. The pedals are counterbalanced, giving you the proper support without sacrificing your pedaling control.
The LCD computer screen has simple controls that let you scroll through the time, speed, distance, or calories burned, which all show up on the large display screen. The numbers are extra-large for easy viewing as you pedal, so you don’t need to stop to see your stats.
The best recumbent bike for home use needs to be compact, easy to assemble, and functional. The Exerpeutic 300SR meets all of these standards. It has compact dimensions that allow you to squeeze it between your furniture or under a desk to use it while you’re working. It is also lightweight and foldable, so you can move it when you need it or store it away in a closet when you don’t.
This model has a bunch of great features. It includes a precision-balanced flywheel and a balanced V-belt double-drive transmission system, both of which work quietly. The 3-piece crank system includes high-torque technology that maintains smooth and consistent motion as you pedal. The magnetic tension control system has 8 different levels to choose from, so you can easily adjust them to meet your needs.
There is a large LCD display that is easy to read, indicating the calories burned, distance traveled, time speed, pulse, and scan. The hand pulse sensors on the bars next to the seat help you reach and maintain your target heart rate.
The semi-recumbent design on this bike makes it easy to get on and off of it, plus it provides you with the most comfortable position for working out. The seat and back are both adjustable to fit your size, though the seat is a bit hard and uncomfortable. Adding a cushion can remedy this issue easily, allowing you to sit and pedal for longer periods.
The Schwinn 270 may take a while to put together but it comes with great instructions full of pictures to show you exactly how to do it, plus includes all the tools needed to get the job done.
It also has a ton of great features but is easy to use, making it the best recumbent exercise bike for seniors, beginners, or advanced users all in one machine. It has 25 resistance levels, so you can set it where you need it. There are also 29 workout programs to choose from if you want a bit of variety in your workouts.
This unit also has a DualTrack blue backlit LDC window above the control panel, which shows your speed, distance, RPMs, calories, resistance, and much more. You can input up to 4 user profiles, with 12 profile programs available, such as fun rides, mountain rides, and challenges.
This recumbent bike is Bluetooth compatible, with USB connectivity to Nautilus Connect, as well as MyFitnessPal. There are in-console speakers with an iPod or MP3 player input port.
Other features include a padded, ventilated, adjustable seat, a 3-speed cooling fan, a water bottle holder, transport wheels for easy relocations, a high-speed high-inertia drive system, and a perimeter weighted flywheel.
There is a heart monitor system added to the handlebars, though it is tricky to use, requiring full contact at all times for proper readings. It is also chest-strap capable if needed.
What stands out?
25 resistance levels
DualTrack backlit LCD screen
What cons did we manage to find?
Pulse monitor issues
Things to Consider
Recumbent bicycles aren’t new in the exercise market but they do get upgraded now and then, with better computers, new features, and some extras you may not even know you want until you try them out. Of course, not everyone is looking for the same types of features in their model, so you do need to look at what is offered and compare it to what you want to get out of your workout before you buy one.
What is a recumbent bike?
A recumbent bike is a stationary bike that has a reclined seating position. The seat is wider and more padded, plus it includes a seat back that gives you the support you need without hindering your pedaling ability. It also allows your upper body muscles to relax while your lower body does the work, increasing your strength in this area while giving you a great cardiovascular workout.
Recumbent bikes also have the added benefit of being easy to use. First-time riders can jump on and start pedaling with no learning curve needed. It is also great for more advanced users, ramping up the resistance for a more challenging workout. Seniors or those with joint or back issues can also use these units without straining themselves or doing more damage to their injured areas.
Features to consider when choosing a recumbent bike
When choosing a new recumbent bike, there are a few features to check out. This will ensure you’re getting the right bike for your size, workout level, and home situation.
Though many of the recumbent bicycles in our reviews have a weight capacity of 300 pounds, some have smaller weight limits, like the 275-pound capacity of the ProForm 235 CSX. They can also have higher capacities, as the Nautilus R618 shows with its capacity of 325 pounds. This information is important because it tells you how much weight the unit can support and who in your family, therefore, can use it.
These exercise bikes are built well, with sturdy materials, but if too much weight is placed on the seat, it may not be able to support you for long. The seat, back, and bars underneath that hold everything together could start to bend or even break, so it’s best to buy one that can support your weight and the weight of anyone else using it. This way, it will stay in the best condition possible for as long as you’re using it.
Programs and resistance levels
All of the recumbent bikes that we’ve reviewed have varying resistance levels to choose from, which can be adjusted to meet your needs. If you’re just starting out with one of these machines, you will likely want to set it at the lowest resistance level to begin with. If you find it is too easy, you can raise it to the next level if you like. As your legs, hips, and buttocks get stronger, you’ll be able to go up in the levels, which will give you a more challenging workout as you raise the resistance. Some recumbent bike models have 8 resistance levels to choose from, which is fine, but if you want to increase your levels higher than that, you may want to try out a model like the Schwinn 270, which has 25 levels to work your way through.
Workout programs are not included with every home recumbent bike but can add a bit of variety to your workout. These can make it seem like you’re riding over hills, trails, or even in another country. Though not necessary to get a good workout, these programs can make it more fun to get your daily exercise in.
The weight of the recumbent bike may not seem important but it will be once you try to move it around. Even when you’re assembling the unit, you need to hold up certain pieces to attach them to the rest of the machine. The heavier it is, the harder it is to do this. You may even need a second set of hands to help you put the recumbent bike together, with one person holding the larger parts while the other person attaches the pieces.
If you’re planning on leaving your recumbent bike in one spot, like a dedicated workout area, then once you have it assembled, you likely won’t need to move it again until you’ve worn it out and need to replace it. Of course, not everyone has the space for a large piece of workout equipment, so they may need to move it out of the way when they aren’t using it. For these people, a lightweight model like the Exerpeutic 300SR may be a good choice. This one also has the added convenience of folding down, so it is much easier to store when needed.
The dimensions of the recumbent bike are important for the same reasons as the weight of the unit. The larger the bike is, the more space it’s going to take up in whichever room you plan to store it in. If you have a dedicated workout space in a basement, den, or living room, then the bike may fit in there without forcing you to sacrifice too much of your space. Those with smaller homes or apartments may not have much room to spare, so they may need the smallest model possible to fit among their other furniture.
One that can be folded down makes it easier to store in a closet or behind a couch but this feature isn’t included in most of the units in our reviews, so it may be best to figure out how much space you have to store your unit before choosing one.
The display is another important feature you may want to consider before buying a new recumbent bike for your home gym. This usually consists of a large backlit screen, displaying various pieces of data about your workout. This could include the calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve traveled, the time you’ve spent pedaling, and your speed. There could also be other stats, like your heart rate, though this will require some heart monitor sensors on the handles of the bike or a chest strap.
As well as the display screen, there will likely also be some controls that go with it. These will allow you to change the screen display, showing the information you want while allowing you to scroll through to see the other data whenever needed. The buttons should be well labeled and easy to use to make this whole control panel even easier to use.
The display should also be easy to read when you’re leaning back on the recumbent seat and pedaling. If you have to stop your workout to lean forward to see the screen, it will make it much harder to keep track of your progress.
Bluetooth connectivity is another handy feature, though it isn’t included with most of the recumbent bikes in our reviews. When it is included in models like the Schwinn 270, you can use it to connect to your other Bluetooth-enabled devices, like smartphones and tablets. This way, you can link your recumbent bicycle to your device. This allows you to connect to any workout or health apps on your device, keeping your progress updated without having to input the information manually when your workout is done. This saves you some time and effort, so you can focus solely on getting your workout done for the day.
An adjustable seat is one of the most important features to look for in a recumbent bike. Though all of the other features are something to consider, you won’t have any use for any of them if you can’t fit on the bike well or comfortably reach the pedals. If you’re too short, you won’t be able to pedal at all, while those who are too tall will be constantly be hitting their knees on the upper handles or the control panel.
An adjustable seat can accommodate all sizes of people, allowing you to move the seat forward or back to give you the perfect position to pedal properly and comfortably. This adjustment should be easy to do, so you don’t need to struggle every time you sit down on the bike. This is especially important if more than one person in your household is using your recumbent bike. If it’s being adjusted a few times a day to fit everyone, it needs to be done quickly, or some members may not want to bother fighting with it to get it into the position they need it.
The handlebars on most recumbent bikes are usually in a different place than on other stationary bike types. Though there are handles at the front of the bike that you can use to get in and out of the seat, the main handles that you would use to maintain your balance while actually riding the bike are positioned on the sides of the seat. This allows you to hold onto the handles, keeping yourself upright as you pedal rather than shifting back and forth with nothing to hold onto.
Some models, like the ProForm 235 CSX, also include sensors in the handlebars. When you hold onto the handles, the sensors track your pulse, showing your heart rate on the display, which helps you maintain the rate you want to reach your fitness goals.
If your new recumbent bike should have any issues with faulty parts or pieces that aren’t installed correctly, you’re going to need a decent warranty to get new parts, repairs, or a new machine sent to you without costing you extra money. Some of the units in our reviews have a basic 1-year or 2-year limited warranty, which is fine if the issues show up right away. Others have a more in-depth warranty, covering different parts for different lengths of time. For instance, the Schwinn 270 has a 10-year limited warranty on the frame, a 2-year warranty on the mechanical parts, 1 year for the electronics, and 90 days for the other parts and the labor. Be sure to check out what is covered and for how long so there are no surprises if your machine isn’t working as expected.
Most of these bikes do come with several pieces that do need to be attached, which can be time-consuming. They also include the tools needed for this process, which means you don’t need to search for any to match the parts in the box. This makes these bikes rather simple to put together, though it may be easier to do with two people, one to hold heavy parts while the other attaches them.
All of the bikes in our reviews are very quiet. Even when pedaling at high speeds, you are still able to watch television at a normal volume. Those with fans may be a bit louder since this feature will add a bit more noise but this doesn’t raise the volume by too much, so you won’t be disturbed by them.
There are a few general maintenance tips that can keep your recumbent bike working properly. Wipe it clean after every use using a mixture of gentle soap and water and a soft cloth. Every week, check out the bolts and screws on the entire bike, tightening those that have started to come loose. Lubricate the flywheel every month to prevent issues with resistance or grinding of the materials. If the bike has a chain inside, this should also be lubricated and the tension checked. You should also be sure to read the manual and follow all the maintenance instructions listed.
The best recumbent bike is the one that can give you a good cardiovascular workout right in your own home without being too bulky and noisy when operating. There are many great models to choose from, though we have a few favorites that we’ve chosen from our reviews.
Our top choice is the Marcy ME-706, which has a capacity of 300 pounds, 24 resistance levels, and an LCD panel with a backlit LED screen. This unit also includes a steel frame with a step-through design, counter-balanced pedals with adjustable straps, heart rate sensors, and an adjustable padded seat.
The ProForm 235 CSX comes with 18 resistance levels, 18 on-board workouts, a water bottle holder, a device shelf, and an onboard sound system that is iPod-compatible. This model also has a step-through design, a large backlit LCD screen, EKG Grip Pulse sensors, and transport wheels for easy movement.
Another great recumbent bike is the Nautilus R618, which has a huge 325-pound weight capacity, an adjustable Sight Line console with dual screens, Bluetooth compatibility, a USB charge port, and in-console speakers. The R618 also includes a high-speed high-inertia drive system, a perimeter weight flywheel, a 3-piece crank system, and weighted pedals.