A recumbent exercise bike might look like the laid-back kind of typical exercise bike, but you can also get a serious workout on one of these machines. If your health or simply personal preference doesn’t allow you to go fast on an upright exercise bike, the best recumbent exercise bike is a good alternative.
John Gallucci Jr.Physiotherapist and CEO of Jag-One Physical Therapy says recumbent bikes are especially good for people with back pain and hernias. “Recumbent bikes put less strain on your lower back, giving you the opportunity to do some cardio, which is great for your heart,” he says. Not only does it work for your lower body, but it also improves your balance and strength, he added.
The best recumbent exercise bikes have large touch screens with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity so you can stream your workouts. However, base prices for these models start at $1,000 and up and go up from there. However, if you want to spend less than his $10,000 on this home workout equipment, there are also stable low-tech bikes priced under $300. Read this article to find the best options for different budgets and needs.
How to choose the best recumbent exercise bike
Since this list is aimed at home gym users, we did not evaluate the bike’s suitability in commercial spaces such as physical therapy offices or commercial gyms.
To find the best recumbent bikes, I first interviewed John Gallucci Jr., CEO of Jag-One Physical Therapy, MS, ATC, PT, DPT. We then visited an exercise equipment showroom and used a dozen different recumbent bikes to evaluate pedaling, seat and tension adjustments, testing controls and buttons, and checking other features. We interviewed sales staff about popular brands and attention models. We also read many user and expert reviews and tracked our findings in a spreadsheet. We considered the cost and value of each stationary recumbent bike to make our final selection.
Things to consider when shopping recumbent exercise bike
For those looking for a low-impact workout, a recumbent exercise bike is a good option. However, if you are looking to bring these bikes home, they are a great buy. Before you buy, you should consider your bike’s size, adjustability, technology, and more.
High-end recumbent exercise bikes are big and heavy. It takes up quite a lot of space in your home, so if you’re short on space, you might want to consider the folding option. Folding models tend to be cheaper, but they don’t have many of the features commonly found on larger recumbent bikes, like touchscreens and water bottle holders.
Almost all recumbent bikes have some way of adjusting the distance from the seat to the pedals. What varies is the difficulty of this step and the number of possible seating positions. If you’re the only person on the bike, that might be fine, but if you’re training with multiple people on the bike, an easily adjustable seat is important.
Most bikes allow you to adjust the tightness of the foot straps, and some even allow you to change the seat tilt.
Like any other kind of training machine, the recumbent exercise bike’s console has a wide range of features, from a simple LCD display to a fully Wi-Fi connected touchscreen. If you want an immersive experience that streams your workouts, prioritize bikes with on-demand workouts via the app. Note, however, that these services often require ongoing subscriptions.
Can I get a good workout on a recumbent bike?
In short, yes. “You’ll get serious training,” says Gallucci. His recumbent exercise bike is great for strengthening your lower body and doing cardio, which is important for your heart and overall health.
But if you want to strengthen your abs, this is not the way. “When you ride a recumbent bike, you don’t get as much core strength as you do on a regular bike,” he says.
Is it okay to exercise on a recumbent bike every day?
Yes, it’s generally safe to use a recumbent bike every day unless you have certain health conditions that limit your ability to exercise (check with your healthcare provider about your specific concerns if you’re unsure). Also, be sure to read the user manual and safety instructions that came with your bike.
Recumbent biking is a low-impact exercise that is usually less stressful on joints and can be used frequently. Gallucci says it’s “not like running or walking, which puts constant stress on your ankles, hips and knees.”