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Best Recumbent Bike Reviews 2019 and Comparison Chart

There are many types of fitness machines for cardio training that you can choose from if you want to exercise at home, and some of the most convenient machines for this purpose are the exercise bikes. But when it comes to comfort, recumbent bikes stand out.  These exercise bikes do not supply an intensive workout setting like spin bikes or other machines, but they focus on offering superior ergonomics and minimize the negative impact of your workout on your joints and back.

There’s a lot to be said about this type of exercise bikes, about their features and functions, and how they can benefit you. This page focuses on pointing out the most important of these benefits, but more importantly, to present the best models on the market and also help you make the right choice. Therefore, as a start-up for this post here’s a comparison table with some of the best recumbent exercise bikes for 2019.

Table of Contents

The Best 10 Recumbent Bikes for 2019

UnitSizeMaximum
user
weight
Drive
type
Resistance
type
Resistance
levels
ConsoleWarranty
Schwinn 230
schwinn 230 my16 - 2016 model
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read-review-button-03
L:64"
W:27.7"
H:50"
300 lbsBeltEddy
current,
Automatic
2022 programs,
2 user
profiles,
Goal
tracking
Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electrical: 1 year
Labor: 90 days
Nautilus R616

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read-review-button-03
L:65.3"
W:28.3"
H:49.6"
300 lbsBeltEddy
current,
Automatic
2529 programs,
4 user
profiles,
Goal
tracking,
Bluetooth,
Run Social
capable
Frame: 10 years
Parts: 3 years
Electronics: 3 year
Labor: 1 year
3G Cardio Elite RB

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read-review-button-03
L:49"
W:27"
H:43"
350 lbsBeltEddy
current,
Automatic
1616 programs,
4 user
profiles,
Goal
tracking,
Recovery,
Frame:Lifetime
Parts: 7 years
Labor: 1 year
ActionLine A87604

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read-review-button-03
L:64"
W:27"
H:58"
250 lbsBeltEddy
current,
Automatic
1623 programs,
4 user
profiles,
BMI,
Recovery
1 year
limited
NordicTrack Vr21

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read-review-button-03
L:59"
W:22"
H:52"
275 lbsBeltEddy
current,
Automatic
2532 programs,
iFit enabled,
Bluetooth
Frame: 5 years
Parts: 2 years
Labor: 2 years
Efitment RB034

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read-review-button-03
L:54"
W:25"
H:38.5"
300 lbsBeltManual
magnetic
8Time,
Distance,
Odometer,
Calories,
Speed,
Pulse,
Goals,
Scan
3 years
limited
Exerpeutic 4000

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L:58"
W:30"
H:41"
325 lbsBeltEddy
current
24121 year
limited
Sunny SF-RBD4703

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read-review-button-03
L:52.8"
W:23.6"
H:53.5"
350 lbsBeltManual
magnetic
8Time,
Distance,
Total
distance,
Speed,
Calories,
SCAN
Frame: 3 years
Parts: 180 days
Body Champ BRB3558

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read-review-button-03
L:56"
W:25"
H:42"
250 lbsBeltManual
magnetic,
8Time,
Speed,
Distance,
Calories,
Pulse,
SCAN
1 year
limited
Marcy ME-709

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read-review-button-03
L:55.5"
W:25"
H:37.5"
300 lbsBeltManual
magnetic
8Time,
Speed,
Distance,
Calories
2 years
limited

Schwinn 230

The Schwinn 230 recumbent exercise bike has been around for quite a while and has received several improvements over the years. It still remains one of the top-rated recumbent bikes, this being the main reason we’ve selected it for our list of best recumbent bikes for 2019. It’s a mid-range, programmable bike which excels in comfort and offers a pretty impressive range of features. So far, it continues to benefit from an impressive amount of positive reviews from users all over the world.

Frame

The Schwinn 230 features a steel-made frame designed to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg). Its construction does, however, integrate several ABS parts. Among them, we can count the seat top and backrest, the covers of the drive system and the covers of the seat base. These don’t reduce the unit’s overall sturdiness, though.

This recumbent bike isn’t an extremely large unit. However, it does take approx. 64″L x 27″W (162 x 70 cm) of floor space. To these dimensions, it is recommended to add at least two feet of clearance all around it, for safe operation and access.

This Schwinn exercise bike isn’t extremely heavy but does weigh over 81 lbs (37 kg). It’s not difficult to transport, though, especially after it was fully assembled, as its front base features transport wheel.

One last aspect to mention here is the step-through design of the frame. This is quite a plus, as it offers an excellent access to the seat and an easy entry and exit.

Drive & Resistance

The Schwinn 230 recumbent bike features an automatic eddy current resistance system. This means the resistance can only be adjusted from the console, and the bike needs to be connected to a power source. It offers 20 tension levels, the first few deliver a very light resistance, while the top 18-20 levels add quite a bit of difficulty to the ride, giving you the possibility to achieve a more intense burn.

The internal flywheel weighs approx. 13 lbs (5.8 kg) and is approx. 16″ (40 cm) in diameter. It’s a balanced flywheel, designed to deliver a very smooth motion. It also allows you to pedal in reverse, so you can put some diversity into your workouts.

Since it’s a magnetic exercise bike, it uses a belt for transmission. The connection between the internal pulley and flywheel is made by a heavy-duty poly-v rubber belt. Evidently, it doesn’t need any lubrication and delivers a very quiet pedaling motion.

The bike is equipped with standard pedals. They have an adherent surface and are equipped with adjustable straps. The Q-Factor is comfortable, offering a natural positioning of the feet on the pedals, and eliminating lateral stress on the knees.

Console & Accessories

This Schwinn exercise bike is equipped with a programmable console. It offers 22 workout programs, including, 9 profile programs, 8 heart rate programs, 2 fitness tests, 1 quick start, and 2 custom. These programs can be adjusted in terms of time and resistance. Also, you can select countdown targets for time, distance, and calories.

The console features two LCD displays which track time, distance, pulse, speed, RPM, and calories burned. It also features a heart rate zone indicator and a goal percentage indicator, and of course, it indicates the current resistance setting.

The unit is compatible with SchwinnConnect and MyFitnessPal. Therefore, you can transfer your workout data via USB into your online account in order to keep a better track of your progress. The USB port can also serve as a charging port for your tablet or smartphone.

In terms of amenities, the console is equipped with a sound system, a tablet holder, and a small cooling fan. For the sound system, there is an AUX port which is compatible with most smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players. The cooling fan isn’t extremely powerful but does deliver a bit of cooling if needed. The tablet holder consists of a small rack under the top, larger display of the unit.

A bottle holder is also included; it can be attached to one of the handlebars of the seat.

Comfort & Adjustability

Although the bike’s comfort is not cushioned, its design does provide quite an impressive comfort. Both the top of the seat and the backrest are contoured, providing a very comfortable positioning. They also have a vented (perforated) design, preventing overheating during the more intense workouts. Also, the backrest is designed to provide an excellent, firm and healthy lumbar support.

In case you’re wondering, the seat is approx. 17″ (43 cm) wide, and 12″ (30 cm) deep. It provides plenty of contact surface for a comfortable positioning, even for users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

The seat is adjustable. It can move forward or backward on its slider; it can accommodate users up to 6’6″ (198 cm), promoting a complete leg extension. However, the seat does not adjust independently from the seat.

This recumbent bike is equipped with two sets of handlebars, one attached to the front mast, the other attached to the seat assembly. They feature rubberized grips for extra comfort, while the seat handlebars also have pulse sensors.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Aesthetic design
  • Vented comfortable seat
  • Excellent lumbar support
  • Great adjustability
  • Pulse sensors
  • Transport wheels and base stabilizers
  • Automatic, eddy current resistance
  • 20 tension levels
  • 22 workout programs
  • Compatible with MyFitnessPal and SchwinnConnect
  • Sound system
  • Tablet holder
  • Cooling fan
  • Bottle holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the top display
  • HR chest strap is not included
  • The fan is not very powerful

Summary

The Schwinn 230 is a mid-range recumbent bike made for home use. It’s equipped with an automatic eddy current resistance system with 20 tension levels. Its console is programmable and offers 22 workout programs. The seat provides superior comfort and has a vented design to prevent overheating during workouts. In all, it’s a sturdy exercise bike which delivers outstanding value and quality for the price.

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Nautilus R616

Right next to the Schwinn 230, the Nautilus R616 is one of the best recumbent bikes available at the moment. It’s pretty similar to the Schwinn model in terms of features, but it’s one level above it, as it offers several extra features. Nonetheless, it’s an exercise bike that excels in comfort factors and versatility. It has been one of the best bikes in 2018 and continues to be one in 2019.

Frame

The Nautilus R616 features a very sturdy construction; its frame is made of durable steel tubing, with the main chassis consisting of a single piece, which gives the bike superior overall sturdiness. The only exceptions are the front covers of the flywheel, the covers of the seat base, and the backrest. All the steel parts are coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish, the color used is black, as opposed to light gray which was the color of the older models.

The bike is equipped with adjustable stabilizers at the rear and rubberized pads at the front. These provide an excellent grip of the unit to the floor and also allow you to perfectly level it.

This Nautilus recumbent bike not an extremely large unit, but with its given footprint of approx 65″L x 28″W (166 x 72 cm), it may not be suitable for a very small room. It’s also not exactly light, weighing over 90 lbs (41 kg), but does have transport wheels, so its relocation can be done with ease.

Drive & Resistance

The Nautilus R616 recumbent bike is equipped with an automatic magnetic resistance system which consists of a small magnetic brake and a servo motor. This means it requires being connected to a power source in order to make the resistance available. It offers 25 distinct tension levels to keep you motivated, the first few levels being perfect for recovery training, while the top ones are great for weight loss and stamina development.

The internal flywheel is perimeter-weighted, designed to provide a more intense inertia. However, it’s far from having the weight of the flywheels of the most indoor cycling bikes. Its weight is approx. 20 lbs (9 kg). It delivers a very smooth motion and allows pedaling in reverse as well.

The transmission uses a poly-v belt, which delivers a very quiet operation of the machine. It also doesn’t need any lubrication, being made to last for many years of use.

The pedals are fairly large, being able to accommodate athletic shoes of all sizes. They have a rubberized surface for higher adherence. They’re also equipped with adjustable straps and have standard threads, so you can easily find replacements for them if it’s the case.

Console & Accessories

This Nautilus recumbent exercise bike is equipped with a very impressive console. To begin with, it has two LCD displays with LED backlight which indicate and track the most important workout metrics, including speed, time, distance, RPM, calories, and heart rate. It has 29 built-in programs designed for various types of training, such as weight loss, intervals, stamina development etc.

The console unit is Bluetooth enabled, and compatible with Nautilus Trainer app, MyFitnessPal, RideSocial, and other popular online fitness apps. This being said, you can directly stream your workout data to your online fitness account to keep track of your progress. Or, in case you have a RideSocial account, you can benefit from an immersive workout, following an online virtual track.

The unit is also telemetric. It can read your pulse through a wireless chest strap transmitter such as a Polar Electro. This accessory is not included, but you can still benefit from a pulse reading via the integrated pulse sensors.

In terms of amenities, the console is equipped with a tablet holder, sound system, and cooling fan. These can also be put under the bike’s comfort factors. The tablet holder is placed under the main display and can accommodate any tablet. The sound system is compatible with most MP3 players or smart devices, while the fan can provide a bit of cooling during a more intense workout.

A bottle holder is also included. It can be attached to the seat’s handlebars and can accommodate most hydration bottles.

Comfort & Adjustability

The Nautilus R616 features a high-comfort seat. Its top integrates a layer of foam padding and is contoured for maximized ergonomics. It’s fairly wide (approx. 17″) and provides plenty of contact surface.

The backrest, on the other hand, is made of durable ABS plastic. It’s not padded but does have a vented structure and a contoured shape, in order to provide superior lumbar support.

The whole seat assembly can support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg). It’s attached to an aluminum rail and can move closer or farther from the pedals. It can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem. Its position is very easy to adjust while you are actually seated, via the lever on the right side.

The bike integrates two sets of handlebars, one attached to the seat, and one to the front mast. Both have a multi-grip design and rubberized grips. However, only the seat handlebars integrate pulse sensors.

One last aspect to mention here regards the unit’s step-through design; due to this feature, you can easily take a seat or stand up. This can be quite a plus for users with various disabilities or elderly users.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Aesthetic design
  • Vented and contoured backrest
  • Excellent lumbar support
  • Padded and contoured seat
  • Great adjustability
  • Pulse sensors
  • Transport wheels and base stabilizers
  • Automatic, eddy current resistance
  • 25 tension levels
  • 29 workout programs
  • Compatible with MyFitnessPal and Nautilus Tainer app
  • Compatible with RunSocial
  • Sound system
  • Tablet holder
  • Cooling fan
  • Bottle holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the top display
  • An HR chest strap is not included
  • The fan is not very powerful

Summary

The Nautilus R616 is a recumbent bike pretty close to light-commercial quality. It features an eddy current resistance system, a high-performance console compatible with various only fitness apps and 29 preset programs, while also providing superior comfort and adjustability. It’s definitely an exercise bike of superior quality and versatility, great for users of all levels and ages. In all, it’s a trainer that offers an outstanding value for the price.

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3G Cardio Elite RB

There are quite a few top-quality products under the brand name of 3G Cardio. The 3G Cardio Elite RB is one of them. So far, this recumbent bike benefits from an almost clean 5-star feedback sheet on most fitness and retail websites, and that’s one of the main reason’s we have selected it for our top 10 best recumbent bikes for 2019. It’s a light-commercial trainer, which offers a wide array of features and excels in comfort and durability.

Frame

The 3G Cardio Elite RB features a compact, one-piece frame which is sturdy enough to support users up to 350 lbs (159 kg). The only parts that attach to the main frame via screws are the front and rear base bars.

Most of the bike’s frame features durable ABS covers, but the internal frame is made of thick steel tubing. The steel parts are coated with a rust-resistant, and chip-resistant paint finish, the main color being light gray, while the base color is dark gray or black.

Since it’s a light-commercial exercise bike, it has a considerably heavy construction. With the frame fully assembled, it weighs approx. 115 lbs (52 kg). All this weight delivers excellent stability. However, the unit isn’t too difficult to move, as its rear base features a lifting handle while the front base incorporates transport wheels.

Drive & Resistance

The 3G Cardio Elite RB recumbent bike features a drive system with a slightly different construction that most other recumbent bikes. The main pulley with the crankset and pedals are placed at the front, while the flywheel and the magnetic brake are placed at the rear, under the seat.

The bike’s transmission consists of a tough rubber belt, delivering a smooth, vibration-free ride, while also being maintenance-free. The pedals have a weighted structure; they are designed to always turn face-up when you remove your feet from them. They’re also equipped with adjustable straps.

The bike’s resistance system is motorized. It integrates a magnetic brake and a servo motor. It can only be adjusted from the console or the controls built-in the seat handlebars, and the bike needs to be connected to a power source. As you adjust the resistance, the servo motor will move the brake closer or farther from the flywheel, increases or decreases the pedaling difficulty.

This 3G Cardio exercise bike makes available 16 levels of resistance. The first 1-3 difficulty settings offer a light pedaling difficulty, great for warming up or for users who require recovery training. The 15-16 settings, on the other hand, generate the feeling of a steep climb.

Console & Accessories

The 3G Cardio Elite RB is equipped with a programmable console. It has a multi-window LCD display with LED backlight which tracks time, distance, speed, RPM, watts, calories, and pulse. It has 4 user profiles and allows personal data inputs such as age, height, and weight for a more accurate calories reading. It’s also telemetric; it can read your pulse through a wireless HR chest strap.

The console does not have online connectivity, and its data is not compatible, nor it can be transferred to any online app. It does, however, have 16 programs to keep you motivated. 12 of them are preset, 3 are for heart rate, and 1 is for watts.

The unit also has a recovery function which measures your heart rate at the end of your workout and will provide a recovery status between F1 (best) – F6 (worst), which basically gives you an idea with regards to your fitness level.

In terms of amenities and accessories, we can count the tablet holder, the accessory tray, and the bottle holder. The tablet holder is placed right above the console controls. It’s actually incorporated into the console. The accessory tray is placed at the bottom of the console; it’s large enough to hold your keys, phone, TV remote control, earplugs or other small accessories. And finally, the bottle holder is made of flexible nylon material and attached to the console mast at the front.

Comfort & Adjustability

The 3G Cardio Elite RB recumbent exercise bike features a padded and contoured seat designed for maximum comfort. Its backrest is mesh-based, made of Infinite Airflow Mesh Flex material; it’s constructed on a durable frame, it’s flexible, and provides superior breathability.

The seat is 4-way adjustable. It can slide forward or backward on its monorail, but can also be tilted. It actually has 5 angle positions. The adjustment systems are lever-based. Therefore, you can adjust the seat position while you are actually seated, in order to get the perfect position. Also, the seat offers an adjustment span that can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’4″ (153 – 193 cm).

The bike is equipped with two sets of handlebars, one at the front, one attached to the seat. The seat handlebars also feature pulse sensors and resistance controls. Both handlebars have rubberized grips for extra comfort.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Great weight capacity (350 lbs)
  • Aesthetic design
  • Padded seat
  • Flexible mesh backrest
  • 4-way seat adjustability
  • Pulse sensors
  • Transport wheels
  • Automatic, eddy current resistance
  • 16 tension levels
  • 16 workout programs
  • Recovery function
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No sound system
  • No online connectivity
  • An HR chest strap is not included

Summary

The 3G Cardio Elite RB is a light-commercial quality recumbent bike. It’s equipped with an automatic magnetic resistance system, offers 16 tension levels, 16 built-in workout programs, and superior micro-adjustability. It’s a tough bike with a great user capacity and offers great comfort. It’s perfect for users of all levels, and finally, even if it’s not exactly the most affordable trainer, it definitely offers excellent value for the price.

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ActionLine A87604

Although the ActionLine A87604 is an outstanding recumbent exercise bike, it’s not one of the most popular. It’s an entry-level programmable bike featuring an automatic magnetic resistance system and several preset workout programs. It has its share of negatives and positives, and in this short review, we’re going to cover them all.

Frame

The ActionLine A87604 features a two-piece frame. The rear part of the frame with the seat connects to the front part which holds the drive system via several bolts. The frame is steel-made, coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish, black in color. The bike features several ABS plastic covers as well, two that protect the flywheel and motor, and two that shroud the base of the seat.

The bike is definitely not a commercial-grade one but does offer a decent weight capacity. It can support users up to 250 lbs (113 kg). It’s not a large unit but takes approx. 64″L x 27″W (162 x 68 cm) of floor space. Its assembled weight is approx. 80 lbs (36 kg) but its relocation can be carried out with ease, as its front base has transport wheels.

The step-through design provides easy access to the seat. This being said, entry and exit will not be a problem for elderly users or users with certain disabilities.

Drive & Resistance

The ActionLine A87604 integrates a balanced flywheel placed in front of the pulley. Its exact weight is not specified, but considering the weight of the bike, it should probably weigh between 12 and 20 lbs (5.4-9.0 kg). It’s designed to provide a steady feel during pedaling, also being bi-directional.

The pedals are fairly large, equipped with adjustable toe straps and weight elements in order to turn face-up when you don’t keep your feet on them. The Q-Factor (spacing between the pedals) if narrow, which eliminates any external stress on the knees and ankles during pedaling.

The internal transmission is belt-based. The integrated belt is durable, maintenance-free, and generates almost no noise or vibration during pedaling.

In terms of resistance, the bike uses a motorized magnetic system with 16 distinct levels. It consists of a small motor and a magnetic brake. The tension adjustments can only be done from the console and the bike needs to be connected to a power source. Also, just as for any other programmable exercise bike, if one of the console programs is in use, the bike auto-adjusts its resistance.

Console & Accessories

The bike’s console is pretty much the one and only accessory it comes with. It’s a programmable console and has 23 programs. Of these, 12 are preset workouts, 5 are for heart rate, 1 is the body fat program, 1 is the recovery function, and there also are 4 user programs. The user-defined programs give you the possibility to create your own custom program.

The unit’s display is LCD-based. it shows time, distance, speed, RPM, calories, pulse and temperature. It also shows the grid of the programs in use.

The console unit is pretty easy to use. It will automatically turn on when it detects movement on the pedals, or when you press one of the buttons. It features 6 buttons. One covers the Pulse Recovery function, one is for the Body Fat function, the Up/Down keys serve for navigation and assigning values to a custom program, while the Enter key covers the confirmation function. Finally, the Start/Stop button initiates or pauses a program.

Comfort & Adjustability

The bike is equipped with a pretty comfortable seat. Both the platform and the backrest integrate approx. 2″ of foam padding. They’re also both contoured, the backrest featuring a protuberance in its lower part for an extra bit of lumbar support.

The seat assembly slides on a steel monorail. It can be locked in a position closer or farther from the pedals, however, it’s not angle-adjustable. There is a knob placed on the right side under the seat which you have to turn and pull in order to be able to move the seat.

The bike is equipped with two sets of handlebars, one attached to the backbone of the seat, the other to the front console mast. The front handlebars are angle-adjustable and equipped with pulse sensors. The seat handlebars are non-adjustable.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Adjustable seat
  • Adjustable front handlebars
  • Transport wheels
  • Automatic, eddy current resistance
  • 16 tension levels
  • 23 workout programs
  • Recovery function
  • Body Fat Index function
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No sound system
  • No online connectivity
  • No tablet holder
  • No bottle holder

Summary

The ActionLine A87604 is a programmable recumbent bike for home use. Although it doesn’t have fancy features such as online connectivity or Bluetooth, it still offers 23 adjustable workout programs. It’s equipped with an automatic eddy current resistance system which offers 16 levels of difficulty. It has a pretty durable and compact construction and offers an excellent value for the price.

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NordicTrack Commercial Vr21

Although the NordicTrack Commercial Vr21 is labeled as “commercial”, it doesn’t have the 300 lbs (136 kg) weight capacity as most commercial bikes have. But nonetheless, it does offer a wide array of features, superior comfort, and so far, it benefits from a positive feedback from most users. Thus, it’s our 5th selection for our list of best 2019 recumbent bikes.

Frame

The NordicTrack Vr21 has its frame made of steel tubing with the exception of the seat adjustment rail which is made of aluminum. Most of the bike’s frame is covered by ABS shrouds and also coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish.

The fully assembled unit is quite heavy, weighing approx. 127 lbs (58 kg), which means it offers plenty of stability. But on the other hand, it’s not too difficult to move. Its rear base has a lifting handle, while its front base is equipped with two transport wheels.

The frame has a step-through design, offering easy access to the seat. The rear base is equipped with adjustable levelers that have large rubberized pads to provide perfect stability on any type of floor.

Drive & Resistance

The NordicTrack Vr21 integrates a pretty heavy flywheel for a recumbent bike; it weighs 20 lbs (9.0 kg) and has a balanced structure to provide a steady feel during pedaling. It also allows you to pedal in reverse, and while pedaling in reverse, the console will continue to track your workout metrics.

The bike uses a belt for its transmission. It’s a stretch-resistant, heavy-duty rubber belt, which promotes a silent, and vibration-free pedaling motion.

The bike’s crank arms are steel-made, but just as most of the frame, they have ABS covers for improved aesthetics. They’re equipped with non-slip pedals with a weighted design and adjustable straps.

In terms of resistance, this NordicTrack recumbent bike features an eddy current, full-digital resistance system. This means the resistance can only be adjusted from the console. As you select a certain tension level, the internal servo motor will shift the position of the magnetic brake closer or farther from the flywheel, generating more or less pedal tension.

The bike offers 25 levels of resistance. The 1st level basically allows you to pedal with no resistance, using only the weight of the flywheel. Conversely, the top resistance levels do offer quite a bit of difficulty, allowing you to burn a decent amount of calories.

Console & Accessories

This recumbent bike is equipped with a pretty impressive console. To begin with, it has a large LCD display with backlight, which tracks time, distance, speed, RPM, calories, and pulse. It has 32 built-in programs focusing on calorie burning, performance, and intensity. Evidently, when one of the programs is in use, the bike will auto-adjust resistance.

The console has Bluetooth connectivity and is iFit capable. This means you can sync it with your tablet, smartphone, or laptop, in order to directly stream your workout data online, use the iFit app for a better interface, compete with others, etc.

The console has a built-in sound system, a tablet holder, and a cooling fan. The sound system consists of two speakers placed under the display. It’s compatible with most MP3 players or smartphones. The tablet holder consists of a small shelf above the console controls. It can accommodate just about any tablet. And finally, the cooling fan is placed at the bottom of the console.

One last accessory to mention here is the bottle holder. It’s made of ABS material; it needs to be attached to the front mast of the unit, and can accommodate almost all types of hydration bottles.

Comfort & Adjustability

The NordicTrack Commerical Vr21 is a recumbent bike built for comfort. Its seat is concave and integrates a layer of padding, providing an excellent positioning. The backrest is made of durable ABS material, offering a bit of a flex but also a firm lumbar support.

The seat is 2-way adjustable. It can slide forward and backward on its fairly long adjustment aluminum rail. Thus, the bike can accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm) with no problem.

An important aspect to mention here regards the unit’s weight capacity. Although some sources state that the bike has a weight capacity of 350 lbs (158 kg), the manual specifies only a 275 lbs (125 kg) weight capacity. The seat base is very sturdy, and may hold 350 lbs, but the backrest may not be able to support this weight.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Aesthetic design
  • Vented and contoured backrest
  • Excellent lumbar support
  • Padded and contoured seat
  • Great adjustability
  • Pulse sensors
  • Transport wheels
  • Rear base stabilizers
  • Automatic, eddy current resistance
  • 25 tension levels
  • 32 workout programs
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • iFit capable
  • Sound system
  • Tablet holder
  • Cooling fan
  • Bottle holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the top display
  • The fan is not very powerful
  • An HR chest strap is not included

Summary

The NordicTrack Vr21 is a light-commercial grade recumbent bike offering excellent comfort, a wide array of programs to keep you motivated, and iFit compatibility. It’s equipped with an eddy current resistant system which offers 25 tension settings for users of all levels. It’s a well-built bike of superior quality and comfort which delivers great value for the price.

Check Price on Amazon & See User Reviews

Efitment RB034

The Efitment RB034 falls under the category of affordable recumbent bikes. It’s equipped with a magnetic resistance system with a manual action. It doesn’t offer the full range of bells and whistles like commercial grade bikes but does offer a durable construction and excellent comfort.

Frame

The Efitment RB034 features a steel frame with a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg). Its main chassis is a one-piece part, but the base of the seat, the console mast, and the base bars attach to it via bolts. It has a step-through design in order to facilitate entry and exit. The whole frame is coated with a rust-resistant paint, gray in color, this being the only color available for this model.

The rear base features rotating polygonal caps which serve as stabilizers. The front base is equipped with transport wheels for easy handling and storage.

The bike isn’t extremely large; on average, it is approx. 10″ shorter than most light-commercial and commercial models. It’s 54″L x 25″W (137 x 63 cm), and weighs approx. 63 lbs (27 kg).

Drive & Resistance

As we’ve mentioned above, this exercise bike is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. It integrates a small magnetic brake which is attached to the tension knob on the front mast through a steel wire. By turning the knob clockwise, the brake comes closer to the internal flywheel increasing the pedaling difficulty. The brake has 8 levels of resistance.

The internal flywheel has a perimeter-weighted flywheel. Its exact weight is not specified, but since it’s a pretty light bike, it probably doesn’t weigh more than 20 lbs (9 kg). The flywheel is bi-directional, allowing you to pedal in reverse if you want. And when pedaling in reverse, the exercise meter will continue to track your workout stats.

The bike has a belt drive system. It uses a 370 PJ6 leather belt, providing a durable and quiet transmission. The pedals are weighted, featuring a non-slip surface and adjustable straps. They also have standard threads, compatible replacements for them being widely available.

Console & Accessories

The Efitment RB034 is equipped with a basic console. It doesn’t have any preset programs, nor it has online connectivity. It only has a SCAN function and a target value SET function. Its display tracks time, distance, total distance, speed, calories, and pulse. It also gives you the possibility to set up countdown values for distance, time, and calories. It’s battery powered and has a sleep mode to which will enter after a few minutes of inactivity.

The other two accessories that we can mention here are the bottle holder and the tablet holder. The bottle holder consists of a small compartment molded into the front covers of the flywheel and resistance system. It’s large and deep enough to accommodate most workout bottles. The tablet holder is actually integrated into the exercise meter. It offers a place large and long enough to accommodate any tabler.

Comfort & Adjustability

Although it’s a pretty basic recumbent bike, the RB034 offers decent comfort. Its seat and backrest are padded with a 2″ layer of foam. Their upholstery is made of durable vinyl material. It’s 14.5″ (37 cm) wide, and 11″ (28 cm) deep, offering plenty of contact surface. It’s placed at approx. 17″ (43 cm) above floor level, similar to an office seat.

The backrest does not adjust independently from the seat, but the whole seat assembly can slide forward or backward on its rail. It offers an adjustment span of 5″ (12 cm), and can accommodate users with an inseam between 29″ and 34″ (74 – 86 cm), or as a general idea, it can accommodate users between 5’2″ and 6’4″ (157 – 193 cm).

The seat’s adjustment system is lever-based. As opposed to a pin-based adjustment system, this offers the possibility to adjust the position of the seat while your are seated.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Lever-based seat adjustment system
  • Transport wheels
  • Pulse sensors
  • Silent belt drive
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • 8 tension levels
  • Fitness meter included
  • Goal settings on the fitness meter
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the console display
  • No backlight on the meter display

Summary

The Efitment RB034 is an entry-level recumbent exercise bike, equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system, an adjustable seat, and a basic fitness meter. Although it’s an affordable bike, it has superior sturdiness being rated for a user capacity of 300 lbs. It offers excellent comfort, durability and overall quality for a basic bike, and so far, it benefits from an overwhelmingly positive feedback from all users.

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Exerpeutic 4000

The Exerpeutic 4000 has been around for at least a couple of years, but it’s still available and continues to benefit from a positive feedback from most users. It’s a mid-range recumbent bike that focuses on comfort; it’s equipped with an automatic resistance system but does not offer online connectivity, a sound system or other fancy features like the light-commercial or commercial bikes.

Frame

The Exerpeutic 4000 features a steel frame with rather simple design lines, combining rectangular, cylindrical and ovalized lines. It has an impressive weight capacity, though, being rated for users up to 325 lbs (147 kg).

The bike itself is not extremely heavy, though. With the frame fully assembled, it weighs approx. 71 lbs (32 kg), which means it can easily be assembled by one person. Plus, its relocation is done with ease as its front base integrates transport wheels.

The whole bike construction integrates several ABS parts as well. The covers of the flywheel and the base of the seat are non-metallic. The steel parts feature a durable powder coating which is highly resistant to corrosion and chipping.

Drive & Resistance

The weight of the internal flywheel is not specified. However, considering the overall weight of the bike, this part should have a weight between 12 and 20 lbs (5.4 – 9.0 kg). It’s a steel flywheel with a balanced structure, designed to deliver a smooth pedaling motion.

The resistance system is console-controlled, which means you have to connect the bike to a power source. The internal resistance elements are a small motor and a magnetic brake. As you select a tension level from the console, the brake will shift its position in relation to the flywheel, generating more or less resistance. The bike makes available 24 tension settings, for users of all levels.

The internal transmission is powered by a belt drive system. The pedals feature a weighted structure in order to turn up every time you remove your feet from them. They also have standard threads and adjustable straps.

Console & Accessories

The control unit of the Exerpeutic 4000 recumbent bike doesn’t have a sound system or cooling fan, but does offer a fair share of workout programs and features. To begin with, it has a multi-window LCD display which shows most metrics simultaneously, including time, speed, RPM, distance, watt/calories, and pulse.

It offers 12 preset programs, 1 fitness test, 1 Watt program, 4 heart rate target programs, 1 random program, and of course, the manual mode. It also has 4 user profiles, so you can save different program settings in case you want to alternate workouts quickly, or in case multiple persons use the machine.

In terms of accessories, the bike offers a tablet holder and a bottle holder. The tablet holder is basically incorporated into the console. The bottle holder is ABS made and attaches to the front console mast.

Comfort & Adjustability

The Exerpeutic 4000 is equipped with a seat that offers a high degree of comfort, pretty close to the comfort of an armchair. Its base integrates “Air Soft” cells which enable it to perfectly adapt to your body. Its upholstery is made of a durable mesh fabric which also provides a lot of breathability.

The seat armrests feature two cushioning elements with the same structure as the base of the seat. They also have front ball grips and regular grips for superior versatility and comfort. Also, the two front grips are equipped with pulse sensors.

The backrest of the seat has a mesh structure on a highly durable ABS frame; it’s flexible and contoured, offering excellent back support.

The seat is adjustable. Its base bar has several adjustment holes so you can lock it into position closer or farther from the pedals. Thus, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’2″ (153 – 188 cm).

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame
  • High comfort, adjustable seat
  • Cushioned armrests
  • Motorized magnetic resistance
  • Silent belt drive
  • 24 difficulty settings
  • 12 workout programs
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No front handlebars
  • No backlight on the console
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder will cover the console display

Summary

The Exerpeutic 4000 is a high-comfort recumbent bike featuring a thick “Air Soft” seat with mesh backrest. It’s a motorized magnetic bike offering 24 levels of resistance and 12 workout programs. It’s also not an expensive trainer; it actually costs half the price of a light-commercial unit. In all, it’s a trainer that offers an outstanding value for the price.

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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RBD4703

Sunny Health & Fitness offers quite a few recumbent bike models, but the SF-RBD4703 is slightly different than the others as it includes a desk. Therefore, you can also work on your laptop while you burn some calories.

Frame

Although it’s a desk recumbent bike, the Sunny SF-RBD4703 features a highly durable frame, made of thick steel tubing. Its seat assembly and base can actually hold users up to 350 lbs (159 kg), which is quite impressive for a unit in this price and feature range.

The bike’s frame has a rather simple design, without too much pizzazz. It does have solid welded points and a one-piece main chassis which leads to improved sturdiness. The front section of the machine, the part with the tension system, features ABS covers, though.

All the metallic parts of the frame are coated with a durable paint finish which is resistant to corrosion. Its rear base, as well as the center of the longitudinal base bar, is equipped with adjustable stabilizers. The front base also has transport wheels.

Drive & Resistance

This Sunny exercise bike is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. This means its internal magnetic brake is completely mechanical; it doesn’t need a power source. The magnetic bracket is attached to the tension dial on the front mast through a steel wire. By turning the dial, the brake moves closer or farther in relation to the flywheel which ultimately adjusts pedaling difficulty.

There are 8 levels of resistance available. The first few settings offer a very light workout, while the top, 7-8 settings provide the possibility to undergo a more intense workout. But as a general idea, this is not a bike for a very intense cardio training.

The unit’s internal flywheel is balanced for a smooth pedaling motion. Just as for any magnetic exercise bike, the transmission is belt-based. The pedals are weighted and slip-resistant, equipped with adjustable straps.

Console & Accessories

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RBD4703 is equipped with a basic console which tracks time, speed, calories, distance and total distance. It has a SCAN function which rotates all the values on the display. By pressing its button, you can toggle the SCAN function off, and thereby lock one of the metrics that interest you on the display to view at all time. It’s battery powered, and also has a sleep mode.

Although the bike is equipped with a desk, the console has its own, built-in tablet holder which can be useful in case you operate your tablet with an external keyboard. You can rest the tablet on the tablet holder, and place the keyboard on the desk.

The bike’s desk is basically an accessory, so we’ll cover it here as well. It is made of durable PVC material. Its surface integrates several anti-slippage, rubberized areas so that your laptop or tablet won’t slide over. Plus, the user side of the desk is padded with a sheet of rubber foam to provide more comfort for your wrist while you work on your laptop. It’s fairly large (22″ x 15″) so it can basically accommodate any laptop.

One last accessory to mention here is the cup holder. It’s made of plastic material and can be attached to the side of the desk unit.

Comfort & Adjustability

The bike’s seat and backrest are made of thick foam. They’re contoured and provide optimal comfort. The seat’s backbone is a durable steel piece, so the whole seat assembly is really sturdy.

The seat slides forward and backward on its base rail. It has a lever adjustment system which means you can adjust it while you are seated. The backrest cannot be adjusted independently from the seat, though.

The desk unit is also adjustable. It’s 4-way adjustable, actually. Its upright adjustment span is 3.75″ (9.5 cm), with a distance from the floor between 37.5″ – 41.25″ (95.2 – 104.7 cm). Its front to back adjustment span is 12″ (30.4 cm), with a distance from the seat’s backrest between 12″ – 24″ (30.4 – 60.9 cm). All these being said, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ – 6’3″ (153 – 190 cm).

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Highly sturdy construction
  • Step-through frame design
  • Contoured foam seat and backrest
  • 4-way adjustable, rubberized desk
  • The desk is removable
  • Bottle holder
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • Silent belt drive
  • Exercise meter included
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No seat handlebars
  • No pulse reading function

Summary

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RBD4703 is a desk recumbent exercise bike. It has an impressive weight capacity, it’s equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system, and also includes a basic fitness meter. Its desk has 4-way adjustability, also being removable. The seat is 2-way adjustable and provides optimal comfort. It’s a bike that offers the possibility to work on your laptop while burning some calories. And finally, it’s a unit of great value for the price.

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Body Champ BRB3558

The Body Champ BRB3558 is a recumbent bike in the affordable category. It’s currently priced under the mark of $200, and for this price, it does offer an outstanding value.

Frame

The Body Champ BRB3558 features a steel frame designed to support users up to 250 lbs (113.3 kg). It’s a two-piece frame; the rear part with the seat connects to the front part with the resistance mechanism via several bolts. Also, the parts that cover the flywheel and tension elements are made of hard plastic material.

The whole frame is coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is gray, this being the only color available for this unit.

The bike is not extremely large. Its fully assembled footprint is approx. 56″L x 25″W (142 x 63 cm), which means it can fit pretty well even into a smaller room. It’s also a pretty lightweight bike. It’s assembled weight is approx. 63 lbs (28.5 kg), so it can easily be put together by one person. Plus, its front base has transport wheels; thus, its relocation shouldn’t be a problem.

Drive & Resistance

The Body Champ BRB3558 recumbent bike features a balanced internal flywheel designed to deliver a smooth pedaling motion. The flywheel isn’t too heavy, and doesn’t deliver a high-inertia; this makes this bike a great choice for users with certain disabilities.

The bike is equipped with a belt drive system. It uses a maintenance-free, stretch-resistant rubber belt. This renders the pedaling motion almost completely silent.

The pedal Q-Factor is narrow, which results in a pedaling motion with zero lateral stress on the knees and ankles. The included pedals are standard type, self-leveling and with adjustable straps.

The unit’s resistance system is manual magnetic. Thus, you don’t have to connect the bike to any power source. Also, the console doesn’t play any role in the resistance adjustment.

The bike’s resistance system consists of a small magnetic brake attached to the dial on the front bar through a steel cable. There are 8 tension levels available.

Console & Accessories

The console unit is pretty much the only accessory included with the bike. Although it’s a large unit, it’s a basic one. It doesn’t have any preset workouts being pretty much a monitor for your time, distance, speed, calories burned and heart rate. It has a SCAN function which rotates all these values. However, by using the main button, you can select any of these workout metrics and lock it on the screen to view at all times.

The console is battery powered and uses two AAA batteries (which are not included). It’s very easy to operate. It has one MODE button with four arrow buttons (left, right, up, down), which allow you to scroll through the values in order to select and lock the desired one on-screen.

The console is not telemetric. It can only track your pulse through the sensors integrated into the handlebars.

Comfort & Adjustability

The Body Champ BRB3558 features an adjustable seat. It can slide forward and backward on its base rail. Its adjustment system involved a pop-pin which you can easily grab and turn in order to lock/unlock the seat. However, as opposed to the units with a lever-based seat, it may be a bit difficult to adjust while seated.

The seat delivers optimal comfort. Both its base and its backrest integrate a fair layer of foam padding. The backbone of the seat is fairly sturdy and provides a sturdy lumbar support. The upholstery is made of a durable vinyl material, black in color.

There are two sets of handlebars on the bike, one is attached to the seat, the other to the front mast. The front handlebars have EKG sensors, so by holding on to them, the console can track your heart rate.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Step-through design
  • Transport wheels
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Adjustable seat
  • Pulse sensors
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • Quiet operation
  • Exercise meter
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • Pulse sensors only in the front bars
  • No bottle holder
  • No tablet holder

Summary

The Body Champ BRB3558 is a basic recumbent exercise bike equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system, a belt drive, and a balanced flywheel. It’s great for light cardio workouts, recovery training, and muscle toning. It offers optimal comfort and adjustability, and is also an affordable unit.

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Marcy ME-709

Despite the fact that the Marcy ME-709 has been around for over 6 years, it still is one of the best entry-level recumbent bikes available at the moment. It continues to benefit from an excellent feedback from all users, so it’s definitely one of the best choices that you can make in 2019 as well if you’re looking for a budget exercise bike.

Frame

The Marcy ME-709 features a two-piece frame, made of steel tubing; the rear part of the frame which sustains the seat slides into the front part of the frame at the base, the two parts being connected via the adjustment knob. It has a step-thru design for easy access to the seat.

Although it’s a basic bike, it has a weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg), so it’s not exactly a flimsy unit. Its rear base features polygonal adjusters so you can perfectly level it on an uneven surface. Also, the front base integrates transport wheels, but the bike itself is far from being heavy; it weighs approx. 60 lbs (27.2 kg).

This Marcy recumbent bike isn’t an extremely large unit either. With the frame fully extended, it’s approx. 55.5″ (141 cm) long, and 25″ (63 cm) wide.

Drive & Resistance

Like most recumbent exercise bikes, the Marcy ME-709 is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. It has an internal magnetic brake which is attached to the tension dial on the console mast. When you turn the knob clockwise, the distance between the magnets and the flywheel is reduced, which increases the pedaling difficulty. There are 8 tension levels available.

The internal flywheel, although it’s small in diameter, it’s perimeter-weighted, in order to provide a bit of momentum. It’s weight is not specified, but considering the overall weight of the bike, it shouldn’t weigh more than 20 lbs (9 kg).

The bike integrated a belt drive system, delivering a smooth and silent pedaling motion. The pedals are weighted and equipped with adjustable straps. They also have standard threads so you can easily find replacements for them if needed.

Console & Accessories

The one and only notable accessory included with this Marcy exercise bike is the fitness meter. Since the resistance is manually adjusted, the meter unit doesn’t play any role in the resistance adjustment. It features three buttons, one for toggling the scan function on/off, one for setting target values, and one for reset.

The unit’s LCD display tracks time, distance, total distance, and calories. You can set goal values for time, distance and calories. And with these all set, the unit will count down from the selected value until it reaches zero. This gives you the possibility to track your progress up to a certain point.

The meter unit is battery powered. It uses 2 AA batteries. It also has a sleep mode to which will enter after a few minutes of inactivity on the bike, to save battery life.

Comfort & Adjustability

Since it’s a basic bike, the comfort provided by its seat cannot be compared to a commercial grade unit. However, the seat and the backrest have a thick layer of padding and provide a pretty decent level of comfort. It’s approx. 16″ (40 cm) wide offering plenty of contact surface. It’s also placed at approx. 17″ (42 cm) above floor level, similar to an office seat.

The seat itself is non-adjustable. But as we’ve mentioned above, the whole rear part of the frame which incorporates the seat, can be locked closer or farther from the pedals.

The bike has two sets of handlebars, one attached to the seat, one attached to the console mast. They both have rubberized grips. However, none of them have pulse sensors. They’re also non-adjustable.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Step-through design
  • Transport wheels
  • Padded seat and backrest
  • Adjustable frame
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • Quiet operation
  • Exercise meter included
  • Goal settings for time, distance, and calories
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No pulse reading feature
  • No bottle holder
  • No tablet holder

Summary

The Marcy ME-709 is one of the best basic recumbent bikes available. It offers optimal comfort featuring a thick layer of padding on the seat. It’s equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system and a basic fitness meter. It’s great for light cardio workouts, recovery training, muscle toning, and stamina development. It’s also one of the most affordable recumbent trainers that you can find at the moment.

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Now, all the models presented above offer an excellent price/quality ratio. They also cover a wide range of prices, and you should be able to find one model that fits your budget and your expectations within this selection. However, before we close this page, there still are a few important aspects with regards to recumbent bikes that you should really know. So, in the section below, we’ll try to cover all these points, to make sure you end up with the best recumbent bike that fits your needs and your budget.

Why Should You Buy A Recumbent Bike?

The main reason to invest in a recumbent cycle is comfort. Just like the road recumbent bikes, the indoor versions feature an ergonomic design, which places you in a reclining position. When riding an upright bike, your whole weight rests on a small portion of the sitting bones, feet, and marcy recumbent bike modelhands. Needless to say, these points are exposed to a certain level of stress. On the other hand, on a fitness bike of this sort, your entire body weight is comfortably distributed over a large area, the upper part of the body being supported by the bike’s backrest. This way, any stress on the lower back, ankles, and knees, wrists, elbows, and shoulders is pretty much eliminated.

These being said, these exercise bikes make a great choice for users who are recovering from injuries. With minimal stress on articulations, and actually the overall bone structure, you can safely put some of your muscles to work.

Recumbent bikes are also an excellent choice for elderly users, who can’t undertake a run on a treadmill anymore, for example. And even more, they offer the perfect workout setting for users who are completely out of shape, and severely lack stamina. Even though they’re made for light exercising, when working out on an exercise bike of this type, you actually put to work some of the biggest muscles in your body, calling your heart to action. After a certain number of pedaling sessions, a user should build just enough stamina and endurance, and become ready to undertake more demanding workouts. In other words, these fitness machines are made to prepare you for some considerable weight loss.

Recumbent exercise bikes are also great for combining various types of training. In case of more intensive workout routines, this type of fitness machines gives you the possibility to rest, while you actually still exercise.

Apart from the physical comfort that recumbent cycles supply, they also offer the possibility to exercise within the comfort and safety of your home. You can watch TV, listen to your own favorite music, read a book, browse the web, or even do some work on a computer while working out on this type of exercising machine. The risks of sustaining an injury, or of an accident are considerably reduced. And finally, when the weather outside isn’t exactly the most favorable, you’ll still have the perfect training setting to benefit from your daily cardio.

Frames: Folding vs Non-Folding

The structure of a bike’s frame says quite a few things about that particular model. First of all, a bike with a foldable frame is made for home use, obviously because only a someone that will be using it at home would want to fold it and store it. In general, foldable bikes offer a basic set of features, and the frame is made of 2-3 main pieces. Now, even though the frame of a foldable model is well-designed, if it has 2-3 main joint point, it may feel shaky even if you tighten all the bolts perfectly. Also, in some recumbent bike models, the seat is situated quite high above the floor, resulting in an awkward pedaling feel, and difficulties with mount/dismounting.

On the other hand, a cycle with a non-foldable frame will always feel more solid. Mounting and dismounting are easy to carry out, most of them featuring a pass-thru design.

Seat: Vented vs Cushioned

Even though a cushioned backrest of a seat may seem more comfortable and appealing, it may not always be the right choice. Some users may require hardback support due to various reasons. Also, a cushioned backrest may considerably heat up especially during a prolonged workout, resulting in serious discomfort. Of course, this is not likely in most models out there, but nonetheless, they’re aspects that you should be aware of.

Conversely, a backrest made of hard acrylic or plastic material can still provide superlative comfort. Some of them also feature a vented design to prevent excessive sweating. Also, in case you would still want some cushioning, you can also add a pillow or a gel cushion. In the pictures above, you can see the difference between a cushioned and a vented backrest.

Manual Magnetic vs Automatic Magnetic Resistance

Most recumbent bikes feature a magnetic brake system. Evidently, simpler models are equipped with a simpler brake mechanism, involving a magnetic brake pad which is moved closer or farther from the bike’s flywheel, by tightening an adjustment knob. These usually have 8 resistance levels, or there aren’t any resistance levels mentioned on the adjustment knob; you simply turn the knob until you find a satisfactory amount of resistance.

Models with an automatic brake, or electronically assisted brake, typically offer more resistance levels, and the resistance is adjusted from the bike’s console. These also have more advanced consoles, including at least a few workout routines that will automatically adjust resistance.

Commercial Grade vs Home-Use Recumbent Bikes

Nowadays there are many recumbent exercise bike models out there, with various frame designs and more or fewer workout apps, and other options. Evidently, some are made only for home use, and others are made to withstand 24/7 use, within the premises of a gym or fitness club. When it comes to cheaper models, it’s pretty obvious that these are made for home users, as they offer just the basic array of features. But some of the more expensive models may still not be fit for commercial use. There are several distinct differences between commercial grade recumbent bikes and home-use recumbent bikes, and we’ll point them out here.

In general, models fit for commercial use feature a wider seat, and a user capacity beginning at 300 lbs., and over 400 lbs. They offer a wider array of workout apps, some models even up to 40, or more. Most commercial grade bikes have an eddy current, electronically assisted resistance system, offering a minimum of 16 resistance levels. Amenities such as sound system, cooling fan, tablet tray, or online connectivity are also factors that you’ll find in these bikes. Finally, their prices begin somewhere at $700.

As we’ve mentioned, models for home use are much cheaper. You can find decent models for under $200. They feature a basic design, don’t offer a wide array of amenities and don’t have workout programs, while the progress tracking console a simpler unit. In general, they all have a manual resistance system.

There are, however, cycles made for home use, but with an array of features pretty close to the ones meant for gym use. These are some of the models with an excellent price/quality ratio, some of the best that you can find and invest in. You’ll find a few in the recommendations below.

Final Word

Recumbent bikes are great exercising machines for light aerobic training, stamina building, and muscle toning. You can also lose some weight by using one, provided that you also control your calorie intake. The models recommended on this page are some of the best that you can find on the market at the moment, and we’ve tried to recommend a quality one for just about any budget. Therefore, in case you need a low-impact fitness machine, this post should inform you whether a recumbent bike is precisely the fitness machine that you need or not.