Best Recumbent Bike Reviews 2018 and Comparison Chart
There are many types of fitness machines that you can choose from, if you want to exercise from the comfort of your home, and some of the most convenient machines for this purpose are the exercise bikes. There are actually several categories: spin, upright and recumbent. But when it comes to comfort, recumbent bikes stand out.
Just by looking at the design of a recumbent cycle in comparison with an upright bike or indoor cycle, you can realize that these are made for comfort. They do not supply an intensive workout setting like spin bikes or other machines, but they focus on offering superior ergonomics.
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 important to present the best models on the market, and also help you make the right, final choice.
Therefore, as a start-up for this post here’s a comparison table with some of the best recumbent exercise bikes for 2018. We’ve selected these models based on the positive reviews given by users on various websites.
|8||No||Frame: 2 years|
|Schwinn MY16 230||L:64"|
|20||22||Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electrical: 1 year
Labor: 90 days
|Schwinn M17 270||L:64"|
|Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electrical: 1 year
Labor: 90 days
|20||22||Frame: 10 years
Parts: 2 years
Electronics: 1 year
Labor: 90 days
Parts: 3 years
Electronics: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
Parts: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
Wear: 90 days
Parts: 5 years
Electronics: 2 years
Labor: 1 year
Wear: 6 months
|3G Cardio Elite RB||L:49"|
Parts: 7 years
Labor: 1 year
Now, all the models presented in the previous table 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 in this selection.
For the final part of this post, we’ll also make a few recommendations by price, along with our final pick for the best recumbent bike in most aspects. But before that…
Are you sure that a recumbent bike is the exercising machine that you really need?
The following chapters in this post will clarify some aspects regarding these models, in order to make sure that this is the exact type of fitness machine you should choose for exercising at home.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Should You Buy A Recumbent Bike?
- 2 Frames: Folding vs Non-Folding
- 3 Seat: Vented vs Cushioned
- 4 Manual Magnetic vs Automatic Magnetic Resistance
- 5 Commercial Grade vs Home-Use Recumbent Bikes
- 6 Our Best Recommendations by Price
- 7 Final Pick: Best Recumbent Bike For Home Use
- 8 Final Word
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 hands. 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 a hard back 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 back support 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 back support.
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 of 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 distinctive 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.
Our Best Recommendations by Price
Recumbent bikes can actually be classified into four distinctive categories when it comes to price:
- under $200 – a category which includes budget bikes, with a minimum range of features;
- between $200 – $500 – also a category of bikes for home use, but including models that offer many more features than the basic models;
- over $500 – $1,000 – the recumbent bikes in this category are typically light-commercial, featuring more sturdiness, and extra features;
- over $1,000 – this category includes models for commercial use.
Therefore, here are three recommendations for each price interval, bikes that come with one of the best quality for their price, and rated on almost every fitness forum and website, at 4+ stars.
Price: Under $200
Although the Marcy ME-709 has been around for at least 6 years, it continues to be one of the highest rated recumbent bikes for home use that you can find. On most fitness websites and forums, this particular model has a rating of at least 4.5-stars. Even though it’s only a basic model, it does offer the comfortable training setting for light cardio that almost any other model in this price range can offer. It also features manual magnetic resistance, with 8 resistance settings.
One of the particular aspects regarding this Marcy model is that the seat is not itself adjustable. However, the frame is made of two pieces, and the rear part of the frame including the seat can be adjusted and moved closer to the front part. Needless to say, one of the main aspects this cycle is highly rated is the comfort its seat provides. It’s a consistently cushioned seat… Read Full Review.
Exerpeutic offers quite a few excellent recumbent cycle models. The 900XL is one of their most durable and compact models under $200. It’s a bike with a simple design, and manual magnetic resistance, featuring 8 resistance levels. One of the best parts regarding this model is well-cushioned, comfortable seat, with a back support that’s also cushioned.
The frame is non-foldable, but its overall footprint is a bit smaller than other recumbent bikes, especially when compared with the more expensive models. It takes only 54″L x 22″W of floor space, being suited even for smaller rooms. The console that comes with this model is also a basic one, however it allows you to set up goals for certain values. It can track speed, RPM, distance, time, calories, and pulse… Read Full Review.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4602 is also a budget recumbent exercise bike; although this model was released in 2016, up to 2018 it has packed an impressive amount of positive reviews from most users.
As opposed to many other recumbent bikes in this price range, the Sunny SF-RB4602 offers an impressive user weight capacity; it can support riders up to 350 lbs, and not only that, due to its oblique seat adjustment system and long base frame, it can accommodate tall users up to 6’5″ while providing a healthy leg extension. The bike is equipped with manual magnetic resistance system… Read Full Review.
Price: $200 – $500
Maybe the best aspect with regards to the Exerpeutic 4000 recumbent bike is its Air Soft seat, similar to several other more expensive exercise bikes. This seat is also equipped with a set of cushioned armrests which also have vertical ball grips. It has a mesh-type backrest which adapts well to the shape of your body and allows a healthy airflow. Also, the bike has quite a sturdy construction being able to support riders up to 325 lbs.
The Exerpeutic 4000 recumbent bike features a motorized magnetic resistance system, which means that its resistance can only be controlled from its console. And speaking of the console, 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… Read Full Review.
Although it’s an exercise bike designed for home use, the Nautilus R614 offers a frame construction and a range of features that are very close to the commercial models. To begin with, it has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. Its seat, although is not cushioned, it has a contoured and vented design promoting a healthy airflow and a superior comfort. The machine features quite an impressive console for a less than $300 bike, integrating a sound system, a USB port for workout data transfer, as well as 22 workout programs… Read Full Review.
The Schwinn 230 MY16 was and still is a recumbent bike which offers an exceptional price/value ratio. It’s also a model which so far has gathered an impressive amount of 5-star reviews, being one of the best (if not the best) bikes in 2017. This model was released in 2016, however, its older version, the Schwinn 230 is still available to this day, and also is an excellent trainer.
This Schwinn exercise bike offers a similar construction and range of features as the Nautilus R614. It’s a bike featuring an eddy current resistance system with 20 distinctive levels, equipped with a programmable console which has 22 built-in workout programs and several amenities such as sound system, tablet holder, etc… Read Full Review.
Price: $500 – $1,000
On the list of high-quality recumbent bikes, one of the models under $1,000 that we should definitely mention, is the 510SR Diamondback. Now this bike has just about all the features a commercial grade bike should have. First of all, it offers excellent ergonomics factors, with a cushioned and contoured saddle, and also a contoured, comfortable backrest. The backrest’s position is also adjustable vertically, a feature that not all models have.
The front handlebars on this model are sizeable, with a multi-grip design, and oriented towards the users. This actually makes it much less awkward to workout while holding onto the front handlebars. On other cycles in this category, for example, it’s almost impossible to exercise while using the front handlebars. The 510 SR features a multifunction console, with 20 workout programs, and 3 user profiles, also giving you the possibility to set up goals for certain values, such as distance or calories… Read Full Review.
The Stamina Elite Total Body stands out from other recumbent bikes in this price range due to the front mobile handlebar feature. These rotating handlebars can provide workouts which focus on your forearms, triceps and deltoid muscles. They’re aimed at helping you tone your arm muscles and bolster your overall aerobic training.
This Stamina recumbent bike features a cushioned and contoured seat and backrest. However, it has a manual magnetic resistance system with only 8 levels of resistance and a rather basic console. The console unit doesn’t have preset workout programs but does allow you to set up a countdown target for time, distance, and calories… Read Full Review.
The Nautilus R618 is one of the newest recumbent exercise bikes released in early 2017. Although it is not specified to be a commercial trainer, it definitely does have all the “ingredients” to be one.
To begin with, it has an extremely sturdy frame with a weight capacity of 325 lbs. It’s equipped with a multi-function console which offers 29 workout applications and 4 user profiles. It’s also a Bluetooth enabled bike, similar to the Schwinn M17 270, offering the possibility to sync it with your laptop or tablet in order to use the “Nautilus Trainer” app, or directly transfer your workout data to Nautilus Connect, or MyFitnessPal.
One of the features over the older Nautilus R616 is the reclining backrest. It offers several adjustment positions. Its position is controlled by the lever on the right side under the seat. However, it features the same vented structure without cushioning just like the older model.
Evidently, this recumbent cycle trainer is equipped with an eddy current resistance system with 25 distinctive levels… Read Full Review.
Price: Over $1,000
Although the 3G Cardio Elite RB is only a light-commercial recumbent bike, it has quite a sturdy construction and an impressive weight capacity of 350 lbs. This being said, is a solid bike, designed to withstand 24/7 wear and tear within the premises of a gym with no problem.
The bike excels in comfort factors. To begin with, it has a wide, generously cushioned seat, with a durable and flexible mesh backrest. The seat assembly is 4-way adjustable, a feature which many other bike models in this price range do not offer. Not only it can slide forward and backward on its oblique rail, it also has 5 tilt positions.
Needless to say, the 3G Cardio Elite RB is equipped with a motor-assisted resistance system. Its console offers 16 tension adjustment settings, as well as 16 pre-set workout programs to keep you motivated… Read Full Review.
The Body-Solid B5R trainer doesn’t offer a wide array of amenities such as sound system, cooling fan or Bluetooth connectivity. However, it does have the “ingredients” of a commercial exercise bike. To begin with, it has an extremely solid construction, built to support users up to 400 lbs. Its seat offers excellent comfort featuring a reclining backrest. It’s also designed to accommodate users of all sizes.
In terms of resistance, the bike is equipped with a motorized eddy current system. It also integrates a Tri-phase generator, so the pedaling motion generates all the energy needed to power the console and make available the resistance settings. Its console features a large LCD touchscreen display and offers 11 workout programs… Read Full Review.
Just as the Body-Solid B5R, the SOLE LCR trainer is a heavy-duty exercise bike. It’s equipped with a motorized magnetic resistance system and offers an outstanding resistance range of 1-40 levels. It also has a fairly heavy flywheel for a recumbent bike; it weighs 31 lbs, and provides a more consistent inertia than other models. Evidently, it has a sturdy construction, being able to support users up to 350 lbs.
The SOLE Fitness LCR exercise bike features an ergonomic seat and backrest, both integrating a generous layer of cushioning. Its console has a large, backlit LCD display, with 10 workout programs… Read Full Review.
Final Pick: Best Recumbent Bike For Home Use
For 2017, our pick was Schwinn 270 M17. This model still is one of the best and most popular recumbent bikes available. However, in terms of ratings, customer reviews, and overall popularity it has remained a bit behind the lighter version, the 230 MY16. So, our best pick for 2018 is the Schwinn MY16 230.
This Schwinn exercise bike features an almost clean 5-star rating on many retailer and fitness websites, being an excellent model in terms of price/value ratio. It features a sturdy steel frame rated for a user capacity of 300 lbs. Its seat offers long adjustment span designed to accommodate users up to 6’5″.
The seat and backrest feature a vented design, promoting a healthy airflow and preventing the user to overheat. The seat doesn’t have any cushioning, but its contour, along with the contoured backrest delivers superior comfort.
The Schwinn MY16 230 is equipped with a motorized, magnetic resistance system, offering 20 distinctive levels of resistance. Its console offers 22 workout programs, including, 9 profile programs, 8 heart rate programs, 2 fitness tests, 1 quick start and 2 custom. It features a USB port so you can transfer and manage your workout data on various apps such as GoogleFit, Apple Health, Endomondo, MapMyRun/Ride, UA, or Schwinn Connect and MyFitnessPal… Read Full Review.
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.