Best Recumbent Bike Reviews 2017 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 2017.
|8||No||Frame: 2 years|
|Schwinn M17 270||L:64"|
|Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electrical: 1 year
Labor: 90 days
|ProForm 325 CSX||L:57"|
Parts: 1 year
Labor: 1 year
|Ironman Triathlon X-Class 410||L:66"|
Wear: 2 years
Electronics: 2 years
Other: 5 years
Labor: 5 years
|Schwinn MY16 230||L:64"|
|20||22||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
|IRONMAN H-Class 410||L:60"|
Wear parts: 1 year
Electronics: 1 year
Other parts: 3 years
Labor: 3 years
Parts: 3 years
Electronics: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
Parts: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
Wear: 90 days
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.
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 three distinctive categories when it comes to price:
- under $300 – for home use, with a basic design, lower user capacity, and no workout apps;
- between $300 and $700 – with a higher quality, some of them quite close to the ones for commercial use;
- over $700 – with a pretty complete array of “bells and whistles”, a higher user capacity, and exceptional ergonomics.
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 $300
Among the recumbent bikes with a foldable frame, the ProGear 190 model is one of the most solid. Not only that, the seat is also pretty close to the floor, thus mounting and pedaling doesn’t feel awkward as in other foldable bikes.
The ProGear 190 is an affordable bike, priced under the mark of $200 actually, featuring a cushioned seat and back support. It’s a bike with manual magnetic resistance, offering 8 difficulty levels. It includes a basic console, which can track time, calories, speed, distance and also monitor pulse. The bike only has one set of handlebars, the ones attached to the seat. But they do incorporate pulse sensors connected to the console, giving you the possibility to stay within your target heart rate interval. Like in most recumbent bikes, its drive system is powered by a v-belt, resulting in very little noise… 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.
Although the Marcy ME-709 has been around for a while, 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.
Price: $300 – $700
The Schwinn 270 recumbent bike model has received a facelift in 2017. It was re-released as the Schwinn M17 270. This exercise cycle still remains one of the 5-stars bikes that you can find at the moment. Even though it’s priced way less than some of the most inclusive commercial recumbent bikes, it still offers a wide array of features, including workout data export for SchwinnConnect and MyFitnessPal and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Schwinn M17 270 not only is extremely comfortable, it also delivers the sturdy and stable feel supplied by any commercial grade bike. Its seat is contoured and padded for maximum ergonomics, while the back support features a vented design to eliminate overheating and excessive sweating. Schwinn has opted for a hard material back support as it’s more indicated for certain users. And in case you would like additional cushioning for the backrest, a gel cushion or a pillow can always do the trick.
Also, it features 25 levels of eddy current resistance and 29 onboard workout apps… Read Full Review.
The 325 CSX is one of the newest recumbent bikes from ProForm. It’s currently priced under the mark of $400 but does offer a decent amount of features and functions.
First of all, it has a rather heavy construction, aspect that provides a lot of stability during exercising. Second of all, it has a decent weight capacity, being able to support users up to 300 lbs. Third, it offers excellent comfort, with a padded seat, with an adjustment span that can accommodate users between 5’0″ – 6’5″ (152 – 195 cm). Also, it features a silent eddy current resistance system with 22 resistance levels, and an iFit capable console, with 24 pre-set workouts… Read Full Review.
The IRONMAN H-Class 410 is a recumbent bike model which was released at the beginning of 2016. Just like the X-Class 410, it has an extremely sturdy construction, but it’s only rated for 300 lbs of user weight. It’s equipped with an Air Soft cushioned seat, wide and comfortable, while its backrest also features a fairly thick padding.
It integrates an eddy current, automatic resistance system, featuring a console with 12 pre-set workouts, 4 user profiles, heart rate recovery function and also Bluetooth enabled, compatible with the free IRONSTRONG fitness app. It’s a fitness machine backed by an excellent warranty package, and also comes with a free waterproof mat… Read Full Review.
Price: Over $700
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 setup goals for certain values, such as distance or calories… Read Full Review.
This recumbent exercise bike costs just about the same as the Sole R92, but it offers quite a few extra features over the Sole light commercial model. It’s one of the newest models released for 2016, but it already benefits from a lot of positive feedback from users all over the world. To begin with, it actually provides something that many other recumbent bikes within this price category do not offer: and that is adjustability on the backrest. The backrest also incorporates cushioning for lumbar support, while the seat has superior air chamber cushioning for an even support of the user.
Like most top-class models, The X-Class 410 one features a current-assisted, automatic magnetic brake. It offers 12 preset programs, 4 user profiles, 4 programs for HR, and of course, the manual mode. But on top of these, it’s also Bluetooth enabled, and compatible with Ironstrong Fitness Pro Apps. It goes without saying that it’s a superior bike… 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.
Final Pick: Best Recumbent Bike For Home Use
Our final pick for this fitness machines category is another Schwinn model, the Schwinn M17 270. First of all, it is one of the newest recumbent bikes available, as it was released at the beginning of 2017. Second of all, it really stands out from all the other models within this price range. And not only that it offers superlative quality and a wide array of options, it also comes with a consistent warranty package.
First of all, this fitness machine has a really solid construction. Even though it’s rated for a 300 lbs user weight, it can actually support users up to 350 lbs with no problem. The seat, although cushioned and contoured, it doesn’t supply excessive cushioning which may be an inconvenience to some users. Also, the back support is made of hard plastic, without cushioning, which is actually recommended to certain users. You can also add gel cushioning on the backrest if you think it’s the case, while for bikes that come with an already cushioned seat you can’t remove the cushioning if you don’t want it, without damaging the bike.
It supplies 25 levels of resistance and 29 workout routines, quite impressive for a bike in this price range. You can export your workout data online, on SchwinnConnect or MyFitnessPal for superior analysis, to keep track of your progress, and to learn what you can add to your workout to continuously improve. Also, as opposed to the older Schwinn 270 model, this new model is Bluetooth enabled, and you can sync it with your tablet, phone or laptop, in order to use the “Schwinn Trainer” app… 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.