In case you haven’t noticed, recumbent bikes are slowly creeping up in the workout scene and steadily replacing upright bikes. It’s actually very rare to miss at least one at your gym. If you are wondering why this is so, then you have come to the right place for answers. We will be distinguishing the traditional upright bike from the recumbent bike as well as telling you why you ought to give recumbent bikes a try. To top it off, a comprehensive review of top recumbent bikes in the market today will help bring you closer to the bike fit for your needs. Ready? Let’s ride!
Best Recumbent Bikes 2020 – Comparison Table![content-egg module=Amazon template=list]
Best Recumbent Bikes 2020 – Detailed Review!
#1 Schwinn 270 and Schwinn 230 Recumbent bike
This low priced home bike is well known mainly because of its great construction and combination of unique design and high-quality material. If you are new to working out and you want a variety of workout options these bikes are your best bet. This exercise equipment has all the features you need to enable you to get toned and lose weight if that is your end game.
It undoubtedly outranks most of the other recumbent bikes of its price range because of the 22 workout programs and 20 totally different levels of resistance. To ensure you have a consistent and smooth workout, the bikes have a perimeter flywheel for that. The in-console speaker with an MP3 player, USB Data Transfer functionality and lastly the two user profile enable you to track your performance throughout since you can easily store workout data for future references.
While exercising, the manufacturers figured you would need some hydration and cooling off hence they decided to incorporate a three-speed fan to constantly keep you cool, a water bottle holder for hydration and a media shelf to give you an amazing experience. It can carry a user with a maximum weight of 300lbs, and the good news is that it has transport wheels to make moving from one place to another easier.
Another distinguishing feature is the goal tracking feature which enables you to set goals and notifies you when you hit a milestone. The bikes also use frames that are a single piece and have two integrated levellers that make the bike feel stable and solid.
#2 Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike
For this bike, among the many things, you will definitely love the exceptional cardiovascular workout and the amazing magnetic tension control. It is very easy and effortless to set up since it comes with instructions that are very simple and direct. The parts of this recumbent bike come when they are labelled and although it could possibly take some time to set up, the step by step instructions make the whole experience very easy. The construction is well done as the materials used are top-notch making the bike sturdy and the design is also user-friendly.
For the home gym, this bike delivers convenience and comfort due to the large seat and a well-padded back support and seat base. With this bike, you do not need to worry about the safety of your joints since the workout is of little impact hence one barely experiences any pain or injuries when working out. Perfect for experienced users and beginners, it has eight different resistance levels that you can choose from which gives you an opportunity to start with mild exercise and change the level after some time. The magnetic resistance also ensures quietness enabling you to work out without any disturbance, and you can even listen to music and watch TV as you work out. Also, it has an LCD screen which is ready to read and check out your progress, and the bike also comes with foot straps that hold your feet to avoid slipping out when pedalling. Lastly, the bike comes with wheels for convenience during movement and also has a three-year warranty.
#3 Exerpeutic WorkFit
This is one of the common and expensive options when it comes to recumbent bikes. It has been researched and established over time by a majority of people that this bike heightens creativity, improves mental awareness, burns calories and basically improves the overall well-being of the users. This is the perfect bike for those people with busy work schedule who barely have any time to work out as it enables you to multi-task and use the sliding desktop which is adjustable depending on whether you want to sit or stand. The recumbent bike literally comes with a platform to place your books, laptops, tablet and essentially everything you would need for work.
The bike normally has a three-year warranty and does not require any power. In addition to the fact that it is superb and has a lot of utility, it can be easily folded to enable storage to be easier and technically occupy a small space. The bike is relatively compact and to make it simple for you during the workout; it has a backrest to make it easier and comfortable seats for a short duration. It has a weight capacity of 300 lbs. and is perfect because of the magnetic control system that has eight levels. The airsoft seats that are adjustable ensure that people with different heights can also be accommodated.
#4 IRONMAN H-Class 410 – Serious contender
This is a modern cardio bike which is very rich in features and has good functionality. It is equipped with a decent tension amount which enables the users to control and manage their difficulty level depending on how they see fit. The bike has good overall strength and offers 300 pounds weight capacity for users.
Also included in the bike is a pre-set workout application which is built into the console and you can always track your workout progress through the LCD Window. The seating adjustment is good, but it’s mostly suitable for short people. Its performance is really incredible which is why it needs people who are severe about workouts. The backrest is specifically made from memory foams, and it has seats that have air chambers to ensure maximum comfort. It also has Bluetooth enabled computer that makes it super easy to track your progress.
#5 Precor RBK 615 –The standard in commercial bikes
This bike is mainly known for its commercial quality and is very affordable for its class. The display is simple to use, and the bike comes with six preset workout programs that you can easily choose from according to what your target is. It also has 25 resistance levels which give the user the intensity he/she is looking for while working out.
It is also very convenient because the seats can be adjusted to suit different heights and it also has pedals which are weighted and have straps that prevent any possible sliding. The other great thing about this bike is that it has very easy maintenance and transport wheels that make it fairly convenient during movements. For those people who fancy staying hydrated during workouts, this bike has a bottle holder where you can keep your water.
Who should use a recumbent bike?
This is an exercise unit for anyone who desires to get fit in a comfortable way. As such, literally, anyone who has attained the height and weight requirements to use a recumbent machine can use it. Moreover, there are special groups of people that benefit immensely from the recumbent machine. These include those who have joint problems or limited motion.
The comfortable seat on the machine as well as adjustable pedal mechanism provides easier pedalling for people such as these. Therefore, anyone who has attained the minimum physical requirements, as well as those who have physical challenges, should use this machine.
Features of a good recumbent bike
#1 A walk through design
One of the main differences between a recumbent bike and an upright one is that the former has a big distance between the seat and the pedals. This leaves a space in between these two parts. This space has been adapted into a walkthrough section by many recumbent bike manufacturers. To accommodate users who have low mobility, the section of the frame between the seat and the pedals has been designed to allow a casual walk right through. Not only is it an improvement in design, it boosts user comfort. Therefore, a walk through design is one of the features of a good recumbent exercise bike.
#2 A comfortable seat
It is an obvious fact that the recumbent bike has a much more comfortable seat than an upright bike. This is because it is wider and offers a much larger surface area for weight distribution. While the seat may be wider, it is important that it be more comfortable too. A good recumbent bike should have a seat that has ample cushioning and ventilation in its backrest. The backrest should also be contoured to provide you with comfort as you use the machine. What’s more, it should have enough support for the lumbar section of your back. In this way, you are able to train while sitting in a comfortable way. If you can get a recumbent bike whose seat even has some armrests, then go for it.
#3 Multiple options for seat adjustment
The majority of recumbent bikes have 3 main options for adjusting your seat. The first one is a locking pin with the seat simply sliding on a dedicated rail, a locking system where the seat is on upright support and a fixed seat combined with a movable pedal frame. While all these methods are great for you, it is important to note that they offer various levels of height adjustment. Typically, the locking system with a seat on upright support provides you with the greatest height range. As such, this type of system is an important feature of recumbent bikes that you should consider.
#4 High weight capacity
This is an important feature of recumbent exercise bikes. To ensure your safety and also the longevity of the machine, the maximum weight it can hold is a major feature to consider. A good recumbent bike should handle between 250lbs and 350lbs of weight. Therefore, it provides you with a wide range in terms of weight capacity. As a result, you can share it with other members of your family or fitness club.
#5 Compact size
Recumbent exercise bikes are generally long and sturdy. In this way, it is difficult to find one that is medium-sized yet delivers the fitness experience that you expect. Despite being rare, there are some recumbent bikes that are actually compact. Examples of these are the Stamina InTone and the Exerpeutic 400XL. Not only are they compact in size, but they are also actually foldable. As such, a feature of good quality recumbent machines is that they are compact or even foldable in nature.
#6 Magnetic resistance system
To deliver the difficulty levels in training on a recumbent exercise machine, a specific resistance technology is used in its pedal mechanism. There are three main types of resistance mechanisms for recumbent machines. These include fans, friction belts, and magnetic systems. Out of these, the best is the magnetic one. This system delivers a wide range of resistance settings for you. Secondly, it is very quiet when compared to the other options. As such, you can listen to your favourite music or even watch television as you exercise using recumbent exercise machines. As such, a magnetic resistance system is one of the features of a good unit.
#7 Special storage capacity
While using a recumbent machine, you may want to entertain yourself or hydrate. In such a case, extra storage for water bottles is often very useful. Thankfully, manufacturers are able to stack a lot of storage space in recumbent machines such that you can store much more than just a water bottle. Top of the range models of this machine has some space to store magazines, fitness equipment, towels and electronic music players too. As such, extra storage is a feature of a good recumbent machine.
Differences between recumbent bikes and upright ones
Unlike traditional upright bikes, the recumbent one allows you to exercise while in a reclined position. This is where you lean back with your feet in front of you instead of being under you like an upright bike normally works. Moreover, the recumbent bike has a chair-like seat that allows support for your back and butt in a natural position. This position does not hurt your spine or stress your back muscles. What other differences are there between recumbent bikes and upright ones?
#1 Body positioning
Due to the different shape of the frame, a recumbent bike offers you a much more comfortable body positioning. In the recumbent bike, you sit in a position that is deep into the frame. Your legs pedal parallel to the rest of your body. On the other hand, an upright bike requires you to sit above the frame. In this way, your feet are under your torso and your legs pedal perpendicularly to the rest of your upper body. This difference in body positioning is the most profound one between recumbent and upright bikes. Not only does it allow for better fitness, the body positioning in recumbent bike results in a more comfortable workout.
#2 Style of use
To operate a recumbent bike, you position your body in a large seat with your feet ahead of you. The pedals are located in front of you. The seats fitted with some armrests. As a result, you don’t have to hold any handlebars so as to use this bike. You are in a natural, reclined position that reduces fatigue upon your back muscles and spine as well. This reclined position also prevents your upper body from getting unnecessarily tired as you work out.
On the other hand, an upright bike requires that you sit in a very different position. The seat is small and right above the pedals. As such, you should hunch over, hold the handlebars and pedal. There should be a slight bend forward in your spine as you hold them. Moreover, you may have to arch your neck upwards so as to maintain form throughout your exercise session. As a result, there could be some muscle soreness in your neck, shoulders, and back as you use an upright bike. For this reason, fitness experts prefer the recumbent bike to the upright one.
#3 Size of the seat
The seat on a recumbent bike is much larger than that of an upright one. As a matter of fact, it is designed much like an office chair. In this way, it provides you with shoulder, spine and lumbar support. Some machines even have seats with armrests. As such, you get to enjoy complete comfort as you pedal the recumbent bike.
An upright bike has a much smaller seat. It has no support for your back. Moreover, long periods of use result in soreness in your butt and groin areas. Fitness enthusiasts refer to this as saddle soreness. In comparison, the seat on a recumbent bike is much more comfortable than that of an upright one. It also prevents injury or soreness of your butt or groin.
#4 Center of gravity
Upright bikes have a very high centre of gravity. The sitting position requires you to be far above your feet and the pedals as you use the machine. As a result, you are in a fairly unstable position as you exercise. If you push the machine too hard, you could topple over on either side.
In contrast, a recumbent exercise bike has a low centre of gravity. You sit in the middle of the frame and your feet are perpendicular to your body or just a little lower. As a result, you are very stable even if you push the machine hard. Another benefit of this position is that your legs are constantly fighting against gravity so as to pedal. Due to this, you exert effort using your thighs more, resulting in better overall fitness.
Why a recumbent bike is better than an upright one?
#1 Wider weight distribution
One of the main benefits of the recumbent bike is that you can easily and effectively distribute your weight on its seat. The backrest, armrests and wide seat allow you to spread your weight across various surfaces. In this way, you are much more comfortable. This is much better than the upright seat where you place your weight on a really small seat and the handlebars. In the latter, the small surface area of weight distribution leads to extreme soreness. As such, the recumbent exercise bike’s better in this respect.
#2 Smoother aerodynamics
When you use a recumbent exercise bike, your back is reclined while your legs are positioned forward. As a result, you create a slimmer profile of aerodynamics. Your legs move in such a way that they pump in front of you. This results in less air resistance and relatively easier pedalling. Consequently, your efficiency is improved and fitness achieved quicker.
Upright bikes have worse aerodynamics than recumbent ones. This is because you are in an upright position and the broadsides of your legs push against the air as you pedal. This causes more air resistance and less efficiency with every stroke. As pertains to aerodynamics, the recumbent bike is better.
#3 More balance
Thanks to a reclined, wider seat, the recumbent bike offers users much more balance. It is stable and can handle even vigorous pedalling without swaying from side to side. This ensures safety and instils confidence in you as you utilize the machine. While the upright bike offers satisfactory balance, it is not as stable as the recumbent one at high speeds. With this in mind, the recumbent bike is better.
Well, there you have it, everything you need to know about recumbent bikes. Give this bike a spin for a thorough leg workout. If you are old or have mobility issues, you will also benefit from exercising on this bike due to its relaxed workout position.