Doing cardio in the comfort of your home is a great way to reach your fitness goals, maintain good cardiovascular health and get a workout in without wasting too much time. Of all the machines you can use for this purpose, recumbent bikes are among the most effective and least harmful. Today we will show you our picks for the best recumbent bikes for home use.
The guidelines we used to select suitable models for this list are centered around finding the best value for money. Once we go over our picks and talk about each in detail, we will take you through the basics of recumbent bikes, how to choose the right one and what to look for in general. As you’re about to find out, these machines offer what is arguably the least harmful form of cardio you can do. When we say harmful, we are mostly talking about things like the stress exerted on your joints and knees when you run.
If you are planning on doing cardio on a regular basis, you need to account for all variables. With that said, let’s start with our top pick and make our way down the list.
Best Recumbent Bike for Home Use At a Glance
Best Recumbent Bike Overall
The Schwinn 230 is a proper recumbent bike that brings you solid core performance on top of a great set of specs. All of this comes at a price that is more than decent for an average home user who wants something beyond just the basic options and features.
Best Folding Recumbent Bike
Folding fitness equipment is often synonymous with barebones features. That’s not the case with the Exerpeutic 400XL. This folding recumbent bike boasts a quality frame, heart rate sensors, and a decent console in a very compact package. More importantly, it’s nice and affordable for what it offers.
Best Value Recumbent Bike
The Fitness Reality R4000 is a compact home bike that brings rock-solid core performance at a budget-friendly price. Everything about this model is utilitarian in nature, but it will get you that cardio workout you’re looking for on a day-to-day basis.
The Best Recumbent Bike for Home
|Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike||
|Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike||
|Fitness Reality R4000 Recumbent Bike||
|Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike||
|Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike||
|Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike|
|Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike|
|Fitness Reality R4000 Recumbent Bike|
|Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike|
|Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike|
Working out at home has perks that you don’t usually get to enjoy. For starters, you get to choose the machine you’ll be using. If that’s the case, why not go all the way? Why not get something that is both efficient and comfortable? The Schwinn 230 brings you that exact combo and much more. This is a quality recumbent bike sitting on a step-through H pattern frame.
It features a height adjustable, ergonomic seat that comes with side mounted heart rate sensors and a cup holder. Right in front of you, there’s a massive console unit that packs two independent displays and an intuitive set of controls. With 22 presets and optional manual resistance selection, you are looking at high-quality cardio that will challenge you every single day. The Schwinn 230 also features a few creature comforts like built-in speakers, USB charging ports and a built-in media shelf.
- Ergonomic seat that is adjustable by height
- Large console unit packed with all kinds of features
- Creature comforts to make your exercise as comfortable as possible
The Not So Good
- Not a cheap model by any means.
One of the advantages of recumbent bikes is that they come in many shapes and sizes. Models like the Exerpeutic 400XL are perfect for those who are working with limited space. It’s not just a compact recumbent bike; it’s a folding recumbent bike. Here’s where things get interesting. Most folding models are bare-bones at best. In other words, you aren’t getting anything other than the essentials.
That’s not the case with this bike. Exerpeutic not only added a built-in console unit, but they’ve also included the side mounted heart-rate sensors. Those two features are rare or practically unheard of on folding bikes. As far as resistance goes, there are 8 levels of manually adjusted magnetic resistance. The only real downside of such a compact design is the limited length of stride. However, at this price, we can’t really complain too much. This is definitely a great bang for your buck model.
- Subcompact design that’s great for limited space
- Comes with heart rate monitoring
- Features a simple but effective console unit
The Not So Good
- Not the most comfortable seat
- Limited length of stride
Minimalist exercise bikes have always been popular. There is something attractive about utilitarian designs, especially if you appreciate a clean look.
The Fitness Reality R4000 brings a lot of that to the table.
This is a solid piece of equipment that sits on a robust step-through H pattern frame. The seat is fairly large with padding both on the seat itself and the backrest. It is mounted on a rail that is long enough to accommodate just about everyone. There are side mounted handles but this model doesn’t feature heart-rate monitoring.
Is that a deal breaker? Absolutely not. Considering that the R4000 was meant to be a budget option from the get-go, lack of heart-rate monitoring isn’t a big deal. After all, it comes with a decent console unit that features a media shelf. Magnetic tension is set manually. One of the cool features this bike offers is 14 levels of resistance compared to the usual 8. It’s more than decent in that regard.
- An affordable yet fairly capable model
- Fully padded, large seat
- Compact step-through frame
- Decent console with a media shelf
The Not So Good
- Fixed angle of the seat can be an issue for some
Marcy is one of the biggest names in the affordable fitness equipment niche. They generally offer a great bang for the buck, which is exactly what the ME-709 is all about. This bike is very similar to our previous pick, but it does a few things differently. Going from the ground up, the first thing we see is a step-through, compact frame. It’s a regular design with front mounted transport wheels and rear mounted leveling feet.
The seat is massive, adjustable and well padded on both surfaces. Marcy went with oversized side-mounted handlebars for added stability. These may look silly at first glance, but they tend to be rather comfortable. The ME-709 also features a small console unit that shows you the usual parameters such as speed, distance, time, etc. This is a standard magnetic resistance machine with 8 levels to choose from. Best of all, this entire package is very affordable.
- The compact design makes it great for those dealing with limited space
- Comfortable, padded seat with oversized handlebars
- Pretty sturdy build quality
The Not So Good
- Adjusting for user height can be difficult at times
Our last pick is a bit different. Stamina’s Elite Total Body recumbent bike features an upper body component that allows you to get a full body exercise in one go. What makes this model interesting aside from the upper body exerciser, is the height adjustable seat. It features a contoured, padded design that’s comfortable even after longer periods of use.
The angle of the seat allows you to use the upper body component in a fully reclined position. Elite Total Body comes with heart rate monitoring, manually adjusted magnetic resistance and a basic but highly legible display. This model is by far one of the best recumbent bikes with moving arms.
It’s fairly compact for that type of design, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular. If you want to activate your arms during your cardio session, this bike is worth looking into.
- Features an upper body exercise component
- Sturdy build quality and great materials
- Comes with a fully adjustable, ergonomic seat
The Not So Good
- It isn’t budget friendly, to say the least
Should You Get a Recumbent Bike?
Recumbent bikes are slowly growing in popularity as people are becoming aware of the side effects of high impact cardio activities such as running. In a way, that should answer the question from the title. If you’re looking to preserve your joints and reduce the stress they have to endure, you should definitely get a recumbent bike.
The reason why this design works so well is that it eliminates all of the high-stress elements from your workout. You are in a recumbent seating position and you are exerting force on the pedals with your back firmly against the backrest. In other words, all of the unwanted variables are removed from the equation. The users who will benefit the most from this fact are those who have issues with their knees or other joints on the lower body. That’s why recumbent bikes are great for seniors and older adults.
Also, recumbent bikes tend to be the best way to get a workout done if you are recovering from an injury. Since you are performing a very predictable and controlled movement, your chances of aggravating an existing injury are very slim. Naturally, it is highly recommended that you consult with your physician before you decide to work out with an injury.
Choosing the Right Recumbent Bike
What makes a good recumbent bike? Better yet, how hard is it to find one that suits your needs? We’re fortunate in the sense that most of the key features of recumbent bikes tend to be straightforward. However, there are still numerous variables you need to account for. To make things a little easier, we’ll cover the basics.
Size and Form Factor
Not all of us are fortunate enough to have large houses or roomy apartments. If you feel like you have limited space to work with, you might want to consider some of the compact recumbent bikes. These come in two distinct formats – compact monolithic bikes and folding bikes. The former is one step down from full-sized models while the latter are the true champions of space saving. If you’re thorough when shopping for any of these, you can find models that offer many of the same features and specs as a full sized bike.
Features and Comfort
Features are a big part of modern recumbent bikes. Since comfort is at the core of this design, it’s only normal to expect a few creature comforts. Our recommendation is to cover the basics first. In other words, look for a model that features an adjustable, fully padded seat, heart-rate monitoring and, if possible, computer-controlled resistance selection. After you can scratch those off the list, then go crazy with built-in speakers, backlit displays and other non-essential features.
Getting a device that’s easy to live with on a daily basis should be your priority. Everything else comes in a distant second place in terms of importance.
Frequently Asked Questions About Recumbent Bikes
Whenever you’re dealing with a popular piece of fitness equipment, there are going to be questions that get asked with some frequency. If you are new to recumbent bikes, we strongly suggest that you check these out. Some of these answers might seem obvious to you, but there might be a few things that you weren’t aware of. Let’s get to it.
Is an Upright or Recumbent Exercise Bike Better?
What you need to understand is that it’s not a matter of which one is better. These two designs of exercise bike were created to offer solutions to different problems.
An upright bike has many benefits of its own, but so does a recumbent bike.
A much better question would be ‘are recumbent bikes better for your joints?’ In this case the answer is a solid yes. The fact that you are semi-reclined in a seat with the pedals in front of you rather than beneath you has a number of beneficial effects:
- Your weight is evenly distributed across your whole buttocks, which reduces the pressure placed on your ischial tuberosities, or “sitting bones”
- Your lower back is supported, and not hunched
- Your head is in a natural, forward-facing position, which reduces strain on your neck
- Your arms are not forced to support any of your weight, eliminating potential strain on your wrists
On a similar note, you may be wondering whether an upright or recumbent bike is better for your knees. The truth is, they’re about the same in this regard.
Does a Recumbent Bike Provide a Good Workout?
Yes. Some users are having a hard time with the fact that you can get a proper workout done on a machine where you’re comfortably reclined in the seat. Recumbent bikes, despite all of the awesome features they come with, are fitness machines first and foremost.
Pedalling against resistance involves heavy use of the large muscles of the legs, irrespective of whether you’re sitting upright, or in a reclined position. If you put in the effort, you’ll get a good workout.
Can You Lose Weight on a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
The real question is whether you can lose weight doing cardio? As we all know, the answer to that question is a solid yes. You’ll lose weight on a recumbent exercise bike as long as you put in the work.
However, weight loss is a fight that needs to be fought on multiple fronts. Cardio alone is not going to be enough no matter what you do it on. The key to healthy, consistent weight loss is proper nutrition combined with exercise. That’s unquestionably the best way and, oftentimes, the only way to get fit, lose weight, and keep those pounds from coming back.
If weight loss is your goal and you’re willing to put in consistent effort, a decent recumbent exercise bike will help you get there.
Well, there you have it: The Best Recumbent Bikes for Home Use.
At this point, you should have all the necessary information regarding recumbent bikes suitable for home use. you’ll know what to look for, what different types of recumbent bikes offer and more. The models we’ve listed up there are some of the best that fit our criteria for this list.
We were looking for the options that deliver the best bang for your buck and solid performance, and safe to say we’ve found them. All you’re left to do is pick the one that best fits your needs and you’re good to go.