Welcome to our guide to the 9 best recumbent exercise bikes for seniors. In this article, we’ll take you through a wide range of different recumbent bikes to help you find the perfect one to add to your home gym. We’ll also provide an overview of the benefits of using a recumbent exercise bike, as well as a quick guide to choosing the right bike for you.
As we get older, our bodies naturally decline in ability. We’re not as strong, fast, or agile as we once were. But it’s still extremely important for us to exercise regularly, even into our golden years. In fact, exercise in seniors and older adults has been shown to be critical to maintaining physical functions, preventing cognitive decline and physical injury, and thus creating or maintaining a high quality of life❄❄. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) state that “regular physical activity, including aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity, is essential for healthy aging.” ❄
Although it’s not necessary to spend lots of money on equipment to help you stay fit and healthy, the right piece of home exercise equipment can be invaluable for seniors and older adults (and anybody else, really). One piece of equipment that can be of particular value is an exercise bike.
Using an exercise bike is a great way to develop or maintain your cardiorespiratory fitness at home, as well as build muscle and strength in your lower body. Because cycling is low-impact, it’s much gentler on your hips, knees and ankles than other forms of cardio exercise, such as jogging. However, many older adults also suffer from back, neck and other joint pain, which makes using a conventional upright bike uncomfortable or downright painful. For that reason, recumbent bikes are an excellent alternative for seniors and any other people who are currently living with joint pain, or trying to avoid it in the future.
Best Recumbent Bikes for Seniors at a Glance
Best High-End Recumbent Bike
This feature-packed recumbent bike from Schwinn Fitness is one of the more expensive options, but it’s also the best. It’s well-designed and sturdy, with a comfortable seat, easy step-through frame, and very smooth magnetic resistance. The Schwinn 270 is easily the overall best recumbent bike for seniors.
Best Mid-Range Recumbent Bike
The Schwinn 230 is a good option if you like the look and feel of the Schwinn 270, but don’t need all of the extra features, and you want to save a bit of cash. It has the same quality build as the 270 but with a lighter flywheel and fewer programs and console features.
Best Low-Cost Recumbent Bike
If you’re not after anything fancy, and just want a functional recumbent bike that gives a good workout, then this is it. The R4000 is a good quality, no frills exercise bike for the budget-conscious. Irrespective of the lower price tag, this is one of the best products on the market, but certainly the best recumbent bike for seniors that are more thrifty in nature.
The 9 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes for Seniors
Best High-End Recumbent Bikes ($500+)
If money is no issue, or you just prefer to have top-of-the-range exercise equipment, then check out our top 3 high-end recumbent bikes. These exercise bikes are well-built, very comfortable and full of handy features that’ll help you get the most out of your workouts. That said, as well as being the most expensive, they also tend to be the largest and take up the most room.
Folks, if you’re after a piece of home exercise equipment that you’ll look forward to using day-in day-out, then this one’s for you. The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is great quality and will help you keep fit and strong well into your golden years.
The single-piece frame is sturdy, and provides a very solid base for the seat and shroud. The seat itself is large and well-padded, and has a vented backrest that provides good lumbar support. Importantly, this makes it extremely cool and comfortable to use for both short and long workouts.
The design of the bike is very good, and makes it suitable for people of all shapes and sizes. Unlike many recumbent bikes, the seat has a lot of room for adjustment, meaning the Schwinn 270 can accomodate a wide range of heights (under 5′ to over 6′). Also, you’ll have no trouble getting on and off the bike: the walk-through frame makes both a piece of cake.
Ease of Assembly
The Schwinn 270 will arrive in a single, large box (it’ll need two people to carry) and there is some assembly required. That said, the instructions are clear and easy to follow, which makes the assembly process relatively quick and painless. It’s always easier to assemble exercise equipment with the help of someone else, however if you’re in reasonable shape, you shouldn’t have any problems if you have to do it on your own. With a partner, expect to spend roughly 45 minutes assembling this recumbent exercise bike. If you’re going solo, plan for 90 minutes.
Fully assembled, it has a footprint of 64″ long x 27″ wide x 50″ tall and weighs in at 102 lbs (46.2 kgs). But don’t worry, moving it around your home workout space is made extremely easy by the transport wheels at the front end.
Ease of Use
Once you’ve put it together, you should find the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike an absolute dream to use. The pedals, weighted flywheel, and magnetic resistance system are extremely smooth, making it almost silent during use. Therefore, it’s perfect if you live close to other people, workout in the evening, or if you just want to watch television while you exercise without having to have the volume up too loud.
Console and Features
Finally, the console on this recumbent bike is feature-packed, both inside and out. The display screen is nice and big, and shows 13 different display feedbacks including heart rate, distance travelled and calories burned. Also, it has a shelf for your tablet or Kindle e-reader so you can watch a movie or show, or read a book while you ride, as well as speakers that can play music from your smartphone (the necessary cable is provided).
The Schwinn 270 has 29 programs and 25 levels of resistance to help you reach whatever fitness goals you set for yourself, and allows up to 4 users to save their settings. This means that the bike can be quickly and easily personalized to numerous members of the household. It also features Bluetooth connectivity, so you can transfer data on your workouts from the bike to your smartphone (you can use either the Schwinn Trainer app, available on the Apple Store and Google Play Store, or the MyFitnessPal app, also available on the Apple Store or Google Play Store).
This recumbent bike also comes with a reasonable warranty: 10 years on the frame, 2 years on mechanical components (pedals, flywheel, etc.) and 1 year on the electrical components.
All-in-all, the Schwinn 270 is a fantastic recumbent exercise bike.
The ProForm 325 CSX Recumbent Exercise Bike is another great option if you’re looking for a high-quality recumbent bike. One of the best things about this bike is that while it’s built like other high-end recumbent bikes, it’s priced significantly lower: You should be able to get this bike for just over $500, and possibly even below if its on sale.
The the materials used in constructing this bike are outstanding quality. The steel frame and hard plastic housings are strong and durable, and make it one of the more sturdy recumbent bikes on the market. The sturdiness of the ProForm 325 CSX is evident in the fact that it weighs 150 lbs (68 kgs), which is considerably heavier than most other recumbent bikes. And although this makes it a little more difficult to move than other bikes, even when using the back transport bar (below the seat), it also provides an extremely steady ride: You shouldn’t experience any wobbling or shaking while you workout.
The design of the bike is also great, and has clearly been done with comfort and ease of use in mind. The oversized seat is heavily cushioned and provides good lumbar support. It can be adjusted fore and aft with an easy to use lever, and while it doesn’t accomodate quite the same range of user heights as that of the Schwinn 270 (see above), most people should be able to find the seat position that’s right for them. The ProForm 325 CSX also has a step-through design, so getting into and out of it will present no problem at all.
Ease of Assembly and Use
This bike does require some assembly, and if you’re doing it on your own then you should plan to spend 60 – 90 minutes on it. It’ll take 45 – 60 minutes if you have someone helping you, which is always recommended. fully assembled its dimensions are 57” long x 25.4″ wide x 50″ tall. Once you have it together it’s really easy to use.
With its high-quality belt-driven flywheel and magnetic resistance, this thing gives a very smooth ride and is whisper quiet.
Console and Features
The console is nicely laid out and allows you to choose 22 resistance levels and 24 preset programs. This means you’ll be able to get an effective workout no matter what your goals are, or what level of strength or fitness you have. It’s also iFit and bluetooth enabled so you can connect it to your smart phone and easily track your progress. Additionally, there’s an expandable shelf for your tablet or Kindle e-reader so you can stay entertained while you burn calories and build leg strength.
Finally, it comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and 1 year warranty on parts, and has a 300 lbs weight capacity.
So, if you’re looking for a good quality bike but don’t want to pay too much, then the ProForm 325 CSX Recumbent Bike might just be the bike for you.
The Nautilus R616 is another high-end recumbent exercise bike that’s perfect for those seniors that want a quality machine without breaking the bank. similar to the ProForm 325 CSX above, you should be able to nab one of these for just over $500 (or less if it’s on sale).
Similar to the two bikes above, this recumbent exercise bike has a nice and solid steel walk-through frame that provides good support to the shroud and aluminium sliding seat rail system. Weighing in at 97 lbs (44 kgs) this bike is easy to move around your home workout space, but still heavy enough to be sufficiently sturdy (there’s no wobbles or shaking during use). As you’ll see, the rest of the components are also great quality.
With the pull of a lever, the seat’s aluminium sliding rail system is quick and easy to use to adjust the seat fore and aft. On top of that, it has an excellent range that allows for people of all different heights. Anyone from under 5′ up to about 6’6″ will be able to use this bike comfortably.
The seat itself has a vented back that provides good lumbar support, as well as a well-cushioned and contoured bottom to make your workouts cool and comfortable. There’s also a large water bottle holder attached to the back left of the seat, so you can get at your water or sports drink easily.
Ease of Assembly
The included assembly manual takes you through a 10-step process, but don’t be alarmed as it’s actually very quick and easy. The frame is the heaviest bit and can be easily carried by one person. All-in-all it should take you about an hour if you’re putting it together by yourself, and as little as 30 minutes if you have someone helping you.
Ease of Use
The oversized pedals with straps mean that even those with large feet will be able to get on and pedal the Nautilus R616 easily, and the weighted flywheel with eddy current (magnetic) resistance means that this is an exceptionally quiet and smooth recumbent bike.
The transport wheels at the front of the bike also make it nice and easy to move around. Just lift from the transport bar below the seat, and it should be a piece of cake.
Console and Features
2 backlit LCD screens will help you keep track of your workout on one of the better displays you’ll find on a recumbent exercise bike. With 29 fitness programs that integrate 25 levels of magnetic resistance, people of all levels of fitness can enjoy working toward their fitness goals. It’s also possible for 4 different users to save their unique settings.
The console is also bluetooth compatible so you’re able to connect your smartphone to it, and seamlessly sync your workout information with both the Nautilus Tranier 2 app (available on iPhone and Android), as well as with MyFitnessPal (also available on iPhone and Android).
Finally, like many others, the Nautilus R616 has a shelf for your tablet, Kindle or a magazine.
Overall, the Nautilus R616 Recumbent Exercise Bike is another fantastic high-end option, and rounds out our top 3 recumbent bikes over $500.
Check out the video below for a full rundown of the features if you’re interested.
Best Mid-Range Recumbent Bikes ($250 – $500)
If you aren’t concerned about having all the bells and whistles, but you want your equipment to be good quality and come with a reasonable amount of features, then a mid-range recumbent exercise bike is best for you. Our top 3 mid-range bikes are:
The Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike is the next model down from the Schwinn 270, and is designed for people who want the same level of quality in the make of their equipment, but don’t need all of the features that the 270 (and other high end bikes) offers.
Boasting a sturdy walk-through steel frame, the Schwinn 230 simply screams “high quality”. The hard plastic shroud houses a high speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel, which is easy to start-up and provides a smooth and enjoyable workout. It’s lighter than that of the Schwinn 270, which is the main reason that the 230 is somewhat lighter; it weighs approximately 81.6 lbs (37 kgs). This makes it easy to move around, but heavy enough to be stable during use. We think you’ll be very pleased with the quality of this bike.
The seat’s aluminium sliding rail system makes it quick and easy to adjust the seat fore and aft, and it’s minimal design gives a very sleek look. The seat features a vented backrest as well as vented and contoured bottom, which ensures that you’ll stay both cool and comfortable, even during longer workouts.
Ease of Assembly
Just like the Schwinn 270, this recumbent bike is quick and easy to assemble. The assembly manual takes you through a 10-step process, and you should have it up and running in about 60 mins (45 mins if you have someone helping you). All the tools you need come in the box, but you may want to get a pair of scissors and an adjustable wrench to assist you. Once you’ve got it assembled, it has a footprint of 64″ long x 27.7″ wide x 49.9″ tall
Ease of Use
This is where the Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike really stands out. The high speed, high inertia perimeter flywheel in combination with the magnetic resistance system makes for an extremely smooth and quiet ride. This is a bike that you’ll look forward to using day-after-day, and will maintain it’s smooth and quiet ride well into the future.
Console and Features
The console on this bike has been simplified to make it quicker and easier to use than those of the high-end options. Fewer buttons and a 2 LCD screens gives you better access to the featured programs and goal tracking. Here are all the features you’ll get:
- 22 exercise programs
- 20 levels of resistance that provide a wide range of workout options
- 2 user profiles for multiple people to save their unique settings
- USB port to charge a smartphone or tablet, as well as upload workout data to your SchwinnConnect profile
- Speakers to play your favorite music while you workout
- 3 speed fan to help keep you cool
- Media shelf to hold your tablet or Kindle e-reader
The Schwinn 230 Recumbent Exercise Bike is a clear standout amongst the mid-range options.
The sleek, all-black Xterra SB2.5r comes a close second in our top mid-range recumbent bikes. This bike is perfect for those that want their exercise equipment to be both good-quality and good-looking. Not only is it a sturdy and well-designed bike, it’s also got a great range of features.
Featuring a heavy-duty steel frame and high-quality components, this Xterra recumbent bike is a very nicely constructed piece of equipment. It provides an extremely sturdy platform for your workouts, and shouldn’t shake or wobble, no matter how hard you push it. With it’s steel frame and 22 lbs (10 kgs) weighted flywheel, this bike tops the scales at 108 lbs (49 kgs), which is significantly heavier than many other comparable bikes.
As already mentioned, the bike’s design gives it a sleek and impressive look. The seat has a comfortable molded bottom and meshed back to allow good airflow and keep you cool on your rides. As with all good recumbent bikes, its also easily adjustable fore and aft, and has a range of adjustment that makes it suitable for tall and short people alike. The oversized, self-levelling and cushioned pedals will accomodate even the biggest feet and should ensure that you’re maintaining a nice and fluid pedalling motion. With assembled dimensions of 58.7″ long x 27.7″ wide x 41″ tall this recumbent bike should fit comfortably in your home workout space.
Ease of Assembly and Use
If you have a partner helping you, then expect to spend approximately 60 minutes this Xterra recumbent bike together, more if you’re going solo. The instruction manual guides you through a 3 step process, some of which can get a bit tricky (hence the length of time). However, if you take your time and follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have any troubles getting it together.
Once it’s together, it gives a really pleasant and smooth ride. The solidness of the components and quality of construction also means that it is a really quiet machine to operate. Unlike some other recumbent bikes, there should be almost no squeaks or creaks from the seta and pedals while you ride. The heavy-duty flywheel and magnetic resistance also contribute to the extremely smooth operation. Another thing you’ll notice is that the pedals are higher up than on other bikes, so you won’t slide down while you cycle.
Console and Feature
The console, like the rest of the bike is extremely attractive and straightforward to use. It has an intelligent an intuitive design, and although its dual backlit LCD screen is large enough to read easily, it’s not intrusive (if you want to put it in front of the TV, the console won’t get in the way). The controls are quick and easy to figure out, so as soon as you’ve inputted your age, you should be able to get straight into a program and resistance setting that’s perfect for you.
Although it’s not quite as feature-packed as some of the high-end bikes, it has everything you need if you’re just looking for a good, well-tracked workout. There are 24 preset programs and 24 levels of resistance that provide fresh and challenging workouts. These are more than adequate regardless of whether you’re looking to build endurance or strength.
On top of all of this, it has a shelf for your tablet or Kindle e-reader, and allows you to connect your smartphone to its internal speakers to play your music while you workout.
All-in-all, we think you’ll be blown away by how nice this Xterra SB2.5r Recumbent Exercise Bike is.
If you’re more of a visual person, then check out the video below for a short overview.
Here we have the younger brother of the Nautilus R616, which we reviewed above and took 3rd spot in the top high-end recumbent bikes. The R614 is very similar to the R616, it just has fewer features. Rather than writing an almost identical review for this recumbent bike, we’re just going to explain how they differ. If you’d like a full understanding of the quality, design, ease of assembly and use of these two exercise bikes, then have a read of our review of the Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike.
Here’s how the two bikes differ:
|Display type||2 LCD screens – Not backlit||2 backlit LCD screens|
|Seat||Contoured, vented back & bottom||Contoured, vented back & contoured, padded bottom|
|Sliding seat rail||Hard plastic||Aluminium|
Best Low-Cost Recumbent Bikes (Up to $250)
If you want to enjoy the benefits of a recumbent bike, but don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on it, then the following low-cost recommendations are for you. And rest assured that low-cost doesn’t necessarily mean low-quality. The following recumbent bikes are solid pieces of exercise equipment, they’re just have as many features as those reviewed above.
This recumbent bike is our top low-cost option because it’s a solid, stable, and highly functional piece of equipment that’s often available for less than $100! Yes, it’s basic and doesn’t include a lot of the bells and whistles that you find on most of the high-end and mid-range bikes, but what it lacks in features it makes up for in effective simplicity.
Design and Quality
It’s strong and durable steel frame makes this exercise bike nice and sturdy, while the smaller and slimmer shroud and open seat rise keep it light and easily movable (60 lbs; 27.2 kgs). The R4000’s sliding seat rail allows you to adjust it into an infinite number seat positions, unlike many other exercise bikes which have preset seat positions. And although it has a relatively compact footprint (49″ long x 22″ wide x 43″ tall), it will accomodate users up to 6’3″ tall.
The seat features a large cushioned bottom and back, which aren’t particularly fancy but will do a more than adequate job of supporting your lumbar and keeping you comfortable while you exercise even if you ride for long periods. The over-sized pedals attach to a belt-driven flywheel that utilizes eddy current magnetic resistance. This can be manually adjusted to provide 14 levels of resistance, and produces a smooth and quiet ride. So, if you live in close quarters with other people, or are just one of those crazy midnight, or you like to exercise and watch TV, then you’ll get no bother from this bike. One of its few drawbacks that is worth mentioning is that it only comes with a limited 1-year warranty.
Ease of Assembly and Use
Owing to the simplicity of the Fitness Reality R4000, it isn’t a difficult piece of equipment to assemble and won’t take you vary long. The assembly manual provides clear and easy-to-follow instructions, and everything you need to get it up and running is in the box. If, however, you have an adjustable wrench at home then get it out because it’ll be better than the wrench provided. Even if you’re putting it together on your own, it should take most people no more than about 60 minutes. That said, if you’re not very handy, then you should definitely get someone to help you assemble it, otherwise it could take significantly longer
Using this recumbent bike is extremely straightforward; just get on via the step-through frame, adjust the resistance dial that sits beneath the console, and pedal away. There’s not much that’s high tech about this bike, but then again there isn’t meant to be.
Console and Features
The console is designed to be clear, easy, and not at all complex. There are 3 different workout goal programs: calories, time and distance. That means that you simply set how many calories you want to burn, or how long or far you want to ride get to pedalling – it’ll tell you when you’re done via the large, easy-to-read numbers on the LCD screen. It’s definitely not high-tech, but if you want high-tech then you need to spend high-tech $$.
That being said, it is one of the only low-range options on the market that has a holder for your tablet, smartphone or Kindle.
Overall, if what you’re looking for is a piece of equipment that is simple, comfortable and easy to use, then the Fitness Reality R4000 Recumbent Bike should be perfect.
This is the only folding bike we recommend for seniors. The reason we generally won’t recommend folding recumbent bikes is because they don’t utilize a step-through frame, meaning they can be a bit difficult to get on and off, especially if you have back, hip or knee problems. Also, most folding bikes are actually semi-recumbent (as is this one), meaning the pedals are not as far forward as a true recumbent bike. this changes the angle of the body while riding, and may increase strain through the hips and lower back.
The reason that we have included this bike in our top 3 low-cost recumbent bikes is because it’s truly great value: a well-built bike at a very reasonable price (you should be able to get it for a little over $100).
Quality and Design
The folding frame on the Exerpeutic 525XLR is constructed from heavy duty steel, which makes it strong, stable and durable. Indeed the strength of the frame is evident in its 400 lbs weight capacity (most other recumbent bikes have a 300 lbs or lower weight capacity).
The folding mechanism is easy to use and works well, so once you’re finished riding you can quickly fold it up and put it somewhere out of the way. For that reason, this recumbent bike is absolutely perfect if you only have a small area in which to workout and are looking for a nice and compact piece of cardio equipment. When in use it has a footprint of 48.5″ long x 24″ wide x 46″ tall and weighs 54.7 lbs (25 kgs). When folded, its footprint reduces to 27″ long x 18″ wide x 48″ tall.
The seat has a good-sized back and bottom, and while it’s mostly comfortable to sit on, it may start to feel a bit firm once you’ve been riding for an extended period. Also, the vinyl covering, especially on the back rest, may cause you to sweat quite considerably, so it’s a good idea to place a towel over the back while using it. The oversized pedals are great quality, and will fit shoes of almost any size. They attach to a very compact shroud that houses a belt-driven, balanced flywheel. Overall, it has a solid construction and high-quality components, and stands head and shoulders above other folding recumbent bikes.
Ease of Assembly and Use
Assembling the bike can be a little fiddly at times, however if you make sure that you follow the instructions in the product manual – which are very straightforward – then you shouldn’t have too much trouble. It should take 90 minutes or less. Something that makes this bike standout is the quality of the packaging. All of the hardware and required tools is sealed in a plastic ‘case’ and is clearly marked and labelled according to the step in which it is used – no worrying about loose nuts and bolts going missing.
There are, however, a couple of things that you should be aware of when assembling the 525XLR:
- Although the seat can be adjusted to fit people ranging in height from 5’1″ – 6’3″, once it’s assembled it can only be adjusted to fit differing leg lengths. When assembling it, if you are about 5’6″ or under, make sure you attach the seat via the holes closest to the rear. If you are taller than this, attach to the holes closest to the front. Similarly, if you are shorter, ensure you attach the seat back so that it is further forward, and further backward if you’re taller.
- It doesn’t mention it in the manual, but there is a small piece of black plastic covering the magnetic strip that produces the tension. You need to remove this, or your bike will not produce any resistance.
Once you’ve correctly assembled it, use the resistance adjustment knob at the top of the console to set it to one of the 8 levels of resistance, and away you go! We think you’ll find the bike very quick and easy to use to get a good cardio workout, or build strength in your lower body. It’s not at all heavy, so you should have no trouble folding it up and wheeling it out of the way using the transport wheels once you’ve finished with your ride.
Console and Features
As with most low-cost recumbent bikes, the battery powered console is very basic. It has a single LCD screen with large, easily read numbers that displays time, speed, distance, calories, heart rate, and total distance travelled. Unlike the R4000 above, there are no workout programs nor is there a holder for your smartphone or tablet.
All-in-all the Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Recumbent Bike is a basic and inexpensive yet well-designed and built folding recumbent bike.
It certainly isn’t going to win any style awards, but if comfort and functionality are most important to you then you should definitely consider the Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike. It’s a basic and inexpensive yet good-quality exercise bike.
Quality and Design
As with the rest of the Exerpeutic range of exercise bikes (which is manufactured by Paradigm Health and Wellness), the quality of the materials and overall design is relatively good. The step-through frame is durable high-strength steel, and should provide a solid, stable workout; free from any wobbles or creaks. The flywheel is bigger than many of the other low-cost recumbent bikes, which is evident in the significantly larger shroud. Although this generally means that it will hold up well over time, it also increases the footprint of the bike – it’s 54″ long x 22″ wide x 34″ tall and 63 lbs (28.5 kgs).
While the adjustable seat rail is easy to use, the extra length of the machine – created by the larger shroud – means that shorter people (approx. 5’3″ or less) may struggle to find a comfortable seat position. This is one of the major flaws in this recumbent bike. That said, the seat itself is vary large and well cushioned, and should provide ample support for both the back and buttocks.
All-in-all, this bike boasts good quality components, and is well designed, and the manufacturer offers a 3 year limited warranty on both the frame and parts.
Ease of Assembly and Use
As with the Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR above, the 900XL is really neatly packaged, which makes assembling the bike straightforward. As always, an extra pair of hands will make the job of assembling it quicker and easier. With 2 people, it should take less than an hour. If you’re on your own, expect to spend 90 mins or more assembling.
Everything you need for correct assembly is included in the box, but if you have a hammer or mallet at home, then grab it because it will help you get some of the components together easier. Just make sure you follow the instructions in the product manual, and you’ll be burning calories on it in no time.
The belt-driven, large flywheel makes for a consistent and silent ride. Just hop on, adjust the magnetic resistance to the desired level (you have 8 levels to choose from) and begin pedalling. Once you start pedalling, the console will turn on automatically and you’ll be on your way to a fitter, stronger version of yourself.
Console and Features
Much like the other low-cost option above, the console on this recumbent bike is of the ‘no frills’ variety. Time, distance, calories, odometer, speed and heart rate are all the readings you’ll get on the LCD screen. You can set your target for each one of these settings and the console will let you know when you’ve ridden as much as you need to to reach said target, but that’s about all you’ll get as far as workout programming.
The Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike rounds out our top low-cost recumbent bikes. Ultimately, it’s a simple yet effective piece of equipment that’s perfect if you just want something quick and easy to get on and ride, but that’s also good enough quality to hold up over a long period.
Something a bit different?
Even though recumbent bikes are an excellent choice for cardio equipment for seniors, and all of the recumbent bikes reviewed above are great options, you may want something a bit different; something left of center…Well, we’ve got you covered there as well. Below, we take a very quick look at a couple of hybrid recumbent bikes that offer just that little bit extra.
This recumbent bike from Stamina Products allows you to simultaneously get a lower body and upper body workout. It features hand pedals beside the console so you can seriously up the intensity of your workouts (if you want) and bring your arm and shoulders into the equation.
Here are some of the features you’ll get in this piece of equipment:
- Silent magnetic resistance for smooth, quiet operation
- Adjustable flywheel and belt-drive train for a smooth ride
- Tension knob adjusts to 8 different levels of workout intensity without having to stop
- Electronic battery-operated multi-function monitor measures speed, calories burned, distance, and pulse
- Sturdy steel frame with metallic gray finish
- Adjustable, padded seat and seat back, plus adjustable hand pedals
- Measures 50″ long x 24″ wide x 49″ tall and weighs 117 lbs (53 kgs)
- Weight capacity: 250 lbs
The Total Body Elite from Stamina is arguably the best recumbent exercise bike for seniors who are seeking a great upper and lower body workout, but are limited in the amount of space they have for exercise equipment.
This is another interesting piece of equipment from Stamina Products. It’s a recumbent bike crossed with a rowing machine. It allows you to switch between biking and rowing, so you can add a solid back and arm workout to your leg and cardio workouts. It’ll take up quite a bit extra room in your home workout space, but it will potentially replace, or remove the need for, other exercise equipment.
Here are some of the features you’ll get in this recumbent bike / rowing machine hybrid:
- Sturdy, steel frame construction with aluminum rowing beam
- Smooth, quiet magnetic resistance
- Oversized, contoured, adjustable foam-padded seat and seatback
- Multi-function monitor displays speed, distance, time, odometer, heart rate and calories burned
- Folds for easy storage
- Weight Limit: 250 lbs
- When assembled it’s 74.5″ long x 23.5″ wide x 34″ tall
- When folded it’s 34″ long x 23.5″ wide x 56.5″ tall
What Are the Benefits of a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
The recumbent bike’s typical bucket seat allows you to sit in a semi-reclined position, which takes the strain off the lumbar vertebrae and mid-section of your spine. Therefore, recumbent bikes are perfect for people with back problems.
Because the pedals are positioned in front of your body rather than below it, a recumbent exercise bike’s seat can also be much larger and allow your body weight to be evenly distributed across the padded area of the buttocks. Conventional exercise bikes have much smaller seats, and no back support, which means that much of your torso’s weight is concentrated on the ischial tuberosities or “sitting bones”. Placing so much pressure on this small area compresses the perineal nerve, and has been associated with impotence in men ❄, and other urogenital disorders in both men and women.
When on a recumbent exercise bike, your head sits in a natural position where it’s properly supported by the spine, as opposed to being forced into a downward stare as it is when you use a conventional upright bike. This natural head position allows your neck to relax, thus preventing neck strains and spasms, and making recumbent bikes perfect for seniors, who may suffer from neck and upper spinal problems.
Furthermore, the human body is not meant to bear weight through the wrists, arms and shoulders, yet this is exactly what you’re forced to do on an upright bike. For this reason, people suffering from joint pain in their arms often find upright exercise bikes unsuitable. Recumbent bikes, on the other hand, allow the arms and hands to be in a relaxed position where they don’t have to support any of the torso’s weight.
As you can see, recumbent exercise bikes reduce the amount of strain throughout much of the upper body and can therefore be used for longer periods of time than conventional upright bikes.
Which is the Best Recumbent Bike for You?
There are plenty of different types and styles of recumbent exercise bikes available, some of which will be suitable for you and some of which won’t. Here are a few factors you should consider before deciding which recumbent bike to purchase:
What’s your budget?
Recumbent exercise bikes can vary greatly in price. The least expensive bikes generally cost just over $100, while the most expensive ones can cost as much as $1000. Although higher price doesn’t necessarily equal better quality, as a general rule, the most expensive bikes are also the best bikes. That said, depending on your other needs and circumstances, you can still get a good quality recumbent exercise bike without paying an arm and a leg. Before you buy, make a firm decision on how much you’re willing to spend and only consider bikes within your budget. Also, you may want to invest in some flooring designed specifically for exercise equipment to minimize the risk of your new exercise bike doing costly damage to your home.
How big is your home workout space?
Some recumbent exercise bikes are large and require a lot of space to use properly, while others are smaller and fold up for compact storage. The more expensive bikes tend to be larger than less expensive ones. Most recumbent bike manufacturers will explicitly state the assembled dimensions of the product, so before you buy, ensure your home workout space is large enough to accomodate the recumbent bike you’re considering.
What kind of features do you want?
First of all, you may have heard that exercise bikes have different types of resistance. That was true 10 or more years ago, but there’s pretty much only one type of resistance now: Magnetic resistance. This system of resistance uses magnets to create eddy currents that act as brakes for the bike’s flywheel (which is what the pedals are connected to), and is the best available system. Other forms of resistance, such as direct-contact and air bikes are relatively uncommon, especially in recumbent bikes.
As for the other features you might find on a recumbent exercise bike:
Digital console with LCD screen
This will provide a read out of where you’re at in your workouts. Low-cost bikes generally have consoles that provide very basic information, and generally won’t have backlit screens. The higher-end options will often have 2 backlit screens and provide a whole host of data on your workout.
Most consoles on most recumbent bikes allow you to select different programs that you can use to set goals and monitor your progress. This structured goal setting is extremely effective at keeping you motivated to exercise over the long-term. Some bikes will have extensive programs that will help you build whatever facet of your fitness you want; cardio, strength, etc. and even change the level of resistance for you. Other bikes have a more limited range of programs.
If you want your recumbent bike to ‘know who you are’ and be customisable to your specific attributes (height, weight, age, goals, etc.) then you’re going to need one that has one or more user settings options.
Heart rate monitor
You’ll notice when you read our reviews of recumbent bikes that we don’t pay much attention to the inbuilt heart rate monitors that many bikes come with. This is because they tend to be very inaccurate, and therefore basically useless. High-end recumbent bikes, however, will often allow you to sync up your external chest strap heart rate monitor, which should give a more accurate reading. That said, not all chest strap monitors will work, and those that do usually need to be uncoded.
Tablet / smartphone / Kindle holder (media shelf)
Do you want to watch a movie, read a book or surf the web while you exercise? Then you’ll need to get a bike that has a media shelf that holds one of these devices on the console.
Speakers for your music
Do you want your recumbent bike to play your music for you? Well, some can. The speakers don’t tend to be particularly high-quality, but they’re often better than nothing.
USB port for charging mobile devices and data exchange
Some recumbent bikes will also allow you to charge your mobile devices while you ride. You’ll need a data cable for this, but the bikes that have this feature will usually come with one included.
Finally, the high-end bikes are often extremely fancy, and will allow you to pair your mobile device with them via bluetooth. This can be used to play music (some models) as well as download your workout data to apps like MyFitnessPal, so you can track progress on your exercise / fitness goals.
More expensive recumbent bikes will have all or most of these features, while the least expensive bikes will have few or none of them. More features generally means that the bike will be easier and more convenient to use (though not always), and you’ll have a greater range of exercise options. Before you buy, decide what features are non-negotiable for you, and only consider bikes that at least have those features.
Well, there you have it: The 9 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes for Seniors (plus a little something extra). If you’re looking for a piece of equipment to help you build your fitness and develop strength in your lower body, then simply decide how much you want to spend, and what features you really want, and then choose from the list above.
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember; when it comes to our health and fitness, we can make the effort or we can make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)