A Recumbent exercise bike is a great machine which delivers a fantastic workout. It is a stationary cycle which has an ergonomic design and is very user-friendly. It makes you recline at a very comfortable position and are very popular in gyms and health clubs. You can have a recumbent exercise bike for home use too and it will prove to be very beneficial for you.
There are several good models of these bikes available in the market which has different features and prices, thus making it difficult for you to select the best one. Before buying the best recumbent exercise bike, you must understand your needs and preferences as it will guide you through the several available options. You have landed on the right page if you are not sure of which recumbent exercise bike to buy.
If you are a beginner and have never exercised on a bike, or you have used it at the gym and now want to buy one for home use, you must understand your requirements and budget. This buying guide of recumbent exercise bikes will enlighten you and make you choose the best one for yourself. Before that, let’s start the exercise bikes review with the types of recumbent exercise bikes that are available.
Best Recumbent Bikes – Top 3 Favorites for 2021
Recumbent Bikes at Home?
Having an exercise bike at home is an excellent idea as it will motivate you to work on it every day and take you one step ahead each day, towards your fitness goals. These machines are prevalent in the gyms as they can deliver the best cardio workout as well as a solid workout, which means you can not only warm up your body on a recumbent bike but can also do a great exercise.
This wonder bike is an answer to the laziness of going to the gym or spending money on health clubs. Now, you can easily own this at home by choosing the top model of recumbent exercise bike for home use. The market is full of such models and has the best prices to offer. You can also order it online and have it delivered at your doorstep.
If you buy a recumbent bike at home, it will add on to your comfort level and will be at your disposal, all the time. You can use it whenever you find time in your busy schedule without having an excuse for not exercising. You can place the exercise bike in front of your TV, enjoy your favorite show while working out, or can use your to entertain yourself, or read a book, etc. There are several things you can do while you exercise if you own one exercise machine for home use.
Benefits of Recumbent Exercise Bikes and How They Work?
1. Burning Calories: This exercise bike is a wonderful way to burn out extra calories. It depends on your fitness level and weight which decides how many calories you can burn, but it is possible to burn hundreds of calories in one hour by using these exercise bikes. It is up to you as to how many intensity levels you can go up to or try to achieve because these bikes come with resistance levels and each level offers a different level of difficulty.
They also come with the pre-programmed workout for calories burning, and the number of calories you have burnt in an exercise is displayed on the LCD window. These bikes will increase your metabolism and help in building muscle too.
2. Low-Impact, Intense Workout: The recumbent bike lets you recline and take a comfortable position while working out. It imposes no pressure on your hips and back and at the same time deliver an intense workout. Do not get misled with the statement that recumbent bikes give a low-impact workout. People often feel that running and jogging is an intense cardio workout than using an exercise bike.
But what they do not know is that running or jogging has a lot of downward thrust to your legs which puts stress on your back, hips, and knees. So initially you might feel energetic but over some time your joints will start painting, and you will have to stop exercising.
But, these exercise bikes can let you cycle as fast as you want and give a challenging workout. They also help you burn more calories as discussed above. These bikes are also helpful in toning the legs and glutes.
3. Cardio Exercises: Recumbent exercise bikes are perfect for a good cardio workout, and they also are helpful in toning legs and butt like no other machine. People like to have a good cardio workout and even as per the doctor, 20 minutes of activity each day increases the heart rate to a level which is as per the perfect cardio fitness level.
This activity improves the overall fitness of the body and reduces the risk of severe health issues and heart diseases. One of the best cardio exercise bikes is the Schwinn 230 recumbent bike which can help you gain great cardio benefits at home.
4. Great Feeling after a Workout: Exercising is a great way to keep yourself happy. The benefit of working out on a recumbent exercise bike goes beyond the workout it delivers. Whatever be your workout style- toning, cardio, intense; it increases the endorphins levels which help in reducing the symptoms of depression. Exercising on your recumbent exercise bike will make you feel happier by increasing your muscular strength and toning your muscles.
5. Cost Benefits: As you now that you can easily afford to have your recumbent bike at home, it will save you a lot of money. You need not waste money on gym memberships, in fact, you can invest one time in buying the best exercise bike to be used at home and enjoy its benefits forever.
This buying guide will sail you through all the essential points that you need to consider before buying the perfect recumbent exercise bike for your personal use.
Part 1 – Usability
Define your Priorities
Before anything else, you should first understand your priorities. Do not go by what others say; you decide what you want from the product you are investing in. It is clear that if you are planning to buy a recumbent bike, then you are looking for an ideal workout which helps you shed weight, tone muscles, and boosts your fitness levels. So, to achieve that you need great features and good quality.
But, every recumbent bike is not the same; all do not have the same features and functions. The higher-end models come with extra features which add variety to your workout and give desired results. On this front, several factors can help you prioritize your needs. Let me elaborate on this. For example, high-end models come with many resistance levels which you can tune according to your needs and achieve your specific target.
Some bikes also come with preset workout programs which have customized parameters. Each program has a particular purpose, and you can choose the one that fits your needs. It is like having your trainer who helps you achieve what you want. Many machines also come with heart rate monitors who keep track of your heart rate while you exercise. The main aim of exercising is increasing your heart rate to its maximum so that it remains healthy.
So it will be great if your bike can display your heart rate and makes you stay in your target heart rate zone while exercising. Last, but not least, some bikes also has added features like iPod connectivity with Bluetooth, built-in speakers to listen to music while working out, etc. These factors may seem unimportant, but they do add some fun to your daily workout and break the monotony. They can help you perform better and get the best out of your workout session.
Accessories You Need for an Effective workout
The accessories that usually come with recumbent exercise bikes are Fans, Bottle Holders, Speakers, Electronics Charger, Media Shelf, etc. These accessories might be secondary for some, but many people love to have them on their bike. So, you can decide what you need and accordingly search for your exercise bike.
How to Get In and Out of the Bike?
Many recumbent exercise bikes come with a step-thru design which is also very suitable for a majority of the people. In this design, you can sit on the seat from the front side of the bike. But, some people may find it struggling in doing this, they can look for bikes which have fixed handlebars on the front post. This can be used to give support to get seated by lowering yourself, and it also eases coming out of the bike.
Another model comes with sideways seating. These bikes have handrails at the rear or the same level of the bike. Whichever way you want to get seated, you will find a good variety of recumbent bikes which will suit you.
Is there a Need For Preset Workout Programs?
While choosing a good recumbent bike, you should know whether you want the preset workout programs or not. In case you want to pedal and adjust resistance levels for a variety of workout, then you have many options. You will quickly find such a bike under $200 wherein you will get moderate levels of resistance without preset programs. Preset workout programs are programs which alter the resistance levels you are pedaling on, at specified intervals.
There are also heart control programs which select a particular resistance to keep your heart in the target heart rate zone. Some recumbent bikes have only six workout programs whereas some come with 29 of them. The choice is entirely yours. For such bikes, you can find some of the top-rated recumbent exercise bikes above dollars 200 and under $500.
What are Your Height Requirements?
Your height is an essential requirement while buying an exercise bike. Every bike cannot take a person of any height; they do have some height requirements. If you fall in the height range of 5’2” to 6”, then you have a wide variety of options to choose from. If your height falls outside this range, then it can be a little tedious to look for the ideal bike because many manufacturers do not mention the height requirements on the bike. But, as per my research I will mention some names of the bikes as per the height:
Up to 6’3” – Exerpeutic 4000
Is there the Need for Heart Rate Monitoring?
Many exercise bikes come with heart rate monitors which help in maintaining a healthy heart. If you want your bike to have a heart rate monitor, you have some excellent options for bikes. But before that, see which kind of heart rate monitor(HRM) you prefer – Hand Pulse Sensors or Chest Straps. Hand Pulse Sensors are the standard type of HRMs which give a reliable heart rate reading.
But many people are not able to use them properly and end up measuring the incorrect heart rate. In this, you have to hold the hand pulse sensors to get the heart rate measured, and many people do not hold it correctly while exercising. The other type is the Chest Strap HRM in which a strap is wrapped around your chest while you work out.
This option gives accurate results but is not a very common option in recumbent bikes. There are only a few such bikes priced under $1000, like the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike and Nautilus R616. They give a reliable heart rate reading and are efficient.
What is the Weight Capacity of the Bike?
For people up to 300 lbs, there is an excellent choice available for them. Not many bikes are built to cater to people more massive than 300 pounds. If you weigh around 325 lbs, you can check out the Diamondback 510IC. If you weigh about 350 lbs, then you can try out the Ironman X-Class 410, and for people with 400 lbs weight, they can check out the Exerpeutic GOLD 525XLR.
How much Available Space You have For Bike Storage?
A majority of the recumbent exercise bikes have a base (footprint) of 60”x24”. This might not be a very compact size as compared to an upright or a folding exercise bike but gives excellent support while cycling. This factor is of no concern to you if you have a reasonably large house, but, if you have space issues at home or are sharing a room with someone, then you can find some of the best folding recumbent exercise bikes.
For example, the Exerpeutic 400XL Recumbent Exercise Bike. Such bikes will give you the benefits of a recumbent bike and will also be stored easily anywhere when not in use.
Is there a Need for Arm Workouts?
Do you need an arm workout with a recumbent exercise bike? Then, you have minimal options. A majority of the exercise bikes do not have moving arms. But, some models which are highly priced will give you the option of moving your arms too, like The Velocity Dual Motion Recumbent Bike with Moving Handles, Sunny Health and Fitness RB-4708 Recumbent Exercise Bike with Arm Exerciser, etc. These are the best exercise bikes with moving arms.
Is there a Need for Armrests for Support and Comfort?
The handlebars of recumbent bikes come with different heights from the seat. Some are few inches above the seat height, and some are at the same height. But, this does not allow the arms to rest on them as they do not have much padding. But, there are very few models which come with padded handlebars and provide exceptional comfort and support.
Is there a Need for Backrest Angles?
Many recumbent exercise bikes have cushioned backrests which are fixed at a slight angle. These backrests give great support to the user, and the angle provides a comfortable position to the user to exercise. If you are not satisfied with this angle, you can use a cushion to change it. Some bikes also come with an adjustable back which you can adjust as per your need to get the best comfortable seating angle.
For example, the Ironman X-Class 410 Recumbent Exercise Bike comes with three positions – Slight Angle on the Chair, Full Recline Position, and Halfway in-between the first two positions. These three positions fulfill the requirement of nearly everyone. This bike is a bit costly and is one of the best recumbent bikes over $500 and below $1000. Another bike which offers multiple positions is the Diamondback 910SR Recumbent Exercise Bike.
Is there a Need for Step-Thru Design for your Foot?
Do you want a bike where you do not have to lift your foot to get on the bike? Then the step-thru design is the one for you where you can step across the frame by barely lifting your foot an inch or so. It is more comfortable to sit and get off the seat in this design of the bike. Most of the bikes that are made for home use come with this kind of design and are more comfortable for all types of people to use. This design also comes in all the prices range.
Is there a Need for Additional Lower Back Support?
Another feature to consider in an exercise bike is the lower back support. For some people, it might not be essential, but many people prefer additional lower back support in which the backrest is angled and gives excellent support to the back. Some people use a cushion or a towel to give support to their lower back, but it is not enough as it is not stable support. One such bike with lower back support is the Ironman X-Class 410 Recumbent Bike.
Part 2 – Design
In most of recumbent exercise bikes, the drive mechanism has a belt, servo motor, pulley, and brake which is pre-assembled and attached. People think these bikes do not come with a flywheel, but that is not true. Their flywheel has a heavy weight and less diameter than a pulley. The transmission belt connects the flywheel with the pulley and makes the whole drive mechanism very smooth and noiseless.
It also does not require much maintenance. In some bikes, it is also possible to pedal backwards, whatever be their resistance mechanism.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes come with an excellent resistance (tension) mechanism system. It is either Magnetic Tension or Eddy Brake Mechanism.
Magnetic Resistance – This system has a straightforward mechanism which consists of a brake pad, and a set of magnets. These magnets move closer or farther from the flywheel to create resistance (tension) You can change the resistance levels via a Tension Knob because the brake pad is attached via a cable to this knob.
So, when you want to change the resistance, you can simply turn the knob accordingly. The brake pad and flywheel never come in contact with each other. These bikes do not require an external source of power for manipulating resistance levels.
Eddy Brake Mechanism – This system has a servo motor, an electromagnet, and an advanced console. This system uses the electric current and works on the same principle as the magnetic tension system. Here, the brake pad is fixed, and the magnetic pull changes the intensity of the resistance.
When you choose a resistance level from the console, the signal goes to the servo motor which in turn adjusts the magnetic pull on the flywheel, lower or higher depending on the level you selected. This type of bike has an adapter and needs an electric outlet for its working.
The adjustability factor in recumbent bikes is fantastic, be it adjusting the seat, handlebars, or the resistance levels. Some bikes come with up to five levels of resistance, and some come with as many as 40 levels of resistance. These levels add a great variety to the workout and help in achieving the exact target. The seat of these bikes is also adjustable and lets you adjust to make more room for the leg.
A few models also allow you to adjust the seat angle for added comfort. The handlebars on the front of the seat are usually fixed. The seat handlebars are generally adjustable. Some of the models let you adjust the handlebars by tilting them upward or downward. Another important adjustability feature is folding, and there are some of the top folding recumbent exercise bikes which have a two-piece frame that can be easily folded — for example – the Sunny SF-RB1117.
Recumbent exercise bikes are well-known for their support, and this comfort is a result of several elements like the frame, seat, handlebars, etc. The bike’s frame defines comfort because in these bikes the drive system is placed at the front of the bike and the seat is at an apt distance from the floor. This element enables easy getting on and getting off the machine and gives a very comfortable posture.
The best recumbent exercise bikes have an ergonomic seat with a vented texture. This feature delivers excellent support to the back and does not overheat the seat during long workout sessions. Seats can be made of any material, hard plastic, or cushioned. Cushioned seats are perfect for people with lower back pain. The handlebars of recumbent bikes also add on to the comfort factor.
These come with hand pulse sensors which enable heart rate monitoring while exercising. Other essential comfort elements include cooling fans, bottle holders, sound system, Bluetooth connectivity, Medial tray, etc. All these elements to increase the price of the bike but are also worth the money.
The adjustment of the seat of a recumbent exercise bike is essential especially if all your family members plan to use. Each member has his requirements, and the machine should give them the freedom to adjust the seat as per their size. The seat adjustments that you can make are – Moving the Seat Back, Moving the Seat while you are off the bike, Moving the bike while you are sitting. Different users will adjust the seat as per their need as frequently as they want.
Cheaper exercise bikes which are under $200 let you move the seat or the back of the bike by pulling knobs and pins to give a perfect fit. The exercise bikes which are below $500 come with a lever which helps in adjusting the seat faster, and you need not get off the bike to do so. The costliest bikes over $500 let you adjust the seat while sitting, for example – the Ironman X-Class 410 Recumbent Bike.
The weight gives stability and heavier the bike, more stable it is. The recumbent exercise bikes have a heavy flywheel which delivers a smooth pedaling motion. But, being heavy will create problems in transportation, especially for someone who cannot lift heavy stuff. So, before buying a bike, you must decide where you want to place the bike at home so that you do not have to lift it now and then.
A majority of the recumbent bikes come with foot straps which keep the foot safe while pedaling. These straps are made of plastic with holes on them so that they fit comfortably on foot. Buckle straps are a little hard to use. So, ensure that the bike you are buying must have foot straps to ensure your safety while intense pedaling.
Part 3 – Budget
Know Your Budget
Afterall you are the one who is going to spend money, to ensure that you define your budget and look for something within that price range. The good news is that recumbent exercise bikes come in almost every price range and you need not burn a hole in your pocket to buy your desired bike.
Be careful when you go through the available options in your price range and choose the best budget-friendly recumbent exercise bike. You will surely find the best ones which are great in quality and excellent features. So, proper research and analysis are essential.
Part 4: How to get the best out of your Recumbent Machine
Wear Proper Shoes
When you are using health equipment, you must wear the proper shoes and accessories to avoid getting hurt. Any cross-trainer or running shoes that are closed from the front are perfect while working on an exercise bike as its gears will be moving when you pedal. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Wear Proper Clothing
Not only shoes, but you must also wear proper exercising clothes when you start working on a machine. Loose fitted clothes can pose a threat to safety as they can get trapped in the equipment. You should wear shorts and fitted shirts which have a good fit on you so that no clothing is hanging from your body while you are working out.
Maintenance of Recumbent Exercise Bikes
The best and solid recumbent exercise bikes are built in a way that they can handle a lot of use without getting damaged. But, for their general maintenance, you must keep them free from moisture.
You can clean the machine with a dry towel after each use as it has to bear your sweat while you are working towards your fitness goals. Regular cleaning will keep it working for longer and also make it look clean and fresh for the next use.
PART 5 – Buy with Confidence from us
You can buy the best products with confidence as we thoroughly research the product and come with the best exercise bikes reviews. Our team of experts is continuously working to examine every product minutely and personally checking the equipment. They give the required information about the product and make sure that the user is not misguided. So, go ahead and buy your favorite product without any hassles and apprehensions.
The above buying guide is your one stop page if you want to buy a recumbent exercise bike for yourself. As you know now that these bikes are incredibly comfortable and provide excellent support to the body while working out. They deliver smooth pedaling motion and comes with fantastic designing. The parts and components of the machine are durable and do not require much maintenance, just regular cleaning.
These bikes are available in a wide price range, and you can quickly get the best exercise bike in an affordable price range. Lower range recumbent exercise bikes may not give the desired functionality and may not be too sturdy. Their resistance levels are also very less and do not provide a good variety of workout. But, you can easily find a bike capable of giving you the best workout. The market is full of fantastic recumbent bikes which in some way or the other will fulfill your fitness dreams.