TOP 16 Best Recumbent Bikes for Back & Knee Saving 2021

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TOP 16 Best Recumbent Bikes for Exercise 2021

Are you looking for a workout that won’t aggravate your back and knees?

Has your doctor ordered exercise, but your body is disagreeing due to aches and pains?

Or while doing cardio on an upright bike your seat is not the most comfortable option?

If so, a recumbent bike is an excellent option for exercise and it may be just the answer you are looking for!

Here I have 16 of the best recumbent bikes for exercise of 2021, and a recumbent bike buying guide to get you started.

TOP 16 Best Recumbent Bikes for Exercise at Home Gym 2021

Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Bike

Review: This budget-priced bike made by Marcy is one of the best recumbent bike brands and will not disappoint. It has a comfortable, adjustable seat that feels nicer to use than some of those from more expensive brands.

It is also quiet enough to watch TV while riding to catch up on your favorite Netflix series and get your workout in, all at the same time.


  • Little extras, like a cup holder, transport wheels and small front handles are a nice touch.
  • Comfortable, padded, adjustable seat.
  • Easy no-fuss adjustment knob to change resistance, keeps things simple.


  • Seat adjustment is stiff.
  • No book or tablet holder.


I love the padded seat, simplicity of using an adjustment knob, and how easy it is to get on and off, so I award this bike the best recumbent bike for seniors.

Life Fitness RS1 Go Recumbent Bike

Review: The Life Fitness recumbent bike is one of the most popular models in health clubs and gyms. It has a step-through design, side comfort handles with built-in heart rate monitor, front assist handles, and a well-crafted and extensively tested ergonomic design that positions your legs feet and knees perfectly.


  • Adjustable seat with padded back and seat rest.
  • Side and front handlebars make it easy to get on and off.
  • 14 workout programs plus heart rate monitor.


  • Pricy, but with commercial quality.


This model is one of the easiest on the knees of all the recumbent exercise bike reviews listed here.

Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

Review: The Schwinn 270 is a step up from the popular Schwinn 230 I review later. This 270 has a comfy padded seat, Bluetooth connectivity, 25 levels of resistance and 4 user profiles available, compared to the 230 which has a hard seat, no Bluetooth, less programs and user profiles.

The 270 is also compatible with the “explore the world” app, which adds a dimension of fun and adventure to your workout.


  • 29 programs included.
  • Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Padded seat.
  • 25 levels of resistance.


  • The fan and speakers are not powerful and the tablet holder blocks the console display.


A great recumbent bike for big, heavy or tall riders, with a wide, comfortable seat.

Merax Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike

Review: This basic Merax magnetic recumbent bike is solid, sturdy and well built, but without the extra fluff so all you pay for is a solid bike.

It is low to the ground and very easy to get on and off of, which is important if you have mobility issues. It has a wide, comfortable, padded seat and can hold riders up to 385 lbs.


  • Easy to get on and off of.
  • Can be pedaled forward and backward.
  • 385 lb max user weight.
  • Wide padded seat.


  • No extras like tablet holder, fan, speakers, phone charger.


Top quality recumbent bike without all the extras you don’t need at a price you will like.

Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike

Review: This bike is a great choice for those who have a hard time getting on and off of other exercise machines and want a comfortable routine that includes both upper and lower body.

Thanks to the hand cranks you can work your arms on the same machine you exercise your legs.


  • Includes hand pedals for a full-body workout.
  • Angled padded seat with seatback and built-in HR monitor in the handles.
  • Seat adjusts forwards and backwards to accommodate all size riders.


  • Really basic console with not tablet holder or any extras.
  • Resistance is not applied to hand cranks and leg pedals at the same time.


Well built, long-lasting bike that works both arms and legs. Great choice recumbent bike for seniors.

3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike

Review: The 3G Cardio Elite RB is the most comfortable bike on this list of recumbent exercise bike reviews. The seat conforms to your back, is completely adjustable, as is the length of the pedals. Not only is this bike built for comfort, but it is also super compact, with a max length of 49” to fit in small spaces.

With a sleek console and backlit control knobs, one of the best seats available and easy adjustment features this bike demonstrates superior design.

This 3G Cardio Elite has one of the smaller footprints of all the recumbent bikes out there.

But…if you are looking for a truly compact exercise option, check out this list folding exercise bikes I put together.


  • Accommodates users between 5 feet and 6’ 4”.
  • Heart rate monitor built into the handles.
  • Ergonomic pedal distance Q Factor is narrow enough to be easy on the knees.
  • Extremely quiet.


  • It’s hard to find fault with this bike, it is superior is just about every way but it is a little expensive.


Simply the best recumbent bike in 2021!

NordicTrack Commercial Vr21 Recumbent Bike

Review: This moderately priced commercial recumbent bike by NordicTrack is one of the top-rated recumbent exercise bikes because it incorporates cutting edge technology and features like push-button adjusting magnetic resistance, a fan that adjusts with your intensity, MP3 sound system and dual 2” speakers.

Plus, a fully adjustable seat and comfortable ride, at a much lower cost than other commercial level recumbent bikes.


  • Built-in speaker and fan that auto-adjusts as speed increases.
  • 20 lb flywheel for a smooth ride.
  • 32 on board workout apps, heart rate monitor and state of the art on board console.


  • Stiff chair back.
  • Data in console disappears if you stop pedaling for too long.


Quiet, quality and current technology from one of the best recumbent bike brands.

Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike

Review: This wildly popular and value-priced Marcy recumbent bike has 8 levels of magnetic resistance, and on board console to track your workout data and a large wide padded seat for a comfortable ride.

For the price, it is surprisingly quiet and well built.


  • Small footprint.
  • Quiet and well built.
  • Easy to put together.


  • Not enough seat adjustments back and forth, however, does accommodate short folks well.


The most popular bike of all the recumbent exercise bike reviews here, and no wonder, it’s got one of the lowest prices too!

Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike

Review: Schwinn is known for exceptional quality and this bike is a fine example of the brands’ craftsmanship.

This bike has a high-quality magnetic resistance system, adjustable seat to accommodate tall and short users, and the bike is sturdy and well made. This bike will last for years to come.


  • On board console has 22 workout programs, 13 different pieces of workout data, goal tracking and 2 user settings.
  • 20 magnetic resistance levels.
  • A perimeter weighted flywheel for a smooth ride.


  • Seat back is not padded and could use a little cushion.


Our pick for best recumbent exercise bike under 500.

Xterra Recumbent Bike

Review: This bike has all the features and quality of more expensive bikes, at an accessible price.


  • Great for very short and very tall and all those in between.
  • Easy to use on board computer.
  • Super easy to assemble – no belts to wear out.
  • Heavy flywheel for a smooth ride.


  • Small creaks and squeaks while riding.


Xterra makes some of the most affordable, best recumbent bikes for home use, including this model.


Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike

Review: This Exerpeutic 900 XL is priced right. It has 8 levels of magnetic resistance, a max user weight of 300 lbs and a relatively small footprint, making it ideal for home use.

Fits tall users just as well as short ones. It has good lumbar support in the seat back and is comfortable to use. It is easy to get on and off of, and even has small support handles in front to help you dismount.


  • Easy to assemble with clear instructions – a rarity for exercise equipment.
  • A Comfortable, adjustable, ergonomic seat with good lower back support.
  • Strong, silent and stable recumbent bike.


  • Some users have trouble using the LCD monitor.


Best recumbent bike for seniors on a budget.

Stamina 4825 Magnetic Recumbent Bike

Review: This Stamina recumbent bike has several features you may like, at a price that is affordable. The bike has magnetic resistance which is easily adjusted using a knob and the resistance at the highest level is very challenging.

If you are after a good workout, this may be the best recumbent stationary bike for you.


  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance with upper levels being quite challenging.
  • Very quiet bike, great for apartments.
  • Weight limit of about 300 lbs, adjusts to accommodate both short and tall folks.


  • Smallish seat, and no straps on the pedals.


If you are looking for a serious workout, this is the best recumbent bike for home gyms in this price range with strong resistance.

Nautilus R614 Recumbent Bike

Review: This quality bike from Nautilus has 22 levels of magnetic resistance that range from virtually no resistance, to very high resistance, giving you complete control of how hard you want your workout to be.

The bike is so quiet you can watch TV while riding, and the seatback makes for a comfortable ride.


  • Tech features: two speakers, fan, with handle pulse monitor, dual LCD display.
  • 22 levels of magnetic resistance plus weighted flywheel for a smooth ride at any resistance level.
  • Sturdy bike, suitable for heavy riders.


  • Pedals are a little too narrow.


A smooth quiet ride make this bike one of the best home recumbent bikes out there.

Star Trac S-RBx Recumbent Bike

Review: This gym-quality recumbent bike is built with durability and comfort in mind. The padded seat and padded seat back are fully adjustable, plus the seat is VERY easy to move due to a wraparound adjustment bar.

The bike seat and handlebars adjust making this the best recumbent bike for short legs.


  • Armrests that lift up out of the way, walk through design.
  • Self-powered, no need to plug in.
  • Finer details – pedal straps, built-in fan cup holders, heart rate built into front handles that adjust, perfect for short users.


  • Expensive.


Since it is adjustable and allows you to get into your ideal riding position easily this is recommended as one of the best recumbent exercise bikes for bad knees.


Goplus Magnet Recumbent Bike

Review: Another great value priced choice is this GoPlus Magnet recumbent bike. It features magnetic resistance, a padded seat and seat back, front and side handles, and an easy step through design.


  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
  • Stable, solid and well built.
  • Easy to move, has transport wheels and is lightweight.


  • 220 lb weight limit.


One of the best recumbent bike for home because it is very affordable and well built.

Exerpeutic 300SR Foldable Recumbent Bike

Review: This folding bike is a good option for apartment dwellers, or those with really limited space. This very basic machine has a padded seat and backrest with support handles to the side. The pedals have straps to hold your feet in.


  • Max user weight of 300 lbs.
  • Folds up and sores away.
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance.


  • No front handlebars and display sit low. Great for watching TV, however, as nothing is in front of you.


The best folding recumbent exercise bike available.

Complete Buying Guide to Recumbent Bikes

girl pedaling on a recumbent bike at the gym

What is a Recumbent Bike?

A recumbent bike places you, the rider, in a comfortable reclined position. And just like your favorite easy chair, it is a great place to watch TV, and get a little exercise at the same time.

That is more than you can say for your La-Z Boy recliner, right?

Today these recumbent bikes are so quiet, you won’t need to turn up the TV volume to ride, and you won’t disturb neighbors or your spouse while riding.


Unlike upright bikes, the recumbent bikes have seatbacks, like a chair, and are easy on your back. No need to hunch over the handlebars and add more strain and aches.

A recumbent bike supports your back and puts your legs and body in a comfortable position.

Is a Recumbent Bike Better than an Upright Bike?

It depends on your goals really.

If you want a high intensity “spinning” style sweat your butt off workout, an upright bike might be for you. You can stand and pedal on some upright models, but be prepared to break a sweat and then some.

A recumbent bike is, by nature, a little more relaxed. Since there is a seat back, and you are in a more relaxed position, you do not have to go full bore if you don’t want to.

That’s not to say they do not offer a decent workout.

Most recumbent bikes have magnetic resistance and the upper-level resistance settings can have you sweating just as much as the upright versions if you choose.

But your back and knees will feel less of the brunt of an intense workout on a recumbent bike.

Recumbent Bike vs Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainers are indeed easy on the knees, but since you do need to stand on an elliptical trainer, it can be a strain on the back after a while.

If you have a bad back or back pain, a recumbent bike may be a better choice.

elliptical trainer against a brick wall at home gym

In addition to that:

On a recumbent bike, if you need to take a break, simply stop pedaling. Since you are already in a seated position you can rest right where you are at.

On an elliptical trainer, you need to stop and find a place to sit down in order to rest.

Recumbent Bike vs Treadmill

Treadmills can offer a great workout, no doubt. If you love to run or jog, or even take a walk in front of the TV set, treadmills are a great option.


If you have back knee or joint problems, the pressure from standing upright and walking or jogging may aggravate or exacerbate those issues.

With a recumbent bike, less weight and pressure are placed on the joints and back, so this type of bike is less likely to make any existing problems worse.

woman doing exercises on the treadmill

Top Benefits of Recumbent Bike Exercise

  • Recumbent bikes have larger more comfortable seats than other types of bikes.
  • Recumbent bikes have a seat back that allows you to comfortably sit back.
  • Pedals are out in front, so there is less pressure on joints.
  • You do NOT hunch your back on a recumbent bike like you would on any other type of bike.
  • You are at perfect TV watching level on a recumbent bike because they sit lower to the ground.
  • Recumbent bikes are far easier to get on to because they are lower to the ground and usually have handles near the seat and upfront.

Is a Recumbent Bike Good Exercise?

Yes, a recumbent bike works similar muscles as any bike would, the difference is your legs do most of the work and your body is less involved.

Most recumbent bikes have magnetic resistance, so you can set the difficulty level as high or as low as you need, you are in control of the intensity.

How do I Use Recumbent Bike to Improve My Fitness?

To ride a recumbent bike begin by sitting in the saddle and adjusting the seat so your feet are on the pedals, secured in the strap, and your leg is extended so your knee is just slightly bent.

Make any adjustments to the seat back and then set your resistance level on the console.

It’s that easy!

Most new models even have a quick start button so if the seat is already set to your preferred adjustments, you can just push and go.

What Muscles will I Work on a Recumbent Bike?

Many folks think recumbent bikes work different muscles than other types of bikes.

But, that is not the case.

Recumbent bikes work:

  • Quads, the large front leg muscle.
  • Glutes, the muscles in your bum.
  • Calves, for pulling the pedal down and back.
  • The hamstrings which are at the back of the legs.

While most recumbent bikes come pre-programmed with several workout programs, you can always increase your routine repertoire by including upper body into your cycling program.

Recumbent Bike workout with Dumbells.

This simple routine uses both recumbent bike combined with dumbbells to tone arms while getting a great cardio workout from the cycling.

What You Should Look Out for Before Choosing a Recumbent Bike

Seat and Seatback

Of all the recumbent bike reviews I have seen, an uncomfortable seat was one of the most common complains. Look for a wide padded seat.

The last thing you want getting in the way of you and your fitness goals is a hard, uncomfortable seat.

It defeats the whole purpose of buying a bike and setting it up if you don’t use it because it is a pain in the rear, literally.

Look for a padded seat, with a padded or mesh seatback with good lumbar support.

Weight Limit

The bikes in the recumbent bike reviews list have a wide range of max user weights. Some could handle riders up to 220 lbs, while others were able to accommodate 400 lbs plus.

Check the max user weight limit before purchasing a bike.


Cheaper bikes tend to be more wobbly and make the rider feel insecure.

I weeded out models that were poorly built and felt unstable, however, the less expensive the bike, the more likely it is to have a little wobble.


There are some really great, sturdy bikes in the reviews that are on the lower end of the price spectrum, so less expensive does not always mean poorly built.

Recumbent Bike FAQ

close up of young man training on the recumbent bike

What is the Best Recumbent Bike for Home Use?

If you are thinking about getting a recumbent bike for your home, you are in luck. There are several recumbent bikes that are a great choice for your home.

If you have only a small space to keep your recumbent bike the 3G Cardio Elite Recumbent is very compact at just 49 inches long. It also has a Narrow Q factor distance between pedals making it easy on the hips and knees to ride, plus it’s very easy to get on and off of.

Also, see our list of best cardio machines for home use for other at-home exercise options.

What is the Best Recumbent Bike for Bad Knees?

The best recumbent bikes for folks with bad knees are those that have very low impact and allow the rider to make adjustments to get a good fit and comfortable riding position.

The Exerpeutic 900XL is a very low impact ride. It is easy on the joints and knees, is easy to get on and off of, has a high max user weight and the seat adjusts, allowing you to get the perfect fit for your height.

Having said that, if you are able to ride an upright bike, they are actually better for bad knees.

Check out this list of upright bikes if you have bad knees, but are able to use a bike that sits higher up and has no backrest.

What is the Best Recumbent Bike for Seniors?

One of the best recumbent bikes for seniors is the Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike, for 3 reasons.

  • It is low to the ground and very easy to get on and off of.
  • It has hand cranks that allow you to work the arms and legs on the same machine so you do not need to get up and move or buy a separate machine for arms.
  • It has a simple, no-nonsense console without a lot of extras, plus the console is low enough it will not be in the way if you want to enjoy TV or have a conversation while you ride.

If you are looking for other low impact cardio machine options, I recommend you check out elliptical trainers too. They are easy on the joints and a good choice for seniors. I have a list of the best elliptical trainers here.

What Areas Does a Recumbent Bike Target?

A recumbent bike, first and foremost is a cardiovascular workout. It burns calories by using the glutes, quads, hamstrings and lower legs.

But since a recumbent bike is not weight-bearing, the resistance of the bike alone is not enough to significantly build muscle.

A recumbent bike can help your cardiovascular health, help you burn fat and calories, but it is not likely to build large leg and thigh muscles.

Do Recumbent Bikes Hurt Your Back?

Many people with back pain and problems have successfully used a recumbent bike with no pain.

If you or someone you know suffers from back pain a recumbent may be appropriate as long as the seat can give enough lumbar support and the seat is adjustable.

The Exerpeutic 900XL is a recumbent bike with good lumbar support. Another option is to use a lumbar support cushion on the back seat rest of your recumbent bike.

If your legs are too far from the pedals as you ride, this can exacerbate pain, so make sure to look for a recumbent bike with an adjustable seat to get the right fit.

Are Recumbent Bikes Good for Losing Weight?

Many people who use recumbent bikes consistently see the weight loss results they are after.

The weight loss is a result of burning calories which puts you in a calorie deficit. If you do not eat to make up the deficit you create you will lose weight.

If you want a jump start on fat-burning using a recumbent bike, check out this video. This follow-along workout includes 4 minutes of HIIT with 16 minutes of leisurely riding in-between the HIIT segments. All you have to do is set the video up on the TV or your tablet and follow along.

It looks easy at first but gets pretty intense. Give it a go!

Looking for more exercise options that can help you lose weight? Check out this list of exercise equipment that can help you lose weight.

How Long Should I Exercise on a Recumbent Bike?

The CDC recommends between 150 to 300 minutes of exercise a week. If your goal is to meet the minimum recommendations using just the recumbent bike, you could ride 30 minutes, 5 times a week.

Of course, you can always ride more often, and many people do. It really depends on your personal goals and what other exercises you do.

If your time is limited, and you find it is challenging to get as much exercise as you want, why not consider an under desk cycle you can use at work? I created a list here of the best under desk bikes I could find.

Are You Ready to Ride?

I hope you found the best recumbent bike of 2021 for you.

Drop me a line and let me know what you think. Did you decide on getting a recumbent bike to meet our fitness needs?

I would love to hear what you picked out and how you like it! Let me know in the comments below.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the Garage Gym Power newsletter and be the first to know when new reviews and news are released.

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