Best Recumbent Bikes for Back and Knee Saving with TOP 16 Reviews 2018

Best Recumbent Bikes for Back and Knee Saving with TOP 16 Reviews 2018
4.7 (93.33%) 12 votes

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

Has your doctor said you must get exercise, but your body is disagreeing due to aches and pains?

Are you an athlete who already spends a lot of time exercising in an upright position and wants something to give your routine some balance?

If any of these scenarios apply to you, a recumbent bike may be just the answer you are looking for.

A recumbent bike is easy on back and knees, puts you in a comfortable reclined seated position, and is a good option if you want to exercise, but find an upright position uncomfortable.

In this guide I will show you what a recumbent bike is, how it benefits you, what you should pay attention to before choosing one and wrap it up with reviews of 16 of my favorite recumbent bikes.

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Best Recumbent Bikes

Our Rating

Available

3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bikebuy-from-amazon-button
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bikebuy-from-amazon-button
Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bikebuy-from-amazon-button
IRONMAN Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bikebuy-from-amazon-button
Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bikebuy-from-amazon-button

What is a Recumbent Bike? Recumbent vs Upright Exercise Bikes

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.

Plus

Unlike upright bikes, the recumbent bikes have seat backs, 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?

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.

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.

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

Fitness girl running on 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.

However:

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.

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 up front.

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 newer 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

Recumbent Bike Workout for Beginners

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 seat back

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.

Do:

Look for a padded seat, and preferably, a padded or mesh seat back.

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.

Do:

Check the max user weight limit before purchasing a bike

Stability

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.

However:

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.

16 Best Recumbent Bikes for Home or Garage Gym

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, it is 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • It’s hard to find fault with this bike, it is superior is just about every way and deserves the #1 spot on this list.

Takeaway

Simply the best recumbent bike in 2018!

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Stiff chair back, plus data in console disappears if you stop pedaling for too long.

Takeaway

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

Sunny Health Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike

Review: This recumbent bike is priced right for the home user. It is so quiet you can ride it while watching TV, no problem.

It has a wide comfortable seat, adjusts to users of all sizes, and users up to 300 lbs. You can pedal backwards and forwards, and resistance is applied in both directions. Neat!

Pros

  • Easy to adjust magnetic resistance.
  • Fully adjustable seat and pedal straps.
  • On board console tracks workout data and heartbeat.

Cons

  • Not as sturdy and stable as more expensive models.

Takeaway

This bike accommodates both tall and short folks, even down to 4’10”, best recumbent exercise bike for short people.

Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike

Review: This wildly popular and value priced Marcy Recumbent bike has 8 levels of magnetic resistance, an 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.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Takeaway

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

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

Takeaway

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Small creaks and squeaks while riding.

Takeaway

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

Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Bike

Review: This budget priced bike made by Marcy, one of the best recumbent bike brands, 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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Seat adjustment is stiff, no book or tablet holder.

Takeaway

I love the padded seat and simplicity of using an adjustment knob so I award this bike best recumbent bike for seniors.

Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity 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.

Pros

  • 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 type.

Cons

  • Some users have trouble using the LCD monitor.

Takeaway

Best recumbent bike for seniors on a budget.

Stamina 4825 Magnetic Recumbent Exercise 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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Smallish seat, and no straps on the pedals.

Takeaway

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 seat back makes for a comfortable ride.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Pedals are a little too narrow.

Takeaway

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

Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

Review: This Schwinn bike is solid and stable enough for commercial use. If you are a large user, this may be the perfect bike for you.

I will not move or wobble as you pedal. It has a larger base or footprint than most. At the same time, the bike seat is adjustable and fits all sizes, even those under 5 feet tall.

The seat is padded, although the seat back is not, but it is comfortable for long rides.

Pros

  • Dual LCD displays with 29 different workout programs included.
  • Stable and sturdy.
  • 22 levels of resistance for a very customizable workout.

Cons

  • The handlebars are not adjustable.

Takeaway

Best recumbent exercise bike for the big and tall.

Diamondback 510SR Fitness Recumbent Bike

Review: This diamondback 510SR luxury recumbent bike allows for a comfortable, yet challenging ride.

The padded seat and back are fully adjustable, allowing the seat back to raise or lower for a perfect fit.

This bike has all the creature comforts you need while riding including a place to dock your tablet, a cup holder, speakers, built in fan and a magazine rack.

Pros

  • 20 workout programs.
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance.
  • State of the art media center includes ipad docking station, magazine stand, Speakers and more.

Cons

  • Fan is not too strong.

Takeaway

This is the best recumbent exercise bike for the tech enthusiast.

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 wrap around adjustment bar. The bike seat and handlebars adjust making this the best recumbent bike for short legs.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Takeaway

Since it is so adjustable and able to get into your ideal riding position this is recommended as one of the best recumbent exercise bike for bad knees.

Life Fitness RS1 Go Recumbent Lifecycle Exercise Bikes

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Pricy, but with commercial quality.

Takeaway

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

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • 220 lb weight limit.

Takeaway

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

IRONMAN Exerpeutic 400XL Folding 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.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Takeaway

The best folding recumbent exercise bike available.

Are you Ready to ride?

I hope you found this guide and the reviews helpful. 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.