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In this day and age, it can be a challenge making it to the gym. By investing in the best recumbent exercise bike, you can work out whenever you want from the comfort of your home. But with so many different brands and models, finding the right one for your needs can be dizzying.
We’re about to make your search a whole lot easier. We tested several bikes and narrowed down the 10 best entries. After you’ve read our thoughts on each one, be sure to stick around for our informational buyer’s guide.
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Our top pick for the best overall went to Nautilus’ R614. It’s loaded with plenty of exercise programs, heart rate settings, and resistance levels. There are even built-in speakers that let you listen to your favorite tunes while you work out.
If you’re on a budget, you can still get a great workout. MaxKare’s Folding Bike is an affordable option that’s fully-adjustable and easy to move. It has high weight capacity and comes with an intuitive LCD monitor.
We have plenty more in store, so keep reading to see what lies ahead. No matter what your exercise level is, we have just the bike for your needs.
Nautilus stole the show with the feature-rich R614. It comes loaded with 22 fitness programs and 20 levels of resistance.
We like that you can share this bike with someone else. The R614 lets you save two individual profiles, so each user can go straight to their personal settings.
There are even fitness tests preloaded, as well as heart rate controls. Now you can keep an eye on your health while you exercise.
The built-in media tray safely houses your favorite smart device. You can watch videos or listen to music while you work out thanks to the included sound system. The speakers sound great, and the addition of an auxiliary port makes it easy to pipe in your own tunes.
We also appreciate the onboard fan. This helps to keep you cool during vigorous exercise routines.
We like how quiet the R614 is in action. Motion is smooth, too. It’s easy to make adjustments with the huge digital console.
Our only complaint lies with the seating. Although it is vented and nicely-contoured, it isn’t padded.
Be prepared to shell out some serious funds for the Nautilus R614. It’s the most expensive recumbent bike we reviewed. But considering all that it has to offer, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.
The user-friendly DualTrack LCD monitor makes it easy to change settings. You can also keep an eye on goals, calories burned, distance traveled, and more.
We were mighty impressed with this entry. It comes at an incredible price and has lots to offer. The build-quality is exceptional considering the low cost. And the folding feature adds even more value.
This makes it incredibly easy to store away or stand upright in a corner when not in use. And thanks to built-in wheels, you can do this on your own without the help of a friend.
A built-in LCD screen conveniently keeps track of important health information. And when not in use, you can mount a tablet directly over it to watch videos while you exercise.
Another huge plus is the seating. MaxKare included a thick yet soft seat. There’s also a lumbar support that’s equally padded. You can work out in comfort while minimizing body fatigue.
You can adjust the seating to better accommodate your stature. And changing the resistance levels feels nice. A clicky dial lets you know which setting you’ve selected.
The only thing we didn’t care for was the arm exercise setup. You get two resistance bands attached to soft handle grips. Being bands, it’s difficult to keep your arms securely positioned with each pull. It just ends up feeling awkward.
We found the MaxKare Folding Bike to be a breeze to assemble. There’s so much to like here thanks to the user-friendly construction. You can tell a lot of thought went into designing this bike. It’s easy to fold, and we like the way adjustments feel.
Marcy’s ME-709 is another fine recumbent bike that comes at an affordable price. We were impressed by how well-made this bike is. It supports up to 300 pounds thanks to its 14-gauge steel construction.
We’re not the biggest fans of the LCD monitor. It’s quite basic and therefore limited in its features. But it does display your distance traveled, rate of speed, and calories burned. It has large digits for easy readability. We just wish it were backlit.
There are a total of eight resistance levels on the ME-709. Adjusting these is easy and straightforward. Just turn a dial to get the workout you desire.
Our favorite feature, though, is the soft seating. It’s wide and comfortable, with high, plush back support. Handlebars are on each side of the seating to offer support while you exercise. These are nicely-padded to reduce hand fatigue.
We were pleased with the smooth pedaling system of the ME-709. Operation is quiet, too. So you can work out early in the morning without waking others.
The counter-balanced pedals work to give you a smooth and effortless ride. The resistance levels are great, and you won’t be fighting with the bike thanks to its well-designed construction.
Schwinn delivers a solid entry that comes loaded with handy features. The 270 is one of the few quality recumbent bikes with Bluetooth technology. This allows you to sync up with your favorite fitness app for a finely-tuned workout.
You get 29 programs to choose from, with 12 profile options. You can even monitor your heart rate and customize your own exercise regimen.
If you like a well-defined workout, the Schwinn 270 gives you a total of 25 resistance levels. This lets you gradually work toward your fitness goals with ease. And for vigorous exercise sessions, a built-in 3-speed fan keeps you cool so you can last longer.
DualTrack makes an appearance once again. This robust LCD monitor sports a backlit display and plenty of options. Built-in speakers and MP3 input allow you to jam to your favorite music while you exercise. Although you’ll likely want to use headphones instead.
The Schwinn 270 is a bit on the pricey side. And we’re not very fond of the speakers. Other than that, this is a well-made bike that you’re sure to benefit from.
Schwinn includes the proper tools to make installation quick and easy. We had our unit together in less than an hour, although we used our own tools to speed things up. Instructions are clear and straightforward, so there’s no confusion as to what you need to do.
XTERRA’s SB150 made the list due to its affordable price and user-friendly design. We like that the seating is comfortable. It’s not quite as thick as some other models we reviewed. But its padding is adequate, and it has a tall back support.
The soft and grippy handlebars are a nice touch, with small rests included. These are great for resting your arms when needed. You’ll also find small pulse monitors built into these rests.
We like the level of adjustment allowed on this one. You can lean the seat back for a more comfortable exercise experience.
The LCD console monitor is small, but easy to use. It boasts nice backlighting so you can clearly see your heart rate, distance traveled, calories burned, and more. It’s also music-ready, with an auxiliary port and built-in speaker.
Our only gripe is with the construction. It just doesn’t feel as solid as other entries. There was some noticeable wobble during exercising.
Aside from that, operation is smooth and quiet. And with a total of 16 programs (4 are custom), you’ll find plenty to keep you motivated.
The monitor is very user-friendly and the adjustable seat is a big plus. The number of programs and resistance levels make this bike a great investment. There’s a lot to keep you busy, and it’s all hassle-free.
Exerpeutic enters the fray with their own folding bike. The 400XL is fairly inexpensive, yet has enough features that make it a worthy contender.
We really like the seating design. It’s wide and well-padded. Its thickness provides an inviting cushion for long workout sessions. And the addition of a high back gives you excellent support.
An onboard LCD monitor displays important vitals and information while you cycle. It’s a bit on the small side, but it gets the job done.
We appreciate the weight capacity of the 400XL. It can easily hold up to 300 pounds, allowing users of all shapes and sizes to benefit from it.
There are handles on each side of the seat that come equipped with pulse sensors. This lets you get accurate feedback while you exercise.
When using the bike, its operation is smooth and quiet. It’s also very solid in its construction. So it stays stabilized while you ride.
We like the folding feature of the 400XL. It works well and is easy to use. It folds into a compact upright position, making it great for storing in the corner when not in use.
Sunny Health & Fitness’ SF-RB4708 separates itself from the competition by including arm exercisers. This provides a more vigorous workout by working more of your body at once.
The handlebars are equipped with pulse detectors so that you can actively monitor your heart rate. A digital display keeps you apprised of distance, calories, speed, and more. It’s very basic in its presentation, but at least it’s there.
The seating on this bike is most excellent. It sports a really nice contoured shape with a high back. You get plenty of support while you ride.
And speaking of which, pedaling is smooth and feels really good. It’s easy to adjust the eight resistance levels, too.
We would have liked it if the arms could be adjusted, too, however. They’re simply too high for some users, making it hard to reach them. Fortunately, you can opt not to use them and just work out your legs.
The adjustable cushioned seating makes using this bike a breeze. And we like that Sunny Health & Fitness included wheels at the base. This makes moving its rather large frame a lot easier.
Exerpeutic makes the list again with an upgraded version of the 400XL. This well-built machine is very sturdy. Exercising is smooth and steady thanks to large pedals. Your legs feel comfortable and your feet stay snug.
You get a total of eight resistance levels to work with. Even the lowest setting felt a bit more difficult than other bikes.
We like the shape and design of this model. Seating is very inviting, with plenty of padding and a backrest to keep you supported.
You’ll find handlebars on each side of the seat. These are also equipped with pulse sensors, allowing you to keep an eye on your heart rate while you pedal.
We were hoping to see a nice, large console monitor. But sadly, it’s really plain. The basic design does lend to a very user-friendly system, however.
Assembly proved to be quite the pain. The included instructions are rather poor. And it’s just a really frustrating bike to put together. Once we finally succeeded, the 900XL turned out to be a really easy unit to operate.
Schwinn isn’t through yet. We included the 230 Series because it’s a slightly less expensive version of the 270.
You get many of the same features found on the 270, but with fewer programs. It’s also lacking backlighting on the DualTrack console monitor.
The ability to save two separate profiles makes a return. So you can share this bike with another user without resetting your preferences.
There are a total of 22 workout programs, seven fewer than the 270. This is still a lot to work with. It’s also music-ready, with built-in speakers and an auxiliary input.
We’re not very fond of the seating on the 230. It just seems flat and uncomfortable. But the bike’s overall operation is quiet and very smooth.
The Schwinn 230 was easy to put together. We had everything up and running in about 30 minutes. The DualTrack system is very user-friendly, making this a great bike for entry-level use.
Marcy’s NS-176R makes a fine addition to your home with a user-friendly system and wide seating. You get a total of eight resistance levels to work with.
We like the pedals on this bike. They house your feet tightly and have exceptional grip. This makes pedaling easy and less taxing on your legs.
The LCD monitor is pretty basic, but at least it’s easy to use. From here, you can see your distance, speed, calories burned, and time exercising.
As you can see, the NS-716R is rather limited. If you’re just starting out and looking for a no-frills recumbent bike, this is a fine option. But those who have been exercising for quite some time will likely want to look elsewhere.
There’s isn’t much to the assembly process. You should be up and running in under an hour. The user-interface, limited as it is, takes no time to learn and is easy to operate.
Now that you’ve seen what the best recumbent bikes have to offer, let’s take a look at some important features you want to consider. The level of these varies from buyer to buyer. This will help you better determine which bike is best suited to your needs.
When it comes to recumbent bikes, comfort is everything. If you plan to use your new bike daily, it’s vital that you get one that’s comfortable. The biggest factor is going to be the seat. Some bikes have plastic seating that can get really uncomfortable over time.
If you only plan on using your bike occasionally, this may not be a big deal. But if you’re a daily rider, you’re better off going with a model that’s equipped with a padded seat. Some are more contoured than others, as well.
The flatter the seat is, the more discomfort you’ll experience. Others come with back supports in place. These go a long way in taking pressure off of the rest of your body, allowing for a more enjoyable ride.
Something else you want to watch for are the handlebars. Can they be adjusted? Do they have nice grips to hold onto? Depending on the length of your arms, adjustable handlebars may not be a concern. But if their measurements are beyond your reach, this feature is critical.
Handlebar grips are always going to be better than naked metal, especially for serious workout regimens.
That is, if you get a bike that’s out of your league. Some bikes can be very difficult to use, even on their lowest resistance level. It pays to thoroughly scout reviews to see what other buyers are saying.
Sometimes, getting a bike with a higher number of resistance levels will help to offset the difficulty. Since you have a greater range to choose from, the lower ones are typically much easier.
There are two main types of resistance systems in recumbent bikes: magnetic and electro-magnetic. The former doesn’t require the bike to be plugged into an electrical outlet. The latter, obviously, does.
Which one you choose is mainly personal preference. A standard magnetic resistance bike doesn’t require any kind of maintenance throughout its life. Resistance is adjusted by turning a knob while you peddle. Some bikes require you to slow down or stop before making any changes.
An electro-magnetic bike is typically easier to adjust, as this is done via the onboard console system. Simply pressing up and down arrows changes the resistance levels. This type of bike will usually offer many preset programs not found on manual bikes.
The more things that a bike lets you adjust, the more enjoyable your experience will be. You’ll always be able to adjust resistance, but you may not be able to change height or seat position. If you get a bike that doesn’t properly accommodate your stature and can’t be adjusted, you’re not going to be very happy.
It’s important to research each bike’s measurements prior to purchasing anything. If its handlebars are beyond your reach, make sure that you can adjust either their height or the seat’s. Otherwise the bike is going to be useless to you.
Some other things you may want to consider are features that add convenience. Cup holders and pockets allow you to keep drinks and snacks handy.
Some bikes come with media trays for perching up your favorite smart device. Others have built-in speaker systems that let you pipe in your own music. More advanced systems come Bluetooth-ready. This allows for the transferring of personal exercise applications.
Recumbent bikes require lots of motion from your legs. The more you pedal, the more you are improving your cardiovascular system. A hard workout increases your heart rate and strengthens our muscles.
But as your body becomes accustomed to exercising with a recumbent bike, the less energy your body will exert. This is a good thing. You can then increase the bike’s resistance levels as exercising gets easier.
Another benefit of using a recumbent bike is that you will burn calories. This is especially true if you’re just getting into exercising. In fact, you can burn just as many calories as you would on an upright bike.
However, if you’ve been exercising for a while and have good cardio, you’ll have a harder time with this.
Absolutely. But it is important that you don’t overdo it. You always want to start out on your bike’s lowest resistance level. Once you have gotten comfortable with it, you can then work your way up. You may soon find your posture improved, as well as your joints.
If you’re suffering from a hip or knee injury, recumbent bikes can work wonders. If you have bursitis or IT band pain, for example, proper exercise is usually encouraged.
You want to prevent tightening as much as possible. And using a recumbent bike will do just that due to the constant working of tendons and muscles.
The more you move your leg, the looser tendons become. You want to combine this with other exercises, as well. But having access to a recumbent bike is going to benefit you greatly.