Looking for the best recumbent bike? I hope this review will help you find one. Schwinn 270, Sole Fitness and Exerpeutic 900 XL are our Top 3 Recumbent bikes for 2018.
This is a lengthy review, so keep on reading if you do have time. Otherwise, just check out the table here to compare and choose from our 10 best recumbent bikes according to your needs.
So, without any further ado, let’s move back to the review below.
If you like history and are seeking the best recumbent exercise bicycle for your personal needs, you may wish to refer to Martin Kreig. He took it upon himself to compile the definitive history of the recumbent bike, and it’s a fascinating chronology.
Over time, the evolution of this popular piece of workout equipment has taken many forms and been given a long list of names. But, no matter what you choose call this fitness aid – upright exercise bike, gym cycle, stationary bike or recumbent bike – the engineering concept is fairly straightforward: You give your joints, back, neck and skeletal system a break by assuming a reclining position throughout your workout.
The gentle slope makes this exercise bike an ideal recovery machine for those who require rehabilitation following neck and back surgery. Recumbent bikes are the exercise equipment world’s equivalent of the zero-gravity chair, so using one can add years to your fitness life.
- Why Choose a Recumbent Bike?
- 7 Great Medical Benefits you Receive from Recumbent Bikes
- Best Recumbent Bike 2018
- 1. Sole Fitness LCR Light Commercial Recumbent Bike – The Cadillac of Recumbent Bikes
- 2. Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike – America’s Most Respected Brand
- 3. Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike – Safety Credentials You Can Count On
- 4. Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike – Most Affordable Recumbent on the Market
- 5. Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike – Health-Club Approved for Long Life
- 6. ProForm 440 ES Exercise Bike – From the Brand Partnering with the Tour de France
- 7. Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike – Outstanding Distribution Network and Excellent Pricing
- 8. Stamina 1350 Magnetic Resistance Recumbent Bike – Company-backed Excellence to Spare
- 9. ProGear 555LXT Magnetic Tension Recumbent Bike – Surprising Quality at a Surprising Price
- 10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4602 Recumbent Bike – Preferred by Seniors for Myriad Reasons
- Recumbent Bike Buyer’s Guide: How to Make Your Buying Decision
Why Choose a Recumbent Bike?
According to Paul K. Nolan, MD who–for one reason or another–decided to turn his interest in recumbent biking into a clinical study, recumbent bikes are modern-day medical miracles because they do a great job of positioning the body properly while allowing the patient, athlete or fitness buff to get a decent workout while protecting vulnerable parts of the body.
Instead of precariously balancing a lot of weight (yours) on a little leather saddle (yours, too), body mass is equally distributed so your skeletal structure, and particularly your torso, can relax.
Recumbent bikes are frequently recommended by doctors and dieticians to overweight people who need exercise but aren’t able to balance on a regular fitness bike seat properly and safely. Seniors? Find recumbent exercise bikes everywhere from assisted living complexes to on-site gyms at independent living complexes.
But perhaps you’re saying, “I don’t want to relax! I want to work out.”
That’s exactly what you’ll do once you find the recumbent bike that suits your needs because while they’re easy on the skeletal system, recumbent exercise bikes deliver calorie-burning, heart-pleasing physical improvement results for all ages and stages of life and levels of physical fitness.
Best of all, recumbent exercise bikes will allow you to get the exercise you crave but you can kiss aches and pains associated with stationary bike workouts goodbye for good.
7 Great Medical Benefits you Receive from Recumbent Bikes
Best Recumbent Bike 2018
Below is a table showing the Top 10 Recumbent Bikes of 2018. These bikes were chosen because they each offer something special. There is a range of price levels and a range of functions, with a good match for just about everyone somewhere on the list.
|Bike Name||Weight Capacity||Diementions: (W x H x D)||Price|
|Sole Fitness LCR Light Commercial Recumbent Bike|
|350 pounds||30''x50''x 57'' |
|Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike||300 pounds||27.7''x49.9''x 64'' |
|Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike||300 pounds||22''x34''x 54'' |
|Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike||300 pounds||55.5''x25''x 37.5'' |
|Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike||300 pounds||64''x27''x 50'' |
|ProForm 440 ES Exercise Bike||350 pounds||33''x19''x 46'' |
|Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike||250 pounds||24''x38''x 53'' |
|Stamina 1350 Magnetic Resistance Recumbent Bike||250 pounds||24''x33.5''x 50'' |
|ProGear 555LXT Magnetic Tension Recumbent Bike||250 pounds||22''x43''x 49'' |
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4602 Recumbent Bike||350 pounds||27''x37''x 61'' |
You owe it to yourself to compare the information on this table for numerous reasons. Social scientists have looked at buying decisions through the lens of human behavior and found too many cases of “buyer’s remorse” in people they query.
As a matter of fact, some shoppers have been known to grow confused when confronted with as few as 7 choices. Eliminate that quandary when you shop by defining parameters before you visit retailers and peruse Internet sites.
Do you know exactly what you’re looking for? Do you have a budget in mind? If you live in a studio apartment with a Golden Retriever do you have the room it takes to stow a recumbent bike without having to sleep in your bathtub?
Elimination can be the best tool in your arsenal as you weigh features and benefits. For example, eliminate recumbent bikes take up too much space; those that bust your budget and brands you don’t recognize, crafting a short list can empower rather than confuse you. This web page can help you further if decision making isn’t your strong suit.
Oh, and if your friends own fitness equipment and/or you’ve got access to a gym, turn yourself into a social scientist and ask everyone you trust for their advice. You may already notice that the world is filled with people delighted to share their opinions. A good place to start? With our 10 recommendations.
1. Sole Fitness LCR Light Commercial Recumbent Bike – The Cadillac of Recumbent Bikes
About the manufacturer: Sole’s reputation for providing the best industrial-grade fitness equipment to shoppers throughout North America has grown faster than most in the five years since the company’s startup. The brand intends to continue focusing on both commercial (especially hotel fitness rooms) and residential use, so if you’ve got a healthy budget and the room, your search may begin and end right here.
Features and benefits
The Sole has been called the Cadillac of recumbent bikes and not just because it costs more than comparable pieces of equipment. It’s comfortable, dependable and designed especially for fitness studios, therapy clinics, community and home recreation centers—and if your place is big enough, your home gym.
The seat is adjustable as are the handlebars and the unit comes with 6-standard, 2-custom and 2-heart rate programs that may even exceed your need for bells and whistles. Additionally, the built-in fan and state-of-the-art LCD console are designed to impress as a result of both design and functionality.
Outfitted for athletes who want to keep tabs on their heart rates, this recumbent bike offers both pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring, thus a strap comes with the unit.
- Straightforward assembly directions get exercisers up and pedaling quickly.
- This recumbent is easy on the knees and knee joints; arthritis sufferers can get the workout they desire.
- Thanks to electronics, users receive a steady stream of information to monitor performance and heart rate.
- The lifetime frame warranty and other limited warrantees match or exceed benefits of comparable products.
- You get 6 heart rate programs, so this is the ideal recumbent bike for exercise, rehab and therapy.
- Price could be a deal-breaker despite so many excellent features and qualities.
- For short people, reaching the pedals—despite their size—could be difficult to impossible.
- You may not need this many bells and whistles if all you want is a daily workout that’s easy on the knees.
- Third-party pricing can make finding this bike at the best price a task.
- The size could present problems for those living in confined quarters with little room to spare for equipment.
2. Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike – America’s Most Respected Brand
About the manufacturer: The Schwinn brand is synonymous with America’s history, having been founded in 1891 by German-born Ignaz Schwinn whose mechanical engineering degree came in handy when he launched his Chicago-based bicycle business. Once the biggest and most well-known brand in the U.S., competition led to bankruptcy in 1992, but Pacific Cycle (owned by Dorel Industries) brought this iconic bicycle company back to life so future generations can enjoy the same history bicyclists enjoyed more than 100 years ago.
Features and Benefits
- From the perspective of nostalgia, no bike has a better pedigree than a Schwinn.
- Download the Schwinn Trainer app (SchwinnConnect.com) to keep your workout on schedule and on target.
- Enjoy Bluetooth capability so you can synch Schwinn Trainer with MyFitnessPal if you like using this app.
- Heart rate monitoring sensors keep cardio efforts on track and monitored in real time via hand contact.
- The padded seat and seatback are comfortable even for long periods of time; you’ll love the 3-speed fan.
- You could run into difficulties when adjusting the seat slide feature because it’s hidden way under the seat.
- Brand loyalists may wish to spend a little more and get the newer iteration of the 270 that costs about $800.
- If you have difficulty peddling, even the lowest resistance setting could to be too high for your physical limits.
- Rather than a metal frame, this bike is manufactured of plastic and prone to squeaks and scratching.
- If you insist on products made in the U.S., it’s important to know that this bike is fabricated in China.
3. Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike – Safety Credentials You Can Count On
About the manufacturer: The Exerpeutic brand is owned and operated by Paradigm Health & Wellness located in Southern California. The company is committed to producing and supplying fitness equipment featuring the latest in engineering, design and function. Literally geared to the consumer market, Paradigm’s product library includes inversion systems, treadmills and standard exercise bikes, but the brand is particularly focused on a wide range of recumbent bikes that come in myriad price points to satisfy brand loyalists on various budgets. Paradigm takes particular pride in its safety certifications that include UL/CUL, ETL/CETL and CE/ROHS.
Features and Benefits
- Easy access and no acrobatics required to get on and off this ideally-sized recumbent bike with its low center of gravity.
- This unit is easy to assemble; once it’s up and running, pedaling—-backward and forward–won’t stress out your joints.
- Quiet and sturdy, this Exerpeutic brand recumbent won’t annoy your neighbors or roommates.
- Despite the affordable price, brand-loyal users report years of excellent service without complaints or returns.
- Delivers a smooth, distinct pedaling experience for those who can’t ride regular stationary bikes.
- The seat cushion may not meet your comfort standards; it’s rather hard compared to comparable bike seats.
- Not engineered for children as the seat won’t move forward enough to accommodate little ones.
- Though some find the 63-pound weight to be manageable, there are no rollers beneath the unit to help you relocate this recumbent bike should you need to do so.
- Based on returns to the manufacturer, some damaged inner workings have been reported by owners.
- You might want to consider the newer model (Exerpeutic Gold) with 21 workout programs at $230.
4. Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike – Most Affordable Recumbent on the Market
About the manufacturer: Walter Marcyan’s life story is as interesting as his fitness products. A vaudeville strongman from 1934 to 1940, he won an AAU Light Heavyweight Lifting Championship before turning his attention to establishing a fitness equipment business during what’s been called the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Jack LaLanne era. Marcyan opened 7 gyms in the Los Angeles area offering memberships to men, women and children. By the 1950s, he began equipping them with strength-training equipment of his own design—patented exercise products that continue to sell as well now as they did more than 50 years ago.
Features and Benefits
- At just $117, this recumbent bike is one of the most affordable models you’ll find on today’s fitness market.
- If you barely know your way around a screwdriver, putting this together on your own shouldn’t be a problem.
- The ideal starter recumbent bike if you really need to begin exercising but your wallet begs to differ.
- Quiet and sturdy, the adjustment features help one go from newbie to fit without sophisticated electronics.
- Expect excellent customer service if you have questions or concerns about the recumbent bike or your purchase.
- Not the best recumbent bike on the market if you have long legs due to the unit’s size.
- This bike is the definition of basic, so as long as you don’t crave bells and whistles, it should work for you.
- Not everyone finds the seat to be comfortable enough to stay on the bike for extended periods of time.
- Even on the highest setting, some exercisers complain that the resistance is too low to advance one’s fitness agenda.
- You could experience annoying squeaking sounds as a result of this bike’s engineering so you may wish to invest in a headset if you are easily distracted.
5. Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike – Health-Club Approved for Long Life
About the manufacturer: Nautilus has been both a household name and a familiar brand at health clubs and gyms for more than 40 years. As a matter of fact, it’s become a mega-brand over those four decades, producing cardio, strength and workout equipment under these proprietary brand names in addition to Nautilus: Bowflex, Universal and Octane Fitness. Availability is amazing: consumers can tap retail and direct channels to obtain equipment sold under all of these labels, but if you prefer an original brand name, the Nautilus R616 delivers.
Features and Benefits
- Few recumbent bikes at this price level offer this much comfort in terms of ergonomic seat design and ventilation.
- The fully-functional control panel is easy to learn and easier to operate, even for non-techies.
- Look forward to even pressure and smooth operation courtesy of excellent engineering and material.
- Quick assembly for anyone who can read easy directions provided by Nautilus.
- The heart rate tracker is one this recumbent bike’s most popular and often-referenced features.
- The unique seat and backrest some buyers rave about isn’t universally popular, according to returns.
- Pedal alignment could be a problem for those with leg and knee issues.
- If you don’t need this many programs, save a bundle by choosing a simpler bike.
- Incidents of flywheel replacement triggered by banging sounds have been reported; don’t lose the warranty.
- Not everyone finds assembly easy; some insist it’s impossible. If you’re not mechanically inclined, get professional help just in case.
6. ProForm 440 ES Exercise Bike – From the Brand Partnering with the Tour de France
About the manufacturer: If pedigrees impress you more than affordability, you owe it to yourself to learn more about ProForm, the company behind the 440ES exercise bike. ProForm partners with Le Tour de France and the Boston Athletic Association, sponsors of the Boston Marathon. The company has been building its reputation and profile for 30+ years, so it’s no fly-by-night manufacturer. While building a solid, recognizable brand has been a ProForm objective, the company’s research and development department hasn’t been sitting around: they hold more than 100 patents for their proprietary fitness equipment.
Features and Benefits
- Enjoy the equivalent of commercial fitness equipment for about one-third of the cost.
- Weighing over 150 pounds, this recumbent bike is solid and sturdy so you can forget about instability issues.
- The variety of programs accessible via the console is impressive; program options suit myriad fitness levels.
- Smooth, silent pedal action courtesy of the beefy 18-pound flywheel makes this model a popular pick.
- An excellent choice for those seeking program guidance to maximize long-term fitness goals and objectives.
- Assembly can be tricky and time consuming if you’re not comfortable using a crescent wrench and other tools.
- For large men and women, the seat may not be comfortable nor wide enough and the seat back isn’t adjustable.
- Not recommended for those with knee problems. The diagonal base makes it hard and painful to get on and off.
- Dissatisfied shoppers report problems sorting out returns despite using the online return portal.
- Don’t neglect lubricating parts or you could wind up with annoying squeaks just months into ownership.
7. Velocity Exercise CHB-R2101 Recumbent Exercise Bike – Outstanding Distribution Network and Excellent Pricing
About the manufacturer: Velocity Exercise equipment is part of CAP Barbell, a 25-year-old distributor of fitness equipment. At start-up, Velocity produced only free weights and weight benches, but an expanding network of retailers helped grow this company’s product library to more than 1,000 products in 30 categories. Suppliers of equipment to gyms, community centers and other commercial facilities, CAP is focusing on fitness gear for homes, opening distribution centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Savannah and Houston to better serve customers throughout the U.S.
Features and Benefits
- Comfortably fits most budgets yet construction is sturdy and solid.
- Easy assembly instructions for anyone with a little technical expertise and basic tools.
- The heart monitoring sensor wires are snugly affixed between the handlebars and seat bar.
- The powder-coated frame can add years to the life of this recumbent bike’s frame.
- Ideal for those who want some features but don’t necessarily require every bell and whistle under the sun.
- Don’t start assembling until you’ve counted the bolts as you may not get enough to complete the project.
- Armrest screws may also be in short supply when you unpack this bike, so verify that number immediately.
- At just one speed, this recumbent bike may not allow you to progress as far as you might like over time.
- Owners have reported console display problems from the get-go which could require disassembly and/or returns.
- Customer service is only available during normal business hours so you may have to wait for help.
8. Stamina 1350 Magnetic Resistance Recumbent Bike – Company-backed Excellence to Spare
About the manufacturer: When founders launched the Stamina brand in 1987, a goal was penetrating the affordable fitness equipment market. Diversification? That’s this brand’s middle name, which is why familiar brands like American Gladiator Home Gym, AeroPilates Performer, InStride Walker, the Body Dome and Gold’s Gym are actually Stamina products “under the hood.” Headquartered in Springfield, Missouri, Stamina intends to beat competition on commercial and residential fronts.
Features and Benefits
- This Stamina bike offers relatively easy assembly so it won’t take much time to get you up and moving.
- Assembly instructions are so easy to follow, Stamina regularly receives fan mail from owners!
- An ideal solution for people recovering from knee surgery who require at-home exercise therapy.
- This bike is affordably priced, easily moved and compact enough to fit into small spaces.
- The company stands behind this bike if you tend to worry about short-term return policies.
- Reports of “clunking noises” while pedaling have been reported by purchasers; since the housing is sealed, troubleshooting may not be possible without cracking the housing.
- If you are tall, the distance between seat and pedals may not offer the comfortable workout you seek.
- Not everyone buying this bike finds the resistance to be adequate for their workout needs and goals.
- If you weigh more than 250 pounds, keep shopping for a comparable recumbent bike.
- The short warranties may not satisfy you if you’re comparing this Stamina to competitors.
9. ProGear 555LXT Magnetic Tension Recumbent Bike – Surprising Quality at a Surprising Price
About the manufacturer: If you liked the profile included in this review about the Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike (#3), but for one reason or another the Exerpeutic doesn’t thrill you, take a look at the comparatively-priced ProGear 555LXY. It is also manufactured by Paradigm, the California company committed to “bringing to the market new and innovative” fitness products for contemporary “value conscious people who train hard but don’t want to spend a fortune.” If you like to comparison shop, this is your opportunity to weigh two bikes from the same resource.
Features and Benefits
- This affordable recumbent bike is made by one of the most diverse fitness equipment companies in the U.S.
- Compact and relatively lightweight, it can be wheeled around and stored quickly and easily.
- The adjustable seat is easy to manipulate, even for exercisers who suffer with arthritis.
- An excellent choice for those who need therapy after knee surgery to rehabilitate extremities.
- If you follow instructions, assembly is relatively swift and stress-free.
- Not every buyer likes the seat; you may need a section of thick foam if your posterior is bony to avoid bruising.
- Follow assembly instructions carefully so you don’t put it together and realize that you haven’t tethered the tension wire to the console.
- This recumbent’s advertising says it’s for very tall people. If that describes you, test drive before you buy just in case.
- Since you get what you pay for, don’t expect lots of bells and whistles; this bike is a straightforward model.
- Not every owner is delighted with the mechanism that enables one to adjust the tension, so keep that in mind before you make your buying decision.
10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4602 Recumbent Bike – Preferred by Seniors for Myriad Reasons
About the manufacturer: Sunny Health & Fitness imports and distributes health and fitness products from its Los Angeles headquarters (hence the “Sunny”) but all manufacturing is done in Taiwan and China. Because everything is fabricated in Asia, the company says it can keep its retail prices down, making Sunny “more competitive than the average distributor in the industry.” In addition to regular, stationary and recumbent bikes, Sunny Health & Fitness has prioritized diversification for 15 years so the firm also imports steppers, rowers, ellipticals, strength training equipment and accessories.
Features and Benefits
- Great value for the money, this recumbent bike is easy to assemble thanks to the straight-forward design.
- The easy step-in body makes this Sunny a favorite among seniors and post-rehab patients.
- Unlike recumbents designed for slimmer people, you can weigh up to 350 pounds on this exercise bike.
- The comfortable seat and easy-adjust seat handle get rave reviews from owners.
- Quiet enough to attend to your favorite diversion—music, TV, reading—without being interrupted.
- Despite the bike’s large console readout feature, electronics have failed owners after short periods of use.
- Remove this recumbent bike from your short list if you prefer to buy exercise equipment made only in the U.S.
- Owners attempting to increase tension found that the lightweight material housing the mechanism bends easily.
- Buyers may experience return delays if they’re dissatisfied since this product is made in Asia.
- If you require a more expansive or sophisticated console, this recumbent exercise bike may not suit your needs.
Recumbent Bike Buyer’s Guide: How to Make Your Buying Decision
There’s a lot of material here for your consideration, so we strongly encourage you to use the process of elimination to make your choice after evaluating and comparing each of the recumbent bicycles profiled in this review.
Start by removing from the list recumbent bikes that don’t suit your budget or financial status because there are too many models available to you that won’t stress you out to deliver the workout you seek.
Your physical condition is an important evaluative tool. Whether you’re exceptionally tall or overweight–or investing in a recumbent bike follows doctor’s orders–you’re not going to use your bike unless it specifically allows for your limitations.
If the idea of dealing with potential returns is enough to keep you awake at night, ordering a recumbent exercise bicycle made outside the U.S. may be asking for more concessions than you are willing to make.
Furthermore, by balancing the pros and cons gleaned from owners, buyers, manufacturers and reviewers, it won’t take a spread sheet to shorten your list as you get close to making that buying decision. On the other hand, you may be favorably disposed to one brand over another simply because you or those you trust have had experience buying recumbent bikes.
After all, it’s as important to know which brands don’t meet expectations as it is to identify those that do. Why not build your decision around the trials and errors of others?
You already know that doctors and fitness experts extol the virtues of recumbent style equipment over all other types of exercise bikes, so no matter which bike you pick, you can count on your instincts and smarts to guide you in the right direction.
Besides, if this review turns you into a quasi-expert on the topic of best recumbent bikes, who knows how much help you can give others down the road who find themselves eager to bicycle in your shoes.