We live in a modern world with constant innovations. That is just a fact. One of these innovations, a quite recent one in fact, is the recumbent exercise bike. You are probably familiar with exercise bikes such as the classic upright bike or those little bikes you see in spin classes. Well, today we are here to discuss the recumbent bike, a great innovation that lets people of all ages and fitness levels get some good cycling and cardio into their daily lives.
They may not be ordinary, and they certainly don’t look ordinary, but the benefits of recumbent exercise bikes are very real. The problem for you may be finding the right model, which is why we have a plethora of recumbent bike reviews for you to take a look at. This is our complete and comprehensive recumbent bike guide and we hope that we can help you see the beauty in these great workout tools, plus we hope that we can help find the best recumbent bike for you!
The Best Recumbent Bikes By Price Range & Budget
Below we are going to be doing a whole lot of recumbent bike reviews. We are going to be looking at 3 main price ranges, the entry level bikes ($100 - $200), the mid-range models ($200 - $450), and high end models too ($450 - $1,500+). We have a good number of recumbent stationary bikes from each section for you to check out, so let’s get right to it!
Best Entry Level Recumbent Bikes (Budget $100 – $200)
Best Mid Range Recumbent Exercise Bikes (Budget $200 – $450)
Best High End Recumbent Stationary Bikes (Budget $450 – $1,500+)
Our Top Recumbent Exercise Bike Picks
We did a great many recumbent exercise bike reviews, many from the entry-level range, quite a few from the mid-range section, and the best ones from the high end range. Below we have a list of the top 5 recumbent bikes out of all price ranges, as well as a little explanation on what makes them so awesome.
This is our number one rated recumbent exercise bike pick and it is a high end option. Sole Fitness does a great job at manufacturing exercise equipment and they definitely have not disappointed with the R92. This model, in our opinion, is pretty much the best option to go with in many respects. This model features an ergonomically designed seat that is made to be anatomically correct, comfortable, and meant to keep you pain free while you bike. The seat is also adjustable in order to suit users of various sizes. The Sole Fitness R92 Recumbent Exercise Bike also has an awesome 9-inch backlit LCD display that is easy to navigate and displays all of the necessary fitness metrics such as speed, distance, time, RPM, and much more.
This model also comes with a media tray, it is iPod and MP3 compatible, it has speakers, and a cooling fan as well. The Sole Fitness R92 features a full 20 levels of magnetic resistance, which is digitally controlled through the display, plus it also comes with 10 preset workout programs to help you achieve your goals. This is one of the bigger and heavier recumbent bikes, but it does come with transportation wheels to make life a little easier. All in all, in terms of comfort, functionality, and durability, the Sole Fitness R92 Recumbent Exercise Bike is one of the very best options that you can go with.
This is our number two pick for the best recumbent exercise bikes out there. It is another high end model, which means that it does have a substantial price tag, but it also has a whole lot of features that many people can appreciate. The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike comes with a whopping 25 levels of smooth and quiet magnetic resistance that is easily controlled with the digital display. This recumbent bike also features an astounding 29 different workout programs so you can achieve all of your fitness goals with ease. When it comes to a recumbent home bike for advanced users, the Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike is definitely one of the best options around.
The display is a dual window backlit LCD display that is easy to read in most circumstances, plus it is very easy to navigate as well. The display keeps track of up to 13 fitness metrics such as speed, RPM, calories, time, distance, and many more. This model also comes with heart rate sensors on the side handlebars so you can keep accurate track of your cardiovascular output. You might also like how this particular model comes with a well-vented backrest so you don’t get too hot, plus it has a fairly well-padded ergonomically designed seat too. The Nautilus R616 even features iPod/MP3 jacks plus acoustic speakers so you can listen to your favorite music while exercising.
This is our number three pick in terms of the overall best recumbent stationary bikes. Schwinn is very well-known for their superior workout equipment, with their 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike being a big seller. There is a good reason why this model is so highly rated because it is comfortable, easy to use, and highly functional too. One of the things that you will like about the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike is that it comes with lots of extras. You get a USB charging port for your devices, plus it has speakers and a media tray too. Using your devices and listening to music is made easy. There is also the fact that it comes with a 3-speed fan to keep you nice and cool.
You can even export data with the UBS connection to be used with your fitness apps. This model even features Bluetooth connectivity so you can seamlessly engage in data export for use with the Schwinn Connect fitness app. In terms of function, the Schwinn 270 provides you with 25 levels of digitally controlled magnetic resistance, making it a smooth and quiet option that is ideal for people of all fitness levels, even the most advanced ones. This model also features 29 different workout programs to help you achieve your exact fitness goals in as little time and with as much ease as possible. Of course, we cannot forget that the Schwinn 270 is also nice and comfortable to use thanks to its ergonomically designed seat.
Schwinn definitely makes some really stellar fitness equipment, which is why they have managed to make our top 5 list for the second time. The previous model, the 270 was a high end model, whereas this one is a mid-range choice, meaning that it does not cost quite as much, but also does not have as many features. That being said, the Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike is still an awesome choice, even for people with an advanced fitness level. The Schwinn 230 comes with awesome magnetic resistance that is quiet and smooth, 20 levels of it to be exact, and it can be controlled digitally.
Moreover, this particular model also features 22 different exercise programs to help you achieve all of your fitness goals. The dual track LCD display keeps track of various fitness metrics such as time, speed, RPM, calories, distance, and more. The display also allows you to transfer data to your favorite fitness apps, such as the Schwinn Connect app, thanks to the USB port. The USB port will also charge your smart devices, such as a phone or tablet, which is why the Schwinn 230 also comes with a media tray and speakers. Using your devices and listening to music is easy and enjoyable thanks to these features. There is also the fact that the adjustable three-speed fan will keep you nice and cool. In terms of comfort, this model has a great ergonomically designed seat bottom and backrest too.
Marcy is another highly reputable fitness brand name and they have not failed to deliver a quality item with the Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike. This is an entry level model, which means that it won’t cost you too much, not nearly as much as some of the mid-range or high end models, but it does sacrifice quite a bit of function. While the ME 709 may not be ideal for advanced users, it will definitely provide a big challenge to people with a beginner or moderate fitness level. The Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike features 8 levels of smooth and quiet magnetic resistance that can be easily controlled with the tension dial.
This model also comes with a large display that can easily keep track of things such as distance, time, speed, calories, and more. The seat on this model is quite comfortable too. Both the backrest and seat bottom are well padded to keep you pain free, plus they are ergonomically designed to support human anatomy to a T. We really like the comfortable seat on the ME 709. We also like how the Marcy ME 709 also features a really durable frame with a step through design. All in all, while this is not the fanciest or most advanced recumbent home bike, it will do just fine for some normal cardiovascular exercise.
The Different Types Of Exercise Bikes
Now, we have been doing a whole lot of talking about recumbent bikes, and they are definitely an excellent piece of exercise equipment to consider purchasing. However, recumbent exercise bikes are not the only type of exercise bike around. There are also other ones including the upright exercise bike and the spin bike, both of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about each of the 3 main types of exercise bikes and why they might make an ideal choice for you.
The Recumbent Bike
The first type of exercise bike is the one that we have been talking about all along in all of our reviews, the recumbent bike. Recumbent bikes come with quite a few benefits. Some of the benefits include that they are much more comfortable and ideal for lighter and moderate exercise, for anyone with leg and joint problems, for people with back problems, and for the elderly too. Simply put, they tend to be much more comfortable and body friendly than other types of exercise bikes. Let us tell you why.
One of the reasons why you might find a recumbent bike more comfortable than the alternatives is because you are in a sitting down position. Spin and upright bikes have you sitting high up with your back hunched over, whereas the recumbent bike has you sitting lower down with your back in a straight position. This is great if you already have existing back problems or if the posture involved on a spin or upright back causes you back problems. The straightness of your back, plus the high amount of lumbar support on a recumbent bike is much better for your back than any other exercise bike.
Recumbent bikes are also more joint friendly than the alternatives. While cycling is usually considered to be a low impact exercise, meaning that it does not adversely affect the joints, that is only true to a certain degree depending on the type of bike you are using. Upright and spin bikes, especially the ones that have you standing up, still put lots of pressure on your joints. On the other hand, recumbent bikes have you sitting low down with your legs pointing forward, so none of your body weight is on your knees or ankles. It’s a more joint friendly type of exercise bike.
Recumbent bikes are also usually considered to be safer because there is no standing up involved, and therefore no risk of injury from standing and pedaling. This is a really good exercise bike option for people with various conditions and disabilities as it takes comfort and safety into account to a very high degree. There is also the fact that these exercise bikes tend to have top notch resistance, which can be flywheel, magnetic, physical, or fan driven, plus they tend to have top of the line displays too.
There are a couple of areas in which recumbent bikes fall short. First off, they tend to be the most expensive of all exercise bikes due to their specific build and high-quality features. Second, the recumbent bike is generally the biggest, heaviest, bulkiest, and least portable of all exercise bikes, which may be a problem for you. Finally, while this bike can provide you with a decent workout, they are not really meant for high intensity workouts. They are better for a slightly more relaxed pace than on something like a spin bike. If you are a hardcore cardio junkie and want to push it to the limit, then a recumbent bike is probably not right for you.
The Spin Bike
These things are the pieces of equipment that you will see in those glass rooms in gyms, those little bikes that make people look like the Road Runner from Bugs Bunny, with his feet going a million miles per hour. The Spin bike is what is used in gym spinning classes and they pack quite the punch. Now, aside from being a stationary bike, the spin bike is very far from being the same thing as a recumbent bike. While they both have you pedaling, their features and shape make them unique from one another.
Unlike recumbent bikes which are built for comfort and semi-leisurely biking, spin bikes are built for the opposite purpose, for fast, intense, and high speed workouts. This type of exercise bike is ideal for anyone looking to really push themselves to the limit and get a maximum cardio workout every single day. They are by far the best option for people looking for a giant cardio blasting routine. Many people also like spin bikes because they most closely replicate the feel of biking or racing on a real street bike. It is the type of exercise bike most often used by people training for professional bike races.
The spin bike is a very simple piece of equipment. It usually only has manual/physical resistance, as in a piece of metal or buffer that comes into contact with a metal disc that spins. This is unlike recumbent bikes and upright models which may have fancier types of resistance like magnetic, air, and others. Keep in mind, there may be some really expensive spin bikes out there with other kinds of resistance, but generally speaking, they just use physical resistance. These bikes tend to be fairly small, light, and space efficient, which is another bonus for some people. The point is that spin bikes are made for the hardcore biking enthusiast and for people that want an intense workout.
The spin bike does have certain drawbacks. For one, just like on a real street bike, you are hunched over, which is horrible for your back. Recumbent bikes don’t do that, making them more ideal for people with back issues. Second of all, spin bikes have absolutely no back support, which is once again not ideal. Spin bike pedals will keep turning for forward momentum when you stop pedaling, which is something that racers like, but more casual users not so much.
Moreover, they often have very narrow and thinly padded seats, making them somewhat uncomfortable. Also, spin bikes often have you standing up on them, which reduces how joint friendly this bike is. Spin bikes also don’t have many features. Forget about a comprehensive LCD display, a music tray, or water bottle holders. While the spin bike is great for high intensity workouts, it is not the most user friendly or comfortable around.
The Upright Bike
The normal upright exercise bike is perhaps the most popular and generally used exercise bike around. They kind of have some of the benefits and disadvantages of both the spin and recumbent bikes. In terms of comfort and support, they are kind of like the middle ground between the recumbent and spin bike. They have a wider and more padded seat than spin bikes, making them more comfortable on your behind. However, they have less back support than recumbent bikes.
Also, upright exercise bikes do not have you hunched over as far as spin bikes because the handle bars are higher up, making them more back friendly than spin bikes. However, they are not quite as comfortable and back friendly as recumbent bikes. Moreover, upright exercise bikes are low impact and pretty good for your joints, but the more upright position, when compared to a recumbent bike, means that they are not quite as good for your joints or hips as the recumbent option.
Just like recumbent bikes, upright versions usually have a high-quality LCD display with lots of workout options to go with. They also tend to differ in terms of what kind of resistance they use. Upright models can use any of the previously mentioned types of resistance. Upright exercise bikes also tend to be smaller and more space efficient, plus lighter, than recumbent models, but usually not more so than spin bikes. Upright exercise bikes usually fall in the middle of the price range, usually being as expensive or more expensive than spin bikes, but not quite as pricey as recumbent models. Upright bikes are ideal for people who want a mix of a fairly intense workout while also maintaining comfort.
Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike: Which is Best for You?
Since we are on the topic, let’s talk about which one is better for you, the recumbent bike or the upright bike. Recumbent and upright bikes have some things in common, such as the fact that they both usually come with a few great features such as water bottle holders, media trays, speakers, and usually have a really nice LCD display with lots of features and programmed workouts. For anybody looking for a comprehensive workout with guidance, both models make for ideal choices.
Now, upright bikes do have you hunched over more than recumbent bikes, so they are not quite as back friendly. Also, recumbent bikes have much bigger and well-padded seats, making them easier on the butt and they support your back better too. Upright bikes also are not as good for your hips or joints on your lower extremities as they have more of your body weight resting on your legs as opposed to a recumbent bike. Both are low impact, but recumbent bikes still put less weight on your legs and joints. In terms of comfort, the upright bike is not as ideal. Any elderly people or people with certain disabilities or conditions will definitely be better off with the recumbent bike model.
All of that being said, upright bikes are probably a little better for a more intense workout than recumbent ones. While both models can be adjusted for resistance and can be used for high intensity workouts, upright models tend to require more focus and energy, plus they inspire you to go a little harder because you aren’t sitting down. Uprights are great choices to go with for more serious cardio enthusiasts, whereas recumbent models are better for a more moderate workout with lots of comfort and support. On a side note, recumbent bikes are heavier, less space friendly, and also more expensive than upright ones.
What To Look For When Buying A Home Recumbent Bike
Recumbent bikes are generally the most expensive of all exercise bikes, so you don’t want to go out and buy the first best one that you see. There are a few different considerations that you will want to keep in mind, so let’s just talk about those real quick.
The recumbent bike is all about the seat, that oh so comfortable reclined seat, which is after all why this bike is called recumbent. There is a lot to consider in terms of the seat of the recumbent stationary bike in question. One of the most important considerations here is how adjustable the seat is. Adjustability is key when it comes to this kind of thing. You will ideally get a recumbent bike where the seat can be adjusted in terms of the distance between the seat and pedals (to account for leg length) and in terms of the height (to account for your body size).
Getting a recumbent bike with an adjustable seat will ensure that it fits you just right and that more than one person can use it. On that same note, you want to make sure that the back and bottom of the seat are ergonomically designed to fit your anatomy. Usually some body fitting grooves are the norm here. You will also want to make sure that it is wide enough for your bottom and back, as well as that it has enough padding to keep your comfortable for the duration of your exercise routine.
Another thing to consider before buying a recumbent bike is what type of resistance it comes with. There are 3 main types of resistance, these being fan resistance, physical resistance, and magnetic resistance, each of which has its own positive and negative aspects.
First off comes the least expensive type of resistance, which is fan resistance. Resistance fans use a pulley to connect to the pedals. These are not adjustable and the only way to alter resistance is the speed at which you pedal. While they tend to be less expensive than other types of resistance, fan resistance does have the drawback of not being adjustable. There is also the fact that fan resistance tends to be extremely loud, but it is also less expensive than other options.
Another common resistance types for exercise bikes is physical resistance, otherwise known as direct contact systems. This type of resistance involves a brake pad, much like on your normal bike or car, which provides friction against the flywheel. It is literally a pad that makes it harder to spin the wheel with the pedals. This type of resistance does work pretty well and is adjustable too. This type of resistance, direct contact, is not all that expensive, but it does make a fair bit of noise. The biggest problem with this kind of resistance is that the brake pads and other associated parts tend to wear out pretty fast.
The final type of resistance is magnetic based resistance. On all accounts, this is most likely the best and most reliable type of bike resistance to go with. That being said, magnetic resistance systems also tend to be the most expensive. These use a flywheel and magnets to provide resistance. This means that unlike with a direct contact system, there are no parts touching, which means there is much less wear and tear. Also, magnetic systems are more or less totally silent, making them easy on the ears. Moreover, magnetic resistance is highly adjustable and is ideal to suit the needs of virtually anybody out there. Just be prepared to pay quite a high price for recumbent bikes that use magnetic resistance.
A Quick Word On Flywheels
Just to be perfectly clear, both bikes with magnetic resistance and physical resistance (direct contact) use weighted flywheels to create and maintain inertia. However, air resistance bikes do not use flywheels, they simply have a fan.
Size & Weight
The next thing that you will want to consider before making a purchase is the size and weight of the recumbent bike in question. Now, make no mistake about it. When it comes to exercise bikes, the recumbent models, due to their large seats and overall build, are by far the largest, bulkiest, and heaviest exercise bikes around. However, there are of course differences between various models. A lot of this has to do with the type of resistance that your model has.
For example, air fan resistance bikes are going to be lighter but bigger than other models due to the size of the fan. On the other hand, brake based systems are going to be large and heavy due to the size and weight of the flywheel. Furthermore, magnetic resistance recumbent bikes, the most expensive ones, will be smaller and lighter thanks to the convenient magnetic system. This is also going to be dictated by how much money you are looking to spend.
Weight limit & Durability
To keep it short and simple, you will obviously need a recumbent bike that can handle your body weight. The easiest way to ensure that your bike can stand up to your body is by reading the user weight rating of it. Also, generally speaking, more metal parts, while it may make the bike heavier, usually results in a better build with higher durability.
There are a couple of other things that you will want to look out for before you buy your own recumbent bike. One of the first things is how many levels of resistance it has, if it has any adjustable resistance to begin with. This will largely depend on the type of resistance involved, as discussed above. The more resistance levels your bike has, the more versatile it will end up being in the long run. Also, some bikes come with water bottle holders, air fans, media trays, speakers, and more. If any of those features sound nice to you, you should definitely keep an eye out for them.
Finally, the display and programming of the recumbent bike in question are important as well. How nice does the screen look? Is it a high-quality and easy to read screen? Is the display easy to navigate? Does the display allow for Bluetooth or wireless connection to fitness apps? Are there pre-programmed workout routines included with your bike’s programming? These are all questions you should ask or look to answer before you make your final purchase.
The Main Benefits Of Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Recumbent exercise bikes are making huge leaps in terms of their popularity and there is a good reason for it. This specific piece of exercise equipment, while it might look a little odd and cumbersome at first glance, is actually a great tool. As you will see, many of these benefits are in relation to other types of exercise bikes. The big point we will be making here is that recumbent exercise bikes are very versatile and user friendly. People who may not be able to use a normal spin or upright bike for health reasons, whether due to old age, a painful back, or bad knees, will most likely still be able to use a recumbent bike with ease. The recumbent stationary bike comes with many benefits, so what are they?
Benefit #1: Very Joint Friendly
One of the biggest benefits that you get from using a recumbent exercise bike as opposed to a spinning or upright bike is that it is much better for the joints. If you have any pre-existing joint problems, the recumbent bike is the way to go. This is because of the amount of weight that actually gets put on your legs when compared to other exercise bike types. Normal bikes have you sitting higher up with your legs facing downwards.
This means that a lot of pressure and weight is put on your ankles, knees, and hips. Now, while all exercise bikes are good for your joints in the sense that they are low impact exercise machines, recumbent bikes, due to their low lying seat, reduce the pressure on the joints in your legs. Recumbent exercise bikes have you sitting low to the ground with your legs facing forward. The weight is placed more on your butt than anything else, thus sparing your knees, hips, and ankles. If you have joint problems or are worried about issues developing down the road, recumbent bikes make for great choices.
Benefit #2: Back Friendly
Another big problem that recumbent bikes solve, which other exercise bike types experience, is that of the painful back. Normal exercise bikes have you sitting high up, with the handle bars lower down in front of you. This results in an arched back and as we all know from our daily posture lessons, having a straight back is considered healthy. That arch while using a normal upright or spinning bike can quickly become painful and lead to long term injuries and terrible back issues.
The thing about recumbent bikes is that the low lying seat keeps your back perfectly straight, plus the handle bars are in directly in front of you, so there is no bending of the back involved. The recumbent bike is a good way to get your cardio exercise on a bike without all of the normal back problems associated with regular exercise bikes. There is more to it than that still.
Recumbent bikes have really large and comfortable backrests. They are the only type of exercise bike that has a backrest period, let alone such a large one. These backrests are well padded and ergonomically designed to provide you with maximal lumbar support. This is definitely not something that can be said for other exercise bikes. If you have pre-existing back issues, or even something like osteoarthritis in your hips, the awesome well-padded seat of the recumbent bike is for you.
Benefit #3: Easy On The Behind
The next big benefit that people who use recumbent bikes take advantage of is that of the comfortable butt. Normal exercise bikes, especially spin bikes, have next to no padding on the seats, plus the seats tend to be quite narrow, much like a real racing bike seat. Well, if you have ever really sat on a racing bike seat, or more accurately, if you have had one wedged half way up your backside, you know just how uncomfortable they are.
The point is that home recumbent bikes have very large and well-padded seats that provide your bottom with a comfortable riding experience. Instead of having this little piece of rock hard material wedged up there, you have a nice seat under the entirety of your buttocks, almost like an office chair. If you are tired of a painful butt while biking, the recumbent bike makes for an ingenious solution.
Benefit #4: The Physical Health Benefits
Now, the recumbent bike benefits that we have mentioned up until this point have all been benefits or advantages when compared to other types of exercise bikes. However, there are obviously many general physical benefits of using a recumbent bike or any other exercise bike in general. One of these benefits is leg strengthening. Depending on the amount of resistance you have your recumbent stationary bike set at, you can get a really good leg muscle strengthening routine. Lots of resistance makes for tired muscles, which means that something good is happening.
Moreover, recumbent bikes are a great way to get a really good cardio routine in. Now, while they are not built for high intensity cardio, not as much as spin bikes or upright bikes, you can bet your bottom dollar they do wonders for your cardiovascular health. There is obviously no denying that cardio training is essential to your health in so many different ways. Furthermore, these bikes do require a large energy output, at least if you are really going at it. This translates to lots of calories being burned, belly fat melting away, and an increased metabolic rate. Thus, recumbent bikes are also fantastic for all of your weight loss goals.
Next, your joints, or specifically the cartilage in between your joints needs to be regularly squeezed out so it can absorb more nutrient rich fluid, that stuff it needs to stay healthy. Well, a recumbent bike is the perfect way to get the joints in your lower extremities moving, thus helping to replenish those essential fluids needed to keep your cartilage intact and prevent things like osteoarthritis.
Benefit #5: Many Come With Lots Of Features
Another neat part about the recumbent bike is that they tend to come with lots of cool features. Things like media trays and speakers, cooling fans, and water bottle holders are often included on the more high end models. Many also come with great pre-programmed workouts, different workout types, lots of tips, and the ability to connect to helpful and intuitive fitness apps too. For instance, a spin bike usually will not have any of those features short of a basic LCD display that shows you things like RPM, time, speed, and distance. Recumbent bikes have that display, and usually much more.
How To Use A Recumbent Stationary Bike & A Few Recumbent Bike Tips
Using a recumbent bike might be obvious and easy for some, but not everybody is the same. So, if you have never used a recumbent exercise bike before, here are some tips you can follow to make life easier and make the most out of your recumbent bike experience.
Here are a few basic tips just to get you started with your brand new recumbent exercise bike.
- Start by making sure that everything is properly assembled. There is nothing worse than getting on your recumbent bike, pedaling once, and realizing that there are loose screws or bolts somewhere.
- To begin, simply sit down on the recumbent bike.
- You might have to press a button to turn it on, or you might have to just give it a pedal to activate it.
- Now, if you have a higher end model, you will be able to choose from a variety of workout programs that have been pre-programmed into the display. You can choose the specific program that works best for you or you can just do some freestyle biking too.
- We would recommend starting with a simple freestyle routine. Choose the amount of resistance that is right for you (if the resistance is adjustable) and just start by going for 10 or 15 minutes at a moderate pace.
- Remember people, if your fitness level is not that great, start out low and slow. Don’t overdo it or else you will just cause some bad post workout muscle pains, soreness, stiffness, and you will sap all of your motivation for the next time. Starting out easy is definitely the way to go. Once you get a grip on your own fitness level, you can then progress to biking faster and at a higher resistance level.
- As is the case with all types of exercise, it is never a bad idea to engage in some static and dynamic stretching before you hop onto it.
The whole point of a recumbent bike is that it has a comfortable seat. However, this does mean that you need to be sitting in it the proper way. Here is how to get seated in a recumbent bike the proper way.
- Sit down in the seat of the recumbent bike.
- Make sure that your back is resting flat against the backrest. The whole point of the backrest is to provide you with adequate lumbar support, so your back needs to be flat against it.
- Put your feet on the pedals and place them so that the balls of your feet are placed over the pedal’s spindle, or in other words, the ball bearing that connects the pedals to the cranks.
- Now, move one pedal to the furthest position, which from your perspective would be at a 3 o’clock position. With the pedal at the 3 o’clock position, or as far away from you as possible, your knee should have a bend in it of roughly 25 or 30 degrees. Having your feet and legs in this particular position will provide you with the most comfort and power to pedal.
- If the angle of your leg is too high or too low, you need to adjust the seat to make adequate compensations. If your leg is too much extended with the pedal at the 3 o’clock position, you need to lower the seat (or move it forward in some cases) to get you closer to the pedals. If you have too much of a bend in your knee with the pedal at the 3 o’clock position, you need to raise or extend the seat in order to further the distance between your body and the pedals.
For some more tips and tricks on how to use a recumbent bike, you can check out the little video below.
6 Great Recumbent Bike Workouts
In case you are not quite sure about what to do on your home recumbent bike to get the most bang for your buck and to get the best results that are right for you, we have a few different recumbent exercise bike routines that you can try for yourself.
Workout #1: Interval Training
Interval training is a high intensity type of cardio exercise that involves short burst of very high intensity bouts followed by short bouts of less intense exercise, which some people would call a rest phase. This type of workout is great for big cardio and weight loss goals. For the purpose of this routine, the intervals are going to be 30 seconds long and the intense to rest interval ratio is going to be 1:1. Now, if you are a beginner, you may want to increase the ratio to 1:2 so that you have 1 interval of high intensity followed by 2 intervals of less intense movement.
Simply set the bike to a fairly high resistance level (or lower if you are a beginner) and spend 30 seconds going at 95% of your full capacity. Follow this up with a 30-second period where you substantially lower your speed and the amount of resistance you are faced with. If you are a beginner, repeat this 5 to 10 times and take a break. If you are more advanced, you can try repeating this series 15, 20, 25, or even 30 times.
Workout #2: The Beginner
This following recumbent bike exercise routine is absolutely perfect for beginners, is easy to follow, and does not even really require a bike that has adjustable resistance, but of course adjustability is a big bonus. For this workout, simply set the resistance to 1/3 of the maximum resistance (roughly). So, if you have an adjustable resistance model (with 10 levels), simply set it to anywhere from 2 to 4 out of 10. Now, pick the amount of time you wish to cycle for.
For a beginner, we would recommend starting out with no more than 15 or 20 minutes at most. This does of course depend on your fitness level, but assuming that you are a beginner, we would not go any higher than that. Now, pedal for the period of time you have selected at roughly 40% of your overall capacity (40% the speed of your maximum possible pedaling speed).
Of course, this is for beginners, so if you are more accustomed to heavier bouts of cardio, you can try setting the resistance to 5, pedaling at roughly 60% to 70% of your maximum possible speed, and keep it up for 30 minutes or more. The point here is that this workout is more to get you accustomed to the bike and to cardio in general. If it is too leisurely for you, you can always go with another more intense routine.
Workout #3: The Butt Buster
This third recumbent exercise bike workout routine that we feel is a good fit for more moderate and higher levels of fitness is called the butt buster. This one is all about long bouts of biking at a fairly high pace, or in other words, this one is to test your stamina and to see just how long those glutes, thighs, calves, and hamstrings can go for before you burn out. The total workout time for this routine is 35 minutes and the speeds are pretty high, so let’s get to it. Keep in mind, for this routine you will need a model that can go to at least 18 levels of resistance.
For some more great recumbent exercise bike workout routines, you can get some ideas by checking out the workout videos below.
Workout #4: 20-Minute Recumbent Bike HIIT Workout
Workout #5: Recumbent Bike Cardio Workout
Workout #6: Recumbent Bike Intervals & Arm Training
How To Clean And Maintain Your Recumbent Exercise Bike
You just went out and spent a few hundred or even a couple thousand bucks on a brand new recumbent exercise bike. Of course, longevity is something that we all look for in exercise equipment. So, if you want to keep your recumbent exercise bike in prime condition for as long as humanly possible, follow these tips outlined below. If you follow these tips, you should have no problem getting many years of good use out of your new recumbent exercise bike.
- The first and possibly the most important tip has to do with the assembly and the maintenance of it. Most models will require home assembly, which means that you are responsible for putting it all together. Always make sure to tighten all screws and bolts so they are tight and secure. You do not want any movement happening from the connecting parts such as screws, bolts, and other such pieces. If things are loose and not well connected, damage can occur and parts can rub against each other.
- When it comes to maintaining the assembly, it is wise to retighten all connectors like screws and bolts every now and then. If you are using your recumbent exercise bike moderately, about once per month will do. Any important connectors should be tightened about once per month to make sure that everything is safe and secure.
- Check all moving parts on a regular basis. If it moves, it means that there are several components involved, all of which have to be working in unison and doing so properly. If you notice any wobbling, grinding, difficulties moving, or any other odd noises, you might need to either tighten something or replace something. Also, regularly wipe down and grease up moving parts with special lubricant to ensure their constant, smooth, and fluid motion.
- If you notice that something is broken, stripped, or in general need of replacement, or if something is broken or too loose than you can’t seem to fix, always call a professional for help. Do not overextend yourself with bigger maintenance tasks as the chance of you making it worse is very real, plus you will probably void the warranty in doing so.
- When it comes to storage and placement, always make sure to keep your recumbent bike on a flat and straight surface, especially during use. Having it on an uneven surface during use can cause the frame and other parts to bend, and may end up slightly shifting moving parts too. There is also the fact that biking on a crooked recumbent exercise bike is just going to feel odd too.
- Always keep your recumbent exercise bike in a room temperature environment with minimum moisture. Too much heat, cold, or moisture can cause damage to the integrity of the frame, it can warp parts, cause something to break, and it is not good for the wiring and electronics either.
- Finally, always wipe down your recumbent stationary bike every time you are done using it. Sweat is indeed salty, wet, and can cause rust in some cases, plus it assists in the buildup of gunky grime and dirt. Just use a damp cloth to wipe down the seat, pedals, handrests, the console, and anything else you may have sweat on.
As you can see, there is a whole lot to talk about when it comes to home recumbent bikes, especially when you are looking for the best recumbent exercise bike for you. If you have read all of our recumbent bike reviews, you should by now have a pretty good idea of what you want. Remember to keep in mind all of the considerations and different features that we talked about, as well as how much money you have in your budget versus the quality of bike you want.
Recumbent exercise bikes definitely come with some awesome benefits, so we would really recommend giving one a try. You will never know just how fun, comfortable, rewarding, and indeed challenging, these bikes can be. If you have any questions or comments about anything we have talked about here today, feel free to leave them and we will get back to you as soon as we can. If you liked our recumbent bike guide or thought it was helpful in any way, please share it on social media platforms and with all of your friends!