As much as we all hate doing cardio, its benefits are undeniable. Improved heart health, lower blood sugar, weight loss and a stronger immune system are just a few of the many perks of incorporating aerobic exercise into your life. And who wouldn’t want to reap all those benefits? Cycling is an incredible aerobic exercise that boosts your cardiovascular health and keeps your legs strong. The low-impact nature of cycling makes it the perfect alternative to something like running on a treadmill, which puts tons of stress on your ankle and knee joints.
Many of us grew up riding bikes, so the type we’re used to seeing is an upright bike, one that places the feet directly below the seat. Those are great, but riding one involves straddling a tiny saddle, which supports a ton of your weight. Anyone will tell you this gets uncomfortable after a while.
A recumbent bike, on the other hand, opts for a reclined position, one that distributes your weight over a larger, padded seat and backrest. This makes for a much more comfortable riding experience while still offering a great cardio workout. Better yet, the comfort component means it’s easier to stay on the bike for longer periods of time. You’re already reclining. Why not throw on some Netflix and burn calories at the same time? A recumbent exercise bike might be the perfect antidote if cardio really isn’t your thing.
The Best Recumbent Exercise Bike
What makes the best recumbent exercise bike? That’s up to you and your preferences. In general, every recumbent exercise bike on this list will have the basic mechanism to allow you to pedal, multiple levels of resistance, and an LCD computer to track your workout metrics. The simple, affordable options stop there, and sometimes that’s all you need. From there, you can tack on additional training features like built-in workouts and heart rate-monitoring handles.
Taking it a step further, some recumbent exercise bikes feature integrations with your smartphone to offer a more immersive training experience and keep track of your progress. If you really want all the bells and whistles, go for an option with a built-in training application, one that guides you through workouts with real trainers who can actually adjust the resistance of the bike for you. Pretty cool, right?
And like any fitness product, price and durability will definitely play a role in your decision. The most basic recumbent exercise bikes start under $200, while the top-of-the-line, tricked-out bikes can run you almost $2,000. It really comes down to how serious you are about your fitness journey. Keep an eye out for warranties as well. We’ll list a handful of the best recumbent exercise bikes from the biggest names in fitness — which generally have the friendliest warranties, too — and show you some more affordable options you can get on Amazon.
1. NordicTrack Commercial R35
In our experience and testing, NordicTrack makes some of the best home exercise equipment on the market. It’s no surprise, then, that it produces the best recumbent exercise bike too. The Commercial R35 is basically the Ferrari of recumbent exercise bikes, with a gorgeous 14-inch HD touchscreen to stream your workouts, giving you that studio cycling experience in the comfort of your home. Like many of NordicTrack’s products, the Commercial R35 comes with a free year subscription to iFit, the popular workout app for at-home fitness. That iFit system also wields a hands-free training system, which automatically adjusts your resistance based on the workout you’ve selected. The price tag is pretty hefty, but NordicTrack does offer financing options.
2. Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike
Sometimes simpler is better. This recumbent exercise bike from Marcy strips away all the bulky physical and digital features, instead opting for a minimalistic, affordable choice. It offers eight resistance levels and an LCD computer that displays time, speed, distance and calories burned. At only $150, it’s one of the most affordable options on this list, and doubles down on the basic functions of a great recumbent exercise bike. It also has 4.5 stars on Amazon based on more than 16,000 reviews.
3. Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
Known for its indoor spin cycling bikes and classic outdoor bikes, Schwinn boasts an excellent recumbent exercise bike as well. The 270’s built-in programs are what sets it apart, as the bike allows a multi-user profile setup to tackle its 29 different training programs with 25 levels of resistance. You can coast through rolling hills or climb steep mountains, or customize the workout for yourself. The bike is compatible with Schwinn’s Explore the World App, along with MyFitnessPal, if you’re looking to keep tracking of your fitness metrics. Better yet, the 270 features a three-speed fan to keep you cool when the workouts get tough.
4. Sole Fitness R92 Recumbent Bike
BEST FOR TUNES
If you want to bring the SoulCycle vibes to your living room, check out the Sole Fitness R92 recumbent bike, which features Bluetooth audio speakers on its main console so you can blast music while you tackle your daily workout. And like others on this list, the R92 also sports a device holder and USB charging port, so you can kick back and watch Netflix or fire up your favorite training app without having to worry about draining your device’s battery. The frame has a lifetime warranty, while the electronics and parts are covered for three years.
5. Nautilus R618 Recumbent Exercise Bike
Nautilus owns both Bowflex and Schwinn Fitness, making them one of the biggest manufacturers in the home fitness equipment market. This explains why its R618 recumbent exercise bike is so similar to the Schwinn option above, with the same number of built-in programs and a very similar console. It’s a bit pricier than the Schwinn model, and that doesn’t include the extra $129 for at-home assembly, which we recommend tacking on, as it took some reviewers more than four hours to put together. Still, the basic functionality of the R618 stays true to the Nautilus’ reputation of making killer fitness machines.
Related: The Best Exercise Bikes
6. ProForm 440 ES
BEST TECH INTEGRATION
While the ProForm 440 ES doesn’t sport a built-in touchscreen, it does sport a tablet holder and integrates with iFit (though the subscription is not included), meaning you can still engage those trainer-adjustable settings we mentioned earlier. If you already have a tablet around the house, this essentially provides the same experience at a much lower cost. The rest of the bike is great, too, with pulse sensor grips in the handlebars to track your heart rate and an extra-wide, comfortable seat. The ProForm 440 ES comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame, and one year on the parts and labor.
7. JEEKEE Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you’re looking for the fewest barriers to entry when it comes to using your recumbent exercise bike, we recommend this potion from JEEKEE. Though the 66-pound bike might appear daunting out of the box, it took most reviewers only an hour to assemble. Its eight resistance levels are easy and smooth to navigate between, and the bike’s dual-belt mechanism makes it a quieter option than a lot of recumbent exercise bikes. The LCD displays all of your relevant workout stats, while the built-in iPad holder offers a perfect location for your entertainment or guided workout.
8. Sunny Health & Fitness Recumbent Exercise Bike
On our roundup of the best treadmills, we called Sunny Health & Fitness the “Best Brand to Watch,” as they offer some of the best-reviewed affordable training equipment on Amazon. This recumbent exercise bike is no exception, as it features all of the core functions — eight levels of resistance, and LCD display and seat adjustment — for under $200. It even has heart rate monitors in the handlebars, something the other affordable options exclude. Sunny Health & Fitness is definitely here to stay.
9. Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike
Here’s a recumbent exercise bike you can ride underneath your desk, then fold up and stow away when you’re done. The 400XL Recumbent Exercise Bike from Exerpeutic makes versatility a priority, offering a design that places your feet closer to the ground, making it the perfect choice for burning calories while you’re on the clock at work. It features eight resistance levels and an LCD display to track your metrics and is the only bike on this list that folds up for easy storage.
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