This site is dedicated to helping beginners and advanced cyclists find the best recumbent bike based on current fitness level and weight loss goals. Which is why we’ve carefully reviewed several top-selling models and have narrowed it down to the five highest-rated recumbent exercise bikes on the market.
But before you buy it’s important to learn more about the features available in order to find a bike that fits your fitness goals and your budget.
So, how did we choose the five best models on the market?
First, we did a little digging and determined which features are the most important to beginners and advanced cyclists. This includes flywheel weight, resistance levels, built-in speakers, preset workouts, and some nice extras such as water bottle holders and media shelves.
We also paid attention to the step-thru design of each recumbent and determined whether or not a particular model would work for senior cyclists and individuals who are in need of a recumbent bike for rehab purposes.
Choosing Only the Best
Below you’ll find the top five recumbent bikes on the market ranging from models designed to provide gym quality workouts, a foldable recumbent that’s perfect for the cyclist who’s short on space in the home, and even a budget-friendly buy that still comes equipped with all the right features.
First up is our top choice for the best recumbent stationary bike-the Life Fitness model that’s creating quite the buzz in the cycling industry. It comes loaded with top of the line features that will keep the cyclist motivated and their body challenged.
Life Fitness Lifecycle Recumbent Exercise Bike:
Rated as the best recumbent bike on the market, the Lifecycle 3 has all of the features the serious cyclist is looking for including a wide variety of resistance levels and challenging built-in workout programs designed for beginners and seasoned cyclists alike.
NordicTrack Commercial Vr21 Recumbent Bike:
The perfect choice for senior cyclists, people with disabilities, or physical therapy patients, this feature-packed bike offers a wide range of workout options, resistance level settings, and provides the best low-impact workouts of any bike in this price range.
Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Exercise Bike:
A great bike for beginners on a tight budget and one of the only models on the market that provides a total body workout, you’ll love the bike’s simple design and innovative hand pedals that allow you to burn more calories per workout.
Exerpeutic GOLD 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike:
This top selling foldable recumbent exercise bike is a great choice for the fitness enthusiast who’s short on space. Built tough and featuring a lightweight design complete with built-in wheels, this bike is also easy to transport and store.
Xterra SB2.5r Recumbent Bike:
Compact, stylish, and loaded with features, this recumbent bike has it all including a space saving design any apartment dweller can appreciate. Designed with both the beginner and seasoned cyclist in mind, this is a well-rounded recumbent that can take your workouts to the next level.
1. Best Overall Recumbent Exercise Bike-Life Fitness RS3-XX00-0105T Recumbent Lifecycle Exercise Bike
Produced just a few years ago, this Life Fitness recumbent exercise bike made it to our number one spot thanks to the innovative design that includes two sets of handlebars, a huge mesh back seat designed to keep the cyclist cool and dry during an intense workout, and the easy to navigate user interface that allows you to choose from twenty resistance levels and fourteen preset workouts designed to keep you challenged during the duration of your fitness journey.
Designed for cyclists of all fitness levels, this exercise bike by NordicTrack was rated as our top pick for seniors due to the easy step-thru design, a total of twenty-five resistance levels, and a bright, large display screen that makes it easy to switch up resistance levels or try out the thirty-two workout apps. The ergonomic design ensures a comfortable workout that will encourage consistent use and works to minimize injury and strain as you pedal along to shed those unwanted pounds.
A best-selling model, this commercial quality recumbent exercise bike is loaded with all the features you need to rehab an injury or burn a ton of calories. Equipped with a set of hand pedals, users can tone both their upper and lower body utilizing one of the eight resistance levels for a challenging ride. Additionally, the built-in heart rate sensors will keep you on track if your goal is an intense fat burning workout.
Despite its compact design, this Xterra recumbent exercise bike is one of the highest rated commercial grade recumbent bikes you’ll find on the market. It’s packed with essential features including weighted pedals, an eddy current brake system, sixteen resistance levels, and built-in speakers. You’ll love the bike’s versatility, sturdy two-piece steel frame, and the adjustable stabilizers.
If you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to enjoy an exercise bike that can provide a challenging workout. This model by Stamina Elite features a large display screen so you can easily view your workout stats and it also comes with a total of eight resistance levels to choose from, built-in heart rate sensors, and an ergonomic design that reduces pressure on the joints.
Recumbent Exercise Bike Buying Guide
If you’re considering buying a recumbent exercise bike, you need to check out the display, resistance levels, flywheel weight, max user weight, and adjustability.
The recumbent exercise bike is popular mainly because it provides a comfortable, effective workout, but many models now come equipped with a wide variety of features that can make your workouts more challenging and fun.
These days, recumbent bikes are available in several prices ranges, which makes it a great choice if you’re on a tight budget.
Best of all, these bikes are much easier on your back and joints, making them suitable for people of all fitness levels, people suffering from chronic knee or back pain, and they can even be used for rehab after knee surgery.
But despite the bike’s reputation for comfort, they’re still able to provide a challenging workout depending on the length of the workout and the resistance levels used. So, remember, the more resistance levels, the better.
Before we begin discussing the criteria we used to narrow down the top five models of recumbent bikes we should also mention that space will be a major factor that can affect the recumbent you choose. Unlike a traditional upright exercise bike, the recumbent bike needs plenty of space in the home. Make sure you pay close attention to the bike’s measurements and determine if you have enough space to accommodate one of these large exercise bikes.
A Feature-Packed Large LCD Display
First up on our list was the display screen. This is where you’ll control the resistance levels, user profiles, and other features the bike has to offer such as workout stats. A budget-friendly recumbent will come with a small, basic screen which will keep track of workout length, calories burned, strokes per minute, and distance.
Top of the line bikes will come with more features including preset workouts, a variety of resistance levels, workout stats, and much more.
So, if changing the bike’s settings easily and tracking your workout stats is important to you, then you’ll want a bike with a larger display screen and one that’s easy to read in most lighting conditions.
Seat Quality and Adjustability.
For most cyclists, this isn’t actually as important as some of the other features available, but you do want to go with a model that has a reputation for being comfortable to use. An uncomfortable seat can lead to saddle sores and can even discourage you from using the bike. While it’s not common to find a stock recumbent bike seat that’s comfortable to use, they are out there.
Additionally, a bike that’s easy to adjust and one that’s highly adjustable will be especially important if more than one family member in the home plans on using the bike. The ability to adjust the handlebars, seat and pedals can ensure a more comfortable ride and can prevent injuries from occurring, which can be common if the seat is set too high or too low for a particular rider.
Why Resistance Levels Matter So Much
We’ve chosen models that offer more resistance levels simply because you need a large variety in order to continue using your recumbent bike for several years to come. In the beginning, if a bike has three or four resistance levels, it will still be very challenging for six to nine months, depending on how often you use the bike. But once you begin to lose weight and gain muscle, you’ll find that these resistance levels are no longer challenging your body. A bike with ten to twenty resistance levels will allow you to switch up your workouts so you can include interval training or a light recovery workout day. The more variety, the better.
With recumbent bikes, you’ll typically have a choice between either eddy brakes or magnetic resistance. Magnetic resistance recumbent bikes are quiet running and consist of a set of magnets and a brake pad. The brake pad is attached to a cable which is directly connected to a knob, which is turned to increase or reduce the resistance level. The magnets will move farther or closer to the bike’s flywheel based on the resistance level the rider chooses. When the magnet moves closer to the wheel it makes it tougher for the rider to pedal.
Bikes with an eddy brake system use electric current in order to function, but they use a servomotor instead of an electromagnet. Typically, bikes with this type of resistance also come equipped with a better console and more resistance levels to choose from. The brake pad in an eddy brake system is fixed. Using the bike’s computer, the tension is caused by changing the magnet’s pull. The computer sends info to the servomotor which then adjusts the magnet’s pull on the flywheel. Bikes with this resistance setup need electricity in order to work.
The type of resistance system you choose will depend on your budget. Typically, basic magnetic resistance bikes are priced more affordable, while eddy brake systems are commonly found on higher-end recumbent bikes. We’ve picked the best models that use both types of resistance systems.
Preset Workout Programs
These programs are perfect for beginners or any rider who doesn’t want to deal with manually switching up the resistance level or timing their workouts. These built-in programs are often found on mid-range and high-end recumbent bikes and can be used by riders of all fitness levels. Many of these programs are designed to simulate a variety of terrain types such as off-road riding, hilly terrain, or mountain biking.
Obviously, top of the line bikes that are loaded with features including more resistance levels and preset workout programs are going to cost more. Consider how often you’ll use the recumbent each week, your current fitness level and your workout goals. Do you want a bike that can help you to maintain your current weight? Do you want a bike that can help you lose weight and help you to keep it off? Are you already in shape and looking for a fun and challenging workout indoors?
A bike with more resistance levels is a bike you can use for the long term, even after you’ve met your weight loss goals. If you’re on a tight budget, look for a bike with more resistance levels and other important basic features and skip the fancy extras. If you want a model that’s loaded with extras such as a media shelf and built-in speakers, you can expect to pay more, but for some cyclists, these added features also help to keep them motivated during a workout and can even encourage them to use their bike more frequently.
Fortunately, we’ve also included recumbent bikes that are budget-friendly, so you’ll be sure to find a great bike with quality components and the features you need at an affordable price.
We hope our reviews have helped you to narrow down your choices for the best recumbent stationary bike and one that will work with your fitness goals and your budget. Our site also covers important topics that can educate you on exactly why the recumbent bike is one of the top choices for home workouts in our articles on recumbent bike vs. upright bike and a great read on recumbent bike weight loss secrets. If you’d like to learn more about how to choose a new saddle, take a look at our article on recumbent bike seats and find out why it’s so important to use a seat that’s designed with the cyclist’s comfort in mind.