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Recumbent Exercise Bike Buying Guide

buying guideRenowned for their exceptional level of comfort and ease of use, recumbent bikes will certainly help you on your way to fitness. Nowadays, this kind of stationary bike is found in just about every gym and fitness center, making it one of the most popular pieces of equipment on the market. Fortunately, this particular machine is readily available in several price ranges, which makes it entirely suitable for people of various budgets. Best of all, recumbent bikes are also known for being extremely easy on the knees and joints, therefore largely eliminating the risk of injuries, aches and soreness after your workout.

However, if you’re a new user chances are you’ll end up being quite overwhelmed by the astounding number of varying features and price ranges that you will encounter while shopping for your bike. Bear in mind that this investment can easily last for life and a wrong choice might hinder, rather than improve, your workout and fitness regimen. By this token, it’s crucial to make an educated choice when buying a recumbent exercise bike. Not only is it important to browse through various models and manufacturers but you should also take the time to consider your personal requirements and other such issues.

First consider your available space

A very common but unfortunate mistake that most people make when buying a recumbent bike- or any other exercise machine- is to get carried away by the models displayed at the store and invest in a product only because it looks nice or because it’s packed with features. Space is usually the last thing that people think of when they’re buying a stationary bike but there really is no point in investing in something that won’t even fit through the door. Also, while bigger machines tend to be more comfortable because they easily accommodate all body shapes and sizes, they’re not exactly known for being space-savers.

Therefore, if you’re short on space, it’s not a bad idea to go for foldable bikes, such as the Exerpeutic 400XL. Admittedly, these are usually more flimsy than larger models and usually tend to have a shorter lifespan but they can be more practical for people who live in rather cramped quarters. Best of all, the foldable option means that you can stow your bike just about anywhere. Still, it’s important to know that foldable recumbent bikes are quite rare which means that you’ll probably be better off with a smaller model.

Analyze your budget

As expected, these bikes come in several models and price ranges. In fact, you can actually find super-cheap models on the market, although they largely vary in quality when compared to more expensive bikes. For example, inexpensive recumbent bikes are extremely basic and may only offer a small LCD screen to track your progress. The pedals tend to be quite fragile and the weight capacity is severely limited to around 200 to 250lbs.

On the other hand, more expensive models offer a plethora of other features designed to render your workouts more enjoyable. Even if you would rather go for very basic models, bear in mind that these extra factors can be quite motivating for lazier days and may even encourage you to climb on the machine when you don’t really feel like it. Basically, the price that you’re ready to invest will reflect the overall built and quality of your machine. Also consider that people who are planning to indulge in daily or lengthier workouts should preferably try to invest in more expensive models to limit wear and tear. You should also analyze the product warranty offered by the manufacturer and make sure that it lives up to the price that you’re paying for the bike.

To help you choose the best model within your budget, here is our list with the top models for each price-range:

Budget Range
$100-200$200-350$350-500$500-750$750-1000$1000+
Our Choice
Exerpeutic 900XL
exerpeutic 900xl
Schwinn A20
schwinn a20
Schwinn 270

schwinn 270
Diamondback 510Sr
diamondback fitness 510sr
Diamondback 910Sr
diamondback fitness 910sr
Sole LCR Commercial
sole lcr light

Is comfort important to you?

It goes without saying that one of the reasons why people choose to invest in recumbent bikes instead of spinning or upright ones is because of the comfort factor. Of course, if you don’t mind roughing it up for an hour per day, you can easily go for other stationary bikes instead. However, it’s important to consider how long you’ll be able to sustain the occasional aches and soreness that accompany spin or regular upright bikes.

The comfort factor can also be quite advantageous to old or overweight people because it eases your body in an ergonomic position and keeps your feet level to the floor. This takes the weight off your knees, producing smoother and less injurious movements. Recumbent machines make it also easier to mount and dismount, which once again makes it one of the most recommended pieces of equipment for the elderly or people with mild disabilities. On the other hand, if you’re a veteran and highly energetic athlete, you might feel more satisfied with something a little more vigorous like spin bikes. Indeed, in spite of the undeniable comfort offered by recumbent machines, some people can get bored by sitting in the same position during lengthier workouts- regardless of how thickly padded the seats are.

Think about the features you need

Another advantage that recumbent bikes have over upright or spin ones is that they are usually packed with additional features. For example, some of them even come with luxurious amenities such as magazines racks or desks for your laptop, enabling you to work or surf the internet while you train. This certainly makes time go by more quickly and will help you eliminate the age-old excuse of being too busy to work out.

If you’re the kind of athlete who likes to have a clear track of your progress, you might also need a high-quality LCD screen that displays data such as calories burned, distance covered, number of pedal strokes and the likes. Along with the regular amenities like water bottle holders, preset programs, varying tension levels, padded seat and textured handlebars, more expensive models also come with rare features such as interactive programs which allow you to race or connect with other users, or even export your data to iFit. Some recumbent bikes are even equipped with built-in speakers and USB drives for tech-friendly athletes.