A recumbent exercise bike is based on the recumbent bicycle, which puts the rider in a position where the back is supported and the rider is able to sit back.
Unlike standard exercise bikes, many of which use a standard triangular bicycle seat, the recumbent bike includes both a wider, more comfortable seat, and a back pad that supports the whole of the spine. Sometimes the seat and back pad are connected.
This unique setup makes using an exercise bike possible for those who have back problems, problems remaining upright for too long, or those who are older and need a more relaxed seating arrangement for exercise. Even for the fittest of the fit, a recumbent exercise bike makes a relaxing way to get in one’s workout.
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Best budget recumbent exercise bike: Marcy ME 709 review
The Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike is a versatile, powerful piece of exercise equipment from Marcy, a well-known company that manufactures home gyms, cardio and fitness equipment, and all manner of weight-training equipment from barbells to benches.
Features at a Glance
The features of this recumbent exercise bike include:
- 8 preset resistance levels
- Steel frame with power coat finish
- Step-through design
- Bright, easy-to-read electronic display in large console
- Compact space-saver at 55” x 25” x 37”
- Tension-tightening knob for various fitness levels
- Counterbalanced pedals with fully-adjustable straps
- Built-in transport wheels
The Marcy ME 707 Recumbent Exercise Bike is an excellent, well-put together exercise bike. Visually it looks smart and stylish, with a grey-and-tan color scheme and smoothly curving steel bars. Its design is neither ultra-modern nor too retro, and it would not look out of place in any home or professional gym see latest prices at Amazon.com.
The seating is a particular plus point for this model; it utilizes not only a wider, more comfortable-looking seat than the standard bicycle seat, but it also includes a padded back support that runs the length of the spine. This makes for a comfortable workout routine that does not strain the back or place stress on the spine.
As a magnetic resistance recumbent exercise bike, the ME 707 feels smooth when peddling, with none of the jarring motions of cheaper models. Once you’ve adjusted the resistance to your preference, you can find yourself working out for longer than you expected without muscles feeling fatigued.
This bike can easily support riders weighing up to 300 lbs.
Ease of Use
The large control panel and prominent readout makes the Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike a dream bike for anyone who finds it hard to read small, cramped electronic readouts often found on exercise equipment. The monitor panel is large, and the controls are more than adequate to give the rider a good idea of how far you’ve gone and how well you’ve done. It’s easy to make adjustments on the fly in the middle of your workout, thanks to the simple twist adjustment with eight preset resistance levels.
The best recumbent exercise bike for the money
The bike is quire affordable and in our opinion the choice at for a purchaser on a budget.
Marcy was founded in 1959 by weightlifting champion Walter Marcyan, who gave his last name to the company but shortened it to ‘Marcy.’ His mission was to create exercise equipment that was easier for the home fitness enthusiast to use. According to the manufacturer website, Marcyan felt that everyone should have the chance to exercise at home on quality equipment.
Recumbent exercise bike reviews on the Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Bike are highly positive. Fitness enthusiasts particularly like the monitor system in the console, the ease of setup and the useful odometer.
Many find the seating comfortable and the narrowness of the machine seems makes it easy for users to find a place for it in their homes. The quietness and stability of the bike’s operation have also garnered praise from home fitness fans.
For those looking for advanced metrics or automatically adjusting resistance levels, the Marcy ME 709 could be considered a little basic.
The Marcy ME 709 also only offers minimal adjustment for user height, which particularly effects shorter users. Many reviewers believe that the bike is altogether too long for people under 5’ 4”, despite the ability to adjust the bike. The range of adjustment does not seem quite adequate for those of short stature. It is difficult for some to recline on the seat and reach the pedals with their feet at the same time. This makes the Marcy ME 709 a poor choice for those under 5’ 4”.
There’s a reason why the Marcy ME 709 is the No. 1 bestselling recumbent exercise bike in America – it has all of the important features and solid quality in the low-end range.
All things considered, and based on the ratings by those who have purchased the unit, I award this exercise bike 4 out of 5 stars.
Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike Review
The Schwinn 230, coming from such a well-known and longtime cycling brand, has created high expectations from home fitness fans. According to Schwinn, they’ve been in the business of making bicycles for over 100 years, and they started the home fitness craze in 1966 with the introduction of their Exerciser bike.
The strength of Schwinn products can be seen in the Schwinn 230. The body of the Schwinn 230 is made of molded high-density plastics and machined black metal with oversized crossbar tubing for added stability. The two integrated levelers and a center frame support make for a sold workout platform and transport wheels allow for easy movement from room to room.
Although they are made of hard plastic, the seat and back support have contoured lines for comfort and they are vented to keep the rider cool. The seat even has lumbar support for users with back pain.
A high tech console with two LCD windows can monitor 13 different display feedbacks, and when combined with goal tracking and data export capabilities, it’s easy to work in even the most complicated or demanding workout routines. There are even built-in ergonomically placed grips with heart rate monitors.
The bike has 22 different workout programs that take advantage of no less than 20 resistance levels the provided by a high-speed weighted flywheel – making for smooth and quiet operation. The Schwinn 230 recumbent may not have every single feature the high-end models do but it has all the necessities and its build quality is solid (see latest prices at Amazon.com).
Features I Liked
- The variety and intensity of the workouts is great and the bike is very stable under use.
- The level of noise produced is very reasonable, so it is easy to watch TV or listen to music while riding.
- Installation is simple, there are detailed instructions included and it can be easily put together by a single person.
- The inclusion of a USB charger and speakers that can be hooked up to a phone or iPod along with a fan that has multiple settings help to make workouts faster and easier. The console can even remember different users and their workouts preferences and settings.
- The seat distance from the pedals is highly adjustable and allows a variety of body shapes and sizes to exercise on this bike. The armrests are comfortable, it’s nice to have a magazine stand and the quick start menu lets you jump right into a workout without fiddling with tons of small buttons.
User feedback is mixed on the Schwinn 230. The biggest complaint from many users is the plastic seat and backrest that, without any kind of bracing or cushioning, can be uncomfortable, particularly on long or intense rides.
Some users have reported problems with items on the bike coming loose after prolonged use. However, these are easily fixed.
The Schwinn 230 is a great option for people looking for an entry-level exercise bike for the home or office. For less than half of what many competing models cost it is loaded with features, has a wide range of workouts and resistance levels, and it nice and sturdy.
There are some complaints about flimsy plastics and corners being cut, but for most people it works just fine and provides an excellent beginner to mid-level workout platform with a raft of professional-level features.
I award the Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike 4 out of 5 stars for overall dependability and usability of this great offering from Schwinn.
Best high-end recumbent exercise bike: Diamondback 510SR Fitness Review
Recumbent bikes like the Diamondback 510SR allow riders to adopt and retain a more relaxed posture, as they can lean back with their feet pedaling out in front of them. This makes these bikes perfect for people who have back, neck, or shoulder problems that can’t handle the upright positioned riding of a normal bike.
The Diamondback 510SR is a great option for former riders or people in recovery that need exercise without being too punishing on the body. Like any sport, the effort expended directly effects the results, but with dedication and aggressive pedaling, it is easy to get in a good hard work out on a recumbent bike.
Utilizing the large muscles in your legs, thighs and buttocks helps to burn calories and build lean muscle mass. Recumbent bikes like the Diamondback 510SR are a fantastic option for the elderly in particular, as they can build lower body strength, endurance and coordination without having to worry about balance and speed.
The 510SR is a new offering from the established Diamondback bicycles brand in the fast growing exercise/fitness recumbent bike segment. It is programmed from the factory with 20 different workout programs and has no less than 16 resistance levels.
The bike is sleek and made well utilizing high quality machined metal and sculpted plastic components. It has an LCD display that gives feedback in real time, program keys for quick settings and speakers with mp3 so you can play music directly off your phone or iPod.
The fully loaded workout machine also has a foldout magazine rack for reading while you ride, cup holders, integrated USB charging to keep your devices powered up as you ride, an adjustable arm rest and console for perfect body fit, and a smooth and quiet frictionless braking system – in addition to a limited lifetime warranty.
High-end bicycles have turned into very pricey machines and recumbent exercise bikes are no different. A commercial gym or high quality exercise bike can easily set a purchaser back 2,000 dollars or more, but these options are the best for serious riders or anyone planning to get a lot of use out of their equipment.
With loads of moving, mechanical and electrical parts plus high stress, components it makes sense to spring for something tested, durable, and with high build quality. the Diamondback 510R comes in as a mid-to-high range model, ready to take the stress of daily workouts with aplomb. It is a professional-level recumbent fitness bike, with the features to match (see latest prices at Amazon.com),
Fitness Enthusiast Feedback
Users have overwhelmingly positively reviewed the Diamondback 510SR, citing both the features and and the sturdy build quality.
The bike has a compact footprint making it a good choice for urban residents and others with limited floor space.
The ride itself is quiet – even when on some of the harder resistance levels – so it won’t disturb young children or spouses if ridden early in the morning or late at night, allowing you to sneak in a quick workout whenever.
The pedaling and resistance mechanism work in concert to provide a smooth user experience with limited jerking or wobbles even when starting and stopping.
The seat and backrest are cushioned and very comfortable, even when spending a significant amount of time on the bike. Even the pedals are ergonomically designed and fit feet well. They are also breathable and allow air to circulate around you while riding to keep body temperatures low and cool you off a bit.
When buyers have had issues with parts, these are usually quickly and cheerfully addressed by Diamondback’s customer service, who are more than happy to provide replacement parts and even send techs out to fix them for free. This level of devotion to customer service seems to be rare these days and it is wonderful to see a company that stands proudly behind its product.
This offering from Diamondback is a solid foray into the world of recumbent exercise bikes and provides excellent value for money. The high quality of the Diamondback 510SR lets consumers set up for years of home riding without breaking the bank.
The 510SR is a great bike and comes highly recommended for experienced cyclists or beginning fitness buffs alike. I award the Diamondback 510SR 5 out of 5 stars.Click to See Latest Price
Advantages of Using a Recumbent Exercise Bike
Any exercise bike provides a cardiovascular workout and gets blood moving in the feet, calves and thighs, and this is true of recumbent exercise bikes. They also help to control weight and increase body strength.
The recumbent bike, however, offers several advantages over the traditional stationary bike. It offers additional safety because one is closer to the floor and therefore at less risk of a long fall. The wider seat and back support provide increased stability, which also makes for a safer exercise experience.
Another matter to consider is the reduced stress on the hip and knee joints. With recumbent exercise, the legs are stretched out further and are in a more relaxed position. According to Cartilage Health, for people with arthritis, this significantly reduces pain in hip and knee joints and allows those suffering from this condition to use recumbent exercise bikes.
Types of Recumbent Exercise Bike
There are several types of recumbent exercise bike available. Which one to choose often depends on the price, features and the level of energy involved.
- Standard recumbent exercise bike – this is the most common model available. It consists of a padded seat and backrest, pedals, console/control panel, and steel tube construction. This type of recumbent exercise bike also tends to be most affordable.
- Hybrid trainer elliptical recumbent bike – a step up in cost, size and energy level from the basic bike, the hybrid trainer is a combination of the standard bike and the elliptical exercise machine. These bikes can be used in a reclining state, using the pedals or standing, using the elliptical section, for a well-rounded workout for all the body’s muscles. They take up more space than the standard bike, but certainly takes up less than two separate training machines. For those seeking a high-intensity workout whilst retaining the comfort of the recumbent bike, this is a good choice.
- Cross-trainer recumbent exercise bike – a high-end choice, but one that provides a total body workout. The standard bike pedals are replaced by large hydraulic pads, and the arm pieces with foam handholds provide a workout for the arms at the same time. In addition to this, the back-and-forth movement of the legs and arms at the same time will help firm and condition the abdomen.
Choosing a Recumbent Exercise Bike for One’s Particular Needs
There are many aspects of recumbent bikes to consider for one’s particular needs and requirements. Recumbent exercise bike reviews are useful to read to get an opinion from owners similar to you. It is best to look at all angles before making a purchase that could end up going unused.
One important consideration is one’s fitness goals. For those who want a high-intensity workout, a hybrid trainer with an elliptical included, or a cross-trainer, may be the best option.
Many bikes include pressure or stress adjustments that control how much resistance is put on the pedals or handles. It is possible with many bikes to adjust from a very light level of resistance to extremely heavy. On the other hand, for the elderly or infirm rider who needs a light, comfortable workout, the standard recumbent bike would be the best choice to make.
Cost is also a consideration; for many, the basic recumbent bike will be the best choice because it is most affordable and covers 80% of the functions a high-end recumbent bike does. For those who can afford a larger budget, there are far more expensive and correspondingly elaborate, high-quality choices available.
Comfort is an important matter to consider. Some bikes are longer than others are, and some have wider seats and more ergonomic back pads than others do. If one requires a high comfort level due to infirmity or age, it is a good idea to pay close attention to the construction of the seat and back pad.
Most Important Criteria for Choosing a Recumbent Exercise Bike
- Type – basic, hybrid, cross-trainer.
- Style – if you may want to move the bike in the future, it is a good idea to consider that a basic bike with a simple bar frame is easier to handle than some of the more elaborate models with heavy housing and little mobility.
- Cost – the basic bikes start at around $100 and go up to the $1,000 level. The bikes at the basic price tend to be a simple pedal/seat/console arrangement. Those that cost more may have odometers, elaborate readouts, more strongly constructed pedals and higher-quality materials in the padding.
- Space – this is a consideration for those with a smaller house or apartment. A basic bike such as those made by Marcy, Velocity and ProForm may only take up a few feet of space in any direction. Others may be larger. Almost any hybrid or cross-trainer bikes or more elaborate recumbent bikes, such as those made by NordicTrack, NuStep, or Body Rider, will take up several feet and often have heavy, immobile bases (immobile for most people, in any case, as they may weigh a hundred pounds or more).
- Workout needs – the elderly, arthritic, or those recovering from illness will do best to choose a simple, basic recumbent exercise bike for comfort, safety, and minimal movement of the body overall. Those who are in better shape and require a high-energy workout may do well to choose a hybrid or cross-trainer bike.
- Comfort – investigate the construction of the seat section. Is the seat wide enough? Is the back pad high enough? Is there enough padding? These are important considerations for those who have need of a high comfort level.