The trend of purchasing gym equipment for home use took the world by storm as the coronavirus remained fluid globally. Everyone’s trying to find a way to circumvent the lockdown—however form it may be in your country— by bringing outside experiences and activities at home.
Now, we are aware of the most common gym equipment: treadmills, stairmasters, and stationary bikes. But have you given a second thought to recumbent bikes?
Recumbent bikes are designed very close to your regular bikes only with a wider and lower seat. In effect, this causes less stress to the joints, gluteal muscles, and calves. These are very popular in gyms for great reasons.
In this article, I’m going to help you and save you all the trouble of researching by listing down the best recumbent bikes you’ll find in the market today. These bikes are the most popular reviewed ones available on the internet today.
Best Recumbent Bikes For Home Gyms Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike||Nautilus||Check Price on Amazon|
|NordicTrack Commercial Vr21 Recumbent Bike||NordicTrack||Check Price on Amazon|
|Sole R92 Recumbent Bike||Sole||Check Price on Amazon|
|Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike||Exerpeutic||Check Price on Amazon|
|Schwinn 270 Bike||Schwinn||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike
An upgraded version of its predecessor the R616, the R618 is the most advanced bike from the brand. It boasts of a solid frame built to carry up to 325 pounds with 29 workout programs and 25 levels of resistance. And that’s just the beginning.
What I find very interesting about this bike is how it’s console is fully adjustable. You literally can change and tilt the angle for more convenient viewing. This comes with dual screens that are both adjustable– some may find this valuable, others, just a nice-to-have.
Some are bothered about how the flywheel on this bike is significantly light at 13 lbs. It’s not actually a big deal for me as when you ride a recumbent bike, you’re expecting to have the gentlest, least stressful cardio exercises. So why expect a heavy flywheel?
This also comes with upgraded gel cushions on its seat and an adjustable backrest– the biggest improvements from the R616. It has a 15-year warranty on frame, 3 years on parts and 1 year on labor. With the price, you can’t complain.
#2 - NordicTrack Commercial Vr21 Recumbent Bike
Starting off with a shelf for your tablet or gadget that’s on eye-level, which will allow it to become your iFit monitor as you bike, or you can simply play your favorite series on Netflix. Your choice.
Besides that, you can connect your cellphone or any music player to the bike console. For that extra enjoyment, 2-inch speakers are installed on this bike, a feature I like because earphones tend to distract me.
Now onto the workout programs: this has 32 workout apps that they claim to be designed by a certified trainer. Each program offers a different resistance and a different speed that will keep your sessions lively and interesting.
More than that, I personally think that you’ll reap the most out of each session especially if you’re on programs that are specific to your target: whether it be weight loss or endurance training.
The biggest catch on this model is some said that this hardly lasted them 2 years: a big uh-oh.
#3 - Sole R92 Recumbent Bike
The R92 is the more compact version of the highly acclaimed LCR model. It is basically the budget model but still lives up to the Sole quality.
It comes with a 20-lb flywheel that’s one of the heaviest on this list. This creates a smoother ride but it also translates to additional weight overall. I think this just adds to how solid this bike is as a piece of home gym equipment.
A catch on Sole products is that it doesn’t have a lot of trinkets of features that a brand like NordicTrack would, but it makes up for it with its dependability. You’ll find the usual features such as bluetooth, a console with USB charging port, and a chest-strap heart monitor.
The main takeaway for this product: if you’re looking for workout programs and fancy features, you won’t find it here. What you’ll find is an easy-to-use bike with the important features put in PLUS the great warranty. You won’t hear me complaining.
#4 - Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
This recumbent bike can actually be folded for easier storage— perfect for those who want to squeeze an exercise into their busy routines and squeeze the equipment in their floor space as well. It also comes with wheels for easier transport.
The brand put a lot of thought into making this a carry-on gym equipment. Of course, there will be some compromises from it being compact and foldable. It comes with only 8 levels of resistance which can be adjusted through a knob, and its other features are pretty straightforward.
As a semi-recumbent bike, it can easily sit anyone within the 300-lb range with a height of 5 foot 2 inches to 6 foot 2 inches. One thing I can say about it is it does the job, period. No frills.
I like how it’s seat has a large cushion with a solid backrest for comfortability. It’s ergonomic design will ensure that pressure on the lower back is reduced. The LCD displays the usual heart monitoring via the handlebars, speed, time, pulse rate and calories burned— pretty standard stuff.
#5 - Schwinn 270 Bike
Last on our list has been tagged by Top Fitness Mag as the best recumbent bike in the market since its release. The Schwinn 270 is the most versatile bike suitable for pros and entry level bikers alike.
Schwinn is one of the oldest and leading brands in the world of cycling since 100 years ago. They made sure that their experience translated into the 270— a piece of equipment that is built for durability and endure the harshest of workouts.
It has a console that is loaded with about 29 workouts with 25 levels of resistance and allows downloading of exercise data. I like how it can be linked to FitnessPal for optimum calorie-count monitoring when you’re trying to reach a specific goal.
The programs have been designed to be enjoyable and fun but are dead serious in giving you a heart-pumping workout. It comes with 2 fitness test programs to gauge your fitness level and 9 heart rate programs for 4 different profiles.
It comes with a 10-year warranty. It almost has the same features as the Sole and Nautilus bikes but a hundred bucks less. Now, that’s the best part if you ask me.
My Number One Pick
What To Look Out For When Buying Recumbent Bikes For Home Gyms
Below is a list of key nuances, features and what to look out for when shopping for recumbent bikes.
You should be aware of how your workout is going in terms of how your body is responding to it. This allows you to exceed your current progress and move on to bigger, more challenging goals.
Data such as time, distance and calories burned is critical to be fully informed of your workout. Off the list, the Schwinn 270 comes with a packed console and lots of downloadable info that can help you track.
Adjustment of Resistance
You could be a pro or an entry level biker, but there is only one component that is considered in recumbent bikes…. and that’s resistance. In fact, that is the only name of the game.
It’s not your speed that’s going to reap the results for you: it’s your biking’s resistance level. When you are able to quickly tune and adjust the resistance of your bike, your body is continuously challenged avoiding plateaus.
The Nautilus R618 and Schwinn 270 takes the cake for the most number of resistance levels. But if your need is nominal it wouldn’t hurt to go for a Exerpeutic 400XL at 8 levels.
Proper positioning is literally the same thing as proper form: it allows you to execute the exercise well to reap maximum benefits. On a recumbent bike, it is ideal that you can adjust the seat and backrest to allow you more legroom or less if needed.
Some also have adjustable foot cages to ensure that you’re safely put in your bike. On the other hand, other adjustability features can be nice-to-have too. The Nautilus R618 comes with a fully adjustable dual monitor that will tilt at the angle most convenient for you.
Weight and Height Capacity
Most recumbent bikes can generally accommodate most heights, however, weight is another conversation. Be sure you check the capacity of your bike as this will directly impact your stability during your ride.
You could also consider the weight and height of family members or people who can also use your bike in general. The R6218 carries the most weight at 325 lbs, followed suit by the portable Exerpeutic 400.
Speaking of Exerpeutic, portability is another thing you can consider when buying your recumbent bike. The floor space on your home may be minimal, so you’ll need a bike that can be easily folded and stored to your liking.
The 400XL is unique as it is the only bike on the list with this offering. The rest are pretty fixed once assembled and even before assembly, occupies a large space. So keep an eye on your floor allowance at home and the portability of your bike.
Of course, you have to check the warranty. As these are hefty purchases, this is crucial to buying recumbent bikes or any other gym equipment—it’s basically insurance.
Top products with great quality usually come with a longer warranty; more affordable ones usually have shorter warranties but that still depends.
Three things you have to look at: frame warranty, labor and parts. The R618 has 15 years on it’s frame, while Schwinn has 10. In any case, these are great offerings as your purchase is protected.
How packed is your recumbent bike? It’s a battle of preferences as some may like the fancy features, and others just want a straightforward bike experience. In any case, here are some features that you can consider:
- Workout Programs – some bikes are built with workout programs that allows automatic adjustment of resistance and speed on your bike. NordicTrack’s NTEX76016 boasts of its program which is designed by a certified trainer. The claim: as if you’re working out with an actual trainer.
- Heart rate monitoring – this is easily one of the most basic features you find in most bikes. The Sole bike includes a heart monitor which is strapped on to your chest; while Schwinn you would need to buy separately.
- User Profiles – the nice thing about more expensive bikes is they put a lot of thought into who and how many will be able to use the bike (as most is intended for commercial use). Schwinn 470 allows 4 and I personally think that’s a great feature considering other members of the family.
- Entertainment feature – does it have speakers? Can you connect your mobile phone via bluetooth or wire? Music and video is already considered an essential in working out: it keeps you motivated and simply makes it fun.
For any product, you cannot skip considering the price. This is probably the main thing that you need to consider when looking for a recumbent bike or any other item for that matter.
Some of the bikes on this list have a hefty price tag. Admittedly, these are the ones that come packed with great and nice-to-have features. The more affordable ones like the Exerpeutic are on the more affordable spectrum but lack some features.
In any case, your wallet, your call.
Frequently Asked Questions About Recumbent Bikes
Q: Which is more suitable for calorie burning: recumbent bikes or regular upright bikes?
A: In a nutshell, both bikes are able to provide great calorie-burning and weight loss opportunities. It all comes down to your preference and how hard you are willing to work. You can have an upright bike and work at minimal resistance so the calorie burning is minimal there. On the other hand, you can use a recumbent bike at higher resistance with longer biking hours, and this would obviously burn more calories.
Q: What is the difference between the upright bike and the recumbent bike?
A: On a recumbent bike, the rider is well-positioned on the bike. On the other hand, the upright one is exactly like a traditional bike where the rider is sitting ‘on top’ of the frame. The rider is almost in a relaxed and more comfortable position in a recumbent bike. The body is reclined on a more natural position causing less strain. On an upright one, the biker is slightly hunched to get a hold of the handlebars. Lastly, with a recumbent bike, the seat is far more comfortable than an upright one. It’s almost as comfortable as your regular leather chair. An upright bike is smaller, like a traditional bike which tends to cause pain on the inner legs, or saddle soreness.
Both traditional and recumbent bikes are low impact cardiovascular exercises. However, recumbent bikes are less likely to strain your body. They are friendlier on the lumbar spine and don’t put any weight on your ankles and knees.
It is also considered therapy equipment for people who have suffered injuries. Those who suffer certain kinds of arthritis are safe and would find recumbent bikes easier to use as the weight is evenly spread in the buttocks and back area because of the wider seat. What do you think of recumbent bikes? Will it be something you’d consider buying? Would love to hear your thoughts below.
While you’re here, check out our post on the best exercise bikes we’ve also done if you’re looking for more options. If you’re after more machines that can help you lose weight in general, check out these workout machines. We also recently done a review on the best elliptical machines which are a great alternative to save your joints.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.