Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes

As you probably know there are three main types of exercise bikes which are:

  • The Upright​
  • The Recumbent Style
  • Indoor Training Bikes

On this page we will be looking at some of the best recumbent exercise bikes that are available in the UK market. Before we do that, it is worthwhile understand what a recumbent bike is and who are the types of people who would get most benefit from owning and using one.

What is a Recumbent Exercise Bike Used For?​

Well it is a bike used for exercising that also allows the rider to be in a reclined or laid back position when exercising.  They have been designed to allow the rider to better disperse their weight over a larger area. That in turn makes cycling a great deal easier on the back and the buttocks.​

Most people will know that the normal riding position on a cycle is quite an upright posture. That type of posture places a lot of pressure and strain on the lower back, the lower spine and then down and into the buttocks. If you have ever hopped off a bicycle and immediately rubbed your lower back, then you will know exactly what I mean.​

Medical and clinical studies have clearly demonstrated that​ by using a recumbent style of bike allows users to exercise for longer than they would normally be able to. They also showed that they are a lot less likely to feel any after effects of a sore back. In simple terms because the design offers much better support to the entire back area, you can stay on it longer, and exercise more than you would using a standard exercise bike.

Who Would Buy & Use a Recumbent Bike?​

The stereotypical answer is usually older people or those with bad backs. I am 58 myself and I use one and love it. I guess in many ways it depends on your definition of old age, and also your definition of what can lead to a bad back. I have always enjoyed cycling and every now and then I still take my bike out on the road. I have also paid a lot of attention to having it set-up perfectly for my body height, leg size and my comfort.

The riding position though is still tough on the back and yes I do feel it when I have finished a long cycle. I like to keep fit and cycling is a great way of doing that. For me that part of it is about working the legs​ and building up a nice sweat. You don't have to leave your back in agony to do that. If you own a recumbent bike then you can lay back, rest your back and let the legs do the work they are supposed to.

So as you can see from the video above, spin bikes are the closest thing you will get to riding your bike out on the road. The recumbent style mainly uses the legs, are easier on the back and are ideal if you want to do something else like read or even watch TV. Finally there is the upright style which is the most popular. They have large padded seats and usually come with a choice of programs.

The Lazy Person's Bike

I have often heard the recumbent referred to as the bike for a lazy person. That is quite an unfair thing to say and is usually said by those who have never suffered from an aching back. Now don't get me wrong here - if I saw someone laying back on a bike exercising and also reading a book, it would be easy enough to jump to the conclusion of being lazy.

The reality is that it is not. These bikes give you a great workout once you get used to the feel of riding them. They don't have the same feel as riding a normal bike and initially they may even feel a tad awkward. Once you do get used to the actual riding style,  then these can give your legs a real workout. So if you are doing that, then why not read a book rather than staring at a wall!!​

It also means that if like me you are not a fan of expensive gyms, ​you can still exercise at your pace, in your style and within the privacy of the four walls of your own home. The bottom line for me always is making some effort to keep fit. If I can do that without straining or damaging any of my joints, then that will always work for me.

Recumbent Exercise Bike Buying Guide​

key features of a recumbent exercise bike

If this piece of exercise equipment interests you, then below you will find a quick buying guide. This should help you decide which style and type of recumbent bike is best for what you want to achieve.​ That will pretty much come down to what you can afford and what features you can live without.

Bike Price Range​

There is a huge variation in price for these and a basic one will be under £100 with the more sophisticated and higher ends one coming in around £600+​ There are some really high end models like the Vision Fitness range that cost £1,500 or more. These are manufactured by many of the leading fitness brands including Life Fitness, JK Fitness, Proform, Nordic Track, Kettler, Horizon, AsVIVA and more.

Comfort Features

These bikes are all about exercising comfortably and a lot of emphasis is placed on that in their design and manufacture. Any of the models will be more comfortable to use than a spin or upright. On the higher end and more expensive models better quality of material will have been used and better design will have been used. You do however need to spend the money to get those extra features.

Seats & Hand Rests

best recumbent exercise bikes

The seats can vary quite a lot from soft gel and all the way through to memory foam packed seats.​ With some models you can vary the angle of recline. Now you may have noted that I also include hand rests along with the seating. That is because some of the seats have arm rests and some do not. The basic decision here is to use the arm rests or to let them dangle down.

Some of the exercise bikes also come with riding handles which allows you to use those, some or all of the time. You can see those in the image to the right. By looking at that you can see that the seat incline can quickly be changed, the hand rests can be raised or let down similar to being on a plane or bus, and there is also handles should you choose to use those.

​You can also adjust the seat position on the bar to make it suit your size, especially the leg size so as you can create a sustained riding position that is the most comfortable for your body size and shape.

​Resistance Levels

These bikes also have some type of resistance to help you change the effort required to pedal. On the better models you will have a wide range of levels which are easy to adjust. At the higher end this will typically be around 24-32 different levels.​ At the lower priced end these will drop to just a few options, but usually enough to be able to improve your levels of fitness.

Programs

Some users are happy enough to hop on one of these bikes and just do a workout. Others like to have a choice of different programs. They will like those because they can pick one they like and also change it up when they feel like doing more or less. Others like the choice as the manufacturers who have included programs, know better than most which types of workout are best.​

Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes Under £200

There are a few available in this price range. Below I have picked the top two based on how well they are rated. The higher the rating the better the bike will be.

JLL® Home Recumbent Exercise Bike RE100

JLL® Home Recumbent Exercise Bike RE100

This is a new bike that was released for the year 2016. It is exceptional value at just over the £100 price point. I recently saw these on Amazon at around £107 and this is the best value I have seen so far.

At that sort of price it means most people who want to own a recumbent bike, now have the opportunity to do so.

Most of us know that these days you do not get that much for £100. JLL have managed to pack in quite a number of features on this model. I have listed the important ones below:

  • It is a well made frame, 6 different seat positions, adjustable toe straps and has 8 resistance levels
  • The display read out is easy to see and very comprehensive as it includes; distance, time, calories burned, speed, RPM, heart rate etc
  • There are plenty of  buyers that give you a comprehensive view of this cycle. Those who have bought and used it, rate it as a 4.5 out of 5 stars purchase.
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty - Maximum user weight is 100 Kg (220 lbs)

This is an ideal buy for those who want to cycle, but also require a little comfort. There is no bending involved to use this model, and the theory is that you can sit back and pedal. That will help work out the legs without placing any strain on the back or neck. You can change the resistance level simply by turning a knob. The 15" seat position is adjustable so can be used by more than one person. The seat sits around 16" off the ground.

This bike will help work out your legs and is good for cardio. ​You can set it up in front of your TV and pedal away to your heart's content.

V-fit G-RC Recumbent Magnetic Cycle

V-fit G-RC Recumbent Magnetic Cycle

The RRP on this model from V-fit is around £230. However it is available in most stores at around £140. The model above use flywheel resistance, whereas this one uses magnetic resistance. That makes this one slightly quieter. Buyers, and there are plenty of them, rate this bike at 4.1 out of 5 stars.

At the lower price this is good enough value for money. The brand is well known and the overall quality of this indoor bike is very good.

I have listed the important features below:

  • It is well made with adjustable seat and back rest. The pedals are large which is a very good idea.
  • The display read out is easy to see and very comprehensive as it includes; distance, time, calories burned, speed, etc
  • There are plenty of  buyers that give you a comprehensive view of this cycle. Those who have bought and used it, rate it as a 4.1 out of 5 stars purchase.
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty - Maximum user weight is 115 Kg (253 lbs or 18 stones)

This one will need some basic assembly. It also needs 3 AA batteries for the LED display and they are not supplied. It is easy enough to set up if a little fiddly with some of the wires. It takes about an hour to set up. It doesn't take up a lot of space and is easy to store as well. It has 8 resistance levels.

Almost all of the buyers who used this really like it. It seems to be especially good for anyone wanting to exercise who have back pain problems, and yet want to stay fit. It is also ideal for those who wish to cycle but want to avoid the busy roads and streets.

Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes Under £500

If you are willing to, or can afford to invest a little more, then there are some great options available. Personally I like to buy the best products that I can afford. They are always better made and most importantly, they last a great deal longer. The same rules apply to recumbent exercise bikes. Below I have listed the top 2 rated bikes for under £500.

Kettler Premium Recumbent Exercise Bike

Kettler Premium Recumbent Exercise Bike

Kettler are a very well known brand in the exercise world. This premium model has an RRP of just under £500, but is currently available at Amazon for £100 off, making it around £399. That really is an excellent price point.

You can see just by looking at the image to the left, that this looks to be a much better bike than the two I have shown above that cost under £200. That said there needs to be much more than looks to justify spending this amount of money. Let's have a closer look.

It is a self powered bike so no need to be near a main's socket.​ Below I have listed the key features for this indoor bike:

  • A full range of 16 resistance levels, ensuring a suitable level for all
  • The display read out is easy to see and very comprehensive as it includes; distance, time, calories burned, speed, pedalling speed, energy, consumption, date and time.
  • There are enough buyers to give you a comprehensive view of this cycle. Those who have bought and used it do rate it as a 4.4 out of 5 stars purchase.

This machine weighs 49 KG and measures 165 x 102 x 66 cm in size. Kettler have designed this for anyone who suffers from mobility or balance issues. It comes with a built-in training computer, with 12 different workout programs, and a 4 user person memory. There are pulse detectors built into the handlebars. It is suitable for people of all heights.

Physiotherapists recommend ​recumbent exercise bikes for many people with back problems. The bikes however do need to be low impact as the last thing you will need is to place further strain on back or neck muscles. This one is as good as many of the more expensive bikes on the market. The only ting you really lose out on is the wider range of resistance levels.

Schwinn 270i Recumbent Bike

Schwinn 270i Recumbent Bike

Anyone who knows their bikes will have heard of the Schwinn brand. They are world famous, so no big surprise to find that their 270i model is a very popular choice for some people.

This one comes in at just over the £500 price point at around £525. I wanted to include it in this section as I believe it to be very high quality and great value for money. It is rated a as 5 star purchase by those who have bought and used it.

It is a self powered bike so no need to be near a main's socket.​ Below I have listed the key features for this indoor bike:

  • A full range of 25 resistance levels, ensuring a suitable level for all
  • The display read out is easy to see and very comprehensive as it includes; distance, time, calories burned, speed, RPM, heart rate etc
  • Delivers a highly effective cycling workout in the comfort of your own home

In terms of quality, I don't think there is anything better on the UK market at the moment. It has a one piece solid frame, 25 resistance levels and is powered by a very smooth flywheel. The riding experience is both quiet and smooth. The LED display is easy to see and even easier to use. You have all the usual readings such as distance, time, speed, calories burned etc.

​There are also programmable fitness workouts and you can easily track your progress. These can be set for up to 4 different users. It also has a USB port which can be used to link up with an app called "MyFitnessPal" on the Schwinn website. This same USB port can be used for things like charging up your mobile.

Nothing is more comfortable that this model. It has a padded contoured seat, and the back rest has ventilated strips and also comes with a 3 speed fan. If you like your music this model also comes with impressive speakers.​

Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes Under £1,500

Vision Fitness R60 Light Commercial Recumbent Bike

Vision Fitness R60 Light Commercial Recumbent Bike

This is one of the higher end recumbent bikes from the very good Vision Fitness brand. It is rather expensive with an average price of around £1,300. That is certainly not an investment that should be taken lightly.

Clearly this is only an option for people who have enough money to be able to afford it. It does however have all the bells and whistles. This is the model that I would recommend, if you can afford it, and if you take your fitness very seriously.

It is a self powered bike so no need to be near a main's socket.​ Below I have listed the key features for this indoor bike:

  • A full range of 25 resistance levels, ensuring a suitable level for all
  • The display read out is easy to see and very comprehensive as it includes; distance, time, calories burned, speed, RPM, heart rate etc
  • There are not enough buyers to give you a comprehensive view of this cycle. Those who have bought and used it do rate it as a 5 star purchase.