The Best Recumbent Bikes for Low-Impact Workouts, According to Reviews
When you want to get your heart pumping, a good cardio workout can do wonders. Over the past few years, cycling has undoubtedly become one of the most popular types of cardio — and for good reason. Not only is it fun and great for building lean muscle, but it's also more gentle than other cardio options. "Cycling is non-weight-bearing, so it reduces the risk of injuries due to wear and tear on your joints, particularly your knees," Robert Mazzeo, Ph.D., associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder, previously told Shape.
But not all bikes are the same — and if a low-impact workout is your main priority, then a recumbent bike (which has a lower, slightly reclined seat compared to a traditional bike) might be better suited for you than an upright bike. These are the best recumbent bikes on Amazon, according to reviews:
- Best Overall: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
- Best for Small Spaces: Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
- Most Comfortable: MaxKare Recumbent Exercise Bike
- Best Customization: Vanswe Recumbent Exercise Bike
- Best for Back Support: Sunny Health & Fitness Programmable Recumbent Bike
- Best Dual-Purpose: Sunny Health & Fitness Recumbent Bike SF-RB4631 with Arm Exerciser
- Best Investment: Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
- Best Value: Marnur Recumbent Exercise Bike
"If you want to completely avoid using your upper body, the recumbent bike is great for safely isolating the lower body and creating support for the torso," explains celebrity trainer Ridge Davis. He adds that the reclined seat found on a recumbent bike is ideal for people with lower back injuries and those who want to put less pressure on their joints.
But that doesn't mean it won't help you get in a great workout. "It may seem easier because you're reclined and just working the lower body. However, because the lower body is isolated, you're able to give more intention and resistance in a safe manner," Davis says. (Related: The Best Peloton Bike Alternatives On Amazon, According to Reviews)
Deciding which recumbent bike is right for you may be a challenge since there are many different models on the market — but customer reviews can give you a good idea of which one will fit into your own workout routine as well as if it's right for your budget and space. Keep reading to learn more about the best recumbent bikes you can buy in 2021.
Best Overall: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
This top-rated option by Sunny Health & Fitness has everything you’d want in an exercise bike, including eight levels of magnetic resistance, an adjustable seat, and a digital monitor that displays time, speed, distance, pulse, and calories burned. The machine can accommodate up to 300 pounds — and inseam heights range from 29 to 38 inches — so it’s great for tall riders. With a price tag currently under $200, it’s a solid pick for a home gym that shoppers call a “great value.” It has a solid fan base as well: More than 2,000 people have given it a five-star rating.
“Assembly was fairly straightforward and took me just under 20 minutes (I think I’m handy with these kind of work),” wrote one five-star reviewer. “This unit is comfortable for us, who range from 5’2” to 6’. It’s silent and easy to use. Great for exercising while reading or watching TV. The display is small without lighting, but we haven’t had any trouble reading it.”
Best for Small Spaces: Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
If you have limited space for a home gym, a folding bike can be a real game-changer. This option from Exerpeutic may not have tons of bells and whistles, but more than 2,700 Amazon shoppers have given it a five-star rating, saying it has a “solid feel [and] smooth performance” and that they’re “very impressed” by the quality, especially given the budget-friendly price. It features eight levels of resistance and includes a digital screen that tracks distance, calories, time, speed, and heart rate. (Related: This Affordable Folding Exercise Bike Is Perfect for At-Home Workouts)
“And as far as getting a really good workout on this bike is concerned, by the time I'm hitting levels 4 and 5 I'm really feeling it and need to have a small hand towel nearby to use along with about 24 ounces of water for a 60 minute workout,” said one user. “The seat is very comfortable and the back support is wonderful. I don't find myself dreading the idea of finally getting to 60 minutes because of the comfortable seat and back. It's so quiet to the point that you don't have to raise your TV volume if you like to work out that way.”
Most Comfortable: MaxKare Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you want to watch TV or take an online exercise class while cycling, this recumbent bike from MaxKare may be your best option. It comes with an eye-level tablet holder and a padded back rest, so you can ride comfortably as your favorite show plays (which some shoppers recommend doing). With eight levels of magnetic resistance, it also has foam-covered handles that allow for a more ergonomic grip.
“I'm using this daily and love how adjustable it is. The seat, the pedals, the tension/resistance... everything can be adjusted to fit the person using it at that moment,” shared a customer. “The best part for me is how quiet this is. I turn our TV so I can watch shows while bicycling, and I don't need to dial up the TV volume very much. Likewise, there's almost no vibration and certainly no noise to disturb our downstairs neighbors.”
Best Customization: Vanswe Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you like a challenge, Vanswe’s recumbent bike offers an impressive 16 levels of magnetic resistance, so you can climb or coast as you wish. Its LCD screen tracks heart rate, speed, distance, time, and calories burned, and it has a holder for a phone or tablet, too. Unlike similar models, Vanswe’s recumbent bike features both upper and lower handlebars, so you can sit however is most comfortable for you. The seat can also be easily adjusted.
“Bike is rock solid, smooth, and quiet. It is built low to the ground but plenty of handholds to help get up for those of us with knee problems,” wrote one shopper. “There is a wide range of resistance available so you can start light and work your way into some solid resistance; I have seen real strength improvement in just a month of riding in my knee and legs.”
Best for Back Support: Sunny Health & Fitness Programmable Recumbent Bike
Imagine an ergonomic desk chair combined with an effective piece of workout equipment, and you’d end up with this Sunny Health and Fitness bike. It has a wide, cushioned seat and a tall mesh backrest to help you feel supported as you pedal on. And that’s not all: It comes with 16 resistance levels and 12 preset workouts, so you can customize your workout or pick a pre-programmed option. A small monitor displays stats like time, speed, rotation per minute, and distance, while the device holder allows you to use your phone or tablet during your workout. (Related: This $50 Mini Workout Machine Has Changed the Way I Stay Active at Home)
“I’m in my 70s and put the bike together by myself. I peddle at least 15 miles a day everyday so it gets plenty of use,” reported a reviewer. “Because of the back test and wide cushioned seat, I can watch TV, text, read a book, FaceTime at leisure while I’m peddling. The screen on the bike is easy to read and the phone/book holder above the screen is very useful.”
Best Dual-Purpose: Sunny Health & Fitness Recumbent Bike SF-RB4631 with Arm Exerciser
Recumbent bikes are designed to offer lower body workouts, but if you want to get your arms in on the action, too, consider this unique model. It has arm pedals that can be used either independently or in conjunction with the foot pedals. The bike has eight levels of magnetic resistance as well as a digital monitor for tracking time and pulse, though shoppers should note that it only records metrics for the leg bike itself (not the arms pedals).
“This recumbent bike is sturdy and smooth. It was simple to put together because it came with all major parts pre-assembled. I'm over 250 pounds and feel very secure when using it,” said a customer. “The arm ‘pedals’ are a nice bonus for someone like me (advanced age with the usual maladies) who is interested in mostly in toning and stretching exercises.”
Best Investment: Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
If you’re open to spending a bit more to create your perfect home gym, this high-tech model from Schwinn is a worthy investment. It has a Bluetooth function that connects to the Schwinn app — so you can track your workouts directly from your smartphone or tablet — and comes loaded with 29 different workout programs. Along with 25 resistance levels that allow every user to personalize their ride, it has other luxe additions like a USB-charging port and an adjustable fan. (Related: Should You Give Up Your Gym or ClassPass Membership for a "Smart" Machine?)
“A top-quality bike and tremendous value. Has features and quality of bikes two to three times its price,” noted a five-star reviewer. “Easy to use and intuitive controls. Starts on pedal movement and auto shut off when done. Plenty of pre-programmed workouts or easily adjustable manual settings. Heart rate monitor works well. Display panel well lit and easily readable.”
Best Value: Marnur Recumbent Exercise Bike
At just $160, this recumbent bike from Marnur is one of the most affordable recumbent bikes you’ll find. It has a padded seat with a high back for optimal comfort, plus eight levels of resistance for a customized workout. It’s received an impressive 4.6 rating from nearly 500 customers. (Related: The 8 Best Treadmills Under $500, According to Customer Reviews)
“This makes zero noise. The intensity level can be easily adjusted by a knob on the front. The distance of the legs can be changed. It tracks heart rate and distance,” wrote one. “I am anxious about returning to the gym so I brought the gym to my house. I am beyond pleased with your quality of this and it was super easy to assemble!”