Using a recumbent bike is a great way to get in a cardio workout and strengthen your legs if an injury has derailed your training.
I discovered this for myself during the 2020 lockdown, when a sciatic nerve issue made running – and pretty much all other forms of exercise – impossible.
Cycling in a reclined position, however, was manageable and made it possible for me to get my heart rate up without putting any stress on my lower back.
Choosing the best recumbent bike, however, isn’t always easy.
There are so many different models to choose from – with such a wide range of features – it can be tough to decide which is right for you.
That’s why I’ve put together this guide to the top 8 recumbent bikes on the market right now.
Read on to discover my favorite models – and the reasons I recommend them – plus the things you need to consider when making your choice.
Related Article: The 8 Best Indoor Cycling Bikes
The 8 Best Recumbent Bikes in 2023
How to Choose the Best Recumbent Bike
Your first consideration is durability – the best recumbent exercise bike should be well-constructed and able to withstand frequent use.
Check the maximum weight capacity and make sure you don’t exceed it. Putting more weight on the bike than it’s built for can considerably shorten its life span.
Other things to think about include:
#1: Available Space
Some recumbent bikes have a pretty big footprint so make sure you’ve measured your available space carefully and are confident that your chosen bike will fit comfortably.
Certain models fold down for storage, which is ideal if you live in an apartment, but you may find that they lack some of the features of the larger bikes that need a designated space in your home gym.
Remember, too, that many of the bikes included in this guide will need to be located near a wall outlet, so that’s something to consider when deciding where to set it up.
#2: Programs and Display
Some of the best recumbent exercise bikes will have programs built-in to keep your workouts interesting, with varying rates of resistance to adjust the level of difficulty.
If you’re prepared to spend a bit more, you can get a bike with an interactive screen to which you can stream workouts or other forms of entertainment to help the miles fly by.
Some models provide app-based on-demand workouts. These usually require an ongoing subscription, however, so check the details carefully.
Alternatively, choose a bike that has a device holder, so that you can stream content to your phone or tablet.
The best recumbent exercise bike should allow you to quickly and easily adjust the distance from the seat to the pedals so that you can sit in the most comfortable position possible.
The ease of adjustment is especially important if other family members will be using your bike and the position will be changed often.
Check to see if you can adjust the foot strap and the incline, too, either of which will make for a more comfortable experience overall.
The 8 Best Recumbent Bikes
Dimensions: 68.22 x 23.69 x 53.42 Inches, Bike Weight: 192 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 26, Max User Capacity: 350 Pounds, Folds: No
|Step-through design for easy access||iFit subscription required|
|Runs quietly||Very hard to read metrics in manual mode|
This is a heavy bike that needs a dedicated space – plus it carries a pretty hefty price tag – but if you’re looking for a model offering highly enjoyable, immersive workouts on demand, you really can’t go wrong with NordicTrack’s R35.
As you follow your trainers on the 14-inch HD touchscreen, your settings are automatically adjusted to match the terrain or class.
With just the touch of a button, you can adjust the speed of the built-in fan to remain cool.
The foot pedals are nice and wide so they are comfortable to use.
I loved the curved, cushioned seat with lumbar support, finding that the mesh back stopped me from getting too sweaty when the going got tough.
Dimensions: 26.5 x 19.5 x 47 Inches, Bike Weight: 45 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 10, Max User Capacity: 330 Pounds, Folds: Yes
|Very affordable||No built-in programs|
|No outlet required||Tricky to get on/off if you have mobility issues|
|Easy to assemble||Takes longer than promised to assemble|
If you don’t have a lot of space for exercise equipment it’s not always easy to decide on the best pieces to choose.
This 2-in-1 model is a great solution, converting easily from a recumbent to an upright position to add variety to your workouts.
It has a cushioned seat that I found reasonably comfortable and it folds to a compact size, so it’s easy to store (it may even fit under your bed).
At this price point, I wasn’t expecting (nor did I get!) any bells and whistles, but it has the basic features you need, including an LCD monitor to track your stats and a device holder so you can stream workouts to your phone.
#3. Best Recumbent Bike for an Upper Body Workout – Sunny Health & Fitness Bike with Dual Motion Arm Exercisers
Dimensions: 25.5 x 60 x 52 Inches, Bike Weight: 95.8 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 8, Max User Capacity: 350 Pounds, Folds: No
|Smooth, easy seat adjustment||No dedicated device holder|
|Oversized seat and back||Seat is quite hard|
|Textured foot pedals with adjustable straps||Pulse monitors make the handlebars uncomfortable|
This is another 2-in-1 model, but this time it’s your upper as well as your lower body getting a workout, thanks to the moveable handlebars that allow you to pump your arms along with your legs during each stroke of the pedal.
You can even isolate your arm workouts if you choose, by placing your feet firmly on the floor.
The digital monitor displaying your metrics is easy to read in a well-lit room and is designed to double up as a device holder.
This means, though, that the display is then covered, so I did wish there was an additional media rack to keep an eye on my stats during streamed workouts.
That aside, this is a great machine for more of an all-over workout, with a step-through design that makes it easy to use if you have an injury or mobility issues.
Dimensions: 33 x 19 x 46 Inches, Bike Weight: 43 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 8, Max User Capacity: 300 Pounds, Folds: Yes
|Folds down to half its size||Unsuitable for very tall users|
|Sturdy, with leg stabilizers||Seat back may feel too upright for some|
|Budget-friendly||No tablet holder|
This is the model I’d recommend if you don’t want to spend a fortune and just want a simple, no-frills recumbent bike you can easily fold down for storage.
Ideal for burning calories at work when combined with a height-adjustable desk, it is very lightweight and has transportation wheels that make it easy to move from one spot to another.
The 3.3″ LCD display is simple but easy to read, set at a lower position than on many other bikes to make it easy to use at a desk.
The bike operates very smoothly and quietly, too, so you can easily watch TV or listen to music as you train.
Dimensions: 25 x 58 x 38 Inches, Bike Weight: 53 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 8, Max User Capacity: 300 Pounds, Folds: No
|Durable, made from premium 14-gauge steel tubing||Seat adjustment isn’t the quickest|
|Easy-to-read display||No device holder|
|Features transportation wheels that make it easy to move|
With a convenient, step-through design that’s perfect for any user, this is one of the most affordable bikes out there.
It actually looks more expensive than it is and features a seat padded with high-density foam, plus contoured foam handlebars to help keep you supported and in the optimal position for safe exercising.
As you might expect, the display is pretty simple but still tells you your time, speed, distance, calories, and total distance, while the foot pedals are textured to stop you from slipping.
The only (small) complaint I have is that horizontally adjusting the seat isn’t as quick as on other bikes, but if you’re the only person using it regularly, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Dimensions: 60.3 x 24.4 x 42.2 Inches, Bike Weight: 94 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 24, Max User Capacity: 300 Pounds, Folds: No
|Sturdy and stable||No device holder|
|Large seat with comfort molded back|
|Oversized foot pedals|
I was super impressed with the features of this reasonably priced bike
While it can’t be folded for storage and needs a dedicated spot in your home I think it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a high-quality model with programs built-in.
This one has 12 preset programs to keep things interesting, plus a really nice 5.5″ blue backlit LCD monitor that’s easy to read, even in dim lighting.
The frame is compact, with an easily accessible step-through design, and you can get your workout in when everyone is sleeping thanks to the friction-free magnetic resistance that makes the operation whisper quiet.
Dimensions: 66.5 x 25.5 x 51.5 Inches, Bike Weight: 133 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 20, Max User Capacity: 300 Pounds, Folds: No
|Sleek, ergonomic design||Very expensive|
|20 lb flywheel for smooth pedaling|
|Integrated media shelf|
This model comes from a brand whose bikes are popular in health clubs everywhere, so while the price tag may be steep, you’ll know you’ll be getting a high-quality piece of equipment that will last you for many years to come.
Designed for easy entry and exit, it looks fantastic and packs a ton of great features, including 16 built-in workout programs, 12 custom workouts, 4 user profiles, and non-slip, self-balancing pedals.
But where it really shines is in the connectivity of the console.
Compatible with Apple and Samsung watches and smartphones, it syncs with Life Fitness Connect and other apps to stream workouts or analyze your data.
Dimensions: 66.5 x 26.3 x 46.8 Inches, Bike Weight: 110 Pounds, Resistance Levels: 25, Max User Capacity: 330 Pounds, Folds: No
|Bluetooth enabled||Media screen is not built-in (you need to use your own device)|
|Comes with a cup holder and USB charging port||Console can be tricky to read in low light|
|2 months JRNY mobile-only membership included|
Recumbent bikes with Bluetooth compatibility that allow you to pair them with heart rate monitors and fitness apps can be pricey.
The Schwinn 290, however, is surprisingly affordable.
It features a 7-inch LCD display with all your important metrics, plus a built-in tablet holder to take advantage of the JRNY membership trial, giving you access to real-time coaching, virtual destinations, and on-demand coaching.
You’ll need to subscribe if you want continued access when your two months are up, although this is entirely optional and you can still make use of the 13 workout programs built-in.
Also compatible with Zwift, the Schwinn 290 comes with Bluetooth speakers and has a ventilated seat for comfort during the sweatiest workouts.
The 8 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes: Key Takeaways
There’s no doubt that recumbent bikes are more comfortable to use than upright bikes.
They offer more back and glute support, along with a full, padded seat rather than a narrow saddle.
I hope you’ve found this guide useful in picking a model with all the features you need for a great workout in your home gym.