Best Recumbent Bike – Introduction
What is the best budget recumbent exercise bike on the market in 2023?
Of all the 600-plus muscles in the human body, the heart is arguably the most important.
While big biceps, toned quads, and ripped abs look great, it’s your heart that pumps all day, every day, to keep you alive.
In fact, it’s estimated that the average heart beats 100,000 times per day, 35 million times a year, and a whopping 2.5 billion times in a lifetime.
That’s a lot of work for a muscle that’s roughly the size of your fist.
So, while strength training is undoubtedly good for your muscles, bones, joints, and general fitness, you also need to pay attention to your heart if you want to live a long and healthy life.
Exercise that targets your heart (and lungs, as they always work together) is called cardio, which is short for cardiovascular.
There are lots of cardio exercises to choose from, and they’re all effective for developing heart and lung fitness.
However, depending on your age, weight, and athletic ability, some are better than others.
For example, if you are young and sporty, you’ll probably enjoy running.
But, if you prefer a low-impact but full-body workout, swimming, rowing, elliptical, or air-bike could be the exercise solution for you.
In this article, we explore the pros and cons of recumbent bike training and reveal the five best budget recumbent exercise bikes.
What Is A Recumbent Bike, Anyway?
Exercise bikes have been popular since the 18th century, although designs have improved significantly since their invention.
More recently, exercise bikes have become so popular that entire group exercise classes are built around them, such as Spinning and RPM.
Many people have stationary bikes as they’re ideal for home gym workouts.
Most exercise bikes are upright, meaning you sit on a seat with your legs beneath you.
This traditional setup works really well.
Although some people find the saddles of a stationary or spin bike uncomfortable and struggle to maintain good posture.
They can also be awkward to get on and off of.
On the other hand, a recumbent stationary bike involves extending your legs out in front of you and sitting on an L-shaped seat.
You still sit upright, but your legs are in a horizontal or recumbent position, hence the name.
So, instead of pushing your legs downward, you push them forwards in a movement that’s not unlike doing single-leg leg presses.
This movement and reclined position offer several advantages over upright cycling.
Advantages and Benefits of a Recumbent Bike
If you like using an upright bike, there is probably no reason to switch to a recumbent bike as the effects are very similar.
But, if you find regular exercise bikes uncomfortable or difficult to use, you may enjoy the benefits offered by a recumbent bike.
#1. Easy access
Getting on and off an upright bike can be tricky.
You’ll need good balance and mobility to swing your leg over the saddle and get on.
This could be an issue if you have any kind of physical impairment, are very overweight, or are elderly.
There is a risk of falling when getting on and off a regular exercise bike.
In contrast, recumbent bikes are much easier to use as they have “step-through” frames.
By making getting on and off easier, recumbent bikes are better suited for people with balance or mobility issues.
#2. Increased comfort
Ride an upright exercise bike long enough, and you’ll eventually start to get a sore butt.
While many exercisers get used to this discomfort, it can be bad enough to put some people off indoor cycling for good.
You could wear padded cycling shorts, but that’s probably overkill for the average exerciser, and broader or softer saddles don’t always provide relief.
After all, all your weight is concentrated on a small area, and there is very little you can do to alleviate this.
Recumbent bikes have much larger seats, so your weight is spread over a wider area.
As a result, you are much less likely to suffer “saddle soreness” on a recumbent bike.
#3. Back support
While you should endeavor to ride an exercise bike with good posture, this is easier said than done.
Invariably, as your workout progresses, you’ll find yourself slouching over the handlebars as you try to find a comfortable position for your workout.
Recumbent bikes have seats with built-in backrests to provide the support you need to maintain good posture.
This is good news for anyone with lower back pain or who simply wants to avoid slouching.
#4. Lower intensity workout
When you use a recumbent bike, your legs are elevated and almost level with your heart.
This means your heart won’t have to work as hard to pump blood to and from your working muscles.
While you can still have an intense workout by increasing the pedaling resistance, it’s good to know that you can also have a very low-intensity workout if that’s what you need.
For example, if you are a very unfit beginner or have a medical condition that precludes you from more strenuous exercise.
#5. Offers all the same benefits as using an upright bike
Despite the differences between upright and recumbent exercise bikes, it’s reassuring to know that the latter is just as effective as the former.
You can use a recumbent bike to:
- Tone and condition your legs
- Burn calories and fat
- Control your weight
- Build aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- Improve your cardiovascular health
- Improve circulation
- Reduce your stress levels
So, while your body position is different, you won’t really lose anything if you choose a recumbent over a regular exercise bike.
Recumbent Bike Drawbacks
Recumbent bikes offer a lot of benefits, especially compared to upright exercise bikes, but there are a couple of drawbacks to consider, too:
#1. Less versatile
When you use an upright bike, you can stand up out of the saddle to do sprints and hill climbs.
This is a great way to make your workouts more varied, engaging, and challenging.
There is no way to stand up on a recumbent bike, and you’ll have to stay seated for the entire duration of your workout.
#2. Large footprint
While upright and recumbent bikes are usually about the same width, recumbents tend to be longer.
They’re also generally heavier and less portable. Most upright bikes can be tipped and rolled from one place to another.
Recumbent bikes are usually harder to move.
This could be a disadvantage if you want to move your bike for storage between workouts.
#3. Less natural pedaling action
If like most people, you have ridden a bike in the past, you may find the pedaling action on a recumbent bike feels awkward.
After all, your legs are extended in front of you instead of below you.
You WILL get used to this new movement in time, but initially, it may feel somewhat unnatural.
The Best Budget Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Whatever your fitness goals, whether you want to lose weight, tone up, get fit, transform your physique, or improve your health, a great recumbent bike can help.
Here are five of our top picks for the best budget recumbent exercise bike you can purchase, all tried and tested just for you!
#1. Sunny Health & Fitness Performance Interactive Series Recumbent Exercise Bike
Sunny Health and Fitness make good quality but well-priced home fitness equipment.
Their Interactive Series Recumbent Bike features a wide. padded seat, step-through access, electromagnetic braking with eight levels of resistance, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, and built-in pulse sensors on the hand grips.
This Performance Exercise Bike from Sunny Health and Fitness comes complete with resistance bands so you can exercise your upper body as well as your legs.
#2. Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike
Schwinn is one of the most established fitness equipment companies.
Their exercise equipment is always high quality and very functional, although even budget items are a little on the expensive side.
While they do have a higher price point, they’re built to last and have lots of valuable advanced features.
The Schwinn 230 recumbent bike has a mesh seat and backrest to help you keep cool, a multi-function performance monitor with 13 built-in programs, 16 resistance levels, and a super-smooth electromagnetic braking system that’s also ultra-quiet.
It is one of the best recumbent exercise bikes on the market in 2023.
#3. Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
This ME-709 model from Marcy could be the one you want!
While the best word to describe this recumbent is “basic,” it still has all the functions and features you need for an effective workout.
With its simple LCD screen, step-through design, and weight capacity of 300 pounds, this Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike is straightforward to use and an excellent choice for overweight and older exercisers.
#4. ProForm 235 CSX Recumbent Bike
- Discover Low-Impact Cardio Workouts at Home; The ProForm 235 CSX stationary...
- Large LCD Window Display; Track distance, cadence, and estimated calorie burn;...
- 18 Resistance Levels; Manually choose your resistance or let your iFit Trainers...
- Oversized Adjustable Seat; Enjoy lumbar support as you find the most comfortable...
- 275-pound weight capacity; 61” H x 21” W x 40” L
Design-wise, recumbent bikes are usually longer than upright bikes.
That’s not an issue if you plan on leaving your bike in your garage, but it could be a problem if you live in an apartment where workout space is hard to find.
Despite its smaller footprint, this bike has the power and extra features to deliver a great workout – even for more advanced exercisers.
As such, it is an excellent piece of cardio equipment for home workouts.
#5. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
If recumbent bikes have a disadvantage, it is that they only work your lower body.
This limits calorie burning and means you’ll need to find time to do some upper body strength training to balance your workout.
That all changes with the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike!
This recumbent has built-in arm levers so you can train your upper body while you work your legs.
Think of this machine as a seated elliptical.
Of course, you can use it like a regular elliptical and just use your legs or put your feet on the floor and just use your arms.
The increased versatility of this Model SF-RB4708 Recumbent Bike will add a lot to your workouts.
Best Budget Recumbent Exercise Bikes – Wrapping Up
If you are looking for a comfortable workout that burns lots of calories, strengthens your heart, and tones your legs, recumbent bikes are a great option.
Easy to use and suitable for a wide range of fitness levels, any of the affordable recumbent bikes reviewed above are perfect for older exercisers and anyone who finds getting on and off a regular bike a bit of a chore.
They have wide seats and padded back supports, so you should be able to work out for longer without suffering from the dreaded saddle soreness.
Recumbent bikes are an excellent alternative to upright bikes and are on par with ellipticals and rowers for delivering joint-friendly, low-impact workouts.
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