Exercise bikes provide a great home cardio workout that puts less strain on your joints than running on a treadmill. Out of the different types of stationary exercise bikes, recumbent bikes are best for beginners, seniors, or people who don’t want to put as much pressure or weight on their joints.
What is a recumbent bike?
A recumbent bike is an exercise bike that positions you in a reclined form while pedaling. Think of it sort of like a rowing machine, but your feet pedal instead of your arms pulling back a cord. And unlike a typical stationary bike, the pedals are in front of your body rather than underneath it. Because you are leaning back, a recumbent bike can feel a bit awkward before you master it. (Obviously, recumbent bikes are big on the streets as well, but we’re talking about the stationary, at-home workout type here.)
The difference between a recumbent bike and upright bike
An upright bike is what you’d typically think of when you picture a stationary bike. You ride it like a normal bicycle, with your body straight up and down. Think of a Peloton.
A recumbent bike has a larger seat more like a chair, so you avoid that uncomfortable soreness you’d typically get from a bike seat. The reclined position of the seat is easier on the lower back — plus most recumbent bikes have seat backs for more support than you’d find in an upright bike. You won’t be hunched over handlebars like you would be on an upright exercise bike.
Which recumbent bike is best?
When determining the best recumbent bike for you, you really need to think about the design of the bike and how it’s going to work with your body. If you have a bad back, you’ll want a bike with a more supportive seat. While on the topic of seats: Short people, make sure the seat will slide to a position where your feet can reach the pedals comfortably. An exercise bike is worthless if you can’t use it properly and safely.
The levels of resistance a bike has will determine how tough your workout is. If you’re new to the world of stationary biking, you can probably stick with lower resistance, but if you’re a regular cycler, you’re going to want those extra levels of restraint to get the most out of your workout.
We’ve picked out some of the best recumbent bikes to add to your home gym. Let’s ride.