What to Look For in a Recumbent Exercise Bike

By: Alex Bristol

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Have you recently found yourself wanting a recumbent bike but don’t know what to look for?

Well, you can rest easy and know your search is about to get a whole lot easier because I’m about to tell you everything you need to know.

Being an avid user of recumbent bikes myself I thought I’d compile everything I know as well as over 4 hours of additional research I conducted to give you a guide on what to look for when buying a recumbent bike.

It’s difficult knowing what to look for in a recumbent exercise bike, with so many features that are all essential in their own way it’s key that you find one with as many of them as possible especially due to the market being cluttered with models that don’t include the bare necessities.

But what does this mean for you?

It’s simple, I’ve analyzed each part of a recumbent bike and detailed what it does and how important it is so you know what to look for and what you prefer. Maybe you find comfort most important or perhaps adjustability, whatever your scenario I’ll tell you what to prioritize.

Here’s a useful tip – Bike shoes are a useful investment as they’ll reduce your chance of slipping while pedaling this saves you money by making the need for anti-slip pedals less of a priority.


Let’s get started so you can become an expert and know exactly what to look for when buying a recumbent exercise bike.

So, What Is A Recumbent Exercise Bike?

A recumbent exercise bike is a bike in a semi-reclined position, this means the seat is further back and allows you to rest your upper body while pedaling making it perfect for seniors, those who are overweight, or disabled with reduced mobility. 

This is because fewer muscles are used while pedaling so you won’t put any extra strain on yourself. Recumbent bikes are often recommended for anyone needing physical therapy or who is overweight and isn’t able to exercise much or for a long time.


Recumbent bikes also stand out because of their seats. Often much larger than seats on an upright or dual-action bike they also come with a backrest. Not forgetting that they adjust sideways instead of up and down so you can sit closer or further from the pedals.

What Are The Benefits Of A Recumbent Exercise Bike?

  • Fewer Muscles Used – Recumbent bikes sit at a semi-reclined position so fewer muscles are used, this means you can get a great cardiovascular workout while reducing the chance of pulling a muscle or overworking yourself if you are not used to cardio exercise or have less mobility.
  • Workout Length – Due to the use of fewer muscles and joints recumbent bikes will actually allow the user to work out for longer than if they used an upright bike.
  • Balance and Stability – Recumbent bikes offer more stability than an upright bike. They often have handles to hold on to and because of their semi-reclined position they are closer to the ground so there is little need to worry about not being secure while sitting on them.
  • Effective Cardio Workout – Now, while high-intensity workouts aren’t viable on a recumbent bike you can still get a great cardio workout that will work the same muscles as an upright bike, just in a different way that causes less stress on them.
  • More Comfortable – Recumbent bikes are without a doubt the most comfortable exercise bikes. With less pressure on your back and larger padded seats, you can sit on one of these and be comfy enough to take a nap in between pedaling.

What To Look For When Buying A Recumbent Bike:

  • Adjustability: Recumbent bikes are sought after because they accommodate a number of users that are not able to use upright or dual-action bikes. It’s especially beneficial for people with back problems as they don’t put too much pressure on your back due to the semi-reclined position. When buying a recumbent bike, make sure it has an adjustable seat. This means you can move closer or further from the pedals so your bike can suit your situation.
  • Seat: This is what you’ll be spending all of your time sitting on so it’s vital you find one that’s comfortable, the seat should be large and padded as this will be much more comfortable for you. Furthermore, the backrest should be mesh as this allows air to circulate to your back. This will make you more comfortable and improve posture.
  • Flywheel: The flywheel is the round box-like part where the pedals are. The heavier these are the more resistance you’ll get when pedaling. So when it comes to looking for your recumbent bike try and find a heavy flywheel if possible as this will give you a more realistic road-like resistance while pedaling.
  • Warranty: This is definitely an important one especially when buying online. look for a warranty that covers the parts and frame or a full replacement/refund if you aren’t satisfied with your bike. The longer the warranty the better.
  • Design: The design is also something to take into consideration. Look for a smaller recumbent bike if you lack space as well as one that features a handle to help you climb on and off. Luckily, most recumbent bikes are similar in this respect.
  • Backlit LCD Display: A quality LCD is going to make the difference. You’ll want to consider readability, brightness, as well as what statistics the LCD shows. For example speed, calories burned, and time.
  • Preset Programs: These are great for helping you stay motivated, some LCDs come with built-in programs and workout routines to help you try out new methods of cycling and getting the most from your recumbent bike. These are a must-have if you can find them included with a reasonably proceed model.
  • Resistance: Magnetic tension resistance ensures a smoother ride and overall better experience. This is the best resistance system to go for when buying a recumbent bike as it’s still fairly cheap and will offer you a more efficient workout. This is the first thing you want to look at when choosing your recumbent bike.
  • Cooling fan and speaker: A cooling fan with different levels of speed will keep you cool especially during a tough exercise. Furthermore, with a nice set of speakers, you can listen to music while you cycle which is a great motivator and is sure to give you a better workout.
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity: This is always something to look out for as many models do miss out on what should now be considered an essential. This will allow you to stay connected to your devices and charge them which may come in handy when you’re doing multi-hour workouts. This will also prevent boredom as you can connect tablets and phones to watch TV or movies so you won’t even realize your pedaling.


  • Why use a recumbent exercise bike?  A recumbent exercise bike should be used if you’re a senior, have reduced mobility, are overweight, or have suffered a leg injury of some kind and need physical therapy. This is because of their semi-reclined position and backrest which relieves pressure on your back and causes less stress on your muscles while pedaling. The best part, however, is that this doesn’t result in an inferior workout experience. It merely changes the way the muscles are used to assist those who aren’t physically able to use an upright or dual-action bike.
  • What should I look for in a recumbent exercise bike?  There are many things to look for when buying your first recumbent exercise bike. However, I’ll narrow it down to the three primary features. Firstly, the resistance is going to make all the difference on your exercise bike. Both the resistance system and resistance levels should be something you look at before anything else. 8 resistance levels are the standard so anything more is a bonus and magnetic resistance is the best resistance system to go for as this is quiet, smooth, and stronger than most other types. Secondly, adjustability. If the seat is fully adjustable then this will increase the chances of you being able to sit comfortably and achieve the correct posture for cycling. More adjustability means more freedom and adaptability. Last but not least, the warranty, you’d be surprised how many reviews you’ll see saying that the seller did not respond when the customer requested a refund or replacement. So if you want to be safe and not waste money ensure you’re buying from a trusted seller with plenty of positive reviews to back it up.


Recumbent bikes are an excellent way to exercise at home, they help you tone your muscles and increase strength all with a low effort workout. they’re safe, secure, and comfortable to use making them ideal for a variety of people.

While there are many parts and features to consider when buying your recumbent bike it’s much simpler than it first looks. It’s all about considering you and the space you have at home.

Those who have injuries or maybe older may want to prioritize comfort and design so they can easily access the bike and use it without inflicting any unwanted pain on either their butt, back, or joints.

Whatever your position it’s important to consider the warranty, the resistance, the adjustability, and the design as these have the highest impact on your ability to use your recumbent bike and of course gain an efficient workout from it.

Now you know what to look for when buying a recumbent exercise bike you’ll be able to find one that’s just right for you.

So what else?

It’s simple, get yourself a recumbent bike and have fun!