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The Best & Worse Recumbent Exercise Bikes

by
author image Shannon Marks
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.
The Best & Worse Recumbent Exercise Bikes
A recumbent bike goes easy on the joints, back and spine. Photo Credit Huntstock/DisabilityImages/Getty Images

A recumbent bike differs from an upright bike in that your back is supported by a backrest and your legs are parallel to, or just slightly lower than, your buttocks. Recumbent bikes are used just like uprights -- for recreational riding, racing and stationary bikes for exercise. Because recumbent bikes do not put pressure on joints, they are more comfortable for people with certain types of injuries or illnesses such as degenerative disk diseases and inflammatory arthritis.

Schwinn

The Schwinn 240 was named the best overall stationary recumbent bike by ConsumerSearch and was named best bike under $500 by BestCovery. The Schwinn 240 has 16 levels of resistance and 18 programmed workouts. It is a durable bike with a 300 lb. weight limit and provides a sturdy ride when cycling at high speeds. The manufacturer offers a five-year warranty on the frame, one year for electrical and mechanical parts and 90 days for wear on parts. Features include handgrip heart-rate monitor and ample storage.

ProForm ZR3 Recumbent Bike

GaltTech named the ProForm one of the most popular recumbent exercise bike manufacturers. The ZR3 has an oversized, adjustable seat that can slide horizontally. It has a heart-rate monitor grip with built-in sensors. There are 16 resistance levels and 20 different programs including aerobic, weight-loss and performance workouts. The iFit Workout Card port is a device that works with your smart phone to help you achieve weight loss goals. It can track your weight and follow program adjustments. There’s an onboard computer preloaded with multiple games including Fat Blocker, Calorie Destroyer, Black Jack and Texas Hold ‘Em. The manufacturer warranty covers the frame for seven years and parts and labor for 90 days.

Advanced Fitness Group

One recumbent bike that has done little to wow the reviewers is the AFG 2.0 AR. FitnessProfessorReview.com has given this bike mediocre scores on ergonomics, construction quality and versatility. The 2.0 is ARG’s entry level recumbent. The 4.0, which is the next model up, has earned better marks for construction, use and versatility. However, since the bikes range in price from $899 to $1,200, you should be able to find a mid-range bike with better ratings. The AFG 2.0 has 10 resistance levels and 300 lb. weight capacity, the 4.0 has 20 resistance levels and 325 lb. weight limit.

Worst Recumbent Bikes

There are dozens of recumbent bikes on the market and prices range from about $150 to more than $1,000. Cheap bikes have few features and programs. Those that are more pricey can have more than a dozen resistance levels, high weight limit and comprehensive warranty program. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying a recumbent bike is assuming that the more you spend, the more you get. The fact is, some very expensive bikes have much of the same features as less expensive models -- not necessarily making them worse in usability, but definitely impacting your wallet while not delivering on features and warranty.

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