Many riders prefer the design of recumbent bikes, saying the angle of their legs and back on an upright bike is uncomfortable. With a full padded seat and a design that puts the rider's legs out in front, recumbent bikes are ideal for those who have back issues, difficulty putting weight on their joints or problems stepping up to a high seat, owners say.
Reviews indicate that the Schwinn 250 Recumbent Bike (Est. $500) is not only super quiet – making it easy to listen to music or watch TV during a workout – but also well made. This commercial-grade recumbent exercise bike uses a magnetic eddy current brake for resistance, which experts say is quieter and lasts longer than bikes with belt tensioners. With 16 resistance levels and 16 workout programs, including customizable courses and optimal heart rate programs, reviewers recommend the Schwinn 250 as a great pick for both beginners and more advanced users.
Owners also praise the Schwinn for its easy assembly and straightforward operation. The wide seat is comfortable, even with frequent use, and both the handlebars and console adjust for a good fit. A number of users complain that the built-in MP3 speakers and cooling fan do not work well, although most say these are only minor inconveniences. Overall, owners consider the Schwinn reliable and durable. "It was exactly what I was hoping for: a sturdy, well-made bike that was good for daily use and reasonably priced," says one owner review at Walmart.com. At Amazon.com, another user reports the Schwinn is "solid and works great" in comparison to the less expensive Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike with Pulse (Est. $160) , which he finds "flimsy and poorly constructed, with uneven resistance." Schwinn's warranty covers the frame for five years, mechanical and electrical parts for one year, and wear parts and labor for 90 days.
Many reviews recommend the Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike (Est. $170) as the best recumbent model for under $200. It's one of the top-rated recumbent bikes at Walmart.com, Amazon.com and Wayfair.com, where hundreds of owners praise its convenience and value. The Marcy ME 709 boasts a magnetic resistance system for a quiet workout and smooth pedal action. Owners say it provides an efficient and user-friendly experience, with a no-frills design that is straightforward to assemble and use. The LCD console displays basic info such as speed, distance and calories burned, but doesn't offer workout programs or a heart rate monitor. The compact design is ideal for tight spaces, and users say the lightweight ME 709 is easy to move with its built-in wheels. The bike includes a two-year limited warranty.
The Exerpeutic 900XL also receives great reviews from owners, most of whom say the magnetic resistance is quiet with eight effective resistance settings. The display has more options than the Marcy ME 709, with a scan mode to scroll through statistics and a program to count down time, distance or calories. A heart rate monitor in the grips and a setting on the display gives users the ability to maintain a target heart rate during their workouts. Exerpeutic includes a three-year warranty on the 900XL. While little information is available on how long the bike lasts, we found more complaints on durability and construction materials with the 900XL than with the Marcy ME 709. Assembly is also more complicated, according to owners, who say it takes one to two hours to put the 900XL together.
Exerpeutic offers another top recumbent bike with the Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike (Est. $150) , a folding model that can compress to half its normal size for compact storage. Similar to the 900XL, the 400XL includes a magnetic resistance system, eight tension settings, a built-in heart rate monitor and an LCD console. The solid frame can still support up to 300 pounds, and owners say its performance is quiet and smooth. The 400XL is "easy to assemble, use and store," says one user at Amazon.com, adding that "it's well-made and super-comfortable to ride." Exerpeutic doesn't offer the same warranty for both bikes, however. The 900XL includes a three-year limited warranty, while the 400XL has only a one-year limited warranty.