I suffered from a bad back many years ago. It wasn’t a traumatic event; I simply carried my very young son on my shoulders for several miles on rocky terrain. But I’ll never forget the pain the next day, the slow road to recovery and the odd twinge that reminds me of it today.
It doesn’t stop me exercising but it does make me think more about the best machines to help me. I love cycling but I’m not so keen on the cold and the rain. That’s why I took a look at all the recumbent exercise bike reviews I could find and found the best one for me.
In fact there are 3 recumbent exercise bike reviews that really stand out. My favorite is the Schwinn 230. It’s got great features and a middle of the road price.
Of course if money was no issue I’d be tempted by the Nautilus R616 and if I was on a much tighter budget then the Exerpeutic 900XL is the one I’d choose. But, for the money and its capabilities I’d like to think the Schwinn 230 is the best of both worlds. In my opinion it has the potential to be better than the best commercial recumbent exercise bike. I can even use it when recovering from a recent knee injury.
It is worth noting that a recumbent exercise bike is designed to improve your spinal posture. It is gentle on your joints and it even protects your back by supporting the lower part of it.
Table of Contents
The Schwinn 230 – Best Value For Money And Best Overall
There is no doubt that the Schwinn 230 has a hug number of features. In fact it could be one of the best kitted out recumbent exercise bikes ever!
That’s part of the reason I fell in love with this recumbent exercise bike reviews; it always manages to keep your workout varied and interesting.
Schwinn have been making bikes for over 120 years; they know what they are doing! These skills have translated into the world of exercise bikes; as clearly demonstrated by the features and quality of the Schwinn 230.
- Step Through Design
- 300 Pound Weight Capacity
- 22 Programs
- 20 Resistance Levels
- Data Transfer
- Array Of Accessories
The first thing to note when looking at the Schwinn 230 and recumbent exercise bike reviews is that this has a step through design. It doesn’t matter how stiff your back, knees or even hips are. You’ll find it easy to get on this bike and start pedaling.
The seat has a back rest which moves with your body and the base part slides to help you get into the best possible position for your workout.
The Schwinn 230 weighs just 82 pounds and yet it can handle people up to 300 pounds. This is a testimony to how well the machine has been made. Part of this is because it has a center support to keep the bike steady when in use. The rest is due to good positioning of the feet and the lower seat position; helping to keep the centre of gravity low and create a smooth workout.
Where the Schwinn 230 really shines is in the number of features it has on it.
You can start with any of the 22 exercise programs. There are 9 profile option, 8 heart rate ones, 2 fitness ones, 2 custom and a simple manual mode.
Alongside this there are 20 resistance levels which can be easily changed as you ride; helping it to feel like you’re actually on the road.
The bike is capable of storing 2 user profiles and you can save the data from each of your workouts onto a USB stick. This can then be transferred to either MyFitnessPal or the Schwinn Connect website. You can then use the data to evaluate your performance and decide how you can improve.
There is also a heart rate monitor although this is only done through the grips on the machine.
Accessories are not essential but they do make the process of exercising more pleasurable. The Schwinn 230 has a hook up for your MP3 player so that you can hear the music through the speakers on the bike.
There is also a water bottle holder and a fan to help you stay cool. You can even charge a device through the USB port and place your tablet on the media tray.
This is a great machine but if I had any say I would increase the weight of the flywheel. This would make the ride smoother and enable me to have a more taxing workout. You just can’t get quite enough of a hill with the 13 pound flywheel on this bike; even with 20 adjustment levels.
I didn’t have an issue with the seat but there have been a number of people that state the seat itself is uncomfortable and can even be wobbly.
A cushion could help to improve this or perhaps padded cycling shorts.
The Schwinn 230 is a high quality machine but it is frequently let down by the packaging. Many customers have complained about parts of the bike being damaged on delivery and the packaging being destroyed.
I can relate, I had the same issue when mine arrived. The customer service team was excellent but better quality packaging materials would eliminate this issue.
The Exerpeutic 900XL
This is a budget offering but it still has a lot of potential. Exerpeutic bikes are actually made by a company called Paradigm. They specialize in locating the best possible fitness equipment and have developed a good reputation for quality as well as affordability.
The Exerpeutic 900XL is no exception to this. It’s a budget entry option but a good choice; especially if you’re looking to invest between 5 and 10 hours a week. In other words it’s great for the budding athlete.
- 8 Levels Magnetic tension control – adjustable
- Weight Limit 300 pounds
- LCD displays For All Info
- Pedal Straps
- Weigh 63 pounds
The seat on the Exerpeutic 900XL has been designed to maximize your support and can easily be adjusted to suit your preferred position. One of the nicest arts of the seat is actually the back rest. This is full of padding to help support you as you ride and prevent excess back pain.
You can adjust the seat in all directions making it perfect for anyone from as small as 5ft to as tall as 6ft 3”. The seat adjustment is competed using three different knobs. This is a little awkward but shows how it can be adjusted in all directions.
Of course the fact that the bike is a step through does make it easier to get on and off.
It is also reassuring to find the Exerpeutic 900XL is very quiet when being used. You can even watch the television if you like.
With 8 levels of resistance you can find something suitably challenging; especially if you are new to cycling. Having said that most top athletes would struggle with the hardest setting!
This is controlled by magnets and a V belt. Despite the lightness of the machine it is surprisingly stable.
The pedals actually have straps built into them to hold your feet in place and prevent them sipping off while you ride. This is a nice if not essential touch.
You may be disappointed to find that there are no built in programs on the 900XL. However the LCD screen does keep you constantly updated of your resistance, heart rate, speed, calories burned and other important information. You can even set the countdown timer to see how close you’re getting to finishing your workout.
The bike actually arrives almost completely assembled. However there are a few bits to do which should be straightforward for one person.
Unfortunately the instruction manual is not very good at providing detailed steps; leaving you puzzling over where the tension cord attaches to the knob and how to get it there.
If you’re hoping to pull this machine in and out of the room then think again. At 63 pounds it is not the lightest of machines and not something that you want to be moving on a regular basis.
A lot of users have commented that the tension is not set up correctly at the factory. You may need to remove the pedals, flywheel and replacing the tensioner cable in order to get it set right.
This is a nuisance but not necessarily a deal breaker.
The Nautilus R616 – Best If Budget Is No Issue
I have no doubt that if you buy this bike you’ll wish you’d got it early. It may not be a commercial recumbent exercise bike but it does offer an enticing balance of quality, features and value. In fact there is very little you’ll find wrong with any recumbent exercise bike reviews of the Nautilus R616.
- Weighs 91.9 pounds
- 25 Resistance Levels
- 29 Workout Programs
- Transport Wheels
- User Weight Limit 300 pounds
- 4 User Profiles
- 10Year Frame Warranty
The defining feature of the Nautilus R616 is the console. From here you can access everything with just one or two taps. There are 29 different workout programs. 12 of these are profile, 4 are fun, 4 for mountains and 4 challenging. You’ll also get 9 heart rate programs and 2 fitness tests.
You can adjust the resistance level manually as you cycle by tapping the button or allow it to be controlled by the program.
The Nautilus R616 saves your data. You can then connect via Bluetooth or USB to Nautilus Connect or MyFitnessPal and download all your data. This will ensure you can analyze where you need to improve and see your overall strengths.
This machine is exceptionally well designed and built. Here have been no complaints regarding the build quality. This is backed up by Nautilus who offers 10 year warranty on the frame, 2 years on parts, 1 year on electronics and 90 days on labor.
No Chest Strap
The Nautilus R616 is a really good recumbent exercise bike. It is disappointing that a chest strap is not included for the money although you could buy one separately.
This is not strictly a disadvantage but it is worth noting that there are a lot of parts to put together when this recumbent bike arrives. You will need to allow yourself plenty of time and take it slow to ensure you get it put together properly.
Utilizing The Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews
Take a look at any of the recumbent exercise bike reviews online and you’ll see that these 3 bikes come top time and time again. That’s because they are three of the best for your home.
I have to admit to being impressed by the Nautilus R616 but it just doesn’t quite match the capabilities and style of the Schwinn 230. Of all the recumbent exercise bike reviews that’s the one I’d pick every time.