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Exercising isn’t always about losing weight. Sometimes it’s for keeping fit or getting back strength and mobility while recovering from surgery or an illness. That’s often the case for the middle-aged and elderly and it is important for them not to let themselves become sedentary. The best recumbent bike for seniors can be the ideal piece of equipment in this case because it is safer than an upright bike and more comfortable to use.
The reason that the recumbent bike is the best exercise bike for seniors is because of the presence of a backrest, side handlebars and even lower seat level. A backrest provides support for a weak back and allows for longer periods of time exercising on it. The seat is usually lower than on an upright bike, so it’s easier for an elderly person to get on it. It also has a more comfortable seat and some are even padded. The handlebars on either side of the seat ensures that the person feels secure at all times.
Other than the above features, there are a few more things you should look out for when shopping for a recumbent exercise bike for an older person. We have a buying guide to help you figure out all the features that may or may not come on the various types of stationary bikes available, but some key features are particularly important here.
The seat position should be easy to adjust to suit his or her height so that pedaling is comfortable. This means the pedals should not be so far from the seat so as to lock out the knee, nor should it be too close that there isn’t enough extension of the leg to properly exercise. Adjustment should be possible without the user having to get up off the bike. A step-through design is best so as to avoid having to step over the frame while getting on or off the bike. The pedals should have secure and adjustable straps for safety.
There should be a good range of resistance levels, with the lowest being low enough so as to allow a beginner to start without difficulty, and the highest being challenging enough for a reasonably fit person. To keep joint stress to a minimum, the pedaling motion should be smooth, even when switching from one resistance level to the next. Keeping a tab on your heart rate is important, especially for seniors, so a good exercise bike for the elderly should at least have hand pulse sensors if not a telemetry enabled one. Some seniors may not be comfortable with fancy LCD displays and controls, so if a bike has lots of options to select, ensure that they are easy to use.
We have selected what we think are the best recumbent exercise bikes for seniors, but if you’d like to do your own research on a wider range, Amazon has a large selection.
Compare the Best Recumbent Bikes for Seniors
|Product||Rating (out of 5)||Levels of resistance||Preset programs||Hear rate monitor||Drive||Dimensions||Price|
|Schwinn 270||4.3||25||29||Grip and telemetry||belt||64"L X 27.7"D X 49.9"H||$$$$|
|Schwinn MY16 230||4.4||20||22||Grip and telemetry||belt||64"L x 27"D x 50"H||$$$|
|Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity||4.2||8||none||Grip sensors||belt||54"L x 22"D x 34"H||$$|
|Marcy ME 709||4.2||8||none||none||chain||55.5"L x 25"D x 37.5"H||$$|
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
Schwinn has been a leader in the road bike market for years and that quality and trustworthiness definitely transfers over to their stationary bikes. The belt driven Schwinn 270 is a top-of-the-line model with loads of features that make the price more than worth it and we rate it as the most comfortable recumbent bike for seniors.
It has very sturdy construction, making it feel safe to ride, which is a definite plus for seniors. The adjustable foot straps keep your feet secure. The walk-through frame makes it safe and easy to get on and off. The padded and contoured seat is large and comfortable and the backrest is vented, which can really help to prevent overheating during your workout. The seat is also easy to adjust. You can adjust both the distance from the seat to pedals and the height and angle of the seat itself. This leads to the most comfortable and supportive position possible. A water bottle holder and a 3-speed fan add to the comfort and convenience of this bike. It’s also quite quiet, so it won’t bother others or overpower the sound of something you’re listening to as you ride.
This bike has 29 pre-set programs that span 25 levels of resistance, including options for both the beginner and the more advanced rider. An a/c powered LCD display keeps you aware of up to 13 different metrics as you ride, things like time, distance, and calories burned. This data can also be saved and transferred to another device or program using the USB port. You can also save up to 4 user profiles on this bike, so it would work well at a senior citizen center. Your heart rate is taken using the hand grips, but this bike is also telemetry heart rate enabled if you have a chest strap heart rate monitor. Many of these features are more than some people need but these extras make the price point worth it for many others.
The console can be a bit overwhelming with a large number of buttons, but it’s quite easy to use once you get the hang of it. Also, once you find your ideal resistance levels, you can save them onto 10 quick access keys, so you can simplify things if you want to. The only other con is that this bike can be a bit difficult to assemble without help. Overall, it’s hard to find a more comfortable, durable, and quality recumbent bike than this. It provides a ton of value for the price.
Schwinn MY16 230 Recumbent Bike
Coming in at a lower price point, the belt driven Schwinn MY16 230 offers many of the same features as the Schwinn 270. The contoured seat is large and comfortable, and both the seat and the seatback are vented to help keep you cool. It’s not quite as comfortable as the Schwinn 270 seat, which is padded, but it’s still one of the more comfortable bike seats out there. A 3-speed fan also helps prevent overheating. It’s easy to get on and off the bike thanks to the step-through design and grab handles. The adjustable foot straps keep your feet in place while pedaling and the pedaling action is smooth throughout.
The bike has 22 pre-set programs with 20 levels of resistance, including workouts for both the beginner and the serious athlete. It doesn’t have as many levels of resistance as the 270, but it has more than enough for most people. The console is a bit confusing at first glance, but it’s pretty user-friendly and lets you program a few quick access buttons. The LCD display is fairly large and displays relevant data like heart rate, which is determined by the grip pulse readers. It’s also telemetry enabled if you have a heart rate monitor. This bike also allows you to save user profiles, but only 2 instead of the 4 on the Schwinn 270, which makes it great for a couple sharing it at home.
A great bonus feature of this bike is the MP3 input and quality speakers. This lets you play music or audio books or podcasts while you pedal. There is even a convenient shelf to place your phone or MP3 player on.
Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike
If you’re looking for a basic but sturdy and safe stationary bike for the elderly at a lower price point, the Exerpeutic 900XL is worth looking at. It has a large cushioned seat and backrest that provide good back support. It’s not quite as comfortable as the Schwinn models, however. The backrest only supports the upper back, so you might find that the lower back doesn’t get enough support. A cushion or pillow can help with this. It’s fast and easy to adjust the seat position depending on your height, but you can only adjust the distance between the bike and the pedals. The height and angle of the seat and backrest themselves cannot be adjusted. It is also belt driven, and pedaling is very smooth with the feet are safely secured with the adjustable foot straps.
While the LCD screens on the Schwinn models run on A/c power, this bike has a battery-operated LCD screen. This bike also relies on magnetic tension and offers 8 different tension levels that you can adjust to make the workout harder or easier. The tension is adjusted with a conveniently located knob. The console is very easy to use with just a few buttons. An LCD screen displays distance, calories burned, time, speed, and heart rate and the display is large enough that it is quite easy to read. The heart rate is taken by pulse pads on the handlebars.
Its step-through design makes getting on and off both easy and safe. Quiet operation is another pro for this bike. Assembly takes around 90 minutes but the instructions are very easy to follow even if you are not very mechanically inclined. The bike has transportation wheels, making it relatively easy to move it out of the way when you’re not using it.
This bike has sturdy construction and while it is not quite as durable as the Schwinns, it should hold up for some time. The affordable price offers great value, especially if you don’t want or need all the extra bells and whistles and are happy with mechanically adjusted resistance control.
Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you’re looking for a basic bike and don’t need anything fancy, you can’t beat the value for money with this one. The flat seat and backrest are padded and pretty comfortable. Like with the Exerpeutic, there is a gap between the backrest and the seat so the low back doesn’t receive as much support as it could. The distance from seat to the pedals is easily adjustable to fit your height but you cannot adjust the seat height or angle. It is a chain driven model but most customers have commented on how quiet it is.
The battery powered console is quite easy to use with just a few buttons. A small screen displays speed, distance, time and calories burned. The screen is pretty small, so it might be a bit hard to read for some. Just like the Exerpeutic, this bike uses magnetic tension and has 8 levels of resistance controlled by an easy-to-reach knob. Pedal action is smooth and there are adjustable foot straps on the weighted pedals. Assembly is pretty painless because of the good instructions and the inclusion of the tools you will need.
This bike gets the job done, but it does have a few cons. There is no heart rate monitor, so if tailoring your workout to your heart rate is important to you, you’ll have to use your own fitness tracker or external monitor and display. While we do recommend step through bikes for seniors, the design of the flywheel housing and base on this one means that it’s not a straight step-through process to get on and off the back and you will have to take a small step over. Those with mobility and balance issues might have a bit of trouble getting on and off, though holding on to the side handlebars will help.
Both the Exerpeutic 900XL and the Marcy ME 709 also feature in our picks for recumbent exercise bikes that cost less than $200.