So, you want to get moving and stick with a workout routine? The best possible way of achieving this is finding a type of workout or exercise machine that your mind and body can tolerate.
If you’re here then you’ve probably landed on the notion of using an exercise bike – specifically one with a backrest. But which model is truly best among the crowded waters of fitness equipment?
Here you’ll find out our top picks for this specific type of stationary bike based on what they bring to the table and overall price: performance ratio. We will also briefly cover what makes this type of bike great for certain individuals and how it contrasts to upright bikes.
Absolute Best Stationary Bikes with Backrests
The following 4 bikes each have a strong point in either comfort, affordability, features, or a mixture of the three. The reason we chose bikes based on these categories is that we believe they are the essence of what makes a great bike…well…great.
These categories are going to be more or less important based on what you’re looking for which is why we’ve clearly labeled each choice’s primary strength. Alright enough introduction, let’s get right down to it.
|Model||Levels of Resistance||Preset Programs||Price||Shop|
|Exerpeutic 2000||8||6 Programs||Budget||Amazon|
|Schwinn 270||25||29 Programs||Mid Range||Amazon|
|Nautilus R616||25||29 Programs||Mid Range||Amazon|
The Upside of the Backrest
Your reason for choosing an exercise bike with a backrest is yours alone but there are a few standout benefits to this kind of bike aka the recumbent bike.
Most obvious is the fact that recumbent bikes are inherently more comfortable than their foil, upright bikes. When working out you will be sitting down, back supported, with your entire upper body relaxed.
Bq: In this article we talk about recumbent bikes with back support because it’s something that’s inherent to their design. But did you know that there are actually upright bikes that offer support for your back? One such example is the example model.
So if you enjoy the idea of avoiding any lower back pain or general tension in your upper body then a recumbent bike is a great choice. An upright bike generally allows for a more vigorous workout but at the cost of more rigidity and tension.
Will the difference in intensity be enough to matter? For most, probably not. A quality recumbent bike will still provide a hearty workout provided you are expelling enough force at a suitable resistance level.
Another glaring benefit of a stationary bike with a backrest is that it allows a person to multitask. It’s certainly possible to read a book, browse your phone, or watch TV on an upright bike but it is much easier with a recumbent bike.
There are even recumbent bikes that come with holders for books, phones, and iPads. The build of this type of machine lends itself to doing more than just exercising.
Some exercise bikes take multitasking to the next level. Bikes such as the FitDesk 3.0, while upright, include an entire desk attached to the bike frame.
Anything that makes exercise more engaging, bearable, and worthy of continuity is a plus as far as we’re concerned. Consistent effort, even leisurely effort, will always yield health and weight management benefits.
These two benefits of recumbent bikes will apply to most people and are inherently very popular draws to this type of bike. In the next section we’ll be covering our top choices for the best bikes of this category.
Exerpeutic 2000 Recumbent Bike – Recline, Relax, and Ride
The Exerpeutic 2000 bike is first up and is our pick for those that want something affordable and quite comfortable. Comfort is placed at high priority and is readily apparent as soon as you visit the product page.
Exerpeutic calls their seat “Air Soft” which includes individual air chambers meant to increase air flow and most importantly comfort. The “Air Soft” technology is no doubt partly marketing speak for “this seat is comfortable” but it seems to be doing the job as it certainly isn’t an aspect that users complain about.
Quiet, unobtrusive ride
Comfortable seat with back support and elbow pads
8 different resistance levels
Preset workout programs
When it comes to the workout provided by the Exerpeutic 2000 things can get as laid back or vigorous as you’d like. There are 8 different levels of resistance (dictates how hard it will be to pedal) so that you can achieve an all out sweaty workout and progress as time goes on.
Some people even report that the 8 included resistance levels are too much to handle. The great thing about this is that it means most people will be able to grow in terms of fitness with this stationary bike.
Progression is important insofar as weight loss and cardiovascular endurance are concerned. To keep making strides in either area it’s important to push yourself, in this case via resistance, once you start becoming acclimated to your current workout routine.
Personal achievement shouldn’t be discounted either. The undeniable feeling of accomplishment when hitting a new milestone in terms of distance and/or time cannot be emphasized enough.
Progress during and in between workouts can be tracked with the help of bike’s basic display. Nothing fancy here, just the basics such as calories burned, heart rate, time, distance pedaled, RPM, and watts.
The centralized display is also where you’ll find the unit’s tablet/book/phone holder. This feature is great for those that want to multitask and watch Netflix or read something while working out. It probably works best for those who want to watch something on a tablet due to the distance between you and the holder when biking.
To sum things up the Experpeutic 2000 recumbent bike is a great choice for those that want something comfy, supports a lot of weight, and provides a solid workout at a much lower price than most bikes on the market.
You’re not going to be inundated with all types of fancy features but it is quite comfortable and said fancy features usually garner a higher price tag.
Exerpeutic 900XL – Recumbent Ride on a Budget
The next option for those looking for an exercise bike with a backrest is another Exerpeutic model – the Exerpeutic 900XL Extended Capacity Recumbent Bike more specifically.
Compared to the Exerpeutic 2000 Bike and the Schwinn 270 this bike is a more no frills experience. That isn’t to say it doesn’t do what it sets out to do it’s just that you aren’t going to get some of the more premium features as you would with these two other bikes.
- Budget friendly
- Just the essentials
- Enough for most casual exercisers
It doesn’t offer to comfort of the Exerpeutic 2000 nor does it offer the plentiful amount of preset programs of the Schwinn but what it does offer is a very, very attractive price point.
And while it doesn’t offer the more premium feature set of the two other bikes you can absolutely get a solid cardio workout with the 900XL’s 8 resistance levels.
Because all you really need for great workout with an exercise bike are pedals that function properly and a model that offers different levels of resistance.
The resistance is what allows you to toggle your workout intensity to your personal preference and increase said intensity during a single workout or from one workout to the next. And the 8 levels of resistance here should be the perfect amount for most individuals.
In addition to the 8 levels of resistance metrics such as speed, distance, and time are tracked. So while there aren’t any preset programs you can customize your workouts by shooting for different goals concerning these stats.
All in all the Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent bike is a perfect match for individuals who want to get there feet wet with working out from home while keeping things budget friendly.
Schwinn 270 – A Wide Array of Features
Note: There is now a new updated model of the Schwinn 270. It shares all of the benefits of the older Schwinn model in addition to sporting additional features. Learn more about the refresh.
For those who want as many features as possible to enhance the workout experience the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is the obvious pick.
It’s recumbent so it’s going to be a relaxed ride with a backrest but the aspect of this bike that really sets it apart from the two others is its customization potential. The aim of this bike is to bring a workout experience to owners that is tailored to their individual needs and goals.
- Mid range model
- 29 different preset programs
- 25 levels of resistance
- Plenty of room for growth and customization
There are 29 different preset programs and 25 levels of resistance which trumps the Exerpeutic 900XL by default and greatly surpasses the Exerpeutic 2000 as well.
The 25 levels of resistance offer a much more granular approach to intensity than a lot of stationary bikes on the market. Even though home bikes with a lower amount of resistance levels can offer fitness enthusiasts a great workout the jump between one level to the next can sometimes be too great.
With 25 levels you’ll be able to dial in your preferred resistance much closer to something you feel gives you a great mix of comfort and challenge. Besides warmup and cooldown periods you generally want a level of intensity that is fairly challenging while still allowing for reasonable pedaling speed.
If your legs are barely able to muster pedaling at a certain resistance then what’s the point? And this is exactly why a great deal of resistance levels, used independently or within the context of a preset program, can benefit you.
The 29 preset programs work in tandem with the aforementioned resistance levels in order to maximize this benefit. Preset programs are essentially like simulations of real world rides.
Someone who is an avid biker is going to come across different types of terrain, elevation, and routes which all call for different gears and levels of exertion. A stationary bike such as the Schwinn 270 aims to bring this type of experience to your home.
The benefit of this is not only novelty from one workout to the next but also the ability to workout according to your overall fitness ability and progress linearly. We mentioned the value of the first when talking about resistance levels but linear progression is just as important.
In order to lose more weight, increase cardiovascular capacity, or accomplish most other health and fitness related goals, you need to continually challenge yourself. Without upping the intensity slowly as time goes on there is no room for progress over time.
More effort generally equals more results and a plentiful amount of preset programs can help to facilitate this.
Nautilus R616 – Solid Mid-range Competitor
The Nautilus R616 is a solid competitor to the Schwinn 270 in that they are both mid range recumbent bikes that offer similar workout experiences. It offers many of the highs of commercial or high end exercise bikes without the soul crushing buy in.
How exactly does it stack up to the Schwinn 270?
Right off the bat it offers 29 computer controlled programs to customize your experience from one workout to the next. You might notice that this is the exact same amount of programs as the Schwinn and in this way they sit neck and neck.
When we dived into what makes the Schwinn so great as a bike with back support we covered the benefits of using preset programs. And our sentiment there holds true with the Nautilus as well.
Computer controlled programs are an extremely useful feature for those that not only want guidance, but also those who value progression and variety. So just as with the Schwinn 270, the Nautilus R616 is an excellent choice for individuals who want a clear cut path towards progression in weight loss and overall cardio fitness.
It also features the exact same number of resistance levels, 25, as the Schwinn 270, allowing for the same amount of fine tuning to your ability. This to allows for smoother progression in addition to dialing in the perfect amount of difficulty.
You may have noticed us painting an eerily similar narrative to the Schwinn 270 up until this point. Seems a little strange, right?
It just so happens that Schwinn and Nautilus exercise equipment is made by the same people. Furthermore, these two models fall into the same tier of pricing (mid range).
Nautilus Inc. makes Schwinn Fitness and Nautilus products in addition to others.
With all of this in mind we’re going to spoil the rest of the proverbial story for you – these two models are near identical.
The differences between the two are minor overall and have very little to do with the core functionality of the units. These are both excellent options for those who want an exercise bike with a backrest.
Of the two, the updated Schwinn model is the most recent so for those who value the latest refreshes in exercise equipment, the 270 is your winner.
The Ride Ahead
The first thing you may want to consider after purchasing a new recumbent bike is an exercise equipment mat. They’re an easy, affordable way to ensure you don’t damage your floor as well as prevent your new bike from slipping and moving around.
Once your new bike has arrived at your house, you’ve set it up, and are ready to get up and go (while never actually moving), keep this one thing in mind.
Your own individual progress.
Maybe you got your bike to lose weight. Maybe you’re rehabilitating yourself. Or you might just want to get into better shape and become healthier overall.
At the core of it all, all that matters in the context of your goals is your own individual progress. Simply start with a resistance level or program that you’re comfortable with and consistently progress from there.
Don’t make the mistake of benchmarking yourself against others. It’s a sure fire way to give up prematurely.
Because health and fitness goals are just like any other goal. Consistent progress breeds rewards over time.