4 Standout Exercise Bikes with Backrests

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.

ModelLevels of ResistancePreset ProgramsPriceShop
Exerpeutic 200086 ProgramsBudgetAmazon
Exerpeutic 900XL8NoBudgetAmazon
Schwinn 2702529 ProgramsMid RangeAmazon
Nautilus R6162529 ProgramsMid RangeAmazon

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.

Standout characteristics:

Quiet, unobtrusive ride
Comfortable seat with back support and elbow pads
Magnetic resistance
8 different resistance levels
Preset workout programs

exerpeutic 2000 side

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.

exerpeutic 900xl

Standout characteristics:

  • 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.

schwinn 270

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.

Standout characteristics:

  • 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.

nautilus r616 side

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.

winding road

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.

Best Exercise Bikes for Overweight and Obese Individuals

recumbent exercise bike workout

Obesity and weight issues infringe on one’s health and well being to a great extent and in the case of morbid obesity there is no better time to develop a plan of action to get things under control. There are two constants among the sea of fads and trends of the weight loss world that have stood and will continue to stand the test of time; a healthy diet combined with exercise.

Skip below to our top exercise bike picks for the overweight and obese.

Which type of bike is best for overweight/obese people? What should I look for in specific models? It’s questions like these that make the search for a suitable exercise bike a bigger issue than it needs to be.

We want to make the process simple as well as tailored to your needs and in this article we will discuss the best exercise bikes for overweight, obese, and morbidly obese people as well as how to approach a workout program using this type of equipment.

Best Exercise Bikes for the Overweight and Obese

There are three main components that are going to make any particular exercise bike a winner for someone who is obese or overweight; quality, a high weight limit, and the type of exercise bike.

Quality and a high weight limit are self explanatory as everybody wants a top notch product that has lived up to thousands of other consumers’ expectations and as a morbidly obese person you simply can’t sit on something that won’t support at least a few hundred pounds of pressure.

tape measure waist

It’s no surprise that being overweight or obese is extremely common these days. Just how common? According to the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey of 2013-2014, more than 1 in 3 adults are overweight.

But you may not be familiar with what we mean by the type of exercise bike. Simply put, there are two main types of home exercise bikes; upright and recumbent.

For a person that has weight issues a recumbent bike is going to be the better fit in most cases. It is much more comfortable and allows for an easier transition of getting on and off the bike because you will be sitting down instead of sitting upright during use.

Exercise bikes with backrests are simply the more relaxed variant of this type of cardio machine but at the same time allow for an individual to work out as hard as they please.

Continue to the sections below to take a look at our picks for the top 3 exercise bikes for obese and overweight people. Each section covers an individual model and gives a brief overview of what it brings to the table (weight capacity, features, real world performance, etc.).

Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

Note: There is an updated and improved model of the Schwinn 270 which can be viewed here. The new 2017 model has been pegged the Schwinn 270 MY17. 

Our first choice is one of Schwinn’s most popular models. The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike is packed with features, lauded by users of all shapes and sizes, and most importantly, has a weight capacity of 300 pounds.

schwinn 270

Need to know:

  • One of the best bikes on the market
  • Lots of bells and whistles
  • High weight limit
  • Extra features come at extra cost (look to the Exerpeutic for a budget friendly bike)

Some users have attested to this model withstanding even more than its advertised weight limit. One user in particular, a 6 foot tall 350 pound man, reported that the bike showed no signs of instability during use.

The Schwinn 270 has all of the features you would expect from a modern exercise bike and then some. The seat is adjustable, it offers USB charging, there is a slot to hold books and devices for reading and browsing, and so on.

But what matters most is the meat and potatoes or how efficient this bike is at offering you a hardy workout. And in this respect the Schwinn 270 does not fail to deliver.

Who doesn’t want a bike that allows them to reach fitness and weight loss goals on a regular basis?

Achieving this is a matter of consistently upping workout duration and intensity. All 3 bikes mentioned in this article allow for this by letting you adjust the resistance level to your liking.

While this Schwinn model offers almost everything you could want from a recumbent bike, in addition to supporting the weight of obese individuals, there is one downside. It is one of the best bikes you can get but it is also pricier than some of the other models we’ll cover here.

If you’re more budget conscious then you’ll want to look at our other top picks covered below, especially the Exerpeutic 900XL. The Schwinn 270 is great for those that appreciate a wide array of features from their workout experience and believe them to benefit the end goal of becoming healthier and losing weight.

 

It is certainly the best stationary bike of the bunch due to the fact that it offers features such as preset programs to streamline your experience from one workout to the next. So it’s a matter of whether or not you want the top bike of the 3 or would would rather save money with a cheaper, more budget friendly model.

Exerpeutic 900XL – Budget Friendly Workout

If money were no object then we would all have $10,000 80 inch TV’s and $100,000 sports cars but this is the real world with people who have real budgets.

The Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike is the perfect choice for those who value a balance of price and performance. It’s still an excellent bike for overweight and obese people who need to get more exercise, it just doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that the Schwinn 270 does.

Need to know:

  • Great price:performance ratio
  • On the cheaper side in terms of price
  • High weight limit for obese, morbidly obese, and overweight people
  • Basic/limited display

The most important thing to note with this model is that just as with more premium priced recumbent bikes it will absolutely support the weight of overweight and obese individuals up to 300 lbs.

exerpeutic 900xl

You most likely won’t be able to get as an intense or individualized workout with this model as you would with the high end and mid range Scwhinn models but this bike still delivers if you’re willing to put in the work.

Remember, consistent progression requires you to increase the time spent riding your bike and/or increasing the resistance level. The Exerpeutic doesn’t offer as many resistance levels as more expensive models but the 9 that it does come with are plenty.

If you were to jump right to level 9 as someone lacks cardio conditioning you would definitely feel the burn and become winded much more easily. In other words, there’s room for growth in terms of your individual fitness capacity.

At the very least it’s going to be a great segue into cardiovascular exercise. Don’t be afraid to evolve your workouts down the line after losing some weight should you want something more classically intense such as jogging.

Schwinn 230 – Mid-range Schwinn Offering

If the Schwinn 230 recumbent bike looks eerily similar to the Schwinn 270 it’s because they share many similarities, aesthetics included. The 230 is essentially the budget version of its bigger brother.

Need to know:

  • Budget sibling to the Schwinn 270
  • Plenty of resistance
  • Preset programs
  • Tons of room for progression

Some key differences between the two include the number of programs (22 vs 29), number of users supported (2 vs 4), a lack of telemetry heart rate in the 230, and the number of levels of resistance (20 vs 25).

The thing that most owners of this bike appreciate most about this bike is its ability to deliver a substantial workout. It’s the amount of resistance offered that allows for this (and all of the different programs help as well).

A mutually agreed upon downside of this Schwinn 230 is its comfort level, or lack thereof. The seat and back rest are constructed of hard plastic which is a confusing choice of material considering that it is meant to be sat on for extended periods of time.

To remedy this you might want to consider using either towels or pillows to soften the impact and increase comfort when biking. This has worked well for others in overcoming this boneheaded design flaw.

This recumbent bike still remains to be an excellent option for overweight/obese people (and anyone for that matter) focused on easing into a workout program and then increasing intensity progressively. Granular resistance levels that reach a challenging level as well as programs to follow are all you really need to achieve this.

The Right Pick for You

The perfect pick for you is going to be something that tailors to your individual wants and needs. Each of these bikes have you covered with respectable weight limit but other than that it’s really down to how much you want to invest and how serious you are about working out.

If you’re looking for something to get you started that won’t break the bank then the Exerpeutic will probably fit the bill. If you can spend quite a bit more and know you want to fully embrace the workout lifestyle then the budget or mid range Schwinn may be the right call.

Once you’ve picked a model that suits your budget and goals all that is left is your approach. Your approach is something that’s going to determine what kind of effect your new exercise routine is going to have.

You don’t want to made the same mistakes that thousands of others have made when starting to workout, right?

How to Push Past the Exercise Threshold

Have you ever encountered that type of person who sings exercise and working out to the tune of something revolutionary and life changing? Sure, some people like this are a little bit crazy but there is some truth to what they’re preaching.

The problem, or the threshold to be broken, is that it takes some time for exercise to become an enjoyable endeavor that can literally brighten your day.

We really do mean that exercise can brighten your day. Exercise, especially the cardiovascular kind, has been scientifically shown to have mood elevating effects and even help fight depression. Those who workout regularly are generally more relaxed and content than those who do not.

Your first couple bouts of working out, whether it’s cardio or lifting weights, will most likely be a slog. You may feel uncomfortable, out of breath, and sweat buckets. But that’s normal!

Even if you’re a little overweight or morbidly obese your experience will align with those in the normal weight range who are also out of shape. And this is why it’s important to ease into your new exercise bike regimen.

Those who get overzealous the first few times are much more likely to feel a blow back and burn out. If you want to make this a life long habit then start out with a lower intensity and shorter workout durations for the first handful of sessions.

Maybe set your recumbent bike to one of the first few resistance levels and pedal at a leisurely pace for 5-10 minutes instead of kicking the bike into overdrive with a near high intensity interval training type workout.

Taking things slow won’t deprive you of any type of progress. You’re still going to be increasing your aerobic capacity and endurance which will in turn allow you to ramp up intensity and session lengths as time goes on.

It’s a marathon and not a sprint as the adage goes. But in this case you can eventually work your way to that level of intensity. You just don’t want to take it there immediately.

In other words, slow and steady will still allow you to lose as much weight as you desire and become healthier overall. Truthfully, this type of approach will make these goals easier to reach because you won’t be stopping before you even get started due to unpleasant experiences with exercise.

And your workout career doesn’t have to stop with a recumbent bike. We briefly mentioned evolving your approach over time earlier on in this article and it’s something to certainly think about.

Changing your approach and trying new things is half of the fun of exercise and certainly makes for a greater level of engagement. Perhaps you’ll enjoy riding your bike for the first few months or year. But sooner or later you find yourself wanting to mix things up.

And that’s awesome! There are countless ways to workout and by easing into the whole process you’re ensuring that you’ll get to that stage when it feels right for you.

Exercise Bike for Your Apartment – Things to Consider

We found the absolute best exercise bike for apartments. This model excels at value, saving space, and keeping noise to a minimum. 

Those living in apartments don’t have the luxury that home owners do when it comes to exercising indoors with equipment, what with their bigger rooms and spacious basements. The options start to run thin when you consider the fact that not everybody living in an apartment wants to spend the money on a gym let alone make the trip there every workout day. You have to wait to use equipment, they’re often crowded, and cost a pretty penny. But there are options – affordable, space saving options. One such option is the exercise bike. Let’s find out if it’s the right option for your apartment.

cycling clip art

 

The Upside of an Exercise Bike

Getting out a piece of exercise equipment, getting a great cardio workout, and then putting it away out of sight when done would be great, right? Lose weight, stay in shape, fight off boredom…it doesn’t matter what you’re reason is. An indoor bike can absolutely be used for this purpose in your apartment without being too intrusive. There is one catch. If you’re looking to spend top dollar on one of these then expect for it to take up more room (more on this later).

 

stretching clip art

The good thing about a stationary bike is, size permitted, the fact that you can do things while working out. After taking it out to use you can browse your tablet, read a book, watch TV, listen to an audio book, or even play video games. It is an active activity and it is a step towards a healthier body but it also involves a piece of equipment that can be small enough to knock out two birds with one stone so to speak – in this case exercise and leisure.

Sticking to an exercise regimen can be tough, really tough. A survey conducted by Bodybuilding.com found that 73% of people who set fitness goals as a New Year’s resolution give up.

This brings me to the two most important characteristics of an exercise bike (standard or recumbent) when considering use in your apartment – size and the ability to fold up.

Size is Everything


This one is painfully obvious and I’m not going to spend too much time illustrating why it’s the case…logic and all that. When you’re considering an indoor bike to use in your apartment you’ll want to consider the measurements and then side with small. Don’t worry, I’ll go over some of the best smaller exercise bike options for 2015 later on.

Can it Fold?


A small bike is great but one that can become even smaller is even better when dealing with a workout area such as an apartment. How can this be accomplished? You need to be looking for indoor bikes that can fold up after use. When you’re able to fold up then you’re able to tuck your piece of equipment in a small space (a closet for example). This is a great option for people who want a clean look for their apartment and appreciate the ability to declutter whenever possible. A folding piece of equipment is a sure fire way to remove it from sight after use instead of just hanging about in the open.

More Expensive Not Always Better


I mentioned earlier that there was one catch and this is something I’d like to touch on now. Yes, the old adage “You get what you pay for” is as true as ever when it comes to indoor exercise bikes but that doesn’t mean you want to spend as much as possible. The reason for this is because while bikes over $500 will offer you more durability, better build quality, and better features they will also take up more space.

exerpeutic folding exercise bike

Example of a popular foldable model – the Exerpeutic Magnetic Bike

It is the cheaper (note: not super cheap) models that are more suitable for an apartment setting simply because these are the models that can be folded up in most cases. You will find more expensive space saving options but if you’re trying to squeeze every last square foot out of your apartment then work your way up from the cheaper models.

Best Small Foldable Exercise Bikes


I’ve done the research on the best indoor bikes for apartments (keeping a small form factor in mind) and I ended up with the following three choices. I’ve included a table with the most important characteristics in mind below for your viewing.

ModelSupported WeightDimensionsFoldableAverage RatingPriceMore Reviews
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike300 lbs31” x 19” x 46” inchesYes4.4/5$$$Amazon Reviews
Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike300 lbs19" x 46" x 33" inchesYes4.5/5$$$Amazon Reviews
Marcy Foldable Excercise Bike250 lbs31.9" x 18.2" x 42.2" inchesYes4.4/5$$Amazon Reviews
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