Difference between Recumbent and Upright Stationary Bikes

Used exercise bikes are a great way to get a quality cardio workout with low impact on the joints. It is a viable alternative to running if you have problems with your knee. Stationary bikes are generally much more cost friendly than a treadmill or elliptical and on average, depending on the model, are half the price of other cardio machines. Many of the more recent models have a variety of programs for various workouts of different intensity. Fitness bikes with built in consoles can also log your workout data by keeping track of speed, time, distance, calories burned and much more.

When looking to buy a fitness bike, consumers generally have two categories to choose from. First there are the recumbent bikes, which as their name suggests, are exercise bikes with reclined seating. Upright bikes have the pedals placed below the level of the seat, putting the rider in an upright position, similar to an outdoor bicycle. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of exercise bike.

Recumbent Bikes           

Recumbent bikes are a must have for people who have back problems but wish to get quality cardio. Even for people who do not have back issues, the recumbent bike is much more comfortable than an upright bike. This allows for the user to possibly catch up on their favorite shows or read a book all while getting a workout.

The more horizontal position also appears to work the legs and glutes harder than on an upright bike, which compensates for the lack of back muscles used.

Upright Bikes

The main advantage of the upright bike is that riders use more muscles and usually get a more intense workout when seated in the upright position. In order to maintain balance, the rider uses muscles in their lower back and hips to stabilize themselves, getting a more complete workout. Riders should be conscious of this fact and make sure not to slouch or lean forward. This may cause postural issues and muscle imbalances. The upright bike is also more suited to simulate actual outdoor bicycling riding, so it would be great for training for bike races.


In summary the key takeaway points for each are:

Recumbent Bikes

  • Great for people with back issues due to less strain on back
  • Due to horizontal position, more emphasis on working legs and glute
  • Ability to multi-task while exercising

Upright Bikes

  • More back and hip muscles used and strengthening of the core
  • Better able to simulate outdoor bike riding
  • Allows for a more focused workout due to lack of ability to multitask

At Primo Fitness, we have thousands of used gym machines! Visit our website and call us today!

  • No products in the cart.
Web Statistics