Which is right for you: Upright Bike or Recumbent Bike?

When shopping for a stationery exercise bike there are two main styles to consider: Upright Bike or Recumbent Bike. The biggest factors to consider in determining which is right are your fitness level, back health and comfort needs. Both bikes provide an excellent source of aerobic exercise, but with subtle differences between the two.

Upright Bike

Upright bikes are familiar, like the bikes we grew up riding. There is not a back support, so even though you’re indoors it will give a rider the feeling of being out on their road bike.

If you live in a cold-weather state, an upright bike is a great way to help get through the winter. You can keep the legs sharp before getting back outside on the trails and roads when the temperatures warm up again.

The upright bike takes up a little less space and on average comes at a slightly lower cost than a recumbent bike.

Because of the seat angle, an upright bike will work the quads a bit more as you push down, while the recumbent bike will stress the hamstrings with more of a push out.

The back and abs can get more of a workout on an upright bike because of the posture you’re sitting at.

Recumbent bike

Comfort is the key to a recumbent bike, which comes fitted with a back rest. Most recumbent bikes have a mesh back with curved lower-lumbar support.

When a person sits, there’s 3 ½ more times stress put on their back than when they’re standing. Consequently, if you have any back problems, then a recumbent bike should provide the safest support for the spine.

Making a choice

When you go into a fitness store, ask a qualified consultant to let you try out both styles of bikes and point out the different features. You can actually get about the same quality of workout on both bikes, so the choice between an upright bike and incumbent bike really comes down to personal preference and comfort.