Detailed Comparison Between Recumbent Bike & Upright Bike

Recumbent Vs Upright Bike

Recumbent vs upright Bike

What Is a Recumbent Bike?

A recumbent exercise bike is a specially designed exercise bike that allows you to sit closer to the ground in a cycle seat that is more comfortable than any other standard exercise bike. Not only the size of the seat is larger, but this recumbent bike also provides back support that allows you to sit back as you exercise your legs and work on your cardio. This fitness equipment offers the best way to either warm up the body for further workout routines, or for a solid workout in itself. With the recumbent exercise bike in your own home, you’re a lot more likely to be inspired to get those great workouts underway. Since a recumbent bike sits closer to the ground, the bike also has a lower center of gravity, which can be beneficial to those with balance problems.

Due to the reclined position of the recumbent bike seat, your back does not feel any strain at all as you work out. Best of all, the design of a recumbent bike leaves your hands free during your workout, thereby allowing you to easy ready a book or play a game on your cell phone while you exercise. Apart from this, there are plenty of benefits of recumbent bike that could make you exercise on it.

What is Upright Bike?

An upright bike is very similar to a regular road bike. In this upright bike, you sit in an upright position, although you can lean forward onto the handlebars. The pedals of this exercise bike are below your center of gravity, which means that you can stand up to pedal if you want to give your legs a more intense workout or to vary your training. By this bike, there is more of an upper body arm workout as you are engaging the shoulders, biceps, and triceps in the upright position. It works more on the abdominal muscles as you are keeping the body upright and supporting your workout.

Best of all, this upright bike provides you with a more consistent workout when relating to outdoor riding, as this bike places the rider in a similar body position.
Upright bikes also ensure that you are working the same muscles that are using with outdoor riding, which is more of a whole-body exercise. Since an upright bike is similar to a road bike, the bike also provides more versatility than a recumbent bike. For example, you can choose to sit and pedal, or you can stand and pedal as you would with a road bike. It will allow you to change the workout for your legs and the muscles that are targeted. Upright bikes also tend to be less expensive and will take up less space.

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Major Differences between Recumbent & Upright Bikes

Seated Position of Upright Bike

Though there are different types of exercise bikes, upright bike and recumbent bike are best for those people looking to shed pounds in the easiest way possible. When it comes to a recumbent vs upright exercise bike, both the upright bike and recumbent bike are designed to provide you a cardiovascular workout from the comfort of your home or local gym, but they are few differences between them when few factors are considered.


If you want to sit on an upright bike and start pedaling, your body should be in an upright position as well. It means, to have a ride on your bike you should maintain good posture, and your back should be kept as straight as possible. The main difference between these two bikes is that you can lean forward easily when you are riding an upright bike and slip into a slouched position. However, this could cause upper body postural distortions from muscle imbalances, but while you are riding a recumbent bike, you are forced to sit in an upright position due to the position of the seat and backrest.

Back Pain

People suffering from a backache often prefer to cardiovascular exercise to shed the pounds around their stomachs, which can be causing their pain. Exercise bikes are of non-impact as you will be in a stationary position. If the safety factor is considered, the recumbent style is the best choice for those people suffering from back pain as it has a full seat with a backrest to support you while you exercise. On the other hand, upright bikes can put too much stress on the back.


The body position will be completely different between a recumbent and upright exercise bike. On a recumbent bike, you will be seated in a more horizontal position, with the pedals out in front of you. But this can limit your variations on the bike. Whereas, when you are on an upright bike, you can stand up in the pedals to simulate the action of climbing hills on an outdoor bike.

Seat Size

If you consider recumbent bike vs stationary bike, the recumbent bike seat size is pretty larger, and the fact that the seat is larger tends to be one of the most enticing features of the bike. Whereas, an upright bike generally has a very small sized seat and can be uncomfortable for most of the riders.

Workout Intensity

As in recumbent bike, you will be in a more horizontal position; it causes you to work your legs and glutes harder than an upright bike. Size of the bike: Upright exercise bikes look to be quiet smaller compared with the recumbent bikes since uprights take less material to make.


Recumbent and upright bikes vary in price. Upright bikes are little inexpensive compared to recumbent bike because more material is involved in recumbent bike manufacturing. Generally, a basic upright bike for home use can be as inexpensive as $180; whereas, a basic recumbent bike can run around $350 to $500.


Recumbent bikes are generally safer compared with uptight bikes as you cannot stand up on the pedals. This would eliminate the occurrence of most of the injuries that can occur when using an upright bike.


Impact on Abdominal Muscles and Upper Body

Difference between Recumbent & upright Bikes

The upright bike works more on the abdominal muscles because while riding in it, you will keep the body upright for supporting your workout. On the other hand, as you will be reclined position on a recumbent bike, there is little to no use of the abdominal muscles. On an upright bike, there is also more of an upper body arm workout since you are engaging the shoulders, triceps, and biceps in the upright position.

Overall Impact

Due to the less impact, the recumbent bike decreases the risk of pain and can build strength. If your hips and backs are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, then it is best to use a recumbent bike due to its reclining position with your weight spread over your buttocks and back.

Benefits Of Recumbent Bike

  1. Most of the people don’t like feeling as though they are of off-balance on the exercise bike, so the lower position of the recumbent bike is very less daunting.
  2. The seat of the recumbent bike is larger than an upright bike. The semi-reclined position on it is more comfortable than the upright or forward position on the upright bike.
  3. Recumbent bikes are safe to use as you cannot stand up on the pedals. This would make you be far from the injuries that can occur while using an upright bike.
  4. The recumbent bike provides you more comfort to work out. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to stick with a workout plan. By this, you will not only stay longer on the bike during each session, but you are likely to return more frequently.
  5. When you are trying to lose weight, recumbent bike exercise can be the best thing for you. It is one of the main benefits of the recumbent bike. Since this recumbent bike offers a good cardio exercise, and as it is also an effective strength training option, it burns a large number of calories. A study stated that a 130-pound woman could burn up to 300 to 500 calories from an hour of recumbent bike cycling. It offers a double punch to your weight loss goals as it not only burns fat but also strengthens and builds muscles.

Suggested Read: Is Recumbent Bike Good For Weight Loss

Benefits of Upright Bike

  1. The upright bike is useful to reduce belly fat because it works more on abdominal muscles while riding on it, as you will keep the body upright for supporting your workout.
  2. An upright bike gives you a more consistent workout when relating to outdoor riding, as the upright bike places the rider in a similar body position.
  3. Upright bikes generally have a very smaller footprint. So they take up very less space in your home or gym to be placed when compared with a recumbent bike.
  4. One of the major benefits of upright bikes is that it has extremely low-impact and is very comfortable. By this token, upright bikes do take most of your body weight off your joints and knees, allowing obese and elderly users to use them. It will also help to lessen the body aches and soreness that you may experience after your workout session.
  5. On an upright bike, your body weight is evenly distributed among the saddle, handlebars, and pedals, which means that the machine remains stable- no matter how energetically you train. As upright bikes are well equipped with flywheels, they draw your entire body into the motions, ensuring that you lose fat in all problem areas.


Which Stationary Bike Burns More Calories?

How many pounds you can shed in your indoor cycling or gym cycling workout cannot be just decided by what type of bike you use. Mainly, effort levels play a huge part in it. 30 minutes workout on the recumbent bike burns fewer calories compared to the same amount of time on the stationary bike. You can burn more calories pedalling at a normal intense level on the recumbent bike than you would at a moderate or easy level on the upright bike. It is even proven that the type of cardio machine you choose doesn’t matter. To improve calorie burn, you need to ensure that you are working hard and are adjusting the resistance settings to make it as difficult as needs

If you consider, recumbent vs. upright concerning calories, each bike has its own benefits that will be enticing depending on your main goals. In general, both bikes approximately produce the same calorie and weight loss potentials. It all matters on the energy you try to put on the workout. The harder you work, the more improvement you will see.

Points to Consider Before Purchasing Recumbent Bike

  1. Before buying a recumbent bike, you have to figure out what your exercise goals are. Think of how often you are going to use it and how hard do you want to push yourself.
  1. While looking for the best model of a recumbent exercise bicycle, which can cater to your needs and requirements, you must first consider your budget. The price of the recumbent exercise bicycle varies depending on features. The budget for it generally falls into three major categories namely professional standard, entry-level and mid-level with costs ranging from $250 to several thousand of the dollars.
  2. Ensure that you have enough space to mount and dismount the bike safely.
  3. it is best to find an exercise bike that matches your needs and fitness goals. For those people who are extreme cycling enthusiasts and also prefer the feel of riding an actual road bike, recumbent bikes are their best bet. However, check the all the features before you buy the recumbent bike.  
  4. Consider the resistance levels before you purchase the cycle. You will have to make sure that you can properly use the feature of it, according to your needs as few bikes give weaker resistance, while few offers stronger resistance.

Read our Detailed Post Regarding Best Recumbent Bike Reviews

Points to Consider Before Purchasing the Upright Bike

  1. Consider the features you require on the upright bike. For example, some of the people may not be interested in a heart rate monitor, while many others may. Generally, more expensive upright bikes normally come with a better heart rate monitoring feature. However, if you don’t mind this feature, you can have more options when you are doing research.
  2. Consider whether you need a fancy console for your workout. The main thing, you need to make sure is that the position of the display is right and it can be easily read. Few upright bikes use a large LCD display, which is good for your visual.
  3. Safety is the main factor to consider while purchasing any piece of workout equipment. As upright bike comes with many moving parts that could lead to serious injuries if something goes wrong, make sure that the bike you select comes with all the necessary safety precautions to minimize the risk of injury.
  4. Choose a bike with adjustable height as it can be easily used by people of all heights.
  5. Seating comfort is another major thing you have to consider while purchasing the bike.

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