Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike – Which is Better?

The world of exercise bike is very various to step into. There are various models at a range of price for you to choose from. Of which the two most famous brands are recumbent bikes and upright bike. They are both good brands and offer efficient workout when being used correctly by its users however, there are some differences that you need to know to choose the better brand for yourself. My article, as its name, will give you deep analyses about each and clear comparison between them as well, with the purpose that you will get to know which model is better for yourself at the end of the article. Let’s me start with an overview about the two exercise bike types.

Overview about Recumbent Bike and Upright Bike

Yeah, first of all, I have to make it clear for you that both these types are often called with a name, which is stationary bike. In term of its great functions compared with other pieces of workout device, they both put less stress on the joints, come with some additional cardio equipment options and offer comfort once make proper adjustments during the exercise. However, the recumbent, in particular, is an ideal choice for those who are suffering from low back pain for it provides additional support for the back. It is also good for new cyclists.

Recumbent bike’s main features

Recumbent bike’s main featuresIf you are a person who like comfort during their workout sessions, you will certainly be interesting in a recumbent bicycle. It has chair-like seat which claims to give your back outstanding support. Plus, the reclined position of your body makes sure that there will not be any strain at all.

However, source of comfort is from more parts, rather than the seats. Unlike an upright bike which requires you to grab onto the handles, hunched forward, the recumbent bike lets your hands be completely free. Therefore, you can freely  watch TV, read a book, or play your favorite games while doing the workout.

Although there have been some disputes about the efficiency of recumbent bikes, compared to upright bikes, I personally don’t believe to some points. It is clear that although a recumbent bike is less effective in term of cardio, it allows an equal number of calories as you would when riding an upright bike. However, because they are very comfortable to ride, you may be eager to last your work sessions, which means that there will be more calories burned. Furthermore, since your body is positioned reclined, your legs will have to work harder to against gravity than they will with an upright bike.

Upright bike’s main features

Upright bike’s main featuresIn comparison with recumbent bikes, upright exercise bikes are popular. Why? Yeah, they comes with many features that you will probably like for every new model comes equipped with new and advanced features which boost your workout immensely. However, there are some factors which are not directly related to the bike that you need to consider before choosing an item for yourself.

One factor that makes it more preferred compared with the recumbent counterparts is the price. It is much cheaper than recumbent, so it is affordable to almost every one. In addition, it doesn’t take up much space when being used and can often be folded and stored easily after being used. So if you don’t have much space in inside your room, then you should consider an upright bike, rather than a recumbent bike.

In term of workout made with the bikes, upright bikes are less restrictive and more versatile. They don’t require you to remain seated, allowing you to keep staying in just one good position. It seems to cause no difficulty in riding for you use it in the same way as you ride an actual bike. You can get off the seat and pedal, and stand up, which gives your legs a much more intensive exercise.

However, if you make a comparison between these bikes with regular outdoor bicycles, you will find that the seats can be equally uncomfortable. So if you like longer rides, these bikes are not for you. They do not work well for users who are elderly people or those who are suffering from chronic back pain or other lower back problems, either.

Last but not least, upright bikes come with a relatively high center of gravity, which means that they are not very stable during the exercise if you push them hard. This issues need to be taken into account.

Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike- What are the differences?

I’d like to distinguish these two types of exercises bikes with the following tables. Hope that they will be clear enough for you to understand about each of them properly and clearly.

Recumbent Exercise BikeUpright Exercise Bike
Recumbent Bike
Upright Bike
- You are supposed to sit into the bike frame- You will be supposed to sit well above the bike frame
- In all models of recumbent bikes, the seat is designed in almost the same line with the pedals.- Upright bikes are designed as a traditional road bike and the seat is placed almost directly over the pedals.
- The riders are in a very low gravity center, making both the bike and rider stay stable during the process.- The riders are in a very high gravity center, making the bike somehow less stable.
- The bikes sit reclined and lean back with the arms hanging to your sides naturally, which helps to remove pains in hands, wrists and arms since the bikes create no weight or stress on those parts by leaning back them while riding.- The bikes sit upright and leaning forward, which makes some riders feel pains in hands, wrists and arms since the bike create some weight and stress on those parts by leaning forward on them while riding.
- "Glutes": Your butt’s gluteal muscles tends to work better in a reclined position. - "Glutes": Your butt’s gluteal muscles of your butt do not get good workout with an upright bike if the rider is not standing.
- Seat Position
- You are kept in a natural, reclined posture without having to bend head or back.- You are required to lean forward (over the bike frame) and slightly bend your neck and back.
- The seat is naturally comfortable. It is as comfortable as that in some pieces of comfortable furniture. There is little aches and pains in the butt, offering a more comfortable workout.- Saddle Sore (common term called by upright bike riders). No matter how comfortable you feel with the seat padding in the showroom, you will get saddle sore while riding.
- Riding the bike in a natural position of body alignment helps to decrease fatigue while increasing your ability and wish to continue the workout.- Riding the bike in a little bit less natural position of body alignment makes some
- It is an ideal choice to those who have lower back problems - It is not a recommendation to those who have lower back issues
- Those who have neck pain feel comfortable to workout with the bike because they do not have to bend their neck or hang their head during the workout.- Those who have neck pain are not satisfied with the fact that they have to bend their head and neck to workout.
- The "Q Factor"
- This factor is simply formed and is the distance between the pedal connection points on the crank arms.- It is simply formed and is the distance between the pedal connection points on the crank arms.

Yeah, because of differences in features like these, there are some significant differences in benefits that each type of bikes are about to offer. And the next parts of my article will over these things.

Recumbent Bike Benefits

  • Recumbent bikes offer an easier workout for those with the lower back due to the way you sit in the bike.
  • They make gentle impact on your joints. Your lower back is protected with the bucket seat and your knees and ankles are kept away from possible injurious impact.
  • The larger seat is one of the most attractive features for it offers very comfortable workout for every user.
  • They are safe since it doesn’t allow you to stand up on the pedals, which eliminates a lot of injuries which can occur when working with an upright bike.
  • They are perfect to those with neurological conditions because they provide a workout for every individual, regardless of their ability levels. It is safe and makes a low impact on the whole body workout.
  • As they make low impact on your body, the recumbent bikes decrease the possible pain and are good to boost strength. In case your back and hips are impacted by rheumatoid arthritis, this bike may be easier to use thanks to the reclining position with your weight which is spread over your back and buttocks.

Upright Bike Benefits

  • Upright bikes provide you with a more stable workout compared with other outdoor ridings because they put the riders in position which is to their similar body position.
  • They guarantee that you will work with the same muscles which are working in outdoor riding, which somewhat means that you are doing a whole body exercise.
  • They work the abdominal muscles as you keep your body upright and support your workout.
  • They introduce an upper body arm workout for you will involve the biceps, triceps, and shoulders in the upright position.
  • They come with a smaller footprint, taking less space in your home.

How to make your own choice?

I would like to impress that no matter how good these bikes are, you yourself are the key factor to decide whether or not you will get in shape. The device can make some contribution, but you yourself have to do all hard work. For your better work and with the facts about the two types of bikes above, I would recommend upright bikes for those into cycling, and those with no history of back issues. Upright bikes also take up less space, so it is good for those who live in small apartments or houses. On the other hand, if you want quality cardio workout, these bikes are not for you.

If you want comfort with cardio, or you are suffering from back problems, then you should think of a recumbent bike. As mentioned earlier, these bikes allow an similar amount of calories as an upright bicycle does, but without the possibility of getting strained of hurt.

What to keep in mind?

No matter what bike you prefer, there are some important points that you need to keep in your mind when it comes to buying a stationary bike, including:

  • Check to be sure that the bike is positioned so that it is safe to clean every moving part.
  • Make sure that your room is large enough to safely mount as well as dismount the bike.
  • Adjust the handlebar and seat height before starting cycling. Let’s find perfect seat position for yourself. This is an important point because proper positioning is the key to decide whether you have a safe and effective workout or not. And if you feel some pains in the front of your knee, it means that there is too much knee bend and if the pain is in the back, it means that there is too little knee bend.

The bottom line

Ok, here are all I would like to show you when it comes to comparing between upright bikes and recumbent bikes. Actually, each of them has its own special features, meeting different demands of users. So for a good bike for yourself, choose the one which best fits your needs. And for good result, use the bike correctly, no matter it is an upright or recumbent, otherwise, you will get few benefits.  Now, let’s set sustainable health goals and create a good exercise routine yourself for today and the future, a good exercise bike will be your reliable partner, ready?

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