Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike – A Complete Comparison

Are you stranded trying to select the most appropriate exercise bike between the recumbent and the upright one? Don’t find this strange as I was there too.

I was the confused guy who was moving from store to store seeking advice from various dealers.

This was hectic and I cannot let you go through such a hurdle. Instead of trying to make a comparison between the recumbent bike and the upright bike using reviews and advices from various sources, use this guide.

Everything between the two has summarized without losing theirs in-depth look. Let’s get straight to the point, Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike.

Recumbent Bike

A recumbent is basically a bike rode while the exerciser stays supported in a reclining position with the back being laid. While exercising, a person’s weight remains distributed over a large area. The person remains supported by the back and the butt comfortably.

Exercising remains simple with the body power being extended. Support by the lower back allows one to undertake challenging workouts in a simplified manner. The work out speed also increases when using the recumbent bike. This bike will as well always leave your back untouched and unaffected by an exercise.

Upright Bike

An upright bike resembles the normal 2 wheeled bicycle only that it lacks the two wheels. This exercise bike has been in use for quite a long time. It allows one to exercise while seating in an upright position. The bodyweight of the exerciser remains supported by the feet, sitting bones, and the hands. The upright bike can also ride while one is standing. This makes it a versatile exercising bike.

Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike

Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike

Sitting position

In the recumbent bikes, the rider sits in the bike frame. The seat stays almost in the same line with the pedals. This lowers the COG of the rider and makes him/ her highly stable while exercising. The position also allows a better workout of the glutes. This creates a maximized workout of the gluteal muscles.

In the Upright bikes, the rider remains seated above the bike frame. The seat stays almost straight above the pedals. This raises the COG of the rider and he/she is left less stable while exercising. The glutes receive little or no workout not unless the rider rides standing.


A recumbent bike enhances the comfort of the rider. This is through the naturally reclined position of the body the rider keeps while riding. This ensures that the rider does not get upper body muscle soreness. The rider also rides for long without getting extreme body fatigue. Exercise can, therefore, be carried out for long.

The rider of an upright bike remains hunched over. The neck and the back also remains slightly bent. This position may leave the rider with upper body muscle soreness. The position also enhances body fatigue and the rider may be forced to exercise for a shorter period of time.

recumbent bike vs upright bike

The seat

The seat of a recumbent bike helps the user stay in a naturally reclined position where his head and back remain unbent. The seat is comfortable in that the rider may ride for long without experiencing butt pains and aches. People with lower back problems and/or neck pain also enjoy using the recumbent as further complications are not expected.

An upright bike’s seat forces the rider to lean forward while bending the back and neck slightly. Leaning is necessary for body support by the arms. This may create back and neck pains. The butt might also pain and ache as it supports much weight. An upright bike may not be friendly to those with back problems and/or neck pains.


A recumbent bike allows only one riding position. This is the naturally inclined body position. The seat has adjusted to various levels but will never change the riding position. The recumbent may, therefore, be restrictive in terms of changing body positions. Working out on some muscles which require a standing position may not be possible.

An upright bike accommodates more than one riding position. The rider can take the sitting position or switch to a standing position depending on his/her planned workout. Changing body positions motivates the rider as one position may create boredom. A complete workout on other muscles as well achieves through changing riding positions.

Final Verdict

Your exercising goal matters most. The effectiveness of the bike will always not help you get your desired shape if you are not working hard. Choose a bike which best suits you depending on your needs. For those looking for a cheap exercise bike, the upright one is the best.

It is also good for the usual bicyclers. Choose the recumbent bike if you have back problems or neck pain, or if you are into a cardio friendly workout.

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