5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Recumbent Bike

 

recumbent bikeSo you’re shopping for a recumbent bike and you want the best bike for your home. But where do you start? What do you look for?

Recumbent bikes are different than upright bikes. There are different things to consider.

You may not get the best of the best in all these categories, depending on your budget levels. However, you should try to factor as many of these things in that you can when choosing a recumbent exercise bike:

 

#1 Seat Comfort

Recumbent bikes tend to have more comfortable seats in general than upright bikes. The bucket-seat is just easier to sit on for long stretches. However there are still differences in seats.

For example, a mesh-back seat (seen below) lets air circulate to your back and helps keep you cool.

 

 

Also look for an oversized seat, preferably padded with lumbar support for maximum comfort.\

 

#2 Resistance Levels

You want a bike with at least 20 levels if not more – especially if you’re going to be using the bike a lot. Why? Because the last thing you want is to top out at the highest resistance level within a year of your bike purchase. Then you have nowhere to go and nothing to challenge you.

 

#3 Backlit Console

This is important because a backlit console is easy to read. There’s nothing more frustrating than working out and straining forward to see your workout stats in the console.

You want a bright, backlit console that is large and easy to read – it will pay off in the future. This is especially important if your budget is limited as a lot of cheaper (under $500 bikes) do not come with backlit consoles.

 

Sole Recumbent bike Console

Sole Recumbent bike Console

 

#4 Entertainment Options

If you want your workouts to be more enjoyable, the entertainment options are important. What are entertainment options? Well, they are everything from iPod docks to tablet holders to online tracking to new workout add-on options.

For example, Nordictrack and some Proform bikes come with iFit LIVE. This lets you download new workouts to your bike, map out new trails online with Googlemaps and track your workout stats online to see how far you’ve come. A lot of people like this extra addition to their bike – the bike can grow with them as they get more fit.

ifit bikes

 

heart rate monitor#5 Heart Rate Monitor

If you want to stay in your target heart rate zone, you’ll want a heart rate monitor of some kind. And there are really 3 options here – the finger pulse monitor (not very accurate), the hand grip pulse monitor (medium accuracy) and the wireless chest strap (very accurate – and most convenient).

Some bikes come with wireless chest straps included, some don’t – but the monitor will work with a wireless chest strap that you provide. Some bikes have the hand sensors on the side handrests – and some bikes have it on the consoles, so you have to reach up.

But those are some things to consider when you’re looking at different heart rate monitors on bikes.

 

So those are 5 essential areas to consider when shopping for a good recumbent bike. Keep these things in mind and you’re more likely to get a solid, quality bike that you’ll enjoy for years to come!

Some of my recommendations for a good recumbent? I like the Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro, the Sole R92 and the Horizon R30.

Good luck and happy shopping!

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Nordictrack Commercial VR Vs Sole 92:

 

Two of the most popular recumbent bikes are the Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro (Full Review Here) and the Sole R92 (Full Review here). This isn’t surprising as they are some of the best values on the market.

Nordictrack VR Pro Recumbent

Nordictrack VR Pro Recumbent

sole R92 Recumbent

Sole R92 Recumbent

 

But what if you’re going back and forth wondering which one is best for you? This post will help you compare them by showing you the main differences – and then you can decide which one suits your needs.

So here are the main differences between the Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro vs the Sole R92 Recumbent bikes:

 

Price:

While prices do tend to jump around, overall the Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro is about $200 – $300 less than the Sole R92, which runs about $999. So while both are under $1000, the Nordictrack bike is more affordable.

 

Flywheel

A heavier flywheel in general gives you a smoother feeling ride  (and helps anchor the bike for higher stability). The Sole R92 has the heaviest flywheel here, a monster 26 pounds. The Nordictrack bike isn’t a slouch by any means however – at 23 pounds.

 

sole exercise bike console

Sole R92 Console

 

Seat

The Nordictrack VR Pro uses a mesh-type seatback, whereas the R92 has a solid seatback. The advantage of the mesh-type back is that it allows cool air to circulate more and helps to keep you cooler.

 

Design

While the VR Pro is well designed and comfortable, the R92 has a bit of an edge here. Sole bikes are designed with a 2 degree inward cant to the footpedals, which is a more natural angle for the body. This helps to give you a more proper alignment and reduces the stress on your joints.

 

nordictrack commercial vr pro console

Nordictrack VR Pro Console

 

Console

Both bikes have large, backlit consoles with iPod docks and cooling fans.  However the Nordictrack VR has more workout programs (32 vs 6) and slightly more sophisticated graphics display.

 

iFit

The Nordictrack has something the Sole does not – iFit LIVE. iFit lets you connect your bike to the internet. From there you can download new workouts from Jillian Michaels, map out new trails using Googlemaps and even track your workout stats over time to see how far you’ve come.

So if you tend to get bored easily and need new challenges, iFit can help to keep you on track.

 

Resistance Levels

The Nordictrack VR Pro edges out the Sole here just slightly with 26 resistance levels over 20. A lot of people want more resistance levels so that they don’t top out on the bike within the first year.

Plus the Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro has resistance controls on the side handrails, which the Sole R92 does not have. So you can change the resistance from your seated position, instead of reaching up to the console to do it.

 

Heart Rate Monitor

heart rate monitorBoth bikes include hand grip heart rate sensors and are wireless compatible. But the Nordictrack comes with a free wireless monitor whereas the R92, as of this writing, does not.

 

So those are the main differences between the Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro vs the Sole R92 recumbent bikes.

Which is best?

Well, it really depends on what you’re looking for. The Sole has the slight edge in terms of design and construction. The Nordictrack has the edge in terms of entertainment options, console, resistance and price.

Overall however, they’re both great choices so you can’t go too far wrong either way. For more details on each bike, see the links below:

Nordictrack Commercial VR Pro Recumbent

Sole R92 Recumbent

 

 

 

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Sole Light Commercial Upright Bike

October 1, 2014

Sole LCB Upright Bike Review   If you’re looking for a premium commercial-grade upright bike that won’t break the bank, you’ve probably heard about the Sole LCB Upright Bike. The “LCB” stands for Light Commercial Bike. This basically means that this bike can stand up to light commercial settings like an apartment complex gym or a […]

Read the full article →

Diamondback 510 Recumbent Bike Review

September 25, 2014

Is the Diamondback 510SR A Good Value?   The Diamondback 510SR is Diamondback’s most affordable recumbent coming in at a very attractive $799 price point. It’s constructed for a customized ride with an adjustable seat and tilting console. There’s also a media center with iPod dock and speakers for adding some fun to your workout. […]

Read the full article →

Nordictrack Recumbent Exercise Bikes 2014

September 20, 2014

Two of Your Best Options For Nordictrack Recumbent Bikes   Looking for Nordictrack Recumbent exercise bikes? While there are some old recumbents kicking around stores, you don’t usually get the latest features and technology since Nordictrack tends to update their models every year or so. With that in mind, I’ve decided to go over 2 […]

Read the full article →

Sole LCR Or Sole R92 Recumbent Bike?

September 11, 2014

Sole LCR Vs R92 – Which is Best?   Sole makes some of the most comfortable (and affordable) commercial grade bikes on the market. They are designed for maximum comfort with the 2 degree inner cant on the pedal and molded, adjustable seats.   But if you’re looking for a Sole recumbent you’re probably wondering […]

Read the full article →

Lifespan R3 Recumbent – Pros and Cons

September 8, 2014

Lifespan R3i Recumbent Bike Review   The Lifespan R3i recumbent is a premium bike with some higher end features that aim to make your workouts more comfortable. For example, you get the easy step-through design and a mesh seat back to keep you cool. Plus the seat adjusts 2 ways. You can move the entire seat forward or back. […]

Read the full article →

Sole LCR Recumbent Bike – Worth Your Money?

September 5, 2014

Sole LCR Review   The Sole LCR Light Recumbent bike is Sole’s premium “light” commercial bike. This means it’s made to stand up to light commercial use like an apartment gym, physical therapy weight room or school gym. It can also be used in high end home gyms (or home gyms with heavy use of the bike […]

Read the full article →

Horizon Comfort Upright Bike

September 1, 2014

Horizon Comfort U Upright Bike Review   The Comfort U upright bike is one of my favorite upright bikes currently on the market. It comes in under $500 and has lots of little tweaks that Horizon is known for to make your workouts more comfortable. For example, the gel seat is adjustable both up/down and […]

Read the full article →

Nordictrack 4.2 Upright Bike Review

August 27, 2014

Is the Nordictrack GX 4.2 Pro Exercise Bike A Good Buy?     The Nordictrack GX 4.2 is a newer upright model coming in under $500 with some higher end features you don’t often find at this price point. For example you get the iFit LIVE option which lets you download new workouts from Jillian […]

Read the full article →