Recumbent Bike Vs Upright Bike

Recumbent Bike Vs Upright Bike – Battle Of The Best Exercise Bike

With many different home exercise bikes online choosing one among them is difficult. Nowadays, exercise bikes are proving to be an effective alternative to gyms, jogging, or outdoor cycling. If you’re looking to buy an exercise bike and wondering which one to buy, then you’re in  the best place. 


Recumbent and upright exercise bikes are two of the most popular exercise bikes in the world. Until now Upright bikes have been a staple in every gym but recently Recumbent bikes have recently emerged as being popular with innumerable benefits and features. 

Without moving into very technical details, here are some of the comparison features between them and their own pros and cons as well. 

Recumbent bike vs upright bike for the knees

The bikes are designed to stimulate an outdoor bike in terms of pedal positioning and the handlebars. 

In the recumbent bike however, the pedals are placed in front rather underneath and also the backrest to assure positioning is practical. Both of them vary in terms of styles and operation. 

Based on the type of exercise they offer, working on them provides a huge impact on the knee results. One of the main concerns is how exercise bikes treat your joints, especially knees. 

Recumbent bikes – Before we start here are the Top Best Recumbent Bikes which you can check out. These tend to be better choices due to their reclined position and larger seating space. As the pedals are placed in the front rather below you get more support for the knees and there won’t be much weight on your legs which is a great advantage. Working out on the recumbent bike provides less impact on the knees and thus makes it suitable for long term workouts for regular exercise. 

Upright bikes – these are most commonly used exercise bikes due to having similar features like outdoor cycling and the familiarity of the exercise and positioning. The positioning of the pedals stretch directly downwards and the seat adjustment prevents outstretching. These are good to work on thighs and glutes as they allow you to stand and pedal. They could lead to damage because of the increased stress on the joints. And so both sides to consider with the upright bikes. 

Recumbent bike vs upright bike benefits

Recumbent bikes or an upright bike better help us to meet fitness goals. As these bikes target different muscle groups the benefits really depend on the fitness goals. Which bike to choose? Here are some of the benefits to consider:

Recumbent bike 

  • If you are concerned about stability, it is a good option for exercise safely
  • The design of it requires less of the body and so you won’t get tired quickly
  • The bikes target the hamstrings, glutes, joints and other muscles better than upright bikes
  • Provides great transition exercise after illness or injury as it works gentle on your back and joints
  • As it is very stable you can watch movies, or read a book while you still pedaling on the bike

Upright bike

  • Upright bike is more demanding and so you burn more calories when compared to those of recumbent bikes do
  • You will tone more muscles as they target abs, glutes, back, arms, and neck. In fact the upright bike provides a total body workout while recumbent still do not 
  • Simulates outdoor riding and so you can still work in the bad weather conditions. It targets the same muscles that are toned as in the outdoor bike riding gives


If you want to give more workout for the arms, head towards recumbent bikes, and if you are training for the triathlon or weather stinks, then head towards upright bikes instead. At the end what matters is the health benefit no matter what equipment to choose. 

Recumbent bike vs upright bike calories

Burning calories is one of the top factors for most people to consider as they are using the bikes to lose weight. The faster you burn calories, the faster you will lose weight. You don’t see much difference in the calories as long as you put the same effort on both the bikes. 

Recumbent bike – it has a stigma of not being as effective as upright bikes in regard to calorie burn. However, calorie burn is determined by the intensity and duration of the workout. And due to the comfort of the bike when compared to the upright, clients find it easier to spend more time on it. Pushing harder and pedaling faster results in more calories burned. This bike is a great option for people aiming for weight loss. 

Upright bike – because it engages more muscles, most of them assume it will burn more calories. But that is not true. As these bikes are less comfortable means duration and intensity of the workout is much shorter. And as it affects the exercise it will heavily affect calorie burn overtime. However, other than this, it is a very effective bike for burning more calories. 


As both the bikes involve equally in burning calories, it again depends on the workout intensities and duration. If you would like to go for more comfortable workout sessions, a recumbent bike is the best to burn calories. And if you find less time for workout but still want to lose weight, upright bikes are the right choice. 

Recumbent bike vs upright bike weight loss/belly fat

You will be able to lose weight by using both the bikes. As mentioned above, you tend to lose weight gradually by burning less calories on a recumbent bike, but your workout might be for a longer time. While on upright you feel more stressed and take less time to the workout. 

Recumbent bikes – the difference grows if you take advantage of the recumbent bike lulling, posture of watching movies, tv or other loaf while you can still pedalling on the bike. On this you will have significant weight loss and you achieve light exercise intensity. 

Upright bike – the comfort on the upright bike is less when compared to that of the recumbent bike and so you work hard to target your muscles. This gradually helps you to lose weight in a short time means you might burn more calories as on an upright bike. 


If you are on a weight loss mission, then an upright bike should be a more inspired choice. In no time you can take short bursts of high intensity workouts with it. On the other hand, if you prefer long and comfortable workout sessions, a recumbent bike is the best option. 

Recumbent bike vs upright bike muscle groups 

The recumbent bike and upright bike tends to target different muscle groups and is based on your preference of muscle toning, you need to choose among these two. 

Recumbent bike – as it keeps the user in a comfortable seating position without the option of standing, it can engage different muscle groups. As the seating position is slightly reclined, many do not engage their abdomen muscle on this bike. It however typically engages lower body. 

Upright bike – It allows the user to stand like on a road bike and so allows them to engage more muscles. As seating requires holding, the bike will engage users’ core abdominal muscles. It also engages lower body and shifting to standing position engages their glute muscles and arms. In short, it gives a total body workout. 


If you want to go for a total body workout, then upright bikes are the better choice. On the other hand if you want to target lower back core muscles, then a recumbent bike is the right choice. 


Which burns more calories recumbent bike or upright bike?

Recumbent bikes have a stigma of not being as effective as upright exercise bikes in the regard of calorie burn. However, the burning of calories highly depends on the intensity and duration of the workout. 

Because upright bikes engage more muscles, it helps to shed more calories. Though the bike is of less comfort when compared to that of a recumbent bike, users spend less time. But due to the intensive workout, it sheds more calories. Also check out the difference between recumbent bike vs spin bike.

Are recumbent bikes better than upright?

Recumbent bikes are more better than upright due to the features it possesses. They are easier on the lower back, especially the lumbar spine due to the way you sit on the bike. While on an upright bike, you need to hunch over the handlebars and so not suitable for spinal postures.

Recumbent bikes are gentle on the joints, provides larger seating space, and is the best choice for the people with neurological conditions. Due to the low impact the recumbent bike reduces the pain and can build muscle strength. 

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