Best Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: Our Top 4 Recommendations

Best Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: Our Top 4 Recommendations

Got bad knees and need a way to exercise without making them worse? Many doctors recommend biking for people with knee problems – in this article, we’ll review the best 4 exercise bikes for folks with bad knees. 

In general, PT’s and physicians say that exercise is an excellent therapy for bad knees – but it needs to be the right kind of a workout. After you’ve talked with your doctor, and assuming indoor cycling is the right workout for you, picking the right equipment is important.

Matthew Goodemote, head physical therapist at Community Physical Therapy & Wellness in Gloversville, N.Y: “There is no question that indoor cycling is an excellent way to get a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints.”

Hello, my name is Janice, and I work together with Keven Paige. Today, in this article, I am going to present you with the best exercise bike suited for riders with bad knees. As part of the review, I am going to discuss why indoor cycling is the often best choice for knee rehabilitation as well as the most important things to look for when buying an exercise bike.

If you are in a hurry and you would instead check the best exercise bikes on amazon right away, please find our most recommended best exercise bike for bad knees.

Our top 4 picks for Best Exercise Bike for bad knees and rehabilitation

Best Stationary Bike for Bad Knees (Overall):EXERPEUTIC 900XL 300 lbs. Weight Capacity Recumbent Exercise Bike with Pulse
Best in features:Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Series
Budget Pick:Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
Best for small spaces (Foldable Recumbent):Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike, 400 lbs
Table for Top 4 picks for Best Exercise Bike for bad knees and rehabilitation

 

Benefits of Indoor Cycling for the Rehabilitation of Bad Knees

Subjecting your knees to too much strain with high-impact workouts –  or overworking those joints – can actually be harmful instead of making you healthier. Obviously you need to consult with your doctor before beginning a serious workout regimen if you have joint issues – but assuming you have the OK, for most people, it is easy to avoid worsening the situation by following the expert’s suggestions.

"Exercise is good therapy for knee pain, but it needs to be the right kind of exercise."
Steven Stuchin, MD
Director of orthopaedic surgery at NYU Hospital for Joint Siseases in New Yor CIty

Indoor stationary bikes and other cardio machines such as elliptical machines help you to get an excellent aerobic exercise without putting too much stress on your knee joints.

"Recumbent stationary bikes are even better because you're not sitting upright while exercising, which takes more weight off the knee joints."
Glenn Gaesser, PhD
Professor of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

Knees are the largest joints in the body, take a ton of pounding, and therefore are very susceptible to injuries. Outdoor cycling can be a bit more dangerous for your joints, because predicting the smoothness of the ride is impossible – and setting the resistance levels is not as easy as a good indoor bike will offer (we’ll get into the details on choosing resistance in a bit). Remember, you want to avoid subjecting your knees to any sudden, jerky movements, so stationary equipment where you can smoothly choose the resistance levels is a must. 

That’s one of the things that helps make indoor cycle riding is very effective – it’s low-impact and non-weight bearing. Indoor cycling is a controlled movement in a stable position, where the rider can pick the resistance levels and difficulty. This exercise helps to rehabilitate and strength your knees.

Why recumbents are best for bad knees

As you look through our recommendations, you’ll notice all of our best picks are recumbents. In general, there are three major types of home cycles:

  1. Upright
  2. Recumbent, and
  3. Spinning.

Uprights are most similar to a bicycle that you’d actually ride on the road. With a recumbent, you sit lower, on a larger seat, and often have a backrest. 

Upright Bike Vs Recumbent Bike

As you can see in the image above, recumbents have a much lower profile, and with the bigger seat and backrest, you’ll weight will be shifted from your legs and feet to your behind. If adjusted correctly, this should reduce the strain that you’d put on your knees (and lower back) vs an upright. 

Comparison of Top 4 Picks for Best Exercise Bike for Bad Knees

We have spent countless hours researching, consulting with actual riders and reviewing equipment to compile this list for the best exercise bike for users with bad knees. Once again, if you have severe pain, serious injuries or when in doubt, you should consult a health professional before engaging any kind of exercising routine.

Now onto individual reviews of the best exercise bike for problematic knees:

 

EXERPEUTIC 900XL 300 lbs. Weight Capacity Recumbent Exercise Bike with Pulse

Exerpeutic 900XL 300 lbs. weight capacity recumbent exercise bike is a sturdy and our choice for overall the best exercise bike for bad knees. It is popular among people with home gyms for good reason.

About the Exerpeutic Brand

This bike is manufactured by Paradigm Health & Wellness company under the brand name Exerpeutic. The company and the brand are known to produce some of the best value home gym equipment such as exercise bikes, inversion tables, treadmills and ellipticals. Although their products are not overly expensive, they do not sacrifice on the quality, generally making them a good deal.

MyCloudFitness App

The Exerpeutic is equipped with cloud fitness support. What this means is that it can connect to the MyCloudFitness app on your smartphone and sync all your activity to it. This app will help you to keep a record of your progress and match it up with your predetermined goals. 3 workout goal settings are possible via the app: time, distance, calories burned.

Design

The frame is made to be tough and rigid; it can hold weight up to 300lbs. This bike is a good choice for overweight people looking to strengthen their legs and knees. Furthermore, the frame of the bike is spacious (step-through design), letting people comfortably get on and off it. The 900XL is also equipped with an easily adjustable seat and handles. It makes for a genuinely comfortable riding experience.  The bike also has different proprietary systems to smooth the peddling experience.

Magnetic Tension

Two of the most critical systems are the eight-level magnetic tension control system and the smooth torque system. Both of these work together to provide the person with smooth peddling at varying tension levels. To correctly measure all your workout data, the 900XL is equipped with loads of sensors and calculators.

3. 5? large LCD of exerpeutic 900XL exercise bike

 

3.5 inch LCD

First of all, it is equipped with a pulse monitor/heart rate monitor one the handles, and along with that it calculates the calories burnt, time, distance traveled, and speed. All of this data is stored on the app and accessible at any time to you. This feature provides the user with an extensive chart of past sessions. However, the attached 3.5 inch LCD only shows limited information such as distance, calories burned, time, speed, pulse and scan.

For more detailed information on featureshttps://www.amazon.com/Exerpeutic-Weight-Capacity-Recumbent-Exercise

The 900XL is one of the most senior-friendly products that we have listed in this review. Priced on the lower end (Check Price – usually well under $300), the 900XL provides the great performance for the value. One of the most talked-about qualities of this product is the absence of any kind of noise. The precise balance of the flywheel and the V-belt make way for a noiseless experience. Furthermore, the Exerpeutic 900XL is a low maintenance exercise bike; this means that you do not need to spend time oiling and maintaining the device.

 

Is EXERPEUTIC 900XL the Best Exercise Bike for bad knees?

Here are a couple of reviews from the internet: 

This bike gives me solid low back support and the seat is quite comfortable. After spinal surgeries and other things, at the age of 70, I find this bike to be excellent for me. I gradually increased my sessions from around 15 min to an hour. I am a happy customer. – 70-year-old user with severe back issues 

The 900XL is one of the best exercise bikes for bad knees; you can also say that it is the best exercise bike for physically limited people. The reason being its spacious sitting space. Older people who have trouble folding their legs will not have a hard time sitting on the bike, as it has a generous area to get in and out of, is pretty stable and low to the ground.

Also, the smooth peddle allows for comfortable peddling by older people. These features make the EXERPEUTIC 900XL one of the most suitable and best exercise bikes for bad knees and for older people who are looking for a healthy recreational option. 

 

The 900XL is also one of the best choices for the millennial who wants a functional and modern workout option. The cloud syncing option means that users will not lose track of their progress. Even if you work out somewhere else, you can sync that data to the app, and the next time you use your home 900XL, you will know from where to start. Furthermore, at just about 76 pounds, and with wheels, the bike is light enough to be moved across a room and placed near your work station for a quick biking session or out of the way when company comes over.

Pros and Cons of Excerpeutic 900XL

PROS:

  • Fully recumbent
  • Quite riding experience
  • Can track speed, distance and time
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Cloud sync support (via app)

 

CONS:

  • Takes space in the room
  • Longer assembly times for some users

 

Although this bike is excellent in many ways, some users reported issue with the seat not being cushioned enough. However, this issue was easily fixed by adding padded cushion. We have heard a few users having problems with tension control. Yet, in the end, it was found to be an issue with incorrect installation. The customer serviced helped many users with videos to get this corrected. 

 

Exerpeutic 900XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Recumbent Bike with Pulse Video

 

Exerpeutic 900XL is our choice for an overall best exercise bike for bad knees. It scores high points in all areas such as price, feature set, reliability, quality, and positive reviews. While you are getting full value for your money, with this one you are not buying a top of the line bike here. However, if you want to step up in the same line of bikes from Exerpeutic, checkout: Exerpeutic 4000 Magnetic Recumbent Bike with 12 Workout Programs. We also recommend another semi-recumbent, foldable exercise bike as a 4th pick. 


 

Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Series

Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Series - for feature-rich best exercise bike for seniors

The next in our list for the best exercise bike for users with knee problems is the Schwinn A20 recumbent bike series. Schwinn is one of the oldest cycling manufacturing companies in the USA. Later on, Schwinn started making indoor exercising bikes to meet market demand. Nautilus owns Schwinn (in addition to Bowflex). You probably heard of their most popular line of bikes: A 10 series. However, A10 series are upright bikes, and in this article, we prefer recumbent type for the best exercise bike for painful knees, and hence A20 series is reviewed in this article.

Design

Full view of the A20 series

The Schwinn A20 Recumbent is a product from the companies Active Series. One of the most defining characteristics of the active series is the use of a highly streamlined design. Along with that, it uses premium materials that increase the quality and the durability of the bike. This bike also comes with transportation wheels for secure storage.

The Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Series comes with many excellent features. One of the more predominant features is the perimeter-weighted high inertia flywheel. The flywheel has a smooth and jitter-free spinning operation. Because of this design, users can expect a smooth and quiet ride. In our option, this is a good feature for those users that are physically limited, in that there is no danger of jerky movements while riding this bike. Schwinn really invested in a smooth ride.

 

 

Programmed Presets

The A20 comes with 6 presets and a quick start option. The presets are divided into different difficulty level categories; these different categories help the person to exercise at varying intensities of cardio and muscular workouts. However, please note that if you are just starting and have knee pains, you should really start at the lower difficulty level. There are 8 different magnetic resistance levels available for your workouts. 

Large LCD

Large console of A20 Series - Excellent Size of buttons and letters for seniors
Large Console of A20 Series

The Schwinn A20 also comes with the usual set of features that other exercise bikes have. The feature set of this bike is slightly better than that of the Exerpeutic 900 XL?version reviewed previously. A20 series has a big LCD console that provides the rider with 8 tracking numbers and provides accurate records of the sessions. Large and segregated buttons also accompany the display for each of the different functions. The large console comes with a speaker as well.

Schwinn A20 Series Handlebars with heart rate sensor
Handlebars with heart rate sensor

The Schwinn is not only feature-packed, but it is comfortable as well. The bike has a padded, contoured seat with a generous backrest, providing adequate lower back support. The side handlebars are equipped with heart rate sensors which measure your heart rate continuously. These bars help the riders have a steady position while riding, and are very convenient for people with stability issues, as they help make it easy to stay balanced on the device.

Is Schwinn the Best feature-rich Exercise Bike for users with joint issues?

In our review, we have considered both knee joint pains as well as potentially lower back issues. We set out to find the best bike with maximum features (to be our choice of the best-featured bike) and one that provides a phenomenally comfortable ride. The following points make this bike choice for the best exercise bike for users with injured knees or other physical limitations:

  • Contoured and padded seats and great backrest
  • Ergonomically placed grip heart rate monitors 
  • Stable bike in that the back legs are behind the sitting upper body 
  • Horizontally adjustable seat pole providing a large area for legs
  • Exercising in a relaxed position with lower back support

See some of the testimonials we have received reviewed from users:

Shelly B., Chicago – Having had knee surgery recently, I was looking for an indoor exercise bike. When I found Schwinn A20 Series, I bought one. This bike is good for my knees rehab and gives me a good workout. 

Han S., San Fransisco – Bought this bike for my sister, who is a senior. Perfect for her cardio requirements, simple to use with all the basic settings, that she needs.

Schwinn A20 Series Video

 

Pros and Cons of Schwinn A20 Series

PROS:

  • The LCD display has large and categorized buttons to select presets
  • The seats are contoured and padded to provide high levels of comfort and balance
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Front-facing speakers and a 3.5mm jack for music playback

CONS:

  • Fairly heavy to move around the house
  • Assembly takes an hour and may need 2 people

We recommend the Schwinn A20 Recumbent Bike Series because it provides a very smooth riding experience. The high inertia wheel successfully emulates different riding situations providing a realistic feel to the exercise. Furthermore, the bike has a built in speaker system to provide a form of entertaining exercise. For the price you are paying, you will be getting all the features you would need.

 

Schwinn also has bike series in upright bikes category: Check it out here

 

 

 


 

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Magnetic Resistance ME-709

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike - Budget Choice for the best exercise bike for riders with bad knees

For our third pick on the list of excellent bikes for users with knee pain, we prioritized the price point. Of course, with this option you still get a great set of features, even at the lower price point. Our budget choice for this is Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709. Typically available for under $200, it’s a steal.

About Marcy

When it comes to exercise bikes and other cardio-related exercise machines, Marcy is one of the best known brands that offer to solid devices and good workouts, generally at affordable prices.

Marcy is in the fitness equipment business and a leader for 35 years with customer service located in the USA. The Marcy ME-709 is a no-frills exercise bike that provides a smooth peddling experience and one of the most efficient handling, making it a great choice for people with knee pain.

Design

Dimensions of Marcy ME-709 - Budget Pick for the best exercise bike for seniors

 

Full view of the Marcy ME-709

The frame of this exercise bike is made with premium 14 gauge steel tubing, and PVC. These materials result in a high-quality structure, and helps explain why efficient design and performance. The bike designed to withstand daily use for years to come. It’s a nice recumbent option at a good price.

 

One of the most significant plus points about Marcy ME-709 is the adjustable seat. It offers a great range of adjustability, so if  you need a “just so” setup to take the pressure off your joints, this one might be the one for you. The step-through design is created so that it is easier on the knees and back. This ensures that the bike offers that proper space for your legs and an adequate range of motion, and is easy to get in and out of.

The next best thing about the exercise bike is the seat padding. Among all the other competitors in this segment, Marcy ME-709 provides one of the most prominent and most comfortable padded seats- especially at this price. The overall design is meant to give you lasting comfort, and should make you feel that riding on this bike a great experience. The handlebars are placed at proper levels to give you a balanced position. One thing to note – there is no heart rate monitor, so that’s a thing you give up for the lower cost.

Flywheel

One of the unique features about the Marcy ME-709 is present in the flywheels. The flywheels have a proprietary magnetic resistance system. The magnetic resistance system allows the user to fine-tune the amount of resistance of the flywheel. This lets you adjust the resistance according to your needs and training regime. Furthermore, the resistance is controlled by a knob placed below the handlebar, which means that you can easily change the resistance while still riding. This increases both the bike’s usability and efficiency, and is a really nice feature.

LCD Console

LCD Console of ME-709

 

LCD Console

To track the workout, the Marcy ME-709 is equipped with an LCD. The display reads out all the different readings from the odometer, the number of calories burnt, the amount of time that you have spent on the bike, and lastly, the distance that you have travelled. These readings help you properly curate your routine and keep track of your progress. Again, there is no heart rate monitor.

Is Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709 the Best Exercise Bike for bad knees?

This bike is a great candidate to be the best exercise bike for users with joint problems. The following are the main points to support that argument:

  • Step-Through design – allows maximum mobility while training for faster mounting and dismounting. This design makes it very easy for your joints and lower back, and is easy to get in and out of if you are stiff or don’t have the best balance.
  • Comfortably padded seat – ergonomically designed with high-density foam.  Foam-covered handles provide the extra support required for seniors.
  • Counterbalanced pedals – Additional weights are added to the pedals to provide you with a lot of foot support. The pedals also have safety straps.

The above is right on-point when it comes to providing the right exercise bike for riders that struggle with knee pains.

Some of the testimonials from current users:

 

"This bike is great for arthritic knees. I am supposed to get knee surgery, and before buying Marcy ME-709, I consulted with my doctor. I have been using this bike for six months now, and not only I pushed my surgery but also gaining strength in my knees. Glad I purchased this bike."
Shannon M.
"My therapist recommended this bike to me. I need a home exercise bike to rehab both my knees. I find this bike extremely useful for my knee exercises. Plenty of legroom and assembly was not that bad actually."
Gary H.
Transport wheels on ME-709 Recumbent Bike
Storing of ME-709

Pros and Cons of Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709

PROS:

  • Step-Through design
  • Comfortably padded seat
  • Counterbalanced pedals
  • Most comfortable sitting experience
  • Low cost

CONS:

  • No heart rate monitoring
  • Not quite a premium as some of the others we review

 

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike Video

 

The beautiful design and the superior quality of the Marcy recumbent bike help us recommend this option. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to get in and out of, and the seat is very adjustable. If you are looking for a no-frills bike to properly carry out your workout routine at home at low cost, then this is the bike that you should pick up.


Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike, 400 lbs

Best exercise bike for bad joints - Excerpeutic Gold 525 XLR

The last product that we are going to review for the best bike for users with knee problems is the Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike, 400 lbs. It’s made by the well regarded manufacturer, Exerpeutic. We have already reviewed this company in this article. This exercise bike boasts a streamlined design and an upgraded version of 300SR heavy-duty 300 lbs. We have also reviewed the 300SR heavy-duty 300 lbs as part of the best folding exercise bikes article on Fitness Masterly.

Design

Full view of Excerpeutic Gold 525 XLR - Spacious design for seniors

 

Full view of Excerpeutic Gold 525 XLR

The first and foremost feature of the exercise bike is its excellent semi-recumbent design. And another significant feature of this bike is its foldable/folding design – which we’ll explain in a bit. The bike has an extended weight capacity of 400 lbs. Excerpeutic achieved this capacity by utilizing heavy-duty and highly durable steel frame. A limit of 400 lbs means that this bike will be able to accommodate all users, including folks on the heavier side.

An essential feature of this bike and one that helps this bike to be on this list is it is seat adjustability. It is a large seat with a lot of cushion and back support.

 

LCD screen and resistance control of Excerpeutic Gold 525 XLR bike
LCD Screen

The LCD screen in front of the exercise bike is closer to the pedals and near the ground. This makes way for natural movement of the legs across the bicycle. Furthermore, the device weight just 57 pounds and has a slim frame. This makes it very easy to move the bike around in your home or apartment. It also helps in storing the bike efficiently.

The next significant feature of the EXERPEUTIC Gold 525XLR is its magnetic tension control system. The bike provides a total of 8 levels of different resistance. This helps you to get good control over how much stress you want. As we’ve already mentioned, being able to customize the resistance is important when you are rehabbing your knees. Furthermore, the exercise bike includes proprietary technology within its peddling system known as the double drive system of transmission.

3 Piece Cranking System

This bike is designed with a 3-piece cranking system with high torque; one that is capable of providing a consistently smooth pedaling movement. As you already know from reading this review, we think that’s important if you have joint problems. A dual transmission flywheel makes higher resistance workouts possible. However, if you are just starting, you should be starting at the lower end of the resistance and gradually increase from there.

 

Foldability for Storage

Folded 525 XLR

The main reason this bike is an excellent choice for small spaces is its folding capability. The Exerpeutic 525XLR can fold to almost half of its size. The folded dimensions are 27′ L x 18′ W x 48′ H, so it can fit in a lot of closets (assuming you closets are cleaner than mine, that is!) Additionally, it has what are called transportation wheels, which are little wheels that make it easy to scoot it around when it’s time to put it away. This set up will allow you to move the bike around quickly and store in a closet or the corner.

The EXERPEUTIC 525XLR also comes with the usual set of features that are present in all other exercise bikes. It has a heart rate sensor on a handlebar that accurately measures the heart rate of the rider. Moreover, the bike also has an odometer, a calorie counter, a distance meter, and a time tracker. All these different measurements help you to keep track of your workout regime properly.

Is Excerpeutic 525XLR semi-recumbent bike the Best Exercise Bike for bad joints?

Certainly, this option is near the top of the list and is one of the best exercise bikes for someone that is looking for workouts that are easy on bad knees. This cycle has all the necessary features that one would need in a situation where you need an bike to rehab your knees:

Seat and handlebars of 525 XLR
Seat and handlebars

  • The high weight capacity
  • Large well-cushioned seat
  • Low-height LCD gives you plenty of space for your legs
  • A seat position that can be adjusted to accommodate different heights
  • A foldable, semi-recumbent design that is best suited for bad knees

 

Read some of the testimonials from recent buyers of Excerpeutic 525XLR bike:

 

"This bike is excellent for my rahab knees. Putting this bike together was easier than expected. Since I started using it, I feel better. I definitely see improvement in rehabilitation of my knees."
Mary S.
"I am around 350 lbs and was looking for a bike that has the weight rating for my size. After a bit of research, this bike was recommended to me. I am very happy with my purchase."
Gilbert P.

Pros and Cons of Excerpeutic Gold 525 XLR

PROS:

  • Very easy to get on and off due to the spacious design.
  • The dual transmission and the flywheel system provide a very smooth and balanced paddling experience. 
  • High weight limit makes it great for heavier riders
  • Intricate control on the resistance 
  • Easy to store, so great if you have limited space

CONS:

 

Excerpeutic 525XLR Video

 


Final words

If you are suffering from bad knees, getting a good workout fro home can seem really challenging. Thankfully, there are some great exercise bikes that can help you get your heart rate up and that can help you strengthen you legs and knees in a low-impact way.  

Using an indoor exercise bike, that is individually reviewed to have all the features that users with bad knees need, is an excellent way to get the dose of daily physical activity. Riding an indoor exercise bike often is a safe knee rehabilitation exercise recommended by experts. This kind of physical activity helps restore and improve knee joint strength and stability. With the right level of resistance adjustments (and time spent working out!), almost anyone can build up strength and cardiovascular health on one of these devices. 

Even though you may have options when it comes to choosing the best exercise bike for bad knees, most experts suggest either fully recumbent or a semi-recumbent exercise bike rather than an upright exercise bike. A recumbent bike has a seat coupled with a backrest which lets you do the exercise from a comfortable position with back support. Additionally, the pedals are far in the front rather than under your body/hips as in an upright bike. According to a study conducted at Colorado State University, users should consider the extent of their knee injuries before start using an upright bike.

With all that said, we have carefully made a selection of 3 highly recommended recumbent bikes

and one semi-recumbent foldable exercise bike

Any of these bikes can be considered to be the best exercise bike for bad knees. We think you’ll be happy with any of these purchases. Let us know which you pick and how it goes!

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