Exercise bikes are great for knee replacement rehabilitation. There's no doubt about that. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that all exercise bikes are built the same.
They are not.
There are quite a handful of significant differences between various kinds of exercise bikes and usually these appear in the form of differences in structure, pedal positioning, absence or presence of a backrest, and so on.
But as subtle as these differences may seem, they all significantly affect the way that our body reacts when we make use of them.
So exactly what exercise bikes are great for your knee replacement rehabilitation? I take a further look below.
Our Top Pick
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
- Editors Choice – Best Bang for Buck Option
- Cost Effective and Affordable
- Most Popular & Highest Rated
- Built like a tank – I have owned this bike for 4 years
- Easy on your joints – comfortable seating position
- Easy to set up
Why Recumbent Bikes are the Best Exercise Bikes for Knee Replacement Rehab
There are basically two popular kinds of exercise bikes – recumbent and upright.
The difference between them is simple enough:
Recumbent bikes allow you to sit back while you pedal, while upright bikes make no such provision, and on these you are sitting in an upright position like you normally would on a pedal bike.
This is why recumbent exercise bikes are preferred over upright bikes for knee replacement rehabilitation.
When rehabilitating your knees, you need a device that will work your muscles as thoroughly as possible while going easy on the joints and allowing their motion to be as smooth and relaxed as possible.
And because you're sitting and leaning back on a recumbent bike, this is exactly what happens.
Recumbent exercise bikes take the stress off your knees as much as possible, allowing you to rehab them in the best way possible.
So, without a doubt, recumbent exercise bikes are the best option for knee replacement rehabilitation.
Benefits Recumbent Bikes Provide over Other Exercise Bike
- Safety: Thanks to their easiness on the joints, recumbent bikes are safe to use with minimal worries of over aggravating injuries or creating lower back pain.
- Dual Action: Sitting and exercising on a recumbent bike provides you with an added benefit of being able to use your hands to, say, grab some light weights and exercise your upper body while pedaling. This is what I did when I blew out my ankle.
- Comfort: As mentioned earlier, recumbent bikes are super comfortable, and are easy to use even for those without prior experience with exercise bikes. Recumbent exercise bikes are best for beginners.
- Flexibility: Or, more appropriately, adaptability. They’re built in such a way to ensure maximum adjustments of components until you arrive at a configuration that suits you best.
Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes For Knee Replacement Rehab
Listed below are 7 of the best recumbent exercise bikes for knee replacement rehabilitation.
Yes there are more but these are the only ones that I personally feel are worth your buck. They are listed based on function, quality, and cost.
In that order.
- • Ventilated and contoured seat with padding.
- • Aluminium slider seat rail for easy adjustments.
- • High speed weighted flywheel.
- • 25 magnetic resistance levels.
- • Bluetooth connectivity.
- • DualTrack backlit LED
- • 28 different workout programs.
- • USB Media charging and adjustable fan.
This bike was chosen as my choice, not because it is the best overall, but because it combines everything very well and it comes in at an extremely affordable price point.
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike Review
The editor's choice is none other than the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike, and since it's our editor's choice, you know it's got to be not just good - it's got to be great. And the Schwinn 270 is literally great in all aspects of our ranking.
It offers the basic features of any worthwhile recumbent bike, in the form of a seat and backrest, high quality LCD screen, and Bluetooth connectivity.
So it covers the basics, but how does it take it further? Well, it does that by providing not just additional features, but taking these traditional features and pushing them to their peak.
Its LCD console is fully loaded with DualTrack backlit LCD screens with which you can manage 28 workout programs, and access workout metrics. And all these can be done even when the media tray is in use.
Thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity you get to connect your device and monitor your progress with a host of app-based tools such as UA Record, MyFitnessPal and so on.
Also, since comfortability is the major reason I’m discussing recumbent bikes in the first place, it'll be remiss of me to not take a look at how the Schwinn 270 does in that department.
So how comfortable is the Schwinn 270?
Really, really comfortable - that's how comfortable it is. This is by far the most comfortable bike that I tested.
In fact you get both a ventilated and contoured seat, padded at the bottom, and an aluminium slider seat rail system meant to make usage and adjustment as comfortable as possible.
Other notable aspects of this device which separates it from the pack include its high speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel whose major function is to make your workout as smooth and quiet as it gets, and 25 magnetic resistance levels for distinct workout difficulties.
My Personal Opinion
Without getting into the nitty gritty, here is what you need to know about this exercise bike
This bike is the smoothest, lowest impact, and most comfortable exercise bike that I have tested.
It is not the cheapest nor the most expensive, it does not have the most features, nor the least, but it does everything extremely well and comes in at a very affordable price.
It is the one that I personally own and have so for more than 4 years.
You will not find a better exercise bike for rehabbing your knee.
Best Overall Bike for Knee Replacement Rehab
- • Infinite airflow adjustable back seat
- • Compact Length of only 49"
- • Compact width of only 27"
- • Narrow Q factor distance between pedals
- • Highly ergonomically made
- • Hand-held heart rate sensors
- • Easy handle controls for convenient programming
- • 16 magnetic resistance levels.
3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike
Comfort, adaptability, compactness, and easy roll – these are some of the features that make the 3G Cardio Elite UB recumbent bike the best overall selection on this list.
Along with a really comfortable and adjustable seat, the device also sports an equally comfortable and adjustable backrest, capable of conforming and adapting to your body shape and size.
Its overall length is only 49 inches, which is just one of the aspects where its compactness is most visible. The advantages of having such a relatively small size are numerous, too. Not only does it make for a sleek overall appearance, it also helps the bike fit into spaces where other bikes will have trouble fitting into.
Trying to fit an exercise bike in a small apartment home gym or a limited workout area? This bike is the best option for you. Extremely small footprint. Compact size. Portable as heck.
The 3G Cardio Elite UB also features easy roll transport wheels that makes working out almost literally a stroll in the park. Many verified customers claim it is the most comfortable recumbent bike they'd ever used, and, frankly, it isn't hard at all to see why.
Its infinite airflow Mesh Flex adjustable back seat is yet another feature again aimed at improving the ease-of-use and comfortability.
With such an emphasis on comfort, it isn't a surprise at all that the final outcome of the 3G Cardio Elite UB is so enjoyable.
This is the Best Overall Exercise Bike For Knee Rehab
Yes, this is the best overall bike for knee rehab but why did it not make my #1 spot?
The reason this bike sits at the #2 spot on my list is because of the price. It is quite a bit more costly comparatively speaking.
Popular Slightly Cheaper Alternative
- • Dynamic recline Nautilus gel seat for comfortability
- • Bluetooth connectivity with Nautilus Trainer 2 App
- • 30 pound effective flywheel system
- • Highly impressive 29 customizable workout programs
- • Adjustable sightline console
- • Dual blue backlit screens
- • Multiple position handle bars
- • 3 Piece chrome crank system with weighted pedals
- • 25 magnetic resistance levels
Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike Review
Where does one even start with this beauty - apart from checking the basics in form of an enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, enabling app-based tracking, adjustable shine light console with dual blue screen, and integrated controls, the R618 also boasts of 29 customizable workout programs - 29!
It also offers a gel seat and a 3-piece chrome crank system with weight pedals that make for a comfortable ride to say the least.
Don’t forget to add this to a contact and telemetry-enable heart rate monitoring system, 25 levels of magnetic resistance, media rack, USB charging port, and in-built speakers. In fact, there's probably nothing that you expect of a recumbent bike that the Nautilus R618 does not have.
To cap it all off, it is also built like a tank. Which does bring it in a tad on the high side with regards to price. But considering all it has to offer, there is no denying this machine is definitely a steal.
- • Smooth magnetic resistance with minimal noise
- • Combination of upper hand pedals and lower foot pedals
- • Multi-function display for speed, distance, workout time.
- • Comfortable padded seat.
- • Pulse monitor.
- • 8 magnetic resistance levels
Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike Review
A combination of performance and convenience is the defining feature of the Stamina Elite. As the name implies, the machine is meant to build up your stamina and endurance as conveniently as possible.
For most knee rehabilitation regimens, convenience and comfort is foremost, but for those looking to push themselves as much as possible, that is, not too softly, but not to an extreme, the Stamina Elite Total Body recumbent bike is the best bet.
Its features include an adjustable magnetic resistance knob through which you can navigate between the eight intensity levels without disturbing the whole neighborhood, a multi-function monitor to track progress, speed, distance, calories burned, among a few others.
With the Stamina Elite, you can also keep track of your heart rate and pulses, thanks to the pulse sensors wired to the monitor.
The whole setup of the Stamina Elite is undeniably well balanced, and well thought-out. All components seem to work in unity and in accordance to your pace without getting in each other's way, or yours, for that matter.
Other notable features of the device include upper hand pedals, padded seat and seat back, textured pedals with straps, built-in wheels, among others.
5. Marcy ME-706
- • Premium steel frame construction ensuring high quality performance
- • Customizable cycling workout
- • Large LCD display panel
- • Adjustable seat height
- • Built-in speakers
- • 3.5 mm audio jack
- • Self regenerating power
- • Highly affordable
Marcy ME-706 Recumbent Bike Review
The Marcy regenerating recumbent exercise bike, like all entries on the list, places major emphasis on comfort. It features two sets of handles to help give comfort to your hands while you get some workouts done. The seat is also adjustable so that you can get a comfortable seating position to complete your sessions.
The device also boasts of a large display monitor through which you get to keep track of your progress and access important data such as calories burned, speed, body fat, pulse recovery and so on. The monitor comes with 23 in-built programs.
Other notable features include the padded seat, obviously made with ergonomics in mind, recumbent handles again for extra comfort, transport wheels for effortless bike movements, and adjustable levelers for balance on any surface.
Its magnetic resistance is capped at 8 levels, with seamless transitions in between resistance-level changes. Another impressive aspect of the Marcy ME-706 is the fact that it manages to achieve these comfort levels while sporting a sturdy steel frame, thereby ensuring, along with the obvious ease and convenience, a longer life span and solid performance.
Not to mention that it is relatively more affordable than many of its competitors.
- • 8 knob-controlled magnetic resistance levels.
- • Heavy-duty steel construction frame for design and performance.
- • High quality LCD Monitor display
- • Adjustable seat length
- • Handles padded with vinyl foam for grip and precision.
Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Bike Review
The second Marcy product on the list, the Marcy Magnetic exercise bike retains most of the positive features of the ME - 706 that we have listed up above, while also providing its own unique identity in the form of a step-through frame — to increase the ease of getting on and off the bike – a large padded seat, and adjustable stride lengths.
It also sports a different kind of foam handle, designed ergonomically for precision and grip tightness.
Like all Marcy product, it is very reasonably priced, highly durable, and is beloved by a large number of users.
Like the ME - 706, the Marcy Magnetic also offers 8 magnetic resistance levels, with a distinct challenge at each tier, adjustable foot pedal straps, and a high quality LCD computer screen display which provides information such as time, calories, speed, odometer, distance, and scan.
The Marcy Magnetic also get its durability from its innovative steel frame, specially engineered to reduce friction and be oxidation-resistant.
The setup is also super easy, though it may be advisable to get help from an expert to get it done as smoothly and easily as possible.
- • Dual position handle bars for solid grip
- • Comfortable seat and back cushion, also adjustable
- • 8 magnetic tension control levels
- • Built in wheels for easy room-to-room movement
- • Sturdy aesthetic steel frame
- • Digital monitor display
Sunny Health and Fitness Recumbent Bike Review
The last entry on my list of best recumbent bikes for optimal knee rehabilitation is the recumbent bike from Sunny Health and Fitness. Like a couple of the products I already mentioned, this bike comes with both leg and arm exercisers.
From first look it is obvious that the whole device was made with elegance and simplicity in mind.
Highly aesthetic, it is built in such a way as to ensure easy, quick seating, less strain on the back and legs, and hundred percent focus on the actual workout programs.
Its magnetic resistance can be adjusted into 8 distinct levels, offering well-defined levels of exercise intensity. The switch is also really simple and convenient, performing smoothly with very little noise.
Its digital monitor supplies you with needed data such as the distance, calories burned, time, etc... You can also monitor and maintain a target heart rate ensuring steady and efficient workouts.
There is also a handle just by the side of the seat that makes adjustments super easy. All you have to do is flick the handle and the seat responds to whichever direction you want it to go.
Another welcoming aspect especially praised by verified users of the device is its ease of assembly. It can be put together in no time even without prior experience.
Best for beginners who want to get their machine and get up and going as quickly as possible.
Best Upright Exercise Bikes for Knee Rehab
Having established the best recumbent bikes for your knee replacement rehab above, it would be wrong of us to not provide you with some upright alternatives for those who would prefer to go with upright bikes.
Listed below are 4 of the best upright exercise bikes for knee rehabbing.
Editors Upright Choice
- • 40 pound flywheel with a smooth and silent belt drive power
- • Infinite resistance
- • Dual DPD pedals with toe cages and clips
- • Maximally adjustable seat with race-style design
- • Water bottle holder
- • Media holder
- • Solid and durable steel build
Schwinn IC3 Review
It features two perfect handlebars to make long intense rides more comfortable, an adjustable, ventilated race-style seat, and a LCD console display equipped with heart rate monitor as well as other data such as distance, calories, time, and RPMs.
Its resistance level is infinite, and its performance is as smooth as It gets thanks to its silent belt drive. Among some of the special features of the Schwinn IC3 is an additional water bottle holder, so you can stay as hydrated as needed, and an integrated multimedia rack to plug in your device and keep yourself wonderfully focused and motivated during your exercise.
It also features a solid all-round steel build that gives it immense durability and unrivaled performance.
If you prefer an upright exercise bike for your knee replacement rehab, this is your best option.
This bike is the smoothest, lowest impact, most comfortable indoor exercise bike that is built like a tank. You will not find a better one.
Best Bang For Your Buck Upright Bike for Knee Rehab
- • Easily adjustable components
- • Easy to read LCD display
- • Ergonomic and space saving design
- • 8 levels of magnetic tension control
- • 300 pound weight capacity
- • Compact and silent operation
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike Review
It is maybe a little bit too easy to underestimate the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright bike thanks to its ridiculously slick design and elegant build, but make no mistake about it, with a 300 pound weight capacity and an ultra solid steel build, this beauty is nothing to joke with.
Apart from being capable of sustaining a really high performance level similar to upright bikes that do not fold up like this one, this machine is also quite flexible.
With features such as the "high torque" three-piece crank system, and double-drive system, it is capable of adapting to whatever your needs are at the moment and can be folded up easily, and rolled away once you're done with your routine.
It is also infinitely air resistant, with 8 levels of magnetic tension control and smooth operation. Another remarkable aspect of the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic upright bike is its large LCD display which provides necessary information that includes speed, distance, and heart rate monitor.
Some assembly is required to get your device working, but this is quite easy to pull off. Not much effort is required here.
Excellent Mix Between Recumbent & Upright
- • XL padded seat for optimal comfort and relaxation
- • Performance monitor to keep up with important data
- • 10 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance
- • Fully adjustable seats and handlebars
- • Foam coated handles for safety and stability
- • Stable and durable belt drive
Sunny Health & Fitness Comfort Semi-Recumbent Bike Review
This bike is absolutely perfect for those seeking a combination of both recumbent and upright exercise bikes.
This bike is very similar to the most popular Teeter FreeStep Cross Trainer bike with a semi-recumbent design and the capability of adapting to whatever your desired mode of training is for the moment.
Particularly when it comes to knee rehabilitation, where what you're ideally looking out for is the intensity of an upright bike and the comfort of a recumbent one, the Sunny Health and Fitness Semi-recumbent XL is a perfect option.
Apart from adaptability, the device also sports the general desired features of both recumbent and upright bikes in the form of a digital monitor screen for keeping up with important data.
This digital LCD screen allows from tracking progress, setting fitness goals, allows for ten levels of adjustable resistance for either increasing or decreasing intensity levels of your sessions.
This bike comes with a cushioned seat for proper recumbence and extra padding to relieve pressure points.
You can also monitor your pulse sensors and maintain a target heart rate with the help of the device. In terms of performance and durability, the XL holds a high rank among its peers.
All these, alongside its compactness, ease of transport, and flexibility, make it well worth the cheap price.
- • Heavy Duty durable steel frame
- • Comfortable and wide seat cushion
- • 8 level magnetic resistance
- • High quality LCD display
- • Foldable to half its original size
- • Heart pulse sensors enable
- • Easy transportation with wheels
Exerpeutic Gold Heavy Duty Foldable Bike Review
Just in case the gold plated exterior doesn't get you, don't worry, the Exerpeutic Heavy Duty Foldable Bike has a lot more to offer than just a gilded exterior.
For one, it is foldable, which means a higher level of flexibility from saving space for those who have apartment home gyms or who live with limited workout space.
It is also extremely durable and strong, capable of supporting up to 400 pounds in weight – which is unsurprising because, well, it is a heavy-duty bike after all.
It's belt drive is a V-belt model, which, along with its precision balanced flywheel, makes for a device with really quiet and smooth operation. You get to enjoy a peaceful workout even while listening to music or watching a video without noise interference.
And speaking of videos, the Exerpeutic Gold Heavy Duty Bike sports an easy-to-read LCD display which indicates and help you keep track of important metrics such as time, speed, odometer and pulse.
Its transportation wheel makes it easy to relocate, its sturdy frame makes it highly rugged and durable, as attested to by numerous verified users, and its assembly process is as easy and simple as most bikes come.
Buying an Exercise Bike for Knee Rehab? Here's what to look for
Listen now, if you are serious about your knee rehab and plan on picking a different exercise bike than is in our list above you need to make sure you are on the lookout to make sure you get the best exercise bike for your knee rehab
Recumbent or Upright?
As I mentioned in the first part of the article above, the first thing you have to keep in mind when buying an exercise bike for knee rehabilitation is whether you're going for a recumbent bike or an upright one.
I've made quite an in-depth analysis of each above, but just to refresh your memory, recumbent bikes are generally the more preferable option when rehabilitating your knee mostly because the priority at that time is low stress on the joint and comfort.
This is not to say, however, that you should absolutely stay away from upright bikes. There are, in fact, quite a number of upright bikes that can serve the function of being a great knee rehabilitation piece of equipment.
The appeal, generally, when it comes to upright bikes for knee rehab is that they tend to be more intense, and as such are fitting for comfort as well as a good amount of intensity. Though, as in all things, moderation is key- and that is what recumbent bikes have in abundance: low impact motion and comfort.
What About A Semi-Recumbent? Like the Sunny Health & Fitness XL
Yes, semi-recumbent bikes are also a viable option for your knee rehabilitation workout sessions. I did, in fact, make mention of a few semi-recumbent options in the list above.
Generally, semi-recumbent bikes are exercise bikes that are usually foldable and adjustable, so that they end up being capable of performing the functions of both recumbent and upright bikes at the same time, depending on which you prefer.
This is also why they're a great option, since with them you get to enjoy the plus sides of both recumbent bikes, which is the ease and comfort, and upright bikes, which lies in their intensity.
Display Tracking and Programs
Another important aspect of an exercise bike to always be on the lookout for when choosing one for your knee rehabilitation is the comprehensiveness of the display unit.
Generally a good exercise bike must be able to provide you with most of the general data and information you need to keep track of your body system and your progress.
Most of the bikes on the list above have the capability of featuring high quality LCD display monitors through which you can keep track of speed, calories, RPM, heart rate, and other important data as well as track your progress.
Also, as an addition, a great exercise bike usually features in-built workout programs that can help make your journey easier, smoother and more effective. Programs like Peloton or other alternatives to Peloton are always great because of how engaging and motivating they can be.
These programs allow you to get interactive training as well as setup your own workout programs that are specifically designed how you like them. The bikes above have these features.
Magnetic Resistance Levels
The next thing to be on the lookout for when choosing your knee rehab exercise bike is the magnetic resistance levels. As you can see on the list above, different exercise bikes usually offer varying magnetic resistance levels ranging from about eight, till up to 25, as in the Schwinn 270.
What the magnetic resistance signifies is basically the intensity or toughness level of the equipment. This level of resistance is determined by the electric current going through the magnets. This is generally what determines the difficulty of pedaling.
Having this flexibility, then, ensures that you're able to adapt the machine to whatever stage of rehabilitation you're currently in, so that as you proceed in the journey you can gradually move up the intensity without going too fast.
By flexibility, I mean both flexibility in terms of the physical properties of the machine itself such as flexibility in size, easy movement, easy assembly, and, even, flexibility in seat and handle adjustments. And also flexibility in the inner workings of the machine, as in the point mentioned above with regards to resistance flexibility.
Flexibility of physical properties ensure that you get maximum tailored comfort without having to squeeze into or force anything during the process, while flexibility of inner workings also guarantees the same thing albeit on a more subtle level.
Smoothness of Operation
Switching between resistance levels sometimes tend to generate more noise due to the increasing friction and power level required from the belt drive to maintain the system.
Really great exercise bikes, however, are capable of switching between magnetic resistance levels while still performing optimally with little to no noise at all. Nobody wants a noisy exercise bike when they are working out at home trust me when I tell you this. I just bought a treadmill for my bad knees that had an extremely cushioned deck, and while although it is extremely easy on my knees, it is also extremely noisy. It becomes an annoyance unless you throw your headphones in.
Thankfully all the entries on the list above check this box excellently. They are all more than capable of performing smoothly, giving you the advantage of keeping a cool head while you’re working out. You may even choose to plugin some music or multimedia without having to worry about ambient noises.
While this is not necessarily the most important thing to look out for, it is also, without a doubt, a welcomed advantage for the most part. So long as you find an exercise bike that fulfills all the above criteria, the cherry on the cake is usually the additional features that it possesses.
This may come in the form of something simple such as possessing a water bottle holder and multimedia features such as in the Schwinn IC3, or a hand-held heart rate sensor like the 3G Cardio Elite UB Recumbent Bike.
My Recommended Exercise Bike for Knee Rehab
If you are looking to get your knee rehabbed in:
- The most gentle way possible
- Are a beginner or newbie to exercise bikes
- Or are overweight
Then I recommend you to go with a recumbent exercise bike. The Schwinn 270 is my choice because it offers the best bang for your buck and comes in at an affordable price.
You can check it out on amazon by clicking here.
In conclusion, making the right decision as to which exercise bike to rehabilitate your knee with can go a long way in determining the success of the whole process right from the start.
I've made mention above of recumbent bikes being your best bet thanks to their easiness on the joints and additional comfort that they provide. And towards that end, I listed 7 remarkable recumbent bikes with which you can never go wrong.
Also, just in case you prefer the slightly higher intensity of the upright bikes, I also made provision for this by providing 4 solid options to fit your needs perfectly in that regard too.
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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