The Best Recumbent Bike for Home Use by a Short Person
If you're short, the best recumbent exercise bike for home use is one that offers you a wide range of adjustments, especially for the distance from the seat to the pedals. Recumbent exercise bikes are generally easier for a short person to get on and off than upright exercise bikes, so seat height from the floor is rarely an issue. Opt for models that have adjustable-height handles and monitor risers, instead of those with a fixed post.
Distance to Pedals
If you are shorter than the average adult, the most important feature to look for in a recumbent exercise bike is an adjustable distance from the seat to the pedals. Nearly all models offer a seat adjustment of some sort, but find out exactly how much adjustment the bike offers. Check manufacturers’ websites, read online reviews of specific models and visit local stores to try bikes, if possible.
Ideally, the seat should be adjustable enough that you can push the pedals away from you to their farthest position without having to use their toes to do so. The ball of your foot should remain planted firmly on the pedal so that your knee is almost straight but not locked. Forcing your knee to straighten all the way during pedaling can be stressful on the knee joint and ligaments.
Adjustability of Monitor Screen
Some budget models of recumbent exercise bikes have only a basic monitor located down near the front wheel. Other bikes have more sophisticated electronics with a computerized monitor mounted on a vertical post, which usually also has handles of some sort. Some models have a fixed-height mount for the console, but models like the Schwinn 220 has an adjustable-height console. For bikes like the LifeFitness R1 with a built-in reading rack, consider whether the height of the console allows you to read comfortably.
Adjustment Levers and Handles
Consider the location of the adjustment levers and handles. Opt for models on which you can adjust the seat while you’re sitting on the bike instead of having to dismount. While nearly all recumbent bikes have handles at the sides of the seat, many models also have handles mounted to the monitor post. Some of these, like the Schwinn 201, offer adjustable-height handles that make it easy for shorter users to get comfortable on the bike.
Overall Bike Size
The overall size and weight of a recumbent exercise bike are also important, as smaller and shorter people may find it difficult to move some of the larger models, such as the LifeSpan Fitness, which weighs nearly 150 lbs. Models like the Schwinn 230 weigh less than 100 lbs. Smaller users, including both adults and teens, may have difficulty moving large recumbent bikes even if they have transport wheels.
Karen S. Garvin has been a professional writer since 1988, when "Dragon" magazine published her first article. Her recent work includes encyclopedia entries on historical subjects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and is pursuing a master's degree in European history. Her interests include photography, science, history and Steampunk.