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Recumbent bikes often are more comfortable than upright versions.
Barry Austin/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Hopping on exercise equipment seems intimidating if you're unsure whether the equipment is sturdy enough for you to ride safely. All workout machines have user weight limits, which including your regular weight plus any additional gear, such as shoes, clothing and dumbbells, if you're adding an arm workout to your recumbent bike exercise. Knowing the weight limits helps you decide if a recumbent bike is right for you.
Recumbents Don't Mean Relaxing
Just because you can lean against the backrest on a recumbent bike doesn't mean you're not getting a workout. Many people believe the seat on a recumbent bike is more comfortable than on an upright bike, but the exercise benefits you get as you pedal is similar with both styles. Recumbent versions often work better for people with back problems, people who haven't worked out in a while or those that fall into a big and tall category; the seat's bigger and some recumbent bikes let you adjust the seat farther away from the pedals to accommodate long legs.
Low-End Weight Limits
When you're purchasing a recumbent bike for your home, pay close attention to the weight limits. These usually aren't as high as the more expensive bikes you find at the gym, and they typically have weight limits between 250 and 300 pounds, including you and your gear. Many offer similar features to more sophisticated bikes, including heart-rate monitoring and programmable workout plans. Knowing the weight limits of a bike you plan to purchase is key; if you exceed the weight limit and damage the bike, it's unlikely to be covered under warranty.
High-End Weight Limits
More expensive recumbent bikes, like those typically seen in a gym environment, tend to have stronger frames and higher user weight limits. These limits often range between 350 and 400 pounds. Before climbing on a recumbent bike, ask a trainer which bike has the right weight limit for your needs; the limits might vary between recumbent bikes in the same facility, and a trainer can show you which ones are safe for you to ride.
On the Road Again
The gym isn't the only place to find a recumbent bike -- many manufacturers provide models designed to ride outdoors on the open road. If you prefer the recumbent style over the upright but like to ride on trails or outside of your home or a gym, these bikes give you the flexibility to get your preferred form of exercise without sacrificing comfort. Like stationary recumbent bikes, outdoor recumbent bikes have a range of weight limits -- most from 230 to 400 pounds, although a few go up to 425 pounds -- so ask the salesperson for a specification sheet to make sure a bike meets your weight requirements before purchasing it.
- Barry Austin/Digital Vision/Getty Images