Which exercise bike is best for bad knees?

Cycling is widely praised as the safest and most effective method for exercising the joints without putting too much pressure on the ligaments, unlike running and other joint stressing cardio workouts.

Knee injuries and joint genetic disorders can very much narrow down your exercising options, which is why it’s important to carefully consider the type of bikes you use, whether to use a stationary bike or cycle outside and various features a bike should have to ensure the fastest recovery or pain relief.

In this review, you’ll find everything you need to know in order to find the best exercise bike for bad knees, whether you’re suffering from arthritis, dealing with knee rehab, or simply have sensitive and painful knees in general.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I may get a small commission if you purchase a product after clicking on a link. This does not cost you anything.

Contents
Is riding a stationary bike actually good for bad knees?
Which exercise bike is best for bad knees?
Best exercise bikes for bad knees – Overview
Best exercise bikes for bad knees and knee rehab – Reviews
Buying an exercise bike for bad knees – What to consider
FINAL VERDICT – WHAT’S THE BEST EXERCISE BIKE FOR BAD KNEES?

Is riding a stationary bike actually good for bad knees?

When comparing the outdoor and stationary bikes, indoor cycling shows note-worthy advantages for those who experience knee problems.

The most important difference between the two is the level of resistance.

Cycling outside means you don’t know what kind of surfaces you’ll encounter, sometimes there are hills to go over or down, uneven and bumpy roads, and other unexpected changes to overcome.

Indoor cycling, on the other hand, eliminates potential injury and danger, as well as the need for additional gear (helmets, knee caps, etc.). It offers consistency and choice in resistance and control over balance, which can be crucial during knee rehab, for example.

For arthritic knees, it’s always smart to consult your doctor or the physical therapist first to understand your joint limits.

Start slow and gently, progress from shorter exercising sessions to longer ones and never force it if it hurts. The amount of benefit you’ll experience from stationary cycling depends on the way you practice it.

Which exercise bike is best for bad knees?

There are different stationary bikes on the market to opt for, differing in shape, features, and purpose. Carefully examine what you’re looking for and what suits your problem the most, before making a final purchase.

UPRIGHT STATIONARY BICYCLES

Upright stationary bikes pretty much resemble a traditional outdoor bike but set on a stationary platform. With this bike, you basically get a full-body exercise and activate muscles you normally would when cycling outdoors.

The advantage of these bikes is the elevated seat position, making you lean a bit forward and extend your legs more to reach the pedals, thus adding intensity to the workout.

The hight of the seat allows the knees to bend and extend more consistently, which nourishes the knee and allows proper workout for your hamstrings and quad.

The fact that there is no back support (similarly to a normal outdoor bike), allows you to work on strengthening your core as well, providing better support for the entire body.

RECUMBENT BIKES

This type of stationary bikes is suitable for those who experience lower back pain and discomfort because of the lower position of the seat and a supporting backrest. This shape allows you to ride in a sitting-like position, which is very helpful for those with balance disorders and hip pain.

The larger and more round seat also provides support and contributes to the feeling of controlled balance.

That said, being so low seated narrows the flexion angle of your knee, which should not be more than 25 degrees when dealing with knee problems.

SPINNING BIKES

Spinning is a low-impact exercise and is amazing for shaping leg muscles and the core. On the other hand, during knee rehab, you may not react well to the intense spinning workout due to the increased stress you put on joints when cycling at full speed.

When you speed up, you gradually switch your entire body weight to your knees and ankles, very often during the periods of fast upright cycling. While this is great for muscle strengthening, it may not be the best solution for your joints.

The safest option for bad knees is probably the upright stationary bicycle which you can adjust and set up in accordance with your needs and ability.

Best exercise bikes for bad knees – Overview

Bike nameTypeFolding?Resistance levelsWeight capacity

DKN AM-E Exercise Bike

Upright 32-level resistance system (computer-controlled) 140kg

PLENY Folding Fitness Exercise Bike with Resistance Bands

Upright 16 levels of magnetic resistance 120kg

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike

Upright 8 levels of magnetic resistance 136kg

Marcy Start ME709 Recumbent Magnetic Exercise Bike

Recumbent 8 levels of magnetic resistance 110kg

JLL RE100 Recumbent Home Exercise Bike

Recumbent 8 levels of magnetic resistance 100kg

Exerpeutic (EXER6) Unisex’s Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike

Recumbent 8 levels of magnetic resistance 136kg

Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider

Upright 8 resistance levels 100kg

Best exercise bikes for bad knees and knee rehab – Reviews

We prepared a concise and on-point review of the 7 best products available on the market, which can help you decide on the most suitable exercise bike based on your health goals and personal preferences.

DKN AM-E Exercise Bike

This sleek upright stationary bike belongs to the more high-end category, but its features and quality definitely make it worth the money. It covers 140kg of weight capacity, but it’s reported to be sturdy and stable enough.

Due to the amazing range of 32 resistance levels this machine can provide you with an accurate and carefully adjusted workout intensity. If you need some encouragement, there are 12 pre-set programmes to help you create a perfect workout.

The adjustable seat height and long handles make it versatile and suitable for different body shapes.

The blue LCD console displays an array of useful features, such as RPM, speed, Watts, pulse, recovery, time and distance.

PROS

  • Operates silently
  • Amazing features
  • Pre-set workouts
  • Versatile

CONS

  • Tricky to assemble
  • Lacks manual display controlling

Available from: DKN (currently in stock) / Amazon / eBay

PLENY Folding Fitness Exercise Bike with Resistance Bands

Slightly more expensive, but with great additional features – this bike is a go-to machine for rehab patients that apart from knee pain experience hip or upper-body joint pain.

This stable and ergonomic bike features an add-on backrest and a comfortable padded seat, great for endurance rides and wide enough for different body types. It also comes with resistance bands that help you work on your upper body strength while simultaneously exercising your legs.

Its large display and an inbuilt tablet/phone holder are made to make your ride more fun and enjoyable. It’s a great machine for low-intensity, cardiovascular exercise, which is exactly what rehab patients would benefit most from.

PROS

  • Comfy and large enough
  • Sturdy but compact
  • Great for long-distance rides
  • Affordable compared to similar products

CONS

  • Difficult to mount and adjust the seat
  • Not enough resistance options for stronger people
  • Display not intuitive

Available from: AmazoneBay

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse

This solid bike comes with an impressive 136 kg weight limit, more than most exercise bikes of similar price and quality offer. Its padded and large seat cushion is great for heavier users and comfortable for riding in general, especially with long-distance and low-intensity cycling. It has an adjustable seat height and a 3 piece “high torque” cranking system that provides smooth and even pedalling.

It can be used for more intense or relaxed workouts, due to the 8-level magnetic tension option, from low to high resistance. What’s more, it’s foldable and can be easily stored away.

PROS

  • Very comfortable and durable seat
  • Sturdy and solid
  • Foldable
  • Great resistance levels

CONS

  • Reported to have a low-quality display

Available from: Amazon / eBay

Marcy Start ME709 Recumbent Magnetic Exercise Bike

This is an advanced example of a recumbent bike, an exercise machine that is mostly focused on leg muscle strengthening.

What’s specific about this bike is its low and back seat position, which almost completely reduces pressure to your back and upper body, but the legs still get a good stretch due to the front position of the pedals which is adjustable to a different height. So you basically get a wide-angle flex and a full knee extension, perfect for recovering from a knee injury or when going through knee rehab.

What’s more, it comes with a soft, high-density foam cushion saddle and an add-on large backrest, resembling a proper chair. Beginners and not really enthusiastic cyclers will find this bike useful since it specifically exercises the knees, but isn’t intense and too tiring.

PROS

  • Affordable compared to similar products
  • Great for lighter workouts
  • Suitable for the elderly
  • Very comfortable

CONS

  • Doesn’t provide a more advanced workout
  • A bit bulky

Available from: Amazon
If not in stock, you may want to consider XS Sports B400R ​Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike instead.

JLL RE100 Recumbent Home Exercise Bike

Another fantastic recumbent bicycle to opt for, at an even lower price. It features 8 levels of resistance, an intuitive LCD display and a number of useful features like heart rate monitoring, calorie burn counting, distance, time, speed, etc.

It also has a 7-level adjustable seat to fit different heights. The seat is positioned very low, so the bike is discreet and doesn’t appear bulky. It does, however, have a limit of only 100 kg, so it’s not really inclusive of all exercise users.

All in all, users find it comfortable and great for toning muscles. It’s also a fantastic option for older people who don’t manage well on normal-sized bikes and need to exercise their legs without compromising balance.

PROS

  • Comfortable and stable
  • Discreet and easily stored away
  • Great for leg muscle toning
  • Very affordable

CONS

  • Not aimed at advanced riders
  • Fewer features (compared to similar products)

Available fromAmazon / eBay
If not in stock, you may want to consider XS Sports B400R ​Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike instead.

Exerpeutic (EXER6) Unisex’s Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike

This oddly-shaped semi-recumbent bike may just be the machine you were looking for to start your knee healing process. It doesn’t offer features of an upright bike, but it definitely has a more elevated seating position than a normal recumbent bike.

The handles are placed on the hip level, which provides solid support for the arms but also exercises the upper back and arm muscles. If, on the contrary, you need more back support, there is an add-on backrest included.

This foldable bike has 8 levels of resistance suitable for both light and advanced workouts. The seat-padel distance is adjustable, so you can make it comfortable for your knees to extend fully if needed.

PROS

  • Disability and injury – friendly
  • Very comfortable and easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Decent amount of features
  • Eliminates stress on the joints
  • Sturdy and durable

CONS

  • Doesn’t provide a true “cycling experience”
  • Only German instruction manual
  • Tricky assembly

Available fromAmazon / eBay

Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider

This practical foldable exercise bike comes with 8 levels of resistance, great for gradually strengthening your leg muscles. It features an LCD display that shows calorie burn, time, pulse and distance. Although rather discreet in size, it’s sturdy enough and the standard model can take up to 100 kg of body weight. There is also a more advanced model which caters for users weighing up to 110kg. In any case, it’s a desirable option for those on a budget.

This upright stationary bike has a practical easy-to-assemble seat, that can be adjusted for a comfortable knee position during cycling. That said, you may want to look for something different if you have problems with balance, since this bike will not provide you with great support.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Foldable and discreet
  • Adjustable seat height and comfortable handle position
  • Sturdy and durable

CONS

  • Small and stiff seat for heavier users
  • Not suitable for balance problems

Available from: eBay

Buying an exercise bike for bad knees – What to consider

Before taking up cycling, make sure you understand your needs and limitations. Also take into account other factors that are important when investing in an indoor exercise machine, like the price, the needed space, additional features, quality and similar.

HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT YOUR BUDGET AND SPACE LIMITS?

Before focusing on your knee, make sure you have found the right place to put your stationary bike. Exercise bicycles take up space and in order to comfortably use it, you’ll need at least 2 sqm or even more.

Exercise bikes of various quality and type range from around £100 to over £300. Sometimes, of course, you don’t need to spend too much in order to get a decent, purposeful bike, but in any case, deciding on your budget will predetermine additional features you can look for.

UNDERSTAND YOUR INJURY

There’s a big difference in the underlying causes of knee pain. During knee rehab, it’s the injury on the ligaments, tendons, and muscles that weaken the joint and make it unstable. In these cases, the seat position and the bike hight are important, since you should be able to keep your leg straight at the bottom pedal position.

Comfort and sturdiness are also important in order to prevent any further injury. Look for a higher position of handles not to put additional stress on your upper back and arms. Light resistance should do just fine for the purposes of rehabilitation.

CONSULT THE EXPERTS

Arthritis and arthrosis, on the other hand, mostly diminish joint flexibility and mobility. The wear and tear of the knee cartilage in arthritis patients basically causes knee stiffness and pain due to the deterioration of bone slipperiness.

Physicians in these cases usually recommend a more elevated seat position to limit the flexing angle and thus prevent too much strain on the muscles. These bikes should have various resistance levels to ensure the gradual strengthening of the muscles that surround the knee.

THINK ABOUT YOUR ENTIRE BODY

Sometimes knee pain can simply appear due to the excessive weight pressure and, consequently, lack of exercise and movement. In these cases look for a sturdy, good quality beginner bike that has a wider and more comfortable seat, as well as variable resistance levels to improve stamina and properly exercise leg muscles. The more weight you lose, the less stress there will be on your knees.

FINAL VERDICT – WHAT’S THE BEST EXERCISE BIKE FOR BAD KNEES?

Taking into account all the essential factors that make up this decision, it’s safe to say that it’s impossible to choose one bike that will suit everybody perfectly.

Based on customers’ opinions, the most praised exercise bike for bad knees among the older population is the affordable JLL RE100 Recumbent Home Exercise Bike mostly because it’s convenient for lighter workouts and beginners’ levels.

DKN AM-E Exercise Bike, on the other hand, is sold well among younger generations as a classic stationary bike that offers high-quality cardio exercise, but with needed comfort and sturdiness to keep the knees safe and reduce joint stress. That said, Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider offer similar features, but for a much lower price. In the end, it all boils down to what you decide to focus on when making a purchase.

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Author Bio
Sofia Alves is a fitness enthusiast who loves running and motivating others to adopt and stick to healthy habits. She is always learning, searching and investing in further education to build her knowledge. She strongly believes the worst workout is the one you didn’t bother to do.