As a larger than average sized person myself, I’m very familiar with looking at a piece of exercise equipment and wondering how sturdy it will be with me on it. With that in mind, I wanted to share some inexpensive options for exercise bikes that a larger person can comfortably use to improve their health.
Trying to determine the best exercise bike option for heavier people, I looked at all of the different styles of bikes, and found that a Recumbent style bike will generally provide a higher weight capacity, while also providing the most comfort while you get used to this type of workout. Recumbent exercise bikes have larger seats, and don’t require that you are leaning over the handlebars while you work out.
For this list of recommendations I looked at exercise bikes that could support at least 300 lbs, and some of the bikes have a max weight of 350 lbs or more. I am including at the end of the article some info on higher priced Physical Therapy style bikes that can support up to 500 lbs. These are much more expensive but offer terrific warranties to help give you some peace of mind with a larger purchase.
Another bike style to consider if you are looking for the absolute best high intensity workout on a bike is the Airdyne bikes from Schwinn, or another well known brand are Assault bikes. They will get your heart pounding fast. These have a combination of upper and lower body movements, and are very popular in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. You’ll also see professional athletes, particularly MMA and Boxing competitors often training with these kinds of exercise bikes.
More resources to help you here:
My overall recommendation as the best exercise bike for heavier people is the Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike (link here to buy from Amazon). I judged it the best based on the customer ratings, the great reputation of the company, along with their terrific 15 year warranty.
Cheap Recumbent Exercise Bike for up to 400 lbs
400 lb limit.
27% more steel in the manufacturing of this model compared to the Exerpeutic 400XL model (ASIN B004O6TXVS) that has a max weight of 225 lbs.
Folds up and wheels away for storage. Magnetic Tension system with 8 levels of resistance. Heart Pulse monitor and LCD display.
Just a 1 year limited warranty from the manufacturer is not super encouraging.
Surprisingly quiet, but some reviewers suggest adding a Gel Seat Cushion, but be sure to find a larger seat cover (link here to amazon).
Upper Body Exercise Bikes for up to 350 lbs
350 lb limit.
5 year warranty on the frame, and 1 year on electrical components. This is a really solid warranty from a well known brand.
Upper and Lower body workout. Great for HIIT style workouts, or Boot Camp “stations” workout. Built in HIIT programs in the console.
Resistance in Airdyne bikes comes from the fan, and gets progressively harder as you push faster.
Machine itself weighs over 100 lbs, so make sure you have a spot that you’ll be able to leave it between workouts.
350 lb limit.
8 levels of resistance and pulse sensors in the handles.
Upper and lower body workout with connected handles.
Space between bars is around 9.5 inches so many devices will fit in the holder, but some tablets will need to be placed vertically to fit.
Best Exercise Bikes for up to 325 lbs
325 lb limit.
Bluetooth connectivity to sync with Nautilus Trainer app or other fitness tracking apps. Explore the World app includes some free video routes, and even more with a subscription.
Handlebars can be adjusted and have incline/resistance controls built-in.
25 resistance levels is way more than most bikes offer. Heart rate monitor and 29 pre-programed workouts.
This model is best for a taller than average person. Nautilus has models that work better for shorter riders, but the weight limit will drop as well.
330 lb limit.
Manual magnetic resistance has 100 micro-adjustable levels.
Explore the World app provides visual courses for free and by subscription. Also can connect with other apps like Peloton and Zwift so you can have thousands of classes available to keep you motivated.
Bluetooth Heart Rate monitor connects by using the included Armband.
325 lb limit.
Unique Leaning Mode simulates riding a road bike, and strengthens your arms while riding.
Trainer-led videos and scenic videos of rides from the JRNY experience (membership required). Also works with Peloton and Zwift apps.
16 inch console provides viewing option for other streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more. Subscription is required for this service too.
100 resistance levels.
325 lb limit.
Very traditional exercise bike style that you would see in most gyms in the US.
Bluetooth connection to the free Nautilus Trainer App and other fitness tracking apps.
Some cool features that come included are elbow rests built into the handlebars, a gel cushioned seat, heart rate chest strap, speakers, and a USB port.
Best Spin Bike for up to 300 lbs
A heavy flywheel will provide a smoother and more realistic feeling ride, and provide natural resistance and momentum.
Manual resistance system with adjustable seat and handlebar option that are standard with spin bikes at professional gyms.
Transport wheels may not seem important while you are super motivated to work out a lot, but you will be happy to have them there whenever you need to put the bike away to make room for company.
Spin bikes are not known for the most comfortable seat, and with the max weight of 300 lbs, this bike is best for a more athletic large person.
What kind of warranty do exercise bikes offer?
|Exercise Bike||Weight Limit||Warranty|
|Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike||325||15 years for frame, 5 years for mechanical/electrical|
|Bowflex VeloCore Bike – 16″||325||2 years parts, 1 year labor. Extended warranty available through Bowflex|
|Nautilus U618 Upright Bike||325||15 years for frame, 5 years for mechanical/electrical|
|Circuit Fitness 40 lb Flywheel||300||2 years for frame|
|Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike||330||5 years for frame, 1 year for mechanical/electrical|
|Schwinn Airdyne AD7||350||5 years for frame, 1 year for mechanical/electrical|
|Sunny Recumbent with Arm Workout||350||3 years for frame, 180 days for all other parts|
|Exerpeutic Gold Folding Recumbent||400||1 year for frame, 90 days for all other parts|
The warranty for exercise equipment is often separated into the structural frame, the mechanical/electronic parts, and then sometimes other parts. In the products I’ve researched for these recommendations, you will see structural warranties as short as 1 year, but most often 2-5 years.
Not surprisingly, the more well known brands have the better warranty programs. Nautilus brand offers an amazing 15 years of protection on the structural frame of their equipment, and 5 years for mechanical or electrical parts. This is by far the best of the bikes we reviewed.
What kind of bike should I get if I’m over 350 lbs?
Of the bikes I researched extensively, only the folding recumbent bike by Exerpeutic has a weight limit of over 350 lbs. With my personal feeling that you should buy a bike that has a limit well above your personal weight, you should look at a more substantial bike if you are 350 lbs or more.
You can find commercial grade recumbent style bikes on Amazon or elsewhere that will support your weight, but be prepared to pay thousands of dollars (like this one here).
How many calories can you burn on an exercise bike?
Harvard Medical School’s heart health newsletter (link here) published a long list of exercises and common activities with the corresponding calories burned in 30 mins of activity.
According to Harvard, the average person doing 30 minutes of moderate stationary bike exercise will burn roughly 300 calories. A “vigorous” workout on a stationary bike can get that number up to 450 calories in 30 minutes.
If you read to the end of this article, my guess is that you are either looking for more information than I provided, or want a simple final suggestion.
Our best recommendation to help you get started with an exercise bike for a heavier than average person is the Nautilus R618 Recumbent Bike. It has a terrific warranty, and great reviews. The max weight capacity is 325 lbs, so if that works for you, take a look at the current prices here on Amazon.
If you are looking for more information, please take a look at our other exercise bike reviews here or leave your questions in the comment section, and I’ll do my best to find the answer for you.