Upright vs. Bent – Which is Better

There are two separate types of stationary bicycles that you have the option to choose from when it comes to your daily exercise routine. One is an upright bike and another is a recumbent. Both are very distinct and unique from each other in their own way. The upright stationary is very similar to a traditional bicycle in that it has a narrow saddle-like seat and the handlebars are in front of the rider. A recumbent stationary has a reclined, full seat with the handlebars down at the rider’s side.  With the same goal in mind, a great cardiovascular workout, these two machines couldn’t be more different.

Upright vs. Bent – Which is Better

Body Position

The main difference, as stated in the paragraph before, is how you sit on the cycle. Your body position is entirely different between a recumbent and upright fitness machine. When you use a recumbent bike, you will be in a more horizontal position, and the pedals are out in front of you. The seat allows you to sit as if you were in a recliner as you exercise.

An upright bike has the exact same seating as a traditional bicycle – a saddle-like seat. The pedals are right below you, and the handlebars are out in front of you. When using an upright bike, you must be aware of your posture. It can be easy to lean forward and begin to slouch causing disparities in your back.  However, you are essentially forced to sit up straight as an arrow when on a bent, ironically.


Both machines will give you an intense cardiovascular workout, however both types of machines offer advantages in their own way. Not one type is intrinsically “better” than the other type, the fundamental choice between either a recumbent or stationary bike will solely be based your own individual likings and exercise needs. Below are some bits of information to consider about the benefits of both styles.


  • Simulates a normal outdoor cycle, which urges the body to lean forward that targets the abdomen area throughout the whole workout.
  •  You are not limited to just sitting while exercising. You have the ability to stand while pedaling mimicking riding up a hill or mountain targeting your legs and thighs.


  • Bents are known to be more supportive on the back and joints due to the ergonomic seat design.
  • The seat is also more comfortable as opposed to a narrow saddle seat allowing you to ride and exercise for longer periods of time.

Calorie Burner

Most reports have found that you use the same quantity of energy with both upright and recumbent bikes. Which means in laymen’s terms that you essentially would burn the same amount of calories with either option. Therefore, your decision should come down to which muscles you would like to target more. You will workout your core more with an upright and your legs more with a recumbent.

Other Considerations

Aside from the health benefits, muscles targeted, and supportive designs; there are other aspects you might want to consider if you are on the fence about what style to choose from. These features may not at the forefront of your decision process but they are just as important. Below are key points to contemplate upon purchasing.

Cost: The cost is a huge thing to take note of when researching. Typically you will find that an upright bicycle style will be less expensive than a recumbent.  However, it’s possible to find a quality recumbent that won’t break your budget such as the Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle.

Space: Bents can be bulky, so you need to know how much space you can allot for a stationary bike. Luckily, there are some models that can fold if need be. Upright bikes typically run smaller than bents.

Stability: If you have problems and concerns about balancing, then you may need to consider a recumbent. The rider is working out at a relatively higher gravitational center; an upright bike would be more difficult to balance oneself especially during a vigorous routine. A bent has a lower gravitational center making it more stable during exercise.

Which one should you go for

All in all, your ultimate decision should be based on what best suits your needs. Which style would motivate you more to get fit and stay in shape? Both stationary cycles are unique and distinctive. They both offer specific benefits as well as a heart healthy cardio workout. They each have their own pros and cons, so it is up to you to decide what trait outweighs the others. Also, take note of additional and equally as important details such as the price difference, the amount of space required, and it’s sense of stability. It is ultimately your decision, which is best for yourself.