7 Recumbent Bikes that Fit Great for Shorter Riders

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Screenshot 2022 05 17 at 3.12.25 PM
By Katie Pierson CPT

Certified Spinning® Instructor & CPT

Interested in buying a recumbent bike but unsure which one to choose since you are a shorter rider? As a shorter rider and cycling instructor myself, only 5’4”, I will help guide you on what to look for when selecting a potential bike and give you my top recommendations, including first-hand experience on bikes that I have owned or tested.

What Shorter Riders Should Consider Before Buying a Bike

  • Height Range Requirements

All bikes are designed with a height range that they can accommodate. Make sure to check the bike’s specifications to ensure that you fall within the preferred range.

  • Inseam Range

After you have identified that you fall into a bike’s height requirements, you should also cross reference that with the inseam range that the bike is designed for as well. Since we are all built differently, even if two people are the same height, they might not have the same length inseam. Suppose you cannot find the inseam information range of a bike in the regular specification section about a bike. In that case, you can always reach out to the manufacturer’s customer service department, and they should be able to provide that information. 

Some recumbent bikes use something called an X-seam instead of an inseam. Inseam is often seen with upright cycles but is also used for recumbent bikes as it is a more common term. If you want to measure your X-seam, sit with your back against the wall and measure from the wall to your heels, as this will give you a great indication of your leg length.

  • Seat Adjustability

Another crucial component to finding the correct riding position is seat adjustability. Recumbent bikes move forward and backward, compared to many spinning bikes that offer four-way adjustability since you are sitting in an upright position compared to the reclined position of a recumbent. 

If you are considering a commercial-grade cycling bike and are looking for four-way adjustability of the saddle and handlebars, check out my review of the Life Fitness IC7. I taught on this model for years and found it very easy to find the correct riding position.

  • Handlebar Adjustability
    The ability to move the handlebars towards the back of the bike is one of the most critical adjustments a bike can make if you are 5’5” or shorter on an upright cycle. Many upright bikes with a large monitor have handlebars that cannot move forward and backward but only up and down. 

With a recumbent bike, the ability of the handlebars to move forward and aft is not such an issue since there are usually two sets of handlebars. One set of handlebars is located around the saddle, while the other handlebars are located next to the console.

Our Top 7 Recumbent Bikes for Short Person

Recumbent bikes can be an excellent piece of exercise equipment if they fit you correctly. However, if you unfortunately fall outside of the height range a piece of equipment is designed for, it can result in injury. Below, you will find a selection of our top recumbent bikes for shorter riders, including some that I have had the pleasure to test.

Best Overall: NordicTrack Commercial R35 

Best Overall
NordicTrack Commercial R35

A top-of-the-line recumbent bike that offers a comfortable and effective workout experience. With a sleek design and advanced features like iFit compatibility, adjustable seat, and resistance levels, it's perfect for users of all fitness levels. Get ready to pedal your way to a healthier lifestyle!

Price & Reviews

The NordicTrack Commercial R35 has almost everything you could ever want in a recumbent bike. This $1,499 cycle includes 26 digital resistance levels and a 14-inch touchscreen. The R35 offers trainer-led workouts, and their patented SmartAdjust allows the trainers to change the resistance automatically. This model also includes an AutoBreeze Workout fan, oversized pedals, and lumbar support to keep you comfortable during every ride.

This recumbent bike also pairs with NordicTrack’s iFit platform. Whether you are interested in studio classes, scenic rides, yoga, or strength classes, iFit has you covered.

We reached out to NordicTrack to find the correct seat and height range. The NordicTrack team recommends a height range between 4’11” and 6’5”. From the center crank to the center of the seat can range from 23” to 38” depending on how you position the seat, and the pedals are eight inches from the center of the frame. 

My Budget Choice: Merach S19 

EXCLUSIVE: Use GirlBikeLoveS19 Code for -$80
Merach S19 Recumbent Bike

The Merach S19 Recumbent Bike is a fantastic value for the affordability of this bike. I still can’t believe that this model is below $500 because of the level of its craftsmanship.

EXCLUSIVE: Click on "Buy from Merach" and use the code GirlBikeLoveS19 for $80 OFF! Use the code in the Checkout Page.

Amazon Reviews Buy from Merach

Merach S19 Specs

  • LCD Monitor
  • Bike Footprint: 48.03″D x 23.62″W x 46.46″H Maximum 
  • Weight Capacity: 330 pounds
  • Bike Weight: 57.3 pounds
  • Flywheel Weight: 6.6 pounds
  • Inseam Length: 17.72 – 35.43 inches
  • 1-Year Warranty

The Merach S19 is a bike that I actually own and ride regularly. I absolutely love the quality of this cycle for the price. Priced at only $449.99, the S19 is incredibly well-crafted and offers a fantastic riding experience. It features eight levels of magnetic resistance and a basic console with a tablet rest. This model is ideal for riders with an inseam between 17.72 -35.43 inches. Another often overlooked feature that this model offers is the breathable backrest so that your shirt isn’t completely drenched. 

Images from our hands-on testing of the Merach S19

Merach S19 Recumbent review featured
Merach S19

In addition, the handlebars that are located around the bike‘s seat can move up and down, allowing those riders who have mobility issues an easier time sitting down and getting up off of this bike.

If you like to take classes, Merach offers a free app. The S19 connects to the app via Bluetooth, and you can enjoy on-demand instructor-led classes on the S19.

Top with Arms: Sunny Health SF-RB4708 

Sunny Health Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike SF-RB4708

Purchasers describe it as "well-built" and "sturdy." It earned a 4.4 out of 5 consumer rating with almost 2,000 ratings. 

Use SAVE10 coupon code on Sunny Official Site for 10% OFF !!!

Amazon Reviews Buy from Sunny Health

Sunny Health SF-RB4708 Specs

  • LCD Monitor
  • Bike Footprint: 60L X 25.5W X 52H In
  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Bike Weight: 95.8 pounds
  • Flywheel Weight: Unspecified
  • Inseam Adjustment: 17.72 – 35.43 inches
  • 3 Years Warranty

One of the unique features of the Sunny Health SF-RB4708 is the full-motion arm exercisers that this model includes that are also equipped with pulse-rate monitors. This feature allows this cycle to become a total body workout and works more as a cross trainer than just your typical recumbent bike. Eight levels of magnetic resistance are also offered with this $349.99 model. For those who would like to track their metrics in more depth, Sunny does offer a cadence sensor to be purchased separately that can be paired with the bike that will integrate with the Sunny Fit App.

Best Cheap: Vanswe Recumbent Exercise Bike

Best Cheap
Vanswe Recumbent Exercise Bike

It uses Bluetooth Smart Technology (compatible with iOS & Android) to provide free fitness data straight to your device & allows you to track your workouts.

Amazon Price & Reviews Check Official Site

Vanswe Recumbent Exercise Bike Specs

  • LCD Monitor
  • Bike Footprint: 45 x 22.5 x 40 inches 
  • Weight Capacity: 380 pounds
  • Bike Weight: 53 pounds
  • Flywheel Weight: Unspecified
  • Inseam Length: 27″ to 35″
  • Lifetime Service Warranty

Don’t let the low price tag of $259.99 fool you. The Vanswe Recumbent Exercise bike is rated a 4.5 with over 3,000 reviews. This bike is ideal for those with an inseam of 27-35 inches and a height range of 5’2”-6’1”. The Vanswe also accommodates one of the highest user weight ranges I have seen on a recumbent bike, clocking in at 380 pounds. This bike also features sixteen levels of magnetic resistance and connects through Bluetooth to Kinomap and Zwift.

My Top Foldable: Ativafit R8 Foldable

Exclusive 10% OFF: Use the code GBL10
ATIVAFIT R8 Foldable Exercise Bike

Provides a smooth and quiet riding experience with its lightweight flywheel and magnetic resistance. It has a sturdy construction and an adjustable seat to accommodate various heights. The console offers a goal function and device holder attachment. Priced at under $200, the R8 offers excellent value for money.

Exclusive 10% Discount: Use the code GBL10 on the checkout!

Amazon Reviews Get the Discount!

Ativafit R8 Specs

  • LCD Monitor
  • Bike Footprint: 29.9” L x 14.9” W x 45.6” H
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
  • Bike Weight: 41.89 pounds
  • Flywheel Weight: Unspecified
  • Height Range: 5’0” – 5’11”
  • 90-day Warranty

The Ativafit R8 Foldable is another model that I have owned and tested. This foldable accommodates height ranges between 5’0” – 5’11”. It includes eight levels of magnetic resistance and has resistance bands attached to the bike‘s frame. Two different riding positions are available, including a recumbent or upright position. I found this cycle to be the most comfortable in the recumbent position.

Images from our hands-on testing of the Ativafit R8

ativafit r8 upright position
Merach S19

Great for Interactive Workout: Sunny SF-RB420031

Sunny SF-RB420031 Specs

  • LCD Monitor
  • Bike Footprint: 57.1L X 26.6W X 42.9H In
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 265 pounds
  • Bike Weight: 64.3 pounds
  • Flywheel Weight: Unspecified
  • Inseam Length: 26” – 35”
  • Lifetime Warranty

If you are looking for a recumbent bike that offers a technology component at a fair price, then the SF-RB420031 has much to offer. Priced competitively at $399.99, this cycle grants riders access to the SunnyFit app. This model includes eight levels of magnetic resistance in addition to the resistance bands that are located on the back foot of the bike

Bottom Line

There are many great recumbent bikes available on the market. The key to finding the right one for you is to select one that fits your frame and offers the additional features that matter most to you, which could include app connectivity, smart fitness tracking, upper-body exercises, or something else you have in mind. If you can test your potential bike in person, that is always best, but if that is not possible, keep in mind if they offer a money-back guarantee or a free trial (this often goes for the apps that require a membership fee as well) and can give you time to determine if that is the right model for you.

Katie Pierson CPT

Katie has been a certified fitness professional for twenty years and holds ten fitness certifications, including Spinning Elite and Personal Training. She has shared her expert knowledge in many fitness outlets like Bicycling & Verywellfit.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.