**Updated May 2020**
Using a restorator bike is a great way for seniors to stay active without putting too much strain on their bodies. They’re great for rehabilitation after surgeries, managing arthritis, and improving circulation without causing overexertion. Simply moving your legs, even for 15 minutes a day, can do wonders in maintaining and growing muscle and improving overall health.
Designed to be as low-impact as possible, restorator bikes typically take the same form as a recumbent bike—one that allows you to remain in a laid-back, seated position with your legs in front of you. This ensures your back is supported and removes any risk of falling over. This design also allows for arm exercises by placing the device on a table or desk.
The recumbent bikes recommended here are all stationary, compact and come either pre-assembled or require very little assembly. There are certainly more options out there, but we feel these are the best recumbent bikes for seniors.
Manual vs. Electric
Before we dive into specifics, I just want to cover the two types of recumbent bikes available to you.
For those unable to pedal on their own due to surgery or advanced arthritis, an electric recumbent bike might be preferable. This style of bike provides a therapeutic alternative to regular exercise, helping to stimulate muscles and improve circulation, all while putting zero strain on the body. It essentially does the work for you, which might seem to be pointless, but the movement helps to keep your muscles engaged and your joints healthy.
Generally, however, a manual restorator bike will be suitable for most seniors. This means no assistance is provided in turning the peddles. The majority of manual bikes allow you to set the tension, which means you can start off with practically zero resistance and work your way up.
Best Manual Restorator Bikes
Sometimes the most basic product can turn out to be the most effective. This certainly seems to be the case for Vaunn’s stationary pedal exerciser.
While you might question the quality at first glance, don’t let its simplicity fool you. Its pre-assembled frame actually provides a remarkably stable base. Because it’s constructed out of a single piece of metal, there aren’t any weak points to cause shakiness. This also allows the bike to remain extremely lightweight, making it easy to move around and store away when not in use.
To improve stability further, four rubber feet are included that feature ribbed bottoms for traction (this also helps to protect your floors!)
The top of this recumbent bike includes a tension knob that allows you to easily adjust the resistance. Simply turn it to increase the amount of force needed to push the peddles. Basic and effective.
All in all, this is a great bike. It’s simple to use, lightweight and best of all, inexpensive!
Platinum Fitness Fit Sit Folding Pedal Exerciser
This folding restorator bike includes an LCD display that shows total workout time, revolution count, and how many calories have been burned. Keeping track of time spent and the number of revolutions achieved in that time is a great way to set goals and gradually improve.
A tension knob is also included on the top to increase and decrease resistance – an important feature for those looking to increase muscle mass.
While technically there’s “assembly required”, it’s hardly an issue. All you’ll need to do is screw on the tension knob and clip on the LCD screen. Easy peasy. The whole unit is extremely lightweight (under 4 pounds), and the legs fold in for easy storage.
There had originally been some complaints of the bike sliding forward while peddling on non-carpeted floors, but the manufacturer has since included an anchor strap to secure it to the legs of your chair.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike
Unlike the restorator bikes discussed above, which feature mechanical tensioners, this one uses a magnetic system. In other words, magnets are used to provide resistance as opposed to a belt. The two biggest advantages here are going to be a smoother workout and far less noise.
Note: There’s been some concern that using a magnetic device such as this one might interfere with a pacemaker. While I’m not a doctor, I can tell you that the distance required for this to pose a problem is a lot closer than the distance you’ll be from your bike while peddling. However, I’d definitely suggest consulting a physician before using any sort of exercise equipment, so it won’t hurt to bring this concern up with them at the same time.
This mini exercise bike has a simple tension knob on the front that provides 8 levels of resistance, helping to build muscle as you progress. And to help keep track of your progress, a digital monitor is also included to display your time, speed, distance and calorie count.
While this bike is obviously a bit bigger than the ones we’ve covered thus far, you’ll definitely feel more secure while using it. Its roughly 24 pounds, so for older individuals it might not be possible to move around. But the added weight makes the bike feel much more stable.
DeskCycle Exercise Stationary Pedal Exerciser
The DeskCycle is probably the most popular compact recumbent bike out there. While it might not be specifically designed for seniors, its overall quality and design make it a top choice for anyone looking to buy a mini exercise bike.
At only 10 inches high, the pedals provide enough clearance to use the bike under a desk (its main target market is office workers). This also keeps its center of gravity low, which makes it extremely stable.
The DeskCycle utilizes magnetic resistance, which as previously stated, provides a far smoother pedal motion and keeps noise to a minimum. Actually, “minimum” probably doesn’t do this thing justice—it’s practically silent.
While this bike is capable of providing considerably more resistance than the rest of the recumbent bikes discussed here, the higher settings probably aren’t necessary for elderly individuals. Although it’s still nice to have if you’re thinking of using it yourself once in a while!
And of course, a screen is provided to display all sorts of stats – speed, time, distance, calorie count.
Definitely more on the expensive side of things, but a great investment nonetheless.
Best Electric Restorator Bikes
Exerpeutic Active Cycle Mini Exercise Bike
It has a variable speed motor that can be controlled via a detachable (but corded) remote. This lets you easily set the pace, and makes it easier to work your way up to higher speeds more gradually.
The motor on this bike is set to run for 15 minutes—presumably as a safety precaution—but can be reset by switching it on and off again via the remote. It’s a bit of an annoying feature, but not the end of the world.
On the front of the bike is an LCD display that shows you distance, time, calories and speed you’re going. A great way to track your progress.
A non-slip floor mat is also included to prevent the bike from moving around. This isn’t always required, but a nice option to have.
One thing to note, as some of the reviews on this can be misleading: this bike can work without the electric-assist (ie. manually). However, you’ll need to ensure its plugged in so that the electronic components have power. Without it, the bike may get damaged. This might be a deal-breaker for some since it adds some restrictions to its use. If you need something a bit more flexible, I’d go for the Confidence bike discussed next.
Confidence Fitness Electric Mini Exercise Bike
First off, let me state that this bike does in fact work as both an electric-assisted bicycle, as well as a manual one. This is beneficial as it essentially allows you to “take off the training wheels” once you’ve gained some muscle mass in your legs.
Before you start using it in manual mode, this stationary bike provides 12 different motorized speed settings, giving you the ability to safely work out your legs in a more gradual manner.