A woman on an upright exercise bike.

How is it that cycling is one of the most popular sports of all time? Well, let me show you right here in this post!

The reality is that cycling is a fantastic, fun, freedom-filled activity that is low-impact, meaning people of every fitness level can enjoy it.

It’s easy on the joints, too, making it an ideal choice for people with bad knees.

Read on to discover the best exercise bikes for bad knees, including the benefits of cycling for knee health, the different types of stationary bikes available, and the features to look for when choosing an exercise bike. 

Best Exercise Bikes For Bad Knees

When considering the best exercise bike for bad knees, one of the first decisions is whether to go for an upright or recumbent bike.

Forget about costs and features at this point. 

After all, both bike types have advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Upright bikes

Upright bikes are the most commonly purchased exercise bikes, and they’re a good choice for people looking for low-impact workouts that are easy on the knees.

Upright bikes allow you to maintain that well-known, natural cycling posture, which helps reduce knee and leg stress. 

They are also typically more affordable than recumbent bikes (on the whole.)

Best Upright Exercise Bikes

These are my top choices for an upright bike. Please read the descriptions to get more information on individual products like the Peloton bike!

Peloton Bike+ | Indoor Stationary Exercise Bike with 24” HD, Anti-Reflective Rotating Touchscreen

Shop The Post: Upgrade your fitness and your rehab with the Peloton Bike +. A game-changing experience that goes beyond cycling in the comfort of your own home. Designed to fit into small spaces, this compact stationary bike offers an adjustable seat, handlebar, and 24" LCD screen to accommodate different heights and setups. Take control of your activity with an adjustable resistance knob and a 10-point multitouch screen. Unlock your full potential with a Peloton All-Access Membership, providing unlimited access to a vast content library on your Bike and the Peloton App for the entire household.

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02/17/2024 03:48 pm GMT
Pooboo Exercise Bike, Adjustable Magnetic Resistance Silent Belt Drive, Indoor Cycling Bike for Home Cardio Gym, Fitness Stationary Bike Machine with 350lbs/300lbs Weight Capacity, Monitor with Pulse ...

Enjoy stability, comfort and modern aesthetics with the Pooboo exercise bike featuring a robust steel frame with 35lbs flywheel for a secure, realistic cycling experience. Fully adjustable with a 2-way handlebar, 4-way padded seat, and versatile resistance levels. It offers a comfortable indoor riding experience for muscle toning, weight loss, and cardiovascular health. The LCD monitor tracks exercise metrics, and the pulse handle provides real-time feedback. Safety features include a quick-stop resistance bar, a convenient monitor holder, and transport wheels for easy relocation. 12-month parts replacement guarantee and responsive customer service.

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02/17/2024 07:30 pm GMT

Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent bikes may be better for people with severe knee pain or knee problems, as these bikes have more of a relaxed seating position. 

As the name suggests, these bikes allow riders to recline while pedaling. 

Recumbent bikes provide added back support and allow you to pedal in a semi-reclined position, which can help to reduce strain on the knees. 

Some recumbent bikes also have adjustable seats that allow you to find the most comfortable seating position.

Best Recumbent Exercise Bike

Again, these are my top choices for a recumbent bike. Please read the descriptions to get more information on the individual products.

If you’re unsure which bike would suit your best, please consult your doctor or physical therapist for advice.

Low-impact Exercise For Better Knee Health

Low-impact exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for everybody, yet it’s especially beneficial for people with a knee injury, joint pain, or problems.

Cycling can truly help improve knee health and range of motion. 

But why? Well, it’s because, when you cycle, your knees are off the ground and supported at a slightly bent angle, helping reduce stress on the knee joint and preventing further knee injuries. 

The knees also do not bear body weight when cycling, therefore (potentially) relieving any pain associated with this. 

Cycling, too, is a great way to strengthen the muscles around the knee and in the lower body, which should help improve leg stability. 

In addition, cycling is a solid form of aerobic exercise, which is essential for cardiovascular health, weight loss, and well-being.

Women cycling on exercise bikes.

Tips For Exercising With Bad Knees

Here are some tips for exercising with bad knees:

  • Start slowly and on the lowest level, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts over time (several weeks, ideally.)
  • Stick with low-impact exercises that are shock-free for your knees, such as cycling, swimming, and walking.
  • Use a stationary bike instead of a road bike if you have knee pain (for safety)
  • Adjust your bike’s seat so your knees are slightly bent when pedaling.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that provide good support.
  • Listen to your body and stop immediately if you feel pain. Mainly if you have arthritic knees, knee strain, or a recent knee injury, do not surpass what’s best for your overall health. 

By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of exercise without putting unnecessary stress on your knees.

A low-impact workout is genuinely the way to go if you’re looking for a cardio workout while considering knee joint mobility. 

Bike Features

When shopping for an exercise bike, some key features must be considered. 

These include: 

The type of bike: This is between an upright bike and a recumbent bike. Upright bikes are the most common type of exercise bike and are similar to traditional bicycles. Recumbent bikes are more laid-back, with the seat positioned behind the pedals. 

The weight capacity: Some bikes allow for heavier and lighter builds, which needs consideration depending on your body type. 

Adjustable resistance levels: You’ll want to be using your bike for years to come, and as your fitness improves, you’ll be looking to up the resistance levels significantly, switching between different workout programs. 

Seat adjustability: The exercise bike’s seat should be adjustable to allow you to find a comfortable riding position. The seat should be high enough so your legs are slightly bent when pedaling. The seat should also be far enough forward to reach the handlebars comfortably.

Handlebar adjustability: The handlebars of the exercise bike should allow you to find a comfortable riding position. The handlebars should be high enough so your arms are slightly bent when gripping them. As mentioned above, the handlebars should be close enough to the seat so you can reach them comfortably.

Pedal straps: Pedal straps can help to keep your feet in place on the pedals, which can be especially helpful if you have knee pain. Pedal straps also help to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals, which can cause injury.

Low-impact resistance: The exercise bike should have a low-impact resistance system that allows you to pedal smoothly without putting too much stress on your knees. Ideally, look for an exercise bike with a magnetic or air resistance system.

Best Overall Exercise Bike

I think this bike ticks all the boxes for a bike that meets the user’s specific needs, with a comfortable seat and top-notch exercise programs while being a long-term, effective workout if you suffer from bad knees.

Our Pick
3G Cardio Elite RB Exercise Bike, Recumbent - Commercial Grade - Compact Footprint - Ultra Comfortable Seat - Magnetic Resistance - 350 LB User Capacity

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02/17/2024 10:08 pm GMT

Additional Points To Consider

If you have bad knees, I highly recommend taking precautions when exercising to avoid further injury. 

Here are extra tips to help you get started:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time.
  • Listen to your body and stop if you feel pain.
  • Warm up before your workout and cool down afterward.
  • Use a foam roller or massage stick to relieve tension in your muscles.
  • Use ice or heat therapy to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Wear supportive shoes that provide good cushioning.
  • Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the best exercises for your specific condition.
A group of people on exercise bikes.

Buying The Bike

This section is to help with your decision-making when it comes to purchasing an exercise bike for bad knees. 

Make sure you check out the suggested purchases in the sections above, along with their features. 

First, consider your current fitness level and goals, the available space in your home, your budget, and the warranty that comes with the bike. Also, read reviews and compare prices before making a purchase.

And, if you’re unsure, consider discussing the purchase with your doctor or physical therapist, who should advise you on what bike best suits your current lifestyle.


Has this post been helpful to you in your search for an exercise bike to help with bad knees? If so, comment below, and please consider leaving a review or feedback.

For more interesting knee health reads, check out keagenhadley.com

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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