If you’re looking for a way to stay fit without risking your health, cycling might be right for you. But, with so many different bicycles available from dozens of different brands, how do you know which ones are right for seniors? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best bicycles for seniors to see the top models, learn more about cycling, and get one step closer to a healthy, enjoyable hobby today!
What are the Pros and Cons of Riding a Bike for Seniors?
Cycling is a form of aerobic exercise that promotes a stronger heart. Exercising for the recommended 150 minutes per week lowers your blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart attacks and heart disease by up to 40%. If you have a family history of heart issues, taking up cycling is a wonderful way to mitigate the risks in your own life.
As you age, you need to work to preserve your joints against deterioration. Joint damage is difficult to repair, and the painful effects of it are felt by millions of seniors. Running and walking are great forms of exercise, but they do have a large impact on your joints, particularly the knees.
Cycling is exactly the opposite; it’s an aerobic exercise that is very easy on the joints. You can get all the exercise you need without tearing down your knee joints; rather, riding a bike actually strengthens the muscles that surround your knees. If you have chronic knee, ankle, or hip pain, cycling is ideal for you. And, if you still have good joints, cycling is the ideal way to preserve them!
Riding a bike for one hour burns about 300 calories; you’ll burn even more if you weigh more than 150 pounds. Being overweight is not inherently bad, but it does correspond to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and heart attacks. At the same time, Riding a bike for exercise lowers your risk of all these diseases, and relieves pressure from your joints.
Adopting and maintaining an exercise routine has been proven to help people live longer. The positive effects of regular exercise- improved circulation, heart health, and mental/emotional health- all help contribute to a longer life.
Riding a bike is more convenient in many ways than having a car, especially if your daily routine doesn’t require you to travel dozens of miles at a time. Traveling around your neighborhood, running errands at nearby stores, and visiting friends down the street is simpler with a bike than with a car.
Along with teenagers, seniors are the most likely age group to experience a fatal accident when riding a bike than any other- four times more likely, in fact. When you fall off of a bicycle, the speed of travel and the position that you are in makes it very hard to recover before hitting the ground.
When you do hit the ground, you’ll likely do so face first. This makes head injuries much more likely when falling from a bicycle. If you are riding on hilly ground or near lots of pedestrians, cyclists, or cars, obstacles can present themselves suddenly.
Cycling is safe and beneficial for seniors, but the dangers are very real when they do appear. As long as you ride at safe speeds with caution and awareness, avoiding crowded places, you will be very safe.
If you have poor balance, as many seniors do, riding a bicycle can be tricky. You have to keep the bike upright as you pedal and turn. While most seniors won’t have any problems with this, it can pose issues for those who have pre-existing balance issues.
Though riding a bicycle certainly has more benefits than negatives, you should be cautious to adopt a cycling routine. Riding bikes can put a lot of pressure on your lower back and knees; many cyclists experience chronic lower back pain. This is easily solved with a recumbent bike that takes the pressure off of your back.
If you already have a poor back or weak hips, riding an upright bicycle might not be a good idea for you. Outside of that, though, the health concerns of cycling for seniors are very minimal.
Getting a good bicycle for seniors means that you cannot settle for the cheapest options. Most of the time, you will have to pay around $400 to get a decent bicycle. The best bikes in many categories cost well over $3,000. While cycling doesn’t have the highest cost of entry (other exercises like rowing and weightlifting are more expensive), the cost of a good bicycle is something that many seniors don’t have in their budget.
Most Popular Types of Bikes for Seniors
Rather than propelling the bike completely under your own power, electric bikes have built-in batteries and motors that help move you along as you ride. Electric bikes help you ride uphills and keep you from getting worn out too quickly. They’re also very easy on the joints because they split the workload of riding with your legs.
These bikes make perfect city, commuter, and comfort bikes because they make it much easier to ride faster and farther without exhausting yourself. Beyond that, you can also find mountain bikes, recumbent bikes, and even road bikes that have electric motors inside them.
Exercise bikes are considered great replacements for traditional bicycles because they promote an active lifestyle in seniors. Though the motors are sharing the workload, electric bikes are still capable of delivering a good workout for seniors. For these reasons, electric bicycles are growing in popularity among seniors and all age groups.
These bikes are very unique in the way that they position the rider. The word “recumbent” refers to a body position where the person’s back is reclined and their feet are placed in front of them. Recumbent bikes have seats that include a backrest that the rider leans against; the pedals are placed so that your legs are extended in front of you rather than beneath you.
Recumbent bikes, because of the position they seat you in, typically have more than two wheels. The result is a bike that feels very comfortable to sit in, doesn’t put any strain or pressure on your body, and has incredible balance. It’s very hard to fall from a recumbent bike because they have a lower center of gravity.
Recumbent bikes are perfect for seniors who have balance or joint issues and need a bike that accommodates their medical concerns. Beyond that, recumbent bikes provide a more relaxed and casual cycling experience.
Sometimes called stationary bikes, these bikes don’t have wheels; rather, they’re indoor bikes fixed to a solid base. Designed purely for exercise, you can find simple stationary bikes for very low prices or luxury models that cost over $1,500. Exercise bikes are ideal for seniors who want a workout machine that is low-impact and heart-healthy.
Exercise bikes, instead of gears and chains attached to tires, run on something called a “flywheel”, a weighted disc that can provide varying levels of resistance as you pedal. These bikes are great for seniors who want to stay home as they exercise or are worried about crashing on a bicycle outdoors.
The only downside is that some seniors find that riding on an exercise bike multiple times per week gets pretty boring. If you think you’ll feel that way, you’re better off getting a traditional outdoor bike. Still, the higher-end exercise bikes include video screens that let you watch exercise classes, TV, or videos of nature that make it feel like you’re riding in the mountains!
Bikes with three wheels offer two distinct advantages to seniors. The first is balance; three-wheeled bikes give seniors much more balance, preventing accidents and even the need to balance the bike in the first place. If you’re looking for stability from your bicycle, this is the way to go.
The second advantage to getting a three-wheeled bike is storage. These bikes come with one, sometimes two, large storage baskets. This makes trikes for adults ideal for grocery shopping and running errands. If you feel that a traditional bike may not be stable enough for you, or you typically carry a lot of things with you, a three-wheeled bike is right for you.
These bikes aren’t a category in themselves, but rather a type of bicycle frame that you can find on different categories of bikes. Most bike frames have a diamond shape, which requires you to hike your leg high up to get it over the frame. This is fine for most people, but can put undue strain on the hips.
If you have bad hips, look for a bike that has a step-through frame that you won’t have you raising your leg up to get on. These bikes are very easy to find, even in men’s styles. The shape of the frame does not affect the performance of the bike, so you don’t have to worry about getting a weaker bike just because it has a step-through frame.
Most Popular Brands of Seniors Bikes
The first Schwinn Bicycle was released back in 1895; in the 120-plus years since, Schwinn has grown into one of the world’s most popular cycling brands. Today, Schwinn makes comfortable, affordable bikes that can do just about anything you ask them to.
Schwinn’s bikes typically target casual cyclists and people who ride for fun rather than adventure or competition. They have very good mountain bikes and road bikes that are perfect for casual rides. The best bikes from Schwinn, though, are their comfort and cruiser bikes. They’re low-priced, comfortable, and will last for years.
Huffy and Schwinn have a lot in common: a long history and solid reputation among consumers, along with a focus on affordability and comfort. If live in the United States, chances are high that your first bicycle as a child was either a Schwinn or a Huffy!
Huffy is a great company to choose if you want a bicycle that won’t cost thousands of dollars and will still give you a great way to exercise. If you’re a mountain biker or road racing enthusiast, Huffy bikes aren’t ideal for you. Seniors who want to take joy rides or get light-moderate exercise, though, will find everything they need in a Huffy bike.
Moving on from the more “consumer-level” brands, we have Trek, one of the world’s most popular cycling brands. Trek has many entry and mid-level bikes, but they excel at making top-of-the-line mountain, road, and hybrid bikes. Trek bikes are very high-quality and built for performance more than anything else.
If you’re in decent shape and want to push yourself when you cycle, Trek bikes are for you. Even if you’re not serious about exercise and simply want a premium bicycle to ride, it’s a good idea to go with Trek. Their bikes aren’t the cheapest (in fact, some of them are among the world’s priciest bikes), but you truly do get what you pay for.
Though not nearly as large as Trek, Huffy, or Schwinn, SixThreeZero has a loyal following that continues to grow. Their bikes are designed to balance performance with style and comfort, all while costing less than other premium brands.
SixThreeZero also offers nearly every model of bicycle they make in an electric configuration, meaning that you don’t have to choose between a bike you like and an electric bike you’re unsure about.
If you’re looking for an indoor bike to use for exercise, you could go with expensive brands like Peloton and Nordic Track. These brands are great- certainly worth the money- but they’re designed for serious athletes trying to get in (and stay in) the best shape of their lives.
Stamina Elite makes a range of exercise bikes, both upright and recumbent, that are perfect for seniors across all budgets and needs. Their most expensive and luxurious exercise bikes are still cheaper compared to Nordic Track and Peloton, making them suitable for any senior.
Best Recumbent Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: Mobo Triton Pro
As far as outdoor recumbent bikes, this is the best option for most seniors unless they have serious medical needs. Seniors with disabilities and other serious medical concerns should look into a custom-fit recumbent bike (but be prepared to pay a “custom” price).
For less than $450, you can get a comfortable, functional recumbent bike that puts its emphasis in two places: comfort and fun! The seat is simple but supportive and suitable for almost every senior; the steering, once you take a few minutes to figure it out, feels natural and simple. For cruising along the beach, around the neighborhood, or down the bike path, the Mobo Triton cruiser is hard to beat!
This is Nordic Track’s best recumbent bike, designed for people of all ages who value their fitness. The only reason that Nordic Track (and this bike) aren’t occupying the “best” slot on this list is that their products are more expensive than most people’s budgets can support. If you can afford it, however, the R35 is an excellent choice.
This recumbent exercise bike has a 14-inch screen, powered by Google Maps, that helps you feel as though you’re riding outside. It also has a powerful cooling fan, easy adjustments, and some of the smoothest pedaling around! Finally, the R35 has an ergonomic seat that takes pressure off of your lower back and helps your spine relax and decompress as you exercise.
With 20 different levels of resistance and excellent posture, the R95 from Sole Fitness is perfect for seniors with bad knees or backs. You can relax and exercise at the same time- something you cannot say about other forms of exercise! It also uses a magnetic flywheel, making each pedal smooth and safe on your knees.
The R92 also has ten different pre-programmed workout routines that you can use as a guide for your exercise. On top of that, the bike can connect to your phone or tablet via BlueTooth or USB so that you can listen to your favorite music or radio shows while you work out!
Best Exercise Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: Peloton Bike
The most luxurious and fitness-focused bike on the market, the Peloton bike is for people of all ages with a serious desire to get in great shape. The bike can be used for casual workouts, but at a price of more than $1,750, it makes more sense to look elsewhere for casual exercise bikes.
The Peloton bike comes with a monthly subscription package to a massive library of exercise videos, many of which don’t even use the bike. If you want to get a complete home workout system with one purchase, the Peloton bike is right for you. By the way, the Peloton is so popular- even among seniors- that US President Joe Biden uses one every morning!
The X Air Bike, from Stamina Elite, is designed to be a no-frills, premium-quality exercise bike for people of all ages. Rather than using a fancy video screen or luxury extras, the bike focuses on what matters by using premium materials and design. The result is a bike that helps you get in shape without causing any fuss.
The best part about the X Air Bike is that you can select a fitness goal for each workout and ride until you reach it. Whether that be a distance, duration, or calories burned goal, the X Air Bike will track your workout and let you know when you’ve reached it. It’s simple, high-quality, and (most importantly) won’t take up half the room!
This machine called a dual exercise bike; meaning that there are both pedals for your legs and for your arms. They’re designed to give you a full-body workout on one machine, which is perfect for seniors looking to get in shape without having to leave home.
Dual exercise bikes are also great for seniors who have very weak leg muscles or joints; you can use your arms to take the load off of your legs and allow them to strengthen over time. Another great feature of the Airgometer is the seat. It’s wider and softer than most exercise bike seats, a big advantage over minimalistic and uncomfortable versions of exercise bikes you may have used in the past. For any senior who wants a great workout at home, the comfortable and affordable Stamina Airgometer is worth considering.
Best 3-Wheel Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: SixThreeZero EvryJourney Trike for Adults
SizThreeZero’s EvryJourney is designed to live up to its own name and be perfect for seniors on nearly every occasion. The bike has seven speeds to choose from, a large storage basket, and weighs only 45 pounds thanks to the ultralight frame. If you order from SixThreeZero’s website, you can even get an electric version of this bike.
The EvryJourney trike is designed to help align your body as you ride, not forcing you to lean forward into a position that will leave you with a sore back and hips. The bike’s seat is very wide and comfortable, perfect for seniors to ride. If you’re looking for a stable, stylish bicycle to run errands and exercise with, this is the ideal bike for you!
Runners-Up: Schwinn Meridian Adult Tricycle
This bike might be the most popular 3-wheeled bike for elderly people on the market. It’s very affordable and puts a lot of its design focus on comfort and stability. If you have balance issues or simply want a bike that doesn’t require you to focus on balancing, this is a great, low-priced option that you should consider. You have the option of getting the one-speed or seven-speed variety; if you live in a hilly area, the seven-speed variation will help you ride uphills without getting exhausted!
The Schwinn Meridian has a large storage basket in the rear, perfect for grocery shopping and running errands. The bike frame is easy to enter thanks to its step-through frame and overall low profile. Finally, the handlebars are designed to help you sit upright and steer easily, preserving your back and shoulders from being strained as you ride.
Best Electric Bikes for Seniors
The electric version of SixThreeZero’s most popular bike, the EvryJourney, can take you up to 40 miles on a single charge. It has all of the comfort and performance features you’d expect from a SixThreeZero bike, with 500W motors and batteries added on. The bike also has a rear storage platform that makes it great for more than just exercise- it can be your everyday commuting vehicle, too!
Two-inch thick tires give you the stability and shock absorption you need to ride on grass, dirt, and even sand safely and comfortably. Finally, the bike has a classic, retro-feeling design that is sure to impress people in your cycling group. It’s not the type of bike you buy at the supermarket, and that’s a good thing!
Runners-Up: Macwheel Folding Electric Bike
This lightweight bike can take you 37 miles on a single charge, at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour! Those stats might not be particularly impressive- most electric bikes offer roughly the same performance from their batteries and motors- but it is very impressive for a bike that weighs just 40 pounds and folds up into a tiny package!
There are a couple of downsides to buying a foldable bike, though: if you’re a taller or heavier person, the Macwheel electric bike will feel laughably small. If you’re above 6 feet tall or 250 pounds, you may want to look elsewhere. Second, the tires are lightweight and designed exclusively for smooth, favorable terrain- no mountain trails for this bike!
Still, though, for the right senior the advantages of this bike’s portability and lightweight design are very hard to pass up. It’s ideal for commuting around town; you can ride it to the bus or train station, fold it up, and hop on. You can ride it to the grocery store, to a doctor’s appointment, and to visit friends- and still have more than enough battery power to make it home!
Best Comfort Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: Schwinn Beach Cruiser Mikko and Huron
What better option for a comfort bike than the company that made them famous in the ’50s and ’60s? The Schwinn Beach Cruiser has an iconic and classic design, the exact type of bike you can picture fitting in perfectly with an old-school beach movie.
The seat, which is extra wide and stuffed full of cushioning, has springs underneath it that absorb the shock of bumps in the road. When you combine that comfortable seat with ergonomic handlebars that help you steer without leaning over, you can easily understand why this bike is so comfortable- and so popular with seniors.
The best part about the Mikko/Huron, though, is the price. For less than $300, you get a great comfort bike from one of the world’s oldest and most respected cycling brands. What’s not to like about that?
Comfort bikes aren’t typically known for their versatility; they’re usually great for joyrides and light exercise, but not much more. The Ride in the Park, though it is perfect for, well, rides in the park, can do much more than other comfort bikes. With seven different speeds, an ultralightweight frame (just 33 pounds total), and a rear storage platform, this bike is ready to go anywhere with you!
This bike is perfect for leisure rides, going about your day on errands, and for getting exercise. No matter what you need to do, this bike truly makes it feel like a Ride in The Park. If you need a bike that’ll rarely have you questioning whether or not it can handle your desires for the day, the SixThreeZero Ride in the Park is the perfect comfort bike for you!
Best Road Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: Trek Emonda SL 6
Trek, known around the world for top-quality road and mountain bikes, designed the Emonda SL 6 to be incredibly lightweight, yet still suitable for beginner/intermediate riders- not just the experts. It has a carbon fiber frame, 11 speeds, and a total weight of just 19 pounds, this is the lightest and fastest bike on our list- no question.
If you’re still in decent physical shape, don’t have balance issues, and are ready to push yourself to the limit, this is the bike for you. While it certainly isn’t suitable for casual rides, seniors who like a challenge will love the Trek Emonda SL 6.
Runner-Up: HeartsBio Carbon Frame Road Bike, 18 Speed
This bike costs about a third of the price of the Trek Emonda, yet weighs almost the exact same. It isn’t designed for professional cyclists, but it’s still extremely light and plenty fast. More than that, it’s a very comfortable road bike, suitable for seniors of beginner/intermediate skill.
This road bike has a seat that’s engineered to minimize soreness and discomfort, an advantage that needs little explanation. If you are interested in road biking but don’t want to spend multiple thousands on your bike, this high-performance, low-priced bike from HeartsBio was made for you.
Best Mountain Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: Trek Fuel EX 5
This bike is a type of mountain bike that is known as a “full-suspension” mountain bike. This means it has shocks on both the front and rear wheels which absorb all the impacts of rough and rocky trails.
The smoothness of the ride, delivered by the full-suspension design, makes this a great mountain bike for seniors. It will do more to preserve your joints than “hardtail” mountain bikes (with suspension only in the front, i.e. “hardtail”), and it’s still light enough to be ridden easily.
Any senior with a love of adventure and thrill will enjoy this bike thoroughly. It can handle any type of trail riding and has a drivetrain that makes climbing hills feel like a breeze.
This is the perfect entry-level mountain bike for interested people of all ages. For less than $700, you get a comfortable, lightweight mountain bike that is useful for everyday situations off the trail, too. It’s just as suited for riding on trails as it is riding to the grocery store, on paved bike paths, and around the neighborhood. Seniors who are interested in mountain biking but want something with a bit more versatility will enjoy the “jack of all trades” nature of the Marlin 5!
If you’re a smaller person, you’ll love the curved top tube on the smaller sizes of the Marlin 5; it makes it much easier for shorter seniors to get on and off of the bike. The smaller sizes of this bike also have “short-reach” brake handles that are designed to be easy for people with small hands to grip. For less than $1,000, it’s hard to beat this trail-ready yet versatile mountain bike!
Best Step-Through Bikes for Seniors
Best Overall: Schwinn Discover Hybrid Step-Through Bike
Step-through bikes are especially well-suited to seniors because they are easier on your hips when getting on and off of them. The Discover, from Schwinn, is a type of bike known as a hybrid. Hybrid bikes combine some of the lightweight and speed-focused elements of road bikes with the ruggedness and stability of mountain bikes.
This 21-speed bike will be able to do almost anything you ask it to; it’s incredibly versatile, comfortable, and still costs less than $500! For any senior who wants a step-through bike that’ll keep up with them no matter what, this bike (made for both men and women) is the ideal choice.
They are slightly different bikes, but the Body Ease and Relaxed Body, both from SixThreeZero are excellent step-through bikes for both men and women. Both of these bikes are designed to be ridden every day, with storage options and different drivetrains available.
Aside from the step-through frame, the biggest advantage of these bikes is that they’re engineered to give you better posture while riding. The positioning of the seat, pedals, and handlebars work together to help you keep your spine aligned and comfortable as you ride. If you’ve got lower back pain or find other bikes uncomfortable, this is the bike for you!
Buying Guide: Bikes for Seniors
Best Places to Buy a Bike for Seniors
Buying a Bike Online
Shopping online gives you access to thousands of bikes, so you can make absolutely sure you’re getting a bike that truly works for you. For all the convenience of shopping online, though, there are some drawbacks.
First of all, the seemingly unlimited choices available when you online shop can lead you to feel indecisive; sometimes, thousands of choices are a bad thing. Second, you cannot try out the bike before you buy it, it’s hard to know whether or not the bike you’re considering is actually a good fit for your body.
Still, though, online shopping does have its advantages. You can do all your research and purchasing without ever leaving your home, and you don’t risk being pushed to buy a low-quality bike from a bike store salesperson. If you’d like to shop online, these are the best places to do it:
Buying a Bike In-Store
Why shop for a bike in a store? The one and only reason that shopping in-store might be better is that you can actually test the bike you are thinking about buying. So, while you may not be able to select from thousands of different bikes, you can have more certainty that the bike you just spent hundreds of dollars on is a good fit.
Here are the best stores to buy a bike from:
Tips for Finding the Best Seniors’ Bike for Your Needs
Choose Your Type
Mountain bikes might look cool on the outside, but they’re heavy and impractical for daily use. Before you select a bicycle, make sure you understand the different types and what they’re used for. You don’t want to spend $800+ on a bike that winds up collecting dust in the garage!
Crucial to your comfort on any type of bicycle is making sure that it fits your body. While the simplest way to choose a bike size is by using your height, you should get a larger or smaller size if your legs are exceptionally long or short. As long as you get the sizing roughly correct, you should be fine- just make sure that you don’t get a poorly-sized bike! Here’s a rough guide to bike sizes based on height:
Accessories and Extras
While storage baskets, water bottle holders, and other accessories might not be absolutely essential for cycling, they do make it easier to ride safely and comfortably. If you’re only riding for a half-hour at a time (the recommended length of time for most seniors), you might not need those accessories.
If you plan to use your bike for extended rides or for daily use, though, make sure you can store your belongings, water bottle, and more. It makes riding easier and helps you stay consistent with your cycling routine!
How to Find the Best Price on a Bike for Seniors
Electric vs Manual
Electric bikes may be convenient and useful, but they aren’t cheap. If you want to save money on a bicycle for seniors, stay away from electric bikes. Typically, adding electric motors and batteries to a bicycle makes it hundreds of dollars more expensive! It’s worth it if you have the budget, but can be difficult to justify for people who don’t have much lying around.
Consider Your Needs
The bikes that are the most expensive are also the ones that have the most specific uses. Unless you truly need a top-of-the-line mountain bike or road bike, you will save a lot of money by choosing an entry-level bike. If you do need the fine-tuned performance characteristics, it will be hard to get a bike that costs less than $600.
Number of Gears
The more gears that are included in a bike’s drive train, the more you will have to pay for it. 21-speed bikes are great for intense workouts, hilly areas, and competing in races, but most people only need a single-speed bike to get around. If you have a smaller budget, go with a single-speed comfort bike to get a bike that is still great without having to pay a fortune!
Safety Tips for Seniors Riding a Bike
Learning how to properly get onto your bike is the first step to bicycle safety. Though it may sound silly, the easiest way to strain your hips or lower back is to swing your leg over the bike frame without being cautious. If you want to get on the bike safely, swing your leg around the rear of the bike instead of over the frame. This will prevent any hip injuries or soreness.
If you’re a person with hip or lower back issues, getting onto a bike can be risky. Step-through bikes (sometimes called low-entry bikes) are ideal for you because they make it very easy to get on and off of the bike without putting your body in awkward positions.
The recommended number of exercise minutes that people should get each week is 150 minutes. That works out to 30 minute sessions, 5 times per week. If you have bad knees or haven’t exercised in a long time, it is best to limit your exercise sessions to 30 minutes so that you don’t overdo things before your body gets used to the intensity.
Final Thoughts: Cycling for Seniors
If you want to stay in shape, enjoy time outside, and maybe even make some new friends, you should take up cycling. It’s a great form of exercise that preserves your joint health and has many great benefits for your cardiovascular health. Which bicycle from our list are you the most interested in? Do you have any questions about bike riding for seniors? Let us hear in the comments section below!