WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
The difference between the two styles is the way they sit. The upright bike is like the bicycle you might typically ride in your neighborhood or to work. The upright bicycle has a vertical leg position, meaning you use your leg and foot in a downward motion.
The recumbent bike seats the rider usually with a backrest and feet stretched in a horizontal manner, or out in front of their torso. You can find stationary recumbent bikes alongside the stationary upright bikes at your local gym. You can also find more and more recumbent bikes out on the road.
Many recumbent riders claim that the bike is more comfortable and easy to use. The very nature of a recumbent exercise bike positions the body in a more natural seated and supported position while still maintaining the appropriate leg pedaling angle for efficiency. Others point out that the recumbent bike is a much slower workout and as a result, less intense a workout.
Stationary upright riders swear they are getting a better workout than with any other cardio equipment. Better is, of course, a relative term. But it does make sense that they are working a larger number of areas than a treadmill or stair climber might tackle. The complaints about an upright have to do with handlebar placement and the fact that some models force you to lean forward a bit more than comfort might allow. A big advantage of upright exercise bikes is the fact that you can lift your body off the seat to pedal with much greater force and exertion (just like a road bike) to simulate climbing hills, sprinting or just for giving your butt a well deserved rest.
There does not seem to be consensus from the experts about which bike is the better one to use. It is generally felt that the choice is personal and has to do with which bike the rider is more comfortable on rather than any particular health benefit.
Sources: trainersecrets.com and essortment.com