Finding the right exercise bike for your budget can be an intimidating task. It seems like every product sells their features as if they are the only thing that matters, but if that were true, there wouldn't be a gazillion different designs on the market. This review will cover all types of convenient exercise bikes so you can get a better idea of what's on the market today.
There are so many benefits to owning an exercise bike that it would be easier to list the reasons not to have one (hint: there aren't any!) Here are a few of the reasons I chose an exercise bike in my home gym.
Rain or shine, snow or sleet, it'll deliver your fitness! This is one of the main reasons I started using exercise bikes ten years ago. It rained almost every day during the winter while my beloved bike lay collecting cobwebs in the garage. By the time the rain stopped, I had about three weeks to enjoy it before my hometown began feeling hot as the bowels of Hades again. After nearly giving myself heat stroke trying to bike at 9 AM in the summer, I drove my air conditioned car to the local sporting goods store.
I have no less than three close friends who have been plowed over at intersections or in the bike lane. In each of those cases, my friends were following all traffic laws and wearing safety equipment. None of them died, but all three had massive hospital bills and long recoveries.
Stationary biking is also convenient for those who have physical difficulties They can exercise even with balance problems or joint pain. It's much easier to check and maintain the heart rate at the doctor recommended level, and you won't be in the middle of nowhere, away from your family if you have a sudden problem. Whatever age you are or what your level of fitness is, you can achieve your fitness goals safely at home.
Exercise bikes are cheaper than a gym membership in the long run. They will never break your budget. Considering that most gym memberships have rates of over $50 a month and come with draconian cancellation costs, even a thousand dollar machine will pay for itself in no time. You'll also use it more often because of the convenience.
This isn't just because the bike is right there staring at you. Gyms can be inconvenient. We're always too busy or getting called away in the middle of a workout. All of this is no problem when you have a bike at home. Even on hectic days, I just grab five or ten minutes whenever I can. It adds up over the course of the day.
Whether you ride on the road or go to the gym, you'll need someone to babysit your younger kids while you work out. Some gyms include daycare, but it's expensive. If you have a stationary cycle at home, you can keep an eye on your little ones and workout without spending a dime. Plus, if you kids see you engaging in a healthy workout from the start, they will naturally incorporate it into their lifestyles.
I gained my love of fitness from jogging with my father, and they are some of the happiest memories of my childhood. Those memories are also personal proof of the longevity benefits that exercise provides because he's still alive and active at the ripe old age of 86. Does motivation get any better than that?
I'm a big fan of zoning out with distraction free exercise for at least half an hour a day because it's a huge stress reliever. Some days, I like to go longer. If I don't have the time for an extended workout routine, I'll get my laptop and work while using my bike. As a matter of fact, I'm listening to M83 and riding my bike this very moment, while typing this post. (Road Blaster is the perfect biking song.)
The first time I saw my beautiful but beer-gutted better half jump on my marcy recumbent bike, I almost fainted. Now his beer gut is almost gone.
I don't even want to touch the handles on the bikes and the gym--or sit on them for that matter. No matter how much cleaning equipment they set out, there's always some inconsiderate, sweaty jerk that thinks his particular brand of sweat is God's gift to the world, so he must share it. Eww!
I've had people look at me funny when I've shown up at the gym in old sweats and a ponytail instead of my cute little workout getup. Why do I have to dress up to go work out? At home, I can be as stinky and frizzy as I want with no repercussions.
Furthermore, no one is looking at my butt from behind my back while I work. I can add goofy arm exercised to my workout and listen to guilty pleasures on the radio while I work out to my heart's content with no audience. It's bliss.
Biking is one of the most effective exercises in the world to tighten your calves, thighs, and glutes--those are the main muscles on your backside.
Stationary bikes are popular for users and have evolved to meet different needs for weight loss. There are now four different types of indoor cycles to choose from:
This was the first exercise bike that became popular. Uprights have a very simple design that usually includes an LCD screen with a tracking system. These monitors track the distance you've peddled and the calories burned for weight loss. We often sit on them like we would a beach cruiser, and the peddling method is very similar too. They are among some of the most modern machines. They're inexpensive and easy to repair if something breaks, and they rarely break. Some good standard uprights from the 80's still work great.
These are the machines you're going to find at the gym for spin classes. They come with a flywheel mechanism that disengages when you coast and re-engages when you start peddling again. The experience is comparable to what you experience when racing your bike on the road. You have to lean over the handlebars to peddle just like you would your racing bike too. You can get some of the most intense cardio workouts in the world on a spin cycle.
These bikes have moving handlebars instead of a pair stationary ones. Some models have both. The bike handlebars move like those on a skiing machine, working your arms out too. Some models allow separate adjustments for your legs, so the bike is suitable for any athlete, novice to expert. Most of us have stronger legs than arms, so our noodle arms may need time to catch up to the resistance level that our legs can handle.
Marcy recumbent stationary bikes are my personal favorite for multi-tasking because they are so comfortable. They have back supports just like a chair, and they're perfect for reading a book while peddling. Unfortunately, the only arm workout I get is turning the page unless I put down the book and pick up the weights. They also employ different muscles than standard bikes. You'll notice that they require more of a push with the thighs than a peddling with your legs and backside.
Every exercise bike features a different kind of pedal resistance to increase the difficulty of motion. Some bikes have manually adjustable magnetic resistance while others have digitally adjustable magnetic resistance. Other bikes feature simple mechanical pedal resistance. Magnetic resistance and other types still have difficulty simulating the difficulty of riding a bike up an incline surface.
Whichever type of bike you choose, make sure it's one you will enjoy using. Some of us just like to pedal vigorously on a marcy recumbent, and some of us enjoy the racing feel of a spin machine. Some people want the full-body workout that we can only get with a dual-action bike. There isn't a wrong choice here. It's all about what best suits your needs.
There's a lot of detail that went into these upright bikes. For instance, the LCD has a soft blue backlight, so if you decide to use it as a magazine rest, the light won't shine through the paper and make it hard to read.
Most people bypass the recumbent bikes at the gym because they offer absolutely no upper body work.
But this recumbent bike has both arm and leg pedals. It's ideal for users who have problems sitting on an upright or spin bike because they can't still work out their arms.
This bike has all of the bells and whistles I'd expect for a relaxing workout. The foldout book rest, adjustable armrest, cooling fan, cup holder for water, and mp3 connectable speaker system make it feel like driving a Lexus, plus it's very sturdy and comfortable.
It's not perfect, but it is a smooth and comfortable workout.
The biggest advantage of this Sunny Health Fitness bike is the smooth operation the chain drive, and 37.5-pound aluminum and steel flywheel offers. It seems a bit expensive until you try it out and realize how realistic the road feel is.
It's very sturdy too, handling up to 350 pounds, so it's ideal for both men and women. The adjustable magnetic resistance functions in tandem with the braking so that you can adjust the resistance levels in small increments.
The handlebars for this bike are angled as not to hurt the wrists after extended use. While this might not seem like a big deal to someone who has never tried hard-core spinning before but believe me; it's important.
This is also one of the few models that are suitable for very short people, or small people with short legs.
This cycling bike utilizes the whole body and gives your foot a full range of motion. When the petals are at their lowest positions, you can straighten your legs completely.
I'm the kind of person that likes to pedal with a beat, so it bothers me that you have to go faster to change the resistance, but it provides a high-quality workout.
This compact indoor cycling bike is a great choice for people who have a limited amount of space because it's foldable. It feels great when working out and it's easily one of the best bikes for the price to get fit.
One small criticism is that the leg motion is unusual, possibly because of the foldable design. It forces the pedals to sit a bit further inward than they would on a regular bike but not as far out as a recumbent.
This magnetic upright bike takes getting used to with varying resistance levels.
If you're lacking room and are searching for more compact, foldable exercise machines like this, read my review of the Best Compact Exercise Equipment:
This bike is a good mid-range choice for home-use. It doesn't feel as slick compared to a gym bike, but it has a lot of the features that you want and needs from one, and it's not nearly as expensive.
One of the best things about this Schwinn is that it has a more advanced LCD digital layout which lets you simultaneously track 13 monitored actions. It's just easier to stay motivated when I can see all of my different areas of progress on the screen.
Even better, I can export the data from my machine to my iPad so I can keep track of calories burned, and distance peddled every week. It's a fantastic motivational machine.
I hope this small guide has given you an exceptional overview involving some of the best bikes on the market. Now you just need to make a decision between these or another suitable cardio machine. Enjoy!