Exercise or stationary bikes are one of the most common home aerobic workout machines. They are used for body toning, weight loss, conditioning, endurance training etc.
They range in models and price significantly and one must be careful when choosing right one. Due to circular motion, stationary bikes provide low-impact exercise, which is very important for people having joint issues. Also, overweight and obese people and people having heart related issues, can exercise in controlled environment with all their parameters being monitored by trained professionals during exercise (blood pressure, blood oxygen, heart rate, etc.).
Exercise bikes have various mechanisms for applying resistance to the pedals, thus increasing the intensity of the workout and simulating real outdoor cycling.
Most of the resistance mechanisms include fans, magnets, friction systems and/or their combinations.
Unlike normal bikes, some exercise bike models enable the trainee to pedal even backwards.
Upright bikes are the traditionally styled models that look like classic bikes and many people that use exercise bikes during bad weather, but prefer cycling outside during nice weather, choose this type of exercise bikes. Also they occupy less space than recumbent bikes, especially foldable models.
Recumbent bikes allow a person to exercise in a reclining position which some people may find more comfortable than upright position, especially during longer workouts due to extra support provided by the larger seat and backrest. For more info about recumbent bikes, check our Top 5 Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes - Recumbent Bikes 101 guide.
A bike stand is piece of equipment that enables using normal bike as exercise bike in privacy of our homes.
Their resistance is usually harder to set, when compared with, for example, magnetic breaking system of stationary bikes. On the other hand, there are more expensive bike stands that provide even that.
When buying exercise bike, there are few things to consider:
- size and weight of the bike - these 'toys' can be big and relatively heavy. Folding bikes can fit tight spaces and are easier to store till next use. But, before buying, find the place where will you store and use bike and measure it - be sure to have enough space around the bike for normal exercise.
- transport wheels - most of the bikes are equipped with some sort of transport wheels and are more or less, easily moved around. However, if you can keep your bike on the same place where you will exercise, you will exercise more often - seriously.
- breaking system - magnetic brake system in combination with preset workout program can provide very realistic hill terrain workout. Fans and friction systems are present in cheaper models and their resistance can't be changed automatically. Fan system require least parts and last for a long time.
Magnetic system is controlled electronically with no moving parts like friction brakes and plates, but can be pricy due to electronics. On the other hand, if you are going to use stationary bike often, go for model with magnetic break system, with various preset and customized cycling programs - these programs not only simulate hill and similar terrains, they, for example, can be optimized to burn as many calories as possible, while keeping your heart rate below preset value.
- LCD display - displays distance covered, time elapsed, calories burned, pulse rate etc. Higher end models have stand for laptop, iPhone and similar gadgets that can be used during workout and thus saving us some time - we work and workout at the same time :)
- safety features vary from model to model. First of all, stationary bike must be stable, otherwise trainee could fall down, with to without bike. Other safety features include heart rate monitors, oxygen monitor, bike maintenance status lights and other sensors that can come useful during exercise.
- warranty vary from few months to several years. Note that there are warranties for various parts - for example, flying disk and frame can have 3 years warranty, while other parts can have 1 year warranty. Also, some models require that you register your bike on-line in order to have valid warranty.
- maximum allowed weight - this value vary from light and rather small exercise bikes having maximum user weight of less than 90kg (200 pounds), to big and sturdy bikes having maximum allowed user weight of or even more than 150 kg (330 pounds). Big and sturdy means - more expensive, heavier and more space required.
Exercise bikes are great, but in the end, you are the one who is going to use them.
Excerise bike reviews and recommendations, ordered according to the date added or modified:
Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike is affordable and very popular home recumbent exercise bike. Thanks to the magnetic resistance system, it is very quiet during exercise. It is not the lightest unit around, but it is very sturdy and durable.
FitDesk v2.0 Desk Exercise Bike with Massage Bar is upright and semi-recumbent exercise bike featuring non-slip desk surface, easy access drawer, massage rollers and integrated resistance bands. It enables light cardio workout, while doing some simpler office jobs at the same time.
Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is high quality spinning bike suitable for home use - it is easily comparable with more expensive models suitable for both home and gym use. Money well spent.
Velocity Fitness CHB-R2003 Magnetic Recumbent Bike is 'classic' recumbent exercise bike - at acceptable price it provides sturdy and durable piece of exercise equipment that will work properly for long time. It does miss some features that more expensive bikes have, but are they really needed for you?
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse is simple and robust exercise bike. It is easily folded and transported on it's own wheels when not in use. Exercise bike suitable for entire family, not only for occasional cycling.
Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle Stationary Indoor Trainer Exercise Bike is great and expensive stationary bike built to last and to provide quiet, smooth and realistic cycling workout. Again, it is expensive, but what you pay is what you get ...