Exercise Bike Reviews by Brand and Model
The exercise bike, also called the stationary bike or indoor cycle, has long been a popular piece of exercise equipment for both home gyms and health clubs. Using one of these machines is an effective way to improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen and tone your legs, glutes, and other muscles, while minimizing the impact on your knees, ankles, and lower back.
There are two basic types of stationary bikes for home use: upright, and recumbent bikes. The upright indoor bike is similar to an ordinary bicycle, with a saddle, and pedals positioned directly underneath your legs. A recumbent bike is a bit like sitting in a comfortable recliner — it features cushioned back support and pedals located in front of you.
On this section of our site, we’ve gathered an extensive amount of information about exercise bikes, to help you select the best equipment for your fitness goals.
Upright Exercise Bikes
Riding upright exercise bikes in your home is the closest thing possible to actually getting out and pedaling a real bicycle. People have been riding bicycles for many years both as transportation and as exercise. It is one of the most effective workouts you can do because it strengthens and tones all areas of your body while burning up tons of excess calories.
But for the average user looking for a quality aerobic workout at home, upright exercise bikes are the perfect vehicle.There are many varieties of upright exercise bikes on the market today and they each offer something unique. No matter what your needs and fitness goals may be, there is something out there that will deliver the results you want within a price range you can actually afford.
If money is your primary concern, then an upright stationary bike may be your best pick out of all types of home fitness equipment. You can purchase very basic home cycles that retail in the $100 – $300 price range, but you have to put your expectations in line. These models will feature small consoles with very basic feedback information and they typically do not have the strongest frames and will therefore hold less weight than more expensive bikes. They also do not tend to come with many preprogrammed workouts, if they have any at all.
If you can afford to spend a little more, you can find a bike under the $1,000 price point that will serve you well for many years. In this price range you can expect preprogrammed workouts that deliver variety and magnetic resistance systems which allow you to increase the intensity without stopping the workout. You will also get built-in heart rate sensors on these models and larger consoles which are backlit for easier reading and which deliver more detailed feedback on your workout.
When you look at upright exercise bikes which retail over $1,000, you are looking at higher quality, longer-lasting machines designed to be durable through more intense workouts, with users weighing upwards of 300 pounds. Some of these will still have the same features as lower end models, but many will have more preprogrammed workouts, programs which work off of your active heart rate, and some will have chest straps for more accurate heart rate monitoring.
The higher end models also tend to come with more of the technological features, such as built-in speakers and MP3 player connections and optional TV screens. Some now have TV screens built directly into the console.
Most upright exercise bikes on the market right now are equipped with magnetic resistance and other technological advances that make them extremely quiet and smooth to ride. If you prefer to feel as if you are really riding a bike outdoors, then you may be interested in the Schwinn Airdyne bike. It is designed with the large, open fan flywheel on front and two moving arm handles. You ride it like old school exercise bikes, taking up the resistance with faster pedaling rather than the push of a button. It does come with a small console for basic reporting on the workout as well.
Some higher end models are designed for indoor race training and can be equipped with race style handlebars.
Of course, there is always the spin bike if you are interested in burning as many calories as possible through short, high intensity workouts.
Recumbent Exercise Bike
The Recumbent Exercise Bike helps you enjoy biking . . . one of the most challenging forms of exercise, yet one of the most pleasurable activities as well. Many people think back to their childhood and their time spent roaming the neighborhood on their bike with warm memories, and in adult life many of those grown kids continue to enjoy biking whether it is outdoors or in their living room on an exercise bicycle.
In modern times, the home fitness bike has been taken to new extremes. You have spin cycles for those who want a super challenging workout that burns tons of calories and the recumbent exercise bike for those who want a good workout with some modifications.
A recumbent exercise bike is simply an exercise cycle which has been stretched out into a longer position. You sit much like you would while riding in a car, with your legs stretched directly out in front of your body. This position takes a lot of the pressure off of the knees, hips, and legs.
The stationary recumbent exercise bike was initially used as a tool for physical therapy for people who needed to work their body or burn calories without putting direct pressure on their lower body. Today, it is used a lot by people who are injured, recovering from surgery, or who have health problems which prevent them from balancing on top of an upright bike safely.
They are also used by people who are completely healthy but who want to incorporate their upper body for a complete workout. Since a recumbent exercise bike comes with a full sized seat with a supportive back, users can actually pump their arms with dumbbells or simply pump them at their sides as if walking while operating the bike. This includes a strengthening element and considerably boosts calorie burn.
While the positioning of the seat may sound like the bike offers a less demanding workout, this is not completely true. Recumbent style bikes come with all the features that make an upright bike so challenging. Depending on the exact brand and model you select, they will have a variety of preprogrammed workout options which take you through a variety of resistance levels and speeds to deliver a very challenging workout.
The ability to change the resistance is key for getting a good workout on a recumbent exercise bike. As long as you are willing to push yourself and make the most of your exercise time, you can get a great fat burning workout without putting any stress or strain on your body.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these cycles, try to stick with familiar name brands. Schwinn is a good brand to check into for durable, high quality lower priced models and NordicTrack is one of the leading brands if you want more advanced technological features.
Today’s recumbent bikes come with MP3 plug-ins, slots for workout discs designed by the world’s top fitness trainers, and magnetic brake systems which operate so quiet you can watch TV or talk to others with little to no interference from the bike.
Some of the best through models come with a step through design which eliminates the center bar you would have to climb over to mount an upright bike. These models allow you to step into the center of the bike and simply sit down, further eliminating any pressure on the body.