Exercise Bike Buyers Guide

Exercise bikes work your heart, lungs and lower body without putting impact or stress on your joints like treadmills or other exercises. Exercise bikes are great for individuals new to exercising since they are low impact and the motion is very familiar to most people. Work out in the comfort of your own home with an exercise bike, no matter what the weather conditions are outside.

Benefits of Biking

  • Complete aerobic work out in the comfort of your own home
  • Very low impact - Little strain on joints means less injuries
  • Biking is natural so anyone can use an exercise bike
  • Various types of exercise bikes to meet your fitness level and needs

Types of Exercise Bikes

  • Upright - Traditional stationary bike used by most hardcore cyclists because they replicate actual cycling the best
    • Advantages
      • Great cardiovascular and lower body workout
      • More intense workout in less time than with a recumbent bike
      • Compact and fits in small spaces
    • Disadvantages
      • Lack of back support can lead to back pain
  • Recumbent - Semi-reclining position with a larger seat and back support
    • Advantages
      • Larger seat with back support is more comfortable and puts less stress on your back
      • Greater lower body workout than an upright bike
    • Disadvantages
      • Less intense of a workout
      • Cannot stand up on pedals and therefore less like road cycling
  • Test Cycles - Used in gyms and for rehab
    • Advantages
      • Better data feedback
      • Built to last longer
    • Disadvantages
      • More expensive

Types of Resistance

  • Direct tension: The user manually adjusts resistance by clamping down on the wheel
  • Flywheels: Most similar to a road bicycle, these ensure smooth exercise bike motion. The heavier the flywheel, the smoother your ride will be.
  • Air: A fan blows air into the wheel; pedaling against the flow creates resistance. (The fan also helps cool the rider)
  • Magnetic: The most sophisticated resistor is popular in gyms; resistance is friction-free, allowing riders to increase difficulty or variety of workout programs

Extra Features

Feedback on the display can differ from machine to machine. Most offer feedback on time, speed, distance and calories. Some also track heart rate and offer pre-programmed workouts to add variety to your routine. Another important detail to note is size adjustability. The seat should be adjusted so you are sitting comfortably with your hips square and your legs slightly bent at full extension.