Exercise bike buyers guide
The best exercise bikes will give you a stimulating cardio workout which can help you to burn calories, lose weight and improve your cardiovascular health and muscular strength, all from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Indoor exercise bikes are one of the most popular exercise machines due to their affordability, ease of use and convenience when it comes to space. When exercising from home, you can even conduct other activities simultaneously such as stream your favourite tv shows, watch sports, play games or even continue working!
With so many exercise bikes to choose from, it is important to consider your individual requirements. For example, if you have limited space, you may need a foldable bike. On the other hand, if you plan on streaming spin classes, you will probably want a bike with a built-in smart device holder. Of course, your budget is also one of the most important things to consider when choosing the best exercise bike.
This aticle covers our top recommendations for the best exercise bikes for all budgets and fitness levels. Whatever your circumstances are, there is a bike for everyone.back to menu ↑
What are the best exercise bikes?
Here we will take a look at our best exercise bikes from the hundreds of exercise bike reviews that we have researched and analysed in great detail.back to menu ↑
How to choose the best exercise bike for you
Whatever your goals may be, from losing weight to general fitness or just practising your riding skills, there are a vast range of exercise bikes that can cater to all user needs. It can seem like an overwhelming task with so many indoor bikes to choose from. Here we will help you on your search for a suitable bike by covering some of the key features to look for and what to consider when finding the best exercise bike for your individual requirements.back to menu ↑
As you will be using the exercise bike in your home, you will need to make sure that you have enough space for it. If you have limited space, a folding exercise bike may be the best option.
You should also ensure that the bike won’t be in the way when you are not using it. An advantage of foldable exercise bikes is that they can be conveniently stored away in cupboards. However, they may not have the same build quality as a fixed upright exercise bike.
The best exercise bikes should have wheels on the base so that you can easily move it around as and when you need to. How often you plan on using the bike can help when deciding on size and portability.back to menu ↑
Weight capacity on an exercise bike refers to the amount of weight the bike is able to support. Each exercise bike will have a maximum load capacity. Whilst most users should fit within these limits, you may want to check the specifications to ensure that it will be suitable for you.back to menu ↑
Whilst most exercise bikes will have adjustable seats, you will want to ensure that it is suitable for your height. This is important so that you can be sure the seat is at the right height and you are not sitting too close, or too far away, from the handlebars. When you are sitting on the bike with a pedal at its lowest point, your leg should point almost straight down with a slight bend at the knee. Adjustable handlebars are also a beneficial feature to get the right setup for you.back to menu ↑
If you have physical limitations such as back or knee problems, you will want to be sure that the indoor bike can be adjusted accordingly so that you will feel comfortable and safe whilst doing your cardio activity.
A recumbent bike allows you to exercise your thighs, calves, and glute muscles with less strain. It has a wider and lower seat than an upright bike. Additionally, recumbent bikes put less strain on your joints, which is ideal for those with arthritis, and are much easier to balance on and sit comfortably.back to menu ↑
You can have the best exercise bike in the world, but if it is not comfortable, then you probably won’t want to use it. As mentioned above, an adjustable seat and handlebars can help with comfort.
The material and size of the bikes seat is also worth consideration. Top of the range bikes usually have the most comfortable seats but you can always buy a seat cover if it is not soft enough for longer rides. Make sure any seat covers are breathable and, preferably, washable.back to menu ↑
Once you have confirmed that the bike is suitable for your height and weight, you may want to take a look at the different resistance levels. The resistance system on an indoor exercise bike is an important factor when it comes to adjusting the difficulty in effort levels when you’re pedalling.
If you are looking for an intense workout and want a high impact calorie-burning cycling session, you should look for bikes with suitable resistance for high intensity interval training (HIIT). If you are a more casual user, then any indoor bike will likely suffice. They will vary from low, medium to high resistance and everything in between. Some exercise bikes will have more resistance levels than others.
If you want something that will deliver a quieter ride, you could look for something with a magnetic resistance system. Electromagnetic resistance systems tend to perform better on the accuracy front.
The location of the resistance knob can also be important to some users. The top of the range exercise bikes can have electronically controlled resistance whereas you may need to lean down to adjust on the budget exercise bikes.back to menu ↑
If you have used an indoor exercise bike, you will already have noticed that they all usually come with a built-in electronic console display to help you monitor your cycling performance.
The best exercise bikes should display all of the important performance data which includes your time, distance, calories burned, speed, heart rate, reps per minute (RPM / cadence), etc. They will also have preprogramed workouts at different difficulty levels for you to follow or allow you to cycle at your own leisure.
If you are a more advanced cyclist, you can look for exercise bikes that have Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity that delivers the possibility to connect additional performance sensors or apps to take your indoor cycling to the next level.back to menu ↑
Once you have ear-marked all of the key features you are looking for in an exercise bike, you can further narrow it down according to the cost. Thankfully, there are exercise bikes that cater to a wide range of budgets. Even on a tight budget, you can find an entry price bike that is sturdy, adjustable, comfortable and easy to use.back to menu ↑
Other Key Features
Here are some other key features to keep an eye out for when shopping for your new exercise bike;
- Pulse grip sensors (for heart rate)
- Bottle holder (refresh with your favourite beverage mid-ride)
- Smart device holder (for placing your smart phone or tablet to watch as you exercise)
- Safety stop (bring the bike to a halt in case of emergency)
- Feet protection (to stop you damaging the floor underneath)
- Battery or mains operated (is there a plug socket in a convenient location)
- Build (the best exercise bikes will be built with the strongest materials)
- Assembly (you want a bike that you can easily put together with clear instructions. Some of the best bikes even come with free installation or video tutorials)
Types of exercise bike
There are four different types of resistance used on exercise bikes. These are as follows;back to menu ↑
The majority of indoor exercise bikes will utilise flywheel resistance. The flywheel is heavy weight metal disk that resides on the front side of an exercise bike and stores rotational energy. It connects to the bike pedals via a belt or chain, just as a normal road bike would. The flywheel stores the momentum generated as you continuously ride and releases it upon completion. Generally speaking, the heavier the flywheel, the higher the resistance. A flywheel around 22kg is often considered as commercial gym quality.back to menu ↑
Direct contact resistance
Upright indoor bicycles which implement direct contact braking utilise the principle of friction in order to provide the user with resistance. In this instance, the brake is directly applied to the flywheel in order to reduce the rotational speed you provide by pedalling.back to menu ↑
Magnetic exercise bikes do not use direct friction or even contact. Instead, these types of bikes use electromagnetic induction in order to provide the resistance. Stationary bikes with magnetic resistance tend to offer a smooth ride whilst being very quiet.back to menu ↑
Fan based resistance
These types of exercise bikes use a fan that is connected to the pedals via the belt and pulley system. When you pedal, the fan begins to turn. The resistance on the fan increases as your turn the pedals and up your speed. Thus, for more resistance, you will need to pedal faster.back to menu ↑
Benefits of exercise bikes
Riding an indoor upright exercise bike is a great way to burn calories, reduce body fat, stregthen your leg muscles, improve your cardiovascular health and reach your fitness goals.
In comparison to some other types of fitness equipment such as treadmills and elliptical trainers, a stationary bike tends to be more friendly on your joints whilst still giving you an excellent cardio workout.
Some of the main benefits of an exercise bike include;
- Improve your cardiovascular fitness
- Help you to burn calories and lose weight
- Delivers a low impact yet efficient workout
- Improves strength in your legs and lower body muscles
- Suitable for interval training
- Safer than riding outside
- Exercise in the privacy of your own home
- Consult a doctor if you have any underlying conditions before cycling
Tips for using your exercise bike
Once you have finally purchased your perfect exercise bike, you have made a great choice to improve your overall health and fitness! Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the most out of it;
- Take time to set it up and adjust it correctly
- Choose the right place to keep your bike
- Warm up and warm down for a few minutes
- Create an exercise program according to your own goals
- Start slowly and increase difficulty as your fitness improves
Riding a stationary exercise bike is an efficient and effective way to burn calories and body fat whilst strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles. Compared to some other types of cardio equipment, a stationary bicycle puts less stress on your joints, but it still provides an excellent aerobic workout.
Indoor bikes take up minimal space and can be conveniently stored away when not in use. There are bikes for all different types of users and fitness levels. Hopefully this best exercise bike guide can help you on your fitness journey.