Which Exercise Bike to Buy? 10 Factors to Consider

By Chuck | Exercise Bikes

the Schwinn 170 Upright Bike is a top-notch model

Exercise bikes are usually the genesis of getting fit at home. This is simply because most people purchase this piece of equipment at the beginning of their fitness journey.

If you have decided that going out to the gym is too much work and you’d rather workout at home, these types of exercise equipment can come in very handy.

Unfortunately, there are so many terrible models out there made from inferior parts with no value for money. Failure to do the necessary research can be extremely costly.

You could end up with an expensive piece of equipment that you will hardly use.

Why Buy an Exercise Bike in the First Place?

Whether you are an extremely fit person or never worked out in your life, these bikes can offer lots of vital benefits.

Their practical designs usually mean that virtually anyone can hop onto one and pedal to fitness without the need to study any complicated techniques.

Exercise bikes offer extremely vital low-impact cardio to the body. From obesity to diabetes and other chronic diseases, working out regularly on your bike can protect you from lots of medical conditions.

Apart from that, stationary bike workouts are a great way to improve your overall health and fitness. With an increased ability to burn lots of calories, these workouts can also help trim your waist line and burn belly fat.

The fact that exercise bikes cause minimal strain on your joints and other body parts is another bonus. Sore joints are a common occurrence when activities such as running and jogging are undertaken regularly due to their extreme impact on the joints.

Thankfully, you won’t have to go through all of those frustrations on an exercise bike. This is why elite athletes undertake intensive exercises on recumbent, upright, and indoor bikes as part of the recovery process from major injuries.

What Are the Types of Exercise Bikes?

can you spot the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Upright Exercise Bike shown here? its the best upright exercise bike available

How do you know the best exercise bike to buy during shopping when you are not even aware of the different types out there?

Recumbent and Upright Bikes are the two main types in the marketplace at the moment. Each type comes with its own positives and negatives.

It is up to you to decide which features are deal breakers for you in order to settle on a particular type.

Upright bikes are pioneers in the fitness industry and seem to be more popular among consumers. These stationary bikes are designed with the same features as a standard road bike.

Parts such as seats, handlebars, and pedals are all designed to look just like traditional bikes. If you have ever ridden any type of bicycle in the past, you should have no problems getting on a stationary upright bike.

Remember, the stationary nature of upright bikes is the only way they differ from traditional bicycles.

Recumbent bikes are the newest type on the market. There are distinct differences between these types of bikes and the upright types in terms of design.

The pedals are located in front of a recumbent bike so users can sit back and relax while working out. This is unlike the upright design where the pedals are located at the bottom area of the bike.

If you are buying an exercise bike for the first time, it is important to evaluate the features of both types in order to make a well-informed decision.

You might go in for an upright bike due to its ability to work out your upper body area. Others may prefer the relaxed design that comes with a recumbent so they can multitask while working out at the same time.

Recumbent bikes are also perfect for those with chronic back problems who tend to feel uncomfortable on the bar-stool-like upright bike seats.

Exercise Bike Buying Guide : Factors to Consider

The real shopping process begins after you have decided on a particular type of exercise bike. Here are the most critical factors to consider before clicking on the “Buy” button on a particular model.

These factors apply regardless of whether you prefer a recumbent stationary bike or upright bike.

1. Safety​

Your safety is the most important factor to consider when shopping for any piece of workout equipment. Remember, these machines come with lots of moving parts that could lead to serious injuries if something goes wrong.

Make sure it comes with all the necessary safety precautions to minimize the risk of injury to not just you but others such as young children.

2. Height​

woman on an exercise bike suitable for her height

It would be great if every bike on the market today could be easily used by people of all heights but that’s not the case. This is why choosing a bike with adjustable height is so important.

Fortunately, most exercise bike models on the market come with a specific range of height for users. As long as you fall within the range, you should have no problems adjusting it in order to suit your comfort needs.

Purchasing a bike with less than stellar levels of comfort during workouts will only end up gathering dust at home because you won’t even bother using it.

3. Resistance Levels​

Most exercise bike models on the market today are integrated with different levels of resistance to choose from. If you are not fit, choosing a model where the lowest level of resistance is beyond your stamina is a big no-no.

At the same time, make sure you choose an advanced model with resistance levels that can give you challenging workouts if you are fairly fit. You wouldn’t want to waste money on an exercise bike that is below your stamina.

4. Seat Comfort​

comfortable bicycle seats pictured here

How can you work out for an extended period of time when the seats on your exercise bike leads to severe butt pain?

Seating comfort is another important piece of the puzzle you can’t afford to get wrong during your search. The good news is that buyers leave independent reviews on Amazon so you can’t get this wrong.

If you are shopping in a brick and mortar store, make sure you try the seats extensively before choosing a workout bike.

5. Pedals​

An exercise bike’s pedals should give you fluid movements in order to motivate extensive sessions. They should be designed to prevent slippage and associated injuries.

Some exercise bike models feature pedals that come with straps to protect your feet and enhance smooth pedaling.

6. Weight Capacity​

Virtually every exercise bike available on the market today comes with a stated weight capacity. This should serve as a guide during the shopping process.

Make sure you opt for a model that falls within your weight at any point in time in order to prevent undue pressure on the parts. Keep in mind that working out on a machine that is too lightweight for you can also increase the risk of suffering injuries.

Most models come with weight limits ranging from 250 to 300 pounds so you should find one easily unless you are morbidly obese.

7. Built-in Heart Rate Monitor​

blue version of the Polar FT4 shown here

Built-in heart rate monitors offer you an ability to track your performance levels and gauge how intense your workouts are. Most recumbent and upright stationary bikes feature this innovation so finding one should be a walk in the park.

Most bikes also come with LCD display that presents performance data ranging from calories burned to distance covered and of course, workout duration.

If you own a top-notch pulse monitor then this feature may be overlooked.​

8. Warranty​

We believe you should always pay attention to the warranty details covering every exercise bike before purchase. The length of warranty is the first point to take note of.

After that, remember to find out if the warranty is full or partial and if partial, which areas it covers. We recommend that you choose one that comes with at least 1-year full warranty.

Keep in mind that more often than not, the most elite models with gargantuan price tags come with the lengthiest warranties. There will always be a few exceptions though so you should do well to clarify instead of making assumptions.

9. Built-in Programs​

image showing built-in exercise bike programs

Exercise bikes that come with built-in programs which enable workout routines based on your stamina levels should be on top of your list. These programs are often designed by fitness experts to meet your needs based on your gender, fitness level, weight, and goals.

10. Budget​

There’s no point day-dreaming about the most advanced exercise bikes on the market if you can’t afford it. The good news is that finding a suitable model shouldn’t be too much work regardless of your budget.

Basic upright and recumbent bikes come with price tags ranging from as low as 100 to 500 bucks while Elite machines and bikes used in commercial gyms tend to be priced north of $1,000.

Conclusion​

Following this 10-point checklist is the most fool-proof way to end up with a perfect gym bike to attain your fitness goals.

The good news is that you don't have to break the bank to end up with a top model for your private use.​


About the Author

Chuck is a lazy fitness enthusiast committed to sharing the latest tips and comprehensive gear reviews to help you work out smart instead of hard.

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