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A staple of many home gyms, exercise bikes are a good all-rounder – you can pick them up cheap, they can take up little space, and they can help you on your way to burning some serious calories. You can also watch television while using it. What’s not to like? Here is Fitness Savvy’s complete guide.
How Often Will You Use Your Exercise Bike?
Some bike manufacturers target lightweight while some target hardcore workouts. Your equipment’s lifespan can come into play depending on the mileage you cover each month. A sturdy bike might be more durable when you use more frequently compared to a weaker one.
Exercise Bike Features
Here are a few features you will need to look at when buying an exercise bike. If it is for your home gym, you should take account of dimensions and weight. Alternatively, if it is for a commercial set-up, you should ensure that you are purchasing something that can withstand a lot of use.
Here’s what you should look out for:
- Is it a folding bike? This can be great when looking at home gym equipment as they can fold away and take up less space.
- Does it have a built-in fan? If it is a hot day and you are working out, you will be glad if you purchased a model with a fan. Some even have multiple fans!
- Are there wheels or rollers on the exercise bike? This is important if you need to move it around. For example, you might keep it in the corner of your living room, but move it to the centre of the room to watch television while working out.
- What console features are included? Some exercise bikes will come with various consoles. Others will have a standard built-in display. You should look to see what features these include. Some will have iPod connectivity, built-in apps etc. You might want a model with multiple user profiles so everyone in the house can track their stats and progress. As a minimum, look for calories burned, speed, time, and distance.
- Is there a water bottle holder? Sounds simple, but some don’t have them. Others have 2! Worth checking out before committing to a purchase.
- Is the seat adjustable? Ideally, you would want a model with adjustable seat. Nearly all have this feature, but you will find that some have more positions than others. Adjustable handlebars are not as common but are certainly a feature on a lot of exercise bikes.
Exercise Bike Extras
Accessories can make your workout sessions a breeze. Some bikes have built-in fans that help your body cool off from the heat. The fans also provide resistance.
Others also feature built-in radios that produce acoustic music that you can listen to while you exercise. Research has shown that enjoying music while you exercise can distract you from pain, and puts you in a zone that makes you work harder.
Types of Exercise Bikes
Exercise Bikes fall into three broad categories namely:
- Recumbent Bikes
- Upright Bikes
- Spinning Bikes
You can differentiate between the types by looking at things like:
– Where you place your legs while operating the bike
– The position of the seat
– The presence or lack thereof of handlebars
While upright bikes have been on the market longer, Recumbent Exercise Bikes are now becoming a staple in many home gyms.
An upright bike has a perched seat, just like a regular bike and is suitable for people that don’t have neurological problems.
- Cheaper, so it’s excellent for those with a thin budget
- The bike’s upright position takes less storage space.
- More versatile regarding workouts as it mimics an outdoor bike
- Has an uncomfortable seat that can cause the genital area to hurt. You might need to keep on taking breaks in between your exercise.
- You have to hold on to the handlebars for support, so your hands are not free to do anything else.
- You must maintain an upright posture throughout your session. Otherwise, you might start experiencing back pain problems.
Recumbent Exercise Bike
The design of the bike allows you to sit in a reclined position as you extend your feet forward.
- If you value comfort or have spinal problems, this is the ideal bike for you.
- The seat has a backrest that allows you to sit in a sloped position. The position offers back support, enabling you to exercise for long periods without any discomfort-oriented distractions.
- No handlebars so your hands are free to do other things like reading a book, surfing the net or catching up with your favourite program on TV.
- Fewer accidents because of the bike’s physical construction and sitting position.
- Excellent for strengthening the hamstrings and other lower body muscles.
- More expensive than an upright bike.
- To achieve the same workout as a person using an upright or spinning bike, you need to work out for a longer time.
- The bike is heavy.
- The bike takes up more storage space because of its sprawling design.
This bike resembles an upright bike and has a real chain and heavier flywheels. If you’re looking for a more authentic workout, this is the bike for you.
- You can adjust the pedal for different levels of resistance.
- The bike gives you a more intense full body workout
- The handles bars are much further than for an upright bike hence could be problematic for you if you have back problems.
- The seat resembles that of a regular bicycle which is smaller in size and a little uncomfortable
- Most are basic and don’t have any computation that allows you to know how many calories you’ve burnt
- Not ideal for beginners and might cause joint pains due to the rigorous workouts.
Our Final Words
When it comes to choosing an exercise bike, “one size fits all,” doesn’t work. To get the best value for your money, you must consider the price, features, storage space, exercise goals, your height, and weight, etc.
As you might have noticed, the pricier Exercise Bikes come with more features, accessories and comfort. The cheaper ones are pocket-friendly while they also lack in some important aspects, especially comfort when it comes to senior citizens or those recovering from injuries.
We recommend taking a look at the site to see what fits your needs.
Not sure Exercise Bikes are the right choice for your cardio workout? Check out and compare prices on more fitness equipment in our range of treadmills and cross trainers.