Exercise Bikes Buying Guide – Types and Benefits

As exercise bikes are important piece of fitness equipment, you have to be careful while analyzing the options. Wrong choice can be a total waste of money. To help you out, we have provided extensive information below – using which you can choose the right one that suits your requirements.

Different Types of Exercise Bikes

In the Indian market, you can come across several different types of exercise bikes – each of which are suitable to certain fitness requirements. Finding out which types suits your fitness goals better – is the first step you have to take while purchasing an exercise bike.

We have mentioned a detail description of each exercise bike below. Read carefully to make an informed decision.

1. Upright Exercise Bikes

These bikes let you exercise in a conventional riding position. As it a standard bike, it doesn’t come with any back support. They are perfect for people who are looking for casual workout session or who want to use it while watching TV or reading. If you are expecting high-intensity training, then this is not the right option.

As it a compact exercise bike, you can store them easily without any worries. They provide low-impact option so you can tone muscles and strengthen the legs, experience a great cardio workout.

Since it is designed for seated cycling purpose, they provide front displays and handlebars. The handles of the upright bikes are placed higher than the seat.

This allows you to have a relaxed position. However, some of these bikes also need your arms to maintain support and balance. This way, you can experience an intense workout session that involves your abdominal muscles and upper body.

If you think upright exercise bikes are perfect for your fitness goals, then go for a model that has clear display instructions. An ideal upright exercise bike can track speed, time, resistance, and calories burned. Some models even come with built-in programs which help to keep a track of your workout patterns.

Another beneficial factor to look in an upright exercise bike is heart-rate monitoring. This is mostly placed in the handlebar. When you place the hand over the handlebar, it will get activated and track your heart rate. Some models provide it as chest straps – they provide accurate reading.

When it comes to price, upright exercises are more cost-effective than others. They are perfect for people looking to purchase an exercise bike within tight budget. However, it has only one drawback – the seat is a bit uncomfortable if used for long time. Elders and people with chronic back (especially lower back) pain should not use exercise bike.

Positives:

  • Allows upright and forward-leaning position
  • Works mainly on lower body and abs
  • Suitable for casual workouts
  • Improves muscle tone and strengthening legs
  • Budget friendly

Negatives:

  • Cannot be used to pedal while standing
  • May cause stiffness
  • Not suitable for people with lower back pain
  • Seat is uncomfortable

2. Spin Exercise Bike

This type of exercise bike is also called as indoor bikes. They are commonly seen in gyms and fitness studios. It provides low impact yet high intensity workout – just like while you ride a racing bike.

It is the perfect option of individuals who wish to burn the calories at faster rate. They are not suitable for casual workouts. If you are looking for intensive and strenuous workout, then this is the right option.

Working mechanism of a spin bike usually looks much similar to an upright bike. However, the process of creating resistance is different in these models. In most of the models, the flywheel of the spin bike is not regulated by electromagnets. Instead, it is regulated by a transmission that is driven by the pedals and the brakes, very much like the way a bicycle is powered. Even though you can’t change the gears, you can use the knob to adjust the resistance levels.

As these exercise bikes provide outstanding aerobic workout sessions, they are perfect for regular cyclists. Some of them models come with added benefits like hams, calves, quads and glutes that help you build muscle strength. It also helps in increase stability and improves bone density in hips, knees and ankles. If you want to badly burn off the calories, then this the right choice.

The seats of this type of exercise bike are usually at the same levels as that of the handlebars. The handlebars are also placed at the same levels as those of racing bikes. Thus, riding a spin bike gives you a feel of riding a racing bike by leaning forward. You can even stand on the pedals and ride the bike.

There is only one drawback of this type of exercise bike, it takes up a lot of storage space. So, you have to carefully consider how much space you can spend for it before making the purchase.

Positives:

  • Suitable for high intensity workouts
  • Has sturdy build-up
  • Comes with adjustable handle bars
  • Can be used in upright, leaning and standing positions

Negatives:

  • Can strain the back muscles
  • Not suitable for people with severe joint problems
  • Can take more floor space

3. Recumbent Exercise Bikes

These bikes come in recline position with wider and comfortable seating. Pedals are provided in the front to helps in evening out the body weight distribution. This feature also helps in making these bikes an ideal solution for those dealing with pre-existing injuries or back and joint issues.

The main goal of these cycles is to let you burn the fat away while making you feel relaxed. Unlike spin bikes, the recumbent bikes are not a great choice for passionate bikers.

These bikes are equipped with a chair and proper back support. They make the exercise session so much comfortable and fun. You can simply sit in a reclined position and place your feet on the pedal and start pedaling.

The recumbent bikes have handlebars at the front display and along the sides of the seat. Some of the features that you should look for before buying a recumbent bike are adjustable seating, a clear display with all the necessary measurements, built-in workout programs, and heart-rate monitoring.

If you are someone with back injuries or if you are recovering from any back or joint conditions, these bikes help you recover faster. Exercising on these bikes help you focus more on the glutes and also have a slight impact on the lower stomach muscles. Similar to upright bikes, these bikes also help you work on the glutes and strengthen your legs

You should check for the dimensions of the bike as it takes up more space. Another disadvantage of these bikes is since the seat is reclined, it becomes hard to reach higher leg speeds. Thus, you cannot do a high-calorie workout on this bike. The bikes are a bit costly too and after a point, it becomes difficult to do cycling with back support.

Positives:

  • You can exercise in a relaxed position.
  • Perfect for people who deal with aches/joint problem
  • Have more stability

Negatives:

  • Burns less calories
  • Costly

4. Air Bike

They are also referred as assault or fan bikes. Air bikes are mostly used indoors, which come with two upright handles that tall near to user’s chest. They move front and back as per user’s requirement. It has a large fan which is usually driven the power and speed of pedals.

Resistance of the fan increases based how fast you can pedal. They are perfect for people who want high intensity workouts and challenge their fitness routine. They are best suited for HIIT training style.

Positives:

  • Perfect for calorie burning and high intensity cardio workout
  • Comes with high resistance levels
  • Tones full body

Negatives

  • Costly
  • Consumes more space

5. Hybrid of Exercise Bikes

It is a combination of upright and recumbent bikes. As it comes with two exercise forms, whole family can use it comfortably. It helps you work on a broad range of leg and lower abdominal muscles. If you want to include cycling in your workout, these bikes are good to start with.

Cycling in this bike offers a better back posture. But, if you are looking forward to putting your fitness to the test, these bikes might not offer a great solution to you.

6. Mini Exercise Bikes

They come with paddles and a stabilizer. Most of these models come with a screen which represents speed, time and calories burned. They are cost-effective and light in weight compared to other models. They are best suited for people on therapy.

Compared to other exercise bikes, they burn less calories. While using it, you can stay on the seat comfortably in order to reach the pedals. And then you can pedal just like you would do with other bikes.

How to Choose an Exercise Bike?

No matter how much you want to spend, you should make sure it comes with at least few set of features. Below, we have mentioned some common features often found in exercise bikes.

1. Seat

Whatever model you choose, first check whether seat is comfortably for you to sit. Based on you work out session, you may be sitting on the bike for a longer time. It is shouldn’t hurt your back muscles after just working out for a few minutes.

However, if you still have to purchase an exercise bike with uncomfortable seat, then you can purchase a seat cover or gel padding to decrease the discomfort. Additional feature to look out for is adjustable seating. It helps you adjust the seat according to your height or comfort to reach the handlebars. Without that, you may have to reach the arms beyond your comfort level. Also, make sure the handlebars have easy and sturdy grip.

2. Pedal Strap

To place the feet, you need wide pedals with straps to keep the feet in place. Adjustable pedals come with spring-loaded clips which usually placed at the outer edge to hold the feet. Pedals should be smooth while riding and should not create noise.

For wider feet, we recommend to choose wider feet. After getting the bike, we recommend to adjust the pedals and handlebars according to your size and height. Make sure to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer before attempt to do that.

3. Display

The model you choose must have a clear display and easy controls. An ideal exercise bike will have a display that provides tracking notifications like speed, RPM (revolutions per minute), calories burned, heart rate, time, distance and resistance levels. An ideal display usually comes with a backlit display which shows the details even in dim lighting conditions. And it has to be large enough to show all the tracking information at once.

4. Heart-Rate Monitor

Some exercise bikes come with heart rate monitor which are usually built into the hand grip. Some models provide this option in terms of a chest strap – it provides accurate results. Heart-rate monitors help you stay within healthy heart rate limits. Some models come with specially designed heart-rate control programs that track the heart rate and maintains it within a preset range.

5. Bike Weight and Holding Capacity

Every exercise bike comes with a weight holding capacity. Make sure to choose an exercise bike that has the capacity of at least few kgs more than you weigh. Weight capacity has direct impact on the price of the exercise bike. If the weight holding capacity is near to your weight, then choose a model with higher capacity. For example, if you weight 75Kgs, then go for a model with 90 to 100Kgs capacity. A limit of 15 – 25Kgs is considered as buffer to prevent any additional pressure on the motor.

Heavy bikes are more stable than less weight ones. If the exercise bike is heavier, make sure it comes with a set of wheels for easy transportation. Or else, it can be difficult to move them from one place to another.

6. Magnetic Resistance

Effectiveness of an exercise bike is represented by resistance. Based on the program, the resistance will make you put more pressure while pedaling. Most of them exercise bikes in India use magnetic resistance. It is also commonly referred as braking resistance which works much similar to a brakes on a car or any other vehicle. Benefits of magnetic resistance – as there is no friction included, wear and tear often included with friction will not be there.

Magnetic resistance option is more reliable, quite in operation and has little to no maintenance costs. Some modern exercise bikes use ECB (Eddy Current Brake) which is the latest version of magnetic resistance. Older bikes have brake pads which usually get work out due to friction. Few lower priced models come with old type of magnetic resistance.

7. Excessive Noise

Though, it isn’t much of an issue for some people, noise is something you have keep in mind while purchasing an exercise bike. The noise produced by a bike depends on the resistance that it offers. Some bikes also include fans that make the bike noisier as they feature air resistance. In such bikes, the harder you pedal, the stronger the breeze it is going to generate. This will eventually contribute to the noise. While most of the exercise bikes do not generate unbearable noise, but even if it does, you can listen to the music or watch TV while cycling.

8. Safety

If you have pets or kids at your place, it is very essential to pay attention at the safety features that a bike offers. According to several statistics, several children were injured due to exercise equipment. To prevent any such situations, make sure to keep the chain and flywheel of the bike mechanics always covered. So, that kids or pets cannot place then fingers into their body parts and get stuck in them.

Exercise bikes come with many moving and hazardous parts. So, make sure check out the directions and instructions mentioned by the manufacturer. Also don’t let your children or pets anywhere near the exercise bike without safety locks.

9. Programmable Features

It is always good to buy bikes that offer programmable features so that you can adjust the routines on the basis of your fitness levels. These programs allow you to enter your gender, age, and weight so that it can monitor your heart rate as you are pedaling.

The advanced and newer versions of bikes also incorporate video screens where you can watch videos or play games while working out.

10. Space

Before buying a stationary bike for your place, you should plan for the available space beforehand. Measure the space along with the ceiling height. The upright bikes are usually taller and add up to 6-12 inches to the total height.

Another major factor is weight. If the cycle is light in weight, you can use the bike in an open space and then keep it back to the storage area. Some exercises have foldable accessories. These bikes are easy to use and can be kept aside when not in use.

11. Water Bottle Holder

This is one feature that might be taken into consideration. Since you are using this bike at your home, a water bottle holder might not be a useful addition. With this holder, you will not have to get up for water or any other energy drink in between the workout session.

12. Price

The price plays a major factor while selecting an exercising bike. The cheaper bikes are usually made using low-quality materials. The fasteners are not that effective too. They offer lesser features when compared to the higher-priced models.

Good brands are usually highly-priced. They are designed using better resistance technologies and last for longer period of time. The maintenance cost of these bikes is generally low and they offer higher user weight limits. Thus, it is a good idea to invest in a durable and branded bike. It provides quieter and long-lasting performance.

13. Warranty

Since it is a long term investment, it is suggested to buy an exercise bike that offers a good warranty period. Look for a bike that offers a minimum of 2-3 years of warranty on the moving parts. Some frames come with a lifetime warranty too.

Benefits of Working out on an Exercise Bike

Exercising has tons of benefits. Here are the ways an exercise bike will benefit you and your overall health in the long run:

  • Helps in weight loss — Studies show that a person of average weight burns over 160 calories per 20 minutes of peddling on a fitness bike in a low-resistance level. If you higher up the resistance, a person can burn over 200 calories within the same time.
  • Keeps your heart healthy — Cycling is a cardio exercise. Peddling on an exercise bike gets the heart to work harder and pump more blood. This, in turn, strengthens the cardiac muscles. It also lowers blood pressure and regulates blood sugar.
  • Good for joints — Peddling requires a great deal of joint activity. You will have to employ your hip, ankle, and knee joints constantly to keep the paddle rotating. This exercise works up these joints and strengthens them over time.
  • Reduces stress — This is typical with any type of exercises and working out on an exercise bike is no different. On burning calories and exercising your muscles, your brain would release endorphin, which is one of the four major happy hormones. It will help in reducing stress and keep you feeling positive.
  • Enhances stamina — Stamina is the capacity of a person to do a task without losing breadth. Good stamina is required if a person wants to follow a good exercise regime. Peddling on a fitness bike helps to increase the stamina of a person.
  • Tones Muscles — Exercise bikes are a great way to keep your lower body toned. Peddling tones the hamstrings, quads, and calves. Some type of exercise bikes also works on the abs and back muscles as well.
  • Flexible Workout Schedule– With a fitness bike at your home, you do not have to worry about the weather outside. Also, you can avoid skipping on monthly gym subscriptions. Besides, you can exercise whenever you like within the comfort of your house.

Safety Tips for Exercise Bike Workout

Gym accidents are not uncommon, and if you do not give enough attention, you might be involved in one. Although a fitness bike is one of the safer equipment to workout on, still it is best to keep these tips in mind while exercising.

  • Stretching and warming up is an important part of exercising. This prepares your body for what’s coming up next.
  • Starting up with a high resistance level can be taxing on muscles and joints. It is advisable that you begin exercising with a low resistance level and notch it up as you progress.
  • Always make sure that your posture while sitting on the bike is correct. An ill posture can give rise to backaches.
  • Position your feet well over the pedals before you start cycling. Sudden slipping of feet can strain muscles.
  • Never mount the bike while you are sleepy or intoxicated. You could fall off and hurt yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions on Exercise Bikes

1. Which exercise bike is best for home use? 

Some of the top exercise bikes in India that are fit for home use are;

  • Fitkit FK500
  • Powermax Fitness BU-205
  • Cardio Max JSB HF73
  • Healthex Exercise Cycle
  • Reach Air Bike

2. How to use an exercise bike?

An exercise bike is a simple equipment to use. After assembling, the first thing that you have to do is adjust the seat. The height of the seat should be ideally till your waist (measured in standing position). Then adjust the handlebars such that you are comfortable. Now set the resistance level you want and mount on the bike.

Make sure that your feet rest comfortably on the pedals. Hold the handles. Now slowly exert force for moving the pedals. Also, sync hand movements with that of your legs. Keep peddling to burn calories and exercise body.

3. Is a treadmill better than an exercise bike? 

If you are only concerned about burning calories, then the treadmill is the winner. But if you focus on achieving a toned body, and burning fat alongside, then the exercise bike is way ahead in the game.

Also, you are more likely to tire yourself faster on a treadmill, which is not the case with the exercise bike. Hence, exercise bikes can give you longer workout sessions as compared to a treadmill.

4. Is exercise on a stationary bike safe? 

To answer you, yes, it is completely safe to exercise on a stationary bike. Working out on a fitness bike is safer than many other machines as there are lesser chances of accidents.

5. Which areas of the body get worked while peddling on an exercise bike?

Peddling on the exercise bike strengthens the calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Additionally, it also works on the abs, glutes, and back. In case your machine comes with movable handles, you can also work on your biceps, shoulders, and triceps.

6. How long should I work out on an exercise bike? 

Exercising on a stationary bike might apparently seem easy, but it’s not so. With the resistance working against you, you will have to put in the effort for exercising.

If you are a beginner, try targeting a duration between 10 to 20 minutes. Once you reach the 20-minute mark, set your goal for 30 minutes.

Cycling 30 minutes regularly on a stationary should give your body with its daily requirement of exercise. However, remember to build it up slowly. If you try doing it at once, you will end up with very sore muscles.

7. Does exercise bike build muscles? 

To answer in one word, yes. As it works up many muscle groups of the body, it develops better muscles overtime. It is especially true for the lower half of the body.

8. Will an exercise bike slim my tummy? 

Belly fat is perhaps a problem most of us Indians face. Exercising on a fitness bike does affect the belly, but the burning process will not be as fast. It is because the process is more targeted towards overall slimming of the body. So, with the reduction of fat from overall body, belly fat will start to disappear as well.

9. Is a mini fitness bike effective? 

A thing to remember here is, mini exercise bikes give low-intensity workout. With the mini exercise bike, you can work out regularly and keep your joints flexible, and your body fit. But if you want to burn body fat rapidly, this equipment is not the best choice for you.

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