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Exercise Bike Buying Guide

Exercise Bike Buying Guide

By Lisa Selvaggio

An exercise bike can be a smart addition to your home gym, as it allows you to get a great cardio workout, while also building the strength of your lower body. But not all bikes are created equal, and some will have features that can benefit your specific routine and physical needs best. That’s why we’ve put together a brief guide on the types of exercise bikes, along with a few suggestions on models to consider as you start shopping.

Upright Bikes

Also known as a stationary bike, this is an ideal option if you’re looking for a product that will create just the right amount of resistance for your workout, whether you’re ready for an extremely challenging biking session or you’d prefer less resistance to help you ease into a biking routine for the first time.

You can find a range of models, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, so there’s something for every budget.

  • When you’re searching for an easy-to-move stationary bike that will also fit comfortably into a smaller space, such as in a condo or apartment, check out the Assault Fitness Airbike. It’s affordable and sturdy, and special features include unlimited resistance, wireless heart rate monitoring, and preset workout programs. Plus, the moveable handlebars give you the option of working your upper body muscles as well.
  • On a budget but don’t want to sacrifice value? Then consider the NordicTrack Commercial VU19. It boasts a web-enabled touchscreen, a variety of built-in workouts, wireless heart rate monitoring, a fan that adjust automatically to your speed, and the option to subscribe to iFit for even more workout routines.

Indoor Cycle Trainers

Want to mimic what it’s like to ride your bike in the great outdoors? Then it might be best to invest in an indoor cycle trainer that adjusts for various riding positions, and that has a resistance system that makes you feel like you’re riding a bicycle.

These exercise bikes will be able to deliver when it comes to performance and comfort, but they also go a step further by giving you feedback on your workouts so you can continually improve. Plus, they’re great for Spin enthusiasts and those who want to bring the experience of exercising at the gym into their own home.

  • You’ve heard of the Peloton bike, right? This is a wise choice if you want a gym-quality workout, complete with a trainer, right in the comfort of home. The high-definition touchscreen and stereo speakers combine with the unlimited exercise classes, high-quality magnetic resistance system, and webcam for interactive training to create an experience that will make you feel as though you’re in a class even though you’re cycling solo.
  • The NordicTrack Commercial S22i has a 22” HD touchscreen, along with on-demand cycling classes. Beyond that, the magnetic resistance ensures a quiet ride, and the bike itself measures around 4½’ long by 2’ wide, making it a good option for home use. Subscribe to iFit to get unlimited downloads of Google Maps workouts that make you feel like you’re biking outside, and chart your pulse so you can track your cardiovascular health over time.

Recumbent Bikes

For anyone who prefers a lower impact, gentler workout, a recumbent bike is recommended. The seat mimics what it’s like to sit in a chair, so it provides extra support to the lower back, and you get the chance to lean back while you exercise your leg muscles.

You don’t sacrifice the cardiovascular or strength training benefits of using an exercise bike when using a recumbent, but these bikes may help prevent injuries, and they place a minimal amount of stress on your joints.

  • The NordicTrack Commercial VR25 Elite boasts a seat that provides exceptional lumbar support, and it helps keep you cool because it’s covered in a ventilated material. 35 built-in workouts and 26 resistance levels make it easy to hop on the bike and get the ideal workout for your needs. Plus, this bike also has wireless heart rate monitoring, a web-enabled touchscreen, extra-wide pedals, and a self-adjusting fan.
  • The ProForm 440 ES Recumbent Bike provides excellent value for the price, and it’s great for seniors and those who want to use cycling to lose weight. Choose from a variety of built-in workouts and a range of resistance levels. And subscribe to iFit or attach your tablet to the bike to access even more routines, all while enjoying a comfortable, low-impact workout on the cushioned, supportive seat.

The Perfect Exercise Bike Is Out There

Whether you’re searching for an exercise bike that will test your limits or be gentle on your back and joints, narrowing your choices down to the appropriate type of bike will make shopping a lot easier.


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