Exercise Bike Buyers Guide 2017 – 2018
Are you interested in buying an exercise bike? Many people are familiar with this equipment from use in the gym but, when it comes to the home market, there is a much wider range of options. This can often be daunting for someone that isn’t familiar with all of these options, so what are you to do?
Fortunately, this buyers guide will help you with everything you need. Here, you can learn about the various different types of devices available, as well as the benefits and drawbacks associated with each. So, let’s get started.
An upright model is, in essence, very similar to the version seen in the gym, as it requires you to maintain an upright position. This also means it is the closest to replicating the traditional cycling experience, making it very familiar to anyone who has ridden a bike.
It is this intuitive and familiar feeling that makes upright bikes very popular. Likewise, because they focus on keeping you in a vertical position, the floor-space required tends to be very light, compared to wider solutions (such as recumbent bikes).
Typically, these models come with an array of additional features, such as water bottle holders, heart rate sensors (typically built into the handle bars) and on board computers, depending on the quality of the product in question.
Because they are one of the larger products available, as well as being based on the traditional bicycle design, these designs can incorporate various sized flywheels, allowing you to find one that suits your needs. This can also be supported by crank systems and various resistance mechanisms, often adjustable, to further enhance the experience. Many products will be able to offer at least 8 levels of resistance, while more luxurious options can offer 25 or more.
As far as the technology is concerned, recumbent bikes are very similar to the upright variant. The major difference is that these options require you to sit down, often reclining in something similar to a chair. The main benefit of this is to help offer back and lumbar support. This is ideal for people with back problems, or a simple desire for comfort, yet still want to exercise their leg muscles in a comfortable and painless environment.
Similar to other exercise bikes, these models can come with a wide range of features, including pulse sensors, bottle holders and on board computers. The position of the computer and controls can very depending on each product, so be sure to find out that agrees with you.
However, one downside to consider is that a recumbent bike might not provide as an effective workout as a standard, upright variant. This is because the latter requires more effort from your lower muscles because of the position you have to hold. The supports on these products, however, take a little of this strain away.
Furthermore, because these products are low to the ground, they often take up a little more floor-space than thinner, taller models. This is just a simple fact of their design. They are often much longer, since they require room for you to fit your legs. That being said, modern technology has made many improvements and some options can appear very slender.
Pedal exercisers take the basic components of cycling machines and strip them down into their smallest possible form. These machines are often very small, designed to fit in small spaces, such as under desks, making them much more versatile. They can be taken anywhere and are often easy to carry due to their small size and light weight.
As an added bonus, many of these products are designed to be used with both your hands and feet. As a result, they can be used to target both leg and arm muscles, something you cannot achieve on a recumbent or upright bike.
However, the downside to this is that these solutions often don’t provide as effective a workout. Because they lack larger cranks or flywheels, you often don’t need to push as much and, because of the smaller rotation, the muscles are not strained as much. This is the typical trade-off for getting an exercise machine that is more convenient to use.
The other downside is that these models often lack additional features. While more expensive, luxury options can come with a computer, this is generally avoided, since the controls would need to be removable, so that they could be used while the device is on the floor. The same logic applies to bottle holders and hand pulse sensors: there just isn’t room for them.
Likewise, the smaller design often means flywheels, if present, are very basic and most pedal machines don’t offer much in the way of adjustable settings, aside from a few resistance options.
On traditional bicycles, the brakes grind against the wheel, which often causes a discomforting experience. Because the ‘brakes’ are generally applied at all times on a home exercise machine – as this is what generates the resistance – modern equipment favours the use of magnetic brakes. This involves the use of electromagnetic brakes to help generate pressure to keep the wheel stiff. The harder this is to move, the more energy is required from you.
These magnets are controlled electrically and, when finely tuned, this is how many products change the resistance level. Yet the real benefit to magnetic brakes is in the home comfort. Without the uncomfortable noises, these items become much more welcome in the home, offering a quiet and enjoyable experience.
Magnetic bikes are not technically a type of exercise machine on their own. They often combine with one of the other variants on this list, such as upright, recumbent or pedal exercisers.
When it comes to any home gym equipment, space is an issue. This is why many people choose pedal exercisers, yet fold-able options also exist for the larger variants. This is very common for upright products, but there are more than a few fold-able recumbent solutions as well.
The major benefit to these is that they can be folded away when not in use. This makes them much easier to carry and, perhaps more importantly, easy to store away. If you don’t have space to leave a large machine at all times, a collapsible product is the best solution.
Likewise, these items are often light. This is an intentional part of their design, since they are intended to be unfolded, folded and moved on a regular basis. Yet, to compromise for this, some of the more basic fold-able options can lack some of the more luxurious features. This is because any such additional comforts have to also work with the foldable design. As such, it’s worth checking if any foldable bikes have the various additions that you require, as many do not.
So, there you go, these are the main benefits and drawbacks to each type of exercise bike. What option you need will, of course, depend on your own situation. If you have the space, upright and recumbent products are very popular, while foldable solutions can work in more space-restrictive areas. For the most inconspicuous, pedal exercisers are the most discrete and can be used in a variety of locations, not just in the home. As such, if you identify your own needs, you will often find that a specific type of product stands out the most for you.