Best Exercise Bikes: Everything You Need to Know about the Staple Home Exercise Machines

best upright exercise bike

A highway bicycle, useful for exercising on the go. (Not what we are talking about here though)

While hitting the gym is still one of the most common ways to get in better shape, not everyone has the time to spare for a gym session or the luxury for a membership.

While not going to the gym will make you miss out on a lot of great exercise equipment, it doesn’t mean that you can’t workout at home. There are actually lots of great exercise machines that you can get for your home gym, even if you don’t have much space to work with.

Exercise bikes are some of the best examples of these machines. And, we will review five of these machines but before we do that, here’s a table giving a sneak peek of the best exercise bike reviews below

Exercise Bike NameImageType/Category
Schwinn 170best upright exercise bikeUpright & Interactive
Exerpeutic Magnetic Bikebest folding bikeFolding, Upright and Interactive
Exerpeutic 400XLLbest recumbent exercise bicycleRecumbent & Interactive
Marcy Air1Marcy Air1dual action exercise bikeUpright, Dual action & Interactive
Body Rider Fanbest stationary dual action bicycle reviewUpright, Dual action & Interactive

Also known as stationary bikes, exercise bikes are practically the staple exercise machines. You can find them in just about every shape and size in almost every home that’s trying to live healthier and be more active. The amount of use they experience may largely differ from one home to another, but that’s a different story.

While the exercise bicycle may have lost its charm in the past decades, it has recently come back with a bang. With the advent of the many cycling classes offered by fitness gyms and establishments, some of which even have cult-like followings, indoor cycling for health is definitely in full swing as of late.

And although this exercise equipment didn’t really go out of style among homeowners, it’s safe to say that trends like these tend to contribute to this resurgence. If you’re one of the many who are thinking of getting one, this guide is for you.

Keep reading.

The Exercise Bike

Stationary bicycles for exercising are basically bikes that don’t really have wheels so they stay in one place while you pedal and get a similar exercise that you can get from riding an actual bike. However, unlike riding an actual bike, stationary bikes rely on their special design to create enough resistance and provide users varying intensity levels for their workouts. This also makes them a great pick for home use as the varying intensity can really let you do some interval training that can benefit your fitness goals.

Lifehacker have a post on their site about Australian scientists who conducted a research and found that using a bike might be enough exercise for maximum weight loss 

It may not seem like it, but exercise bikes actually have quite a colorful history. It wasn’t just created to serve as a training equipment for professional cyclists but its first iteration was actually first invented in the late 1700s as a machine for exercising the joints.

Known as the Gymnasticon, the first stationary bikes may not exactly be identical with the ones used today but the idea of using wheels to give you a nice workout is pretty much the same and is attributed to the development of the modern ones.

While exercise bikes only mostly target the muscles in your lower body, there are a few ways how you can also amplify its effects and make it work for your core as well. However, it should be done with care as some of these machines aren’t really as sturdy as the others. If you want to do more with your home exercise bike, you might want to be very discerning of the construction and capacity of the unit.

The Many Benefits of Riding an Exercise Bike

If you’re on the fence about getting or even using an exercise bike, learning about its many benefits may just help you make your mind about this exercise equipment. Here are a few great examples that might just get you interested.

A Solid Form of Cardio

According to experts, cardio workouts keep your heart healthy and efficient as it keeps it in perfect shape by regularly training it to do better. Because of this, good cholesterol is increased and bad cholesterol is countered. This can prevent bad cholesterol’s build up in your arteries that can cause blockages and other serious complications later on. It’s also beneficial to your overall health as oxygen is better circulated into your system, helping you heal faster.

Ever heard of Tour de France? It is one of the most if not the most demanding bicycle races across the globe. Just to illustrate how riding a bicycle, albeit a stationary one is a must do cardio exercise let’s use an image. Pawel Poljanski participated in the just concluded Tour de France and at some point posted a photo of his legs after one of the stages.

Joint Friendly

A lot of other exercises are not ideal for everyone no matter how well they get to elevate your heart rate and strengthen your muscles.

Reason? They’re not good for the joints.

If a routine puts a lot of impact on your joints, you might not be doing a lot of good for your health. You can even get injured during such activities.

Indoor cycling, on the other hand, won’t put a lot of unnecessary strain on your knees, hips, ankles, or even back unlike walking or running. As cycling won’t require you to put too much weight on your joints while you transfer your body’s full weight from one leg to another, it’s also deemed as a better workout option for those who are overweight.

Muscle Strengthening

As mentioned above, stationary exercise bikes primarily work your lower body, targeting the large muscles in your legs and buttocks. Regular use of this equipment can help strengthen your leg muscles as well as increase its endurance, letting you perform tasks involving these muscle groups with great ease.

Weight Loss

Being an aerobic exercise, indoor bicycle riding will also help you lose weight. The activity will let you burn calories, preventing fat storage from taking place. According to experts, exercise bikes are efficient fat burners as the more you ride the more you get to burn, making it a great tool for shedding some pounds.

Offers Convenience

As mentioned above, having an exercise bike at home will offer you some convenience in getting some physical activity done. Even if you can’t get out of the house, as long as you have at least 30 minutes to while away, you can spend it on the bike to break some sweat. As many experts say, some physical activity is way better than having none at all, so if you have one of these things in your humble abode, you can always have a way to get some exercise done.

Reasonable Footprint

This one may not exactly be a benefit of actual riding an indoor exercise bike, but it’s a nice benefit of this equipment no matter how you look at it. As stationary bikes don’t have large footprints like treadmills or rowing machines do, they can fit in most households without a fuss.

This also makes it a popular choice for many homes. With one of these around, you won’t have to laze around on days you don’t want to go for a run or hit the gym. You can spend half an hour on the exercise bike and still get some workout on your lazy day.

Upright vs Recumbent exercise bikes

Now that you know the many benefits indoor exercise bicycles can offer, the next thing you need to know is the variations of this equipment that you can choose from. They are the following:

Upright stationary workout bicycles

Upright bikes are possibly the most common and popular type of exercise bikes in the market today. They’re designed to have the similar feel of riding an actual bicycle, which will move from point A to point B.

So they often have the same height, seat style, and pedal configuration. The only difference is that upright home exercise bikes don’t move so you don’t have to balance yourself while riding it.

A lot of stationary bikes that are found in homes and marketed for home-use are the upright ones. They often use magnetic resistance to make your rides challenging, although you can also find specific brands and varieties that might use other kinds of resistance. You can find a wide range of affordable ones that will already suit various needs.

This equipment can also target a good number of muscle groups. Aside from your lower body, this equipment can also work your abdominal muscles. It can also give your upper arms a bit of exercise as well, as you’ll still need to use their strength to keep yourself in the right position on top of such machines.

As some varieties also come with movable arm bars, you can also get a whole body workout.

They may have limited compatibility when it comes to user size though, as well as the intensity of the workout they can provide. The seat alone can be uncomfortable for some people while the resistance can vary from one unit to another, depending on the mechanism used. But if you’re just starting out, you don’t have to worry as these varieties will already give you the workout you need.

Spinning Exercise Bikes or Indoor Cycles

This type of upright gym bikes is considered as a special type due to its more heavy duty design and construction. Equipped with a hefty flywheel, these units are most commonly found in gyms and fitness classes. They’re also designed to make you crouch forward on the bike, like you would do so when riding a road bike.

Like a traditional upright bike, they also have adjustable resistance, so they offer more challenges to the rider to provide a good workout.

Indoor cycles are very versatile as it can be ideal for riders of different fitness and experience levels. However, like their flywheels, they tend to come with hefty price tags as well, so they’re not usually found in regular homes.

Recumbent Stationary Bikes

Although experts say that exercise bikes are good cardio options for those who don’t want to hurt their backs, it would still be a challenge to enjoy for those with actual bad backs. This is why recumbent bikes are offered as alternatives as these machines will let you sit down properly.

This is the biggest difference between upright and recumbent bikes: the latter has an actual seat with a backrest that will let you sit comfortably as you exercise your legs.

The pedals are located in front of the seat instead of below it, so you’re partially leaned backward while using this equipment.

Aside from the comfortable seat and the back support, recumbent exercise bikes can provide better blood flow for the rider. You can also do other things with your hands while on a recumbent bike. Some people continue to do some work on a laptop, read a book or any other activity on an incorporated work desk/mobile device while on a recumbent bike.

However, it also works out a different set of muscles than upright bikes. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it will require you to do cross training to train and strengthen muscles not worked while using a recumbent bike.

Folding Stationary Bikes

The main difference of folding stationary bikes is that they’re space saving more than anything else. They can be recumbent or upright bikes when fully laid out.

In terms of workout, resistance, and comfort, they don’t really offer anything different. The fact, however, that you can stash them away in a closet or under the bed makes them quite popular as it allows apartment and condo dwellers to also have their very own exercise equipment even if their living space is pretty limited.

Other Types of Indoor exercise Bicycles

Aside from the four mentioned above, you can also find what they call “Dual-Action” and “Interactive” varieties of indoor bikes. Like the folding stationary bike, these types can also come in recumbent and upright configurations.

What makes them different, however, is the fact that dual-action bikes are equipped with movable arms so you can also exercise your upper body at the same time. This offers a whole body workout, giving you an efficient equipment.

Interactive varieties, on the other hand, have more sophisticated consoles on board. These machines offer various presets and may even do more than just monitor your workout, but also offer other functionalities as well.

Different Strokes: Quick Reviews of Three Different Exercise Bikes

Ready to shop for an exercise bike? Here are three different options that can help you jump start your search for the right stationary bike for you:

Schwinn 170 Upright Bike

best upright exercise bikeIf you’ve ever found yourself interested in bikes of any kind, Schwinn is one of the first brands that you’ll come across with. As the brand has been making high-quality bicycles for more than a century already, they’re definitely considered as institutions when it comes to such equipment.

The 170 Upright Bike is actually deemed as one of the top Schwinn products in the market today. First off, it looks really nice. Unlike other stationary bikes that try so hard to look athletic but fall flat and just look like a clunky exercise machine, this one will actually look nice in any modern living room or even right next to an expensive treadmill. It’s clean, sleek lines and minimalist color palette makes it look ultra modern without getting futuristic, so it can even add some visual interest in some spaces.

It’s 29 preset workout programs also deserve some special mention. The variety this machine can offer will already give you ample options to get in better shape. As it also comes with four customizable profiles, you can easily monitor your progress. It will help calculate your calories burned among other pertinent details regarding your workout. You can also store and upload them online through a USB, so you can easily access your information anywhere.

Operating the console is not that hard, too. The buttons are mostly dedicated to their functions so it’s pretty straightforward if you need to tweak and select a different setting.

The biggest draw, however, for the Schwinn 170 is its oversized seat and pedals. A lot of users found it more comfortable to sit in compared to other upright exercise bikes. You can also adjust the seat (the handlebars, too) so you can get even more comfortable on your rides.

Features

  • 29 Preset Workout Programs
  • Modern Design
  • 25 Resistance Levels
  • 13 Readouts
  • Goal-Tracking Capacity
  • Built-in Speakers
  • Built-in Heart Rate Monitor
  • Adjustable Seat and Handlebars
  • USB Port
  • 4 Profiles
  • 3-Speed Control Fan

 

Pros
  • Sleek, modern appearance
  • Oversized seat, pedals, and straps ensure comfort
  • Water bottle holder
  • Solid, sturdy construction
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet operation
  • 300 lbs maximum weight capacity
  • 10-year frame warranty
  • 2-year mechanical warranty
Cons
  • Quite pricey
  • Assembly can be a bit of a challenge

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse

best folding bike While most upright exercise bikes are already designed to have a minimal footprint for an exercise equipment, it doesn’t mean that they will fit everywhere. Those who live in smaller spaces like apartments and condo units might not have the luxury of having an exercise machine taking up real estate in their already tiny home but it doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy the convenience and many other benefits exercise bikes have to offer. This is why folding bikes like the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse has been created.

As the name suggests, the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is a folding stationary bike. This makes it suitable for small homes as it can be easily folded and stored when not in use. However, it does weigh 39 lbs, so it’s still a bit heavy to lug around. You might want to store it in the same room where you intend to use it so you won’t have to exert too much energy just to set it up.

Being a folding stationary bike, this item might not have as many bells and whistles as the Schwinn 170 but it can still get the job done, especially if you’re just looking for a machine that you can use to get regular physical activity. With 8 resistance levels, it can already provide a good amount of challenge for many beginners and casual riders, giving them a way to keep moving without having to leave their home or take up a lot of space.

Features

  • 8 Resistance Levels
  • Hand Pulse Monitor
  • Folding Design
  • 300 lbs Maximum Weight Capacity
  • Large LCD Display
Pros
  • Huge seat making it very comfortable to sit in
  • Relatively lightweight at 39 lbs that you can move it from one point to another
  • Simple design and construction but guaranteed to get the job done
  • Very affordable
  • Convenient option for small homes
  • Solid construction
Cons
  • Not for those looking for a serious, heavy home workouts
  • Limited seat adjustability

Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike

best recumbent exercise bicycleWhile this item isn’t a full-blown recumbent bike, it’s still an excellent option for this kind of stationary bike, thanks to its design. As most recumbent bikes tend to take a lot of space, this one solves the problem of limited room and comfort. As it easily folds, you won’t have to worry about it crowding your small home. It even has transport wheels so you don’t have to carry its weight when taking it out of storage, making it a whole lot easier to use.  Topped with its semi-recumbent design, you can workout comfortably without putting too much strain on your back with this machine.

Its semi-recumbent design makes perfect sense for its space-saving design. If it tried to unfold as a full-fledged recumbent bike, it will eat up more space and may not fit a lot of homes, even when folded. This design also makes it sturdier and a lot easier to get in and out of.

In terms of performance, you can also count on this Exerpeutic bike to help you get great workouts. With its 8 resistance levels, you can be sure that your workouts will always be challenging.

Features

  • 8 Levels of Magnetic Resistance
  • Built-in Hand Pulse Monitor
  • Semi-Recumbent Design
  • Oversized Adjustable Seat
  • Pedals with Foot Straps
  • LCD Display
  • 3-Piece Crank System
  • 300 lb Maximum Weight Capacity
  • Folding Design
  • Transport Wheels
Pros
  • Stable and sturdy
  • Easy to move to and from storage because of its wheels
  • Quiet operation
  • Comfortable seat
  • Friendly price
  • Fuss-free console
Cons
  • Can be a bit too tight for users over 6’

Marcy AIR 1 Fan Bike Review

dual action exercise bike

One of the best ways to tone your upper body is including intense workouts on an exercise bike in your exercise regime. You can have fun while at it by investing in a good upright exercise Bike. Marcy is among the leading brands of exercise equipment in the market. The company has been in the business for more than 50 years. Hence, you are a guaranteed of a high-quality, ergonomic, and durable bike from Marcy.

The grey and black Marcy AIR 1 fan bike can easily blend with the furniture and other exercise equipment in your home. The bike has transport wheels, which makes it easy to move it to any location in your house or home gym. Once you get used to working on an upright bike, you are likely to spend many hours every week sitting on it. The Marcy brand has an adjustable and high-density foam seat to cushion you when exercising.

The handlebars are covered as well to increase your comfortable. It takes a while before you can note significant changes in your body even after intense workouts. With the Marcy fan bike, you can keep track of your progress. The bike has an in-built computer that displays your speed, distance covered, time, scan mode, and calories burnt. The computer screen is easy to use.

Excessive heat and sweating is a common challenge when doing intense exercises on a bike. The Marcy bike brand has in-built fan that not only keeps you cool but also provides resistance. Another major advantage of this bike is that you can use it on any floor surface without sliding. It comes with adjustable levelers that keep you stable and safe during intense workouts. The dual-arms action will tone your upper body while the pedals tone your leg muscles.

Features

  • In-built resistance fan
  • Modern and ergonomic design
  • Adjustable foam-covered seat with a durable vinyl covering
  • Foam-covered handle bars
  • Easy-to-use computer screen
  • Adjustable levelers
  • Transport wheels
  • Adjustable foot straps on the counterbalanced pedals
  • Molded ABS shroud cover
Pros
  • 300lb maximum user capacity
  • The adjustable seat accommodates users of all
  • The resistance fan keeps the use cool and comfortable
  • Ergonomic handlebars and seat
  • Easy-to-use computer screen
  • 2 year warranty from the manufacturer
  • Stable and safe to use on any surface
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • The range of motion on the handlebars is limited
  • The chain is a bit loud to some users
  • It may be uncomfortable for users above 6’3” tall

Body Rider Fan Bike Review

best stationary dual action bicycle reviewThe major benefit of working out on a fan bike is that you tone your upper and lower body at the same time. A fan bike gives a full-body workout while keeping track of important statistics. However, you must pick the right model to enjoy your workouts and get meaningful results. One of the best upright fan bikes in the market is the Body Rider fan bike. The bike is your best pick for strength and cardio training, especially if you are looking for an inexpensive fan bike.

The Body Rider bike has an ergonomic design and comes with dual-action handlebars. Hence, you will get a full-body workout without hurting your hands and feet.  The bike gives you the much-needed cooling breeze from the high momentum fan blades. Multiple users can share the bike without affecting its strength or stability. It has an adjustable seat and a stable steel frame to support all body sizes within its weight limit.

The trainers at the gym recommend that you increase the intensity of your workout gradually. Increasing the intensity helps in building your resistance and strength. The Body Rider fan bike enables you to this easily. You can adjust the tension easily by turning a knob. In addition, the digital screen helps you keep track of your speed, distance, time, and calories burned. One glance of the screen helps you to make a quick decision of whether to maintain or increase your speed.

Features

  • Innovative high-momentum fan blades
  • A stable steel frame
  • In-built digital display for speed, calories burned, time, and distance
  • Manual tension control
  • Adjustable ergonomic seat
  • Dual-action extended handlebars
Pros
  • The bike has a sleek black and silver finish
  • It has a cushioned and adjustable seat to accommodate different users
  • Can support up to 250 pounds
  • Has a one-year warranty on the frame and 90-days warranty on other parts
  • Easy-to-use LCD console
  • Its fan wheel system gives a fluid workout
  • Sturdy and inexpensive
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • Some users find the seat hard and hence require an extra cover for cushioning
  • The pedal position limits the extended leg movement for tall athletes
  • The wheels may slide on wooden and tiled floor surfaces

Making a Choice: Which Exercise Bike Works Best for You

With so many options when it comes to exercise bikes, choosing one can really be a challenge for some shoppers. Hopefully, this guide assists you in knowing what to look for and narrowing down your options.

If you’re still a bit overwhelmed, remember to always consider your comfort, budget, and quality of the item you’re getting. When it comes to exercise equipment, you often get what you pay for, so if you intend to use it heavily, investing on a high-quality unit will always be a good call.