Perfect for getting your heart pumping, a stationary exercise bike is an effective training tool that’s a favourite for home gyms. Enjoy exercise that places less stress on your bones and joints, especially when compared to other cardio alternatives, but still delivers the same calorie-burning power and potential for beginners, professionals, the elderly and those recovering from injury. There are a number of exercise bike options available, all with their own specific benefits, so it’s a good idea to nail down your personal goals before you buy.
TYPES OF EXERCISE BIKES
Upright Exercise Bikes
Generally the most popular type of exercise bike, an upright exercise bike delivers a cycling experience that’s very close to the real thing. Often with a frame that’s easy to get on and off of, an upright exercise bike is the perfect addition for most home gym users. Benefitting from a small footprint, upright bikes take up less space in your home, and offer a relatively inexpensive entry route into home cycling. Upright bikes usually feature oversized saddles for a comfortable ride, while more expensive upright bike models often come complete with a larger touch screen or console, offering more workout programmes and entertainment features.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Featuring a chair-like seat, a recumbent exercise bike offers enhanced back support throughout your workout, meaning you can ride for longer in comfort. While you may not be able to work as many muscle groups (because you have to remain seated, and cannot stand like on an upright bike), a recumbent bike still burns an equal number of calories. A lower seat position makes a recumbent cycle an ideal choice for the elderly or those recovering from injury, as it’s easier to get on and off of. It’s important to note that a recumbent exercise bike boasts a larger footprint than an upright exercise bike, and is therefore suited to home gyms with a little extra space.
Racer bikes (aka studio bikes) are designed slightly differently in terms of their flywheel and resistance, in order to closely resemble the feel of a road bike. They have a weighted flywheel which is connected to the pedals through a transmission system. You can adjust the resistance via a dial, like you would change gears on a road bike. These bikes also allow you to pedal while standing up, which gives you a much more intensive workout and engages different muscle groups. If you are an advanced fitness enthusiast, indoor cycling bikes are a great choice, not just because they mimic the sensation of real-life cycling, but because their resistance delivery is excellent.
Making waves in the functional fitness world (they’re even used in professional competitions!), air bikes utilise a large fan to create resistance, rather than the braking system found in upright, recumbent and racer bikes. The more effort you give, the more resistance the air bike will deliver. Placing you in an upright position, you can either sit or stand, with the air bike forcing you to use both your arms and legs to burn far more calories than any other type of exercise bike. Despite the effort an air bike requires, they are a low-impact machine, making it a great option for those that want to avoid excessive stress on their joints.
EXERCISE BIKE BENEFITS
Cycling on an exercise bike reduces the impact on your joints, compared to alternative cardio exercises such as running. This makes it a great home training option for all users, especially beginners, the elderly and those recovering from an injury.
During cardio exercise, endorphins are released into your bloodstream. This release of endorphins produces a natural high, which in turn relieves stress.
Exercise of any kind will increase your energy levels, and cycling is one of the best forms of exercise to help increase your overall energy.
Cycling will help improve your lung capacity, making you stronger and fitter.
- Encourages aerobic fitness
Pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout which is great for your heart, brain and blood vessels.
- Helps to build muscle
In the power phase of pedalling (the down-stroke), you use your quadriceps, gluteus muscles, gastrocnemius muscles and soleus muscles. In the recovery phase (back-stroke, up-stroke, and over-stroke), you use your hamstrings and flexor muscles.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING AN EXERCISE BIKE
Generally, the heavier the exercise bike’s flywheel, the smoother and less jerky the pedalling action. The flywheel is a weighted metal disk that’s usually covered by the exercise bike’s casing, and connects to the pedals by a chain or belt. Resistance is created when applying the brakes to the flywheel.
- Pedalling feel
Ideally, this should feel silky smooth with the same level of resistance throughout the 360 degrees of pedal revolution, even at high resistance levels and out of the saddle. We recommend heading to your nearest store, so you can try your favourite exercise bike before you purchase, and avoid models with an uneven or jerky pedalling feel.
- Maximum workload
This is how much resistance the bike will give when pedalled flat out. Most standard bikes will provide in excess of 250 watts, however experienced cyclists or the very fit will need in excess of 400 watts.
- Console feedback and ease of use
How clear and comprehensive is the displayed information? How easy is it to access programmes (if there are any)? Are the buttons clearly visible and easy to use?
- Bike programmes
These can offer variety and motivation via simulating various hill courses, allowing you to create your own programmes or by controlling your heart rate and more. Workout programmes vary depending on the make and model of your exercise bike, with NordicTrack’s iFit, Life Fitness’s LFconnect, Schwinn’s Explore the World, SOLE’s SOLE Fitness App and the renowned Peloton App (only compatible with the Schwinn IC8) are some of the most popular and advanced options.
- Exercise bike power supply
Is the bike self-powered or does it need mains electricity? You can purchase either option depending on your requirements, but should be aware that some exercise bikes need to be positioned near an outlet.
- Riding position adjustability
The more adjustable the bike, the more comfortable it is during longer sessions. All bikes have saddle height adjustment, with more advanced models allowing both vertical and horizontal adjustments of the saddle and handlebars.
- Standard of construction
Check that the frame is built predominantly from metal, the welds are tidy, the overall finish is good without any sharp or rough edges and that the moving parts are adequately shielded from prying fingers. A solidly constructed exercise bike should also be stable and not flex or wobble.
- Exercise bike footprint
Being relatively compact in size, an exercise bike is a wise choice for many home gym setups, even if that is just the corner of your living room. This is particularly true for upright and racer bikes, which boast a space-saving footprint. A recumbent bike, meanwhile, positions you lower to the ground with your legs outstretched, meaning it takes up slightly more floorspace compared to its alternatives.
Why buy your indoor cycle from Fitness Superstore?
- We stock more exercise bikes than anyone else in the UK.
- You can try before you buy - and get expert advice from our in-store advisors - at any one of our 11 UK showrooms.
- We offer a range of payment options, including interest free finance and buy now, pay later schemes. You can find more information on our finance options page.
- Fastest delivery – many of our exercise bikes are available for next day or Saturday delivery, and you can even choose your delivery date
- Installation service available: All exercise bikes do come with instruction manuals, but we do offer an installation service for selected models. For more information call us on 01604 673000.
- 14-day Price Promise: Our 14-day Price Promise guarantees that you purchase an exercise bike at the lowest price. If you subsequently find the same like-for-like product at a lower price, we will refund 110% of the difference immediately.
Second hand and ex-display options: As well as brand new, we also have a small selection of second hand and ex-display exercise bikes available to purchase and pick-up from our store locations. For more information see our ex-display list of exercise bikes or contact us on 01604 673000.