Exercise Bike 101

Bikes are a fantastic way of improving your cardiovascular health and capabilities alongside strengthening your entire lower body. Also, unlike running, cycling is a very low impact activity for your joints. Whereas pounding the pavements can cause ankle, knee and hip problems, bikes don’t have the same effect and can even be used as effective rehab equipment.

Bodybuilders, powerlifters or regular gym goers who want to gain strength and size may often neglect cardio equipment. Yet, cardio can actually help you build more muscle and improve recovery. When you exercise, blood flows to your muscles which provides oxygen, nutrients and warmth. Introducing just 2-3 low intensity steady state cardio sessions, such as a 30-minute walk or cycle, can help you recover faster from workouts and build more muscle long-term.

However, the chances are that if you’re reading this, then you’re already convinced about the benefits of cycling, whether it’s competitively, for fun or just to stay fit and active. Though, it can be a little tricky deciding which bike is best. There’s no one right way to cycle as each piece of equipment has its own benefits and drawbacks. The right exercise bike will come down to you as an individual. That’s why we’ve compiled this helpful guide to help you out.

Different Exercise Bike Types

Video courtesy of YouTube


Exerpeutic Folding Exercise Bike
exerpeutic folding exercise bike

Color: Gray  |   Orientation: Upright  |  Fan: No

Description: This Exerpeutic exercise bike is a phenomenal bike for a wide range of users. Unlike most upright bikes, this exercise bike comes with a large seat cushion to provide you maximum comfort while cycling. Intended for users who weigh up to 300lbs this bike has a extremely sturdy design. No battery’s or electricity needed, the bike uses magnetic tensions which is adjustable up to 8 different levels. Another neat feature is this exercise bike comes with hand pulse sensors which are used to monitor you heart rate, knowing your ideal target heart rate for aerobic activity can be very beneficial while working towards your goals.

The mechanics behind this bike feature a 3 piece crank system which provides a smooth and consistent pedaling motion. Unlike, some bikes the noise that accompanies the pedaling motion is quite subtle and will not interfere with a tv or headphones.

Lastly, if space is a big issue then this bike is for you. Sporting a foldable design this exercise bike can easily be relocated and stored in more ideal space. The design is also supplemented with transportation wheels to further assist you.


Recumbent Exercise Bike 101

In most gyms, there will be a choice of two different bikes: recumbent and upright exercise bikes. The mechanical difference between the two is that the former has support for your back, allowing you to rest your spine and pedal with your feet out in front of you.

As the recumbent bike offers back support, it’s easier to stay upright and your keep your spine healthy as you cycle. For this reason, it’s perfect for the elderly or those with back problems by placing less stress on the joints. It can also be a great option for when you’re feeling lethargic or fatigued as it puts you in a more comfortable position. As well as all of this, Recumbent bikes often feature a larger seat. A standard stationary bike can be uncomfortable for some because of its smaller, harder surface.

However, as the recumbent bikes does allow for a more relaxing ride, it’s easier to switch off and not get the most from your session. If you’re looking to burn the most calories possible, then the recumbent bike won’t be your best option.

For those who may have trouble getting to grips with stationary bikes, recumbent bikes can be a great choice just to get the movement down. Once you feel comfortable with the recumbent bike, you can progress onto the upright bike. As well as this, if you have issues with your shoulders, upper back, neck, or lower back, then the recumbent bike will ensure that you don’t injure yourself further or feel pain throughout your exercise session. Yet, for the majority of people who want to get fit and don’t have any joint problems, then the upright bike will be a better choice.

Our Top Picks for Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Below you will see a few examples of some of the most efficient recumbent exercise bikes. These models will vary in price range.

Schwinn Recumbent Exercise Bike

schwinn exercise bike

HR Monitor: Yes  Foldable: No  |  Fan: Yes

Description: Schwinn is a well known brand which has been making quality bikes for years. This stationary exercise bike is no difference. Featuring a 3-piece crank which offers up to a whopping 25 levels of resistance! This is exceptionally high, giving you the most freedom to a fully customizable experience for any experience level. In addition this bike comes with highly efficient heart rate monitors featuring 9 heart rate programs!

Another feature that sets this recumbent exercise bike apart from the rest is the three-speed cooling fan! Not many recumbent bikes sport a fan they’re more typically found on upright bikes. Lastly, if you’re into your gadgets and one who isn’t always fully charged. Luckily, for you this exercise bike has a USB charging port media shelf.


Sunny Health Recumbent Exercise Bike

sunny exercise bike

HR Monitor: Yes  Foldable: No  |  Fan: No

DescriptionSculpt and tone your body with this efficient Sunny Health recumbent exercise bike. This bike, features an 8 level adjustable magnetic tension system. Many people may not know the importance of a highly adjustable seat, that this model just so happens to comes with. Reason being, the seat can dictate the tension on your focused muscle group. By manipulating the height of the seat you can shift the tension from your glutes to your quads in a matter of seconds!

Additionally, this bike features a large cushioned seat for excellent back support. As well as slip resistant pedals that you may use with or without shoes. I also like the large digital display which makes it easy to read and track your progress at a glance.


Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike

exerpeutic exercise bike

HR Monitor: Yes  Foldable: No  |  Fan: No

Description: The Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent exercise bike, is a perfect option for those who want all the basic features an exercise bike has to offer. What makes this bike stand out is it’s exceptionally quiet design. No loud noises and a near silent peddling motion makes this bike a top contender for those who like to workout late. No need to worry about waking the kids with your exercise impulses.

This bike hits all the marks in terms of heart rate monitor, lcd screen, 8 level magnetic tension system, and even transportation wheels. An excellent all-rounder that prioritizes quietness. 


Upright Exercise Bike 101

An upright bike is far more similar to riding outside on a normal bike. If you’re looking to use a stationary bike to improve your riding on the road or on the track, then the upright bike will be superior to the recumbent.

Upright bikes also provide a more full-body workout. If you want to burn more calories, then you have the option to stand up and pedal faster. The pedals on an upright bike are placed underneath the body whereas recumbent bikes have pedals in front to provide for a more relaxed ride. Standing up helps you to alter the speed and change the dynamic of your workout whilst engaging more of your core.

In short, recumbent bikes are better for those who want a more relaxed, comfortable session or those with lower back or joint issues. On the other hand, upright bikes are better option for anyone who’s looking for a more serious session, challenge their body and burn the most calories.

Our Top Picks for Upright Exercise Bikes

Below you will see a few examples of some of the most efficient recumbent exercise bikes. These models will vary in price range.

Marcy Exercise Bike

marcy exercise bike

HR Monitor: No  Foldable: No  |  Fan: No

Description: The brand Marcy is highly reputable in the exercise bike industry. This bike is our number one choice when it comes to upright bikes. Upright bikes as discussed earlier yield the best results at the cost of the most amount of effort. With that said this bike is one of the most difficult to get used to, but after you break it in, your weight will be melting right off of you!

Featuring one of the smoothest magnetic resistance systems on the market, with up to 8 levels of resistance. This upright exercise bike gets an A+ for efficiency. In addition, workout metrics come standard with each bike allowing you to dial in your speed, distances, time, and calories burned!


Nautilus Indoor Exercise Bike

nautilus exercise bikeColor: Gray  | Foldable: No  |  Fan: No

Description: This high tech exercise bike by Nautilus features a fill Bluetooth LE smart connectivity allowing you to sync all of your data not only on one but, amongst multiple apps. This feature really stands out to us because of the ability to pair not only with the Nautilus Trainer App and Nautilus Connect. Also, MyFitnessPal which is a fantastic app used to track everything form your calorie intake to your steps walked! A very powerful application that integrates seamlessly with the Nautilus U616.

Of course in addition to the built in bluetooth, this bike sports two high resolution backlit LCD monitors and in-console speakers! Alternatively, if you do not wish to take advantage of the bluetooth the bike does come standard with an auxiliary and USB port!


ProGear 225 Portable Exercise Bike

progear exercise bike

HR Monitor: Yes  Foldable: Yes  |  Fan: No

Description: The most compact upright bike of them all! The Progear 225 portable exercise bike. This bike features a sleek compact design that is completely foldable. Allowing you to store this unit in a discreet location when not in use. Also, comes standard with transportation wheels for easy movability. This bike features a heart rate monitor so you can reach your desired heart rate zone for optimal weight loss. This exercise bike also comes with an upgraded crank system which provides a smooth and consistent pedaling motion.


Spin Bike 101

When one heres the word spin bike, a woman’s class may come to mind. In reality, spinning bikes are actually the extreme of exercise bikes. The main difference between a spin bike and a stationary recumbent or upright bike is the flywheel. The flywheel is a very large wheel typically placed in front of the bike, these wheels can weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds plus!

This unique design caters more to the cycling enthusiasts or those who often bike outdoors and want to recreate the feeling while staying indoors. Spin bike designs mirror the experience of riding a bike outside resulting in similar resistance and momentum when pedaling. Spinning bikes provide great workouts that are typically of high intensity and long endurance nature. Ideal for those who want a more intense experience while they engage in their cardio.

Our Top Picks for Spinning Bikes

Below you will see a few examples of some of the most efficient recumbent exercise bikes. These models will vary in price range.

Sunny Exercise Bikesunny spin bike

HR Monitor: No  Wheel Weight: 22lbs  |  Fan: No

Description: This beautifully designed spin bike was made by Sunny Health, another reputable manufacture in the exercise bike industry. This bike is very well made featuring a very stable yet predictable ride. This bike is king for cyclist and bike enthusiasts alike.

What sets this bike apart from the rest is the design. Equipped with a 22lb fly wheel this upgrade which is not often seen. Provides support for high speeds mimicking real cycling, which makes you feel like you’re riding outdoors. In addition, the bike features felt pad resistance, unlike the magnetic systems which are more typically seen. The felt pad resistance provides another realistic touch to further elevate your experience.


Merax Spin Bike

merax spin bike

HR Monitor: No  Wheel Weight: 22lbs  |  Fan: No

Description: The Merax spin bike is an excellent design sporting a sleek black and red color scheme. One feature that sets this bike apart is the 4-way fully adjustable seat. Allowing the rider to move up, down, forward, and back. This is a unique feature that provides the ultimate custom experience. In addition, this bikes sports a multi-functional handle bar giving you diversity in your grip. These are small features that really add up to a custom experience. Personally, comfort is very important when researching exercise bikes this model is by far the best in that regard.


Marcy Spin Bike

marcy spin bikeHR Monitor: No  Wheel Weight: 40lbs  |  Fan: No

Description: The Marcy spin bike, features a 40lb flywheel, this is one of the heaviest wheels you will come across. The added weight will make it a bit harder to initially pedal, but once up to speed you will find yourself having a much higher speed than lighter wheels that are more common around the 22lb mark. This bike supports adjustable resistance, and a really cool feature being a quick stop knob. The quick stop knob allows for powerful sudden stops to not only stop but may be used to slow your bike down as well.


Hybrid Exercise Bike 101

Bikes that fall under this category feature something that compliments upright and or recumbent bikes and provide additional benefits. Such as, moveable handles to mimic an elliptical of sort or possibly an oversized fan which provides power at the cost of sweat. These sorts of bikes cater to a more specific audience, individuals who tend to pick something more custom when given a choice.

Our Top Picks for Hybrid Exercise Bikes

Below you will see a few examples of some of the most efficient recumbent exercise bikes. These models will vary in price range.

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro

proform hybrid trainer exercise bike

HR Monitor: Yes  Foldable: No  |  Fan: No

Description: This hybrid trainer features a fully functioning recumbent style exercise bike as well as a fully functioning elliptical. This bike is definitely one of the best bang for your buck products in this industry. The convenience to switch from elliptical style workouts then instantly switch to an exercise bike is amazing. Not only is this a seamless design but it’s also made with the highest of quality. Featuring an accurate heart rate monitor, large seat and back rest, as well as a LCD screen to track your progress. Also, 16 levels of resistance which is double the average. Get the most out of your workout with this hybrid exercise bike by ProForm.


Body Rider Stationary Exercise Bike

body rider exercise bike

HR Monitor: No  Foldable: No  |  Fan: Yes

Description: This versatile fan bike made by Body Rider engages more than just your legs. This incorporates your arms as well, which without thought engages your core simultaneously. The faster and harder you work the more powerful the fan becomes! Cooling you off quickly to support a longer session.

This exercise bike also features a full resistance system and sports an ergonomic design to provide an effective cardio workout. This upright exercise bike design enables you to keep the focus on your workout and reap the most benefits unlike recumbent bikes.


Body Rider BRD2000 Hybrid Bike

HR Monitor: No  Foldable: No  |  Fan: Yes

Description: Body Riders Hybrid bike line doesn’t fall short of quality. This bike features an easy to use design that engages both your lower body and upper to reap all the benefits from a full body workout! Equipped with a powerful fan blade system as well as synchronized elliptical grab bars.

In addition, the body rider features an easy to adjust knob style system making it super easy for fine tuning. The seat is also just as easy to adjust allowing for ultimate diversity. Grab yourself one of these and work smart not hard.


Final Thoughts

All forms of cycling are low impact for the lower body which reduces wear and tear on the joints whilst strengthening your ligaments and tissues. The convenience exercise bikes offer is incomparable. Having the ability to workout on your own time and not have to commute to a gym is truly amazing. Get your sweat on from the comfort of your own home. Simply follow this guide to make a more informed purchase to ensure you get the most out of your equipment.