Are you looking to get fit at home and aren’t sure where to start? If this is you, you’ll want to consider an exercise bike. There’s a reason that companies like SoulCycle, and spin classes in fitness clubs are so popular: they get you fit.
If you look at a cyclist, they are some of the top athletes in the world. They are lean, and have tremendous cardiovascular endurance, and incredible VO2 max–which is the amount of oxygen you can utilize during a workout. The amazing thing to recognise here is that they are doing this all while sitting. This is why biking is such a powerful way to get fit, and an exercise bike can help bring you great results in your own home.
An exercise bike is a great way to boost your cardiovascular health, but the resistance levels provided is great for doing high-intensity interval training. Studies show that his style of training is seen as a superior way to get fit, lose body fat, and boost not only aerobic, but anaerobic fitness.
Things to Consider When Buying an Exercise Bike
Logistically, the first thing to consider is the amount of space you have to use your exercise bike. The good news is that an exercise bike is one of the smallest pieces of cardio equipment out there. They can fit in most small spaces, and are perfect for bedrooms or in apartments. Some get larger than others, so you want to determine the best place for you to use it.
If you are limited for space, you’ll want an exercise bike that is easy to transport, or foldable. You’ll want to look for one that is lightweight, and has built-in wheels so it’s easy to move around.
The next thing to consider is the type of workouts you like to do. It comes down to the bike being: upright, recumbent, or for indoor cycling. Upright is better for general riding, a recumbent is better for those with injuries and back problems, and indoor cycling are the ones we mentioned for high-intensity spinning.
If you want general fitness, and prefer straightforward pedalling, you won’t need an exercise bike with too many functions. If you prefer high-intensity interval training, and riding up out of the saddle, you’ll want an exercise bike that is similar to the spin bikes you find in gyms–or an indoor cycling bike. These will have easy to adjust resistance, so you can increase and decrease intensity in an instant.
If you like having pre-set workouts, you’ll want to look for an exercise bike that has bluetooth connectivity, and/or pre-programmed workouts. This will give you an endless supply of workout to keep your training fresh. Fitness apps also give you the ability to follow instructors and engage in more interactive training.
Key Exercise Bike Features to Look Out For
A comfortable seat will be first on many people’s list. If you’re going to be spending countless hours riding, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible. If you’re engaging in higher intensity riding, you’ll want high-end pedals that you can strap into. This keeps you more secure, and allows you to give a full effort.
Most exercise bikes have an LCD display to give you an indication of your stats while exercising. You want a large clear display that at least shows you: time, distance, speed, and calories burned. You want this display to be user friendly as you don’t want to be spending an unnecessary amount of time trying to figure it out when you could be exercising.
A great feature associated with this tracking is a heart rate monitering system. These are often built-in sensors placed in the handles that give you an accurate reading of your heart rate. This is a great feature if you need to track your heart rate, and train within a specific range.
For resistance–especially for an indoor cycling bike–you want many different levels. This will allow you to constantly change your intensity. You also want the resistance lever to be easy to use. Some use a dial, and some have a lever to get you to your specific resistance. The dial should be snappy and quick, and you shouldn’t have to spend long trying to change levels.
If you live with other people, and want the quiestes ride possible, you’ll want to look for the magnetic resistance system. This is a great feature that not only provides the smoothest ride, but makes almost no noise.
The last few features to look out for are helpful–but don’t necessarily make your workouts any better. Things like water bottle holders, tablet holders, and Bluetooth connectivity for music are great–but not always a necessity.
5 Best Exercises Bikes
1. JLL IC400 ELITE Indoor Bike
The IC400 is like the Cadillac of exercise bikes. This is similar to what you would find in Soul Cycle or in spin classes in high-end gyms. With the IC400 you get the perfect bike for regular cycling but also high-intensity interval training. It comes with a direct driven belt and 20kg flywheel which means it’s powerful, and incredibly smooth and quiet.
What makes this bike such a standout are all the customization options. There are 10 different seat level adjustments, and 9 handlebar adjustments. This means, no matter what your size or height–you’ll find the perfect riding position. This bike is incredibly durable and can handle a weight of up to 150 kg. It is also easily transportable and has the built-in wheels to move it around as easily as possible.
But besides being an elite performance exercise bike, the IC400 comes with great technology. It has a large LCD display to show you your stats, and also has a pulse monitor. It also uses a unique friction resistance system to easily add resistance in an instant during your workout.
If you are serious about getting as fit as possible, the IC400 makes the ideal choice.
2. EXERPEUTIC Gold Heavy Duty Foldable Exercise Bike
So you’re looking for an exercise bike because you have a small amount of space. Most exercise bikes will work, but what if you have a really small space? This is where you’ll want to consider a folding exercise bike. The best option in this category is the Exerpeutic Gold. Even though this is a foldable bike, it’s extremely heavy duty, and can still give you a great workout.
Not only can folding bikes be used anywhere, they can be stored easier than other exercise bikes. This option can be stored away in a closet, or any small space you have so it doesn’t take over part of the room. Not only is this foldable exercise bike heavy duty, it can handle weights of up to 181 kg; which is extraordinary. It comes with an 8-level magnetic resistance system so you can still do some high intensity training.
This exercise bike is great not only for those who want an intense workout, but for those at any level of fitness. It has a large padded seat to make the workout very comfortable. This is also one of the easiest bikes to get in and out of making it a great choice for those with mobility issues. Despite being a foldable bike, it also has an LCD display and pulse monitoring which you don’t often find in foldable exercise bikes.
3. Exerpeutic GOLD 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike
Cycling–as mentioned–is one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can do. But what if you have some issues with joints and back pain? An upright bike is great as there is no impact on the knees, but the riding position can cause issues with back pain if you suffer from that. The riding position does involve leaning forward and that can place strain on the back,
The solution to this is a recumbent exercise bike. The reclined position of the seat helps to take pressure off the lower back while still allowing you to exercise. There is also less force distributed through the knees which will make pedaling more comfortable. The 525XLR is the best choice if you are in need of a recumbent bike. Not only is it a recumbent bike, it also is foldable. This is an amazing combination of features as it allows more comfortable exercise, and for the bike to be stored out of the way.
The 525XLR is not only functional, but as comfortable, and easy to use as it gets. This is a great option for those with back problems, pre existing injuries, seniors, or anyone with mobility issues who still want to exercise. It has a large padded seat for comfort, and is also extremely easy to get in and out of due to its lower seat position. Despite being a convenient solution to your exercise needs, this bike still has the LCD display, heart rate monitoring, and 8-level magnetic resistance system. If you are able to exercise–but don’t want back or joint pain to get in the way–the 500XLR is the perfect soulution.
4. BTM Indoor Cycling Spin Exercise Bike
If you are looking to get fit–or are already fit and want challenging workouts–the BTM indoor cycling bike is like bringing the spin class right into your own home. This is a stylish looking spin bike, but one that comes with great features–and is surprisingly affordable for what it offers.
The focus here is on spinning, and high-intensity interval training. The BTM makes this easy with its 22 pound flywheel and heavy duty steel frame. This allows for you to go hard, but is still supportive and smooth. It also comes with a belt-driven system which is super quiet so you can get an intense workout without disturbing anyone you live with. This bike has so many great features including a water bottle holder, LCD display, and many adjustment options to give you the perfect customized fit.
The BTM features high-end “cage pedals” which securely strap you into the bike. This is important for sprints and high-intensity training to keep you secure, safe, and allow for the best performance. This is the ideal bike no matter what level of fitness you are at, and it’s a sure way to boost your endurance, conditioning, and overall fitness.
5. Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider
What if you’ve decided on an exercise bike, but don’t have a lot of money to spend? The Ultrasport F-Bike is the best budget-friendly option to still give you a great workout. Not only is the F-Bike affordable, it’s a foldable bike, too. This gives you more storage and transport options no matter where you live–and it only weighs 14 kg. Despite its friendly price tag, this is an exercise bike to still get you fit. It features 8 different levels of magnetic resistance so you can push yourself.
You wouldn’t think an exercise bike at this price tag would come with an LCD display, but the F-Bike has one that displays your time, distance, calories burned, speed, and even your pulse with its built-in hand pulse sensors. This is a surprisingly great feature for a bike at this price point.
Even though it’s affordable, and foldable, the F-Bike is still adjustable so you can find the perfect riding position. This is a great choice if you’re fit–or looking to get fit–as it can accommodate all levels of fitness.
Personal Trainer Tips and Advice
A warm up is essential before biking. You don’t want to just jump in and start pedaling at a fast rate. This can lead to muscle strains and cramping as the muscles are not properly warmed up yet. It’s imperative to start with a 5-10 minute warm up at a lighter resistance to get the heart rate up, and blood flowing to the working muscles.
A cool down is just as important as the warm up. If you have been pedaling at an intense rate, and just stop–it can lead to blood pooling in the muscles which lead to cramping. At the end of your ride, finish with a 5-10 minute cool down to transition out of exercise and into recovery. The pace should be slower, and at a lighter resistance.
If you’re doing sprints during high-intensity interval training, it’s important to pay attention to your breathing. The spring portion of the intervals is usually about 30 seconds, and it’s common to hold your breath as you’re going as hard as you can. Make sure to avoid this and breath in through the nose, and exhale forcefully out of the mouth. Your body requires oxygen during these intervals, and you don’t want to deprive it. While doing the slower paced recovery portion during intervals, this is where you want to focus on deep breathing through the nose and out of it. This is going to help in recovery, but also oxygenate the body, lungs, and muscles. BReathing is critical to optimal performance, and you need to focus on it during cycling workouts.