Three best exercise bikes
Having the right equipment at home can help you make workouts a priority. With an indoor exercise bike, there's no need to spend money on an expensive gym membership, deal with crowded spin classes, or contend with traffic while cycling outdoors. Exercise bikes offer fitness newbies an easy way to fit in cardio and provide experienced riders with the perfect solution when the weather is less than ideal for pedaling outside. Our concise guide has everything you need to know when shopping for an exercise bike, including our picks for the three best bikes on the market.
Considerations when choosing exercise bikes
Your fitness goals
What kind of workouts do you have in mind? For example, do you want to focus on high-intensity rides, or are you more interested in increasing endurance? Your fitness goals will dictate the type of exercise bike that's right for you and what features you should look for like resistance levels and preset programs.
Do you have space for a large bike, or do you need a folding model? Get out the tape measure before settling on an exercise bike.
There are a variety of different exercise bikes, including upright, folding, spin, and recumbent bikes. Regardless of the type you select, make sure the bike is comfortable for your frame. Like a regular bike, you should be able to adjust the fit for your body.
Most exercise bikes have some kind of display, whether it's a simple LCD screen that shows only speed and distance--these bikes are typically the cheapest models at around $150--or a high-end monitor that provides you with all the data you could imagine from speed to heart rate to calories burned.
Having more resistance levels lets users fine-tune the difficulty of their rides. Bikes with more levels usually sit somewhere in the $300 to $400 price range. Choosing an exercise bike with a wide range of resistance levels will allow you to up your intensity as you grow stronger.
Preset workout programs
Exercise bikes with preset programs that change the resistance for you are typically more expensive. Models with all the bells and whistles can cost upward of $500. Preset programs are useful for those who don't want to spend time creating their own custom routines. With preset programs, you just hop on and spin.
Many exercise bikes come with a variety of extras to make your workouts more pleasant. Some features to look out for include water bottle holders, iPhone or iPad docks, and speakers.
Q. I often end up with back pain after a bike ride. Is there an indoor bike for me?
A. Back pain may be the result of a poorly fitted bike. Make sure you adjust your bike, indoor or outdoor, to fit you. If positioning isn't the issue, you may benefit from a recumbent bike, which puts less strain on the back muscles.
Q. How much cardio should I be doing per week on my exercise bike?
A. That all depends on whether you're participating in other activities, but generally adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week. That's a little more than two hours per week, so fitting in a healthy dose of cardio is definitely doable, especially when you have the right equipment at home.
Exercise bikes we recommend
Best of the best: Schwinn 270 Recumbent Exercise Bike
Our take: This quality recumbent bike has plenty of features to satisfy almost any user. An excellent choice for those with back problems or those who are recovering from an injury.
What we like: The large display is easy to read and provides access to an array of pre-programmed workouts.
What we dislike: It's on the high end price-wise and may require some extra hands to move into your home gym.
Best bang for your buck: Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike
Our take: An inexpensive, space-saving solution for those with limited space and funds.
What we like: Despite its minimal footprint, this exercise bike is sturdy, and it folds up easily so you can free up space when it's not in use.
What we dislike: If you're not handy, you may need help assembling it.
Our take: A performance-oriented exercise bike for serious riders looking to make the most of their indoor training time.
What we like: It's incredibly easy to fine-tune resistance on this machine, and the fit is highly adjustable, too.
What we dislike: It's a little noisy, according to users. If you're looking for a bike with a fancy display, this is not the model for you.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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