Stationary Bike Types

A stationary exercise bike is a fantastic method of getting in a cardiovascular and muscle-toning workout while in the comfort of your own home. Stationary bikes give you low-impact exercise that won’t put the same stress on your knees, hips, and other joints in a way that a treadmill or elliptical machine will. Actually, doctors often suggest patients exercise on a stationary bike while in recovery from a variety of injuries and surgeries because of its low-impact nature. There are three central kinds of stationary exercise bikes available as well as dual-action machines that aim to work your lower and upper body simultaneously. Even though each type of bike offers a number of unique characteristics, the most apparent difference is in your body position while working out.

How to Buy Exercise Bikes

Finding a high-quality exercise bike can be a challenge.  If you don’t know what to look for, then your’e wagering your money on a guess.  In this article I will discuss the qualities you should consider and seek out when looking to purchase an exercise bike.

The most important element is price.  Not necessarily looking for the cheapest price, but looking for the highest value compared to the price.  Let’s face it — trying to find a top-quality exercise bike for $150 is probably just wishful thinking.  To get a decent bike, be prepared to invest a minimum of $200.  Of course, the key word here is basic.  You will not get all of the fancy bells and whistles at this price.

What can you expect if you spend between $250-$650?  Oftentimes these exercise bikes will operate very smoothly and silently, be more comfortable to work out in and even come with additional features such as built-in workout programs and heart rate monitoring.  Of course, just because you spend $600 doesn’t mean that you will get each of these features.  It’s important to read reviews on these exercise bikes before purchasing them, considering you are spending a decent amount of money.

If you really want to go top of the line, you’re going to have to spend around $750 or more.  For this price you can often enjoy pushbutton resistance control, high quality display consoles, lifetime warranties and a ton of extra features.  As far as the comfort and construction of the bike itself goes, the difference between this and a mid-level model will be negligible.  Basically, what you’re getting for your top dollar is the extra features.

It’s important to factor in comfort when choosing an exercise bike.  Don’t just purchase it on price alone.  Otherwise you may get a good deal on something that you will hardly ever use. Sometimes it’s hard enough to motivate yourself to work out.  Do make it any harder by purchasing an exercise bike that is simply uncomfortable.

With that said, it is hard to go wrong with recumbent exercise bikes.  With these bikes you actually sit in a reclined position when working out, and your peddling occurs in front of you instead of beneath you.  Of course, some people just can’t get used to this type of position.  If you have never used one of these bikes, make sure to test it out first before purchasing one.

The Schwinn Fitness Exercise are the most popular and best-selling exercise bikes for fitness enthusiasts. Reviews are provided for the most popular Exercise Bike models.

Traditional Upright Exercise Bikes

Image of an upright stationary bikeTraditional upright stationary exercise bikes have been rated among the most popular indoor exercise machines for several years. Upright exercise bikes are made to ape the feel and body positioning of a regular bicycle. The handlebars are positioned fairly high and close to the body to keep your torso as close to being in a vertical position as possible. The pedals are situated beneath the seat. Depending on the model, upright stationary bikes are equipped with either a manual tension knob to set the resistance level or a push-button electronic resistance selector. Resistance is typically gained with a direct-contact or magnetic braking system. Some bikes, like the Schwinn® Airdyne® AD6, for example, depend on wind resistance rather than a braking system. Upright exercise bikes usually come equipped with large cushioned seats for comfort. A lot of models also feature digital displays, real-time performance tracking, and preprogrammed workout routines. Even though upright stationary bikes are available at all price levels, this type of bike is your best choice if you are looking to get the most value for the money you are spending.

Recumbent Stationary Bikes

Image of a recumbent stationary bikeEven though recumbent stationary bikes share a lot in common with traditional upright stationary bikes, they are fundamentally different in design. While riding a recumbent bike, you sit in a marginally reclined position against a comfortable seatback. The pedals are positioned in such a way as to be out in front of your body as opposed to directly below it. A majority of recumbent bike enthusiasts discover that this type of bike provides more comfort for regular riding than that of an upright bike or indoor cycling bike mainly because your body weight is distributed more evenly across the full seat and back and not just on the tailbone area. Aside from the positioning of your body, recumbent bikes offer the same basic types of resistance systems and electronic technologies found in the most popular upright stationary bikes. Considering the key difference, the style being so much different from a standard bike, you might want to test out a recumbent bike to ensure that it suits you before purchasing one.

Spinning Bikes

Image of a spinning bikeSpinning bikes, also known as indoor cycling bikes or just simply spin bikes, are made to mimic the feel of long-distance road bikes and racing bikes. Compared to a traditional upright bike, spinning bikes have handlebars that are low-slung, which helps to create a forward-tilted body position. Depending on how you grip the handlebars, you can ride with a nearly vertical torso position, a nearly horizontal torso position, or somewhere in between, much like a real road bike. These bikes are touted by outdoor biking fans that use them to stay fit during periods of bad weather, for example. Recently, group spinning classes have become a very popular alternative to aerobics classes and other cardio-workout classes at fitness centers and gyms across the country. Spinning bikes can be pretty simple when put in comparison to popular upright and recumbent exercise bikes. The majority of spinning bikes have a manual resistance mechanism and sometimes a little LCD performance monitor, however, there is often little else in the way of technology or add-on features. For a lot of stationary exercise bike shoppers, the lack of preprogrammed workout routines and other technologies pushes them toward more full-featured upright and recumbent exercise bikes. Spinning bikes are also on the higher end of the cost range for in-home stationary bikes.

Full-Body Exercise Bikes

Image of a full body workout bikeSome stationary bikes give you both a lower-body and an upper-body workout. The Schwinn® Airdyne® family of upright exercise bikes, for example, has a traditional pedal system and oscillating handlebars which connect to the bike’s resistance system. The handlebars move toward and away from the body, offering resistance in each direction. Push against the resistance to work one set of muscles and pull against the resistance to work the other. In a second example, the Stamina® Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike provides both standard foot pedals as well as hand pedals, both of which offer resistance that you can adjust. For a challenging full-body workout, try using both sets of pedals at the same time.

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