Table of Contents
- Top 10 Best Exercise Bikes For Your Home
- Benefits Of Exercise Bikes
- Intro To Exercise Bikes
- Different Types Of Exercise Bikes
- How To Choose An Exercise Bike?
- The Ver(ve)dict!
Top 10 Best Exercise Bikes For Your Home
Benefits Of Exercise Bikes
Ease Of Use
Low Joint Stress
Independent Of Environmental Effects
One of the best things about exercise bikes is their price. With treadmills and other fitness machines, you will generally have to invest a considerable amount of money in order to get the necessary reliability and performance. That isn’t the case with exercise bikes. Due to their simple nature, you can find awesome models which come with pretty cheap price tags. This is one of the main reasons why most new fitness fans start out with a bike instead of something more complex.
Ability To Cater Your Workout
Intro To Exercise Bikes
Exercise bikes seem pretty straight forward to most newcomers. On the surface, they really do seem that way. However, when you look into this type of fitness machines a bit closer, you will find that there are many layers in there. The purpose of this guide is to help you understand what different exercise bikes can do for you and which one will best fit your specific needs.
When we finish explaining different types of exercise bikes, we will focus a bit more on things to look out for when shopping for a bike. By the time we are done, you should be armed with enough information to make a good, educated decision.
Main Elements Of Exercise Bikes
Frame is one of those things which are often times overlooked despite being the most important element of any bike. You would think that much is obvious, but it is astounding just how many people don’t really care about what kind of frame their bike comes with. A good frame is the foundation every other component is built into. If the frame is not up to the standards, the rest of the components either won’t be able to achieve their full potential, or will be hard to use.
An ideal frame is robust, strong and stable. Almost every bike out there features an H pattern frame although some come with more niche designs. An H pattern frame has proven to be the most reliable and elegant solution. What you are looking for in a frame is stability under stress. You could weld three thin pieces of piping and they will probably support your weight. However, when you push that flywheel up to speed and start going hard on the bike, you will notice movement, instability and other things which can ruin the whole exercise experience. In short, look for proper tubing made out of quality steel and you will be fine.
Aside from the structural stability of the main construction, there are some desirable features you might want to pay attention to. The most basic ones are transport wheels. These are small wheels usually mounted on the front bar of the frame, which allow you to maneuver the bike in and out of storage more easily. Even though most bikes come with wheels, there are still some which don’t.
The other feature worth looking into are leveling plates. Leveling a bike is important as using a bike on an uneven surface can introduce unpredictable results which can be dangerous at times. Most bikes with leveling plates have them mounted on the rear bar although some come with plates on all four corners.
Flywheels And Drive Systems
Flywheel is what produces resistance on just about every exercise bike out there. It is essentially a large metallic disc which is liked to the pedals either directly or indirectly depending on the type of bike you are using. A good flywheel needs to meet certain standards. It has to be precision machined, well balanced and generally well designed. If it isn’t, you will experience a variety of issues which can be serious in some cases.
A flywheel which is out of balance will give you an impression that you are running over a bump with every revolution. This effect isn’t all that noticeable at lower RPMs but as soon as you start pushing the bike a bit harder, you will run into serious issues. Fortunately for us, most modern exercise bikes come with fairly decent flywheels.
The weight of a flywheel will dictate how much base resistance you will have at your disposal. Base or core resistance is equal to the amount of force you need to input in order to get the flywheel spinning without magnetic resistance being applied. Naturally, as you start pushing more and more magnetic resistance onto the flywheel, you will get have to put in more force.
Heavier flywheels are generally a good thing to have. They will allow you to simulate steeper inclines and thus get a better exercise. With that said, lighter flywheels have their place in this world as well. They are mostly used in compact bikes which are designed to have as small of a footprint as possible. When we get to computer modules, we will go deeper into magnetic resistance settings and how they can affect the performance of the bike.
Direct VS Indirect Drive Systems
The distinction between these two is fairly straight forward. With direct drive systems the flywheel is liked directly to the pedals. This solution is present in the large majority of exercise bikes available on the market right now. Indirect drive systems are usually reserved for indoor cycling bikes. The main benefit of a direct drive is its simplicity. It requires a minimal amount of components and is pretty straight forward.
Indirect drive systems are those where pedals are not bolted directly into the flywheel but rather use a belt or chain of some kind to transfer user input. Although more complex in nature, indirect drives or belt drives offer a more authentic experience.
Being one of the three main contact points between you and the bike, seats are pretty important. Depending on the type of the bike you have chose, you will find different seat designs being used. Most bikes come with standard contoured saddle type seat just like you would find on a regular road bike. However, some feature seats which are optimized more for comfort than authenticity. This mostly applies to upright bikes but especially recumbent bikes.
The most important aspect of any seat is its adjustability. You should have the option to adjust the seat both vertically and horizontally if possible with former being essential. A fully adjustable seat allows you to find a perfect seating position for your build and height.
Computer Modules And Display Units
Seeing how digital technologies have advanced quite a bit, it wasn’t all that surprising that fitness machines saw a huge boost in this department. Modern exercise bikes often come with computer modules which do a lot more than just display your current stats. Compared to simplistic display units which were standard not so long ago, you could say that computer modules are changing the way we experience exercise bikes.
Where computer modules really change things up is resistance control. Aside from the fact that you no longer have to turn a knob in order to find a setting you want, resistance has become much more versatile. Most computer modules come with built in presets which combine different resistance levels at different intervals. In other words, each of those presets simulates riding on a different terrain. We don’t have to explain just how much this boosts the potential of exercise bikes. It transforms them from dull workout machines into something that is truly on a different level.
Different Types Of Exercise Bikes
Compared to upright models, recumbent bikes are exponentially more comfortable. Instead of sitting on a standard bike seat, with recumbent bikes you are assuming a reclined seating position. Because of that they are lower to the ground but usually longer. In purely technical sense, there aren’t any major differences between recumbent and upright bikes. They come with similar flywheels, direct drive systems and often times computer modules.
The main difference is in the seat. Instead of a saddle or a lightly padded contoured seat, recumbent bikes offer an actual chair with a back rest and everything. The whole purpose of recumbent bikes is to isolate your lower body from your upper body. Although exercise bikes in general don’t really engage your upper body in any aggressive way, they do improve your core. The fact that recumbent bikes are so exclusive when it comes to which parts of your body are engaged makes them a perfect choice for those who value comfort over anything else. Additionally, people with specific conditions will most likely find them to be the best choice.
Indoor Cycling Bikes
Last category of bikes we want to talk about are indoor cycling bikes. These are very different compared to the previous two categories and are usually chose by experienced users as well as professional athletes. Indoor cycling bikes were designed to mimic the geometry of standard road bikes. That explains why their frames feature front forks and other familiar features.
It is worth mentioning that indoor cycling bikes put you in a very aggressive riding position. You are sitting pretty high with your upper body leaning into the handlebars. Additionally, indoor cycling bikes utilize indirect drive systems. The best thing about cycling bikes is the fact that you can stand on pedals as you cycle. Anyone who has any experience with road bikes knows that riding while standing is one of the most demanding things you can do. Being able to do the same on an exercise bikes means that the scope of exercises you can do is much larger.
Interestingly enough, indoor cycling bikes rarely come with a computer module. The most you will see on average is a display unit which shows you the most relevant stats.
How To Choose An Exercise Bike?
Importance Of Advanced Features
Advanced features such as computer modules can be an awesome tool to have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to track your progress with great precision, but you will also be able to plan your workouts long term. The real question is where should you draw the line?
There are exercise bikes out there which come packed with all kinds of creature comforts.We are talking entertainment packages, built in speakers, Bluetooth connectivity and others. These features are not relevant to the core performance of a bike but they often tend to raise the price. Unless you absolutely need them, we suggest that you don’t focus on advanced features all too much. Instead, it is much more important to chase good core components.
Importance Of Setting Up The Bike Properly
One of the most common mistakes new users make is to skip setting up their bikes properly. There is actually a technique to riding a bike that has nothing to do with how fast you should go or what kind of gear your should wear. Instead, it has to do with seat positioning, understanding pedals and understanding how to apply force to said pedals.
The seat should be high enough for your legs to have full range of motion. If the seat is too low and your legs remain bent during an entire revolution of the pedals, you are drastically reducing the efficiency of your workout. Additionally, finding the right position of the handlebars where adjustments can be applied is also important.
Proper cycling technique is something that is worth looking into. It can help you target the right muscle groups and engage your whole lover body with more intensity. If you have chosen to go with indoor cycling bikes, you should definitely look into this matter. As most pros will tell you, what applies to road bikes also applies to cycling bikes.
Last but not least, we have to touch upon leveling the bike if your model has the necessary features to do so. Cycling on uneven surface can add unnecessary stress to bothyou and the bike. You may not feel it right away, but eventually you will notice that something is simply off. Leveling the bike takes only a couple of minutes and is definitely worth doing.