Table of Contents
- Top 10 Best Upright Bikes:
- What Makes Upright Bikes A Great Choice For Home Fitness?
- Choosing The Right Upright Bike For Your Needs
- What Makes A Good Upright Bike?
- Advanced Features
- The Ver(ve)dict
Today we are going to show you our top 10 picks for this particular category of static exercise bikes. Later on we will discuss what makes upright bikes so popular and what steps you can take to find a model that best fits your needs. By the time we’re done, you’ll understand why upright models are among the best exercise bikes on the market. Lets get to it.
Top 10 Best Upright Bikes:
he high end segment of upright bikes seems so over the top to a good number of potential users. However, once you realize that those machines are so high up there for a good reason, these bikes start to make sense. Sole Fitness LCB is one such model. It features a fairly massive build, a sturdy H pattern frame that is partially hidden behind the flywheel housing and a larger control module.
Not much out of the ordinary, right? Well not quite. LCB comes with a fully adjustable padded seat which greatly reduces fatigue during long workout sessions. Then we have the computer controlled flywheel with all ofits 40 levels of resistance. In terms of factory presets, you are looking 10 programs which include heart rate oriented presets and fully customizable ones as well.
One of the most interesting things about LCB is the fact that it requires no external power. Instead, the bike is using the flywheel to generate enough power to run the computer, sensors and everything else. Overall, the moment you look under the surface of Sole Fitness LCB, you will realize that it is a serious fitness machine. It is definitely suitable for hardcore users.
Upright bikes come in a variety of formats despite them being pretty standardized by now. Schwinn AirDyne Pro doesn’t really look much like an upright bike. You have that huge fan in the front and those two handle bars which make it look more like an elliptical than a bike.
However, AirDyne Pro is a proper upright bike. Further more, it is a professional grade exercise machine. What separates this bike from the rest of the models on our list is the way it works. There’s no flywheel but rather a belt drive system that links the pedals to the massive fan. By spinning the fan you create resistance. The faster you go, more resistance is being created. The moving handlebars are there to provide you with a challenging upper body exercise as well.
Overall, the whole system works very well. AirDyne Pro comes with a built in control console which is there to track your stats, allow you to set various goals and more. Compared to other bikes on the market, AirDyne comes across as something you will be able to use for decades without getting bored or tired of it. Because of that, it’s one of our favorites.
f you have done some research regarding home fitness gear, you have probably heard of 3G Cardio. This brand has established themselves as one of the best in the business. 3G Cardio Elite UB carries on that torch rather well. This bike is pretty high end with all of its features and options.
However, it’s not one of those machines which are optimize for professional athletes only. Instead, Elite UB represents a platform anyone can use to get in shape. The frame’s very sturdy but pretty compact. Despite this being a full sized upright bike, it is definitely on the compact side of the spectrum. Underneath the plastic flywheel housing we find a precision machined unit which runs smooth and quite no matter how hard you go at it.
It is computer controlled and features 16 levels of magnetic resistance you can select. On top of that, there are also 12 presets, 4 different user profiles, both hand sensors and a wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring and so much more. Overall, 3G Cardio Elite UB is the type of bike we would recommend to anyone just starting out as well as those who are looking for an upgrade.
e have mentioned earlier that most upright bikes share a very similar design. Sunny Health & Fitness ASUNA 4200 is not one of those bikes. Instead, it features a very interesting design that brings a number of benefits to the table. For starters, it is a true step through design. The frame features flat tubing that curves around the flywheel housing.
By placing the flywheel directly underneath the seat, they have managed to create a bike that is very easy to mount and dismount. The next logical question is whether or not this thing is comfortable. The answer is yes. Despite being located underneath the seat, the flywheel and pedals are positioned in a way that is very comfortable for daily use. Seat is padded and fully adjustable so even the taller users can find a good riding position.
Another interesting thing about this bike are its presets. Being a computer controlled model, you would expect dozens of challenging presets. Instead, ASUNA 4200 offers 5. You get a Beginner mode, Advanced, Watt, Cardio and Sporty. No matter how silly these may sound, they are actually quite effective and well balanced. This is the type of bike a beginner can rely on.
Mid range segment of the market has become the most competitive arena when it comes to upright bikes. You will find numerous brands doing their best to load their bikes with as many features as possible. Schwinn 170 is a product of one such endeavor and it has turned out tobe one of the best bang for the buck options on the market.
They have use a classic design with a standard H pattern frame made of rock solid tubing. The rear bar of the frame features leveling knobs which is a small but rather important feature. Moving up, we see a fully adjustable seat that is mounted on a rail. This ensures that you have both vertical and horizontal adjustment available. The control module is what makes this bike so awesome. You have a dual display unit that is packed full with all kinds of features.
We are talking 29 workout presets, 4 customizable modes, 25 levels of manual resistance and more. Schwinn has used the same control module that has been proven effective in their recumbent models. This has allowed them to cut down on production cost as well as field something that has been tested already.
Next comes another rather awesome mid range model, this time from Nautilus. This brand has a sense for finding a borderline perfect balance when it comes tovalue for the money. Nautilus U614 perfectly represents what we mean. It is a fairly compact mid range upright bike that packs a whole lot of features for not a lot of money.
The frame is a standard H pattern that comes with leveling rear bar and pretty light weight. The seat is adjustable by height, which may seem like a limiting factor, but generally works rather well. Underneath that massive shell hides a precision machined flywheel that runs smoothly and quietly. Since this is a computer controlled bike, you are looking at 20 levels of manual resistance and 22 workout programs. U614 comes with 2 user profiles, allowing you and another person to have completely separate setups.
Nautilus has also included features such as built in speakers and a USB charging port. The control module comes with two separate displays, one for navigating and monitoring presets and the other for tracking your stats in real time. On top of that, there’s also a media shelf which can hold a full sized tablet.
The idea behind Marcy ME708 is a pretty simple one. There is a niche segment of the market that is looking for simple, lightweight and compact exercise bikes. Even though it may not look like much, Marcy ME708 is an awesome little bike that fulfills these needs completely. It features a stubby but ultimately robust frame that provides more than enough stability as well as support.
The seat is adjustable by height and angled in a way that makes it work even for taller users. The flywheel features 8 levels of magnetic resistance, making it more than capable of delivering a challenging workout on a daily basis. This is not a computer controlled bike which means that tension selection is done by adjusting the knob located underneath the small display unit. Speaking of which, display is fairly basic and shows you the most important stats such as speed, distance, calories burned and so on.
We definitely recommend this bike to beginners who are looking for a decent entry level model that still packs a punch. Alternatively, ME708 is a perfect model for those who have a limited amount of space. Being so light and compact makes it easy to maneuver.
If you’ve ever needed proof that affordable doesn’t necessarily mean simple, all you have to do is check out Fitness Reality 210. From a distance it looks like another generic entry level bike. However, as you close in for a proper look, you will notice something rather interesting. This is a computer controlled model. More on that later. Lets start with the frame.
We have a standard H pattern frame that features leveling knobs and proper tubing. The seat is adjustable by height and belongs to the wider variety. In terms of comfort, it is fairly decent all things considered. The computer module is pretty simple. It features a small but detailed display which is accompanied by 6 control keys. Fitness Reality has included 21 workout presets, 24 levels of manual resistance, heart rate monitoring, goal oriented presets and more.
What looks like a simple bike from a distance has proven to be a very competitive machine that can be had on a budget. If you are looking for a bike that will allow you to plan out your workout routine without spending too much money, this is it. Best of all, this model has proven to be pretty reliable.
Folding bikes are about fulfill a very niche role, but an important one none the less. Exerpeutic Xbike is one of the best models you can find in this segment. It is well made, well designed and gets the job done day in, day out. The frame is very sturdy and made out of quality materials. All folding bikes tend to look a bit weak when you first see them, but this one is definitely among the better ones in this regard.
The seat is what defines these bikes for the most part. Exerpeutic went with a thickly padded wide seat that isn’t contoured but offers plenty of comfort. So much so that you won’t experience too much fatigue even during longer workout sessions. Flywheel is well made, fairly compact and comes with 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
The pedals are fairly basic in a sense that they’re not counter balanced. However, they offer plenty of grip and come with adjustable straps. Display unit is small which perfectly describes its function. Aside from heart rate monitoring, you won’t find too many other features. Exerpeutic Xbike is meant meet the most basic home fitness requirements, so this isn’t all that strange.
Last but not least we have another folding bike that offers plenty of cool stuff to those who need a compact fitness machine. Best ChoiceProducts Folding Bike is a bit different from its competition. They have used several great solutions which we don’t see too often elsewhere.
Some of them are visible on the frame itself. You have a light but sturdy frame made of quality materials which provide plenty of support. The first great solution you will see is the support bar that props up the seat. With most other folding bikes, this component is removable. On this bike, it is fixed using a pull pin. The seat is the next big thing. Best Choice Products has basically take a seat from a recumbent bike and made it work with an upright folding design.
You get a padded seat, padded back rest and side handles. In terms of magnetic resistance, this bike offers 8 levels which are manually selected. Display unit is simple but comes with three modes of operation. Generally speaking this bike offers a bit more than we are used to seeing in this category. This is something beginners and budget users will most definitely appreciate.
What Makes Upright Bikes A Great Choice For Home Fitness?
Doing a proper cardio workout at home is harder than it seems. In case you want to do a planned routine, track your progress and make adjustments along the way, your options are fairly limited.
Aside from running, cycling has always been the go to cardio workout. It is much easier on your joints and can be done in relative comfort. When it comes to static bikes, there are three options on the table. You have recumbent bikes which tend to be fairly large and cumbersome.
Then there are your upright bikes which are pretty compact all things considered. Lastly, we have indoor cycling bikes. Although pretty awesome in general, indoor cycling bikes tend to be too aggressive for most users. Upright bikes come out as the best compromise between size and performance. An upright bike allows you to enjoy the same exercise in a relatively comfortable way.
Choosing The Right Upright Bike For Your Needs
With upright bikes it all comes down to how much you are willing or capable to invest in one. That is going to be the most limiting factor.
As you go up the price, you will find bikes which are capable of offering precise progress tracking, various advanced features and finally some creature comforts. With that said, all exercise bikes deliver a more or less similar core performance.
In the end it all boils down to your budget and how casual or serious you are about your workout regimen. If you intend to plan out your workouts, set different heart rate goals and track your progress with great precision, you will have to spend a bit more.
On the other hand, if you just need a good exercise machine that will challenge you on a daily basis, you can get away with spending a fairly modest amount of money.
What Makes A Good Upright Bike?
There are essentially only a few components you really need to pay attention to when looking at this type of bikes. A good upright bike needs to have a stable frame, comfortable seat and a well machined flywheel.
Everything else, such as control modules, advanced features and other stuff comes second.
The frame can make or break a bike. Fortunately for us most brands have realized this and offer pretty good frames. A simple H pattern is what you will most likely run into out there.
As long as the manufacturer has used good tubing, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. The general rule of thumb is to stay away from thin frames as well as those which are assembled from too many individual parts. Those will generally prove to be inefficient in the long run. Naturally, folding bikes are an exception.
Seats are probably the most important component in a sense that they are your main point of contact with the bike. If you can, try to find a model that features adjustable seat which you can setup in a way that suits your build.
Seat design and padding is going to wildly differ from model to model and brand to brand. Some like to use straight padded seats while others go for more contoured pieces. For the most part all of those seat designs will reduce fatigue to an acceptable level.
There aren’t many variables when it comes to flywheel design. However that doesn’t mean that all flywheels are created equal. What you are looking for is a precision machined flywheel that runs smooth and creates very little noise during use. This will allow you to focus on your workout and enjoy fluid resistance.
Speaking of which, computer controlled models will always have more resistance levels than manually controlled bikes. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that former comes with more resistance than the latter, it does allow you to have a smooth transition between different resistance levels.
Once you get into precise workout regimens, advanced features become your best friend. We are mostly talking about challenging workout presets, various modes of operation and so on.
While these aren’t exactly necessary for an average user, they do give you much more control over your results. Being able to set different fitness goals and then monitor your progress is a great way to get in shape. As we have mentioned earlier, these features will require a more serious investment. At the end of the day, it is all worth it.
Finding the best bike in this category wasn’t easy. We had a tough time selecting the winner between our first two picks. In the end Sole Fitness LCB snagged the prize mainly because it is friendlier to causal users than the Schwinn AirDyne Pro.
If you are just getting into exercise bikes and want something that will serve you well for a long time, LCB is the way to go. However, if you’re a professional athlete looking for an invaluable fitness tool, AirDyne Pro might be a better choice. Both bikes are awesome but they are aimed at different crowds.