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Choosing the Best Exercise Bike

The best exercise bikes on the market deliver the functionality and adjustability most users need to get a quality workout that burns calories and improves overall fitness. That said, certain types of exercise bikes are better suited to particular people and their exercise needs than others. The lists below help potential buyers quickly identify the most outstanding exercise bikes in several different categories.

The 4 Best Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent exercise bikes are a popular choice among folks looking for a convenient, low-impact workout option for the home. Recumbent bikes differ quite a bit from traditional upright exercise bikes and stationary spinning bikes in that they are designed to be ridden in a slightly reclined position with the pedals out in front of the body rather than directly below it. This positioning leads to a number of recumbent exercise bike benefits, including better weight distribution across the buttocks and back rather than directly on the tailbone. Quality recumbent bikes are available at a variety of price levels. Higher-price models generally have better warranties, computer-controlled resistance systems, and large color displays. The best recumbent exercise bikes at lower price levels are solid exercise machines that simply lack some of the bells and whistles you find on the more expensive models. To speed up your search for the best recumbent exercise bike, think carefully about what kinds of warranty terms you're comfortable with and how many technological features you really need.

The 3 Best Schwinn Exercise Bikes

Schwinn produces a variety of popular stationary bikes, including recumbent exercise bikes, traditional upright exercise bikes, and the popular Airdyne® series of fan-based upright exercise bikes. The best Schwinn exercise bikes are well known for ergonomic design, high-quality materials, and solid construction. These models deliver all the basic capabilities you need to ride your way to better fitness, in addition to advanced technologies that make your ride more enjoyable. If you're looking for a convenient way to get fit in your own home, spend some time researching the terrific Schwinn exercise bikes evaluated below.

The 3 Best Upright Exercise Bikes

Traditional upright exercise bikes are designed to mimic the body positioning and feel of a regular bicycle. They rank among the most popular home fitness machines, delivering a solid cardiovascular workout at a reasonable price. Upright exercise bikes are often less expensive than other popular indoor cycling options, like recumbent exercise bikes and stationary spinning bikes, because they typically utilize less complex mechanical and technological systems. As a result, an upright exercise bike is often the best choice for shoppers looking to start a workout program at home without making a huge investment in equipment. That said, the best upright stationary bikes do deliver useful technological features to help you maximize your exercise time.

The 4 Best Indoor Cycling Bikes

Indoor cycling bikes are an increasingly popular style of exercise bike now found in gyms and fitness centers everywhere. Indoor cycling bikes are designed to produce a forward-leaning body position that mimics the positioning on a real road bike. Additionally, a quality indoor-cycling bike is typically outfitted with a heavy flywheel that produces a feeling on the pedals much like you get when pedaling a road bike. Given these similarities, it's no wonder that indoor cycling bikes are popular among both outdoor cycling enthusiasts and all kinds of other people looking for a challenging fitness pursuit. While indoor cycling bikes are a little more expensive on average than other types of exercise bikes, many users find that the extra expense is well worth the enhanced riding experience.

What Exercise Bike Features Matter and Why?


Warranties includes the written guarantees that exercise bike manufacturers grant to buyers promising to repair or replace particular components of an exercise bike within certain time limits. Typically, promised repairs and replacements are only delivered when defects in material or workmanship become apparent under conditions of normal and acceptable use of the equipment. The Warranties category includes guarantees covering every part of the exercise bike, including the frame, electronic components, mechanical parts, and wearable parts including seats and drive belts. Warranties may also include guarantees to provide the labor associated with repairs. The Warranties category is a very important part of choosing an exercise bike because exercise bikes represent a substantial monetary investment that buyers intend to utilize regularly over the course of many years without undue breakage or failure.

  • Brakes - A brakes warranty is included.
  • Electronics - An warranty that covers electronics is included.
  • Frame - The exercise bike frame is covered by a warranty.
  • Labor - A labor warranty is included.
  • Parts - The parts on the exercise bike are covered by a warranty.

Display refers to the workout statistics collected and shown to riders in real time on an LCD screen in the console. Display includes workout statistics such as time, speed, distance, and calories burned, in addition to the current resistance setting on the braking system. Some stationary bikes include a measure of cadence, which is a count of pedal rotations per minute (RPM), an important statistic for certain types of workouts. If the stationary bike features integrated heart-rate monitoring capabilities, the heart rate is usually shown on the LCD screen as well. Display is a very important feature category for anyone who relies on performance data for motivational purposes or for performance benchmarking to evaluate fitness gains over time.

  • Calories Burned - The display indicates the number of calories you have burned during your workout.
  • Distance - The distance you have travelled is displayed.
  • Heart Rate - Your heart rate is displayed.
  • Resistance Level - The level of resistance is displayed.
  • RPM - Rotations per minute (RPM) is displayed.
  • Speed - The current speed is displayed.
  • Workout Time - The duration of your workout is displayed.

Frame Design refers to the design components of exercise bikes that deliver enhanced usability or comfort to the rider. Adjustable seats and handlebars and replaceable pedals provide a unique fit to each individual rider, ensuring proper posture and a more comfortable workout. A manual resistance knob or lever makes it easy for users to dial in just the level of workout difficulty they're looking for with the flick of a wrist. Users who plan to move their exercise bikes between rooms or in and out of a large closet need a bike model outfitted with convenient transport wheels. Frame Design rates among the most important feature categories for virtually every potential buyer and shouldn't be ignored when evaluating and comparing difference exercise bike models.

  • Adjustable Handlebars - You can adjust the handlebars.
  • Adjustable Pedals - You can adjust the pedals.
  • Adjustable Seat - You can adjust the seat.
  • Resistance - You can manually adjust the resistance.
  • Step-Thru Frame - The bike has a step-thru frame.
  • Transport Wheels - The exercise bike has built-in wheels to enable easy transport.

Console refers to several features included in the central panel of the exercise bike between or below the handlebars. A media tray for a personal music device and a water bottle holder are two common Console items, both of which are convenient features to have at hand. Heart-rate monitors are also included in the Console category. Many exercise bikes have contact sensors built into the handlebars, which the rider grips in order to get a continuous heart-rate reading. Riders who consider heart-rate monitoring to be a valuable exercise tool are sure to consider this category as fairly important.

  • Heart Rate Monitor - The exercise bike includes a heart rate monitor.
  • Media Tray - A media tray is included in the console.
  • Water Bottle Holder - The console includes a water bottle holder.

Learning Materials encompasses the informational resources that exercise bike manufacturers provide their buyers to learn about bike assembly and use. Common resources include online FAQs, user guides, and training manuals. Many manufacturers publish online tutorials and informational videos to assist in bike assembly and setup and to demonstrate proper use of the machines. Although many exercise bikes are not terribly difficult to assemble and are pretty straightforward in their operation, some buyers may consider this category to be of some importance in their overall evaluation of a bike.

  • FAQs - The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
  • User Guide - A user guide or training manual is provided by the company.
  • Video Tutorials - The company provides video tutorials.

Support covers the different methods by which exercise bike owners can contact the manufacturer for assistance. Support includes instant communication methods such as direct phone assistance and live online chat assistance. It also includes email communication and social media contact through services such as Facebook and Twitter. Exercise bike owners can utilize Support methods to get help during the initial bike assembly, for learning more about bike functions, and to get help with a repair under terms of the bike warranty. While some bike owners never utilize Support resources, it's pretty important to have access to such resources if a problem does arise.

  • Email - The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
  • Live Chat - The company offers live chat support.
  • Phone - You can contact the company by phone to get support.
  • Social Media - You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.

User Reviews describes the accumulated user ratings for exercise bikes shown on Amazon.com, Sears.com, and BestBuy.com, three of the most popular and widely used websites that include reviews. While it's important to study feature lists for different bikes carefully, it's also important to consider the opinions of real people who have firsthand experience using the bikes in their homes. User Reviews reflects the overall level of satisfaction reported by actual users. Exercise bikes that achieve at least four out of five stars stand out in the User Reviews category.

  • Favorable User Reviews - The exercise bike received four out of five stars on amazon.com, bestbuy.com, or sears.com.

Workout Programs covers any preprogrammed, automated workout routines a rider is able to access with the push of a button. These workout routines typically utilize automated resistance changes to mimic different types of real-world biking courses, such as hilly courses or mountain-climb courses, or to generate specialized training routines such as sprints or intervals. Other routines include high-intensity fat burn workouts and high-resistance strength routines. Riders looking for ways to keep their workouts varied and exciting from day to day typically place a lot of importance on the Workout Programs category.

  • Fat Burn - The bike has a workout program designed to burn fat.
  • Hills - You can choose a workout program that simulates rolling hills or riding uphill.
  • Interval - You can select a workout program that alternates between periods of high and low exertion.
  • Manual - You can manually select your speed, incline, and distance.
  • Other - Other types of workout programs are available.
  • Strength - You can select a workout program designed to gradually increase the resistance to help you build strength and endurance.

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