About Exercise Bikes
The exercise bike remains one of the most popular and affordable types of aerobic exercise equipment. Their durable build, paired with outstanding technology developments, makes them a great addition to any home gym. They are also a relatively inexpensive entry route for anyone seeking high-quality aerobic training gear without breaking the bank. Why are they such a sought-after machine? The technology featured on an exercise bike is always so well tried and tested, and the weight-bearing nature of the cycling movement itself requires little coordination, making it particularly easy on the hips, knees and ankles. Indoor cycling is, therefore, an excellent option for almost everyone, including beginners, the elderly or those suffering or recovering from injury. Better still, cycling is a renowned cardiovascular exercise, working large muscle groups and burning calories.
At Budget Fitness we offer a huge variety of exercise bikes from many well-known manufacturers, suitable for both home and commercial use. With a wide range of exercise bikes to choose from, finding the right one can seem like a difficult decision. We have produced the handy guide below to help you find your perfect match. With exercise bikes suited to all budgets and spaces, we’re sure you will find the right one for you.
Buying an exercise bike obviously means you won't need to worry about cycling on busy roads and uneven paths, but there are plenty of other advantages.
Improve your cardio fitness: This has benefits for your heart, lungs and other parts of the body. Rowing machines and treadmills are popular alternatives.
Strengthen your legs: Benefit from an aerobic workout without putting a strain on your knees.
Slower speeds are good for low-impact workouts: Adjustable resistance means you can vary how much effort you put into even slow pedalling.
Less impact on joints: A workout on an exercise bike offers reduced impact on your joints, compared to other forms of cardio exercise such as jogging.
Reduced stress: Cardio exercise releases endorphins into your bloodstream. This release produces a natural high, which in turn relieves stress.
Boosted energy levels: Exercise of any kind will increase your energy levels, and cycling is one of the best forms of exercise to help increase your overall energy.
Increased lung capacity: Cycling will help improve your lung capacity, making you stronger and healthier.
Encourages aerobic fitness: Pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout which is great for your heart, brain, and blood vessels.
Helps to build muscle: In the power phase of pedalling (the down-stroke), you use your quadriceps, gluteus muscles, gastrocnemius muscles and soleus muscles. In the recovery phase (back-stroke, up-stroke, and over-stroke), you use your hamstrings and flexor muscles.
Foldable designs available: good news if you want to save space.
TYPES OF EXERCISE BIKE
The upright exercise bike as the conventional upright cycling position similar to a standard non-stationary bicycle. They feature consoles with pre-programmed workouts that are tailored to fit just about anyone's requirements. They also offer a comfortable riding position. An upright exercise bike is a great entry-level option for those new to exercise. Upright exercise bikes also tend to have a smaller footprint so are a great option if you are tight on space.
The recumbent exercise bike allows you to sit in a more horizontal position. They are also easier to mount and provide a more supportive seat. Build more like a chair than a saddle with additional back/lumbar support. The downside, however, is that recumbent exercise bikes will take up more space and are also more costly for the same standard of bike offering a very similar type of workout. However, if you are recovering from knee or back injuries, the recumbent bike might be the better option over an upright bike as the exercise will tend to put less stress on the knees and back and has slightly more impact on the lower stomach muscles.
Racer bikes (aka studio bikes) have a slightly different design in terms of their resistance and flywheel setup. The racer bikes feature a weighted flywheel which is connected through a transmission system to the pedals in order to closer resemble the feel of a road bike. Just as you would change gears on a road bike you can adjust the resistance via a dial. These bikes can give you a much more intensive workout, engaging different muscle groups, by allowing you to pedal while standing up. If you are an advanced fitness enthusiast, indoor cycling bikes are a great choice. Not just because they mimic the sensation of real-life cycling, but because their resistance delivery is excellent. They are also much more natural than upright bikes.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
Braking system: Most exercise bikes use electronic braking which, although not cheap, is generally smooth in use and enables manufacturers to offer programmes such as hill and heart rate control. Mechanical braking is simple, cheap and offers potentially very high resistance levels, but it needs a heavy flywheel to give a good pedalling feel and requires regular maintenance. Air braking gives you more resistance as you pedal faster, provides a nice, cooling breeze and is a robust system of generating resistance. However, it doesn't allow you to alter resistance without changing your pedalling speed.
Flywheel: All other things being equal, a heavier flywheel will result in smoother and less jerky pedalling action.
Pedalling feel: Ideally, this should be silky smooth with the same level of resistance throughout the 360 degrees of pedal revolution, even at high resistance levels and out of the saddle. Avoid models with an uneven or jerky pedalling feel.
Maximum workload: This is how much resistance the bike will give when pedalled flat out. Most bikes will provide in excess of 250 watts; experienced cyclists or the very fit will need in excess of 400 watts.
Console feedback and ease of use: How clear and comprehensive is the displayed information? How easy is it to access programmes (if there are any)? Are the buttons clearly visible and easy to use?
Bike programmes: These can offer variety and motivation via simulating various hill courses, allowing you to create your own programmes or by controlling your heart rate and more.
Exercise bike power supply: Is the bike self-powered or does it need mains electricity? You can purchase either option depending on your requirements.
Riding position adjustability: The more adjustable the bike, the more comfortable during longer sessions. All bikes have saddle height adjustment. Check whether the saddle or handlebars can be moved backwards and forwards too.
Standard of construction: Check that the frame is built predominantly from metal, the welds are tidy, the overall finish is good without sharp or rough edges and that the moving parts are adequately shielded from prying fingers. A solidly constructed exercise bike should also be stable and not flex or wobble.
EXERCISE BIKE ACCESSORIES
Floor Mats: A mat placed under your exercise bike will help protect your floors from wear and perspiration and will also give your cross trainer increased stability.
Heart rate monitors and belts: Many exercise bikes offer wireless monitoring of the user's heart rate. Some utilise belts for even more accurate readings.
Advanced Programming: Select brands and models offer the purchase of modules for additional workout programmes.
Should you require any further information about exercise bikes or any other product offered by Budget Fitness or if you feel we could help you in any way, we would be pleased to hear from you.