Like the classic bicycle, the practice of the exercise bike accumulates many benefits for the physical and health. Maintaining your body from your living room, even while watching TV, sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? Here are our tips for making the right choice.
What is the best exercice bike ?
The Sportstech SX400
Sportstech is the leading brand on the market of quality exercise bikes! Light years away from the made-in-China exercise bikes, Sportstech’s bikes are solid and have been designed with the usual care of German manufacturers.
The SX600 model is one of the best in its class thanks to its balanced flywheel with fluid bearing that has been designed with protection to limit wear. It is the ideal exercise bike for those who want an effective endurance workout to keep fit.
This type of exercise bike particularly powerful does not connect to the power supply. It is autonomous and you will be able to use it in the place of your house which will be convenient for you.
It is equipped with a very comfortable saddle adjustable in height but also horizontally (inclination), the handlebars are also completely adjustable so that you can adapt the bike to your morphology. On the handlebars, there are padded supports to relieve your arms during long training sessions.
The pedals are non-slip and have built-in straps so you can adjust the fit of the pedal on your foot, which is always great for intensive training sessions.
On the frame, there is a place for a water bottle, and the stainless steel bottle is supplied with the bike. There is also a tablet holder that allows you to use your own tablet to view routes. The materials of the bike are extremely resistant, the bike can support a weight of 331 lbs while remaining very stable.
Underneath the frame, small transport wheels have been ingeniously designed so that you can move the exercise bike around your house as you wish, without having to carry it. This will prevent you from damaging your floor, and the bike can be maneuvered by any member of your family without injury.
When it comes to tracking your workout, the SX400 has heart rate sensors on the handlebars, and you can also connect a heart rate monitor belt.
Why choose the Sportstech SX400?
- Extremely durable, you will be able to use it daily for years without seeing any wear and tear
- Its 49 lbs inertia road allows an efficient and optimal training
- The sporty design of the bike gives it a very pleasant feel
- The Kinomap application that allows you to experience real routes while training
The best-selling exercise bike from the German brand has it all: ease of use and quality materials.
QUALITY / PRICE : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Perfect!
PRACTICAL: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Very easy to use on a daily basis
COMFORT : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The inertia wheel provides real comfort
SAFETY : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Stable and durable with its quality materials
2. Ultrasport F-Bike
This low cost exercise bike is without a doubt the best basic exercise bike. Without frills, it will allow you to train regularly at home. There is an LCD screen that allows you to see the pulse and speed in real time. It has 8 different levels of resistance to increase the difficulty of your training gradually.
It folds easily so it can be stored in a closet or garage without taking up more space than an ironing board. The seat is also adjustable in height so you can have all the comfort you need. This bike is perfect for athletes under 220 lbs who are between 5’10” and 6’10” tall.
This bike is probably not the most complete nor the most adapted for high level athletes, but if you want to keep in shape with a minimalist exercise bike without making big expenses, this is the one you need.
The cheapest exercise bike on the market defends itself for occasional use, it is fully foldable and space-saving.
QUALITY / PRICE : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Correct
PRACTICAL : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Folds easily for storage
COMFORT : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Minimalist but sufficient for occasional use
SAFETY: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Stable under 220 lbs
3. Sportstech SX600
All the modern technology has been integrated into this top of the line exercise bike, which makes it the best exercise bike for hardcore athletes. It is equipped with a 57 lbs flywheel with a very quiet transmission system that does not require maintenance and above all, an electric motor with 32-speeds!
The 3 in 1 handlebars allow 3 different positions for your training: the aerodynamic position (both hands on the central handles), the relaxed outside position or the position with pulse capture. The pedals are very comfortable as they are equipped with ball bearings and a stopping basket.
On the top of the electric bike, there is an Android console equipped with a 7-inch LCD screen of very good quality that allows you to follow one of the virtual courses via the FitShow application, or to train in HRC mode.
As with the SX400 model, wheels have been installed under the bike to make it easy to move around the house. It can support up to 397 lbs and its very comfortable seat is made to allow you to have long training sessions without any pain.
The best spinning bike on the market is signed Sportstech, it has very good arguments to make it an ally of your indoor workouts.
QUALITY / PRICE : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Excellent
PRACTICAL : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Equipped with all the necessary accessories
COMFORT : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Everything is adjustable from the handlebars to the saddle
SAFETY: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely stable and durable
4. Ultrasport F-Bike 200B
This second model offered by Ultrasport has a backrest, which can be very useful in case of long training sessions. It is also equipped with a small LCD screen that displays the speed, intensity, duration of the workout, distance traveled, but also the calories burned or the pulse.
This model is foldable so it can be stored easily and moved around the house. It is equipped with magnetic resistance and 8 levels of intensity to allow you to progress during your workouts. The maximum weight of the user must be 220 lbs to fully use this exercise bike.
This exercise bike is very affordable with its small price, it will suit you if you only have occasional use or if you do not want to invest in more professional equipment.
This bike will be perfect for the small budgets that are looking for a comfortable and practical bike to use 1 to 2 times a week.
QUALITY / PRICE : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Very good
PRACTICAL : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Easy to fold
COMFORT : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ The seat back is a real plus
SAFETY : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Quite stable
5. Sportstech ESX500
The ESX500 is an exercise bike that allows for real progression in your training, and is equipped with all the necessary equipment to build muscle mass and develop your cycling skills.
Equipped with a 26 lbs flywheel, it also features a ball bearing and belt driven pedals that allow for extremely quiet and smooth operation. The pedals are non-slip and have adjustable straps for comfort. The saddle and handlebars are adjustable in height and also in inclination to find the most suitable position for your use.
The screen allows you to access 12 pre-installed programs that will allow you to improve your workouts but also to use your exercise bike in manual mode, training watt or with one of the programmed HRC programs to increase your heart rate.
The tablet holder provided just in front of the classic screen allows you to put your tablet or phone and train through the Kinomap application that allows you to view your training data and programs.
The maximum user weight is 220 lbs so that the exercise bike can maintain its full performance, it also has wheels to be moved easily around your home.
This lighter version of Sportstech’s spinning bike is just right for frequent use to progress in cycling.
QUALITY/PRICE: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Awesome!
PRACTICAL: ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Installation is easy
COMFORT : ⭐⭐⭐⭐★ Lightweight flywheel is a nice touch
SAFETY: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Strong and durable materials
6. Bluefin Tour SP
This connected exercise bike is a worthy competitor to the models offered by Sportstech. It has a tablet holder to hold your phone or tablet, which will allow you to train in immersive settings via the Kinomap application.
A 55 lbs flywheel has been integrated to this bike so that your training is as close as possible to the real conditions of outdoor cycling. The chain drive system is very quiet and includes a magnetic safety braking system that will allow you to slow down with ease.
The seat is adjustable with 9 different height levels, as is the handlebar, which can be adjusted vertically or horizontally to move it forward or backward, so you can be in the most comfortable position for your workout. The bike is also compatible with a training belt, it also offers a HRC mode to program the desired heart rate during training, the resistance level will then be automatically adapted.
Non-slip pedals are also provided as well as straps that allow you to adjust the pedals to the size of your feet. The transport wheels have been added under the bike for easy movement in any room where you want to exercise.
7. Sportstech F-bike X100
This exercise bike from Sportstech offers the possibility of training in 2 different ways thanks to integrated pull cords and a pivoting guide pulley. It is composed of an LCD screen that offers a clear interface that includes the heart rate captured on the handlebars.
The seat is very comfortable with a folding and padded backrest. The seat can be adjusted to 4 different heights and can accommodate a maximum height of 6’2. The pedals are designed in 3 parts and the 9 lbs inertia weight allows for an efficient workout. It folds completely for easy storage.
How to choose an exercise bike ?
The exercise bike, sporty and… comfort
Sitting at home, watching and working on your endurance and muscles at the same time? Few sports can solve this equation, except the exercise bike.
No need to go to the gym, whether you’re in the middle of a COVID-19 or whether it’s raining like hell (does this expression still exist?). The bike apartment is practical, time saved, comfort, stress free and, above all, it is a real sport. But it is a sport that is worn and therefore gentle, with almost no risk of injury.
Now that I have convinced you – unless you were already convinced before coming here – it remains to be seen how to choose your exercise bike. To decide between an entry-level bike costing just over €100 ($110) and an ultra-sophisticated model costing €2,000 (less than $2500), start by taking stock of your bank account and all of your objectives.
Define your training intensity
If you’re preparing for the Ventoux climb or a cross-training marathon, you won’t have the same demands as someone who just wants to stay in shape in the winter. So consider the following first:
- How many times a week are you going to exercise on an exercise bike?
- Do you practice another sport at the same time?
- Are you looking for a leisurely activity for the whole family, or do you want to exercise assiduously and energetically?
- Do you want a model to accompany you during post-injury rehabilitation, or a bike that will follow you for a long time?
Type of model : straight, semi-elongated, spinning
Semi-extended exercise bike
First, you will have to choose between a straight or a semi-extended exercise bike.
If we were to schematize, let’s say that the semi-recumbent bike (seated bike) is focused on comfort. It is ideal for rehabilitation, keeping in shape, or for all those subject to lumbar problems. The back is better supported and the seat is wider: you are clearly comfortable on a recumbent bike, almost as much as in your sofa! I said “almost”, because you still have to pedal! But with the crankset placed in front, the body is less affected by gravity; on the other hand, the upper body is not much solicited.
Right hand exercise bike
With an upright bike, you can work the muscles of the lower body as well as the upper ones. By modifying your posture via the handlebar adjustments (curvature of the torso, bent arms…), or by tightening your abdominal muscles during the effort, it is quite possible to build a firm body while practicing the exercise bike. It’s a great way to build a firm body by riding a stationary bike, which is much more intense from a cardio point of view.
For even more intense sessions, the spinning bike (or ergometer bike) is the most appropriate. Its specific shape, the multitude of adjustments (saddle, handlebars, resistance) and the variety of integrated programs are focused on performance. Let’s not beat around the bush, here we work on aerobics and we talk about energy expenditure! The spinnings are used for the courses of biking With a little imagination and a good playlist, you can turn your living room into a gym. The only thing missing is the fitness instructor in front of you to motivate you.
The best spinning exercise bikes:
- Sportstech SX600
- Sportstech SX400
- Sportstech ESX500
Folding exercise bike
If you live in a small apartment or do not have a gym at home, it may be worth investing in a folding exercise bike. You will find many models of folding exercise bikes, however it may be worthwhile to also check the weight of the bike to make sure it has a reasonable weight to carry when folded.
Most of the more professional exercise bikes (with a flywheel in particular) are not foldable because the wheel is very heavy, however, these models are equipped with wheels to be able to move easily around the house.
The best folding exercise bikes :
- Ultrasport F-Bike
- Ultrasport F-Bike 200B
Mini exercise bike
When you don’t have much room for an exercise bike, you can consider a mini exercise bike. These are very compact models, with only one pedal. It can be used while sitting on a chair, but also when you are sitting at your desk to build muscle while working. The mini exercise bikes allow you to keep in shape gently but will not replace a real exercise bike.
Which exercise bike should you choose to lose weight?
Practicing a sport always contributes to weight loss, however, some exercise bikes will be more effective than others to lose body fat. This is especially true of spinning bikes, as they have pre-recorded workout programs that you can use progressively to burn as many calories as possible.
Bikes equipped with flywheels are also very effective because they reproduce the real pedaling of a racing bike, which is ideal for improving your pedaling and losing body fat located on the legs or thighs.
What muscles do you work with the exercise bike?
Before we talk about the muscles that work with the exercise bike, it’s important to note that cycling on an exercise bike is an excellent way to maintain good cardiovascular health. The progressive workout with HCR type programs are designed to adapt the intensity of the workout to your heart rate.
But beyond the heart, many muscles are also involved when you use an exercise bike. It is important to note that the muscles of the lower part of the body, such as :
- The gluteal muscles: they work especially when you pedal with your heels
- The quadriceps and hamstrings, which are used no matter how you pedal.
- The calf muscles which also work a lot when you pedal with your heels
Depending on the position you take on your exercise bike, it is also possible to work the muscles of the upper part of your body, this is particularly the case for :
- Back muscles when you stand up straight while pedaling
- Abdominal muscles that work regardless of your posture
- Biceps and triceps when you hold the handlebars at a fast pace
If you want to strengthen certain muscles in your body, consider increasing the intensity of the pedaling so that the pedaling works deep into those muscles.
The technical characteristics of the exercise bike
The inertia wheel
The flywheel is a metal disc, driven when the pedals are pressed, which has the task of smoothing the pedaling and damping the shocks.
The weight of the flywheel is one of the most important points. The higher the weight, the smoother and easier the pedaling will be, closer to the real conditions experienced on a bicycle; on the other hand, a weight that is too low will cause jerks.
Reserve the wheels of less than 18 lbs for a light practice, such as a soft rehabilitation. For more versatility, aim for a weight of 18-57 lbs, able to support sustained sessions. Over 44 lbs: comfort guaranteed even during very demanding splits!
The type of resistance
The resistance of an exercise bike is the brake on the flywheel. It’s what makes training so interesting because it makes pedaling more or less difficult. There are 3 types:
- Magnetic resistance: magnets are brought close to the flywheel to brake the bike. This resistance can be operated manually via a knob or, better still, directly via the console, which is more comfortable and gives access to training programs, during which the resistance is managed automatically to vary the difficulties. This solution is the quietest.
- Electromagnetic resistance: more precise, an electric current is sent to the magnets, whose voltage determines the resistance. Pedaling is smoother and adjustments are more precise. A good alternative if you plan to ride at least 8 hours a week.
- Shoe brakes: the most biting solution and the closest to competition bikes, it is common on spinning bikes. For the most demanding riders!
Aim for an exercise bike that fits your body size
A small detail: don’t forget to check that the bike is suitable for your height and weight. A wide, padded seat is a good ally for a long ride. With a comfortable seat, you’ll find it easier and more motivating to keep up with your workouts.
The more handlebar and seat adjustments (vertical and horizontal) your exercise bike offers, the better! The more advanced ones allow you to find a position that’s just right – or rather, a millimeter right. Before starting, don’t neglect the adjustment phase because, as we said, being comfortable is essential!
A robust chassis
I don’t doubt that your pedal stroke is the most aerial, but your sprinting sessions or your dancing climbs can make life hard for your mount. It must therefore have strong backbone: we prefer an aluminum or steel frame, more likely to resist shocks. The maximum weight supported is a good indicator.
An entry-level exercise bike weighing less than 220 lbs may show its limits when pedaling fast; with a weight limit of more than 265 lbs, the bike will remain stable even during a violent sprint.
The console and integrated programs
No, we’re not encouraging you here to evaluate the quality of the screen, the depth of the blacks or the quantity of pixels! It’s more a question of checking what information is displayed on the console. Speed, time, distance and calorie readings are almost always displayed.
On the other hand, data such as power output (in Watts), heart rate, pedaling rate, etc. are not available on all models. It’s up to you to decide if this information is essential for you.
The console will also display the training programs. Make sure they are appropriate for your use and that they will remain appropriate as you progress. Better yet, some exercise bikes offer the ability to set programs manually.
A quality console with a color, large screen, or even speakers, enhances immersion if you plan to use a running app. This brings us to the next point: connectivity.
A connected exercise bike, more than a gadget ?
Choose a bike with Bluetooth or Wifi, also called connected home trainer to enjoy the apps dedicated to training on exercise bikes. The program: coaching for your sessions, performance monitoring, nutritional advice…
You can even join online races. The community spirit of cycling extends to exercise cyclists as well! The best part is that you can even see Google Maps on the screen while you’re riding… It’s like riding a bike!
The other points to check on your checklist are more anecdotal.
Even if it is not a primary criterion, note that some exercise bikes are equipped with a water bottle holder (you have to think about refueling when you climb the Galibier!), and even… a fan! After all, you won’t always have a spectator dressed as a lion running beside you to spray you with Poland Spring.
Also consider the size and weight of the bike you want, and make sure it has wheels to move it. Depending on the space available in your home, or if you only plan to use it in the winter, go for a folding exercise bike which remains the must for its ability to be stored.
Last but not least: if you live in an apartment, make sure you don’t take the noisiest bike, otherwise your muscular thighs won’t be able to cope with the angry neighbors…
Where to buy an exercise bike?
If you can find a few models of exercise bikes in sports stores, it is still very rare to find the best models in mass distribution. The bikes we have selected in the first part of the article are the most used and are also the most qualitative.
They can be found exclusively on the internet, but all manufacturers offer after-sales service and a one or two-year warranty. By ordering from Amazon, you can be sure that you can return the product if it does not suit you.