We all know that regular exercise is vital to our health and wellbeing, but for some of us, it is hard to get to the gym regularly. Many people in colder climates also have the disadvantage of the winter months keeping them cooped up inside their homes, rather than being able to get out and bike or walk their neighborhood.
For these and many reasons, adding an exercise bike to your home gym is a great, low-impact way to stay fit and healthy without ever having to leave the comfort of your home. There are lots of options when it comes to choosing the right bike for you, so today we will discuss the benefits of the top nine bikes on the market.
For this article, we will discuss upright bikes first, and recumbent bikes second. That does not necessarily mean that one style is better than the other. We will discuss the benefits of each in the buyers guide below.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
This small and affordable upright bike is ideal for those who don’t want to take up too much space in their home but want maximum calorie burn. This bike can carry up to 300lbs of weight and features a high torque 3-piece crank system, as well as magnetic resistance, pulse and heart monitoring, and a large LCD display.
The seat on the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright is 2.5 inches thick and fully adjustable forward, back, up, and down, creating a higher level of comfort than many upright bikes.
It comes with Bluetooth technology and a free app to help you track workouts, and build toward your goals. In addition, the bike features 21 different workout modes to help keep even those of you who are easily bored with exercise excited about your next session.
Marcy Upright Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-708
This affordable upright model is built with a premium steel frame and features counterbalanced pedals for a smooth and steady ride. Eight levels of difficulty make it perfect for regular workouts and multiple users.
The large readout on the LCD screen prevents riders from having to strain or break posture in order to read their current caloric burn, time, speed, or distance. The adjustable seat can accommodate a wide variety of user heights and body types. This bike is small in size and features wheels for mobility, which will allow users to store it discretely when it is not in use.
ProForm 740 ES
If a more realistic biking experience is what you’re looking for in your stationary bike, the ProForm 740 ES may be the one for you. With a seven-inch color HD touchscreen display, this bike not only allows you to see your speed, heart rate, and other stats, it allows you to bike around the world from the comfort of your home.
Images of open roads next to the ocean, mountain trails, and even the real track of the Tour de’ France can be on screen as you complete your workout. The bike connects to the iFIT® app on your mobile device, and even allows you to draw your own path using Global Google Maps™ routes!
In addition to the bike’s technological advances, it features a 20lb flywheel, an oversized, adjustable seat and extra wide foot pedals for comfort. A fan, tablet holder, iPod™ compatible audio, and a USB charging port add even more fun and convenience to your workout.
The ProForm 740 ES comes with a 3-year parts and 1-year labor warranty.
NordicTrack Commercial VR25 Elite
This bike is one of the highest tech on the list. With a seven-inch smart HD touchscreen, NordicTrack iFIt® membership readiness, AC adapter, Bluetooth smart ability, auxiliary music port and two 2” digitally amplified speakers, this is the bike for someone who wants to stay connected during their workouts.
The seat is made for comfort with extra lumbar support. It glides easily from position to position so that anyone can adjust it without assistance. A fan and extra-wide ergonomic pedals also add to the ambiance of this machine.
Like the ProForm above, the NordicTrack has a screen that allows riders to imagine themselves riding almost anywhere in the world. It also has the strongest warranty of all the bikes mentioned here, with a lifetime frame and brake warranty, 3-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty.
This is definitely the bike for someone who needs a little extra support or who is working through an injury. It is a great bike for you if your goal is overall fitness and not necessarily maximum calorie burn.
Sole Fitness LCR Light Commercial Recumbent Bike
This bike comes with a top of the line price, but for good reason. It comes with one of the best warranties of the bikes on the market with a lifetime frame warranty, three years on parts and electronics, and one year on labor.
This bike’s 10.1” LCD display is the largest of the bikes we have discussed here. It features a super comfortable ergonomic seat, as well as specially made pedals, which prevent knee, foot, and joint aches in users.
This bike is Bluetooth compatible, like many others on this list, but the technology used here allows you to use the Sole app or any other compatible fitness app, so you don’t have to have an extra app on your phone in order to utilize the technology.
Finally, with a 30lb flywheel, it has the smoothest ride of any of the recumbent bikes featured here. This bike is ideal for those suffering from joint pain, and for those looking for a top of the line experience.
How to Decide
There are many things to consider when making the investment to add a stationary bike to your home gym. Below is a guide to help you choose which bike is right for you.
Recumbent vs. Upright
There are two main types of bikes that most consumers are familiar with: the recumbent and the upright. Below we give you some of the basics to help you decide which style will work for you.
Recumbent bikes are gentle on the body and typically provide additional lumbar and back support to relieve pressure. These bikes are beneficial to individuals recovering from injuries or who suffer from knee and back pain, but can be useful for all athletes, as they help keep soreness at bay.
Upright bikes are beneficial mainly in their ability to help you burn the maximum amount of calories. Having to support yourself in an upright or slightly bent position works arms, abdominals, and lower back muscles that are not touched on a recumbent bike. These bikes also tend to be more compact and affordable.
Weight Limit and Weight of Bike
When you are going to have a bike inside your home, you need to ensure that 1) you meet the weight restrictions for the bike, and 2) you are going to be able to move it semi easily for cleaning or general reorganization.
Many bikes have a weight limit between 300 and 350lbs. Recumbent bikes tend to have a higher weight limit due to their stature, but some upright bikes have fairly high weight limits as well. If you are going to be sharing this bike with others in your home, make sure you purchase one that everyone can use.
When it comes to bike weight, you need to consider where you will use the bike. If you have a space dedicated to your home gym then you can more easily afford to own a heavier and harder to move bike. If, however, you are going to have to move the bike in and out of storage regularly, you will want to get a lighter weight bike.
Noise and Safety
Many people forget to consider the noise level of their at-home gym equipment before making a purchase. If you are the type of exerciser who enjoys watching TV or listening to music during your routine, make sure that you pick a bike that does not create excessive noise.
Felt pads for brakes and heavier flywheels often ensure a less noisy workout. It also helps to have all of the chains and wheels on your bike covered, because the sound is then muffled.
When moving parts are covered, it also helps to keep your family safe. Small children and pets get injured often by accidentally sticking their hands, feet, or paws into moving parts on exercise equipment. Avoiding this is important when searching for a new piece of exercise equipment.
At the end of the day which bike makes sense for you will depend on your personal needs. Recumbent and upright bikes both have their benefits, so we are recommending one of each.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is best for those of you who want the maximum calorie burn. This brand stands behind their product and offers top-of-the-line features for an affordable price and in a small footprint.
If joint or back pain has you leaning toward a recumbent model, the NordicTrack Commercial VR25 Elite is our favorite. NordicTrack has been around for a long time. They put out quality products and stand behind them with excellent warranties, all while incorporating the best technology in the business.