Updated: October 6, 2015

Exercise Bike Reviews:

exercise bike So you want to buy an exercise bike. Most of us have been on the luxury exercise bikes found at gyms and wish we could avoid the trip to the gym altogether and just ride one at home. That option is becoming more feasible as manufacturers of exercise bikes make them more affordable for home use. Experts all agree that riding an exercise bike helps you lose weight, stay fit, and build your overall endurance and fitness. There are 2 main types of exercise bikes - recumbent and upright bikes. A recumbent exercise bike is a newer design that allows you to sit in a semi-reclining position with your legs out in front of you. You sit in a chair-like seat (bucket seat) that puts your body in a more comfortable position. For people who get sore butts from sitting on stationary bikes, consider the recumbent bikes. An upright, or stationary, exercise bike is just a traditional bicycle where you sit on the seat with your feet hanging down on the pedals. Upright exercise bikes have one big advantage over the recumbent models in that you can stand up and "power pedal" when the incline or program requires a harder crank. Some upright stationary bikes now offer "dual action" where the handle bars are moveable meaning you get an upper body workout too.

The key to getting a good workout on any exercise bike is the resistance you feel when pedaling. Cheaper exercise bikes use a tension belt while the mid-range to high end bikes use magnetic resistance. If you want a more consistent and quiet resistant training bike, go with the magnetic resistance style. You will find that some bikes come with push buttons or knobs to control the magnetic resistance levels and experts say you should choose the pushbutton models. Other terms you may come across related to resistance charactertistics on an exercise bike are "direct tension" which means you manual control the various levels and air resistance (pedal against the airflow of a fan blade). Another key feature to have on an exercise bike is a heart rate monitor. The main reason for riding an exercise bike is to raise your heart level up and burn calories. Lots of exercise bikes will have built in pulse grip points on the handlebars so it's easy to get a reading when you are riding along. For workout programs and other console readouts, look for bikes that give you information on time of the workout, calories burned, distance traveled, speed, heart rate, and resistance level. Some of the low end exercise bikes have no display console for those elements mentioned in the previous sentence and users say they get bored too easily without some kind of feedback. Riders that get motivated the most are those that use the pre-programmed workouts, so look for those types of features. For pricing, exercise bikes are all over the board. You can buy a decent Proform or Fitness Quest exercise bike for under $500 but you will sacrifice on some of the options we noted above. If you go up to the $500-$1000 price level, you will get a good exercise bike with magnetic resistance, top quality consoles, built-in workout programs, heart rate monitors, and foot straps. Schwinn and Tunturi are 2 better brands in this price range. We suggest you take a look at the Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike -- the seat is very comfortable, it provides a very good workout, it is quiet (perfect if you like to watch TV while you workout), and it has just enough features without going overboard on the electronic doo-dads.

If you can afford a high end bike, consider the Life Cycle or luxury Tunturi exercise bikes that cost over $1000. Anything over $1000 will be similar to what you find in your local health club. They should provide an extremely smooth ride, advanced programming, durability and a solid warranty. We read on many exercise forums about repair concerns that consumers have with home exercise bikes. Yes, repairs can be an issue since most bikes come with warranties that may cover certain parts for 6 months to a year and limited labor coverage. Buying a high end exercise bike will definitely get you better quality and from what we cound find, a more reliable exercise bike with less repairs needed. On the other hand, if you fail to follow the manual and the regular maintenance schedule, repairs may pop up. Most people that we know with home exercise bikes are very happy with their overall performance and reliability levels. The top brands are Schwinn, Life Cycle, Nautilus, Proform, Tunturi, LifeGear, Nordic Track. We researched the best exercise bikes online at sites like Trainersecrets.com and read consumer reviews at Amazon. Consumer Reports was an excellent source for information and feedback as well. Consider buying online - it is often easier to have the box sent to your home than to try to lug it home in your car. We recommend Amazon.com if they carry the model you want - we are always impressed by their competitive prices (often the lowest), fast shipping, and customer service -- plus almost everyone already shops with them and trusts them. You can browse their up-to-date list of best-selling exercise bikes here.

Best Exercise Bike:

The Life Fitness Lifecycle C3-5 ($1650) is the perfect upright exercise bike that gives you all the features you've come expect from bikes you ride at the health gym. The C3-5 will challenge all riders with programmed cardio workouts. The console display is advanced but still logical and easy to read. There are 20 levels of resistance and 10 pre-programmed workouts. The heart rate monitoring system on the Life Cycle includes a wireless chest strap. Keep track of calories per hour, time, distance, calories burned, heart rate % and more. The workouts are built for all levels of fitness development including sports training, fat burn, hill/slope, random, and peak. This is a durable and heavy-duty bike that has a 400 lb capacity. The warranty is solid - lifetime on the frame, 3 year on parts, and 1 year on labor. See more Life Fitness models here. For the latest products from Life Fitness, visit their website at Us.home.lifefitness.com

Top Recumbent Exercise Bike:

The Schwinn 213 Recumbent Bike ($450) comes in under $500 and is a great value for a magnetic resistant exercise bike. There are 16 resistence levels, 11 built-in programs, a heart rate monitor grip, toe straps, and it has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Consumer Reports gives the Schwinn a "Best Buy" vote of confidence and owners say it's an excellent economy exercise bike. We like to think of it as more than just a "value" buy since it offers so much. The workout programs include 6 profile courses with results mode, recovery test, BMI measurement, calorie goal, quick start, and 1 manual mode. The LCD display console lets you track your time, speed, calories, interval times, RPM's, distance, pulse, and resistance. The padded seat is a huge selling point with many users and it easily adjust forward or back as needed. The Bio-Fit adjustable handlebars are fully loaded with the integrated grip heart rate sensor. The warranty is ample with 90 days labor, 6 months on wear items, 1 year on mechanical & electronics and 10 years on the frame. Another top seller is the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike which rates high amongst experts and consumers. The older version was the Schwinn 240. The new 270 features a dual track two LCD window system so you can monitor up to 13 display feedbacks. There are 29 programs, 4 user settings, and goal tracking. With 25 levels of resistance all users will find that perfect workout levels. Owners say the bike is 'very smooth' and 'quiet'. At close to $500 it's a great mid-range exercise bike.

Budget Exercise Bike:

The Proform GL 105 ($250) is considered a budget exercise bike that may not have all the glitz and glamour that higher end units offer, but you can still get a good workout. You can customize your workouts with the Proform Personal Trainer Studio - great for keep track of past workouts and tracking your progress. The GL105 exercise bike includes EKG grip pulse sensors, multiple displays on the LCD screen, adjustable handlebars and seat. There are 8 built in workout programs and the heart rate controlled workout is a special feature not found on other exercise bikes in this price range.

Luxury Exercise Bike:

The Star Trac Pro Recumbent Bike ($2800) is truly the "king of exercise bikes". This bike is not meant for the casual user who only uses their exercise once a week or less. The Star Trc Pro is a high end recumbent bike that most would never fully appreciate, but for the professional cyclist or avid fitness buff, the Star Trac is packed with features. The magnetic resistance will surely test your fitness level with 20 to choose from. There are 11 workout programs and an accurate heart rate monitor. The weight capacity on this bike is 350 lbs and the toe straps will help keep your feet on pedals even during those critical "calorie burn" segments of the workout. Don't be afraid of the price, the Star Trac comes with a 1 year warranty on home labor and 2 year warranty on parts. The quality is built into this flawless machine. One features we found on this exercise bike not found on others are the armrests on the seat to keep your shoulders from getting to tense. This piece of exercise equipment will surpass all your expectations and hopefully motivate you to workout harder than ever.

Spinning Exercise Bike:

Spinning classes are very popular at health clubs these days and it wasn't until recently that I saw a spinning exercise bike for home use. If you are in the market for a new spinner bike, check out Spinning.com. Spinner Bikes are a great source of fitness training for anyones workout routines. The website offers the low end Spinner Sport at $500 which is the basic model, but reviews on the mid-range Spinner Pro ($925) is the one to consider for home use. It's built by Star Trac (same manufacturer as the luxury exercise bike listed above) and it's a best seller. The adjustable seat post is made of stainless steel and adjusts with ease. The seat and crank system are top rate and the warranty is a good one with 2 years for mechanical components, 5 years for all frame welds. They actually include spare parts for common wear items. BEST - The most popular is the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike.