The Best Exercise Bike UK- A Buyers Guide
Exercise bikes have been around for a long time now. Over that time a few variations have appeared and each has its own pros and cons. Also there are now literally thousands of different models so deciding what are the best exercise bikes can be a daunting task.
In this guide we will be going over everything that is needed to be known to make the best purchasing decision.
Benefits Of Exercise Bikes
The benefits associated with exercise bikes are numerous and to go over them all in depth would take a full article. Before we get in to our exercise bike buyers guide here is a list of some of the most important benefits and a few words on how they help you.
If you are buying an exercise bike for weight loss then you wont be disappointed. Using an exercise bike can burn up to a thousand calories per hour. Of course the amount of calories burned depends on a few factors. First of all a certain intensity is required during a workout to burn a thousand calories. In addition the heavier a person is the more calories they will burn. To lose 1lb of fat a person needs to burn 3500 calories. So you can see how using a exercise bike is a great way to lose weight.
Increased Cardio Health
Using an exercise bike can provide a good cardio workout provided a certain intensity is reached during a workout. Its no good leisurely pedaling along without pushing yourself. If you use the programs on the console and adhere to them then then cardio performance will improve.
Low Impact Exercise
Exercise bikes are a low impact exercise. This means that little impact forces are placed upon the limbs, mainly the feet, ankles and knees. Due to the fact that little force is placed upon these areas using an exercise bike is good for those that suffer with pain in any of these areas.
If correct posture is used then using an exercise bike can tone the whole body. An exercise bike workout can tone the core, arms, legs back and buttocks. All in all this is a good form of exercise for toning and strength building.
Improves Joint Mobility
For those with damaged joints exercise bikes are ideal. due to them been a low impact exercise the joints don’t take so much of a beating. Research has even found that those that choose to participate in the use of an exercise bike due to damaged joints can expect to see an improvement over time.
Different Type Of Exercise Bikes
As you can see from the picture above there are quite a few variations of an exercise bike, so its no surprise that so many people get confused on which one to buy.
Upright Exercise Bike
Upright exercise bikes are the most popular of all the different types of exercise bikes available and have been around for a long time. With the technology that is incorporated into each new model getting more advanced its not hard to see why they remain so popular in the fitness world.
If you are on a budget then an upright bike might be the right one for you, as they do tend to be a lot cheaper than a recumbent bike for instance. Furthermore they are also a lot easier to store away which is another good quality about this type of exercise bike. If you are limited with your budget and the amount of space you have available then again an upright exercise bike might be the best option.
When exercising with an upright bike be prepared to suffer with a sore backside if your workouts are long. The seat with this type of bike is not the most comfortable, however you can buy gel padding seat covers which eradicate this problem.
When using an upright bike for exercise you will pretty much feel like you are using a normal bike. Similar to a normal bike you can choose to sit down or stand up while riding. The versatility of these bikes it another thing that makes them very popular.
Benefits Of Upright Exercise Bikes
- Sitting in an upright position engages the abdominal muscles in your workout which is something you don’t get with a recumbent exercise bike.
- Similar to using a normal bike, using an upright bike is considered a whole body exercise.
- This type of exercise bike is fairly compact and therefore doesn’t take up much room making it a lot easier to store than a recumbent bike.
Additional guide: DKN AM-E Upright Bike Review
Recumbent Exercise Bike
Recumbent bikes are very sturdy machines and are gaining popularity all the time. One of the main reasons for this is due to how comfortable they are. Recumbent exercise bikes come with the most comfortable seat of all exercise bikes. Been more like a chair than a seat the back support offered is very good for those with back pain.
Due to the fact that you are sat in a more reclined position the nature of the exercise workout is more of a lower body than upper and is therefore not as high intensity as a spin bike or upright.
Recumbent bikes tend to be very popular with the older generation and are considered to be the best exercise bike for the elderly. This is mainly due to the fact that they place less strain on the joints than other exercise machines.
To sum up a recumbent bike is best for those with a lot of free space as they are quite cumbersome and probably most suited to the elderly or those with back pain.
Benefits Of Recumbent Exercise Bikes
- Due to recumbent bikes having a larger seat than other exercise bikes they do tend to be a lot more comfortable.
- The way you sit on a recumbent bike means that there is a lot less pressure on the back region, due to this fact recumbent bikes are considered best for those that suffer with back pain.
- Out of all the different type of exercise bikes recumbent bikes are a lot gentler on your joints and are also the safest as you don’t have to stand up. Due to these reasons they are known to be the best exercise bike for elderly people.
Spin bikes are seen to give the highest intensity workout out of all the different exercise bikes. So if its a workout that is going to push you to your limits that you are looking for then spin bikes are the way to go.
As you can see from the picture spin bikes look pretty much just like an ordinary bike. If its that real bike feel that you are after, again spin bikes are the best option.
This type of exercise bike is most popular among professional cyclists and avid fitness fanatics.
There are many good things to say about spin bikes. Most noteworthy is that they are very affordable in addition to been sturdy and very well built. Furthermore most models come with many programs which helps those that suffer with exercise boredom.
Benefits Of Spin Bikes
- If you are trying to lose weight then spin bikes are the best exercise bikes for you. Using a spin bike can burn up to a 1000 calories in an hour due to the high intensity of the workout.
- If its you’re strength levels that you are looking to increase then spin bikes are ideal as they tone your whole body during a workout. During a spin bike session you tone your core muscles, legs, arms, back and buttocks.
Folding Exercise Bike
There are literally hundreds of different models so when it comes to choosing the best folding exercise bike it can be a tricky task. One thing thing to remember when buying is that there are both folding recumbent and upright bikes. The folding exercise bike is a variation of these two types of exercise bikes.
Furthermore when buying a folding exercise bike do remember that they are a lot less sturdy than other exercise bikes and injuries are more likely.
Benefits Of Folding Exercise Bikes
- The biggest benefit associated with folding exercise bikes is that they are obviously a lot easier to store than any of the others.
- Although the best folding exercise bikes can cost quite a bit, generally speaking they are a lot cheaper than the rest.
What To Look For When Buying
Console – The console on an exercise bike displays many important statistics. This is where calories burned, speed, pulse and time/distance are shown. These days most exercise bikes come with a LED console. The console also allows the resistance level to be set to the required level. The more expensive the exercise bike the more features its console will display.
Crank – The most noteworthy thing to mention about an exercise bikes crank is whether it has two way movement. This means does it give the option to pedal backwards as well as forwards. Been able to pedal backwards allows you to work different muscles.
Seat – When buying an exercise bike make sure that the seat is adjustable. Choosing an exercise bike with an adjustable seat gives the option to adjust it to the most comfortable position.
Handlebars – Similar to an adjustable seat i highly recommend buying a exercise bike with adjustable handlebars. Been able to adjust the handlebars back and forth again means the most comfortable position can be use.
Dimensions – The dimensions of an exercise bike are fairly important, especially if space is limited. Before buying make sure that there is enough room as some bikes are quite big mainly recumbent.
Product Weight – The weight of your exercise bike says a lot about its stability. Generally speaking you will find that the heavier the exercise bike the more stable it will be. In addition the heavier exercise bikes tend to be made from more durable materials.
Maximum User Weight – The maximum user weight refers to how heavy the user can be, the better the exercise bike the higher the maximum user weight this is due to the fact that the best exercise bikes are made from higher load bearing materials.
When buying an exercise bike the resistance type is something that should be carefully considered. There are a few different types of resistance offered, essentially they all do the same thing but in a different way.
So lets take a look at the different resistance types and how they work.
Direct Contact Resistance
Exercise bikes that use direct contact resistance rely on friction to provide the resistance needed. Similar to the break pads on an ordinary bicycle, the break pads are applied to the flywheel which creates the resistance which in turn reduces the rotational speed of the flywheel.
There are a few disadvantages to buying an exercise bike with this type of resistance. First of all they are known to make a fair bit of noise. In addition to been fairly noisy they are also more likely to suffer from a mechanical failure than an exercise bike that uses magnetic resistance. The reason for this is because of the friction that is applied to the mechanical parts.
Exercise bikes that come with magnetic resistance have a few advantages that other resistance types don’t offer. First of all because there is no contact with the flywheel there is no wear and tear. This means a magnetic resistance exercise bike will be less likely to suffer from mechanical failure.
In addition to their longevity magnetic resistance exercise bikes are a lot quieter than any other exercise bike.
Unlike other exercise bikes, fan/air resistance bikes are not built upon a flywheel. Instead a fan is used to create the resistance. The fan is connected to the pedals with the use of a belt system.
How does it work ?
As you begin to pedal the fan turns and this creates the resistance. The faster you pedal the more resistance is created. Although personally i don’t recommend this type of exercise bike, there is an advantage to it. When the fan turns it obviously creates a breeze which is perfect for keeping you cool during an exercise session.
Which Is The Best Exercise Bike To Buy
The best exercise bikes are the ones that meet your requirements and expectations from using a exercise bike.
Each different type of exercise bike has its own pros and cons, for example if you suffer from lower back pain then the best bike for you would be a recumbent bike as you don’t need to sit up as you do on an upright or spin bike.
Knowing the differences between all the variations of exercise bikes will help you to choose the best one for you. In the video below you can find out more about upright, recumbent and spin bikes, the three most popular exercise bikes.
Getting Value For Money
Price – For the majority of people this is the most important factor. Be sure to get the best deal you can by shopping around. A good place to find deals on exercise bikes is Amazon.
Warranty – Before deciding on an exercise bike make sure that there is a good warranty. Many exercise bike brands give up to 5 years frame warranty in addition to 2 years on labour and parts.
As you can see there is an awful lot to consider before buying a exercise bike. If you have read the whole of this guide you should be better able to decide what the best exercise bikes UK customers can buy. Personally, I prefer the magnetic bikes as they do tend to last longer. Furthermore they are noticeably quieter than the other options.
References and further reading:
- The Benefits Of A Stationary Bike For Exercise And Weight Loss
- Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Apr – Comparison of trunk and lower extremity muscle activity among four stationary equipment
- ResearchGate Journal – Health Benefits of Indoor Cycling: A Systematic Review