Exercise Bikes - Which Kind of Exercise Bike is Right For You?
Buying an exercise bike? These bikes are some of most popular pieces of fitness equipment because they are affordable, easy to use and can last you a very long time.
But if you've started shopping, you'll probably notice that there are several different types of exercise bikes including upright, recumbent, semi-recumbent, dual action and even indoor cycling bikes. How do you choose the best one for your needs?
This article will give you some background on different types of fitness bikes so you can decide which kind you want for your home exercise gym:
Upright bikes were the only option you had for years. They look similar to an outdoor bike (but they don't have wheels, chains etc. to be mobile). They have a typical bicycle seat and your feet hang down to reach the pedals. Upright bikes come in all different price categories from starter to commercial grade models.
Some advantages of these bikes are that many experts think they are better at burning calories and tend to take up less space than a recumbent bike. They can also be a great way for cyclist to train indoors during the winter months.
These have bucket-like seats and your legs are angled out (or slightly down) in front of you (instead of hanging down like in an upright model). Because the seats have more padding and better back support than upright bikes, these bikes are very popular with new exercisers, older users or anyone prone to injuries. They're also an excellent low-impact way to exercise for those who are just starting a fitness routine.
In addition to being more comfortable overall (than upright bikes), recumbent bikes also tend to be lower to the ground (less injuries) and have lots of built-in features like pre-programmed workouts, bright, LCD consoles and even mp3 docks with speakers.
While this term can sometimes be used interchangeably with recumbent bikes, an actual semi-recumbent bike is a cross between the recumbent and the upright bike. The seat is similar to a recumbent seat but the pedals are angled a little lower than a regular recumbent (but not straight down as you'd find on an upright bike).
The benefits of this design is that many sellers claim you get the calorie-burning benefits of an upright bike combined with the comfort of a recumbent. However it is fair to note that these bikes are not as common or as easy to find as the first 2 options above.
#4 Dual Action Bike
This is a spin-off of the upright bike and there are only a few of these on the market as well. These bikes are similar to the upright bike but they also have movable bars or levers on arm handles to incorporate your upper body into the workout.
Using the upper body arm bars can help work your arms, chest, abs, and back muscles. This can increase overall aerobic intensity, burn more calories and provide a higher intensity workout challenge. Upper body arms can also help for those who don't want to work their legs as hard because of injury or muscle strain.
The downside is that the consoles on these bikes are very simple, They don't have all the fitness "extras" you get with recumbents like large, backlit consoles, loads of built-in workouts, heart rate monitors and iPod docks. They also don't give you the back support of a recumbent machine.
#5 Indoor Cycling Bikes
You've probably seen these types of exercise bikes at the local gym for their spin classes. These are similar to upright bikes but much more advanced in terms of features. They are built mainly for the serious athlete or biking enthusiast for year-round training.
You can find everything on these bikes from drop handlebars (to simulate outdoor riding), onboard computers to track your workout stats and SPD-compatible pedals that can be used with professional cycling shoes.
The downside is that these bikes may be a bit more than the average exerciser needs (they also tend to cost more than the average recumbent bike).
So those are some of your options when it comes to buying an exercise bike. What you choose depends on your goals, lifestyle, health issues and workout preferences.
On the positive side, there's never been a better time to buy a fitness bike as they are more affordable and loaded with fun features than ever before. So you're sure to find a model that you love.