Whether its a Stationary Exercise Bicycle a Recumbent Exercise Cycle or a Spin Bike its important to choose the Right Bike
Exercise bikes are still very popular pieces of fitness equipment. It’s probably because they are familiar. Most people have ridden a road bicycle at some time and an exercise cycle simulates the exercise almost exactly.
Young and old, male and female, those in rehabilitation and those looking for a serious workout can use them.
Today they come in three types, upright exercise bikes, recumbent exercise bikes and what is now popularly called spinning bikes. An upright exercise bike seats you in the upright position, just like a road bicycle, where as a recumbent exercise bike has a bucket seat and the pedals are out in front of you. The spinning bike is probably the nearest thing to real cycling and looks a bit like a mountain bike. The upright exercise bike is still the most popular but that maybe because people believe that you get a much easier workout on a recumbent exercise cycle. This is a misconception, as anyone who has used a recumbent exercise bike will tell you. Recumbent exercise bikes also support the back and because your feet are level with your hips your blood pressure stays lower, so they can be a better choice if you suffer with high blood pressure. Spinning bikes are very popular in health clubs and gyms. They are used as a group exercise bike and are still perceived as professional gym equipment by many customers. However cheap spinning bikes are now available designed more for the home.
You do not need to spend as much on an exercise cycle to get an effective piece of workout equipment as you would other types of exercise equipment. Cheaper bikes made by Finnlo, Reebok and Kettler will still give you a nice ‘feel’. However if you want a health club experience, then you will need to pay that bit extra and consider brands such as Sole Fitness and Spirit exercise bikes. However if you are looking for professional gym equipment, in other words an exercise bike to put into a health club or corporate gym then you will have to pay considerably more, unless you can buy second hand in a gym equipment sale. The problem then is that you do not know how much use the exercise bike has had, and if it breaks down it will be expensive to repair and you will not have a warranty.
Buying Your Exercise Bike
- Consider who will be using the equipment and what their specific goals are.
It is more than likely that more than one person will be using the equipment. It is important that the need’s of everyone who wants to use the exercise bike is considered. Because the body weight is supported on an exercise bike they are ideal for rehabilitation, perfect for the overweight and can be used by all ages. Older user’s with back problems may prefer a recumbent exercise bike where as younger users may want to use the exercise bike like a racing bike or mountain bike, so an upright exercise bike or a spinning exercise bike would be more preferable.
- Start your shopping with a specialist fitness retailer.
Specialist dealers like Fitness Options have educated staff and quality equipment plus the ability to install and service your exercise bike more effectively than your normal sports shop or department store.
- Go to a specialist fitness store and test the equipment.
Almost any unit will feel adequate if you only test it for a few minutes. Its only when you start to put the exercise bike through its paces and use the different programmes will you appreciate the quality of the fitness machine. Is the seat comfortable? Remember you will be on it for at least 20 minutes. Does the seat height accommodate your leg length? Has the exercise bike got adequate resistance? It’s only by testing this way will you notice the major differences in quality and comfort. So go to the store prepared, in appropriate clothing and footwear so you can test the gym equipment properly.
The Must Haves when buying an Exercise Cycle
- Smooth Pedalling Action
How does the movement ‘feel?’ This is a critical question to ask. The pedalling action must feel smooth at all times, no matter what speed or resistance you are using. Spend some time on the exercise bike if you can and put it on the maximum resistance. Does it still feel smooth?
- Plenty of Seat Adjustment
Whether you are using an upright exercise bike or a recumbent exercise bike or a spinning bike, the seat must have a wide range of adjustments. Your knee position is very important when pedalling an exercise bike. Too much bend and you will be placing too much force on the knee, too little and you will be putting your hip and back under pressure. Make sure the seat distance can be adjusted to suit all users.
- Handlebar Adjustment
On a road bike most riders lean forward but on an exercise bike most people prefer to sit more upright. Make sure the handlebars adjust to accommodate your preferred position.
- Comfortable Seat
Most users of stationary exercise bikes prefer wide seats. They should be of a size that makes the exercise comfortable but not too wide that the seat interferes with the pedalling action. Some seats today not only adjust vertically but also horizontally and some even tilt. However you will find spinning bikes usually have narrow hard racing saddles, just like a real bike.
- Quiet Operation
Look and listen to the fitness machine. A truly well designed machine should be relatively silent at all intensity levels.
- Adjustable Resistance
All exercise bikes should provide a broad range of resistance. Resistance can be in the form of a mechanical adjustment that is applied by the turn of a dial, electronically by the push of a button or automatically when using a programme. Resistance changes should be simple to apply and change quickly.
- Electronic Features
On a programmable exercise bike almost all the features will be controlled electronically. The only thing that you would manually control is the speed. Consider what is important to you and try to choose an electronic package that will grow with you and that will accommodate the needs of multiple users.
- Solid Frame
Does the exercise bike feel solid even under the most intense workout.
Programmes and Motivation
The basics from a fitness point of view are time, distance and speed. Having a measure of calories burned can also be motivating. Consider what additional information is important to keep you motivated day after day. Here are some of the most useful extra features.
- Heart Rate Control Programmes
Measuring your heart rate is the surest indicator of progress and proper intensity. Everyone has a target heart rate, based on age, for which they should train. Too high a heart rate and you risk injury, too low and you will not achieve your goals. The best exercise bikes will actually adjust the resistance while measuring your heart rate to make sure you stay within your range. This is known as a heart rate controlled programme and is very different to a heart rate display which only measures and displays your heart rate on the console and does not offer any interactivity. To achieve this interactivity you simply punch in your desired heart rate and the fitness machine will automatically respond accordingly throughout your workout.
- Pre-set and Custom Programmes
One of the most common reasons a person quits a training programme is boredom. Having exercise equipment with a range of programmes will help keep each workout fresh and varied. Being able to customize a programme to your specific needs is also a great feature. Another consideration is the science behind the programmes. Manufacturers of quality exercise bikes do a lot of research into making sure the programmes are safe and effective.
- Custom Courses
The best products will remember your favourite workouts or allow you to create your own custom course. Look for the ability to store a custom course in order to duplicate them again.
- Ease Of Use
Although the exercise cycle console may have plenty of features it must also be simple to use. Too many buttons cause frustration and becomes another obstacle to regular exercise. It should take no more than 2-3 steps to launch a programme and should have a manual or quick start mode that requires only 1-2 pushes of a button to get you going.
Safety & Maintenance
Look for electronic safety features like warm-up and cool-down periods, adjustable resistance and heart rate feedback and interactivity. Seat locking pins are important. These pins are spring loaded and even if you forget to tighten them up you will not have any nasty surprises.
When buying fitness equipment, gym equipment or any type of workout equipment safety must always be a priority.
A good exercise bike should be almost maintenance free. A well-designed unit takes normal wear and tear into account so that you don’t have to.
Warranties vary from manufacturer. Please ask a Fitness Options consultant for details.
Why you should buy your exercise bike from Fitness Options?
- We offer an extensive range of exercise bikes, covering all budgets.
- Your exercise bike warranty: All exercise bikes come with a minimum 1 year parts and labour warranty. Many far exceed this with 3 and 5 year warranties depending on manufacturer.
- Exercise bike delivery: Delivered direct to your door.