During my days as a sales representative, it always amazed me when people in need of an exercise bike would typically ask a lot of questions about bikes, but would rarely get on and try them. There are many exercise bikes on the market and, like any other product, there are designs that will fit your needs and others that won’t. The most important thing to do is try out a variety of models and choose the best one for you. Here are some tips on what to look for in an exercise bike.
There are two major frame styles of bikes from to choose: recumbent and upright. The number one question I received over the years was, “Which is better, recumbent or upright?” There is no right or wrong answer. Both styles keep you moving and raise your heart rate. Because both styles of bikes require you to sit, a comfortable seat is extremely important.
This is a great option for users who require extra lumbar support. Many recumbent bikes, like the Vision Fitness® R20, now offer adjustable mesh seats which tend to be more comfortable and use a more breathable material that significantly reduces the amount of sweat build-up.There are also seats, such as that on the R40, which have an additional “recline” feature, allowing the user to be slightly tilted back, thus opening up the diaphragm and enabling easier breathing. It is a wonderful feature for pregnant women who would like to (comfortably) continue their cardiovascular training. A “walk-thru” recumbent bike makes it easier for a user to comfortably enter and exit the bike. This is particularly important for those who have sustained a lower-body injury and/or users with mobility setbacks.
For the average person who is used to and enjoys a more traditional bike, an upright frame is the way to go. Much like with the recumbent, a comfortable seat is extremely important. Ensure that you have enough padding/comfort so you can sustain your workout for your intended duration. Remember, if you’re not comfortable on any given piece of equipment, you won’t use it!
The more adjustability you have, the more you can customize your perfect fit. Recumbent bikes have a front/back seat adjustment, while upright bikes have an up/down adjustment.
Check the seat adjustment for ease of use. It should have a very simple lever to pull, and the seat should slide smoothly to accommodate your height. If it is a struggle to adjust the seat, check out alternative bikes. If the bike will have multiple users, seat adjustments that contain a numbering system might be best. Numbering systems are an easy way to remember your preferred position and quickly adjust.
The stability of a bike is also very important. The last thing you want is for your bike to be rocking back and forth or from side to side. Better bikes have adjustable stabilizers to provide a more stable ride. Shake the recumbent exercise bike while you are sitting on it. Poorly made recumbent exercise bikes wobble as you peddle. A quality machine should not move at all after you’ve properly stabilized it.
Quality components are important for any piece of mechanical equipment. Exercise bikes are no different. Higher-end bikes will use a wider internal drive belt, which provides more surface area and a smoother, more fluid feel. Make sure the pedals of the recumbent exercise bike move in a smooth motion. It should feel natural and not make any funny noises. If you need to move your legs at unnatural angles, the machine is not a good fit.
Finally, purchasing an exercise bike is an investment in your health and wellness. Take the time to seek out a specialty store in your area and speak with a trained sales associate. They are there to help you find the perfect piece of equipment and assist you in reaching your goals comfortably and efficiently.