How to choose the right stationary bike

Whether you are putting together a home gym or just looking for a single piece of equipment, a stationary bike is a solid choice to improve your overall fitness.  The stationary bike has come a long way over the years and the number of options can be a bit intimidating.  These are the key areas to focus on when choosing the right bike:  recumbent or upright, cost, warranty, workout options, and resistance.  Once you have determined what you want in those key areas, selecting a bike that is going to fit in your home will be easy.

Choosing the type of bike is the first major step, whether you want an upright or recumbent style. Stationary bike reviews have gone to great lengths about the pros and cons of each type. The main difference comes down to be comfort. The seat of an upright bike will grow uncomfortable during longer work outs, which will have you shifting in your seat for the last few miles when you are supposed to be pushing your body to the max.

How much to spend and what to spend it on?

How much you want to spend and how good of a warranty you get go hand in hand. The price range is divided on whether or not you want to spend over or under a thousand dollars. Going too far under that value and you are not going to get a top quality machine, but if your stationary bike workouts are only supplemental to the rest of your home gym, then the cheaper route maybe for you; the reason being that the machine won’t endure as much punishment as if you used it every day. The warranty seems almost automatic on the more expensive bikes, because you want to protect your investment and use the machine without fear of the cost of repair.


Resistance: perhaps the most important aspect of choosing the right stationary bike


Resistance is effectively synonymous with workout levels. There are several different types of resistance and the more sophisticated type you get, the more precise the control will be. Direct tension is found on the cheaper bikes and allows for you to manually control the amount of resistance in the pedals. Less common is air flow resistance, which makes use of a fan blade to control how hard it is to pedal. The high tech version of resistance is provided through magnets. The use of magnetic currents to control the resistance is the most effective stationary bike trainer, because of the precise control over how hard the workout is.


Gizmos on a stationary bike


An exercise bike on the cheap end may have little or no electronics and with manual resistance will require you to determine your own length and difficulty of workout. Thankfully, the better models provide a far more effective training regime though the preprogrammed workouts and all sorts of information storage; these bikes can take into account height, weight, previous workouts and help you plan out a routine that will be perfect for you. While the high end displays are a nice to have, it is easy to get by with one of the middle of the road models that contains workout programs that alter resistance at different intervals.

What it all comes down to...

Deciding on the best stationary bike is almost impossible, because everyone’s needs are different. You need to take into account how the bike is going to fit into your exercise program. Whether you plan to use it every day or simply as an alternative to your treadmill, the amount you invest into your bike will determine what bells and whistles are available. Take your list of wants and compare it with what is available out there and you will be able to find the perfect exercise bike for you.


Other considerations

What shoes should you wear?  There are some options where you can actually wear clip ins, so-called clipless road cycling shoes makes for a really good option.  Many people use stationary bikes to keep up their winter training in the warm and dry.  Admittedly it's a good alternative to winter road bike cycling because there are more injuries sustained in cold damp weather than natural warm weather.

One last consideration is to check out the difference between an exercise and a spinning bike.  They are considerably different machines with different potentials.

Basic stationary bike routine

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