- Exercise & Fitness
Folding Exercise Bikes : Collapsable Stationary Exercise Cycle Guide and Reviews
One of the biggest reasons for not buying home exercise machines is simply the size of the things. A treadmill, exercise cycle, elliptical trainer or home gym is a bulky piece of equipment which can take up a lot of floor space in your home - permanently.
Exercise bikes are one of the smaller home gym machines but they still take up a fair maount of room and if you opt for a recumbent style model, it will take up about the same amount of space as a treadmill.
Thankfully, there are now some great alternatives which are just as good in the form of fold away exercise bikes which are great space saving gym equipment.
Folding exercise bikes offer just the same features, build quality, stability and comfort levels as a regular one but with the added benefit of being easy to fold up and put away somewhere out of sight rather than it becoming a permanent feature of your living space. They are a great alternative for anyone living in a smaller dwelling or who simply doesn't want clunky pieces of equipment cluttering up their home.
Folding Exercise Bike Buying Guide
Now you've decided to purchase a foldable exercise bike and claim back some of that valuable floor space, you'll be wondering which are the best folding bikes around and which of the various types (yes there are several different types) is going to be most suited to your fitness goals and physical health needs.
The following guidelines are designed to help you make that informed decision before you decide on which foldable exercise cycle is right for you.
Stamina InTone Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike
A popular choice with Amazon shoppers, this folding recumbent bike from Stamina is a great spacesaving alternative to a bulky fixed frame cycle. Compact and sturdy, this foldaway recumbent cycle features variable resistance, time, speed, distance and calorie counting through the neat little console.
Upright Folding Exercise Bikes or Recumbent Exercise Cycles
The first decision you will be presented with when buying a fold-up exersize bike is whether you want an upright stationary bike or a recumbent style cycle. Which you choose is as much a matter of personal choice as it is based upon your personal fitness goals. The features of both are described below as there are pros and cons of each.
Upright Exercise Bikes
These are based on the traditional style of bicycle where the user sits straight up on the seat or hunched forward over the handlebars. As the user is in an upright position it allows for sprinting and hill climbing or the more 'racing' style of usage as the user can stand up off the saddle and really pump at those peddles.
Some users claim they receive a more intense workout from this kind of cycle compared to the recumbent exercise bike. Also, as they are much more like the style of street bicycle we are all used to riding, they offer a psychological comfort and being smaller in frame size than the recumbant models, are cheaper to manufacture and therefore, to buy.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
These offer a more relaxed seated position and because of the larger seats and back support offered, they are much more comfortable to use and are great for people with lower back problems.
If you are not worried about your home gym exercise bike resembling your road bicycle then you should consider a recumbant fitness cycle as the added level of comfort means you are more likely to continue using it. On a really good recumbent bicycle it's almost like a comfy chair with pedals attached.
Recumbent exercize bikes are however often more expensive than upright cycles and are also bigger and bulkier due to the general design of the machine. In addition, the design means you are unable to stand up and perform 'road race' style exercise routines on them.
Stamina Deluxe Conversion II Recumbent Bike / Air Rower
Saving space just got even easier with this 3 in 1 exercise machine from Stamina! The Deluxe Conversion II is a recumbent exercise bike / rowing machine and also offers various means to work out your upper body in its upright position. Magnetic resistance provides a super quiet smooth operation with pulse, speed, distance, calories burned monitored through the computerized console. The unit folds up smoothly to reduce the size of its footprint making this an excellent spacesaver.
What Is The Weight Of A Folding Fitness Cycle?
A non-foldable exercise bike can be pretty heavy, especially the recumbent kind which you are definitely not going to want to be moving around too much once you have it in place.
A folding exercise cycle, on the other hand, is designed to be folded up and moved from place to place. They are designed to be more lightweight and easy to move, many have carrying handles and wheel attachments to enable them to be moved more easily.
You might still want to look at the weight however, especially if you have back problems or think lifting / wheeling a piece of large equipment might cause you problems.
Are Folding Exercise Bikes Stable?
One of the important things to look at when buying any collapsible exercise bicycle is the stability of the machine. There are not only important safety issues here but also you will feel a lot more comfortable on a sturdy, well constructed exercise bike rather than a shakey, rickety machine which clunks and creaks the whole time you are using it.
A good modern fold up exercise cycle is just as stable as a fixed frame bicycle. It is a good idea to sit on your choice and try it out, but if that is not possible, then be sure to read reviews and opinions written by others online which should give you a good idea about its quality.
Generally, as a rule of thumb, super cheap folding exercise bikes are probably not going to be particularly well constructed and a quick check of the warrantee, especially in reference to the frame, will give you an idea of how sturdy it will be. Some come with frame warrantees which cover as little as 30 days, whilst other are 15 years to lifetime. The difference in confidence between the first manufacturer and the next is quite clear.
Confidence Stow A Bike Stow Away Exercise Cycle
Highly rated by Amazon shoppers, this low price upright folding exercise bike is great value for money for a budget bike. Resistance is provided by magnetic reistance and the on board computer measures time, speed, distance cycled and calories burned. At around 50lbs in weight this is a lightweight, easily portable exercise bike which folds up to reduce its footprint and save you space and comes at a great price too.
How Much Storage Space Is Required For A Foldible Exercise Bike
The reason you would pick a collapsable exercise bike over a fixed frame cycle is because of the storage solution it provides. With that in mind, it is important when choosing any of these to check out how big it actually is when it is folded up. There are different ways in which they can be folded down and some are larger than others when packed down or fold up in different ways which makes them either shorter or narrower. Most wil give you the dimensions in both formats so you can ensure their compacted size meets your expectations.
How Easy Are Foldable Exercise Cycles To Fold Up
This all depends on the model you choose. Some offer a smooth fold down motion, whilst others are fiddly and simply clunk together. The only way to find this out is to actually go out and try it - if you can find a store which will allow you to mess with their display models - or to go online and find a couple of reviews which talk about it.
How Comfortable and Adjustable Is It
It is import that your choice of indoor exercising cycle is comfortable enough for you to use. Check out the seat and the handlebars, especially if you are significantly above or below average height or weight as you must ensure it will adjust to meet your requirements.
The seat is something you are going to be spending a lot of time sitting on, so make sure it is comfortable for you to use for long periods of time or you will quickly lose interest in working out on a machine which leaves your butt hurting like you've been riding a horse bareback cross country!
In addition, if there is going to be more than one person using the bike, you should look at how easy the various adjustments to things like seat height, handebar height etc. is to make. If you have to spend fiddly minutes messing around with the various settings you'll start your workout frustrated and lose interest.
Magnetrainer ER (Extended Range) Mini Exercise Bike
Really save on space by forgetting all about the folding aspect and opt for a mini bike instead! This model is top rated by Amazon customers who appreciate the sturdy design, adjustable magnetic resistance and smooth quiet operation of the unit. Mini exercise cycles are a great alternative to a larger unit and can also be used to strengthen the upper body by placing the unit on a table and working the pedals with your arms.
Manual Belt Driven Exercise Bikes Or Digitally Controlled Magnetic Resistance Fitness Cycles
There are a further two types of gym bike to chose between. The two main options to choose from when it comes to how the bike provides resistance to your peddling power are a friction belt or a magnetic resistance provided by an electromagnet.
The friction provided by a belt is the cheapest method of providing resistance and is usually only found on the cheapest types of folding gym cycle out there. These manual exercise bikes require the user to set their own friction levels manually, meaning you need to keep getting off and on the seat to adjust the settings if you want more resistance or less. In addition, these types have a very limited computer console with less options, preset programs and feedback about your workout.
The magnetic resistance option is a much better choice if you can afford the extra money these machines cost as they do provide a much smoother and continuous resistance, can be adjusted from the seat at the touch of a button, allow you to run fitness training programs which add variety into your workout machine and are much less quieter to run than belts which make a hissing noise as the belt runs across the wheel.
Computer Console Quality
As mentioned above, foding exercise bikes which use magentic resistance to provide the force against which you need to cycle can offer a lot more on the console than the belt driven type.
Depending on what you want from your gym bike, the computer console will be more or less important. Some come with a few basic options, whilst others will have heart rate monitoring capabilities, built in fitness programs, interval training, calories burned counter and more. You need to decide whether you will need these kinds of things or not as it will vary from person to person.
How Much Weight Can The Machine Take?
A foldable exercise bike can often take less user weight than a comparable fixed upright version. The weight capacity is something you need to look at before you buy as the manufacturer's recommendations can actually be quite a bit lower than you might be expecting. A figure of 250lbs as a maximum user weight is not uncommon and it is better to aim for a little below the absolute maximum the sometimes optimistic manufacturer might be suggesting.
Check Out Those Warrantees!
Some manufacturers will offer as little as 30 days as a warrantee which to me, says a lot about their confidence in what they have to offer and the converse is also true.
Whilst it's not the most important thing, as you'd hope once you have researched well enough, you will have found a great value exercise bike which meets all your requirements, it is still a nice back-up to have a great warrantee to go along with it.