How To Choose The Right Exercise Bike

How To Choose The Right Exercise Bike – A Comprehensive Guide

Exercise bikes are some of the most popular fitness equipment you can find on the market, obviously for so many fine reasons. An exercise bike can help increase your muscle tone, strengthen your glutes, tighs, and can also help you burn more calories. Furthermore, these machines also have a low impact on your joints just like an elliptical or treadmill machine. But then, there are so many available exercise bikes on the market which makes it quite difficult to choose the right one. This is a simple, yet detailed guide that can help you choose the perfect exercise bike for you.

Types of Exercise Bikes

Before proceeding with shopping for an exercise bike, it’s important to understand the types of exercise bikes.
Although with advancements in technological innovation, there are many types of exercise bikes, but there are 3 major types of exercise bikes. These are; spin bikes, upright bikes, and recumbent exercise bikes.

  1. Spin or Indoor Cycling Bikes
  2. Indoor cycling bikes also called Spin bikes are some of the most popular bikes you can find on the market. These types of bikes are different from upright bikes being that they offer a more vigorous form of training.

    Spin exercise bikes generally have higher resistance levels that give you that hill experience and as a result, can help you burn more calories. Spin bikes make the perfect choice for anyone training for an event or very active individuals seeking to burn more calories per training. These types of bikes also have bigger flywheels and as a result, are less compact when compared to an upright. You can check my recommendations of the best-rated spin bikes on the market.

  3. Upright Exercise Bikes
  4. An upright bike which is also referred to as a static exercise bike is the most popular type of exercise bikes you’ll find on the market. Upright bikes are the most compact exercise bikes which make them the best choice for anyone with very limited space. They are also the cheapest form of exercise bikes and make the best choice for entry-level if you are just starting out.

    They also offer a low-impact training experience and can help tone your muscle, strengthen your hamstring, glutes, calves, and quadriceps. If you’re just starting out and looking to keep fit, an upright bike will make a great choice. You can check out my top picks for the best upright bikes.

  5. Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Recumbent exercise bikes are relatively newer inventions that are quite different from the other two types of bikes mentioned above based on the level of comfort they offer. A recumbent bike comes with an adjustable and comfortable seat that offers high-level comfort for anyone training on these types of machines.

Recumbent bikes make the best choice for seniors and less active individuals looking to stay fit without breaking down. These types of machines have a recumbent seat rather than a saddle and will also make a great choice for anyone with a back problem. Due to the design of a recumbent bike, they tend to work the glutes and hip flexor compared to an upright bike that targets the hamstring and quadriceps more.

Benefits of Exercise Bikes

The benefits of an exercise bike are many which is why this is one of the most popular fitness equipments on the market. The benefits of an exercise bike are summarized below.

  1. A Low Impact Machine
  2. Just like an elliptical machine, training on an exercise bike leaves a low impact on your joints and can help reduce injuries and muscle strain. Most especially, a recumbent exercise bike.

  3. Compact Design
  4. Generally, most exercise bikes come in a compact design, unlike the average elliptical or treadmill machine that can be gigantic. This makes exercise bikes one of the best choices for anyone with limited space. Upright exercise bikes are even more compact, while some can be folded. Moreover, upright bikes give you great comfort as you can be reading or watching your favorite programmers as you train.

  5. Stay Fit From The Comfort of Your Home
  6. Still on comfort, an exercise bike just like an elliptical or treadmill can help you stay fit especially if you love training on the machine. From the comfort of your home, you can simply hop over and train on your exercise bike at any moment of your choice.

    When compared to outdoor cycling, an exercise bike will allow you to train even when the weather conditions aren’t favorable. This’ll allow you to stay fit and reach more goals.

  7. Cardiovascular Exercise
  8. Training on an exercise bike is a form of cardiovascular exercise that comes with lots of health benefits that can improve your heart health as well as your overall health. Cardiovascular exercises can help strengthen your heart and muscle. It also improves your mood, helps you manage appetite, burns more calories, and improve blood oxygen circulation.

  9. Burn Calories and Loss Weight
  10. Training on an exercise bike can help you burn some more calories and lose weight. If you’re looking to slim down a bit, then an exercise bike can be a great choice for you. Cycling is a very effective way to lose weight as you can start HIIT or vigorous training which will allow you to burn significant calories. The amount of calories an individual can burn while training on an exercise bike depends on age, gender, and more. However, a young person who cycles at 18mph for 30 minutes can burn about 500 calories which over time can result in significant weight loss.

  11. Workout the Lower Body
  12. Cycling on an exercise bike targets mostly the lower body part which will help strengthen not just your heart but muscles. An exercise bike targets the glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves. All-important muscles that can help improve your stamina.

  13. Cost Effective

Compared to elliptical or treadmills, an exercise bike is relatively cheaper. Although there are many high-end exercise bikes, but you can find many exercise bikes under $500 which for me isn’t so much investment and is moderate

Exercise Bikes Buying Checklist

Before you choose to buy an exercise bike, it’s important to be sure the said exercise bike ticks most of the boxes on this checklist.

  1. Sturdiness and Durability
  2. The sturdiness of the frame used for the body of an exercise bike decides its durability. You should check to be sure that high-quality steel has been used for the frame. Also, the footprint should be large enough for stability.

  3. Ergonomically/Adjustable Seat
  4. You should also check the seat, the more comfortable and adjustable, the better. Adjustable saddle makes it easier for both tall and short individuals to use the machine. This way, you don’t end up with a machine that’s not ideal for your height especially if you’re over 6.5ft.

    An oversized seat is also the best as it gives you more comfort while training. You’ll find that recumbent exercise bikes have the most comfortable seats which is why these lots are the most ideal exercise bikes for seniors.

  5. What is the Weight Capacity?
  6. You should also check the specified weight capacity. Say, for instance, the specified weight capacity is 350LBS, I’ll recommend it for anyone weighing up to 310lbs. These will help reduce the load on the machine and can help extend the shelf-life and its durability.

  7. Check the Resistance Levels
  8. The same function a resistance system plays in an elliptical or treadmill is the same for an exercise bike. Higher Resistance levels allow you to train more vigorously and as a result, help you burn more calories. Spin bikes have some of the highest resistance levels which is why they are the best choice for very active individuals.

  9. Check the Weight of the Flywheel
  10. You should also check the weight of the flywheel, the heavier, the smoother your training experience will be. Most exercise bikes have flywheel within 10LBS – 60LBS.

  11. Check the Dimensions (Size)
  12. The size of the exercise bike you intend to purchase also matters especially if you’ve limited space. Although, exercise bikes are generally more compact than treadmills or elliptical machines. You’ll also find foldable exercise bikes that take less space when folded and are easy to stash away when not in use.

    Upright bikes are the most compact exercise bikes, followed by spin bikes and finally, recumbent exercise bikes which can be quite large.

    Exercise bikes take very little space in width ranging from 18-25inches, while the length can range from 25 inches – 45 inches, the height range from 45 – 65 inches. So, be sure to check the dimensions and compare it with your available space.

  13. Does it have a heart rate tracker?
  14. A heart rate monitor is a very important component you’ll find on many fitness equipment’s including ellipticals, treadmills, and exercise bikes. Heart rate monitor on an exercise bike will allow you to monitor your heart and help you maintain and train within a normal heart rate which can lead to more calories burnt.

    Many exercise bikes are equipped with a heart rate monitor, so be sure to check that out as it can help you improve your training.

    On the flip, you can rely on a smartwatch or fitness tracker which is more accurate as you have to wear on your wrist. There are many fine smartwatches for fitness tracking.

  15. What about Inbuilt Workout Programs? Check it Out
  16. Another feature to check out in an exercise bike is if it has inbuilt workout programs. Although this might not be very important to you especially if you already using a smartwatch or other wearable tech to track your activities, it’s a worthwhile feature that can help improve your fitness goals.

    Not all exercise bikes come with inbuilt workout programs, but many mid-range to high-end exercise bike will have this feature.

  17. Can You Clearly Read the LCD Display?
  18. Just like a treadmill or an elliptical, most exercise bikes are equipped with digital displays that most times show your speed, distance, calories, and other related complications. Be sure to check that the exercise bike you intend buying has an LCD monitor to show training stats and if it’s very legible. You’ll find exercise bikes with digital displays ranging from 3.5 – 12 inches depending on the model.

  19. Any Warranty?
  20. Before buying an exercise, you want to be sure your purchase is covered by some form of warranty.
    Most exercise bikes come with a 1-year services warranty in case the machine develops a fault. You’ll also find exercise bikes that have a warranty that covers the frame and other body parts. You should read clearly if there’s any warranty and what it covers.

  21. What’s the Return Policy?
  22. What about the return policy? You should also check it out. This is important just in case you end up buying an exercise you don’t like for any reason whatsoever. Read the return policy to be sure you can return a faulty machine, and of course, the cost involved.

  23. Does the Bike Arrive Assembled?
  24. Be sure to check whether the bike will arrive assembled. If it isn’t, you might need an expert to help assemble the new machine to avoid messing things up. Although, many exercise bikes are easy to assemble.

  25. Read Users and Expert Reviews

Reading the actual user’s experience and reviews is one of the most important things to do before buying an exercise bike. This way, you can learn from their dislikes and likes to help you make a more informed buying decision.

Exercise Bikes FAQs

  1. Can an Exercise Bike Help You Lose Weight?
  2. Yes, an exercise bike can help you lose weight. This is because training on an exercise bike tones your muscle and increases your heart rate, burns calories and can help you loss visceral fat which improves a healthy heart, strengthen your heart and tone your muscles.

  3. What Muscles do Exercise Bike Work?
  4. An exercise bike works the quadriceps, calves, hamstring, hip flexor, glutes and strengthens your heart and abs. Upright bikes work more of the calves, quadriceps, and hamstring, while spin bikes work more of the quadriceps, hamstring, glutes, and hip flexor.

  5. What Speed Should You Cycle at?
  6. Exercise bikes measure speed in RPMs (rotation per minute) or MPH (miles per hour) generally you should alternate your speed between 60RPM and 90RPM.

    The faster the speed the more calories you’ll burn. This ultimately depends on weight, age, and fitness. If you’re training for an event, a higher speed combined with resistance works great. And for a less active individual or senior, a lower speed is recommended.

  7. What’s the Best Routine for Exercise Bikes?
  8. There are many available workout routines for stationary exercise bikes. You can find some recommendations like conquer the hills and climb the pyramids.

  9. Are Exercise Bikes Good for Losing Weight?
  10. Yes, stationary exercise bikes are some of the best fitness equipment for losing weight. This is because stationary bikes workout the muscles and increases your heart rate which increases metabolism among cells, thus burning more sugars and will help you reduce weight overtime.

    An hour of training on a stationary exercise bike or about 40 minutes of vigorous workout daily for 10 days will help you loss 1 pound which is equivalent to about 3500 excess calories you burn.

  11. Should You Buy or Hire a Stationary Exercise Bike?

Personally, I will recommend that you buy an exercise bike. This comes with its convenience and can help you workout more often. And over time will save you money than you’d spend hiring.

However, if owning an exercise bike doesn’t fit into your preferences, hiring is still a good choice and if you go to the gym more often, you may get motivated by others which can help you reach more fitness goals.

Upright vs Spin vs Recumbent Exercise Bike – Which is Right for You?

The perfect exercise bike for you depends ultimately on your preferences and age. I always recommend recumbent exercise bikes for seniors and less active individuals because these type of bikes offers the most comfort.

On the other hand, upright or spin bikes remain the best choices for very active individuals or anyone starting out.


In conclusion, stationary exercise bikes are some of the most recommended fitness equipment that can help you lose weight, stay fit, and achieve more fitness goals. Choosing the right one requires taking into considerations all the factors that make a decent exercise bike.

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