10 Best Indoor Bikes of August 2021

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Indoor Bikes--For Training, Endurance, or Just Keeping Fit

Marcus Milord

The COVID-19 pandemic upset the routines of many people. We had to change our schedule drastically--whether it be work routines, school, or even how they go about exercise and recreation. In many cases, there were workarounds that people could work or learn remotely. But, if you were a gym enthusiast, how would you be able to exercise remotely? How can you get access to all of your favorite gym equipment?

Indoor bikes provided a partial answer for those exercise enthusiasts. And even as things are slowly getting back to the way they were before COVID-19, indoor bikes have only grown in popularity. You’ll see that there are a few options: fitness bikes, exercise bikes, and spin bikes. Many of them offer different exercise programs of varying difficulty and also allow you to track your speed, time, distance, and even heart rate. And many also have a bracket to support a phone or tablet, so that you can watch an exercise tutorial, or just some entertainment to make your workout session more interesting.

We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you look through the options when selecting an indoor bike. We’ll help you:

  • Choose the right type of indoor bike for your preferences,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of indoor bike,

  • Read reviews of different indoor bikes, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of indoor bike, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Indoor Bikes

Stationary bikes can be part of a general health and fitness program, whether the intent is for cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, or weight loss. But there are “tweaks” that each bike has, each with its own advantages:

  • Fitness bikes are better for brief, intense workouts, for cardiovascular fitness. The handlebars are lower, and there are exercise routines that demand that you pedal the bike while standing. The pedal can either have a toe cage or strap, to keep your foot stationary. Fitness bikes have a heavier flywheel than regular exercise bikes, for a more realistic and smoother ride. They are usually more sturdy, to put up with more aggressive riding. An example is the Sunny Health & Fitness Endurance Series Exercise Bike.

Sunny Health & Fitness Endurance Series Exercise Bike

  • Exercise bikes are typically for just recreating the pedaling motion of riding a bike. They’re less expensive, and also less versatile. You’re required to sit--so you can’t pedal standing--but at least the seat is more comfortable than in a fitness bike. An example is the Cycool Exercise Bike.

Cycool Exercise Bike

  • Spinning bikes are actually a brand name of an indoor bike which is produced by Mad Dogg Athletics. The owners of Mad Dogg started marketing special indoor bikes which mimic the environment and the body position of a real road bike, even in the design of the handlebars and the racing saddles. Peloton is another brand of indoor bicycle that also allows for such cycling training. The Peloton includes a touchscreen to enable video chat with a professional fitness instructor. They typically are built with the weighted flywheel at the front of the bike. An example is the Spinner L1-Spin Bike.

Spinner L1-Spin Bike

  • Upright bikes are compact, with a base as narrow as 27.5” x 16.5”. But they don’t offer any back support, so you might feel like you’re on a unicycle! Also, the seat tends to be very narrow. An example is the Schwinn A10 Upright Bike.

Schwinn A10 Upright Bike

  • Recumbent bikes allow you to sit back while pedaling. Since there’s less of a chance of back pain or strain, you can concentrate more on toning muscles, improving your stamina, and burning calories. They provide padded support for your back, and thus they’re ideal for older people. But, they’ll take up significantly more space, with a base measuring around 55.5” x 25”. An example is the Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike (ME-709).

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike (ME-709)

  • Dual-action bikes allow you to exercise your upper body, moving your arms in a skiing motion, while you’re pedaling and conditioning your legs. An example is the Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike. It also has an option to rest your feet, and just operate the handlebars--that way, you concentrate on just toning your upper body.

Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike

What reviewers say

  • Great for therapy: People recovering from hip surgery said that the Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike not only helped them keep in shape when they were limited in being able to leave the home. It also helped speed up their recuperation time.

  • Changing the bike seat: Even on a top-tier indoor bike, such as the Peloton, some people find that the bike seat is not so comfortable. If they want to have an exercise session that’s more than 45 minutes, they may experience chafing, soreness, or back pain. But there are also seat cushions that you can slip over the existing seat. And there are also seat cushions that you can attach yourselves with a little more effort, with just an Allen wrench.

Important Features

  • Types of resistance systems: There are two different methods of providing resistance, to make the riding more challenging. Some bikes rely on friction resistance, with a belt or chain making the flywheel turn. But these may wear down over time, due to the friction. A more sophisticated design is used in magnetic resistance spin bikes, which is becoming popular nowadays. It produces resistance by means of a metal disc rotating in a magnetic field. The faster it rotates, the more resistance it encounters. This method eliminates the friction of the moving parts, so it tends to last longer. But that longevity has a price: for example, the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Stationary Bike comes in two versions: felt resistance, for $168, and magnetic resistance, at $297.

Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Stationary Bike

  • Weight capacity: Note that indoor bikes will have a maximum weight limit. Don’t risk trying to exceed that, since it can cause the flywheel mechanism to break. The Circuit Fitness Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike has a 300-pound capacity, due to its heavy-duty design--that’s pretty much the highest that you’ll see on these products.

  • Transport wheels: It’s convenient having an exercise bike in the privacy of your home. But you also might need the space for other things as well--and these bikes can tend to be very heavy. For this reason, many are equipped with transport wheels, to allow you to simply tilt the bike and move it out of the way when not in use.

  • Pedals and bike shoes: Some indoor bikes will allow you to change the pedals. The Peloton bike requires special, compatible shoes with cleats that lock into the pedals. This helps you utilize all of your leg motion towards pedaling, without any extraneous leg movements.

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