Cycling is a great workout, but the outdoor sport demands space and time. You can get the same physical benefits from an indoor bike that you can from outdoor cycling program. Before you buy, find out some key details on the three basic types of exercise bikes so you don’t get taken for a ride.
Recumbent cycles reduce the stress on your lower back by letting you sit back into a lounge-chair-like seat, leaving your hands and arms free. These models are ideal for people that suffer from lower back pain. It’s even possible to find a bike with added lumbar support in the seat.
On an upright cycle you sit or stand in the same position as a traditional bicycle, and hold on to a handlebar. If you plan to use your bike for spinning, choose an upright model that uses simple braking resistance. Most dual-action machines are upright, with moving handlebars that provide resistance to exercise your arms, shoulders and chest.
If you want to get a full-body workout from your bicycle, choose a dual-action cycle. All of these bike types can range from simple manual models to sophisticated electromagnetic bikes with elaborate built-in programs.
Like stair machines, exercise bikes use different types of resistance to make the bike harder or easier to pedal. Some types might use a belt, brake or fan to create resistance. Others employ a magnetic-resistance system, which can range from a simple manually-set magnet to smooth, quiet electromagnetic performance. Only electromagnetic bikes allow you to use pre-set programs.
A number of features can make your ride more comfortable and rewarding. Adjustable handlebars are especially important on upright cycles, since you may want to vary the position of your ride. Toe clips can help make your workout more efficient, while a video display will help you combat boredom. Heart rate monitors are helpful when you have specific health and fitness goals in mind.