Exercise Bike Buying Guide
When it comes to a great workout, comfort is the name of the game. An exercise bike offers a smooth, comfortable workout that is very easy to use for any fitness level. Whether you are just starting out in a new exercise program or an experienced cyclist, a stationary bike could be a great option for you.
Recumbent bikes offer a little more in the way of comfort, with wide, contoured bucket seats that give users with joint or back pain enhanced lumbar support. They can also be encouraging for more overweight users who might be intimated with the limited seat support on upright or spin bikes. Any kind of exercise bike will offer a very low-impact cardio workout, but recumbent bikes place your feet at the same level as your body, causing even less strain on your joints.
A recumbent bike provides a very low-impact workout that places virtually no strain on your joints, builds your cardiovascular endurance and is a very familiar motion for all users—simply pedal as you would on a regular bike! It’s easy-to-use, space-saving and convenient, and offers a great and affordable workout for any user.The Perfect Exercise Bike Made For You Shopping For an Exercise Bike What's Important?
What’s the Exercise Bike for You?
There are several things to consider when shopping for a new exercise bike. Keeping the following points in mind will help you narrow down your search before you step into a store or begin your research online.
- Budget How much can you spend? This is the most basic and important way to narrow down your search. In the world of fitness equipment, exercise bikes tend to be quite affordable. AFG recumbent bikes begin at $899, offering smart and motivating features like our exclusive proFILE™ performance tracking technology and heart rate interactivity to make starting, adjusting and monitoring your workouts easier.
- Goals Are you starting out an exercise program? Is this part of a physical rehabilitation treatment? Are you looking to tone your lower body or train for a cycling event? Your desired fitness level and workout goals will help you target what kind of bike you’ll need and what features you’ll want to look out for.
- Space Where will you use the bike? Do you have a dedicated home gym space or will you need to move the bike around? Size and ease of mobility can be a significant consideration for many buyers.
- Users Who will be using the bike? Will it just be you? Your family? The number of users and frequency of use are very important considerations when you look at the durability, frame and warranty of a prospective bike.
Shopping for an Exercise Bike - What’s Important?
As with any piece of fitness equipment, you’ll want to test out any potential bike to make sure the feel is right for you, and that you’ll feel comfortable and unintimidated throughout your workout. While added features and console extras can be important for staying motivated during your workout, the quality of a bike—the flywheel, comfort and seat structure, and frame design—should be the most important consideration.
Resistance Exercise bikes come with a variety of types of resistance. Most upright and recumbent bikes today will offer a magnetic resistance, which allows for a greater range of resistance levels and more workout options, in addition to quiet operation and less wear-and-tear on the bike itself as it utilizes a no-contact brake system. Magnetic resistance also provides greater ease-of-use, as users will simply need to push a button on the console to increase or decrease their resistance level.
Comfort and Design Many users choose exercise bikes for their comfort and ease of use. The more comfortable you are, the more time you will spend exercising and the faster you will reach your goals. Look for a bike that offers several placement options to customize your riding or sitting position. In a recumbent design, you should be able to slide your side forward and backward enough that you’re able to ride comfortably without overextending your legs or feeling cramped too close to the console.
You also want to be sure you get the right amount of support from the seat itself. A wider, higher seat cushion will provide better lumbar support so as to not place as much strain on your lower back muscles during your workout. In an upright bike, be sure both the seat and handlebars offer plenty of adjustability so you can find your ideal riding position.
The frame design of the bike should make it easy for any user to access the seat. AFG bikes offer a unique step-thru frame design that allows the user to step through the frame and sit down, making it ideal for users of any fitness level to simply get on and go.
Flywheel The flywheel controls the bike’s resistance and determines how smooth and consistent your ride will be, depending on the flywheel weight. The heavier the flywheel, the more powerful and steadier the movement. For a recumbent or bike, look for a 12-pound or heavier flywheel. AFG recumbent flywheels start at 18 pounds. The flywheel is a crucial element of any bike—be sure to test out the bike to ensure the ride is smooth and consistent enough for your needs.
Warranty Look for bikes than are ensured to last and cover parts replacements for at least a year. AFG warranties offer lifetime protection on frames and brakes, as well as three years for parts and one year for unlimited in-home repairs. The better the warranty, the more durable your bike will be and less maintenance it will require down the road.
Console Feedback Look for multiple feedback options that track your workout progress and give you key details in an easy-to-read display. They should at least provide information on speed, distance and calories burned. More advanced bikes will offer a wider range of information, including heart rate, watt output, workout level and more. The AFG 4.0AR includes an advanced tracking feature called proFILE™ which offers simple, real-time monitoring of key workout data.
Depending on your goals, you’ll also want to look for a variety of workout programs that will keep your routine fresh and train different muscle groups. Programs will emphasize weight loss, endurance, strength, target heart rates and more, and many will recreate a variety of terrains for more challenging workouts.