When buying from new or used sporting goods stores, especially when looking for the best cycling exercise machine, there are several considerations.
Among these are the different needs for home, office, or deciding what to use when at the neighbourhood gym – hopefully this page will help you with the many choices.
The main categories of sporting goods exercise equipment that has been classified as a pedal style exercise machine can be broken into the following two broad categories:
- 1. Exercise Bikes
2. Elliptical Bikes (or Machines)
Don’t worry – I will walk you through all the differences to help you decide on what is best for your situation.
Types of Exercise Bikes
Road (outdoor) Bikes – Road bikes come in a variety of styles and performance models. These can be anything from a pro-racing bike that is so light that you can lift with one finger to a recumbent style arm bike made for the roads. To help you choose please go to this page that details the best road bikes by use and style.
Indoor Exercise Bikes
The styles of bikes that are used indoors are further broken down into:
– Home Stationary Bikes
– Total body (full body) Cycle
– Arm pedal bike
Again they can be sorted by desired use and need. For example if they are being used in a fitness centre or a place where there will be multiple users then they need to be durable and industrial quality. These will be more expensive and heavier.
This page will focus on indoor exercise bikes for home use and personal use road bikes. Please visit this page if you would like more information on commercial exercise bikes.
Upright Bike vs Recumbent Bike
Deciding on what bike to get will depend on where you are at in your fitness and what you want to accomplish. Generally speaking if you are overweight and just starting out, the recumbent will be easier on your butt and back. Starting on a new health protocol and ending up in pain is just disappointing. Go easy on yourself and get something you will use!
For people with smaller butts and/or working on more advanced weight loss and cardio needs, the upright bike is probably the better choice. The positioning of the pedals will work more muscles and can burn more calories.
The recumbent will also enable you to burn plenty of calories to meet your weight loss goals. Don’t worry, in time, you will be ready for the less comfortable but higher performing upright bike.
Of course there may be space considerations where an upright or folding upright desk bike may be the better option. If that is the case and you notice you are getting uncomfortable in the seat (saddle sore) after a few minutes. Don’t despair. There is nothing wrong with pedalling for several short bursts over a period of time. This way you can slowly get your butt and back used to the new exercise and still get in an optimum amount of cardio time. And fella’s – don’t forget to tuck up your bits.
If you do notice you have unusual pain take the time to read throughout the manual that came with your bike. Setting it up for proper use is very important. The seat height should extend your legs so they are only slightly bent with the full down stroke. As well the seat should be back enough so your feet aren’t behind you on the downstroke. Your manual should cover this in detail for you.
The main difference between the upright bike and the recumbent is the position the rider is sitting in. The recumbent allows for a more reclined seating with pedals in front of the rider whereas the upright bike is more in style to the regular road bike. It allows for more versatile exercise variations where you can standup while pedalling to exercise. This allows for a more complete leg workout.
Upright Stationary Bikes in Detail
Upright stationary bikes are available in folding models as well. More detail on this just a little further down the page.
Since the stationary upright bike has been around for awhile there are several models available that can be purchased brand new at excellent pricing. The more expensive ones are usually for heavier uses or have more options. A really cheap bike may not be suitable for your needs.
The upright bike takes up less room. It has a smaller footprint and can be used fairly close to a wall or sofa. Because they are taller in height though it means it will either need to be moved out of the way or put behind objects if you need a line of sight – to the TV for example.
This style can be used while sitting or standing and pedalling. It will enable you to use more of your leg, back, butt, and core muscle groups than the recumbent bike.
Often times the seat that comes with an upright bike can be quite uncomfortable. Some people prefer to replace it with a more padded seat, add a padded topper, or replace it with a more bicycle style seat. The options are yours to choose from.
People with balance issues probably will be better suited to the recumbent bike. When pedalling the upper body should not move side to side. If you find you are doing this, concentrate on using mostly your legs. The upper body side to side movement is only because your thighs haven’t gotten used to the new demands you are making on them. A few days of concerted effort will turn it into a habit where you will no longer be swaying your upper body with the pedalling motion.
Another thing to watch for the the tendency to slouch when using the bike. It can be tempting to fold yourself over the top of the handle bars. Try to maintain good posture and form to avoid potential strain to the back.
Recumbent Stationary Bikes in Detail
The recumbent bike is better for you if you are quite overweight or new to exercise. It is also a better choice for people with balance problems.
The more reclined positioning of the body is less stressful on the back and neck. By sliding the seat back enough so your knees are only slightly bent will provide a good workout and comfort. If you find there is still some strain in your back or neck try adjusting your seat forward or back.
The recumbent is great for multi tasking too. Pedalling away watching TV or reading is easier while on the recumbent. The drawback can be not hitting your optimum heart rate for your calorie burning efforts. This can be fixed by getting a decent heart rate monitor and setting it up to beep when your heart rate falls below your target. Beep, beep, beep – means “speed it up!”
Some folks will ONLY watch their favourite show when on their bikes. It can make for a great weight loss motivator.
Stationary Bike vs Mini Portable Bike
The most glaring difference between a stationary bike and a mini portable bike is the fact that a portable bike is just the pedals. This allows for greater versatility and travel.
The stationary bike covered in detail above is a one piece that includes the seat, handlebars, frame, and pedals. The mini pedalers are just that – mini pedals.
The mini pedal exercisers come in a variety of uses and portability. Here is a list of comparisons of the mini pedal machines.
Folding Upright vs Regular Upright
The main differences in the folding upright stationary bikes and the regular stationary bike are portability, stability, weight, and price.
When a bike is made to fold it may not be as sturdy as a bike that doesn’t. Read the reviews to help decide on what one to get or let your need be the deciding factor. If you live in a small place and need to be able to put your bike away from time to time then a folding bike will be your best choice.
Classes and Styles of Total Body Exercise Bikes
This category can also include the Elliptical Bike so this section is broken into two more where the elliptical is detailed apart from a total body pedal bike.
Elliptical Machine vs Total Body Pedaler vs Arm Pedal Bike
a) Elliptical Machine – The elliptical cycles are available in several different models that include in-house and on the road styles. Road elliptical bikes have become quite popular and seem to be gaining ground with people who want to get out on the road but don’t care for the traditional style bike. Please visit this page to find out more on the various styles of elliptical bikes.
b) Total Body Pedaler – Total body cycle can actually refer to several different designs. The first is a one piece or a portable one suitable for arms and legs. This style has various forms from a portable piece that can be moved from the floor to the table. Another design is a one piece that has duel pedals or moveable on a rack. Please visit this page for a more detailed exploration of total body pedallers available on the market today. Although some may be better known than others, they may not be most suited for you.
c) Arm Pedal Bikes – The term “arm pedal bike” can refer to the small and portable arm bikes or a road bike that is manufactured so you can operate it with your arms. The first is the portable mini arm exercise pedal machines that are used at home, office, or rehabilitation centres. The other is a uniquely styled road bike that comes in both recumbent (the more popular) but now in a duel operation of the classic style road bike.
Indoor Stationary Bike Coupon Codes
Of course after all this you still might want to consider a treadmill or a rower for your fitness and cardio needs.