So Many Exercise Bikes: Which One Is Right for You?
There are so many options when deciding between the various exercise bikes available. Whether you're looking at bare-bones folding versions or the massive top-of-the-line health club models, the variety offered can be staggering. This article explains the various features on the market and should help make your decision a whole lot easier.
Adjustable Exercise Bikes
Since a comfortable fit is crucial, the first thing to look at is how to adjust the bike. There are two major areas to consider here: The seat and the handlebars. Look at the seat first and be sure it can be set to a height where your legs reach the pedals comfortably without being overly extended or scrunched up. Then check the available handlebar positions.
Having some variety available is good so that you can switch between a relaxed upright position and a racing-style bent over position.
Switching can help your back during long sessions, so make sure it's not a hassle to adjust them.
Display Options for Exercise Bikes
Display options and settings are more of a personal decision. At minimum you should be able to change the resistance, but some machines come with a lot of preset programs as well that will put you through interval workouts, hill simulations, and other pre-made workouts. If this is important to you, make sure the exercise bikes you're looking at have sufficient variety.
Make sure that the display is easy to understand at a glance and that the buttons are well-located and easy to press. The last thing you want during a tough workout is sticky buttons preventing you from changing things up.
Tracking Your Progress
Some people prefer not to be distracted, while others like to see every imaginable statistic displayed. If you're one of the latter, look for speed and distance displayed in a clear format. Some exercise bikes only show one at a time, so think about whether you'll be annoyed by having to press a button to see more stats.
A calorie counter can also be useful to see how much you're burning. Heart-rate monitors are nice to have, but some find that holding the grips repeatedly can distract from the workout.
There are many accessories available ranging from the gimmicky to the useful. The most standard is a drink holder, which comes in handy for holding a water bottle. A reading rack is useful too, although these can shake too much under higher intensity. Some bikes come with a fan included, although it's a matter of preference whether you find these necessary or annoying. Lately, top-end models frequently come with an LCD screen TV. If you're planning to keep your bike in the living room, this is probably unnecessary, but in duller rooms it can be nice.
A final practical consideration is the warranty. An exercise bike can be a big purchase, so make sure yours has one, then look at the details. How long is the warranty good for? You want one that is good for at least a year, since it typically takes that long for it to receive enough use to cause problems. Ideally the warranty will cover the entire bike, but some models only have coverage for the frame and leave you on your own for electronic components.
Making the Right Purchase
There's a lot to keep in mind when it comes to buying exercise equipment, but if you approach your new purchase in an organized way and keep in mind these tips, you're sure to make the right choice.
© 2000-2014, Smooth Fitness™