What to Look For
Stationary bikes are a great low-impact way to exercise. When looking for a bike, consider whether you want an upright bike, which pedals like a normal bike, or a recumbent bike, with the pedals placed in front of you. Make sure the seat of your bike is adjustable and comfortable for you. Check that the bike has adjustable pedal straps and handlebars.
Before purchasing, consider the amount of time you will spend on the bike. Often, people buy expensive equipment and never use it. Set realistic goals for your exercise and pick a bike that suits your needs. Some bikes are quickly manufactured and not created for intense exercise. Bikes that are not built for durability could fall apart while you are exercising. Test each bike you are considering. Make absolutely sure that the seat is comfortable enough to sit on for an extended length of time.
Where to Buy
Look for a bike from a specialized retailer rather than a department store, since cheaper models are usually sold in department stores. Galt Buying Guide recommends Schwinn, Life Cycle, Nautilus, Proform, Tunturi, LifeGear and NordicTrack as the best brands of stationary bikes. According to Galt Buying Guide, buying online from Amazon is your best option for finding these quality brands.
Bikes sold for less than $500 can be good quality, but they can also lack features such as feedback for distance covered, heart rate, calories burned and time spent biking, says Galt Buying Guide. Bikes that range from $500 to $1,000 usually have all of these features, as well as additional features and better quality build. If you can pay over $1,000 for a bike, you can purchase a bike with the highest level quality and the best features. These bikes are comparable to those used in public gyms and health clubs.
Upright bikes are designed with high seats and handlebars, providing an experience similar to riding a regular bike, according to ConsumerSearch.com. Recumbent bikes are designed for comfort. These bikes are built with a seat like a chair and the pedals in front of the rider. Recumbent bikes are a good choice for those who have back problems (but, of course, check with your physician first).
Most bikes come with accessories already built in. However, you can add wheel and chain covers if you have small children so that they will not get fingers caught in the mechanisms, according to ConsumerSearch.com.
Find a bike with at least a one-year warranty, including labor, recommends ConsumerSearch.com. Bikes are usually less prone to problems, but it is better to have backup repair than pay a good amount of money for a bike that will wear out in six months.