The popularity of upright stationary bikes may have fallen in recent years to exercise machines like the elliptical trainer and the recumbent bike, but uprights are making a come back. With new designs and technology, uprights these days can simulate many conditions that you experience on an outdoor ride. The best upright bike for your home gym will have the features and training abilities that allow you to maximize your workout.
The Best Fit
The upright stationary bike allows you to cycle indoors while maintaining a road-bike body position, which is with the seat set over the pedals and handlebars placed in front of your torso. The best uprights allow you to adjust the bike to correctly fit your particular body, which can help you attain the most comfortable ride and prevent injuries. Adjusting the seat height so that your knees are bent by 10 to 20 percent at the bottom of the pedal stroke helps the knees to remain stress-free as you pedal. The position of the handlebars should allow your back to be at no more than a 45-degree angle; a smaller or larger angle can place stress on your back, neck and elbows.
Best Simulation Features
The 2012 ProForm Le Tour de France allows you to train on any course, on any terrain and in any part of the world, all from your living room. The 20-percent incline/decline feature automatically adjusts to mimic the landscape of the preset course. You can choose from 24 pre-mapped courses – including the Tour de France – or create your own. All courses are enabled through iFit Google maps, which simulates every hill or dip. The technology also lets you record your workouts and compete with friends – for fun – or to track progress if you are training for an actual race.
Best Indoor Trainer
Maintaining momentum during the winter months can be difficult for serious cyclists since inclement weather forces them to train inside. The CycleOps 300 Pro Indoor Cycle was made for such enthusiasts. One of the main features of this training bike is the PowerTap power-measuring hub, which measures cadence, calories burned and heart rate and allows you to keep track of your progress by providing repeated calibrated measurements. You can download the data to your computer. A heavy flywheel provides a smooth ride, and the bike allows you to coast, as you would on the road, when you need to recover from intervals.
Best Track Trainer
The Wattbike Pro is designed for track cyclists, but anyone who is a cycling enthusiast can enjoy its unique features. Made with the sprinter in mind, the Wattbike comes with five levels of sprint resistance. The resistance system is air based, coupled with a magnetic unit and a flywheel designed to give the feel of real drag during your ride. The internal computer captures a plethora of information to help you track your progress. Along with data that you find on other bikes of this caliber – cadence, speed, heart rate and calories burned – the Wattbike Pro records and analyzes the distribution of power over your pedal stroke, which can help you to ride more productively and maximize your energy.