Indoor bikes come in a variety of styles from many different manufacturers. If you're in the market to purchase one or are just wondering which indoor bikes are best to use at the gym, there are a variety of features to consider. Once you've decided which styles and features you want, it's a good idea to read online buyer reviews to determine which bikes are both high quality and within your budget.
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Indoor spin bikes are pretty simple in nature. They don't require a power source and rarely have electronic consoles. The best spin bikes have at least one or two bottle holders and handlebars that allow for a variety of hand positions. Spinners all come with seat posts that let you adjust the fore/aft saddle position, but not all bikes let you adjust the handlebar reach. Do choose a bike that has adjustable handlebar reach. Also, look for a bike with a saddle that has an anatomical cutout or groove to relieve pressure on sensitive areas. If you're into training stats, some bikes come with small digital consoles that provide data on distance, speed, cadence, calories burned and heart rate. If you intend to wear clips, make sure the pedals are SPD compatible.
Upright, indoor exercise bikes have a much more relaxed positioning than spin bikes. They're not designed for the high-cadence sprints and out-of-the-saddle climbs that spin bikes offer. However, they do put a lot less stress on the lower back, are more comfortable on the derriere and often come with high-tech features that can make the workout more fun. Upright bikes don't have as many adjustment points as spin bikes, so make sure that the one you purchase is built to fit your measurements. Look for bikes that have a variety of workouts preprogrammed and a large console that clearly displays your ride data, such as cadence and resistance level. The consoles of some bikes can provide interactive workouts against an imaginary rider or other people using the same program, turning your workout into a video game.
Recumbent bikes position the rider's feet straight out in front of them. Instead of a bike saddle, recumbent bikes are equipped with actual seats and backrests. The only point of adjustment is the seat distance from the pedals, so test out a bike to make sure your legs aren't too long or short for the bike; the best recumbent bikes have a wide adjustment range designed to fit a variety of riders. Look for bikes with large display consoles and built-in fans to keep you cool. Be sure the bike you're purchasing is made of durable materials, not cheap plastic that can wear out or break easily.
Which Style Is Best?
If you're trying to determine whether a spin, upright or recumbent bike is best for your fitness needs, consider your preferences. Spin bikes are designed for high-intensity workouts and mimic the ride positioning of road bikes. If you want to be able to perform a grueling workout, a spinner may be best. Uprights aren't as intense as spin bikes and have a ride position that's more comfortable for most folks. If you have neck or shoulder problems and leaning forward to hold the handlebars on a spinner or upright bike causes discomfort, a recumbent bike provides the pedaling motion without stressing the neck or shoulders. Just be aware that recumbent bikes place more stress on your lower back and shouldn't be used with very high resistance for this reason.