Cardiovascular activity helps to engage the heart and lungs. When riding an exercise bike, you’ll not only increase your cardiovascular health, you’ll burn calories, increase muscle strength and boost your endurance. With affordable options, it’s possible to buy the best exercise bike in the UK for less than a yearly membership to the gym.
Our Top 3 Choices
Benefits of Exercise Bikes
A stationary bike allows you to effectively ride to nowhere. You can sit in front of your television or listen to music while pedaling as fast or slow as you see fit. Without weather hampering your chances of biking for hours at a time, you can benefit from biking as often as you want.
The benefits of exercise bikes are as follows:
- Calories Burned: Cardiovascular activity is known for its high caloric expenditure. Dependent on intensity and your body weight, you can burn over 500 calories an hour on an exercise bike.
- Low Injury Risk: Biking movements are simple and joint-friendly. Older users will enjoy the benefits an exercise bike has to offer due to no stress being put on the hips, knees or other joints.
- Muscle Toning: Through intense sessions, your muscles will start to become toned. Adding in resistance or pedaling at a higher speed, you can further tone and build your muscles. Not only will your quadriceps, calves and glutes become more toned, but so will your upper body when using the handlebars.
- Easy Advancement: Pedaling faster will provide better results. As a rider, you can increase your intensity as you see fit to push your results even further.
- Increased Energy: A recent study showed that biking increased energy levels in participants by 20 percent. Furthermore, due to the release of dopamine by the brain, fatigue levels dropped by 65 percent.
- Cardiovascular Benefits: Intense cardiovascular workouts will force more blood into your heart and cause your lungs to expand. By biking for under 3 hours per week, bad cholesterol is decreased, good cholesterol increased and blood pressure is lowered. Blood sugar is further regulated at this time.
- Save space: Don’t have much space at home for a large exercise bike? There are a wide range of folding exercise bikes that can be easily stored when not in use.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or remain in optimal health, the best exercise bike will help you achieve your goals.
Types of Exercise Bikes
What’s the right type of exercise bike for you? You’ll discover exercise bike reviews that cover either a recumbent, spinner or upright model. Which model is best? It’s all a matter of personal preference.
An upright stationary bike is just like a bike you would use to ride around town. These bikes include handles, a smaller seat and the ability to stand up. When riding, you will be in an upright position, which puts more pressure on the lower extremities than a recumbent model would.
Recumbent exercise bikes became quite popular 10 years ago. These bikes, often ideal for seniors, have a standard seat much like those seen in a chair. The rider is reclined slightly back, alleviating all of the pressure that would be on the knees and ankles. The handlebars may or may not move with a recumbent exercise bike.
Oftentimes, spinning bikes are viewed as upright bikes. This, however, is not accurate. You can tell a spinner bike apart from other models by the handlebars. The handlebars are often pushed forward allowing for the rider to bend over while riding. These bikes allow for the utmost in intensity and provide a variety of seating positions.
While you may think that the recumbent model, due to it being reclined, may be easier, it is virtually the same as an upright model. In fact, a recumbent bike may be a little harder to crank than the upright model, but the reduction of stress on the joints is definitely welcomed by riders that are older. If you’re older, have knee problems or want an age-friendly bike, a recumbent is the optimal choice.
All models will provide the same great benefits as mentioned before. Personally, I feel as if the upright model allows me to push myself to higher speeds, producing a better overall workout.
Exercise Bikes Vs. Other Exercise Equipment
If you have a treadmill or another cardio machine, you may be wondering what the big difference is between the two? Technically, the same cardiovascular benefits will be seen as long as the same level of intensity is achieved. However, let’s take a look at pure calories burned by each respective machine:
- Treadmill: 100 per mile
- Stepper: 530 – 838
- Stationary Bike: 325 – 1,163
- Rowing Machine: 207 – 1,117
You’re probably wondering why there is such a wide gap in the amount of calories burned. These numbers are a pure reflection of intensity. If you ride at a slow pace, you’ll burn 325 calories per hour. Pushing yourself to extremes, you can burn over 1,100 calories per hour on a stationary bike. A moderate assessment is that you’ll burn 500+ calories an hour on a stationary bike.
In terms of comfort and joint health, stationary bikes are the absolute best. You’ll find that study after study demonstrates the same findings: nothing beats an exercise bike in terms of joint-friendliness.
Treadmills and steppers are often the most difficult. Requiring extreme balance, these machines can lead to injury and may also pose greater risks. Bikes and rowers have very low risks of injuries and provide movements that promote full range of motion.
Muscle gains seen between cardiovascular machines are difficult to assess. Depending on the intensity and machine tension settings, each machine provides a great overall workout. Rowers may have a slight advantage due to arm usage, but stationary bikes with moving handles are on par with rowing machines in terms of muscle gain potential.
How to Choose the Best Exercise Bike for You
Which bike is right for you? This is the ultimate question and one that is difficult to answer. All bikes have their pros and cons, but by knowing a little bit about how these bikes work, you’ll be able to choose the perfect fit for you.
Discussed previously. A normal (i.e. upright) model or a recumbent can be chosen. If you’re older, definitely choose a recumbent model. If you’re younger or not yet a senior, the choice is yours. I personally like the upright models due to the leverage an upright position provides.
From my experience, weight limits can often be exceeded, but this does not mean issues won’t arise. Before purchasing, ensure your current bodyweight is within the bike’s limit.
Looking to gain muscle and keep a toned body? Resistance allows you to increase the tension and challenge your muscles, leading to muscle gain. Resistance levels should be provided so that you can enhance your workout as you advance. If you’re just trying to boost cardiovascular health, resistance will be less of a concern.
LCD screens and on-board computers allow you to bike with a friendly program and statistics. Some models, those in the higher price bracket, allow you to adjust program settings and often choose from pre-set workouts.
Live in a small space? The storage options available will be very important if you live in an apartment or don’t plan to leave your unit out. If storage is an issue, you’ll want a folding exercise bike. These models can be found in every price range.
You’ll find prices can range from less than a hundred pounds to several hundred pounds or higher. The higher priced models often come with advanced functionality and are meant for commercial users.
Exercise bike reviews should always be consulted before making a purchase. Reviews will let you know what real buyers liked and disliked about a certain model. Always check out reviews prior to purchasing. Frequent problems, such as a motor going bad, can help you eliminate any potential problems in the future. It is worth remembering that there are many cheap exercise bikes that are good value for money and expensive bikes that will be a disappointment, so make sure to research before you buy.
The Best Exercise Bikes on the Market
Below we have assembled a list of exercise bikes that we believe are the best for new users and what we liked and disliked about each model.
1. DKN AM-E Exercise Bike
A well-designed, exceptional upright exercise bike that is the best exercise bike on our list in terms of resistance and build. There are 32 levels of resistance offered, and all resistance is computer controlled – a rarity.
Users up to 140kg can use this bike, and handle pulse sensors are built into the handlebars. You can also use a wireless chest strap (not included).
The monitoring is the best out of all our exercise bike reviews, and includes:
There are also manual programs and 12 pre-set programs available. User modes and heart rate modes are available, too.
The only downside is that this model is in the mid- to high-price range. For the quality and the features offered, this is the absolute best buy in terms of features. Even professional cyclists agree that this exercise bike has outstanding resistance and performance.
2. JLL IC300 Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
The JLL IC300 is a cycling bike that is great for beginners, yet it’s advanced enough that even serious athletes will get a great workout when using it. There are six handlebar adjustments, six horizontal seat adjustments and ten vertical seat adjustments.
I couldn’t see this bike not being able to accommodate a user’s height.
Strong and reliable, the direct-chain allows you to pedal forward and backward while the built-in pulse sensor will track your pulse at all times. And this model can accommodate user weights of up to 130kg.
Compact, this spinner has transport wheels, so you can easily move it to your desired location.
There is also an emergency stop feature. The monitor that is included tracks:
If you have the budget, this is one of the best spinners on the market today. You can even ride it standing up to boost your intensity level.
3. Ultrasport Home Trainer F-Bike
The F-bike is an upright that is extremely affordable, folds away for easy storage and comes packed with eight resistance levels. Easy to move and assemble, this affordable stationary bike also offers advanced monitoring for:
Right on the machine, you’ll find that there is a pulse grip that allows you to monitor your heart rate when in motion. Tension is controlled via a dial right below the LCD display. Smaller users may have difficulty on the machine as the saddle is a little on the high side, but it is very comfortable.
Noise production is very minimal with this bike, and the maximum user weight is 100 kg.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an upright exercise with this level of quality at a cheaper price. It may lack some advanced functionality, but it’s highly affordable and one of the best bikes in terms of quality for price.
Our Top 8 Picks
Below you will find our top 8 exercise bike choices which we have chosen based on several factors which include build quality, value for money and features.