Updated: Aug 17
With a huge number of people taking cycling classes to get fit, it’s no wonder that it is increasingly difficult to get into classes at the best time or with the best instructors. Have no fear though – indoor cycling at home can be just as healthy and far more convenient. There’s no doubt that cycling is one of the most figure-friendly exercises that promotes rapid and safe weight loss. Dieters will be glad to learn that a mere hour of cycling can help you burn between 300 to 1200 calories, with the exact amount depending on your gender, age, fitness level as well as the selected resistance levels.
Needs and budget
A rider’s options do depend quite a lot on the type of machine that he or she will need. For example, someone who only wants a quick fix to weight loss without any long-term need for the bike can certainly buy a lower-quality, albeit much cheaper model. These are normally designed to last for a few years and are best suited to individuals who don’t plan on using it on a daily basis. On the other hand, more dedicated athletes might want to get a sturdier and more reliable cycle designed for heavy-duty use. These do tend to be more expensive but then again, if properly cared for, these types of bikes can easily last for life. (Craigslist is a great source for picking up expensive bikes on the cheap!)
To help you choose the best new indoor bike within your budget, we prepared a list with the best models for every price-range:
$150-300 - Sunny Pro
$300-400 - Schwinn IC2
$500-1000 - Sole SB700
$1000+ - Keiser M3 Plus
The user’s weight should also be a consideration if you want to make the best choice. For example, a 280 pound person might want to go for a bike with a capacity of 300lbs or higher since these types of bikes are especially conceived to sustain larger athletes and minimize any wear and tear as a result of the extra weight.
Features to look for
Unlike other stationary bikes, not all indoor bikes are equipped with features such as display screen, heart rate monitor and the likes. Indeed, cycling machines do tend to be more straightforward, with the basic models offering nothing more than the saddle, pedals and handlebars. Of course if you’re on a limited budget you can certainly purchase a basic model. However, most users find that additional features can be more motivating to their exercise sessions. For example, a display screen is always handy because it provides fitness-related readouts in the likes of calories burned, distanced covered and other such details.
A crucial item to look out for, however, is the flywheel. Many users tend to ignore this item but this is actually the most important part of any bike. The flywheel is actually what will provide momentum and really engage the muscles into the workout. This is why fitness experts normally recommend going for heavier flywheels. Models with 20lbs to 35lbs flywheels tend to be cheaper, but it is usually best to try to go for over 40lbs to add some extra challenge to your movements.
Resistance and comfort
Some- not all- indoor bikes do offer the option of choosing your own tension level, which can be quite an advantage for new users since this enhances their metabolism and help them sustain lengthier as well as more challenging workouts. Indoor cycles normally offer two main types of braking mechanism and resistance:
Magnetic Brakes: These models normally depend on a series of magnets to set the proper tension level during your workout. Therefore, the closer the magnet moves to the flywheel, the more challenging it becomes to pedal. Even experienced users find it hard to pedal when the magnet is extremely close to the flywheel. Magnetic Resistant bikes are much more suited to veteran athletes than beginners. These models also tend to offer several terrain types including uphill. They also last longer because the magnets completely eliminate the risk for any friction pads which, in return, minimizes wear and tear.
Belt Drives: Often seen in more basic models, Belt Drive models employ a chain or belt to join the pedals and the crank. It’s good to know that even if they do offer less challenging sessions, Belt Drive indoor bikes, such as the Sunny SF-B1002 are considered as being the most reliable and recommended models on the market. Indeed, these models offer a whisper-quiet workout with very little friction which is quite a contrast to the slight purring or whirring noises that come with magnetic settings. Easily adjustable, belt drive systems also demand very little or no maintenance.
Of course, comfort should also be taken into consideration, but try not to get carried away when it comes to the saddle padding. Unlike regular upright bikes, stationary models offer the chance to stand up and train, which means that there’s really no need to invest in thickly padded and more expensive models. It is recommended, however, to take the handlebar adjustment into consideration: professional bikes should offer fore and aft angles, hence keeping lower back aches at bay.
Making the most adapted choice
Overall, indoor bikes can easily eliminate the use for other fitness machines since they provide an all-body workout. Before investing in a particular model, the rule of the thumb is to constantly research and review different models in order to make the most adapted choice. After all, the market is constantly being updated by newer models and users might even find a newer model at a more affordable price. Finally, don’t forget that a well-adapted choice will very easily pave the way to a better health by providing you with a machine that can effortlessly last for several decades.