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Exercise bike

Exercise bikes are a great piece of cardio equipment to have in your home or commercial facility. Exercise bikes come at a variety of price points and have many health benefits to add to your fitness routine. Many people know they want an exercise bike, but are unsure whether they want an upright bike, recumbent bike, or spin bike. Below we will discuss the main differences and benefits between the four main types of stationary bikes: spin bikes, upright bikes, recumbent bikes and air bikes.

Why Buy An Indoor Exercise Bike from Fitness Experience?

Fitness experience is your leader in Canada for stationary bikes and all types of fitness equipment. Whether you shop online or in person, our knowledgeable staff is up to date on the most popular brands in Canada. We will find the right exercise bike at the right price point.

SPIN BIKE

OVERALL FEEL

Spin bikes are a type of exercise bike designed to feel like a traditional road bike. Spin bikes are great for interval training, because of their ability to change tension very quickly. Unlike a recumbent or upright, a spin bike will have a dial or krank that quickly changes the tension, whereas the other types of bikes will have a button to gradually increase tension. This style of training has become very popular in group fitness settings and with many app options, this can be brought right into your own home!

TYPES OF SPIN BIKES:

The two main types of resistance systems for spin bikes are friction based and magnetic based.

Friction based bikes have a leather or felt break pad that applies pressure to the top of the flywheel in order to create resistance. To understand how this type of indoor exercise bike operates, we first need to understand what friction is. Friction is the resistance that is felt when attempting to slide two objects past one another. In an exercise bike, friction resistance occurs when fabric pads apply pressure to the spinning flywheel. These pads can either be located on each side of the flywheel and squeeze the flywheel when the resistance knob is turned to the right or include one larger pad that applies pressure in a downward motion to the turning flywheel. The pads are usually made of fabric, either cotton or leather.

Spin bikes with a magnetic resistance system move a magnet closer to the flywheel in order to create more resistance without actually making any contact. As more bike designs are including magnetic resistance, it is crucial to understand what magnetic resistance is and how it works. For magnetic resistance to occur, a few things need to happen, and as you can guess, this process includes magnets. A standard design contains two powerful magnets located parallel to one another with the flywheel between them. Different exercise bikes with magnetic resistance levels will vary in the amount of magnets are on the bike. The more magnets, the more powerful and smooth it will be.

Both types of spin bikes are very common, however magnetic resistance systems tend to provide a little bit smoother of a feel, especially if you desire to get up to high resistance levels.

FLYWHEEL

Some of the most common questions we get from customers that have done a little bit of research online are regarding the weight of the flywheel. It's important to know that for a magnetic resistance system the weight of the flywheel is much less move factor, however it is true that in any spin bike the heavier the flywheel is the more inertia is created and therefore will provide a more smooth feel. Another difference between spin bikes regarding the flywheel is that some flywheels will be located at the front of the bike, whereas others will have it located at the back. This is important because it will change the feel of the bike a little bit. For example, a bike that has a flywheel located at the front as you adjust the handlebars up it will most likely move closer towards you.

A spin bike that has the flywheel located at the back as you adjust the handlebars up will actually get further away from you.


MAINTENANCE

Overall spin bikes require very little maintenance. If you have a friction based spin bike with a leather brake pad you will need to lubricate it from time to time. If you have a friction based spin like with a felt pad you will need to replace it eventually. Generally speaking, magnetic resistance bikes will require less maintenance and with any spin bike it's important to keep the bike and the area around the bike clean.

TYPES OF TRAINING

 Spin bikes can be used for a range of cardio training from long distance to intervals. The great thing about doing interval training on a spin bike is that you can very quickly adjust the resistance up and down. This type of stationary bike can be used for long distance training, or serve as a warm up to increase your heart rate prior to your workout. Cycling is a very popular summer activity and this is a great way to maintain your health and fitness while staying indoor.

CONSOLE

Some spin bikes come with a console built-in whereas others will have the option to add a console. Most spin bike consoles provide very basic feedback, such as time calories burned and distance. There are some bikes that have immersive consoles with fitness class video built in. Some consoles will be an LCD display, while some will have a larger screen. If the bike you're looking at does not have the option to add a console, you can look at app options. A spin bike app can be a great way to get all the same benefits of having an immersive console for a fraction of the price. A lot of people ask about Pelaton bikes, but not many people know there is a Pelaton app that you can use with most bikes. When winter is long, it's nice to have the option to watch a video that simulates biking outdoor. Some of these apps may require a subscription.

BLUETOOTH

Bluetooth connectivity is a great option to have if you'd like to track your workouts to an app on your phone. Not all exercise bikes have this capability, so be sure to ask if this is something that's important in your workout.

SEAT AND PEDALS 

If you are looking for a certain type of pedal for your stationary bike, such as a clip in pedal or a wider seat it is possible to change out those features, it's just a matter of finding a product that fits properly in the bike that you purchased. If you're looking for something with a more comfortable seat, an upright bike may be the better option for your cylcing workout.

 ADJUSTMENTS

Some spin bikes will have four way adjustments where you can adjust the seat and the handlebars forward, back, up and down. Some spin bikes however, won't have the option to move the handlebars forward and back. An adjustable seat should be a feature on every spin bike.

HEART RATE MONITORING

A spin bike will most likely have an option for heart rate monitoring. It will either have heart rate sensors on the handle bars, or be able to connect to a chest strap. Monitoring your heart rate can be a helpful way to track your health and effectiveness of the workout.

SPIN CLASSES

Spin bike classes became very popular in the health and fitness industry. It is possible to bring these classes right into your own home with the right piece of equipment and you can even connect with others on a similar cycling program.

Fitness Experience is your one stop shop in Canada for purchasing a spin bike. In addition to your spin bike purchase, we can assist you with any other workout equipment. Your health and safety is our first priority and we want to make sure we find the workout equipment that best suits you.

UPRIGHT STATIONARY BIKES

OVERALL FEEL

One of the most prominent features of an upright bike is right in the name. Upright bikes are most popular for their comfortable upright position and large seat compared to other stationary bikes. This is a great option for someone who wants to be comfortable and not in a bent over riding position.  An upright bike also features handlebars for your comfort and safety. The only variable on an upright bike that is controlled from the console is resistance or tension, the speed at which you pedal is entirely up to the user. An upright bike is one of the most comfortable ways to exercise. Most upright bikes will have a padded seat. The padded seat will provide extra cushioning.

CONSOLE & PROGRAMS

Upright bikes will have more involved consoles with built in programs. Unlike the quick adjustment of resistance on other stationary bikes like spin bikes, upright bikes will have buttons on the console or on the side handles to adjust resistance. Some upright bikes also have heart rate compatibility and can track your workouts. Consoles may be LCD display or touch screen if more advanced. The most common display type is an LCD display. If preset programs are important to you, then an upright bike is a great option for you. Some exercise bikes we carry, such as Matrix Fitness allows you to choose between different types of consoles including LCD display, LED and touch screen.

MAGNETIC RESISTANCE

An upright bike will typically use magnetic resistance paired with an eddy current break. They do not have a fixed flywheel like spin bikes, therefore when you stop pedaling the machine will stop as well. All upright bikes should have the resistance system covered, so you don't need to worry about cleaning it.  Magnetic resistance uses magnets to create tension against the flywheel. Unlike contact resistance, the magnets don't actually make contact with the flywheel. Instead, the magnetic force applies varying degrees of resistance as the magnets gets closer or further away from the flywheel. The resistance levels on a recumbent bike will vary, but many will range from one to at least twenty. Magnetic resistance is smooth feeling. Magnetic resistance systems require less maintenance than friction based and most upright bikes will have magnetic resistance.

SAFETY

Upright bikes place less stress on the joints than other types of cardio, such as treadmills or ellipticals. If you struggle with balance you may find that an upright bike is safer to use than other standing cardio equipment (such as a treadmill or stair climber). If safety is a big concern, recumbent bikes would also be a good option.

PERIMETER WEIGHTED FLYWHEEL

A perimeter weighted flywheel is when the inner weight of an exercise bike has most of its weight loaded along the outside, or perimeter, of the disk.

ADJUSTMENTS

When shopping for an upright bike, consider maximum weight and height capacities and seat adjustability—especially if multiple people in the household will use the exercise bike. The more adjustable the exercise bike is, the more versatile it will be for multiple users. When people are in store shopping for a upright bike, I always encourage them to try it. While they all look similar, the differences in seats and adjustability make a huge difference. Simply put, if you are not in a comfortable position, you will not use it. Adjustments for speed may be on the console and handlebars, or sometimes only on the console.

STEP THROUGH DESIGN

Some exercise bikes, whether a recumbent bike or upright back have a step through design. This basically means that there is an opening for the user to step through rather than needing to step over something to get on the seat. Again, this is helpful for those with limited mobility.

BLUETOOTH

Bluetooth connectivity is a great option to have if you'd like to track your workouts to an app on your phone. Not all exercise bikes have this capability, so be sure to ask if Bluetooth is something that's important in your workout.

HEART RATE MONITORING

An upright bike will most likely have an option for heart rate monitoring. It will either have heart rate sensors on the handle bars, or be able to connect to a chest strap. Monitoring your heart rate can be a helpful way to track your health and effectiveness of the workout. This is also helpful if there is a certain heart rate marker that you should not pass. An upright bike will have different resistance levels so you can adjust the intensity of your workout.

OTHER FEATURES

Although a water bottle holder is a very basic feature, it's one you'll notice if it's not there. Be sure to look out for features, such as a water bottle holder. A tablet holder is also a nice feature for your exercise bike, especially if you'd like to watch a show or read.

RECUMBENT BIKE

OVERALL FEEL

A recumbent bicycle is an indoor exercise bike that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. The rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks, which makes recumbent bikes the most comfortable exercise bike option. Typically recumbent bikes are best suited for users with limited mobility, joint issues, or injuries. Exercising in a recumbent position puts less strain on your joints. Recumbent bikes may seem like easy cardio, but looks can be deceiving. According to the following small research studies, recumbent bikes can provide a serious workout.


SHOP RECUMBENT BIKES

SAFE AND LOW IMPACT

Recumbent bikes are more well known for placing less stress on the joints. The reclined body position is easier on the low back (lumbar spine), making it a great option for individuals with lower back injuries. It's also beneficial for people with cardiac limitations. If you struggle with balance you may find that a recumbent bike is safer to use because there is less of a risk of falling off than when using an upright bike or other standing cardio equipment (such as a treadmill or stair climber). There's little to no risk when riding a recumbent bike, so if you are shopping for an elderly person looking to improve their health, this is a great workout option.

COMFORT

A recumbent position is one of the most comfortable ways to exercise. Most recumbent bikes will have a padded seat. The padded seat will provide extra cushioning on your seat and back. A recumbent bike is one of the only cardio machines that provides back support during your workout.

MAGENTIC RESISTANCE

Magnetic resistance uses magnets to create tension against the flywheel. Unlike contact resistance, the magnets don't actually make contact with the flywheel. Instead, the magnetic force applies varying degrees of resistance as the magnets gets closer or further away from the flywheel. The resistance levels on a recumbent bike will vary, but many will range from one to at least twenty. Magnetic resistance is smooth feeling. Magnetic resistance systems require less maintenance than friction based. Another great thing about a recumbent bike is the flywheel is covered and the magnetic resistance mechanism is protected from any sweat or debris. Most recumbent bikes have magnetic resistance.

PERIMETER WEIGHTED FLYWHEEL

A perimeter weighted flywheel is when the inner weight of an exercise bicycle has most of its weight loaded along the outside, or perimeter, of the disk. Most of the recumbent bikes we carry have a perimeter weighted flywheel.

WORKOUT PROGRAMS

Similar to an upright bike, a recumbent bike will have a wide range of workout programs. Some recumbent bikes have built-in workout interval programs that automatically adjust the pedal resistance and prompt you to speed up or slow down your pedaling. This is like having your own personal trainer, because it pushes you to workout at higher resistance levels for longer. Increasing resistance levels and speed will increase the amount of calories burned. Since levels of resistance is the only variable that can automatically change during your workout, all the workout programs will be based around resistance levels. If your recumbent bike doesn't come with the type of workout programs you were hoping for, sometime you can utilize bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth connectivity can open up a whole world of options. The explore the world app and others similar have become very popular. This allows you to explore the world from the comfort of your padded seat. The explore the world app has become very popular and bluetooth connectivity allows you to enjoy these apps. If your recumbent bike does not work well with the explore the world app there are many others like it.

ADJUSTMENTS

When shopping for recumbent exercise bikes, consider maximum weight and height capacities and seat adjustability—especially if multiple people in the household will use the bike. The more adjustable the bike is, the more versatile it will be for multiple users. When people are in store shopping for a recumbent bike, I always encourage them to try it. While they all look similar, the differences in seats and adjustability make a huge different. The goal for a recumbent bike is to give you the most comfortable workouts possible.

STEP THROUGH DESIGN

Some exercise bikes, whether a recumbent bike or upright back have a step through design. This basically means that there is an opening for the user to step through rather than needing to step over something to get on the seat. Again, this is helpful for those with limited mobility.

BLUETOOTH

Bluetooth connectivity is a great option to have if you'd like to track your workouts to an app on your phone. Not all exercise bikes have this capability, so be sure to ask if bluetooth is something that's important in your workout.

HEART RATE MONITORING

A recumbent will most likely have an option for heart rate monitoring. It will either have heart rate sensors on the handle bars, or be able to connect to a chest strap. Monitoring your heart rate can be a helpful way to track your health and effectiveness of the workout. This is also helpful if there is a certain heart rate marker that you should not pass. A recement bike will have different resistance levels so you can adjust the intensity of your workout.

OTHER FEATURES

Although a water bottle holder is a very basic feature, it's one you'll notice if it's not there. Be sure to look out for features, such as a water bottle holder. A tablet holder is also a nice feature for your exercise bike, especially if you'd like to watch a show or read.

AIRBIKES

OVERALL FEEL

Air bikes are stationary bikes with arm handles and pedals attached to a large fan at the front, which provides wind resistance as the user pedals. The user's pedaling action also moves the bike's handles, providing an upper body workout. Air bikes may suit people who want to engage in high intensity exercise.

TYPE OF WORKOUT

Riding an air bike on a higher resistance strengthens your lower body significantly. Pedaling helps build your hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, back, and glutes tougher. The bike's moving handles help in working your upper body muscles, such as biceps, shoulders, and triceps.

RESISTANCE

On an Airbike, like the Schwinn Airdyne below, there is no manual adjustment of resistance which makes this unlike any of the other bikes we've touched on. Instead, the fan creates resistance and changes intensity depending on how hard and fast the user is going. This type of bike is a great addition to your gym and gives a high intensity workout.

COMFORT

Users typically find Airbikes quite comfortable. They feature a large seat and high handle bars which means you don't need to be hunched over at all. This type of bike does not feature a step through design, which is important to note for those with limited mobility, as they may be more comfortable on an upright or recumbent bike.

VERSATILITY

One of the biggest downsides a customer may find about a stationary bike is that it doesn't work your upper body. One great feature about an air bike is it that the handle bars cam help work your upper body, adding even more value to your gym. If you'd like to isolate your upper body only, you can rest your feet on the side pegs and only use your arms. A wonderful option for your workout routine and home gym.

CONSOLE

Most Airbikes will have a console displaying Time, Distance, Calories, RPM, Watts, Pulse and Speed. Sometimes the console will also have basic interval programs. Since there is no way to automatically adjust resistance, interval training and sometimes heart rate training are the only programs an air bike console can offer. Some may also offer a tablet holder, if you prefer using that space for watching your own entertainment.

CONCLUSION

No matter what kind of exercise bike you're looking for, we'll be able to find the brands you love and work within your price range to find the best option for your gym. Installation is typically easier on an exercise bike than other types of cardio machines, but we do offer delivery and installation if desired by the customer. For weekly in store deals and online promotional deals subscribe to our newsletter and social media. On our website you'll be able to find information on brands, specifications, models and availability. If the models you are looking for aren't there, please reach out to us and we will be able to tell you if we're just temporarily sold out, when we'll be getting more, or help steer you in another similar direction.