Since you are reading this section of my website, I will assume there is no need for me to convince you about the benefits of home exercise bikes. But, simply choosing to go with exercise bikes as an alternative to gyms, jogging, or outdoor cycling, is only the first step. As you have seen, there are many different types of bicycles, which makes your decision process all the more difficult.
At this time, I am going to focus on just two types: recumbent and upright exercise bicycles. Upright bikes have been a staple of every gym for quite some time now, and recumbent bikes have recently emerged as an interesting option, so I will try and compare the two. As always, I will try and provide you with an objective overview, without getting too technical. Both types have their pros and cons, and it would be ideal if you could get both, but most people are not able to afford that. But enough rambling, lets get to the point.
Upright Exercise Bikes
As I pointed out, upright exercise bikes have been popular for a long time, and there are even more reasons for you to like them now, as each new model issued comes equipped with new and advanced features which enhance your workout immensely. But before choosing an upright bike for yourself, you have to factor in a few things that aren’t directly related to the bike itself.
One area where upright bikes have the edge over their recumbent counterparts is the price. They usually cost a lot less money, so if your budget is already spread thin, you still have the chance to have yourself a quality workout. Also, upright bikes take up far less space, and can often be folded and put away easily for later use. Those of you who can’t spare much room inside your home would probably be better off with one of these, instead of buying a recumbent bike.
As far as the workout itself concerned, I find upright bikes to be less restrictive and more versatile. They don’t require me to remain seated as a recumbent bike does, which allows me to assume just that one position. When I ride an upright bike, I can use it in the same way I would use an actual bike. I can get off my seat and stand up, and pedal that way, which gives my legs a far more intensive exercise.
But, since I went down the road of comparing an upright bike with a regular outdoor bicycle, I have to say that their seats can be equally uncomfortable. If you’re a fan of longer rides, you are not exactly in for a treat (as far as comfort is concerned). I would not recommend this type of exercise bike to elderly people or people with chronic back pain or other lower back issues.
There is also the fact that these bikes have a comparatively high center of gravity, which theoretically means they can become unstable if you push them really hard. I haven’t had such an experience, but it’s just something that needs to be taken into account.
Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you fall into the category of people who like to be comfortable during their workout sessions, no matter how short or long, you will absolutely love using a recumbent bicycle. Its chair-like seat offers outstanding support for your back, and the reclined position of your body means you won’t feel any strain at all.
But, the seat is not the only source of comfort. As opposed to an upright bike, where you grab onto the handles, hunched forward, on a recumbent bike, your hands are completely free. This allows you to watch TV, read a book, or play one of your favorite games.
Although I have heard a lot of people dispute the effectiveness of recumbent bikes, when compared to upright bikes, I believe that assessment is untrue. You see, even though a recumbent bike is less effective as far as cardio is concerned, you will burn an equal number of calories as you would if you were riding an upright bike. But since they are so comfortable, you might be inclined to extend your work sessions, which means you would be burning more calories. Plus, as your body is in a reclined position, your legs will have to work harder to fight gravity than they would on an upright bike.
I would like to point out that, no matter how effective these bikes are, getting in shape is entirely up to you. Machines can help with some things, but you still have to do all the hard work yourself. That being said, I would recommend an upright bike for those who are into cycling, and people with no history of back problems. When it comes to quality cardio workout, you just can’t beat an upright bike. They take up less space as well, which makes them a natural choice for those who live in smaller apartments or houses.
If you prefer comfort over cardio, or if your back problems don’t allow you to work out much, then go with a recumbent bike. As I said, they will help you burn an equal amount of calories as an upright bicycle would, without the risk of getting strained of hurt. Exercise bikes can cost a lot of money, so I understand your concern about choosing the right one for yourself. I’m hoping this guide has made that choice a little but easier.