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In 2020, one of the goals most people wish to achieve is proper health and fitness. But, due to our busy lifestyle, fulfilling this dream can sometimes be a difficult task. Due to this reason, most fitness enthusiasts are forced to think of how they can take the gym at the comfort of their homes. While this might not be a difficult task, the main hassle comes in when you think of which gym equipment will keep the job done. Should you add the best exercise bike under 500 or what exactly should you consider?
Well, if you had thought about the exercise bike, then you’re on the right track as this guide will review some of the best spinning bikes, recumbent bikes, and upright bikes that are available in the market at budget-friendly prices. After our detailed review, we’ll also take you through another detailed buyer’s guide section where we’ll guide you on how to closely examine a gym bike before splashing the cash. If you’re ready, then let’s roll on.
- Top 10 Best Exercise Bike Under $500 Reviews:
- 1. Nautilus Upright Bike Series
- 2. Schwinn Indoor Cycling Bike Series
- 3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike Exercise Bike
- 4. Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike for Cardio Training and Workout AIR-1
- 5. Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
- 6. Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike
- 7. Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
- 8. Schwinn Upright Bike Series
- 9. ProForm 235 CSX Recumbent Bike
- 10. MaxKare Stationary Bike Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
- 11. FitDesk Folding Stationary Exercise Bike Desk with Massage Bar and Bands
- 12. MaxKare Magnetic Exercise Bikes
- 13. DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Cycle, Pedal Exerciser Bike
- Buying Guide
- A Brief History of Exercise Bike
- How Does Exercise Bike Work?
- FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Best Exercise Bike Under $500 Reviews:
1. Nautilus Upright Bike Series
Known for producing reliably high quality and durable gym equipment, Nautilus has presented an investment that will push your workout routine to the core right at the comfort of your home. As our first machine in the mid-range market, the Nautilus U616 Bike is not only affordable but also well built with a fairly compact design.
Under its belt, you’ll be welcomed with a solid steel framework, stabilizer bars and an angular design that keeps the bike balanced during those intense workout settings. There are 25 levels of intense magnetic resistance to try out, 29 workout programs, and 3-courses at your disposal. In case the 3 courses are not enough, you can subscribe to popular apps such as Strava and MapMyRun to immerse yourself to hundreds of virtual courses with exotic locales.
To help you set your individual goals, there’s a DualTrack LCD screen that features all the 29 programs that you can use to preset your fitness goals. This exercise bike is also fitted with an adjustable well-padded seat. Designed to create ongoing fun and challenge, the Nautilus U616 Bike will never let you attend the gym to exercise on shared equipment.
- Comes with an enhanced Bluetooth capability.
- It has a padded adjustable seat.
- There are 25 levels of intense resistance to try out.
- The machine is compatible with popular workout apps.
- The maximum weight it can endure is 300 pounds.
- The seat is small and a bit uncomfortable.
- The motor is susceptible to damage hence needs extra care.
2. Schwinn Indoor Cycling Bike Series
The Schwinn IC3 is another popular offering from Schwinn that has come to appeal most serious cyclists. Although it doesn’t have most of the fancy secondary features you’ll see in most modern stationery bikes, its design and construction are what has earned it a spot on our list. What we love most about this bike is its upright design that lets it simulate a real bike. This allows a rider to burn more calories thanks to the cardiovascular workout.
Now, at the heart of the Schwinn IC3, there’s a 40lb flywheel connected to a smooth belt drive system. This allows the machine to deliver unlimited resistance which is great for cyclists of all levels looking to perform high-intensity workouts in a bid to achieve their fitness goals. This exercise bike is also fitted with a small LCD screen that displays workout data such as speed, distance, RPM, time, and calories.
Now, the main reason why Schwinn IC3 has garnered so much customer feedback is its easy adjustability. This starts from the padded handlebar, the pedals to the race-style seat. This allows the bike to suit a wide range of users with varying heights. Although it’s designed for serious business, this bike has some features to ease the serious atmosphere such as a bottle holder and a media rack.
- It has infinite resistance levels.
- It has lots of adjustable parts.
- The seat and the handlebar are padded for added comfort.
- A water bottle and a media shelf have been added for convenience.
- Long lasting as it doesn’t have too many electronic parts.
- The belt drive system is quite noisy.
- The threading on the resistance rod wears off faster.
3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike Exercise Bike
Upright bikes are best for burning calories. However, if you’re looking to exercise while still perusing through some emails, then a recumbent bike such as the SF-RB4708 from Sunny Health & Fitness will be an unbeatable choice. It has moveable handlebars and a horizontally adjustable seat that makes it reminiscent of its ancestor, the Gymnasticon.
To diversity your workout experience, this machine has 8 levels of magnetic resistance that are great for athletic exercisers looking to achieve challenging and effective workouts. Unlike most upright bikes, the seat of this bike is large and oversized allowing it to support your bottom and hips for a more comfortable workout experience.
Speaking of adjustability, both the seat and handlebar can easily be adjusted to fit your specific body size. There’s a digital monitor to track your progress and pulse sensors on the handlebar to monitor your heart hand pulse rate. With a product weight of 94.8 pounds and a maximum user weight of 350 pounds, the SF-RB4708 is a one size fits all that qualifies as an ultimate low impact home gym machine.
- It has an adjustable seat and pedals.
- Has caster wheels for easy mobility.
- Can endure a maximum weight of 350 pounds.
- The seat is large and well-padded for comfort.
- Moveable handlebars increases your workout intensity.
- The handlebars are a bit high and aren’t adjustable.
- The location of the tension knob makes it hard to adjust.
4. Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike for Cardio Training and Workout AIR-1
With over 50 years of experience in producing high-quality gym equipment, Marcy knows exactly where the shoe itches most. That’s the reason why they’ve managed to release the AIR-1 and placed it in the mid-range market for serious exercisers to afford it. Its “Upright Fan Bike” name comes from Marcy’s brilliant replacement of the traditional flywheel with a fan system that blows cool air to your sweaty body to guarantee comfort and endurance when exercising.
We all know that upright bikes are the real masters when it comes to high-intensity workouts. So, to guarantee that it endures heavy-duty usage, Marcy has used a 14-gauge steel tubing with powder-coated finish to resist scratches and regular wear. Now, combining all these with the dual-action handlebars means that this exercise bike can offer simultaneous workout both on your upper and lower body.
To monitor your workouts, the AIR-1 is fitted with a moderately sizes LCD computer that acts as an odometer to track your speed, distance, time, and calories burned. It also has an adjustable seat to suit all users, adjustable levelers on the dual stabilizers and transport wheels to make movement a breeze. Backed with a 2-year limited warranty, it’s clear that Marcy is willing to back up some of the vulnerable parts to guarantee you an uninterrupted riding experience.
- It has movable hands that offer a full-body workout.
- It uses a fan wheel that generates plenty of cool air.
- The LCD computer provides all the necessary workout data.
- It has wheels for easy transportation.
- It’s backed with a 2-year limited warranty.
- At 79 lbs, this machine is quite heavy.
- Though moveable, the handlebars aren’t adjustable.
5. Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
Finding a stationary bike with a 40lb flywheel that mimics the experience of riding a real bike can be stressful. Thankfully, the SF-B901B by Sunny Health & Fitness is a worthwhile consideration in the under $500 sub-category that has come to take your pro fitness experience to the next level.
Although it does have prominent features, one of the defining components of this bike is the 40lb chrome flywheel that relies on a chain-driven mechanism to deliver a smooth and virtually maintenance-free workout experience. As an upright model, heavy-duty steel frame construction was employed to guarantee strength and endurance during those high-intensity exercises.
About its prominent features, the SF-B901B is fitted with a padded adjustable seat (Min 17.5″/ Max 22″) and handlebar (Max User Leg Inseam: Min 29″ / Max 41″). It also comes with transportable wheels that makes mobility a breeze when it’s time to tuck it away. With a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds, the SF-B901B by Sunny Health & Fitness is a reasonable investment that deserves a try.
- It has a sturdy steel frame construction.
- 40lb flywheel provides high resistance.
- The seat and the handlebar are easily adjustable.
- It has floor stabilizers that provide balance.
- Caged pedals keep your feet secure.
- It doesn’t have a central LCD console.
- It doesn’t have multiple levels of resistance.
6. Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you live a metropolitan lifestyle in those small urban apartments, then a semi-recumbent bike such as the Gold 525XLR by Exerpeutic is a smart choice if you’re looking to flex your muscles while seated comfortably. One of its selling points, which is the main reason why it’s on our list, is the smart folding mechanism that folds it to almost half of the original size for easy storage.
Unlike all the other stationery bikes we’ve reviewed so far, this is the only model that doesn’t use the standard handlebar. Instead, it relies on short handlebars next to the seat that have sensors to record your pulse and heart rate. The seat is large and well-padded with a backrest to support users with heights ranging from 5 ft. 2 inches to 6 ft. 5 inches.
To take care of your workout requirements, the Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Bike has 8 magnetic tension controlled levels to adjust to. It also has an LCD computer to track your fitness data which is a great improvement from our previous Sunny Health & Fitness’s SF-B901B. With a 3 piece cranking system, a dual transmission flywheel and a whopping weight capacity of 400lbs, the Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Bike is one of the best exercise bike under 500 that will let you exercise in a more soothing and controlled motion.
- It can endure a maximum weight of 400 pounds.
- It’s easily foldable to save indoor space.
- It has a heavy-duty steel frame construction.
- The seat is adjustable to accommodate both tall and short exercisers.
- Offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance to choose from.
- Not the best for extremely short users.
- The design of the seat makes it uncomfortable to seat on.
7. Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
Another excellent selection that’s proudly built by Marcy is the ME-1019R. Manufactured by one of the most respected brands, this recumbent stationery bike lives up to this reputation by providing excellent features that will up your overall workout progress. At the heart of this machine, there’s a manual magnetic flywheel that offers 8 levels of intense resistance that simulate the experience of cycling on different terrains.
The framework relies on pure stainless steel as it consists of a 14-gauge steel tubing just to be precise. For purposes of preventing wear and tear, the steel tubing is further reinforced with powder coating. The seat has not been left out either as it’s heavily padded to improve its comfort. It’s also equipped with an adjustment knob to increase the inseam length from 28” to about 35” for all users to fit.
Now, some models lack a central LCD console which is not healthy if you wish to track your progress. This is not the case with the Marcy ME-1019R which comes equipped with an LCD computer to track the time, distance, speed, calories burned, pulse, odometer and a scan mode. As if it’s not enough, Marcy has added a water bottle/cup holder and a device holder where you can fit your tablet to read your favorite books while exercising.
- Heavy-duty steel construction endures a maximum weight of 250 pounds.
- It’s available in either Blue or Grey colors.
- It has 8 resistance levels to choose from.
- It’s backed by a 2-year manufacturer warranty.
- There’s a convenient LCD computer to track your workout progress.
- There are issues with the tension cable.
- Not the best for tall users.
8. Schwinn Upright Bike Series
For years, Schwinn has been the go-to-brand that offers some of the best gym equipment with a mix of intuitive and ergonomic specs. One of their latest upright offerings, the Schwinn 130 Upright Bike, has cemented this fact by offering exceptional features that gives you access to the right amount of cardiovascular workouts without injuring your joints.
Under the hood, this stationery bike is equipped with a 10lb flywheel and a high inertial drive system that offers you 20 exclusive magnetic resistance levels to challenge your level of endurance. A DualTrack LCD screen is also at your disposal to display all 22 preset fitness programs including the heart rate and all your user-defined parameters such as the time, distance, speed and calories burned.
Away from the streamlined central console, the Schwinn 130 Upright Bike is constructed from a sturdy frame to provide balance and endurance when performing high intensity workouts. It also comes with an adjustable seat and handlebar alongside impressive secondary features such as in-built speakers, a tablet rack and a water bottle. Unless you’re not a fan of Schwinn, anyone else looking for a well responding exercise bike with fascinating features shouldn’t miss to get the Schwinn 130.
- It has 20 resistance levels to choose.
- Powered by the standard 120V electric outlet.
- DualTrack LCD screen gives you access to your workout progress.
- 22 fitness programs to work your body through.
- There’s a rack preserved to fit your Smart devices.
- Easy adjustability to suit various users.
- Unfortunately, the display isn’t backlit.
- The seat is less padded making it uncomfortable.
9. ProForm 235 CSX Recumbent Bike
As one of the latest newcomers in the fitness business, the ProForm 235 CSX has entered the market through the recumbent category to offer exercisers a tough way of challenging their bodies to tone their cores and lower bodies to burn calories and achieve their fitness goals. At the heart of its performance, the ProForm 235 CSX depends on a 14lb inertial enhanced magnetic flywheel to offer 18 tough levels of magnetic resistance with a smooth quiet operation.
A high blue-tint display has also been added at your convenience to provide you with your workout data such as the speed, distance, time and calories burned. The handles are also fitted with impressiveEKG grip pulses that track your heart health whenever you grip on them.
As a resurgence bike, the ProForm 235 CSX has one of the best seats that’s not only large but also well-padded to accommodate exercisers with large hips and bottoms. The seat is also adjustable to a decent level to suit both tall and short users. This bike comes with 18 fitness programs to choose from and it has a water bottle holder and a tablet holder alongside iPod compatibility options. With a weight capacity of 275 pounds, ProForm will be more than willing to back the steel frame with a 7-year warranty and a further 3-months warranty for parts and labor.
- 18 fitness programs and resistance levels to work with.
- Supports a max weight of 275 pounds.
- Though heavy (102lbs), it has wheels for easy mobility.
- Faster gear ratio for effective performance.
- Pulse and heart rate sensors are integrated on the handles.
- Backed with an excellent 7-year frame and 3-months parts warranty.
- Placing a tablet on the holder means you’ll cover the console.
- Doesn’t include an AC adapter.
10. MaxKare Stationary Bike Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
The MaxKare Stationery Bike is an ingenious offering manufactured by MaxKare. With its unique yellow polished frame and flywheel, this bike has taken the center stage in most home gyms thanks to its ability to complement with most indoor settings. Besides its blazing beauty, this machine is not short of features.
Under its hood, there’s a 44lbs flywheel that relies on a belt driven mechanism to offer the resistance needed to keep you fit when cycling. The intensity of the resistance can be adjusted via a tension knob to offer some convenience. There’s also an LCD monitor at your disposal that will track your speed, time, heart rate, odometer and calories burned. Besides that, there’s a Smartphone/tablet rack where you can mount your device to stay entertained while exercising.
Now, besides the features we’ve mentioned, one big selling point of the MaxKare Stationery Bike is its high adjustability. The seat can be adjusted from 0 – 5.91 inches while the handlebar can adjust from 0 – 2.76 inches to suit users with heights ranging from 4 ft. 11 inches to 6 ft. 3 inches. With a decent maximum weight load of 264 lbs, this bike is among the best upright exercise bike under $500 that can advance your fitness goals without leaving a dent in your wallet.
- It’s highly adjustable to suit tall and short users.
- The 44 lbs flywheel guarantees high intensity workouts.
- LCD monitor displays all your workout progress.
- It has feet stabilizers.
- The upgraded seat is padded for added comfort.
- The framework is not perfectly finished.
- The belt is quite noisy.
11. FitDesk Folding Stationary Exercise Bike Desk with Massage Bar and Bands
A common option among most office workers, the FitDesk 2.0 Desk Exercise Bike, is a stellar choice for those dormant people looking to shed some calories to achieve body fitness. Although the design resembles most of the bikes we’ve already reviewed, this bike has a slight difference at the front where it has a non-slip adjustable desk surface and a storage drawer where you can fit your laptop, magazines, a tablet, a phone and pens among other office staff.
Under its hood, there’s a convenient twin-belt high velocity flywheel that will help you improve your cardiovascular health while still reading a novel, playing some video games or working on a project with a tight deadline. There are 8 magnetic levels of resistance that can be calibrated at your convenience using an easy to use frame mounted control knob.
To fit exercisers with varying heights ranging from 4 ft. 10 inches to 6 ft. 6 inches, FitDesk has opted to make most the bike’s parts easily adjustable. That includes the seat, the backrest and the height, which by the way, turns the bike from an upright to a semi-recumbent design. Intended to hold a maximum weight of 250 pounds, the FitDesk 2.0 Desk Exercise Bike can easily fold to allow easy storage making it among the most compact stationery bikes for both office and home use.
- An LCD monitor tracks all your pre-workout parameters.
- The framework is constructed from durable powder coated steel.
- It folds flat for easy transportation.
- There’s a dedicated non-slip desktop surface that fits your laptop.
- It offers an increased potential for multitasking.
- The adjustable armrests have massage rollers for added comfort.
- The seat is not comfortable.
- The calorie counter is not accurate.
12. MaxKare Magnetic Exercise Bikes
Earlier on, we reviewed the MaxKare Stationery Bike. This time round, we’re going to review yet another model from the same manufacturer which is the MaxKare Magnetic Exercise Bike. Now, most of the bikes we’ve reviewed so far rely either on the belt drive or magnetic tension control. However, theMaxKaremodel has pushed things a bit far by introducing a bike that uses a stationery belt drive to push a flywheel that relies on magnetic resistance rather than its own weight.
With such a mechanism, achieving your fitness goals has totally been simplified as you can now achieve that without exposing the belt and the flywheel to rapid wear and tear. The MaxKare Stationery Bike is further equipped with a digital LCD monitor that tracks all the necessary workout parameters such as the time, distance, speed, RPM, pulse and calories burned. There’s also a pulse grip sensor on the handlebars that tracks your heart health when exercising.
The MaxKare Stationery Bike is also fully adjustable to suit exercisers with varying heights. The seat, the handlebar and the height are all adjustable to varying heights. The steel framework is also sturdy allowing this bike to endure a maximum weight load of 264 pounds. Fitted with an emergency brake system and transport wheels for easy mobility, the MaxKare is another bike that has earned a seat in our list of best exercise bike under 500.
- LCD screen gives you access to all your pre-workout data.
- A phone/tablet holder fits your devices to enjoy some entertainment while exercising.
- The solid triangular style frame offers immense strength.
- The seat and the handlebar are adjustable.
- There are transport wheels for easy mobility.
- Unfortunately, the resistance isn’t challenging enough.
- It gets noisier as it ages.
13. DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Cycle, Pedal Exerciser Bike
The DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Stationery Bike is the last bike that will wrap up our review section. After a stellar performance displayed by its predecessor, the DeskCycle 2 has come to pick from where the previous version left off to offer office workers a machine that will help improve their health and extend their lifespan.
Although its small size might deceive you, the DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Stationery Bike has several features that are worth your time. First off, its small deceiving size makes it usable in office desks with a height of about 27 inches. With its patented magnetic resistance mechanism, this short fellow has 8 calibrated resistance levels to peruse through alongside a small LCD screen that will monitor your workout progress by providing the right data.
Though it doesn’t have a seat nor a handlebar, it has adjustable pedals that can be set at a maximum height of 10 inches to accommodate both tall and short users. To capture your daily workout progress, this machine is strategically built to record your workout progress for up to 160 hours. This combined with an advanced activity logger app for iOS mean that you can easily save your daily, weekly or monthly workoutdata to your Apple health account.
- It’s universal for all types of users.
- The pedal motion is very smooth.
- Easy to pair with iPhones thanks to special apps.
- It has a display to track your workout progress.
- Offers 8 resistance levels to work with.
- Challenging to use under the desk.
- The calorie counter is not accurate.
Now, after reading those reviews, I’m pretty sure you’re already confused about what to get. Don’t worry though. As experts in the gym equipment category, we understand how diverse this field is and how lost you can get especially if you’re just a beginner. However, in this next section, we will discuss some factors that will guide you when shopping for the best exercise bike under 500.
1. Fitness Goal:
The very first thing you’ll need to think of once you land on a fitness bike you like is your specific fitness goals. Are you looking for a cardio machine, muscle tone ups or are you looking to shed some calories? While some exercise bikes are intended to fulfill either of these, there are other models designed to fulfill all of these fitness goals all under one package.
2. Level of Comfort:
Comfort is another key factor that can determine how long you can work out and achieve your fitness goals. If you’re not comfortable, then finding the right balance to get to the limit of your workout can be totally impossible. With that, you need to shop for an exercise bike that has a cushioned seat, a padded handlebar, and an adjustable height to allow you to exercise without feeling too restricted.
3. Height Range:
Although we’ve briefly touched on height range in the last point, it’s actually one of the key factors that cannot be neglected thus forcing us to discuss it further. You see, if these bikes’ height range doesn’t suit you, then it means you’ll either feel too cramped (if you’re tall) or struggle to reach the handlebars (if you’re short). Thankfully, most of the bikes we’ve listed in our review section are universal and able to cater for almost all users from 4ft. 6” to about 6ft. 6”.
However, if you’re taller or shorter than normal, then we would recommend you to search through our list to find a specific bike that will suit your height.
4. Frame and Support:
Most of the bikes in the sub-500 price range are constructed from sturdy steel frames. This is good news to most shoppers, as it will guarantee you longevity and enough strength to endure weights ranging from 250lb to about 350lb.
Now, apart from the frame’s strength and level of resistance, you need to consider whether the bike is foldable. If you have just a small space to spare for this gym equipment, then a foldable model can prove to be an unbeatable option. However, the downside to these models is that they lack stability when compared to their non-folding counterparts.
5. The Flywheel:
The flywheel is generally the heart of any exercise bike whether it’s an upright, spinning, or recumbent bike. It’s actually that part of the bike that spins as you pedal. Now, to give you a successful workout session, the flywheel is intended to provide some resistance that will make it harder for you to pedal. This can be done by adjusting some knobs on the console which will control the pressure on the flywheel.
Another mechanism is the use of magnetic resistance which is increased or decreased by the flow of current programmed by the computer. This type of resistance mechanism is designed to simulate a real-life scenario when you’re cycling under several natural phenomena such as wind, incline, and changing terrain.
6. Resistance Level:
In our previous point, we’ve examined the flywheel and the mechanism it relies on to create resistance. At this point, we’ll be discussing the resistance level. So, before shopping for an exercise bike, it’s recommended that you first examine the different resistance levels to see whether they can meet your fitness goals.
7. The Controls:
Now, most of the bikes in the under 500 price range differ greatly in terms of the programming. For instance, upright bikes are swamped with controls thanks to their immense features such as cooling fans, multiple resistance levels, and media options. They hence have multiple digital controls on the table.
Spinning stationary bikes, on the other hand, are more streamlined with fewer features to attend to. They also use manual resistance instead of digital leaving them with just a few control modules to use. Thankfully, most of these bikes, regardless of the style, feature LCD screens that provide some workout data and metrics such as speed, time, distance covered, calories burned, pulse, and heart rate among others.
8. Top Brand:
Another factor that’s worth considering is the brand of the specific bike you’re intending to buy. Now, different brands have their own unique distinctive features that attract a certain class of customers. Therefore, once you’ve laid down your options, always look for a bike that falls in the bracket of a reputable brand. Some of the names that are worth mentioning include; Sunny Health, Schwinn, Nautilus, ProForm, and Nordic Track among others.
9. Extra Features:
Sometimes you might be stuck between two bikes with similar specs. But, if one offers an extra feature, then that becomes an added advantage that might force you to choose it over its rival or entry-level cousin. That’s the main reason why secondary features are so important when making your final decision on what to get.
But, what exactly are these features? Well, things like a cooling fan, dual monitors (heart rate monitor and data feedback monitor), a media shelf to hold your device, in-built speakers, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB charging ports are just some of the features that might interest you.
A Brief History of Exercise Bike
For the past decades, cycling has taken the center stage for being an effective exercising routine that can tone your muscles and reconstruct injured joints. However, despite their prodigious reputation, how informed are you with the history of exercise bikes? In a nutshell, the ancestor to the modern-day stationary exercise bike is the Gymnasticon that was invented and patented back in 1796 by Francis Lowndes.
This latent gym equipment was discovered at a time when physical therapy was necessary especially in Europe. Soon after its discovery, this machine was published in London where it was categorized in the list of “Machines for Exercising the Human Body”.
Now, the Gymnasticon was a surprising creation, especially at the time. It utilized a pair of wooden wheels (the modern-day flywheels) that were connected to wooden treadles for the feet and the cranks for the hands. The machine also had a seat though it wasn’t comfortable as users had to adjust their lower backs by pushing way back to the wooden beam to gain support.
By pressing the wooden rods with both the feet and the hands, one could perform workouts in a similar fashion reminiscent of modern-day ellipticals. Despite some drawbacks here and there, this machine was quite similar to the modern stationary bike and was hence used for medical purposes to strengthen the muscles, treat disabled and patients with joint issues and provide a form of exercise to people whose jobs forced them to be sedentary.
Due to the huge success of the Gymnasticon, the exercise bike underwent numerous improvements thanks to the advancement in technology from regular bikes placed atop wooden and metallic rollers to the modern-day best spin bikes used in most gymnasiums.
How Does Exercise Bike Work?
Since their discovery, exercise bikes, also called stationary bikes, have become increasingly popular thanks to their ability to offer intense cardio training. Now, these bikes come in two major variations, which are the chain/belt-driven models, and those that rely on magnetic manipulation.
Now, how do these bikes work?
First, these bikes are designed with a weighted flywheel that has pedals attached. There are knobs on the handlebar to adjust the resistance levels and the pedals have straps to protect your feet from sliding.
Now, for the case of magnetic manipulated models, these bikes rely on magnetism and electricity to provide the required resistance. As you all know, like poles repel while opposite poles attract. However, one factor that can affect magnetism is passing a current through them. So, using this concept in exercise bikes, a magnetic force is put close to the flywheel. In the touch of a button, the machine’s computer activates electric current to pass through the magnets in high or low intensity (depending on the selected level) to create resistance to the flywheel.
For the chain-driven models, the belt/chain is attached to the pedals on one side and a weighted flywheel (usually 40 lbs and above) on the other side. When you pedal, the motion is transferred to the weighted flywheel through the chain/belt thus allowing you to work out.
Now, both of these mechanisms make it harder for you to pedal forcing you to overwork and burn calories. To some extent, this mechanism is used in pre-programmed routes where the computer adjusts the resistance scale to simulate riding on steep hills, down the valley, and on flat grounds.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What’s the Difference Between an Upright Bike and a Spin Bike?
Most people fail to distinguish upright bikes from spin bikes. Now, one common characteristic between the two is that they’re both indoor bikes designed for workout purposes. Now, upright bikes on their side are designed with a magnetic flywheel that offers the resistance. They also have multiple electronic parts such as a computer console, heart and pulse rate sensors, and programmable settings. They also have wide comfortable seats that make them perfect for seated workouts.
On the other hand, spin bikes, also called indoor cycling bikes, are designed to mimic real bikes. They have similar features with original bikes such as racing saddle, adjustable handlebars, and flywheels that make them perfect for both seated and standing intense workout.
Q2: Are These Bikes Suitable for Seniors?
Seniors too need to perform cardiovascular workouts for muscle stimulation. But, which stationary bikes are suited for them? Now, from what we’ve reviewed, the best bikes for seniors are the recumbent models. These bikes are more comfortable in terms of the design allowing them to accommodate seniors with mobility issues. They’re stable, easy to get on and off, and have padded seats and backrests to provide some comfort to seniors, pregnant women, or patients recovering from joint injuries.
Q3: Do These Bikes Help in Losing Belly Fat?
We all know that belly fat and weight gain are caused by high-energy intake that exceeds energy expenditure. It’s also caused by stress, over-consumption of sugar-rich foods, alcohol, and living a sedentary lifestyle without any physical activities.
Now, by using a stationary bike, you can successfully, lose belly fat as you can easily burn around 300 to 700 calories per hour. You should also alternate between cardio and HIIT workouts to ensure that you reduce belly fat while still adding some stamina.
Q4: Exercise Bikes Vs Walking: Which is the Most Effective?
Now, riding a bike such as the best stationary bike for home can help you burn calories. This is the case with walking thus begging for the question on which one among the two is the most effective. In most cases, biking is considered to have a slight edge over walking as it burns nearly 140 calories during moderately intense workouts as compared to 110 calories burned when walking.
Q5: How Long Should I Exercise With These Bikes?
Now, here, it all depends on your fitness goals. If you’re riding the bike for cardiovascular health purposes, then a 30 minutes session for 5 days a week can really help to burn as many calories as possible. However, if you’re exercising for weight loss purposes, a 60 to 90 minutes session a day for 5 days can help to reduce weight.
Now that we’ve reviewed 13 of the best exercise bike under 500, we believe that you can now make an informed decision on what to buy. Whether it’s an upright, a spin, or a recumbent type of bike, the examples we’ve just mentioned are just a cross-section of what you can expect to buy with an affordable note in your wallet.
Just before we conclude, we’d like to mention that people have their own taste when it comes to shopping for exercise bikes. Some shoppers will opt to follow the route of honoring a company’s reputation while others will opt to go for lesser-known brands that offer amazing features. Whichever route you choose to follow, always research carefully before you plan a move.