Exercise Bikes: General Info

An exercise bike is a stationary bicycle used as fitness equipment. The exercise bike provides an excellent low impact cardiovascular workout, because it raises the heart rate through motion that is smooth and continuous.

Classic bike, recumbent (reclining) bike or bikes with levers - which one?

Exercise bikes can be classified into three main types: classic, recumbent (or reclining), and bikes with arm levers. The classic bike is generally the most commonly pictured bike; it has a seat, handlebars, and pedals. The recumbent bike places the rider’s back against the seat and has the pedals in front of the seat. The arm lever bike utilizes upper body strength with a push-pull movement of hand levers located adjacent to the seat.

All types of bikes have varying degrees of resistance. Changing the cadence, or the speed at which the pedals rotate, adds and removes resistance. Bikes can even have entire computerized workouts that monitor and control resistance levels through the simulation of hills, plains, and interval training. Some may even provide a computer screen that allows the rider to compete in a virtual bike race. Sometimes there is a television monitor mounted in the front so that the rider can watch a favorite television while exercising.

Comfort is the key when purchasing an exercise bike

Bicycles should be tried out for comfort before purchasing. The seat should be set to a height that allows the knee to remain slightly bent when the pedal is at the bottom of the rotation. Attention should be paid to any discomfort or numbness felt from a particular bike seat, and often, a recumbent bike will be a more comfortable ride for those with back pain or seat discomfort.