Long gone are the days when stationary exercise bikes meant a cycle pinned to the floor. They have been on the market for decades, and like any other equipment, they have been touched with innovation over time.
The popularity of this machine comes from the convenience it provides. Incidentally, that is also the reason you are here reading this article, looking for a way to burn some calories out of the comfort of your home. Or you could be looking to make some new additions to your gym.
Either way, as a buyer, one question will definitely be on your mind:
How much is an Exercise Bike?
The price of an exercise bike, and like almost everything else, depends on the quality and quantity of features it provides. A casual user or a beginner to stationary bikes may find all that they need in under $300. A serious workout enthusiast may look for something more sophisticated around $500. The same goes for users with special needs, like seniors or people with a medical history. And for people looking to amp up their workout experience may be will to cash in and invest $1000 into their physical health lifestyle.
No matter what, it is the features of the machine and the personal need for them is that determines the choice. Let us now look at some.
What features to look out for in an exercise bike?
The price of an exercise bike is heavily dependent on the features it provides. Not only the number but also better and more sophisticated features will warrant a higher price point.
The design of exercise bikes is as varied as they come. Each unique design of the bike is manufactured for different uses, for different exercise focuses, and even for different situations.
- Mini/Under-the-desk exercise bike: Highly portable exercise bike with small dimensions. As the name suggests, can be put under the table. You can exercise keeping your hands free to do other tasks.
- Upright exercise bike: Traditional exercise bike, created to mimic cycling.
- Recumbent exercise bike: A unique exercise bike featuring a wide seat and reclining posture for its users. Manufactured of extremely low impact and comfortable exercise experience.
- Spin bike: Manufactured to mimic road cycling, high-intensity exercises.
- Air Bike: Gets rid of the traditional metal flywheel for a fan. Has unlimited resistance as resistance depends on how fast the user is pedaling.
- Dual exercise bike: An exercise bike featuring an additional purpose, like features of an elliptical with moving handles.
- Interactive exercise bikes: Technologically refined bikes that sport interactive software and displays to assist the user.
An often overlooked feature when buying an exercise bike, clear displays and user-friendly consoles can drastically impact your workout experience.
A very important feature in any exercise bike. The heavier the flywheel, the more stable the machine tends to be while getting a workout. Higher flywheel weight also corresponds to a greater adjustable option for resistance.
Adjustable resistance should not be the only adjustable function of the exercise bike. A good exercise bike should support changes in the positions of the seat to help the user to get to a more comfortable spot to exercise. Adjustable straps can also be a thing.
A good exercise bike should feature multiple levels of resistance to achieve variety in exercise. The lower resistance should be easy enough for beginners, seniors, or even injured people to get into. The highest resistance should provide a good challenge to the most avid gym-goers.
The weight limit of any exercise equipment is a very important indicator of its quality. So make sure to always check the weight limit of a machine before purchasing. This is also a good indicator of how intensely you can exercise on the machine, as machines with a higher weight capacity will be made of sturdier material. As a general gauge, a good exercise bike should be able to withstand 300 lbs. or 140 kg.
Another highly underrated feature. Being able to monitor your exercise analytics (time, distance, speed, calories, etc.) will bring a new dimension to your workout routine, and also make it more efficient.
Understanding the features of exercise bikes serves to increase your appreciation for their sophistication and cost.
Here is a short video explaining what you should be looking for in your exercise bike:
Cheap Exercise Bikes (Under $200)
First up we have the budget-friendly options of exercise bikes. Simple and portable, these exercise bikes are catered towards beginners and casuals who are only getting introduced to exercise equipment or nine-to-five workers looking to get some exercise on the side.
Some unique, and sometimes limiting, features of these exercise machines include:
Size or Type
This range of exercise bikes is usually portable. They have small dimensions. Usually consists of upright exercise bikes, and some of them even have the “foldable” option to allow you to easily put it away after you are done with it.
The smaller dimensions might be a bit uncomfortable to tall individuals. So if you are over 6 feet, consider how the machines feel before purchase.
For more casual exercisers, you can look for the mini or under desk exercise bike. These do not come with a handle (thus the lower price) and can be put under the desk, allowing you to pedal away as you get your office work done. While they enable you to exercise, they are not meant to provide an intense workout regime.
Budget exercise bikes tend to have lower weight capacities as well. These machines can have frames of stainless steel, but their light and smaller architecture do not allow them to carry heavyweights.
It can be very impressive to see an exercise bike that costs less than $200 carry a person weighing 300 pounds.
Some budget bikes may not come with a warranty, it is always better to avoid those options. But keep in mind that even on the ones that do provide a warranty, they may not be on the same level as the higher-end machines.
Budget exercise bikes will always come with very basic but limited features.
The display will probably be a basic LCD.
You would be hard-pressed to find a budget machine that offers a good heart rate monitor (even get one for that matter).
Wireless connectivity, like Bluetooth, or a console with multiple options should not be expected at this price range.
Some popular options in the market today:
|Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS Foldable Upright Bike||199||Foldable steel frame. 8 levels of magnetic resistance. Large and comfortable seat|
|Marcy Upright Exercise Bike ME-708||117||Steel construction. Magnetic resistance system. Adjustable seats.|
|Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Bike NS-716R||187||Recumbent bike. Seats are fully adjustable with soft handlebars. 8 levels of resistance. Has transportation wheels.|
All in all, as long as you get decent adjustable seats and resistances on your exercise bike, you should be good to go.
Mid-range Exercise Bikes ($200-$500)
This is the standard price range of a decent indoor exercise bike, and also the most diverse, if not populated. You will be happy to know that all exercise bikes in this category have a solid warranty that also includes labor. Some of them, especially the ones above $400, can also be utilized commercially.
Let’s take a look at some of the features of the exercise bikes at this range:
Size or Type
The three main categories of bikes that are available at this price range are the upright bikes, spin bikes, and the newcomer, recumbent bikes.
The recumbent is usually larger in size when compared to the other types and provides more comfort features than others. Thus its makes its debut at this range.
The exercise bikes at this range are sturdier, with frames made of high-quality stainless steel, enough to withstand high-intensity training sessions.
These sturdy exercise bikes can easily take punishment from users around 300 pounds or 140 kg.
The resistance system is a big stand out of these exercise bikes compared to the cheaper options.
Most of these bikes don a magnetic resistance system. The biggest advantage of this is the great consistency that is provided by the resistance knob. No fiddling! You get what you ask for. Digital resistance control is also possible with the magnetic resistance system.
Another advantage that this system provides is maintenance. Where the contact resistance would wear away at the flywheel, such problems are non-existent on the magnetic resistance system.
The consoles of this range of exercise bikes offer a huge step up in terms of features. From basic to great analytics, it can sometimes even be too swamped.
Heart-rate monitors are available in these models among other features like speed or calories burned. Some even come with savable profiles to store personal data.
Some personal training software might also be available to assist the user to get the best out of the machine.
Wireless technology like Bluetooth is always a plus. That with speakers and docking options for your device.
Let us not forget these bikes are bulkier than their cheaper counterparts. To assist you with that most of these machines come equipped with transportation wheels.
Some popular options in the market today:
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1879 Synergy||454||Magnetic resistance system with 30 lb flywheel. Pulse sensors on the handles. 4-way adjustable seats and caged pedals.|
|Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709||220||Solid 14-gauge steel tubed frame. * levels of resistance. Comfortable padded seat.|
|Nautilus U616||479||LCD display with in-depth analytics tracking. 25 levels of resistance. High speed and inertia drive system.|
Premium Exercise Bikes (over $500)
These are exercise bikes for serious users or a commercial environment. Most of these fall on the high-end spectrum of the market so you can expect them to be the best at what they do. Not to mention the plethora of luxurious features they provide.
Size or Type
You can find most types of bikes in this category, be it upright, recumbent or spin, with added robustness. This toughness gives way for these bikes to be used commercially.
This is the main talking point of this category. The stability of the exercise machine mainly depends on its drive system.
Commercial grade exercise bikes usually have a heavy-duty flywheel installed. This weighs anything around 30 lb or more. The added weight contributes to the smoothness of the pedal action and ensures safety.
To drive this flywheel on we need, you’ve guessed it, a drive system. Commercial grade machines use a belt drive system. Not only are these quieter when compared to chain-drive, but their main selling point is in their efficiency and smoothness. Some newer premium models al has a magnetic drive system.
Premium exercise bikes usually offer a state-of-the-art ECB (Eddy Current Brake) magnetic resistance. Coupled with more varying levels of resistance, these exercise bikes offer the best choices when it comes to the intensity of the workout you are looking for.
The advanced consoles of these exercise bikes are chock full of features. The ones that stand out would be the built-in speakers, backlit screens, and even cooling fans.
Even on the software side of things, these exercise bikes are not playing around. With wireless connectivity, you can download and install licensed workout apps and programs to assist your daily grind. These programs are often interactive and customizable to suit your specific needs.
And before we forget we also need to mention that many of the bikes are self-powered, which means that you don’t have to place them near a power outlet and that they are quite environment friendly. That is a win in it itself.
Some popular options in the market today:
|NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle||1799||15 inch interactive HD touchscreen display with iFit app. Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR). 24 digital resistance levels. Adjustable feet stabilizers.|
|Sole LCR||1499||Heavy duty steel frame with aluminium finish. 40 different levels of resistance. Wireless chest straps or pulse grips. 10 inch LCD screen. Bluetooth and wireless connection capability.|
|Schwinn IC4||899||Magnetic resistance (100 levels of micro resistance adjustments). 40 lb flywheel. 330 lb max user weight.|
Just because these are pricey it doesn’t mean that you have to be intimidated by them. On the contrary, these machines can be some of the most welcoming at the gym. And with this level of style and customizability, what more could you ask for?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Does cycling reduce belly fat?
Ans.: Yes, any form of cardio can help you lose belly fat. But which exercise bike is the most effective is a different question. The comfortable, reclined position of exercise that you get from a recumbent exercise bike will not burn the same amount of calories or even target the abdomen fully as a spin bike would. So you have to take into consideration which body part you are trying to target in your exercise before getting yourself an exercise bike.
Q2. Is a stationary bike better than walking?
Ans.: In terms of getting a full-fledged workout, yes. Exercising on a stationary bike will allow you to get more intense cardio without having to move great distances from the comfort of your home. It will help you also target a wider range of muscles on your body.
The only downside would be that you will be missing the fresh air outside that will be doing wonders to both your physical and mental health.
Funnily enough, even with all of this information, it is still difficult to paint a more vivid picture of the prices of exercise bikes as most of the factors and features depend on you, the buyer. But we hope that at least we have given you a clear understanding of the important aspects of why exercise bikes are priced the way they are.
Whether you are a beginner or a serious cyclist, chances are that spending a few more bucks on the features that attract you will take your experience with the machine to a whole new level.