EXERCISE BIKE BUYING GUIDE

bikehowtobuy.jpgExercise bikes or stationary bikes (both terms apply) give you a great cardio and lower body workout. We’ll help you find your ideal bike from such a selection of bike types, resistance formats, performance sets and price tags?

FIRST… WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE BIKE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Our best advice — don’t buy an exercise bike that you haven’t tried out personally. Take nobody’s word for comfort. Visit a reputable fitness equipment store and test-pedal every model that looks like it fits with your plan. It won’t matter how many features a particular model has if it doesn’t feel right when you use it. If your stationary bike will have more than one user, most bikes accept a wide range of height and weight adjustments. However, some exercise bikes do have a maximum weight capacity.

TEST-DRIVING AN EXERCISE BIKE

Test it the way you’ll use it. Don’t be rushed by a salesperson. Set the exercise bike up for your body. Adjust the seat height so that, when your leg is fully extended at the bottom of each rotation, the knee of your extended leg remains slightly bent. The pedaling motion should feel rhythmic and fluid… resistance should be at a comfortable setting, and the handlebars should be easy to reach.

RESISTANCE AND YOUR WORKOUT

If you’ve been checking out exercise bikes, you’ve probably seen some hype about magnetic resistance. In fact, virtually all exercise bikes create resistance with some form of magnetic brake. Your choice comes down to the types of magnetic resistance (standard or electro-magnetic) and the quality and features of the equipment.

Standard magnetic resistance is created by moving a powerful magnet towards or away from the moving flywheel. As the magnet moves towards the flywheel, the current generated between them increases—creating resistance. (If you recall your high school Physics, this is known as an Eddy Current.) On some standard magnetic exercise bikes, you turn a dial to move the magnet towards the flywheel and create resistance. On others, a small electric motor moves the magnet.

Electro-magnetic resistance is typically used in higher-end exercise bikes. This system doesn’t have a moving magnet. Instead, an electromagnet is positioned close to the flywheel, and current is passed through it to create a resistant force. The more current, the higher the resistance. Electromagnets are very controllable, offering a finer range of resistance adjustments than other magnetic systems. Electromagnets are also more durable due to having fewer moving parts.

BE SURE TO CHECK AND COMPARE WARRANTIES

Exercise bikes carry varying warranties — from 90-days to lifetime coverage on different parts of the bike. For example, parts and labor may be covered for 6 months, electronics for 1 year, and the frame for a lifetime. In general, keep in mind that a longer warranty is indicative of a higher quality machine.

COME IN AND CHAT — AND LET’S TALK EXERCISE BIKES

Make your local Chicago Home Fitness Store your personal fitness information centre. Bring your questions on stationary bikes — or any aspect of fitness and exercise. Our certified fitness professionals are walking encyclopedias of information and you’ll have all of their attention. They’ll be glad to share their knowledge and help you make informed decisions that will get you the results you want.