There are a lot of new and innovative forms of cardio exercise in today’s overcrowded home fitness market. Yet, the humble exercise bike remains a top selling item year after year. The reason is simple; the exercise bike is one of the most efficient, user-friendly ways of getting fit at home.
In this article, we will review the top upright exercise bikes. We’ll also provide you with a handy buyer’s guide, so you know just what to look for when selecting the best upright exercise bike for you.
Summary: The Best Upright Exercise Bikes
What to Look for in an Upright Exercise Bike?
Upright exercise bikes provide you with different resistance options. Direct tension resistance uses a spinning wheel and brake system to apply more tension to the pedals. Air resistance uses varying air pressure speeds to apply resistance to the flywheel. Magnetic systems use electromagnetic brakes to control how tight or loose the flywheel is against the magnets.
Bikes will have a one piece or a three-piece crank. A one-piece crank is a single metal bar bent into shape. This is clearly weaker than the more expensive three-piece crank, consisting of three individual pieces that are bolted together.
The display panel will provide feedback on speed, distance, and your body’s performance. Many monitors display heart rate information, pulse, RPM, calories and fat burned.
Nearly all bikes will come with handheld heart rate measurements. When you hold the handles, you will get a rough guide of your heart rate. The better quality models will have wireless heart rate. That means that you can wear a chest strap which comes with the bike. This will give you a constant and very accurate heart rate measure.
The size and color of the console screen can vary greatly. The more money you spend, the larger the screen size and display quality. The most basic models will have a single display that rotates through your data. Top end models will feature multi-color displays.
While most bikes are very adjustable, allowing them to fit almost any size of rider, it is important to ensure that the bike is right for your size. The cheapest bikes will not have adjustable handlebars. As your budget increases, you’ll find bikes with handlebars that are fully adjustable, allowing you to lean upright, or lean back.
Nearly all bikes will have vertical height adjustment for short and tall people. The best bikes, however, will also feature reach adjustment. This allows you to bring the seat closer or further away from the console and the handlebars.
It is important to be aware of the maximum user weight capacity of the bike that you intend buying. If you are too heavy for the bike, the durability and reliability of the frame will be compromised. For a budget to mid range home training bike, a maximum user weight of 300 pounds is very good.
Comfort of use
Your bike should have a drink holder within easy reach of your sitting position.
Regardless of your budget, you want a good, strong solid bike. You don’t want it to be shaking around when you are pedaling at maximum capacity.
You should look for a bike with oblong shaped feet. This allows you to adjust for uneven floor surfaces, so the bike doesn’t wobble. Also, go for a bike with large foot plates that have a strap to keep your feet tight and secure while pedaling.
In terms of seats, the comfort and quality can vary greatly. The top seating quality is had by way of a gel padded seat.
If you have children in your home, it will pay to make sure that the mechanics of the bike, such as the magnetic resistance system and the flywheel are covered. This will reduce the likelihood of any inquisitive finger injuries.
Exercise bikes come with a wide range of warranties. These range from 90 days to a lifetime. Often parts and labor are covered for six months, while the frame is covered for a much longer time period.
Upright Exercise Bike Reviews
The Schwinn 170 upright exercise bike is a high-end option for the discerning home user. It offers resistance levels and programs to match what you would find in a commercial gym. The bike feels just like a real on-road experience. And, it does so, with the comfort and ergonomic detail that Schwinn is renowned for.
The Schwinn 170 Upright Exercise Bike brings advanced exercycle technology to the home bike fitness market. With the 170, you get an impressive 29 workout programs. You are able to view up to 13 separate metrics of your exercise performance on the LCD display monitor.
The Schwinn 170 provides you with 25 levels of resistance. This allows you huge scope in terms of your exercise progression. What’s more, the transition between those 25 levels, along with your entire pedaling experience, is smooth and fluid. That’s thanks to the high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel.
Value for money
The Schwinn 170 Upright exercise bike can be purchased for around $350. This represents very good value, considering the quality and workout options that you get.
The Schwinn 170 is an impressively rugged home exercise bike. It features extra large pedals along with an extremely comfortable padded seat. The whole bike has a pleasing ergonomic structure which provides for a natural feel without placing undue excess strain on your lower back.
The Schwinn 170 has a very professional, stylish finish to it. The flywheel is extremely strong, making for a very smooth riding motion.
- 25 levels of resistance
- 29 workout programs
- Twin displays
- Natural, comfortable riding experience
- Integrated heart rate sensors
- Time-consuming two-man job to assemble
The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer is a very reliable, strong bike that will allow you to get in a very good workout at home at an unbeatable price.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1203 Indoor Cycle Trainer has a fully adjustable seat and variable resistance. The bike is very comfortable. In fact, the Sunny Indoor Trainer feels much like riding a road bike. Unlike many bikes within the price range, the Sunny Upright doesn’t have any annoying clanging noises as you operate it. It is, in fact, surprisingly quiet.
Value for money
The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Trainer is available online for under $150, which represents very good value for money.
The Sunny Trainer has a heavy-duty crank, solid steel frame and a 22-pound flywheel. It has a chain drive mechanism and supports a maximum user weight of 220 pounds. It is a very sturdy bike. You can ride it very hard without the fear of it wobbling or falling over.
- Very solid, sturdy low-cost bike
- Smooth and noiseless operation
- 22 lb flywheel
- Heavy-duty crank
- Steel frame
- Maximum user weight limited to 220 lbs
The Bladez Fitness Fusion GS II Indoor Cycle is a redesigned update of a previous model. This new version provides a racing type indoor bike that feels like the real thing, thanks to the heavy-duty flywheel. This is a solid mid-price point performer.
The Bladez Fitness Fusion GS II Indoor Cycle comes with a 40-pound flywheel and newly designed racing style handlebars with both up/down and fore/aft adjustment. The large flywheel gives you an ultra smooth movement. A new and improved anatomically designed sports seat is provided.
The motivational LCD console displays your time, speed, distance, total distance and calories burned.
Value for money
The Bladez Fitness Fusion GS II can be purchased for under $300.
The frame of the Fusion is a new design with solid construction. This is a quality piece of machinery that is built for the serious exerciser. Bladez is a company that is well known for its quality and its after sales back up.
- 40 lb flywheel
- Racing style handlebars
- Stylish design
- Sturdy frame
- The seat is a little narrow
The Marcy Magnetic Upright Bike is a budget indoor cycle which offers some decidedly mid-price features. It gives the type of smooth ride, resistance, and sturdiness that you don’t normally see in a bike that you can pick up for a little over a hundred dollars.
The Marcy Magnetic Upright Bike is a budget bike that will give you a reliable, if not overly comfortable riding performance. The seat is not very comfortable, lacking in padding and ergonomics. It is adjustable up and down but nor fore and aft. You get up to eight levels of resistance with a relatively smooth transition between the levels. It uses a smooth, magnetic resistance system.
The digital display will provide you with a readout of your odometer, time, distance, speed, and calories burnt.
Value for money
The Marcy Magnetic Upright Bike can be purchased for under $110.
The frame is surprisingly strong, being made from steel, PVC, and plastic. It has an impressive maximum user weight of 300 lbs. The entire unit weighs 43 pounds.
- Smooth magnetic resistance
- Large console display
- Counterbalanced pedals
- 8 levels of resistance
- Uncomfortable seat
- Racing handlebars may place strain on lower back
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike offers a decent home cycling experience with a good range of resistance levels and quiet operation. It is a very compact unit that folds for ease of storage.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike can be put together in less than half an hour. The folding aspect of the bike makes it super easy to store away and to transport. The seat is not as comfortable as it could be.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike falls a little short on the display and the electronics. Although it does contain a heart rate monitor and calorie counter, they are not very accurate. However, the mileage and speed displays do appear to be pretty accurate. You get eight levels of magnetic resistance on this bike.
Value for money
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike can be bought online for around $150.
For the moderate user, this bike will prove to be a durable exercise bike. Heavy daily use, however, may lead to wear and tear as the frame is not overly strong. However, the bike doesn’t wobble when you are pedaling and it provides a noiseless riding experience. As you up the resistance, it does start to get a little noisy. The maximum user weight on this bike is an impressive 300 pounds.
- Compact design
- Foldable for storage
- Smooth, noiseless operation
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
- Seat not very comfortable
- Heart rate monitor and calorie counter not very accurate
When it comes to home exercise training on an indoor cycle, the market runs the gamut from low quality, low budget to super high-tech, high-cost offerings. Our top 5 review has extracted the best from across the board to allow you to make the right choice when selecting the very best upright exercise bike for you.