We’re back for another big one today and it’s going to be about finding the best exercise bike in town. We here love exercise bikes, especially the upright ones we are going to be looking at today. They are fantastic ways to get a good cardio workout and so much more. Of course, you want to find the best bike that your money can buy, which is why we are going to be doing a whole lot of upright exercise bike reviews. Let’s get right to it and help you find the best exercise bike for the money you’re looking to spend!
The Best Exercise Bikes By Price Range And Budget
We’re going to be doing a whole lot upright exercise bike reviews and they all differ in their price range. We have got great entry level models ranging from $100 to $200, several mid-range options ranging from $200 to $350, and a bunch of great high end options ranging from $350 to $1,500 and up.
Best Entry Level Upright Bikes (Budget $100 – $200)
Now it is time for us to take a look at the best entry level upright bikes on the market today. These are ideal for any beginner and anyone who wants a nice and easy cardio workout on a daily basis. Just because these models are very inexpensive does however not mean that they won’t give you a great cardiovascular workout.
Best Mid Range Upright Exercise Bikes (Budget $200 – $350)
Let’s move on up to the next level now. We’ve covered the best entry level upright bikes, so now it’s it time to take a look at the best mid-range upright exercise bikes on the market today. These ones can cost you anywhere from $200 to $350. Their increased price range means that they will definitely have some extra features and more functionality when compared to the entry level models.
Best High End Upright Stationary Bikes (Budget $350 – $1,500+)
Now let’s take a look at the very best of the upright exercise bikes. These ones are the most expensive ones, but they also tend to have the most features, the highest level of durability, and their functionality is unrivaled. These may cost a little extra, but they are definitely well worth the investment.
Our Top Upright Exercise Bike Picks
Let’s take a quick look at the top 5 overall models from all of the price ranges.
Sole Fitness never fails at providing us with really great workout equipment and this definitely holds true for the LCB Upright Bike. This bike is in the high end sections as it is indeed one of the most expensive options on our list today. However, the high price is well worth the investment considering how good it is. The Sole Fitness LCB Upright Bike has a full 40 levels of magnetic resistance, which is much more than can be said for any other model on our list. At the same time, the Sole Fitness LCB Upright Bike also comes with 21 different preset workout programs to help you achieve your fitness goals. These two things combined are deciding factors no doubt, as they make the Sole Fitness LCB Upright Bike ideal for any fitness level out there.
There is also the fact that the Sole Fitness LCB Upright Bike features a great steel frame with a very high user weight capacity. It also comes with plenty of extra features such as Bluetooth connectivity, an adjustable cooling fan, a media tray, an MP3 jack, built in speakers, a water bottle holder and more. It also features a comfortable and highly adjustable seat for your benefit. All in all, if you have some extra cash to spare, the Sole Fitness LCB Upright Bike is in our opinion the number one way to go.
LifeCORE is another great trusted brand name that never fails to deliver quality products. This particular model takes our number two spot and is in our opinion the very best fan bike around. Instead of magnetic or direct contact resistance, the LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike Trainer uses an air fan to provide you with resistance. Many people love this because it means that there is an unlimited potential for resistance. The faster you pedal the more resistance you are faced with. Many people also like the fact that the air fan helps cool you down while exercising.
Now, the LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike Trainer is not the fanciest of all upright bikes around. It doesn’t have speakers or a great LCD display with Bluetooth connectivity, and it doesn’t have any workout programs either. However, where the LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike Trainer excels over other models is because it can give you an upper body workout. This model has motion handlebars which allow you to work out your upper body while biking. This is not something that many other bikes can boast about. This is a high end model no doubt and the price reflects this, but if you want a good cardio workout while also challenging your upper body, the LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike Trainer is a great option to consider.
Schwinn has been in the game for a very long time and they also never fail to impress. They make great bikes and even better upright home exercise bikes. The Schwinn 170 Upright Exercise Bike is the third and final high end model in our top 5 section. Surprisingly enough it is actually one of the cheaper high end models, yet it still provides you with a whole lot of function, comfort, and durability too. If you need a good exercise bike with 25 levels of resistance and 29 user programs, well then you have found the right one. The fact that it can provide users of any fitness level with a challenge while remaining so affordable is quite impressive.
Not only does the Schwinn 170 Upright Exercise Bike work well for people of all fitness levels, but thanks to the adjustable seat it is also great for people of all sizes. This model is also very comfortable thanks to the fact that it comes with an oversized and well-padded seat, convenient pedals, and well-padded handlebars too. You also get a really nice LCD display with this model, one that can keep accurate track of many fitness metrics, even your heartbeat thanks to the integrated handlebar pulse sensors. This baby even comes with speakers, a media shelf, a USB charging port, and a 3-speed adjustable fan.
#4 - Nautilus U614 Upright Bike - Best Upright Exercise Bike For The Money
The Nautilus U614 definitely deserves this spot in the top 5. This is a mid-range upright bike, one that won’t even cost you $400. Nautilus makes some really great workout equipment and the fact that they can provide such a valuable, durable, comfortable, functional, and overall quality product for such a low price is something that we can all appreciate no doubt. It has a very durable frame with a high user weight capacity, plus all of the parts are engineered for extreme longevity.
Moreover, the Nautilus U614 Upright Bike features 20 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance. It provides users of all fitness levels with a smooth, constant, and super-quiet cardio routine. At the same time, the Nautilus U614 Upright Bike has 2 user profiles and 22 different workout programs to help you achieve all of your goals. This is also a comfortable option to consider as everything that needs good padding has it. You also get a lot more with the Nautilus U614 Upright Bike, such as an MP3 jack, speakers, a USB charging port, data export capabilities, and handlebar heartbeat sensors too. For the limited money the Nautilus U614 Upright Bike costs, it sure brings a whole lot to the table.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike takes the number 5 spot in our top 5 list and it is for good reason. Just like the other brands in our top 5 list, Exerpeutic rarely disappoints and they surely have not done so this time around. The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is an entry level model, which means that it does not have too many features, but it also costs a lot less than many other options you could consider. However, surprisingly enough, even though it is very affordable, it still gives you quite a bang for the buck.
It is pretty impressive that such an inexpensive bike has 8 levels of magnetic resistance. While this may not be ideal for people with a high fitness level, it’s great for anyone looking for a light or moderate workout. One of the best parts about the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is of course that it can fold down to size into a compact little package that is easy to store. Other things like a well-built frame, a high user weight capacity, a comfortable and adjustable seat, and solid pedals also make the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike a great option to consider.
The Different Types Of Stationary Bikes
There are a few different types of exercise bikes out there, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s talk about the different ones right now and who they might be ideal for.
Recumbent Exercise Bike
One of the main types of exercise bike is the recumbent bike. When you look at them, they look almost like a normal upright bike, but instead of the generic seat, they have more or less an office chair. Many people like recumbent bikes because of the benefits that they bring to the table in terms of comfort. Since they have a really big seat with a good backrest, they are ideal for people who have existing back issues or are trying to prevent back related issues from occurring. They have great lumbar support, which is a big bonus for many.
Another good part about recumbent bikes is that they will not damage your joints at all. Yes, biking is considered low impact, but normal bikes still put a fair amount of weight on your hips, knees, and ankles. This can be bad for people with joint problems. However, with recumbent bikes, you are sitting down in a seated position with your legs facing forward. This helps to relieve pressure that would otherwise be put on your joints. Recumbent bikes are also quite safe seeing as they have good lumbar support, they are joint friendly, and you never have to stand up in them.
Recumbent bikes are great for people who want a light or moderate cardio routine, but want to remain safe, comfortable, and pain free the whole time. These things are safe and very comfortable to use, plus they often come with a whole plethora of features. Recumbent bikes are not ideal for people who want a really serious cardio workout. Also, recumbent bikes tend to be the biggest and heaviest of all exercise bikes, making them a little inconvenient.
The spin bike is pretty much the exact opposite of the recumbent bike. These are the bikes that you see in group spin classes in your local gym. These guys are meant for high-speed cardio activity and they don’t come with too many features. The point of spin bikes is to go fast, go hard, and usually stand up while riding. They are meant for serious cardio enthusiasts who want a hardcore workout. Most people who use spin bikes tend to like them because they mimic real biking very closely. They are often used as training tools by professional cyclists.
Unlike other types of exercise bikes, the spin bike usually only has direct contact resistance as opposed to fan or magnetic resistance. Also, they tend to not have any special features at all. This means no speakers, no fans, no Bluetooth, and none of that other fancy stuff. The most that spin bikes will have is a little computer display to tell you how fast you are going, but many don’t even have that.
These bikes are awesome for people who are focused on sweating bullets and being half dead by the end of the routine, but they are definitely not meant for people who want a light workout. They are also not designed to be comfortable. Just like with a real racing bike, the spin bike has you high up on the seat with your back bent over, plus there is a lot of weight on your joints as the spin bike often has you standing up too. It is not meant for people with back or joint issues.
Upright Exercise Bike
Now, the upright exercise bike, which is what we have been reviewing this whole time, is kind of like a mix between the recumbent bike and the spin bike. The seat tends to be a little lower down than with a spin bike to keep your back from hunching over as much. However, the seat is still higher up than a recumbent bike, so it is not quite as joint friendly. In terms of comfort, joint friendliness, and back protection, it is about in the middle of the recumbent and spin bike
The upright bike tends to be in the middle in terms of price, they are bigger than spin bikes, but smaller than recumbent bikes, and they tend to have just as many features and extras as recumbent bikes do. If you want a good mix of comfort and a challenging workout, a moderate sized and priced bike, and one that can still make your heart race, the upright exercise bike is right for you. In pretty much every way you could think of, the upright bike is the middle ground between recumbent bikes and spin bikes.
Spin Bike vs Upright Exercise Bike: Which is Best for You?
There are some key differences that help determine which type of exercise bike is best for you.
The Spin Bike Is Best For You If:
- You want to mimic the feeling of being on a racing bike
- If you are training for a cycling event
- If you want a hardcore cardio workout
- If you don’t mind a lack of features
- If you want to be in a group spinning class
- If you don’t have back or joint issues
- If you have limited space to spare
The Upright Exercise Bike Is Best For You If:
- You want a challenging workout mixed with comfort
- If you like a wider and better padded seat
- If you like extra features – fans, bottle holders, speakers, a good LCD display, Bluetooth, ETC.
- If you need to be careful about your joints
- If you like working out while being entertained
- If you have enough room in your home
- If you want to get exercise, but aren’t professional
Recumbent vs Upright Exercise Bike: Which is Best for You?
When it comes to the recumbent bike versus the upright bike, which one is better for you to use?
The Recumbent Bike Is Best For You If:
- You have joint problems
- You have back problems
- If comfort is a main concern
- If you like lots of extra features
- If you like exercising in comfort
- If you want a light or moderate workout
- If you are not training professionally
- If you have limited mobility
- If you don’t mind a big and bulky bike
The Upright Bike Is Best For You If:
- You can handle a bit of a more intense pace
- If you want a mix of comfort and an intense workout
- If you don’t really need to look out for back or joint issues
- If you have good mobility
- If you like lots of extra features – but don’t want the big size of a recumbent
What To Look Out For When Buying A Home Exercise Bike
Stationary upright bikes, and exercise bikes in general, can indeed be pretty expensive. So, there are a few key considerations that you want to keep in mind before making a purchase.
Type Of Resistance
One of the most important things to look out for is what kind of resistance the bike in question has. There are a few different types of resistance, each of which has their advantages, but realistically speaking, some are better than others.
Fan resistance is a pretty good way to go. This tends to be the cheapest kind of resistance on a bike. The resistance here is not manually adjustable. The amount of resistance you are faced with depends on how fast you pedal and nothing else. The resistance potential is virtually unlimited, but it does top out at a certain point. This resistance mechanism is big and it is noisy due to the air flow. However, many people like the simple get on and go nature of it, plus the airflow is nice for keeping cool.
Direct contact systems use a big weighted flywheel in combination with something that resembles a brake pad. These systems are reliable, plus they are not too loud either. They tend to be in the middle of magnetic and fan resistance systems in terms of noise, price, and a smooth power delivery. The downside to the direct contact resistance system is that it wears out quickly due to touching parts that rub against each other.
The final type of resistance is magnetic resistance. These use flywheels and magnets to create an invisible barrier of magnetic resistance. These tend to be the quietest, the most reliable, the smoothest, and the most constant in terms of power delivery. They also don’t take up too much room. The drawback to the magnetic resistance system is that it tends to be the most expensive.
Size & Weight
Another important thing to keep in mind before making your purchase is the overall footprint of the upright bike in question. If you have lots of people to help you lift and assemble, and if you have plenty of space in your home, this won’t matter very much to you. However, if you live on your own and don’t have too much space to spare, you will want to look out for a smaller, more compact, and lightweight model. There are quite a few models out there with folding frames which make them very compact and easy to store.
We already touched on this before, but there is more to it than just the type of resistance. If you have a fan resistance system and you still want a good cardio workout, you need to look out for one with a big fan as it will offer more resistance than one with a smaller fan. Furthermore, if you have a magnetic or direct contact resistance bike, you need to pay attention to how many levels of resistance there are. Some have as little as 5 or 8 levels while other models can go up to 40 or more. The more intense you want your workout to be the more resistance levels you will want.
Comfort is undoubtedly a very important factor when it comes to upright exercise bikes. You want to make sure that your bike has a wide seat, not one of those uncomfortable wedges that get stuck in your backside like spin bikes have. You also want to make sure that it has an adequate amount of padding to keep your behind from getting sore. A seat that is adjustable in height and its forward position is also very valuable. You might also want to look out for a model that has big pedals with a good grip pattern and straps for safety. Finally, having some good padding on the handlebars never hurt anybody.
There are some other things to look out for as well, some of which may not be important to you. Some of the better bikes come with Bluetooth capabilities’, data export, USB charging ports, media trays MP3 jacks, speakers, fans, water bottle holders, and really nice LCD displays. It is up to you to decide which features you would like. On that same note, a good LCD display that is easy to read and navigate is a big bonus, especially one that tells you what your heart rate is thanks to integrated handlebar heartbeat sensors.
The Main Benefits Of Upright Exercise Bikes
There are quite a few different benefits of using an upright exercise bike, so let’s go over the most important ones in a fair amount of detail.
Benefit #1: Joint Friendly
One of the biggest benefits that you get from using an upright exercise bike is that it is fairly joint friendly. If you have damaged or injured joints, weak joints, or a joint condition like osteoarthritis, the upright bike is right for you. High impact exercises like running and anything that involves jumping can be very bad for your joints, especially if they are not already in the best condition. Using an upright bike will let you get a good cardio workout without putting your joints at any further risk of pain or damage. It’s a good low impact cardio option to consider.
Benefit #2: Good For Your Heart And Lungs
Another reason why the upright stationary bike is beneficial is because it is great in terms of providing you with a good cardiovascular aerobic workout. Cardiovascular exercise is very important for a number of different reasons. First off, it helps to strengthen your heart, which is your lifeline. A stronger heart has an easier time pumping blood to your muscles, which means that you will gain increased endurance. At the same time, a healthy heart also leads to a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, less bad cholesterol, and a reduced risk of suffering from all kinds of heart and arterial diseases.
Moreover, this kind of exercise is also great for your lungs. It increases your VO2 max, which is how much oxygen your lungs can absorb and process. If you have more efficient lungs it means that they can more easily oxygenate your blood, thus providing your body with that much-needed oxygen. There is also the fact that you will get winded much less often.
Benefit #3: Leg Strengthening
The next benefit of using an upright bike is that it will help to make your leg muscles stronger. If you go really fast and exercise with a high resistance level, you will undoubtedly make your legs stronger. Your muscles will become bigger and toned too. Many muscles in your legs including your glutes, thighs, and calves benefit greatly from cycling. We all want stronger and bigger muscles, but many of us want those subtly toned muscles, not those body builder muscles, and the upright bike is a great way to achieve that look. Having stronger leg muscles has many benefits of its own which you should try to take advantage of.
Benefit #4: Weight Loss
Another great part about using a home exercise bike is that it is great for weight loss. You need to burn calories and you need to burn away body fat in order to be healthy. An upright bike can help you burn as much as 400 calories during a vigorous 30-minute routine (if you weigh 155 pounds). You will burn even more calories if you are heavier. Moreover, the upright bike will also help to increase your metabolic rate, thus helping you burn more calories on a daily basis even after you finish your workout routine.
Benefit #5: Endurance
The next benefit of using upright bikes is closely related to all of the previous benefits we have listed. Having a more efficient heart, lungs that can take in lots of oxygen, having stronger legs, and less weight on your body are all things which will help to increase your stamina and endurance. This is something that will come in very useful for many aspects of your everyday life.
Benefit #6: A Good Mix
One thing that we really like about stationary upright bikes is that they tend to bring a good mix of affordability, quality, comfort, and cardiovascular exercise abilities to the table. They are much more comfortable to use than regular bikes or spin bikes thanks to their large seats. Moreover, they tend to be less expensive than recumbent bikes, but smaller and more space efficient than recumbent bikes. They also usually have a good amount of useful features like a comprehensive LCD display, fitness tracking, and other things like speakers and other cool bonuses too.
Benefit #7: Happiness
The other thing that is worth mentioning is that cycling will help to make you a happier person. This has to do with the endorphins your brain releases during intense cardio exercise. It also has to do with the fact that you look better and feel healthier, thus making you feel happier too.
How To Use An Upright Stationary Bike & A Few Upright Bike Tips
Now that we have covered all of the basics, it might be time to give you a few pointers on using a stationary upright exercise bike.
- Make sure to adjust the seat properly. When the pedal is at the lowest position, your leg should be almost straight, not quite, but almost. This will help to ensure that you get maximal power with every rotation while also ensuring your comfort at the same time.
- You need to adjust the handlebars properly (if this is an option). Your arms should be extended at roughly shoulder level, or a little lower if necessary. You don’t want to have to stretch too far to get to the handlebars.
- Don’t hunch over and bend your back while biking. Some bikes like spin bikes find this to be an inherent problem, but with upright bikes that can adjust, it should not be an issue. You should be able to adjust the seat and the handlebars so that your back is virtually straight.
- Make sure to adjust the pedal straps so that you are comfortable and safe. You don’t want the straps to be so tight that they cut off blood flow, but you also don’t want the so loose that your feet can easily move around on the pedals. This will help make biking much easier.
- Make sure to have your whole foot on the pedals. If you pedal with just your toes or toes and the balls of your feet, you are going to put undue stress on your calves. You want to use your toes, the balls of your feet, and your heels to pedal.
- Make sure that you are familiar with the display and various settings. You don’t want to be ready for an intense cardio workout only to find out that you have no idea how to operate the upright exercise bike.
- If your bike has workout programs to choose from, choose one that suits your needs. If you want to burn calories, use a calorie program. If you want to go the distance, set a program that is distance based. The point is to try and use a program that will help you accomplish your goals.
- Never start by going too hard. Doing too much in the beginning will demotivate you and make your body hurt. Start off slow and steady if you are not really accustomed to physical exercise.
- Make sure to hold on to the handlebars if there are any as it is the proper way to use an upright bike. If it has motion handlebars you should definitely use them to take advantage of upper body workout capabilities.
- If your upright bike has a heart rate monitor of any kind, make sure to use it. This is also true for the various fitness apps and tracking abilities that these bikes may come with. Simply put, knowledge is power and it is needed to better yourself.
For some other tips on how to use an upright stationary bike, check out the video below.
5 Great Exercise Bike Workouts
Now that you know what to look out for in a good upright bike and how to use it, let’s talk about some of the different workout routines that you could take advantage of to achieve your goals.
Workout #1: The Intensifier
This first one is an all-out leg toning and fat burning routine. This one will put your fitness level to the test no doubt. It’s a pretty simple yet effective routine to follow. All you have to do is to set the bike at a relatively high level of resistance and sprint (pedal as fast as you can) for twenty seconds, then cool off and go slow for 10 seconds, and repeat this at least 10 times. This will count as one set. After a set, take a 5-minute rest and repeat the whole thing at least 5 times.
Workout #2: The Cardio Kicker
This one is another really intense workout to do on the upright bike. Unlike the intensifier, the cardio kicker utilizes long burst of sprinting with longer cool down periods, as opposed to short bursts of each. This is another simple yet effective workout that will burn calories, tone your legs, and put your cardio tolerance to the test. Simply put the bike on a high resistance level and go as hard as you can for a total of 2 minutes. Depending on your fitness level, after those two minutes of intense cycling, you should take a rest of 2 or 3 minutes. This will count as one set. Repeat this at least 8 or 10 times to get the full effects of the cardio kicker.
Workout #3: The “I Wish I Was Dead”
This routine is definitely not for the faint of heart. The “I Wish I Was Dead” routine is meant for people who want to get a maximum cardio workout. It is pretty simple still, but oh so effective. Just set the bike to a high resistance level and go as hard and fast as you can for 15 minutes. After this, rest for 3 minutes, then go as hard as you can for another 10 minutes, rest for 2 minutes, and then go at full pace for another 5 minutes. If you are really feeling like a challenge you can repeat this once.
For some other great exercise bike workouts, you can check out the below videos for some additional ideas.
Workout #4: Beginner Upright Bike Workout
Workout #5: Exercise Bike Abs Workout
How To Clean & Maintain Your Upright Exercise Bike
So you can make your new upright stationary bike last for as long as possible, you need to take good care of it. Here are some tips you can follow in order to make sure that your exercise bike has a long life.
- Never set it on uneven ground. Uneven ground can cause imbalances in the bike and eventually damage it. Uneven ground can be ok if the bike you have has stabilizers. This means you can adjust the legs so that the bike rests even on uneven surfaces.
- Always make sure to lubricate the upright bike. Any moving parts need to be regularly lubricated to make sure that they keep working smoothly. This is also true in terms of cleaning. Any moving parts should be regularly wiped down with a damp cloth to remove dirt, grit, and anything else that can get in the way of a smooth experience.
- This might be obvious, but be gentle with it. Yes, these bikes are usually pretty big, but they can’t take too much abuse.
- Always wipe down anything you touch after you are done using it. Don’t let sweat and dirt remain on the seat, handlebars or the console if you don’t want it to get all stinky and nasty. This is especially true for the console. Make sure to wipe it down regularly.
- Many bikes tend to have their parts and connectors loosen after prolonged use. Make sure to retighten any connectors that have come loose in order to prevent damage.
- Keep your upright exercise bike in a moderate environment that is dry and fairly cool. Too much moisture can cause your bike to rust and it can damage electrical components. Also, being way too hot or too cold is not good for your bike in any way.
We hope that our upright exercise bike reviews were of help to you in terms of helping you decide which one is best for you. The best exercise bike is the one that suits all of your needs. That being said, just make sure to consider your needs and weigh them against the specifics of the bike in question. Remember folks, cardio exercise is very important and these bikes are a great way to get it!
If you have any questions or comments about anything we have talked about here today, just leave them below and we will get back to you as soon as we can!