An exercise bike or 'fitness bike' is one of the most familiar pieces of gym equipment, letting you pedal your way to fitness without the hassle of weather or traffic! Exercise bikes give your thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings) a workout, yes, but they do most for your heart.
There are two main types – upright and recumbent. Upright bikes are like a normal bicycle: you sit on a saddle and lean forward as you pedal. On recumbent fitness bicycles you lean back and 'put your back into it'. (You may also hear about 'semi-recumbents', with the rider's position halfway between an upright and a recumbent, and 'combination' bikes which can convert into rowers.)
The parts of an exercise bike
The low-impact, low-strain rhythm of an exercise cycle makes the activity very safe for all ages, so why not learn more about exercise bikes – starting here!
Here's what the jargon means...
|Flywheel||The flywheel is inside the machine (or sometimes visible at the front). As you push and pull it creates momentum so you can build up pace smoothly (and slow smoothly, too.)|
|Grips or handlebars||The grips or handlebars are where you hold the exercise bicycle while cycling.|
|Heart rate monitor||A heart rate monitor detects your pulse, usually through touching the grips, so you can see how hard your heart’s working! Remember, the most effective heart rate for you is about 70-80% of your maximum heart rate.|
|Magnetic resistance pedalling motion||Magnetic resistance pedalling motion uses magnets to create ‘drag’ as you pedal, giving you a harder workout. Most models come with several levels of resistance and can combine them in programmes.|
|Pedals||The pedals are where you put your feet when using an exercise bike. There’ll usually be straps to keep your feet in place.|
|Recumbent||A recumbent exercise bike has a lean-back riding position with a padded backrest, which is more comfortable if you’re pedalling for a long time or recovering from knee/back injuries.|
|Saddle or seatpad||The saddle or seatpad is where you sit. It’s more padded and comfortable than a real bike.|
|Transmission||The transmission is the belt/magnets and flywheel assembly inside the machine.|
|Upright||An upright exercise bike (the most common kind) has the same riding position as a normal bike. You sit in a raised position with your legs slightly in front, and lean forward to grip the handlebars.|
So now you know your exercise bikes, let's find out
what features you should look for.