If you've decided to take your home exercise program to the next level, you may be thinking about buying one of those sleek indoor cycle bikes you've used at your health club. But, are they all the same? What should you look for?
Guide to Indoor Exercise Bikes
Like all other types of exercise equipment, indoor cycle bikes come in a wide variety of price ranges, features and quality. As the old adage goes, You get what you pay for. Bikes differ significantly from basic stationary cycles and are generally designed to take sustained abuse by serious fitness fanatics.
Low End Indoor Cycle Bikes
The first thing to consider when shopping for bikes is what your budget will allow and how often you're likely to use it. If you'll only be riding your bike a few times a month, you might be able to get away with buying a low-end model. On the other hand, if you're planning on pounding out some serious mileage, then you'll want to consider higher-end models that are more durable and loaded with more bells and whistles. Simple bikes usually offer the following features:
- Adjustable handlebars
- Adjustable seats
- Resistance tension controls
- Rollers for easy transportation
- Durable materials
Some good examples of entry level indoor rigs are the Stamina CPS 9200 Indoor Cycle, the Yukon HIGOL STD-38 and the Mileage SP-08 Training Bike. As of 2009, these bikes range in price from $400 to over $1,000 and are available at American Fitness Exercise Equipment.
High End Performance Indoor Cycle Bikes
If you're a serious cyclist who intends to use your bike to supplement your outdoor program or you demand the best features that money can buy, you'll need to spend some serious money. High end bikes feature:
- Infinite adjustments on all major components - seat, handlebars and pedals
- 48 lb flywheel
- Clipless pedals
- Electronic user interfaces that connect to your home computer
- Wireless recording of biometric information - heart rate, power, time, distance, cadence, speed and energy
- Data storage capacity up to 150 hours of exercise
- Easy to read LCD screens and interactive tachometers
- Training material, including DVDs
Brands Cycle offers a complete line of high performance indoor bikes. At the low end, the Lemond Fitness RevMaster Sport uses a Kevlar belt instead of the traditional chain drive that results in a smoother, quieter drive, classic-style handlebars, adjustable floor levelers, micro-adjustments for the handlebars and seat post, an anatomically designed saddle and transportation wheels to make moving the RevMaster easy. The RevMaster costs $900. Their top-of-the-line indoor bike is the CycleOps Pro 300PT Indoor Cycle. The CycleOps costs $1,800 (as of 2009), is designed for serious athletes and features power readings that are accurate to within +/- 2 percent, a 48 lb. flywheel and a USB connector that makes it a snap to download performance data to your PC.
When you and your family need the kind of durability and performance from an indoor bike that can stand up to constant abuse, consider buying a commercial bike. While they may significantly deplete your bank account, you'll get the best that money can buy and features that typically aren't available with other, less expensive models. For instance, the eSpinner, will cost you around $4,400 but it includes an integrated touch screen computer with a digital TV tuner, headphone and iPod jack, onboard cycling classes, motivational coach and dual-sided, SPD-compatible pedals, so riders can wear either regular fitness shoes or clipless pedal cleats.
Complementary Fitness Equipment
In addition to buying the bike, you'll probably want to add a few more fitness items to your home gym. These include:
- Heart rate monitor
- Daily exercise chart
- Exercise log
- Exercise journals
- Appropriate exercise clothing
- Music to motivate you
An Effective Way to Exercise
Keeping your fitness program alive by using one of the bikes described above can be an easy, yet challenging way to stay fit. So, clear out that spare bedroom and get ready to put in some serious mileage!
by Allen Smith