As winter advances, the savvy athlete has started coming up with a gameplan for their winter fitness. Many will be going with a gym membership, however, for the exceptionally time-crunched it makes sense to invest in a few pieces of home equipment.
the treadmill and the elliptical are two top contenders for home cardio, and we’ll talk about them in other posts.
However, for today I want to dive into a conversation about stationary bikes.
There are many options. Here’s what you need to know
Types of Bikes
This one is the most common. It typically offers “quiet” magnetic resistance with multiple levels. It also has a small, battery-driven, LCD screen.
Nicer ones have support for chest strap heart rate monitors.
The problem with these bikes is that the cheaper ones tend to be wobbly and can overheat. It is worth spending a little more money on a more extensive bike, especially if you plan on putting in longer workouts.
These bikes are excellent for any household and are ideal for steady state workouts while you watch the TV.
This is a class of bike that looks a lot like typical race bikes. They have a large, weighted flywheel in either the front or the bike and use either magnetic or mechanical resistance.
These bikes are ideal for the hardcore athlete as they offer a road-equivalent workout. You can stand and pedal and sit and pedal and lean forward and pedal which lets you hit all of the same muscle groups you could hit when riding a real bike.
There are countless workout videos for sale for these machines, in case you want some added motivation.
Many of these do not come with screens, and the workout is measured based on perceived exertion and time.
This one is an excellent choice for the runner who wants a serious, yet the low-impact option as well as for the athlete who does a lot of biking in the “real world.”
The best spin bike is expensive, but there are many low-cost options available that can support riders of 250+ pounds or more. Dave has some good reviews on the current options.
It is very similar to the first option that I mentioned above, but the primary consideration is that this bike design puts your feet out in front of you.
The recumbent is designed for the senior athlete and those who appreciate a bike that is easier to get on and off of.
Due to their design, they do take up more space, but they also tend to be more stable.
These hit an entirely different set of muscles, so even if you are well-adapted to the stationary bike, you will appreciate the new challenge offered by this machine.
Most of us make our first equipment purchase as an impulse buy. We’re browsing Wal-mart and go “damn, I didn’t know they sold workout equipment for under $100!”
Next thing you know, we are at home with this little box with like 2,000 screws, trying to get it put together.
We ride it once but it feels smaller than we expected and it seems weird to be perched on this little machine. Weirded out, we put it in the corner of the bedroom.
Ok, that’s how I handled mine.
When you spend more on a bike, you can get one with a larger base, and that offers more stability for those hardcore workouts.
But, then, you also need more space for it.
If you just want something that you can get on for 20 minutes, three times a week than these cheapo Walmart bikes will work just well.
Serious athletes need to spend serious coin… or get a gym membership.
Especially in this age of online sales, there are a lot of importers peddling their cheap wares online without offering proper support.
At best, you end up with long hold times on the phone. At worst, you get email support that never responds or responds by shipping you a new box of parts some six weeks after you emailed them.
Be sure to read the reviews of other users online and try to find a brand that is responsive to their customers. Maybe even try calling their warranty phone number to see how long their support line wait is.
Ideally, if you can afford to buy from a local shop which also offers repair, you will be in the best situation as they can fix the problems as they arise and labor warranty might even be covered. It’s worth asking.
Keep in mind that warranties don’t transfer in the sale of the second-hand bike.s
There are countless options online and in local stores. It turns out that it doesn’t matter which one you buy. It matters that you use it.
And, you can always sell this one on Craiglist and upgrade next year. .