Let’s be honest, we all want to be in good shape and look good don’t we? Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts, it takes a lot of effort – a LOT of effort! Although you already know that and probably don’t want to hear it again, but it can be fun and that’s why we’ve compiled a list for the best exercise bike 2018.
According to webmd.com, the fitness bike is back! It is fun – you can exercise in front of the TV for goodness sake! You don’t have to go out in the rain and you don’t have to pay to join a gym, both big advantages.
Exercise bikes are gentle on the joints, they help tone your lower body muscles, you’ll get a good cardio workout and you can even lose some weight. Wow, all of this while you watch your favorite TV show!
Using a stationary bike to stay fit can also be beneficial to older people. Exercise equipment for seniors can make a big difference. Take a look at Bob Fietsam’s story, he’s an ex-runner in his late seventies and he uses his stationary bike most days to keep himself in shape.
Of course there are other ways to stay fit, as pointed out by Healthyambition.com, but if you’re going for an exercise bike you’ll want to make sure you get the one which is best for you as there are a lot of different ones to choose from, that’s why we’ve picked the top 10 indoor exercise bikes we like and reviewed them below. Have a look through them and see if one of them is right for you.
1. Exerpeutic 1200 – Popular for Home Use
Although there are plenty to choose from, we’ve picked the Exerpeutic 1200 Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse as our number one choice for best exercise bike 2018. The reason we like it so much is that it’s a well-made, compact bike for home use, which works well and offers value for money. There is a newer version that’s a little more expensive, but customer feedback on performance on this one, together with its popularity and price, are why we’ve put it first.
Being fairly small at 31”L x 19”W x 46”H makes this bike ideal for home use. Even though compact it’s a very sturdy machine, with the frame being made from heavy duty tubular steel. Let’s face it, you want something built to last that will take a bit of rough handling.
Durability isn’t a problem here and nor is the load it can take, with 300 pounds being the maximum user weight. This is really good, especially when you consider the fact that the whole unit only weighs around 49 pounds.
Stability isn’t a problem either as it has extended leg stabilisers fitted to prevent it tipping over. Even though it’s a compact bike, the wider stabilisers help to keep you steady. There are also wheels fitted so it can be easily moved around and it folds up to about half its full size, to make storing it away easier.
The resistance on the Exerpeutic 1200 is controlled by a magnetic strip which is near to the flywheel and adjusting it to be closer or further away is what controls it. There are 8 levels, with the first being the easiest and the eighth, the hardest. The adjusting knob is fixed to the handlebars and the transition between levels of resistance runs smoothly.
It has a three-piece high torque crank system, a V-belt drive connects the pedals and flywheel. The shape of the belt helps to give a better grip and to prevent slipping during transitions to different resistance levels. Working in this way also helps the overall performance to remain smooth and remarkably quiet.
Although an upright bike, the pedals are situated quite away forward which means more effort is required for pedalling and this might cause discomfort for some. The pedals have safety straps to make sure your feet stay in place without slipping. It has a chain drive, which means very little maintenance should be necessary.
The seat is well padded to make sure it’s comfortable, but it’s quite large. Whilst it has been ergonomically designed for comfort, the fact that it is large, might make it too big for some users. If the seat was used in the same way as a rower, it wouldn’t be a problem, but as your legs go up and down on the sides of it, there’s a possibility it could become uncomfortable after a while.
Although not backlit, the display is easy to read. It shows speed, distance and calories burned. These are all shown as estimates so comparing your workouts for improvement is better than relying on individual readings. The time and your heart rate can also be displayed, with the heart rate measured from a hand pulse grip.
It’s very easy to assemble as the body is just one piece so it’s just the seat, pedals, stabiliser bars, handlebars and display that need attaching. Storing it away is easy as it folds to 19” x 19” x 46”, so will fit into a small cupboard or perhaps under the bed.
If you’re looking for a good value and solid bike, it’s worth checking out the Exerpeutic 1200.
2. The DeskCycle – Great for Office Use
Our next pick, for best exercise bike 2018 is the DeskCycle Pedal Exerciser is a bit different because it isn’t strictly an exercise bike, but it does use pedals in the same way. Although it can be used at home, it has been specifically designed to use in the office at work.
Rather than having to have an exercise bike sitting inconveniently in the corner of your office, the DeskCycle sits out of the way under your desk. It was one of the first of its kind on the market and despite others being introduced, it still holds up very well.
There’s something novel about being able to exercise as you work, although it does take some multi-tasking skills. It’s possible to write or type and pedal at the same time but it does take some getting used to.
The design is purposefully small with a low profile so it can fit under a desk. The manufacturer says that at 10 inches, it has the lowest pedal height available for this type of machine. It has to be low otherwise using it would be difficult.
It certainly needs to be low for those with longer legs, which can be a problem. Using it with desks as low as 27 inches is possible, but it does also depend on how long your legs are. For anyone over 5’ 7”, the unit needs to be pushed further away from you so that your legs can stretch right out.
There are 8 levels of resistance which are controlled by a knob on the front and it uses a magnetic resistance system. This is very efficient and gives a smooth and extremely quiet operation. Running quietly is no doubt important if there are other people in the office too. Too much noise would most likely become annoying to them after a while.
You can pedal either clockwise or anti-clockwise to do your exercise and it’s said to have double the range of resistance than other similar pedal exercisers. The pedals are quite large and have Velcro straps to prevent slipping. If your office chair has castors fitted it’s a good idea to place it on a mat otherwise you may find yourself moving around a lot as you pedal.
The cycle itself has a 20” wide supporting leg at the front and a 15” one at the back. These help to make it very stable and also prevent any side to side motion while it’s being peddled. It weighs around 23 pounds, which for something this small, is quite heavy although it also helps to keep it stable.
As for the monitor, it can be fixed to The DeskCycle, but that makes it difficult to read as it’s under the desk. It can also be placed on your desk with a desk display stand, it has a 10’ extension cable. It shows speed, distance, calories burned and exercise time.
There is a disclaimer regarding the calories calculations, but that’s not really unusual, it’s based on maximum effort. There’s also a free online calculator which can help to give a better estimate.
Assembly is very easy as the pedals and support legs are removed for shipping. The legs can be fixed into place by tightening the nuts by hand and the pedals need a little more tightening, but there is a tool supplied to do this.
If you fancy working out while at work or even while sitting at home, The DeskCycle will do a good job for you.
3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901 – Value for Money
Although not the cheapest on the market, the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B901 Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is fairly basic, but does give you all you need in an exercise bike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, you’ll get a lot from using this bike and it is certainly value for money, that’s why it’s a contender for best exercise bike 2018.
It might be basic but it does look good, but more importantly is sturdy, lightweight and compact. These three things are important for a home bike machine as you’ll probably need to move it around, need it to be easily stored away and want something that’s built to last.
We say it’s lightweight but it does weigh-in at just over 97 pounds. Just under half of that weight is from the flywheel, which is 40 pounds. This is good for a cheaper model of bike as a heavier flywheel helps to give a smoother resistance and more stability. As it’s also a large flywheel it helps to give a closer feeling to riding an actual road bike.
You have control of how difficult your workout will be by controlling the resistance with a simple knob which is fixed to the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901. When turned, the knob moves a brake caliper which is attached to two cables. This action moves a brake pad on both sides of the flywheel, closer or further away, which increases or decreases the resistance.
There is some noise generated from it, but you’d expect that. It can become noisier during a longer, high intensity workout. It’s a chain driven exercise bike, so it can’t be completely silent. It’s safe to say it runs quietly rather than silently!
Comfort is an important factor as you’re likely to be on the machine for long periods. Both the seat and handlebars are adjustable to fit to your height. The handlebars are covered in a thick padding. This will help to get a good grip, especially when you have sweaty hands, and it will make it more comfortable. It’s so easy to get sore hands or blisters when working out, but this padding will reduce the chances of it.
The seat is also padded, although it could do with a little more. It’s not bad, but when sitting on these type of seats they can become uncomfortable after a short time. It’s true to say that this is typical of many exercise bikes so it’s not unique to the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike. Bike seats are normally uncomfortable, no matter how much padding they have, it’s just that they take some getting used to.
If your backside does become uncomfortable, another option is to cycle while standing up on the pedals. They are strong and sturdy so standing isn’t a problem. The pedal crank arms are the same as those on a regular bike, which is unusual for an exercise bike at this level, as they’re normally flimsier and not so strong.
There isn’t any performance tracking available on this bike or any speed or distance display. This might be seen as a negative as it is useful to have the data in front of you, but many exercise bike users work to time rather than distance. If you’re not bothered about how many miles you’ve done, then it won’t be a problem and you might want to check out the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901.
4. Exerpeutic 900XL – Best Budget Recumbent
The Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike probably gets the prize for the best budget recumbent bike because it’s well made and does a good job for an exercise bike at the lower end of the market. A lot of people prefer the recumbent type because you lie back on the seat which has back support and you’re more spread out. This spreads your weight and many find this more comfortable.
Recumbent bikes are great if you want to do a workout and another activity, such as reading, at the same time. This might not be for everyone as it can make exercising a bit more laid back – literally! It seems an upright bike demands more exertion and concentration, that’s not really the case, just a perception.
Like some other bikes in our best exercise bikes 2018, the 900XL makes it onto the list because of its performance compared to the price you’ll pay and its popularity. Just because it’s a lower budget bike, it doesn’t mean it isn’t good. If you are a beginner, it might be a good choice for you.
It has a magnetic resistance system with 8 levels to choose from. It can be a good way to work up if you’re a beginner or if you’re an old hand, you can begin at a higher level.
Magnetic resistance machines are known for their quiet running and the Exerpeutic 900XL is no exception. There is some noise, but not much. The flywheel is precision balanced, there’s a V-belt drive and a smooth torque cranking system. These all contribute to the smooth and quiet running.
Even though it is a budget machine, it has a large bright LCD display unit. It has a scan function so you can look through all of the data it records. These are, distance, time, speed, calories burned and heart rate. The heart rate data is calculated from holding the hand grip sensor.
As with any monitoring, it’s best to use the data to compare like for like results rather than using single results in isolation. It’s very good to have a heart rate function, particularly on a machine like this which isn’t top of the range.
The unit is built to a high quality, being sturdy but lightweight. It has strong and extended leg stabilizers and a low center of gravity which gives it a good balance and prevents it from tipping over. The maximum weight load is 300 pounds which is around the norm or just a bit higher for this type of machine.
The seat is fairly large and padded but some customers have said that it can get a bit uncomfortable if sitting on it for any length of time. It’s also adjustable, but it does take a little getting used to. The pedals are quite large and have foot straps fitted to prevent any slipping. There are built-in wheels to make is easier to move and it folds for easy storage.
Putting it together shouldn’t be too difficult as it comes part assembled. It might get a little confusing for some, but there’s a detailed instruction manual and the tools needed are supplied. The manufacturer says one person can do it and it can take between one and two hours.
The Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike might be an entry-level bike, but it is well-made and although fairly basic, does do a very good job. That’s why we believe it to be the best budget recumbent exercise bike you can get. If you’re specifically looking for a recumbent bike, you’ll not go wrong with this one.
5. Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS – New and Improved
The Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS is an updated version of our number one choice of bikes, the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright. This one has all of the qualities you’d expect from an Exerpeutic bike. It’s still an entry-level bike, but there are some improvements compared to the previous version with the price being a little higher, but the original remains extremely popular so it’s still our choice of best exercise bike 2018.
There are improvements to the frame which is made from heavy duty tubular steel and is highly durable. It now contains 20% more steel than it previously did. This makes it slightly heavier at 51.6 pounds, but it also means that it can take a heavier load, up from 300 to 400 pounds. That shows how sturdy the GOLD 500 XLS is.
The adjustments have also been improved so that the height-range it can take, is slightly broader. It’s now able to handle a range from 5’1” to 6’5”. This increase together with the increase in the maximum load will open it up to more people.
Comfort is important and there are improvements here too. The seat is very large at about 14” wide and around 9” deep with plenty of padding. It’s firm but comfortable although some people might find it a little too large. It can be easily adjusted up and down to adapt to your height.
The pedals are purposely oversized and are made from a hard plastic. They’re non-slip and have straps to keep your feet in place. Their positioning is just a bit in front of you rather than directly below, not as much as a recumbent bike, but it might take some getting used to and shouldn’t put any extra strain on your joints.
There’s a very smooth feel as you pedal, which is largely down to the magnetic resistance system. At higher levels of resistance, it can be less smooth due to the flywheel being lightweight. It has 8 levels controlled by a knob on the front of the bike. This controls the magnets, making them move closer or further away from the flywheel to increase and decrease the tension.
Because the magnets don’t touch the flywheel, the bike runs very quietly. For most people the settings between 3 and 6 are the kind of resistance you’d use. For those who are advanced, level 8 which is the maximum, might not provide enough resistance, although for regular users, it will be fairly tough.
The V-belt drive system is heavy duty so it won’t stretch and shouldn’t need any maintenance. Both it and the braking system are housed in a small box so that nothing can get caught up in it. Like the earlier model, the GOLD 500 XLS also has a 3 piece, high torque cranking system which helps with the smoothness of pedalling. It’s not strong enough to hold the full weight of the user, so standing while pedalling isn’t possible.
It has a fairly basic console, but for an entry-level exercise bike it does a good job. Data shown includes time, speed, distance, calories burned and pulse. Apart from the time, the rest of the data is approximate. There’s also an odometer which saves the total distance.
For heart rate monitoring there’s a sensor on each handlebar and you need to grip both of them at the same time for it to work. You’ll get an indication of your heart rate but data from these type of sensors can be inaccurate.
The console switches on when you start pedalling and turns off after 4 minutes of inactivity. It can also be turned on and off manually. There’s a scan feature so it will cycle through your data.
Assembly is easy as it comes part-assembled and the tools needed are supplied. It should take less than an hour to get it ready. Storage is no problem as it folds up so will fit into a cupboard out of the way.
Want to know More? Check out the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS.
6. Exerpeutic 400XL – Semi-Recumbent
The Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike is a fairly simple and basic model. It’s often referred to as being semi-recumbent because the pedals aren’t positioned as far forward as you’d expect from this type of bike. It does give more or less the same feel as a fully recumbent bike in that there’s less strain placed on the back and knees.
It’s lightweight at only 39 pounds, but is sturdily built with the frame being made from tubular steel with an anti-corrosive powder coating finish. There isn’t any “give” or wobble as you work out. It’s great if you’re limited on space as it’s only 19”W x 35”L and it folds to about half its size for storing away.
Even though it’s fairly small, it isn’t unstable at all as it has extended leg stabilizers. It’s comforting to know you won’t topple over as you lean back into the seat. The frame has a 1 year warranty, but as it has durability it should last a very long time.
As with other Exerpeutic exercise bikes at this level, the drive and resistance work in the same way. The 3-piece high torque system with the precision balanced flywheel ensures smooth pedalling and the V-belt double-drive transmission system means it runs very quietly. The magnetic tension control has 8 levels of resistance, controlled by rotating the knob on the front of the frame.
The resistance, torque and drive methods are common for all of the bikes in this range and have proved to be reliable and popular. Even though not top of the range, the system delivers some good results.
Limitations to use of the Exerpeutic 400XL are typical, with a maximum load of 300 pounds and suitable height ranging from 5’2” to 6’2”. The 500 XLS is more suited to heavier and taller people. Of course these limitations are the recommended ones, so being a little outside of them might be alright. Having said that, it’s important to be able to fully stretch out your legs as you pedal, in order to get the full benefit of the exercise.
It’s really important with a recumbent bike to make sure the seat is comfortable as you have to lean back into it. Both the seat and backrest are comfortable although the backrest is at an angle and can’t be adjusted. It should be ok for most people as the angle is designed to accommodate for leaning back.
The seat is 20” wide, with both it and the backrest being well-padded for. If you plan to be on it for a long time, it might start to be uncomfortable. There are side handlebars to hold on to, but the sitting position will make you feel stable anyway.
Although the handlebars are to the side of the seat, they are 21” apart so there shouldn’t be any problem fitting between them for most people. You don’t need to hold on to them unless you want to use the heart rate monitor as the pulse sensors are built into them.
As already mentioned, the pedals are slightly to the front and are made from tough plastic. They’re designed to take shoes with a non-grip surface and they also have straps to make sure there’s no slipping.
It’s a typical console on the 400XL with a digital read out, but it isn’t backlit. It shows distance, time, speed, calories burned and heart rate. Remember, accuracy (other than time) isn’t spot on, it’s meant as a guide or estimate. The heart rate is calculated from gripping onto the sensors on the handlebars.
Assembly isn’t a difficult job as it’s delivered part assembled and the tools required are supplied with detailed instructions in the manual. Storage isn’t a problem as it isn’t very big anyway, but it folds up to half its size.
The Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike is a good choice for older users or those recovering from an injury as you can lean back on it. This means there’s less pressure on joints and the back because of this and the positioning of the pedals.
7. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1203 – Budget but Quality
For a popular budget exercise bike that offers high quality even though it’s not top of the range, you might want to look at the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1203 Indoor Cycle. It obviously doesn’t have the features of more expensive models, but you can get a very good workout from it.
It’s built very well and is robust. The pedals and crank are heavy duty and are fitted with toe caps and straps. Because they’re so strong it’s possible to pedal either sitting down or standing up. Either way, there won’t be much movement, even during intense training.
Weighing in at 61 pounds, the SF-B1203 isn’t lightweight, but nor is it particularly heavy. It isn’t large either at just 30.7”L x 24.8”W. It’s a cross between a spin and upright bike, although not as wide or long as you’d expect a spin bike to be. The maximum weight load is 240 pounds, which is less than many other indoor bikes.
The handlebar is similar to what you get on an upright bike, but one drawback is that it’s not adjustable. Because of the handlebar shape though, you can use them in different positions and therefore vary your workouts.
There is adjustment for the seat up and down, it can handle heights between 4’10” and 6’. It’s quite large, which isn’t to everyone’s liking and is also quite hard, but perhaps more comfortable than other similar models.
The flywheel is 22 pounds which is lighter than on many heavier models, but heavier than on most upright bikes. At this weight it helps with the overall stability. The flywheel is powered by a high quality chain drive which fits around it. It’s the same system as used in the “SF” range.
Resistance to the flywheel is controlled by friction pads which come into contact with it. There’s a knob to control the level of resistance which sits just above the flywheel. It can also be used as an emergency brake if you want to stop the flywheel quickly. There aren’t any levels of control so it can be difficult comparing one workout to another.
Some noise is produced when the SF-B1203 is being used but it’s certainly not very loud. You’d expect there to be an amount of noise with friction pads being used in this way against the flywheel. It probably gives off about the same amount of noise as a road bike.
The friction can also cause a small amount of dust and the chain will need tightening and some lubrication from time to time, so watch out for occasional drips. The pads last a long time but will eventually need to be replaced.
For keeping a track on your progress there is a display read out but it is simple and basic. It will show time, speed, distance and calories burned. Because it can only show one item at a time, there’s a scan function which will cycle through each of them. It will automatically start when the flywheel moves and power down if it isn’t moving, but it also has an on/off button.
Assembly is easy as it is part assembled, there’s an instruction manual and the tools needed are supplied. It’s thought you should be able to get it ready in around half an hour. Storage isn’t too difficult as it isn’t a big bike, but it doesn’t fold away.
Overall, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1203 Indoor Cycle is a well-made, high performer from a renowned manufacturer. It’s not for seasoned bikers but at a budget price, it’s certainly worth what you pay for it.
8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 – Mini
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 is another of those exercise bikes that will fit under a desk for use in the office or to use at home while sitting down. It won’t take up too much space with dimensions of 21.7”L x 18.1”W x 14”H. It’s one piece of equipment that shouldn’t get in the way. It might seem a little odd that you can actually workout while sitting on your sofa!
Sunny Health & Fitness, who are based in Los Angeles CA, are known for making quality products, with this one being no exception. The results of your workouts from this machine will be different to an upright bike, but there are some benefits, mainly cardio. It can help you to lose some weight, but not like an upright or recumbent.
As you would expect, the SF-B0418 is well-built with a sturdy frame made from steel. It’s both compact and lightweight at only 24 pounds. It’s been designed so you can pedal with your arms as well as your legs. This makes it more versatile than you might expect.
Interestingly, it’s also possible to use it sitting down or standing up, but if you do stand, you may need something to hold on to unless you’re very good at balancing! The maximum user load if you do want to stand, is 220 pounds. This isn’t as much as many other bikes, but it should cover most people and it’s probably only a small minority that would want to use it standing anyway.
It has a magnetic resistance system, which means it runs quietly and there’s a simple 8 level micro tension controller to set the resistance you want. Of course with it having a magnetic resistance it means the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 doesn’t only run quietly, but smoothly too.
The LCD display is fairly large so it’s easy to read, unless you’re using it under a desk. It shows time, speed, distance, calories burned and RPM (rotations per minute). There’s also an odometer which keeps count of the total accumulated distance.
As with other Sunny Health & Fitness LCD displays, it can be turned on and off manually or it will automatically come on when you start to pedal. It can be set to lock mode to view one piece of data or to scan mode, where it automatically cycles through each piece of data.
You might think that most people buy one of these to use in their office, but you’d be surprised how many purchase one for convenient home use. It would be of particular use to those who have been advised by a doctor to start doing some exercise, or if you’re recovering from an injury and want to ease back into working out. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Mini is easy to set up and comes at an affordable price.
9. FitDesk FDX 2.0 – Great to Workout and Work
Now here’s something a little different, another candidate for best exercise bike 2018 as you can do your work and workout at the same time. The FitDesk FDX 2.0 Desk Exercise Bike includes a desk platform for your laptop and it has a massage bar too.
The manufacturer says it’s all about bringing productivity and health together, working your legs and working on your laptop. Some people might want to keep those activities separated, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Pedalling and using your laptop at the same time might take some getting used to, but it can keep you productive as you keep fit.
It’s an adjustable workstation with a built-in desk area which measures 16” x 19” and has a non-slip surface. You can obviously use it for things other than a laptop, such as resting a book or magazine.
There’s also a small drawer for storing things like pens, your phone or earbuds. The massage bar is conveniently placed. It’s an adjustable arm rest with a padded, contoured massage bar to give support to your arm as you type. This is all very nice and novel, but what about the bike itself?
The FitDesk FDX 2.0 is an upright bike but semi-recumbent too, as you can relax back into the seat, which is a beach cruiser style with a 4” extender. It can be adjusted to cater for differing heights. The most suitable heights are between 4’10” to just over 6’. The recommended maximum load is 250 pounds.
Weighing only 45 pounds, it’s fairly lightweight and doesn’t take up too much space with dimensions of 28” x 16” x 45”. The compact frame is balanced for stability and made from steel, the gearbox is made from aluminum. It can be easily folded for convenient storing away and there are built-in wheels so it can be moved around without any problems.
There’s a twin belt, high velocity flywheel on the FDX 2.0 which is controlled by magnetic resistance with 8 adjustable levels. This together with the precision sealed bearings means it runs very quietly and smoothly with very little vibration. The lack of vibration and smooth running is important if you’re planning use a laptop on the desk area.
Comfort is obviously important when you’re sitting for a long while, especially if you’re typing too. The seat is nicely padded but firm. It is very comfortable although it can become a little uncomfortable after long periods. The fact that it’s semi-recumbent with a backrest, which is fully adjustable and has a 4” extender, does help to make it more comfortable.
You can keep a track on how you’re progressing with the LCD display. It’s fairly basic, but is better than some others. It shows distance, time and calories burned. The calorie data isn’t completely accurate, but that’s common for most such monitors. One advantage this display has, is that if you stop pedalling, the timer pauses until you start again. It will also store your data so you can look back over it.
Assembly is reasonably easy with full instructions included, although some bits can be a little difficult to understand. It shouldn’t take much more than half an hour to put together. The FitDesk FDX 2.0 is entry level, but is good quality, offering something unique with a workstation built-in, a smooth quiet operation and certainly value for what it costs.
10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 – One of the Best Spin Bikes
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 is one of the top spin bikes in this range. Although not expensive, it does cost a little more than some other models at this level. It’s a heavy duty bike but doesn’t have as many features as many others do.
One of the most notable features is that the flywheel is very heavy at 49 pounds, which is what you’d expect from a much more expensive indoor bike. Because it’s so heavy, it takes more effort to get it going and to slow it down. This helps to keep your strokes more even than with a lighter flywheel because of the amount of inertia it generates.
Having this type of heavy flywheel makes the experience closer to that of a road bike, which is what some people prefer. It gives a consistent momentum and the fact that it’s a belt driven system gives it a very smooth and quiet operation. Many mid-range indoor bikes are chain driven which makes them noisier and they need occasional maintenance.
The crank arms on the SF-B1002 are made from very thick steel, so they are really strong, making it possible to pedal while standing. While it’s good to have this flexibility, it should be remembered that the maximum user load is 275 pounds.
In keeping with high quality, the crank arms have metallic pedals fitted, as opposed to plastic which is the norm. They have toe caps and straps to keep your feet in place. The caps are quite small and are not adjustable, but it is possible to replace the pedals if you want something different.
Resistance is created from a single friction pad which puts pressure directly onto the flywheel. It’s controlled by a knob which is situated just in front of the seat.
This type of resistance will require some maintenance as the pad will eventually wear and there might be some dust generated. Also, because there are no steps up and down for resistance levels as the knob is turned, it can be difficult to keep track of your progress. The lack of a monitoring display means that you can’t see how you’re doing either.
The frame is made from a thick steel tubing which helps to make the SF-B1002 very sturdy and it looks god too. It has a nice finish to it with the tubing being “ovalized”, so it has smoother contours. It’s double coated with a corrosion resistant paint.
Both the frame and flywheel make it a heavy bike, weighing 115 pounds. Of course that helps with stability, even when doing intense workouts. The stabilizers, which have built-in levellers, also add to the stability. It won’t take up too much room with dimensions of 20”W x 44”L x 5”H and it has built-in wheels so it can be moved around easily.
As for comfort, this is often a problem with many bikes. It’s no different with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 as it has a fairly standard seat which is firm and quite narrow so might take some getting used to. It can be covered or even replaced with something more comfortable, but it’s probably worth riding the storm until you get used to it.
Adjustments to the seat are possible vertically and horizontally so heights between 5’1” and 6’5” shouldn’t be a problem. Height also affects how you sit and hold onto the handlebars. They have been ergonomically designed with a range of angles so different hand grip positions are supported. Unfortunately, they can only be adjusted vertically, but they are covered in rubber foam so they’re comfortable to grip.
Assembly of the SF-B1002 shouldn’t be too difficult as it’s shipped part-assembled with good instructions and the tools required are supplied. Very little maintenance is required other than occasional lubricating the resistance pads and replacing them when worn. There’s a lot going for the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 Belt Drive as a mid-range, good value exercise bike that will last a very long time and is well placed to be included as best exercise bike 2018.
Exercise Bike Buyers Guide
Once you’ve decided on the kind of budget you want to stick to, the next thing to consider is what type to go for. There are three main types of exercise bike and they all work slightly differently. Each of them has similarities and will help you with cardiovascular exercise and toning of your lower body muscles.
These are normally best for those who want to do more intense training. Rather than just pedalling, it’s more akin to racing indoors. You can usually sit or stand while using a spinning bike, working extremely hard simulating hill climbing or sprinting. If you just want to do some normal exercising, you’ll probably not need a spinning model.
Upright bikes are designed to be similar to the effect given by regular outside bikes. You sit and pedal, adjusting the resistance to make it harder or easier. You’ll get a good lower body workout from one of these and they’re a popular choice.
These tend to be more comfortable with a padded seat and backrest. You lean back into the seat which is almost at the same level as the pedals. The sitting position is completely different than an upright or spinning bike. Recumbents are good for seniors, those suffering from joint injury or recovering from an injury.
Other than the type of exercise bike to choose, there are other things to take into account. If you know your exercise goals, it’ll be easier to decide how advanced you want the bike to be and there are a number of features you’ll want to think about.
Look for a bike that can take your height and weight as they normally have restrictions on these. If you’re around average height and weight you shouldn’t have a problem, but it’s worth checking.
Size is also important, so make sure you have enough room where you want to use it. Something else regarding size you want to consider is, where are you going to keep it when not in use? Do you need one that can be folded and easily moved around?
What type of resistance do you prefer? You’ll want it to be adjustable, but do you want friction resistance where it’s controlled by a brake pad up against the flywheel or magnetic, which is normally smoother and quieter?
Magnetic can be more expensive, but is probably better as there are no moving parts so as well as being quiet, very little maintenance is needed. Friction resistance is effective but will be noisier and the pads will eventually wear and need replacing.
Display readouts might be important to you and not all exercise bikes have them. Because you’ll be doing cardiovascular exercise, is it important to have a heart rate monitor? Those with a chest strap will give the best results. It has to be said that the data results can vary from bike to bike, but they are generally not completely accurate.
Finally, check the warranty as they can differ quite a lot. If you’re prepared to spend a reasonable amount and stick to one of the better known manufacturers, you shouldn’t go far wrong in finding the best exercise bike 2018.