How to Buy an Exercise Bike

by Chee Gates

How to Buy an Exercise Bike

You've carved out space in your home for a new stationary bike--that's step one. Step two is deciding which one to buy. You have Spinning, upright, and recumbent bikes to choose from. But which one is right for you? Fear not, Fitness Shopper. We'll help you find your perfect ride.

Spinning bikes

Best for: Intermediate or advanced riders.

Must-have feature: Shoe clips. They allow you to wear riding shoes and "click in," a feature that experts say may improve leg extension, speed and performance.

Other cool perks: The forward-leaning posture places you in an ideal racing position, giving you the feel of competing on the open road. The absence of programmed workouts will appeal to your inner biking purist. You'd rather plot your own course, anyway! 

Our top pick: Bladez Velopro Belt Drive Indoor Cycle


Upright cycles

Best for: Fitness lovers who ride to stay in shape.

Must-have feature: Diverse, programmed workouts. The more routines available, the less likely you are to get bored.

Other cool perks: Entertainment may boost your motivation, so you finally lose those pesky ten pounds. Look for a bike that includes an iPod port and an easy-to-read display screen.

Our top pickNordicTrack GX 2.7 Upright Cycle


Recumbent rides

Best for: Beginners, older exercisers, or those who have back problems. 

Must-have features: Heart rate monitor and calorie counter.  Feedback is a newbie's best friend. You'll see a running measurement of how well you're doing, like a statistical cheerleader.

Other cool perks: The seated design makes you think you're not working as hard as you are. Plus, the foot position takes the stress off your knees and back and shifts the work to your butt and thighs, where you want it.

Our top pick: NordicTrack GX 5.0 Pro Recumbent


Keep your bike running like new by investing in a Sears Master Protection Plan. Most manufacturer warranties are limited. However, the Sears Master Protection Plan covers rental reimbursement, cosmetic damage, and a no-lemon replacement guarantee!