Opinions on exercise bikes

Just as I’ve getting the hang of running, it’s getting cold. I don’t particularly like gyms and I’ll do more cardio if I can do it at home so I’m thinking of an exercise bike.
Any experience or tips when it comes to exercise bikes? I don’t have any particular limitations except for living in an apartment with a downstairs neighbor and not wanting to pay 500$. What should I know before buying and getting into this?

Are there indoor alternatives to exercise bikes that aren’t larger and more expensive like rowers?

I have a recumbent bike that I bought used at a local bike shop; I prefer recumbent to crotch-grinder. That’s a matter of taste though. It’s powered by a plug, which is nicer than my last one which used (and used up) batteries.

I’m not sure the brand really matters - though if you’re a heavy person like me you want to be sure you get one that’s up to your weight.

Oh, and no matter how fun you think it might be, don’t pedal backwards - I messed up my last bike’s resistance system doing that.

Check craigslist for exercise equipment. You can often find lots of stuff at great prices. An exercise bike is probably the most compact aerobic equipment you can find. I’ve also seen climbing machines that are compact, but they will likely cost more than a bike.

One alternative to machines is to get some fitness DVDs from the library. There are also a bunch you can do over streaming. You may remember a program called P90X that used to be heavily advertised. These classes are typically aerobic and can give a great core and strength workout. You might want to try going this route first before trying out a machine. Often people get bored working out on a machine at home because of the monotony. With fitness programs, you can change them up whenever you want something different.

If you get a bike, you’ll want to point it at a television.

One thing regarding price: Price and quality often go together. If you get a cheap machine, it will likely be harder to use, more uncomfortable, and less reliable. Make sure you don’t get a bike that’s so cheap you can’t even stand to use it.

I’m seeing a climbing machine for less than 150$ although I don’t know if that means it’s a bad one: https://www.amazon.ca/Exercise-Climber-Stepper-Climbing-Vertical/dp/B071G5N3ZR/ref=asc_df_B071G5N3ZR/?tag=googleshopc0c-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=292980549723&hvpos=1o3&hvnetw=g&hvrand=16837183994497723547&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1002604&hvtargid=pla-525792291798&psc=1

Could you tell me more about them? How do they compare to exercise bikes in terms of workout?
You’re right about the possibility of getting bored. I’ll be listening to music or watching Youtube/movies while on it.

Thanks. In what ways can it be harder to use? Is comfort mainly a question of being able to adjust the seats and handlebars? How can I assess reliability aside from price?

I’ve never used a climbing machine, so I don’t know much about them.

As for quality, the cheaper ones will be flimsier, have more plastic parts instead of metal, harder to adjust the resistance, the seat and handlebars might be more uncomfortable, be louder, harder difficulty levels may feel more like peddling in mud instead of peddling up a hill, etc. They can still give a good workout, but you may not enjoy it as much.

Before you buy anything, go to a store with a large selection of exercise machines and try a variety of them. That way you can try them in person and get an idea of what you do and don’t like before getting one of your own

If you’re in an area that has regular snow, a great way to exercise is with cross country skiing. If you like running, you’ll probably like that as well.


Many people buy exercise bikes and never use them. And then they start hanging clothes on them. :stuck_out_tongue:

On a bike you are sitting down. On a treadmill you are standing up.

You’ll burn a lot more calories during the same amount of time on a treadmill vs an exercise bike, especially if you use the incline feature.

If you like running, you should look at an eliptical machine rather than a bike machine.

I’d also invest in a small amount of cold weather running gear and try it out. It’s really not much of a problem with the right gear once you get moving.

Do you already have a bike? if so, get a trainer instead of an exercise bike; mount your bike to the trainer & it makes it a stationary bike. Pro Tip: get a riser block for the front wheel so that you’re level. They’re anywhere from $6-$25 but in the old days one could use a phone book (remember them?).

Don’t; they’re the worst PoC machine out there. Anything new in your price range won’t last long.

What kind of cold weather running gear?

I don’t have a bike. I presume that bike + trainer doesn’t tend to be cheaper or smaller than an exercise bike, correct?

I’ve just seen something called an exercise peddler or pedal exerciser. Any opinions on that?

A good jacket, hat, gloves, and tights. I run in temps down in the teens.

Why tights? Would breathable synthetic jogging pants do?

I bought a nice reclining Exercycle from Craigslist years ago. I had my living room set up with a skychair, a late 1800s dentist chair, a futon, a big floor pillow, and the Exercycle. First time guests were often perplexed when told to “have a seat”.

The Exercycle is a Tunturi 504. similar to the picture, but dusty af. If your near western PA come and get it!

As pants flap around, any warm air is pumped out.
I have the same problem with jackets on the handcycle.

As running coach said, tights are warmer in general. In really cold weather I will wear pants over tights. But either will do to get you started; if you have pants wear them and see how it goes. Something to cover your mouth and nose is very helpful in really cold weather so you’re not pulling very cold air right into your lungs.

What are the temps like that you will are seeing now and how cold will it get mid-winter?

Could a strap/elastic band help with that?

I’m in Canada. It’s getting around 5-10C with lots of rain and in winter it’s freezing with ice on the streets.

So, any pedal machine peddlers who might give info on them?