What Kind of Stationary Exercise Bike Shall I Buy?

I’m looking to purchase a stationary bike, probably recumbent but I’m not married to that idea, and I’d be interested in hearing any opinons on the best brands to look for. My budget is about $600. Thanks in advance!

I personally have put over 10,000 miles on my AirDyne. I’m happy with it. I play videogames while I exercise. It’s about the only time I play the games.

For that price, I would go with a gym quality spin bike. It doesn’t have all the fancy computer crap, but I ride by heart rate anyway. You can find them on e-bay, refurbed Johnny Gs for $450 plus shipping or the one I actually ordered this morning, which I hope is decent, a Multisport ENC200. You can find them on E-bay or buy them from the same people that sell them on E-bay for $483, including shipping.

If you can find one, a Star Trac 9500HR is great. Heart rate with all the computer crap, real solid.

If you don’t know that you are going to beat it into the ground like I will, since I can’t get out on the real bike as much during the winter, why not snag a cheapy on E-bay, for $150, use it until its dead then reanalyze what you want, then go for a stair stepper or a low end road bike in the spring. The real thing is so much more rewarding and you can ride for hours without getting crabby that MTV is showing the same video for the 4th time.

Good Luck

I have no brand recommendations, but I’d encourage you to go recumbent, which you say you are leaning toward.

By doing so, you’ll only lose the very slight upper body workout* that an upright gives you, but you’ll gain so much more in NOT straining your lower back. That’s an important factor if you use your bike a lot (and good on you if you do!).

  • Basically, just a slight improvement in muscle tone gained by the muscular effort to hold your body upright and keep your balance. No cardio benefit at all.

My very biased advice is to get a real recumbent bike (the kind you ride on the road) and put it on an indoor trainer. In my experience, real recumbent bikes are more solid and comfortable than indoor excercise bikes. Low end recumbent excercise bikes are flimsy, and high end models are uncomfortable because they’re designed for durability and ease of cleaning. The recumbent bike I ride to work has a contoured 2" thick padded seat bottom and a mesh seatback. The recumbent excercise bike at my sports club has maybe 1/2" of flat padding, and it’s so uncomfortable that I use the upright bikes when I’m there. (Or if the weather is good, just ride my own bike outside and skip the sports club altogether.)

Unfortunately it’s difficult to do this under $600. The EZ-1, which is the cheapest recumbent bike I can recommend with good conscience, is $500. A decent indoor trainer costs about $200, and the best one* costs $300. Electronic gadgets can be added, but at an extra cost ($80 and up for a heartrate monitor, $20 and up for a speedometer.) Still, in spring you’ll be able to ride outdoors in comfort.

*According to the user reviews on MTBR

I have a Schwinn recumbant bike. It cost under $600 and I’ve put more than 7,000 miles on it. It’s solidly built, but the “computer” is pretty basic. I don’t need any fancy dispaly though. I do recommend it.

I second this recommendation. Great piece of exercise equipment. Made well, doesn’t hurt the back…no frills…fancy-shmancy gadgets, well constructed…I’ve had my for 4+ years.