The five general types of stationary bicycles are indoor cycling bikes, recumbent bikes, upright bikes, air bikes, and folding bikes.
Riding a stationary exercise bike effectively and efficiently burns calories and body fat while providing strength to your lungs, heart, and muscles. A stationary bicycle puts less stress on your joints than other cardio equipment, but it still gives a great aerobic workout.
In this article, we will discuss the types of stationary bicycles in detail so you can get a clear idea to select the one that is best for your fitness goals.
Types of stationary bicycles
1. Indoor cycling bikes
An indoor cycling bike is the most popular stationary bike type. This bike mostly resembles and feels like a traditional road bike. The handlebars are located in front of you, requiring you to bend slightly forward. While exercising, you move from a seated position into a standing position.
The pedals are placed directly beneath your feet. Some bikes have caged pedals, which work with most gym shoes. Others come with clip-ins, which need special cycling shoes. An indoor cycle bike has a small, narrow seat, though you can buy a larger, more comfortable seat with many models.
The price of indoor cycling bikes ranges from just a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Some bicycles have dumbbells, built-in fans, fancy touchscreens, and interactive programming, like the NordicTrack S22i. Others have a lower price, like the Schwinn IC4, but still offer a good workout.
2. Recumbent Bikes
This type of exercise bike is distinctive because it seats the rider near the ground with the pedals out in front of the body rather than directly below. As the pedals are out in front, this is often considered the lowest-impact bike style.
Also, recumbent bike seats consist of a back, putting the rider nearly into a reclined position compared to other exercise bikes. The back of the seat also gives back support, which makes it a great option for people who would otherwise go through the pain on a bike. The seat is more padded and typically larger than other exercise bike seats, providing cyclists a more comfortable ride.
The recumbent bike’s handy design makes it suitable for people recovering from injury, are older, or with disability. However, a recumbent bike won’t likely give you the heart-pounding workout like other types of bikes. The partial reason is that on other bikes, you can ride from a standing position or utilize movable handles to work the upper body. An example of a recumbent bike is the Schwinn 270 recumbent bike.
3. Upright Bikes
The term “upright bike” is generally confused or misunderstood as any bike that puts you in an upright position. However, an actual upright bike is a bit different from, for example, an indoor cycle bike. Like a traditional road bike, the upright bike requires you to sit up straight with the pedals directly below you.
However, the handles tend to be located closer to your body, keeping you in that upright position the whole time, unlike leaning forward on an indoor cycling bike. This closeness between handlebars and seat offers a more compact design than other bike types.
Compared to a recumbent bike, the seat on an upright bike is smaller, but tends to be larger than a small cycling bike seat. An example of an upright bike is the Schwinn 170 upright bike.
4. Air Bikes
While an indoor cycle bike utilizes a flywheel, an air bike uses a fan, which serves as a front “wheel” to produce resistance. The more rapid you pedal, the more resistance it creates. However, the fan makes noise, so this isn’t the best choice for those who want a quiet workout.
The pedals on an air bike are positioned beneath your feet, similar to an indoor cycling bike. The seat’s size and cushioning differ depending on the model. The Rogue Echo Bike has the most comfortable seat among air bikes.
A major advantage of air bikes is that they have almost movable handles, which work your upper body. This works a bit similar to the arms of an elliptical, in which you can move your arms to help your legs workout.
These bikes can provide you with quite the workout, making them perfect for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Nevertheless, they can still be amazingly low-impact, offering a suitable workout for injured people.
5. Folding Bikes
A folding bike is perfect for anybody who is looking to save space. These bikes are not always built using the most sturdy material but come in numerous different variations. Like an indoor cycling bike, the handles are located in front of you and the pedals are positioned beneath your feet.
If you want a bike to have an intense cardio workout, this may not be the bike for you. Numerous models of these bikes can feel unstable when used at high intensity as they are built to fold and put away.
Due to their compact size, folding bikes seldom have the whistles and bells on indoor cycling bikes. Most have very basic monitors, and some have the “extras” like a device holder or water bottle holder. One of the best folding bike options on the market is the Marcy Fitness Foldable Upright Bike due to its durability.
A stationary exercise bike is an easy-to-use and versatile piece of gym equipment, providing an effective workout at home. It can be helpful for your general health. Riding a stationary bike can benefit people who are beginners at riding. Depending on your fitness goals, you can choose any stationary bike type - indoor cycling bikes, recumbent bikes, upright bikes, air bikes, or folding bikes.