“how to find the best cheap products” — kiplinger

Exercise Bikes Performance

A few fitness websites test and review the top exercise bikes each year, but we found the most extensive feedback comes from consumers who buy and use the exercise equipment at home. On the whole, exercise bike reviews indicate that consumers are pretty happy with their purchases.

The key is choosing one of the top exercise bikes that suits your workout needs. And that decision, say exercise bike reviews, also involves ease of assembly, comfort, and durability.

Exercise Bikes Ease of Assembly.

The lowest prices for exercise bikes are generally found online, which means do-it-yourself assembly. Exercise bike reviews say the task is usually accomplished without much ado, but many note that two sets of hands are better than one (some instructions say likewise). Two people spent two hours putting together the NordicTrack BX 2.0, according to a post on the company's website, while assembling the Schwinn 240 takes about an hour and a half despite instructions that some exercise bike reviews on Amazon warn aren't particularly clear. Consumers say directions for the Marcy Mag are straightforward and construction requires about an hour. Rounding out and leading the field for user-friendly assembly are the ProForm SPX 290 and Stamina 15-0200 InTone. Exercise bike reviews on Buzzillions say assembling the ProForm 290 SPX is a no-brainer -- 15 minutes and six bolts, according to a couple of posts. Reviews on the Target site also say the Stamina 15-0200 InTone comes together in a snap.

Exercise Bikes Comfort.

There's no denying it -- if you're not comfortable on your exercise bike, you're less likely to use it regularly. Recumbent bikes earn the highest marks in the comfort zone because they're easier on your back and shoulders than upright models. The dual-lumbar support on the Schwinn 240 and adjustable fit for various heights win praise in exercise bike reviews on the Schwinn site, and the Marcy Mag scores with a rider whose review on Amazon asserts that it's more comfortable than furniture. One hefty reviewer suggests getting up every 20 minutes or so and putting a pillow between the seat and the back rest for added comfort.

Review continues below

The upright NordicTrack GX 2.0 earns stars for comfort, due partly to the horizontal and vertical adjustment options on the padded seat. A few users' exercise bikes review at Sears do gripe about the seat, though, but others high-five the comfort-enhancing adjustable handlebars. One reviewer writes that his legs don't get numb when riding this bike as they did with a different upright model.

Then there's the seat on the ProForm SPX 290. Although some purchasers understand that spinning bikes are used to best advantage in a standing position, rendering the seats superfluous, one customer writes in an exercise bikes review on Buzzillions that sitting felt like being on the short end of a wood plank. Reviews of top exercise bikes on Sports Authority also grouse about discomfort during extended, high-intensity workouts on this ProForm model.

The semi-recline design of the folding Stamina 15-0200 InTone fares less well on the comfort scale. Although many users like its easy-ride feel, taller users complain that the frame is too short In an exercise bikes review on Amazon, one handy purchaser tells of drilling an extra hole in the shaft to accommodate his extra height and another sets a book atop the seat. Other reviewers write of putting a small pillow on the seat for extra padding.

Review continues below

Exercise Bikes Durability and Stability.

Many consumers review products within the first few months of use, so it's hard to predict how well the top exercise bikes hold up to multiple users or years of wear and tear. Even if you're not spending a fortune on a commercial-grade machine, you don't want to end up with an expensive clothes rack after just a few months. We found at least some reports of breakage, odd noises, and related issues for most of the top stationary bikes we researched. On the whole, though, our picks seem sturdy and relatively durable as long as users don't push the maximum weight limit.

One exception may be the Stamina 15-0200 InTone. Merely looking at the average number of stars awarded this model in stationary bikes reviews suggests it could be a contender, but enough users report concerns about stability and build quality to keep it off our list. A number of stationary bikes reviews on Amazon, for example, say the Stamina 15-0200 InTone started making odd noises after just a few weeks of usage, others say the parts don't fit together snugly and the seat wobbles, and some report that the pedals fell off. The consensus is that this low-cost stationary bike may be OK for light to moderate workouts but not for daily workouts of an hour or more or for very tall or heavy riders.

Exercise Bikes Noise Level.

A well-designed cheap stationary bike provides quiet, smooth operation at all intensity levels and speeds. The noise from pedaling and spinning is purely subjective, but a good test is whether you can easily listen to music, carry on a conversation, or watch TV while riding one of the top exercise bikes. In fact, the majority of stationary bikes reviews say this piece of home exercise equipment is fairly quiet.

email Sign up for our
Free Newsletter
Cheapism.com on Facebook