The best exercise bikes to maintain year-round fitness

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There’s always a good reason to get fit; whether it’s to get rid of the post-Christmas bloat, shed the pounds to gain that 'summer bod', fit into the wedding dress of your dreams or simple maintaining a healthy year-round fitness level. Not everyone likes the idea of an gym instructor shouting in their ear, though. And attempting to break a sweat while listening to some disastrous club classic compilation album doesn’t make your mission any easier. Enter the humble exercise bike, a simple piece of home gym equipment that will support gentle exercise and fitness at home.

With freedom to choose your own tracks, pop the Corrie omni-bus on the tele and fit the exercise around picking up the kids, cooking dinner, cleaning, working and anything else that happens to weave itself into your hectic schedule, researching the best exercise bikes and working out from home is a sure-fire choice for many. But what makes a good exercise bike and what is the best home exercise bike out there right now?

So here’s what you need to be looking out for. Firstly, the resistance. Spending a fortune on a bike that has up to 22 settings isn’t worth it if you’re looking to take a soft approach to losing weight. Secondly, assess the adjustability - while some bikes offer up great performance, the seat positioning may not be something to shout about, especially if you’re tall or short. Thirdly, how much data are you wanting to collect from your workout? A bike that shows all the numbers you need while offering other functions such as a pulse monitor hook up, may be something you think about if you’re looking to get serious. Finally check the weight limit - you want your bike to be sturdy, not collapse on you when things get rigorous. If it's a truly intense bike workout you are after, you may want to consider a home spin bike, instead.

Amazon is actually a great place to purchase home gym equipment if you are looking for a good deal on a home exercise bike and you are not too fussed about brands. John Lewis is also a great place to browse, stocking recognised brands and a lot of their gym equipment comes with a guarantee, too. 

1. PROFORM CSX EXERCISE BIKE

A solid exercise bike with some decent techy functions

Best for: Features | Resistance: Magnetic (20 levels) | Max user weight: 125kg

Features 20 resistance levels
Interval training programme
Tricky to build 

This exercise bike does a good job of combining lots of desired features, including gadgetry and mechanical ability. The bike is one of the best for resistance, offering up 20 levels so you can steadily increase the difficulty of your cycling sessions. There’s also 20 in-built interval training selections that’ll allow you to monitor your improvement and switch up your routine, keeping things interesting. The bonus features include bluetooth connectivity and iFit compatibility, which enable you to access Google Maps inspired workouts and listen to music from your smart device. Users commend the fact that the bike is quiet, and sturdy despite its small footprint 

2. KETTLER PREMIUM RECUMBENT EXERCISE BIKE

A recumbent exercise bike for extra comfort as you work your legs

Best for: Recumbent | Resistance: Magnetic (16 levels) | Max user weight: 130kg

Great for people of all circumstances
Comes with a pulse sensor
Large footprint 

Medical professionals recommend this style of bike for those with mobility problems, thanks to the comfortable seating position and ease to get on and off. There are 16 resistance levels, which is great for beginners or those looking for light exercise. There’s also 12 interval training programmes so you can mix up your workout without getting bored one day to the next. The standout feature is its pulse measurement, which will help people to monitor their fitness as they progress. The only hurdles reviewers seem to come across are the footprint of the bike and niggly things like lack of water bottle holder, although that can be bought as an accessory.

3. Ultrasport F-bike Trainer

A lightweight exercise bike that can be easily put away

Best for: Space saving | Resistance: Friction (8 levels) | Max user weight: 100kg

Collapsible
Lightweight
Only suitable for weights up to 100kg

Whether you can’t help being drawn to a gadget or you require an exercise bike to help you train for the big event, this bike has all the bells and whistles that take it beyond an ordinary home exercise machine. Firstly, there’s 22 levels of resistance, which will help you to track your fitness and endurance levels. There’s also 24 work out applications, including connectivity to iFit, which uses Google Maps to generate realistic impressions of some of the world’s toughest tracks. There’s a heart rate monitor too and a sound system that connects it to your smart device so you can play your tunes. This bike pretty much does anything and for the the price, you’d expect it. 

4. V-fit G-RC Recumbent Magnetic Cycle

A budget recumbent bike offering great value for money

Best for: Value recumbent | Resistance: Magnetic (8 levels) | Max user weight: 115kg

Combines comfort with performance
Takes pressure off joints
   Only for light exercise 

If you like the sound of product number 2 but can’t justify the pennies, this alternative recumbent offers great value for money. Yes, it’s simple and fairly bulky, but it’s heavy duty and more than adequate for some light exercise. There are only 8 resistance levels, so seasoned cyclists won’t find this machine testing enough but anyone who suffers with mobility problems or dodgy joints will benefit from its design. To increase the comfort levels, there’s a padded adjustable seat and padded handlebars.

5. NordicTrack GX 5.4

An exercise bike with all the bells and whistles

Best for: Training features | Resistance: Magnetic (22 levels) | Max user weight: 125kg

24 workout apps
22 resistance levels
Stretches the pounds 

If you’re looking into the best exercise bikes for limited space, you should consider this one. Lightweight and fully collapsible, store it somewhere like the cupboard under the stairs and get it out when it’s time for your daily workout. Compared to other bikes, there’s a slight minimalist approach when it comes to gadgetry and mechanics. For example, there’s only 8 resistance levels - perfect for those after gentle endurance - and the screen is fairly simplistic. Despite this, there’s a pulse monitor, and the overall consensus among reviewers is that it’s fantastic value for money. Can’t be bad.

6. York Fitness Active 110 Exercise Cycle

A compact, yet sturdy exercise bike for beginners

Best for: Value sit-up | Resistance: Magnetic (8 levels) | Max user weight: 120kg

Basic but 4 workout programmes
Doesn’t take up too much space
Monitor is a bit unreliable

If you’re looking for a low cost sturdy sit-up exercise bike, this one ticks the boxes. It small, yet sturdy stature means it’s suitable for the heavier person but it won’t be an obtrusive feature in your home. There’s only 8 levels of resistance, but that’s perfectly fine for beginners or for those looking to improve their fitness levels. While nowhere near as gadgety as our 4th product, it has 4 rather simple programmes including a fitness test, so you can keep up with your progress. A bonus is the hand pulse monitor, though it won’t be the most accurate out there. 

7. DeskCycle

This under desk cycle is more than a gimmick

Best for: A convenient work out | Resistance: Magnetic (8 levels) | Max user weight: N/A

Sits under desks as low as 68cm
Smooth and quiet
Basic

This exercise machine is a genius invention, as it allows you to focus on your fitness as well as your task list. DeskCycle claim that it’s quiet, which means cycling away under your desk shouldn’t be too interruptive for the rest of the team. There are 8 resistance levels, which is perfect if you need to be getting on with work at the same time as working out, and there’s a desk monitor that records your progress. When exercise is meant to boost mood and productivity, there’s no reason for your boss to say no!

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