Upright Stationary Bikes
Indoor cycling for a cardio workout
Upright stationary bikes are the traditional exercise bike style, probably because they were modeled after outdoor bicycles. Many people prefer upright bikes for that very reason - it feels just like riding outdoors. You really feel like you’re working hard on an upright stationary bike.
When looking for the right upright, you’ll have to wade through a lot of different brands and models that range in price from $100 to over $1,000. It’s hard to believe, but just like street bikes, some exercise bikes are also really pricey. There’s no need for most users to buy a bike that’s on the high end of the range, they’re best suited for serious cyclists who might be preparing for a triathlon or other race.
If you just want a basic, easy to store bike to offer variation in your cardio routine, a foldable upright bike is the cheapest you can get and will work well enough to suit a minimal user’s needs.
- Flywheel - A heavy strap is tightened around the flywheel to create resistance. This method is found on lower end and higher end bikes. It can be less smooth on lower quality bikes, but if done right it can simulate the feel of real cycling.
- Air - Large fan blades spin as you pedal and create resistance. If you get this kind make sure the fan is enclosed adequately.
- Magnetic resistance - Some of these bikes have to be plugged into an outlet, but they are often considered the best quality.
- If you have a wide bum, look for a bike with a wide seat to minimize discomfort. There are many padded or gel bike seats you can buy as well.
- Some people like bikes with levers they can push and pull to get their upper body in on the action, but it might be just as easy to let go of stationary handles and move your arms a bit as you pedal.
- Recruit core muscles if you don’t hold the handles.
- A more traditional feel.
- You can move the seat up and down but often not closer or further from the handlebars unless it’s a pricey model.
- Some people find uprights hard on the back.
The bottom line
Go into any health club cardio room and take a look around. There’s a good chance you’ll see the ellipticals and treadmills packed with people. Most of the recumbent bikes are probably also being used. But for some reason these days, unless you’ve walked into a “spinning class” which oddly enough is an extremely popular form of exercise, the upright stationary bikes will be free. As far as many people are concerned there are simply better ways to spend cardio time. Try a few out for yourself before making a final decision.