Exercise bikes are one of the most proven fitness equipment on the market and a real alternative to cycling. In the classic sense, exercise bikes are bike trainers for the home. You just swing on the saddle of the modern trim bike, set the training resistance and can pedal directly. Via a drive belt, a flywheel is set in motion and generated by a break, which acts on the flywheel, the training resistance. Depending on the brake system and the device, the resistance can be adjusted to a certain extent and thus varies the training. Higher-quality devices are solidly built, usually have a larger flywheel mass and are characterized by particularly high-quality and powerful brakes, which make an intensive training possible.
What Exercise bikes or home exercises are?
Special variants are ergometers or bicycle ergometers. You can think of them as the big brothers of bike exercise bikes. The workmanship is better and more stable. They are very quiet and can even be used for therapeutic purposes. The key feature is that the resistor can be adjusted with the exact wattage through the built-in eddy current brake. The eddy current brake is also significantly more powerful and allows higher wattage performance.
You will find on the Internet, although always other devices such as elliptical machines or treadmills, which are touted as home trainers. This, conceptually speaking, is not correct.
What are the exercise bikes and stationary bikes used for?
Bicycle Exercise bikes or stationary ergometers are used to increase fitness, to lose weight, for a balanced cardiovascular training and for targeted training of the large muscle groups of the legs.
The easy-to-install home trainers can be conveniently set up at home and allow training at any time within your own four walls. This brings several advantages. On the one hand, there is no excuse for not being able to train because of bad weather, long journeys, lack of time or high fees for the fitness center! A comfortable and always accessible training device that keeps you fit and fun are always available after purchase. Another advantage is that you can cycle while listening to music while listening or reading or watching TV. Time passes by on the exercise bike like in a proverbial flight.
What to look for when buying a home bike
Exercise bike will keep you faithful for many years if you pay attention to a few things when buying. Of course, the price, as almost always plays an important role, but the quality is at least as important – especially in a fitness equipment such as the exercise bike. While cheap entry-level home trainers may serve their purpose in the beginning, they reach their performance limits relatively quickly and are often more in the corner than they would be used. We, therefore, recommend the purchase of a home bike of the middle or upper class. There are several factors to watch out for:
- The sufficiently large flywheel of 8 kg and more
- The powerful braking system that also allows high training resistance [magnetic brake system or even better eddy current brake (induction brake)]
- Low volume (high quality exercise bikes run almost noiseless)
- Adjustable seat position and adjustable handlebar
- High quality saddle
- Clear display with all the important functions
- Varied training programs
- Pulse measurement via ear/finger clip or chest strap (chest strap is the most reliable)
- Maximum wattage, which should be high enough to allow a long-term increase in intensity
How much momentum in the exercise bike and why this has nothing to do with the hips!
The flywheel mass is defined by the weight of the flywheel, which is set in motion by a drive belt when “pedaling”. The higher the momentum of an ergometer or exercise bike, the rounder, better and more even the trim wheel will run. An additional problem with small masses of 6 kg and less is that you get at the top and bottom of the rotary motion at a different speed, which leads to a non-circular pedaling. In addition, it may be that the respective exercise bike passes small knocks on the joints and knees, which should be avoided. For a clean, pleasant run and a long-term training, we recommend a mass of 8 kg and more.
Which brake system for exercise bikes and stationary bikes?
- band brakes
- magnetic brakes
- Eddy current brakes
Today’s standard for bicycle exercise bikes is magnetic brakes. As the name implies, the flywheel is braked by a magnet in these brakes. A trained cyclist can reduce or increase the distance of the magnet to the flywheel by adjusting a knob and thereby change the resistance. About this braking system for beginners and recreational cyclists already quite reasonable resistance and thus varied training programs to realize. For higher wattages and for more precise programs and settings eddy current brakes come into play. These high-performance induction brake systems are specially installed on the higher-end bicycle ergometers. An electric coil induces a magnetic field
For simple, low-cost devices you can still see baking brake or band brake systems. The shoe brake system works in the same way as the bicycle. Two felt-covered plates press against the flywheel sideways or from above. In the rarer belt brake system, a textile belt runs over the flywheel. Here, too, braking power and thus resistance is regulated by a knob on both systems. The disadvantage of these two braking systems is because of the contact with the flywheel, on the one hand in wear and on the other hand in the higher volume during training with the bike home trainer.
Volume during training with the exercise bike – so the neighbor does not even ring
It goes without saying that one should not necessarily be cycling at two o’clock in the morning next to the marriage bed, but even at the cozy after-work home training the least possible noise development is an advantage. Good workmanship and high flywheel mass help keep noise levels low and training as comfortable as possible. Qualitative exercise bikes and high-quality exercise bikes run almost noiseless and also keep you loyal for a very long time. The bottom bracket is also linked to the topic of volume. A sensible exercise bike or exercise bike has a fully enclosed ball bearing that does not need to be re-greased or otherwise serviced, providing a mileage of 100,000 km and more.
In order to reduce the noise further, it is recommended to place a rubber mat, which is inexpensive to buy in all commercial hardware stores. Especially with cheaper home trainers with jaw brakes and a not so robust processing underlay mats are recommended. This is especially true if you live in multiple dwellings and do not want to annoy the neighbors.
Seat and handlebar at the exercise bike
In order to be able to train properly, the seat and the handlebars have to be adjusted, because not everyone is the same size and the same height. In order to set an ergonomically correct seating position, the seat of the bicycle trainer should always be adjustable at least in height. An additional possibility of variation of the seat in the inclination is advantageous. In addition, the saddle of the exercise bike should, of course, be comfortable, but not too wide, otherwise, it may cause chafing on the inner thighs. Gel saddles are often used, which have the reputation of being particularly comfortable.
In addition to the seat, the position of the handlebar should be adjustable. For a pleasant holding comfort, special foams provide.
What should display and computer do and which training programs are useful?
- revolutions per minute
- calorie consumption
- program selection
- Multiple user profiles
- Differences between the devices
While the computer can capture, process, and even run pulse-controlled programs across a wide range of data, the display presents all the relevant information. The difference between simple trim wheels, mid-range exercise bikes, and high-end ergometers lies in the different number of functions, the variations of the programs and the value and clarity of the displays.
Large, illuminated displays simplify operation and display all relevant data such as revolutions per minute, distance, speed, time, calories burned and pulse rate at a glance. In addition, various training programs can be controlled. For example, special heart rate programs, ascent and descent, interval training programs and pulse-controlled programs are usually available.
In the pulse-controlled programs, the heart rate over the pulse controls the resistance of the fitness equipment and keeps the cyclist so always in the targeted training area. Even cycle ergometers offer this function and work, compared to conventional exercise bikes, with a very precise watt accuracy, by means of which the desired wattage performance can be perfectly adjusted and training progress can be better documented. Especially for a therapeutic (rehabilitation) training, the exact adjustability of the wattage performance is essential, which is why in the therapy only ergometers and no ordinary exercise bikes are used. The pulse measurement is achieved via an ear clip or a hand pulse measurement. The most accurate is, however, with a practical chest strap.
If several family members want to use the cycle exercise bike, think about getting an exercise bike ready to store different user profiles so that every athlete can immediately access their individual exercise program and training progress.
Of course, it can be trained well on simpler models, as long as the basic information is displayed clearly and the resistance can be adjusted easily and conveniently.
Maximum wattage for maximum possibilities
While as a beginner you are sometimes glad to have conquered the saddle and have the pedals for a few minutes to slow spinning animated, have as a professional neat resistance and variable challenges ago. How much you sweat and how much you want to spend depends on your personal goals. For a balanced cardiovascular training or moderate fitness programs, most exercise bikes are easy to get. As you develop more ambitions, you should see enough wattage in the wattage to ensure long-term performance. Devices with 400 watts and more power are certainly a good choice. In order to achieve such high performance, eddy current brakes (induction brake system) must be used.
How to exercise with the exercise bike?
Generally, you always start with a 5-10 minute warm-up program with low power. Give your body enough time to get up to speed before you start your actual training.
After warming up, it goes to the preserves. Cardio or cardiovascular programs go on for a long time, are relatively moderate in intensity and track the maintenance of a specific target pulse of mostly 120-140 beats per minute. Beginners like to start with 20-40 minutes per unit and 3 units per week. Advanced students like to choose 40-60 minutes at 3-5 units a week.
It also makes sense to select more intensive units and programs to increase muscle mass and increase fitness. Ascent and descent, interval programs or simply higher resistances are appropriate here. It can also be trained short and crisp, especially if not much time is available and the pulse may sometimes rise to 180 beats per minute.
Incidentally, you should also promote muscle growth and not just run off cardio programs to lose weight. The background is that more muscle consumes more calories and also at rest when not exercised. For the muscle building, however, it requires a higher intensity.
At the end of each session, a short bounce should be scheduled to give the body time to actively recover from the effort and increase oxygen flow in the body.
If you want to be an ambitious athlete, then a bicycle ergometer is better, because ergometers bring a higher performance and also offer more functions.