Best Upright Exercise Bikes 2018

Best Upright Exercise Bike 2018

by Cole Matthews - Last Updated November 29, 2018

Despite the advent of all manner of new type of cardio exercise machine, that old standby- the exercise bike- remains the most popular form of home cardio exercise equipment. That’s because working out on an exercise bike remains one of the most user friendly and effective ways to increase your cardio fitness and burn calories.

Yet buying an upright bike for your home can be confusing. There are a lot to choose from, all claiming to be the best.

In this article, we’ll provide you with our pick of the 6 best upright bikes on the current market, along with a handy buyer’s guide to put you in charge of the buying process.

 Top 5 Upright Exercise Bikes
 What We Love About It  Our Rating
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic 8 levels of magnetic resistance, Compact, Solid build  ★★★★★
FitDesk V 2.0  Sliding desk platform, Padded lower back support, 4 way seat adjustment  ★★★★
Schwinn 130 Dual Track LCD windows, 22 Exercise Programs, Padded Seat  ★★★★
Stamina 5325 Magnetic Easy to assemble, Solid frame, Noiseless operation  ★★★
Schwinn AD6 Airdyne  Air resistance, Transport wheels, Quality console  ★★★

The Top 5 Upright Exercise Bikes

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike

Image of the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse 

Pros

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Compact
  • Solid build

Cons

  • A little noisy

The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Uprighttakes pride of place as our favorite upright exercise bike. This is an extremely well-priced unit that provides you with all the basics, plus some extra unexpected functionality. It is very solid, yet is also foldable and transportable.

What We Loved . . .

Design

 The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike takes less than a half hour to put together. It is also very compact, being able to folded away for convenient storage.

Resistance

This bike provides you with eight levels of magnetic resistance. The transition between resistance levels is seamless without the jerkiness that is often seen in lesser models. A centrally located knob allows you to change between resistance levels.

Build

The Exerpeutic magnetic upright provides you with the stability and rigidity that you need for the average user. It won’t wobble or move around when you’re going all out and has a max user weight of 300 pounds. The frame is made from heavy duty steel tubing.

Seat

The seat on the Exerpeutic is larger and more generously padded than what you get on the majority of similarly priced bikes. It is also ergonomically contoured to provide the most comfort.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Monitor

The console on the Exerpeutic is pretty basic. It provides you with the essentials, including speed, time and distance. You also get heart rate monitoring by way of hand sensors, though these are not that reliable.

Noisy

The Exerpeutic magnetic folding upright bike is a little noisier than some other bikes in its price range. This can be a problem, especially if you’re cycling in the same room as people who are watching TV.

FitDesk V2.0 Desk Exercise Bike

Image of the FitDesk 2.0 Desk Exercise Bike with Massage Bar 

Pros

  • Sliding desk platform
  • Padded lower back support
  • 4 way seat adjustment

Cons

  • Limited resistance

We love the FitDesk V 2.0 because it combines exercise, comfort and laptop compatibility into a simple yet highly functional combination. 

What We Loved. . .

Design

The FitDesk is like no other upright you’ve come cross. That’s because it provides you with a sliding desk platform to safely and securely accommodate your laptop. This platform measures 16 by 19 inches making it big enough to handle your tablet or your laptop.

Comfort

As well as providing you with an extra-large, comfortable seat, the FitDesk also gives you a padded lower back support, along with an extender. This effectively transforms this upright into a semi-recumbent bike. As a bonus, the seat is also adjustable both fore and aft, making it suitable for people of every height.

Resistance

This bike provides you with a 3-piece high torque crank system to give you a very natural pedaling experience. The v-belt drive, flywheel combination delivers a smooth resistance which can be adjusted to eight different levels. The entire mechanism is whisper quiet, so that you can watch your favorite Netflix show on your laptop while exercising without any distractions.

What’s Not So Good . . .

The maximum resistance on the FitDesk 2.0 may not be challenging enough for advanced users.

Schwinn 130

Image of the Schwinn 130 Upright Bike (2016) 

Pros

  • Dual Track LCD windows
  • 22 Exercise Programs
  • Padded Seat
  • Solid Frame

Cons

  • Pedals too close together
  • Seat does not move fore and aft

The Schwinn 130 upright bike provides you with a lot of features, including extra bells and whistles that you normally don’t see in a bike costing less than $500.

What We Loved . . .

Dual Track LCD Windows

One of the most impressive features of this bike is its console layout, which provides you with two dual track LCD windows. The main screen is 3 inches by 5 inches, while the secondary screen measures 1 inch by 5 inches. The consoles are laid out to make it very easy for you to navigate through the various resistance and training options.

The console also provides you with a USB port so you can export the data to Schwinn Connect and MyFitnessPal.

22 Exercise Programs

With the Schwinn 130 you get an impressive 22 preset exercise programs that include nine profile programs, eight heart rate programs, a quick start program, two fitness programs and two user generated programs.

Padded Seat

The Schwinn 130 provides you with an oversized padded seat. This is very comfortable but some people may find it a bit large. In this case, it can easily be swapped out for another seat.

Sturdy Frame

The sturdy frame on the Schwinn 130 ensures that you are able to get a robust, secure workout. It has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds which attests to its sturdiness. That means that you will not have to wobble around when you start to intensity the pedaling power.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Pedals too close

The pedals are not overly robust. If you’ve got large feet, you may find it quite tricky to get a secure foothold. Many reviewers find that the pedals are located too close to the crank.

Seat Limited in Adjustability

The seat on the Schwinn 130 is able to move up and down but it does not move forward and backward. If you are a tall person, this may cause you to slump over with a rounded back. Shorter people may have trouble reaching the hand held pulse sensors. Still, it gets a little more movement than the Schwinn 170, as referenced in our Schwinn 130 vs Schwinn 170 article.

Stamina 5334 Magnetic Upright

Image of the Stamina 5334 Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike 

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Solid frame
  • Noiseless operation

Cons

  • Simple console

The Stamina 5334 is a basic exercise bike that provides you with a very good cardio workout at a good price. It has an adjustable seat, a quality frame and eight resistance levels.

What We Loved . . .

Easy Assembly

The Stamina 5334 is very easy to set up out of the box. You should be able to put it together in about a half hour. That makes this a user-friendly bike for beginners.

Sturdy Frame

The frame on the Stamina 5334 is impressively solid considering its low price point. While you won’t be able to pedal all out for a long period of time without the bike moving around a little, it will work perfectly well for your average, run of the mill cardio session. This bike is bottom heavy, meaning that you will have no problems with it tipping over.

Quite Operation

Unlike many bikes in the under $200 range, the Stamina 5334 does not make much noise. In fact, it is virtually whisper quiet.

What’s Not So Good . . .

Basic Console

The console on Stamina 5334 is pretty basic, but it does provide you with that information that you need to effectively monitor your workout. This includes the time, speed and distance.

Schwinn AD6 Airdyne

Image of the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Exercise Bike 

Pros

  • Air resistance
  • Transport wheels
  • Quality console

Cons

  • No backlighting

The Schwinn AD6 Airdyne is an air resistance bike that provides you with a smooth pedaling movement. However, this is a rather noisy bike, so you will have to weight up your priorities. Here are the key faetures . . .

Good Resistance Levels

The Schwinn AD6 Airdyne is not really designed for beginner exercises. The air resistance system best suits more experienced riders who are able to use the pedal generated resistance to best effect. This is a more basic type of resistance than you get with dial change systems, which beginners will probably prefer. However, the fan based resistance effectively means that there is no limit to the amount of resistance that you are able to generate.

Handy Extras

The Schwinn AD6 Airdyne comes with a few bonus features that make it more user friendly. These include transport wheels to make it easy to move the bike around your home. The bike only weighs 115 pounds, which helps to the transportability of the unit. You also get a centrally located water bottle holder.

Stability

The Schwinn AD6 Airdyne is a very solid bike. It comes with 4 levelers that are designed to keep it stable while you are working out. You also get a well-padded seat that adds to the comfort of your workout. The seat height is adjustable up and down.

Console

The large LCD display on the AD6 provides you with an ongoing readout of your key training diagnostics, including distance, time, speed, distance, watts remaining, calories burned and pulse.

This bike also has the ability to track your heart rate by way of telemetry chest strap, but you will have to purchase the strap separately.

What’s Not So Good . . .

No backlighting

The LCD screen on the AD6 is not backlit. This makes it tricky to see the digits if you are training in the evening.

Upright Exercise Bike Buyer’s Guide 

Image of the Schwinn AD6 Airdyne Exercise Bike 

There are five key things that you need to look out for when shopping for an upright exercise bike for your home:

Resistance

There are three main types of resistance for upright exercise bikes. First there is direct tension resistance, which makes use of a spinning flywheel and brake system which applies tension to the pedals. Then there’s air resistance which uses air pressure generated by your pealing to provide the flywheel resistance. Finally, there’s magnetic resistance which provide the resistance through a series of magnets that are controlled through a resistance lever. Of the three, air resistance provides the most realistic experience, but is also the noisiest. The most fluid is the magnetic tension system.

Crank System

The crank system on a home bike with either be one piece or three piece. The former consists of a single metal bar which has been formed into shape, while the latter is made up of three pieces which are bolted together. The three piece crank provides you with a far more natural, fluid pedalling action, but will also cost you more.

Make sure that the crank area, flywheel and resistance mechanics of your bike are covered, especially if you have children in the home.

Display Panel

You should expect your upright bike to provide you with a quality LCD monitor with clear, easy to read digits. The following data should be shown – heart rate information, pulse, RPM, distance, speed and calories burned.

The quality of your display panel will be one of the most obvious changes that come with price increases. More expensive bikes will feature larger consoles with more color display options and multi console displays, while budget models will have just a single display.

Most upright bikes will provide you with heart rate sensors that are built into the handle bars. These are generally quite unreliable. Far better are chest trap monitors but these are usually only available on the top of the range uprights.

Adjustability

You will want to get an upright exercise bike that is fully customizable to your size requirements. You will want the handles bars to be adjustable. The seat height adjustment is standard on most bikes but not all of them will allow you to adjust the horizontally. Look for one that does.

You should also look for a bike that has pedal straps that will securely lock your feet in place.

User Weight

You want a bike that is solid enough so that, when you are riding it at max intensity, it does not slide around on the floor. That means that it should have a max user weight of at least 300 pounds. If you’re a heavy person, aim to have at least a 50-pound weight differential between your weight and the max capacity of the bike.

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