Exercise Bike Buyers Guide

Exercise Bike Buyers Guide

Exactly what makes a good exercise bike? What kind of features? Comfort? Durability? How much money do you need to spend?

After reading through this buyers guide, you should have a pretty good idea of what to look for in an effective exercise bike.

The following buyers guide will help choose the best exercise bike for you fitness needs. There are just so many exercise bikes on the market today and buying one can be quite a confusing task.

After reading this article, you should have an idea of how to spot good exercise bikes as opposed to bad exercise bikes.

I'd like to go over some of the in's and out's of what to look for in an effective exercise bike. I think it's very important that you understand what you are buying and to get the best exercise bike for your needs for the right price.

Make sure the exercise bike you choose has the following attributes:


You want to make sure your comfortable on your exercise bike. There's nothing worse than exercising on an uncomfortable peice of exercise equipment.

The seat should be comfortable. Some people prefer a seat that's hard and narrow, others prefer one that's wider and softer. Don't make the mistake that assuming a wide, cushy seat is going to be more comfortable. Make sure the seat is easily adjustable as with the handle bars.

You may want to look closely at the seating options. Exercise bike have different seats for different people.

If you are using a recumbent exercise bike, your back should feel fully supported. If you are using an upright exercise bike, the seat should feel firm and secure.

If you are overweight, you might want to consider a recumbent bike. Recumbents have bucket seats that support your back which uprights don’t.

Personally I like a seat that's hard and narrow. Whatever seat you choose, it should lock securely into place.

If your thinking of buying a cheap exercise bike, remember the saying, “you get what you pay for”. A lot of cheap exercise bikes have flimsy frames, uncomfortable seats, no features and hard resistance.

You will also want to ensure that the handle bars are easily adjustable and comfortable.


You want the option of adjusting your resistance. If an exercise bike doesn’t allow you this option, stay away from it. You will want to get an exercise bike that has automatic resistance settings. Cheap models come with crude manual resistance adjustments with some kind of nylon band around the wheel.

If you're buying an exercise bike, think of automatic resistance settings. There's nothing worse than having to stop your exercise to adjust the resistance settings.

Variable magnetic resistance offers the best ride. With variable magnetic resistance, you can choose which levels of resistance you want to workout to. Easy, medium or hard, a variable magnetic resistance system can easily and automatically adjust to your workout needs.

Make sure that the exercise bike has electronic resistance levels. This way, the resistance can be controlled from the display/control panel that's easily and readily accessible and you don't have to stop and adjust the resistance manually.

I suggest you try and stay away from manual settings.

You will want to ensure that the exercise bike has an adjustable and automatic resistance setting, preferably magnetic since it offers the quietest and smoothest action.

Quiet operation

Get an exercise bike that's quiet. There's nothing more irritating than a repetitive squeak, knock, or whine when you're trying to exercise.

You will want to ensure that you get an exercise bike that's quiet especially if you want to listen to music or watch your favourite T.V show while exercising. If you opt for magnetic resistance, chances are, you will have a pretty quiet exercise bike.

Display/control panel

Exercise feedback is very important. Your bike should have at the very least, a speedometer that displays revolutions per minute, miles per hour, an odometer to measure distance, a timer, calories burned and resistance levels.

You should be able to reach and read the monitor easily.

Pre-programmed workouts

If you need something to keep you motivated while exercising, you might want to look into programmed exercise bikes. Pre-programmed exercise bikes will keep you focused and motivated while keeping you on track with your goals and objectives.

Using pre-programmed courses adds variety and excitement to your workouts.

I strongly suggest you look for an exercise bike with an easy to read and effective control/display panel and if at all possible, pre-programmed courses. It will make your workouts all that more effective and entertaining.


Make sure that you can move the seat up or down to the right position. When your seated on an upright, your hips should be square. At the bottom position, your leg should be slightly bent with your foot resting firmly on the peddle.

If you can’t see your toes, when you look down, your sitting too far forward. Make the necessary adjustments in order to do the exercise properly. If you can’t adjust the exercise bike, don’t get it

Regardless if you are using a recumbent or an upright, the exercise bike should be able to adjust to any height of the user easily and quickly.

Test the exercise bike out

Be prepare to go to the store prepared to test the equipment in the manner in which you will be using it. Put the exercise bike through it’s paces and go all out for a little while.

After a good ride you may notice some wobbles, creaks, or vibrations which you may want to stay away from. Plan on wearing comfortable exercise clothes and shoes. Don’t hesitate to spend 10 to 15 minutes on the exercise bike.

It’s your purchase, take your time and make sure it’s what your looking for.

I think it's very important that you understand that exercise bikes are not designed as "one size" fits all exercise equipment. Make sure that the exercise bike can support all potential exercisers in your home.


Buying a cheap exercise bike that’s able to support your weight at 150 pounds might not provide the same support for someone else in your home who weights 250 pounds. Be sure not to under buy when it comes to exercise bikes. Make sure that the frame is sturdy enough to support all potential exercisers in your home.


Make sure the exercise bike you choose has a warranty. Look for an exercise bike with at least a one year warranty. Always remember this - A warranty is a reflection of the companies confidence in their product. If you see a weak warranty with scant or shaddy information, think twice about the exercise bike. A strong warranty will reflect a strong product. If you’re buying second hand, buyer beware.

Warning! Don't buy from yard sales. You'll be stuck with a piece of junk that doesn't work and will just take up space.

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

Home > Fitness Equipment Info > Fitness Equipment Articles