Stationary bikes, and in particular upright exercise bikes are among the most popular machines for doing exercise at home, and for good reasons.
You can get a pretty good upright bike even if you are on a tight budget. Some folding exercise bikes are so compact, they can fit even in the smallest spaces.
With so many upright bike models out there, we had to spend months examining many bikes until we finally narrowed down our recommendations to the top ten.
In this 2023 updated guide, you’ll find the best upright exercise bikes for home, and we covered bikes of all price range.
From inexpensive magnetic exercise bikes that you can get for well under $300, up to fan bikes costing up to around $1,000.
No time? Jump directly to the top 10 upright exercise bikes of 2023.
We reviewed pro fan bikes like the Schwinn Airdyne and Assault Airbike, as well as low-cost magnetic bikes like the Exerpeutic and Body Rider.
Our Top Picks at a Glance
There are way too many upright bike models out there than we initially thought. So it took us way longer than we expected until we finally made up our mind and picked the ten upright bike models that are best in their class.
Below are our picks for 2023, you can see at a glace our picks as well as click then link to read the full review of each bike.
- Ideal for Serious Fitness Enthusiasts & Athletes
- Multi Grip Moving Arms for Upper Body Workout
- Beautiful Informative LCD With Detailed Workout Stats
- Pro Features at Consumer Price Level
- Moving Handlebars Works Upper Body
- Adjustable so will fit most people
- Many Features at a Reasonable Price
- Connects to Riding Apps for a Realistic Riding Experience
- Most Compact Bike with Air Fan Resistance
- Ideal for Small Places
- Most Popular Inexpensive Fan Rest. Bike
- Very Comfortable Large Seat
- Oversized Pedals
- Ideal Design for Big People up to 400 pounds
- Compact & Light Ideal for Small Homes
- Counterbalanced Pedals makes it easy to begin the workout
- Adjustable to fit people from 4'11 to 6'3
- Easily Folds to Save Space and wheels for moving around
- Robust Despite Small Size
- Comfortable Padded Backrest
- Recumbent Bike & Upright Bike Hybrid
- Foldable & Easy to Store Away When Not in Use
- Includes Resistance Bands for Working All Muscle Groups
- Works Your Biceps
- Triceps and Back While Pedaling
- Adjustable Backrest
- Connects with Apps for Simulating Realistic Outdoor Riding Experience
- Very Stable Ideal for Heavy Duty
- Smooth Pedaling Motion
The Benefits of Upright Bikes Over Other Cardio Machines
There are reasons why upright bikes are among the top choices for home cardio equipment.
First, we’ll begin by saying that any equipment that makes working out at home more convenient, and one that you will actually use, is probably a good choice.
Before delving into upright bikes, it’s worth mentioning two other kinds of stationary bikes:
Recumbent Exercise Bikes – These bikes have seats with backrests. The seated position is straight, similar to a chair. We’ve mentioned their advantages, and other facts in our recumbent exercise bikes guide.
Spin Bikes – Sometimes referred to as indoor cycles, these are popular in spinning classes. They remind sports road bikes because the riding position has your torso lean forward. They have a firm seat (saddle).
Upright Bike vs. Spin Bike
There are a few other differences between the two, especially in terms of comfort, muscles used, and difficulty level. If you are unsure whether you want to get an upright bike or a spin bike, we’ve previously compared spin bikes with upright bikes.
In this guide, we’ll focus on upright bikes which are the more common type of stationary bikes.
Every exercise equipment has its pros & cons, and upright bikes are no different. But we think it’s the COMBINATION of features that is making them a favorable choice for home workout equipment.
The advantages of upright exercise bikes for home workouts:
Burning Calories on an Upright Bike
An upright bike provides a cardio workout to burn calories. How many calories you burn depends on your size and fitness level.
For example, a person who weighs approximately 155 pounds can expect to burn about 260 calories for 30 minutes of moderate biking.
The rule of thumb is that the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn as your body requires more energy for activating the muscles.
You can also engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on an upright bike. This type of exercise burns more calories in shorter periods compared to standard biking at a moderate pace. The average session is 10 to 20 minutes. This workout involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise.
For example, you will bike at a steep incline for 30 seconds followed by a flatter and more casual effort for 90 seconds. Then, alternate between these for 10 to 20 minutes. It burns more calories since it forces you to adjust to changing conditions.
Upright Bikes with High Weight Capacity (400 - 450 lbs)
Certain upright exercise bikes can accommodate people weighing 300 to 400 pounds. These bikes tend to use a steel frame with high durability so that they offer enough stability for people who weight more.
These bikes may have wider seats with extra cushioning to promote comfort while you ride. We picked the Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS as the best upright bike with 400 lb capacity percisely for that reason. Its seat is large and cushioned.
High weight capacity bikes may use about 20 percent more steel compared to a standard upright bike.
Some of these bikes do not have the pedals directly below the seat like other upright bikes. However, the position of the pedals still allows you to stand and ride for using modes, such as “hill mode” if the bike has it.
If comfort is important for you, you may consider a recumbent bike such as the Fitnex R70 with 400 pounds capacity large seat and a backrest.
While exercise bikes provide a low impact workout which is particularly important for overweight people, walking treadmills can also provide a good workout for a heavy person with minimal impact on the joints.
Exercise Machines with a 500-Pound Capacity
There are currently no upright exercise bikes that can accommodate people of 500 pounds or more.
However, there are other options, which are at least as good if not much better.
HCI (Health Care International) make high-end cardio equipment and specialize in machines that can be used for rehab, for people with existing injuries and for people with disabilities.
Their cardio equipment is ideal for the morbidly obese. Besides their high weight capacity specs (up to 500 lbs), they are built in a way which makes it easy for a heavy person to get on to and step down from after workout. That said, they can be used by just about anyone, and you should find them super comfortable. That said, if you do not need the 400 to 500 pounds capacity or their featured ergonomics, they might not justify the high price tag.
The PhysioStep RXT-1000 is a recumbent elliptical trainer that can support a person up to 500 pounds. Giving you the benefits of low impact elliptical in a sitting position. It has a wide adjustment range so it should be comfortable to exercise on by most people without issues.
If 400 pound capacity is enough for you the PhysioStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is really a state of the art cardio machine. It is a hybrid between a bike and a cross-trainer that was designed to be as comfortable as it gets. The ergo straps and heel cups of the pedals allow you to have greater control and stability since your feet will not slide.
The ergo grip handles move into multiple positions so that you can choose the one that is the most comfortable. The seat has a 24-inch range and goes backward and forward. This adjustability allows you to reduce the risk of having to over-stretch your back or legs when you are exercising.
The swivel seat rotates at 360 degrees for quicker exit and entering. The seat is 20 inches, so it is wide enough to keep you comfortable when you are sitting on it.
This bike has 18 programs to choose from:
Manual, Interval, Mountain, Climb, Hill, Cardio, HRC 65 percent, Constant SPM, Goal calories, Warm-up, Interval ramps, Rolling, Random, Fat burn, Strength, HRC 85 percent, Constant watts and Goal distance.
There are 16 resistance levels. As you ride, check your time, pulse, calories, WATTS, distance, steps per minute, calories and resistance level.
If 400 lbs max capacity is enough for you, and you can afford its high price tag the PhysioStep LXT-700 is one of the best cardio machines ever. For great yet lower priced upright bikes with capacities ranging from 265 to 400 lbs check our top picks here.
Intense Cardio Workouts on Upright Bikes
An upright exercise bike provides a low-impact cardio workout. This bike puts less stress on the joints compared to other exercise equipment, such as a treadmill.
Compared to other stationary bike types, an upright bike provides a more consistent workout. This is because your body position is similar to when you ride a traditional bike.
When you ride an upright bike, your entire lower body gets a workout, including your glutes, hamstrings, tibialis anterior muscles, quads and calves. This bike also engages your abdominal muscles since you use these muscles to keep your body in the upright position.
Working your body more increases the effectiveness of the cardio workout since this makes it easier to achieve and maintain your target heart rate. You can monitor your heart rate on the upright bike’s display.
Upright Bikes for Seniors
An upright exercise bike forces you into a high center of gravity. This can reduce the stability of the bike, increasing the risk of falls. You will also need to lean forward to grab the handlebars. This may irritate the neck and back due to how the body is bent throughout your workout.
A recumbent bike is more rider-friendly for seniors. The lower position of the seat along with the slightly reclined angle makes it more comfortable to grab the handlebars. Since the bike is lower to the ground and longer, this also promotes greater stability making it close to impossible to fall.
Upright Bike Buying Guide - Understanding the Features
There are a few things you need to consider when you are buying an upright exercise bike. Ultimately the best upright exercise bike is the one that suits you the best.
Let’s go over a few features worth knowing about.
When we picked our recommendations, for each bike, we looked at all of these features and some other bike-specific features. If you don’t want to read and understand every feature, you can see our top picks here.
The weight capacity of the bike plays a role in stability. For example, if you weigh 300 pounds and ride a bike with a capacity of just 250 pounds, it can wobble as you are riding. When a bike is sturdy, the exercise feels smoother. A flimsy bike won’t necessarily break, but a wobbly frame can simply make the exercise, in a way feel “uninviting”.
Look at the specifications to determine the weight capacity (we prepared a comparison table with all the specs later in this article). Make sure you pick a bike that can accommodate your weight.
If possible, aim for one that can accommodate slightly more weight, though you should still be fine if the stated weight capacity is within your range.
The seat, also referred to as a saddle, on upright exercise bikes usually have an ergonomic design and plenty of foam padding. If the seat is too wide, this can cause chafing of your inner thighs as you are riding. There should be about half-inch of space between the sides of the seat and your legs.
The right amount of padding helps to absorb shock when you are riding. Other advantages of a padded seat are that it molds to your bottom, supports you better, and is more comfortable to sit on for a prolonged period. Proper molding can reduce pressure on your lower back so that you can ride longer without soreness.
All upright bikes (at least the best ones we review later in this article) allow you to adjust the seat height.
You should adjust the seat depending on your height. Stand up and raise or lower the seat until it is the same height as your hips. When you sit, your knees should be at approximately 10 degrees when you are in a neutral position.
Some bikes also let you take the seat forward or back. If you can adjust the seat’s horizontal position, you can you achieve a more precise seated exercise position. This can be even more important to you if you are much shorter or taller than the average person.
When you are sitting, your feet and knees should be in vertical alignment with each other. This position allows for a proper stretch without you having to strain your joints when you are riding.
A console display lets you track your workout and other related statistics. The information provided often includes:
- Calories burned
- Distance traveled
- How long you have been riding
- Heart rate
- Resistance level
- Riding speed
Some bikes have a simple display with a few buttons that let you toggle between the different information they provide. Some will display all of the figures on the screen.
Some displays use a gray background with black letters and numbers. Those with a more sophisticated display use an LED-backlit screen to display the information.
With more complex displays, you can often save your information so that you can go back and compare past statistics to your current workout. If you have specific goals, this can be beneficial.
Some bikes have a console with built-in workout programs. Such as automatically varying intensity between periods of light cycling with more intense ones. Simulating uphills and downhills and other conditions help at keeping the workout less boring, adding some spice. If the bike has a Bluetooth or USB, you can even upload custom workouts and download past workout data.
The pedals for upright exercise bikes usually have a standard 9.16-inch thread size. Pedals with SPD cleats are ideal if you ride with cycling shoes. Some pedals have a toe cage on one side and the cleats on another.
The pedals should be wide enough so that the full width of your foot is on the pedal. If the pedal has a cage, your foot should fit inside without feeling tight. A toe cage helps to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals as you ride.
Magnetic resistance, direct-contact resistance and air resistance are the primary options.
The higher the resistance, the harder it is to pedal, and the more intense your workout is.
Magnetic resistance operates without friction. A series of steps generate the resistance. These bikes have magnets and a flywheel. The flywheel works as the conductor for the magnets. As you pedal, the flywheel rotates and interferes with the magnetic field. The resistance force comes from the attraction of the flywheel.
This type reduces maintenance needs for your bike, it is more reliable, and operation is quiet. There is usually a button or knob on the console that allows you to adjust the resistance. Magnetic resistance is the most common type of tension system in exercise bikes.
This type of resistance induces friction by using brake pads. The brakes apply to the flywheel. As you are riding, you can easily adjust the level of resistance. The resistance levels change as they do on a traditional bike with gears.
Bikes that use direct contact resistance tend to be noisy, and the flywheel can wear out requiring replacement.
Air resistance uses a fan instead of a flywheel. Air creates the resistance instead of magnetism. There is a belt-pulley system that connects to the pedals. The fan attaches to the pedals.
The downside of fan type resistance such as the AirBike is the noise they create. The faster you pedal, the noisier it gets as the big flywheel fan produces quite a lot of noise. That said, I am a big fan of the Air Bike. Its big flywheel doubles as a powerful fan which I really feel helps to cool my body (I tend to sweat like a pig when exercising)
Stationary exercise bikes tend to be among the quietest cardio equipment, making them ideal for home use. If you don’t live by yourself, a noisy machine can drive your partner or family nuts. If you want an upright bike that is almost silent look for one that uses magnetic resistance. You can find out what are the most silent upright bikes later in our reviews and comparison chart.
The bikes that do tend to be noisier are the ones who use fan-based flywheel for resistance (such as the Air Bike). The noise is due to the bike using air resistance. As you pedal harder, the breeze gets stronger causing the sound to get louder.
If you live alone or have a dedicated room, a bit of noise during exercise isn’t something you should be concerned about. However, if you plan on placing your bike in the living room while others are watching TV, now that can be a problem.
Safety is usually not an issue as all top exercise bikes are pretty safe. However, if you have small children, you may want to look for a bike with covered mechanics which prevents them from sticking their hand through moving parts.
The fan or chain component should have a cover over them. The cover prevents your feet from getting caught in these elements as you are riding.
Upright Exercise Bikes with Moving Arms for Upper Body Workout
The classic stationary upright bikes have a fixed handlebar just like road bikes do. If you want to focus only on biking, stationary handles are ideal. However, if you wish to target your upper body muscles simultaneously with your lower body, you may prefer a bike with moving arms.
Pedaling targets your lower body as the moving arms target your upper body (mainly back, abdominals, shoulders and arms).
Space Consideration & Folding Bikes
Before choosing a bike, measure how much available space you have for one. Ideally, you want one that is slightly smaller than your available space. Don’t forget you need to consider some room to exit and enter your bike. On either side on the bike, you want about 12 inches of space.
If you have limited space, consider a folding bike. When you are not riding, fold it up and push it into a corner. If you have children, make sure the folding locks are secure so that kids cannot unlock them and experience an injury.
Some bikes come with different accessories to make your rides more convenient, comfortable or fun. Even a simple water bottle holder located near the display makes it more convenient to grab the bottle and sip while you are riding quickly.
A fan near the display helps to keep you cool during your workout. These typically have one to two speeds. They usually only operate when you are pedaling and are not that powerful. If you are the kind of person who tends to get hot and sweaty during exercise, you might be better of buying the Air Bike, the bike’s huge flywheel produces a lot of wind aimed at your upper body.
Connectivity – Bluetooth and USB
Bluetooth connectivity allows you can connect with workout apps such as MyFitnessPal and others and track your progress over time. It easy to get discouraged when you don’t instantly see pounds shedding of your waistline. But seeing the total number of calories you burn sum up to thousands can keep up your spirit and be persistent.
You can also connect via Bluetooth to your phone or an MP3 to control play music and to more easily control your playlist or volume right from the console’s large buttons.
Some bikes have built-in speakers, these aren’t audiophile quality, but they are much better than your phone’s built-in speakers. So if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like headphones, this feature might be worthwhile to consider when choosing your exercise bike.
If a USB socket is included you charge your phone or tablet while you are biking or download workout stats.
Pulse Monitor To Track Your Heart Rate
Most bikes nowadays have a built-in pulse monitor through the handlebar sensors. You have to grip the handlebar for a few seconds for the heart rate to show up on the LCD. However, these built-in monitors aren’t always accurate. You might consider a chest-strap heart rate monitor. These typically provide more accurate readings of your heart rate compared to the handlebar sensors.
Upright Exercise Bike with Back Support
Most upright exercise bikes do not have a backrest as part of their design. Having a backrest can be more comfortable and allow people to work or read while they ride. However, a backrest is necessary, unless you have a reason to need the extra stability or want to lean back during the exercise.
With a backrest, you will not hunch over if you use it. This can help those with back and neck conditions. However, leaning against the backrest may make it difficult to use the handles on the upright bike.
Sitting on a recumbent bike is like sitting in a chair. The backrest allows you to lean back slightly and stretch your legs forward to reach the pedals. This allows for more even distribution of your weight on the bike.
The backrest on a recumbent bike combined with the position of your body reduces stress on your back muscles. Those with limited mobility in their core can also find this beneficial since they can sit in a neutral position to ride. There is no need to stretch your back or hunch over to reach the handlebars.
A recumbent bike is meant for those who want to complete their entire workout in one position, so a backrest makes it easier to remain comfortable throughout your ride. An upright bike is ideal for those who want to stand and sit, and alternate between the two when needed, so that it is like riding a traditional bike, so a backrest is not necessary.
Top 10 Upright Bikes - The Reviews
Schwinn Airdyne Pro Exercise Bike
Best Pro Upright Bike
Schwinn is no stranger in the exercise bike scene. The company has been making bicycles since 1895, and indoor exercise bikes since 1965, so it seems they know a thing or two about bikes.
Schwinn has numerous stationary bikes models, including recumbent exercise bikes and upright bikes. They make commercial gym equipment as well as mid-range and high end cardio machines for home use.
The Airdyne is Schwinn’s product line of exercise bikes that use a fan flywheel for resistance. We review here the Schwinn Airdyne Pro, which is their top model, and what we picked as the best fan resistance upright bike at the pro consumer level.
It simply is an excellent exercise bike. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to appreciate it. It works for beginners just as well as for advanced users. However, with quality comes a price, and the Airdyne Pro is one of the more expensive exercise bikes for home.
FAN AIR RESISTANCE
The levels of fan air resistance are infinite. As you increase your speed, the fan’s blade increases the tension. You choose between high-intensity training or a low-impact workout by merely pedaling faster or slower, no need to mess around with any resistance level knob.
The bike is self-powered, the fan flywheel powers the bike, so there is no need for a cord.
Air fan resistance bikes are ideal for people who have arthritis and other joints problems, especially in the hips and legs. You get to personalize the tension so that you are not putting too much stress on your joints.
PADDED SADDLE AND ANTI-SLIP FOOT PEGS
The oversized saddle has cushioning to prevent buttock and hip soreness with extended riding. This cushioning can also be beneficial for those who have arthritis or suffer from discomfort in their hips. The seat rail is universal, so you can switch it out for another option, such as a standard bike seat if you prefer.
The foot pegs are triple-sided. They have an anti-slip surface which helps to ensure that your feet stay in place whether you are standing or sitting as you ride.
BUILT-IN HIIT AND OTHER FITNESS PROGRAMS
This bike has nine preset programs for varied workouts. The programs support an array of exercise for target goals and interval training routines. As you exercise, you get feedback on your time, speed, RPM, pulse, distance, calories, and watts.
The programs are present on the console. You can explore the ones available by clicking a few buttons on the console. Some of the workout options include standard low-impact riding and a variety of HIIT intervals, such as 30/90 and 20/10, alternating between intense bursts of power and a more comfortable pace.
HEART RATE MONITORING
For an optimal cardiovascular workout, you need to hit and maintain your target heart rate. The Schwinn AirDyne will display your heart rate on the screen, helping you to ensure that you are staying within your intended heart zone. It’s important that you know you are staying within your target heart rate zone for your goal, whether that is burning fat, general health, or peak endurance.
HIGHLY ADJUSTABLE - GREAT FOR SHORT & TALL PEOPLE
You can adjust both the height of the seat as well as the distance from the arms (handlebar).
This adjustment ability is not something that all bikes have, especially those that are less expensive. Many cheaper bikes only allow you to change the height of the seat but not the seat horizontal axis.
The vertical and horizontal adjustment of the Airdyne Pro ensures biomechanically correct positioning for both short and tall users. The versatile positioning makes it more comfortable to use with minimum strain on your joints.
ACCURATE EFFORT MEASUREMENT FOR PRO USERS
Compared to other fan bikes, you get more watt power at the same RPM with this bike. The Watts rating is a Class “A” When you ride under 50 RPM, the measurement is +/- five watts.
FULL BODY WORKOUT
The handlebars have a push and pull action so that your upper body also gets a workout when you ride. The handlebars are multi-grip so that you can choose the most comfortable position. You can grip the handles horizontally or vertically, which helps to put less strain on your neck and back.
This console allows you to track your watts, RPM, heart rate, calories, and distance. You can make adjustments on the console as you ride to ensure that you are meeting your fitness goals. Choose the pace you want to use to work out and either increase it or decrease it as you go without having to stop.
The console features allow riders to vary their workouts, which is ideal if you are training for something specific, such as an upcoming marathon. It also allows you to track your progress so that you know when to make your sessions more challenging so that you can improve your endurance.
The Schwinn AirDyne Pro bike’s frame is made from durable steel. It is also moisture-repellent, which reduces the risk of premature rusting and keeps you safer as you ride since the seat, pedals and other components will not get wet.
The air resistance technology helps to ensure relatively quiet operation. The fan spins smoothly and has 26 blades to ensure progressive wind resistance without it getting too loud. The belt drive furthers the quietness of the bike because it allows the fan to move smoother. While relatively quiet, the bike, however, is not completely silent and that’s due to the large fan flywheel.
The faster you pedal, the louder the noise would be. Still, compared to previous Airdyne models, the new Airdyne Pro produces less noise and is quieter even during more vigorous pedaling.
Assembly of the bike’s arms might be tricky – Assembly is relatively easy, and all the tools you’ll need are included in the box. However, installing and aligning the bike’s arms might require some tinkering to get it right. If you point your phone’s light or a flashlight onto the screw holes you can get is aligned much faster. Anyway, assembly is a one-time thing so that shouldn’t deter you, just be ready for it.
Limited display – The display does not keep the information constantly on the screen. To see certain statistics, you have to push several buttons. Not an issue for most, but if you are that likes to view all statistics during the workout, it’s not ideal. It is also low-contrast which can make it difficult to see.
Keep in mind, we are really nitpicking here, and these cons are negligible
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
The Schwinn Airdyne Pro is not cheap. It would be a waste to buy this bike for occasional exercise or infrequent workouts. For the occasional light cardio workout, you might be better off buying a cheaper bike.
However, if you want to take exercise seriously and plan to work out a couple of times a week, then, by all means, we highly recommend the Schwinn Airdyne Pro.
Assault AirBike Classic
Best Mid-Range Upright Bike
The Assault AirBike Classic is an upright exercise bike with fan-based resistance, which means there are no fixed-resistance settings. The workout intensity level is dynamic. The faster you pedal, the faster the fan spins, and the more resistance you feel.
The Assault AirBike is not the smallest bike; it’s quite big compared to other upright bikes, especially cheap models. The AirBike is 51 inches tall and has a floor footprint of 49 by 22 inches, wider than any other bike we’ve reviewed. Unfortunately, this model, like all high-end air resistance bikes is not foldable. Weighing 94 pounds, it is also by far the heaviest bike we’ve reviewed. It supports people weighing up to 350 pounds.
The AirBike Classic is designed to be extra durable and is a very popular choice for a fan-based resistance upright bike. It gives almost all the features of the Schwinn Airdyne Pro but at a lower cost.
This bike is built around a 25-inch steel fan that connects to the pedals via a dual sprocket and chain. There is no lower or upper limit to the resistance, just a constant pushback. You won’t be able to coast on the AirBike, even for a second.
The fan comes in a simple cage enclosure with no air damper or deflector, which means you will get a steady stream of air blown back toward you as you pedal. If you intend to break a sweat (and you should), then you’ll probably be very happy about it . The air helps to cool you down from the surprisingly intense workout the bike provides. If you don’t like it, you can buy a separate wind guard.
If you are serious about your workout, this is the kind of bike that will keep your heart rate up and your sweat flowing from the first second to the last.
The AirBike Classic is a quality exercise machine built to last. The frame is made of heavy gauge steel. The moving parts slide on sealed ball bearings instead of bushings, which does make it one heavy piece of equipment. On the plus side, this bike will never fall apart on you even if you push it to the limit.
UPPER AND LOWER BODY WORKOUT
The resistance fan connects to both the pedals and the moving handlebars, so you do get an upper body workout. The AirBike has bike pegs you can place your feet on if you decide you want to focus only your upper body, keeping your lower body static.
SIX-WAY ADJUSTABLE SEAT
If you are a picky “seater,” you’ll love the precise adjustability of the AirBike’s seat. You can move it up and down, backward and forward, or tilt it at a delicate angle.
If you’re worried you might have trouble reaching the pedals or handlebars, you’ll love the precise adjustability of the AirBike’s seat. You can move it up and down, backward and forward, or tilt it at a delicate angle to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.
This bike comes with a heart rate sensor that you can pair with your heart rate monitor. It has wheels on the front floor bar that make it easy to move around. If you’re wondering how simple it is to put together, the manufacturers provide a detailed assembly guide on YouTube.
It also comes with an LCD screen that measures your total exercise time, distance traveled, and calories burned. The console comes with seven motivational apps to help you out on the days when you’re not feeling it.
NOISY – The number disadvantage of the AirBike has to be the noise it makes. At high speeds, the fan produces around 80 dB of noise, which is about the sound level of a vacuum cleaner. If you need a quiet environment to concentrate or avoid disturbing your neighbors, you may want to buy a different bike.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
The AirBike Classic is the best fan-based upright bike with a mid-range price tag that we’ve seen. As long as you can handle the noise it produces at high speeds, it’s a highly regarded upright bike.
The AirBike will appeal more for athletes or serious fitness enthusiasts. It’s probably less ideal if you’re looking for a casual-use machine or a rehab bike, in that case, check other our other upright bike picks.
Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
Overall Best Value
The Schwinn 170 is a sleek, belt-driven upright bike with electromagnetic resistance. It doesn’t just look good, but it also comes loaded with features that can make your workout more fun and feel somewhat less of a chore.
At 76 pounds, it isn’t the heaviest upright bike we’ve seen, but it is a quite a bit heavier than the average model. The maximum weight capacity is officially 300 pounds, but since the bike is so popular, we’ve heard users saying it can carry up to 325 pounds.
The Schwinn 170 is better than his little brother, the Schwinn 130. The 170 has many more features and better connectivity with workout apps. Being that the Schwinn 170 isn’t much more expensive than the Schwinn 130, we highly recommend going for the170 model.
WELL DESIGNED BIKE THAT TICKS ALL THE RIGHT BOXES
We like the Schwinn 170 because it got everything you need in an upright bike without spending too much. It’s one of the more popular upright bikes in its price range.
This bike comes with connections for Bluetooth, USB and AUX. It has built-in speakers, a fan to keep you cool, and even a water bottle holder. The two backlit LCD displays monitor your progress and keep track of all the most important statistics.
It also has 29 different exercise apps to make sure you never get bored. These include a mixed-reality program that lets you ride with or race your friends around famous or exotic international locations.
If you’re the kind of person who likes your exercise equipment enjoyable and smart, the 170 is one of the most convenient and well-designed models we’ve seen.
The Schwinn 170 comes with an eddy brake system and 25 levels of electromagnetic resistance. The lowest levels work great for physiotherapy training. The highest levels are perfect for elite athletes.
One of our favorite things about this kind of resistance is how quiet and smooth it is. The motion is never jerky, and the pedals don’t stick. You can work out in the same room as your sleeping significant other, and they won’t hear a thing.
GOOD SEAT, ADJUSTABILITY & OTHER GREAT FEATURES
The seat is padded and contoured. It is also adjustable in four different directions: up, down, forward, and backward. The tilt of the handlebars is adjustable as well, which can help you avoid lower back pain.
The motion is based on a drive pulley and belt rather than a chain, this might explain why pedaling feels so smooth. The pedals are massive and come with adjustable toe straps.
The front base bar comes with rollers. You can lean the machine forward and roll it around when you need to move it.
The bike has two different ways to track your heart rate. The handlebars have built-in contact sensors that monitor your pulse whenever you hold on to them. This machine is also compatible with most non-coded telemetry heart monitoring devices.
Power supply required – Because the resistance and braking systems are electromagnetic, this bike must be connected to a power supply in order to work. If you don’t have any electric outlets available, you may have to look for a different model.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
There isn’t just one thing that makes the Schwinn 170 great. It’s the overall package, the mix of features that makes it our winner as the best value upright bike.
For a well-built bike with this many luxury features, we were surprised by the low price. The only other machine we reviewed that came near this quality cost almost double.
The eddy current-based resistance system alone usually costs much more in other upright bike models. All the other fun extras just add more icing to the cake.
If you’re looking for a quality exercise bike for your home, it’s hard to find a better value than the Schwinn 170.
Body Rider Exercise Upright Fan Bike
Best Low Budget Fan Resistance Bike
The Body Rider BRF700 is one of the lowest-priced, if not the cheapest air-based resistance bike model we’ve seen that we can gladly recommend.
While it can’t compete with the best fan resistance upright bikes like the Assault AirBike or Schwinn AirDyne, but it also costs a fraction of their price.
The BRF700, is based around a 20-inch fan wheel that provides both cool air and a baseline of resistance. It connects to the pedals via an adjustable tension belt, which allows you to increase or decrease the resistance.
It’s the smallest upright bikes that use fan resistance that we’ve seen. The other two fan resistance bikes we reviewed are the Schwinn Airdyne Pro and the Assault AirBike, both of which are much larger and heavier than the Body Rider.
Although you can adjust the seat up and down, in general, the BRF700 is built for smaller people.
The Body Rider fan bike has a simple LCD display that tracks your speed, calories burned, time and distance. Apart from the screen, though, it doesn’t have any of the other bells and whistles found in luxury models. There are no speakers, no roller wheels, no Bluetooth, and no way to track your heart rate.
This means that the BRF700’s price tag is considerably less than many of the other bikes we’ve reviewed. If you’re in the market for an ultra-low budget fan-based upright bike, you won’t find a better deal than this one.
The BRF700 comes with long handlebars that extend 22 inches out from the tip of the seat. These dual-action handlebars move in tandem with the pedals, allowing you to work out both your arms and legs at the same time.
The handlebars move in the opposite direction as the pedals. If you push the left pedal forward, the left handlebar will pull backward intuitively, much like a normal walking cadence.
Many users mentioned that there is no way to lock the handlebars or pedals in place if you want to work out only your upper or lower body. If you need to focus on your legs and give your arms a rest, a few users pointed out that it is possible to let go of the handlebars, sit upright, and just pedal. Conversely, it is also possible to take your feet off the pedals, rest them on the body of the bike, and just work out your arms.
COMPACT & IDEAL FOR SMALL PLACES
At only 47 inches tall, the Body Rider is one of the lowest-heigh upright bikes seen, making this bike ideal for smaller people and homes with confined spaces.
If you have had problems reaching the pedals or handlebars on other upright bikes, the BRF700 may be perfect for you. If you live in a house with limited floor area, the Body Rider bike’s 42 by 20 inch footprint might be an ideal fit for your available space.
If you are taller than about 6′ or weigh more than 250 lbs, you will probably want to shop around for a bigger bike.
Seat is not replaceable – The good news is that this bike comes with an upgraded seat cushion that makes it more comfortable than its older versions. The bad news is that the seat is part of the frame.
If you hate the size or padding of the bike’s seat, there is no way to swap it out for a different one. You can buy a seat cover that fits over the provided seat, and that might give you a bit of added comfort.
If you need a wider or longer seat, though, there is little you can do to change the dimensions of the BRF700’s saddle. You may want to buy an upright bike that comes with a replaceable seat.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
The Body Rider bike has a sturdy frame and a fluid spinning motion. Its dual-action works out both your arms and legs, as well as gets your heart pumping fast. For its super low price we can’t be too picky, it’s a basic bike that does the job.
If you are a smaller-sized person looking for a well-built, minimalist fan bike, the BRF700 will give you a full-body workout on a budget.
Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS Foldable Upright Bike
Best High Capacity Upright Bike
You probably already know not to judge a book by its cover, but did you also know that you shouldn’t judge an exercise bike by its looks?
That is, until we reviewed the Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS.
It’s not that the Gold 500 XLS looks bad or anything like that. The bike does look fine, but it’s just that you wouldn’t expect such a small looking bike to have a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds, but it does.
In fact, among all the upright exercise bikes in this round-up, the Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS has the highest user weight capacity, even higher than bikes costing 3 to 5 times more its price.
Another thing that impressed us about the sturdy Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS was that such a heavy-duty stationary bike could fold in half. But somehow the inventors at Exerpeutic found a way to make a model that not only supports individuals that up to 400 lbs in weight, but also for the bike to be foldable and compact.
Though most people would feel comfortable working out on this bike, you can see it was designed for large people. The 500 XLS has giant pedals and an extra-wide seat.
The high torque cranking system ensures that the bike’s mechanics can withstand whatever grueling workout you put it through.
Despite its high weight capacity, the Gold 500 XLS has a small floor footprint and weighs only 51 pounds.
The Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS has an X-shaped frame made with high-strength steel tubing. All the metal in this bike is coated in anti-corrosive powder to prevent rust damage.
The tubing in the frame is thicker than you would imagine, which gives it extra longevity. It also makes the bike a little heavier than it looks, although it’s still one of the lighter bikes we’ve reviewed.
This bike’s durable steel frame is not the only thing about it that caters to heavy users.
The unusually large seat cushion measures about 10 inches long by 15 inches wide. Its seat is very comfortable. Some might even say one of the most comfortable bike seats they’d ever felt. It’s that good. The extra size also makes it easy to adjust your seating posture if you become fatigued in one position or another.
The pedals are also oversized, with about 50% more foot space than most other models. They come with non-slip grip and safety straps to provide even more security for people with balance concerns.
The Gold 500’s X-frame design makes it as safe as possible to mount and dismount. If you have issues with balance or stability, this bike’s easy step-over reduces the chances of an accident.
SMOOTH & QUIET
The Gold 500 also features a three-piece crank system paired with a double drive transmission, which has two main benefits:
- If you suffer from joint or ligament problems, these mechanics provide as smooth a pedaling motion as possible. The continuous movement allows you to avoid impacts that could cause your pain to flare up.
- The type of mechanics the bike uses means it won’t produce a lot of noise even during an intense workout.
EXTRA FEATURES FOR A LOW COST BIKE
The Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS has an impressive array of features, especially when you consider its low price. Prices vary, but if you are lucky, you might find it for around $200. Frankly, we think that even if it is listed for $50 to $100 more, it should still be a good deal, particularly if you need the 400 lbs capacity.
It comes with eight levels of magnetic resistance, transportation wheels on the front bar, and heart pulse sensors in the handlebars. The LCD screen displays your calories burned, and distance traveled, total workout time, speed, and pulse.
The bike isn’t suited for standing pedaling – The pedals on the Gold 500 XLS are right below the handlebars. Although it’s not impossible to stand up on this bike while pedaling, it is quite an acrobatic feat.
If you want to vary your workout by standing while cycling, you may find it difficult on this bike. If you are happy to pedal sitting down, the pedal design probably won’t bother you.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
The Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS is the best 400-pound capacity upright bike that we’ve seen. If you are on the heavy side or have balance problems or joint pain, this bike is designed specifically for you.
The frame and mechanical systems are well-built. The seat, handlebars and pedals are comfortable and stable. If you have limited storage space, this upright bike is easy to fold up and roll into a closet or underneath a bed.
Marcy ME-708 Upright Exercise Bike
Low Budget Pick
For its ultra-low price, you won’t find any other upright bike that performs so well as the Marcy ME-708. Despite being so cheap, this bike gets the job done (as long as you use it of course)
This model has a well-built frame and a quality mechanical system, especially for its price. It uses magnetic resistance, setting the difficulty level is controlled by a knob. The Marcy has counterbalanced pedals which make putting your feet on the pedals a snap
The Marcy weighs just 41 pounds, making it one of the lightest upright bikes we’ve reviewed. It has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs, very decent for its small chassis.
You cannot fold this bike, but it is so compact that it doesn’t take much space. The built-in wheels and the light weight of the bike will make it easy for you to move it around rooms in your home.
BASIC BUT DECENT FEATURES FOR A LOW BUDGET STATIONARY BIKE
The Marcy ME-708 is the cheapest upright bike model we’ve seen that doesn’t suffer from any significant quality issues.
The ME-708 has one of the sturdiest frames we’ve seen in this price range. It’s built with 14-gauge steel tubing that measures two by two inches around.
The LCD screen shows your workout metrics like distance, speed, and calories all with giant numbers that are easy to read.
The Marcy uses a belt drive magnetic tension system and offers eight levels of resistance. You adjust the desired tension with a knob.
GOOD FOR SHORT & TALL PEOPLE
Another thing that sets this bike apart from the rest is its broad range of height adjustability. You can raise or lower the seat much more than some other exercise bikes.
The ME-708 can accommodate users as small as 4’11” inches to as tall as 6’3″. The distance from the seat to the pedals can be adjusted from 25 inches to 31 inches.
If you need to share your workout equipment with a much shorter or taller partner, this is one of the few bikes that will be able to seat you both.
In an attempt to compensate for the lack of a weighted flywheel, the ME-708 comes with counterbalanced pedals. These make the bike easier to mount and also help to smooth out the pedaling motion a bit.
The pedals also have adjustable straps and sticky grip that helps your feet stay put.
Handlebars not comfortable for some – We found the handles are set slightly too far forward in relation to the seat. Although they are easy to reach, you may have to lean forward a bit while you pedal. By definition, the natural sitting position on an upright bike requires leaning a bit forward, so that is not an exception.
Although the handlebars are not adjustable, there’s an easy fix for this problem. During the initial assembly, you can install the handlebars pointing up toward the ceiling instead of forward. Interestingly, this places them much closer to the seat and takes the strain off your back.
Pedaling is not the smoothest – The Marcy doesn’t use a resistance system with a flywheel. Flywheels consume a lot of space. The very reason the Marcy is such a small bike is that it doesn’t use a flywheel for resistance. The downside is that the pedaling motion might feel be a bit jerky. It might take some time getting used to, but we think that considering the low price of the Marcy ME-708 it’s not a deal-breaker.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
The Marcy ME-708 is the best low budget bike with adjustable resistance that we’ve found on the market. It is easy to move around the house and has a small floor footprint. It The user height range is more flexible than most other bikes.
It’s a basic bike for sure, but for what you pay (usually around $100), we can’t complain. If your budget is limited, the ME-708 is the best you’ll get at its price range.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike
Best Folding Upright Bike
Unlike some other fitness equipment companies, that make both high-end as well as home workout equipment, Exerpeutic decided to focus and specialize in the home equipment market.
This upright bike is not just Exerpeutic’s most popular upright exercise bike but is also one of their best selling exercise equipment ever. And since they make a ton of cardio machines, that statement cannot be taken lightly.
It’s the best compact upright bike, it doesn’t take up much space even when collapsed and when folded its footprint is tiny.
What makes this bike special? There isn’t any feature in particular that you won’t find on any other bike, rather, it’s the set of features as a whole and the excellent execution of them that sets this bike apart.
This Exerpeutic folding bike has been around for several years now, but the company keeps making tweaks and improving the model.
It has a smart, ergonomic frame designed to keep you as comfortable as possible during your workout. The mechanics are smooth, balanced, and quiet. It comes with a large seat, wide pedals and a large LCD display with large numbers.
The best part is that despite all the exercise candy, the price is still affordable.
To determine just how popular this Exerpeutic upright bike is, we decided to check it on Amazon. We were blown away to find out that it had thousands of 4 and 5 stars reviews. This bike has got to be one of the most popular exercise bikes if not the most.
People love the comfortable design and the robustness of the mechanics. One of the top reviews on the site is from a man who put 1,000 miles on his bike in the first four months of use, which is mind-boggling. You wouldn’t expect an upright bike that is usually sold between $100 to $200 to be that much reliable.
If you want a bike with lots of social proof, this Exerpeutic is a time-tested model with a broad fan base.
This Exerpeutic model is one of the only foldable models in its price range that has a 300-pound weight capacity. The collapsible x-frame also makes it easy to step over when mounting or dismounting.
The bike folds in half quickly and easily with only the press of a button. It has transportation wheels on the front bar so you can roll it away and store it even when you’re tired.
Ergonomics is the science of designing things for optimal use by the human body. The Exerpeutic Folding model has one of the most ergonomic designs we’ve seen. That means this bike is more comfortable during extended use than most other bikes on the market.
The pedals aren’t right below the seat or straight under the handlebars as we’ve found in most other models. Instead, they are about halfway between both. Many users mentioned that this bike seemed like a cross between a recumbent and an upright bike.
The design makes this one of the few upright bikes which allow you to comfortably do cycling standing up on the pedals. If you prefer sitting, the large seat lets you scoot forward to sit up straight or scoot backward to lean forward while you pedal, which helps to avoid saddle soreness.
If you suffer from lower back or leg joint pain, the design gives you a sweet spot where you can pedal with a limited range of motion. Limiting the range of motion may help to keep nagging discomfort away. The bike also lets you pedal backward, which can stimulate different leg muscles.
For its price there isn’t much not to like about the bike, there are a few quirks:
Screen and progress – The found that the LCD tends to turn off and resets your progress if you stop pedaling for a few minutes. If you go to get a drink of water in the middle of your routine, you may come back to find that you’ve lost all your progress. Also, the bike tends to overestimate the calories you’ve burned.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
In our opinion, this Exerpeutic bike is the best foldable model currently available. The design is user-friendly and versatile, allowing you to work out your leg muscles in a variety of ways.
The mechanics can take a lot of mileage. The bike doesn’t require much floor or storage area even when collapsed, let alone when folded. It’s one of the upright bikes with the most social proof ever. If you love to switch things up during your workout but can’t spare a lot of extra space, this bike will do the trick, all you have to do is use it.
Harvil Foldable Magnetic Exercise Bike
Upright Bike with Back Support
Depending on who you ask, Harvil’s Foldable Magnetic Exercise Bike is either a recumbent bike or an upright bike. That’s because, similar to recumbent bikes, it has a backrest. Traditional upright bikes don’t come with a backrest.
On the one hand, only recumbent bikes have backrests, so the Harvil is unique in that. On the other hand, the angle of your legs is somewhere between the position of a recumbent bike to an upright bike.
This bike comes with a lot of bells and whistles. It has 10 levels of magnetic resistance attached to a flywheel for smooth, silent pedaling. It has pulse rate sensors built into the padded handlebars and a digital monitor to keep up with your exercise data.
It has anti-slip pedals with adjustable straps. It has transportation wheels, a solid x-frame that’s easy to step over, and best of all, it’s foldable.
On top of these user-friendly features, you can use this machine as both a recumbent and an upright model, as the mood strikes you. All this together makes the Harvil Foldable one of the most versatile exercise bikes we’ve seen.
RECUMBENT BIKE & UPRIGHT BIKE - YOU GET 2 IN 1
One of our favorite things about this model is the sigh of relief people let out when they relax into the backrest. If your back, hip, or knee pain kills you when you use a regular upright bike for too long, Harvil may have found the solution.
Harvil’s Foldable bike also comes with padded handles on either side of the cushioned seat. You can use these to give you even more back support and take an extra load off your leg joints while pedaling.
The ample seat measures about 10 inches long and 12 inches wide. You can adjust it up and down in relation to the backrest, depending on how high you need the back support.
The backrest is not easily adjustable, it is bolted to a diagonal post. You should adjust the backrest to your liking during the assembly of the bike, though you can also change it afterward by removing and reinserting the bolt.
We recommend you test it as you assemble the bike. Try leaning back while moving the backrest up and down on its post before giving the bolts their final twists. This will help make sure you install it at the most comfortable position possible for you.
Another great thing about this model is its simplicity. It’s easy to put together and comes with clear instructions and even an assembly video. It’s small and lightweight. It uses batteries, which are included, so there’s no need to be close to an electrical outlet.
The resistance knob is convenient and intuitive. The screen turns on automatically when you start pedaling. The mechanics are noiseless. There’s even a little ledge where you can put a book or a tablet for entertainment.
Way back – Although you can adjust the distance from the seat to the pedals, shorter people may find that the backrest is a bit too far back.
If you are around five feet tall or less, leaning against the backrest while exercising can become uncomfortable in a hurry.
Fortunately, there is a quick DIY solution for this. You can squeeze your favorite throw pillow between your back and the backrest, and the problem is gone.
We should mention that if you are under five feet, you may have to set up a step stool to safely mount and dismount the bike because the seat is a bit high.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
In our opinion, Harvil’s Foldable Magnetic Exercise Bike is the best upright model you can find with back support.
It bears mentioning that the XTERRA Fitness FB350 is another great exercise bike with back support, but its weight capacity is only 220 pounds. The Harvil model, with a capacity of 330 pounds, will be the better option for most people.
Sunny Fitness Foldable Semi Recumbent Upright Bike
Best Semi Recumbent With Full Body Strength Training
The SF-B2710, by Sunny Health and Fitness, is a unique machine unline any other upright bike we’ve seen. Think a combination of a recumbent bike, an upright bike, and an upper-body workout.
It’s a foldable upright bike with a twist that allows you to work out your entire body.
This bike uses magnetic resistance which is adjustable via a front knob. The handlebars have built-in pulse rate sensors. The LCD screen shows your workout stats, including heart rate.
It has an adjustable seat and backrest and non-slip pedals with straps for securing your feet.
What sets this bike apart from other models are the built-in resistance bands. The resistance bands turn this machine, from just an exercise bike into a full-body workout machine.
You can tone your arms while pedaling or dismount and work out a completely different set of muscles. We have advocated before the use of resistance bands for a whole body workout, and it’s nice to see that Sunny provides resistance bands with this bike model. The bike design includes an attachment so you can easily attach the bands for an upper-body workout while pedaling.
FULL BODY WORKOUT
It’s such a simple idea that we’re surprised we haven’t seen it in more upright bikes. The SF-B2710 features a set of reinforced elastic bands that cross the length of the bike’s frame. These bands run parallel to each other, mostly hidden in the underbelly of the bike.
The top ends of these bands surface near the bike’s handlebars and are attached to a pair of handlebars of their own. You can lean on the backrest and use the elastic resistance to keep your arms busy while your legs are pedaling.
The bands run through a pulley system underneath the x-frame. Their lower ends poke out below the seat, attached to a pair of Velcro straps.
When you’re not in a biking mood, you can stand behind the bike and hook the straps to your ankles or wrists. This allows you to focus specifically on any muscles that you feel need more attention.
If you want to tone your biceps, triceps, glutes and lateral leg muscles, this model allows you to zoom in on the parts of your body that most upright bikes ignore.
It’s worth mentioning that by doing upper body exercise while pedaling, you are burning more calories, and if weight loss is your goal, this bike might bring you a little closer to it.
You can adjust the angle of the backrest to the seat. This bike comes with three preset positions – upright, semi-recumbent, and fully recumbent.
Having an adjustable backrest is welcomed feature that we really liked in this bike. Some bikes like the Harvil Upright Bike require removing a bolt in order to adjust the backrest. We found it odd that Sunny Fitness & Health didnt even mention this rather important feature in their online product pages and photos.
For your reference, you can find the knob directly below the seat, right above the Velcro leg straps.
Not ideal for people below 5 foot – You can adjust the distance between the seat and the pedals, known as the inseam, between 31 and 36 inches. This is done by changing the height of the seat. Shorter people may have to hack the bike by putting a pillow between their back and the backrest.
If you have particularly short legs, this bike’s inseam may be too long for you, even at its lowest setting. If you measure less than five feet, this model may be uncomfortable for you in the long term.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
If you want a full-body workout from a budget upright bike, you can’t do much better than the SF-B2710. It’s the only bike in this round-up that includes a set of resistance bands. You can work any muscle you want with resistance bands. The option to have a cardio workout (pedaling) while at the same time working your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and chest is fantastic.
Nautilus U616 is based around an electromagnetic braking and resistance system, making the pedaling motion smooth and consistent. Since the bike uses electromagnetic resistance, it has to be plugged in in order to work.
The Nautilus U616 is strikingly similar to the Schwinn 170 model (also reviewed) because they are both made by the same company. Side by side, they look like brother bikes and have many of the same features.
While the Schwinn 170 is more popular, the Nautilus U616 is just as great, so you’ll make a great choice going for either bike.
The U616 is slightly bigger, heavier and more stable than the 170. Its flywheel is almost double the weight.
BIG AND TALL
The Nautilus U616 is about an inch taller than the Schwinn 170. If you are taller than average, this extra inch may make a world of difference to your knees.
The U616 is also a bit longer and wider than the 170. If you don’t have much space available, you may prefer the Schwinn over the Nautilus.
ROCK SOLID STABLE RIDING
If you’re concerned about stability, the U616 is the clear favorite here. Its larger floor footprint makes it less of a tipping hazard, but that’s only the beginning.
This bike comes with a set of levelers on the rear stabilizing bar. These two adjustable feet allow you to fine-tune the level of the U616 to within a fraction of an inch. If you are annoyed by even the tiniest amount of rocking, the U616 will let you eliminate any instability for good.
At 22 pounds, the U616’s flywheel is almost double the weight of the 170’s 13-pound flywheel. A heavier flywheel makes for a smoother ride. The extra weight also makes it easier to start turning the pedals from a standstill, which means less wear and tear on your joints.
The heavy flywheel gives the U616 higher-quality momentum. It helps using one of the virtual riding apps like RideSocial that simulate inclines and declines. The more weight on the flywheel, the more realistic the uphill and downhill pedaling feels like. Along with the beautiful riding sceneries that these apps will display on your iPad or Android tablet, it makes for a more joyful workout experience.
One of our favorite uses of this feature involves the Rolling Hills app that you can find under the Fun Rides category in the bike’s console. This program takes you on a surprisingly realistic adventure across a landscape of ups and downs. The bike automatically changes resistance as you pedal up and down the “hills,” which feel like actual hills.
Difficult for standing pedaling – Standing up on the U616 is awkward. Although it’s technically possible to stand, the position of the handlebars in relation to the pedals makes it feel unwieldy. Standing up on your U616 may also cause strain to the crank arms. If you like to vary sitting cycling with standing pedaling the Assault AirBike and Schwinn AirDyne are better options.
Fixed handlebars – The U616’s handlebars are not adjustable. If you have trouble reaching them, you may be able to fix the problem by adjusting the seat. The U616’s seat is adjustable in four directions – up, down, forward and backward.
If you have problems with back or shoulder pain, you may need to use a bike with adjustable handlebars.
WHY WE RECOMMEND IT
The Nautilus U616 is another great upright bike. The differences between it and the Schwinn 170 can be measured in inches. People concerned about height and stability should go with the U616.
If you have back pain, the fixed handlebars may be a deal-breaker for you. If you have joint pain, you may appreciate the heavier flywheel.
Nautilus also makes a slightly less expensive model, the U614 Upright Bike. The U614 has fewer features, non-backlit display, no Bluetooth, and no heart rate telemetry connections.
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