What's a non-crappy home exercise bike?
September 22, 2006 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Is there a worthwhile stationary (preferably recumbent) exercise bike choice available for consumer purchase under $1,000?

I'd like to keep up my aerobic exercise from home and be able to do it inside, first thing in the morning. I can do it on the street or in the gym but the weather and/or the time commitment of doing so is a (perceived) impediment.

So - if I wanted to get a quality bike for home, what's a good choice? I realize I'm not going to get something on the level of what I use at the Y, but the cheap ones with pure drag resistance (the tension wheel) are unpleasant (meaning I'm less likely to use them) and impractical to do any interval work on. In the slightly more expensive arena a lot of them seem flimsy and shitty.

Are there quality options? Anyone own one? What's the place to buy? What's the one to definitely avoid?

I'm not interested in alternatives (I'm looking at you, shovelglove nuts) to the bike - I know what meets the most important exercise criteria for me: what I'll actually DO.
posted by phearlez to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My father wanted such a bike after he had his hips replaced so he didn't have to go to a gym or physical therapy office. He asked around at a couple of gym shops and found a used recumbent bike that the store got from a gym that went under for about $800. It was in perfect shape since most gym equipment designed for professional gyms is very over-designed.
posted by UESMark at 7:23 AM on September 22, 2006

Check out bikes made by Tunturi. I bought one for a little over $300 over 15 years ago, and it still serves me well. I recommend that you look for recent reviews in Consumer Reports.

If you're serious about your cardiovascular exercise, I also recommend you pick up a Polar heart rate monitor.

This, from one early morning at-home exerciser to another. Good luck!
posted by NYCinephile at 7:44 AM on September 22, 2006

I have a New Balance Bike that I've been quite happy with. I actually have the 7.5r which is a bit over 1,000, but I don't think there's much difference between that and the one I linked.
posted by willnot at 7:47 AM on September 22, 2006

If you already have a conventional bike (or are considering getting one), a nice option to consider is a bike trainer. Basically, they turn any bicycle into a stationary bike. There is a wide range, though I've generally heard the fluid ones have the best feel. (I'm not an expert since I live in a climate where outdoor riding is possible year-round, but if this interests you, I know some people here must be.)
posted by JMOZ at 8:03 AM on September 22, 2006

Do you live near any big, expensive private colleges (BEPC)? A friend managed to buy a very nice, nearly unused, super-slick/high-tech stationary bike from a BEPC gym whose policy it was to replace all equipment every other year, regardless of condition. Might be worth a phone call.
posted by saladin at 8:59 AM on September 22, 2006

I would suggest the bike trainer as well...its definetely less expensive. they do make a considerable amount of noise. The fluid ones make less noise..so i would definetley go and check them out before making a decisiont/
posted by xospecialk at 10:04 AM on September 22, 2006

My mother recently got a Schwinn recumbent exercise bike (one of these models) and it seems very sturdy, works well, and has a nice set of features. Not sure exactly which model she has but since they are all within $100 in price you should be able to pick and choose whichever one fits your needs and stay well under $1000.00. It was recommended by a friend who owns a bicycle shop. I am even considering getting one myself, but have nowhere to put it and some spousal oppostiion to more junk around the house.
posted by TedW at 11:22 AM on September 22, 2006

Response by poster: I am not thrilled to have another thing around the house but my desire to avoid clutter is not increasing the way my desire to Not Die or my desire to lose some tubbo.

I believe - though of course we always delude ourselves about exercise - that I would spend more time doing cardio if it was (a) more convenient and (b) as pleasant as going to the gym. At the Y I strap on my Polar heart monitor (NYCinephile ;-) and set the bike to keep me in my 80% max heart rate.

I don't necessarily need the bike to adjust the difficulty level - I'm capable of reading my watch monitor. But if I'm honest with myself I can say I simply am not going to lean over and adjust a tension knob between my knees as I pedal, so it needs to be easier than that.

Any suggestions for good locations to buy? I've looked at the WalMart and Target kind of offerings and they're not acceptable. I've only tried one big box sporting goods retailer. Costco has two models on their website - a Cybex CR340 and an Ironman 430r but they don't have them in the shops, leaving me unable to see if they pass the feels-like-plastic-garbage test.
posted by phearlez at 12:02 PM on September 22, 2006

I bought a Proform GR80 fairly recently. It's recumbent, solidly built, not terribly pretty, uses electromagnetic drag for resistence, and runs difficulty-adjustment off a digital console. You wouldn't have to adjust a physical tension lever or anything like—just sit down (recumb?), start pedalling, and hit the up and down arrows to adjust the tension.

It's in the $200-250 range. It doesn't feel particularly cheap, but it isn't fancy. I haven't spent time at gyms, so I don't know how much more cush a pro bike is, but this thing has worked out fairly well.

Caveat—multiple users? Adjusting the physical length of the bike involves turning a knob, moving the seat forward or back, and cranking the knob back down. Not a herculean task, but obviously One More Thing if you have multiple regular users.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on September 22, 2006

« Older I need a really dramatic, beautiful instrumental...   |   Should I be worried about an upcoming IRS audit? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.