About Bicycles Online > Exercise Bikes > Buyer's Guide > Exercise Bike Types

Select Your Exercise Bike Type

There are hundreds of exercise bikes available in stores and online. The First and Most Important Decision that you will need to make is what kind of Exercise Bike or Indoor Cycle will best meet your needs and fitness goals.

Although there are quite a few different exercise bike types, many are subcategories within three primary exercise bike types.

Upright Exercise Bikes are more like your regular outdoor bike if Upright Exercise Bikeyour outdoor bike is a mountain, hybrid or comfort bike. In other words, if you sit it a mostly upright position on your outdoor bike.

Upright exercise bikes are the most affordable kind of exercise bike and are usually very comfortable (more comfortable than an upright outdoor bike but not as comfortable as a recumbent exercise bike).

This kind of bike typically has a magnetic resistance system and integrated electronic console to set resistance levels, and to set and monitor your workouts.

Upright exercise bikes are great for low impact workouts for conditioning, weight loss and/or physical therapy.

Recumbent Exercise Bikes - are the most comfortable kind of exercise bike. They provide good back support and are therefore easy on lower back and excellent for physical therapy. Recumbent Exercise Bike

Recumbent exercise bikes are more usually more expensive than upright exercise bikes and typically have a magnetic resistance system and integrated console to set resistance levels and to set and monitor your workouts.

Recumbent exercise bikes are great for low impact workouts for conditioning, weight loss and are often the best choice for physical therapy. You can bet the same workout intensity on a recumbent as you can on an upright exercise bike.

Indoor Cycles / Spin® Bikes - Although technically Indoor Cycles are "upright exercise bikes", their design and use is much different than traditional upright exercise bikes and they should be considered to be in their own category. Indoor Cycle, Spin Bike

Indoor Cycles are most like your regular outdoor bike if your outdoor bike is a road or racing bike (if you have drop down handlebars and/or lean forward when you ride).

Indoor Cycles are the least comfortable exercise bike and are usually (but not always) more expensive than traditional upright exercise bikes. These fitness bikes are the best for serious indoor cycle training, workouts and weight loss.

These bikes are often completely mechanical and usually have a friction based resistance system which allows infinite resistance settings and does not allow you to stop pedaling easily without the use of the resistance/brake lever. Note that there are a few models that have magnetic resistance and have a release mechanism that allows you to stop pedaling.

Many Indoor Cycles do not come with an electronic console to monitor your progress, heart rate, etc. although more models are becoming available with electronic consoles.

Note: Indoor Cycles are often referred to as Spin® Bikes but keep in mind that SPIN, SPINNER and SPINNING are registered trademarks identifying Mad Dogg Athletics and its indoor cycling goods and services. 

When you are searching for these kinds of fitness bikes from the many other manufacturers that produce them you will want to refer to these bikes as Indoor Cycles to include all brands.

Bike Trainers - are Exercise Bike Stands that attach to your normal (outdoor) bicycle so you can exercise or train on your bicycle indoors. Although this is not actually a type of exercise bike, you may want to consider a bike trainer since it is the most affordable way to get a cycling workout indoors.

Less Common Exercise Bike Types

There are still other kinds of exercise bikes and fitness equipment that use a pedaling motion or that have other features in common with the exercise bike types mentioned above but I will only summarize a few of them here.

Dual Action Fan Exercise Bikes - are upright bikes with arm handles that move along with the pedals and fans that are used as the resistance mechanism and for cooling (to some degree). These exercise bikes provide a more moderate workout. 

Dual Action Recumbent Bikes - are recumbent exercise bikes that have options to give you an upper and lower body workout. There are a number of different configurations for this kind of exercise bike.

Some of the bike types in this category includes Recumbent Elliptical Bikes or Seated Ellipticals, Hybrid Elliptical Trainers/Recumbent Bikes and combination Recumbent/Rowing machines. (see the links in the left column for examples of these kinds of exercise bikes).


Resistance Mechanisms

Almost all Upright exercise bikes (excluding Indoor Cycles) and Recumbent exercise bikes use Magnetic Resistance where the resistance level is controlled by moving a row of magnets closer to or farther away from the flywheel. This is controlled electronically from the bikes console and allows for a greater level of control and monitoring.

Most (but not all) Indoor Cycles use Friction based resistance mechanisms which allow for infinite levels of resistance settings including very high levels of resistance that may not be possible on some magnetic based resistance bikes.

Finally, the Dual Action Fan Exercise Bikes use an Air Resistance system where the resistance level is increased exponentially, based on how hard you pedal, due to the fan to air resistance.

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SPIN®, SPINNER® and SPINNING® are registered trademarks identifying Mad Dogg Athletics, and its indoor  cycling goods and services.