Types of Exercise Bikes

If your new to exercise or the cycling world you may be wondering what are the different types of exercise bikes that are available to the market.

There are mainly two kinds (upright and recumbent) and believe it or not both have a set of pedals 🙂

The first type of exercise bike is the upright version.

Upright Exercise Bike

This is the typical bike position you see people who ride bikes like on the tour de france use.

Within this large range of bikes there are a variety of different brands of which come with their own combination of features such as digital display, pulse readout, power meters and more.

wattbikeIf I had my choice and the money for it I would go out and buy a watt bike but these come at a hefty price. You would be doing well to find one at €1500 second hand put it that way. I would be heavily geared towards performance hence my decision but the type of bike for you depends on your own personal goals and budget of course.

The other type of exercise bike you will find are the Recumbent exercise bikes

Recumbent Exercise Bikes

recumbent exercise bikeRecumbent bikes are designed like a recliner chair and if you think about it it takes a lot of stress off the body and allows for a much less aggressive position while exercising.

Recumbent bikes are excellent for elderly people of people that have joint soreness etc.

These types of exercise bikes are much easier to mount and provide more comfort while pedaling also.

My choice

What I like to do is use my road bike when out and about especially when the weather is nice. It is really nice when the air is blowing and it helps to keep you cool.

Also the constant changing of scenery will help you keep your sanity rather than staring at the wall or ground like when your on you indoor trainer 🙂

However there are some days especially in winter where you would not even let your dog outside in let alone go out on your bike. For these days I like to use my turbo trainer which is only a cheap one but it does the Job. I use the Mag 5 and the only downside I find with it is that it is very noisy.

Don’t let the noise put you off buying a turbo however, that is only because my turbo is a magnetic one. If you buy the fluid turbo trainers these are silent but more expensive obviously.

If you do not know what a turbo trainer is its a device that you put your road bike onto and you can then cycle away in a stationary position. They do this by engaging the rear wheel or in some cases you take the rear wheel of the bike off and wrap your chain around a cassette that is built onto the turbo trainer.

rollersAnother cool gadget I like to use are rollers.

Obviously you will need a road bike to utilize this piece of equipment but they are quite cheap and not noisy and they will allow you to train indoors.

They are especially good for moderate exercise while they do not have much resistance they do give a very real world feel as your bike will move around

rollers accident

in the same way as it does on the road.

If you are looking for an exercise bike that will improve your handling while indoors this is the choice.  You just need to be careful you don’ fall off! 🙂

You can watch this nice video which explains how you can choose your ideal turbo trainer.

When I am training indoors I find that I overheat a lot and sweat a lot and I even have a fan that I turn on beside me to keep me cooled off. You will not be able to train comfortably (especially your high intensity sessions) without this as you will be overheating a lot trust me.

My recommendation

If you want to buy a stationary exercise bike that is recumbent or upright try and buy one with a integrated fan or have a space beside where you intend to have the exercise bike where you will plug in your fan. Make sure there is a plug socket nearby where you intend putting your exercise bike.

In most cases though these bikes will not have this feature and be prepared for this and to buy a fan if needed.

Most gyms will have both types of exercise bikes so you will be able to train on them and decide which type of exercise bike you prefer.

I do not like using the ones in the gyms because usually they do not have fans and I can only do low intensity workouts as i tend to burn up if i go high intensity 🙂

There is no point going out buying a recumbent exercise bike if you find out later you are more happy on an upright bike.

If you are an older person I would not let that sway your decision to buying a recumbent exercise bike just because they are easier to mount and provide a more relaxed posture while exercising. There are many older guys and women in my cycling club who ride road bikes (which are upright exercise bikes) without any bother at all.

You should also take into consideration whether you will be training indoors only or both indoors and outdoors. If you are training outdoors on your road bike also I would recommend buying a turbo trainer to mount your bike indoors like I do. Advantage of doing this is that you will keep the same bike fit and reduce the likely hood of injury. Or you could have a separate upright exercise bike for indoor training its up to yourself.

Exercise bike additional features to look for when buying

With each type of exercise bike you will find common gadgets such as display readouts.

Its really important especially if you are trying to get fitter to have some sort of feedback from your machine as to tell you how much you are suffering etc.

Features that I would look for at a minimum would be pulse/ heart rate, calories burned, distance, time.

With any type of exercise bike you buy that has a display these features should be common enough.

It is good to have a metric value so that you can compare your sessions and track progress effectively.

Pedals is critical, make sure you are happy with the pedal design, after all this is where the power will be transmitted to the bike and if its a poor fit or bad design for you it could cause injury. Make sure you are happy with the kind of strap used and its design.

If you have a road bike you probably have a pair of road shoes with cleats. Most exercise bikes will allow you to install your own pedals too so keep this in mind incase you decide to upgrade the pedals in the future. Its easier to buy new pedals rather than a new exercise bike.


There is one other type of exercise bike that you can buy and it is for when you are sitting down at work or at home believe it or not. These are called desk bikes.



I hope I have given you plenty of information regarding the different types of exercise bikes that are available to purchase. One thing I would say is to keep an open mind when looking for one and think ahead interms of whether you will be upgrading etc. Look at cost and look at quality and also ease of use. Think of the people around you if you are training indoors and pick a quiet trainer if you think you need to.