Best Upright Bikes Reviews 2017 and Comparison Chart
As opposed to indoor cycling bikes (or spin bikes), upright bikes aren’t made to support heavy spinning routines. Even some of the commercial grade models would probably fall apart after repeated stand-up pedaling routines. They are made to supply a light and medium cardio training, with minimal impact on the joints, promoting an upright position.
These exercise bikes are typically designed for home use. Thus, you’ll find many models that also feature a folding frame. But nonetheless, you’ll also find models intended for 24/7 gym use, with a more solid construction, higher weight capacity etc. There are several distinctive differences between commercial uprights and models made for home use. We’ll get to pointing out those aspects in some of the sections below. Also, there are quite a few differences between indoor cycling and upright models which many users fail to consider, and end up with the wrong machine. Therefore, those differences will also clarified here.
But before putting all that information into view, in case you’re looking for a decent piece of fitness equipment, here’s a palette to choose from.
All the models in the table below feature a minimum of 4 star rating, given by users all over the world on many websites. In other words, the following upright exercise trainers are some of the best that you can find at the moment. Therefore, as a 1st chapter in this post, here are the top 10 upright exercise bikes for the year 2017.
Top 10 Upright Bikes
|Exerpeutic 500 XLS||L:39"|
|8||No||Frame: 1 year
Parts: 90 days
|8||No||Frame: 1 year
Parts: 90 days
|25||29||Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electronics: 1 years
Labor: 90 days
|IRONMAN H-Class 210||L:33"|
Parts: 3 years
Labor: 3 years
Wear: 1 year
|ProForm 515 CSX||L:46"|
|300 lbs||Belt||Eddy |
Parts: 1 year
Labor: 1 year
|20||22||Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electronics: 1 years
Labor: 90 days
Parts: 3 year
Electronics: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
|IRONMAN X-Class 310||L:41"|
Wear parts: 2 years
Electronics: 2 years
Other parts: 5 years
Labor: 5 years
|SOLE LCB Light Commercial||L:44"|
Parts: 3 years
Electronics: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
|32||47||Parts: 2 years
Labor: 1 year
This selection aims to provide a bike for everyone, beginning with the most basic models, to the most inclusive. Needless to say, all machines pointed out within the above table come with a decent quality/price ratio. Even the most affordable ones have a pretty solid construction, and make a good investment.
Evidently, price is quite an important factor in anyone’s buying decision for just about any product. We’re pretty sure that anyone interested in an upright bike would like to see a few recommendations by price. But before that, you need to make sure that a certain model that caught your eye, is precisely the exercise bike that you need. There are several important aspects regarding an upright bike that you need to consider before choosing one. Therefore, the next sections of this article will make all the required clarifications.
Why Should You Buy an Upright Exercise Bike?
Working out on an exercise bike of this type comes with an array of benefits. To begin with, these fitness machines offer a training setting that focuses on the leg muscles and lower body, but with a diminished impact on the ankles and knees. Running on a treadmill for example, can put a lot of stress on your joints, in comparison to a cycle. Also, since these machines promote an upright, healthier workout posture, they don’t put as much stress as indoor cycles on your lower back.
This type of exercise cycles are great for beginners. They supply the perfect training setting for users who want to get back in shape. An exercise bike of this type should help you build enough strength and stamina in order to be able to take on an indoor cycling bike or a treadmill. Some of the sturdier models can also support a medium-range training, making a great choice for interval training, or for alternating cardio with lifting weights.
Most upright cycles come with at least a basic performance monitor. These devices help you track your progress, count calories, or set-up goals to achieve, in order to make training more demanding and motivating. Some of the most advanced types also offer performant consoles, which not only include a selection of preloaded workout apps, but also incorporate comfort factors, such as speakers, cooling fans, USB charging ports, or even offer online connectivity, so that you can compare your workout progress with others, or compete.
Last but not least, you will be riding your bike indoors. Therefore, rain or cold weather won’t stop you from undergoing your training. There risk of injuries or accidents are nearly zero. And on top of that, you can watch TV, read your favorite books, browse the web, or watch your favorite online streams as you ride.
Differences Between Indoor Cycling Bikes and Upright Bikes
When it comes to exercise bikes, there are actually 3 types: cycling, upright and recumbent. Each type is specific in its own way. As a general idea, cycling bikes are made for high intensity training, upright bikes are for light and medium training, and put less stress on the back, and recumbent bikes offer a light training, but supply a lot of comfort. In this part of this post, we’ll focus on the main differences between indoor cycling bikes and upright bikes, as many users may not consider all these differences, and may make the wrong choice.
First of all, when it comes to construction, cycling bikes feature solid, heavy frames, similar to mountain bikes. They also have solid cranksets, which can support the entire weight of the user. Uprights, although there are many durable and solid models out there, are not built for “spin” training. Even the sturdiest models will wear out pretty quickly if you repeatedly workout in stand-up position. They’re designed for workouts in upright, seated position, and not for full stand-up posture required for climb training.
Indoor cycles feature heavy flywheels, made to supply a smooth, consistent momentum, and put your leg muscles to the test. Upright cycles use much lighter flywheels.
Uprights feature wider, more comfortable seats than the usual slim saddle present in most cycling bikes. Most models only offer up/down adjustability, but there still are models which provide a 4-way adjustable seat. On the other hand, handlebars in most upright bikes are fixed; cannot be adjusted in any way. Most spin bikes offer at least up/down adjustability for the handlebar. Design offer multiple grip possibilities, aero bars incorporated, and even elbow rests. Upright bikes, have simpler handlebars, but can still promote multiple grips. However, in uprights, even the most basic models incorporate pulse sensors in the handlebars.
Almost every upright bike, even the cheapest models, comes with a console. The more expensive models offer a more or less consistent amount of preloaded training programs, and goal tracking options. Cycling bikes on the other hand typically include basic consoles, only for RPM, speed, time, distance and calories. And many models don’t include a console at all.
Finally, most upright bikes offer magnetic resistance, which doesn’t involve any wear and tear, or the touching of the brake pad and the flywheel, and thus don’t require maintenance or component replacement. Indoor cycles, even though there are models with magnetic resistance, such as the Keiser M3, most of them feature friction, felt-pad resistance. Felt-pads wear out after a while and call for replacement. Some types of friction brakes may also require the lubrication of the brake pads.
Manual Magnetic vs. Electronic Magnetic Resistance
As we’ve mentioned above, most exercise cycles in this category feature magnetic resistance. But there are several types of magnetic resistance though. In most affordable models resistance is adjusted manually via a resistance knob, similar to spin bikes with friction brake. They feature a mobile brake pad attached to a wire and connected to the knob. As you turn the knob, the magnetic pad moves closer of farther away from the bike’s flywheel, modifying resistance.
On the other hand, the more expensive models come with an electronically assisted magnetic brake, resistance being controlled exclusively from the console of the machine. The magnetic brake is connected to a servomotor, and may feature either a mobile or a fixed brake pad. As the command for a certain resistance setting is inserted on the console, the servomotor will move the magnetic pad closer to the flywheel. In case the magnetic pad is fixed, the pull of the magnet is adjusted, and braking force or retarding force is induced to the flywheel, adjusting resistance. These machines also require to be connected to a power source, but some of them are self-powered.
In general, bikes with manual resistance only feature 1-8 resistance levels, or 1-12. The ones with an electronically assisted brake can have up to 40 levels of resistance.
Folding vs. Non-Folding
If you’re looking for an upright bike, you’ve probably noticed that there are models which feature a folding design. Evidently, foldability is aimed at users who lack storage space.These models are usually cheaper, as they’re pretty basic, but they can still supply a decent training setting. Resistance on these bikes is in general, manual magnetic. The only downside related to foldable models, is that mounting and dismounting may be a bit awkward, or even difficult for elderly, or physically impaired users.
On the other hand, non-foldable models, supply a more compact design. They’re typically more solid, offer superior stability, seats are more comfortable, and the more advanced models also offer 4-way adjustability at least for the seat.
Now, for a bit of a conclusion here, if you have the space and you can afford it, it’s a better choice to go with a non-folding bike. Comfort and ease of use are always important in an upright bike.
Commercial Grade vs. Home-Use
Although these fitness machines are pretty much aimed to the home user, there still are models made for gym use. Evidently, these are more expensive, but do offer superior quality. So, the question is, is it worth it to pay the higher price, for a commercial grade bike, or go with a less expensive model?
First of all let’s look at the differences. To begin with, commercial grade bikes typically feature a larger footprint, and always have a fixed, compact frame. Many of the ones intended for home use have a considerably smaller footprint, and some of them even offer a folding frame. They’re lighter, easier to handle, but also with a lower user capacity, typically up to 250 lbs.
Many of the cheaper models made for home use, feature manual resistance, with a basic, battery powered console. Club quality cycles feature electronically assisted magnetic brakes, with automatic resistance, which typically adjusts from the console.
Needless to say, commercial type models offer a wide array of workout programs. Not only that, but some of the models even feature online connectivity to various sites such as MyFitnessPal, or iFit, where you can download extra workout programs, or upload your workout data and compare your progress with others’.
Club class bikes also offer superior adjustability. Most of them feature a 4-way adjustable seat, and certain models even offer some adjustability for the handlebars.
Our Best Recommendations by Price
After all the clarifications made in the sections above, you should have a pretty good idea what upright exercise bikes can offer, what they cannot, and whether this is the type of exercising machine that you need. Thus, one more aspect remains to be clarified: price.
The most affordable upright exercise bikes begin a prices around $100. However, you can also find models that cost more than $2,000. We can actually put upright cycles in three distinctive categories, according to their price:
- under $300 – basic ones, with simple resistance and drive mechanism;
- between $300 and $700 – models with a more solid build, more options, and superior resistance;
- above $700 – models pretty close to commercial grade sturdiness and capability, or made for gym use.
These being said, here are some of the best upright bikes for each one of the price intervals.
Price: Under $300
Sunny Health & Fitness offers several models of upright, recumbent an indoor cycle trainers. They have continuously improved the quality of their products so far. The SF-B2511H is one of their newest upright bike models, and was released at the beginning of 2016, and so far it has gathered an important number of 5-star reviews.
The Sunny SF-B2511H is an upright exercise bike with manual magnetic resistance, featuring 8 tension levels. It does not have any fancy features or pre-set workout programs, but still, it does come with a basic fitness meter, which can track time, speed, distance, calories and pulse. It doesn’t have a seat with air-cell cushioning, but it does supply decent comfort. Also, the seat features a standard connection system to its post, so you can easily find a replacement for it… Read Full Review.
In terms of affordable and space-saving upright exercise bikes, the Exerpeutic 500 XLS definitely is one model that requires some praise. It’s one of the newest models from this manufacturer, pretty similar to the Exerpeutic 1200, but a model with superior user capacity, a wider, curved rear base for superior stability, and overall, a more elegant design.
One of the main reasons this model benefits from a tremendously positive feedback from its users, is the extremely wide, padded and comfortable seat. This is also the main feature that tells this model apart from most other upright bike models. On top of that, it features a folding design, making it an excellent choice for users who don’t have the luxury of space.
This upright cycle features a manual magnetic resistance system, but also comes with a fitness meter that serves as an excellent motivation factor, and also helps you keep an eye on your progress… Read Full Review.
The H-Class 210 model is the lightest upright exercise bike from IRONMAN Fitness. It currently costs less than $200, but does offer an impressive range of features and functions for this price range. To begin with, it features an eddy current resistance system, providing 24 tension levels. Its console has 21 pre-set workout programs and 3 goal workout settings for calories, time and distance.
In terms of comfort, it doesn’t have the air-cushioned seat as the X-Class model. However, its seat is padded and wide enough to provide decent comfort and stability for upright workouts. Although it’s a fairly light trainer, the H-Class 210 can support users up to 275 lbs. Also the recommended user height range is 5′-6’4″… Read Full Review.
Price: $300 – $700
A more inclusive version of the Schwinn 130, the 170 model offers extra adjustability options, extra workout apps, and 25 levels of eddy current resistance. Its multifunction console also incorporates sound system, fan and data exchange / charging USB port. It features a sturdier frame, with quite a neat looking design.
This seat supplied with the Schwinn 170 is quite comfortable, featuring superior cushioning, and ergonomic contour. It also offers fore to aft adjustability. An important comfort factor that even the commercial-grade models do not include, but this particular bike does, is reflected by the elbow rests incorporated in the handlebar… Read Full Review.
The ProForm 515 CSX is an upright bike similar in specs and construction to the older model ProForm 8.0 EX. It’s an exercise bike with automatic magnetic resistance, featuring quite an impressive array of workout programs, including iFit connectivity.
It features a wide, 4-way adjustable seat, which can accommodate users between 5′ and 6’5″ (152 – 195.5 cm). Its handlebar is equipped with a set of elbow rests, comfort feature that other models in this price range don’t have. It has 20 levels of resistance, while the console is iFit compatible, and has 28 pre-set workout programs. The console also integrates a workout fan, sound system and tablet holder. This exercise bike is well-constructed, its maximum weight capacity being 300 lbs… Read Full Review.
The Triathlon X-Class 310 upright bike from IRONMAN Fitness definitely has the construction and range of features of a light commercial model. First of all, it has a sturdy construction and a weight capacity of 350 lbs. It can accommodate users between 5’2″ and 6’4″ (157 – 193 cm), featuring superior micro-adjustability (4-way adjustable seat).
The seat supplied with this bike integrates superior comfort factors. It has a layer of air chambers, which act as shock absorbers and help disperse the user’s weight, offering pretty much the best comfort that you can get from an upright bike seat.
The X-Class 310 uses an eddy current resistance system. It offers 32 levels of resistance, 12 pre-set workouts, also being Bluetooth enabled and compatible with the IRONSTRONG fitness app… Read Full Review.
Price: Over $700
The Sole B94 is definitely an upright bike that comes close to the sturdiness of commercial bikes. It’s quite a heavy fitness machine, weighing 123 lbs, weight that supplies a lot of stability. On top of that, it features solid connection points for seat and handlebar posts, and therefore you can be sure that if assembled properly, it will not rock or have a flimsy feel.
Since it’s a fitness machine with a solid construction, its weight capacity is also higher, this bike being able to support users up to 325 lbs. Needless to say, the comfort provided is superior. Cushioned, sizable seat with 4-way adjustability, should make it easier to find the perfect riding position.
The Sole B94 supplies 10 workout apps, and 20 levels of eddy current resistance… Read Full Review.
Although not all models that cost more than $700 can be classified as commercial quality, most of them are. One of the models that fall in this category is the 1060UB from LifeCORE. This is actually an upgrade of the 1050UBs model, which only had 16 preset programs, and 16 levels of resistance. The 1060UB offers 32 resistance settings and an impressive number of 47 workout apps. This is actually one of the criteria that places this machine in the commercial grade category.
Needless to say, the construction of this bike is quite solid, being able to hold 300 lbs of weight. It has a stylish design, with a scratch and corrosion resistant finish. It’s also heavy enough to offer maximum stability… Read Full Review.
As its name suggests, this bike is indeed a commercial quality model. It’s pretty similar to the Sole B94 model, only this one also features a self-powering system. In other words, the energy required for the power-up of the console, and for the resistance mechanism is produced while you pedal.
Despite the fact that this bike is pretty much built like a tank, it doesn’t offer a wide array of workout apps, just the same 10 as the B94. However, it has 40 levels of resistance, and since the console has two user profiles, you have plenty of options to create and customize your own workouts… Read Full Review.
Final Pick: The Best Upright Bike For Home Use
After a lot of research, our final pick for the highest quality, most inclusive and best price for what it offers, is the Schwinn 170. Even though it’s a rather old model, to this day it continues to benefit from 5-star reviews from most users, simply because its price / value ratio is excellent. This bike pretty much has everything that you would expect from an upright bike. In terms of comfort, quality and array of functions, it stands quite far above other models within this price. It’s actually pretty close to the specs and construction offered by most commercial grade types, but it costs less than $400!
Micro adjustability is also great in this bike. Seat and handlebars are both 4-way adjustable. Although handlebars cannot be adjusted in a fore to aft manner, as most handlebars in spin bikes, they can still offer angle adjustability, for a leaned forward workout. The Q factor is quite narrow, reminding of the Q factor in race or road bikes. This results in much less stress in the knees during pedaling.
With 25 levels of eddy current resistance and 29 workout programs, this bike can sure supply the training setting any user needs. Also, within the 29 training apps, 4 of them are custom, giving you the possibility to create your own training routine. It has online connectivity, and you can track or compare your progress online, on MyFitnessPal, or SchwinnConnect. Some of the most advanced commercial grade ones actually don’t offer features such as this… Read Full Review.
Whether you want to a fitness machine for a light or medium cardio workout, or you want one to help you get in shape and build enough stamina for more advanced workouts, an upright exercise bike is one of the most practical and convenient types to choose from. Depending on your budget, there are many choices that you can make. The selection of bikes in this post cover the full range of prices, beginning with the most basic, and up to the most inclusive. We hope that the information and bikes presented within this page, should be enough to help you make the right choice.