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Best Upright Bikes for 2020: Reviews and Comparisons

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As opposed to indoor cycling bikes (or spin bikes), upright bikes aren’t made for spinning or spin workouts. They are made for seated workouts, and for light to medium-intensity cardio training. They reduce the impact on the user’s joints and promote an upright pedaling position. These exercise bikes are typically designed for indoor use. Some are more expensive, made for commercial clubs, while others are intended for home use. There are several distinct differences between commercial bikes and models made for home use. We’ll get to the pointing out of 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 be clarified here.

However, before that, we’re going to put into view some of the best upright bikes available in 2020. Most of the following 10 upright bikes have at least 4-star reviews on most fitness and retail websites. Therefore, if you’re looking for an upright exercise bike, these are some of the best that you can choose from.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Upright Bikes for 2020

UnitSizeMaximum
user
weight
Drive
type
Resistance
type
Resistance
levels
ConsoleWarranty
Schwinn 170

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read-review-button-03
L:41"
W:22"
H:58"
300 lbsBeltEddy
current
2529 programs,
Bluetooth
Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electronics: 1 years
Labor: 90 days
Nautilus U616

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read-review-button-03
L:41.8"
W:21.6"
H:57.6"
300 lbsBeltEddy
current
2529 programs,
Bluetooth,
RideSocial
capable,
Nautilus
Trainer 2
capable
Frame: 10 years
Mechanical: 2 years
Electronics: 1 years
Labor: 90 days
L NOW D808

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read-review-button-03
L:50.4"
W:21.6"
H:57.3"
300 lbsBeltManual
magnetic
8Time,
Distance,
ODO,
Speed,
RPM,
Calories,
Pulse,
Goals,
Recovery,
BMI,
SCAN
1 year
limited
LifeCORE Assault

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read-review-button-03
L:50.9"
W:23.3"
H:48.4"
300 lbsChainAirn/a2 interval
programs,
Goals
Frame: 5 years
Parts: 2 years
Schwinn Airdyne Pro

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read-review-button-03
L:53"
W:26.5"
H:53"
350 lbsBeltAirn/a3 interval
programs,
Goals
program
Frame: 10 years
Parts: 2 years
Electronics: 2 years
Labor: 6 mth
3G Cardio Elite UB

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read-review-button-03
L:41"
W:22.5"
H:55"
350 lbsBeltEddy
current
16
16 programs,
4 user
profiles,
Recovery,
Goals
Frame:Lifetime
Parts: 7 years
Labor: 1 year
Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U

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read-review-button-03
L:37.5"
W:22"
H:54"
300 lbsBeltEddy
current
2415
programs,
Goals,
BMI,
Recovery
2 years
limited
Exerpeutic 500 XLS
exerpeutic-500xls-01-feat
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read-review-button-03
L:39"
W:26.4"
H:48.4"
400 lbsBeltManual
magnetic
8Time,
Distance,
Speed,
Calories,
Pulse,
SCAN
Frame: 1 year
Parts: 90 days
Sunny SF-B2883

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read-review-button-03
L:34"
W:22.5"
H:55.5"
240 lbsBeltEddy
current
1624
programs,
Goals,
BMI,
Recovery
Frame: 3 years
Parts: 180 days
Marcy NS-714U

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read-review-button-03
L:32"
W:19"
H:51"
300 lbsBeltManual
magnetic
8Time,
Speed,
Distance,
Calories,
ODO,
SCAN
2 years
limited

Schwinn 170

The Schwinn 170 has received several improvements over the years, and the current version is one of the best upright bikes for 2020. It’s a mid-range exercise bike with a programmable console and digital magnetic resistance. It offers a wide array of features for a cycle in this price range, and so far, it benefits from an almost clean 5-star feedback from users all over the world.

Frame

The Schwinn 170 upright bike features a frame made of steel tubing, with its base center section almost completely concealed by the ABS shrouds. The frame combines cylindrical with ovalized bars for an improved sturdiness and overall aesthetics. It’s a pretty durable trainer rated for users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

The bike’s frame is coated with a rust-resistant and abrasion-resistant paint finish. The color used is a dark gray, close to black.

The bike is not extremely heavy; with the frame fully assembled it weighs a little over 60 lbs (~28.5 kg). This means it can easily be assembled and transported by only one person. Its front base is equipped with transport wheels, while its rear base has two adjustable stabilizers.

Drive & Resistance

The Schwinn 170 upright bike is equipped with an automatic eddy current resistance system. This means it needs to be connected to a power source, and the control of its resistance is done from the console. Also, since the console has several preset workout programs, when using one of them, the bike will auto-adjust its resistance.

Since the bike’s resistance system uses magnets, there is no friction between the brake elements, and the pedaling motion is very smooth and quiet. The bike makes available 25 distinct tension levels.

The internal flywheel is approx. 10 lbs (4.5 kg). It has a balanced design in order to provide a steady pedaling motion. It’s bi-directional, so it allows reverse pedaling.

Like most other exercise bikes with a magnetic resistance system, the unit’s transmission is belt-based. It uses a heavy-duty v-belt which provides an excellent traction.

The crankset is quite durable, featuring solid steel crank arms. However, it’s not made for standing up and pedaling. The pedals have a weighted design; they’re equipped with adjustable straps to secure your feet on the pedals. They also have a non-slip surface.

Console & Accessories

The latest Schwinn 170 upright bike version comes with an improved console which has Bluetooth connectivity. The older versions only have a USB port for online data transfer. The Bluetooth connection allows you to sync your bike with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone in order to directly stream your workout data online. The console is also compatible with various online fitness apps, such as SchwinnConnect and MyFitnessPal.

Regardless if you’re going to use an online fitness app or not, the console has 29 built-in programs to keep you motivated. It also has 4 user profiles, so you can save different program settings to alternate if needed.

The console features two LCD displays with LED backlight, which can track all the important workout metrics. It can also track your pulse via a wireless HR chest strap transmitter.

In terms of amenities, the console is equipped with a sound system, a cooling fan, and a tablet holder. The sound system is compatible with most MP3 players or smartphones. The workout fan, although not too powerful, it provides a bit of cooling if needed. The tablet holder is placed under the wider display, so in case you place your tablet on it, you will still be able to see your progress on the smaller monitor.

Comfort & Adjustability

This Schwinn upright bike is equipped with a fairly comfortable seat. Its saddle integrates a layer of padding, which is thicker at the rear. It’s wider than most spin seats and provides plenty of contact surface, and is also contoured for extra comfort.

The seat is four-way adjustable (up, down, back, forth). Its upright bar has 14 adjustment positions, while its horizontal slider also offers several inches of adjustment. These being said, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm) with no problem.

The bike is equipped with a multi-grip handlebar with rubberized grips for improved comfort. Its lower corners have elbow rests, a feature that not many upright bikes have. Plus, the transversal section of the handlebar incorporates two pulse sensors.

The handlebar is angle-adjustable. It has a turn-knob which gives you the possibility to quickly lock/unlock it to change its angle to your liking. The console mast is fixed, so the height of the handlebar and console cannot be adjusted.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Compact design
  • Excellent stability
  • Eddy current resistance system
  • Pulse sensors
  • Superior adjustability
  • 25 levels of resistance
  • 29 workout programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Sound system
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Cooling fan
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • HR chest strap not included
  • The cooling fan is not too powerful

Summary

The Schwinn 170 is an upright exercise bike equipped with an automatic magnetic resistance system, an advanced console with Bluetooth connectivity and numerous preset programs. It’s great for light to mid-range cardio training, intervals, and weight loss. It’s also among the upright bikes with the best price/quality ratio.

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Nautilus U616

Just as the Schwinn 170, there were several Nautilus U616 upright bike models released over the years. The latest model offers Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with the RideSocial app, as well as other online fitness apps. Although it’s not sold as a light-commercial exercise bike, it does offer the sturdiness and range of features of one.

Frame

The Nautilus U616 upright bike features a heavy-duty frame made of thick steel tubing. It has a very compact design, with the base completely sealed by the protective shrouds, and ovalized mast and seat post for improved sturdiness.

Its base bars are triangular; the rear base is equipped with large, adjustable stabilizers, while the front bar rests on two rubberized pads which improve the unit’s grip on the floor. Plus, the front base has a set of transport wheels that improve the unit’s overall portability.

The bike is not extremely large; with the frame fully assembled, it takes only approx. 42″L x 22″W (104 x 55 cm) of floor space. This being said, it can fit well even into a smaller room.

All the steel bars in its construction are double-coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The main color used is black, with the exception of the seat post which is gray. For reference, the older versions have a light gray paint finish.

Drive & Resistance

The Nautilus U616 upright bike features a fairly light flywheel (approx. 10 lbs), which has a perimeter-weighted structure, for a smooth pedaling motion and a pretty consistent momentum.

The connection between the pulley and the flywheel is made available by a durable rubber belt. Just as any belt drive, this comes with the advantage that it doesn’t need lubrication. It also doesn’t generate almost any noise during pedaling.

The bike’s crankset is quite durable. It should be able to support lighter users while standing up on the pedals. This kind of workouts is not recommended, though.

The pedals have weighted structure, so they turn face-up if you remove your feet from them. Their surface is rubberized for maximum foot adherence, and they also have adjustable straps.

The bike’s resistance system is motorized. It integrates a magnetic brake and a servo motor, and the tension adjustment can only be done from the console. Also, the bike needs to be connected to a power source for the console to start up and allow you to adjust the resistance.

Just as the Schwinn 170, this upright bike offers 25 levels of resistance. The 1-3 levels are pretty light, adequate for users who experience joint problems, or users who need to follow a rehab training regimen. Conversely, the 23-25 resistance settings offer the possibility to achieve a more intense muscle burn and heart rate.

Console & Accessories

The bike’s console is equipped with two LCD displays, one larger which shows the workout programs and the set-up workout goals, and a smaller one, which indicates time, distance, speed, RPM, calories, and pulse.

There are 29 workout programs built-in the console unit, and 4 user profiles. However, it also has Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with various online fitness apps, such as Nautilus Trainer 2, MyFitnessPal, and more. On top of that, you can connect to RideSocial and benefit from an immersive experience by following a virtual trail either on your TV, tablet, or laptop or on a VR device.

The console has an integrated set of speakers, a cooling fan, and a tablet holder. Therefore, you can connect your MP3 player or smartphone to it in order to listen to your favorite music. The workout fan provides a bit of cooling in case it’s necessary, and the tablet holder can accommodate almost any tablet.

The bike also includes a bottle holder. It’s made of flexible nylon material and attaches to the front mast of the unit. It can accommodate almost any type of hydration bottle.

Comfort & Adjustability

This Nautilus upright bike is equipped with a pretty comfortable seat. It integrates a thick layer of padding and has a durable top. It’s fairly large, providing plenty of contact surface, so it shouldn’t create discomfort even for a bigger user. But on the other hand, its connection system to the adjustment bar is standard; thus, you can easily find a replacement for it if it’s the case.

The seat offers 4-way adjustability. The upright post has more than 10 adjustment positions, while the horizontal slider offers a few extra inches of front to back adjustment. Therefore, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm).

The handlebar is equipped with elbow rests and pulse sensors. It’s rubberized for a non-slip grip and optimal comfort. It offers the possibility to adopt multiple grips. Plus, it’s angle-adjustable, a feature that not many upright bikes offer.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Compact design
  • Excellent stability
  • Superior adjustability
  • Pulse sensors
  • Eddy current resistance system
  • 25 levels of resistance
  • 29 workout programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with Nautilus Trainer 2, MyFitness Pal
    and RideSocial
  • Sound system
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Cooling fan
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • HR chest strap not included
  • The cooling fan is not too powerful

Summary

The Nautilus U616 is an upright bike pretty close to light-commercial quality. It’s equipped with an automatic magnetic resistance system, offers 25 tension levels, and a wide array of features. It excels in comfort and adjustability. It’s a great bike for users of all levels, offering outstanding value for the price.

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L NOW D808

The L NOW D808 has been on the market since 2017 and still is one of the best upright bikes in 2020. Although it doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, nor it is compatible with any online apps, it still has plenty to offer. Plus, it has a very sturdy and compact construction, and a pretty impressive weight capacity.

Frame

Although it’s an upright exercise bike with manual resistance control, it has a frame construction similar to light commercial bikes. It’s made of thick steel tubing with the base almost completely concealed by the ABS shrouds. Its longitudinal base bar is slightly curved upward in the middle to improve its overall sturdiness.

The frame features a durable powder coating, highly resistant to corrosion. The color used is white for the console mast, black for the base bars, while the seat post is chrome-coated.

The bike can support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg) with no problem. Its base length is approx. 42″ (106 cm), but the overall length of the bike is ~50″ (128 cm); its width is ~22″ (55 cm), so the fully assembled unit doesn’t take too much space. It’s also not extremely heavy, its out-of-the-box weight is approx. 66 lbs (30 kg).

The bike’s bases are equipped with adjustable stabilizers. The front base has integrated transport wheels.

Drive & Resistance

The most important drive element of an exercise bike is its flywheel, so that’s the first part that we’re going to discuss here. The L NOW D808 is equipped with a balanced flywheel. Its weight is ~9 lbs (4 kg). It’s heavy enough to deliver a smooth pedaling motion, which is considerably enhanced by the internal magnetic resistance.

Speaking of resistance, the bike uses a manual magnetic resistance system. It consists of a small magnetic brake connected to the tension knob on the console mast through a steel cable. When you turn this knob clockwise, the distance between the brake and the flywheel is reduced, which increases the pedaling tension. There are 8 tension levels available.

The bike uses a belt drive system. Thus, the pedaling motion is very smooth and quiet. The pedals have a weighted design, so they turn face-up if you remove your feet from them. They are equipped with adjustable straps, and also have standard threads.

Console & Accessories

Since the L NOW D808 upright exercise doesn’t have a motorized resistance system, its console doesn’t play any role in the resistance adjustment. It also doesn’t have any preset programs. It does have, though, a multi-window LCD display. Therefore, it shows most workout metrics simultaneously.

The console tracks time, distance, total distance, speed, RPM, pulse, and calories burned. For pulse reading, the unit has EKG sensors integrated into the handlebars; however, it is not telemetric and cannot read the user’s heart rate through an HR chest strap transmitters.

There are goal settings available on the console. It allows you to set up countdown values for time, distance, and calories. It also has a BMI function and a Recovery function.

In terms of amenities, the bike has a tablet holder and a bottle holder. The tablet holder is integrated into the console. The bottle holder is made of flexible material and attached to the front mast. It’s large enough to support any type of workout bottle.

Comfort & Adjustability

This L NOW exercise bike is equipped with a pretty standard seat. It does integrate a layer of padding, though, and is considerably wider than a spin bike seat. It has a standard attachment system, though, and can easily be replaced. Compatible replacements with more cushioning are widely available.

The handlebars have a multi-grip design. They integrate pulse sensors and by holding on to them, the console can monitor your pulse, or run its Recovery program. It’s completely covered by a layer of rubber foam material for extra comfort.

Both the seat and the handlebar are adjustable. The seat offers 4-way adjustability (up, down, front, back). The handlebar is angle-adjustable. You can lock/unlock it from the knob on top of it, in order to change its angle. Considering all the possible adjustments available, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm).

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Compact design
  • Excellent stability
  • 4-way adjustable seat
  • Pulse sensors
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • Multi-panel bike computer
  • Goal settings available
  • Recovery and BMI features
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No backlight on the console display
  • No online connectivity

Summary

The L NOW D808 is a heavy-duty upright bike featuring a manual magnetic resistance system, superior micro-adjustability, and a console that tracks all the important workout metrics. Although it doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity and is not compatible with any online fitness apps, it still is a top-quality exercise bike which so far benefits from an excellent feedback from most users. In all, has a great price/quality ratio.

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LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike

Although the LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike has been around for over four years, it still is one of the best air resistance bikes available at the moment. It still continues to benefit from an impressive amount of 5-star reviews from users all over the world, and definitely lives up to its rating.

Frame

The LifeCORE Assault Air upright bike features a durable steel frame made of 14-ga steel tubing. Due to this fact, it’s considerably heavier than other upright bikes, being approx. 98 lbs (44.5 kg) when fully assembled. This weight considerably enhances its stability, though.

Speaking of stability, both its base bars are equipped with adjustable levelers that have large urethane pads. Also, its front base has built-in transport wheels, so moving the trainer shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone.

Most of its frame is coated with a black powder finish resistant to corrosion; the only exception is the seat post which has a chrome finish.

Drive & Resistance

As its name suggests, the LifeCORE Assault Air bike is equipped with an air resistance system. It uses a 27″ (68 cm) steel fan to generate resistance. It doesn’t have a damper, though, or any magnetic elements to physically adjust its overall resistance. But just as any fitness machine with an air resistance system, it generates a dynamic response during pedaling. In other words, the resistance gradually increases as you increase your pedaling speed.

Evidently, as opposed to a magnetic bike, this one does generate some noise when in use. But even if pedaling at a high speed, the noise level if far from being too loud.

The bike’s transmission is chain-based. It uses a standard chain, which can last a lifetime with proper care. The crankset is highly durable and can support the user in standing up pedaling positions. The pedals are also metallic; they do not have SPD clips, straps or toe cages, but do have standard threads, so replacements for them are widely available.

The pedals are attached to the moving arms via two steel bars. This being said, the moving arms cannot move independently from the pedals, nor they can be locked. They continue to move for as long as you pedal.

Console & Accessories

The console included with the LifeCORE Assault Air Bike features a multi-window LCD display. It tracks time, distance, calories, speed, watts, RPM, and pulse. Although the bike doesn’t have any pulse sensors, the console can read your pulse via a Polar T31 non-coded or Polar T34 transmitter. It uses 2 AA batteries and has a sleep mode to which will enter after several minutes of inactivity.

The console makes available several workout programs. Two of the workouts have preset intervals, 20-10 and respectively 10-20. The third program is Custom, allowing you to create your own interval. There also are target settings for time, calories, distance, and pulse. Each program and each target setting has its own key on the right side of the console.

The console doesn’t have online connectivity, nor it has a sound system or other fancy features but does have a tablet or phone holder. The front section that hosts the main Start/Stop buttons creates a small ledge which can support your device.

Comfort & Adjustability

In terms of workout intensity, air bikes are close to spin bikes. They’re not built for super comfort. However, this exercise bike is equipped with a cushioned seat, with a durable vinyl upholstery and a contoured surface. It’s not too wide, but definitely wider than the average spin bike seat. There’s an optional cushion for this seat available. Plus, it has a standard design, and compatible replacements for it can be found in just about any bike shop.

The seat offers 4-way adjustability, up, down, and front to back. Its angle can also be adjusted. The bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’6″ (153 – 198 cm). The seat itself can actually accommodate users shorter than 5′ (153 cm), but someone shorter than this will find it difficult to use the moving handles comfortably. Seat adjustments are done via two large knobs, easy to turn and tighten. Thus, adjusting it takes less than a minute. The adjustment increments on the upright bar are approx. 1″ (2.5 cm).

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Superior stability
  • Ergonomic, 4-way adjustable seat
  • Air resistance for a dynamic response
  • Multi-window console
  • 3 interval workout programs
  • Goal settings for time, distance, calories, and pulse
  • Durable crankset and pedals
  • Tablet holder
  • Little maintenance required
  • Easy to assemble
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No straps on the pedals
  • No HR chest strap
  • No online connectivity

Summary

The LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike is a commercial-grade fitness machine, featuring a sturdy frame construction, air resistance, and a multi-panel console for interval programs. It’s an exercise bike made for high-intensity workouts. It’s not an affordable exercise bike, but the quality in its components and its overall construction definitely stand up to the price. In all, it offers an exceptional value for the price.

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Schwinn Airdyne Pro

The Schwinn Airdyne Pro is indeed a professional air bike. Not only that it offers superlative quality and sturdiness, but it’s also equipped with an advanced console for interval training. So far, this Schwinn exercise bike has gathered an impressive amount of 5-star reviews from all users, and this pretty much stands for the lighter versions, the Schwinn AD2, and Schwinn AD6. In case you’re on a tighter budget, you can opt for these two as they’re also superior quality bikes.

Frame

Just as the LifeCORE Assault Air Bike, the Schwinn Airdyne Pro features a heavy-duty frame, designed to withstand 24/7 usage within the premises of a gym club. It weighs approx. 113 lbs (51.3 kg), a weight that adds a lot of stability. Plus, the unit’s stability is enhanced by the large, adjustable base stabilizers.

The frame section between the base of the seat bar and the beginning of the flywheel is equipped with a stepping pad. This element is typically present in spin bikes, but this Schwinn trainer is an exception. Not only that it facilitates entry and exit, but it also offers support for certain workouts that require you to step on and off the frame. Also, the front fork of the bike is equipped with two foot-resting pegs which give you the possibility to rest your feet and legs while using only the moving arms.

The Airdyne Pro is slightly larger than most other upright bikes. It’s approx. 53″ (135 cm) long, and 26.5″ (67 cm) wide. It’s also recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance all around it, to be able to perform all the workouts without any hindrance.

Drive & Resistance

It’s pretty much obvious that the Schwinn Airdyne Pro features an air resistance system. It’s equipped with a 26-blade metallic fan. It doesn’t have any magnetic or friction elements, the whole resistance is generated by the fan.

Just like any other fitness machine equipped with an air resistance system, the unit delivers a dynamic response. In other words, the faster you pedal and/or move the arms, the more resistance it will produce.

The bike’s transmission is powered by a heavy-duty rubber belt, therefore it doesn’t need any lubrication. The crankset and the pedals are extremely solid as well; they can actually support users up to 350 lbs (159 kg) even when exercising while standing up on the pedals. The pedals themselves don’t have any straps or SPD clips, but you can always have them replaced.

Console & Accessories

As we’ve mentioned above, the console included with this Schwinn exercise bike is an advanced one. It features two main displays. The top one is actually a tachometer, while the bottom, large one interests the workout programs data. It offers 3 main interval programs, these being 20/10 interval, 30/90 interval, and a Custom interval.

There also are three preset HR interval programs for 65%, 75%, and 85%. Plus, you can set up a target for time, calories and distance.

The console can be set up to show the workout data in metric or English units. It’s also telemetric; it can read pulse via most Polar HR chest straps.

An important aspect with regards to this console is its calibration system. It has a built-in temperature sensor that allows it to calibrate according to the resistance generated by the fan, in order to provide a highly accurate calorie reading.

Last but not least, the console can be powered by D-type batteries, but there’s also an AC adapter available for it.

In terms of amenities, the console has a bottle holder, molded into the base of the console. It also has a narrower compartment right above the bottle slot, which can serve as support for your phone, or other small accessories.

Comfort & Adjustability

Despite the fact that the Schwinn Airdyne Pro is a bike designed for high-intensity workouts, it also provides an outstanding comfort. Its seat has a very thick layer of foam cushioning, and also has a longitudinal groove for extra breathability. Its upholstery is made of a highly durable vinyl material and synthetic combo. It’s also approx. 12″ (31 cm) wide, providing plenty of contact surface.

The seat is 4-way adjustable (up, down, back, forth). It has a pretty long adjustment span, so the bike can accommodate users up to 6’7″ (201 cm) with no problem.

The moving arms have a multi-grip design, with rubberized handles for a comfortable and secure grip. They don’t integrate pulse sensors, but as we’ve already mentioned, the console is telemetric.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Heavy-duty, commercial-grade frame
  • High weight capacity (350 lbs)
  • Stepping pad
  • Superior stability
  • Superior adjustability
  • High-comfort seat
  • Air resistance for a dynamic response
  • Advanced, self-calibrating console
  • Preset HIIT and HR programs
  • Goal settings
  • Tablet holder
  • Accessory holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No online connectivity
  • HR chest strap is not included
  • No sound system

Summary

The Schwinn Airdyne Pro is a commercial-grade air resistance exercise bike. It’s equipped with an advanced console with preset HIIT and HR programs. It has a very sturdy construction and can support any type of pedaling workout. It also provides superlative comfort and adjustability. In all, it’s a high-grade exercise bike offering outstanding value for the price.

Check Price on Amazon & See User Reviews

3G Cardio Elite UB

3G Cardio offers a few top-quality items of fitness equipment, and the 3G Cardio Elite UB upright bike is one of them. It’s a light-commercial grade trainer, offering a decent range of features. Even though it doesn’t have online connectivity, it still is one of the top bikes that you can choose from at the moment.

Frame

The 3G Cardio Elite UB has a solid frame made of steel tubing, with ABS covers for the internal parts. All the steel bars in its construction are coated with a gray/black paint finish which is resistant to corrosion and abrasion.

The bike has a rather small footprint; with the frame fully assembled, it is approx. 41″L x 22″W (104 x 57 cm), but the whole bike is a bit longer than 41″. The handlebar extends over the front base by a few inches. But nonetheless, the unit should fit well even into a smaller room or apartment.

The bike’s bases have a triangular shape which improves the connection between them and the main frame. They’re equipped with rubberized, adjustable stabilizers, while the front base features a set of transport wheels.

Drive & Resistance

The 3G Cardio Elite UB is a magnetic upright exercise bike. Its magnetic resistance system is motorized and with digital control. In other words, you can only adjust the resistance from the bike’s console, and the bike requires to be connected to a power source.

There are 16 resistance levels available. The top resistance settings deliver a pretty consistent level of difficulty. allowing you to perform intense cardio workouts, with a high muscle burn. Conversely, the first 1-3 tension levels deliver a light resistance, perfect for recovery training or warming up.

The bike’s internal flywheel is bi-directional, so you can pedal in reverse if you want to diversify your workouts. It has a balanced construction and delivers a very smooth and steady motion. The transmission between the bike’s pulley is made available by a heavy-duty rubber belt which is basically maintenance-free and generates almost no vibration during usage.

The bike’s cranks and pedals are not made for spin workouts, but they’re pretty durable as well. The pedals have a weighted structure with adjustable straps and a non-slip surface. Their threads are standard 9/16″, so in case you want to replace them, compatible alternatives are widely available in any bike parts shop.

Console & Accessories

The bike’s console is a mid-range one. As we’ve mentioned above, it doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity, and it not compatible with any online fitness apps. However, it does have 16 programs to keep you motivated, plus the manual mode which basically allows you to freely adjust the resistance as you exercise. Among the included programs we can count 12 preset programs, which offer different workouts focusing on weight loss, peak performance, intervals, etc. There are also 3 heart rate programs, 1-watt program, and a Recovery program.

The console features an LCD display divided into multiple sections; thus, it shows all the workout metrics at once, so you don’t have to use a scan function to alternate them. It tracks time, speed, distance, RPM, watts, pulse, and calories. It can monitor your pulse either through the sensors in the bike’s handlebars or through a wireless HR chest strap transmitter.

Apart from the console, there are three other notable amenities to mention here. Two of them are actually built-in the console, one is the accessory holder, the other is the bottle holder. The third one is the bottle holder which is made of flexible plastic material and attaches to the front mast.

Comfort & Adjustability

The bike is equipped with a 12″ (30 cm) wide seat with a contoured surface for extra comfort. It integrates a layer of padding which is thicker in its rear part. It’s top is made of durable and soft vinyl material.

The seat is 4-way adjustable. Its upright bar offers 10 adjustment positions. The distance between the adjustment holes is approx. 1.5″, while the horizontal slider of the seat also offers several inches of adjustment. Thus, the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm). Also, the whole seat assembly is quite durable; it can hold users up to 350 lbs (159 kg).

The handlebars have a multi-grip design, with the lower grips slightly curved upward, providing superior comfort for the close grip. They also integrate pulse sensors.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • High weight capacity
  • Compact design
  • Excellent stability
  • Wide, 4-way adjustable seat
  • Pulse sensors
  • Eddy current resistance system
  • 16 levels of resistance
  • 16 workout programs
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Accessory holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • HR chest strap not included
  • No sound system
  • No online connectivity
  • No cooling fan

Summary

The 3G Cardio Elite UB is a light-commercial upright bike that offers a high weight capacity, superior comfort, and adjustability. It’s equipped with an eddy current resistance system with 16 available levels. Its console offers 16 workout programs. It’s not one of the most affordable bikes but does offer excellent quality for the price.

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Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U is one of the upright exercise bikes released in 2019, so it’s pretty much a new model. So far, it has gathered a fair amount of 5-star reviews from users, this being one of the main reasons we’ve selected it for our list of best upright bikes for 2020.

Frame

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U features a steel frame with a step-through design; not all upright bikes have a step-through feature so this a plus especially for elderly users or users with certain disabilities as it promotes an easy entry and exit.

Overall, the bike has a petty solid construction. Even though it’s an upright bike made for home use, it is rated for a maximum user weight capacity of 300 lbs (136 kg) which is not bad. It also weighs more than 70 lbs (31.7 kg) and has a low center of gravity which enhances its stability.

The fully assembled unit is also compact with a fairly small footprint of 37.5″ long (95 cm) and 22″ (56 cm) wide. However, it is recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance all around it for safe usage.

Drive & Resistance

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U is equipped with an automatic resistance system or differently put, an eddy current brake. This means it requires an external power source. It also means that its console can automatically adjust the pedal resistance.

The AMZ-594U upright exercise bike offers 24 levels of resistance. The first few levels offer a light pedaling difficulty great for users who require recovery training. Conversely, the tension levels above 20 deliver considerably more resistance simulating a steep climb.

The bike integrates a balanced flywheel designed for a steady pedaling motion. Its exact weight is not specified, but considering the bike’s weight, it is probably between 10 lbs and 20 lbs (4.5 – 9.0 kg). The flywheel permits reverse pedaling; thus, you can put some diversity into your workouts.

Most upright bikes with an eddy current resistance system feature a belt drivetrain. The AMZ-594U model makes no exception. It features a heavy-duty poly-v drive belt for a whisper-quiet, vibration-free pedaling motion.

The bike’s crankset is a 3-piece part with durable steel arms. Of course, it’s not made for spin workouts, but a lighter user should still be able to pedal while standing up. The included pedals have a weighted design; they also include adjustable straps.

Console & Accessories

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U upright bike is equipped with a mid-range console. It features an LCD display with LED backlight that tracks time, distance, RPM, speed, watts, calories, and pulse. The pulse reading function requires you to hold on to the integrated sensors; the console is not telemetric and does not have integrated Bluetooth.

The console makes available 15 workout programs. The first one is manual, the next 12 are preset, while the 14th and 15th programs are for HRC and Watts. A BMI program and a Recovery function are also available. Both have quick keys on the console. Plus, the console has goal selection functions. You can select a goal for time, distance, or calories.

The console also integrates a sound system, a USB charging port, and a foldable tablet holder. The sound system is compatible with all smartphones, MP3 players, and tablets. It consists of two speakers so you can play your music through it. The tablet holder is integrated at the top of the unit. The USB port serves for charging your device only. You cannot transfer workout data.

The bike also has two bottle holders, one integrated into the console, the other in the front covers of the drive system. The hydration bottle is not included.

Comfort & Adjustability

The first element to cover here is the seat. The AMZ-594U exercise bike includes a cushioned seat featuring approx. 1.4″ (3.5 cm) of foam padding and a durable, double-stitched faux leather cover. Its top is contoured for extra breathability. It also has a standard attachment system, so in case you will ever have to replace it, compatible options are widely available.

The seat offers four-way adjustability (up, down, front, back). There are 9 adjustment positions on its upright post for an adjustment span of 10″ (25 cm). Its front to back slider provides several inches of adjustment. These being said, the bike should be able to accommodate users up to 6’5″ (196 cm). It is also sturdy enough to support users up to 300 lbs.

The bike’s handlebar is also adjustable. Not all upright bikes offer this feature. The handlebar is attached to the front mast via a knob that allows you to change its angle. However, you cannot adjust its height as it is the case for most spin bikes.

The handlebar has a multi-grip design. It is fully covered by a layer of rubber foam material in order to provide a better and more comfortable grip. It also integrates pulse sensors.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame – 300 lbs capacity
  • Transport wheels
  • Adjustable stabilizers
  • Superior micro-adjustability
  • Cushioned, quality saddle
  • Silent belt drive
  • Weighted pedals with straps
  • Automatic resistance
  • Power adapter included
  • 24 resistance levels
  • LCD display console
    with LED backlight
  • 15 workout programs
  • BMI function
  • Recovery function
  • Goal tracking
  • Foldable tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Sound system
  • USB charging port

Cons

  • Water bottle is not included
  • No online connectivity

Summary

The Circuit Fitness AMZ-594U is a mid-range upright bike made for home use. It offers 24 levels of eddy current resistance, a comfortable cushioned seat, superior micro-adjustability, and a console with multiple workout programs, sound system, and several other features. It’s an excellent bike for light to medium-intensity cardio, intervals, stamina development, and weight loss.

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Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS

The Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS has been available for over 4 years and still is one of the best foldable upright bikes in 2020. All this time it has received an astonishing amount of 5-star reviews from users all over the world, on all retail and fitness websites where it has been listed. It offers an outstanding comfort for a folding bike, and also has an impressive weight capacity.

Frame

The Exerpeutic 500 XLS features an “X” frame construction, made of two main pieces. The piece that holds the console consists of two parallel bars, while the piece that sustains the seat passes through these parallel bars being connected to them in the middle.

Evidently, the frame has a folding design, its dimensions being reduced to 24.8″L x 26.4″W (63 x 67 cm) from 39″L x 26.4″W (99 x 67 cm) when completely folded.

Although it’s a folding exercise bike for home use, its frame offers an exceptional sturdiness. It can hold users up to 400 lbs (181 kg). It’s also pretty stable, its rear base featuring polygonal levelers which can rotate in order to improve its stability.

Drive & Resistance

The Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. This being said, it does not need to be connected to a power source. Its front, bottom section integrates a small magnetic brake attached to the tension knob at the top of the console. When you turn the knob, the position of the brakes shifts, increasing or decreasing the intensity of the magnetic field, which leads to more or less pedaling difficulty. The bike’s resistance system makes available 8 distinct tension levels.

The weight of the bike’s internal flywheel is not specified. But considering that the bike weighs only approx. 51 lbs (23 kg), it’s probably approx. 8-10 lbs (3.6 – 4.5 kg). It does deliver a very smooth and steady motion.

The internal transmission is belt-based. Thus, the bike’s operation is very quiet. The pedals are weighted and equipped with adjustable straps. Their Q-Factor is narrow, promoting a natural foot placement during pedaling, which eliminates any lateral stress on the knees and ankles.

Console & Accessories

The bike is equipped with a basic fitness meter. It features an LCD display which shows time, distance, total distance, calories, speed, and pulse. It only has one (MODE) button which allows you to toggle ON/OFF its scan function.

The unit is not telemetric but can track your pulse via the sensors integrated into the handlebars. It’s battery-powered, and two AA batteries for it are included with the bike. It starts up when you begin pedaling or when you press the MODE button, but also has a sleep mode to which it will enter after a few minutes of inactivity on the bike.

The only other notable accessory included with the bike, apart from the exercise meter, is the phone holder (or accessory holder). This element is attached to the front part of the frame, right under the console. It can provide support for your phone or other small accessories but does not accommodate water bottles.

Comfort & Adjustability

This Exerpeutic exercise bike is equipped with an extra large seat, approx. 14″ (35.5 cm) wide, and 9″ (23 cm) deep. It integrates 2″ (5 cm) of foam padding. Its top is flat, but this does eliminate any soreness that a generic bike saddle may cause.

The seat is two-way adjustable. Its post offers several adjustment positions, so the bike can accommodate users between 5’0″ and 6’5″ (153 – 196 cm) with no problem, promoting a complete leg extension.

The handlebars are non-adjustable but do offer a multi-grip design. They have rubberized grips for extra comfort and integrate pulse sensors so that the exercise meter can monitor your heart rate.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy and stable frame
  • Superior weight capacity (400 lbs)
  • Folding, space-saving design
  • Pulse sensors
  • Manual magnetic resistance
  • 8 tension levels available
  • Silent operation
  • Exercise meter included
  • Accessory holder
  • Easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No tablet holder
  • No bottle holder

Summary

The Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS is a folding upright bike featuring a highly durable frame that can hold users up to 400 lbs (181 kg). It also has a large, cushioned seat that delivers superior comforts. It’s also an affordable trainer, currently available for less than $200. In all, it’s a great bike, offering stellar quality for the price.

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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B2883

Sunny Health & Fitness has released multiple upright exercise bikes within the last few years. The Sunny SF-B2883 is one of the models released in 2019, so it’s one of their newer models. Unlike the previous models in this feature range, it has motorized resistance and a console that offers several workout programs.

Frame

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B2883 features a pretty durable construction with a weight capacity of 240 lbs (109 kg). Its frame combines ovalized, triangular, and rectangular steel tubing for superior aesthetics. All the bars in its construction are coated with a rust-resistant paint finish; the color used is black, this being the only color available for this bike.

The bike isn’t extremely heavy. It weighs approx. 61 lbs (28 kg) which is enough for decent stability. Plus, the bike’s rear base integrates adjustable stabilizers while its front base is equipped with transport wheels.

Like most other upright bikes made for home use, the Sunny SF-B2883 has a compact design. Its footprint is only 34″L x 22.5″W (86 x 57 cm) so it should fit pretty well even to a smaller room or apartment. It is recommended though, to leave at least two feet of clearance all around it for ease of access.

Drive & Resistance

As we’ve mentioned above, the Sunny SF-B2883 features a motorized magnetic resistance system that consists of a servo motor and magnetic brake. When you adjust the resistance, the servo motor changes the position of the magnetic brake in relation to the flywheel which adds or reduces resistance.

Since the bike is motorized, it requires an external power source and the resistance can only be controlled from the console. Also, the console can automatically adjust the resistance, depending on the selected workout program.

There are 16 levels of resistance available on the bike. The first few levels deliver a fairly light pedaling difficulty; they’re great for anyone who requires recovery training or has joint problems. Conversely, the top resistance levels provide considerably more pedal tension simulating a hill climb, promoting a higher burn and superior cardio training.

The bike is equipped with a 6.6 lbs (3 kg) flywheel. Evidently, it’s a fairly light flywheel, which means the bike can make a great choice for recovery training. But on the other hand, the flywheel is perimeter-weighted; this structure improves its inertia and generate a more consistent pedaling motion.

Since it’s an upright bike, its crankset is not designed for spin workouts or for standing on the pedals. However, it is pretty durable. The pedals are weighted in order to always turn face-up when you remove your feet from them, and they have adjustable straps. Also, the bike’s drive system uses a belt, not a chain; thus, you don’t have to worry about its lubrication.

Console & Accessories

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B2883 is equipped with a mid-range console. It features an LCD display with blue LED backlight. It tracks speed, distance, total distance, time, pulse, calories, and watts. It also shows the grid of the program in use. It does not have Bluetooth or online connectivity, though.

There are 24 workout programs available on the console. These are 1 manual, 12 preset, 1 watt, 1 BMI, 5 HRC, and 4 custom programs. A Recovery function is also included. Plus, you can select target settings for time, distance, and calories.

Among other features integrated into the console, we can mention a tablet holder, and a diagram with the heart rate zones. The tablet holder is placed above the LCD display, so if you put your phone or tablet on it, it won’t cover your workout stats. The HR diagram shows the heart rate zones that you should aim for depending on your age, in order to benefit from a better aerobic output, fat burn, etc.

One last notable accessory included with this Sunny exercise bike is the bottle holder. This element attaches to the front mast of the bike. A water bottle is not included, though.

Comfort & Adjustability

The saddle included with is a standard one, made of high-density PU. It’s not super cushioned but does provide optimal comfort. It also offers plenty of contact surface; it is approx. 12.5″ (31.75 cm) long, and 12″ (30.4 cm) wide.

The bike’s seat is four-way adjustable (up, down, forward, backward). Its upright post has several adjustment holes, offering a span of 9″ (22.8 cm). This being said, it can accommodate users up to 6’3″ (190 cm). Also, as we’ve mentioned above, the bike has a weight capacity of 240 lbs (109 kg); this applies to the seat as well.

As opposed to the seat, the bike’s handlebar is non-adjustable. It attaches directly to the front mast of the bike via screws. It has a multi-grip design with integrated pulse sensors. It’s also rubberized for an improved grip. So, as a small conclusion here, this Sunny exercise bike offers fairly decent comfort and adjustability.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Aesthetic design
  • Adjustable stabilizers
    on the rear base
  • Transport wheels
  • Multi-grip handlebar
  • Integrated pulse sensors
  • 4-way adjustable seat
  • Silent belt drive
  • Automatic eddy current
    resistance
  • Weighted pedals
    with straps
  • 16 resistance levels
  • LCD display console
    with LED backlight
  • 24 workout programs
  • Recovery function
  • Goal settings
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • HR diagram sticker
    on the console

Cons

  • No online connectivity

Summary

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B2883 is a mid-range upright bike made for home use. It features an eddy current brake with 16 resistance levels and a console with 24 workout programs. It offers an optimal comfort and 4-way adjustability for the seat. It’s also one of the most affordable exercise bikes with an automatic resistance system.

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Marcy NS-714U

The Marcy NS-714U is one of the newer versions of the ME-708 (which is still available). So far, it benefits from a similar positive feedback as the older ME-708. It’s also one of the most affordable, standard upright bikes that you can get at the moment.

Frame

Although the Marcy NS-714U upright bike features a frame made of steel tubing, it has a lightweight construction. It weighs only 41 lbs (23 kg), and therefore, it can easily be transported and assembled by only one person. Plus its front base has transport wheels for the easier relocation of the fully assembled unit.

All the steel parts in the frame construction are powder coated with a corrosion-resistant paint finish. The color used is gray, this being the only color available for this bike. However, the covers of the drive and resistance elements are made of ABS plastic. So, stepping on the base frame is not recommended.

The bike is not foldable like the Exerpeutic 500 XLS, but does have a very small footprint. It is 28″ (71 cm) long and 19″ (48 cm) wide. Therefore, it doesn’t require a very large usage area and can fit very well even into a smaller room.

Drive & Resistance

The Marcy NS-714U is equipped with a manual magnetic resistance system. This being said, you don’t have to connect it to a power outlet or need an adapter for it. The only power source required for this bike is a set of two AA batteries for its console.

The bike’s resistance system consists of a magnetic brake attached to the tension knob on the front bar of the bike. By turning the knob, the brake changes its position in relation to the flywheel which adds or reduces resistance. Also, the bike’s resistance system makes available 8 distinct levels.

Since it’s a lightweight exercise bike, the Marcy NS-714U is not equipped with a very heavy flywheel. Its exact weight is not specified, but considering the weight of the bike, it probably doesn’t weigh more than 10 lbs (4.5 kg). It’s important to mention here that the flywheel is not bi-directional, so pedaling in reverse is not recommended.

The bike featured a belt drive system. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about its lubrication. Also, a belt generates less vibration than a chain.

Needless to say, since it’s a lightweight upright bike, it is made for light cardio exercises. It does not support spin workouts. Although it has a fairly decent crankset, it is not made for standing on the pedals.

The included pedals integrate weight elements so they turn face-up if you remove your feet from them. They also have adjustable straps.

Console & Accessories

The only notable accessory included with this exercise bike is its fitness meter. Since it’s not a motorized exercise bike, the Marcy NS-714U includes a basic console (or fitness meter). It features a 3.5″ LCD display that shows time, speed, distance, total distance, and calories burned. It does not have a pulse reading function. Therefore, you cannot sync it with any wireless HR chest straps.

The exercise meter does not have any workout programs but does offer the possibility to select goal values for time, distance, and calories. If a goal is selected, the meter will show the remaining value until you reach your selected goal.

The unit is easy to use. It has three buttons – Mode, Set, and Reset. The Mode button allows you to scroll through the workout metrics and select the one that interests you the most, or select the Scan Mode that rotates all the values. The Set button is for setting target values, and the Reset button allows you to clear all the values on the unit to zero.

Comfort & Adjustability

The Marcy NS-714U is a pretty basic exercise bike, so it doesn’t offer super comfort. It is equipped with a standard PU saddle. It is fairly wide, though, in order to provide more contact surface and also has a longitudinal groove for a bit of extra breathability.

The seat is only 2-way adjustable (up, down). Its post offers an adjustment span of 9″ (22.8 cm), from 20″ (50 cm) to 29″ (73 cm) above floor level. In other words, the bike should be able to accommodate users up to 6’1″ (185 cm). Also, the specified weight capacity is 300 lbs (136 kg).

The bike is equipped with a multi-grip handlebar covered by a layer of rubber material to provide a superior grip. However, as we’ve mentioned above, the bike doesn’t have a pulse reading function, so the handlebar does not integrate pulse sensors.

The handlebar is adjustable. It attaches to the front mast with a knob that allows its angle adjustment. However, unlike for the seat, the front upright bar is non-adjustable.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight construction
  • Aesthetic design
  • Adjustable stabilizers
    on the rear base
  • Transport wheels
  • Adjustable handlebar
  • Adjustable seat
  • Silent belt drive
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Weighted pedals
    with straps
  • Fitness meter that tracks
    time, distance, speed, and calories
  • Goal settings for time,
    distance, and calories

Cons

  • No pulse reading function
  • No backlight on the fitness
    meter

Summary

The Marcy NS-714U is an upright bike made for home use. It has a lightweight construction, a basic magnetic brake with 8 levels of resistance, and a basic console that tracks the main workout metrics. It’s an affordable exercise bike, made for light cardio workouts, recovery training, muscle toning, and weight loss.

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This selection of upright bikes covers most categories, from the most inclusive to the most basic, and from the most expensive to the most affordable. Needless to say, all machines pointed out within the above list offer excellent value for the price. Even the most affordable ones have a pretty solid construction and make a good investment.

Before we close this article regarding the best upright bikes for 2020 there still are several important aspects about these fitness machines 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 cycle is 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. The risk of injuries or accidents is 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 offers a specific set of features, and meets a well-determined exercising range. 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 a stand-up position. They’re designed for workouts in an 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 a 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 a 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 servo motor 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 that 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 required usage 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 at 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.

ironman-xclass-310-upright-bike-model-01

 

Final Thoughts

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 covers all budgets, beginning with the most basic, and up to the most inclusive. We hope that the information and bikes presented on this page should be enough to help you make the right choice.

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