Exercise Bikes

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Exercise Bikes

Exercise bike

The exercise bike (also: home trainer) is one of the classics of endurance training and one of the most popular fitness devices for home use.

No matter if it's raining, blustering or snowing - the bike for home use allows you to train your endurance at any time and burn a lot of calories. The best thing about it: thanks to a comfortable sitting position, your joints are not only protected, but also strengthened at the same time.

You also burn off excess pounds, reduce stress and prevent diseases such as diabetes. Sounds almost too good to be true. But it isn't. The fact is that the exercise bike enables comparatively injury-free endurance training and is therefore suitable for every fitness level and age. By the way: ergometers or bicycle ergometers are often equated with exercise bikes.

Visually, they are indeed confusingly similar, but certain technical aspects allow exercise bikes and ergometers to be distinguished from each other. We reveal the differences.

What is an exercise bike?

Frequently, any equipment used for home fitness is referred to synonymously as an "exercise bike". This also includes rowing machines or cross trainers. However, over the course of time, the term "exercise bike" has come to refer to the so-called bicycle trainer or trim bike.

A characteristic feature of an exercise bike is that the magnetic braking system can be controlled manually or electronically. The resistances are selected step by step. These also remain constant, no matter how weakly or strongly you pedal.

If you want to do moderate endurance training, you are well equipped with your own exercise bike.

What is an ergometer?

While the exercise bike can be controlled both electronically and manually, the ergometer can only be controlled with an electronic magnetic brake. The main difference to an exercise bike is that the resistance cannot be set in steps, but very precisely in watts and can therefore also be measured. Depending on how strong your cadence is, the set resistance adjusts: If you pedal slowly, the resistance increases. When pedalling fast, the resistance decreases.

In general, the maximum resistance of ergometers is significantly higher than that of exercise bikes, which is why ergometers are more suitable for advanced hobby athletes.

Exercise bike or ergometer - which one is best for me?

Due to the small technical differences such as the resistance setting, the devices are suitable for different training goals and target groups. Exercise bikes are suitable for:

  • moderate training and as warm-up equipment.
  • Beginners and people who have little experience with home exercise.
  • People who are looking for an uncomplicated and inexpensive piece of equipment.
  • People who want to do something for their endurance and cardiovascular system in between.

Ergometers are the perfect choice for:

  • qualitative and intensive endurance training.
  • people who want to precisely control and measure their load.
  • advanced and professional home training.
  • challenging and performance-oriented training.

Buying an exercise bike - what should you look out for?

1. The flywheel mass

The flywheel mass determines the training comfort. The higher the weight of the flywheel, the greater the comfort and the smoother the step. Use the table to find out which flywheel mass is right for you:

Flywheel mass Profile Benefits
> 15kg Professional Competitive sport, competition
9-14kg Ambitious
hobby athletes
Fat burning, endurance training
1-9kg Beginners Warm-up, endurance training,
cardiovascular training

2. Handlebars and saddle adjustable?

The more adjustment options an exercise bike or ergometer has, the more individually and qualitatively the device and therefore the training can be adapted to your needs.

Especially if you have back problems, for example, adjusting the backrest is very important to take care of your posture. In the case of permanent back problems, a recumbent ergometer should possibly be considered, as it is particularly gentle on the back due to the back support and comfortable sitting position.

3. Maximum load

In general, the higher the weight and maximum load of the exercise bike or bicycle ergometer, the more stable it will be. Lightweight exercise bikes with a load of <90kg can be a little wobbly at high speed. A look at the following table will tell you what maximum weight load is recommended depending on the training level.

Profile Max. User weight
Beginners < 120kg
Hobby athletes 120kg up to 150kg
Professional 150-180kg

A major advantage of lightweight home trainers is that they are usually also foldable. Foldable exercise bikes are especially practical for flats that do not have much space for large equipment.

4. Technical features

Many modern and high-quality ergometers have a built-in console and a screen that displays the stored time, distance, pulse, calories burned, etc., similar to a treadmill. Integrated training programmes are also not uncommon. If you want to connect your mobile phone or tablet to the exercise bike, you should first check whether a mobile phone or tablet holder is built in. If so, there is usually the option of linking the tablet to the device using Bluetooth.

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