Updated: 5 days ago
A review of the 3 best indoor exercise bikes.
Legend has it that Graeme Obree – aka The Flying Scotsman – locked himself in his bedroom where in complete solitude and for hours at a time he peddled away on an indoor bike. Those many punishing hours pummelling the peddles helped him prepare for the world hour record which he claimed on two separate occasions.
Irrespective of whether the story sniffs apocryphal, two things are not in doubt: Obree set hour records and indoor bikes can confer considerable benefits for our health, fitness and cycling performance.
Though I wouldn’t argue with the assertion that an indoor bike is no substitute for the real thing, just as a treadmill is a sorry substitute for running in the great outdoors. However, indoor bikes can make for an indispensable training aid and they are a must have for the fair-weather cyclist – considering that it rains (on average) for 156 days of the year in Britain and is cold and wet for the other 209.
If you’re on the fence as whether or not to splash out on an indoor bike I’ve compiled a list of benefits/advantages that may tip you one way or the other.
Depending on your geographical location you might be limited to a variation of gradients. Cycling pan-flat roads can impede performance development and result in stagnation; nothing builds strength in those quads like a mile-long 1 in 4. This accounts for why the best cycling teams in the world opt for the Pyrenees and the Alps over Denmark and Norwich. This geographical limitation can be circumvented with an indoor bike as you have the option, thanks to the resistance function, of bringing the Alpe d’Huez to your doorstep.
Because on an indoor bike you’re not beholden to the Highway Code you can tackle a time trial without having to worry about chancing junctions, swerving round pedestrians or risking a fine for running red lights.
High-resolution Focus Training
On an indoor bike you can focus entirely on the exercise. So whilst you’re having a bash at Box Hill you won’t be encumbered with the concern that maybe today you’ll be wiped out by some inconsiderate motorist who prioritised a text message over the safety of others.
All of the necessary performance measures come a standard; power metres, cadence, speed, heart rate feedback.
The Indoor Bike Evolution
Unlike other inanimate objects, such as rocks and politicians, the indoor bike has seriously evolved over the past decade. Gone are the days when they looked more like a 1950s kitchen appliance than a piece of exercise equipment.
Today the technology even in relatively cheap bikes is astounding; as well as super precise performance feedback some bikes enable the user to cycle along with a peloton in real time or select classic stretches from a number of the sport’s most prestigious events – such as the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia.
Furthermore, whereas bikes of old were extremely limited in the precision and number of set-up options (if you happened to be shorter than 5, 5” or taller than 6 foot you either had to risk injury or run instead), a modern bike can be adjusted to accommodate any and all anatomical aberrations – from Quasimodo to Bilbo Baggins.
Anyway, shall we have a look at some bikes? Yes? Brill, follow me then . . .
1: WeRSports® Exercise Bike (£469.00)
5 function exercise monitor displays.
Heart rate sensor
Maximum user weight: 120kg
Assembled Size: L 108 x W 53 x H 12
Click image for availability
The indoor exercise bike from WeRSports is an extremely well rated product. With nearly 600 reviews it’s still teetering on the precipice of 5 stars. There's a number of reasons that account for this popularity.
With WeRPsorts' indoor bike you get a lot of exercise equipment for you money. In addition to the multiple adjustment seating and handlebar positions, which make this a highly accommodating indoor bike, the high-resolution computer monitor will provide instant and accurate feedback on a number of important metrices: speed, distance, heart rate, power output.
Furthermore, the heavy duty frame will withstand a Lycra-clad behemoth bouncing up and down on it. This bike, in short, is built to last. For the money this a good bit of kit.
2: JLL® IC300 Indoor Cycling Exercise (£269.99)
Smooth riding experience designed to replicate road cycling.
Fitted with 3 piece crank system & direct chain drive system.
LCD computer displays speed, time, distance, pulse & calories.
Monitor heart rate with the built-in sensors
130KG Max User Weight. £269.99
Click image for availability
JLL offer a durable indoor bike for the exercise enthusiast on a budget. And though it only costs a mere £270 it still boasts a number of impressive features.
For example, the on-board LCD computer display provides instant feedback for those all-important performance measures. So, whilst you attempt to beat Bradley Wiggins’s hour record (54.526k!), you'll be well informed with how your body's holding up.
And irrespective of the fact that this is a budget bike, JLL haven't skimped on materials. The many customers who reviewed this product comment favourably on its durability and build quality.
3: Nero Sports Upright Exercise Bike (£379.99)
12kg fly wheel ensures silent spinning
FREE 5 Year Warranty!
iPad / smart phone stand
Pulse sensors and heart rate monitor
Fully adjustable seat and handles
LCD computer, toe clips and transport wheels
Click image for availability
The Nero Sport indoor bike offers a number of functional training tools. The on-board LCD computer enables you to track your fitness, set goals and log your workouts – which is a great way of stimulating competition; I love nothing more than beating a PB – sad I know.
The easy-to-use computer also offers the option to measure speed, time, distance, count calories and monitor your heart rate. That’s pretty impressive for less than £400 quid.
Another point of note is this bike's build quality. The frame and crank shaft have been hewn from industrial grade steels meaning that they'll take years of abuse. Nero Sport are clearly confident in the durability of their bike as they offer a free 5-year manufacturer warranty.
I hope you have found this review useful. I know I perhaps could be criticised for not reviewing more bikes but what would be the point? For the price and range of options you'll not find a better indoor trainer than three above.
Want a budget bike? Check out our review of the 5 Best Budget Bikes
(As we are very interested in user feedback at Hungry4Fitness, I would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)
Adam Priest is a former Royal Marines Commando, personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast