There are literally hundreds of different models of recumbent and upright exercise bicycles available in the market. Often, the difference between these bicycles is the presence or absence of certain fancy equipment that adds value to the product. Truth be told, you can survive without all the fancy equipment and it won’t affect your workout that much. However, when you go out to purchase your new stationary bike, you’ll find yourself comparing all the features and fancy equipment.
Most of the time, this equipment is the justification for the price difference and if you’re going to be paying extra for the fancy equipment, you should know what you’re paying for and what kind of fancy equipment to look for in your stationary bike.
Central Console Unit
The console is the central nervous system of your bike. It is essentially the brain that gathers all the data from gadgets and sensors attached to the machine and processes them. Its final task is to display the data to the user on an LCD panel. Truth is that you won’t find any of this on a traditional bike, but you’ll not be able to find this on any of the modern bikes either.
You can dial in any setting such as selecting a pre-set workout program and selecting the resistance, and the console will interpret it and tell the bike to act upon the request. Now all of this sounds boring, but it’s of great importance and makes all the modern stationary bikes tick.
Of course, the most important console equipment is the LCD screen as it displays all the information to the user and defines all the crucial numbers and parameters to help you out with your workout in every session. The amount of information displayed varies from model to model, but most of the LCD screens found in modern stationary bikes show at least the number of calories burned, average speed, distance traveled, and workout duration. The more advanced ones may also show the heart rate, while almost all display custom workout options that you can use to adjust the settings.
As discussed before, you can work out even without all the information, but knowing all the stats helps you make your workouts more effective. You can set targets for yourself to achieve and improve your workouts in doing so.
Heart Rate Monitor
Most of the stationary bikes that come with a heart rate monitor are pricier than the average ones. If you feel like you don’t need a heart monitor i.e. you don’t have any cardio-related problems, then spending extra bucks on buying a stationary bike with a heart rate monitor is useless. However, having an integrated heart rate monitor helps you ensure that you’re in good shape.
For cardio workouts, heart rate monitor is almost essential. Cardio exercises can be the most effective if your heart beats at a specific rate, also called the fat-burning zone. You can cut down the time you spend on the bike significantly as the monitor can be used as a reminder to stay in the fat-burning zone.
Other features such as water bottle holders, built-in speakers and fans are also found in some of the high-end stationary bikes, but since they are not all that common and not very essential, it’s okay if you don’t take them into consideration. The purpose of having an indoor bike is to help you lose weight or stay in shape, and the only fancy equipment that is useful is the one that helps you achieve that by making your workout more effective.