Using an exercise bike is a great way to up your cardio from the comfort of your home or regular gym. Knowing the different types of exercise bikes and their benefits can help you reach your goals faster. Read on to discover which exercise bike is best for your body. 

An exercise bike is a piece of stationary cardio equipment that simulates the motion of cycling. Through this motion, adjustable resistance, and preset programs, you can work and tone your lower body without enduring harsh weather. 

Stationary bikes were designed for people who wanted the benefits of cycling without having to bike around their local areas and maintain a real bike. 

Stationary bikes can be classed either through resistance or design. Resistance bikes come in the following categories: brake/direct contact, magnetic, and fan/airDesign categories are typically upright, spin, and recumbent. Different types of exercise bikes have specific benefits and will cross over, but some general advantages include: 

  • Aids In Weight Loss  
    For those looking to burn fat and lose weight, the efficient cardio workouts available on exercise bikes can help you blast through your fitness goals. 
  • Helps In Toning  
    Cycling with various resistance levels helps tone your muscles, particularly your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and glutes. 
  • Strengthens Your Muscles  
    Along with toning, your muscles in these areas will become stronger with consistency and time. 
  • Energy Boost  
    Working out regularly, especially with cardio workouts, can give people a post-workout and general energy boost and improve sleep. 
  • Convenience  
    Sometimes it is not possible to go to the gym. Whether the fees are too expensive or challenging to get to, a stationary home bike can make it easy to work out without the hassle. 
  • Easy On The Joints  
    Unlike harsher workouts like running, cycling provides a low-impact exercise that does minor damage to your joints over time. 
  • High-Calorie Burn  
    Through high-intensity interval training, cycling over long distances provides high-calorie burn sessions that help you reach your goals with ease. 
  • Cost-Efficient  
    Rather than wasting money on expensive gym memberships that may or may not be used, having a stationary bike in your home gym means that you can work out anytime and get the most bang for your buck – no more excuses. 
Types Of Exercise Bikes

Understanding Different Types Of Exercise Bikes (By Resistance) 

The types of indoor exercise bikes each have one of three resistance types to work with. These are: 

Flywheel/Brake Resistance 

Also known as direct contact or friction resistance, these bikes use felt pads to add resistance to your workout. These pads touch the flywheel directly and wear down over time. These are the most common and often the cheapest resistance bikes on the market but will need maintenance when replacing the pads. 

Magnetic Resistance 

Unlike other resistance types, magnetic resistance bikes use various magnets to create micro-adjustable and low maintenance resistance. These bikes provide accurate resistance levels without the maintenance issues of brake resistance stationary bikes. The number of magnets and resistance levels depends on the individual brand and model, but they are typically at least four. 

Air/ Fan Resistance 

Air resistance bikes use fan blades and your effort to create resistance as you pedal; the faster you pedal, the more resistance you face. With this style, you can change resistance easily, but they are not as consistent as the previous two options. Fan bikes can also be noisy depending on your speed and intensity. 

Best Type Of Exercise Bike For Weight Loss

Different Types Of Exercise Bikes (By Design) 

Recumbent Bike  

Recumbent bikes have comfortable and ergonomic seats that encourage you to lean back while pedaling. This position decreases pressure on your spine and back muscles while letting you focus on endurance and long-distance training or operation recovery. Recumbent bikes are the best type of exercise bikes for bad knees, older people, and recovering surgery patients. 

What We Like

  • Good for joints and back support 
  • Suitable for long-distance and endurance training 
  • More comfortable on the spine 
  • Develops the lower body effectively 

Things We Don't Like

  • Not suited for more intense fat burning or HIIT workouts 
  • Not as engaging for the whole body 

Spin Bike

Unlike upright bikes, spin bike seats are positioned to line with the bikes' handlebars. This causes the upper body to bend forward and engage the arm and abdominal muscles, providing a whole-body workout with each sessionThis bike style is excellent for more intense cardio sessions such as high-intensity interval training. Because of the more intense full-body aspects, this is the best type of exercise bike for weight loss. 

What We Like

  • Great whole body workout 
  • Great for fat burning 
  • Intense cardio – effective  
  • Compact and easy to use 

Things We Don't Like

  • It can be uncomfortable to use for extended periods 

Upright Bike 

The most common exercise bike on the market is the upright bike. Unlike spin bikes, upright bikes position their seats below the handlebars for a more comfortable experience. This style of bike is much more flexible than the previous two entries as it can excel at both endurance and high-intensity sprint training. It is more comfortable than the spin bike but is better at cardio workouts than the recumbent bike. Upright bikes are the best type of exercise bike for home use. 

What We Like

  • Easy to get hold of 
  • Easy to use 
  • Flexible  
  • Compact and affordable 

Things We Don't Like

  • It can be uncomfortable for some 
  • Harder on the spine and back muscles than the other two 

Which Type Of Bike Is Best For Your Needs? 

For anyone wondering 'what type of bike is best for me,' we have sorted each type into categories to help you decide. 

Best For Exercise

In terms of pure exercise, the upright bike would be our choice for the best for exercise category. Its flexibility, availability, and compact nature mean that this style can work for various people and spaces while being affordable and effective. 

Related Article - Benefits Of Exercise Bikes

Best For Bad Or Rehab Knees

A recumbent bike is the best choice for those with bad knees or rehab needs. It is more supportive to the body than upright and spin bikes are and encourages you to focus on your stamina rather than intense speed.  

Best To Lose Weight

For those looking to lose weight, we would recommend a spin bike. Its forward-leaning position encourages you to use your upper and lower body simultaneously while working out. It is also easier to perform high-intensity workouts like HIIT training, making burning fat a breeze. 

Best For Home Use

In the best for home use category, we would recommend an upright magnetic bike. Magnet resistance bikes do not need maintenance like direct contact resistance ones and do not make noise like fan or contact bikes. Upright bikes provide flexibility in your workout routine and are compact and affordable enough for most living spaces. 

Types Of Exercise Bikes And Their Benefits

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you lose belly fat by riding an exercise bike?

You can lose belly fat on an exercise bike with consistent effort and healthy eating habits. Suppose you want to bring upper body elements to your biking. In that case, we recommend getting a spin bike while incorporating these habits. 

Is 30 minutes on an exercise bike enough? 

That depends on your goals, intensity level, and other factors. However, 30 minutes 3-5 times a week is a good starting routine that can be adapted over time. 

Is it OK to ride a stationary bike every day? 

That depends on the intensity level, your fitness level, and your body, among other factors. However, we recommend resting your muscles and not working out for at least one day a week for better results. 

What parts of the body does cycling tone? Does biking slim your legs? 

The parts of the boy that are toned and slimmed over time are:  

  • Semimembranosus (Hamstring) 
  • Biceps Femoris (Hamstring) 
  • Vastus Medialis (Quadriceps) 
  • Rectus Femoris (Quadriceps) 
  • Vastus Lateralis (Quadriceps) 
  • Gastrocnemius Medialis (Calves) 
  • Gastrocnemius Lateralis (Calves) 
  • Soleus (Calves) 
  • Tibialis Anterior 
  • Gluteus Maximus 


Overall, exercise bikes are a great way of getting a cardio workout in from home. Regarding the best type of exercise bike to buy, we would recommend using our tips above to assess your body's correct kind of resistance and style and get one within your budget. 

Last Updated on April 16, 2024

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.