Exercise bikes are a favorite among apartment owners, and for a good reason- these bikes are relatively quiet and offer a high-intensity workout.
The problem is that not all exercise bikes are created equal. If you get an exercise bike that has a heavy flywheel and you use it on a wooden or tiled floor, you are bound to experience some powerful vibrations.
These bikes may sound quiet to you, but the apartment below will hear vibrations through the floor.
If you're looking for a beautifully engineered, high-end stationary bike that rivals the models in your local gym, the Keiser M3i is worthy of serious consideration.
It is designed and made in the USA to exacting standards and is the first of its kind to feature a V-shape frame. This enables the seat and handlebars to fully-adjust for riders with heights ranging from 4'10" - 7' tall.
It has a relatively small footprint that requires little storage space, however, it is a thing of simplistic beauty and shouldn't be hidden away in a cupboard.
There is a media tray that clips comfortably beneath the handlebars. This is where your iPad or similar tablet securely sits and, once connected to the Keiser M series app, displays and stores multiple metrics, displays real-time graphs, provides unlimited workouts, and cadence.
With Bluetooth connectivity, it is easy to connect your large screen TV and stream the latest Peleton workout via their ios app, at a much cheaper cost than the Peleton bike and subscription. It is also compatible with a variety of other apps.
The bike is Poly-V belt driven and, as such, requires very little maintenance. It provides a smooth and stable ride and emits whisper-quiet sound. Any noise that might be heard gets immediately absorbed by the included indoor cycle mat.
Combo-pedals are fitted; they are set a sufficient distance from the frame to enable the user to wear any footwear, even chunkier gyms shoes. There is the traditional toe cage and also SPD cleats. For those who prefer Shimano cleats, the toe cage simply tucks beneath the pedal whilst still allowing plenty of floor clearance.
Assembly is relatively simple and should take around an hour. The instructions are excellent and list the required tools you should assemble before beginning.
This bike is best for users like multi-resistance setting and high-intensity rides. It is a high-quality spin bike that truly replicates a real-life intensive workout with its ultra-smooth ride and progressive power.
The saddle and the handlebars of the Concept2 are fully-adjustable via a simple to use tool-free ratcheting system. It takes seconds to customize the fit for most household members. The seat height sets at 30.75” up to 41” and the strong aluminum structure holds riders weighing up to 300lbs.
Assembly requires minimal effort; most of the machine is ready-assembled for delivery. The tools to complete the build are included, and the instructions are easy to follow; lots of photographs.
The bike has small caster wheels to make it easy to transport and only needs 24” x 48” of floor space to operate.
The Powerful Performance monitor secures safely to the handlebars and records and compares all of the important data from the ride. All times, distances, and intervals are measured, there is a USB port to save all of the data to a flash drive.
The screen is backlit and the LCD is easy to read, even if you prefer to ride with the lighting dimmed.
Bluetooth and Ant+ connectivity enable links between many third-party apps to open up a whole world of training schedules, competition, and coaching. The cradle secures a phone enabling the rider to focus on their class.
The Concept2 provides a smooth and whisper-quiet ride. The innovative clutch fly-wheel gives the realistic feel of coasting on a real bike. When the rider stops pedaling to catch their breath, the wheel continues spinning. Some stationary bikes grind to a sudden halt leaving the rider in fear of hurting their feet.
The Bikeerg provides one of the best rides available; it feels effortless until you use the adjustable tension bar to choose the comfort level and feel for your ride. With countless configurations, anyone can hop on and off the bike for a quick workout or a high-intensity session. It is light enough to wheel in front of a screen and join a Zwift or Peleton class or to get lost in your favorite playlist.
If you have reveled in the exceptional build quality and design of the Concept2 rowing machine, expect it to be matched if not bettered by the Bikeerg.
The Schwinn Recumbent Bike is solidly built and can comfortably hold up to 300lbs, comfortably being the appropriate word, the large seat is spacious, vented, and easily slides along rails to accommodate various leg lengths.
The seat encourages good posture and can be adjusted for a low-impact workout to prevent pressure on knees and joints.
On either side of the seat are ergonomically designed handles. They provide extra stability and also house heart monitor sensors.
It employs magnetic resistance supplied by a hidden flywheel and magnet system. This inertia drive system ensures easy to start up and a smooth, exceptionally quiet ride.
The console features 2 Dual Track LCD screens that show all metrics data clearly and can store the profiles of up to 2-users. There are a USB port and a rack to secure your device, enabling you to link directly to the Schwinn Connect app. Either watch a video as you cycle, join in a class, or listen to some music to keep your rhythm.
The console is easy to program with 20-levels of resistance pre-installed. There are 22-varied intensity workouts that enable the user to set a demanding or lower-impact cardio workout at the touch of a button.
Built-in acoustic speakers emit high-quality sound and the 3-speed fan provides welcome relief.
The exercise bike is heavy, approximately 88lbs, and will need 2-people to carry it into position. It does require some assembly which should take 1-2 hours. Don't be daunted by this, there are tools included and the instruction booklet has step-by-step diagrams for ease.
This is an impressive and solidly-built bike that can help people on the road back from injury. It is ideal for people starting on the road to weight-loss and fitness and will see them through their journey.
For those who want to participate in demanding spin classes without the expense of some of the high-end bikes, the Schwinn Ic3 is a very worthy alternative.
It is a very robust stationary bike; the 40lb weighted perimeter flywheel and the steel construction ensures it remains in situ for the duration of your ride. With soft, padded handlebars and a ventilated race-style seat, Schwinn ensures their rider has the most comfortable ride possible.
The bike arrives partly- assembled; all of the tools included to complete the build.
It is belt driven and as such, supplies a smooth and virtually silent ride. It is only when pedaling at maximum resistance that a slight humming is heard, and even then, you would need to be in the same room.
Everything about the Ic3 is adjustable; the base for extra stability, the seat to accommodate different heights and body shapes, and the handlebars move both horizontally and vertically for the best riding position.
The dual SPD pedal design is nifty; they feature a toe cage on one side and clips on the other.
The simplified console displays all of the standard metrics you might expect, including distance, time, calories, and RPMs. With a compatible strap, it also measures heart rate.
Between the handlebars is an oversized water bottle holder with a shelf to hold any media. Achieve a high-energy, low-impact workout from your phone or iPad, the standard of which rivals an intense spin class at the gym.
Adjusting the resistance of your ride couldn't be easier. The dial is located on the frame beneath, and by twisting it as you ride, you instantly feel the change. The resistance is infinitely variable; finish your workout feeling like you've ridden through rolling hills.
The Schwinn Ic3 delivers everything and more than you could expect. It is tough, reliable, and strong, yet easy to move. It has a small enough footprint for simple storage and use. It rides like the top of the range machines in the gym, and best of all; it is extremely quiet.
Our final review is for a slightly different machine; a bike trainer.
When the weather or the demands of everyday life won't let you get your usual outdoor cycle training in, a bike trainer is the best alternative.
Remove the rear wheel from your bike and slot it into the trainer, it is that simple. No new saddle or handlebar to get used to, and no heavy, cumbersome exercise bike to store and maneuver.
It uses magnetic resistance to achieve a realistic road-feel ride. As it is a direct drive, it doesn't suffer from slippage, allows for faster speeds, and has very accurate response times.
The Tax Neo comes with a software package that is iPhone and android compatible. The rider can link to a course of their choice via Bluetooth. They will compete in real-time against riders from around the world. Remember to position the machine in front of a smart screen and have an immersive experience, including every hill climb and road bump.
Not only will the smart technology analyze all of the movements, but it will also design a custom package to complement your regime and abilities to provide the greatest challenge.
This excellent piece of equipment has multiple speed and power settings, requires no calibration, little maintenance.
It achieves 2000w of output and suffers minimum power loss even while applying maximum torque. And it is quiet, the magnetic resistance ensures that.
There are 3-main types of exercise bike that allow novices, keen cyclists, and athletes alike to train indoors, from the comfort of their own home.
The most popular type of exercise bike probably to its close similarity to a regular bike.
The saddle is located directly above the pedals and the handlebars are positioned at a comfortable height to allow the rider to sit in an upright position.
They have a few negatives. Much like a regular bike, the saddle can be hard and uncomfortable. The flywheel is relatively light and might not provide enough resistance should you progress to high-intensity spin classes.
Anyone who has been inside a gym will most probably have heard booming music accompanied by the whirr of spin bikes.
Spin bikes resemble upright bikes with the exception being their handles are horizontally inclined to allow the rider to lean forward into them, much as on a road bike. You can also sit upright should you choose.
The flywheel is heavier than on an upright exercise bike. Inertia keeps it spinning, and, as the pedals are attached to it, the flywheel, they also keep spinning. Picture your road bike coasting downhill, you take your feet from the pedals and they will slow to a halt while the wheel still spins and gains momentum.
On a spin bike, the pedals still turn and encourage the rider to keep going, achieving a much higher intensity workout.
The frame and pedals are usually stronger enabling the rider to stand and push harder when resistance is great.
As there is less stopping and starting, the user has a smoother ride which is less damaging to the joints.
Recumbent bikes look least like a regular bike, whilst still relying on pedal power. The rider has a comfortable seat horizontal with pedals. There are no handlebars.
This type of bike is ideal for intense weight loss and recovery from injury. The position of the body ensures no additional stress is applied to any joints and erases any fear of repeat injury.
You cannot stand and pedal on a recumbent bike and they require a decent amount of storage space, their footprint is the largest of all 3-types. They are often the most expensive exercise bike but for first-timers that are too nervous to use the gym, they are a great place to start.
Dual-action exercise bikes are also available that combine styles to give a full-body workout. They come in both recumbent and upright styles and the user has to move the upright handles in an alternating back and forth motion.
Smart bikes are interactive machines. They can be any of the aforementioned styles with the ability to connect to the internet and join an online spin or training class. They come with built-in screens that combine with apps to display statistics, achievements, and targets.
Other styles are equipped with a monitor that links with sensors in the handlebars, and display achievements digitally.
Simply put, resistance is the amount of tension the flywheel of an exercise bike creates. It is adjustable and the strength of resistance denotes the difficulty of the workout. Low-resistance enables the rider to turn the pedals with ease, high-resistance requires a greater level of force and provides a more intense workout.
It is the difference between riding a road bike on a smooth, flat road or struggling up a sharp incline.
Moving parts such as rollers or brake pads provide friction that applies pressure to the flywheel. The pedals are attached to the wheel and will, therefore, keep rotating.
This is the method adopted by many Spin Bikes where a brake pad and a large flywheel combine to offer tough resistance.
Electro-Magnetic Brake (ECB) is mostly found on upright and recumbent bikes.
Resistance is changed electronically and the rider will note immediate response and smooth pedaling. There are fewer mechanical parts to wear out providing a longer service life.
It is the most expensive resistance type and also the most sought after; it is virtually silent.
Mechanical Magnetic Brake (MMB) enables the rider to set their desired tension via a tension knob often situated in the center of the handlebars.
Levels of resistance are altered by moving magnets that repel the rotational direction of the wheel.
The rider feels resistance as the magnets get closer to the flywheel, this is known as the 'drag effect'. Reduce the tension and the magnets will move further away from the flywheel resulting in easier pedaling.
This is a popular method and has been used for decades. It is often the resistance style that features in some of the least expensive models.
In place of a flywheel is an open fan, situated at the front of the bike. Resistance occurs as the rider pedals against the natural airflow. As the pace increases so does the resistance.
There are many varying features of exercise bikes, to help you decide which model is right for you you should first consider what your goals are and how often it might be used. Ensure you have sufficient space to use and store it and set a budget.
Finally, particularly for apartment dwellers or those who house-share, consider investing in a quiet exercise bike so as not to incur the wrath of others.
Any machine that involves mechanical parts is going to emit some level of noise, just by its nature. The sound level of an exercise bike is usually determined by the method of resistance it adopts. Older belt-driven bikes would have made louder noises than the advanced technologies used today.
Fast pedaling is always going to create some level of noise, however, magnetic resistance bikes will always keep that noise to a bare minimum, with some models claiming 'whisper-quiet' operation.
Decide your goals and the intensity of workouts before settling on a style of exercise bike.
For example, athletes who require regular high-intensity workouts suit spin bikes and pro cyclists often choose upright exercise bikes to closer recreate the feel of their road bike.
Recumbent bikes are ideal for those recovering from injury or older folk.
This may not concern everyone but if you're going to spend a proportion of every day using your bike you will want to be as comfortable as possible. Ensure the handlebars and seat are adjustable to your required height.
Recumbent exercise bikes, in particular, have a large footprint, this is fine if you have a home gym, not so much if you're going to put it in a restricted bedroom. Check the dimensions to ensure you have enough storage space.
The rider will need to feel secure, particularly if they are elderly. Exercise bikes that aren't stable also add to noise nuisance.
Some bikes have covered mechanics; ideal if you have inquisitive little ones hanging around.
Heavy-duty toe-cages that keep feet securely gripped are desirable.
Decide if you want to spend a little extra and invest in an interactive exercise bike that can open up a world of virtual classes via a wifi connection.
If you have chosen one of our reviewed bikes then noise nuisance shouldn't be an issue. If you live an apartment and choose to err on the side of caution, or your bike develops a noise, here are some handy hints:
There are many advantages to exercise bikes, the most obvious one being that you can continue to train indoors even when the weather is plotting against you.
Novice cyclists can use their bike to get in shape, lose weight, and to build muscle.
More competent riders can use their exercise bike to build strength in their legs and improve their endurance.
Athletes rely on stationary bikes in off-season and poor weather conditions to retain cycle muscle memory.
They are much more effective than and less expensive than a gym membership, and so will pay for themselves over time.
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