Folding bikes have been the staple of healthy and convenient inner-city travel for a couple of decades now. However, what if you’re looking for a bike that’s not only practical for travelling and convenience but for exercise a while? Manufacturers early on realized the problems and the struggles of creating a folding exercise bike because exercise bikes were generally clunky in size. It was difficult in the beginning to create a reasonably sized bike that would fit to be a fraction of the size when folded up. There’s a few different problems when it came to creating an exercise folding bike.
The material needed to create an exercise bike had to be heavy. When you’re out biking, people who use them for exercise usually take them over rough terrain or hills that present a challenge for the biker. Folding bikes originally weren’t meant to conquer such obstacles and were made with lightweight material that couldn’t withstand high impact shocks very well.
The speed is another issue. For exercise, you like to go fast and challenge yourself by going as fast as you possibly can to get the most benefit or gain out of your exercise. Folding bikes originally weren’t designed or meant to go fast so this meant that brainstorming needed to be done to get around not only the material problem but going fast.
What about mountain biking? Veteran exercise bicyclists love mountain biking. The only problem was, trying to use a folding bike meant for the inner-city on a mountainous area was not only dangerous but impractical. There’s not only the shock impact but folding bikes originally didn’t have the stopping power when needed.
Today, a lot of those obstacles have been overcome as there’s a massive selection of exercise folding bikes that can be used on mountains, they can be used on rugged terrain, they can be used for racing, etc.
What are exercise folding bikes used for? Why would anyone get an exercise folding bike over a traditional exercise bike? Are there any benefits?
Different Types of Exercise Folding Bikes
What kind of folding bike do you intend to buy and what’s the general overall purpose of your exercise? Do you plan on taking the bike over rugged terrain? Do you plan on using the bike inside only as a stationary folding bike?
Recumbent Exercise Bikes – These bikes are generally more or less geared towards senior citizens or people who have bad knees. These bikes are designed a lot differently than the traditional bikes you’re used to seeing and while they’ve been around for a while, folding recumbent bikes have only really started to pop up in the last decade. These bikes sit low to the ground and allow you to lean back into a nice padded seat, which takes a lot of stress off your back. If you’re recovering from surgery, an injury or due to old age it’s hard to ride a traditional bike, this is where these bikes come in handy.
Spinner Exercise Bikes – You’ve probably seen these types of bikes in different gyms and workout facilities. These exercise bikes are designed to allow the user to learn forward and they definitely require you to be fit physically. It puts a lot more pressure on your ankles, legs and core to pedal. They’re also used to help build up your endurance which means usually you’re going at a blistering fast speed. They accomplish this by allowing the body to bend while cycling and this creates tension in a lot of areas on the body that normally doesn’t become affected while cycling.
Upright Exercise Bikes – These bikes are generally stationary bikes that you can find in the home. A lot of people have upright exercise bikes that are either stationary or the traditional bikes you’re used to seeing out on the road. These have their own set of benefits and the main one is convenience because you don’t have to travel to use one. The overall benefits of these types of bikes compared to spinners is arguable but they’re still a challenge none the less. It all depends on what you’re looking to do and what kind of results you’re expecting to achieve.
What to Look For When Buying an Exercise Folding Bike
With any bike in general, there’s different factors to look out for buy when you’re buying something for exercise, that’s a little bit different. There’s a lot of factors outside of the bike that people don’t consider when buying an exercise bike. A lot of people don’t take their current health into consideration. Your body has limits and while pushing those limits seems like the ideal workout, it’s not. For people who are recovering from an injury or have a bad back, you definitely don’t want to get the most capable rugged terrain exercise bike on the market, because that will only make things worse.
Your health is a big factor and before starting an exercise plan if you’ve been living a sedentary lifestyle, you may want to consult with a doctor to see if your heart is healthy enough for fast paced biking or if you should start off with something a little bit slower.
The Weight Limit
The materials used on a folding exercise bike aren’t usually as forgiving as traditional exercise bikes. Traditional bikes are used to holding more weight and are a bit more durable but due to the nature of needing to be folded up, different materials are used for exercise folding bikes. For this reason, you should always look at the manufacturer specifications to see if you fit the weight criteria of that specific bike. Some of them are meant for athletic skinny people and some of the bikes are meant for people trying to get into shape.
The problem with buying something under your weight limit capacity is that when you ride it, the materials and frame of the bike could actually bend. You could also bend the rims of the bike overtime or the bike worst of all could break in the middle of a ride. This could potentially cause a lot of harm and injury to yourself or people around you at the time of the accident. So take the weight capacity limit seriously and make sure you’re buying a bike that can withstand your weight limit.
The Resistance Levels
This isn’t just prone to exercise bikes but all bikes. Any bike that was built for exercise or outdoor travelling will more than likely include a speed gauge and resistance gauge. This little button allows you to click over into a new level of resistance and the higher you go, the harder it will be to pedal. Finding out which resistance is best for you takes a bit of experience and time to find out. You might find that going to a 4 proves to be too difficult to keep up if you’re just starting out while others starting out might find that 4 setting or higher to be the perfect starting point.
The point of resistance is to make sure that your muscles are getting a workout and if you’re doing it correctly, you’re definitely going to feel the burn after using the resistance gauge. Some bikes come with resistance pedals built in which is meant for veteran challenging exercise bikers. If you’re looking for a cardio workout, you don’t need to worry about the resistance levels as you want something that pedals as quickly as possible. Cardio exercises are a whole different story and you want a bike that allows you to travel fast without having to stop or add extra weight.
Some people don’t like using a bicycle outside. Who can blame them? Biking outside presents a lot of different dangers and the real ideal benefit to doing this outside is usually the scenery and it’s always nice getting a glimpse of fresh air every once in a while. If you’re looking for an inside stationary folding bike, you have to consider the space of your place. For people who live in an inner-city small apartment, you’re going to have trouble finding space for that bike unless you make some room for it. Stationary folding bikes aren’t generally large at all and there are some miniature sized bikes but just make sure to take the bikes’ measurements into consideration and measure your place out appropriately before buying.
Some of the bikes are compact upright bikes that have pedals, no back and handlebars. You see a lot of these at gyms and other workout facilities but they’re far cheaper if you buy one for your home. They’re usually meant for cardio purpose and most of them don’t offer any kind of resistance for people who are challenging themselves with muscle building bike related activities. These are the biggest space savers while stationary bikes that resemble fully assembled bikes (although they do fold down to a fraction of their original size) still take up a lot of space, so again, measure carefully before hand.
The Price/Your Budget
You don’t want to be cheap when it comes to making sure you buy something with high quality but you also don’t want to purchase something that’s overpriced or going above your means. An exercise folding bike is a great purchase and workout tool but paying your bills and eating healthy are more important than the bike. The folding bike is only one means of exercise and while it’s a great one, budget out what you can spend accordingly. So how much can you expect to pay for a folding exercise bike?
The general overview of the current market on exercise folding bikes fluctuates and it’s hard to pin point a pricing guide for new users. It again depends on what kind of bike you want and what you plan on doing with it, because no exercise bike is made equal. You could end up paying only $100 for something stationary and small or you could end up buying a powerhouse exercise bike that could be used for mountain biking and these are by far the most expensive. These bikes may start at a few hundred dollars and end up costing over a thousand, depending on the materials used to make the bike and the brand.
The brand of the exercise folding bike is a pretty decently sized part of how much the bike will cost. This isn’t an ego thing but some companies make bikes better. This is due to experience in making the bikes, the manufacturing process, shipping costs, the materials they use and so forth. The main goal of an exercise bike in general is to get you into shape or to improve your cardiovascular performance. You shouldn’t be pricing out bikes for helping you to get bulked because that’s not something exercise bikes were meant for. You aren’t going to get shredded with one, at least only using the exercise bike.
Recommendations – Best 5 Folding Exercise bike
#1 - Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
When it comes to folding exercise bikes, this Exerpeutic has the design that’s the most common. They have a flat sitting surface, handlebars that you lean up to and an easy to see screen with helpful information regarding your workout. We really liked the foot strap pedals on the bike and the ease of pedaling. It’s pretty budget friendly as well. The design is compact enough that you can store anywhere before it’s even folded.
Has a large weight capacity for all users that holds up to 300 pounds
The seating cushion was made large on purpose, to spread out the comfort all over the rear end
When folded up, comes with transportation wheels included but it’s not a heavy product
There’s a level 8 magnetic tension control system included with the bike and can be adjusted at will
Comes with a nifty manual that solves everyone’s complaints for system malfunctions
Includes a hand monitor heart rate for improved accuracy and an improved workout
Some people have complained about the noise of the pedals but you can tighten the bolts on the pedals to alleviate this
#2 - Best Choice Products Folding Adjustable Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike
While this bike doesn’t have as high of a weight capacity as the previous bike, it comes with a smaller design and this means it takes up less room. The display screen also sits up relatively high compared to some of the bikes on this list but it’s easily readable from one glance. One of the best things about this bike is that there’s three different positions available which provides more exercise options.
Comes with three different options so that you can set three different positions which opens up new exercises
The bike can hold up to 220 pounds and has overall dimensions of 26 by 21 by 50 inches
Your progress is tracked via the accurate smart screen display near the handlebars
You can instantly track your distance travelled, how many calories you’ve burned and your heart rate
There’s an adjustable knob that will let you set the tension of the bike to help with your workout
The seat is well padded and very comfortable to sit on, along with the soft grip handlebars
If you’re going to use this consistently, make sure to tighten up the screws so the pedals don’t produce noise
#3 - Innova XBR450 Folding Upright Bike with Backrest and Tab Holder
With the highly adjustable seat and the large bracket for you to put another electronic device such as an iPad in, this is one of the best budget friendly exercise folding bikes we’ve come across. It’s a huge space saver and can fit in anyone’s room, plus it folds down to a small carrying bike. The seating is also very versatile, you can adjust it in any direction you’d like to make your workout more comfortable for you.
There’s a universal tablet holder which can hold your iPad, Kindle and other specific brands that fit so you have some reading material or entertainment for your workout
The seating is highly adjustable and lets you go any direction you’d like
It’s easy to store and folds up to one of the smallest exercise folding bikes on the market
Can hold up to 220 pounds for the weight capacity
There’s a LCD monitor that displays your time spent, the distance travelled, the speed and the calories you’ve burned
There’s dual flywheels included which gives a far more robust and smooth pedaling experience
For people who are really short, it might be difficult to climb on the bike
#4 - ProGear 225 Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike with Heart Pulse
This ProGear 225 is a rather simplistic approach to the folding exercise bike and is fairly budget friendly. It comes with the standard attached heart pulse accessory that people love and it’s pretty comfortable as well. It doesn’t sit too high off the ground and the screen’s relatively easy to see. So why is this product so cheap? It has a lot of features that other expensive bikes have, so we investigated to find out.
Has a pretty decent weight capacity of up to 220 pounds
The folding dimensions are insanely small and will fit anywhere
Has several control systems to help control the level of resistance you’re facing and how your exercise pans out
There are different levels for tension and resistance in the included 8 level magnetic tension control system
There’s dual flywheels included for people who really want higher tension
This bike fits anyone who starts at 5’ and will fit anyone who’s 6’ or slightly larger
A little frustrating to put together but it doesn’t take very long at all
#5 - Folding Upright Exercise Bike with Heart Rate, Contoured Seat, & Extended Stability
Body Rider isn’t a common house hold name or brand that you see around a lot for the folding exercise bike scene but they’re known among their fans as people who provide budget folding bikes without sacrificing quality. They even offer expert assembly for you if you’re willing to pay a hefty price. We recommend staying away from this as the bikes are generally easy to assemble and only require about 20 minutes of your time.
8 different levels of adjustable tension allows you to set the tone of your workout
An easy to adjust and use console LCD is included with the bike
An adjustable and versatile seat provides comfort that traditional bike seats that look the same don’t offer
The foldable frame design is unique among the market and is based on a pivot enhanced system
The hidden flywheel in the bike is relatively quiet and you won’t notice any noise
An intuitive designed LCD display allows you to see how many calories you’ve burned, how far you’ve travelled and your heart rate
The navigation of the LCD panel might seem difficult the first time you use it but it’s easy once you get the hang of it.
The Health Benefits
Bicycling in general is healthy. However, with exercise catered bikes, there’s a lot of extra added benefits or at least the original benefits are more intense than those of regular bikes. With regular non-exercise catered bikes, you get all the benefits of reducing your blood pressure and making your heart healthy but with a bike that’s designed to push your body, those benefits are obviously increased by ten-fold, so we’ll go through them.
Cardio – For people who are concerned about their cardiovascular performance or think their heart could be pumping a little healthier, fast paced exercise folding bikes will be the best bet for you. By constant fast pedaling, this pushes your heart to pump out blood quicker to the extremities and all the different organs. It’s important to take your current health and weight into consideration, because everyone has an ideal beats per minute rate when exercising.
Blood Pressure – For people at risk with high blood pressure and buildup of plaque inside the arteries, exercise bikes are an amazing savior. It may not completely eliminate the build of all plaque because some of that is necessary but it will definitely help if not eliminate high blood pressure. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure to make sure it’s not due to something else rather than a sedentary lifestyle.
Knee/Leg/Joints – Improving the stability of your joints as you get older is important. A lot of people don’t think about that until they’re old and they start to feel pain in places like their knees, elbows, back and other areas they’ve used their entire life. Constantly working those joints at a high speed pace whether you’re older or younger drastically improves that.
Weight Loss – Losing weight is a struggle that a lot of people go through. For some people, it’s not so much that losing weight is hard but some people find it impossible to get up every day and actually stick through with a plan to achieve their goal. Can an exercise folding bike help accomplish this plan? No, it can’t. However, with the right bike, different areas of your core, legs and body are affected in a positive way. The more you bike and the faster pace you go, the better results you’ll see when it comes to weight loss.
For reference, you can estimate the amount of calories you’ll be burning by your weight and by how fast you’re cycling. The average person can expect to lose 300 calories every 30 minutes while cycling. This number goes higher the more you weigh and depending on what you eat because there’s more calories to burn. For extra added benefits, try to get some protein inside of you before cycling, to help improve muscle strength and help promote muscle growth as well.
There’s a lot to take in from this, so we’ll try to conclude everything as best as we can to help you make a practical purchasing decision when buying an exercise folding bike.
Take a look at the overall health benefits and see which ones most benefits you. Some of the folding exercise bikes on the market will be better for one thing and worse for another. Whether you want to lose weight, help improve muscle strength or just need something for cardio, every bike will be different and more optional for one of those things than the others.
Figure out how much you can spend on a folding bike and price out your budget accordingly. Just because a bike is cheap doesn’t mean that the quality of the bike is cheap.
Lastly, figure out what kind of bike you want. If you’re looking for a stationary bike that sits inside, you’ll be able to find those easily and those fold down to the size of a suitcase most of the time. If you want an exercise bike you can take on a mountain or hiking trail, you’ll easily find those as well but they’re going to cost a bit more money.
Try to find something practical for you, your health and your budget.