Most of us know that exercise is a good thing but struggle to find a way to fit it in. We tend to live in large cities with a minimal appeal for going outdoors. We all have a well-meaning desire to grow our careers and keep our families afloat. It’s easier to stay inside and be sedentary (i.e., being lazy) than to go outside and burn off calories. Here is the solution.
The modern day solution has been to create gyms and health clubs that merge with our urban lifestyle and help us schedule workouts into our busy lives. However, these venues are not universally appealing to all of us and in some cases they aren’t convenient either.
So now the home exercise machines have come to the rescue allowing us to stay inside and workout in the comfort of our own personal space.
Sometimes that personal space isn’t very big, and so a folding exercise bike might be the right thing for you. Especially for apartment dwellers who don’t have any spare bedrooms a foldable can be handy. Most of these bikes collapse small enough to fit into a closet and have features that make them easy to move around. Here’s a short video that includes sections showing how easy it is to fold and move one of these bikes.
But how do you know which one to choose? If you’re going to invest in your health it’s reasonable to want to make the right choice. Spending more money isn’t necessarily the answer to this problem. Expensive bikes may have features that you don’t care about, or may even be annoying to some people.
Are Folding Exercise Bikes Any Good?
This is a legitimate question because a fold-able joint would naturally seem like a weak link. You may be surprised to learn that folding bicycles are not all that new. Patents were filed in the late 1800’s for folding bikes that were strong enough to be ridden on the rough roads of that era.Even today there continues to be a passionate fellowship of folding bike riders.
Although only distantly related, the history of folding bicycles lends an air of reliability to the folding exercise bike category. With the benefit of modern manufacturing and technology, it’s surprising how good some of these bikes are.
A simple indicator of a bikes quality is its stated weight capacity. There is quite a range, anywhere from 200 to 400+ pounds. This rating has a bearing in at least two areas. One is the strength of the materials and manufacturing process, which is mainly what companies base their stated weight limit on. The other is the design features that keep the bike stable.
It’s hard to look at a bike and know that it will support you better than another one. This is where customer reviews can be very helpful.
A word of caution though. These comments are from real people, not professionals, and there is no way of knowing how they actually use the bike. A very large person doing a light workout may overrate the stability compared to a medium sized person wanting to do strenuous efforts.
In writing this article I’ve gleaned information from a variety of sources to try and balance out these variations.
How Hard Can I Workout on a Folding Bike?
We’ve already established that the top rated folding exercise bikes are good quality and plenty stable. However, they’re primarily designed to fit into the busy life of someone living in small quarters. These are not bikes that will take you to the Olympics or mimic the popular spinning classes that you may have heard about in health clubs.
Spinning bikes are designed for fast-paced workouts and frequent standing on the pedals. That’s why they are much heavier, more stable, and cost a lot more. If you’re looking for a bike to accommodate a spinning style you will probably be disappointed in a foldable model.
If you want a moderate or low-intensity ride, folding bikes can be entirely adequate. Bikes like the FitDesk reviewed below are specifically built for slow, comfortable riding while typing, gaming, or working on your computer. Since it’s pretty hard to pound out a sprint while composing an email, there’s no need for higher cost features or materials.
The fact that these bikes are easy to use means that you might ride them more frequently than other models. Even moderate pedaling on a regular basis is better than no exercise at all. In that regard, maybe a folding bike can give a “harder” workout than others can.
Resistance levels are another area to look out when assessing an exercise bike. Most foldables have fewer settings and don’t go quite as difficult as a higher end stationary bike. All the bikes in this article use a manual adjustment dial with eight levels to choose from. For the vast majority of us, level 7 and 8 will be plenty of load. A bike with 15-20 levels has a smaller increment between each one and often has computer programs that will change the resistance periodically for a specialized workout.
Pre-programmed rides can be great to help put more effort into your regimen, but they aren’t a necessity. None of the computers in this review offer this feature, so it’s up to you to vary the load and intensity. One way to do that is to bump up the resistance during commercials as you watch TV. When listening to music you can ride easy for one song and hard on the next. These are just a couple of ideas to get a hard enough workout by using interval type training. If you’re not familiar with that term, here’s an overview.