An exercise bike is considered to be a great way to get some cardio without having to go outside and run. But are there better options available for you? That depends on what your goals are, what type of exercise you like doing, and what your current situation is.
If you’re looking at purchasing a home exercise bike for cardio, or you’re considering joining a gym to use an exercise bike, then this article is for you.
We’ve detailed the best options for a number of different circumstances, all of which should help you to decide whether or not exercise bikes are right for you when it comes to using them for cardio.
We’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of exercise bikes for cardio, as well as a number of our expert-recommended home exercise bikes to suit all budgets.
So, are exercise bikes good for cardio? Let’s take a look at what our research says.
Are Exercise Bikes Good Cardio?
Exercise bikes are very popular for cardio purposes. They’re affordable, costing as little as £50 for mini exercise bikes. Even a good quality full-size upright exercise bike can cost as little as £200.
A lot of people like them because they’re easy to use – there’s no thinking involved in getting a good workout. As soon as you get on an exercise bike, you’re guaranteed to be getting a great cardio workout. It’s like the difference between jogging outside and running on a treadmill – it’s pretty much the same but, since there are no distractions on a treadmill and weather isn’t a limiting factor, you can really put yourself through your paces.
Bikes for cardio are also good because they give you quite a bit of choice. You can get upright versions, recumbent versions, or mini versions – each of which provides different benefits to your body and has a unique style of its own.
Exercise bikes an absolutely a great form of cardio, and will most certainly help you to improve your fitness levels and lose weight.
Can I lose weight on an exercise bike?
You can lose weight using exercise bikes, and you may find it easier to do than running outside. It’s a very good choice if you’re looking for something low impact, and exercise bikes give you the option to either go harder or slow down depending on how fit you are and how tired you get.
For a 185 pound person (just over 13 stone), you burn on average around 294 calories during a 30-minute session at a moderate pace. Compare this to other forms of exercise, such as weightlifting (126 calories) or a step machine (252 calories). 
If you can commit to cycling on an exercise bike for 30 minutes a day, that equates to 2100 calories burned across the week, which is roughly a full days worth of calories!
The Advantages of Exercise Bikes for Cardio
1. Economical – They’re affordable and widely available to buy online.
The surge in home exercise equipment has caused the cost of home exercise bikes to drop significantly in price. For less than £200, you can bag a home exercise bike jam-packed with gym-quality features, sturdy build and great quality.
If you’re looking to buy an exercise bike for home, take a look at our expert recommendations later on in this article.
2. Effective – You’ll be getting a great cardio workout every time.
Exercise bikes are by far one of the most effective forms of cardio out there. Not only do they burn a lot of calories, they also have significant advantages over other fitness equipment thanks to their size and ease of use.
When compared to treadmills, exercise bikes are much easier to store and are typically a lot quieter than treadmills.
3. Variety – There are upright, recumbent, and even mini versions.
You’ve got a few different choices when it comes to exercise bikes – specifically upright, recumbent and mini versions. All three offer the potential to improve your cardio and fitness levels, and all have their own advantages such as size and weight.
Our recommendation would be to get an upright bike wherever possible. They offer the biggest benefit in terms of cardio and fitness levels. Mini exercise bikes don’t quite have the same impact but are perfect for the elderly or for those who don’t have much space for a full-size exercise bike.
Take a look at the differences of each to make a decision as to which would work best for you.
4. Low Impact – Great for the elderly or people with joint pains.
If you’re elderly, overweight or suffer from joint pain or injury, exercise bikes are the perfect way to get back into exercise. Unlike running on a treadmill, exercise bikes have a much lower impact on your knees and joints.
With low-impact exercise bikes, you can burn calories without putting too much pressure on your joints or back. This makes exercise bikes ideal for people of all ages looking to get fit and lose weight.
5. Quiet – Unlike treadmills, you won’t wake up the entire house every time you use it.
Exercise bikes are very quiet and don’t have a motor like treadmills do, making them much more convenient if you have family members sleeping or want to work out early in the morning. Not only that, but exercise bikes are a lot easier to store than treadmills are, making them a great choice for people with limited space.
The Disadvantages of Exercise Bikes for Cardio
1. Difficult to install – Not all exercise bikes are mobile, which makes them difficult to move and use in other places.
Most exercise machines these days come with a very solid and sturdy build. This is great for keeping them stable but not so good if you want to move it around the house or store them away when not in use.
2. Difficult to use for some people
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can simply hop on an exercise bike and ride like a pro. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to using one, especially if you’ve never used a stationary bike before.
The main thing that most people find difficult about them is having the stamina needed to stay on it for long periods of time. If you can last more than 30 minutes on an exercise bike without getting off, then you’re doing well!
Likewise, some users may find it difficult to get onto the seat and stay comfortable for 30+ minutes. Solutions for this would be to look at other types of exercise bike, such as the mini exercise bike.
3. There is no variation in speed or intensity for the most part.
As much as exercise bikes can be an effective cardio source, they do lack in some areas. For example, on other cardiovascular machines such as treadmills you have the option to increase or decrease the speed depending on how hard you want to work that day. This forces you to run to keep up with the speed.
Whilst exercise bikes have options to increase resistance such as uphill modes for those who want a more difficult exercise, the speed of the bike is solely controlled by the user. This could cause some users to ‘slack off’ and not push themselves.
Which Kinds of Exercise Bike are good for Cardio Workouts?
There are two main types of exercise bike that you’ll come across – the upright exercise bike (which is the one most people think of when they talk about exercise bikes) and the mini exercise bike.
The mini exercise bike has no seat and no handles, and is essentially just the pedals. They’re great for those who are older or are recovering from a serious illness or condition. Likewise, they may be easier for those who have difficulty sitting on an exercise bike for long periods, or who have joint-related issues.
However, they are not as effective for cardio workouts as they strip away some of the important factors that are at play when you’re cycling on an upright stationary exercise bike, such as the core stability required when using a standard exercise bike.
The best kind of exercise bike for cardio workouts is the upright stationary exercise bike. There are plenty of home exercise bike options available on the market at a range of budgets and features. We’ve listed some of our expert-recommended home exercise bikes below.
Are Exercise Bikes good for Losing Belly Fat?
Exercise bikes are great for cardio, and they will also help you lose that stubborn belly fat.
In order to lose your belly fat, you want to make sure that you are in a caloric deficit for a prolonged period of time. This means that you should be burning more calories than you are consuming.
This can be done in two different ways:
- By increasing your energy output with exercise
- By reducing your calorie intake
Exercise bikes are an excellent choice for the first option, and can help to burn a significant amount of calories. With regular use, and ensuring you’re managing your calorie intake effectively, exercise bikes are great for losing belly fat and weight in general.
However, it’s important to note that you can’t ‘spot reduce’ your fat. In other words, there is no way to lose fat from a specific part of your body, such as your stomach. The only way to lose belly fat is to lose fat in general by following the points above.
Our Expert Recommendations for a Home Exercise Bike
If you’re in the market for a home exercise bike, then you’re in luck! Our experts have put together a quick list of the best exercise bikes available today. Take a look below and see which one best suits your budget and needs.
Folding Exercise Bike with 10-Level Adjustable Magnetic Resistance
The exercise bike uses a magnetic wheel, which allows for smoother and quieter cycling. No more worrying about waking up the family or your neighbours!.
The LCD display provides you with real-time updates on you speed, distance, time, calories burned and heart rate. There’s also an integrated tablet stand above the LCD, allowing you to watch your favourite TV series whilst working out.
The exercise bike folds down to maximise storage and space. No more massive pieces of equipment sitting in the corner of your room whilst you’re not using them!
The seat is adjustable for a range of user heights. The bike itself comes with 10 levels of adjustable resistance, meaning you’ll get a great workout whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
WINNOW Exercise Bike
Ultra-quiet home exercise bike, powered by an internal magnetically controlled flywheel, producing just 20 decibels of sound.
Large and clear LCD display providing you with details on your time, speed, distance and calories burned. Built-in mobile phone stand, allowing you to watch TV or listen to music while powering through your workout.
Well-built, sturdy machine without any flimsy low-quality materials. Built-in wheels allowing you to move it around your room easily. Comfortable seat for long sessions.
A total of 8 resistance levels, ranging from warming up/beginner levels (1-3) through to moderate resistance to burn fat (4-6) and high resistance for strength and muscle building (7-8).