Exercise bikes, especially stationary bikes, have been a favorite for indoor exercise for many years, primarily for cardiovascular fitness.
The landscape of exercise bike options has been quietly evolving. And if you haven't shopped for one lately, you may be surprised at today's choices.
Walk into any gym today and you're likely to see a dizzying array of bikes – from spinning classes to newer recumbent bikes.
Exercise bikes offer a nearly unparalleled exercise experience. And the demand for comfort has taken the stationary bike to a whole new level.
Finally recognizing normal, age-related changes to their bodies, baby boomers are stepping forward to take charge of their health.
And they realize that exercise is one major area where they can take charge.
However, it's not just baby boomers that seek a solution to feeling and looking better… People of all ages – and sizes – are realizing that their health and well being lie within their control.
My dad is 83 and just loves using his bike every day!
The Emergence of the Semi-Recumbent Bike
There's a relative newcomer on the exercise bike playfield – the semi-recumbent bike. What's behind this new star player?
The semi-recumbent bike combines the best of the upright and recumbent exercise bikes. And they are rapidly becoming a top choice of baby boomers for a comfortable and efficient workout.
Upright bikes may be great for very fit individuals, but they can present significant challenges for long-term use for the average individual, including:
- Getting on and off and straddling a central bar can be challenging, especially for overweight or older users
- The relatively small seat can be uncomfortable for extended use, leading to "saddle-sore"
- An upright position requires greater balance which some users may lack
- Reaching forward to grip the handlebars for 20 minutes can stress wrists, hands, arms, neck, back, and shoulders.
On the other hand, a semi-recumbent bike offers appealing alternatives:
- Step-through access makes getting on and off easy, removing need to straddle a central rail
- Low handlebars on each side of seat allow for comfortable and steady gripping
- A larger, more comfortable bucket seat allows you to sit "in" the seat rather than "on" the seat of a upright bike
- Semi-reclined position is easier on the back and neck
- Require no particular skill or fitness level – perfect for beginners!
Obviously, a major key to improving fitness is finding an exercise tool that is appropriate, safe and enjoyable for you. If a piece of equipment isn't comfortable, you're not likely to use it. And if it causes pain or isn't fun, you're more likely to quit the fitness game altogether.
What a Semi-Recumbent Bike Can Do
Exercising on a semi-recumbent bike offers many exciting potential benefits:
- Helps increase or maintain flexibility
- Promote optimal circulation throughout your entire body
- Helps maintain strength and endurance in leg muscles
- Helps burn calories and promote an ideal body weight
- Help support cardiovascular fitness
- Slims and tightens legs, thighs, and butt
Because a semi-recumbent bike is lower to the ground than an upright, but a bit higher than a recumbent, it's a breeze to mount and use. And its compact footprint allows you to use one regularly, right in the comfort of your own home.
With those two points alone – ease of use and ability to exercise at home – you've eliminated two major barriers that keep many folks from exercising.
And to help make it fun to exercise, many users like to position their semi-recumbent bike in front of a TV or a window so they have something interesting to watch while they are exercising.
Alternatively you can listen to music, or because of their design, you can comfortably read a book or magazine.
Another benefit of a semi-recumbent exercise bike over other pieces of exercise equipment like treadmills is that they are very low impact.
Just ask your doctor if a semi-recumbent bike is right for you. The angle of the seat and the lumbar support "takes your back" out of exercise.
And here's another important benefit of a semi-recumbent bike… unlike its upright cousin, a semi-recumbent workout involves your "glutes" or the gluteal muscles of your butt. If you want to look and feel your best, you'll certainly appreciate that benefit!
Choosing an Exercise Bike That's Right for You
For all the reasons I've listed above, I believe a semi-recumbent bike is the all-around best type of exercise bike for most users. But with all the choices, how do you go about selecting the one that's best for you?
Foremost, choose one that's useful for you and provides excellent value for your money. Please don't make the mistake that many individuals make – sacrificing quality in search of a "good" deal.
You must balance quality and value when shopping for an exercise bike. A quality bike is something you'll use for many years. Skimp on the features that make it enjoyable and beneficial to use now and you may regret it later. It's far too easy for under-utilized exercise bikes to become pricy clothes racks!
Here are some important things to look for in a quality semi-recumbent bike:
- Appropriate weight rating
Make sure the bike is rated for the pre-workout weight of the heaviest person in your household. Many of the better bikes can accommodate individuals weighing up to 300 or 400 pounds.
- Easily adjustable height
If there will be more than one user for the bike, be sure it easily and quickly adjusts to accommodate different users.
- Variable workout
Make sure you can adjust the intensity of your workout. Adjustable tension helps to make your workout more intense and challenging as your fitness level improves. Ideally, it includes a pre-programmed high-intensity interval training program.
- Heart monitor included
A heart monitor is an ideal way to track your progress and gauge the intensity of the workout on your body. A chest strap monitor gives the most accurate heart rate reading. A contact heart rate monitor, while not quite as accurate as a telemetric chest monitor, is often built into the grips.
- Manufacturer's warranty
Be sure to check the warranty – they can fluctuate greatly upon model and manufacturer. In my opinion, you should look for at least a five- or ten-year (or ideally a lifetime) warranty on the frame and at least a two-year warranty coverage on labor, parts and electronics as well.
Sprint 8 – The Perfect Fitness Solution – Found ONLY on Vision Fitness® Products
Here's some terrific news… Fitness expert and author Phil Campbell has professionally endorsed an outstanding line of exercise products – Vision Fitness®.
And not only has he endorsed this incredible line of products, his revolutionary Sprint 8 program is now found exclusively on Vision Fitness® products!
Vision Fitness has teamed up with Phil, the esteemed author of Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness to develop an anaerobic Sprint 8 program. And now all you have to do is touch a button to experience the program.
Here are some of the potential benefits of using the Sprint 8 program on your Vision Fitness semi-recumbent bike:
- Each workout takes only 20 minutes
- Effective for nearly all ages (not for use by children) and fitness levels
- Helps reduce body fat and tone muscle
- Boosts energy
- Improves speed and performance
And if you're over 30, SPRINT 8 can be a powerful ally against somatopause, the body's normal onset of weight gain, loss of muscle, and energy decline that often accompanies middle age.
Making SPRINT 8 Your Partner in Fitness
Here's how the built-in Vision Fitness® Sprint 8 program works…
The Sprint 8 program consists of four minutes of sprint intervals – broken out into eight, quick 30-second segments – and 16 minutes of "active rest."
The program includes the following phases:
- The warm-up period gradually increases your heart rate, respiration, and the blood flow to working muscles.
- Interval training starts immediately after the warm-up with a 30-second sprint interval.
- Seven recovery intervals of one minute and 30 seconds will alternate with the eight 30-second sprint intervals. (The console will prompt you to increase your pedal rate (rpm) during the sprint interval and decrease pedal rate (rpm) during the recovery interval.)
- The cool-down period helps return your body's systems to resting levels.
The great part is… It takes only 20 minutes to complete the entire Sprint 8 program!
And there's no guesswork on your part – the console tells you when to start, when to accelerate for a 'sprint', and when to slow down for your recovery interval. The reverse countdown keeps you engaged and motivated.
Smooth… Quiet… Comfortable… That Describes Vision Fitness Bikes
A pioneer and leader in the quality fitness bike industry, Vision Fitness uses only premium parts, such as sealed roller bearings. You'll enjoy years of maintenance-free performance that's guaranteed smooth.
Vision Fitness's friction-free magnetic resistance system with no wearing parts means maximum performance and durability that you just don't find on many bikes.
The optimally weighted flywheel provides smooth and fluid changes when you change the resistance level, even during your workout.
Like to workout in the late night or early morning hours without disturbing other family members?
Now you can with Vision Fitness' Quiet-Glide™ drive technology. The eight-ribbed Poly-V belts' larger surface area creates less tension, with less noise and a longer lifespan of the belt and entire drive system.
Vision Fitness recognizes that the comfort of the seat is often the #1 priority in an exercise bike.
The Comfort ArcTM seat (model R2250), with body-contoured foam and free range of motion, will keep you smiling for miles. Rated at 300 lbs., the breathable mesh reclining seatback can accommodate a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
The Commercial R70 can accommodate users up to 400 pounds.
The cushy semi-recumbent seat (R2250) offers lumbar support with a wide assortment of adjustment settings.
More "Best Buy" Awards Than Any Other Fitness Brand
Vision Fitness is the proud recipient of over 29 Best Buy awards. Recognized for their quality, these precision pieces also provide exceptional value for your money.
Of all the fitness lines out there, I can see why Phil Campbell chose to endorse Vision Fitness. Their quality, in my opinion, is second to none.
Vision Fitness began as a division of Trek® Bicycle Company, one of the world's largest manufacturers of quality outdoor bicycles. In 1996, Vision Fitness spun away to focus exclusively on fitness products. They continue to offer the same combination of quality, value, and performance that made their founding company the most requested bicycle brand in America.
All Vision Fitness® products are produced in plants that are ISO-certified, so you can be assured of consistent, quality construction that will give you many years of maintenance-free use.
Their warranties say it all… Vision Fitness bikes come with an amazing lifetime home use warranty on their frames and magnetic brakes and generator systems (generator system on Model R70 only).
The home R2250 model includes a 5-year parts and electronics warranty, and 2-year warranty on labor when used three hours per day or less.
The full commercial R70 model with its self-powered generator system includes a 10-year parts and electronics warranty and 2 years labor.
Commercial or Home Use? We Have The Perfect Bike For You…
We are currently offering two Vision Fitness Semi-recumbent bikes – the home use model R2250 and the full commercial R70 model.
For Your Home…
The R2250 Semi-Recumbent Bike is Vision Fitness' premier, top-of-the-line bike for home use.
Its heavy-duty step-thru frame allows easy, secure entry. The ECB-Plus™ magnetic resistance system and 24-lb. flywheel provide smooth resistance changes.
The Quiet-Glide™ drive system with its large eight-ribbed Poly-V belt, creates less tension, extending the life of the bike.
Breathable Comfort Arc™ Mesh oversized seat with adjustable tilting seatback keeps users cool and comfortable.
The home use R2250 comes with the top-of-the-line Premier Console. With an advanced full-color LCD screen, you can take your pick of a tropical beach, peaceful wooded trail, cityscape, or country road.
Or enter your own personal photos and enjoy a custom slideshow as you exercise.
Select from 22 programs, including Sprint 8®, 3-HRT, 3-Goal, and 5 Custom Programs. Equipped with a telemetric heart rate chest strap or use the contact heart rate grips to monitor your progress.
Stream movies and music with DVD-compatible A/V ports and USB port for easy workout tracking.
For Your Office or Clinic…
Heavy-duty construction defines the R70, perfect for commercial use. Its design reflects user comfort and convenience with its step-thru entry.
Self-balancing pedals and the Club Comfort Arc™ seat with adjustable lumbar control provide comfort during exercise.
The remote control feature allows easy adjustments to programming without letting go of the contact heart grips.
A self-powered Cambridge Motor Works™ electromagnetic generator system allows you to place this bike anywhere in your facility.
Quiet-Glide™ Super Silent Poly-V Belt Drive uses a two-stage drive system for quiet, smooth operation.
Entertainment is available through the optional TV add-on.
The R70 comes with the standard commercial console featuring 20 Program Levels, including Sprint 8®, Manual, Interval, Fat Burn, Watts, HRT Cardio, HRT Weight Loss, HRT Interval, HRT Hill, 3 Trail Programs, and 5 Custom Programs.
Step Into Peak Fitness Today With The Exclusive Phil Campbell-endorsed Bike
Peak fitness is just a step away with Vision Fitness' Semi-Recumbent Bikes. And Phil Campbell's Sprint 8® program can now be yours.
With the touch of a fingertip, you'll blast into the world of high-intensity training, compliments of Phil's precision program. Tried and true, Phil's program has helped countless individuals meet their fitness, health, and weight loss goals.
Whether you want to shed a few pounds, tighten your thighs and butt, Phil's program can help.
Order your model today.
We’re sorry to inform you that our Vision Fitness Elliptical Trainers and Fitness Bikes have been discontinued...
However, we would like to suggest you to learn more about our Power Plates – which use the principles of Acceleration Training to stimulate your body's natural response to vibration – giving you a high intensity workout unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
With the Power Plates machine, you get a complete, full-body workout incorporating stretching, balance, core, strength-building, and massage, all in only as little as 15 minutes.
Discover more about our Power Plates machines and how they can benefit you.