Would you like to have enough space for a proper home gym? Especially one fitted out with all the gear you want? Unfortunately, for many of us our current living space does not allow for such a luxury.
If I had to choose only one important item of fitness equipment for use at home, I would select the humble exercise bike. It is a very versatile machine, with lots of important benefits for the user. And if we buy a Fold-Up exercise bike, we get all these benefits without sacrificing a huge amount of space..!
Here is a quick comparison chart of the folding upright bikes we reviewed:
So let’s take a more detailed look at the 3 best folding exercise bikes available on the market today, as well as a little cheap one. You will discover their differences and hopefully, get a really good idea of which one may best suit you.
It seems the most popular of the folding exercise bikes available carry the “Exerpeutic” brand name. So we will take a look at one of these first.
1) Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike
This bike may look very familiar to some of you, and so it should. It is the newer version of the very popular “Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse” which has been selling for many years, and getting lots of great feedback.
The 500 XLS is made using a tubular steel frame. This makes it strong and built to last. Due to its stronger frame, this folding bike can now carry a rider up to a maximum weight of 400 Pounds!
Previously, only full sized, non folding, gym sized, upright bikes could support this weight.
With the frame being powder coated, it helps to protect the steel and make it resistant to rusting, knocks, and scratches. Also reduces maintenance, and helps keep your bike looking like new. I found this fitness machine very quick to roll out, unfold, and start a workout. Getting on and off was quick and simple. It did feel very stable, which may be down to the curved rear support feet?
Compared to the seats used on normal road bikes, this bike is fitted with a much larger sized seat. A bigger seat makes it easier for people of all sizes to feel comfortable while exercising. To add to personal comfort, this seat is well padded. I think you could easily add a gel filled seat cover over it if you really needed to.
The seat assembly can be easily raised or lowered to suit a rider’s height of between six foot five inches and five foot one inch. Raising the seat will move your feet further from the pedals. The best seating position is where your extended leg still has a slight bend at the knee when that foot is sitting flat on the pedal. And the pedal is at the bottom of its stroke.
When people talk about magnetic bikes, they mean magnets are being used to counter the movements of the pedals. These bikes still use a flywheel which is rotated when pedaled. Magnets are fitted around the flywheel and create a magnetic field to restrict how fast the flywheel can rotate. Changing the strength of the magnetic field, changes how much energy you have to exert to keep the flywheel turning at a constant speed.
There are quite a few benefits from using resistance created by magnets. The one you notice the most is how quiet and smooth these bikes are. I have used a few of the older fan bikes in the past, and when you get up some speed it sounds like a tornado in the room! Another big plus when using magnetic resistance technology, is smaller mechanisms and fewer exposed parts. This means less to go wrong and little maintenance.
Choosing the amount of pedaling difficulty you want, is quick and easy to set by selecting one of the 8 preset resistance levels. For those who have not ridden for a while, and beginners, it is best to start with the lower settings. Once you have established an exercise routine, which you can easily cope with, try a small increase in resistance. This will force you to work a little bit harder and build up strength and stamina.
Maximum resistance is best left for those advanced serious riders looking to get an intense cardio workout. You can also get to this stage over time by gradually adjusting the settings a small amount as you progress. Starting out with too much resistance will likely cause pain and possibly result in an injury.
Even on the lowest resistance setting you can easily get those pedals turning at a fast rate. Adjustable pedal straps are fitted to the over sized foot pedals to make sure your feet stay securely on the pedals without slipping or twisting off. These straps can be quickly tightened or loosened making it easy to exercise regardless of the footwear you are wearing. Being so easy to adjust means other family members, or friends, can use this bike without needing to spend a lot of time resetting to your needs.
Now we want to see how our workout is going. How far have we ridden and what speed were we able to maintain? How many calories have we managed to burn off and what is our heart rate at the moment? Is it in the zone for maximum fat burn?
Well these, and similar questions, are all answered and displayed on a centrally placed LCD display with large numbers. Thankfully the display on this bike is sensibly placed between the handle bars and immediately below the resistance selector.
A number of fold away bikes have their displays fitted just above the pedals or in other strange places making it difficult to read without moving your body position. Slowing down and bending forward to see those readouts upsets the rhythm of your workout. Power for your display is from two AA size batteries which come in the carton.
The final part of the bike we have not yet talked about is the handle bars. These are “U” shaped and foam covered with cut-outs on each side which is where the heart rate sensors are located. The handle bars are OK to grip and are not adjustable. You can however, easily lean forward and rest your forearms on them.
With your workout now complete, this machine is easy to store away. Simply release the locking pin below the seat and fold forward. Grasp the handle bars and tilt the bike towards you. The wheels built into the front legs will make contact with the floor so you can roll your bike away into its storage spot.
|Sturdy, stable, and strong, at a reasonable price.||The LCD display shows total exercise history, not separate sessions.|
|Comfortable and suits a range of user heights and weights.||Seat may cause chaffing of inner thighs (or upper inner leg) during long sessions if siting too far back on the seat.|
|Simple to folds up. easy to wheel away out of sight. Perfect for use at home.|
2) Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike
Here is another exercise machine from the Exerpeutic stable.
Very similar at a glance, but still different: the Exerpeutic 400XL
The most noticeable difference from the first exercise bike is the seat. This seat has a high back and well cushioned base.
Your handle bars are mounted under the seat base and extend out parallel to the floor. This allows your arms to be at the side of the seat and prevent you having to lean forward.
Just like the previous model, the sensors to measure your heart rate are placed where cut outs in the foam covering the handle bars have been made. This is also where your hands would naturally sit at the side of the seat on this model.
Adjustable shoe straps and pedals are the same as those used on the bike above.
The magnetic resistance unit in this bike is very similar to the one used on the 500 XLS machine, so we won’t bother going into any detail on that.Your usual recumbent bike is often a large and heavy piece of exercise equipment. The main reason for this is it has to accommodate the rider in an almost reclined position with the resistance mechanism in the same horizontal plane. It also needs to remain stable without rocking from side to side during vigorous pedaling.
That being said, I personally think the 400XL is a semi recumbent at best. You could even say it is really just a folding upright exercise bike with a high backed seat…
Now let’s take a look at the LCD readout and the preset resistance selector, which for some strange reason have been placed down between the rider’s legs… To me this seems to defeat the purpose of having a semi recumbent type of sitting position. Why is the control and display not at eye height where they can be easily adjusted and seen without bending forward almost in the airplane crash position?
|Sturdy, stable, reasonable price||Not a fully recumbent bike|
|Comfortable and suitable for range of user heights and weights with back rest||Tension adjustment & display not at eye height|
|Folds & stores easily. Great for home use.|
3) Innova XB350 Folding Upright Bike with iPad or Android Tablet Holder
This exercise machine from Innova is really a light weight version of the first bike we looked at. But it does have a quirky feature added that gives it a point of difference; and that is a “Tablet Holder”.
So if you find yourself being evicted from the TV room because of too much puffing, perspiration (or both), you can grab your Innova bike plus iPad or Tablet and retreat to somewhere else in the house! Watch your own show and get a workout at the same time. If you are really keen you could even get some work done… If your tablet is not super thin it could possibly slip off the narrow ledge at the bottom of the holder. It may pay to clip it in place to be extra safe?
I believe the LCD display deserves special mention being well placed for easy viewing between the handle bars. It is of a good size and fitted directly below the Tablet holder. The bike comes with the usual 8 preset tension settings, although there does not feel like much difference between them. A bit on the light side really for a serious workout.
The XB350 uses the now common magnetic friction technology which keeps it reasonably quiet when having a workout. A tension control knob is just below the display readout. Foot straps and pedals are fairly similar to all the other folding bikes. This one also comes with a well padded and easy to adjust seat.
A sister model to this bike could be the Innova XBR450 Folding Upright Bike which has a backrest fitted.
Not only is the seat and backrest vertically adjustable, but they can also be moved forwards or backwards! So bonus points to Innova for thinking about the smaller rider.
Thankfully the XBR450 is accurately described as an “upright bike with backrest”. Plus it also has the large LCD display sensibly placed at eye level. In fact, the same location as on the XB350!
Extra bonus points again to Innova for design…
|Quite a sexy and simple looking design||Rider weight capacity less than others.|
|Adjustment and viewing items are well placed||Lightweight frame compared to the Exerpeutic bikes.|
|Built in Tablet holder|
The Little Cheapie..!
As promised at the start of this review, here is the little cheap one; Platinum Fitness Fit Sit Deluxe Folding Pedal Exerciser Leg Machine (aka “the mini fold up exerciser”).
This wee beauty you can fold and take away with you in the car or on the bus. To add a bit of color to this mini bike, the center hinge section comes in 5 different colors. Make your color selection when you place your order.Do not expect to get a massive workout from this small device. It really is best at providing a way for desk-bound folks to get some exercise and change their sitting posture.AFTER FIRST GETTING YOUR DOCTOR’S APPROVAL, it can be just as good for allowing at home rehabilitation after injury or joint work.
You just provide the chair, then secure the pedal exerciser to it with the supplied anchor strap.
Yes, it does have an LCD display, and that monitors 5 different pieces of information such as: time elapsed, calories, and number of pedal revolutions, etc.
A tension knob is used to adjust the amount of effort required to turn the pedals. If you need to exercise your shoulders and arms, then you can sit this unit on a table and use your hands to turn the pedals.
|Easy to move around when collapsed||Not a serious workout machine|
|Weighs approx 5lbs||No heart monitor|
|At 11 inches tall fits under most desks|