Guides Exercise Bikes Training Equipment

5 Main Types of Exercise Bikes

There are 5 types of exercise bikes available on the global market. Besides having a different visual appearance, each one of them has a different impact on muscles. Depending on your workout goals, you should prioritize one product over another. In this guide, I’ll list all the stationary bike types and explain their main features.

The five main types of exercise bikes are indoor, upright, air, folding, and recumbent bikes. Indoor bikes are the most common product on the market, while recumbent bikes are the safest.

types of exercise bikes

What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

1. Spin Bike

Indoor or spin bikes are the most common types of stationary exercise bikes, and you can find them in just about any gym. I especially like luxurious models with an internet connection as they allow you to have much more fun during workouts.  

According to experts, these are the best bike type for exercise, allowing several different workouts.


  • The most versatile exercise bikes on the market
  • Certain models allow the use of the internet and streaming
  • The closest thing to riding a real bicycle
  • You can easily modify the resistance
  • Indoor bikes are great for different types of training

Could be better:

  • Doesn’t engage other muscle groups aside from the legs and glutes
  • Improper back position can cause serious injuries

Best For

These products are perfect for fast pedalling, mimicking the position of traditional bicycles. Nowadays, people use them for fitness classes, given they’re fantastic for burning calories. Spin bikes are especially popular among professional cyclists, as they allow them to work out indoors during cold winter months.


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Key Features

  • Similar body position to real bikes
  • Most bikes have numerous add-ons
  • Different types of resistance (magnetic and friction)
  • Extremely versatile and ideal for recurrent users
  • Screens and internet on luxurious models

Product We Recommend

Schwinn indoor bicycles are, in our opinion, the best types of bikes at the gym. The most luxurious model, Schwinn 800IC, has Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, heart rate monitors, and dumbbells. Another thing I really like is the full-color LCD screen that allows you to watch your favorite shows during workouts.

In terms of workout-related features, Schwinn uses magnetic resistance. You can adjust training difficulty on the fly while you’re riding the bike. Out of all the spinning bike types, Schwinn has some of the better handlebars. Fore & aft adjustment allows you to quickly set up the machine.

Schwinn 800IC

2. Upright Exercise Bike

The main difference between upright and indoor bikes types is that upright bikes force you to sit straight. The pedals are right beneath your seat, while the handlebars are relatively close to your body. As a result, you will be in an upright position throughout the training, as you can’t lean on the handles.


  • Allows you to stand and sit during workouts
  • Activates more muscle groups than indoor, recumbent, and folding bikes
  • Less likely to suffer back injury compared to indoor bike

Could be better:

  • Smaller seats and pedals might feel uncomfortable
  • Can feel unstable when standing up

Best For

Upright bikes are one of the better choices for people who want to train their whole bodies. The standing position helps activate core muscles and can also strengthen muscle groups crucial for mobility. Despite all the benefits, it takes time to get used to this machine, and some customers find it extremely uncomfortable.

Key Features

  •  Allows sitting and standing workouts
  • Fantastic for HIIT
  • Besides legs, it also works your core
  • Better body positioning compared to indoor bikes

Product We Recommend

Without a doubt, Evo-Fit Stationary Upright Bike is the best product in this category. The feature I like is adjustable magnetic resistance. You have 36 programs at your disposal, allowing you to tweak difficulty as you get into shape.

Evo-Fit has 4-level seat adjustment, which helps you find just the right position for your body type. The integrated fan is another excellent feature that increases your level of comfort during long, arduous workouts. You also have a USB port and Bluetooth so that you can listen to your favorite songs when exercising.

Evo-Fit Stationary Upright Bike

3. Recumbent Exercise Bike

There are lots of different types of recumbent exercise bikes, including dual-action, semi-recumbent, and commercial recumbent machines. Unlike most other types of stationary exercise bikes, this indoor equipment is much better for your back. Gym-goers sit in a reclining position during the workout, alleviating stress on the joints.


  • A fantastic gear for people with joint injuries
  • More comfortable for older people
  • The low position makes it more accessible

Could be better:

  • Smaller seats and pedals might feel uncomfortable
  • Can feel unstable when standing up

Best For

Recumbent bikes are the fastest-growing segment of the exercise bike market. They’re especially great for the elderly and users with a long injury history. Pedals are placed in front of you, and you don’t have to put as much pressure on the joints. Furthermore, back support and a large padded seat will make you feel more during long workouts.

Key Features

  • High level of comfort
  • Less intense than the other workout bikes
  • Higher accessibility for the elderly and people with injuries
  • Less strain on your joints and muscles
  • Great for warming up or cooling down

Product We Recommend

Like indoor bikes, Schwinn recumbent machines are some of the best on the market. My personal favorite is Schwinn 570R Recumbent Bike, although you shouldn’t neglect the other models.

This piece of equipment is fantastic for people who want a detailed breakdown of their workouts. You can track heart rate, speed, course profile, intensity, track goals, and access a few other metrics. There are 29 programs in total, ensuring you never get bored. Just turn on your tablet and watch Netflix while burning calories.

Schwinn 570R Recumbent Bike

4. Folding Bikes

As the name implies, you can easily fold and unfold these machines. They have a scissor-like design, with a frame consisting of two long metal bars that intersect in the middle. Given they’re smaller and portable, most foldable bikes have a basic monitor and lack extra features.


  • An excellent choice for smaller apartments
  • The cheapest type of exercise bike

Could be better:

  • Not the best option for HIIT due to its low stability
  • There’s a maximum weight limit
  • Doesn’t have as many features as the other entries on the list

Best For

When people look for exercise bikes, they rarely think about their size. However, as you’ll soon realize, these machines can take up a lot of space. So, if you live in a smaller apartment, I suggest you go with a folding bike. Folding bikes are also nice for people who relocate often.

Key Features

  • Small and foldable
  • Easy to carry
  • Basic features compared to other exercise bikes
  • Not as versatile as other bikes

Product We Recommend

If you’re looking for a good foldable cycle, you can’t go wrong with Pooboo Folding Exercise Bike. This machine is very different from other products in this category. Aside from regular workouts, you can also use the bike for recumbent cycling. There are also resistance bands that allow basic arm training.

For such a small, portable product, Pooboo has a lot to offer. Athletes can track distance, time, speed, calories, and pulse via a small display. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also an iPad holder for extra entertainment. Despite all these extra features, Pooboo is as small as any other folding bike, and you can easily store it in a closet.

Pooboo Folding Exercise Bike

5. Air Bikes

Out of all the different kinds of exercise bikes, air or dual-action bikes are the least like the traditional cycles. These machines combine lower and upper-body workouts. Pedals and handles are connected to a large fan in front of you, which turns faster and faster depending on your speed.


  • Best bike for full-body workouts
  • Adjustable resistance makes them very challenging
  • A great option if you’re interested in HIIT

Could be better:

  • The faster you turn the pedals, the noisier it gets

Best For

These bikes are a perfect choice for people who want full-body exercise, but don’t want to buy weights or spend money on several different machines.

Each side works in unison, and by pushing the tempo, you also increase the resistance. This makes air bikes awesome for people who like the challenge. However, if you’re looking for an easier version of the full-body cycle, there are also models with magnetic friction. They allow you to tweak resistance at your leisure.

Key Features

  • Best choice for full-body workouts
  • Much better for HIIT than easy aerobic workouts
  • Resistance increases as you push the tempo
  • Not particularly versatile and is somewhat noisy

Product We Recommend

If you’re looking for a good product from this category, I suggest you buy Assault Airbike. The thing I have to mention is that this machine isn’t as noisy as the competitors. This is a major benefit, given how annoying some air bikes can be. The last thing you need is a distraction during a tough workout.

Assault Airbike has an impeccable design. Handlebars and pedals are smooth, and it doesn’t feel as if you have to crank them. Nevertheless, working out on this bike is still extremely challenging. Users can track time, calories, speed, and a few other factors via the monitor.

 Assault Airbike

Stationary Bike Types by Resistance Mechanism

Stationary exercise cycles utilize three types of resistance:

  • Magnetic
  • Contact
  • Air
stationary bike types

As the name implies, magnetic bikes use magnetic force to slow down the movement of the flywheel. As there’s no contact with the flywheel, these machines are almost silent.

Contact or friction resistance is created when leather or wood pads start rubbing against the flywheel. Unlike magnetic bikes, these products are much noisier. Due to high friction, you’ll have to change pads sooner than later.

Air bikes are a category of products that rely on air resistance. The rotation of a large fan reduces your speed. As you pedal faster, the resistance progressively increases.

Stationary Bike Types by Seating Position

When we talk about seating positions on bikes, we generally refer to standard cycles and recumbent models.

Most products use traditional seats similar to those on real bicycles. The only exception is recumbent bikes that put you in a leaning, relaxed position. Of course, every product allows you to adjust the seating by moving it up or down.

exercise bike in use

Different Kinds of Exercise Bikes by Class

There are three classes of exercise bikes:

  • Professional
  • Semi-professional
  • Home

The first category of bikes is optimal for professional athletes. Semi-professional is just a step below, while home bikes are the best option for home workouts.


What Are the Best Types of Bikes at the Gym?

Indoor bikes are often used in cycling and fitness workouts. They’re the most common type of bike in gyms, closely followed by recumbent machines.

What Are the Types of Resistance on Exercise Bikes?

When choosing an exercise bike, you can choose between products that have magnetic or friction resistance. Magnetic resistance products rely on magnetic force to make things harder on the user. On the other hand, friction resistance bikes utilize wool or similar materials to slow down your movement.


Although somewhat similar, each one of these product types has something that makes it unique. Before purchasing a new machine, I suggest that you hit your local gym and check out available cycles. Most places have several different bike types, so you can see which one suits you the best.

Cycling in your local gym will also show you whether this type of training is right for you. That way, you don’t have to waste money on an expensive piece of equipment just to bail after a month or two. Generally speaking, indoor bikes are the optimal purchase for most people. 

Do you use an exercise bike, and which type is it? Share it in the comments below! 

Also read:


  1. What Are the Different Types of Exercise Bikes? // Verywellfit:
  2. The 8 Very Best Exercise Bikes // Nymag:
  3. Exercise Bike Magnetic VS Flywheel – Which Is Right For You // Exercisebike:
  4. Setting up riding position – bike fitting // Bikegremlin:

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Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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