How to buy an exercise bike

Reviews
9 Feb 2009

Read our reviews of the four best exercise bikes on the market and you'll be able to pick the right one for your needs

You can get every exercise bike here from Fitness Superstore.

Life Fitness C9i Upright
Life Fitness C9i Upright - £1,495
BEST IN THE TEST
The good: This is a slight upgrade on the commercial Life Fitness bike, so it’s like having a better than gym-quality bike in your house. As such, it’s got everything you could possibly want – a gel seat, loads of programmes (including a Kilimanjaro climb) and workouts synched to your heart rate to ensure you’re exercising effectively.
The bad: It’s a bit pricier than the other models – but you get what you pay for. 
MF verdict: If want to be sure you have one decent cardio machine, this is a great choice. 
Vision E3100 HR
Vision E3100 HR - £586
BEST FOR COMFORT
The good: Before Life Fitness unleashed its C9i, this was the best model on the market. Apart from having a seat that your buttocks will love, it’s got the only five programmes you really need, heart rate sensors in the handlebars and 16 levels of resistance. It’s also a very hard-wearing machine. 
The bad: Not much – it just hasn’t quite got the all-singing, all-dancing appeal of the C9i.
MF verdict: A fine all-round bike at a very attractive price – perfect for those who don’t have a grand and half to spend on the C9i.
Life Fitness R3 Advanced
Life Fitness R3 Advanced - £1,045

BEST RECUMBENT

The good: A recumbent can offer good lower back support if your posture’s not perfect, and the R3 is as comfy as a hammock. It’s also built like a brick lavatory and has virtually the same console as the machines you’ll see in a gym. 

The bad: If you’re training for sports-specific performance, a recumbent obviously might not be the best bet. 

MF verdict: For a comfortable ride with plenty of features, this is the best recumbent around. 

Horizon Focus 308
Horizon Focus 308 - £499
BEST VALUE
The good: For the price, this offers everything you’d expect in a more expensive model: it’s comfortable, solidly built and comes with enough programmes to keep even the most attention-seeking cyclist occupied. You can even type various users’ names in and save their progress. 
The bad: With a relatively small 8.5kg flywheel and 37kg frame, it isn’t as solid as its higher-priced rivals. 
MF verdict: If you’re on a budget, this is the best cycle you can buy. 
For more exercise, weight-loss and diet tips, get the magazine. Subscribe now and we'll give you 5 issues for £5! Alternatively, get MF's brand new interactive edition.