If you are a fan of bells and whistles, you’ll love the JLL IC400 Elite. With looks poised somewhere between a Deceptacon, a gimmicky razor and a Meccano kit it is certainly a design statement. And “look at me!” would seem to be the statement it is making. But don’t let the ‘80s aesthetic put you off, this is a fearsome exercise powerhouse with some impressive features to appeal to serious athletes and committed beginners alike.
A clever 3 piece crank system on the pedals replicates a real world bike ride, keeping the fitness challenge here dynamic and entertaining. Users will also benefit from the multiple adjustment options. Allowing height alterations through the seat and handlebars gives the rare opportunity to own a flexible bike to suit multiple users of all body types. The 20kg flywheel further enhances the broad user scope here. Presenting a tough workout for the super fit alongside a smooth, safe user experience for less assured riders.
Though the JLL IC400 Elite’s looks will undoubtedly be polarising, its attributes are impossible to deny. This is a well considered piece of equipment for a serious home user. Flexible enough to suit the entire family, a large display monitor relays key workout information while heart rate sensors on the ergonomic handle bars keep track of how hard you’re pushing yourself each day.
Features: Smart leather seat - LCD screen - Hand pulse sensors - Wheels for transfer
Pricing: High end
By not relying upon direct friction or contact, as so many resistance bikes of its class do, the CrystalTec CT 101M avoids much of the wear and tear those competitors incur. Resistance is provided by electromagnetic induction and the resultant workout is a smooth and pleasurable user experience with the potential to be adjusted to suit the endurance of most riders.
Upkeep can be a major concern when you invest in home exercise equipment. Fearful of the effort and expense a complicated machine might incur, many users opt for simpler machines that require little to no maintenance. CrystalTec have kept this in mind in the conception and design of the CT101M. By dispensing with friction pads and relying on electromagnetic induction they have created a fluid and reliable machine to suit users across the ability spectrum.
Features: Bottle rack and bottle - LCD monitor - No friction pads - 8 levels of resistance
Pricing: Mid range
Beginners’ bikes need not be patronisingly oversimplified. There needs to be an element of complexity for them to evolve alongside the user. York Active have taken this on board and come up with the 110 model. Styled in black with green accents, featuring hand pulse sensors and a large LCD screen, this classic magnetic exercise cycle has everything a novice needs to begin cycling at home. With sturdy legs and rubber pads for stability, users can cut loose and ride for their lives, safe in the knowledge that this neat and appealing bike will not let them down.
This is unashamedly a beginner’s bike. Comfortable, practical and equipped with everything a new adopter needs to begin to get in shape through stationary biking. York Fitness are a well established brand and that experience shines through here. The inclusion of a fitness test in the mix further demonstrates their familiarity with the target demographic.
Features: Large padded seat - 8 resistance levels - Fitness test function - LCD screen
Pricing: Mid range
As the simple, no frills, climb aboard and ride option, the We R Sports Premium magnetic exercise bike ticks all the boxes. Its look is unfussy, its form solid and dependable. It benefits from the same functions as other mid level stationary bikes and presents them in a straightforward way. For a limited time it also comes with an 8 step tension controller as a special offer to purchasers.
Fitted with a 4.5kg cast iron flywheel, this We R Sports Premium magnetic exercise bike is a sensible option for users looking to be moderately challenged aboard a pedestrian machine. Up close the finish isn’t great, the grey colouring highlighting the cheap look of the plastic base and the red accents combining with that grey to lend the machine a curious vintage gloom. On the plus side it is easy to move, pleasing to ride and extremely simple to operate. If its looks trouble you, just be sure to stash it in a cupboard when your workout is done!
Features: Simple LCD display - Tension control special offer - Cast iron flywheel - Monitor
Pricing: Mid range
We go all the way back to basics with our final bike. The XS Sports Magnetic Foldable Exercise Bike has a simple x-frame design, an average function range and a minimalist appearance. Surprisingly, for its slight stature, it also has a 1.6kg flywheel. This presents an excellent opportunity for users with a lower budget and improved fitness or injury recovery goals to purchase an affordable exercise bike with the potential to evolve the intensity of workout as your strength and stamina grow.
If limited room is a factor in your choice of home exercise equipment, an x-frame foldable bike will always be a pragmatic choice. Presenting all the advantages of a good cardiovascular workout vehicle without the disadvantages of a bulky machine taking over your living space. Despite being the cheapest of our Top 5, the XS Sports has the weightier flywheel and comfortable, adjustable seat of a far pricier machine. And its accessible monitor relays those all important stats in a fuss free manner which ought to please technophobes and minimalists alike.
Features: 1.6kg flywheel - Pulse reader + simple computer - Pedal straps - Deep foam seat
We have looked at a diverse cross section of contemporary magnetic exercise bikes through the course of our Top 5. Each model representative of the best in its class. Each with unique attributes to the home user. By virtue of its great price point, comfortable saddle, sympathetic understanding of a new user’s needs and longer term potential, we must most highly commend the York Active 110 Exercise Cycle.
The exercise bike is a deceptively simple piece of kit. The biking motion has multiple benefits to our health and wellbeing. It is low impact and does not place stress on joints making it ideally suited to older users and those looking to gradually build stamina after a lower body injury. It is an easily emulated, repetitive, motion which most of us have practiced from childhood, reducing the need for ‘instruction’ and freeing up our minds to wander. And the cardiovascular benefits are proven.
In just a few weeks of regular stationary biking users can improve their heart, lung and muscle fitness. It offers legs and lower body an exemplary workout too. Toning and strengthening glutes, quads and calves. When handlebars are engaged the upper body is exercised too and additional aerobic advantages gained. On the bikes we are looking at today, magnets create that all important resistance (or drag) for a harder workout with ever more dramatic results.
The majority of exercise bikes come with multiple levels of resistance that users can combine or alternate as part of a programme. As home exercisers have become more gym savvy and knowledgeable the equipment they use has evolved alongside them. It is not unusual to see a magnetic exercise bike in a domestic setting with the same gadgetry and finish as the most impressive bike at a pricey private gym. Here is our review on folding exercise bikes.