A popular piece of home fitness equipment, the indoor exercise bike generally comes in two basic styles: upright and recumbent. Within those styles, bikes can vary greatly and can have a variety of features, from simple pulse rate monitors built into handlebars to virtual reality systems for more fun while cycling. Indoor bikes are also called exercise bikes or stationary bikes.
Upright indoor bikes, as the name implies, allow users to sit in an upright position like they would on a typical outdoor bicycle. These are the most common style of stationary bikes and can be ideal for the person who doesn't have back issues or trouble sitting upright without back support. They also come in various sizes, and some models can be folded and stowed away when not in use.
Recumbent bikes also come in foldaway styles as well as fixed styles. Recumbent bikes place users in a reclining position with their legs out in front of them while pedaling. Wide seats with back support make recumbent bikes popular with people who have back, neck and other issues, as well as those just seeking a more comfortable workout.
A common feature of many indoor bikes are displays that show workout information such as heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled and more. Consoles for holding books and magazines in place are also found on many stationary bikes. Indoor bikes also allow users to vary their workouts by changing resistance levels and speeds. Different resistance systems that can be found on indoor bikes include direct tension that uses mechanical braking, air resistance using a fan and magnetic resistance. The magnetic resistance exercise bike uses a magnet and typically provides a smoother, quieter ride.
Interactive exercise bikes allow users to watch video games, television or surf the Internet while they ride. These indoor bikes feature viewing screens and come in both upright and recumbent styles. Video game bikes often come with a variety of games that put users in the middle of different virtual reality situations to help them have fun and pass the time while exercising.
The ultimate indoor bikes in terms of portability are models that consist only of the pedal portion and do not have seats. These "mini" indoor bikes allow users to sit in comfortable chairs with the unit placed in front of them. This type of exercise bike also can be placed on a table so users can peddle with their hands to tone their arms and shoulders.