Exercise Bikes: The Seat’s the Thing
Exercising indoors can be challenging. But for an invigorating cardio workout, few things can top stationary bike. When shopping for a stationary bike, there are a lot of data points to consider – the flywheel, belt-drive versus chain-drive, fore or aft settings for the handlebars, the footprint – but the most important one often gets short shrift: The seat.
Discomfort = Failed Workouts
Every fitness professional or experienced athlete knows the simple fact of the matter is you’ll get more out of a terrible exercise bike you’re comfortable on than a fantastic bike that leaves you bruised and unhappy – simply because you’ll use a comfortable bike more often and more effectively. For example, we frequently recommend The Cybex 625C Upright Bike because it sports one of the largest and most comfortable seating areas available for any upright bike.
Keep in mind, even if you’re a veteran cyclist, you might experience some short-term soreness when you switch to a new saddle. This is perfectly normal, and you have to separate this from long-term discomfort. The second key is that there are different ideal saddles for different riding styles. If you ride in an upright position, a standard position, or a pro position, you need to have the right saddle for your posture. If you switch between styles or aren’t sure what your style is, easily adjustable bikes might be the best way to go; we’d recommend the Expresso S3U and its first-rate ergonomic seating design and the ability to adjust the floor-to-pedal ratio.
Changing the Seat
One of the best things to look for in an exercise bike is the ability to switch out the saddle. This not only ensures that you’ll be as comfortable as possible in your workouts, but allows for maximum flexibility as your riding style or goals shift and change over the course of time. One reason we love the Lemond G-Force UT Training Bike is its inclusion of a standard seat clamp post enabling the changing of the seat – it’s the only model on the market with that feature, in fact.
The other reason that the seat is arguably the most important aspect of a bike is the fact that the saddle will take the brunt of your weight and the wear-and-tear of a bike, and if the saddle’s not durable or easily replaceable, a worn-out seat will ruin a perfectly good piece of gym equipment. Choosing a high-quality seat that can take a daily riding regimen and last is essential in not only protecting your investment, but in encouraging you to keep up with your fitness goals.
Our advice? Start with the seat. That doesn’t mean ignore the other aspects of the bike, of course – you have to perform your due diligence for every part of all of your fitness equipment – but it’s the right starting point to ensure you’ll actually use the bike you eventually choose – now and for years to come.
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