Best Upright Bikes and Indoor Cycles For Your Well Being

Many people ask what are upright bikes? There are two primary types of stationary bicycles which people use for cardio exercise and training: upright bikes and indoor cycling bikes. Indoor cycling bikes use a weighted flywheel and direct-contact brakes to provide resistance and simulate the way a real bicycle feels. On an indoor cycling bike, your posture can more closely simulate the way you sit or stand on a regular bicycle. For those trying to use an indoor bike to train for outdoor bike riding, or for those who simply love the way regular bicycles feel, indoor cycling bikes might be the way to go.

Upright bikes, on the other hand, generally use electromagnets to create resistance and slow down the flywheel, allowing for a more customized workout. In general, upright bikes have more features suited for those who are treating their indoor bike workout as its activity, such as heart rate monitors. The seats are often wider, too, making them a more comfortable option, especially for longer workouts. There are a lot of benefits when it comes to owning an upright bicycle.

The editors at Indoor Training Bikes argue that upright bikes have the advantage over indoor cycles for those “looking for a good way to burn calories, lose weight, or just something to keep you in shape.” One downside is that upright bikes do tend to be a bit more expensive than indoor cycles, in part because they often come with more features to customize your workout and track your progress. However, in general, we here at CardioSpeed agree – for general exercise purposes, an upright bike just can’t be beaten. That’s why we’ve compared four of the most popular entry-level upright bikes: the Schwinn 170, the Nautilus U616, the Schwinn 130, and the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike.

Comparison Table

TypePriceItem WeightUser Weight LimitOur Rating
Schwinn 170$$$74 lbs.300 lbs.4.1/5
Nautilus U616$$$$78 lbs.300 lbs.4.2/5
Schwinn 130$$69 lbs. 300 lbs.4.2/5
Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS$60 lbs.400 lbs.4.3/5

Schwinn 170 Upright Bike

Our second most expensive option, this Upright Bike is one of two upright bikes we’re reviewing made by Schwinn, one of the most famous bicycle manufacturers in the United States. Like all of the upright bikes, the user weight limit is higher, and it comes equipped with a small computer designed to allow you to customize your workout. Some of the key features include:

  • 29 workout programs
  • Two backlit LCD screens
  • USB connectivity for goal tracking data transfer
  • 25 levels of resistance
  • Telemetry heart rate enabled
  • Sturdy frame
  • Customizable seat and handlebars
  • Built-in sealed acoustic speakers
  • Fan and water-bottle holder
  • Plugs into a standard wall outlet

As you can see, this bike comes equipped with a good deal of features. Many reviewers report that bike assembly is a bit involved but very doable. All the tools you need are included, although if you’ve got your tools they will probably be better quality and easier to use.

While many users feel that the bike is tremendously sturdy and durable, others are a bit frustrated with how it holds up over time. If you are a professional cyclist looking to train for hours a day, or a gym owner looking to stock up on heavy-duty upright bikes, then this exercise bike might not be for you. However, if you’re looking for an upright bike that will hold up during normal home workouts, then this product seems to be a durable, customizable, and reliable choice.

On a more personal note: if you’ve got a household like mine, where several people want to use the same bike, then this is an excellent choice. We had an old recumbent exercise bike in the basement, but we were looking for a change. My husband, my daughter and I are all avid cyclists in the season, and we wanted an upright bike that felt more like a real cycling experience. Adjusting the height of the seat and the angle of the handlebars is easy – a must for the three very different sized users in my family! The bike has a solid, reliable feel to it and the flywheel makes it run very quietly.

Nautilus U616 Upright Bike

 The most expensive bike we’re reviewing, the Nautilus U616 is also one of the most customizable. In many ways comparable to the Schwinn 170, some of the key features of the Nautilus U616 include:

  • 29 workout programs
  • Two backlit LCD screns
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • 25 levels of resistance
  • NautilusConnect & MyFitnessPal.com performance tracking
  • Sturdy frame
  • Customizable seat and handlebars
  • Ergonomic heart-rate monitor
  • Built-in acoustic chambered speakers
  • 3-speed fan and water-bottle holder
  • Plugs into a standard wall outlet

As you can see, the features are, in many ways, almost identical to the Schwinn 170. The Nautlius U616 comes equipped with a bit more in the way of connectivity, including Bluetooth connectivity for data upload and the ability to sync with a few online workout health and fitness trackers, including their NautilusConnect system and MyFitnessPal.com.

The one major difference with the Nautilus U616 is the price, as it is a more expensive price than the Schwinn 170. On the whole, it seems like it might be a better deal to go with the 170, than the Nautilus U616 – the features are nearly identical, while the prices are dramatically different.

With all of these bikes, however, the most important factor is what you feel comfortable with, and what you feel like you’re going to use. If you can’t decide between the Nautilus U616 and the 170, it may be worth going to a local sporting-goods store or department store and trying them both out. Alternatively, if you’re willing to put a little bit of work in, you can try them both out by ordering them from an online retailer that has a good return policy.

With a purchase as expensive and important as this, it’s worth making sure that you’re buying exactly the right bike for you. The ultimate goal is, of course, that it becomes more easy and more fun for you to get in great shape. By all accounts, the Nautilus U616 is an exceptionally comfortable, smooth-running upright bike – in fact; it’s Nautilus’ top-of-the-line product.

Schwinn 130 Upright Exercise Bike

An alternative product is also the Schwinn 130. Among its key features are:

  • 22 workout programs
  • Two backlit LCD screens
  • USB connectivity
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • NautilusConnect & MyFitnessPal.com performance tracking
  • Sturdy frame
  • High-speed, high-inertia perimeter-weighted flywheel
  • Customizable handlebars
  • Ergonomic heart-rate monitor
  • Built-in acoustic chambered speakers
  • 3-speed fan and water-bottle holder
  • Plugs into a standard wall outlet

As you can tell, the the 130 is highly comparable to the other products we’ve reviewed – just a little less excellent. Instead of 25 levels of resistance, you get 20, and instead of 29 workout programs, you get 22. Unlike the other models, the on-board computer does not register speed or rotations per minute, just calories and miles.

The seat is also reportedly rather uncomfortable, though it uses a standard bike mount, so it is replaceable. However, if you’re replacing the seat with a more comfortable one, that is going to cost you some more money – meaning that the price point may be a bit deceptive. Some people have also complained about the pedals being too close to the cranks, causing them to bump their feet on every rotation. However, in some cases, the manufacturer has provided customers with wider pedals to solve this problem.

However, it’s worth being honest about your needs here. If you’re smaller and lighter, or if you aren’t particular about the way your seat feels (if you stand while cycling, for example), it may not need to be replaced, then this bike is meant for you. We spent a while talking about the disadvantages of this upright bike, but there are a large number of advantages to the bike as well: the high-speed, high-inertia flywheel offers a smooth, quiet workout, which is especially useful when watching TV or listening to music while riding the bike.

Even though the 130 offers fewer resistance levels and workout programs than more expensive options, there are still an abundance of both, especially given how little the bike costs.

In short, the Schwinn 130 might not be for everyone, but it’s quite a deal and might be just what you need. As we wrote before, it’s always useful to try purchases like exercise bikes out before you purchase them, or after you buy them but before you decide to keep them. What doesn’t work for one person might be perfect for another, and since the goal is a healthier, happier you, whether or not it works for you is all that counts.

Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike

 

This one is a little different from the others we’ve reviewed here. The most popular by far (it’s the 6th best-selling exercise bike on Amazon.com), it’s also far and away the cheapest, costing much less than any other bike on our list. Despite the low price, the Exerpeutic GOLD model has raging customer support throughout the USA. Let’s take a look at some of the key features of this bicycle.

  • One backlit LCD screen
  • 8 levels of resistance
  • Sturdy, powder-coated steel frame
  • Customizable seat
  • Heart pulse sensors
  • 3 piece ‘high torque’ cranking system
  • Folds to half the size
  • Transportation wheels
  • Uses two AAA batteries

 

As you can see, the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike strips away some features that other upright bikes advertise prominently. For example, there are no workout programs included by the bike’s manufacturers – it’s up to individuals working out to plan and implement their own strategies for working out. Further shortcomings include the lack of built-in speakers or fan, as well as the fact that there is only one LCD screen, and the on-board computer does not allow you to export workout data by USB or Bluetooth.

That said, the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 offers a number of superb qualities – some of which are not offered by upright bikes twice the price. For one, the weight limit is 100 lbs. higher than any of the other options we’ve reviewed. It has 20% more steel than other Exerpeutic models and is also among the quietest options we’ve reviewed.

One of the biggest innovations the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 offers is the fact that it folds in half for easy storage. Especially for those in smaller apartments or who share their living space with families, this can be a game-changer. You can ride in the middle of the living room or bedroom while watching TV or listening to music without having to make an upright bike a permanent fixture.

In addition, while there are fewer settings available, many people report that the settings included are more than sufficient. One customer raised the issue of poor tension and tightness, but this was not confirmed by other reviewers – in fact, most reviews outright contradicted this one. As is the case with all of the products we’re reviewing here, it’s not likely that you’ll get a defective model, but it is possible. This is why it’s essential to make sure that the retailer you’re purchasing the bike from has a good return policy. The Exerpeutic GOLD 500 also comes with a manufacturer’s warranty lasting a full year, which is comparable to other bikes we’ve reviewed here.

The Winner!

While a bit of an outlier, we have to give the upright-bike contest trophy (yeah right..) to the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 XLS Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike. Rarely does the least expensive option get the best reviews – evidence that there is something truly exceptional about the Exerpeutic GOLD 500.

We’re picking the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 because it seems to us to have built a superb product around the absolute essentials of the upright bike. Many of the options missing can be easily made up: for example, the direct transfer of data from the bike’s computer to apps such as MyFitnessPal.com, a heavily-advertised feature on bikes like the Nautilus U616, is not necessary to use those apps – you can manually enter data quickly and easily. In addition, many reviewers report that the 8 resistance settings are more than enough, with the higher resistance settings providing a very intense workout. The higher weight capacity and the unique ability to fold the bike up for storage seal the deal.

Of course, the Exerpeutic GOLD 500 may not be the right bike to get you moving. If you love being able to quickly and easily transfer workout data from bike to app, whether because you’re crunched for time or because that particularly motivates you, it might be worth splurging on a more expensive option like the Schwinn 170. At the end of the day, whatever gets you excited about getting healthy and fit is the best option. However, given how tight cash and space are for so many, you shouldn’t feel bad if you need to go for the Exerpeutic GOLD 500. It has pretty much everything you need in an upright bike – and perhaps a bit more!