UK Upright Bikes comparison
Assuming that you’ve decided to buy an upright exercise bike, either because that’s what you already knew what you wanted, or having read Which type of exercise bike should I buy?, the next question is – what’s the best upright exercise bike for you?
Here we look at the most popular and highly regarded models within different price ranges. We will concentrate mainly on the less expensive end of the market, where competition is most. We may look in more detail at the most exclusive machines in the future, but in the meantime , we will include some links to popular higher end upright bikes for you to peruse.
[N.B. One common complaint about many bikes, no matter how good the reviews are, is that the seats are uncomfortable. The solution is to add a gel seat cover but, as they are often different from one model to another, I have added links to the appropriate one (according to suggestions on Amazon).
I am only including dedicated upright exercise bikes here, but it’s worth taking a glance at some of the 2-in-1 exercise bike cross trainer combination machines.
Budget Upright Exercise Bikes – Under £100
The number of machines in this price bracket seems to have exploded recently, which should mean you can get a good machine without taking out another mortgage, even if they’re relatively basic, which is what you’d expect.
The JF100 is another genuine contender in the sub-£110 range. When this page was first published, it was £20 less than the F-Bike, but as of this update, it has dropped to almost half! The user-rating on Amazon.co.uk is also high.
- There are 7 levels of seat adjustment, which should make it suitable for most people
- It has 10 adjustable levels of magnetic resistance, though some users have said that the stiffest setting is not terribly hard
- It also has a pulse monitor built into the handlebars, and an LCD monitor with Time, Speed, Distance, Calories, Odometer and Pulse
- The handles rotate 360º
- The quoted maximum user weight is the same as the F-Bike, 100Kg.
- Weight: 18.1KG. (Boxed: 20 Kg)
The 3-piece detachable crank system together with 4Kg flywheel, more than twice as heavy as the F-Bike, should make for a smooth ride.
Recommended gel saddle cover
Upright Exercise Bikes – £100 – £200
A bike that has been one of the best-selling exercise bikes on Amazon.co.uk for some time is the good-looking Active 110 from York Fitness. It’s a bit dearer than the Budget models above, but is still very reasonably priced and within the budget of most people.
I have a York Fitness machine, though not this one, and highly recommend them as a company who make solid, good quality equipment. (I actually have a 2-in-1 combination bike. If you haven’t already read it, see my top recommendation.)
So what do you get for your extra bit of hard-earned cash?
- Well, the maximum user weight is 120Kg, a fifth more than the cheaper models. This isn’t just useful if you happen to weigh between 100 and 120 Kg; it implies more solidity generally and should feel more stable whoever is using it.
- The seat is adjustable and will suit a wide range of heights. There was one small complaint from one user (in a 5-star review) that the seat was not as comfortable as it could be, but rectified that with a replacement. (Check out Gel Seat Covers here).
- It has 8 levels of magnetic resistance, 2 fewer than the JF100 but they are better spaced and actually offer more variation.
- Both handlebars have pulse sensors and the large easy-to read display (even if you’re not wearing your specs) shows the usual array of functions. The Scan setting shows all the readouts in turn.
- York machines also have a useful ‘fitness test’ button, which monitors how long it takes for your pulse to slow down when you’ve stopped pedalling.
Be prepared to find out just how unfit you are! And to pat yourself on the back when the number improves!
Upright Exercise Bikes – £200 – £300
Currently (at the time of writing – prices are subject to frequent change) at the top end of this price range is this bike from DKN, though previously sold at £275.
It has a substantial 8Kg flywheel, making it very smooth to ride, and a plentiful 32 levels of computer-controlled resistance.
There are numerous pre-set programmes to gear your workout, including a manual setting. You can check your heart rate either directly from the hand pulse sensors or via a chest strap (if you have one) and a wireless receiver.
The Max. User Weight is 140kg / 308.6lbs /22 stones.
The console is large and detailed, and has an attractive blue LCD readout.
Programmes: Manual, 12 Pre-Set Programmes User Mode, Target Heart Rate Mode and Watt Mode (measures the amount of power you are generating, regardless of resistance level.)
DKN is a respected manufacturer and you will be getting a well-made, good value product should you choose this bike.
It has 19 workout programs, including various hill climbs, heart-rate mode, wattage mode (which relates the resistance to speed – the faster you go, the harder it gets).
Upper Price Upright Exercise Bikes – over £300
In this comparison review I have tried to look at the lower end of the market from the point of view of the first-time exercise bike buyer who has either decided to improve their fitness, or someone who has decided to try to save some money on gym fees by buying their own.
But of course the range of prices goes way above this – into the thousands, and this page wouldn’t be complete without a look at a few more expensive machines.
So, for those fortunate people for whom money is less of an issue (or not an issue at all), here are some of your options.
Click on one of these links to see what you can get.
There is no such thing as ‘the best exercise bike’ in absolute terms, of course, so there is no outright winner.
What is right for YOU is what counts. If you have plenty of space, a folding machine might not be necessary. If you don’t, it might be at the top of your facilities list.
But at least you have a good short-list from which to start your decision-making.
Inevitably, there are always a few disgruntled buyers for almost any machine. My policy is to ignore the best and worst reviews and see what most people think. Amongst those, all of the machines listed above have been bought and used and have a plethora of happy users. Good luck!
And don’t forget to help your friends and acquaintances by sharing this on your favourite social platform.