Bikes Step Up the Pace as Must-have Fitness Equipment

Greater variety and new features increase the appeal of upright and recumbent cycles.

The classic stationary cycle equipment category, encompassing upright and recumbent models, continues to step up the pace. Its rising popularity is being driven by a greater variety of bikes and thoughtful new features that tempt exercisers of all abilities, and with different goals, to slip onto the saddle.

Equipment precor inside bike column

Exercisers use a Precor bike.

Inclusivity on Mind for Suppliers

For example, the innovative PhysioMax Total-Body Trainer, produced by Healthcare International, Inc., pairs a recumbent bike with an independent, bidirectional, upper-body ergometer. Its independent upper- and lower-body drive systems help users improve their coordination, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular strength.

Versatile and compact, the trainer also is ADA-compliant, with a removable seat facilitating wheelchair access.

“There’s growing demand for ‘inclusive’ fitness equipment that can meet the needs of different groups of exercisers,” says Heidi Fyall, the company’s director of sales and marketing. “This machine is suitable for general fitness, rehabilitation, and active aging, as well as cognitive training.”

Bringing the Outdoor Experience Inside

For cyclists who prefer an indoor bike with an outdoor attitude, Concept2’s BikeErg employs a clutch, which keeps the flywheel spinning even after the pedals stop, allowing riders to coast and recover.

“The BikeErg makes use of the same flywheel and performance monitor as our indoor rowers and SkiErgs, offering the same features and strengths we’ve brought to rowing and cross-country skiing,” says Meredith Breiland, of the firm’s marketing department.

Cardio Machines Are More Connected

Tech enthusiasts will appreciate Anycast, a special program that permits them to surf the internet while pedaling on SportsArt’s SENZA upright and recumbent machines. Tapping the native screencasting feature of iOS, Android, and Windows smart devices, users are able to “mirror” or “cast” the image appearing on the screen of their mobile device onto the SENZA console to watch videos, read a Kindle book, or interact with other apps.

Bikes Are an ‘On-ramp’ to Fitness

Clubs searching for performance plus value might opt for Precor’s new 600 line of uprights and recumbents, which, despite the attractive pricing, provide a host of features. Among them, entertainment and networking options; one-handed seat adjustments, from either on or off the bike; and an Airflex ventilated seat back on the recumbent units.

“Bikes are a great on-ramp to other fitness activities.”

Adam Hubbard, Director of Product Management


“Bikes are a great on-ramp to other fitness activities,” says Adam Hubbard, the director of product management at Precor. “They’re a familiar face in what can seem a sea of intimidating machines, and can accommodate deconditioned or beginning exercisers, those recovering from injuries, or, conversely, riders who want to push themselves.”

Among the latter are HIIT practitioners who’ve also reignited the popularity of traditional air-resistance bikes, such as Octane Fitness’ AirdyneX and its Assault Airbike Elite, which is distributed by Precor. “Air bikes are all the rage at clubs worldwide,” says Tina Nibbe, the senior marketing manager for Octane Fitness. “They’re intuitive to use, engage the upper and lower body, and offer virtually infinite resistance.”

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.