Learn more about the number 1 exercise bike with programs.
Would you willingly workout if you were required to do the same exact workout every single time for the rest of your life?
For most, the answer to this question would be a resounding no.
Just as you wouldn’t willingly eat the same food at every meal for the rest of your life you also wouldn’t want to do the same exact workout day in and day out.
Preset programs are the proverbial spice of exercise bikes, treadmills, and other cardio equipment.
In theory, yes, working out with an upright, recumbent, or spin bike will always include pedaling.
But in practice the person working out is free to do as they choose concerning intensity, length, and variation of workouts.
And this is where preset programs of exercise bikes (as well as other types of cardio machines) can prove to be so beneficial. They are the essence of variation and allow one to break up monotony with ease.
Read on to learn exactly what preset programs bring to the table and the best stationary bikes that include programs as a model feature.
The Logic of Cycling Programming
We mentioned that preset programs of exercise bikes allow you to break up monotony by introducing variation.
How exactly is this achieved? How do programs work?
In most cases programs act as a sort of simulation of a real world physical activity or workout.
The most obvious parallel in the case of stationary bikes would be actual bicycles.
Someone who bikes on roads may pedal at a steady pace on a flat road during one ride, and then introduce burst levels of intensity during hill climbs, and up shifting gears during another.
Many workout programs found on exercise bikes and other cardio machines utilize interval training. A 2017 study found that HIIT (high intensity interval training) provided a similar amount of fat loss when compared to traditional cardio. It’s important to note that the steady state cardio used in the study took almost double the amount of time as HIIT.
On an exercise bike, you aren’t actually experiencing any kind of change in circumstance or terrain which is why simulation is required.
A bike will simulate this by increasing the the resistance level for alternating lengths of time and requiring a certain cadence (speed at which you pedal) during different blocks of time.
With a combination of varying cadence and resistance for different blocks of time the bike can achieve many different programs. And each of these programs is going to tire out the user to varying degrees.
Generally, the higher intensity a program is the more calories it’s going to help you burn, but remember that another awesome benefit of multiple programs is the inherent variation.
An example of a specific type of workout that an exercise bike could potentially simulate is called high intensity interval training or HITT. This type of workout has its own unique set of benefits and calls for short bursts of extreme intensity followed by rest periods.
A HIIT workout is much shorter than low intensity steady state cardio (LISS) but it can actually prove to be more effective at helping you burn fat.
A fair warning though, this type of workout is absolutely true to its name in that it will push you to your limits when done correctly.
So the benefits of this type of feature are absolutely there. Programs can and will help you burn more calories (and subsequently lose more weight), stay consistent with working out, and help keep things fresh.
In the following sections we’ll discuss the top picks for exercise bikes with programs in 2018.
Learn more about the Schwinn 270.
We’ve covered Schwinn stationary bikes quite a bit on Two Parts Health due to their name recognition and propensity for quality. In particular, the Schwinn 270 has come up on numerous occasions on our various exercise bike articles due to it being one of the best recumbent bikes on the market for the money.
You might be interested in: Best Schwinn Exercise Bikes of All Types in 2018
And in terms of preset programs, the Schwinn 270 hardly flounders, offering a total of 29 program variations to choose from.
In tandem with the large amount of resistance levels, preset programs will range from easy going to very challenging in order to create a wide range of difficulty.
Recumbent stationary bikes are a great way to workout while becoming absorbed in entertainment such as video games, Netflix, books, and browsing your phone. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also the most comfortable type of bike!
This is perfect for those who are just starting out with cardio related workouts, and who would like to improve their fitness over time. Just as you wouldn’t dive into a 5k run with no experience, jumping straight into an incredibly intense indoor bike workout isn’t the best idea in the world.
It’s also highly useful for shaping your workout plan with your individual fitness goals in mind. For instance, a workout for beginners trying to get into shape is most likely going to differ from an stationary bike workout designed for losing weight.
The Schwinn 270’s preset workout programs can also be customized for time, making it a great option for individuals who may not always have tons of idle time at their disposal. By default, each program is set for 30 minutes, but if you want to reduce or add time, workouts are automatically resized for whatever allotted time you choose.
Preset workouts can also be customized in real time by changing resistance levels of independent intervals. This makes increasing the intensity in the moment as easy as hitting a button.
And if you find yourself constantly tweaking the preset programs to your liking, there are also custom workout profiles that you can create and use from one workout to the next.
In terms of all other characteristics that make an exercise bike a quality one, the Schwinn 270 still stands as one of the best recumbent bikes for its price range in 2018.
It is well built, comfortable, includes a screen that displays all important information, and even offers novel features, while less important, that help the 270 stand out from the crowded sea of cardio machines.
It is without a doubt one of the best picks for those who prefer the experience offered by a recumbent indoor bike.
Read customer reviews for the Schwinn 270.
Learn more about the LifeCORE Fitness Assault AirBike.
The LifeCORE Fitness Assault AirBike was our top pick for the best air bikes in 2018, and its inclusion of preset programs is only one of many reasons.
If you’re not already familiar with air resistance bikes, they’re main selling point is the potential for unlimited resistance through the use of friction created between fan and air.
They are an incredibly popular option for people who are into high intensity and interval style workouts due to their ability to provide a truly gut punching workout.
Make no mistake, air bikes are hardly a one trick pony, and can offer a compelling workout for beginners and intermediates alike. It’s just that this type of stationary bike can quite literally knock the wind out of you should you be dead set on burning as many calories as possible.
With that said, the included programs on the Assault AirBike are geared towards interval style workouts and, while offering easier interval workouts, should be taken into consideration when choosing between the bikes listed here.
The Assault AirBike is a great bike, an amazing one if you’re okay with high intensity interval style workouts, but the depth of its programs does not match stationary bikes like the Schwinn 270 or Schwinn 170.
This is why we recommend this particular model most to those who are interested in fan bikes as an alternative to traditional upright and recumbent stationary bikes. Truth be told, most air bikes don’t match regular exercise bikes when it comes to preset workout programs, so you can’t go wrong by choosing the Assault AirBike when positioned against other air bikes on the market.
Read customer reviews for the Assault AirBike.
Learn more about the Schwinn 170.
Keen on the workout provided by upright stationary bikes?
Recumbent bikes are are great for both relaxed workouts combined with engrossing entertainment (phone, books, Netlfix, etc.) as well as more vigorous workouts, but upright bikes provide a more engaged workout experience.
It’s the type of experience for those more inclined to burn as many calories as possible and lose weight.
The Schwinn 170 is the upright parallel to the Schwinn 270, and is one of the best mid-range upright bikes on the market in 2018. And as the upright brother to the 270, it features the same fleshed out preset workout programs.
Just like the Schwinn 270, the Schwinn 170 features 29 preset programs including the ability to create custom workout profiles.
You’ll also be able to customize workout programs for time as well as adjust the resistance level while working out on the fly, as you would on the 270.
Overall, you’ll be experiencing the same depth as you would with Schwinn’s popular recumbent bike, the only difference being that you’ll be doing so in an upright position.
Read customer reviews for the Schwinn 170.
Best Budget Exercise Bikes with Preset Programs
If you’re interested in a solid exercise bike with fully realized preset programs, but want something a little cheaper than our picks above, then the following two models are just what you’re after.
How do they stack up?
As far as the Schwinn 130 vs the Schwinn 170 is concerned, the main differences between the 130 and the 170 are that the 170 has an additional 5 levels of resistance and 7 preset programs.
And when taking a look at the Schwinn 230 vs the Schwinn 270, the main difference is the exact same disparity in resistance levels and preset programs.
In most other areas of contention, differences won’t impact the workout experience too significantly.
This is what makes the 130 and 230 great options for those who want to save a little money while still experiencing Schwinn’s pedigree for quality.