Most exercise bikes look great. On the showroom floor they're all brand new, and many have dazzling features. So, the question is, what exactly are you looking for, when you put together an exercise bike buying guide?
How much are you going to spend? This limits, or expands, your options considerably. If your budget is unlimited, you can sweat every detail. If not, you can still do well, but need to focus on getting the best exercise bike for your budget.
Next, think comfort, or, rather, adjustability. It's important that your stationary bike fit your body. If your exercise experience is awkward, uncomfortable, you're more likely to give it up. Or worse, it could lead to injury. Make sure the model you're looking at has a seat you like, and that it can adjust into a comfortable workout position. Exercise bikes can be great for this - but even they need to be checked to make sure they're a good fit.
What kind of resistance does this home exercise bike use? Some still use tension belts. Magnetic resistance is better, but costs more. Is the resistance smooth? You probably don't want to have to stop pedaling altogether in order to change the level of resistance, so ask about that. And will it be quiet? If you're planning on watching TV or listening to music while you work out, make sure you'll be able to hear.
What kind of options do you want, really? If you're a gadgets freak, beware the impulse buy. Commercial exercise bikes can come with all kinds of bells and whistles, and whether you want them all or not depends on you. There are varying fitness programs, which can simulate hills, or ask for higher speeds. You can get hear-rate monitors and calorie-burn estimates if you want. Or, maybe you just want to pedal until you feel the burn. Your exercise bike can be as simple, or as high-tech, as you want. The bottom line is getting a better workout, and whatever will keep you working out.
What's the warranty? Will this one work for your whole family? Exercise bikes have to be sturdy. Is this one going to last as long as you will?
Test it out. Don't be embarrassed, go ahead and pedal in the store for a good while. It's important you find the best exercise bike for you. You're not just spending a decent chunk of money. You'll be spending a good deal of time on it. Make sure you buy the right one.