Last updated: August 9, 2021
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A folding exercise bike, also known as an X-bike or F-bike, is a fitness device that is easy on the joints and can be used for endurance training at home. In terms of movement, it is similar to riding a classic bicycle, but has no running wheels. The pedals are driven by a flywheel mass, which generates a constant braking effect.

With the folding exercise bike test 2022 we want to give you the opportunity to find the best X-bike for you. By comparing F-bikes, we show you the respective advantages and disadvantages of the rated exercise bikes. In this way, we want to make your purchase decision easier.




Summary

  • Foldable exercise bikes offer a space-saving option for endurance training on a bike in your own four walls that is easy on the joints and is suitable for everyone.
  • On the one hand, there is the classic X-bike, which enables an upright workout. On the other hand, there is the recumbent trainer, which allows you to train in a lying position.
  • A recumbent trainer is more comfortable and relieves the back. A classic X-bike has a greater training effect and trains more muscle groups.

The Best Folding Exercise Bike: Our Picks

Folding exercise bikes: buying and review criteria

The next section shows you what factors are important when buying an X-bike. The criteria you should consider when buying consist of:

The following paragraphs show you the essential characteristics of the individual criteria.

Resistance levels

The resistance levels determine how hard your exercise bike is to pedal. Nowadays, every exercise bike should have several resistance levels. The load can usually be adjusted in steps via a rotating rim.

It is advisable to use an F-bike, which allows very fine resistance gradations. This helps to adjust the F-bike to your current performance level. In addition, it can be used by several people at the same time. Therefore, you should choose a device that has at least 8 or preferably 16 or more resistance levels.

Stability and weight

For optimal use, the exercise bike should have a firm and stable stand during training and not wobble. A higher weight also leads to a more secure stand. However, the disadvantage is that it is more difficult to store.

In addition to the weight of the exercise bike, the maximum body weight and height of the user should also be taken into account.

If you buy an exercise bike that does not meet your physical requirements, the result will be a very unstable ride.

In addition, your training progress will suffer because an optimal training is not possible with an unsuitable device. Therefore, you should pay attention to the maximum values indicated on the exercise bike.

Storage

The main advantage of a folding exercise bike is that it takes up very little space. Therefore, consider both the size during use and the size it takes up when folded. A very space-saving exercise bike is more unstable than a larger exercise bike. A larger X-bike in turn requires more storage space.

It is important, especially for older people, that the exercise bike can be moved by means of castors. This makes it possible to move it back and forth without using too much energy. However, make sure that the stability during the workout does not suffer. You can find a tip for more stability in the questions section of this article.

Comfort

The saddle of your bike should provide you with a comfortable ride even after long periods of use. It is therefore important that it is large and soft enough. Make sure you have a padded seat. A seat size of 32*24*6 cm is suitable for most people.

The height of the saddle plays a particularly important role in ensuring a comfortable ride that is easy on the knees. Therefore, when buying a bike, make sure to choose one that has an adjustable saddle height. Ideally, the saddle can be adjusted horizontally, vertically and in its inclination.

For an optimal riding experience, you should also use an exercise bike with comfortable and non-slip pedals. It should have flexible safety straps to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals at high speeds. A non-slip and comfortable tread surface is also important.

If you have mild back problems, it is helpful to choose an exercise bike with a backrest. However, make sure that it gives you real support and does not detract from a safe riding experience.

However, people with chronic back pain should rather choose a recumbent exercise bike, as this will take much more pressure off the back.

Computer equipment

Computer equipment is very important when buying an ergometer. The more functions the computer of your exercise bike has, the better you can monitor your training and progress. The display of your training computer should at least provide the following data:

  • Distance
  • Pulse rate
  • Time
  • Speed
  • Calorie consumption

Easy operation and a display that is always easy to read are a must. Computers that have their own training programmes can score points. It would also be helpful if the computer could be connected to an app.

This way you always have your results directly available. Ideally, there should be a smartphone holder next to the computer.

Foldable exercise bikes: Frequently asked questions and answers

The following section shows you the most relevant questions about folding exercise bikes. We will answer them briefly. After you have read through all the questions, you will know everything you need to know about a folding exercise bike.

Who is a folding exercise bike suitable for?

First of all, the folding function offers you the possibility to store it in a space-saving way. So you don't need an extra room for your fitness equipment or have it permanently in the middle of your home.

A foldable exercise bike is especially recommended for people who do not have space for a fixed piece of fitness equipment.

It also allows you to do endurance training that is easy on your joints. While on a treadmill three to four times our own body weight puts strain on our joints with every step, this point of criticism does not apply to an ergometer. After an injury, it helps you to rebuild the missing muscles without pain.

An exercise bike is a great way to keep fit as you get older. (Image source: David Marioni / unsplash)

In addition, the X-Bike offers an easy-to-perform workout. The movement sequence is simple and self-explanatory. With a rowing machine, on the other hand, the use is much more complex and requires some experience.

A folding exercise bike is therefore suitable for anyone who is looking for a space-saving and easy-to-use training device to exercise in a way that is easy on the joints.

If you are bored with pure endurance training, you should buy an F-bike. It allows you to read a book or talk on your mobile phone while exercising.

Of course, you should be aware that folding exercise bikes do not have the same training effect as professional exercise bikes. They do not have the same features. If you are looking for a professional machine, you should also have the necessary space to set it up and store it.

What types of folding exercise bikes are available?

When buying a folding exercise bike, there is a distinction between the classic X-bike and the recumbent exercise bike. Below you will find the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Type of exercise bike advantages disadvantages
Classic X-bike easy to store, very space-saving, also trains the back and abdomen often slightly unstable, higher likelihood of back and joint pain
Recumbent exercise bike more ergonomic position, suitable for all generations, very easy on the joints high weight, less space-saving, lower calorie consumption

The classic X-bike is easy to store and provides an intensive workout for many muscle groups. However, its stability and comfort are often disadvantages. The recumbent trainer scores with its ergonomics and comfortable equipment. However, it cannot compete with the X-bike in terms of training effect.

How much does a folding exercise bike cost?

The prices for folding exercise bikes vary greatly. The price range goes from just under 100 euros to 420 euros. The price depends on the equipment of the exercise bike and its comfort. In our opinion, these prices are justified for regular and intensive training.

The classic X-bikes range in price from just under 100 euros to around 250 euros.

Type Price range
Classic X-bike Approximately 100 to 250 euros
Recumbent exercise bike Approximately 200 to 420 euros

For recumbent folding exercise bikes, the cheapest start at 200 Euros, while the most expensive cost up to 420 Euros.

What are the alternatives to a folding exercise bike?

Besides the classic X-bike, there are other devices for home endurance training. In the following table we give you a brief characterisation of these alternatives.

Type Description
Fixed cycle ergometer A fixed cycle ergometer often has a very high resistance. It allows power to be measured in watts. This also makes it interesting for professional athletes. It is also very robust and stable.
Mini exercise bike The mini exercise bike works like a normal exercise bike. However, it only has the pedal part, which makes it very light and extremely space-saving.
Crosstrainer A crosstrainer has a flywheel. This is connected by two pedal arms with vertical arm bars. The motion sequence is similar to walking. It provides a whole-body workout that is easy on the joints.
Rowing machine A rowing machine works like rowing on a lake. It is suitable for a whole-body workout.

It can be seen that all the machines presented have advantages. However, in the case of rowing machines or fixed exercise bikes, the alternatives are much more expensive or take up a lot of space. The crosstrainer also does not have the advantage of being a space-saving training device.

The mini exercise bike may be space-saving, but it will not have a real training effect compared to the other machines.

How do I use my folding exercise bike for the first time?

For your optimal saddle height, use the heel method. You sit on the saddle and place your heel on the pedal. This is at the lowest point. The knee should be extended in this position. The distance between the saddle and the handlebars should be such that you can reach the handlebars with your arms slightly bent. The angle of the saddle should be horizontal.

Before training, make sure that you do not develop a hunchback. To do this, move your pelvis slightly forward during training so that your spine takes on the natural S-shape. This prevents possible back pain.

How often and how long should I exercise with a folding exercise bike per week?

This depends on your physical condition. However, it is important for everyone not to overdo it in the beginning . If you do not give your muscles a rest, they cannot grow.

If you are a beginner, you should start by exercising two to three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes each time. After that, you can gradually increase the intensity and adapt it to your increasing fitness.

If you are an advanced exerciser, it is recommended that you train three to four times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each time. Ideally, you should include interval phases in these sessions.

How many calories do I lose per hour on a folding exercise bike?

This is influenced by various training factors such as the resistance level set or the pedalling frequency of the F-bike. You also burn more calories in an upright position than in a lying position. Calorie consumption also depends on your physical condition.

Interval training is a good way to burn a lot of calories and build up good basic fitness. (Image source: Sam Moqadam / unsplash)

Basically, you will burn an average of about 450 kcal per hour on the exercise bike at a medium speed. This corresponds to the calorie consumption of 40 minutes at 10 km/h jogging. Keep in mind that these are only rough guidelines.

Which additional purchases for a folding exercise bike are worthwhile?

For an optimised training performance, additional purchases are worthwhile. You can find the most relevant extensions in the following list:

Straps: If you also want to train your upper body, you have the option of expanding your exercise bike into an expander station with flexible straps.

Fitness app: For optimal training monitoring, you can also connect many X-bikes with an app. This helps you to monitor data such as calorie consumption or speed. It is advisable not to use free versions, as they offer fewer functions. Various apps allow you to train with certain real routes.

There are fitness apps that allow you to train with a coach. This saves the cost of going to the gym. (Image source: Mark Bertulfo / unsplash)

Heart rate monitor: The heart rate of the F-Bike is measured by hand pulse sensors attached to the handlebars. However, this requires constant holding of the handlebars. In addition, their measurement is not accurate. Therefore, a heart rate monitor with a chest strap is worthwhile for exact measurement of the heart rate.

Slip mat: Since F-bikes with wheels often tend to have an unsteady stand, it is helpful to buy a slip mat. The F-bike is placed on this mat, which enables safe riding.

Before buying your X-bike, compare which extensions your X-bike already includes.

Conclusion

A folding exercise bike is a fitness device for everyone. It enables endurance training that is easy on the joints within your own four walls. Unlike other exercise bikes, it is easy to assemble and disassemble and requires very little storage space. When buying a foldable exercise bike, you can choose between a recumbent exercise bike and a classic X-bike.

The recumbent exercise bike is particularly suitable for people with back problems. The classic X-bike has a better training effect and trains more muscle parts more intensively. Before buying, pay attention to comfort, storage and stability as well as weight. Other aspects worth considering are the resistance levels and the computer equipment.

Image source: nd3000/ 123rf

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