A home exercise cycle provides you with an excellent cardio training option for everyone in your household. You’re able to max your calorie burn for fat loss, build and strengthen your legs, best of all – you can improve your cardio fitness and endurance while you’re watching TV!
But what happens if you simply don’t have enough room for a standard home exercise bike?
Enter the folding exercise bike. All the benefits of a regular exercise bike with none of the space issues. Unfortunately, many of the folding bikes on the current market can only be categorised as cheap and nasty. Hopefully, we can help you steer of those. In this buyers guide, we take a look at the best folding exercise bikes on the UK market today. If you’re looking for a home bike, let’s see if we can help you find something that’s worth paying for.
Buyers Guide – Folding Exercise Bikes
Here are the four priorities that you need to look out for when buying a folding exercise bike for your home:
Folding exercise bikes can be bought as a standard upright bike or as a folding recumbent.
Recumbent bikes are ideal for people with lower back issues as they provide a lot more support for this area of your body. With the recumbent, you sit lower so that your legs are in a more horizontal position as you pedal. This type of bike also provides you with a back support. Working out on a recumbent bike will focus attention more on your glutes and your hamstrings.
The conventional upright bike is better suited for people who wish to more closely mimic the experience of outdoor cycling.
The majority of folding bikes will offer resistance by way of a flywheel and magnets. This is known as magnetic resistance. Here magnets are used at variable distances from the flywheel to control the level of difficulty to move it. They are controlled by a tension knob situated below the handlebars.
Another type of resistance uses a tension strap that circles the flywheel. The straps tension is also controlled by a knob.
The third option is what is known as an open ear flywheel. In this case there is no extra tension added to the flywheel and the only way to increase intensity is to pedal faster.
Of the three resistance types, magnetic resistance provides the smoothest, most fluid and natural pedalling experience.
Any piece of exercise equipment that folds up is not going to be a strong as one that doesn’t. For that reason you need to pay special attention to how solid and stable the exercise bike is. Many of the cheaper folding exercise bikes on the market are too flimsy for anything but the lightest of workouts. That is not what you need.
You should expect a bike that is going to be stable and secure under your body weight, even when you are peddling at maximum intensity. The best indicator of the stability of the folding exercise bike is the maximum user weight that is listed. The higher it is, the more rigid the bike will be. If buying online, do your due diligence by checking the reviews thoroughly.
You will find that the display units on most folding exercise bikes are very simple. That’s okay; you don’t need anything elaborate. But you should expect the display to be large enough to be easily visible when you are peddling and easy-to-use. A functional display unit will provide a running readout of the following training diagnostics:
- Revs per minute (RPM)
- Resistance level
- Calories burned
- Heart rate
UK Folding Exercise Bike Reviews
The UltraSport F-Bike is a collapsible home fitness trainer that provides you with eight resistance levels and is easy to set up and fold away. For a foldable bike, you get an impressive level of stability and rigidity as shown by the 100 KG maximum user weight. The seat height on this bike is adjustable between 78 CM and 86 CM, which should suit most users.
The inclusion of eight two-way ball bearings ensures a smooth pedaling motion on this bike. The console is basic but functional providing you with a readout of your time, scan, calories, speed, distance and pulse. The LCD display is clear and easy to see from the seated position.
This bike is also available in a heavy duty version which is even more robust and which gives you a maximum user weight of 130 KG.
Ultra sport are offering this bike an attractive price point and provide free shipping throughout the UK. They also provide a full two-year warranty.
- Eight resistance levels
- Very stable
- 100 KG makes user weight
- Fully adjustable seat height
- Two-year warranty
XS Sports B210 Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike
The XS Sports 210 folding exercise bike provides you with a rock solid frame that is built to last. It provides for a maximum user weight of 100 KG. This bike very simply folds up for convenient underbid storage. The on-board computer and LCD display will monitor your calories, time, speed, distance and pulse, thanks to the inbuilt handlebar sensors. The deep padded seat on this bike is ergonomically contoured for comfort, while the seat post is adjustable to 5 positions.
The XS Sports 210 folding bike provides you with secure pedal straps to keep your feet firmly in position. The bike is powered by a 1.6 KG magnetic flywheel with adjustable resistance. Chip resistant jet black paint gives the bike an attractive, durable exterior. This bike pedals well and feel secure under your body weight. XS Sports undertake hundreds of hours of research and development to produce fitness equipment that is functional, practical and affordable and this bike is a great example of all of those things.
Your purchase of the XS Sports 210 is supported by a 12-month warranty.
- Rock solid frame
- Max user weight 100 KG
- Ergonomically designed and padded seat
- 1.6 KG magnetic flywheel
- 12-month warranty
SportPlus Recumbent Bike
The SportPlus S-Bike is a cross between a recumbent and an upright bike, providing you with plenty of back support thanks to its back pad and side handles. The seat is also larger than most and generously padded. This bike provides you with 24 electronic resistance levels and delivers a smooth pedalling action without the jerkiness that you often get with foldable exercise bikes. It features a high-power permanent magnetic braking system and a 24 step motor control resistance adjustment.
Six integrated training programs are built into the monitor to provide professional guidance for your workout. The 2.5 inch LCD monitor is back lit and provides you with all of the training feedback that you expect and need. As well as handheld pulse monitors, this impressive folding bike is also Bluetooth chest strap compatible. The maximum user weight on this bike is 100 KG.
When you purchase the SportPlus S-Bike, you get access to the cardio fit app, which allows you to take your training to the next level including creating your own routes on Google Maps and running them in Street view mode on the console.
The SportPlus S-Bike is considerably more expensive than our top two models but is definitely our favourite high-end bike on the UK market.
- 24 electronic resistance levels
- Back support & side handles
- Free cardio fit app
- Integrated hand pulse sensors
- Tablet holder
Merax 3 in 1 Adjustable Folding Exercise Bike
The Merax 3 in 1 adjustable folding exercise bike provides you with both upright and recumbent cycling positions. By simply pulling and twisting a knob, you are able to very quickly adjust your ceiling and pedaling position to work your muscles differently and protect your joints and lower back. This bike provides you with 10 levels of magnetic resistance. It also comes with a pair of resistance bands to allow you to strengthen your upper body while you are pedaling to work your lower body.
The Merax 3 in 1 adjustable folding exercise bike features a very functional, easy to read LCD screen that tracks your speed, time, distance, calories burnt and heart rate. There is also a place in the console to securely hold your phone, allowing you to access your online entertainment as you are working out. This bike features a comfortable padded seat in an equally comfortable lower back support pad. The seat height is fully adjustable. The contoured pedals feature secure safety straps and the pedaling action is smooth and reliable. This bike is one of the quietest that we have come across.
- Upright and recumbent positions
- Built in resistance bands
- 10 levels of magnetic resistance
- easy to read LCD screen
- Well padded seat and back pad
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is among the most solid and secure folding bikes that we have come across, with a maximum user weight of 136 KG. It features a large seat cushion that is comfortably padded. The seat post is adjustable to suit people from 1.61 m to 1.86 m. It also provides you with eight levels of magnetic tension control resistance in combination with a double drive transmission system to provide a smooth transition between intensity levels and a controlled, jerk free overall writing experience. The three-piece crank system makes pedaling a pleasure, closely simulating what you get on a real outdoor bike.
When folded, the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is half the size of its operational dimensions. The LCD monitor is quite basic but provides you with all of the training diagnostics that you need and expect, including a pulse readout thanks to the handheld sensors. This bike features wide leg stabilizers to keep you solidly grounded. This bike has an impressively compact footprint when assembled which makes it a smart option if you don’t have much room to exercise in your home.
- Max user weight 136 KG
- Eight levels of magnetic tension resistance
- Double drive transmission system
- Three-piece crank
- Wide leg stabilizers
EXERPEUTIC Gold Heavy Duty Foldable Exercise Bike
The Exerpeutic Gold Heavy Duty Foldable Exercise Bike is a beastly update on the standard Exerpeutic that increases the maximum user weight to 181 KG (400 lbs). The heavier, thicker frame uses 20% more steel than the standard upright bike. That makes this bike ideal for larger users as well as those who are wanting a more intense, high-level workout experience.
The high torque three-piece crank system, magnetic resistance and double drive transmission provides you with the same high-quality rider experience that you get with the less heavy duty version. Combine this with the precision weighted balance flywheel and V-belt drive and you get an impressively smooth and quiet indoor bike operation. That means that your roommates or partner will be able to watch TV without the noise of your workout driving them crazy!
This bike features a large comfortable seat cushion and provides you with eight levels of resistance. It also has heart pulse sensors built into the handlebars. The foldable design means that it can be stored at half the size of its user dimensions. It is even fitted with transportation wheels to make it easy to move around your living space.
- Very solid frame
- Max user weight 181 KG
- Three-piece crank system
- Double drive transmission
- Precision weighted flywheel
Exerpeutic (EXER6) Unisex Adult Exerpeutic 400XL
The Exerpeutic (Exer6) unisex adult folding exercise bike is the third from the Exerpeutic company to feature on this review list. That tells you a lot about the quality of the products that this company puts out. This version is a recumbent bike that features a quiet V-belt double drive transmission system, a generously padded back support, side support handles and full adjustability.
This recumbent bike is powered with the aid of a precision balance flywheel to give you a smooth, joint friendly pedaling experience. The bike is adjustable to fit people from 1.57 m to 1.88 m in height. The easy to read console provides you with a large LCD display that delivers a running readout of your distance, calories burned, time, speed, scan and pulse.
The Exer6 is easily foldable to half of its usable size for storage and comes with transportation wheels. This bike is an excellent option for the elderly and those who have niggling joint complaints. The maximum user weight of the bike is 136 KG.
- Recumbent design
- Max user weight 136 KG
- Eight levels of adjustable magnetic tension
- Easy to read LCD display
- Large seat cushion and backrest
Ultrasport F-Bike Home Trainer
The Ultrasport F-Bike Home Trainer provides you with eight resistance levels, is extremely lightweight and comes with a back pad. It has a maximum user weight of 100 KG and features a solid base and sound construction. This beginners folding exercise bike is relatively smooth to pedal, allowing for easy transitions between resistance levels. The LCD display is simple but functional providing you with options for scan, time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse. This last reading comes by way of handheld heart rate sensors.
This bike folds up to dimensions of just 47 CM by 132 CM allowing it to be easily stored under a bed. The total unit weighs 19 KG. The seat height is adjustable to 5 levels to allow for customization of pedaling position. The bik is finished in an attractive chip resistant matte black gloss paint.
- Eight levels of resistance
- Back pad
- Five position adjustable seat
- Max user weight 100 KG
- Stable base
Pros and Cons
Buying a folding exercise bike has certain advantages and disadvantages. Let’s briefly examine them:
Folding Exercise Bike Pros
If your exercise environment is space challenged, the folding exercise bike is a great choice. When you are using it, it has an extremely compact footprint. Then, when done, you simply fold it up like an ironing board and place it in a cupboard or under a bed.
You will find that the majority of folding exercise bikes are cheaper than their standard non-folding competitors. They also normally have a smaller footprint and are lighter. This makes them easy to transport around your work and living space.
Folding Exercise Bike Cons
Lack of Stability
No matter how well built it is, a folding exercise bike will never be as stable as its non-folding counterpart. You simply cannot achieve the same solid and secure under body feel with a bike that folds up. The very fact that folding bikes are lighter and have more movable parts makes them less stable.
Folding exercise bikes tend to be pretty sparse in terms of the extras that they offer. The display console is usually pretty simplistic, lacking built-in programs and full-colour on-screen displays. The resistance options are usually also more limited than you get on a non-folding bike.
What weight of flywheel should I go for on my foldable exercise bike?
Unless you are a serious cyclist, you don’t need an overly high flywheel to get a good workout experience on a foldable exercise bike. Most people should find that a flywheel of between 4 and 8 KG will give them plenty of resistance.
Is there much set up involved when you order a folding bike?
The assembly on most folding bikes is quite minimal. The majority of them will arrive on your doorstep preassembled. In most cases, all you will have to do is to attach the seat post and the handlebars. This is a simple process that should only take a matter of minutes.
What is the ideal seat height on a folding exercise bike?
Getting the right seat height is a vital aspect of your folding exercise bike set up. If it is either too low or too high you risk doing damage to your knees and your spine. To figure out the ideal seat height, you want your leg to be slightly bent when it is in the bottom pedal position.
We think there are a good number of options for folding exercise bikes in the UK right now.
If you’re on a budget, we’d say the best folding exercise bike for you is the XS Sports 210. It’s not the cheapest bike on the list but with its rock solid frame and ergonomically designed and padded seat, it’s a great machine for a great price.
If you’d like a recumbent bike, we recommend the model from Exerpeutic. There are other models on the market, but none that came close to the reliability of the EXER6. Good foldable recumbents are hard to find, but this one does everything right and we’re happy to recommend it.
As for our overall top pick, it would be the Exerpeutic Gold. It’s just a beautifully made machine, easy to store, and extremely sturdy and durable for a folding bike. It’s also surprisingly quiet and with an impressive 180 KG weight limit, it’s sure to be suitable for anyone in the family.
Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API