After telling you about the best vibrating platforms, miracle solutions for cellulite and firming, we move on to a complete and effective fitness machine to work your muscles and your cardio. Very popular, the elliptical bike is a mix between the exercise bike, the stepper and the treadmill. As present in gyms as well as at home, discover our selection of the best elliptical bikes to warm up your muscles.
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What is an elliptical bike?
An elliptical bike is one of the great classics of fitness equipment. Both cardio training and muscle strengthening, this machine is very complete and allows you to work the heartbeat at the same time as the different muscles of the body.
Very simple, the elliptical bike consists of two movable handles to hold on to, and two platforms for each foot. In the standing position, the arms and legs move in opposition, like a pendulum.
While a simple exercise bike only works the lower body, the elliptical bike also engages the lower body with both handles. Much more complete, it is also more difficult to handle. We must succeed in finding our rhythm where arms and legs follow at the same time, to avoid injury, and above all to make our body work. We will see later in this article how to use your elliptical bike correctly and what is the right position to adopt, for an efficient and safe practice!
Small space solution: the foldable elliptical bicycle
Admittedly, the elliptical is a rather bulky and heavy device, which can quickly become annoying if you have small spaces. But as every problem has a solution, sports equipment brands have developed foldable ellipticals to allow everyone to practice without too much difficulty!
When we say foldable, it means that the lower part – the base – folds down onto the upper part. No elliptical bike folds completely, but it’s still a space saver if you’re dreaming of an elliptical. Be careful though, they are often a little more expensive if you want a quality device.
Comparison: the 5 best elliptical bikes
The entry level: the MX350 elliptical bike from ELITUM
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With a very interesting price, this elliptical bike is ideal for occasional or regular use. Quite light and silent, it is not bulky and will quickly find its place for a soft fitness. You can put your tablet or a book in front of the onboard computer to keep busy or to follow online training sessions. Among the cheapest elliptical bikes that are still pleasant to use, you will have to move up to a higher range if you are looking for more options or if you want a high-performance device for intensive use.
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The best value for money: the CX625 elliptical bike from Sportstech
If you are looking for a cheap but high performance model, this one is for you! Well known for its quality sports equipment, the German brand Sportstech offers a robust and durable elliptical bike. With its 22 integrated programs, you will be able to train without risk according to your goals. Allow about 2 hours for assembly and installation, before you can fully enjoy your new fitness equipment! You will be able to personalize your workouts by entering your weight, gender, height etc. for an activity that suits you! Little advice: choose a small mat to stabilize it, it may move slightly when pedalling.
The value for money is excellent! I’m satisfied.
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The best: the CX2 elliptical bike from Sportstech
Even more powerful than the previous one, this Sportstech bike is rich in features and is better suited for intensive activity. Connected, with numerous programs and its 16 different levels, you will have enough to strengthen your muscles and work your cardio with optimal comfort. This model has a very particular concept, since it does not need a power supply. It’s you pedalling that recharges the bike and makes it work: no need to place it next to a socket, which is quite practical! Attention, the instructions are not very clear, tutorials are available from YouTube to mount it, the assembly is simple but a little long, allow 2 hours.
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Practical: the 450 LE folding elliptical bike from ProForm
If you are short on space but looking for a quality elliptical, the ProForm model is the perfect choice! With its many options (Bluetooth, built-in speakers, fans) and its 16 intensity levels, it is ideal for occasional or regular use. A small downside, the instructions are entirely in English, and the recorded programs can be a bit short (30 min) depending on your objectives. Perfect for a smooth start with possible follow-up with the iFit application!
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The high-performance: the CardioCross elliptical bike from SKANDIKA
This high-performance elliptical model achieves a level of activity suitable for elite athletes, with a large flywheel, 16 resistance levels and 19 training programs. With a full screen and a cardio belt, you can control your heart rate and boost your cardio according to predefined workouts. The must is that in addition to its robustness and performance, it is foldable to be very compact!
I just wish it was “really elliptical” like you’d think on an elliptical bike.
The flywheel is in “round” and not in “ellipse”, so the movement is smaller than on gym bikes.
I didn’t anticipate this detail, but it’s a matter of habit. I’m still satisfied with this bike. In addition, the flywheel is really good and has a good amplitude of resistance level. This strongly compensates for the detail of the ellipse and the round.
I recommend it!
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How to choose the right elliptical bike?
Opting for an elliptical is a very good thing for a gentle workout and to work your heart rate. But before you rush into a model, here are a few purchasing criteria to observe and take into account for a successful choice.
The use of
First criterion and not the least! The question is how you want to use your elliptical: occasionally, regularly or intensively. If you want to use it for a simple workout once in a while, you won’t need a high performance bike, a simple model will do. However, if you’re looking for a model for a more advanced activity, choose a quality and sturdy bike.
Most fitness equipment has weight limits. If you are looking to lose weight due to overweight, check the maximum weight and avoid low-end models, which are rather light and not very strong. As far as the size is concerned, prefer a model with an adaptable handlebar height, to avoid discomfort in use and bad movements if the handlebar is too high or too low.
Dimensions and weight
Since it is intended to be in your home, it is important that the bike does not get in the way of your daily routine and does not take up too much space. If you have a small interior, you can opt for a foldable elliptical, to save a little space. If you can leave it in place, take a good look at the floor dimensions and the wingspan of the unit. The weight is also to be taken into account. An elliptical bike can weigh up to 40kg, which is quite a lot to carry or move. Prefer an appliance with small wheels for easier storage.
Type of resistance
Strap Resistance: A strap wraps around the bike wheel, and adjusts to tighten or loosen to increase or decrease pedaling resistance. The most basic system, it is quite efficient in the short term, but wears out due to frictional force, and is therefore not very durable. The friction of the strap against the wheel is quite noisy, and induces a more jerky and less precise pedaling between the different levels.
Magnetic resistance: with a metal wheel and magnets, simply change the distance between the wheel and the magnets to increase or decrease the resistance and therefore the difficulty of pedalling. This system is very quiet and is guaranteed to last a long time as there is no friction between the magnets and the wheel. The passages of different resistance levels are smoother than with the strap, and more precise: you can therefore benefit from many more levels for a better training.
Electromagnetic resistance: In this case, the pedalling drives a motor that produces an electromagnetic field. Highly accurate, extremely reliable and ultra-resistant, it is the most efficient and therefore the most expensive system, often reserved for top-level sportsmen and women.
The weight of the wheel
The weight of the elliptical wheel can vary from 7 to 20kg. The weight is linked to the resistance, to be taken into account according to your use. Between 7 and 10kg, the resistance will be rather low, and is therefore more suitable for occasional use. From 11 to 20kg, the resistance is more balanced and offers more levels, ideal for regular use. If you are at the seasoned level with daily practice, you should rather turn to models with a wheel weighing more than 20kg.
Depending on your level and your goals, you should choose appropriate resistance levels. The most important thing is the steps between the different levels. If you want to progress gradually, make sure that the elliptical bike has close levels, to avoid taking a big step in your efforts. If you are very sporty, choose a bike with a wide range of strengths to find the levels that suit you.
The on-board computer
This criterion does not affect the performance of the bike, but can be decisive depending on your expectations. On most models, you will always find the activity time, distance travelled, RPMs (revolutions per minute), equivalent to speed, levels and calories burned. If you want to go further, you can find more elaborate consoles, with connected bikes, integrated speakers, a screen with trainings, scenery etc.
Ease of use
Since you’re going to spend some time on it, the elliptical bike has to be comfortable, both on the handlebars and the pedals. The handles must be pleasant to the touch and to hold, the movement must be fluid and suit you. The platforms on which you place your feet can be more or less rigid, and therefore more or less comfortable for moving feet. The device must be ergonomic and suitable for you, so as not to interfere with your physical activity.
Accessories and features
If you’re looking for an ultra-complete elliptical bike with lots of options, you’ll find models with bottle holders, speakers, USB sockets, MP3 player etc.
Being quite consequent, this cardio training device is rather expensive, if you are looking for quality. For the lowest prices, the entry-level price is 200€, but don’t expect great performance and solidity. On the other hand, the most successful ones, at the professional level, will be able to go up to more than 3000€. For a robust, quality and efficient device, it will cost between 500 and 1000 €.
How to use an elliptical?
The use of an elliptical bike is very simple! The important thing is to adopt the right posture, and choose the right level of resistance to begin with.
As far as posture is concerned, you have to stand up straight, standing on the “pedals”. Then you just have to grab both handles, making sure you have your arm at 90° when you pull.
You can vary the levels of difficulty by playing on the resistance, according to your preferences and objectives. For example, for a good cardio workout, you can decrease the resistance to work on cardio and speed. Conversely, if you want to make your muscles work instead, you can increase resistance. The movement will be much more difficult, but you will ensure the toning of the muscles and the strengthening of the abs muscles of the body.
In terms of sessions, start with 15 minutes if you are not very sporty, then increase the duration, trying to reach 1 hour of activity, or even 1h30. To see results in weight loss, the ideal is to do at least 3 sessions per week.
To find out a little more about how to elliptical bike, here is a little video explaining how to do it for a safe movement and an efficient workout!
What part of the body works with an elliptical bike?
The benefits of elliptical bikes on our body are numerous. To begin with, the advantage of this sports device is that it gently stresses the whole body, without impact on the joints. You will be able to work your cardio without any shock, unlike treadmills, which are quickly harmful to the joints.
In addition to cardio and therefore working the heart muscle, the elliptical exercises 80% of our muscles, making it one of the most complete machines.
At the level of the upper body muscles, the swinging movement of the arms engages the biceps, triceps, but also the abdominal, pectoral and back muscles.
As far as the lower body is concerned, you will feel your legs, thighs (especially the ischia and quadriceps), and buttocks.
Depending on the body muscles you want to target, you can use resistance and variations in your movements. For example, if you pedal backwards, you will feel your ischia and buttocks more. At the level of your arms, if you have a more intense pushing movement, you will rather work your triceps, while you will rather work your biceps if you pull.
To work on balance, sheathing and improve your posture, you can perform the movement without your hands, while trying to stay straight.
Elliptical bike: to lose weight or build muscles?
The elliptical bike is a sports equipment rather intended to promote weight loss. It is one of the most efficient fat-burning activities in the home, with an average of 500 to 800 calories burned per hour.
This physical activity is excellent for the cardiovascular system, working the heart muscle and improving endurance. You will gain in cardio, and will be able to control your heart rate thanks to the sensors on the handles.
This equipment is therefore more appropriate if you want to lose weight than to gain muscle mass. Don’t expect to take in a lot of muscle, however, you can really feel the strengthening of the upper and lower muscles, and you will see a quick toning of the muscles.
Where to buy a elliptical bike?
If you want to buy an elliptical and want to try it out before you start, you can turn to sports equipment stores such as Decathlon, Intersport, Go Sport etc.
Online, you can go directly to the e-commerce sites of the brand you want, and you will be able to find elliptical bikes with a better quality-price ratio.
To find a cheap elliptical bike or at the best price, you will find your happiness on Amazon or Cdiscount.
Best elliptical bike: why trust us?
Thank you for reading this article! Because we know that it is not always easy to make the best choice without trying, each of our recommendations is the result of a long work of analysis of consumer opinions on flagship and little-known products on the market, of comparison of prices and technical characteristics, but also and above all of tests by a team of men and women constantly renewed in order to keep a real objectivity to help you in your purchasing process.
All the purchasing criteria are scrutinized for the realization of our comparative guides: budget, level of range, functional and practical aspects, design, pack and accessories, safety… All this in order to help you choose the products best suited to your needs, desires and constraints on a daily basis, at the best price!