Elliptical Trainer vs. Elliptical Bike: Best Choices
So, you’re looking for an elliptical exercise to help maintain a fit body. After all, not everyone enjoys getting his or her exercise from a rapid-running treadmill. Did you know there are more options available than the average elliptical machine at the gym? The Elliptical bike has become a trending topic lately. It allows people to go outside, use a machine on wheels, and get that natural elliptical motion. You can ride up hills, down the sidewalk, or off-road while getting a solid workout. The elliptical trainer on the other hand, has more of a traditional look, very similar/almost identical to the machine you see in the gym. By far, the biggest difference between the two is that one is idle while the other is mobile.
Ultimately, a buying guide comparing the two products is crucial. This buyer’s guide will help you compare an elliptical trainer to an elliptical bike, and will likely take you one step closer to finding what works best for you. Sure, the differences are evident at the surface level; one is a bike and the other is an idle machine. But there are other qualities involved that can help consumers become more decisive when choosing between the two.
Difference between Bike & Trainer
The Elliptical bike is basically a bicycle that is powered by the movement of the pedals resembling that of an original elliptical. In other words; if you combine a bicycle with an elliptical trainer, the result will be an elliptical bike. The machine has two small wheels, as well as two pedals. There are also two handles with a gear shifter on one side and a handbrake on the other. Using this type of machine is essentially running without impact. You are basically standing on a bike with this product.
Two brands have dominated the online market for elliptical bikes: ElliptiGO and Zike. Granted, there are likely other entities out there that offer a similar product, but not nearly as popular as these brands. You will soon see that the top five elliptical bikes in 2018 consist of ElliptiGO and Zike.
The biggest element you need to consider for any type of elliptical bike is the weight limit. This ultimately deters those who might be heavy on a scale but are looking for a comfortable method of exercising.
Compared to the bike, the Elliptical trainer is stationary and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Most of these machines have an LCD display that allows the user to monitor their progress. Those who prefer this type of exercise machine likely enjoy being in the comfort of their own home or exercise area. The biggest advantage that the elliptical trainer has in comparison to the bike is that it can work out both the upper body and the lower body at the same time. Having handlebars that are connected to the foot pedals helps users create swift motions that help with full-body exercises instead of exclusively targeting one specific area of the body. Select trainers also have a USB port that can connect their electronic device to the machine and track stats.
Our Pics for Best Elliptical Bikes/Scooters and Trainers
Top 5 Elliptical Bikes
Brizon is one of a precious few companies that sell good quality elliptical bikes or scooters online. This scooter eliminates the neck, back and seat pain often associated with traditional bikes. It also has an adjustable handlebar stem for various riders and also for convenient storage.
The overall weight is 14kg and it sports 16 inch fully inflated tires. Front and rear hand brakes raise the bar on this scooter, and its 220 lb weight limit can handle nearly any rider.
Overall we like this scooter because it gives us the best cross between all the important features like price, portability, functionality and overall riding experience.
- Decent price for high-quality scooter
- Very portable
- High(ish) price for those looking for a cheap $100 scooter
- Scooter sized wheels rather than a more versatile larger bicycle wheel
The Tarcle is a decent option for those looking to exercise using the elliptical / stair stepper motion rather than using a leg to push the scooter. It’s a well-built machine with effective hand brakes and air-filled 10-inch wheels. It’s supposed to have a 16-18 km/h top speed, but I guess that depends on how steep a hill you’re on 🙂 The frame is made from carbon steel which is typically quite strong and more than adequate for a scooter.
The pedals are covered with a non-slip rubber and its hand-operated brake offers a better level of safety and control. This scooter is just as capable for 10-year-olds as it is for those up to 200 lbs so its versatility is quite good.
The catch with this bike is that it’s a good deal more expensive than others in the same class (ie. Zike) because it’s built with a bit more “substance” (frame integrity, components, etc.).
- Good price
- Has hand brakes
- Can be used like a regular scooter or elliptical action
- Not a bike at all
- It doesn’t work well for adults over 200 lbs.
Another product from Zike, this particular elliptical bike serves the smaller consumer. For the light-weighted riders trying to get in a solid exercise, the Zike Z100 WingFlyer elliptical scooter bike will help them accomplish their goals. This elliptical bike is specifically designed for ages 8-12 years, so it’s not the greatest for larger adults. However, I’ve seen teenage riders operating this bike with great success! The Zike Z100 has a steel frame that is extremely difficult to blemish, as well as aluminum alloy wheels that will hold up against the worst weather conditions. An additive to the rugged wheels is the air filled tires, which will perform wonderfully on multiple surfaces. In addition to the durable features, this bike has exceptional grip on the handlebars and a handbrake for easy breaking when you want to stop. These additional features make it easier for riders to focus on using their legs for effortless strides while on the road. The pedals have reflectors behind them so you can safely use this bike while it begins to get dark and be visible to oncoming cars behind you.
Another plus to the Zike Z100 is the price. Most elliptical bikes on the market vary in price but tend to be on the more expensive side. Luckily for those interested, the price of the Z100 WingFlyer won’t break the bank. You can easily find this product for less than $175, which is reasonable in comparison to some of the more popular elliptical bikes.
- Reasonable price
- Patented smooth ride system enabled
- Grips and reflectors enhance visibility at night
- Folds up to easily for storage
- Offers rear wheel handbrake
- Built for 8-12-year-olds so it’s not quite as versatile as other options
- Doesn’t have a gear shift
This Brizon offers an upgraded array of features from the Wingflyer16, but didn’t make it to number 1 because of a price tag at double that of its partner.
You can ride this bike (yes, it’s more of a small bike than a scooter!) in THREE ways. You can push it with your leg like a scooter, you can use it as a stepper, and you can jump on both pedals for a faster ride! This bike will definitely catch the eye of most bystanders, and we would strongly suggest using some type of theft deterrent. It looks too good and offers too much value to be ignored!
It features 20-inch air-filled tires, 3 speeds with Shimano Nexus components. The front wheel features a quick-release clip and the handlebar stem is foldable for easy storage. The frame runs around 18 kg and is made of steel. Both wheels have V-brakes.
Here’s a cool feature; You can use this bike indoors as an elliptical trainer using the optional CycleOps Fluid 2 Trainer Stand.
- 3 styles of propulsion
- Can be used indoors like an elliptical trainer with the optional bike stand
- Has 3-speeds
- High price
Here’s where our bike trainers stop and a more traditional elliptical trainer takes over.
Body Rider provides its buyers with a workout video, which helps them learn how to effectively use the machine and get the most out of their workouts. Having this form of guidance will help buyers engage with the product itself while working on their fitness goals and getting in better shape. The fan wheel inside the machine is chain driven, and according to Body Rider, it is supposed to aggressively reduce the amount of noise generated by the elliptical trainer. While some consumers have agreed to this claim, others have stated that the machine does, in fact, make noise from time to time, and can become bothersome after an extended period of time.
Just like other elliptical machines that have upper-body handles, the Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer has an advantage because it works out both the lower and the upper body. Depending on what your training regimen is, you can hold onto the handles and participate in upper body movement, or you can just use your legs and focus on your lower body. Either way, the Body Rider trainer is built for you to get on and start getting in shape. You can also change the level of resistance by moving the friction knob located towards the end of the handlebars.
The Body Rider Fan elliptical trainer uses no electricity since a fan and brake-style friction knob provide the resistance. It’s an all-around decent machine for the money though it is unremarkable in any one particular area. It features a steel frame and a fan wheel resistance unit.
Most users report that the chain-driven fan is quiet and smooth, and it can be adjusted to your resistance preference. It’s a great starter elliptical for HIIT training as well as endurance training. The multi-function console displays time, speed, distance and calories burned (though the calories burned is only approximate, given the variables in people’s fitness levels). There’s also a video included to help get you started.
Though no weight limit is stated, users weighing as much as 250 pounds have had no negative issues with it!
Keep in mind that as with ANY product on Amazon, the majority of users are thrilled with it, while 1 or 2 users typically experience horrifying problems like an internal malfunction or some major item snaps in half, etc. Amazon offers an excellent return policy and the odds are very high you will not have a problem with the replacement.
- Typically quiet and smooth operation
- Great price for what you get
- Easily portable
- Supports users of 250 lbs
- Comes with a workout video that teaches users how to use the machine
- Handlebars allow users to engage in both upper and lower body motions
- Interior fan reduces noise from the elliptical trainer
- No bells and whistles
- The forward slant of the unit may be uncomfortable for some
- Difficult to assemble
The Exerpeutic Aero Air elliptical trainer arguably offers the best value on our list. It can be sold with or without an equipment mat, which can help protect the floor from becoming damaged due to a heavy amount of weight sitting on it. The mat is waterproof, so no amount of sweat or liquid will get onto the floor itself, and it will help reduce the amount of noise produced by the machine. The catch with the equipment mat is that the overall cost will become significantly higher by the time you click the purchase button.
The most obvious upside to this elliptical trainer is the low price. In comparison to other machines; including the elliptical bike, the Exerpeutic Aero Air is an absolute steal. Without the equipment mat, you can find this product for under $100, and with the mat, you’re looking at buying for slightly over $120, which is still a good deal if you consider the fact that you can use it every day. The LCD display has the ability to help people track speed, distance, calories, and time. This part of the elliptical trainer would be a lot more useful if it were a larger display. Those who are looking for a machine that decreases the amount of stress put on the joints will be pleased with the Aero Air elliptical. Based on the way that the machine was designed, it produces a natural motion which helps take away the pressure from the joints as you put less weight on your legs and more force towards your strides.
The only argument one would bring is the position of the LCD display. Instead of having it directly in the face of the user, the display on this elliptical trainer is at about knee level. This can potentially cause neck discomfort for users if they find themselves consistently looking down just to read a display that isn’t very big in the first place. Some have also stated that their machine broke down after a few uses, so durability is definitely in question when considering this product.
- LCD display provides accurate measurements
- Ridges on the foot pedals help prevent slippage
- One year warranty provided
- Fairly cheap
- Not very durable
- Strides are too short for some people
- LCD is small and placed too low
The Nautilus E614 is very similar to the Schwinn 470. It also has a Dual Track LCD display and can show up to 13 workout stats for the user. There are 20 different resistance levels that can be utilized on the Nautilus E614, so users can continue to challenge themselves as they start to grow accustomed to whatever level they start on. The USB port used on this machine provides a handful of services that are useful to the user. Not only can it charge an electronic device, but it can also export data to myfitnesspal.com, making it very easy to share information from your smartphone onto your machine, and vice versa.
One of the more impressive features of this elliptical is the acoustic speakers. These are primarily used for loud sound, so you can better understand your stats while on the run. Another intriguing feature of this product is the grip heart rate. This allows you to easily track your current heart rate by simply gripping onto the handles and waiting for the machine to gain the information needed.
- Dual Track LCD display
- 22 different exercise programs
- 20 resistance levels
- Finds heart rate through grip
- Large speakers enhance sound
- Breaks down easier than average
- Occasionally squeaks
This elliptical trainer is quite unique, mostly because of the way it looks. The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer is different compared to other items on this list mostly because it does not have upper body elements. This machine is unique because you can use it sitting down, virtually anywhere that allows you to. If you work at a desk and have become concerned that you might not have time to exercise, the Stamina In-Motion elliptical trainer may be an ideal option for you. There is a small display visible right between the feet, which can be used to track different statistics, such as calories burned, stride count, and the total time in which you are exercising. As far as the price is concerned, this product is fairly affordable for the average person. It is priced under $75 and based off of what you get, it is a fair price range.
This machine is very low impact because you don’t necessarily need to put weight on your lower body by standing. By sitting down, you are preventing inevitable pressure that occurs within the knees, back, and ankles. The pedals also have tread on them so that you won’t slip when using the trainer. Going back to the design, the biggest difference between this elliptical trainer and any other one on the list is evidently the lack of handles. While this absence eliminates the upper body, you can take this machine wherever you need to go and burn some calories!
- Easy to use; lightweight
- Has electronic monitor that tracks statistics
- Sturdy construction
- Reasonable price
- Available in three different colors
- Doesn’t have handles for upper body workout
- Not the best for standing up
Here’s a bit of a wildcard, but honestly, it’s the best of the bunch. Why didn’t it make #1 on our list? Well, for one, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the others, and for two, this model is a certified refurbished model.
Having said all that, this machine puts the others to shame when it comes to all the other important features like build quality, looks, and function. This is one head-turner for sure! Octane Fitness is one serious elliptical company instead of a Chinese online retail name which many of the other cheap plastic online ellipticals are.
These machines deliver insanely comfortable and natural movement in both directions, and you tend to stay motivated more with the Octane line of machines. The Octane brand is known for their reliability (you know, like a Toyota!), and they offer multiple workout regimens. You can target various muscles like specific arm, back and chest muscles by changing your grip on the handlebars. There are advanced workouts like Cross Circuit, MMA or interval training. The feature list goes on and you can check it out HERE, but suffice it to say, we like this one best of all, but we can only recommend it if you can get over a price tag north of $2.5K.
- A joy to use (no cheap, shaky, plastic, Chinese-style product feel)
- Stellar build quality and sturdy construction
- Used in Health Clubs worldwide
- Reasonable price (since it’s refurbished)
- Not brand new
- Not $150 like cheap competitors
We are finally at the end of the list. So, what do you think? In 2018, one cannot simply look for an “elliptical” without going into detail and find an exercise item that meets their fitness needs. By analyzing both elliptical trainers and elliptical bikes, readers can now acknowledge the obvious differences between the two, as well as the more subtle differences that might not be visible to the consumer. When push comes to shove, this decision is based on personal preference. Depending on what you are looking for in a fitness product, some people might be comfortable with a traditional elliptical trainer, while others can gain a better experience out of an elliptical bike. If you’re the type of person that likes exploring the neighborhood while simultaneously getting a quick exercise in, you might value the elliptical bikes slightly more than you would a trainer. On the other side of the spectrum, those who would prefer to stay in the same place while working out will be more pleased with the elliptical trainer, because they will be idle at all times, yet burning calories.
For anyone that weighs over 200 pounds, an elliptical bike may not be an option unless it is the ElliptiGO Arc 8. This is the biggest downside elliptical bikes. There is no such thing as a truly “perfect” exercise machine. The biggest takeaway from this guide should be that everyone has different needs and choosing an elliptical-like machine comes down to their goals and what they value in an exercise machine. Regardless of whether you are an ultra-competitive athlete, or just someone trying to get some cardio into your schedule, both of these elliptical machines can take you one step further towards reaching your fitness goals.