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Fitness bikes generally fit into two major categories: stationary bikes, which are fixed to one point and are usually used indoors, and outdoor fitness bikes, which can be ridden outside over a variety of terrain. Any bicycle is a fitness bike by default, since pedaling a bicycle is an aerobic activity that promotes fitness, and there are numerous varieties of bicycle to choose from. The most common bicycle used for fitness, however, is probably the stationary bike.
Stationary fitness bikes are common in gyms and fitness centers. They are adjustable to suit people of different heights, weights, sizes and shapes, and they allow the user to adjust the level of resistance they must pedal against. Stationary bikes can also be customizable to a point: pedals and saddles can be swapped out easily, allowing for a more comfortable ride. Stationary fitness bikes are commonly used in spin classes, group classes led by an instructor who guides the riders through a riding session according to their proficiency level. Such classes are a good way to develop proper cycling technique as well as to burn calories and build muscle.
Outdoor fitness bikes fall into several different categories. The bike most commonly associated with fitness is the road bike, which is a lightweight bike with thin, aerodynamic wheels and tires, and an aggressive riding position. These types of bikes are built for speed, and they are used exclusively on roads. A road bike is a good choice for someone looking for a strenuous aerobic workout.
Mountain bikes are off-road bicycles that are meant for dirt roads and trails. They are generally easier to pedal than road bikes since the gearing is lower, but because mountain bikes go off-road and are built to roll over obstacles, riding a mountain bike requires skill, dexterity, and a certain amount of fitness. Mountain bikes are a good choice for more adventurous cyclists looking to build muscle.
Several varieties of fitness bikes fall in between the two outdoor categories mentioned. A hybrid bicycle, for example, is a bike designed for the rider who will not necessarily be riding fast, and who does not necessarily want to ride difficult trails, but prefers instead to ride at a steady pace on pavement or dirt paths. They are built to be more comfortable than either a road bike and a mountain bike, and they are generally easier to pedal. They are, however, typically heavier and will not go as fast as either of the performance options mentioned above.
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