Exercise Bike

We could all do with eating healthier and getting more exercise. Although I walk a minimum of 5 miles plus every day (which roughly equates to 10,000 steps) my blood pressure recently spiked, so I decided to do something about it. I continue with my walking (so far this week I have walked just over 90,000 steps and still have Sunday to see out the week, so I am looking at 100,000+), but needed something other than walking to strengthen my calf muscles as I have a lot of lower leg pain, and also to help lose a bit of weight and hopefully reduce my blood pressure. Obviously, exercise alone isn’t the answer; I also added more veg to my dinner plate (and actually eating it rather than pushing it around the plate or just leaving it there), no salt gets added to my food, I changed fizzy drinks to mostly water and one serving of apple juice per day with my dinner, the chocolate bars for snacks at work have been replaced with sugar free biscuits and I don’t drink any alcohol or smoke. Anyway, back to the exercise. My physiotherapist recommended an exercise bike to help strengthen the muscles in my lower legs and reduce the pain, so after putting it off for ages, it was now time to bite the bullet and purchase one. After looking around for something basic and easy to use without costing a fortune, the Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike sounded like it suited my needs, especially as it folded for easy storage.

The Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike is a very convenient way to start an exercise program or stay fit from the comfort of your home, I’m not one for going to a gym.

Using an exercise bike for 10-30 minutes per day can have lots of health benefits, including:

  • Supporting heart health
  • Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Burning calories
  • Strengthening and toning muscles
  • Increased stamina
  • Low impact form of cardio
  • Improves your mood
  • Gentle on joints
  • Easy to use
  • All-weather, anytime exercise opportunity

The Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike is a compact space-saving fitness solution suitable for home use and a maximum user weight of 100kg (15st 10lb). It uses a magnetic resistance system on a 1.6kg flywheel and has variable tension control. It also features:

  • An LCD screen with various options to show you how long you’ve been working out for, the distance you’ve ‘travelled’, speed you’re going, your heart rate and the calories you’ve burned. Requires 2xAA batteries (not supplied).
  • Adjustable seat: 72cm when the seat is in minimum height position, while it is 83cm when the seat is in maximum height position.
  • Hand grip pulse sensor.
  • Console feedback including: Scan, Time, Distance, Speed, Hand Pulse, Calories.
  • Pedal straps.
  • Adjustable seat.
  • Folds for easy space-saving storage.
Exercise Bike

The first workout when receiving the bike is self-assembly. It arrives in a compact package, which is a relief for those worried about bulky deliveries, weighing in at just 13.1kg. Assembly is straightforward, taking about 30 minutes at a gentle pace. The instructions are simple to follow.

Once assembled, it is easy to use – you just need to adjust the seat height and the resistance level to suit your own personal needs. As a beginner, that still thinks I’m 10 and can cycle all day, I set the resistance to the lowest setting to ease my self in to regular exercise. Well, I thought that I had set it to the lowest setting, the knob to set the level turns quite a bit and I had actually set it to about halfway, so for 2 weeks I was exhausting myself after 2 minutes. Thinking I was really THAT unfit I carried on regardless until I realised and now have adjusted to a more reasonable level which means, for now, I am doing 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening.

Designed with the home user in mind, the bike’s foldable nature is a standout feature. It’s lightweight yet sturdy enough for a solid workout session, providing a smooth and quiet ride. The hand grip pulse sensors and a built-in console track your fitness metrics, keeping you informed of your progress.

The screen has a variety of measures to keep track of various metrics. I mostly have the screen set in the time mode to make sure I am doing my 10 minute sessions. But at the press of a button you can flick through to see the distance travelled, the speed you are doing, your hand pulse rate (as long as you keep your hands on the handlebar sensors), how many calories you have burned or just put it in scan mode so that it rotates through each setting every 6 seconds if you want to keep track of everything during your ride.

Exercise Bike

Overall, it has been a long time since I did any regular exercise other than walking so I found the Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike an excellent piece of equipment for beginners. I love how easy it is to use and that I can pedal away for 10 minutes in front of the television and still catch up on the morning and evening news, and once finished, the bike easily folds to stand and store in the cupboard, I don’t need to leave it out all the time.

While I love the bike, it is great exercise, I did have a couple of small niggles with it.

The bike seat; it really is not the most comfortable. Some of the comfort issues boil down to getting it at the correct height, so you do need to experiment with what is the best and most comfortable height, but I do feel as though it does need a bit more padding, so I will be buying a gel cushion seat, especially as I will be using it more.

The resistance dial; this could do with being a bit more responsive. I had mistakenly set the resistance far too high for my fitness level at the beginning, but luckily enough I persevered and didn’t give up even though I was getting off after 2 minutes pouring in sweat and legs like jelly. Why? To set the resistance, you dial the knob left or right to decrease/increase the resistance. But to put into the lowest setting to work your way through to find your personal suitable level you seem to be dialling the knob in ever rotating circles, which led me to believe (by looking at the markings on the dial) that I was a the lowest setting when it transpired I was about at 50%. You need to keep turning and turning the knob until it cannot turn no more, and it isn’t one or two turns. Once you know this, it’s all fine and you can easily turn it to work your way through resistance levels to find the right one for you and easily increase when that becomes too easy.  

Now that I have the resistance level that suits me, I am getting more out of the machine. I haven’t set it so easy that I’m just pedalling for no reason, I’m still huffing and puffing and feeling the burn in my legs but doing 10 minutes rather than 2, twice a day. And I am actually enjoying getting on it every day without thinking of it as a chore or an inconvenience. I like that I can sit and use it in the comfort of my own home while watching the news, waiting for my dinner to cook and I have even used it while reading a book. It makes exercising so much easier and more achievable.

I think that it is very good value for money, although I would have liked a more comfortable seat. It is at the lower end of the exercise bike market, not the cheapest but very competitively priced to suit most budgets, and a very long way off those expensive ones we see advertised on the television. A very affordable option for those looking to enhance their fitness regime without breaking the bank. It’s a solid choice for beginners or anyone seeking a basic model to increase their activity levels, burn calories and other health benefits.

At under £100, its affordability, ease of use and foldability for storage make it perfect for home use and you don’t need an expensive gym membership that you might be to busy to use.

If you’re on the hunt for a space-saving, budget-friendly exercise bike that promises a smooth and sturdy ride, whether it is for health benefits, to increase fitness or stamina or just to help lose weight (along with changes to diet), the Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike is a very good basic option. Get ready to pedal your way to better health and fitness with this compact powerhouse!

Rating: 4.5/5

RRP: £99

Available to buy from Argos here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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