Cardiovascular exercise is an essential part of overall fitness and health.
There are many benefits such as heart health, weight loss and management, work capacity increases, and recovery improvements.
And I don’t know about you, but my mood gets a nice boost after I’m finished with a good cardio session.
Of course, lifting weights, getting stronger, and building muscle are also very important pieces of a fitness lifestyle, but you’re leaving a lot on the table if you’re neglecting your cardio.
And there are many different forms of cardio out there. Jogging, sprinting, cycling, jumping rope, and even walking can all get the job done no matter your preference or fitness level.
I’m currently using cycling as my main form of cardiovascular exercise, specifically indoor cycling on my Mekbelt Stationary Exercise Bike.
When I first began my search for a spin bike for my garage gym, I was looking for something that wasn’t going to take up too much space, something that was sturdy, had a smooth knob-controlled resistance application, and was easy on the wallet.
I looked into the Peoloton a bit, but quickly decided I wasn’t ready to spend that much money.
I also looked into some of the models on the Echelon line and did come very close to purchasing one, but decided to hold off a little longer and see what else was out there.
That’s when I came across the Mekbelt bike, and I’m glad that I did because it turns out that this bike checks off all the boxes of what I was looking for in a bike for home use that I spoke about above.
The Mekbelt has a small footprint and doesn’t take up much space at all in my fairly small garage. It’s sturdy, and changing the resistance while riding is very smooth, and is super quiet. And the price tag is very budget friendly at only $299 at the time of this publishing.
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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article is intended to be medical or health advice. Always consult with a qualified physician before taking part in any exercise or fitness regimen.
Dimensions & Build
The Mekbelt bike was simple to build and took me roughly 45 minutes or so after all parts and pieces were removed from the packaging. It does come with its own allen keys and wrench, but I had my own personal allen keys with a screwdriver handle with made assembly easier.
I found the directions to be easy to follow and give you instructions for assembly as well as how to connect to a few apps that are compatible with the bike.
The height of the bike is roughly 48 inches (122 cm) from the floor to its highest point which is the top of the iPad holder.
The width of the bike is just about 20.5 inches (53 cm) with the base being its widest point.
The overall length of the bike from its longest point front-to-back is just around 45 inches (144 cm), which is measured from the back of the adjustable seat track to the very tip of the handlebars.
The base alone is 20.5 inches (53 cm) x 39 inches (99 cm).
The recommended weight limit for this bike is listed at 265lbs (120 kg)
The packaged weight is listed to be about 75 lbs (34 kg), and while I haven’t actually weighed the bike personally, I can say that it’s very easy to move around using the two tiny wheels on the front of the base.
Just tip the bike forward onto the wheels and roll around as needed.
However, if you’re planning on taking it up or down steps you will definitely need some help.
This bike is powered by 2 AA batteries, which I personally love since I don’t have to worry about finding an outlet in the area that I want to set up and ride.
This allows me to put it anywhere that I please as well as take it outside on a nice day if I choose.
Pros & Cons
There is a lot that I love about this bike.
The first thing that caught my eye was the affordability. I feel that at $299, this comes in at a great value for a lot of people.
But price means nothing if the bike doesn’t perform well and provide you with a quality product.
This Mekbelt model has proven so far to be durable and sturdy over my many rides. I’m able to crank the resistance up and dig in while pedaling to keep that wheel moving, even being able to stand up and pedal if I have to.
It’s also very quiet even while pedaling at a high RPM, and adjusting the resistance is as simple as turning a knob.
The change in resistance from easy to difficult, and vice versa, feels pretty smooth as you turn the knob while riding. I can feel the difficulty slowly changing as the knob spins rather than jerky, choppy jumps in either direction which for me is a critical detail when choosing and riding a an exercise bike.
I personally like that it’s battery-powered by 2 AA’s because it’s a common battery and easy to get when they need to be replaced, and I don’t need to have a power source nearby, so I can put it anywhere.
And while I’m not someone who uses any training apps, I like that this bike offers connectivity through Bluetooth to many different training apps for anyone who likes to take part in virtual and/or guided training.
The main con so far that I have found shows up when rock your body significantly side to side while riding. This can happen if you’re riding aggressively, especially if you’re a larger individual.
You can check out this video to see what I mean. Keep in mind that I am purposefully rocking while I ride to show you what can possibly happen.
You can also see that I am able stand and pedal pretty hard without the bike moving, so be mindful of this if and when you decide to go all out, especially if you are of a larger frame.
What you can also see here however is just how quiet this bike is even when hard, fast pedaling.
The Mekbelt is able to pair with a variety of different apps via Bluetooth which can give you different guided training experiences.
I will say that my personal experiences with any of these apps are little-to-none since guided training via apps or classes wasn’t a priority for me when choosing a bike for my home gym.
I personally train using different heart rate zones depending on what type of training goal I’m going for at the time, so the app factor wasn’t a priority, however, they are nice to have if I ever want to go that route.
There are many to choose from such as Yesoul, Zwift, Kinomap and Rouvy just to name a few.
Many of these offer free versions of their apps which allow for limited training rides and scenic routes.
I will quickly touch on the 3 training apps that Mekbelt mentions in their instruction manual, as well as link some YouTube videos from people who can go more in depth about a couple of them.
The Yesoul training app offers a free subscription that allows you to take just a few guided training classes as well as a few scenic rides.
They offer 2 subscription models which can be paid either monthly or yearly.
The monthly subscription clocks in at $9.99 per month, while paying for the year upfront will cost $69.99 (which equates to about $6 per month when you break it down, saving you roughly $3 per month overall) at the time of publishing.
Signing up for the subscription unlocks all of their guided cycling classes as well as yoga, strength training and a cool down cycling stretch class.
Zwift is a virtual riding platform that offers different courses and workouts suited for people of different fitness levels.
The major appeal seems to be the community aspect. With the Zwift app, you are able to ride virtually in a group setting with other members in a variety of different scenes and atmospheres which fuels both competitiveness and camaraderie.
Different performance metrics such as distance, speed and power output are tracked and saved so you can track your performance over time.
You may need to purchase additional equipment if there are certain metrics that you want to track since it seems that power output is the only metric that is trackable by the Mekbelt bike as is.
Check out this video from Taren to learn more about Zwift and what it can do.
Kinomap seems to be very similar to Zwift in that it offers a virtual experience that allows you to ride along with, and against other Kinomapp users in real-time.
You are also able to compare your numbers against your previous performances as well as other Kinomap users who have completed the same courses as you.
At the time of publishing, you can join up using a 14-day free trial which starts after your first training session. After that, you can sign up monthly at a price tag of $11.99 per month, yearly for $89.99 (which breaks down to $7.50 per month), or a lifetime membership for $429.
Here is a video from GCN Tech going into more detail about Kinomap. This video is a bit dated when compared to the publishing of this article, but should still be able to give you a general idea of what the app offers.
Overall, this Mekbelt model of stationary bike has served me well. I’m able to get a solid cardio session in whenever I like, right in the comfort of my own garage.
While I’ve never owned any other exercise bike on the market and can’t directly compare this one to any others out there, I can say that I am very happy with this purchase and do not have any buyer’s remorse or feel like I’m missing out.
I recommend this bike to anyone who is searching for a budget-friendly option but still wants something that will hold up and provide a good workout.
And this bike does just that whether you want to sync up to a training app for a guided session, train with people virtually from across the world via app, or simply freestyle it in whatever way you’re feeling like at that time.