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Best seat in the house

Star Trac Pro: Luxurious exer-bike with unique creature comforts and electronics.

Likes: Solid, quiet, club-quality machine includes innovative features such as fold-down armrests, a telescoping heart-rate contact bar (to accommodate different arm lengths), a fan and a well-ventilated seat with a large hole carved out of the middle. It also lets you create personalized workouts utilizing a personal digital assistant, then records and tracks your average heart rate, calories burned and other workout data on printable charts and graphs. Low-step, walk-through design adds safety for older exercisers.

Dislikes: On the pricey side for a home exer-bike.

Price: $3,195. (800) 228-6635;
SportsArt C53r: Custom fit, feel and convenience.

Likes: Solid, quiet machine has resistance controls on handholds so you don’t need to reach up to the screen to make changes. Two easy-reach water bottle holders up front. Easy-adjust back support on the soft, mesh seat can tilt to a custom-fit position and includes a seat-back pouch that can hold an ice bag. A large, centered handle in the front assists getting on and off. Has numerous programs, a walk-through design and self-generating power supply (so no electrical plug-in needed).

Dislikes: None.

Price: $2,299. (800) 709-1400;
Vision R2250 HRT: Exer-bike programmed for serious fitness.

Likes: Solid, near-club feel and good looks. Includes large dot-matrix screen and “Sprint 8,” a tough, high-performance 20-minute program that quickly ramps up fitness and weight loss with eight 30-second “anaerobic” intervals. Walk-through frame.

Dislikes: None.

Price: $1,499; (800) 335-4348;
Lifecore 900RB: Innovative, compact bike with stunning graphics.

Likes: Dead silent. Beautiful, high-tech console display includes unusually crisp, bright, large, easy-to-read numbers, plus tells you time and temperature. Screen sits low, so you can easily watch a TV over it. To change resistance, you dial an iPod-inspired toggle-wheel that scrolls numbers. Seatback slides up or down; seat bottom can be finely adjusted instead of just in 1-inch increments. At 44 inches long, is a foot shorter than the others. Power cord plugs in from the front or back of the machine; also runs off batteries. At 108 pounds, it’s two-thirds the weight of the others.

Dislikes: Heart rate display is very slow to return to an accurate reading after you take your hand off the sensor.

Price: $1,099. (888) 815-5559;