The best exercise bikes can improve your cardio and help build strength without loading impact onto your joints. But how you decide which model to pick? We've extensively tested all the top models to help you choose the right exercise bike for your needs and budget.
We install each of the bikes we review in our homes for at least a month, and put them to the test over a number of different workouts. We look at how easy the bike is to use, the range of classes offered and how good they are.
We also consider how easy the bike is to move, installation, and how the ability to set up multiple profiles. Last but not least, we look at ongoing subscription costs associated with the bike, and what you get for your money.
Get the wheels spinning with our recommendations for the best exercise bikes for staying fit at home.
What are the best exercise bikes right now?
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This sturdy, solid stationary bike from Sunny Health & Fitness has a steel frame and 49-pound weighted flywheel that can hold a maximum weight of 275 pounds. The seat can adjust to four settings and the caged pedals include clips to keep your feet in place. The leather band resistance system is designed to mimic the feel of a real road. While the bike doesn’t come with a screen, there is a bottle holder and assembly takes about 10 minutes.
We found it was a very sturdy bike, had nice large toe baskets, and offered a nice quiet ride. However, those who are a bit shorter may find the bike a bit uncomfortable, as we did. And, because there's no display or guided fitness programs, you'll have to be self-motivated to use it. Overall, though, it's a great bike for beginners who don't want to spend thousands of dollars on something they might not use again.
Read our full Sunny Health & Fitness exercise bike review.
Peloton has become a craze (and a meme) for its high-end exercise bike, hard-core instructors and the HD touchscreen that streams spinning classes right into your home. At $2,495 — plus $250 delivery and set up, and $39 a month for a subscription and more for spinning shoes — the Peloton Bike+ is higher in price than most stationary bikes, but there is nothing like it. Peloton is the at home version of going to a cycling studio minus being in a crowded room filled with others and requires less time for your workout since you do not have to travel to and from the gym.
The base-level Peloton Bike is still an excellent choice. It's extremely well-made and durable. Check out our Peloton Bike review here to find out more.
That said, if money is not an issue for you or if you are a fitness junkie, the Peloton Bike+ is your answer. It has all the bells and whistles you would want including live classes, an abundance of on-demand workouts — and not just for cycling — all in the convenience of your home, a rotating screen, and Apple Watch integration. You can also set auto-resistance on the machine, meaning you don't have to worry about manually upping the resistance mid-workout, or if you're pushing yourself hard enough. The Bike+ won our best exercise bike award in our Tom's Guide Health and Fitness awards because its content is second to none; and its rotating screen means you can use it for more than just spinning.
Check out these 8 Peloton hidden features everyone should know.
For those of us who want a good workout without sacrificing a month (or two) of rent, the Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike is a high quality, reasonably-priced option.
It’s true that the YB001 model doesn’t offer a quarter of the frills you’d find on a Peloton, Bowflex Velocore, or NordicTrack S22i. But what it lacks in cutting-edge features and comprehensive metrics, it makes up for in solid construction and design. With those essentials in place, and a little bit of ingenuity, it can deliver a similar cycling experience to one of these elite brands.
The main downside with the Yosuda is the exclusion of cadence from its LCD monitor. This number, which is a measurement of your pedals’ revolutions per minute, is frequently used in many popular cycling classes (like the offerings from Peloton and Apple Fitness Plus). While it is possible to just match an instructor’s leg speed to the best of your ability, having an exact cadence displayed helps to keep you honest with your perceived effort.
That said, if you prefer to do your own thing while in the saddle, or you’re perfectly happy riding along to classes on your phone or tablet, the Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike would make a fantastic, cost-effective addition to any home gym.
Read our full Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike review.
The Freebeat XBike turns spinning into a video game. The bike comes with a large screen, where you can join various 15 or 30-minute workouts (there are no longer workouts on the platform just yet). Rather than just spinning your legs, each ride is a game of who can stay "on the beat" the longest, complete with a leaderboard; the longer you stay on the beat, the faster you climb on the board.
There's no doubt about it, the classes are fun. In addition to cycling workouts, the Freebeat Xbike also offers strength workouts. The bike has a spot to store weights, but you'll have to purchase your own. (We’ve found the best adjustable dumbbells to invest in for weightlifting at home here). You can also rotate the bike's screen, so you can do the workouts without standing right next to the bike — this is a brilliant feature and one that is not often found on a bike at this price point.
The downside with the Freebeat is that while it's cheaper than many options including Peloton and Bowflex, the inability to use another platform with the bike, or to have the option to "just ride" without doing a class might be a hindrance for some. There are also no live classes, so if you enjoy the competitive feel of riding in a group, this bike probably isn't for you.
Read our full Freebeat XBike review
Don't want to pay (or wait) for a Peloton bike? The MYX II Exercise Bike is the best Peloton alternative at a lower price. It's also a better fit for people who prefer a personalized workout experience over a class-like one. MYX Fitness is as close as you’ll get to on-demand personal training at home. Plus, delivery is free!
For over $1,000 less than the Peloton Bike Plus, MYX’s machine provides the most comparable experience in the at-home exercise space — a sturdy build, swiveling screen, sparky coaches, and the not-so-optional paid membership for hundreds of on-demand workout classes.
The MYX II Exercise Bike features a large, swiveling HD screen that can face in whatever direction you're working out, even if it’s 180 degrees. Use the intuitive interface to choose from among the diverse class portfolio, categorized for the bike, floor, cross-training and recovery. The navigation has Netflix-like menus for classes based on workout format, recommendations and classes you’ve favorited. MYX Fitness classes are more personal than competitive; there’s no leaderboards or cult-like vibes.
Read our full MYX II Exercise Bike review here.
A brilliant alternative to Peloton, the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle has a number of impressive features, including magnetic resistance, which means the ride will be quieter than a lot of exercise bikes on this list. The bike comes with a year's access to the brand's live and on-demand iFit classes and unlike Peloton, with the NordicTrack, the instructors can control the resistance of the bike from afar for a serious workout.
Talking of classes, as well as spinning, there are a number of other cross-training classes available on the iFit platform and the NordicTrack S22i's touchscreen rotates 360 degrees, which is handy if you want to watch a strength workout without a bike in the way.
Although it's slightly more expensive than the Peloton bike out of the box, it's a better deal overall as the membership is free for an entire year.
Read a longer comparison of the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle vs Peloton.
The Bowflex Velocore exercise bike leans from side to side so you feel like you're riding a real bike, instead of just pedaling away in your living room like you have been all year long. While it’s just as expensive as a Peloton, the Bowflex VeloCore’s unique design and large display makes it a compelling alternative. Plus, its side-to-side movement will help tone your midsection — if you can stomach its price.
The VeloCore is an excellent exercise bike — no gimmicks necessary. It has one of the most versatile consoles out there, offering several options, including free workouts and scenic rides, to choose from should you decide not to subscribe to JRNY.
Read our full Bowflex Velocore review
The Wattbike Atom could be considered a Peloton alternative at its price point ($2,599). It's just as well-designed and sturdily built; it just doesn't have the large HD screen that Peloton boasts. In fact, the Atom doesn't have a screen at all. What it does offer is seamless connectivity via Bluetooth and ANT+. Download the free Wattbike Hub app, pair it to the bike and within minutes, you can go on a quick ride or a pre-set workout. And again, it's free, whereas Peloton requires a monthly subscription for those instructor-led classes that are so popular.
The Atom's tank-like design can bear up under any kind of workout, whether you're lazily cycling as you watch Netflix or you endure a torturous pre-set climb mimicking a real mountain. The Atom is also very customizable, so can swap in your own toe-clips or handlebars. And while the cost may make your eyes pop out, Wattbike offers a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as a two-year guarantee covering any technical problems.
Wattbike is releasing a new version, the Atom Next Generation (available now in the U.K. and coming soon in the U.S.). It features upgraded internals such as an improved electromagnetic resistance system.
Recumbent exercise bikes provide a low-impact, gentler workout than upright bikes, which make them the best exercise bike for seniors. You get more lumbar support by reclining on a cushioned back and there’s less pressure on the joins in your hips, knees and ankles. The Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike is a brilliant option for those looking for a low-impact workout.
It has an adjustable seat, which is extremely comfortable when cycling. The bike itself comes with a number of different resistance levels and workout options to help you raise your heart rate. If you use the “Explore the World by Bowflex” Fitness App, you can virtually ride along some scenic routes; free scenic routes includeZion National Park, Route 66, and the French Riviera. There are also a number of heart rate training options on the platform, which encourage you to stay in a certain "zone" to burn calories, or just keep working through the whole session.
Our tester also loved the option to just ride, resting her phone on the console, giving her the option to catch up with a show or reply to emails, while getting a workout in.
The downside with this bike is that serious cyclists will probably miss the option to ride out the saddle or get that real-life cycling experience. That said, if you're looking for a lower-impact option, this is a great piece of kit.
Read our full Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike review
How to choose the best exercise bike for you
Choosing among the best exercise bikes can be tough. There are a lot of options out there at many different price points. The first consideration should be how well the exercise bike fits to your body and its needs. Does it have enough weight capacity? Are you within the bike’s height range? If you have physical limitations or problems, such as back problems, can the bike be adjusted so that you’re comfortable and safe while working out?
After thinking about the bike’s fit, you may want to consider what kind of workout you want. If you want a heavy-duty, full-body, high cardio-burning cycling session, look into exercise bikes that offer enough resistance and handles to provide arm movement.
Since the exercise bike is intended for home use, you should also look at how much room you have. If you have a small space, a folding bike would likely be the best option.
Last but certainly not least, consider the cost. Luckily, exercise bikes now come in a wide range of prices. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can still find a sturdy, well-built machine that’s right for you.
How we test the best exercise bikes
To help you work out which is the best exercise bike for you, we put them to the sweat test! We installed each of the bikes in our homes for at least a month, and put them to the test over a number of different workouts. We looked at how easy the bike was to use, the range of classes on offer, and how engaging and easy to follow these classes were.
We also looked for extras, such as how easy the bike was to move around the house, how easy it was to install, and how many different profiles you could set up on the bike for use by the whole family.
Finally, we looked at the ongoing subscription costs associated with the bike, and what you get for your money. If you're on a budget, see our guide to how to build a home gym under $500.
Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?
If weight loss is the goal when purchasing home gym equipment, an exercise bike can help — and will improve your aerobic fitness.
Those hoping to reduce their joint load on the road should consider these 5 cardio exercises that burn more calories than running — and yes, this includes cycling. Spin could even burn 600 calories per hour. However, a caloric deficit (expending more calories than you consume) plays a big role in weight loss. Other factors in play include your diet, hormones, sleep, and daily activity levels.
In short? The ride isn’t one size fits all. However, research — like this study (opens in new tab)— has shown that regular cycling (in this example, three days a week for 45 minutes) alongside calorie management could aid weight loss.
We recommend setting up your profile with your weight, height, and age using a compatible fitness app so that your exercise bike can more accurately track your metrics and progress. Read up on how to lose weight using an exercise bike if shedding the pounds is your goal.
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