We've tested the best exercise bikes to help you boost your fitness at home

If you're looking for a way to boost your cardio fitness and build lower body strength, the best exercise bikes are a great option. You can choose between stationary (low-intensity) and spin (high-intensity) bikes, and standard or smart equipment. 

The Peloton Bike+ is one of the most well-known smart exercise bikes, with a built-in display to access the famed high-intensity classes with your Peloton membership. It's a spin bike, so the design encourages you to lean forward for intense exercise. 

Some non-smart exercise bikes also come with this position, including our choice as the best exercise bike for most people, the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Bike. Plus, it comes with a phone mount, so you can still use a workout app to take a class. 

But these aren't your only choices. We put the best exercise bikes to the test, taking them for a ride, joining virtual classes, and trying out any companion apps, so you can find the right bike for your cardio-focused home workouts. 

Quick list

Best exercise bikes you can buy right now

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Best exercise bike overall

Woman on the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Exercise Bike

(Image credit: Sunny Health & Fitness)
Best exercise bike for most people

Specifications

Resistance: Friction
Display: No
Wheels: Yes
Size: 44 x 44 x 20 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Quiet for a friction resistance system
+
Affordable entry to home spin sessions
+
Wheels to help store between uses

Reasons to avoid

-
No workout metrics
-
Seat isn't comfortable for extended periods
-
Handlebars can be difficult to reach

The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Bike is an ideal option for most people, whether you're an experienced spinner or just getting into home cycling workouts. It's easy to set up, and uncomplicated to use; you sit on the bike and get pedaling.  

The machine's friction-based resistance is effective enough to give you a good workout, even up to more challenging levels where you'll feel it in your legs. However, it's not the best exercise bike if you want to do long classes. 

We found that the seat can get uncomfortable after a while, and that the handlebars are too far away if you're on the shorter side as the bike's adjustments don't quite go far enough to make it easy to keep good posture. 

But we did like the large toe baskets, which helped secure our feet in place, and However, if you like to keep an eye on your workout stats, then you'll need a machine with a display, like the Yosuda Indoor Cycling Stationary Bike. 

Best budget exercise bike

Yosuda Indoor Cycling Stationary Bike in a person's home

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)
Best cheap exercise bike

Specifications

Resistance: Friction
Display: Yes, performance monitor
Wheels: Yes
Size: 40 x 22 x 45 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Budget-friendly pricing
+
Stable during workouts
+
Comes with a spare resistance pad

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite large for casual users
-
No cadence measurements

Despite it's budget-friendly price, the Yosuda Indoor Cycling Stationary Bike comes with a display to help you keep tabs on your workout stats. It shows essential metrics like time, speed, distance, and calories. 

Of course, this doesn't come close to the amount of data you can track on a smart exercise bike like the Peloton Bike+, but it's a helpful way to track your progress for a fraction of the price. 

Like with the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Bike, there are no classes to join (unless you clip on the included smartphone mount and use a workout app or free YouTube session), but it's a durable beginner-friendly bike. 

When we first set up the bike, we were worried it would feel a bit unstable, but, fortunately, that wasn't the case. Instead, whether we went for speed or distance, the bike stayed firmly on the ground while in use. 

The friction system added enough resistance to make our workouts effective, but after a while, you'll want to upgrade to a machine that'll challenge your muscles a bit more. But for cardio-boosting workouts on a budget, it's a great choice. 

Best recumbent exercise bike

A woman using the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)
Best recumbent exercise bike

Specifications

Resistance: Friction
Display: Yes, performance monitor
Wheels: Yes
Size: 64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Seat adjusts via a slider
+
Easy to set up
+
Access to more detailed stats
+
Low-impact

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to other non-smart bikes
-
Can't stand up from the seat for spin classes
Recent updates

BowFlex, Schwinn's parent company, recently filed for bankruptcy. BowFlex makes a variety of home fitness equipment under the BowFlex and Schwinn brands, and it's not clear what will happen to the company in the long run. However, the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike doesn't rely on any of BowFlex's services, like the JRNY workout app, so it's still okay to invest in the bike, although we can't say for sure whether any warranties or repairs will be honored in the future. 

Recumbent exercise bikes, like the Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike, generally offer a lower-impact workout that's gentler on your joints than upright models (that's why they're generally regarded as the best exercise bike for seniors). 

But that doesn't mean that your exercise is less effective. Once you've got the bike adjusted to your preference, all you need to do is take a seat and get riding. Plus, you can set the friction-based resistance system to one of 25 levels. 

And it comes with a backlit display for tracking your workouts, and it's one of the few standard exercise bikes that has pre-set programs for you to follow and a Bluetooth connection to sync data to the Explore The World and MyFitnessPal apps. 

Of course, the recumbent position means that you can't stand up from the seat when you want to go harder, so it's less suited to high-intensity classes or workouts. However, we still found it an excellent way to exercise and work up a sweat.

Best smart exercise bike overall

Peloton Bike+ in a person's living room

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best smart exercise bike overall

Specifications

Resistance: Magnetic, 100 levels
Display: Yes, 23.8-inch touchscreen
Wheels: Yes
Size: 59 x 22 x 59 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Motivational classes
+
Access to the Peloton app
+
Large, immersive display
+
Easy to adjust resistance levels

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive bikes
-
Functionality relies on app subscription

The Peloton Bike+ is the upgraded version of the Peloton Bike, the connected exercise bike that popularized virtual spin classes. The Bike+ comes packed with Peloton tech, including a large touchscreen for you to interact with the Peloton app. 

While the premium bike plays a part, the experience relies heavily on the app's on-demand and live classes. It's an expensive option — the bike is $2,500 and you need to be a member for $44 a month — but it's popular for a reason. 

The Peloton instructors are famed for their high-energy classes, so if you're after a way to keep motivated to train regularly, the Bike+ is a good option. Aside from the software, the Bike+ actually feels like the kind of equipment you'd find in a studio. 

It also has an auto-resistance mode, where the magnetic resistance will automatically changed based on the instructor's recommendations, so you just have to keep pedaling rather than worry about fiddling with menus or buttons. 

The display is also where you'll find all of your workout stats, and you can view your training history to keep track of your progress. The Bike+ has a rotating display too, so you can swivel it and do mat-based workouts instead. 

It's a tech-heavy option, and an expensive one, but it's also one of the most versatile exercise bikes available right now. And Peloton has thought about the smaller details, like adding water bottle holders, USB-C charging ports, and Bluetooth.

Best budget smart exercise bike

Echelon Ex-3 Smart Connect Bike set up in a garage

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best budget smart exercise bike

Specifications

Resistance: Magnetic, 32 levels
Display: No
Wheels: Yes
Size: 59 x 23 x 53 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Quiet resistance system
+
Easy to assemble
+
Can use your own device as a display

Reasons to avoid

-
Resistance adjustment can be difficult
-
Seat isn't comfortable for long periods
-
Doesn't have a built-in display

If you're looking for a way to add some spin classes to your routine without breaking the bank, the Echelon EX-3 is a great choice. Like the Peloton Bike+, the EX-3 has a magnetic resistance system with 32 levels to choose from. 

The magnetic resistance is quiet, too, so you won't disturb others in your home or nearby neighbors. However, it doesn't come with a display, so you'll need to use your phone or tablet to access the Echelon app for on-demand and live classes. 

And, like with Peloton, the app requires an monthly subscription, which will set you back $39.99 per month. But you'll also get access to off-equipment workouts, like running, yoga, stretch, and Pilates sessions, and up to five user profiles. 

Given Peloton's status as the best smart exercise bike manufacturer, it's hard not to compare the Echelon EX-3. We found that the seat wasn't as comfortable, the resistance mechanism wasn't as smooth, and the lack of display is a let down. 

But these are small complaints. And it's important to remember that the Echelon EX-3 costs just a fraction of the Peloton Bike+ for a similar experience. During testing, we liked the range of classes, and the option to just use the bike for our own workouts.

Best value smart exercise bike

Side view of MYX II Exercise Bike in a living room

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best value smart bike

Specifications

Resistance: Friction
Display: Yes, 21.5-inch touchscreen
Wheels: Yes
Size: 54 x 21.6 x 46.8 inches

Reasons to buy

+
Immersive display
+
Personalized recommendations
+
More like an on-demand personal trainer

Reasons to avoid

-
Fewer classes than Peloton
-
Confusing subscription options
-
Needs monthly app subscription

After spending time with the MYX II Exercise Bike, we can confidently say that it's one of the best Peloton alternatives out there, and it doesn't cost as much either. There are fewer classes, but more personalized recommendations, so it's more like having an on-demand personal trainer. 

Just like with the other smart exercise bikes on our list, you'll need to buy the machine and take out an app membership to get the full experience. The BODi Membership costs $35 per month, which is line with Peloton and Echelon.

You can stream on-demand and live classes to the large, swiveling display, so you can do spin classes, cycle sessions, and off-equipment workouts. The bike also has a dual-use pedal, so you can exercise in sneakers or clippable exercise bike shoes

We were impressed with how adjustable the MYX II was, allowing several people to find the perfect, comfortable set up for their ride. The MYX II has a friction-based resistance system, so it's not as quiet or as adjustable as magnetic systems, but it was still very effective. 

How to choose the best exercise bike for you

Choosing an exercise bike for your home can be a challenge. After all, you first need to decide whether you want a standard friction-based bike or a smart one, and factor in the increased cost of a smart bike and the ongoing subscription. 

However, once you've made a decision between the two styles, there are other practicalities, like the physical size of the bike, whether it can be easily stored away between sessions, and if the bike can be adjusted for your height and posture. 

It's also worth thinking about the exercise bike's resistance mechanism. This will effect how much you can customize the intensity, and you can select from magnetic resistance, flywheels, and belt-driven bikes. 

Magnetic resistance generally has the largest range, usually covering 100 different levels, and is the most quiet, but bikes with these systems are often towards the higher price bracket too.

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.

Since we had the bikes to hand, we looked at how easy it was to use, move around the house, maintain, and, for the smart exercise bikes, the range of classes on offer.

Plus, we considered any extras like how many profiles you could set up, and useful accessories like phone mounts and water bottle holders. And on the smart machines, we looked at the ongoing subscription costs associated with the bike, and what you get for your money. 

Also tested

We regularly review exercise bikes, but not all of them will make the main roundup. Some come close, though. So, if you're after more options, these are the bikes we've tested that didn't quite make the cut. 

BowFlex VeloCore Bike

BowFlex VeloCore Bike
This premium machine is an excellent option for virtual spin classes, but as BowFlex recently filed for bankruptcy, it's not clear what the future holds for the JRNY workout app, which is an integral part of the experience on this bike. 

Read our full BowFlex VeloCore Bike review

Peloton Bike

Peloton Bike
The entry-level model of Peloton's exercise bike has a smaller screen, fewer speakers, and lacks the the automatic resistance of the Bike+. But for $1,000 less, it's a more affordable way to access the brand's motivational classes. 

Read our full Peloton Bike review

Flexispot Cycle Desk Bike V9 Pro

Flexispot Cycle Desk Bike V9 Pro
This exercise bike is not like the rest. It has a tray mounted where the handlebars usually sit so that you can work on a laptop, tablet, or pen and paper while you cycle. It's not intense exercise, but still a good way to keep active. 

Read our full Flexispot Cycle Desk Bike V9 Pro review

Wattbike Atom Next Generation

Wattbike Atom Next Generation
If Peloton's main selling point is its classes, the Wattbike Atom Next Generation's is that closely mimics the real-world cycling experience. The bike doesn't have a display, but syncs with cycling apps like Zwift, and has auto-adjusting magnetic resistance and elevation features. 

Read our full Wattbike Atom Next Generation review

FAQs

Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?


If your goal is to lose weight, then exercising at home can play an important role. However, it's worth keeping in mind that physical activity is only plays one part, as sleep, diet, and overall wellbeing also factor in. 

Investing in a machine like an exercise bike can be a great way to increase your activity levels throughout the day, particularly if you're tight on time. Standard bikes allow you to just jump on and work out, so are ideal for short sessions, like 30 minutes on an exercise bike, and extended periods. 

If you're more motivated by classes, then the best smart exercise bikes are also a good place to start. Once you're set up with access to on-demand workouts, these high-intensity classes can help you make exercise a regular part of your routine, which is a key part of losing weight using an exercise bike

Either way, cycling helps raise your heart rate, so you burn energy during your workout, and if you keep the intensity high to sustain your high heart rate, then it'll boost your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn throughout the day). 

If you're looking for an accessible entry point to exercise, then you may be comparing exercise bikes vs walking. Spin classes are more intense and will burn more energy, while walking is free and can be more easily built into your daily routine by walking to work or the store, so it'll come down to your preferences and goals.

Should you buy an exercise bike or turbo trainer?

If you're trying to decide between one of the best exercise bikes and best cycling indoor trainers, we're here to help. Unlike exercise bikes, which are essentially stationary indoor bikes, cycling indoor trainers are designed to help convert your regular push bike into home workout equipment. 

If you're tight on space, then an indoor cycling trainer (also known as a turbo trainer) may be the better option since you can disconnect the unit when not in use and store away. Of course, you also need an outdoor bike to begin with. 

But if you do already cycle or own a bike, then it's a more cost-effective choice, as turbo trainers are available for a fraction of the cost of many exercise bikes, especially smart bikes like the Peloton Bike.

Though for the extra money, you do get more features like a display virtual classes, and magnetic resistance systems. Plus, you can find feature-packed turbo trainers, like the $1,600 Wahoo KICKR Move, which is designed to mimic natural cycling movements and has Wi-Fi connectivity for smart features. 

Generally, the ideal set up will depend on how you like to train. Some low-cost turbo trainers can be a great way to make your existing road bike pull double-duty for indoor and outdoor exercise. Stationary bikes make a great addition to your home for low-impact movement, and smart bikes are perfect if you like motivational high-intensity virtual spin classes. 

What's the difference between a spin and stationary bike?

Spin bikes are designed for high-intensity exercise and spin classes. The handlebars are placed at a distance to encourage you to learn forward or ride out of the seat. Plus, the resistance mechanism (often friction-based or magnetic) increases the intensity to increase the challenge. 

Because of this, most smart bikes (those that connect to the internet for on-demand and live classes) are spin bikes, as this type of exercise lends itself well to instructor-led environments, where increasing the intensity can require additional motivation or guidance. 

However, you can find some standard or non-smart exercise bikes designed for spin classes, like our top bike, the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Bike. It has a similar spacing with the handlebars to get you to lean forward, but you'll need your phone and a workout app to take classes. 

Stationary bikes encourage you to sit comfortably upright and are designed for more leisurely cardio exercise. These are ideal if you're looking to add some movement to your day, or keep your legs moving while working from home or catching up on your favorite TV shows and movies. 

This style of bike is usually cheaper and is more likely to have a friction-based resistance system than a magnetic one, and you can adjust the resistance to specific levels using the workout metrics display. 

Is Peloton the best workout bike?

The Peloton Bike and Bike+ are some of the most popular (and famous) exercise bikes around, and they gained many new and passionate fans during the Covid-19 pandemic as people switched to home workouts. 

But whether the Peloton bikes are the best largely depends on how you like to exercise and your fitness goals. The equipment is easy to use, so there's no steep learning curve, and the classes are intense and fun. 

The classes, led by Peloton's famed instructors, are the main selling point. You'll need to take out a membership for $44 per month to access them, but then you get a library of on-demand workouts and several new live classes each day. 

While there's a lot of variety on offer, most sessions are high-intensity workouts, so you'd need to enjoy that style of exercise to make the best use of your Peloton bike and subscription. 

Of course, you can use the Just Ride feature on the Bike and Bike+ if you choose to cancel your membership, but then you can find much more affordable bikes, like the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Bike at a fraction of the cost if you don't need a display or classes.

Which is better: a treadmill or exercise bike?

Although the best treadmills and best exercise bikes are both cardio-focused equipment, it's hard to objectively say which is better, as it'll depend on what type of exercise you enjoy, your fitness goals, and some more practical considerations. 

For instance, exercise bikes generally have a smaller footprint than treadmills, so they're going to be a better option if you're tight on space. Then again, some treadmills can fold for storage. 

Plus, there are under desk treadmills. These don't reach running speeds, but are ideal if you want to add some movement into your day or get some steps while working at your desk. 

However, while some people enjoy treadmill workouts, you could get similar results from taking a run outside — that doesn't cost anything, and means you save space in your home, though you might need some running shoes

Meanwhile, exercise bikes can also help boost your cardio fitness at home. The alternative is outdoor cycling, but then you can't join high-intensity workout classes and you'd need gear like helmets, bike locks, and cycling apparel. 

And if you're a fan of group classes, smart spin bikes like the Peloton Bike mean you can join a session from the comfort of your home, making it easier to carve out the time for a workout. 

Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference and what you want to get out of your training. But it's important to choose equipment that you'll actually enjoy using if you want to make it a regular part of your routine and hit your fitness goals. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing. His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym. Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones. He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.

With contributions from