The best exercise bikes make staying fit at home easy as we enter a new year. If your local gym is still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, an indoor exercise bike could be the ticket to maintaining your fitness levels. It is an affordable, convenient piece when you're stocking up on the best home gym equipment. And the best exercise bikes provide a way to go cycling when you can’t be outside due to bad weather.
The best exercise bikes give you a heart-pumping cardio workout that burns calories — even while performing other tasks, like working from home, watching TV, playing video games, reading or even calling into a Zoom meeting. You can find an exercise bike to target your specific needs. For instance, if you have knee or back problems, a recumbent bike is a great option. Other bikes come with moving handles to tone your arms.
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Some exercise bikes are built to fold up and roll away for people who live in small spaces. Many have smart features that can connect to best fitness trackers. And of course, there’s an exercise bike for every budget, so you can cycle at home no matter your price point — whether you can afford an expensive machine or you’re looking for good value.
Here are our recommendations for the best exercise bikes for staying fit at home. And be sure to check out our picks for the best treadmills.
What are the best exercise bikes right now?
The best exercise bikes share some basic qualities. They should be well-made, durable and tough enough to withstand daily use. Our top overall choice is the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor bike, which boasts a sturdy steel frame and 49-pound weighted flywheel. The leather band resistance system allows cyclers to make micro-adjustments in tension, so it can feel like you’re on a real road.
The best folding exercise bike is the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike, which can hold up to 300-pound riders but also can fold to half its assembled size. It’s a great option if you don’t have much space at home. So is the XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike, which is our choice for the best exercise bike under $200. Its footprint is as small as 18 x 18 inches but is strong enough to hold up to 225 pounds.
If you can splurge, the Peloton is a high-end exercise bike that is very popular for its integrated Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen tablet that streams live and on-demand classes. Those classes, and the instructors who lead them, are a major selling point of the Peloton as is the library of other streaming content (like scenic rides). Peloton has introduced a new Bike+ model, so our recommended Peloton Bike is now cheaper.
For those who want a high-end bike but don't want Peloton-type subscription classes, the Wattbike Atom is the best smart exercise bike. It pairs, via Bluetooth, to Wattbike's free app or to a number of other apps including Zwift.
For a full-body workout, the Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike’s dual-action handlebars tone your arms while your lower body is cycling. For a lower-impact workout, the Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike is our recommendation for anyone who has back, hip or knee issues. The padded seat and back provide more support for your body, while lessening pressure on joints.
And if you have almost no room for a bike, the DeskCycle pedal exerciser allows you to cycle underneath a desk or table.
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.
Multiple Amazon reviewers raved that it was the best exercise bike and noted that they used it in place of a more-expensive Peloton. One reviewer, who purchased two bikes, wrote, “They are rock solid bikes, extremely easy to assemble (the people who wrote the assembly instructions should receive an award - they were so clear, accurate & thorough) and we just love them.”
Folding exercise bikes are great if you live in a small space and don’t have much room to store workout equipment. The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike not only folds to half its size, it’s sturdy enough to hold up to 300 pounds. The large cushioned seat can be adjusted for a height range of 5 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 1 inches. An LCD display indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed and more. Build-in pulse sensors in the handlebar monitor your target heart rate. And the eight levels of tension allow you to make your workout easier or harder.
“The cost of this machine, ease of setup, usage, and quality makes it my best purchase” of the year, one Amazon reviewer said. Another praised the machine’s small footprint, writing, “I love that this bike fits snugly against the wall when not in use without sacrificing comfort or sturdiness.”
The durable, steel-frame Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike is the best exercise bike for an effective total body workout. The dual-action arms target your upper body muscles, while the fan wheel creates resistance for your lower body as you pedal faster. The wheel also produces a flow of cool air to keep you comfortable as you sweat — and the reviews indicate this bike will get you sweating. There’s an adjustable padded seat and an LCD screen that tracks time, speed, distance and calories.
“There is nothing that will raise your heart rate like going 100% on this thing for 10-30 seconds,” said one Amazon reviewer who is a CrossFit coach. Another wrote, “The harder you pedal, the harder the work out (it can make you sweat!!), and you generate a lovely cool breeze that feels good while working out.”
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. Of course, you’ll need close to a couple thousands dollars, since Peloton’s Basic Package (including bike, home delivery and one-year warranty) starts at $1,895. You’ll also need shoes to clip into the pedals, which you can buy from Peloton or from a bike shop. That price is now lower ever since the company introduced the Peloton Bike+, which boasts a larger touchscreen, four-channel audio and front speakers in addition to rear.
The base-level Peloton Bike is still an excellent choice. It's extremely well-made and durable. And spinning enthusiasts can’t get enough of the live and on-demand classes or the competitive leaderboard. In a review of Peloton, The Verge writer Lauren Goode said, “Seeing that leaderboard somehow did make me pedal harder. And despite being alone in my living room, it effectively simulated a ‘real’ cycling class, for lack of a better description.”
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.
Read our full Wattbike Atom exercise bike review
If you’re on a tight budget, The XTerra Fitness FB150 is the best exercise bike under $200 and has the added benefit of taking up very little room. It folds to about 18x18 square inches of floor space and comes with wheels so you can easily move it around. The bike has a large seat designed for comfort and adjustable for height, eight levels of manual resistance, handlebars with heart rate grips and a small LCD window that displays speed, distance, time, calories and pulse.
One Amazon reviewer wrote, “It’s a solid compact machine, for those of us with limited space, and funds, and wants a low impact workout.” Another said, “It's compact, fits nicely in my small space and does fold up. The bike is pretty sturdy and you can definitely work up a sweat.”
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 Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike features a comfortable padded seat and back, as well as handles for extra support. The pedals have adjustable straps to ensure feet remain securely in place. The LCD display shows time, speed, distance, and calories burned.
“This probably isn't a bike for someone training to be in a triathlon, but for something to sit in front of a TV and burn some calories, which is all I really wanted,” said one Amazon reviewer. Another raved about how easy it was to assemble: “I'm a 72 year old woman and I was able to get it upstairs and put together by myself.”
With so many people staying at home these days, the Exerpeutic ExerWorK 1000 is a great way to work and work out at the same time. The recumbent bike comes with a 16x24 inch adjustable desktop to hold your laptop, tablet or notebook. You can burn calories while working, reading, watching TV or even attending a virtual meeting. And you can also use the Exerpeutic as a standing desk without cycling. The bike folds and can roll away, so you can store it in an out-of-the-way spot when not in use.
One Amazon reviewer noted, “At first my kids made fun of me, but now I catch my teens on it all the time working online or even just watching Netflix. One of them posted a video of me working on it, and after I got tagged and it got shared I've had at least three friends order the bike and they love it too.”
If you’re really short on space, an under-desk exercise bike may be the best way to burn some calories while staying at home. The DeskCycle earns its spot on our list of best exercise bikes by offering eight levels of resistance, a whisper-quiet operation and a smooth pedaling motion that lets you stay focused on other tasks. If you’re 5 feet 8 inches or shorter, it can be placed under a table as low as 27 inches (if you’re taller, the desk will need to be taller, too). The display screen shows more than 16 hours of activity, including speed, time, distance, calories burned. If you want an improved display and adjustable pedal height, upgrade to the DeskCycle 2.
One Amazon reviewer noted, “What's nice about this DeskCycle is I can use the sofa … The sofa also supports my back. There is like no impact to any joints!” Another wrote, “I have averaged about 50 miles per day and have lost 4 pounds in one week. Really well built and totally silent.”
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 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.
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