Exercise bikes on the market today combine high-tech components, easy-to-use controls and ways to keep cool as you go through your workout. Exercise bikes differ from regular bikes in that these machines remain stationary and don’t move while you pedal.
This may not create completely realistic bicycle-riding techniques, but the best exercise bikes give your legs, back and cardiovascular system a good workout. These machines should also last a long time due to top-notch construction and durable materials. You shouldn’t have to worry about your exercise bike breaking any time soon.
Before getting into our top five reviews for the best exercise bikes, here are some things to look for when it comes to these contraptions.
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You have several considerations when it comes to the best exercise bikes you can buy. Because spin classes are very popular at gyms, manufacturers go all-out to produce these workout machines in a competitive market.
More and more Americans try to get workouts at home, and the best exercise bikes are one way to do accomplish this feat.
There are two major types of exercise bikes. More traditional upright bikes are more like riding and pedaling a real bicycle. You keep your back upright, pedal with your feet and keep your hands on the handlebars. Depending on the location of the handlebars, you may lean forward a bit like a real bicycle.
Recumbent exercise bikes provide support for your back. This type of bike is particularly helpful if you have back issues or weak muscles in your back that make it painful to stay upright for long periods of time. Instead of sitting upright, your legs are out in front of you and you sit lower to the floor. Recumbent bikes are particularly helpful for people with mobility issues or for people who are heavier.
As with anything you purchase, you get what you pay for when it comes to exercise bikes. You could spend a couple of hundred dollars on lower-end models for your home. Higher-end machines may cost a few thousand dollars. No matter what budget you have, you can purchase a decent exercise bike at all pricing levels. The trick lies in finding the highest-quality bike for your budget.
Because the exercise equipment industry is so competitive, companies try to balance quality workmanship and warranties with pricing. Even low-end models are made well, so you can expect your machine to last a few years. The caveat is that you may not get as many extras with exercise bikes that cost less.
The best exercise bikes have a lot of technology associated with them. For example, some have computerized controls and wireless connectivity. These machines offer precision touches that alter the resistance of the pedals, monitor your speed and let you know how many calories you burn during a workout.
Connectivity with Bluetooth-enabled devices let you view wearable health trackers while you pedal. Health trackers can indicate when you reach your target heart rate for optimum results with your workout.
Some exercise bikes have a way for you to plug in your music player or at least hold your music player in place so you don’t have to wear it on your hip.
Your comfort level is important when you workout on an exercise bike. That’s where the seat comes into play. You want a seat that can adjust its height and a seat made of cushy materials at the same time. You should check to see if the seat adjusts straight up and down, but also one that tilts forward or backward.
You want your exercise bike to align properly where your arms fit comfortably on the handlebars with your elbows slightly bent as you sit upright. Your legs should also feel comfortable when you ride an exercise bike. The pedals should fit your feet comfortably.
Your legs shouldn’t have to stretch too far when the pedals reach the bottom, nor should your legs bend too much when the pedals reach their highest point. A fan is another comfort measure for you to consider. Some exercise bikes have large fans in place of front wheels. These fans keep air circulating during your workout so the room stays cooler.
Always check the exercise bike’s weight limit. This is true for any workout equipment that bears someone’s full weight. However, for exercise bikes it’s more than just about keeping the machine in its best working condition. If the bike isn’t rated for your weight, you could feel very uncomfortable and you could hurt yourself.
You never know what an exercise bike is like until you try it. You should get a feel for certain models at a local store before buying online. No matter how many videos you watch or instruction manuals you read, you won’t know which exercise bike is the best for you until you try it.
The seat adjusts along a diagonal track for your optimal comfort level. Lower settings mean your legs are more horizontal, while higher levels indicate your feet are lower than your hips. A sturdy lever with a handle remains locked in place once you adjust the seat.
The ideal seating arrangement lets you look at the LCD display panel while comfortably reaching the pedals towards the front.
Customers report this bike is easy to assemble. Many of the components that logically should already be in place are there, so you don’t have to perform extra steps during assembly. With the help of a buddy, you can put this recumbent bike together in 60 to 90 minutes.
All you need are a few tools, such as a screwdriver, and you can put this together on your own. The instructions are clear-cut and easy to follow.
Here’s a video explaining how to put this bike together once you get it out of the package:
The electronic systems work once you supply power to the unit. The heads-up LCD display has a blue background with white letters and numbers. The main numerals in the middle are easy to see from your relaxed position in the chair.
The main panel displays a “Goal Achieved” message when you meet or exceed your parameters for the workout, including heart rate, duration and distance traveled. You have a USB charging port of music players, fitness trackers and other devices.
This recumbent bike offers you 25 different resistance levels along with a flywheel that moves quietly. You don’t have to worry about loud noise if you need to get an early morning or late-night workout while others are asleep in your house.
The pedals have straps on them so you can keep your feet on the pedals at whatever speed you wish to move. This means you don’t have to worry about the extra strain needed to keep your feet moving forward. The straps help save your energy for the workout itself.
Thanks to Schwinn Connect, you can plug into the bike’s computer system and monitor your progress. There are 29 programs already in place for you to follow.
This bike comes with four user settings, which means you can switch between users instantly depending on who rides the bike. You have a goal tracker and a way to update your progress. The LCD screen displays 13 different modes of feedback.
Schwinn has a very good product for the price. This bike has several resistance levels for any type of workout. Any snafus with delivery or any faulty parts are handled by customer service.
Buyers should know that if the wheel breaks down, that is not covered by the warranty. You might consider taking out an extra protection plan for this machine as a way to protect your investment.
Exerpeutic may not be as well-known as other manufacturers, but this upright bike is a great basic model to start your fitness journey.
The wheel is small, but the magnets inside provide plenty of resistance for whatever type of workout you want.
The ergonomic handles and wide seat are a definite plus.
This bike may not have the high-tech features of other models, but customers love this bike for many reasons.
This upright exercise bike is built for comfort. The main parts are sturdy, but the wide seat keeps your legs in a position that makes it easier to pedal. The handles let you grip higher or lower, depending on your height.
This bike works for anyone from 5’3” to 6’1” tall and up to 300 pounds. The pedals have straps to keep your feet against the pedals at all times.
This bike folds up into a nearly vertical configuration when you need to store it out of the way and into a corner of your room. This means it also fits easily into a closet or garage. All you do is pivot the bike up or down and then lock it into place.
Rollers on the floor braces make this bike easy to move once you fold it up. All you do is lean it back and it rolls wherever you push it. Even unfolded, this bike doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Exerpeutic’s upright bike has a simple LCD display that shows the time, speed, distance traveled, heart rate and calories burned. Just push a button to scroll through your options. The display sits just below your frame of vision rather than out in front.
All you do is look down to monitor your progress. Hand pulse sensors track your heart rate during your workout.
The magnetic resistance has eight different levels. Just change the settings with the turn of a knob to simulate going uphill, downhill or straight ahead. The three-piece cranking system makes for steady pedaling no matter what setting best for you. The flywheel is somewhat quiet, and you get a consistent pedaling motion every time.
Assembly is extremely easy and it can be done in less than an hour with just one person. You don’t need any extra tools, and everything you need to assemble the bike comes in the packaging. There aren’t many parts to put together, either.
Take a look at this video to see how easy it is to assemble.
The Exerpeutic upright exercise bike is a great buy for someone on a budget and without a lot of room in the house. You get a good, basic workout for not a lot of money, and it’s very well constructed in terms of durability.
The parts assemble easily as one person can put this bike together in less than an hour. The seats and pedals are ergonomically designed for comfort. For the price, this bike can’t be beat.
Sunny Health’s pro indoor cycling bike gives you the feel of whipping through streets because you lean down with the handle bars as opposed to sitting completely upright.
If you have difficulties with your back, this bike may not be for you. However, your back, arms and shoulders get a decent workout because of the positioning.
This item is definitely built for heavy-duty workouts.
The flywheel itself weighs 40 pounds, which means the rest of the bike must have the best possible materials. A heavy-duty crank supports a smooth chain mechanism for an even feel when you pedal. You might think the heavy flywheel makes it hard to pedal, but that’s not the case. You can adjust the resistance.
All of the features of the flywheel combine to create a quiet workout so you can hear the TV and music without ear buds. The quiet operation also means you won’t wake the kids when they’re asleep.
You can listen for your pets, the front door or anything you leave to cook in the kitchen so you can safely multitask while you work out on this bike.
As with most bikes, you can change the resistance to whatever setting you need. Challenge yourself to an uphill climb or take it easy with the lightest setting.
The seat and handlebars adjust up or down depending on your height. The seat looks and feels like a standard bicycle seat, so you may not be able to spend a lot of time on this bike. The handles lay flat, so you can grab onto them with your hands or simply lean over and lay your forearms on them to give your hands a rest.
Customers report this bike is very sturdy and it doesn’t wear out. If there are any problems, Sunny Health can send you parts to make repairs. For the price, this bike is well worth it.
Here’s a video explaining how to assemble Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike:
This bike is a good mid-range exercise machine. You can lean down on the handlebars to give your back a more stringent workout, or you can sit upright and grab just the ends of the handlebars. It’s quiet and durable, so you don’t have to worry about the bike falling apart or waking the kids.
Diamondback Fitness has a wonderful exercise bike with the 910SR recumbent bike with an gorgeous electronic display and quiet magnetic flywheel.
This is one of the best exercise bikes you can buy for the money due to the comfort, support and technological wizardry that goes into this machine.
Like Schwinn, Diamondback also manufactures high-quality bicycles that you ride normally outdoors.
The entire bike, including the flywheel, is made from steel. The flywheel gives you a smooth and quiet ride without being very big. This award-winning exercise bicycle also wins points for comfort on top of its sturdiness.
The chair is curved so it fits your back better than standard recumbent bicycle chairs. The chair adjusts at a gradual angle for the best possible fit. The handles next to the chair also change position depending on what makes you the most comfortable. You don’t have to worry about being in pain from bad posture.
You get 35 workout programs with this recumbent bike, so get ready to tailor a workout just for you. You also have 32 different resistance levels, which means you can fine-tune this device to your specific needs. Pedal harder for more strenuous workouts, or pedal lighter for an easier time.
The bright blue LCD screen displays what program you want to use, calories burned, heart rate, speed and time elapsed.
On the panel right below the display, push buttons to alter the controls and the program. The speakers integrated into this area let you play music without needing earbuds.
Customers rave about the quiet ride from this bike on all resistance levels. The whisper operation means you can watch TV, listen to music or keep an ear out for your kids while you merrily pedal along. This machine has the best of everything for the price.
Diamondback’s 910SR recumbent bike is a good machine for the money. The small flywheel works on magnetism, so this bike has room for other features because the flywheel doesn’t take up a lot of space. Although this item doesn’t fold up to save space, it’s still a decent piece of equipment you can store off to one side of a room.
If the Exerpeutic exercise bike in this review is a basic machine that gets you from point A to point B, then the Expresso HD upright exercise bike is the Lamborghini of exercise bikes.
The only caveat is that the seat is super tiny even though it’s adjustable.
Everything else is pretty much a joy to use.
You get small television monitor with this exercise bike. The monitor displays custom virtual reality worlds that take you through various scenes, including a hillside area, pirate ships docked at seas and many, many others.
You can even run a virtual race against other bikers on the screen as part of the program. It’s almost like a videogame attached to an exercise bike.
You have 40 different virtual worlds from which to choose. One of them is a one-mile sprint course, while another is a grueling, 20-mile mountain climb. You get everything in between. The program connects to the flywheel to alter the resistance depending on the scenery.
The handles are right next to the screen, so you get a front-row seat to your screen. Adjust the handles to your comfort level. Combined with various resistance speeds, you get a good workout while not using a lot of extra energy.
The computer connects to the internet so you can store your previous races without needing extra memory. Download new courses if they come available. Find new racer profiles to race against. In each virtual world, you can choose to race against a pacer bike.
This pacer can be your previous best record mark, someone else’s best record mark or a computer-controlled virtual biker that can challenge you to achieve your goals.
If you can see past the price and the uncomfortable seat, this model is very worthy of its high-tech wizardry. Clearly, the designers want you to have fun while working out in your home. Many customers report better motivation to lose weight thanks to the virtual races that appear on the screen in similar fashion to a video game.
A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!