Last update January, 2018
Do you find it difficult to motivate yourself to exercise?
Perhaps you’re someone who finds working out way too tedious and looking for an easy way to burn some calories daily.
As it turns out, one of the easiest ways to burn some calories and build strength is on an at-home exercise bike. In this article, I will break down the best indoor exercise bikes on the market today to help you find the best home exercise bike to fit your needs.
Let’s get started.
Exercise Bikes at Home
A stationary exercise bike is a piece of exercise equipment, which simulates the action of riding an outdoor bike. Some benefits of exercising on an exercise bike include:
- Low impact workout that is easy on joints (knees, ankles, etc.)
- Great for burning calories, plus added cardio benefits
- Builds leg strength
- Finding a rhythmic pace helps burn fat
Besides the health benefits, think about the benefits of having an exercise bike at home. With a bike at home, you can:
- Save money and time that would’ve been spent on a gym membership and going to the gym
- Enjoy a leisurely activity while you do a workout: watch an episode of Law & Order, read that article you’ve been meaning to, listen to your favorite tunes, and even catch up with a friend via phone call
- Never use the weather as an excuse
Is the bike beginning to look appealing to you? Even better, there are different types of exercise bikes giving you a plethora of options to choose from to fit your personal needs.
Let’s take a look at the each type of indoor cycle on the market, and the pros and cons for each.
10 Best Exercise Bikes 2018 - Comparison
Different Types of Exercise Bikes
Think about what type of workout you’re trying to accomplish. Are you the type who likes to crank out 30 minutes of high-intensity pedaling in intervals?
Or are you more of a steady-eddy kind of person? Do you want to add an upper body workout to your ride, or do you prefer as low-impact of a workout as possible to ease some joint/back pain?
Don’t worry, all of this has been accounted for in this next section. To help you find the best type, I’ve weighed out the pros and cons of each for you.
Upright exercise bikes are structured similarly to road bikes. The seat is positioned high up in the middle of the bike, handlebars are at the front requiring you to bend forward slightly, and you pedal slightly forward and underneath yourself. Upright bikes give a more consistent workout to outdoor riding.
- Upper body & lower body workout (arms, abs, legs)
- Ability to stand up & pedal for more intense cardio workout
- Often are foldable for easy storage/space-saving
- May cause strain or damage to back after repeated use over time
- May not be suited for people with joint pain
- More unstable since seat is at high center of gravity
A solution for those with some back/joint problems is a recumbent bike. The seat is low to the ground usually with a backrest, and the pedals are out in front of you giving you the comfort to sit in your body’s natural alignment. Recumbent bikes are low-impact, meaning they don’t put too much unnecessary weight on your joints. At a lower center of gravity, it is generally a safer, more stable ride.
- Easier on the body (think longevity)
- Targets butt muscles
- Seat is larger and more comfortable
- May not be as intense of a workout as Upright bike
A spin bike is a brand of upright exercise bikes often used in spin classes, which have been gaining in popularity. A weighted flywheel simulates the feeling of a real road bike. Spin bikes offer many adjustments to the bike to make the riding experience perfect for your body.
- Well-made, upright exercise bike
- Fixed flywheel improves pedaling technique and cardio
- Similar workout to a road bike
- Simple bike, usually doesn’t offer a control panel
- Impact and positioning of the body on bike may cause pain/stress on body over time
Dual Action Bike
Is the leg workout not enough for you? You may like the dual-action bike, which adds a set of moving handlebars while you pedal. This gives you that extra cardio workout for both lower and upper body strength.
- Works shoulders, arms, abs, and back as well as legs
- Ability to lock handle in place if you want to focus on pedaling
- Burns more calories
Folding exercise bikes do what they suggest- they fold. These are great for saving space in your home while conveniently keeping exercise equipment close at hand. Most folding bikes are of the upright variety; you will not find many recumbent bikes that are fold-able.
Thought simply the type of the exercise bike was all you needed to consider? No way- let me share with you the different types of resistance offered and why they should matter to you.
Magnetic resistance bikes place two magnets on either side of the flywheel to increase or decrease resistance. Resistance levels can be adjusted either manually or digitally depending on the bike.
- Little to no maintenance, no wear and tear, quiet (if not completely silent)
- May need to stop workout to adjust manually if bike doesn’t offer digital adjustments
Similar to gears on a road bike, friction resistance bikes use felt wool pads that are connected to a knob. Increasing the tension level pushes the pad on the flywheel creating resistance.
- Very accurate, good for custom-fit workout, similar to road bike
- Wear and tear over time, will need to perform maintenance (lubrication, wheel replacement, wheel adjustment), not as quiet as magnetic resistance
An airflow resistance bike has a fan connected to the belt and pulley system of the bike’s wheel and pedals. So to add more resistance simply pedal faster.
- Good for beginners, least expensive option, nice breeze from the fan as you workout
- Few/no adjustments may max out the highest level of resistance by pedaling hard.
Popular Exercise Bike Brands 2018
Naturally, there are many fitness equipment brands that have been around a long time, and some have a niche in the exercise bike market. Below I walk you through the top seven exercise equipment manufacturers for exercise bikes. Many use sound research when it comes to creating products adept to the indoor cycling experience.
Paradigm Health and Wellness
Paradigm is a company located in Southern California. They specialize in the production of fitness equipment with a focus on longevity and holistic well-being. They sell through brands like Ironman, Exerpeutic, and Fitness Reality.
Paradigm is unique in the type of research it invests in. They focus on Infrared Heat Therapy and Inversion Therapy, both proven to show noticeable benefits to the user while exercising. They use this research to guide the creation of their exercise equipment.
Marcy Pro is owned by Impex, a fitness equipment manufacturer that creates equipment for a number of different fitness brands. Marcy is the nickname of Walter Marcyan, a strongman who loved bodybuilding. He opened a number of gyms and companies dedicated to designing fitness equipment.
Marcy is known for designing the first ever multi-station gym for home, as well as a number of other well-known patented designs of exercise equipment. Marcy was an innovator when it came to exercise equipment, and the company continues to live up to his vision of creating excellent home-use equipment for everyone.
Schwinn was founded by Ignaz Schwinn in 1895. Through a series of ups and downs consistent with the economy, the Schwinn brand is now one of the leading brands in both indoor and outdoor bicycle production.
They’ve gathered market research to create a series of indoor bikes with the indoor cycling class in mind. The Authentic Cycling series is complete with new bike console and advanced equipment engineering.
Schwinn has over 100 years under its belt perfecting their bikes’ qualities, features, and aesthetic. They consistently receive rave exercise bike reviews from customers and gyms. You can expect a Schwinn bike to be of top quality, and anything if not a smooth bicycle ride.
Founded in 1987, Stamina Products Inc. manufactures top-quality exercise equipment through a broad number of retailers. Their niche is in the TV infomercial market; they began by selling the American Gladiator Home Gym as the first ever exercise equipment sold on TV. Since then, they’ve produced a number of products sold through the TV set including the Body Dome and the AeroPilates Performer.
Stamina offers number upright and recumbent bikes of different varieties. Stamina boasts a pretty stellar customer service reputation amongst its consumers, so you can rest easy if you need a replacement part and need it fast.
Sunny Health & Fitness
A decade into the equipment manufacturing business, Sunny Health and Fitness prides itself on affordability. Sunny Health produces their products overseas, giving consumers the opportunity to purchase a quality product for a lower cost than other companies may offer.
The bikes made through this company are a cinch to assemble, giving you more freedom and time to actually ride the bike. Their bikes are known to be well made and affordable.
Keiser was founded by two brothers, Dennis and Randy Keiser, who both specialize in exercise equipment design. The Keiser company has been involved in over 80 research studies on exercise and its effect on aging.
Through rigorous research and tinkering, the brothers have patented a number of designs based on sound research results, their most notable being the first air-powered variable resistance exercise machines.
Keiser has a specialty in the indoor cycling market, producing exercise bikes that are of great quality and durability. They recently produced a series of top rated stationary bikes known as the M series. Its defining features include the eddy current magnetic resistance and aluminum flywheel, which offers infinite levels of resistance options.
Bladez Fitness is a multi-national fitness equipment company headquartered in Spain. They manufacture products to be sold through North America, Spain, Mexico, UK, Germany, Portugal, and Asia. Their best indoor cycles have been made to replicate the outdoor cycling experience.
Top 10 Exercise Bikes for Home Reviews
The best indoor bike has stability, adjustability, user-friendly features, space-saving capabilities, durability, and an affordable price tag. Making an investment in the exercise bike that will last you for years and years to come is not a decision to be made lightly.
Luckily, I did all the hard work for you, so all you need to focus on are the features that would fit best for you. Consumers everywhere have spoken and chosen the top rated exercise bikes for home use based on the features I’ve described above.
The following have made the cut. Let’s see who’ll make the cut for you.
Upright Exercise Bikes
This indoor exercise bike has a number of features that make it a great value for its price. It is constructed with heavy-duty steel tubes, which makes this a sturdy ride, even at higher intensities. There are up to 8 resistance levels giving everyone from a novice to experienced rider the chance to challenge themselves.
This bike comes with a simple LCD display and magnetic resistance technology. One of the greatest features of this bike is its compactness and maneuverability. Fold it up to half its size and roll it over into the closet when you're finished.
Overall, this bike is great for the beginner just getting started, or someone who bikes regularly to lose or maintain their weight. If you’re looking for a simple exercise bike that is well made and durable for an affordable price, this may be the one for you.
Marcy, the master of design, did a great job of creating a bike that is simple, durable, and affordable with the beginner in mind. This foldable upright bike has a classic X-frame design made with 14-gauge steel. Also, at only 39 pounds you can easily transport it from room to storage-space.
The simple LCD console displays your speed, distance, time elapsed, and calories burned. This bike comes with all of the adjustability features you could want as well: 8 levels of magnetic resistance marked for you on the tension knob, 5 height adjustment levels, as well as adjustable foot straps.
Although the seat is foam-layered, it may become uncomfortable to sit on after long periods of time. Buying a gel-liner or seat cover can easily remedy this problem.
With the affordability of this bike, you lose some durability and special features (like heart rate monitor). Some users may even max out the highest resistance level. More experienced riders may want to look elsewhere for a bike.
For an affordable price, you can expect to have a simple, fairly well-made bike with just enough features to make for an enjoyable, calorie-burning workout. This lightweight, compact bike can be adjusted to fit your body, and shows you your progress while you workout.
This is probably the best indoor cycling bike for an efficiency nut like me. This multi-purpose bike, which doubles as a desk, is probably the most efficient way to stay productive while also getting a moderate workout. The FitDesk is an upright bike that has a non-slip desk (16’ x 19’) attached to the front where users can place their laptop, book, or tablet for easy use.
Just because you’re getting a desk bike doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the workout. The FitDesk has resistance bands when you want to add an upper body exercise to your routine as well as a simple meter, which tracks those important numbers (calories, distance, etc.).
There is a regular bike seat as well as added backrest, both adjustable, making this a cross between a recumbent and an upright bike. Most importantly, it makes it comfortable to get your work and workout done. There are even massage rollers for your forearms where you may be typing, and a small drawer to keep your much-needed office supplies.
The only real problem you may run into with this equipment is the monitor. It is placed at the top of the desk pad therefore if using a laptop; you’ll have to lower it to be able to see your readings. It should also be noted that the monitor is not always the most accurate at producing consistent readings.
Amazingly, the FitDesk could transform your workout space to your office space (or vice versa). In addition, for cheaper than a treadmill desk, you may find you have more time and money on your hands, which is always a good thing.
Enter the joint & back friendly recumbent bikes! Exerpeutic designed one of the best rated exercise bikes. It boasts a precision-balanced flywheel with 8 manually adjustable levels of magnetic resistance, large seat cushion and backrest, and the same 3-piece high torque cranking system, so you don’t have to worry about any stalls in your pedaling.
My favorite feature of this bike is its storage capability. It folds up to half its size and even has transportation wheels to move it easily from one place to another. The folding feature is often not offered on recumbent bikes, and that’s why this bike is one of the best indoor bikes you could buy of the recumbent variety.
We like recumbent bikes for the low-impact workout, which should be easy on the body. However, this is a semi-recumbent bike, so the seat is not placed as far back as it could be. This gives added impact to your joints; No, not as much as an upright bike, but a little more than a standard recumbent bike would.
This Exerpeutic also has a LCD console. Without being able to configure your height, weight, and age, the computer can only give you estimates as to your workout data.
This semi-recumbent bike has great adjustability features (for heights between 5’2 and 6’2) and has proven to be a steady and durable ride. You could even place a tray table over your lap to make this bike a workstation.
With its value and versatility, you may find that this bike gives you exactly what you need.
Marcy gives us the Recumbent Exercise Bike with all of those standard features that we look for. It offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance, a well-made frame, and a comfortable seat and backrest.
One of the best features of this bike is the easy step-in design. This is a great feature for those of us who may have trouble climbing over and onto a bike. Marcy created a bike that you basically can just slide right in- great for grandma and grandpa!
I also like that this is built with a heavier rider in mind: It can carry up to 300 lbs. of weight and gives 21 ½” inches of space between armrests. As another advantage, this bike takes less than an hour to assemble, and all of the required tools for assembly are included when you buy the equipment.
This bike does not have the folding capability, but it does have transportation rollers so that you can roll it away elsewhere if necessary. The rolling capability is slightly awkward, and at 66 lbs., some users may find it difficult to transport.
This piece of equipment will probably last a long time before needing any maintenance or replacement parts. Set up the perfect, convenient corner of your home to keep this bike, and prepare to spend some leisurely time pedaling away.
Looking for a bike a bit sturdier than the rest? Exerpeutic designed this well-built, budget exercise bike with the ability to hold up to 325 lbs. of weight.
I like that Exerpeutic made this bike with the bigger exerciser in mind, but they also accounted for shorter people as well. The bike can fit people as short at 5 ft. and as tall as 6’3", making this bike the most versatile in adjustability so far in this list.
The bike has a very comfortable seat with an extra wide back cushion, and that awesome step-in design I was raving about above. The pedals are also larger, so it would be hard to find anyone who would not be able to fit this bike.
If you plan to share this bike with family members, roommates, or partners in your home, be aware that adjusting the bike seems to be a bit of a hassle. You have to unscrew and re-screw three different stabilizers on the bike to fully adjust the seat how you would like. For those who find that too much of a hassle, this may be a bike for those who will only be using the bike for themselves.
Overall, this Exerpeutic Recumbent bike is an affordable, heavy-duty piece of equipment, which fits all body sizes and shapes. Along with its versatility, this budget-bike also has a heart rate monitor, which is another advantage.
Now, for the ever-popular spin bikes, we start with Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike. It has infinite levels of resistance, a comfortable and stylish red & silver design, and a durable frame built with steel.
Some of my favorite features of this bike include how quickly it is assembled out of the box (20-30 minutes max) and its affordability as a basic spinning bike. The best feature, in my opinion, is the 40 lb. flywheel, which adds more effectiveness of the workout
The one feature that is blatantly missing from this spin bike is a console to show you your workout data to keep you motivated as you ride. Many people may buy a separate console or even download an app that can track your readings through your phone or tablet.
The Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is also missing the quiet factor that we love from our magnetic resistance bikes. This bike is friction resistant, so at higher speeds, you may begin to notice a slight whisper noise from the flywheel. In all honesty, I don’t think it’s loud enough to be a deal-breaker.
If you’re looking for one of the best stationary bikes on the market, this design by Sunny Health and Fitness could be an excellent choice. What it loses in bells and whistles, it wins in design and workout value.
Bladez Fitness’ Echelon GS Indoor Cycle wins where the Sunny Health and Fitness model loses. That is, in adjustability and monitoring.
This indoor exercise bike is adjustable in all of the ways you could need. Both the seat and handlebars are adjustable vertically as well as horizontally, making this a bike that can fit almost anyone. Not only that, but also this bike boasts both regular grip handlebars, as well as aero bars in the middle for leaning forward.
Make sure to keep a cleaner and towel handy after you’re done breaking a sweat on this bike. There is no guard over the flywheel or resistance, so consistent cleaning will keep the steel from corroding.
Although there is an LCD monitor, it has been known to not be the most reliable piece of technology. Consider using it as a comparison chart from one workout to the next.
This bike is a great buy if you’re looking for adjustability features. So unlike the Exerpeutic 900XL, this would be great equipment to have in a home in which everyone will be using it. It is a high-quality bike that is sturdy and can handle any rider from beginner to advanced cycler.
For a little extra dough, you’re virtually guaranteed a valuable piece of equipment. The BodyCraft SPX Club Indoor Cycling Bike is just that. This bike is made with the best quality materials and impeccable engineering.
The flywheel is a whopping 46 lbs. and turns on BodyCraft’s SKF sealed bearing, which makes for a natural riding motion. It is a hardy, well-balanced piece of equipment great for taller men and women looking for an intense workout.
The seat and handlebars adjust both vertically and horizontally to fit any rider. The seat itself is known to be more comfortable than other exercise bikes. The manual resistance, though unmarked, is continuous and incremental.
With the price and quality of this bike, you also get a fantastic lifetime warranty on the frame, and a 5-year warranty on the parts. The customer service of this company is exceptional as well, with very helpful and responsive representatives.
The only thing missing from this bike is a console to show those readings we would like to see, but BodyCraft recommends one that you can buy separately.
This is a bike that will no-doubt last you a lifetime. This is an example of an investment worth making. The higher price tag means quality service and equipment. This BodyCraft bike may be the best stationary exercise bike for you.
Last but not least, we have a Dual Motion Recumbent Bike from Velocity for riders who want that added oomph to their ride- an upper body workout. This bike is not only a recumbent; it also has rotating handles with adjustable tension so that you can work out your arms, shoulders, and back.
This bike is made with steel tubes and holds up to 250 lbs. of weight. The seat is adjustable both vertically and horizontally to fit any rider and is made with the awesome walk-through design making for easy entry and exit.
I love that you can use the handlebar rotators the same time as you pedal the bike. If you’ve ever wanted to get a full-body workout while sitting down in a comfortable seat with backrest, look no further.
Although the seat is large and backrest is included, it may not be the most comfortable seat. Again, as mentioned before, this can be easily remedied by purchasing a gel liner/seat cover for comfort.
The LCD console is also not backlit, so riding this bike in the dark may prove difficult if you’d like to see your workout data.
If you want to burn some extra calories and target your upper body, this dual-action bike could be a good investment. Working those arms as well as legs can make you a more well-rounded, well-strengthened person.
Exercise Bike Buying Guide
Exercise bikes are one of the most popular pieces of home fitness equipment for burning calories and improving cardiovascular endurance, all while reducing the impact on the knees and ankles.
An at-home exercise bike lets you cycle any time of day, and during any season of the year, so they’re great if you have a busy schedule and can’t find the time to hit the gym. If you’re considering getting your own exercise bike, here the most important factors to consider before you choose a specific model.
Factors to Consider Before Buying an Exercise Bike
There are several different models of exercise bike models on the market today, so it’s important to make an informed decision when you’re ready to make your purchase. Factors to consider include price, whether or not there’s a warranty, the quality of customer service, the bike’s efficiency and more. To ensure that you buy a good exercise bike that suits your needs, you should consider these important factors:
A good exercise bike should come equipped with certain must-have features, such as a comfortable seat, multiple resistance levels and a display console.
- Your home exercise goals
Regardless of the unit’s price and features, first and foremost, the right exercise bike for you is one that is designed to meet your personal fitness goals.
Exercise bike range from $100-$900, on average. But bear in mind that a more expensive model isn’t necessarily superior to a cheaper one.
A minimum of a 1- year warranty is a great start. This is a particularly important factor, in case the bike needs repairs or technical support.
Some exercise bikes also offer optional accessories, such as a heart rate monitor that keeps tracks of your target heart rate zone, an LCD display to keep track of your speed, time, calories burned and distance travelled, a water bottle holder, and a built-in fan to provide both air resistance and help you cool off.
Reasons to Choose an Exercise Bike
Some of the many reasons to opt for an exercise bike include:
- It saves you money
Rather than paying a high membership fee to a gym or health club, having a good exercise bike at home can save you a lot of money in the long run. It also saves you the energy, effort and inconvenience of having to get yourself to the gym.
- Ease and convenience
Exercise bikes are easy to use, comfortable and safe, all while providing a high-intensity cardio workout.
How Advanced do You Need Your Exercise Bike to Be?
It’s important to first set realistic fitness goals. Then you can determine what type of exercise bike you need so that you can make full use of its potential. You don’t necessarily need the most high-tech or expensive exercise bike — just one that matches with your exercise goals and abilities.
Check the Weight Limit and the Weight of the Bike
Heavier exercise bikes must come with transport wheels so you can conveniently move it from one place to another. But don’t just look at the weight of the bike itself — you also need to make sure that you don’t weigh more than the bike does. Stability is important when buying an exercise bike to keep you safe and prevent any accidents.
Some bikes are louder than others due to an air resistance feature — the harder you pedal, the stronger the breeze you generate, thus producing a louder sound. While this isn’t an issue for most people, you might want to take it into consideration if you like to watch TV or listen to music while you work out.
Cover Hardware for Safety
To avoid any injuries, especially if the exercise bike is accessible to kids, it’s important to ensure that the bike’s hardware, such as the flywheel and chain, are covered.
Where Are You Going to Keep It?
When buying an exercise bike, it’s important to think about where you’re to keep it. Most exercise bikes consume quite a bit of space, but some models are foldable and can be stored in a small space when not in use. Determine what space in your home will be dedicated to the bike so as to ensure the model you’re interested in will fit.
What’s the Exercise Bike for You?
After running through this list of factors, features and considerations, you should be in a better position to make a decision as to what kind of exercise bike you’d like to purchase.
First of all, you should choose an exercise bike that falls within your budget. It should also match your workout goals, and be a suitable size for where you’ll be using it at home, so that you don’t end up working out in a cramped, uncomfortable space.
Finally, you should also consider the weight limit the bike supports, and the weight of the bike itself. The user’s weight should not exceed that of the bike, or you could end up putting yourself and others in danger. Stability is the one of the most important factors when it comes to buying an exercise bike buying. Safety comes first before anything else.
Have you found the best stationary bike for you? Maybe you’re torn between two or three great choices, but I encourage you to go with your gut. All of the bikes in this list are great choices. You should feel confident that whichever one you go with, it would allow you the best and most comfortable workout regimen possible.
A stationary bike review is not complete without a reminder that losing and maintaining weight can be easy when you have a comfortable, well-made bike in your home.
Any more hesitation you had about purchasing your own bike - too expensive, too hard to assemble, not comfortable enough - are no longer valid excuses.
Do yourself a favor: Go get yourself a bike.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com