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Published Oct. 10, 2021

Exercise bikes provide a great in-home option for low impact, high intensity workouts. Maybe you need something to help you condition for your bike club, or maybe you just aren’t comfortable going to a crowded, indoor spin class. Whatever your reason for wanting to purchase an exercise bike, we are fully supportive of this endeavor.

Studies show that indoor cycling can “improve aerobic capacity, blood pressure, lipid profile, and body composition,” and is a great option for those who require a lower impact exercise than treadmill or elliptical use.

The problem is: there are so many options to choose from. Some are super frilly and expensive, like the wildly popular Peloton, and others offer a more basic but still highly effective experience at a much more wallet-friendly price point. With so many questions and endless models, we know the shopping experience can be overwhelming. Here’s everything you need to know about the best exercise bikes to buy right now.

How we picked these products

Methodology

In order to assist you on your exercise bike journey, we looked at a few key features to help you make an informed decision. We selected both recumbent and upright bikes, in order to meet the different needs of our readers. In both models, we wanted to ensure a smooth, kink-free, and safe ride that included a high quality belt system. 

Because we know many people would be purchasing an exercise bike for home use, we also wanted to select bikes that would be able to track fitness data to store your progress. We opted for bikes that provided varied resistance to suit any workout needs, as well as adjustability to cater toward a variety of heights and weights. One of the most important factors in selecting an exercise bike, though, is ensuring that it is super durable and sturdy, since you’ll be spinning at a fast pace.

The best exercise bikes: reviews and recommendations

Best overall: Schwinn Upright Bike 170 Series

Schwinn

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Why it made the cut: This all-around winner comes shock full of workouts at an affordable price. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 41.3 x 21.4 x 55.6 inches
  • Weight: 58.4 Pounds
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds

Pros: 

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 50+ global routes
  • Fully loaded console with 29 workout programs
  • Padded, larger, contoured seat 
  • Well made and durable

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Handle rests are not padded

With such a high quality product at a very fair price point, the Schwinn brand made our list yet again for their upright bike series. The seat on this bike is comfortable, it runs quiet, the 170 model features a backlit LCD screen (this was a major complaint with the 130 model), and the programs and routes are endless. It’s a major bang for your buck.

There’s a USB port to plug in your phone or tablet, it’s a sturdy, durable machine, and safe for those in physical therapy. (While recumbent bikes get all the glory for PT, upright bikes may be best for those in physical therapy from hip surgeries, where the body must remain upright). This connectivity opens up the opportunity to participate in subscription workout programs and even real-time rides.

The main complaint here appears to be that the handle rests are not padded, and an annoying setting that beeps every minute you are riding. Page 30 of the manual explains how to turn that sound setting off, if it disturbs you. A good pair of gloves can help ease the strain on your hands if the lack of padding is an issue.

Best value: Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse

Exerpeutic

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Why we picked it: If you only need a basic workout and you’re not trying to crank away on the pedals, this cheap ride will suit you just fine and leave lots of budget for padded shorts.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 41.34 x 20.08 x 44.49 inches
  • Weight: 39 pounds
  • Max User Weight: 300 lbs

Pros: 

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Foldable design
  • Good for beginners
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Advertised as upright, but is more of a hybrid
  • Uncomfortable seat

At only 39 pounds with a foldable design, this exercise bike is one of the lightest and most budget-friendly designs on the market. This bike is a great starter bike for those looking to get into cycling. Note that while this bike is advertised as an upright bike, the structure of the bike functions more as a hybrid. 

Even at such a low price point, you still get some bells and whistles, like basic workout tracking that stores your workouts and progress, and access to the trainer-led subscription service. 

A few notes for consideration: the seat is not the most comfortable compared to more expensive models; we suggest adding foam to the back of the seat to contour it for a more comfortable seated experience. Also, because it’s so lightweight, it’s very handy for taking in and out of storage. But because it is so light, we wouldn’t recommend doing high intensity sprints on this model.

Best for seniors: JEEKEE Recumbent Exercise Bike for Adults Seniors

Jeekee

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Why we picked it: A spacious, ergonomic, and lightweight design that’s intended for senior users or those in physical therapy, at a very fair price point.

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 19.3  x 53.5  x 39 inches
  • Product weight: 66 pounds
  • Max User weight: 300 pounds

Pros:

  • Advanced two-way external magnetic flywheel technology 
  • Quiet; produces only 20DB of sound
  • Budget-friendly
  • 9-way seat to fit user height from 4’9 to 6’5
  • Ergonomic design

Cons:

  • Seat could be sturdier
  • Seat could use additional padding for more comfort
  • No Bluetooth connectivity 

Perfect for physical therapy, rehabilitation, or for seniors who need more delicate care, this recumbent bike is lightweight, smooth, and offers an ergonomic design easing pressure off the spine. Recumbent bikes are known to be better for those with back and joint pain, and offer a larger seat than upright bikes, which may be more comfortable to use for older bikers. 

The JEEKEE bike features eight gear resistance levels, which is easy to adjust with just a flick of the knob. At only 66 lbs with two wheels in front any user can easily move it around. The low frame and spacious design also make it easy to get on and off for those who are injured or need more range of motion. Some users say the seat could be more comfortable and sturdier, so we suggest placing a small pillow or cushion on the seat if you find you need the extra support.

You can easily track your progress on the LCD screen, and note that it will also count miles biking backwards if your physical therapy requires alternative movement. All of this comes at a super budget-friendly price point!

Best recumbent: Schwinn Recumbent Bike 270 Series

Schwinn

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Why it made the cut: Despite its laid back riding position, this full-featured ride offers a full suite of features that includes everything you need for very challenging workouts

Specs:

  • Dimensions: 64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches
  • Weight: 86.6 pounds
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds

Pros: 

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 29 program settings
  • 25 resistance levels; very smooth operation
  • High speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel
  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • Speakers and fan could be better quality
  • Seat made from plastic, which some users may not enjoy
  • Unreliable heart rate monitor

As far as recumbent bikes go, the Schwinn Series offers one smooth, joint-friendly ride. The 270 model offers the most frills, like up to 4 profiles if you plan to share this bike with family or roommates (the 230 model only allows 2 profiles to be saved, for comparison).

The 270 model features: Bluetooth connectivity, ability to sync with downloadable apps and virtual ridealong experiences, 29 programs (12 profile, 9 heart rate control, 4 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 quick start), 25 resistance levels, two LCD monitors, a media shelf, speakers, and a fan to keep you cool.

The flywheel resistance is magnetic, meaning it’s especially rigorous on mountains and hills, which you can pre-program for “rides in the park” or “rolling hills,” for example. 

The magnetic resistance also makes it exceptionally quiet, especially compared to anything with a belt or fan, so we definitely recommend it for apartment use. However, some reviewers have found the heart rate monitor is flaky, at best, and the calorie counter isn’t the most reliable. We suggest opting for a separate fitness watch if you want to keep a more detailed account of your progress.

Best for home: CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike

Chaoke

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Why it made the cut: A heavy fly wheel and magnetic resistance pair with a belt drive system to give this full-featured bike plenty of resistance options and tweakability.

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 41.34 x 20.08 x 44.49 inches
  • Weight: 72 pounds
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds

Pros: 

  • Whisper quiet
  • Heavy flywheel
  • Rust-resistant
  • Good for all levels
  • Budget-friendly

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Seat could be more comfortable 

This indoor bike has magnetic resistance and a belt-driven system, offering the quietest biking experience for apartment dwellers or those with sensitive neighbors. Even at spinning speed, it stays super quiet so you won’t announce to everyone in the house that you’re working out. It’s also good if you like to watch content on your TV or smartphone while you exercise.

The heavier flywheel and rust-resistant steel frame is durable, high quality, stable, and sturdy for a consistently comfortable riding experience. Adjust the resistance with a handy knob, and note that you’ll have to push down on the knob to stop the bike when it’s in motion. It also comes with transportation wheels to easily move it around or out of sight when not in use, and a 2-way (up/down) adjustable handlebar. 

Assembly seems to be the biggest complaint with this bike; the instructions may be somewhat confusing and the pedals screwing into the bike need to be handled just right, which can be a pain if you’re not particularly handy. We recommend using a bit of oil on the pedal thread when assembling your bike.

Things to consider when buying an exercise bike

There are three main types of exercise bikes. Knowing which type fits your needs best will give you a solid place to start looking for your perfect model.

Upright: Upright bikes are the closest relative to traditional outdoor bicycles. In terms of alignment, bikers are seated upright with the pedals directly under the person’s feet, causing the user to engage their core more than on other types of exercise bikes. This is not the most suitable option for those in physical therapy or have spinal issues.

Recumbent. Recumbent bikes allow the biker to sit back comfortably in a chair position, with the pedals in front of them, rather than below. Studies show that recumbent bikes may be better for seniors or those in physical therapy, have lower back or knee pain, or are recovering from injuries.


Indoor Cycling. Indoor cycles are most like the bikes used in your local spin class. They are similar to upright bikes, but are designed with the body positioning reaching slightly more forward. This can result in a more intense and muscle-activating workout. They do not require electricity to be used, which may be more suitable for certain users.

FAQs

Q: Which bike is best for home exercise?

The best bike for home exercise is the one that you’ll actually use.  Look for an exercise bike that aligns with your fitness goals and fits in your space. If it takes up too much room or you’re just really uncomfortable riding it, you’ll never get the results you’re looking for.

Q: What is the best exercise bike to lose weight?

You should consult your doctor before deciding you need exercise as part of a routine to lose weight. Too many people buy exercise equipment thinking they need to lose weight for the wrong reasons. If cleared by a doctor, however, an exercise bike can be a good option. Increasing your workout intensity and duration can spur weight loss. If you’re looking to lose weight, consider an exercise bike that comes with lots of options for different workouts, the option to ramp up resistance, and an app to track your progress.

Q: What is the best exercise bike for seniors?

The best exercise bike for seniors lets you get a good workout in while lessening impact on the body. 70 is the new 60, and the Schwinn recumbent bike lets you choose from 29 workouts while going easy on your back and joints.

Final thoughts

Exercise bikes are an excellent low impact workout for all levels, body types, and fitness goals. If you’re in physical therapy or rehab, looking to invest in a piece of exercise equipment that can ease off tension from your joints, or simply want great cardiovascular training at your disposal, exercise bikes are a worthwhile investment.

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