Exercise bikes that help you stay active

Fitness is a year-round goal.

two people on stationary bikes
Ride at home.Depositphotos

Cycling isn’t a weight-bearing activity, so it shouldn’t be your only form of exercise. At the same time, using a stationary bike at home is a great way to burn calories when you can’t get to the gym, or as part of an injury recovery plan with your physical therapist. Buy one of our top picks for yourself because you want to avoid bad weather, traffic, and other people while you ride. Buy it for other people only if you’ve asked them first, and they’ve said “yes”!

Xterra Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
Compact and no frills.Amazon

This neat and simple stationary bike folds up to a footprint of about 1.5 feet wide and 4.25 feet high, so you can store it in your closet for seasonal use or roll it away when your in-laws come to visit. Resistance settings are limited and require you to manually turn a dial to choose between eight levels, but if owning this bike allows you to work out on days you’d normally skip, that’s a win. Settle onto the cushioned seat and track your progress on the small LCD console, from speed to pulse rate.

Nautilus U614 Upright Bike
Features to help you stay motivated.Amazon

Some days you want to listen to music while you watch the clock on your console screen run down. On other days you want to pull up YouTube workouts on your tablet, and let someone else yell, “You’ve got this!” With this sturdy upright stationary bike you can do both. Set and track your goals, choose from nearly two dozen workout programs and 20 levels of resistance, and crank your playlist through the speakers by connecting your phone to the USB port. If you want to pedal away from data points and goals, take advantage of the built-in shelf to watch videos on your tablet or dig into a mystery novel.

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance
Support where you need it.Amazon

If your knees and back require some extra TLC, a recumbent bike can be a welcome solution. This bike’s padded seat and foam-covered handles help ease your journey from here to here. The durable powder-coated steel frame is designed to make it easier to get on and off the bike, and counter-balanced pedals with foot straps give you more control over your movement. Turn a knob to dial in eight levels of resistance, and observe speed, distance, time elapsed, and calories burned on a small LCD screen above the front handlebars.

Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike
Bring the gym to you.Amazon

People who love the freedom to work out on gym-quality equipment at home and want to take it easy on their knees and back will find this Schwinn a powerful and quiet workhorse. It’s no surprise that this model has strikingly similar features to the Nautilus U614, from 29 workout presets to console speakers and goal tracking—Nautilus owns Schwinn. If you’re sharing the machine with a housemate or spouse, the seat can quickly be adjusted with a lever. Air holes in the seat offer ventilation as you sweat it out.