The 10 Best Exercise Bikes
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in May of 2015. What if we said you can get into shape and stay fit within the comfort of your own home, while saving yourself the cost and inconvenience of trips to the gym? These exercise bikes, which are designed in a variety of styles for any budget, will allow you to maintain a workout routine while watching your favorite TV show, movie or sporting event. Some even provide upper body engagement, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 11, 2020:
A common issue with the Schwinn 170: after using it for a certain period of time, users often find that they are unable to adjust the resistance level, which in some ways defeats the purpose of the bike. We removed this item. We also eliminated the Sole Fitness SB700 and Merax Trainer due to quality and durability issues.
Among the remaining items: the FitDesk 3.0 is not a great choice for those who are relatively short; as a general rule, if you’re 5 foot 2 or smaller, you should probably consider another option. We also note that the Stamina Elite has a weight capacity of 250 pounds — for those who weigh less than that, it’s a reliable recumbent model.
We added three new items, beginning with the Yosuda L-001A, which is quite durable and sturdy, yet easy to move around the house if need be. It comes with an extra brake pad in case the original wears out. We included the Xterra Fitness FB150, one of the more portable options you’ll find, as a high-quality folding model for those with limited space. The Joroto X2, on the other hand, offers a heavy-duty frame (with a 280-pound weight capacity), tons of adjustability, and one year of free replacement parts.
May 24, 2019:
Staying in shape is a challenge for most people, and the last thing anyone needs is one more excuse to skip a workout. Having an exercise bike in your home makes it easier to just hop on and go for a quick ride, without the hassle of driving to the gym. It will also save you that monthly membership fee. Because many people may exercise when other people are home, we wanted to include a model that allows them to workout at full intensity, without making enough noise to wake the dead, which is what the Keiser M3i offers. It is nearly silent no matter how hard or fast you pedal. Ellipticals took the world by storm when they first appeared on the market because of their ability to provide a low-impact, total-body workout. Well, if you are more comfortable on a bike, don't worry. You don't have to forego that experience. The Assault AirBike Elite and Stamina Elite both provide upper body engagement. Of course, even with an exercise bike in the home, not everybody has a hour to spare for cycling, which is why we included the FitDesk 3.0. As the name implies, it has a large desk-like surface to support a laptop or other materials, allowing you to get your work and exercise done at the same time. Along with the FitDesk 3.0, the Exerpeutic Pulse is a smart choice for anybody without much extra space in their home, since they are both very compact models. When it comes to a budget-friendly option, you can't do much better than the Merax Trainer for features, sturdiness, and overall riding experience. To ensure those that find sitting upright for long periods of time too uncomfortable can still get in an effective workout, we found two top-quality recumbent models, the Stamina Elite and Schwinn 270.
Peloton Bike If you want an immersive workout experience that keeps both your mind and body engaged, you'll want to give this model a try. It was designed specifically to bring the community and energy you feel in a cycling studio into the home. You'll get 24/7 access to cycling classes, many of which will be live streamed as you follow along. onepeloton.com
The MYX Plus Smart exercise bikes that mimic the experience of an in-person spin class are wildly popular, and given the price tag of some models, The MYX Plus can be considered a bargain. A membership — which provides digital access to world-class coaches and new workouts added weekly — is relatively affordable, and the bike comes with weights and an exercise mat. myxfitness.com
Will Using An Exercise Bike Really Help Me Get Fit?
One of the frustrating things about experiencing pain in your back or knees is that it can prevent you from keeping up with your exercise regimen.
Using most exercise bikes will only work out your lower body, and will burn fewer calories than, for example, a treadmill - but it has a number of advantages:
It makes exercising easy. The key to exercising regularly is to make it a habit, and one of the keys to developing a new habit is to make it so easy you can't say no.
Owning an exercise bike helps you make it easy: No more missing a workout because it's raining, it's cold, or it's dark out. And you can start out with a very short, or low-resistance ride to ease yourself into your new habit.
If you're put off exercising for long periods because you get bored, you can read or watch TV while you pedal. Even better, there's no off-putting trek to the gym, no lockers, no uncomfortable shower experiences; the short walk to your spare room is all that stands between you and your bike. And because exercise bikes are generally a lot less expensive than other exercise equipment like treadmills or ellipticals, that's one barrier out of the way from the get-go.
It's safe. No traffic, no punctures, no need to wear a helmet or cover yourself in hi-vis.
It's easy on your joints, and WebMD agrees. One of the frustrating things about experiencing pain in your back or knees is that it can prevent you from keeping up with your exercise regimen. You'll find cycling much gentler, and an exercise bike is even better as it's a guaranteed smooth ride.
Technology helps you have a better workout. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that the simple act of tracking your progress can help you achieve big changes: there are a couple of examples here.
Some bikes also allow you to program specific workouts, which will help you get stronger and faster - some even allow you to replicate outdoor terrain for extra resistance.
What Do I Need To Know About Exercise Bikes Before I Buy?
The two things you really need to look for in any exercise bike are a comfy seat and adjustable resistance. Once you get past those basics, there’s still a lot to choose from.
Before you decide what kind of exercise bike to get – and, importantly, how much you need to spend – here are the questions you need to ask yourself. Be sure to answer honestly!
How often are you going to use it – really? It’s tempting to commit yourself to an extravagant exercise purchase in the hope that, once you’ve shelled out the cash, you can guilt yourself into working out often enough to make it worthwhile.
Remember, if human nature really worked that way, gyms would not make any money. If you already exercise hard every single day, and you can afford it, then by all means treat yo’ self to a premium bike, like our #1 pick. If you’re more likely to get your spin on a few times a month, consider the price per use before you buy, and check out the lower budget options on our top 5 list and in the Ezvid Wiki top 10 video.
But if you just want to blast music or a TV show, you’re going to want to check out how noisy the bike is before you buy.
How much space do you have? If you don't have a whole room that you're prepared to turn into a home gym, you'll probably want a bike that can easily fold away for storage - again, there are examples among the bikes reviewed above.
Is this bike strong enough for me? Most bikes come with a maximum weight limit, so for your own safety be sure to check that before you buy. If you’re planning on trying an at-home spin class, or otherwise pedaling at high speed, you need a stable bike to prevent you from wobbling uncomfortably, or even falling.
Look for a bike with a heavy frame and a wide, sturdy base – and remember, especially if you want to put your exercise bike upstairs or move it out of the way between uses, that there’s a trade-off here between stability and portability.
How optional are the optional extras? You’re almost certainly going to want to know your speed and time, and maybe the number of calories burned and your heart rate too, so unless you already have a wearable fitness tracker then you’re going to need a bike that comes with at least a basic monitor. Again, don’t splash out for a fancier on-board computer unless you’re sure you’re going to use the programs and settings that come with it.
A water bottle holder might sound like an unnecessary add-on, but it's super important to stay hydrated while you're exercising - and if you're planning to try anything harder than a leisurely pedal, it's going to be a real drag to keep bending down to the floor to pick up your beverage, so a holder is a worthwhile investment.
What are you going to do while you’re on the bike? There's no shame in multi-tasking an exercise bike session with your emails, a book or even the TV: We’re all busy people and sometimes you need to work your mind as well as your muscles. If that’s you, you might benefit from a recumbent bike, like the #7 pick in the Ezvid Wiki video, or any other bike that comes with a stand for your book, magazine or mobile device.
Even if you’re focused on feeling the burn, you might still benefit from listening to music or a podcast while you do it – some bikes come with built-in sound systems so you can shake it to the beat without getting your earphones tangled up in your pedals. But if you just want to blast music or a TV show, you’re going to want to check out how noisy the bike is before you buy. We’ve highlighted some noise issues in our reviews above, but as a general rule, the loudest bikes are those with fans (on the plus side, they do help keep you cool).
What Exercise Bikes and George Washington Have in Common
If someone had asked you to guess when exercise bikes were invented, what would you have said? At the beginning of the 80s fitness craze, maybe? No, hang on - weren't they a thing in the 50s, maybe? So a little earlier. Maybe it was something invented after the war, to help wounded veterans learn how to use their prosthetic limbs.
Maybe it was something invented after the war, to help wounded veterans learn how to use their prosthetic limbs.
Wrong, wrong, wrongety-wrong. The very first stationary exercise contraption based on a bicycle was the Gymnasticon, and it was invented in seventeen-ninety-freakin'-six as part of a new area of technology that led to the development of physical therapy.
Check out the Wikipedia entry to read about how it works - although be warned, it sounds like something Monty Python might have come up with.
What's more, when the Titanic set sail, its on-board gym featured machines that looked not so different from the kind of exercise bike we might use today.
Fitness technology has improved hugely over the years, but when you're pedaling away on an exercise bike, you're part of a chain (get it?) stretching back well over two hundred years...