The 10 Best Exercise Bikes
Will Using An Exercise Bike Really Help Me Get Fit?
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.
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.
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.
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.
If someone had asked you to guess when exercise bikes were invented, what would you have said?
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.
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...