Staff, Courtesy of Schwinn
The past year of at-home exercise reignited plenty of workout crazes, perhaps none more prolific than the rebound of stationary bikes. Popularized by the Peloton—and its trendy, interactive workout community—stationary bikes have proven to be a stalwart in our home-workout arsenal.
Riding a stationary bike is a low-impact, efficient way to get your daily cardio in, and bikes are easier on your joints than other types of cardio, making them ideal for people keeping an eye on joint health. There’s an incredible range of styles, prices, and features for stationary bikes, which means plenty of options for people seeking any combination of budget, connectivity, and workout style. With that in mind, we found the 10 best exercise bikes for at-home workouts to fit your budget, space, and fitness goals.
What to Consider
Style: The three main styles of exercise bike include upright, recumbent, and indoor cycling. All have position and resistance adjustments, and come with a variety of features and in a range of price points. Upright bikes look like what you’d see on the cardio floor of a standard fitness center. These are well suited for less intense workouts, and are strictly for seated riding. These are often simpler and have a smaller footprint than other styles. Recumbent bikes put you in a reclined position, with your feet out in front of you. Recumbent bike seats have a back like a standard chair, and they are excellent for joint health, people with back problems, and recovery riding. Indoor cycling bikes are what you’re most likely to ride at a spin studio. These are ideal for multiple seated and standing positions, and can offer a higher intensity cycling workout.
Features: Consider adjustability of seat, handlebars, and resistance. Does the bike have a screen? If so, what does the display offer? How intuitive is the display, and does it connect to an app or group rides through a membership? You’ll probably be monitoring your speed, resistance, distance, and calories burned, so having those on a user-friendly readout display is something to look for.
Budget: Exercise bikes run the price gamut, some of which can be based on branding — i.e., you’ll pay more for the name brand, so it’s important to look at lifespan and highlighted features to see if you can get a comparable model without the fancy label. A budget bike doesn’t necessarily mean compromise, but some of the pricier ones will come with more connectivity options, more durable components, and enhanced features. You can expect some give-and-take, but your choice should fall somewhere between your ideal budget and should include the features you can’t live without.
Space: How much room do you have to spare? Some bikes take up significant space in your home, while others are made to be folded up and stored in a closet when not in use. Even similar models will have some variation in footprint, weight, and wheels for portability.
How We Evaluated
We chose these bikes based on comparisons of hundreds of user reviews. We also talked to the spin and cycling community, and then compared features, metrics, and usage standards across the style categories. We looked for a range of prices, styles, sizes, and features to fit any space and need, and from there, narrowed down our choices to fit the categories we look for with our at-home exercise equipment. All of these come highly rated from users and/or were directly recommended from people in the spin and cycling community.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
This magnetic-resistance indoor cycling bike hits the sweet spot of a high-quality spin bike without the expense of a name brand. This bike has the best features of a pricier spin bike, with smooth components, simple adjustments, and streamlined resistance fine-tuning, but you won’t get an integrated display screen.
The bike does come with a device holder, which makes it easy to stream classes or follow along with workout videos on your own tablet — it just won’t be directly connected to the bike. This is a great option for people looking for a Peloton-style ride without the expense, and who don’t necessarily need to subscribe to a membership-based at-home workout plan.
This bike is incredibly stable and quiet, and you can easily switch out the pedals for clipless models. You can use the Peloton app on your own device, along with other external apps to measure speed and heart rate as well.
- Reasonably priced for high-quality components
- Highly adjustable positions and resistance
- Smooth, quiet ride
Best Community Connection
The sleek, trendy Peloton Bike and associated app, live-streamed classes, and interactive feel is one of the reasons stationary bikes have become so popular over the past year.
The Peloton Bike is a high-quality piece of equipment, with intuitive, easy resistance adjustments, a 22-inch HD touch screen to stream classes and see your stats, and secure adjustments for the seat and handlebars. The bike is only two feet wide and four feet long, making it a surprisingly compact model. You’re paying a premium though, both for the bike and for a membership subscription to stream the classes.
While the membership isn’t necessary, part of the reason people gravitate towards Peloton is for the variety and frequency of the classes, and the community aspect of the company’s workouts.
- Industry standard for at-home exercise bikes
- Community connection through streamed classes
- Large HD touch screen
- Comes with warranty and in-home setup
- Need a monthly membership to stream classes
Best Overall Budget Option
Marcy NS-654 Foldable Upright Exercise Bike
There are plenty of compact, inexpensive exercise bikes out there, but we love this model for the foldable storage option (with wheels!), the simple display to track your workout, and how stable it is compared to other similarly sized bikes.
This is an upright bike, so you won’t be doing the choreographed rides of a spin class, but with adjustable resistance and a display that shows speed, time elapsed, calories burned, and distance, you can tailor workouts to fit whatever you’re looking to get out of the ride.
Because of the size, this bike has a lower weight limit of 250 pounds (the larger bikes are often around 300-320 pounds).
- Compact and easily stored
- Low profile when fully set up
- Simple LCD display to track workouts
- Seat isn’t super padded
- Lower weight limit than larger models
Best for riders taking care of their knees, back, and joints
SOLE R92 Recumbent Bike
$1,497.00 (17% off)
Riders looking for a more relaxed ride will likely already be looking at recumbent bikes, and this one is optimized for body-weight distribution that eases pressure on your knees, feet, and back.
The pedals have an inward cant for better knee and foot comfort, and there are a dozen different options for seat positioning to fit all bodies and riding styles. We love the pre-programmed workout options and the simple display, as well as the easy-to-use heart rate monitoring on the handlebar grips.
This bike has 20 resistance levels, and is ideal for riders of all ages and physical capabilities.
- Ergonomic for reduced joint stress
- Easy-to-use display
- 20 resistance levels
- Bike is on the heavy side
- Higher priced than other options
Best Overall Recumbent Bike
Schwinn Fitness 230 Recumbent Bike
$459.59 (34% off)
The price, stability, and durability of this model makes it a top contender for people looking for the low-impact, ergonomic workout option of a recumbent bike.
A basic console and small LCD screen keeps the programming simple, and the adjustments are intuitive and built for comfort. The seat back is ventilated and contoured (think: your most comfortable office chair) and the model has 16 resistance levels with 13 pre-programmed workouts.
While this bike doesn’t have a fancy full-color display, you can use a tablet or other smart device to connect to related apps for more workouts and visualization options. Some of the connectivity can be iffy here, though, so don’t rely on the apps for your workout motivation.
This model falls right in the middle ground of Schwinn’s recumbent bike line, so if you’re looking for a backlit display, more program options, or even something less expensive and simpler, check out their full line.
- Variety of pre-programmed workouts
- Ergonomic seat with multiple adjustments
- Well-built, stable construction
- 5.5″ LCD screen display feels outdated
- Bluetooth connectivity not super reliable
Best feature-heavy budget pick
YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike
$237.99 (15% off)
The YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike proves you don’t have to go bare-bones to get a good deal. Made with durable, quiet components, this bike has the features of a much more expensive model while still staying reasonably priced.
Think of it like the “house brand” alternative to name-brand models. The smooth 35-pound flywheel helps keep the bike stable and low-key enough to ride without bothering your apartment neighbors, and the seat and handlebars have the same variety of position adjustments as much more expensive models. The bike comes with an LCD display to track basic metrics, but it’s very minimal. You can always use an external app like the Peloton app or similar to track your workouts, and the bike does have a sturdy tablet holder for those looking for an external screen display.
- Smooth resistance wheel
- Padded, comfortable seat
- Stable ride
- Easy to assemble
Best Peloton Alternative
Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike – EX-15
This is about as close to a Peloton competitor as you’ll get while saving some bucks. The Echelon Smart Connect uses a similar membership-based program for streaming workout classes and creating an interactive environment for at-home workouts. The bike has 32 resistance levels and a sturdy ride no matter how hard you’re pedaling. It’s also important to note that these are stepped levels, not a continuous increase.
We’ve listed the EX-15, which is Echelon’s more basic model, but upgrade to the EX-5 (yes, for a price increase) and get 21.5″ HD touch screen comparable to Peloton. You can set up your own monitor or tablet on the other models and connect to the Echelon app and workouts from there.
- More affordable than competitors
- Small footprint
- Well-built, stable construction
- Quiet and smooth
- Classes require monthly membership
- Seat can feel somewhat narrow
Best Rider-Friendly Adjustments
Stages SC2 Indoor Cycle Stationary Bike
Quick and easy adjustments are the name of the game here, with smooth, stable modifications for seat height and position and handlebar height and position. The bike is quiet, the resistance is easy to adjust, and the wobble is non-existent, even at the rider’s maximum output.
Stages has a proprietary “SprintShift,” which allows for large resistance changes with one touch, perfect for streaming classes with major transitions. This bike has more heft than other indoor cycling models, which at once makes it feel more stable but also means it takes up somewhat more space and has a larger profile. With proven durability and tough components, these bikes are popular with spin studios as well as at-home riders.
- Durable and stable
- Quiet ride
- Easy to adjust
- 350-pound weight limit
- Takes up more space than other models
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