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Older model exercise bikes, which wobbled around precariously, were difficult to ride and mind-numbingly boring to use.
Thank goodness that the latest generation of bikes is a very different proposition. Some now include the ability to join live sessions globally where the remote trainers can adjust the bike's settings.
There are several types of bikes available to meet every need. At the top of the pile is the Peloton bike, and through the different sizes, there is an option for almost every requirement, down to the Xterra Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike, which is the cheapest of the options reviewed.
Exercise bikes have several advantages over road bikes, the main being increased safety. If you want to purchase a modern generation exercise bike, you must decide what your needs are and what budget is available.
After researching the available bikes, we have developed a list of the best ones ranging from the model most suitable for beginners to those most suitable for use in smaller spaces, all the way to the top-end "big daddy" models with interactive live-streaming capabilities.
The Best Exercise Bikes By Category
There are several different exercise bikes that you can purchase, both in terms of the purchase price as well as capability.
In this article, we detail our choices for the bikes which will give you the best value for money and the greatest exercise capability.
Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Bike - Best Bike For The Beginner
If you are new to the world of exercise bikes, rather than fork out the thousands of dollars needed for a high-end Peloton, a more affordable beginner system is an option that you could choose.
This sturdy machine is capable of carrying people who way less than 300lbs.
Not only does the high-quality exercise bike look stylish, but it is also solidly built with a heavy-duty steel frame. The 44-pound (20-kg) flywheel offers excellent value for money.
It is a great option for those people who want to squeeze in a quick spin workout straight from their living room.
It has a magnetic resistance system, which uses magnets to create tension, working against the flywheel to control the intensity you select.
It has an adjustable seat (In-seam 29-41” range of adjustment) and handlebars, which enable you to customize the bike for your frame.
It is simple to assemble and very easy to use.
It doesn’t have a display screen and instead has a device holder enabling you to stream your chosen workouts using your smartphone or tablet.
Because of the frame design and materials, it is a sturdy bike with large toe baskets, and its quiet ride is impressive.
Main benefits are
- The magnetic resistance system is very effective.
- It is a leader on the quietness front.
- It is one of the most affordable exercise bikes for the capability it offers.
- People with a shorter stature may not find the riding position comfortable
- Because it does not have a display or guided fitness program, the user needs to be self-motivated to continue to use it.
Summary. It is a great bike for beginners who aren't convinced it is worth spending the high price on something which may not be used regularly.
Peloton Exercise Bike - Best Top End Exercise Bike
If you want a high-end machine that offers all possible high-end features, then the following system is a possible choice.
When you purchase a Peloton bike, you invest in an exercise system. Peloton is the equivalent of exercising in a cycling studio without the sweat-filled crowded room.
To achieve the same workout level a studio can offer you, with a Peloton, there is no traveling time and no furtive glances to see how you are doing.
Peloton provides hard-core instructors on the HD touchscreen that streams their spinning classes into the comfort and privacy of your own home.
The Peloton exercise bike is tough and will last a long time.
Unfortunately, the bike comes at a cost, and there is a monthly subscription fee to keep it running and continue to have access to the streamed content.
The main benefits are
- The Peloton is built very well and is extremely sturdy.
- The big HD screen provides entertainment and motivation to keep going
- Having access to popular classes means you are not left guessing what the optimal routine is for you.
- Did we say it was expensive?
- The ongoing subscription is costly, and there is no guarantee that these will increase in the future.
Overall, the Peloton exercise bike is a sturdy, well-built machine that motivates its users significantly.
It is a great machine if you can afford it and are convinced you will keep using it in the future.
Schwinn 570 Recumbent Bike - Best Recumbent Bike
This bike allows you to sit in a reclined position on a larger seat behind the pedals.
Recumbent Bikes place less stress on the upper body, joints, and low back.
The person is more fully supported, which may have the effect of making the workouts less intense.
On the positive side, the user will also be less tired and have less muscle soreness after the workout.
If you suffer from mobility issues, have joint problems, or have back pain, a recumbent bike is the best choice.
The Schwinn 570 is a good selection, providing a sturdy frame, comfort, and a quiet and smooth ride.
The Schwinn 570 Recumbent Bike provides value for money.
The bike has 25 different resistance levels and many preprogrammed workout routines.
It also provides Bluetooth connectivity to sync with your fitness apps, and it has built-in speakers, a good-sized LCD monitor, a charging port, and an adjustable fan.
Main benefits are
- It offers very good value and is affordable.
- The large, padded recumbent seat provides plenty of support, particularly for someone struggling with a bad back or mobility issues.
- It can connect to the “Explore the World” app and other third-party fitness apps.
- The warranty is only for 90-day and is restricted to labor costs.
- There have been reports the heart rate sensor isn’t accurate.
- The fan is also not very powerful.
NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle - Best Alternative To The Peloton System
You can purchase an exercise bike with similar features as the Peloton for a lower cost.
For under 60% of the price of a Peloton bike, the NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle offers comparable features.
While Peloton might be a household name with a cult-like following, the NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle can match its feature for feature.
The flywheel manages the resistance, which is inertia-enhanced and balanced, and weighted for optimal spinning motion.
The effect is that the user can pedal more quickly in a smooth motion without the shakiness and jerking some other bikes exhibit.
There are 22 optional levels of resistance and the ability to set the hills to between 10% to 20%.
The effect is a completely customized exercise session. It also is delivered with two 3-pound dumbbells, which is a nice touch.
Like Peloton, the manufacturers have assured themselves of an annuity revenue stream by charging a monthly subscription.
With this, the user can access many 1000s of preloaded workouts.
It also has a live streaming feature where the user can join real-time workouts and compete with other users across the country.
The system has a feature called “NordicTrack’s Automatic Trainer Control," which makes it possible for elite iFit trainers to remotely control the cycle's angle of incline, the angle of decline, and the resistance levels.
It has a 14-inch HD touchscreen with graphics, and it rotates.
Main benefits are
- It offers very similar benefits at a lower cost than the Peloton.
- The inertia-enhanced flywheel provides a very smooth, balanced, and weighted for optimal spinning motion.
- Twenty-two levels of optional resistance and the ability to set inclines of between 10% to 20%.
- NordicTrack’s Automatic Trainer Control
- The 14-inch HD screen is smaller than Peloton
- There is a monthly subscription.
Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike - Best Exercise Bike Under $800
In this category, we choose the following bike.
The Schwinn IC2 is popular for die-hard spinners, outdoor cyclists, and anyone looking for speed, resistance, or endurance.
The Schwinn IC2 belt drive connects the pedals to a 40-pound flywheel, providing a smooth, quiet ride.
There are a vast number of resistance levels.
The Schwinn IC2 has a ventilated, race-style seat that can be adjusted horizontally and vertically, and the pedals have clip-in spin shoes.
Padded, adjustable handlebars are very comfortable, and a large water bottle holder has been installed within easy reach.
The exercise bike has a media holder that will hold a smartphone or small table, enabling you to stream a workout, a playlist, or whatever Netflix you are currently addicted to. Exercise bikes with these features help maintain motivation.
A simple LCD tracks time, distance, and RPM.
Main benefits are
- It has a 40-pound flywheel.
- It is smooth and very quiet.
- Pedals have clip-in spin shoes.
The disadvantage is.
- It doesn’t have a big screen.
Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike - Best Exercise Bike Under $400
If you are not convinced that spending thousands of dollars will achieve a good return on investment, the following bike will provide the same exercise outcome for under $400.
The Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike has several features, making it a solid choice for budget-conscious users.
The steel frame is considered heavy duty and has a slim profile, making it easier to squeeze it into a smaller room, and the 35 lb flywheel provides adequate resistance to give an effective workout.
The cushioned seat provides both a vertical and a horizontal (forward and backward) adjustment, enabling the user to achieve the optimum form while removing strain off the weight-bearing joints like the knees.
Similarly, the handlebars are adjustable with a range of movement equalling 10-inches.
The Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike has an LCD monitor installed as standard. It displays time, speed, distance, odometer, and calories burned.
It also has a bracket that can be used to mount your smartphone or tablet to participate in a live workout, watch TV, or listen to your favorite music.
The pedals are caged and connected to the flywheel with a belt-driven system that keeps it quiet.
One of the benefits is that it can be used by the whole household irrespective of the other member’s size.
Main benefits are
- It is the lowest-cost bike we have reviewed.
- With dimensions of 22 inches by 40 inches, which means it will fit in most homes.
- It can be adjusted to fit most members of the home.
There are no negative features as it represents the best value for money of all the machines reviewed.
Xterra Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike - Best Exercise Bike That Folds
If you don't want to have a fully erected exercise bike being an eyesore in a family room, consider an exercise bike that folds.
Not only is the exercise bike foldable, but it also costs less than $250. The downside of a folding exercise bike is that it is not as stable.
The flywheel only weighs 3.3 pounds, which somewhat compromises the resistance and makes it better suited for a workout that is not high-impact but provides a steady workout for the heart.
One of the real benefits is that the lower resistance makes the work slightly easier for users who suffer from painful joints or someone who is less fit and trying to get into an exercise routine.
The real benefit, however, is that it costs substantially less than any of the other machines, and for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot or has a smaller budget, it is ideal.
If you are going to use it for serious interval workouts or to build muscle, it is probably not the best choice.
Main benefits are
- Compared to the other bikes reviewed, this is the lowest cost alternative.
- The Xterra Fitness FB150 folds up and can be stored in a cupboard
- There are eight resistance levels with the Xterra Fitness FB150. Even with the lighter weight (3.3 pounds) flywheel, it is still enough to make your heart pump and maybe a little burn in the legs, depending on your fitness level.
- The FB150 has a big, comfy seat which you can adjust for height to fit the rider.
- The FB150 has padded handlebars, which make it very comfortable to ride.
- It has a rudimentary LCD that displays time, speed, and distance.
- The handlebars also have heart rate pulse grips.
- Being a fold-up exercise bike means that it is less stable
- It has the lightest flywheel of all the machines reviewed, which means that it provides less resistance and is unsuitable for interval training.
- The heart rate pulse grips are renowned for their unreliability (this applies to all bikes which use heart rate pulse grips, not just this model bike). It is recommended that you will get a better reading from a second device on your body.
Why Use An Exercise Bike?
In some respects, an exercise bike is an optimal way to carry out your daily fitness routine.
It offers so many health benefits, including.
- It increases your cardiac fitness.
- It has weight loss and body fat reduction benefits.
- It is one of the best low-impact workouts.
- Makes for very fit and strong legs and lower torso muscles.
- It allows for interval training.
- It is considerably safer than riding a bike on the roads.
It Increases Cardiac Fitness
An exercise bike will increase your heart rate if you are committed and work hard during your routines.
Increasing your heart beating above its normal daily resting rate every day helps your body move oxygen and blood to the muscles.
It makes the muscles use that fuel more economically, and ultimately you move more easily.
In short, your fitness levels improve.
Regularly increasing your heart rate acts as a beta-blocker medication does. It slows your resting heart rate and positively impacts your blood pressure (at rest and when exercising).
Increased heart rates during exercise help you improve your stamina.
It Has Weight Loss Benefits
Too much weight stresses the heart and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
If you combine your exercises with a smart diet, an exercise bike offers a very effective way to lose weight.
It Promotes The Right Kind Of Weight Loss
A high-intensity workout has the dual benefit of burning calories and building strength, which will positively impact weight loss.
Cycling exercise helps fight cholesterol and also helps raise your "good" cholesterol (high-density lipids) level and lower your bad cholesterol (low-density lipids). Participants It was found exercise bikes were also very efficient in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Research has proven that working out on a stationary bike, when combined with a sensible weight loss diet, reduces body fat. The study lasted for 12 weeks, in which the participants were instructed to cycle three times a week for three-quarters of an hour each time. On average, they ate 1,200 calories per day, and all of them reduced body weight and fat.
An Exercise Bike Provides A Low Impact Workout
Exercising on a stationary provides a workout that is low in intensity and uses smooth movements that strengthen bones and joints without putting excessive pressure on them.
An exercise bike provides an efficient, non-damaging way to work without further compromising the skeletal structure of people battling muscular and joint issues.
Impact intensive exercises, such as any type of running or other aerobic exercises which are high impact in nature, place excessive stress on the ankles, knees, hips, and other joints, absent on an exercise bike.
Because the feet remain attached to an exercise bike's pedals, it is gentler and less damaging to the joints while providing a very effective workout.
Makes For Very Fit And Strong Legs And Lower Torso Muscles
Riding an exercise bike using a consistent routine to which you are committed helps strengthen the ankles and lower and upper leg muscles.
The pedaling movement works the body's calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps and improves fitness.
An exercise bike will also involve the core muscles, and when handlebars are used also works the upper body, which includes the biceps and triceps.
Exercising On A Bike Enables Interval Training
Particularly with digital exercise bikes, which allow you to control the bursts of energy and the resting cycles.
Exercise bikes make it very easy to start gently and manage the bursts of energy required by interval training so you don't overdo it; when you are able, it enables you to push to your limits.
As the ultimate is to keep the heart rate up to improve overall cardiovascular health by pumping oxygen and blood to the muscles, an exercise bike is an almost perfect tool.
An Exercise Bike Is Considerably Safer Than A Road Bike
With the state of roads, other drivers' behavior, and crime, an exercise bike in the home is significantly less risky than a road bike.
If you have a digital bike, it is possible to vary your routine more accurately than you can on a road bike.
What Are The Exercise Bike Types?
There are four exercise bike types, each providing a different benefit.
- Upright Bike
- Recumbent Bike
- Dual Action Bike
- An Air Bike
An Upright Bike
The most common form of exercise bike is the upright bike.
It provides a great cardio workout and positive stress to the core and legs.
Being upright means there is more pressure on the hands and wrists.
A recumbent bike has a more reclined position with a bigger seat just behind the pedals.
The position places less stress on the user's back, joints, and upper body. A recumbent bike is a very good solution for someone with mobility issues.
Dual Action Bike
A dual-action bike has handlebars that move back and forth. This action works the upper body muscles and the legs.
An Air Bike
On an air bike, the pedaling action creates resistance, so the harder the user pedals, the more difficult it is.