Best Exercise Bikes

Updated October 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best exercise bikes

We know it can be hard to find time to hit the gym. But you don’t have to when there’s an exercise bike in your living room. These stationary bikes can help you achieve your fitness goals, all while you save money and hassle.

With all the bikes on the market, you should consider the bike type. There are the more traditional upright bikes, spinning bikes that mimic road bikes, and recumbent bikes that recline. Also keep in mind the bike’s weight limit, adjustability, ease of use, resistance, and preset programs. Our reviews cover all of the above, along with price range.

We’ve put together a collection of the best exercise bikes on the market. If you aren’t ready to buy, we encourage you to take a look at our guide that goes over the most important factors you should consider.

Types of exercise bikes

Let's take a look at the most common types of exercise bikes and their main features.

Upright exercise bikes

  • Upright exercise bikes are the standard type of stationary bike that most users are familiar with.

  • Users sit in an upright position, not crouched forward like on a road bike.

  • Resistance is created using magnets or electromagnetic induction, so the feel of pedaling is slightly different from riding a regular bike.

  • Upright exercise bikes tend to be the most affordable type of exercise bike, with some basic models priced at under $100.

Spinning bikes

  • Also known as "indoor-cycling bikes," spinning bikes give you the experience closest to riding a regular road bike.

  • The handlebars on spinning bikes are lower, meaning you have to crouch forward while using them. This also makes it easier to lift yourself out of the saddle for a more intense workout.

  • The weighted flywheel keeps turning with its own inertia when you stop pedalling, so it feels more like riding a regular bicycle.

Recumbent exercise bikes

  • The seats of recumbent exercise bikes are reclined and have backs, so they're much more comfortable, particularly for long workouts or for those who suffer from lower back pain.

  • Because your upper body is supported, your legs work harder on a recumbent bike.

  • A recumbent exercise bike can come with the same kind of enclosed flywheel as an upright bike or a weighted flywheel like a spinning bike.

  • Due to their size and extra parts, recumbent exercise bikes generally cost more than upright exercise bikes and spinning bikes.

"If you’re looking for a gentle bike-riding experience, consider the benefits of a recumbent exercise bike."
STAFF
BestReviews

Considerations for selecting an exercise bike

Display

Most exercise bikes have an LCD display that shows certain measurements, such as your heart rate, speed, distance traveled, and how long you've been pedaling.

Look for a bike with a clear and easy-to-use display, as you don't want to be struggling to figure it out while you're sweating away.

Heart rate monitor

Even the most basic exercise bikes tend to come with a heart rate monitor. It's important to keep an eye on your heart rate during exercise because you’ll only benefit if you're working hard enough to elevate it.

People with more detailed exercise plans may know their optimum heart rate for reaching their specific goals. In this case, an accurate monitor is vital to make sure heart rate is kept in the desired range.

Did you know?
Most exercise bikes come with a contact-based heart rate monitor on the handlebars. However, some models come with a monitor that straps to your chest, which is more accurate.
STAFF
BestReviews

Resistance

Look at how many levels of resistance the exercise bike you're considering has. About 20 levels is the average for a gym-quality fitness cycle, but basic models may have fewer.

Normally, the high resistance on a bike with 20 resistance levels is the same as one with 10 levels, but you have fewer levels in between. This means it's harder to fine-tune the resistance to your current fitness levels and goals.

Programs

Higher-end exercise bikes tend to come with preset programs to help boost your workout. These programs automatically change the resistance on your cycle. A program might start on a low resistance, then build up to a medium resistance before going back to a lower resistance, and so on.

Programs are great if you're not clear on how to build your exercise regimen or if you find it hard to push yourself without encouragement. An exercise bike with a wide range of programs will suit people with a variety of fitness levels.

Height adjustability

Exercise bikes have adjustable seats, so they're suitable for adults of most heights.

That said, exercise bikes do have a recommended height range — often between 5'3" and 6'3" — so an average model can still leave a good chunk of people out.

It's not advisable to use an exercise bike you're too tall or short for, as over- or under-extending your knees when cycling can be uncomfortable and even lead to injuries.

Weight limit

All exercise bikes have a maximum weight limit, so check to make sure you don't exceed it.

In most cases, the weight limit is between 220 and 300 pounds, but this does vary. Heavier users may find some recumbent models have higher weight limits.

"Using an exercise bike is safer and often more convenient than biking on the street. There's no hassle so you can get exercising quickly while you're doing something else, like watching TV."
STAFF
BestReviews

Exercise bike tips

  • It might sound basic, but a water bottle holder on an exercise bike can be a real lifesaver. Otherwise, you'll have to stop your workout and dismount your exercise bike every time you want to quench your thirst.

  • If you're short on space, a folding exercise bike is ideal. You can fold it up and store it when it's not in use.

  • Many people find it easier to stay motivated when listening to music or watching TV while cycling. Some exercise bikes even have speakers and an audio input, so you can listen to music from your phone or MP3 player.

  • Keep children away from exercise bikes that don't come with safety locks. Curious fingers could get trapped in several moving parts.

  • Make sure that you stay hydrated when working out on your exercise bike. This will help prevent muscle cramps and dehydration.

  • Always double-check that your exercise bike is stable before riding. During a serious workout, some bikes may wobble or fall over if not situated properly.

  • When riding your exercise bike, monitor if you are putting too much pressure on your hands when gripping the handlebars. If so, adjust your body so your weight is on your legs.

Exercise bike prices

Recumbent exercise bike prices

Recumbent exercise bikes start at around $130 to $150 for very basic models.

The most expensive models can cost over $500. For this price, expect all the best features, such as fitness tracking synced with an app via Bluetooth, built-in speakers with audio input, extra-comfortable seats, and a range of preset programs.

"An exercise bike that reclines may be preferable for older individuals."
STAFF
BestReviews

Spinning bike prices

Basic spinning bikes start around $120 to $150. While you can find some gems in this price range, expect a spartan finish.

However, even the most expensive spinning bikes — usually around $350 to $400 — tend not to have too many extra features. The more expensive spinning bikes generally have heavier flywheels and better build quality.

If you want the most similar experience to cycling on a regular bicycle — but you want to do it indoors — opt for a spinning bike.

Upright exercise bike prices

Upright exercise bikes can cost as little as $70 to $120 for basic models with nothing but a simple LCD display tracking factors such as speed and distance.

And they can cost as much as $350 to $400 for high-end models with a range of programs, built-in speakers, a quality heart rate monitor, and other extra features.

We recommend avoiding the very cheapest exercise bike models, even if you're on a budget. An extra $20 or $30 can mean the difference between a poorly made machine that will fall apart with regular use and a quality basic model that will withstand years of daily use.

Exercise bikes FAQ

Q. What kind of exercise bike is best if I'm recovering from an injury?

A. You should always check with your doctor before restarting your exercise routine after an injury. However, recumbent bikes require riders to use fewer muscle groups, and they're more comfortable to sit on, so many people find them the gentlest type of exercise bike to use when recovering from an injury.

Q. Can I use a separate heart rate monitor when using my exercise bike?

A. If getting an accurate heart rate reading during your workout is vital to you, and your chosen exercise bike has a poor-quality heart rate monitor or none at all, don't worry. You can use a heart rate monitor of your choosing to get a better reading. The only inconvenience is that you'll have to look at the display on the heart rate monitor, as it won't show up on your exercise bike's LCD display.

Q. Can cycling be my only form of exercise?

A. Cycling is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, which is important for your health. However, most experts recommend you do some strength training in addition to cardiovascular exercise to keep your body in tip-top condition. This doesn't mean you have to start pumping iron at the gym if you don’t want to. Forms of exercise where you work with your body weight, such as yoga and pilates, count as strength training.

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