Top 5 Best Budget Exercise Bikes – A Category That Deserves Attention

Budget fitness machines are often times neglected and overlooked. The general consensus is that you should simply save more money and get something that is better. Today we’re discuss affordable bikes and show you why some of them are considered to be the best exercise bikes out there.

Before we get to that, we’ll show you our picks for best budget exercise bikes on the market. We’ve included models from various categories, thus giving you a decent cross section of what is available. By the time you’re done reading this guide, you should have all the facts you might need.

Top 5 Best Budget Exercise Bikes

Indoor Cycling Bikes

Indoor cycling bikes are considered to be the most authentic when it comes to cycling at home. With Exerpeutic LX7, you are getting that authentic experience but also some pretty interesting features. The bike sits on an H pattern base and features a frame made of quality materials. In practical terms, you are looking at a very stable platform that doesn’t weigh a lot and can be easily moved.

One cool thing about this bike is the fact that it features fully adjustable seat and height adjustable handlebars. Despite the inherent aggressive seating position, you can find a comfortable setup that will reduce fatigue to a bare minimum. The flywheel comes in form of a precision machined piece that is fluid, smooth and offers plenty of inertia. This is the type of bike that you can really push to the limit and not think about it too much.

Much like other bikes on our list, this one comes with a built in cycling computer. With a relatively tiny display, it will still allow you to monitor your stats and possibly plan out workout routines. Overall, Exerpeutic LX7 is a great way to get into indoor cycling bikes on the cheap.

Another budget indoor cycling option comes in form of a Merax Indoor Cycling Bike. In many ways it is a very respectable bike compared to even some higher end models. What really surprised us was how sturdy the frame is. Not only is it made of quality materials, but it also features supports in areas where you don’t often see them.

Case in point a support beam right under the pedal assembly. Additionally, you have transport wheels as well as leveling knobs built into the frame. This definitely helps when setting up the bike. The flywheel is also worth some praise. They have installed a very well machined unit that has plenty of weight which seems to be focused on the perimeter. In other words, it is smooth sailing all the way with this one.

Seat is fully adjustable and quite rather comfortable. It isn’t exactly a sporty piece by any means, but it gets the job done just fine. Last but not least, you have a built in cycling computer which allows you to track your stats with relative ease. Overall, Merax Indoor Cycling Bike offers plenty of performance at a price that is attractive to say the least.

Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent bikes are becoming more and more popular for a number of reasons. Because of that we have seen an influx of affordable models which are nothing to joke about. Progear 555LXT is the perfect example of this. It is a very simple bike that brings all of the benefits the recumbent design has to offer. The frame is designed to offer ultimate stability but also easy maneuverability.

It is light, sturdy enough and fairly minimalist in nature. The seat is padded completely and adjustable horizontally. The skid it sits on is angled so the further back you push the seat, the higher it becomes. Resistance is set manually, using a knob located right in front of you and below the small display unit. Speaking of which, this is not a computer controlled bike meaning that the display is there to show you the most basic stats.

Even though it lacks complexity, you can still use the available information to set goals and plan your workouts. In addition to all that we have mentioned so far, Progear 555LXT also features a media shelf you can use to mount a large tablet or a smart phone. Overall it’s a great bike.

Upright Bikes

Upright bikes being the most popular type of indoor bicycles explains why the budget segment is full of awesome models. First one we want to show you is Fitness Reality 210. In the world of upright bikes, this one falls into the compact category. You have a minimalist H pattern frame that houses the flywheel assembly.

What makes this bike so awesome is the fact that it is computer controlled. That is a very rare thing to see this far down the price range. We are talking 21 workout presets, 24 levels of magnetic resistance, goal oriented programs, heart rate monitoring and so much more. Another cool fact is that these features are easily accessible. The control interface is simple and allows you to quickly make adjustments mid workout. In terms of comfort, Fitness Reality 210 comes with a large seat that is adjustable by height.

With upright bikes, that is more than enough. When it comes to affordable upright bikes, you will rarely find a model that is better, more versatile and better priced than this one. On top of all that, the bike doesn’t look all that bad either. Not that aesthetics are that important of a factor.

The last model on our list also belongs to the upright family of static bikes. This time around we are looking at a super basic model designed to provide you with distilled performance in a very compact package. Marcy has a lot of experience when it comes to fitness equipment, which is apparent as you look at Marcy ME-708.

The bike features a very small H pattern frame which is balanced in a way that offers plenty of stability as well as durability. Moving this thing in and out of storage is borderline effortless. In terms of magnetic resistance, you are looking at 8 manually adjusted levels. Even though that sounds pretty modest, keep in mind that this bike’s flywheel is pretty heavy for its size. In other words, you may have fewer levels of resistance, but the overall amount of resistance is on par with other bikes in this range.

The seat is adjustable and rather comfortable. Once you find the right height for yourself, you will find it easy to get into a comfortable riding position. Finally, we have a small, rudimentary but efficient display unit which shows you your stats in real time. Overall an awesome bike.

Are Budget Exercise Bikes Worth It?

As we have said before, budget fitness equipment isn’t really the first choice for most users. There are plenty of misconceptions going around about the quality of these machines and so forth. In reality, these bikes are just as good as their more expensive counterparts when it comes to core components. 

You may not find the exact same performance, flywheel finish quality or overall finish quality, but the bikes will work as intended. When someone comes in with a question regarding this topic, we like to lay things out in a very simple way. The first thing you have to ask yourself is what kind of bike you can afford? 

When you have the answer to that question, the next one should be what kind of routines do you have in mind for said bike? Since we are already talking about affordable exercise bikes, we can skip the first question and go straight to the second one.

Can Budget Bikes Keep Up?

There are two types of people out there. Those who are cycling casually and those who are taking this a bit more seriously .Figuring out which category you belong to is pretty important. 

Doing so will greatly simplify the whole process whether you’re into indoor cycling bikes or just the standard upright bikes. If you are a casual users, an affordable bike will give you everything you could need to get started. 

You will get a challenging workout each day and the bike will serve you well.It is the latter group who will have to pick and choose carefully.

Budget Bikes And Serious Cardio Fitness

Planning a cardio routine, hitting specific goals and tracking your progress can be done no matter what kind of bike you have. However, some bikes make the whole thing much easier to do than others. If you are really serious about starting a long term cardio routine, you should definitely aim for bikes that have some kind of data tracking ability.

As you can see from our list of top picks, that isn’t really rare anymore. Also, it is worth keeping in mind that every bike has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, indoor cycling bikes are by far the most effective from the lot.

They allow you to work a whole array of muscles which include core muscles as well as some upper body groups. On the other hand, recumbent bikes are all about isolating your legs and not engaging your core. Those who are just starting out might find recumbent or upright designs to be much more forgiving.

Then again, those who have been cycling for some time could probably use this chance to upgrade to an indoor cycling model

What About Reliability?

Reliability and durability are very important aspects of any bike regardless of its price. Even though these factors aren’t really an issue with higher end models, it is the budget segment where you have to be careful. 

Our recommendation is to stick with models that have a proven track record like the ones on our list. Doing that even though another, less established bike may have better features is completely worth it. It is all about nailing those core components.

Getting Your Toes Wet

One of the most overlooked benefits of cheap bikes is nothing more than their affordable price. If you are serious about fitness but aren’t sure which cardio machine might work best, getting an affordable bike is a very safe way to find out.

These are low commitment machines which won’t destroy your bank account only for you to find out that you don’t even like cycling all that much. Instead you can test the waters and see what works best for you.

For some people, this trial period may last only a few days but it could also last for years. It all depends on how precise and detailed your requirements are.

Limitations Of Budget Bikes

Even though we fully stand behind budget exercise bikes, we have to be realistic. These fitness machines are a compromise. In other words, there is a reason why they are so affordable. Best case scenario is that you are dealing with something such as the Marcy ME 708. That bike is affordable but is also simple. 

Because of that, Marcy was able to use good quality hardware and still achieve that price.Truth is that affordable bikes aren’t designed to be used aggressively and for long periods of time.

On top of that, you should do your part and makes sure that everything is properly maintained. When you accept these two facts for what they are, there are slim chances of you ending up disappointed.

The Ver(ve)dict!

At the end of the day, we feel that Exerpeutic LX7 is the model that brings the most bang for your buck. Sure, it is an indoor cycling bike but getting over the aggressive seating position can open up a whole world of fitness benefits. 

With that said all of the models on our list have proven their worth by now. We are talking about reliable machines which will get you your money’s worth of cardio. All there’s left to do is figure out which design works best for your and get to it. 

Fitness on the cheap is possible.