Top 10 Best Exercise Bikes – Top Bikes for Cycling at Home

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We gave this important article on the best exercise bikes a bit of attention to bring it up to date for this year.

This included adding the impressive spin bike debut from Bowflex, the C6, as well as the excellent Schwinn Airdyne AD7. We also paid some attention to our buyer’s guide, adding a little new content to freshen things up.

The winner after the latest chart update:
Bowflex C6 Bike
  • Design: Spinning
  • Folding: No
  • Height: 4ft 6” to 6ft 6”
  • Resistance: Magnetic (100 levels)
  • Features: Steel frame, dual link pedals with toe cages, backlit LCD console, Bluetooth connectivity, multiple app connectivity, pair of 3lb dumbbells, 330lb weight capacity

The exercise bike has been in use in one form or another since the earliest contraptions first appeared in the late eighteenth century.

More than two hundred years later and exercise bikes – commonly known as stationary bikes – are still prominent in both commercial gyms and in living rooms, bedrooms and garages around the world!

This is a testament to how useful this iconic machine is. Providing you put in the effort, the exercise bike is the ideal low-impact platform on which to boost your general fitness, lose weight or train for cycling events without having to leave your home.

How do you go about buying one? Fitness Verve is here to help!

Considering the sheer number of exercise bikes on the market, compiling a top ten chart was not an easy task. However, our list highlights ten of the best models around, spanning a wide range of price categories and all three bike styles – upright, spinning and recumbent.

After the chart, you will find our complete guide to exercise bikes. Pay attention and use the information within to make an informed decision as you browse the market. Finally, our FAQ section completes the article, where we answer some of your pressing questions.

Ready? Let’s go find your perfect exercise bike!

Top 10 Best Exercise Bikes:

Pros

  • Sturdy frame with stealthy aesthetics!
  • Features 100 micro-levels of adjustable resistance
  • Comes with a good backlit LCD monitor
  • Compatible with apps such as Zwift, Peloton and Explore the World

Cons

  • Seat might feel a little uncomfortable

Design: Spinning
Folding: No
Height: 4ft 6” to 6ft 6”
Resistance: Magnetic (100 levels)
Features: Steel frame, dual link pedals with toe cages, backlit LCD console, Bluetooth connectivity, multiple app connectivity, pair of 3lb dumbbells, 330lb weight capacity

The stealthy looks of the Bowflex C6 alone are almost enough to justify its place as the top bike on this list, although the performance and features are just as attractive!

It’s built to keep up with the most vigorous cyclist, with a jet-black steel frame taking up to 330lbs of user weight. Setting it apart from many spin bikes, the C6 features magnetic resistance for a quiet and consistent ride, with 100 micro-levels from which to choose.

The features all add up to make this a comfortable and enjoyable bike, including duel link pedals with toe cages, ample seat adjustability, and a detailed backlit LCD console. It’s also easy to link this one up with apps such as Peloton and Zwift for the full immersive experience!

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Pros

  • Natural and unlimited resistance – ideal for HIIT
  • Features a robust moisture-repellent steel frame
  • Belt drive system contributes to a smooth ride
  • Secondary features are a welcome addition

Cons

  • Bike design isn’t the best for steady-state cardio sessions

Design: Upright
Folding: No
Height: Unspecified
Resistance: Unlimited (Air Resistance)
Features: 26-blade fan wheel, belt drive, moisture-repellent steel frame, adjustable seat, dual LCD screens, built-in HIIT programs, water bottle holder, 350lb weight capacity

Schwinn is a leader in the world of air bikes, with their highly-rated AD7 one of the most popular bikes in their respected Airdyne series – it’s therefore a must-have on any list of the best exercise bikes.

Pairing a 26-blade fan wheel with a belt drive, the AD7 offers huge power but with a smoother and quieter motion than some air bikes. The powder-coated steel frame is sturdy (up to 350lbs) and allows you to go all-out during high-intensity sessions with no fear of anything breaking!

In addition, the AD7 boasts dual LCD screens that offer both workout programs and feedback on your performance, while footrests, transportation wheels and a handy water bottle holder boost the value of this high-performance air bike.

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Pros

  • Sturdy frame and heavy flywheel inspire confidence
  • Fully-adjustable seat and multi-position handlebars
  • Comes with a good LCD monitor providing integrated workout programs
  • Syncs up with a Polar heart rate monitor

Cons

  • Very few at this affordable price!

Design: Spinning
Folding: No
Height: 46″
Resistance: Adjustable (Direct-Contact)
Features: 48lb flywheel, four-way adjustable road-style saddle, pedal cage with toe strap, multi-position handles, LCD screen, media shelf, 5” LCD monitor, workout feedback, built-in workout programs, wireless heart rate receiver, water bottle holder, transportation wheels, 286lb weight capacity

If you ever needed proof that you don’t need to spend loads to walk away with a worthwhile indoor bike, the GR3 from Horizon Fitness is it! With a very attractive sub-$500 price tag, the GR3 offers plenty for all levels of cyclist.

It’s a sturdy bike with a frame capable of taking up to 286lbs of weight. Up front it’s fitted with a 48lb flywheel with direct-contact resistance to provide a smooth and authentic ride, while lots of adjustability in the seat and handlebars allow you to find your perfect fit.

Unexpectedly for a budget-friendly spin bike, the GR3 features a good LCD computer providing both workout feedback and built-in workout programs, while a wireless heart rate receiver means you can sync up your Polar device and work to specific heart rate programs at ease.

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Pros

  • Ultra-smooth and whisper quiet performance
  • Made in America to withstand years of abuse
  • Rear-mounted flywheel for protection from falling sweat
  • Excellent features geared towards a comfortable ride

Cons

  • Will be too expensive for many users to justify

Design: Spinning
Folding: No
Height: 4ft 10″ to 7ft
Resistance: Adjustable (Magnetic)
Features: V-shaped frame, Poly-V belt, adjustable seat, multi-position handlebars, curved crank, SPD pedals, LCD monitor, Bluetooth connectivity, M Series app syncing, media shelf, bottle holder, transportation wheels

Next on our chart is a truly premium bike that will be out of grasp for many of us. Yet, those who live to spin will be seriously tempted by the M3i from Keiser.

This high-end indoor bike offers an elite performance that is super-smooth and noiseless, with a weighty flywheel placed at the back of the sturdy V-shaped frame. In addition to giving it a unique look, it keeps the flywheel free from falling sweat.

It’s made in America to withstand intense workouts by advanced athletes of all shapes and sizes – from 4ft 10” to 7ft, and up to 300lbs. Features are impressive and include a media shelf, stretch pad, SPD pedals and an LCD screen. You can also connect to Keiser’s M Series app via Bluetooth. All round awesome!

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Pros

  • Rock-solid build with a compact footprint
  • Very smooth and quiet performance
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance and workout programs offers good variety
  • Comes with a heart rate monitor chest strap

Cons

  • Features quite a high-end price tag

Design: Upright
Folding: No
Height: Unspecified
Resistance: 16 levels (Magnetic)
Features: Compact build, four-way adjustable oversized seat, ergonomic handlebars, LCD screen, 12 preset workout programs, 3 heart rate programs, water bottle holder, heart rate monitor, chest strap, 350lb weight capacity

Next up is the Elite UB – an upright bike from 3G Cardio that can deliver gym-grade quality and solid workout features in the comfort of your own home. Of course, the price tag is pushing premium, but it remains affordable enough for most users serious about upgrading their cycle game.

The Elite UB is a simple bike with a small footprint and very solid build, taking users up to 350lbs. Using the bike is incredibly smooth, while 16 levels of magnetic resistance and multiple workout programs add good variety.

The console is a smaller than you would expect for the price, but everything you need is there. The fact that this bike comes bundled with a heart rate chest strap boosts the value further.

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Pros

  • Features 25 resistance levels for excellent variety
  • Includes 29 preset workout programs
  • 30lb flywheel offers a smooth ride
  • Secondary features impress for the price

Cons

  • Seat adjusts, but back support does not

Design: Recumbent
Folding: No
Height: Unspecified
Resistance: 25 levels (Magnetic)
Features: 30lb flywheel, weighted pedals, dual LCD displays, Bluetooth connectivity, 29 built-in programs, integrated handlebar controls, built-in speakers, media shelf, 325lb weight capacity

The Nautilus R618 is the first recumbent bike on our list – and is perfect for people who take their fitness and joint health seriously. This higher midrange model manages to deliver in terms of both performance and features.

The heavy-duty bike is equipped with a 30lb flywheel for a smooth performance, although one with plenty of challenge – there are 25 levels of magnetic resistance to test users of all abilities.

As for secondary features, the R618 is fitted with a large console with all the controls you need (although resistance controls are also integrated into the handlebars). There are dual LCD displays, as well as a media shelf, 29 built-in workout programs, speakers and a cooling fan.

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Pros

  • Great value for a solid spin bike
  • 40lb flywheel and belt drive for smooth and quiet operation
  • Impressive secondary features for the price
  • Comes with both SPD clips and toe cage pedal options

Cons

  • Can be a little cramped for taller users (over 6ft)
  • Flywheel is known to be a bit noisy after extended periods

Design: Spinning
Folding: No
Height: Unspecified
Resistance: Adjustable (Direct-Contact)
Features: 40lb flywheel, belt drive, race-style seat, SPD pedals with toe cages, multi-position handles, LCD screen, media shelf, 300lb weight capacity

For an affordable indoor bike to cater for all your at-home spinning needs, many people don’t look further than the IC3 from Schwinn.

This popular bike is loaded with a good list of features, made all the more impressive when you consider the midrange price tag. This includes a hefty 40lb flywheel paired with a quiet belt drive system, as well as unlimited resistance courtesy of the adjustable direct-contact system.

Do you prefer SPD clips or toe cage pedals? Either way, the IC3 is fitted with both, so you have the choice, while full adjustability on the seat and handlebars allow you to tailor this bike to your dimensions. Throw in a small LCD console and media shelf, and you have a good bargain on your hands!

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Pros

  • Sleek, compact and stable build
  • Plenty of workout options with ample resistance and preset programs
  • Nicely designed console for easy control and workout feedback
  • For the price, the secondary features list impresses

Cons

  • Bluetooth syncing is only for apps, not speakers
  • Seat isn’t as comfortable as expected

Design: Upright
Folding: No
Height: 4ft 8″ to 6ft 4”
Resistance: 25 levels
Features: 22lb flywheel, belt drive, adjustable seat, DualTrack LCD display, 29 built-in workout programs, Bluetooth connectivity, heart rate monitor, built-in speakers, USB charging port, adjustable fan, media shelf

If you are looking for an upright bike which doesn’t cost the earth, but offers more than the entry-level units, the Nautilus U616 is worth your time.

This popular bike features a sleek design and compact frame that would fit nicely in any home gym or living room – especially as you can wheel it away after your workout. It features a 22lb flywheel with a belt drive for a noiseless performance.

Fitted with 25 levels of magnetic resistance and 29 built-in workout programs, the U616 won’t leave you short of workout options. Neither will you be left wanting for features, as it is loaded with dual backlit LCD screens, as well as an adjustable fan, USB charging port, built-in speakers and Bluetooth connectivity for your fitness tracking apps.

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Pros

  • Accommodates users of multiple heights and up to 250lbs
  • 14 levels of magnetic resistance offer enough of a challenge
  • Belt drive system for a smooth and quiet ride
  • Features a small LCD screen and media shelf

Cons

  • Seat is a little uncomfortable
  • Resistance levels don’t always feel accurate

Design: Recumbent
Folding: No
Height: 5ft to 6ft 3”
Resistance: 14 levels
Features: Belt drive system, comfortable padded seat, oversized pedals with straps, LCD display, transportation wheels, step-through design, media shelf, 250lb weight capacity

If you are shopping on a budget, a decent recumbent bike is certainly not out of reach, as the ProGear 555LXT proves. This affordable unit is great for riders of all abilities and many sizes, while the step-through design makes it easy to get on and off.

The 555LXT performs well – quite smooth and quiet thanks to the belt drive system. It’s certainly not as versatile as the higher-end recumbent bikes we have featured, yet 14 levels of magnetic resistance offer enough variety during your workout.

As with others in this price range, the LCD computer is a little basic, but it gives you the feedback you need. The addition of a media shelf is handy if you want to use a tablet, although this design does block the screen!

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Pros

  • Features a space-saving folding frame
  • Magnetic resistance and belt drive for a smooth action
  • Can take users up to 300lbs
  • Includes an LCD console, heart rate monitor and phone holder

Cons

  • Can’t accommodate a wide spectrum of heights
  • Seat is not particularly comfortable

Design: Upright
Folding: Yes
Height: 5ft 3″ to 6ft 1”
Resistance: 8 levels (Magnetic)
Features: Folding X-frame with seat support, three-piece crank system, belt drive, transportation wheels, LCD display, 300lb weight capacity

If you are worried about space and have a small budget, you don’t have to miss out on a functional exercise bike. This upright bike from Exerpeutic is insanely popular, mainly thanks to the fact that the frame folds to just 22” x 20” – ideal for small homes.

However, this folding is not at the cost of stability, as this bike accommodates users up to 300lbs – more than some higher-end bikes! It’s not the most versatile of rides, but eight levels of magnetic resistance offer at least some variation.

Everything feels quite smooth and quiet thanks to the belt drive, while the built-in LCD monitor keeps you informed about your workout. For the price and size, you can’t expect much in the way of extra features, although a smartphone holder is a nice touch.

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Category Breakdown

While far from an extensive reflection of the ever-growing bike market, our chart will have given you some insight into what’s worth your attention.

However, there is a big difference if you are shopping with $200 in your pocket compared to a grand. This is why we have four unique categories to dive into, each with their own chart and guide, offering you an idea of what to look out for in certain price ranges.

Budget
Can’t afford to pay any more than $300 for an exercise bike? Don’t worry – this is the case for many people, especially beginners who aren’t sure whether a stationary bike is right for them.

Thankfully, as our budget section shows, you don’t need to spend much to end up with a bike that can deliver a serious workout. Whether you want an upright bike, spin bike or recumbent bike, this category features something for everyone.

Of course, you have to expect some compromises. Flywheels tend to be lighter, features tend to be more basic, and every machine has its flaws. Still, for less than the price of a year’s gym membership, these bikes are incredibly attractive.

Under $500
If you have the cash to invest up to an extra two hundred bucks, the world of exercise bikes suddenly becomes even more appealing.

You will notice a dramatic increase in the quality of bikes on offer. Frames become sturdier, flywheels become heavier, and secondary features become more attractive.

We are still some way off what you could class as high end, but the midrange offers a nice balance between performance and affordability.

Under $1000
While some bikes span into multiple thousands of dollars, one grand is about all the majority of us will want to spend. This is not a bad thing, as this section illustrates.

Here you will find all bikes styles with a near gym-grade performance. Emphasis here is on delivering a bike that is smooth, quiet and versatile to challenge everybody from beginners to professional athletes. Secondary features also stand up to scrutiny, with some bikes resembling full media centers!

Of course, the price tag is much higher, but you can expect far less room for error on these models – the majority of the ‘cons’ we highlight are just little nitpicks.

Seniors
There is nothing to say a senior can’t make great use out of an upright or spinning bike – in fact, many do! However, many seniors also suffer from joint and mobility issues, so a more demanding bike won’t be suitable.

In this section, we take a look at some of the best recumbent bikes for seniors. We have highlighted seven models that make exercise a pleasure instead of a hassle.

The focus is on bikes with comfortable seats, convenient step-through designs and easy controls. If you are a senior – or buying a bike for a senior – then this is the section to check out!

Folding
If you are particularly short of space, you may want to consider a folding exercise bike instead of a regular model.

These budget bikes lack some of the stability and features you would expect on a standard upright or recumbent bike, but are ideal for smaller spaces as they fold to half their size in between use.

Choosing the Right Exercise Bike for You

With any exercise bike, there is so much to consider. Design, resistance, pedals, controls, seats and screens – where do you start?

This guide of course! Over the next few sections we will be highlighting everything you need to know about at-home exercise bikes.

Pay attention – this information could make the difference between you buying a decent bike and a great bike!

Design

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or not, everybody knows roughly what an exercise bike looks like. In short, it’s a bike without wheels.

However, while simple compared to something like a good elliptical, an exercise bike can still be quite complex, with a lot to consider.

For starters, there are three different styles of bike, all suited to different kinds of user. Let’s quickly explore these three bike designs:

Upright
The upright bike is where most people start and is best for the general user. Not sure what you want from a stationary bike? Start with an upright bike.

As the name suggests, this bike puts you in an upright position. You aren’t forced to recline or lean forward as with the other designs. Having said that, if you want to lean forward a little, you can.

Upright designs offer a good balance between comfort and performance. The seat is placed lower than the handlebars, with the pedals directly below this seat.

This style is ideal for longer sessions, although they can also be used for higher-intensity workouts as well. In most cases, you will find upright bikes have a magnetic resistance system, although some may feature an air resistance system instead.

Spinning
Also known as ‘indoor bikes’, spinning bikes are the most demanding of the three designs and the one that most closely resembles a road bike.

These bikes feature a seat that is roughly at the same level as the handlebars. This design means you must lean forward to ride it, while standing up is also a popular method.

For these reasons, spin bikes are very well built, to handle the extra stress on the frame and pedals. The seats tend to be quite uncomfortable (mainly because your butt rarely touches it) and the secondary features are sparse when compared to the other two.

Resistance-wise, you will find all systems on offer, although direct-contact tends to be the most common on spin bikes in both budget and high-end price ranges.

Spin bikes are the kings of high-intensity training – if you want to work up a real sweat, this is the bike that will help you do it. Plus, as it mimics a road bike so well, a spin bike is also ideal for training for an outdoors event (such as a triathlon) when you are unable to train outside.

Recumbent
Finally, we have recumbent bikes, which have the reputation of being the least effective of the three designs. However, what they lack in the intensity department, they make up for in comfort and convenience.

A recumbent bike is instantly recognizable as it features a reclined position with your body supported by a large seat and backrest, and your legs stretched outwards to reach pedals that are in front of you.

Due to this positioning, recumbent bikes are ideal for people with joint issues. Your bodyweight is dispersed more evenly over the machine, reducing the stress on your lower back and knees.

In a purely technical sense, there aren’t many major differences between recumbent and upright bikes. They come with similar flywheels and drive systems, and often share secondary features. The main difference is your body position.

You don’t get the same benefits to your upper body or core due to the relaxed positioning, but recumbent bikes can still offer a heart rate-raising workout, providing you put the effort in.

Frame

The frame of an exercise bike is one of those things that is often overlooked, although it remains one of the most important elements. Ultimately, if the frame sucks, the rest of the components won’t be able to achieve their full potential.

Sturdy is what you are looking for. A sturdy frame will cater for heavier weights and will also result in a more stable riding experience – one where you don’t shake or rock as you pedal.

The majority of frames will be made of steel tubing, which is more than suitable. In higher-end price ranges you will sometimes find bikes with aluminum frames to offer a strong but lighter-weight experience.

Some frames are powder-coated for a robust feel and greater durability, while some will feature a moisture-repellant finish. For sweatier users, this is key to ensuring a longer life for the bike!

When it comes to saving space, the good news is that most exercise bikes are pretty compact – especially when compared to something like a cross trainer. Upright bikes and spinning bikes in particular have the smallest footprint, while recumbent bikes tend to be much longer.

If you are still concerned about space, bikes with folding frames are available. These collapse to some extent, reducing the size of the bike so you can store it away after your workout. You may lose a little stability depending on the model, although the fact that you can keep it in a closet is a huge draw if you live in a small home.

Finally, many bike frames – regardless of design – will feature transportation wheels and floor levelers.

Transportation wheels are usually small and mounted on the front bar of the frame, allowing you to maneuver the bike in and out of storage easily.

Levelers allow you to adjust the stability of the frame where it makes contact with the floor. These are arguably more important than wheels, as using a bike on an uneven surface can lead to unpredictable and dangerous results.

Flywheel and Drive System
While the frame of a bike is important, it is the flywheel and drive system that makes the bike more than just a piece of furniture!

The flywheel is the metal wheel that connects to the pedals via a drive system, spinning as you pedal. On spin bikes, the flywheel is large and easily seen, while on many upright and recumbent bikes it is enclosed in a case.

The weight of the flywheel will dictate how much base resistance you have at your disposal. In general, the heavier the better. However, there is only so much core resistance a flywheel can offer, which is why we have resistance systems in place (see below).

Connecting the flywheel to the pedal system is the drive system. This will be in the form of either a belt drive or a chain drive.

A chain drive is the traditional system, found on outdoor bikes. They feature a strong metal chain, which will never lose tension and will not snap. This robust system is cheaper to produce, although can be both dirtier and noisier than belt drives.

A belt drive uses a rubber belt instead of the chain. The result is a cleaner and quieter experience. However – despite being a bit more expensive – you always have the danger of the belt snapping.

Resistance System

The resistance system on an exercise bike is what actually makes the workout worth doing. Regardless of what design you go for, there are a couple of resistance systems to note.

Direct-Contact
The first is direct-contact. This traditional system is similar to the braking mechanism on a road bike. You twist a dial and a physical brake pad (usually felt or leather) will move closer to the flywheel, creating friction.

This is the most affordable system for manufacturers to use and, as such, tends to be found on cheaper bikes. However, some high-end spin bikes also make use of direct-contact for the authentic feel and unlimited resistance on offer.

Besides being generally noisier than magnetic resistance, one of the downsides of direct-contact resistance is that you have to occasionally replace the brake pads – especially if you use the bike a lot.

Magnetic Resistance
Magnetic resistance is more advanced than direct-contact and perhaps the most common across all price ranges and bike styles.

It uses a similar principle to direct-contact, although with magnets acting on the flywheel instead of a physical brake. The closer the magnets move to the wheel, the tougher the resistance.

The advantage of using magnets is that there is no contact, and therefore a lot less noise and – in the case of brake dust – dirt.

Magnetic resistance is less gradual than a direct-contact or air resistance system as you have set levels. For example, you can make the jump between level 6 and level 7, but there is no level 6.5 to bridge that gap.

This is why more levels are better, as you have the ability to gradually increase the resistance with less jumps.

Air Resistance
Usually found on a dual-action bike (i.e. those with movable handles), air resistance is a slightly different system to the other two.

Instead of a metal flywheel, air resistance bikes are fitted with a fan wheel. As you pedal, the fan moves and air hits the blades to create friction. The faster you pedal, the more resistance you will feel.

For this reason, air resistance bikes are very popular for activities like HIIT and CrossFit. You do have to put up with more noise and less consistency (in that you cannot work to neat increments for your entire workout), but they are well worth considering.

Height Range

What good is an exercise bike if you cannot fit on it? Not very good at all! This is why it is worth paying attention to the height range of the bikes you are considering.

If you are too short, you won’t be able to comfortably reach certain components (such as the pedals or handlebars). If you are too tall, the whole experience may be too restrictive.

Luckily, most bikes will cater for users between around 5ft and 6ft. If you are taller or shorter than this range, you need to be more careful.

If the manufacturer does not list the height range of their bike – as is often the case – look out for the inseam measurement, which will give you as good an idea of whether the bike will fit. If that doesn’t exist, checking out user reviews on marketplaces such as Amazon may shed some light on whether or not your height is suitable.

Control Module

The control module is the heart of the bike. On budget units, this may be as simple as a manual resistance dial and an LCD monitor offering a few workout stats – such as your workout time, distance cycled, and calories burned.

On models in the midrange and higher end of the market, you can expect to see bigger panels offering digital controls. These allow you to tend to things like resistance levels at the touch of a button, whether you want to make small adjustments or bigger leaps in level.

The screens on these higher-end bikes will also be bigger, backlit and more detailed, sometimes providing more workout feedback. This can include both heart rate data and information about the workout program you are using, if applicable.

Secondary Features

The secondary features on an exercise bike may not be as crucial as characteristics like resistance or the drive system, but they are still significant to the overall experience.

One of these features is the seat comfort. Of course, all bikes will offer a seat, but some will be more comfortable than others. Being one of the three main contact points between you and the bike, this is pretty important.

The comfort on offer will depend on the type of bike you buy and the amount you spend. Recumbent bikes typically offer plush seats with ample padding, as well as a backrest and possibly armrests.

Spin bikes, on the other hand, have notoriously uncomfortable seats. However, as much of the time you spend on a spin bike is either leaning forward off the seat or standing, it’s not as much of an issue.

Other extras worth paying attention to include both workout-enhancing and comfort-enhancing features.

Earlier we mentioned that the LCD screen may offer feedback on your heart rate. This will only be a feature if your machine includes a built-in heart rate monitor, or supports measurements made by an external chest strap.

Bikes in all price ranges feature heart rate monitors, usually in the form of pulse pads in the handlebars. These systems are good for giving you an indication of how much effort you are putting in, although nothing compared to the accuracy of a chest strap monitor – occasionally included with higher-end bikes.

As for the comfort side of things, you will find more expensive bikes fitted with things like cooling fans that blow air in your direction as you sweat through a session. Essential? No – especially if you live in an air-conditioned home or have a standalone fan nearby. However, features like this just enhance the convenience of your workout.

Just like a premium treadmill, your bike may also be equipped with amenities that make the overall experience more entertaining.

This may be something as simple as a media shelf, where you can safely prop up a tablet or other smart device, allowing you to watch TV or browse the internet as you use the bike. You may also find things like speakers and a USB charging port to make this even more pleasant.

Bluetooth connectivity is also often present on bikes in the midrange categories and above. This may be to connect your iPad to built-in speakers, or it may be to connect your bike to fitness tracking apps such as RideSocial, Zwift, The Sufferfest and CycleCast.

Note that, of these features, many will be present on recumbent and upright bikes, while less so on spin bikes – this style of bike is notoriously lacking in comfort features!

Frequently Asked Questions

Take a look at the exercise bike market and prepare to be overwhelmed with choice! Of course, choice is great – but which bike is the best for home use?

While it’s a good question, it’s also a tough one to answer. You can take a look at our top ten chart above, which will offer an insight into some of the models we deem the best.

However, there are so many variables, settling on the best one for you is very tricky. Ultimately, only you can decide this.

For example, if you are a senior or somebody struggling with joint pain, a recumbent bike is going to tick more boxes for you than a spin bike or an upright bike with dual-action arms.

Then you have to take into account the price. If you are shopping on a budget, a $200 bike is likely to fit your criteria more than a $2,000 model! Equally, if money is no object, then spending $200 is probably not going to result in the best bike for you.

This may sound pretty vague – and it is. But it illustrates the point that you have to determine factors like your budget, your needs, your wants and your goals. Only then will you have more of an idea of what the best bike for you really is.

Many health and fitness organizations recommend that an individual should participate in 30 minutes of exercise for at least five days per week. In theory, this means you could enjoy a session on your new exercise bike on all five days.

The benefit of stationary bikes is that they are low impact, allowing you to increase your heart rate and burn calories without stressing your joints. Recumbent bikes are naturally the best bikes if you are looking for the least stress to your body, while spinning bikes are more demanding but offer greater reward.

In fact, because of the low-impact nature of exercise bikes, using one every single day of the week is not out of the question.

However, you should also explore other areas of fitness to develop a more balanced physique and to challenge your body in different ways.

For example, when using a bike, a lot of your upper body is not challenged. Therefore, adding in something that incorporates more of your upper body is a good idea. This could be something like making use of the full-body motion of an elliptical or a SkiErg machine instead of a session on the bike.

You could also try skipping a bike session and lift weights instead. This doesn’t mean you will turn into a bodybuilder overnight, but a little weight lifting can be very beneficial for improving your physique, increasing bone density, correcting your posture, and more – regardless of your age, gender or goals.

In general, cycling is considered a great exercise for people who want to avoid – or who already suffer from – knee pain. This is because cycling on an exercise bike is very low impact; saving your knees from the stress they would encounter when running or jumping.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions, however. As cycling is a repetitive motion, overuse injuries and issues can occur, while bad habits can also cause problems.

One good habit to get into is warming up. Before jumping straight into a high-intensity session, spend five minutes doing some dynamic stretching and at least five minutes doing some slow, light cycling to warm your muscles and ligaments.

When you are ready to start your workout, increase the resistance gradually – especially if you are particular out of shape, or new to cycling.

The way you set up the bike and position yourself on it is also very important. If either of these aspects is incorrect, you instantly open yourself to the potential of knee pain.

Setting up your bike and your positioning will depend on the style of exercise bike you buy. For example, your positioning on a recumbent bike will be a lot different to how you should be sat on a spin bike!

A quick search online will offer good guidance on how to set up your specific style of bike. Even better, have a session with a personal trainer (or even a friend who is an avid cyclist) as one-to-one feedback on your setup and posture will be invaluable.

Finally, if you ever start to feel pain during cycling, stop and try to determine what is causing it. If you make adjustments and you are still feeling pain, you may be suffering with an overuse injury. If you feel this is the case, stop cycling and speak to a physician who will advise further.

Want to lose fat? Putting yourself in a calorie deficit is the only way to do it. Determine how many calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight (using our free TDEE calculator is a good start!), then aim to put yourself in a 500-calorie deficit per day.

Doing this every day for a week will result in a 2,500-calorie deficit. This deficit will result in 1lb of fat being shed and you feeling a hell of lot better!

The simplest way to achieve a calorie deficit is to watch your diet. Clean it up – eating whole foods, avoiding junk food, sugar and alcohol, and eating smaller portions can all help.

However, regular exercise – including riding a stationary bike – can also help you burn more calories and, in the end, fat.

How many calories you burn during your bike session will depend on many factors, including your weight, the intensity at which you are riding, the duration of your session, and the style of bike you are using.

For example, the calorie-burn on a low-intensity session on a recumbent bike is going to be significantly different to a high-intensity session on a spin bike or dual-action bike.

In general, a 155lb person can expect to burn anywhere between around 200 and 800 calories per hour on a bike, while a 205lb person may burn between 280 and 1,100 per hour. Again, this completely depends on your intensity.

So yes – complementing a healthy and calorie-controlled diet with regular exercise, such as using a stationary bike, will result in significant fat loss. Just keep things consistent and you will be surprised at how quickly the pounds drop off!

The Ver(ve)dict!

There we have it – the complete guide to exercise bikes! If you have ingested even half of this information, you will be well-equipped when it comes to finding the best exercise bike for you.

Be sure check out our individual categories, which offer closer looks at each price and style – whether you are looking for a budget spinning bike, a midrange upright bike, or a high-end recumbent bike.

With the right bike, you will be ready to burn calories and boost your fitness in ways you would never have thought possible in the comfort of your own home!

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