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Today we are going to show you our picks for the top 7 best exercise bikes under $500. This used to be the entry level segment, but not it’s one of the most competitive ones. Because of that, it is no wonder that some of these are among the best exercise bikes available on the market right now.
We start our list with an awesome upright model. Upright exercise bikes are arguably the golden middle between getting the workout done and doing it in a comfortable manner. Even though they’re often seen as something casual users would turn to, models such as the Schwinn 130 tell a different tale. This machine combines extended functionality with a compact form factor. For most, that is the perfect combo to have at home.
The bike is built around a very solid frame that utilizes quality tubing to achieve supreme rigidity in all the right places. Although quite sturdy, this entire bike is surprisingly light. The seat is another detail worth mentioning in particular. It’s a neutral and rather comfortable design that adjustable by height. The drive system is smooth and nicely balanced. It allows you to choose between 20 levels of resistance manually or through the console.
Speaking of which, the console is where go from good to great. This unit offers 22 built in workout presets, two separate displays and a set of controls which are intuitive to use. Lastly, you also get a water bottle holder which really completes the overall package and makes for a great exercise bike.
Upright bikes may be the go to choice for most users, but there is one type of exercise bikes that reaches a whole new level of comfort. We are of course talking about recumbent bikes. Exerpeutic 4000 is not an average member of this segment. On the contrary, they have taken the recumbent layout and pushed it even further.
Instead of a simple reclined seat, Exerpeutic 4000 features a full blown chair with great padding on the seat itself, but also on the arm rests. The back portion of the chair is contoured mesh, which actually works great in terms of comfort. The bike offers 24 levels of magnetic resistance and 12 workout programs you can access using the console unit. Truth be told the display could have been a bit larger but we can’t really complain considering the price and overall design of the bike.
As expected, this model is mainly designed for those who want absolute comfort during their cardio sessions as well as those who are recovering from an injury. In essence this is about as low impact as it gets when you are dealing with cardio. Exerpeutic has done a truly awesome job with this one.
Exercise bikes are a pretty diverse branch of fitness machines. However, not all types of exercise bikes are equally popular. It’s arguable that air fan bikes don’t get the recognition they deserve even though this design offers a number of benefits over the more traditional systems. One model from this family of bikes comes from Marcy and is called AIR-1.
This isn’t exactly a standard air bike considering that it has arm bars which allow you to work your upper body as well as your legs. However, it is one of the better options out there. The bike is fairly compact and uses that same format as most upright bikes. Instead of a massive flywheel, AIR-1 features a cage with a fan. The idea is that the faster you turn the pedals or operate the handles, more resistance you will get.
There are no resistance selection knobs or anything of the sort. This is a progressive resistance machine. That alone makes it interesting. The handlebars meant for upper body engagement are connected to the pedals and ride on the same drive system. AIR-1 features a comfortable, fully adjustable seat as well as a fairly capable console unit at the top.
Next up is another recumbent design, this time around we are dealing with a mostly standard layout. We say mostly because SF-RBD4703 comes with one rather unusual feature that might just be what you are looking for. Sunny Health & Fitness is known for adding interesting spins on already standardized designs. With that in mind, they have added a desktop to what is essentially a standard recumbent bike.
You have your H pattern frame the adjustable, padded seat and the relatively decent flywheel. But the addition of the small desktop area transforms this machine from a simple exercise bike into something that is much more than that. The shelf is large enough to support a laptop with ease, making it a sold platform for those who work from home.
There is also a cup or water bottle holder built into the shelf. Interestingly enough, the console sunny has chosen for this model features another media shelf. This one is much smaller and suitable for tablets and smart phones at best. As far as performance goes, this is a solid workhorse of an exercise bike. Its somewhat odd design feels more like an extension of the whole recumbent layout than anything else.
Those who are not familiar with how Sunny Health & Fitness operates are probably wondering why we’ve added two of their models on this particular list. The answer is that they are covering a large gamma of fitness machines with really awesome models such as the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002. Right off the bat you can tell this is a relatively serious indoor cycling model.
As such it is meant primarily for those who want to get the most authentic cycling experience within the comfort of their homes. SF-B1002 packs quite a punch thanks to its 49 pound flywheel which really give you something to work with. Since these are using a top press down brake to generate resistance, you can look forward to a more progressive difficulty which feels more natural.
When it comes to the seat, the frame, handlebars and the rest of the bike, it’s all adjustable. Once you figure out what position works the best for you, all you need to do is get started. One thing worth noticing about this particular model is the lack of a console unit. While some might find it quite important, a console isn’t really a deal breaker in this case.
Upright bikes are a great way to get into exercise bikes for a number of reasons. All of its inherent fidelity aside, upright bikes also tend to be pretty affordable. Case in point is this awesome Nautilus U614. They have managed to squeeze in a whole lot of performance into a machine that is fairly compact. Nautilus went with a small footprint H patter frame for this build, adding leveling feet in the back and transport wheels up front.
The needless to say it is really easy to pull this thing in and out of storage should you need to while it alone is compact enough to be suitable for those working with limited space. Space saver design aside, what truly makes this mike so impressive is the hardware found inside. You are looking at a pretty capable flywheel that offers 20 levels of manual resistance.
It’s digitally controlled using the dual display console that is just bursting with features and controls. The main selling point of this setup are the 22 built in workout programs which you can access at any time. On top of that you also have built in speakers, a media shelf an adjustable fan and more.
At the last place on our list sits an indoor cycling bike with an attitude. It comes from Pooboo and features a great balance of performance, durability and the ability to adjust just about everything you could think of. The bike sits on a standard H pattern frame that comes with built in leveling knobs on all four corners as well as a set of transport wheels at the front.
The frame itself is quite robust. It gives away a very strong vibe that inspires plenty of confidence no matter how hard you go during your workouts. The flywheel is one of the lighter models we have seen. It is a 24lb unit paired with a fairly smooth drive system as well as caged pedals. The seat is neutral with a hint of that racing contour.
However, both genders will find it quite comfortable for extended periods of use. One awesome thing about this particular setup is the console unit which is a rare sight in this segment of the market, as well as a media shelf suitable for use with smart phones and tablets alike. The resistance selection knob is very progressive, thus allowing you to be very specific.
Exercise bikes are a rather diverse category as you have probably noticed by now. That is why knowing exactly what you need and what works for you is pretty important. For some, indoor cycling bikes are all they need.
Others are more into recumbent bikes. Figuring out which of these layouts is best for you is half of the problem. The other half is knowing which features you can and which features you can’t go without.
Before we get to that, let’s address the two most distinct types of exercise bikes you will run into in this category.
Indoor cycling bikes are often times looked upon as a tool for professional cyclists to stay in shape and prepare for events. These bikes are pretty aggressive in terms of the seating position while they also rarely come with a console unit. One thing that differentiates them from all other bikes is the fact that you can actually stand on the pedals.
That is absolutely not recommendable on any other exercise bike. If you are an avid cyclist and want the most authentic experience you can get indoors, these bikes are for you.
On the other hand, if you are just looking for a casual cardio machine that you can get in shape on, upright bikes are the way to go. These are probably the oldest type of exercise bikes in use but also the most efficient.
Upright models have been proven numerous times by now and they often times deliver a very impressive bang for your buck.
Despite there being numerous types of bikes and various subgroups to choose from, there are certain features you will definitely want to look into when choosing a bike in this price range. Everything starts with the seat.
Check how adjustable it is and whether it fits your size. Different seat designs may prove to be more or less comfortable depending on what you are into. Everything else is a matter of preference for the most part.
Exercise bikes in this price range are a great way to get into cycling and stay engaged for a long time. The models we have chosen for you represent a decent cross section of what is available and what you can expect to get in terms of performance as well as features.
The good thing about this particular segment of the market is that you can expect more than just bare bones bikes. Instead, some of these come with pretty advanced features that will make your exercise more challenging and therefore more fun. All you have to do is choose.