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Not so long ago you really had to invest a lot in an indoor cycling bike if you wanted to get anything that even remotely resembled good performance. Those days are fortunately long gone. Schwinn IC3 indoor cycling bike represents the type of bike you can get at this price range. One thing we appreciated right away is the fact that this machine was built with function in mind above anything else. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles. Instead the entire budget Schwinn has allotted for this project appears to have been invested in making the IC3 the best possible bike for the money.
At its core you will find a 40 pound flywheel that is smooth, balanced and virtually noiseless. The drive belt system it’s connected to is very fluid. Its performance aside, it’s details such as dual SPD pedals with toe cages that really add to the overall sensation during use. The bike also features a race style seat, padded handlebars and, a water bottle holder and a media rack. The console is fairly simple and serves to inform you of the basic parameters such as time, calories, distance and similar. Overall, this is an awesome machine.
Next up comes a bike from JOROTO which offers a similar performance as our top pick, but at a more affordable price. There are a few key differences between the two, but chances are that some of the features this bike lacks are a good trade off if you’re on a budget. Don’t let that price fool you. This bike is all about getting you a challenging workout on a daily basis. JOROTO has used good quality tubing for the frame, making this entire thing rather sturdy.
The seat is not a racing type, but it is fully adjustable. One of the first places where you will see a compromise is the flywheel. This model features a 35 pound unit which is still very formidable all things considered. The drive system is quite good, smooth and responsive. There’s no slack in the pedals and you can really load the entire thing. As expected, the resistance settings are fully adjustable and can go pretty much as high as you want them to. One cool thing about this JOROTO bike is the media shelf which is large enough to house even the largest tablets quite securely. Also, it’s a good looking bike.
As you progress down the price range, you get to see just how far this segment of the market has come. Our next pick comes from L Now and goes under the name of D600. Compared to most bikes out there, you could say that this one is compact. It features a robust frame, but one that has been lightened in a few places. What is most important to us is that this reduction in weight doesn’t affect its stability. One cool little detail about the frame is that it features leveling feet on all four corners while the front horizontal bar comes with built in transportation wheels.
The flywheel on this model is significantly lighter than those on our previous picks. That means that you’re working with less inertia right off the bat. Don’t worry, though. Those 22lbs of weight in that flywheel are more than enough to get a proper workout out of this bike. Speaking of the flywheel, the entire drive system is pretty smooth. It’s by no means special, but it offers consistency and that is something we can appreciate. The seat is fully adjustable and rather neutral while the handlebars come with heart rate sensors.
Next up is a model that really fits that bang for the buck niche. ANCHEER B3008 is a great value if you want a heavy flywheel, rock solid frame and an overall neutral seat. They have managed to squeeze in a 49 pound flywheel into this model, which is impressive considering what the competition offers. Best of all, there is no catch aside from its flashy aesthetics. The frame is rock solid and features leveling knobs all corners. The pedals aren’t all too aggressive but they do come with adjustable cages.
As for the seat, it’s also fully adjustable. The seat profile is pretty neutral which makes it comfortable overall. Sure, it isn’t a race seat but at this price we can’t really complain too much. One area where ANCHEER has saved a bit of money is the console. This bike features one of the simplest and cheapest console units that is shared among various brands. The truth is that it works fine but it isn’t the most legible unit out there due to its tiny display. That is however a small price to pay for what this bike offers. It really is the best bang for the buck choice.
PYHIGH may not carry as much weight as some other names on our list, but this brand doesn’t really need to rely on reputation as long as they are releasing models like the one we are looking at here. At its core, this bike is quite simple. It sits on a simple but functional frame that is fully adjustable and rather lightweight. The bike isn’t the most compact out there, but it definitely isn’t the hardest to deal with if you are working with limited space. The drive system, which is what makes or breaks the bike, is alright to say the least. PYHIGH offers a 35lbs bidirectional flywheel that is paired with a decent drive system and a very fine set of pedals.
Resistance selection knob is right where you’d want it to be and is painted red just in case you’re having trouble finding it. The seat is probably the only downside of this entire build. It is a wide seat, the type that you often find on upright bikes. If you can get over this little detail, you can get a very good bike at a more than decent price. PYHIGH sets the bar high. for sure.
Speaking of minimalist rigs, YOSUDA’s indoor cycling bike is absolutely something that budget oriented users might be interested in. Affordable doesn’t necessarily mean sub-par. Far from it. YOSUDA has simply found a way to save on production costs in areas which can be described as less important. In other words, it’s a function over form type of a bike. What we were mainly interested in was the quality of the frame and the drive system and we’re happy to report that both are great. The frame is robust, rough around the edges but it gets the job done for sure.
The drive system consists of a 35lbs flywheel that is paired with a smooth belt setup that allows you to utilize that potential inertia in a silent and fluid way. The seat, which is a standard and rather neutral piece, is fully adjustable as you would expect. The bike does come with a few quality of life features such as the water bottle holder and a media deck. Also, even though it is far from being the most compact thing out there, you can count on being able to move this thing in and out of storage with little effort.
Last but not the least we want to talk about a bike that is truly meant for those who want more for less. It just so happens that Sunny Health & Fitness are basically masters at offering more for less. Their Pro indoor cycling bike is a masterpiece of simplicity and robust performance. Every single ounce of money that could have been saved on non essential things has been diverted into performance. Because of that you have a simple frame that is basically treated with a protective base coat and not much else. It is rugged, robust and durable. Everything else, such as attractive aesthetics fall within the realm of wishful thinking.
The seat is fully adjustable and features a racing contour, which is impressive considering the price tag. Speaking of impressive things, this bike comes with a 40lb solid flywheel and that is linked to an awesome drive system. One thing that you wont find on here is any kind of a console. There is literally no way to track distance, calories and the usual stuff we are used to seeing on fitness equipment these days. This bike requires you to employ the old school alternative methods of progress tracking.
We are living in a time where flagships are still considered by many to be the only way to go, despite the next best line of models quickly closing the gap. The amount of competition in the entry level and mid range segments makes these a great place to start. The models we have listed for you today come from this awesome range. You are looking at bikes which are built to deliver the necessary performance while not necessarily being too attractive or decked out with the latest bells and whistles. If that is something you want, you might need to invest a bit more money into your equipment. As things stand right now, these are among the best exercise bikes under $500 you can get at the moment.
Features That Make a Difference
When it comes to specific features worth looking into, we have to start with the drive system. After all this is the core of the bike. Most of the models in this price range will get you anywhere from a 25lb to a 45lb flywheel setup. There is plenty of variety in this regard. The weight itself shouldn’t be the deciding factor however. Instead, we were more interested in how these flywheels were balanced, how they were paired with the rest of the system and how the drive train performed overall. Those are just some of the things worth keeping in mind.
Indoor cycling bikes under $500 are definitely a category that offers a lot. The number of awesome models you will run into is high. Some of those have made it to our list thanks to their proven performance, solid track record and known durability. That means that no matter which one you go with, chances are you won’t regret your decision. The sole fact that indoor cycling bikes are so straight forward makes the entire process even less risky. As long as you cover your bases and know what you need, you won’t run into trouble choosing the right model.