Indoor cycling has been around for many years. In fact, one of the first stationary bikes, the Gymnasticon, was invented in 1796. This form of exercise has had quite a rebirth in recent years with the advent of high-energy cycling studios, which combine aerobic enthusiasm and stationary bikes. It’s also an extremely approachable workout for those looking to begin a new exercise routine—this cardio exercise helps you burn calories and maintain heart health while increasing strength, stamina, and confidence.
Consider your fitness goals before making a purchase. If you’re just getting started with cycling or want a lower impact workout, a recumbent bike may be most suitable: These bikes feature a reclined body and back support with the pedals in front, with most providing a lower body workout with more comfort and stability. On the other hand, experienced riders and those who want the best exercise bike for a challenging workout should opt for an upright model. These exercise machines more closely resemble a traditional bike, featuring an upright body position and front petals that provide an intense full-body workout.
There are a few other considerations to keep in mind as you shop for the best exercise bike, including digital display, programming options, and smart technology. Exercise bikes also vary in weight capacity and the seating comfort they provide, with some models providing more seat padding than others.
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With those key shopping considerations in mind, this guide showcases well built, high-performance exercise bikes—choose the recumbent or upright model that best suits your workout needs.
The Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series can help keep your exercise routine fresh with 29 different programs and 25 levels of resistance for up to 12 rider profiles. The bike features a perimeter weighted flywheel—the weighted metal disk that’s in place of a wheel—that facilitates a smooth workout. A cushioned seat with lumbar support and wide pedals with foot straps offer rider comfort. The ventilated upper seat and adjustable fan provide cooling capabilities, with a maximum user weight of 300 pounds.
With Bluetooth capabilities, riders can sync with the Schwinn Trainer App and other popular fitness tracking tools and a ride social app that lets you see the world with new routes added regularly. It is also virtual reality (VR) compatible for users who want an immersive experience. Other features include two LCD displays, a media shelf, in-console speakers with an MP3 input port, and USB charging. This option sells at a higher price point than other exercise bikes, but its extensive features offer superb value.
The Exerpeutic 400XL Folding Recumbent Bike features a semi-recumbent design with a large seat cushion and backrest, offering comfort and an easy to mount and dismount experience. A precision-balanced flywheel also adds to a smooth and safe ride. If you’re focused on improving heart health, hand-pulse sensors on the handlebars can help target your heart rate zone.
Find your desired difficulty with an 8-level magnetic tension control system and track distance ridden, calories burned, time, speed, and pulse on an LCD display. This affordable model can fit under adjustable desks for an office workout and folds up for easy storage. The Exerpeutic 400 XL has a 300-pound weight capacity.
Cyclers across America are riding to get in shape with the high-end Peloton exercise bike, which offers the experience of being in a studio class from the comfort of your own home. A large 22-inch high-definition touch-screen monitor streams live classes where the instructor can see riders (so no slacking off). You can track your workouts both on the bike and on the company’s app, and compete with other riders if you choose. Connect your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled device to sync with other online tools. A monthly fee lets you stream a variety of classes.
The upright Peloton bike has a sleek design, boasting an adjustable seat and handlebars, while a high variable magnetic resistance and a quiet belt drive provide a personalized and smooth ride. Optional accessories include Peloton shoes (with cleats), weights, headphones, a heart rate monitor, and a bike mat (available separately). The Peloton can accommodate users up to 297 pounds.
This Sunny Health & Fitness bike has an edge over many other recumbent models: its handlebars move back and forth, adding an upper-body workout and providing increased calorie expenditure. A step-through frame and padded seat with an easy-to-reach adjustment lever make for a comfortable ride, while a digital monitor displays distance and time.
A tension knob with eight resistance settings allows users to choose from varying levels of difficulty. It’s also portable for easily relocating using the bike’s transport wheels. Users up to 350 pounds can use this model safely.
The belt-driven system on the Yosuda Indoor Cycling Stationary Bike provides a smooth and quiet ride. A 2-way adjustable nonslip handlebar, 4-way padded seat, and a large range of resistance settings give users a comfortable, personalized ride for cyclers up to 270 pounds. The Yosuda’s aluminum alloy cage pedals and adjustable straps keep riders’ feet from slipping. For added safety, a resistance bar can stop the flywheel immediately.
The LCD monitor on this upright Yosuda bike acts as an odometer and displays time, speed, distance, and calories burned. You can store your water in the holder and keep devices close by with the media shelf. This Yosuda bike is particularly sturdy and stable with its steel frame and 35-pound flywheel, priced more affordably than other upright models.
Even though the Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike has a foldable design, a 14-gauge steel frame and rubberized feet make for a sturdy ride. An adjustable foam padded seat offers comfort, while an LCD panel displays rider stats. Large pedals have a textured grip and safety straps to secure your feet during workouts.
Riders can control eight levels of manual resistance through a large tension knob to cover users of varying fitness levels. The x-frame design folds away easily and wheels provide easy movability, convenient for both office and at-home use. The Marcy upright exercise bike has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds.
With the As Seen on TV Slim Cycle Stationary Bike, riders can choose either an upright position for more intensity or a recumbent setting for a lower-impact workout. Eight levels of adjustable resistance let you further customize your session, while the arm bands can help riders tone while they cycle. A backrest and thick memory foam seat aim for comfort for users who weigh up to 300 pounds.
The bike’s digital display can keep track of burned calories, distance, speed, heart rate, and mileage. This bike comes with an easy assembly. And when you’re done with your ride, the compact fold-up design lets you hide it under the bed or tuck it away in a closet.
Air bikes like the Assault AirBike Classic create resistance as the fan blades push against the air, so the faster you cycle, the more resistance you’ll create. That, plus seven different fitness programs and integrated messaging on the smart computer console, can make for a challenging workout. Twenty sealed ball bearings throughout provide a smooth and durable ride, while a 6-way adjustable seat with an up or down tilt aims for comfort. The Assault air bike supports a maximum user weight of 350 pounds.
Pedaling while working can enhance productivity and increase energy for adults and kids alike, and the DeskCycle Under Desk Bike can help them stay fit sitting at desks as low as 27 inches. A patented magnetic resistance mechanism offers a quiet ride so you won’t bother your office neighbors or family members. Eight resistance settings can provide a customized experience while an LCD screen shows metrics for speed, time, distance, and calories burned.