10 Best Exercise Bikes Fully Reviewed & Compared
Cycling your way to fitness without leaving your home.
Whether you are coming off an injury or just looking for a low impact activity, cycling is a great option for taking pressure off your joints and keeping you in cardiovascular shape. Of course, getting outside for some Vitamin D is usually preferred but is often not realistic due to weather or time constraints.
Adding an exercise bike to your home allows you to take advantage of this low impact exercise at your convenience. The options for exercise biked range widely in size, price, and intensity so you may be surprised to find bike options that will fit even the smallest space and budget.
Through choosing the right type of exercise bike you can take on a regular home exercise regime either intensely for maximum health benefits or just a none routine schedule to keep your fitness running at a healthy level. Excercise bikes come with choices, you can get basic models which allow you to simulate light cycling activity or you can get high tech machines which simulate different levels of cycling and offer more challenging workouts.
Here in this guide you get a chance to choose a top quality bike which will work for you.
- LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air
- Advanced data monitoring
- Schwinn 270 Recumbent
- Keiser M3
- Sturdy build
10 Best Exercise Bikes
1. LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air
Air fan resistance that builds as you pedal
This Air Resistance Fan bike will provide a tough workout no matter what. As you pedal the resistance builds making even maintaining a constant speed challenging. This bike does have moving handlebars and you will likely find yourself standing on the pedals to keep the bike’s speed up for an effective full body workout. Additionally, motivational programming allows you to challenge yourself and track your progress to target more challenging fitness goals.
Advanced LCD display monitors heart rate, speed, RPM, time, Watts and calories. The computer also includes motivational programming such as Tabata, Intervals, Watts and Heart Rate.
Pedaling is certainly difficult with the air resistance but the movement is smooth and the bike feels very stable even as you pump through a sprint workout. The seat is adjustable up and down as well as forward and backward for a customizable fit and maximum comfort. It may not be the most cushioned seat you can find but, due to the intensity of the workout, most users don’t spend enough time sitting on it to find it uncomfortable.
This is one of the larger bikes available at 49 x 22 x 51 inches and 110 pounds. However, this means it can support users up to 400lbs.
There will be some noise from the air as it comes through the fan but users note it is quieter than expected.
This assault bike does carry a hefty price tag but all buyers agree it is a very high quality machine that is guaranteed to provide a challenging and effective workout.
- High intensity
- Unlimited resistance
- Effective full body workout
- Advanced data monitoring
- 4-way adjustable seat
- Large size
- Does not collapse
2. Schwinn 270 Recumbent
Perimeter weighted flywheel that provides 25 levels of resistance.
The advanced data monitoring and progress tracking on this machine make it a highly effective piece of equipment if you are planning to commit to regular use. With a comfortable seat, quiet ride and built-in fan and speakers, you may prefer exercising on this bike to sitting on your couch. As you are leaning back, this bike will not engage your upper body and core quite as much as some of the other options. However, if you are recovering from an injury or are just seeking a low-impact and comfortable way to get your heart rate up, this is your machine.
Unlike many other bikes, this recumbent model offers a dual track, two monitor system that allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks. It also features a USB port to easily export data or simply charge your phone.
This seat features lower back support and contoured cushioning for your legs for maximum comfort while riding.
This machine is going to take up a bit of space at 64 x 27 x 50 inches and 101 pounds. It may be best suited for those planning to use it regularly as it will take up a bit of space and is not easy to store.
This machine is virtually silent and perfect for watching TV, listening to music or even reading as you exercise.
This bike is a bit more expensive but is certainly not the priciest option out there. Users note an excellent return on investment due to the outstanding comfort, sophisticated monitoring and additional features.
- Sophisticated monitor with data tracking
- Comfortable seat
- Built-in speakers
- Isolated lower body exercise
- Large and does not collapse
3. Keiser M3
Magnetic resistance system
This indoor cycling bike mimics the movement of riding an actual bicycle. The very smooth magnetic resistance system provides a seamless resistance that feels more like riding uphill than riding with your brakes on. Users love the natural challenge of this bike.
Simple computer tracks time, distance, calories, heart rate, and power output.
The seat is comfortable to sit on for a long workout and is also adjustable forward and backward as well as the standard up and down.
This bike has a fairly small footprint with dimensions of 45’’x 26’’ x 49’’. It weighs 89 pounds and can support a person up to 300 lbs.
The company describes this bike as “whisper quiet” all users agree. Many buyers note that their breathing during exercise or shoe laces tapping the tops of their shoes is actually louder than this virtually silent bike.
This bike does carry a high monetary price but is of the highest quality. Users not only note a sturdy build and smooth ride but they are also surprised by the complete lack of maintenance required even after a few years.
- Virtually maintenance free
- Smooth resistance
- Natural cycling movement
- Sturdy build
- Comfortable seat
- No motivational programming
4. Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic
8 level magnetic resistance
The 8-level resistance system allows you to choose the intensity of your workout. Some users note the pedals are a bit far forward for a typical upright bike. This means the range of motion is slightly limited and you are not able to extend your leg straight under you like you would on a regular bicycle. While the movement is not as natural, it is lower impact and is not a bad option for those with knee injuries. This handle bars do not move on this bike so it engages only the lower body.
This has a small and simple LCD display that tracks distance, calories burned, time, and speed. It also features hand sensors on the handlebars to track heart rate as you exercise.
Despite the collapsible nature and relatively low price, this bike is solidly made and feels well-grounded as you cycle. The pedaling is smooth and the handles are ergonomic for added comfort. This bike does have a larger seat and softer seat than most other bikes on the market. Many users love this extra cushioning while some others find it is so big that it gets in the way of their legs as they pedal.
This bike is 42.8 pounds and can hold a maximum weight of 300 lbs. It is 31L x 19W x 46H inches and is able to fold in half with small wheels for easier storage. According to the manufacturer, the seat is adjustable to fit anyone from 5’3’’ to 6’1’’. However, users as tall as 6’2’’ note using it with success.
The magnetic resistance on this machine has a smooth and quiet operation. This is a great option if you enjoy watching TV while you exercise.
Most users agree that this is a very stable machine for the price. Some avid cyclers do note some issues with the rubber straps breaking after very regular riding.
- Easy to use
- Large seat cushion
- Maximum weight of 300lbs
- No preset programs
- Some find the seat too large
- Pedal straps are not durable
5. Schwinn Airdyne Assault
Progressive air fan resistance that increases as you pedal.
This bike is ideal for full body exercise. With moving arms and stationary foot pegs you have the option to isolate the upper or lower body or work both at the same time. The progressive air resistance builds as you work, making it impossible to coast through a workout.
Simple LCD console with speed, RPM, distance, time and calories
The bike moves smoothly as you pedal offering consistent resistance. Some users note the seat is a bit too small and hard for comfort but this is easily addressed with the addition of a gel cover.
This bike is fairly narrow but certainly not compact at 50 x 46 x 25 inches and 97 pounds. It is not made to be stored easily.
The noise is similar to a small fan at low volume.
At less than half the price of the LifeCORE model, this machine is a great option for those interested in a fan bike.
- Full body workout
- Less expensive
- Unlimited resistance
- Not easily stored
6. Sunny Health and Fitness Pro
40 lb flywheel with felt pads for contact resistance
This upright bike will simulate the motion of being on an actual bike. The seat and handlebars are adjustable to allow you to find a natural position during your workout. On the downside, other than leaning on your arms, it does not engage the upper body much. It also does not have a monitor so you will need to be self-motivated or follow a spin video to get a tough workout.
This bike does not have a display.
With a 4-way adjustable seat and handlebars that can be moved up or down, this bike is customizable for maximum comfort. The seat does not provide much padding and some users find it uncomfortable. However, the universal bike mount makes it easy to replace the seat.
This bike is 49L x 20W x 47H and 97 lbs. It does not fold but it does have small wheels to make for easy storage. Maximum user weight is 275 lbs.
This bike makes a gentle whirring sound that will not interfere with the TV or wake up sleeping kids.
The sturdy build and smooth ride come at a lower price point than many options. This is a really solid and more affordable option for anyone looking to spin at home.
- Sturdy build
- 4-way adjustable seat
- Adjustable handlebars
- Wheels for easy storage
- Relatively inexpensive
- No monitor
- Little upper body engagement
- Brake pads may need replacing after time
7. Nautilus Upright
Resistance is provided by a resistance strap on the fly wheel that can be adjusted using a knob.
This upright bike features 29 motivational programs and offers 25 levels of resistance to help keep you working through your exercise. Bluetooth connectivity and USB port make tracking data overtime easy to help you meet your fitness goals. The upright position does not offer quite as much natural movement and does not engage the upper body but it may be more comfortable for some.
Dual track LCD displays up to 13 workout details and allows you to add up to 4 user profiles to share with the whole family.
The seat is well cushioned and most users find it comfortable for longer workouts. The handlebars are also adjustable to help you find the most comfortable position for a long ride.
This bike has a fairly small footprint and is 41.5 x 23 x 12.8 inches and 76 pounds. It does not fold but does have wheels to make storage easier. The maximum user weight is 300lbs.
The pedaling is smooth and quiet.
This bike is a bit more expensive but may be worth it for the added comfort, sophisticated data monitoring and easy storage.
- Built in fan and speakers
- 29 motivational programs
- Dual track LCD display
- Bluetooth connectivity for long term data monitoring
- No upper body engagement
8. Marcy Foldable
8 Level Magnetic Resistance
8-level resistance system allows you to manually choose the intensity of your workout. Similar to the Exerpeutic bike, the pedals are a bit further forward than a standard upright bike. This reduces the natural range of motion but also reduces impact on your knees. The handle bars on this machine are set as well, meaning there is little upper body engagement.
A small and basic LCD display monitors speed, distance, time and calories burned.
This bike has a very smooth operation and is easy to pedal. The seat is not the most well cushioned but users note this is easy to address by adding a gel seat cover.
This lightweight bike is only 37 lbs and can hold up to 250 lbs. The already small frame is also collapsible and easy to store, making this a great bike for those with limited space.
Users love that this machine is almost silent and easy to use in a busy home.
Most buyers note excellent value and quality for the price.
- Lightweight, collapsible and compact
- Easy and smooth operation
- No preset programs
- No heart rate monitor
8 level Magnetic Resistance
This pedal exerciser does offer some significant resistance but still requires minimal movement and will not be your most effective option for a thorough workout. However, some exercise is better than none and this is a great option for those struggling to move throughout the day or those recovering from an injury.
This pedaler is very comfortable and easy to use provided you find the appropriate seating to use with it.
This already compact machine offers the lowest pedal height available at only 10 inches tall. It is designed to work with a desk as low as 27 inches.
The pedals are very quiet due to the smooth magnetic resistance.
This machine is affordable when compared to full bikes but may be a bit expensive for just the pedals. However, if you are looking for a very compact piece of equipment that will allow you to exercise comfortably, this is the one for you.
- Very compact
- Easy to use while multitasking
- Smooth magnetic resistance
- No monitor
- Needs appropriate seat
- Limited range of motion
10. Exerpeutic Extended Capacity
A recumbent bike is a great way to get your heart rate up and keep your lower body toned, especially after an injury. However, it is not going to be the most rigorous workout and will not do much for engaging the upper body.
Large LCD screen indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, and heart rate.
The seat does not offer as much cushioning as some more expensive models but it is suitable for most workouts.
This bike is fairly small for a recumbent bike at 22 x 34 x 54 inches and 63 pounds weight. The maximum rider weight is 300 pounds.
The magnetic resistance on this bike is smooth and does not make much noise as you pedal.
This is a really great budget option for those seeking a recumbent bike. It is lacking many of the bells and whistles of some higher end machines but you cannot argue with the price.
- Simple monitor
- Takes pressure off low back and joints
- No upper body engagement
- Uncomfortable seat
The Criteria We Used to Find the Best Exercise Bikes
In general, there are three ways of creating resistance on an exercise bike:
- Direct contact – This type utilizes a flywheel, which is a heavy disk usually in the front of the bike that stores momentum as you pedal. With direct contact resistance, friction is applied using brake pads or a friction band to slow the wheel down and force you to pedal harder. Due to the direct contact, these bikes tend to make more noise and the brakes or band may wear down over time.
- Magnetic – Magnetic resistance also utilizes a flywheel but rather than creating friction, the wheel is slowed down using electromagnetic induction. This creates a smooth and consistent resistance and the parts will not wear over time as there is no friction.
- Air – For this type of resistance, the flywheel is replaced by a large fan at the front of the bike. As you pedal, the fan starts to spin and the air passing through it hits the blades which creates more resistance. This progressive resistance creates the ultimate challenge and is guaranteed to raise your heart rate.
The intensity of the workout will depend on a variety of factors. Some bikes will have elliptical-like arms that will engage the upper body and the core while others, such as recumbent bikes keep the upper body completely still. Bikes that engage the upper body will burn more calories as you ride. However, for those recovering from injury, taking pressure off the back and joints is more important than calories burned.
Additionally, many bikes have tools built in that will challenge you during a workout while on others, it may be easy to coast by without breaking a sweat. Air bikes, for example, create a progressive resistance that challenges you the entire time you are riding regardless of your speed. Other bikes come equipped with motivational programming and challenging resistance settings that will help keep you engaged in your workout.
Most bikes come with a computerized display for tracking data as you ride. Many of the basic displays simply allow you to view time, distance and speed. Other more sophisticated models track more detailed data such as heart rate, calories, and watts. Some of these computers also offer motivational programming and ways to export data so it can be tracked over time.
The most effective exercise bike will be the one you want to use most often. An uncomfortable seat or awkward handlebars will not be the most attractive option for motivating you to work. We looked for bikes that were comfortable to ride and had a nice sturdy base.
Exercise bikes come in a variety of models and sizes. Some have a compact footprint and are able to fold, making them best suited to be used in a small home. Others will take up more space in your home as they spare no expense in durability or comfort making them bulkier and heavier.
Home exercise bikes have potential to be very noisy which is inconvenient for small homes, particularly those with kids. We looked for bikes that operate quietly and will be easy to use even when others are sleeping.
These machines have a very wide price range to fit almost any budget. The most expensive bikes are set apart by very high-quality materials and will require hardly any maintenance over time. The added comfort and durability is certainly worth it for many people. Fortunately, for those just looking for a simple machine to get them through the winter, there are less expensive options as well.
Other Things to Consider When Buying an Exercise Bike
How often will you use it?
When considering how much time and floor space to dedicate to your new bike, you will want to consider how often you plan to use it. If you plan to drag this out in the winter months or even just on a rainy day, a more basic and compact option may be best for you. However, if you plan to make this a staple of your weekly workouts, maybe a compact model is not necessary and you may be willing to invest more money in a machine that can take some punishment.
What type of bike are you looking for?
Generally, there are 4 types of bikes to consider: recumbent, upright, indoor cycling and an air bike. The recumbent bike will be the most gentle on your back and joints and is ideal for recovering from injury or offering very low impact cross training. The upright bike offers a less restricted range of motion. These are also often more basic and can be more affordable and often more compact. The indoor cycling bike will most closely simulate the feeling of being on an actual bike. If you are a dedicated cyclist looking to stay in shape through this winter, this will be a great option for you. Finally, the assault bike, or air bike, will be the most challenging option. It will always engage the full body and is guaranteed to get your heart rate up. This bike is perfect for those seeking a cardio challenge.
Q: How often should I use my exercise bike?
A: The CDC and American Heart Association recommend 150 minutes of moderately intense or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise a week. Consider this when planning your weekly exercise.
However, you know your own body and your own current level of fitness, this means you can try out different schedules and evaluate what works best for you. Perhaps you could start each day with a 20-minute workout and end each day with the same and see how well this benefits your physical feeling of personal fitness.
Think about adjusting the bike to a level which offers resistance while you pedal but is still comfortable enough to go through a workout. How often you use your machine at home can be something you decide through a process of trying out different options until you hit a routine which you can feel is right for you.
Q: Can I replace the seat?
A: Replacing the seat is possible on many, but not all, exercise bikes. Check with the manufacturer for appropriate sizing prior to purchasing a seat. On bikes where the seat cannot be replaced, you may consider a gel seat cover to make it a bit more comfortable. Before taking the decision to change the seat, ask yourself why you want to change it. If the seat feels uncomfortable it might be because it is not set at a height which works for you.
It is worth your time to try adjusting the seat at different heights and then trying out some exercise to see if this fixes your level of comfort. Brand makers of bikes put in a lot of research in order to identify the most durable and comfortable seat materials to use when making the seat. If you’re uncomfortable because of the material construction, be careful not to buy a different seat which still causes discomfort for you because you are not comfortable with the materials used in seat construction.
Q: Is cycling outside the home on a real bike better for actually increasing fitness?
Going outside and using a real bike is of course very good exercise and gets you out of the house. You can plan cycling schedules which involve different distances and on different surfaces, slopes etc. The only downside is that the weather will dictate when you can exercise, in heavy snow and ice conditions it is certain that your exercise routine using a bike will be stopped in its tracks. Heavy rain or thunderstorms will also put the brakes on your plans.
There could also be times when it is so hot or humid outside that going for a long cycle is simply not realistic. Cycling outside has other variables to consider, you need to invest more money in cycling gear, the right protective clothing, reflective clothing, traffic both day and night and in certain cycling environments you are at risk of having an accident.
Having said that, cycling outside is a very enjoyable and health-promoting activity providing all the variables are in your favor.
Q: Are there realistic benefits for using a home-based exercise bike?
Yes, there are many, using a home exercise bike puts you in the saddle without stepping outside. You will never be restricted by weather conditions and never at risk of being struck by a carelessly driven car or truck, never experience trying to cycle faster in order to stop a dog from biting you. You will not experience having a tire puncture and an hours walk to get home while you push your bike because the puncture made it unrideable.
You don’t have to carry bottles of water to stay hydrated on hot days or you don’t have to invest in expensive wet weather gear for rainy days. You won’t be in a position where you have to find hills so that you can encounter a more challenging energetic ride and you won’t get bitten by the occasional angry flying insect
You can exercise any time you choose without going outside, you can start cycling and immediately stop whenever you choose, you can adjust the cycle torsion from an easy level all the way up to incredibly challenging. You can plan a regular schedule for exercise which will never be stopped by unexpected bad weather.
You can use a bike which is fitted with high tech for measuring your heart rate, your speed and you can even pre-set the distance. Home exercise bikes are incredibly good for fitting in which your exercise routine and they only lack one favorable point, you will not get the same view you can get while cycling outside. However, on a home bike, you can watch TV, watch videos or simply chat with members of your family while you exercise.
Q: Bottom line, which is the best exercise bike for me to choose?
There is not a best or worse home exercise bike, it is more about which features the bike offers in terms of what you want from a home machine. If you just want straightforward cycling exercise without the extras then there are many options to choose and your choice will come down to durability, comfort, and performance.
However, if you are going to use the bike to seriously build up your stamina and fitness level then you will want a choice which offers more high tech features such as setting distances for you to cycle, offering different pedal resistance levels to simulate slopes or other challenging surfaces, monitoring your speed and also monitoring your heart rate. There are even bikes available which use technology to offer you a schedule which suits you.
The best home exercise bike will be the one you read about in our review and you see that it offers exactly what you want to meet your personal requirements.
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