Best Exercise Bikes of 2018

Rebecca Spear ·
Writer/Reviewer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We've been evaluating exercise bikes for the past five years. Most recently, we compared seven bikes' settings, convenience features, warranties and comfort to determine which was the best of the best. We have determined that the ProForm EX Series is the best overall since it offers the most preset workouts, resistance levels, a strong warranty, and comes with plenty of extra features to make your workout comfortable and convenient. This bike even comes with a water bottle holder, an MP3 player connection, a book rest, speakers and a cooling fan.     

Editor’s Note: The Kettler Polo M Series has been discontinued. We will evaluate and review newer model versions when we next test Exercise Bikes.

Best Overall

ProForm EX Series

ProForm EX Series offers several different workout and resistance settings and comes with plenty of extra features that will make your workout convenient and enjoyable. There is even a workout app for your phone.
View on Amazon
Best Value

NordicTrack GX Pro Series

The NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro offers many preset workouts and resistance levels. It has many of the same features as the ProForm EX Series, but it is newer and costs less.
View on Nordictrack
Best Recumbent Bike

HealthRider H35xr

The HealthRider H35xr is a recumbent bike that comes with a book rest and the ability to connect your tablet, phone or MP3 player to the provided speakers.
View on HealthRider

Product
Price
$588.13Amazon
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$499.99Amazon
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Check Price
Check Price
Overall Rating
9.8
9.1
9
7.7
7.6
7.5
5.9
Fitness
10
8.8
7.5
8.8
8.1
5
4.4
Versatility & Comfort
10
9.4
9.9
6.3
7.5
10
5
Help & Support
9.4
9.4
10
8.1
6.9
8.1
9.8
Width (inches)
23
22.9
23
22
26
22
21
Maximum user Weight (pounds)
300
300
300
300
300
300
285
Depth (inches)
62
42.3
41
42
52
47
39
Product weight (pounds)
119
Not Specified
90
85
123
68
74
Height (inches)
42
62.9
58
58
53
53
56
Flywheel Weight (pounds)
16
16
14
15
16
15
15
Transportation Wheels
Speakers
N/A
N/A
Multiple Handlebar Options
N/A
N/A
MP3 Player Connectivity
N/A
N/A
Front/Back Seat Adjustment
N/A
Water Bottle Holder
N/A
N/A
Cooling Fan
N/A
N/A
N/A
Book Rest
N/A
N/A
Up/Down Seat Adjustment
Frame Warranty
Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
Lifetime
5 Years
Lifetime
Lifetime
Live Chat
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Telephone
Labor Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
1 Year
90 Days
1 Year
3 Years
Moving Parts Warranty
2 Years
2 Years
3 Years
1 Year
90 Days
1 Year
3 Years
User Manual
N/A
Email
Type of Bike
Upright
Upright
Upright
Upright
Recumbent
Upright
Upright
Workout Apps
N/A
N/A
Number of Pre-Set Workouts
30
30
20
26
20
10
None
Handlebar Heart Rate Monitor
N/A
Number of Resistance Levels
25
26
16
24
16
16
10
Best Overall

ProForm EX Series

The ProForm EX Series is a powerful bike that offers 30 preset workouts and 25 resistance levels so you can find the perfect settings for your biking session.
This also gives you room to improve as you strengthen your legs and core. This bike comes with a bookrest so you can set items like a book, tablet, magazine, or smartphone nearby to peruse and use at your leisure. It also features built-in speakers and you can plug your MP3 tablet or smartphone directly into the bike to help you during your exercise sessions. There is also a fan to help you keep cool and a water bottle holder so you can keep liquids handy. This bike is iFit compatible, however you will need to pay an additional fee to use it. This bike accommodates many different user sizes and heights since it has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds and the seat can be adjusted both up and down as well as forward and backward. This was the second-most heavy bike in our comparison, weighing 119 pounds. Fortunately, this device features castor wheels to make it easier to move. The device comes programed with workout apps and a heart rate monitor. Unfortunately, some users have found that the grip pulse, heart rate monitor doesn't work very well and that the seat cushion is a little too hard. This bike is covered by a powerful set of warranties: a two-year moving parts, 1-year labor and lifetime frame warranty.
Pros
  • It offers 30 preset workouts and 25 resistance levels.
  • You can connect your tablet, phone or MP3 player into this machine.
  • It has a strong set of warranties.
Cons
  • iFit requires an additional fee to use.
  • The grip pulse isn't always accurate.
  • Some users have found the seat to be too hard.
$587.25Amazon
Best Value

NordicTrack GX Pro Series

The NordicTrack GX 4.4 Pro offers many different training levels that you can adjust using the graphics display, as well as a strong set of warranties, while still being a relatively inexpensive machine.
It features 30 preset workouts and 25 resistance levels, which is more than many other bikes in our comparison. This wide range of settings allows you to train at a level that best suits you. Since the flywheel only weighs 16 pounds, more advanced cyclists might find it a little too light to get a decent workout. It only comes with one style of handlebars, so you cannot switch them out for something that fits you better. Many users report that the assembly process is arduous and time consuming. The instructions suggest that two adults put it together, and it takes most people roughly two hours. When the bike is assembled it is sturdy and durable. It features a heart rate monitor, book rest, auxiliary music ports, fan, water bottle holder and speakers. The fan isn't very strong so you might want to find another way to cool yourself down. This bike is covered by three of the best warranties we’ve seen: a two-year moving parts warranty, one-year labor warranty and a lifetime frame warranty. It can handle up to 300 pounds and comes with small castor wheels so you can move it around more easily.
Pros
  • This bike comes with a two-year moving parts, one-year labor and a lifetime frame warranty.
  • It costs less than many other bikes.
  • It offers 30 preset workouts and 25 resistance levels.
Cons
  • This bike doesn't come with multiple handlebar options.
  • The assembling process can take awhile.
  • Some users say that the fan isn't very strong.
$699.00Nordictrack
Best Recumbent Bike

HealthRider H35xr

The HealthRider H35xr is a recumbent bike so it gives extra back support, making it a great option for people with limited mobility as well as people who don't like the hard feel of an upright bike seat.
It is compatible with iFit so you can access actual Google map courses, but be aware that you will have to pay an additional fee for this service. This happens to be one of the least expensive bikes in our comparison as it can usually be found for around $400. There is a book rest and you can connect your tablet, MP3 player or smart phone to this bike, however it doesn't have a water bottle holder or a fan. This also happens to be the heaviest bike in our comparison, weighing 123 pounds. There are castor wheels on the bottom of the unit so you can more easily move it around. This bike's maximum user weight limit is 300 pounds, and the seat can be adjusted up and down as well as forward and backward so it can fit a variety of users. It has the weakest set of warranties that we have seen in this comparison. The moving parts and labor warranties only lasts 90 days whereas most other bikes' moving parts warranties last from 1 to 3 years while the labor warranty usually lasts 1 year. Additionally, the frame warranty is only covered for five years where most other bikes offer a lifetime warranty.
Pros
  • This bike is compatible with iFit.
  • It costs less than many of the other bikes in our comparison.
  • You can connect your phone, tablet or MP3 player to this bike.
Cons
  • The parts and labor warranty only lasts 90 days and the frame warranty only lasts five years.
  • It doesn't come with a water bottle holder or fan.
  • It is the heaviest bike in our comparison.
$499.00HealthRider

Why Trust Us
We have been reviewing exercise bikes for the past five years. Whenever we review a set of products we strive to create fair and unbiased evaluations. We usually accomplish this by making a list of each products' features before comparing them against each other. When it came to exercise bikes, we wanted our top picks to be reliable while offering a wide range of settings and convenience features. This also included having a decent set of warranties. Our number one choice, is a reliable device with a strong set of warranties. It comes with the most preset workouts and the widest range of resistance levels. It also offers some of the best convenience since it comes with a heart rate monitor, speakers, MP3 connectivity, book rest, cooling fan and water bottle holder. 

How We Researched
We made a list of each of the bikes' settings, assets and convenience features and then compared them against each other to determine which was the best of the best. Bikes that offered more preset workouts and resistance levels scored higher since they offered a wider range of workout possibilities. We also gave more points to bikes that offered heart rate monitors since this allows you to have a better gauge on how your exercise session is going. Bikes that could integrate with mobile apps also scored higher since this made them more modern and convenient to use.

We wanted the top bikes in this comparison to be usable for a wide range of users. For this reason, we gave bikes higher scored if they could handle more user weight and if the seat could be adjusted both up and down as well as forward and backward. The comfort and convenience offered by a bike was determined by how many extra items it provided. For instance, water bottle holders, cooling fans, built-in speakers, book rests and the ability to connect an MP3, tablet or smartphone helped a bike score higher.

We did not provide scores based on the prices of the bikes, nor did we account for the dimensions of each bike. However, we did note whether or not a bike was expensive. We did score exercise bikes based off their weight since this affects how easy it is to move it around. As you would expect, products that had longer and more extensive warranties as well as better customer support scored higher. 

Things to Consider When Looking for an Exercise Bike
Bike Types
There are three main types of exercise bikes – recumbent, upright and spin – each with its own benefits and limitations. Some companies specialize in making one type of bike, but you can find plenty of popular manufacturers that make different series of bikes in different styles.

Recumbent Bike
Recumbent bikes are designed to provide extra back support. The chair sits in a comfortable position, and the pedals are located in front of the rider. Many of the best recumbent exercise bikes let you adjust how far the seat leans back. Recumbent bikes are recommended for people with limited mobility. Additionally, this type of bike is a good option for people who have a hard time sitting comfortably on an upright bicycle seat.

Upright Bike
Upright exercise bikes are designed similar to commuter bikes. They are best suited for people without mobility problems, as riders must be able to step up onto the bike and sit on its backless seat. Upright bikes are smaller than recumbent bikes, making them a good choice if your workout space is tight.

Spin Bike
The third kind of home exercise bike is a spin bike. These resemble road bikes – lightweight bicycles made for intense, long rides – and have high prices, much like their road counterparts. Best for serious cyclists, spin bikes are less comfortable than upright and recumbent bikes, and many models require special cycling shoes that clip onto the pedals. Additionally, some of these bikes require you to purchase additional equipment if you want to track your workouts.

Some companies, such as Diamondback Fitness, have bikes with similar entertainment and comfort features but completely different designs. It makes both recumbent and upright bikes, so choosing one depends mostly on your workout goals and needs.

Workout Control Features
Stationary bikes often include settings you can adjust to control the intensity of your workout. Here are the most important controls to consider when choosing the right bike for you:

Resistance
Consumer stationary bikes create resistance in one of two ways, and magnetic resistance is the most popular option. Exercise bikes with magnetic resistance have ferrous magnets around the flywheel. Less expensive models tend to come with friction resistance, in which a felt or fabric pad presses against the flywheel. Be aware that friction resistance bikes require regular maintenance, as the pad can quickly wear down and need to be replaced.

All exercise bikes can be set to different resistance levels. The higher the resistance, the more difficult it is to pedal, which results in a more strenuous workout. Because of this, it is important to consider an exercise bike’s resistance range. Most consumer exercise bikes have resistance ranges with between 10 and 16 levels. A few bikes, like those in the ProForm EX series, have 20 or more levels. The bikes in this series also have a lot of preset workout levels you can use to spice up your routine.

Preset Workouts

Many of the best stationary bikes include preset workouts programmed into their systems. These programs add some variety to your daily workouts. Often designed by personal trainers, each one has a specific focus in mind; for example, it may be intended to build endurance, burn calories or maintain a target heart rate.

Comfort
Most modern exercise bikes adjust to meet your specific body type and needs. For example, the seats on the bikes in the Nordic Track GX Pro Series adjust both vertically and horizontally to match your height. Some models also allow you to adjust the position of the handlebars so you can get the perfect grip for your ride. You may also be able to adjust the console on the bike so no matter your biking position or your height, you can easily view your workout statistics. Bikes in the Nordic Track GX Pro Series also have fans that automatically adjust to the speed of your pedaling, which is another nice comfort feature.

Fitness Tracking
Fitness tracking features are important, as they give you the information you need to get the most out of your workout. Even a little bit of data can make your ride all the more productive.

Electronic Display

Most recumbent and upright stationary bikes feature electronic consoles that hold and display all of the machine’s controls and settings. The consoles have buttons you can use to adjust the resistance level, or you can press them to choose from the preset workouts. Most consoles also display your fitness tracking data, such as your distance traveled, time elapsed, speed, calories burned and heart rate.

A few manufacturers make bikes that are iFit enabled. The iFit program on your bike syncs with an app on your phone. You can access workouts based on actual Google Maps data, so the resistance on the machine automatically adjusts to match the incline changes on your route as you see Google Street View images on the screen. You can also use the program to create your own workouts and access hundreds of workouts beyond those available on the machine itself. You can even track your nutrition on the app. Be aware that to use iFit, you must purchase a separate subscription to the service.

Heart Rate Grips

Many exercise bikes have powerful heart rate monitors that track your heart rate during your workout, and they are usually found in the grips on the handlebars. Some other bikes have heart rate monitor straps that you wear on your body, usually around your chest. The monitors you wear on your body can be uncomfortable but give more accurate heart rate readings than those found in handlebar grips. However, most exercise bikes do not include a heart rate strap with the machine, and you must purchase it separately.

Extra Features
Small extra features on a stationary bike can make a big difference. While some are basic features included on many stationary bikes out of the box, you may have to buy some of them separately and attach them to your bike yourself.

Water & Media Holders
It’s important to keep water close at hand when you engage in strenuous exercise, and it is inconvenient to have to stop and get off your bike to get a drink. A lot of exercise bikes come with water bottle holders so you can stay hydrated while you work out. Depending on the bike, water bottle holders can found in the console, on the front bar or behind the seat.

Keeping yourself motivated and entertained while you exercise is important. Listening to music, reading and watching movies are all excellent forms of entertainment while you work out. Some exercise bike come with book and tablet holders to keep your entertainment safe and steady during your most intense workouts.

Integrated Media Center
You can also find entertainment features built in on many bikes. Built-in speakers and MP3 connectivity are common perks on the newest exercise bikes. Many systems also integrate with mobile apps, such as Google Maps and iFit, which allow you to keep track of courses, manage workouts and view past statistics. However, be aware that some of these applications may come at additional costs. Before purchasing an exercise bike, read the fine print to be sure.

No matter your current fitness level, you can boost your overall health with an exercise bike in your home gym. These machines are a great way to improve your fitness and lose weight without placing extra strain on your body.

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