Looking to get fit? The best exercise bikes are a great way to get a heart-pumping cardiovascular workout that helps you burn calories. Compared to other types of cardio, exercise bikes offer a low-impact option which is gentler on the joints, a great choice if you’re new to exercise or recovering from an injury. Even better, you get to work out from the comfort and privacy of your home without the fuss of a trip to the gym.
While you’ll need to pay for the cost of a bike upfront, you may find that an exercise bike is cheaper than a typical gym membership in the long run, particularly if you don’t go as often as you planned. What’s more, if you’re concerned about cycling on the road, this is a much safer alternative to get similar benefits. Most people find it easy to get the hang of as they’re used to the movement on a road bike. If you already have a regular bicycle, you may want to check out our guide to the best bike trainers to transform yours into a make-shift exercise bike.
When it comes to figuring out the best exercise bike for you, you’ll want to consider your fitness level. An upright bike makes a sound choice for the majority of people. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, a spin bike allows you to crank up the resistance and enjoy a more intense workout. Alternatively, recumbent bikes come with back support which can promote good spinal alignment and reduce pressure on the lower back. It’s thanks to this feature that they’re a good choice for people recovering from an injury (though, as always, you’ll want to speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise regime).
Whatever your budget, you can find an exercise bike for you. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand. Some include features like a screen display for tracking information like your calorie burn and heart rate. At the upper-end, brands like Peloton have on-screen video workouts — these feature in our best online fitness programs guide.
The best exercise bikes are a solid option if you want to get fit from the comfort of your home. Even better, compared to other home-gym equipment such as the best elliptical machine, they are relatively compact. If space is at a premium, you may want to consider a fold-up option.
Ready to hit the pedals? Let’s take a closer look at our top picks of the best exercise bikes to help you get and stay in shape from home.
The best exercise bikes for home workouts
1. Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3: Best exercise bike overall
The new Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3 is a fun way to get in regular fat-burning workouts at home, and to enhance your riding stamina. The smart fitness bike uses Bluetooth to connect to your tablet, via which you can take part in a variety of live and on-demand (3,500+) classes.
These include spin class workouts designed to help you burn fat, as well as classes geared up to boost your stamina on the bike. On the subject of spin, the Smart Connect Bike EX3 comes with an attachment for you to store dumbbells behind the saddle. To ape cycling outdoors, you can join ‘scenic rides’, which have been pre-filmed, enabling you to virtually explore attractive cycle routes across the globe.
The bike itself is incredibly well-built, with ergonomic handlebars that feel durable, and a quiet 13kg flywheel, though we did find the bike fiddly to assemble. We’d also recommend choosing your home gym space for this one carefully, as it isn’t the lightest thing to move once built.
Echelon, makers of the Echelon Stride running machine, has designed the Smart Connect Bike EX3 with a competition style-seat, and adjusting it to suit your height (there are 17 different height levels) is a cinch. The supplied pedals give you the option of toe cages if you’re wearing regular fitness sneakers, or SPD-style clips if you’re used to riding a bike clipped in.
When you take part in a class, your username and fitness metrics appear on screen. These show you how hard you’re working, where you appear in the ranking compared to other riders, and how many calories you’ve burned, and so on. For proper tracking, we'd still recommend using one of the best fitness trackers too.
The cost of subscribing to the Echelon Fit Pass costs $39.99 a month, $399.99 for 12 months upfront, or $599.99 for 24 months. That monthly cost is the same as Peloton All-Access and iFit, but the yearly cost for Echelon is $3.99 higher than iFit. We’ve used all three and prefer the Peloton and Echelon offerings (though Peloton charges extra for its NYC studio classes, which stings).
The warranty isn't as long as other bikes we've tested, but the Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3 is a superb way to keep fit at home. We’d recommend it if you want a well made piece of home gym equipment that you’ll never tire of, and that will help you have a lot of fun when exercising.
2. Nautilus U618: Best upright exercise bike
The Nautilus U618 Upright Exercise Bike continues to fly the flag for the brand's stunning home workout equipment. We've chosen it as one of the best exercise bikes you can buy right now not because it has the best video platform or the most modern setup, but because it's a solid bike that would make a perfect addition to any home fitness space.
By that we mean it's well made, with a generous 15-year frame warranty, and it runs well. We like the quiet and smooth resistance system that uses a heavyweight flywheel to do the job right.
There are 29 built-in workouts, plus and heart rate strap support so that you can take advantage of zone training to help you melt fat and achieve your wellness goals more easily. Want to add in fancy virtual rides or binge watch your favorite show? Ridesocial is built-in for the former, while a dedicated media stand is waiting to house your preferred device for watching classes and workouts, or for watching movies and shows are you exercise.
You also get dual drinks holders, a comfy seat, and multi-grip handlebars so that you can find your ideal riding position for your arms. Considering everything you get here, the Nautilus U618 Upright Bike is a well-priced machine from a big name in the home fitness industry - Nautilus also makes some of the world's best treadmills - so you can expect reliable performance for the long-term too.
- Read our Nautilus U618 Exercise Bike review
3. Schwinn IC4: Best exercise bike for Peloton fans on a budget
The Schwinn IC4 is one of the best exercise bikes bar none, and it's also a super-fun option for Peloton and Zwift training. This Schwinn exercise bike features a large display and 100 levels of smooth and quiet magnetic resistance that makes it ideal for exercising along with live fitness classes, taking virtual rides, or doing a zone training program.
The spin-style Schwinn IC4 is solid, so you can go all-out without worry of the bike giving in – you are the only limit here. In fact, the bike comes with a 10-year frame warranty and supports riders of up to 330lbs.
Heart rate monitoring is an option, making this another good exercise bike for zone training. Not that getting out of your saddle will be so appealing, as the seat is very comfortable for an upright bike of this style.
There are even weights included, along with holders that attach to the exercise bike, so you can get an upper body workout too. For a proper weights workout though, we'd advise checking out the best home gyms instead.
- Read our Schwinn IC4 Exercise Bike review
4. NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle: Best exercise bike for guided workouts
The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle is a premium home exercise bike experience with an absolute wealth of features and a dazzling 22-inch HD touchscreen. This means you can take live classes, via the iFit system, or take part in virtual rides, all with proper immersion.
Of course you can connect your heart rate chest strap via Bluetooth to get more data and see it all via the app, also available on your phone.
But there are plenty of workout options: 1,500 to be exact, all ready to go if you just want to hop on and get riding. Take a virtual ride with a former Olympian, or get your head down on a virtual slope of up to 22% to really push your stamina and cardio prowess.
Either way, the smooth resistance of the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle makes it feel real. The price is steep too, but it's more than justified by everything this brilliant exercise bike has to offer.
- Read our NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle review
5. Assault AirBike Classic: Best air bike
The Assault AirBike Classic, as the name suggests, is an exercise bike that uses a large 25-inch, six blade fan to create air resistance for your ride. As such it has no upper limit, making it the go-to choice for the military. The Assault AirBike Classic is built to last and you get a decent five-year warranty to back that up.
This is for those that want to push their machine, and their bodies, to the limit. That said, the seat is comfortable and you can choose to use the handlebars or just your legs as you work. The display is basic and a Polar heart rate strap is the only brand compatible. But for the price the Assault AirBike Classic really is an impressive exercise bike.
- Read our Assault AirBike Classic review
6. NordicTrack Commercial VR25: Best recumbent exercise bike
The NordicTrack Commercial VR25 is the best recumbent exercise bike in this list as it offers back support with an airy mesh to keep you comfortable. There's also a wide and well cushioned seat that slides back and forward for comfy support with perfect positioning.
You also get a 7-inch touchscreen with 35 workouts ready to go and the bike works with both chest strap heart rate monitors and grip-bar based tracking. The 10-year frame warranty is reassuring and the use of the iFit app means you get lots of workouts online including live coaching.
Plus you can check your data on your phone and add more from there. Despite the price this is actually a good level for a recumbent bike, especially one from such a well known brand.
7. Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright: Best folding exercise bike
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike is the best for smaller spaces or those that need to store their bike away. This folds down easily to pack away and is light enough to move but solid enough for a decent riding experience. This isn't built for heavy stand-up rides, sure, but it'll work for harder seated rides without wobble or torsion.
The magnetic resistance is smooth and relatively quiet with eight levels of resistance. The computer is basic but does offer data like speed, distance, pace, heart rate and more. Everything is well built, placed comfortably and easy to use. The seat is comfy and the price of this bike is reasonable for its performance level.
Today's best exercise bike prices
Best exercise bikes FAQ
What are the different types of exercise bikes?
When it comes to figuring out which exercise bike is the one for you, it’s worth understanding the differences between the three main types.
The upright bike is the most common option though spin bikes have seen a surge in popularity. There are also recumbent bikes to choose from.
Upright bikes most closely resemble ordinary road bikes and activate the same muscles meaning you get a similar workout. They’re a good choice if you’re looking for a small, light bike. What’s more, they’re often the cheapest model so are ideal if you’re on a budget. If you experience mobility or back problems, however, you may want to opt for a recumbent bike instead as there is no backrest.
Recumbent bikes offer more stability with a chair or backrest meaning they provide more support. Unlike a traditional bike, the pedals are out in front of you and you can adjust how far the seat leans back. They can be more comfortable than traditional bikes plus they’re easier to mount. They make a great choice if you’re recovering from an injury or have problems with back pain. The recumbent bike is also recommended for people who are obese or have neurological conditions.
Spin bikes are popular among people looking for the challenge of a higher-intensity workout. If your goal is fat loss, a spin session can burn more calories than a typical upright bike and they’re well suited to High-Intensity Interval Training. They closely resemble the ones you’ll find in a spin studio so may be familiar to you. These tend to be the most expensive exercise bikes and often come with subscription-based fitness platforms so you can work out with live and on-demand classes.
Depending on the model of spin bike you pick, you may need to purchase additional accessories. Some require specific clip-in shoes while others suggest buying other equipment like light dumbbells to maximize the benefits of your spin sessions.
How to choose the best exercise bike for you
Finding the right exercise bike can be tricky. As you’re doing your research, it’s important to consider the type of machine you’d like, your budget and the features you want. There are many options available, and it’s a good idea to become familiar with them before you start shopping.
“Exercise bikes are great because they are low impact and easy to use at home,” said Nephi Gold, a licensed occupational therapist at Intermountain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, “but there are a lot of different varieties.”
Whatever type of exercise bike you choose, Gold suggests you insist on an adjustable seat, adjustable resistance, and something that's easy to get on and off. “Especially,” he says, “if you’ve had a total knee replacement or if your balance is bad.”
Along with helping to boost your cardiovascular health and fitness, Gold believes that exercise bikes are excellent warm-up tools for rehabilitating most lower body injuries.
How much do the best exercise bikes cost?
The price of home exercise bikes ranges widely from under $350 to nearly $3,000. Based on our research, you should plan to spend around $800-$1,000 if you want a durable machine. but more affordable options suit many households just fine.
The price you’ll pay for your exercise bike depends largely on its features. Less expensive stationary bikes have minimal programming options and limited tech. Midrange bike are often more solidly built and have more functionality. Smart exercise bikes and spin bikes generally boast the best features and longest warranties.
Common price tiers in the exercise bike market are $300 or less for low-end bikes, $300 to $1,000 for mid-range exercise bikes, and $1,100 to $2,000 for smart exercise bikes. Those priced above $1,000 are generally designed for serious fitness fans and spin class devotees.
What to look for in an exercise bike
Industry experts agree that there are several must-have features to consider before purchasing an exercise bike. Here Gold names his top three: “Look for an adjustable seat and ease of getting on and off,” Gold says. “It’s also nice to be able to control the resistance, to make it easier or hard.”
Other essential features include a heavy flywheel, large pedals with straps or clips, and a console with multiple workout presets and detailed readouts. These include speed, time spent working out, heart rate, calories and distance.
It’s also beneficial to look for comfort features when choosing the best exercise bike for you. Bikes with fans, sound systems, water bottle holders and device racks are more comfy to use.
Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?
If your goal is weight loss, then the best exercise bikes can be part of your strategy. You’ll reap the most benefits from combining your bike workouts with strength training and eating a healthy diet.
One review of the research found that indoor cycling may support fat loss and that the best results were when people combined their exercise bike workouts with a healthy diet. A vigorous stationary bike workout can burn significant calories and so can be part of a strategy for weight loss without necessarily needing to dramatically reduce your calorie intake.
Dr. Erin Nitschke, personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist suggests that exercise bikes can have benefits beyond goals of weight loss. “As with any exercise, individuals will experience improved cardiorespiratory endurance, improved range of motion, reduced stress, improved cognitive focus, and elevated mood (to name a few)." One study even showed that you can significantly reduce your cholesterol levels from working out on an exercise bike for just 45 minutes three times a week.
One of the key perks of a stationary bike is that you’re likely to be more inclined to work out without the hassle of having to go to the gym. They allow you to exercise when you like from the comfort of your own home. This is a big draw, particularly for people who are busy or whose schedules are unpredictable as you can slot in exercise as and when it suits you.
Exercise bikes vs spin bikes: Is there a difference?
Exercise bikes might look like spin bikes, but there are a few differences between the two types. Both are stationary bikes, but exercise bikes and spin bikes have different wheels. Spin bikes have a flywheel design, this is often heavier than the wheels of a standard exercise bike, and they’re attached to the pedals via a chain.
When you use a spin bike, you often need to work harder to create momentum, and when you stop cycling, the wheels keep turning – just like a regular outdoor bike. You will get a more challenging, more intense workout with a spin bike.
Spin bikes also look more like regular bikes, with a design that lends itself to leaning over the handlebars. In comparison, many of the best exercise bikes allow you to sit up straight. They also have larger, often more comfortable, seats. You can choose between an upright bike or a recumbent exercise bike – this allows you to lean back.
The question of whether you should get an exercise bike or a spin bike depends on how you want to work out and which type of bike you find most comfortable.