Best Exercise Bikes of 2018

Jennifer Christensen ·
Health & Beauty Senior Writer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

During five years of researching exercise bikes, we’ve pedaled through reviews of the best upright and recumbent bikes available. Most recently, we compared the features, consoles and warranties of 10 bestselling products priced between $140 and $800. We ranked the Nautilus U618 as the best overall for its functionality, features and console. Its 25 resistance levels and 29 workout presets add challenge and versatility to your fitness routine, and its console provides a cooling fan, audio system and device rack. The Nautilus also has Bluetooth connectivity to sync with popular fitness apps and is backed by a solid warranty.      

Best Overall
Nautilus U618
The Nautilus U618 is an upright exercise bike that stands tall among its competitors. Its seat, handlebars and console are adjustable, and it has the best comfort, convenience and connectivity features available in its price range.
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Best Value
XTERRA Fitness FB350
The XTERRA Fitness FB350 is the most affordable exercise bike we reviewed. It’s a folding upright bike with eight levels of manual resistance, and it has a large, anatomically designed seat.
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Best Recumbent
Schwinn 270 Recumbent
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent is our favorite recumbent bike. It has 29 workout presets and a dual backlit LCD window system, and it can store four user profiles.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Price
Design
Comfort & Convenience
Console
Warranty & Support
Type
Workout Presets
Resistance Levels
Heart Rate Pulse Grips
Chest Strap
Folds
Maximum User Weight (pounds)
Adjustable Seat
Pedal Straps/Clips
Adjustable Handlebars
Accessory Holder
Water Bottle Holder
User Profiles
Fan
Speakers
MP3/Aux/USB Port
Device/Reading Rack
Adjustable Console
Connectivity/Apps
Frame Warranty
Customer Service
Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H, inches)
Folded Dimensions (L x W x H, inches)
Weight (pounds)
$699 Wal-Mart
4 5 5 4.8 3
Upright
29
25
X
325
4
15 Years
Phone, Email
38.5 x 24 x 58.3
N/A
83.1
$319.98 Wal-Mart
4.3 4.9 4.5 4.5 3.4
Recumbent
29
25
Enabled
300
4
10 Years
Phone, Email, Facebook
64 x 27.7 x 49.9
N/A
86.6
$399 Rakuten
4 4.8 4 5 5
Upright
30
25
N/A
300
4 with iFit
Lifetime
Phone, Email, Live Chat
42 x 23 x 61.5
N/A
119
$499 Nordictrack
3.8 4.8 4.2 4.7 5
Upright
30
25
N/A
300
4 with iFit
Lifetime
Phone, Email, Live Chat
42.3 x 22.9 x 62.9
N/A
123
$234 BobCat Deals
4.8 4.3 4.2 3.2 3.4
Upright
21
16
N/A
400
2
1 Year
Phone, Email, Live Chat
39 x 26.4 x 48.4
26.4 x 24.8 x 57.5
51.6
$699.99 Amazon Marketplace
3.8 3.9 4 4.3 2.4
Upright
20
16
N/A
300
1
5 Years
Phone, Email
41 x 23 x 58
N/A
76
$136.49 Wal-Mart
4.9 2.9 3.9 2.4 2.3
Recumbent
0
8
N/A
300
0
3 Years
Phone, Email
56 x 29 x 38
N/A
58
$99.19 BobCat Deals
5 3 3.5 2.2 2.2
Upright
0
8
N/A
225
0
1 Year
Phone, Email
40.5 x 21 x 48
20.5 x 21 x 50.5
42
$111.02 DealDisk
4.9 3.9 3.9 2.5 2.2
Recumbent
0
8
N/A
300
1
2 Years
Phone, Email
55.5 x 25 x 37.5
N/A
60
$218.85 Amazon Warehouse
4.8 3 3.2 2.4 3.4
Upright
6
8
N/A
300
0
1 Year
Phone, Email, Live Chat
55.5 x 25 x 37.5
N/A
65
Best Overall
The Nautilus U618 has an MSRP of $699. It has 29 training programs, including presets for heart rate training, interval training and weight loss. It has 25 levels of digital resistance and provides detailed workout metrics on dual LCD screens.
The U618 has Bluetooth connectivity so you can transfer workout data to your smart device. You can also sync with popular fitness apps such as Nautilus Trainer 2 and RunSocial. Its console tilts to your preferred viewing angle, and it has a reading rack, cooling fan, speakers and aux port. For added comfort and convenience, its seat and handlebars are adjustable, and its pedals are weighted for smoother cycling. The pedals also have straps and textured pads to keep your feet securely in place as you exercise. The Nautilus U618 has a 30-pound flywheel for a smooth, quiet ride and more challenging resistance. It has contact hand grips to monitor your pulse, and it comes with a wireless heart rate chest strap. This machine doesn’t save user profiles or workout data unless you sync with an app. It is designed for users above 5 feet tall, and its maximum user weight is 325 pounds. With dimensions of 38.5 x 24 x 58.3 inches (length, width, height), it has a compact design and weighs 83.1 pounds. Nautilus backs the U618 with a 15-year warranty on its frame, three years on parts and electronics, and one year on labor. Customer support is available by phone and email.
Pros
  • Has 29 workout presets and 25 levels of resistance
  • Seat, console and handlebars are adjustable
  • Comes with a wireless chest strap
Cons
  • Requires an app to store user profiles
  • Costs nearly $700
  • Labor warranty is only a year
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Read the full review
Best Value
The XTERRA Fitness FB350 is an affordable exercise bike with a space-saving folding design. Priced below $150, this machine lacks many of the comfort and convenience features included with more expensive exercise bikes, but it is durable and easy to use.
The FB350 is the only upright bike we reviewed with an oversized, anatomically designed seat that features a back rest. It looks like a seat you’d find on a recumbent bike, giving you lower back support if you want to sit tall as you pedal. You can also lean forward toward the handlebars for an alternative seating position. The handgrips are padded and have pulse sensors to monitor your heart rate. This machine has an accessory pocket for your smartphone, but there isn’t a water bottle holder. It doesn’t have any workout presets but has eight levels of manual resistance controlled with a large dial knob. Its pedals have a nonslip surface and adjustable foot straps, and the bike comfortably fits users from 4’10” to 5’10” tall. However, if you weigh more than 225 pounds, you’ll need a machine with a higher maximum weight limit. The FB350 itself weighs only 42.3 pounds. Its assembled dimensions are 40.5 x 21 x 50.5 inches (length, width and height), and it folds to 20.5 x 21 x 50.5 inches. Its console operates with two AA batteries, which are included when you purchase the machine. XTERRA warranties this exercise bike’s frame for just one year, with 90-day coverage on parts.
Pros
  • Folds for storage
  • Has a padded seat back
  • Has an accessory pocket for your phone
Cons
  • Doesn’t have any workout presets
  • Handlebars and console aren’t adjustable
  • Weight limit is only 225 pounds
$129.59Amazon
Read the full review
Best Recumbent
The Schwinn 270 Recumbent is top-rated in multiple categories. It has a solid platform, a walk-through frame and a padded, contoured seat with a vented back. It has 29 workout presets and 25 levels of eddy current resistance that you can easily adjust with 10 quick keys.
The 270 Recumbent’s pulse grip sensors are ergonomically placed, and the bike is telemetry heart rate enabled. You must purchase a wireless chest strap separately, but multiple brands are compatible. This exercise bike can store four user profiles. It has a three-speed fan and an oversized water bottle holder. It also has a reading rack, sealed acoustic chamber speakers and an MP3/USB port. Although its console isn’t adjustable, it does have Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to use goal tracking and mixed reality riding fitness apps such as the Schwinn Trainer app, MyFitnessPal and RunSocial. Recumbent bikes are generally longer and wider than uprights, but they aren’t as tall. The Schwinn 270’s dimensions are 64 x 27.7 x 49.9 inches (length, width and height), and the machine weighs 86.6 pounds. Its maximum user weight is 300 pounds, and it can accommodate users between 4’6” and 6’6” tall. Schwinn warranties this exercise bike’s frame for 10 years but provides a labor warranty of just 90 days.
Pros
  • Has a contoured, ventilated seat
  • Has 10 resistance quick keys
  • Is compatible with popular fitness apps
Cons
  • Console and handlebars aren’t adjustable
  • Display is too bright for some users
  • Heart rate strap isn’t included
$499.00Amazon
Read the full review
Best Console
The ProForm EX 8.0 is an upright exercise bike with 30 workout presets and 25 levels of digital resistance, and the machine is iFit Coach ready.
It has a sleek, adjustable console with a 5-inch backlit display and a top-mounted tablet holder. It also has speakers, an audio port and a USB charging station, along with a two-speed CoolAire workout fan. ProForm is an Icon Fitness brand, and iFit is its signature training program. With purchase of a membership, you can store up to four user profiles, access personal trainers and enjoy GlobeTrek workouts around the world. The EX 8.0 has an oversized, cushioned seat with both horizontal and vertical adjustability. Although its handlebars aren’t adjustable, they have integrated sensors to monitor your heart rate as you exercise. This exercise bike has a 300-pound weight capacity. The machine weighs 119 pounds, with a footprint of 42 x 23 x 61.5 inches (length, width and height). Icon warranties the ProForm EX 8.0’s frame for a lifetime.
Pros
  • Has 30 workout presets
Cons
  • Doesn’t have adjustable handlebars
-
Read the full review
Best Folding
The Exerpeutic Gold 575 XLS is a lightweight, folding upright bike priced just under $250. It has 20 workout presets and 16 levels of resistance, and you can store two user profiles.
This exercise bike has an adjustable seat, and its pedals have adjustable straps. It has an accessory holder for your smartphone or keys, but it doesn’t have a water bottle holder. Unlike more expensive machines, it is also lacking an MP3/aux port and speakers. It does, however, have Bluetooth Smart technology and a reading rack. The 575 XLS weighs just 51.6 pounds, but its maximum user weight is 400 pounds – the heaviest among all the exercise bikes we reviewed. Its assembled footprint is 39 x 26.4 x 48.4 inches (length, width and height), and it folds to 26.4 x 24.8 x 57.5 inches. Exerpeutic is a Paradigm Health & Wellness brand, and Paradigm warranties this bike’s frame for just one year.
Pros
  • Folds for easy transport and storage
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a cooling fan or speakers
$257.99Amazon
Read the full review

Why Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing exercise bikes for five years. Whenever we provide recommendations, we research equipment, interview industry professionals and check in with consumers to create fair and unbiased evaluations of top-rated products. Our goal is to give you real-world information to help you find an exercise bike that meets your personal fitness or rehabilitative needs. During this round of product evaluations, we ramped up our knowledge of the most important features to consider in the selection process. We looked for exercise bikes that are durable, reliable and comfortable, and we kept your budget in mind. After reviewing a long list of possibilities, we selected our 10 favorite products and compared them extensively. We looked at design, functionality, comfort and convenience, and we included several price points. We also considered manufacturers’ warranties and customer support options. We worked hard to make your buying decision easier.

How We Evaluated

Once we identified our 10 favorite exercise bikes, we created a detailed comparison table. To provide accurate information, we scoured websites and product guides and reached out to multiple customer service representatives. We also watched product videos and read consumer reviews.

We rated equipment based on five categories: price; fitness features and design; comfort and convenience; console; and warranty and support. While less expensive exercise bikes received higher scores in the price category, we also considered that more expensive products typically have more features and are more durable than lower-end products.

Keeping this in mind, we gave exercise bikes higher marks for adjustable seats, handlebars and consoles. Bikes also scored points based on the number of workout presets and resistance levels they provide and whether they have comfort and convenience features such as cooling fans, speakers, water bottle holders and internet connectivity.

Although we noted each bike’s type, we didn’t recommend one style as being better than the other. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, and the style that works best for you will depend on your needs and personal preferences.

How to Find the Best Ride

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’s a lot of different varieties.”

Whatever type of cycle you choose, Gold suggests you insist on an adjustable seat, adjustable resistance and ease of getting on and off – “especially,” he said, “if you’ve had a total knee replacement or if your balance is bad.”

Along with being good boosts for cardiovascular fitness and overall health, Gold says exercise bikes are excellent warm-up tools for rehabilitating most lower body injuries.

Bike Type
There are three types of exercise bikes – upright, recumbent and spin. Upright bikes have backless seats and look and operate much like commuter bikes. Uprights are generally the smallest, lightest and most affordable exercise bikes available. They are best for people who don’t have mobility or balance problems, and they work the same muscles you’d use riding a traditional bicycle.

Recumbent bikes provide users with a chair for extra back support. The pedals are placed in front of the rider, and you can often adjust how far the seat leans backs. Of the three types of exercise bikes, Gold especially likes recumbents because they benefit people who have had total knee replacements, sprains or fractures. Recumbent bikes are easier to mount than uprights, and their chairs are more comfortable than traditional bike seats. Seniors usually like recumbent bikes best. Recumbents are similarly recommended over upright bikes for obese users and people with neurological conditions.

Spin bikes – also known as indoor cycles – are designed more for serious cyclists than for home fitness enthusiasts. We chose not to include them in this review because they are generally more expensive and less comfortable than recumbent and upright exercise bikes. Also, you must often buy special cycling shoes to use them, and many spin bikes require you to purchase additional equipment if you want to track your workouts. One very popular spin bike is the Peloton bike. This high-end indoor cycle is marketed as “a private indoor cycling studio in your home,” and it costs nearly $2,000. After the first year, it also requires a $39 monthly membership to access online fitness classes. We didn't review the Peleton because we focused on more affordable exercise cycles within the $140 to $800 price range. 

How Much Do Exercise Bikes Cost?
The price of home exercise bikes ranges widely from under $50 to nearly $5,000. Based on our research, you should plan to spend around $500 if you want a high-quality, durable machine – but more affordable options suit many households just fine. To give you a good selection, we reviewed bikes with MSRPs ranging between $140 and $800.

The price you’ll pay for your bike depends largely on its features. Less expensive exercise bikes usually have minimal programming options and limited technology. Midrange bikes such as the ones we reviewed are often more solidly built and have more functionality. High-end 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 $500 for mid-range products and $500 to $1,000 for high-end home use. Exercise bikes priced above $1,000 are generally designed for commercial use.

Features
Industry experts agree that there are several must-have features to consider before purchasing an exercise bike. Gold named his top three, and there are a handful more.

“Look for an adjustable seat and ease of getting on and off,” Gold said. “It’s also nice to be able to control the resistance, to make it easier or hard.”

Other essential features are a heavy flywheel, large pedals with straps or clips, and a console with multiple workout presets and detailed readouts such as speed, time, heart rate, calories and distance. It’s also beneficial to look for comfort features. Exercise bikes with fans, sound systems, water bottle holders and device racks are more comfortable and convenient to use than bikes with more limited options.

Pedaling the Message Home
The Stamina Products website says cycling is effective for increasing metabolism and burning calories quickly. It’s also easy on your joints and helps strengthen your hips, glutes and thighs. The Nautilus website says riding an exercise bike also helps strengthen your core muscles, abs and obliques.

If you’d like to enjoy these benefits as part of your personal fitness routine, look for an exercise bike in your price range that provides all the features and functionality you need.

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