Looking to buy an exercise bike to workout at home?
I’m sure you’d probably noticed by now there are a lot of models out there and also not forgetting the different types of exercise bikes such as upright, recumbent, and spin bikes.
So which exercise bike suits your needs most?
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite Indoor Exercise Bikes
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Indoor Spin Bikes
Very Well Built and Affordable
The Bladez Echelon doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive indoor bikes on the market, but for the price, it offers one heck of a value.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Echelon is its fit and finish. The bike looks and feels like quality construction. And with a 40lbs flywheel, you get the same fluid resistance feel that’s so important on a spin bike. The tension is off the lower end friction variety. While that may sound like a knock, many prefer the fine-tuning ability and top-end resistance friction offers.
There are also plenty of adjustments for height and reach in both the handlebars and saddle. What’s missing here is a large display, in-depth trackers, and access to fitness classes. The Echelon is limited to a small LED display that offers speed, time, distance, and calories.
L Now Spin Bike
An Indoor Bike that Feels Like An Outdoor Bike
One of the things that spin fitness bikes try to do is mimic the feel of a real bike. And the best way to do that is by equipping the bike with a hefty flywheel.
The L Now’s 50 lbs flywheel, which is about 10 lbs. heavier than most indoor bikes, does an excellent job of imitating the feel of a real bike.
The rest of this machine is pretty impressive as well. The materials used to build the bike just feel solid, well designed, and well constructed. That said, the computer options are a bit sparse for a bike at this price point.
An LED screen provides you with RPMs, speed, time distance, and heart rate, which is about the same as bikes that are hundreds of dollars cheaper. There’s also no Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity for cycling apps like Zwift or Peloton, which is something that other bikes at this price point offer.
Ride with Others Virtually in Zwift via Wireless Connectivity
Really wish you could connect to those cycling apps but don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in the Peloton Bike?
Schwinn has the answer for you with its Schwinn IC4 bike. The bike is similar to its cheaper IC3 model with a few upgrades, the largest of which is its ability to connect to such cycling apps as Zwift via Bluetooth.
This is a pretty significant feature given the fact that the IC4 costs just a fraction of what the Peloton costs. The IC4 also uses magnetic resistance, which, depending on how you feel about friction resistance vs. magnetic resistance, is an upgrade over the IC3.
The IC4 also has other nice add-ons including a heart rate monitor and dumbells that attach to the bike for easy access. An LCD console monitors heart rate, speed, RPMs, distance, and calories.
Slim Cycle 2-in-1 Stationary Bike
Get Ready for A Full Body Workout
Most indoor exercise bikes have an obvious shortcoming when it comes to a full-body workout. They focus on cardio, the core, and the lower body, leaving you to seek other options to work your upper body.
Some fitness bikes try to overcome this by incorporating free weights into their system, but that can be awkward and even unsafe as you scramble to balance free weights while perched atop a small saddle. This recumbent bike from Slim Cycle addresses this issue by building resistance armbands into its design.
Slim Cycle describes this as combining a stair climber with a rowing machine. This allows you to cycle while engaging in upper body strength training with the armbands. In addition to its 2-in-1 design, the Slim Cycle has other nice features including a grip heart rate monitor on the handlebars, an LED display that tracks your workout stats, and eight levels of tension adjustment. It’s also foldable for easy storage.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Large LCD Display and Plenty of Workout Programs
Schwinn has gained a reputation for packing value into its budget-priced products, and its 270 recumbent bike is no exception. The feel of this recumbent bike, with its steel frame construction, high inertia drive system, and perimeter-weighted flywheel are impressive, although the flywheel’s lightweight may not appeal to advanced riders.
What is most eye-catching about this bike are all of the training features, the most notable of which is its Bluetooth connectivity, which makes it compatible with apps such as Peloton and Zwift. And that’s only the beginning. The 270 includes 29 built-in fitness programs you can complete, which you can track through its large LCD display.
Other nice add-ons include a media shelf, in-console speakers, connectivity for an MP3 player, USB charging and an adjustable fan. All of these features make the 270 an amazing value at its price point.
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike
A Recumbent Bike with Upper-body Workout System
Marcy, a company that’s been producing fitness equipment for more than 35 years, offers a surprising amount of quality and features in this very low-priced recumbent bike.
With 14-gauge steel tube construction, this bike provides a sturdy frame for your workout. Eight resistance levels with a magnetic flywheel offer an adequate range for workouts. A large easy to read computer screen gives readings for speed, distance, calories, and RPMs.
With recumbent bikes, the seat is crucial and Marcy doesn’t skimp here with a large saddle and backrest that’s constructed of thick high-density foam. The seat offers a wide range of adjustment from 27” to 37”.
Large foam-covered handles provide a secure place to hold onto during workouts. The pedals are counterbalanced for support and control and include heavy-duty rubber safety straps.
DeskCycle Under Desk Cycle
Workout and Work at the Same Time
So busy with work that you can’t get a workout in?
Now you can thanks to this innovative design from DeskCycle. How? DeskCycle, as the name suggests, fits under your desk. Just slide your feet into the pedals, tighten the straps, and away you go, pedaling and typing away all at once.
The DeskCycle uses magnetic resistance, so there won’t be any whirring sound disturbing the office. Even though this fitness bike is relatively small, it still offers plenty of nice features including eight resistance settings and a small LCD display that tracks time, speed, distance, and calories burned.
The display includes a stand so you can mount the computer on your desk, allowing you to monitor your performance without having to peer under your desk. The DeskCycle is small enough to fit under desks as low as 27”.
Exerpeutic ExerWorK 1000
A Complete Exercise Bike with Desk, All in One
Want a workstation that won’t just allow you to work but also workout?
That’s exactly what the Exerpeutic ExerWork 1000 will do for you. This is a recumbent bike with a built-in desk for your laptop. Under the desktop is a magnetic resistance flywheel with eight levels of tension adjustment. The work surface is 21” by 25.5”, providing plenty of space for a laptop.
The desktop includes five height adjustments and three angle adjustments. Built into the desktop are a wrist rest and a small LCD display that provides you with data for your workout. The Exerwork 1000 is designed with thick AirSoft seats for plenty of cushioning in the saddle and on back support.
Hand pulse sensors are included on the sidebars for heart rate monitoring. And, when not in use, the Exerwork 100 folds up for easy storage.
Types of Exercise Bikes
There are three main types of exercise bikes, mainly:
- Upright bikes
- Recumbent bikes
- Spin bikes
They are all suitable for a home gym and for getting you fit. If you have particular requirements or want to achieve specific goals, one type of exercise bike may suit you better than the others.
Each type of exercise bike has its pros and cons and you have to analyze what you’re looking for in order to make the right choice.
An upright bike is more generalist, while a recumbent is more comfortable and adjustable. Spin bikes are ideal for high impact training.
Let’s take a deeper look into each type.
1. Upright Exercise Bikes
Upright exercise bikes are the most popular configuration.
They are the ones you see most at the gym and in-home gym ads. They are designed to offer a similar riding position as a real bike and exercises the same muscle groups as a result.
For example, the Xtrerra FB150 is an excellent choice of upright bikes for home use.
2. Recumbent Exercise Bikes
3. Spin Bikes
Spin bikes such as the Bladez Fitness Echelon GS are more suited to HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts or faster-paced training, can function as a general exercise bike if required.
They are more popular in gym spin classes than at home though. You can also consider a Peloton Bike where you can join other cyclists in a virtual class.
Indoor Exercise Bikes Buying Guide & Tips
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what each exercise bike offers and where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
You should also be forming an idea of what type of bike will fit your fitness level, ideal workout type, fitness goal, and ability.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 4 things to look out for when buying your first exercise bike.
1. Size and Weight
Exercise bikes can be big and they can be heavy, with some models up to 100+ lbs. You need to bear this in mind if you’re planning to fold it away and store it between workouts.
Some bikes lend themselves better to being stored in a closet than others.
Some bikes are heavy enough to give you a workout just getting them ready!
Recumbent bikes tend to the largest and heaviest.
They offset that by feeling the most comfortable and stable. They won’t squeeze into a tight closet but they can fold up a bit and will often come with transport wheels to help.
2. Resistance Type
There are 3 main resistance types used in exercise bikes.
Each has a slightly different feel and level of adjustability. They all come at different price points and will offer benefits in different situations.
- Magnetic resistance is usually found on more expensive exercise bikes such as the Schwinn IC4, Marcy, and Desk Cycle and is often quieter than other types. It is the best type of resistance to have as it is infinitely variable and has a much longer wear time than the brake.
- Fan resistance uses a large fan housed where the flywheel is in other types of bike. They are noisy but simple to maintain. They can also provide a cooling breeze while you’re training!
- Brake resistance, sometimes also referred to as direct contact, uses a flywheel and a brake to provide resistance such as in the Bladez Echelon. The brake pressure can be varied to offer different levels of workout. Resistance can be very adjustable but the moving parts are quite susceptible to wear and tear.
Adjustability is key to comfort on the bike.
This is especially true if you’re coming back from injury, trying to avoid injury, or are trying to regain movement. Essentially, the more adjustment options your bike has, the more opportunity you will have to find that Goldilocks position.
The one that is just right.
Setting up an exercise bike demands as much time and effort as setting up your road bike.
Getting the fit right means better muscle engagement, more comfortable joint movement, and the ability to avoid injury for a much longer period of time.
4. Smart Functionalities
Smart functionalities are a value-add option and can either be essential or not depending on how you use your bike. These can be usually found in higher-end models such as the Schwinn IC4 spin bike, and Schwinn 270 recumbent bike.
A smart function can be as simple as a heart rate monitor or as complicated as Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity for workout programs and games such as Zwift.
Smart functions can be useful if you’re going to utilize these functions but can be a waste of money if you’re not. A heart rate monitor is a good function to have as it enables more accurate feedback on calories, effort, and fitness.
Exercise bikes are an investment.
That doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars just to lose a bit of weight or get fit.
It very much depends on what you want from your bike and how much you will use it. If you need to get fit to get well or cycle as a way of life, spending more on a fully-featured exercise bike is a good investment.
If you’re just starting out or aren’t sure how much you will use it, you might be better off buying a cheaper bike and trading up once you’re hooked.