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Between you and I, an exercise bike may be my favorite gym equipment. There are few machines that allow you to get a more intense, yet easy, workout. A chill 20-minute session can easily transform into an intense HIIT workout (depending on the person and bike, of course). Plus, you can do it all while watching the latest episode of The Bachelor.
My preference for stationary bikes didn't come out of nowhere, either. Exercise bikes allow you to toggle between resistance levels according to your preference, making stationary bike workouts great for just about anybody—even beginners. Plus, they can be an awesome alternative to running if tackling miles just isn't for you (it's been proven to be just as effective.).
Peep a few top-reviewed exercise bikes here:
Cycling of any kind is also easy on your joints, says Lauren Kanski, CPT and Women's Health Advisory Board member. "Due to its low joint impact, it can be used for endurance training. This helps us build up stamina for events such as triathlons and marathons and burn excess energy." This makes cycling the perfect activity for people who want to give their body a break in between high-impact workout sessions, explains Equinox group fitness instructor and CPT Amanda Katz.
So, whatever you're looking for in an exercise bike, WH has you covered. Below are the best exercise bikes you can shop right now, per experts, editors, and reviews.
Indoor Stationary Exercise Bike
If you're investigating the best exercise bikes for your cardio, odds are you've heard of Peloton, the machine that streams high-quality fitness classes right to your home. It includes a bunch of cool features like a turning screen that allows you to flip it around so you can do floor workouts.
Rave Review: "IMO, the raddest feature of all is the auto-follow function. Like magic, when your instructor suggests a resistance range (how hard or easy it feels to pedal), the bike adjusts accordingly." —Women's Health editor-in-chief Liz Plosser
Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary
If you want a bike that has a super-nice LCD screen...without spending $$$, this one is for you. Its built-in screen has live workout options, and a bonus? This exercise bike has wheels on its base so you can easily move it around your space, too. In other words: It's everything you've been looking for in an at-home bike.
Rave Review: "This bike is very heavy, steady, and super easy to assemble. It only took us about 20 minutes. It's also easy to adjust the resistance and height. It actually feels more like I'm cycling outside. I’m so happy I got this and will definitely recommend this to my friends."
Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
This no-frills exercise bike might not have all the bells and whistles of other models, but it'll get the job done for a fraction of the cost of other exercise bikes. Use it with your favorite app or on its own for an endorphin boost and a great sweat sesh. And oh yeah—this bike is also a top-rated option. It has over 4,000 positive reviews on Amazon.
Rave Review: "It’s very sturdy so far. I can stand and sit without feeling all wobbly. I LOVE that the monitor shows RPM, a feature many other bikes didn’t seem to have. My tablet fits perfectly, and I don’t worry about it falling. My water is easy to grab while cycling. The belt drive is quiet so far and the resistance works well."
Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
Yep, you read that right—Women's Health has its own stationary bike. Boom! Its compact design is ideal for smaller spaces, and taking a spin on it will get your heart pumping...for a fraction of the cost of its high-end competition. What's more is that you can clip your phone or tablet into the holder between the handlebars and cue up your fave spin class from any app.
Rave Review: "I love a magnetic flywheel...I assembled the bike by myself. It probably took me a little longer than most, but it wasn't complicated. I appreciated the extra tools. Also, I have never seen such great packaging. Everything was well-cushioned, wrapped, and taped. The generous seat was a pleasant surprise that my tush appreciates."
130 Upright Bike
This durable stationary bike boasts features such as a padded, contoured seat, easily adjustable handlebars, and built-in tech that tracks your progress (distance, cals burned, heart rate). It also offers 29 preset exercise programs and the ability to toggle between 25 resistance levels by simply clicking a button on the screen.
Rave Review: "This is such a great bike. It is SOOOO quiet. It’s a little unnerving how quiet it is—seriously no noise during use. It's very comfortable and the programs are great to select an option and go. It's so simple to use and seriously so quiet."
Standing Desk Exercise Bike
This bike offers "whisper quiet" pedals and smooth resistance so you can go as fast (or as slow) as you want without making tons of noise. But the real deal is the attachable work surface. Stand up out of the saddle or sit upright while you pedal the workday away.
Rave Review: "It's a very nice bike that suits my needs. Super easy to setup. Easily adjusts to our whole family. Very solidly engineered and thought out. So glad I waited for this product to come along, as it is superior to any other I have seen or used. Compact enough to leave in our living room...Also, it's very quiet which everyone in our family appreciates, especially the sleeping ones."
AD7 Airdyne Bike
You know what they say about big fans? Big...fun, of course. (And, yes, this bike is designed with progressive wind resistance.) Seriously though—this indoor exercise bike will challenge your upper body just as your legs as you power through your workout. The bike requires you to move the handlebars back and forth at the same level of resistance as the pedals.
Rave Review: "This bike is solid. Easy to assemble. Way to go Schwinn. Great workout. I've been using it for almost a month now and it kicks your ass. Like anything else, you get out of it what you put in. I would recommend this to anyone looking to get in satisfying workouts at home."
EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike
This Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike is a great value. It has 32 levels of silent, precise resistance that let you adjust your intensity on a wide range. There are padded handlebars, fully adjustable toe cages on the pedals, and an extra-large, adjustable cushioned seat.
Rave Review: "I decided to look for an indoor cardio workout machine and ended up getting the Echelon bike. To my surprise, assembly was a snap and performance was five-star. During operation, the bike performs so quietly, making it a perfect fit for our needs living in an apartment building. I definitely recommend this bike for cardio enthusiasts and for active individuals seeking a gym worthy bike offering a different degree of workout."
Recumbent Exercise Bike
Recumbent bikes (i.e. options where you can recline while you ride) are a great low-impact alternative to upright ones, especially for people doing rehab or who have spine issues, Kanski says. This one has over 12,o00 reviews on Amazon, plus eight different resistance levels that are easily adjustable by the turn of a knob. It's also designed with weighted pedals for better control of your feet.
Rave Review: "This bike is fantastic for the price! It's easy on the back, nice on the eyes, and gives a good workout. It's stable and easy to get on and off...You can't beat the price or value of the Marcy."
The MYX II
The MYX II features interactive digital programming from Beachbody and Openfit. It has a touchscreen tablet that is large (21.5” inches) and also rotates, so you can adjust it as you need. It provides great in-workout data, including heart rate, speed, cadence, and distance. Plus, with the MYX Membership, you get unlimited access to workout content and personalized coaching.
Rave Review: "The seat and handlebars are comfortable, and the pedals are compatible with sneakers or clip-in shoes. It's perfect for setting up a book to read if you're a multitasker. The resistance can really be cranked up, too. The classes are designed with beginners in mind—like a great intro indoor cycling to learn form in a no-pressure environment. It also comes with a heart rate monitor add-on to track progress and cardio fitness." —Women's Health fitness editor Jennifer Nied
If you're an avid SoulCycle-ist, why not cop their bike for your at-home gym? The SoulCycle at-home bike can be paired with a subscription that gives access to pre-programmed classes taught by some of your favorite instructors. You can also take advantage of other exercise classes , like PURE Yoga and Precision Run, through the Equinox+ app.
Rave Review: "As a yoga and Pilates girl, I'm not really big on cardio and I find a lot of the bikes in spin classes kind of complicated and daunting. Somehow, the SoulCycle bike feels super intuitive to me. It's easy to use, has a really smooth feel, and honestly makes me like cardio—that's a huge deal for me." —Women's Health commerce editor Neha Tandon
What should I look for in an exercise bike?
Shopping for an exercise bike (or, TBH, anything) can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be. There are a few key things to keep in mind while shopping for an at-home bike that'll make you happy with your purchase, such as screens, resistance, and accessories.
Screens, WiFi, and Bluetooth:
If you're starting your stationary bike journey with specific fitness goals in mind, it could be helpful to spring for something with a large, clear display that tracks all of the numbers you're looking for, according to Katz. Look for numbers like power, mileage, and cadence. "That way, you can track those metrics and see how you've improved from class to class," she says.
Other things to keep in mind with screen consideration are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Do you think you'll be trying to watch Netflix, or maybe even work while you bike? A bike with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability will make multitasking a breeze.
You may have noticed while perusing through this list that there are all kinds of resistance levels offered with at-home exercise bikes. A common form of resistance is magnetic, but some bikes offer air or friction resistance.
Magnetic resistance is typically the most quiet, and offers the most variety among levels. Friction resistance operates similarly to magnetic, but doesn't offer as quiet of a machine. Air resistance machines are great for high intensity interval training. Plus, they typically have movable handles so you'll get an arm workout, too.
Shoes and other accessories:
No matter how familiar you are with stationary bikes, you may want to consider investing in some extra accessories to enhance your ride.
"I definitely recommend a pair of cycling shoes," Katz explains. She suggests this New Balance pair, which has enough hardware to clip into a bike's pedals and the all-day comfort of a running shoe once you hop off.
Katz suggests also searching for a bike that can shift smoothly between plenty of different gears. This might be more important to you if you're a road cyclist, she explains, because certain gear shifts can feel pretty similar to the ones on outdoor bicycles.
Other bikes offer add-on class choices, which can be great or meh depending on how much training you're hoping to get out of them. If you're a serious cyclist, some bike-offered courses may seem a little slow for your pace, but beginners will love them.
What else should I keep in mind?
Along with the specifications to consider when shopping, don't forget to prioritize yourself when shopping for an exercise bike.
"I would look for something that isn't just going to sit in your home and be used for hanging up your laundry," Katz says. "You want it to be something that you actually enjoy riding."
The best time to shop for an exercise bike is after some careful consideration of all of your options' qualities and how they'll realistically fit into your life. For example, if you're planning on using your bike for a morning workout, but have kids or other people in your house sleeping, a loud exercise bike might not be the best option.
Shopping for an exercise bike may be a lot of work—but once you have your first session in the comfort of your own home, it'll all be worth it.
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