Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike
Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Bike

Best recumbent bike

No other recumbent exercise bike gets the type of kudos that the Exerpeutic 900XL does. Thousands of happy customers say it's very comfortable, with a simple-to-adjust tension control and very easy to read LCD display. The display shows calories burned, distance traveled, speed and heart rate, and owners say they love being able to keep track of their progress. It has a 300 pound upper weight limit, and even heavier users say it feels sturdy and stable, even under hard use.
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Keiser M3+ Indoor Cycle
Keiser M3+ Indoor Cycle

Best spin bike

The Keiser M3+ Indoor Cycle is a sleek, professional-grade indoor cycle that experts say closely mimics real-world riding. The magnetic resistance system has 24 levels, with a precise, easy-to-set knob and is reported as quiet enough to use without waking a sleeping partner. Customizing the Keiser to fit a variety of users is easy with the adjustable seat, handlebars and pedals. Built for heavy-duty use, the M3+ includes an outstanding, comprehensive warranty and customer service receives some of the highest praise we've ever seen.
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$1,995.00
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Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901 Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901 Pro Indoor Cycling Bike

Cheap spin bike

Thousands of satisfied owners give the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike top marks as a great spin bike at an equally great price. This exercise bike is a basic indoor cycle that's easy to assemble and is reported as very durable. It uses a heavy-duty flywheel similar to fitness center spin bikes, but doesn't include convenience features such as a computer, heart-rate monitor or water bottle holder. The bike includes a one-year frame warranty and 90-day parts coverage.

$256.76
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Exerpeutic 1200 Folding Magnetic Upright Bike
Exerpeutic 1200 Folding Magnetic Upright Bike

Best upright exercise bike

The Exerpeutic 1200 Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is one of the highest rated indoor exercise bikes around. Owners say it's an excellent value, combining a solid frame, user-friendly adjustments and an LCD screen. The magnetic resistance is quiet, with eight settings to accommodate a range of users. It takes up very little floor space and the lightweight body folds for easy storage. The extra wide seat is more comfortable than the seats found on most upright exercise bikes, even for larger users.
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$149.00
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Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike
Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike

Cheap upright exercise bike

If you want something smaller and lighter than the Exerpeutic 1200, Marcy has an exercise bike for you. Hundreds of owners rave about the Foldable Exercise Bike, saying it's an outstanding value in a nice, compact package. It doesn't have a lot of fancy features, but those who just want a good, solid ride are thrilled. It's reported as easy to assemble and very quiet when in use. It has an upper weight capacity of 250 pounds, and owners say the padded seat is plenty comfortable.

$109.99
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Exercise bikes provide a convenient cardiovascular workout

If you have issues with high-impact exercise, or just love riding a bike, but can't always do so outdoors, an exercise bike might be a great choice for your home gym. Sometimes called stationary bikes, exercise bikes provide the cardiovascular benefits of pedaling a bicycle, with the convenient of keeping you out of the weather or off the street.

The main types of exercise bikes

Recumbent bikes replace the upright bicycle seat with a wide seat and full seat back, and place the pedals in front of the user instead of underneath them. This is known as a "step through" design, giving the bike a low profile that is easy to access. Users with hip, knee, foot and back issues usually find that recumbent bikes give them an effective aerobic workout without causing extra pain.

Spin bikes (also called indoor exercise bikes) are all the rage these days. Using the term "spin" bike is a bit like calling tissue "Kleenex," because spin, spinning, etc. are terms coined by Mad Dogg Athletics, with Spinning being the name it uses for its indoor bike line. However, the popularity of these bikes and of spin classes at gyms has increased to the point that using the term spin bike has become a generic expression. These indoor bikes are designed to more closely replicate the act of using a traditional bicycle. They typically use a weighted flywheel for a more intense session and feature reinforced construction. That allows users to stand and lean forward safely, just as they would if they were in a bicycle race or climbing a steep hill.

Upright exercise bikes are the classic style. They, too, mimic the riding position of a standard bicycle, with a saddle seat situated above the pedals. However, rather than a flywheel that you power, an upright exercise bicycle is powered by a motor, with programs that simulate different types of terrain or that aim to achieve specific fitness, weight loss or performance goals. One advantage of classic upright exercise bicycles is that their seats tend to be more ample and better padded than those of spin bikes.

To customize your workout, exercise bikes use a tension system to produce a harder or easier ride. Resistance is usually provided by one of three methods: magnetic resistance, friction belts or wheels, or air resistance using a fan, where the resistance increases as you pedal faster. Among those, many prefer magnetic systems for their smooth, quiet operation. The whisper-quiet operation of a magnetic resistance system is also the best option if you prefer a quiet environment for your workouts so you can watch television or listen to music, or don't want to disturb your roommates. Most of the recommended exercise bikes -- including some budget models -- feature magnetic systems.

While some exercise bikes include built-in heart-rate monitors, many users prefer to purchase a better monitor, and we name some top choices in a separate report. If you are not sure that an exercise bike is the right piece of fitness equipment for your, we also have reports on elliptical trainers, stair climbers, treadmills and home gyms to help you create the perfect workout room.

Finding the best exercise bikes

To select the best exercise bikes, editors consider how effectively the machine can provide a solid ride, how well components hold up after continued use, and the bike's features and comfort. The only expert review we found is extremely limited in scope, and the top choices in that testing are widely panned by owners. In our view, if actual users aren't happy, it doesn't really matter what the testing shows. As a result, we evaluated thousands of owner reviews to get the full picture of how an exercise bike performs at home, and over the long haul. We also look at how well the company stands behind its bikes should trouble arise.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Recumbent Exercise Bikes | Best Spin Bikes | Best Upright Exercise Bikes | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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