Indoor bikes do more than just provide a good workout, they are designed to closely replicate the experience of riding a regular bike outdoors. They are suitable for a more leisurely ride, of course, but they feature a reinforced design that lets riders lean into their workout, including the ability to stand up on the pedals and lean forward, just as they would in a competitive bike race or when tackling a steep incline. These bikes are the type used in indoor exercise bike classes, and the popularity of those classes has led to an increase in interest in people purchasing these class-level bikes for their home.
For those looking for the best indoor bike, and who have the budget to match, experts and amateur biking class fanatics say the Keiser M3+ Indoor Cycle (Est. $1,900) is a first-class exercise bike that offers an array of settings for a customized experience. The M3+ incorporates professional-grade features such as adjustable Shimano pedals, a comfortable padded seat and a computer that displays revolutions per minute, distance, heart rate and more -- all at the same time.
At DavesCheapBikes.com, biking enthusiast "Dave" names the Keiser the top indoor cycling bike, saying it's "snazzy" and that it's "designed with all of the bells and whistles that coaches across the country have consistently asked for." He also calls out the Keiser's exceptional durability. Users agree, giving the M3+ high ratings for its smooth ride and simple, intuitive adjustments and quality build. Assembly is reported as easier than with some of the other bikes we review in this report. Keiser's excellent warranty includes 10 years of frame coverage and three years for mechanical and electrical parts, and they get excellent reviews for their customer service. The Keiser is suitable for users up to 300 pounds.
If your budget puts the Keiser M3+ out of reach, we found a couple of less-pricey indoor bikes that deliver a solid blend of performance and value. Of these less-expensive models, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901 Pro Indoor Cycling Bike (Est. $255) is a top choice. Owners say it's a club-level bike at a much more modest price than indoor exercise bikes of comparable quality. It gets raves for its easy assembly, solid feel and quiet ride, although the chain-drive system is louder than magnetic and belt-drive systems. Still, users say they can comfortably watch TV during their workouts. Its 40-pound flywheel provides smooth pedaling and plenty of stability, even for those at the top of its 275 pound weight rating.
The seat on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901 is reported as very comfortable by most. Owners indicate that the bike itself accommodates users of various sizes very well, but a few very short individuals wish the handlebars had more adjustability options other than just up or down. There also aren't a lot of extra features, users point out, but most add that they don't expect much in the way of features in a quality bike at this price point. Instead, most say they'd rather have the good build quality and forgo computers and displays. Dave, at DavesCheapBikes.com, names this indoor bike the number 3 bike in his "best of" roundup, saying, "The bike has enough similar features to the higher-end bikes so that you will feel right at home on it, without the expensive touches that tend to rapidly drive up the costs of these bikes." The SF-B901 doesn't have the most extensive warranty, however; just one year on the frame and 90-days parts coverage.
An equally well-reviewed, slightly heavier-duty choice with a 49-pound flywheel, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 Indoor Cycle Trainer (Est. $330) has a few more features and a slightly quieter belt-drive system. It also gets raves from owners who say it rivals club-level cycles and is a great choice even for serious outdoor cyclists who want an option to train indoors in bad weather. Many say it's the closest to an outdoor bike that they've ever used indoors. Like the Sunny SF-B901, it has an upper weight limit of 275 pounds, but even those who are at or near that weight say this bike is extremely stable even during hard workouts or when standing, climbing or sprinting.
While neither of the Sunny Health & Fitness bikes feature onboard computers, a large number of reviewers say they pair their bike with a separate bicycle computer and are very happy with the results.