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Exercise Bike Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on December 05, 2017

Editor's note:
Exerpeutic, Marcy, Keiser, and Sunny Health & Fitness are still top choices if you want a stationary bike for exercising at home. The great news is that there are a range of great quality bikes available at a wide range of price points -- and plenty of foldable bikes for small spaces, too.

Exerpeutic 900XL Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Resistance system - Magnetic Resistance levels - 8 Heart-rate monitor - Pulse monitor in hand grips

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.

Buy for $164.93
Exerpeutic 1200 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Resistance system - Magnetic Resistance levels - 8 Heart-rate monitor - Contact monitor in hand grips

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.

Buy for $149.00
Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Resistance system - Magnetic Resistance levels - 8 Heart-rate monitor - No

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.

Buy for $129.99
Keiser M3+ Indoor Cycle Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Resistance system - Magnetic Resistance levels - 24 Heart-rate monitor - Optional chest strap

Best indoor exercise bike

The Keiser M3i 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. The one complaint we see about this bike is that the Bluetooth feature doesn't work with many apps or other devices.

Buy for $1,995.00
Sunny Health & Fitness Pro SF-B901 Indoor Cycling Bike Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Resistance system - Belt drive; flywheel Resistance levels - N/A Heart-rate monitor - No

Cheap indoor exercise bike

Thousands of satisfied owners give the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike top marks as a great indoor exercise 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 exercise 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.

Buy for $254.07

Exercise bikes provide a low-impact 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 convenience of keeping you out of the weather or off of the street.

Types of Exercise Bikes

Recumbent Bikes

These 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 him or her. 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. Others just find them more comfortable than traditional upright exercise bikes.

Upright Exercise Bikes

This type of stationary bike is made to look more like a regular, outdoor bike. They also mimic the riding position of a standard bicycle, with a saddle seat situated above the pedals. Upright indoor exercise bikes are 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 indoor exercise bikes used in group classes.

Indoor Exercise Bikes

Made popular by the proprietary Spin® brand of bikes that are used in Spinning® classes, these types of bikes use a weighted flywheel for a more intense session and they also 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. Adding one of these bikes to your home gym enables you to have a stationary bike that more closely replicates the act of using a traditional bicycle -- and can save you money over the long term on gym and class fees.

How exercise bikes challenge you

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
Our Sources
1. Amazon
"Exercise Bikes - Stationary"
"Exercise Bikes"
"Indoor Bike Reviews"

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, a roundup by Consumer Reports, is extremely limited in scope, and the top choices in that testing are widely panned by owners -- and several are discontinued, a sure sign of an outdated test. However, we did find a good roundup at Dave's Bikes, which is run by a knowledgeable cyclist. While Dave Henly does not compare and contrast the bikes, he does recommend several based upon his own experience.

However, if actual users aren't happy, it doesn't really matter what the testing shows. As a result, we evaluated thousands of owner reviews at sites like Amazon, Walmart and elsewhere 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.

Recently Updated
Exercise Bikes buying guide

What every best Exercise Bikes has:

  • Quiet resistance.
  • Well-calibrated resistance levels.
  • Workout programs.

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