Biking is fun, but not all of us live in places where it’s a valid form of exercise or transportation. Whether that be due to the geography of one’s area, the weather conditions, or anything else, the one way they can get close to that riding experience is with an exercise bike.
For a long time now, they've been a popular investment for people that want to get in shape from the comfort of their own home. Whether you can't bike outside or don't have the time or ability, it may very well be the answer to your own exercise troubles.
As beneficial as they may be, you’ll want to hold off on buying the first one you see online or in the store. There are different categories of standing bikes fit for a variety of people, and the options within those categories are certainly not made equal.
Considering that, before we dive into what we believe are the best exercise bikes on the market, we should discuss the aspects of an exercise bike that you should seriously consider when making your choice.
For starters, no matter what type of bike you end up getting, you’ll want to make sure the seat is comfortable enough that you can spend a longer amount of time on it without experiencing pain. Exercise leads to certain types of soreness & pain, of course, but there’s no need to welcome additional discomfort from the one thing supporting you during the exercise.
Secondly, it’s important to consider your own body, along with those of anyone who might be regularly using the bike. If either you or any potential users could be described as abnormally tall, short, or otherwise proportioned, an adjustable seat is vital.
Along with wanting the capability to adjust the seat, you should look for bikes that allow you to tweak the resistance it offers against your pedaling.
As you work out your legs more & more, hitting a plateau is inevitable. Unless you can increase the amount of effort you need to exert to complete each revolution, your progress will hit an abrupt halt. With adjustable resistance, though, you can ride your bike further & further into your fitness journey.
All exercise bikes are split into two categories: manual & electric. As far as the former, it just means you don’t need any sort of electricity to get things going, while the latter, of course, means the opposite.
Concerning the latter, there are several technical aspects of the bike you should consider. Perhaps most importantly, you'll want to find three key metrics: time, your speed, and the number of calories you've burned. The last is more of a ballpark estimate, given the nuances of the human body, but the other two are essential in pacing yourself to optimize your workout.
Outside of those essentials, there are some other features included with certain bikes that you might want to find in your selection. For instance, say you simply can’t work out without music. Your earbuds keep falling out, and you don’t have those fancy wireless ones that hook onto your ear. If you’re in that situation, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a bike that comes with speakers.
Things like water bottle & magazine holders might be important for you as well, along with a fan if you want to keep things cooled down while you’re pedaling away. A heart rate monitor might also be a priority for some, but you can also find one separately & attach it to the bike if your selection doesn’t come with one attached.
Lastly, you'll want to check the reviews of whatever options you're considering & see what people say about the noise level. Several factors can affect how noisy a bike is, and although no reputable bike on the market makes deafening noises, those who want to hear their TV or listen to music while exercising will want to find one that's notably quiet.
As we said, that advice applies to any bike you might be looking for, but you should also be aware of the different types of bikes that are available to you. We won't cover all of them, but let's focus on two major categories.
This is the type of bike that many people think of when the general category is brought up. As the name suggests, the rider is upright while they're pedaling, and the handlebars are placed at a slightly higher plane than the seat.
This placement comes in handy for a couple of reasons. First, you'll be in a slightly relaxed position that simulates the typical casual outdoor bike. Secondly, this positioning still requires you to use your arms in supporting yourself. As a result of this, your abs & upper body, in general, can be continuously engaged throughout your workout.
There’s another category of stationary bikes known as Spinners that are fairly similar to these, although you can easily distinguish between one or the other by looking at the height of the handles relative to the chair. If they’re on the same horizontal plane, it’s a spinner, and bikes with the handlebars resting above tend to fall into the Upright category.
For those that might have trouble with an upright bike due to the positioning & demand to engage the upper body, a recumbent exercise bike would be what you’d want to go for.
Why is that? Well, the main difference is the way you’re seated. While upright bikes have seats that replicate the feel of an authentic bike seat, recumbent bikes feature an actual cushioned seat with handlebars placed on either side.
As you could probably guess from this feature, these types of bikes aren’t made for the most dedicated athletes amongst us. Rather, they were made for people who’d like to experience optimum comfort during their exercise. This design also comes in handy for people with back issues who still want to keep fit, since maintaining good posture is a crucial priority.
Now that we’ve gone over the different categories of bikes, along with what you should be looking for in the ones you consider, we’d like to show you some of the best bikes available on the market today, along with explaining why we think they stand above the competition.
One of our favorite options we have to show you on this list also happens to be one of the simplest.
Along with that, it’s also one of the most popular, garnering a ⅘ rating on Amazon between over 2,600 customer reviews. Rather than garnering this praise through the addition of fancy bells & whistles, they decided to focus on optimizing the essentials.
Perhaps the most noticeable way they do this is through their choice of the flywheel, the main wheel that spins as you pedal. You see, if the one on your bike is heavier, you'll have a smoother & more stable ride no matter what speed you pedal at.
Sunny excels in taking care of this need by providing a 40-pound flywheel, complete with a shiny chrome exterior & bold star graphic.
That’s just the start of it. To make sure you can give yourself an extra challenge without unnecessary headaches, Sunny’s bike uses what are essentially adjustable felt brake pads as a resistance system. Just turn the knob right below the handles & amp up your workout with ease!
Adding to this ease, both the padded leather seat & handlebars are adjustable, and the latter are formed in a unique way that allows for multiple hand grips, depending on how you want to engage your upper body during your ride.
That’s right, no need to worry about those pesky callouses from keeping your hands in the same place. It also comes with padding to keep up the trend of comfort that appears throughout this bike.
Another thing you won’t have to worry about is your hind end getting too sore on the longer rides. Boasting a leather exterior & padded interior, their chair makes sure stiffness & tearing can become concerns of the past.
As far as transport & assembly, the bike comes fitted with wheels at the bottom to make carting it around that much more convenient, and customers praise the fact that it all comes together fairly easily. If you want, though, Amazon offers expert assembly for less than $63.
Speaking of price, it should be noted that quality comes at a cost. This bike regularly comes with a list price just shy of $300, although customers with Amazon Prime can save 20% & get it for under $240.
Even with the discount, it's still the most expensive on this list by a good margin (especially considering there are no electronics involved). However, given the quality we're talking about here, we're confident it would be a wise investment.
Even though we consider the pricey offering from Sunny Health & Fitness to be the best option in the upright bike category, you won’t come close to disappointed with our runner-up from Marcy.
Costing less than $105, it's a more reasonably priced option, and you won't have to worry about sacrificing quality either! With over 1,170 reviews submitted on Amazon, it's received a prestigious four-star rating.
The main part of this selection's appeal is the size. It has everything you would need from one of the larger exercise bikes you might see in the gym, even though it's around half as big.
However, as Shakespeare once penned, "though she be but little, she is fierce." The bike boasts a durable steel construction throughout the majority of its body, meaning it can stick around for the long run. Another feature that promotes its longevity is the magnetic resistance system, which offers eight different tiers of difficulty & makes for a very smooth ride. The seat is padded & adjustable, and while the handle doesn't lend itself to as many grip variations, it is formed in a way that allows for some switching around when needed.
That brings us to the aspect of this bike that makes it such a good deal- the console. To be specific, this bike comes with an LED display that tells you the speed you're going, the time you've been riding, the distance you've traveled, and the number of calories you've burned.
Given the bike’s compact size, it’s also quite easy to move around & store if you need some extra space in your room.
If you require a budget option but don't want to deal with budget-tier quality, this is absolutely the bike for you. With a durable yet compact build & modern features, it stands up to the best of them & holds its own.
As we mentioned before, upright bikes aren't going to be a fit for everyone. For those who need additional comfort & support during their workout, Marcy provides what we believe is to be a high-quality recumbent exercise bike that is unique to this brand.
We're not the only ones that think so, either. The bike has received almost 3,000 reviews on Amazon, coming together to give it a solid ⅘ stars, and it's also been recognized by the online marketplace as the top-selling exercise bike on the site.
They didn’t get that far for no reason, either. The ability this bike has to accommodate riders first presents itself in the fundamental design.
Specifically, Marcy utilizes what’s called a step-through design that allows users to get on & off the bike easier than they’d be able to on the average recumbent option. This allows for a wide range of mobility that alleviates stress on the knees & back in turn.
As with this bike's upright sibling, this one offers eight levels of resistance via a magnetic braking system, as well as an LED console that allows riders to check their speed, time, distance, and the number of calories they've worked off. This feature is even useful for older users who struggle with their vision since the numbers appear quite large on the screen.
Those older users, along with anyone suffering from back issues, will also enjoy a full padded & upright seat that allows them to maintain good posture & avoid putting stress on their back. Making things even more pleasant, this bike comes with weighted pedals to make sure your feet don't jerk around too much during the workout.
As with all recumbent bikes, this one will take up quite a bit of space in your house, but it thankfully comes with wheels at the bottom that allow for relatively quick transport across your home. You can make things even easier by ordering expert assembly for just under $60, but customers online have found that assembly is relatively easy.
The list price for this bike is around $200, but Prime customers will be happy to find out they can have this beauty in their homes for a cool $140 with free shipping.
As great as it is, the Marcy bike isn’t the only good choice you have in this category. In fact, we’d consider PROGEAR’s offering to be another one of the strongest competitors.
On quite a few levels, this bike achieves many of the same things as Marcy’s. It features a similar step-through design, for instance, and a magnetic tension system is utilized to offer different levels of resistance. However, this bike offers fourteen, rather than eight, tiers of difficulty for the rider to push through.
It also takes up significantly less space than its competitor, and the slim but durable nature of the frame makes it especially appealing for people living in apartments, or those that need to keep their home gym compact.
Another key difference lies in the placement of the handlebar. On the Marcy, the handlebars are placed similarly as an armrest on a regular chair. However, with PROGEAR's bike, the handles rest on the same plane as the seat of the chair.
This could either be a deal breaker or deal maker for you, so it’s really up to personal preference. We suggest trying out bikes with both types of handles in-store to see which you’re more comfortable with.
Moving on to the console, this one features distance, time & calories burned but seems to leave out speed. It's not always vital to a workout to keep track of speed, although we understand many of you might consider it mandatory. Again, it's a matter of personal preference.
Beyond that, it boasts everything you'd want in a bike like this; adjustable seating, padded handlebars, a smooth & quiet ride, and the ability to help you get in shape.
It’s currently going for just under $160 on Amazon, and the expert assembly would cost around $98, so it’s not the best deal for those with Prime Memberships, but regular customers will be able to save some extra cash on this one while enjoying all the benefits.
Rounding off our list, we wanted to include one more type of bike that we didn’t mention earlier: the folding bike.
As far as the base design goes, this is very much an upright bike, but a key difference comes in its ability to, well, fold. To elaborate, it can fold into itself to achieve dimensions barely over 18 x 18 inches, making it incredibly easy to store into a closet or corner when no longer needed. The attached wheels on the bottom also assist in this task.
The fun doesn't stop with how well it can fold, either. The x-frame design, for instance, is crafted to last long & stay in peak condition. It also features the standard eight levels of magnetic resistance, along with providing a smooth & comfortable ride (even with the smaller wheel). It also comes with an adjustable seat to accommodate many different types of riders.
Even in its tiny package, it fits more in its console than any of the other options on this list. Namely, along with providing information on speed, distance, time & calories, it can also detect your pulse through the handlebars & present the information so you can keep track.
Right now, to receive this compact & mighty wonder, you can head to Amazon & pick it up for less than $116. If you need to get your workout in & make room for the rest of the things in your life, we can't imagine a better choice.
To cap things off, no matter what bike you get, you’ll want to know how to keep it clean & running like new.
If you want to keep things polished, standing bike maintenance is an every-day job. For regular dust removal, it's recommended you wipe down the whole surface of the bike with a soft cloth & non-abrasive cleaner. They make cleaners specifically for fitness equipment, but non-abrasive cleaning agents that are all-purpose should get the job done as well.
As far as what you can do every week, cleaning up the floor under and around the bike is also a wise move. Since the bike's parts are constantly moving regularly, we'd also suggest you check the tightness of the screws throughout the body, re-tightening if needed. Make sure you check the seat & pedals during this process as well.
Lastly, you can perform some deeper cleaning for the interior of the bike on a quarterly to yearly basis, depending on how often you’re using it.
After removing the covers from the sides of the bike, use a vacuum to clean out dust, as well as a fine paint brush to get into spots that are tougher to reach. While you’re there, be sure to check the bike chain for damage (if your bike has one), re-lubricate it if necessary, and clean out grease from the inside of the cover by hitting it with some specialized fitness equipment cleaner.