The Best Exercise Bikes of 2017

Best Exercise Bikes

Finding the right exercise bike can be an intimidating task. It seems like every product sells their features as if they are the only thing that matters, but if that were true, there wouldn't be a gazillion different designs on the market. This review will cover all types of exercise bikes so you can get a better idea of what's on the market today.

Benefits of Owning an Exercise Bike

There are so many benefits to owning an exercise bike that it would be easier to list the reasons not to have one (hint: there aren't any!) Here are a few of the reasons I chose to include an exercise bike in my home gym.

Rain or Shine, Snow or Sleet

Rain or shine, snow or sleet, it'll deliver your fitness! I first bought a stationary bike ten years ago. It rained almost every day during the winter while my beloved bike lay collecting cobwebs in the garage. By the time the rain stopped, I had about three weeks to enjoy it before my hometown began feeling hot as the bowels of Hades again. After nearly giving myself heat stroke trying to bike at 9 AM in the summer, I drove my air conditioned car to the local sporting goods store.

You Won't Get Squished

I have no less than three close friends who have been plowed over at intersections or in the bike lane. In each of those cases, my friends were following all traffic laws and wearing safety equipment. None of them died, but all three had massive hospital bills and long recoveries.

Safer at Home

Stationary biking is also safer for those who have physical problems. They can exercise even with balance problems or joint pain. It's much easier to check and maintain the heart rate at the doctor recommended level, and you won't be in the middle of nowhere, away from your family if you have a sudden problem. It doesn't matter what age you are or what your level of fitness is, you can achieve your fitness goals safely at home.

Cheaper Than the Gym

Stationary bikes are cheaper than a gym membership in the long run. Considering that most gym memberships have rates of over $50 a month and come with draconian cancellation fees, even a thousand dollar machine will pay for itself in no time.You'll Use it MoreThis isn't just because it's right there staring at you. Gyms can be inconvenient. We're always too busy or getting called away in the middle of a workout. All of this is no problem when you have a bike at home. Even on busy days, I just grab five or ten minutes whenever I can. It adds up over the course of the day.

You Don't Need a Babysitter

Whether you ride on the road or go to the gym, you'll need someone to babysit your younger kids while you work out. Some gyms include daycare, but it's expensive. If you have a stationary cycle at home, you can keep an eye on your little ones and workout without spending a dime. Plus, if you kids see you engaging in a healthy workout routine from the start, they will naturally incorporate it into their lifestyles. I gained my love of fitness from jogging with my father, and they are some of the happiest memories of my childhood. Those memories are also personal proof of the longevity benefits that exercise provides because he's still alive and active at the ripe old age of 86. Does motivation get any better than that?

Multitasking

I'm a big fan of zoning out with distraction free exercise for at least half an hour a day because it's a huge stress reliever. Some days, I like to go longer. If I don't have the time for an extended workout routine, I'll get my laptop and work while using my bike. As a matter of fact, I'm listening to M83 and riding my bike this very moment, while typing this post. (Road Blaster is the perfect biking song.)

Your Hubby Can Use it Too

The first time I saw my beautiful but beer-gutted better half jump on my recumbent bike, I almost fainted. Now his beer gut is almost gone.

No Germs!

I don't even want to touch the handles on the bikes and the gym--or sit on them for that matter. No matter how much cleaning equipment they set out, there's always some inconsiderate, sweaty jerk that thinks his particular brand of sweat is God's gift to the world, so he must share it. Eww!

Privacy

I've had people look at me funny when I've shown up at the gym in old sweats and a ponytail instead of my cute little workout getup. Why do I have to dress up to go work out? At home, I can be as stinky and frizzy as I want with no repercussions. Furthermore, no one is looking at my butt from behind my back while I work. I can add goofy arm exercised to my workout and listen to guilty pleasures on the radio while I work out to my heart's content with no audience. It's bliss.

It Makes Your Tush Look Awesome!

Biking is one of the best exercises in the world to tighten your calves, thighs, and glutes--those are the nice muscles on your backside.

Best Exercise Bike

Exercise Bike Buying Guide

Stationary bikes are popular and have evolved to meet different needs. There are now four different types of indoor cycles to choose from:

Standard Upright

This was the first kind of exercise bike that became popular. Uprights have a very simple design that usually includes an LCD screen with a tracking system. These monitors track the distance you've peddled and the calories burned. We often sit on them like we would a beach cruiser, and the peddling method is very similar too. They are among some of the most modern machines. They're inexpensive and easy to repair if something breaks, and they rarely break. Some standard uprights from the 80's still work great.

Spin Cycles

These are the kind of machines you're going to find at the gym for spin classes. They come with a flywheel mechanism that disengages when you coast and re-engages when you start peddling again. The feel is very similar to what you experience when racing your bike on the road. You have to lean over the handlebars to peddle just like you would your racing bike too. You can get some of the most intense cardio workouts in the world on a spin cycle.

Dual Action

These bikes have moving handlebars instead of a pair stationary ones. Some models have both. The handlebars move a lot like those on a skiing machine, working your arms out too. Some models allow separate adjustments for the arms and legs, so the bike is suitable for any athlete, novice to expert. Most of us have stronger legs than arms, so our noodle arms may need time to catch up to the resistance level that our legs can handle.

Recumbent

Recumbent stationary bikes are my personal favorite for multi-tasking because they are so comfortable. They have back supports just like a chair, and they're perfect for reading a book while peddling. Unfortunately, the only arm workout I get is turning the page unless I put down the book and pick up the weights. They also employ different muscles than standard bikes. You'll notice that they require more of a pushing motion with the thighs than a peddling motion engaging your legs and backside.

Whichever type of bike you choose, make sure it's one you will enjoy using. Some of us just like to pedal vigorously on a recumbent, and some of us enjoy the racing feel of a spin machine. Some people want the full-body workout that we can only get with a dual-action bike. There isn't a wrong choice here. It's all about what best suits your needs.​


There's a lot of detail that went into this bike. For instance, the LCD has a soft blue backlight, so if you decide to use it as a magazine rest, the light won't shine through the paper and make it hard to read.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Nautilus Connect with Bluetooth makes it easy to upload your workout, plus it works with My Fitness Pal
  • Sturdy. Feels like it would handle more than the recommended 300 lbs. (Don't try that, though.)

CONS

  • Seat isn't so cozy
  • Peddling doesn't feel as smooth as expected at this price range

Most people bypass the recumbent bikes at the gym because they offer absolutely no upper body work. But this recumbent bike has both arm and leg pedals. It's ideal for anyone who has problems sitting on an upright or spin bike because they can still work out their arms.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Full body workout, unlike most recumbents
  • Operates quietly
  • Fantastic for physical therapy

CONS

  • Resistance only works on upper or lower pedals at a time, not simultaneous
  • Sometimes the seat adjustments come loose
  • If you don't assemble the arm pedals correctly, their resistance won't work at all

This bike has all of the bells and whistles I'd expect for a relaxing workout. The foldout book rest, adjustable armrest, cooling fan, cup holder and mp3 connectable speaker system make it feel a bit like driving a Lexus, plus it's very sturdy and comfortable. It's not perfect, but it is a smooth and comfortable workout.

Best exercise bikes

PROS

  • Displays speed increments very precisely, to tenths of a mile
  • Resistance ranges from very light to hard, which makes it perfect for seniors or even a body builder
  • The sculptured seat is comfortable enough to ride for hours

CONS

  • It's not meant for the very short. If you are under 5'4” you'll probably have trouble reaching the pedals
  • Heart rate monitor could be more accurate.
  • Difficult to shift the seat if more than one person is uses it

The biggest advantage of this bike is the smooth operation the chain drive, and 37.5-pound aluminum and steel flywheel offers. It seems a bit expensive until you try it out and realize how realistic the road feel is. It's very sturdy too, handling up to 350 pounds, so it's ideal for both men and women. The adjustable magnetic resistance works in tandem with the braking so that you can adjust it in small increments.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Resistance is adjustable in increments
  • Chain drive with heavy flywheel gives a super smooth ride for very fast peddling

CONS

  • No timer
  • Even with the wheels, it's pretty heavy to move

The handlebars for this bike are angled as not to hurt the wrists after extended use. While this might not seem like a big deal to someone who has never tried hard-core spinning before but believe me; it's important. This is also one of the few models that are suitable for very short people.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Holds up well for standing climbs
  • It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but that's because they spent all of the development on a quality spin

CONS

  • This bike also comes with four DVD workouts, which are kind of cool, but most of us don't use exercise DVD's anymore.
  • Computer doesn't show RPMs

This bike utilizes the whole body and gives your legs a full range of motion. When the petals are at their lowest positions, you can straighten your legs completely. I'm the kind of person that likes to pedal with a beat, so it bothers me that you have to go faster to change the resistance, but it provides a high-quality workout.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Works out the entire body
  • You don't have to plug it in.

CONS

  • Can't lock the handlebars
  • You have to pedal faster to get higher resistance

This bike is ideal for people who have a limited amount of space because it's foldable. It feels great when working out and it's probably one of the best exercise bikes for the price. One criticism is that the leg motion is a bit unusual, possibly because of the foldable design. It forces the pedals to sit a bit further inward than they would on a regular bike but not as far out as a recumbent. The result takes a bit of getting used to.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • A comfortable, cushioned seat
  • Surprisingly well-built for an inexpensive folding bike

CONS

  • Need to keep re-tightening the bolts to avoid excess noise, and it can still be a bit noisy
  • Both the straps and plastic pedals themselves feel like they will break with any hard use.

This bike is a mid-range cycle for home-use. It doesn't feel as slick as a gym bike, but it has a lot of the features that you want and needs from one, and it's not nearly as expensive. One of the best things about this Schwinn is that it has a more advanced LCD digital layout which lets you simultaneously track 13 monitored actions. It's just easier to stay motivated when I can see all of my different areas of progress on the screen. Even better, I can export the data from my machine to my iPad so I can keep track of calories burned, and distance peddled every week. It's a fantastic motivational machine.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Smooth and quiet
  • 25 touch-controlled resistance settings
  • USB charging and data port
  • Easy to use pulse monitor

CONS

  • Hard seat
  • Fragile iPod dock

The Schwinn 270 is my personal favorite because it has all of the same features that the 170 does. This includes an awesome LCD screen tracker and ability to export my workout stats. Unlike the 170, the seat and peddling position are so comfortable that I could work out on it all day and still not be sore. The three-speed fan is useful for when it gets hot. Read my full review of the Schwinn 270 Recumbent here

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Can handle heavy weight
  • The weighted flywheel keeps peddling super smooth
  • Low impact on the joints

CONS

  • Has the same flimsy iPad dock as the 170
  • It takes a while to figure out the control panel
  • It squeaks

You can move the seat on this bike forward and back as well as up and down, so it's easy to get the perfect feel to your stride. It has a surprisingly stable feel, which is surprising for the price, because of the 40 lb flywheel.

Best Exercise Bikes

PROS

  • Basic cycling computer but easy to use
  • Very sturdy

CONS

  • There are no numbers to mark resistance on the knob

Conclusion

​I hope this guide has given you an exceptional overview involving some of the best exercise bikes on the market. Now you just need to make a decision. Enjoy!

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