upright stationary bikes

The 7 Best Upright Stationary Bikes of 2021

As an Amazon Associate, Home Fitness Life earns from qualifying purchases made through links on this page.

Our editors independently test, research, and recommend the best products. You can learn more about our review process here

Exclusively designed for easy use and low-impact training, upright stationary bikes offer you superior cardiovascular workouts right from home. You can jump up in the morning and hop on your bike in your PJs if you want, all while getting a cardiovascular workout that increases your heart rate while minimizing stress on your joints.

While this is true, some people still haven’t realized the benefits of using upright stationary exercise bikes for their cardio fitness needs. I’m here to change that. These bikes offer an array of benefits but finding the right one is essential to achieve these results.

I took the time to test and review my top picks in this category, so you don’t have to go through the process of trial and error to find the right bike for your needs.

Making sure you choose the best exercise bike for you requires consideration of features, styles, and more. You need to know your fitness level and determine your fitness goals to find a bike that meets your needs. After all, one of the things I realized quickly is that not all fitness bikes are created equal; that’s why it’s so important to know what’s available and what’s right for you.

Are you ready to dive in? Let’s get started. If you’re in a hurry, this is our top pick:

Schwinn 130 Upright Bike

Schwinn 130

  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance

  • Telemetry heart rate enabled

  • Adjustable handlebars

Our Top Upright Stationary Bikes

Product Name

Dimensions

Resistance

Learn More

Schwinn Fitness 130 Upright Model

Schwinn 130 Upright Bike

41.34” x 21.26” x 55.51”

16 levels of magnetic resistance

Marcy Upright Exercise Resistance

Marcy ME-708 Exercise Bike

35” x 17.5” x 47.5”

8 levels of magnetic resistance

Nautilus Upright Bike

Nautilus U616 Upright Bike

12.5” x 22.5” x 41”

25 resistance levels

Schwinn AD7 Airdyne Bike

Schwinn AD7 Airdyne Bike

53” x 26.5” x 53”

Air resistance

3G Cardio Elite

3G Cardio Elite UB Upright Bike

41” x 22.5”

16 magnetic resistance levels

Renpho AI Powered Exercise Resistance Bike

RENPHO AI-Powered Exercise Bike

40” x 20” x 49”

80 magnetic resistance levels

Nautilus U616

Nautilus U618 Upright Stationary Bike

38.5” x 24” x 58.3”

25 magnetic resistance levels

Upright Stationary Bike Reviews

Schwinn 130 Upright Bike

Schwinn Fitness 130
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 5.5” LCD screen with 13 pre-programmed workouts
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Telemetry heart rate enabled
  • Adjustable handlebars

For over 100 years, Schwinn has been an innovator in the world of cycling. The 130 Upright Exercise Bike utilizes the knowledge the company has gained to provide a solid and stable steel frame along with a high-inertia perimeter weighted flywheel for a solid foundation.


One feature of interest is the DualTrack computer console which is superior to the competition in every way.


While this bike might work well for beginners, if you are looking for something with more accurate and easier to use heart rate monitoring and more robust pedals and cranks, it may be a good idea to look at some of the other options on the list. After testing each one, this bike is decent but does have some subpar features.

PROS

  • Dual screens to display workout data

  • Ergonomic grip sensors on the handlebars

CONS

  • No chest strap heart rate monitor

  • No backlighting for dark conditions

Marcy Upright Exercise Bike

Marcy Upright Exercise Bike
  • High-quality steel construction

  • Smooth magnetic resistance system

  • Functional console

  • Adjustable seat

  • Counterbalanced pedals

One of the first things that stood out to me about the Marcy Upright Exercise Bike is its sturdy and stable construction. While it’s incredibly lightweight, it can still support any intense workout you have planned.


The frame is constructed with 14-gauge steel tubing and provides comfort and function. The magnetic resistance mechanism offers eight levels of difficulty and helps to simulate unique terrains. If you want to enjoy a new, alternative workout, this bike can accommodate this desire.


While the machine is lighter than other options on the list, it can still support up to 300 pounds. The LCD screen provides information about your progress and lets you know information like distance travel, speed, and calories burned. If you are using the bike in a room with poor lighting, you may find the LCD is difficult to read, and it can feel somewhat cheap compared to other options on the list.

PROS

  • Made of high-quality steel

  • Supports up to 300 pounds

  • Eight levels of magnetic resistance

  • Ergonomic design

CONS

  • LCD seems cheap

  • Difficult to tell the difference between levels

Nautilus Upright U616

Nautilus Upright U616
  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • 29 unique training programs

  • 25 resistance levels

  • Rated for up to 300 lbs

  • Progress monitoring tools

The Nautilus U616 upright stationary exercise bike is considered a top-of-the-line option that features Bluetooth smart connectivity, making syncing your data to various fitness apps quick and easy. It also comes with a DualTrackTM display featuring two high-resolution LCD monitors.


Other appealing features of this upright bike include USB media charging capabilities, an adjustable fan, and an MP3 input port. Thanks to the 29 workout programs, you will find something suitable for your current fitness level and enjoy the aerobic benefits that exercise bikes are known for.


While the bike is designed to help save space, one of the biggest complaints I have is the seat. It is slightly uncomfortable after using for an extended time and does not offer as much padding as some of the other bikes I have reviewed. Even though this is the case, you can purchase a seat pad to improve the comfort and enjoyability of your workout.

PROS

  • Easy assembly

  • 25 resistance levels

  • Unique training programs

CONS

  • Uncomfortable seat

Schwinn AD7 Airdyne Bike

Schwinn AD7 Airdyne Bike
  • Progressive wind resistance

  • Interval program options

  • Adjustable seat

  • Multi-position handgrips

  • Goal tracking capabilities

When testing the Schwinn AD9 Airdyne exercise bike, I discovered it offers some unique features compared to the other bikes on this list. One of the best features of this bike is the air resistance technology it uses. With this type of resistance, you can easily change the level and intensity of your workout without any knobs or levels involved.


It also features telemetric heart rate technology, which lets you monitor and track your heart rate in real-time. The construction of the bike is superior, featuring an easy-to-clean coating that protects the bike from corrosion due to water or sweat. The seat is adjustable for various heights, and the handlebars have multiple grip options to ensure your complete comfort while working out.


The wind produced by the bike is significant, especially as you pedal harder and faster. This factor is worth noting to ensure you place the bike in the right location in your home.

PROS

  • Adjustable, comfortable seat

  • Air resistance for easy interval training

CONS

  • Larger than other options

  • Extremely heavy

  • No backlighting on the console

Read my full review of the Schwinn Airdyne Bike.

3G Cardio Elite UB Upright Bike

3G Cardio Elite Upright Bike
  • Easy to program electronics display

  • Small, compact design

  • Multiple resistance levels

  • Oversized, adjustable seat

  • Large format electronic display

The 3G Cardio Elite isn’t as well-known as some of the other upright exercise bikes I tested. However, this company offers several high-quality pieces of exercise equipment and should definitely be a contender if you are interested in this type of bike.


This bike is a commercial quality bike that is designed to help you get a quality cardio workout at home. It offers a four-way adjustable seat that can accommodate people of different heights. The handlebars offer an ergonomic design and provide multiple grip options to ensure comfort throughout your workout. Other features include built-in pulse sensors, larger pedals, and the ability to pedal forward and backward.


The bike itself features a sturdy construction and can support riders of up to 350 pounds. While no cooling fan or speakers are included, the console displays needed information in a large format, making it easy to view. Overall, I believe this bike is the ideal option for beginners and more advanced individuals who want an effective indoor exercise machine.

PROS

  • Four user-profile settings

  • 4-way adjustable seat

CONS

  • No Bluetooth connectivity options

  • No cooling fan

RENPHO AI Smart Exercise Bike Indoor Cycling Bike

  • Compact home gym configuration

  • AI-optimized workouts

  • Auto resistance and Bluetooth connectivity

  • Quiet operation

  • Premium airflow saddle

Compared to some of the other more established and well-known exercise equipment brands, RENPHO is a new player on the market. While they are new to upright exercise bikes, they seem to know what serious customers want. While the bike doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like some of the other options found here, like a cooling fan or sound system, it has the right number of features to make it an appealing option.


The four-way adjustable seat makes it ideal for users of different heights, and it provides adequate padding and airflow to ensure you are comfortable for the duration of your workout. Similar to other upright exercise bikes, the handlebars can be adjusted horizontally, and there are multiple grip options to try.


A unique feature I liked about this bike was the foot levelers, which help ensure your bike remains steady, even on uneven surfaces. Two integrated wheels make it easy to move and store the bike as needed.

PROS

  • Integrated foot levelers

  • Support for up to 265 pounds

CONS

  • No cooling fan or sound system

  • No monitor

Nautilus Upright Bike U618

Nautilus Upright Bike U618
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Multi-position handlebars
  • Integrated resistance controls
  • Virtually ride with friends on the Ride Social app
  • 29 workout programs

The Nautilus U618 upright exercise bike offers everything I look for. You can adjust the seat with ease, which means everyone in your household can use it, regardless of their height. The pedals are large and feature a no-slip grip. They are also self-righting, which means the days of spinning pedals are in the past.


Like some of the other bikes I reviewed, I appreciate the four-foot levelers, which help the bike remain stable on uneven surfaces. It is more lightweight than other options, making it easy to move the bike from place to place or store it away while it isn’t being used.


With a 300-pound weight limit, the bike features a sturdy construction and will provide you with years of intense cardio workouts. The backlit LCD makes it easy to see your accomplishments even in low lighting.

PROS

  • Media rack included

  • Bottle holder

  • Multi-grip handlebars

CONS

  • May need seat pad for long-term comfort

Pros and Cons of Upright Exercise Bikes

For several years, upright exercise bikes have been known for their benefits. However, before deciding whether this is the correct type of exercise equipment for you, it is necessary to consider a few things that may not be as straightforward or obvious.

One area where upright bicycles have an “edge” over the supine alternatives is cost. Usually, upright bikes will cost less. If you have a limited budget, you can get a quality bike for an affordable price.

Also, upright bicycles don’t take up as much room as others. Many can be collapsed and put away to be used later. If you don’t have much room in your home, choosing an upright exercise bicycle makes sense.

When it comes to the actual exercise benefits, upright bicycles aren’t prohibitive. In fact, I believe they are more adaptable than other options. With this style of bike, you aren’t expected to stay situated in the same position, which allows you to move and adjust your positioning as needed.

By using an upright bike, you can really “use it.” It provides much of the same experience an actual bicycle does. This is because you can get up and off the seat, stand while you pedal, and adjust the intensity based on your comfort level.

If you are older or have back pain, an upright bike may not be the right option. That’s because you have to push and use your entire body in the exercise, which can present problems for these individuals.

Learning the specific pros and cons of upright exercise bikes can help you find one that suits your needs and fitness levels.

Pros of Upright Exercise Bikes

Now that you have some basic information about what to expect from upright exercise bikes, it’s time to learn more about the benefits they offer.

These advantages include:

Minimal Space Requirements

With upright exercise bikes, you have equipment that takes minimal space in your home. Many bikes also fold away for easy and convenient storage.

Easy to Use

Modern upright exercise bicycles are simple to use. Most come with a touchscreen interface which makes them as easy to operate as your smartphone.

Superior Workout

With an upright bicycle, you can get a quality workout. You can also adjust the intensity with the included levels or by standing or sitting.

Adaptable

You can stand or sit with your upright bicycle. That means you can adjust and change the workout based on your needs and capabilities.

Affordable

Upright exercise bikes are more affordable than many other types of exercise equipment available today.

Comfort

The features offered by modern upright exercise bikes are designed for superior comfort while you exercise. Also, you will find most are designed with ergonomics in mind.

Cons of Upright Exercise Bikes

While upright exercise bikes offer an array of benefits, there are also some potential cons you should be aware of. These include:

Slightly Awkward

I have discovered that for some people, upright exercise bikes are slightly awkward. Some of the most common reasons are the straight-up design of the bikes and the unforgiving seats that many are equipped with.

Neck and Back Stress

With an upright exercise bike, you may experience stress on your back and neck. This is particularly true for those who already deal with issues in these parts of their body. That’s because you must sit in a slumped-over stance while exercising.

Minimal Stability

While most upright exercise bikes are designed with features that help them remain stable, they are slightly flimsy. This is especially true for individuals who are older or extremely overweight.

Do the Pros Outweigh the Cons?

When it comes to upright exercise bikes, most people (including myself) will agree that the pros outweigh the cons and make this a wise investment for most. Just remember, if you are older or extremely overweight, choosing a different piece of equipment may be best to avoid some of the issues that may arise. For those who aren’t sure, try out an upright bike before purchasing it.

Recumbent Bikes and Spin Bikes Comparisons

In the past few years, the style and options of exercise bikes have expanded significantly. Today, you have several options, including recumbent bikes, spin bikes, and upright bikes.

The question is – which option is right for you. Here I take a look at the differences in each of these exercise bike options to help you make an informed decision about the one that’s right for you.

Spin Bikes

A spin bike is the type of exercise bike that looks most like the real thing. With this style of exercise bike, you have a natural bike shape that has been fitted with a weighted flywheel. The form of the bike is designed so you can imitate the natural positioning and posture you would have when cycling.

Because of the design and style of this bike, it is best suited for individuals who like to cycle outdoors or those who are so-called “fitness fanatics.” If cycling is your go-to sport, there’s no question that a spin bike is the best option for you. That’s because it will allow you to do what you do best – ride a bike in a natural and comfortable position, all while indoors.

Recumbent Bikes

A recumbent bike is different from a spin or upright bike. You can look at the design of the recumbent bike to see the differences right away.

With recumbent bikes, you sit closer to the floor, and the pedals are pushed toward the front of the bike. You also sit in an oversized chair-style seat. Rather than imitating the posture, you would have when cycling in the real world, your posture receives continual support.

With recumbent bikes, you don’t get the full-body exercise that the other options provide. Instead, these mainly target your lower body. If you need spinal support while you are working out, this is a smart purchase.

Indoor Upright Exercise Bikes

The upright exercise bike is the one I have described and reviewed here. The design is close to that of a spin bike. The upright bike imitates the natural bike posture and shape and provides you with a full-body workout, which is different from the recumbent bike. Even better, upright bikes are more compact than both the other options.

If you want an exercise bike that will give you a complete workout, even if you have limited space, the upright exercise bike is a great option. You will also see these commonly in your gym, as they are among the most common types available today.

While this is true, the upright exercise bike is often flimsy compared to the others. Because of this, those who don’t have the best balance (i.e., the elderly) and those who are quite overweight may want to choose a different option to get the support and stability needed for a good workout.

What Style of Exercise Bike Is Right For You?

To determine which style of exercise bike is suitable for your needs, you have to consider your fitness level, budget, any health concerns you have, and how much space you have for the equipment. Each of the options above offers pros and cons and can help you get a cardio workout. While this is true, not all bikes are suitable for every person. If you aren’t sure what bike best fits your specific needs, consider the information above. It will help you narrow down the options and find the one that best suits your situation.

What to Consider When Buying an Upright Exercise Bike

Upright exercise bikes are one of the most used types of indoor exercise bikes today. This is because they are easy to use, and everyone, including seniors and those who are significantly overweight, can benefit from the cardio exercise they provide.

With an upright exercise bike, you maintain a specific riding position. Because these styles of bikes have a traditional bike seat, you don’t have the back support offered by recumbent exercise bikes. You can stand or sit while using this style of exercise equipment, and most come with ergo-friendly handlebars and bright, easy-to-use monitors. An upright exercise bike is an excellent option if you want a comfortable workout and don’t care to get high-intensity training.

However, not all upright exercise bikes are created equal. It is up to you to determine your needs and fitness goals to find the right bike for you. Today, there are countless options to choose from, so knowing what factors to consider is necessary.

You can find some of the top characteristics and factors you should consider when choosing an upright exercise bike here. Knowing what these are and why they matter will ensure you find the best upright exercise bike for your needs and fitness level.

Keep reading to learn more about the features to consider when buying this style of exercise equipment.

Resistance

The resistance of an upright exercise bike refers to the amount of tension you feel when you pedal the bike. Resistance is often controlled with a console and buttons or knobs. There are three types of resistance mechanisms used for upright exercise bikes.

Strap-Based Resistance

With strap-based resistance, you connect a strap to the flywheel and add more resistance as the strap is tightened. Many lower-end exercise bikes use this type of mechanism. It’s important to note that this type of resistance setup isn’t as durable as other options. While this is true, it is a cost-effective option to begin using an exercise bike.

Friction or Mechanical Resistance

With this type of resistance, rubber or wool pads are installed on either side or on the bike’s flywheel. As the tension knob is twisted, the pads will begin to clamp down on the bike’s flywheel. This is what increases the resistance level you feel. While this provides superior resistance, it can also cause degradation of the pads as time passes. These bikes are often noisier than other options, too.

Electromagnetic Resistance

This option is one of the most common types of resistance used for upright exercise bikes today. With this type, two magnets are installed near, but not directly on, the flywheel. If the tension is increased with a knob, the magnets will move closer together, which increases the total electric current that is moving between them. The flywheel serves as the conductor. This is what will provide the resistance you feel. When it comes to quality and design, this is considered the high-end resistance option. It provides you with a much smoother ride, and maintenance needs are minimal.

Comfort

Stationary bikes, including upright exercise bikes, don’t come in a one-size-fits-all configuration. Because of this, it is necessary to find a bike that has adjustable features to ensure your comfort and the comfort of anyone else who uses it.

Ideally, you need to find a bike where you can adjust the seat and handlebars.

The specific positioning of your bike is dependent on the design. Usually, though, it should be set up so that your spine remains straight on an upright bike, and your knees will be slightly bent when you fully extend your feet. Also, your forearms should stay at a 90-degree angle while you grip the handlebars.

Usually, you can achieve this position if you set the seat at your hip height when standing. The handlebars should be situated the length of your fist to your elbow away from your body.

To ensure superior comfort on your upright bike, make sure you look at the weight and height limit, too. Not all bikes are rated or comfortable for those who are extremely overweight.

Other comfort features to consider include padding on the seat and if the pedals are designed to stay upright and avoid spinning when getting off and on the bike—being comfortable while you workout is a must. If the exercise is uncomfortable, there’s a good chance you won’t stick with it.

Ease of Use

When searching for the right upright exercise bike, you must consider how easy it is to use. For example, does the bike have features that make it simple to get started? Is the screen designed to walk you through the workout and access the available programs and options?

Take some time to read reviews from real users (including myself) to find out how easy or hard the bike is to begin using. Along with ease of use when you are exercising, how difficult is it to put together. After all, you don’t want to give up on your healthier lifestyle just because of a complex assembly process.

Easy-to-use upright exercise bikes offer features that you will love. These extras include things like an easy-to-understand monitor, straightforward resistance adjustments, and other convenience features such as a cooling fan, water bottle holder, and USB or Bluetooth connectivity.

Keep in mind, though, the more features, bells, and whistles the exercise bike has, the higher the price. Because of this, it is a good idea to determine what you can spend on this exercise equipment before learning more about the available options. By doing this, you can avoid overspending on the purchase. Believe it or not, the ease of use of the upright exercise bike is a factor you don’t want to overlook. If the bike is too difficult or complex to use, chances are you won’t use it.

Does It Fold?

Do you have limited space in your home? If so, choosing an upright exercise bike that folds may be appealing. One of the most significant selling points of folding stationary bikes is that you can fold it and stow it when it isn’t used. Also, when you can fold a bike, they are typically easier to move from one location to another.

Along with folding, most bikes with this feature will include built-in transport wheels and, in some situations, handles. These features mean that you don’t have to try to lift the bike or carry it to another location.

While folding bikes take up less space than non-folding options, they still take up space when folded. Some models are compact enough to fit inside a closet or under the bed, but it is best to look at the dimensions carefully to determine if that is the case.

Even though folding bikes have their appeal, it’s essential to know the potential drawbacks, too. While newer models are highly durable, a bike that folds will not be as sturdy as one that does not. Because of this, you must decide which is more important – a space-saving design or a stable and sturdy piece of exercise equipment. The good news is that you can find a lot of options in both design styles.

Alternatives

If the upright stationary bike isn’t what you are looking for, there are some alternatives to consider. You can choose a spin bike or recumbent bike, which both offer many benefits.

Questions and Answers

What’s the best stationary upright bike for seniors?

For seniors, it is essential to find a stable and sturdy upright bike. Choosing options with leveling capabilities is ideal. The best options to consider include the Renpho AI-powered bike or the Nautilus U618.

Is the upright bike a good workout?

Exercising on an upright bike is a good cardio workout. It demands more from your body than recumbent bikes, and you will engage many more muscles. With an upright bike, you target your neck, arms, back, glutes, legs, and abs, providing you a good, all-over workout.

Is it better to buy an upright bike?

Deciding to purchase an upright bike is a personal decision. You need to consider your needs, budget, and exercise goals to figure out if this purchase is the right one for you.

What’s the difference between an upright bike and a recumbent bike?

The main difference between upright bikes and recumbent bikes is the seat. With an upright bike, you have a traditional bicycle seat. With recumbent bikes, you have full support from a conventional chair. This type of seat is ideal for those who need a bit more support while working out. 

If you're looking for a suitable recumbent bike, here are my top recumbent bikes for seniors

Or, if you need a full body workout, here are the top exercise bikes with moving handles.