Let's set the record straight: the best exercise bikes – or spin bikes – are worth the investment if you're looking for an easy way to stay in shape without having to leave the house. Which, given the fact that gyms and leisure centers are closed, for the time being, is probably most of us.
Whether you're looking to fit in a quick 30 minutes before the kids get up, you like the idea of getting in a ride while watching television in the evening, or want to give Peloton ago – it's been crazy popular during the lockdown, so we wouldn't blame you – these are the best recumbent and upright exercise bikes, as well as spin bikes, currently available.
And if you decide an exercise bike isn't for you, there are plenty more options in our guide to the best home gym equipment.
5 best exercise bikes to try
If you’re looking for a bike with all the features then this is the one for you. Here's everything you need to know:
Sync with your smartphone
It uses Bluetooth and iFit so you can sync up your bike with your smartphone (Android & iOS) app for unlimited online training options. You can also attach your tablet to the integrated stand to use for either tracking your workout or as an entertainment system.
Choose from 20 resistance levels
There are 20 resistance levels and a workout fan to keep you cool for the most comfortable workouts even when working hard. In our opinion, this is the best exercise bike you can buy.
The Kettler Giro S1 Exercise Bike is the best spin bike for a truly realistic cycle in the comfort of your own home, therefore it's one of our top picks – seeing as the majority of us are working out at home right now,
If you're an athlete who is looking to train at home, you'll be able to make the most of this bike with its virtual training software that allows you to use your GPS to cycle any route in the world - perfect for getting ready for that big trip you've got planned.
The bike is completely adjustable with triathlon handlebars that make for a comfortable cycle whether long or short, and users love how the gear shifters simulate real-world cycling. If you're looking to invest in a high-end piece of kit for your home gym, the Kettler Giro S1 will not let you down.
If you’re still uncertain whether an at-home spin bike or exercise will work for you, why not have a look at the inexpensive We R Sports RevXtreme Indoor Cycle S1000?
While not anti-corrosive, the frame is still robust and adjustable, so you should be able to feel confident in the bike and comfortable at the same time.
As we mentioned above, the heavier the flywheel, the better. This one only has a 13kg flywheel, which reviewers say does a good job of simulating a pushbike but don’t expect the same level of resistance as more expensive models.
Another comment is the noisiness - fine for use if you’re working out upstairs or in the gym room, but probably too distracting to be positioned in the lounge. The best spin bike if you're on a budget, we think.
Looking for an exercise bike with an easy-to-read and use the screen? Bingo. This a great option that's bursting with features, and it's an affordable price tag! For starters, it has a 7mph inertia enhanced flywheel and freewheel clutch, as well as 20 digital levels of resistance to ensure that every workout is a challenge.
Complete with a high contract multi-color display, this exercise bike makes keeping track of workout data easy. It gives you heart rate feedback, too. You can also use this screen to watch 20+ pre-set workouts to keep you motivated and add some fun to your workout. The best part? The screen is adjustable so you'll always be able to see it whether you're sitting or cycling standing on the pedals.
With an adjustable seat and pedals, this bike is fit for everyone, no matter their height. It's easy to find the best riding position and it has an oversized cushioned seat (yes!) so that you can ride for longer without being uncomfortable. Also, there's an integrated water bottle holder to make life easier as well as auto breeze workout fans. Yes, please.
This exercise bike is iFit compatible. With it comes a one-year subscription which means you'll have access to a new workout every single day. It's basically like going to the gym but not leaving your home! Our favorite feature? You can ride around the world from your living room thanks to Google Maps.
For those looking to mimic the real outdoor experience, we highly suggest investing in the Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Cycling Bike with Heavy 49 LB Chrome Flywheel.
Stationary bike set-up
The sturdy steel frame, heavy 22 kg weighted flywheel, and 125 kg maximum user weight gives this bike a rock solid build that will keep it moving ride after ride.
This bike's resistance system gives users the experience of a realistic, real-road feeling. Push down the emergency brake will bring the bike to an immediate stop.
Experience a smooth and quiet ride with the maintenance-free belt drive system that allows you to workout without interrupting your workout or anyone around you. More favorably, the 4-way adjustable seat and 2-way adjustable handlebars adapt to any user type.
Use the caged pedals with straps to keep your feet in place. Factor in the bottle holder to keep you hydrated throughout the workout, and consider us all sold.
Naturally, we saved the best for last: the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse. This top-rated bike is available at Amazon and has over 17,000 customers singing its praises — and I know first-hand too, as I have purchased it as well.
Designed with a larger seat cushion (14.6” x 9.7”) with easy off and on for people of any size, a 300lb weight capacity that can easily adhere to users up to 6'1', this bike is all-around perfection.
For those looking to monitor their results, this bike gives ample opportunity to beat your personal best every time. Equipped with MyFitnessCloud, when paired with any smartphone device, the app will record your results in real-time while also providing the chance to engage in classes, trainer-led rides, and offers dozens of workouts on-hand.
Best of all, you get all of this (and so much more!), for just under-$200!
What to look for in an exercise bike?
When looking for the best exercise bikes on the market, it is important to consider what your fitness goals are. This will help you decide on features such as work-out programs, resistance, and riding position. All exercise bikes are said to be easier on your joints than other equipment, but the style of bike you choose will also help you cater to any specific joint or muscle problems you may have.
Most bikes come with pre-set programs and a built-in monitor to track your progress, so if you’re training for something specific, make sure you pick an exercise bike with your desired level of resistance.
Stability is vital so make sure you check the weight limit of the bike and the weight of the bike itself in order to avoid getting a bike with an unstable frame.
Ease of movement
If you’re new to the indoor bike scene, you’ll need some knowledge of the kind of features that you need to look out for. For example, the case for most exercise bikes is the heavier the flywheel, the smoother the motion. Whether you’re looking to get your head down in your home gym or push out a couple of miles while catching up with Corrie, ease of movement is important for keeping you in the flow.
Seasoned spin or exercise bikers may want to check out the bike’s control system. Your basic home spin bike may use fabric or leather pads to control the resistance throughout your workout, while other upmarket bikes use electromagnets which are incredibly powerful and precise.
Whether the bike has a belt or chain drive system will make a difference to its overall performance, too.
For novices, amateurs, and experienced exercisers alike, there’s one feature of the exercise bike that you should carefully consider before spending any money – the console. Whether you exercise by calories or kilojoules, you’ll need to make sure that the bike displays all the information you want to see. Some bikes will even display your heart rate and record your distance covered in various measurements.
Other than that it’s down to personal style, budget, and whether it will fit in your home gym. There are a number of different models in this buying guide that cater to all preferences so that shopping for a bike doesn’t get you in a spin.
Recumbent exercise bike or upright exercise bike?
Recumbent exercise bike allows you to sit in a laid back position to provide more support for your back and are also easier for beginners. This style of exercise bike is suitable for almost all ages and fitness levels.
Upright bikes will simulate outdoor cycling and therefore will work the same muscles as if you were on a road bike. Unlike a recumbent bike, you’ll get a full-body workout that will target your abs and arms as well as the glutes and legs.
What is the difference between an exercise bike and a spin bike?
We've listed a mix of exercise bikes and spin bikes in our guide, here's the difference between them.
Exercise bikes are a lot more comfortable than spin bikes thanks to the fact they usually have higher handlebars. And, when using them your spine should be straight, not bent. They are also a lot easier to store, too. The majority of exercise bikes offer a range of workout programs. When you stop pedaling on an exercise bike, everything will immediately stop.
Spin bikes offer a more realistic experience of cycling outside thanks to their fixed flywheel. This wheel is heavier than that of an exercise bike which makes pedaling a lot harder, though it can result in faster movement. That and they have a fixed gear – the flywheel is directly connected to the pedals by a chain – so even when you stop moving your legs, the wheels and pedals will keep going so as to slow down your workout gradually.
It's also easier to stand and cycle on a spin bike (and to work your abdomen) due to the way they are built. Spin bikes are usually made with their flywheel shown, whereas the majority of exercise bikes have theirs hidden.