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Exercise bikes are a popular piece of equipment in many home gyms.

However, with so many options on the market, choosing the right exercise bike for you can be challenging.

In fact, home exercise bikes are available in a range of shapes and sizes and are equipped with a variety of unique features.

Exercise bikes can be a great option if you’re looking for a convenient way to fit in a high quality workout at home.

Cycling is also lower impact than some other types of exercise, such as jogging, making it a good choice for people with chronic joint pain or injuries.

Plus, though it typically burns fewer calories than jogging, cycling can help build strength in your lower body.

Compared to other at-home workout equipment, exercise bikes generally have a smaller footprint and require less space. Therefore, they may be worth trying if you live in a small house or apartment with limited space.

Under-desk cycles can also be a convenient option to help burn extra calories while you work or study, especially if you feel antsy sitting for long periods during the day.

The exercise bikes included in this article were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Product specs and available features: We considered the key specs and quality of each bike, like its dimensions, weight capacity, and warranty. Plus, we looked at special features like streaming capabilities, foldability, and more to find the best options.
  • Customer reviews: The bikes on our list have mostly positive reviews.
  • Price: We included a range of bikes to suit a variety of budgets.
  • Vetting: The bikes on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

Here’s a quick look at how our picks compare:

Before making a stationary bike purchase for your home, it’s important to get the lay of the land and understand the different types and styles available. Each has benefits and drawbacks.

Cycling bikes

Cycling bikes, sometimes called spin bikes, are commonly seen at cycling studios and are intended to mimic the experience of riding a bike outside. They typically feature a narrower, less-cushioned seat. They also offer adjustable seat and handle options to accommodate a wide range of user heights.

Some bikes’ pedals are compatible with cycling shoes, enabling you to clip in for your ride. They’re also available in “bare bones” configurations with nothing more than a battery-operated LCD screen to track speed, distance, and calories burned.

Lastly, they can be found as “smart bikes” for home use, with large HD touch screens, built-in speakers, and app compatibility for streaming workouts.

Upright electric bikes

Upright bikes are what you might typically find in the cardio section of your local gym. The seat is wider and more cushioned than a cycling bike, and they often require the use of an electrical outlet to run and track their pre-set programs.

They’re often considered more comfortable than a cycling bike, but they don’t truly mimic the feel of riding a bike outside.

Recumbent electric bikes

Recumbent bikes function similar to upright bikes (often using an electrical outlet to power their programs), but they provide a wide, padded seat with a backrest, and the pedals are positioned underneath the console, rather than underneath the seat.

You’ll end up sitting back and extending your legs in front of you in a seated position to perform the workout. Some individuals find this a more comfortable way to do a cycling workout.

Hybrid electric bikes

Some home bikes offer an upright and recumbent hybrid option. Unlike true recumbent bikes, which you use in a seated, reclined position, you remain upright even when using the recumbent features. Hybrid bikes offer a backrest and a second set of handles positioned to the outside of the padded seat.

To use the bike in its upright position, you simply use the standard handlebars and refrain from using the backrest. To use the bike in its recumbent position, you lean back against the backrest and grip the handlebars to the sides of the seat. This type of bike may be appealing for those who plan to share the bike with multiple family members.

Air-powered bikes

Air-powered bikes have been around a while, but they have recently gained popularity in high intensity workout programs. They don’t require electricity and instead feature a large fan as the front flywheel. Many also include moveable handlebars that enable you to get an upper body and lower body workout in at the same time.

Resistance is generated by you as you pedal and move the handlebars, causing the fan to turn and create air resistance. The harder you work, the more resistance you create, and the harder the workout becomes.

In addition to styles of exercise bikes, there are also specific features you may want to consider when selecting a bike.

  • Streaming-capable bikes: These “smart bikes” are WiFi and Bluetooth enabled and can be integrated with online apps or workout programs. Many options, like Peloton, give users access to live or streaming workouts, and some offer auto-resistance changes that control your bike’s resistance levels based on the workout and your heart rate.
  • Folding bikes: Folding bikes are a great option if you’re short on space. They’re typically lighter weight, fold down to half their size, and also provide transport wheels so you can move them to an inconspicuous location.
  • Under-desk or work-compatible bikes: These small, lightweight “bikes” are really a set of portable pedals. They tend to be a good way to remain active while sitting at a desk, but due to their small, compact size, they may not offer a full pedaling range of motion or the core engagement required of full-sized exercise bikes.

With so many exercise bikes on the market, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Specs: Be sure to look for a bike that’s comfortable, adjustable, and suitable for your height and weight. You may also want to find a bike with a variety of resistance levels, which you can use to customize the intensity of your workout.
  • Style: Consider whether you want a recumbent or upright bike. Although many people prefer upright bikes, recumbent bikes are often more comfortable and may be more suitable for those with lower back pain.
  • Features: Many bikes also offer special features, such as pulse sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, or built-in screens with access to streaming classes. If you’re choosing a smart bike, be sure to note which apps it’s compatible with.
  • Price: Keep in mind that exercise bikes can range quite a bit in price, so be sure to consider your budget carefully. Extra features typically come at an additional cost, and the ability to stream workout classes may require a monthly subscription fee as well.

How to adjust your exercise bike

Before using your exercise bike, it’s important to set it up properly. The guidelines for setup may differ depending on whether you have an upright or recumbent bike.

Upright bike

If you’re using an upright bike, stand to the right of the bike and raise or lower the saddle until it’s at hip level.

Next, try sitting in the saddle to check your position and place one pedal at the lowest position. Ideally, there should be a slight bend in your knee if the bike is positioned correctly.

To adjust the distance of the saddle, remain seated and position the pedals at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Move your saddle forward or backward as needed until you can draw an imaginary line from the front of your knee to the middle of each pedal.

Lastly, you should adjust the height of your handlebars so that your spine is in a neutral position and your elbows are comfortable, with a slight bend.

Recumbent bike

If you’re using a recumbent bike, the handlebars should be slightly higher, and your elbows should be able to bend comfortably.

When adjusting the position of the seat, make sure you’re close enough that your knees are slightly bent and there’s no discomfort once you start pedaling.

How to care for your exercise bike

Properly caring for your exercise bike can help keep it in good shape, especially if you use it regularly.

It’s generally recommended to wipe down your bike after each ride using a dry or damp cloth on the frame, handlebars, and seat. This prevents rust and corrosion to the bike over time.

You should also regularly tighten the pedals using a pedal wrench, especially if they feel loose. It’s also recommended to tighten the seat hardware, water bottle holders, and other nuts and bolts on your bike as needed to keep everything secure.

You may also need to occasionally clean and lubricate moving parts of the bike, including the seat post, handlebar post, seat slider, and brake tension rod. If you have a chain drive bike, you should also regularly lubricate the drive chain.

If your bike has a battery-operated digital display, be sure to replace the batteries when necessary.

It’s generally recommended to check with a doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have certain health conditions, including heart disease or kidney disease (1).

Cycling can also worsen knee pain or lower back pain in some cases.

Therefore, it’s important to practice proper form when using your indoor exercise bike, especially if you have osteoarthritis or other joint problems.

Additionally, indoor exercise bikes may not be a good fit for everyone, including if you have limited space, prefer full-body workouts, or if you find cycling indoors can feel tedious or monotonous.

Who should use a recumbent exercise bike?

Recumbent bikes are good for anyone wanting to do a low impact workout that targets the lower body while also providing stability and requiring less core strength. This may include older adults and people with limited mobility, osteoarthritis, or an injury.

Providing comfort and support, recumbent bikes reduce stress on the low back and joints, including the hips and knees.

Research from 2019 suggests recumbent cycling may help alleviate pain and improve mobility in older adults with hip and knee pain (2).

Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?

Maintaining a consistent exercise bike routine may help you lose weight, especially if you follow a nutritious, well-balanced diet and include other types of exercise, including strength training.

According to research from 2019, indoor cycling workouts can help promote weight loss and improve blood pressure, lipid profile, and aerobic capacity (3).

For best results, researchers recommend combining indoor cycling with a well-balanced diet.

What are the benefits of using an exercise bike?

Regular use of an exercise bike offers several benefits that can help enhance your fitness level and overall well-being. Stationary bike workouts may also help:

  • reduce body fat
  • promote weight loss
  • build lower body strength

Additionally, research from 2021 found that stationary cycling may help reduce pain and increase athletic performance in people with knee osteoarthritis (4).

Is it worth it to get an at-home exercise bike?

If you plan to use an exercise bike regularly, it’s probably worth the investment. Buying an exercise bike may be especially worthwhile if you plan to share it with multiple users. You may be more likely to hop on the bike for a workout when it doesn’t involve commuting to the gym.

An exercise bike is also convenient when the weather, traffic conditions, and time of day aren’t ideal for outdoor workouts.

Exercise bike workouts are an excellent way to work toward your fitness goals. Bike workouts help build muscle, increase endurance, and maintain a moderate weight. Plus, they’re easy on your joints.

What’s the difference between an indoor cycling bike and an exercise bike?

Indoor cycling bikes and exercise bikes are stationary indoor bikes with several key differences.

An upright exercise bike has a large, comfortable seat lower to the ground, allowing you to sit upright. Recumbent exercise bikes feature a reclined position. These positions put less stress on your shoulders, back, and joints.

Exercise bikes have resistance options that suit low to moderate intensity workouts and longer endurance rides at a steady pace. They are suitable for most fitness levels.

In terms of positioning, riding a cycling bike is similar to riding an outdoor road bike. Typically, the seat is far back to allow you to lean forward or stand.

Indoor cycling bikes have a heavy flywheel, so you need to use more energy to get it going. They are good options for high intensity and interval workouts.

Is using an exercise bike as good as walking?

Cycling and walking are both beneficial forms of exercise. Riding an exercise bike provides similar advantages to walking, but it affects your joints less.

Compared with walking, biking at a high intensity may build more strength and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Since walking is a weight-bearing form of exercise, it may be a better choice if you’re looking to build bone density.

You may find that cycling or walking is more enjoyable or comfortable for you, which can also help inform your decision.

Which cycle is best for home exercise?

There are many high quality exercise bikes available for home use.

Sunny’s Health & Fitness Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike is a good option if you’re looking for a basic exercise bike within a reasonable budget.

For a higher end bike with a variety of training options, NordicTrack’s Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is also worth considering.

If you’re interested in an exercise bike you can use while working, the DeskCycle Under-Desk Cycle can also be a great choice.

Can exercise bikes be repaired?

Many minor issues with exercise bikes can be easily fixed at home. A technician can also help repair more complex issues or replace parts as needed.

Can exercise bikes cause lower back pain?

Improper bike setup or poor form can worsen lower back pain for some people. Adjusting the position of your seat and ensuring that your spine remains neutral while riding can help prevent back pain and injury.

Exercise bikes are a popular piece of equipment in many home gyms.

A wide range of exercise bikes is available, each of which offers a unique set of features.

When searching for a home exercise bike that works for you, be sure to consider the type of bike, price, resistance levels, and whether it has any additional features.

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