The past year of at-home exercise reignited plenty of workout crazes, perhaps none more prolific than the rebound of stationary bikes. Popularized by the Peloton—and its trendy, interactive workout community—stationary bikes have proven to be a stalwart in our home-workout arsenal.
Riding a stationary bike is a low-impact, efficient way to get your daily cardio in, and bikes are easier on your joints than other types of cardio, making them ideal for people keeping an eye on joint health. There’s an incredible range of styles, prices, and features for stationary bikes, which means plenty of options for people seeking any combination of budget, connectivity, and workout style.
This magnetic-resistance indoor cycling bike hits the sweet spot of a high-quality spin bike without the expense of a name brand. This bike has the best features of a pricier spin bike, with smooth components, simple adjustments, and streamlined resistance fine-tuning, but you won’t get an integrated display screen.
The bike does come with a device holder, which makes it easy to stream classes or follow along with workout videos on your own tablet — it just won’t be directly connected to the bike. This is a great option for people looking for a Peloton-style ride without the expense, and who don’t necessarily need to subscribe to a membership-based at-home workout plan.
This bike is incredibly stable and quiet, and you can easily switch out the pedals for clipless models. You can use the Peloton app on your own device, along with other external apps to measure speed and heart rate as well.
There are plenty of compact, inexpensive exercise bikes out there, but we love this model for the foldable storage option (with wheels!), the simple display to track your workout, and how stable it is compared to other similarly sized bikes.
This is an upright bike, so you won’t be doing the choreographed rides of a spin class, but with adjustable resistance and a display that shows speed, time elapsed, calories burned, and distance, you can tailor workouts to fit whatever you’re looking to get out of the ride.
Because of the size, this bike has a lower weight limit of 250 pounds (the larger bikes are often around 300-320 pounds).
Riders looking for a more relaxed ride will likely already be looking at recumbent bikes, and this one is optimized for body-weight distribution that eases pressure on your knees, feet, and back.
The pedals have an inward cant for better knee and foot comfort, and there are a dozen different options for seat positioning to fit all bodies and riding styles. We love the pre-programmed workout options and the simple display, as well as the easy-to-use heart rate monitoring on the handlebar grips.
This bike has 20 resistance levels, and is ideal for riders of all ages and physical capabilities.
The price, stability, and durability of this model makes it a top contender for people looking for the low-impact, ergonomic workout option of a recumbent bike.
A basic console and small LCD screen keeps the programming simple, and the adjustments are intuitive and built for comfort. The seat back is ventilated and contoured (think: your most comfortable office chair) and the model has 16 resistance levels with 13 pre-programmed workouts.
While this bike doesn’t have a fancy full-color display, you can use a tablet or other smart device to connect to related apps for more workouts and visualization options. Some of the connectivity can be iffy here, though, so don’t rely on the apps for your workout motivation.
This model falls right in the middle ground of Schwinn’s recumbent bike line, so if you’re looking for a backlit display, more program options, or even something less expensive and simpler, check out their full line.
The YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike proves you don’t have to go bare-bones to get a good deal. Made with durable, quiet components, this bike has the features of a much more expensive model while still staying reasonably priced.
Think of it like the “house brand” alternative to name-brand models. The smooth 35-pound flywheel helps keep the bike stable and low-key enough to ride without bothering your apartment neighbors, and the seat and handlebars have the same variety of position adjustments as much more expensive models. The bike comes with an LCD display to track basic metrics, but it’s very minimal. You can always use an external app like the Peloton app or similar to track your workouts, and the bike does have a sturdy tablet holder for those looking for an external screen display.
This is about as close to a Peloton competitor as you’ll get while saving some bucks. The Echelon Smart Connect uses a similar membership-based program for streaming workout classes and creating an interactive environment for at-home workouts. The bike has 32 resistance levels and a sturdy ride no matter how hard you’re pedaling. It’s also important to note that these are stepped levels, not a continuous increase.
We’ve listed the EX-15, which is Echelon’s more basic model, but upgrade to the EX-5 (yes, for a price increase) and get 21.5″ HD touch screen comparable to Peloton. You can set up your own monitor or tablet on the other models and connect to the Echelon app and workouts from there.
Style: The three main styles of exercise bike include upright, recumbent, and indoor cycling. All have position and resistance adjustments, and come with a variety of features and in a range of price points. Upright bikes look like what you’d see on the cardio floor of a standard fitness center. These are well suited for less intense workouts, and are strictly for seated riding. These are often simpler and have a smaller footprint than other styles. Recumbent bikes put you in a reclined position, with your feet out in front of you. Recumbent bike seats have a back like a standard chair, and they are excellent for joint health, people with back problems, and recovery riding. Indoor cycling bikes are what you’re most likely to ride at a spin studio. These are ideal for multiple seated and standing positions, and can offer a higher intensity cycling workout.
Features: Consider adjustability of seat, handlebars, and resistance. Does the bike have a screen? If so, what does the display offer? How intuitive is the display, and does it connect to an app or group rides through a membership? You’ll probably be monitoring your speed, resistance, distance, and calories burned, so having those on a user-friendly readout display is something to look for.
Budget: Exercise bikes run the price gamut, some of which can be based on branding — i.e., you’ll pay more for the name brand, so it’s important to look at lifespan and highlighted features to see if you can get a comparable model without the fancy label. A budget bike doesn’t necessarily mean compromise, but some of the pricier ones will come with more connectivity options, more durable components, and enhanced features. You can expect some give-and-take, but your choice should fall somewhere between your ideal budget and should include the features you can’t live without.
Space: How much room do you have to spare? Some bikes take up significant space in your home, while others are made to be folded up and stored in a closet when not in use. Even similar models will have some variation in footprint, weight, and wheels for portability.
We chose these bikes based on comparisons of hundreds of user reviews. We also talked to the spin and cycling community, and then compared features, metrics, and usage standards across the style categories. We looked for a range of prices, styles, sizes, and features to fit any space and need, and from there, narrowed down our choices to fit the categories we look for with our at-home exercise equipment. All of these come highly rated from users and/or were directly recommended from people in the spin and cycling community.