If you are looking for a home exercise bike, then this post is for you! In today’s article, we want to talk about the best exercise bikes for a home gym. Before choosing the best exercise bike for you, consider the bike’s kind, price, difficulty levels, and extra features.
We have two main sections in our guide. The first is our buyer’s guide with tips and useful info on selecting the best exercise bike. The second and arguably the more important section is our Top 5 reviews where you find 5 great exercise bike suggestions.
Hopefully, once you are done with this post, you’ll be one step closer to buying the perfect home exercise bike for your needs!
Types Of Exercise Bikes
To start off with our guide, let’s talk about the major types of exercise bikes. Although these all work in a similar way, they have distinct advantages and uses.
Upright exercise bikes
In most people, exercise bikes are associated with upright exercise bikes. In these machines, the position of the rider is similar to that in traditional road bicycles.
Upright exercise bikes offer the following benefits:
- They are typically cheaper than other types.
- In terms of space-efficiency, upright bikes are hard to beat.
- Upright bikes are all-around the best when it comes to training safety and intensity.
All in all, upright exercise bikes should be ideal for most people. With that said, they lack the benefits of other types, which we’ll cover below.
Recumbent exercise bikes
In recumbent exercise bikes, the pedals are moved towards the front of the machine, and instead of a saddle, you are sitting in a comfortable seat. With that, recumbent exercise bikes are excellent for users who are recovering from injuries.
Note that recumbent bikes place slightly more accent on the glutes and lower abs. But in terms of overall cardio intensity, the two variations are pretty similar.
Spinner bikes perhaps offer the toughest workout among all exercise bike types. Closely resembling traditional road bicycles with the seat almost level with the handlebar, spinner bikes put more pressure on your body. For fast calorie burning, spinner bikes are arguably the best out there.
Workouts on this type of exercise bike won’t be too convenient though, so we don’t think that spinner bikes are ideal for the average user. Unless you want a real-like experience, just stick to upright bikes.
Manual & electric bikes
Exercise bikes can be electric or manual. Electric bikes offer programs with preset levels of resistance, while in a manual bike, resistance depends on how hard you pedal.
Electric bikes have far wider functionality than manual bikes – they often include programs, music playback features, progress tracking, and not only. On the other hand, manual bikes require no electricity and may be placed anywhere in your home.
The typical manual bike will be cheaper than an electric one too, but this will depend on the bike.
What To Look For When Choosing On Exercise Bike
Apart from the type of exercise bike, you should also pay attention to a few other features – explained below.
Exercise bikes – whether manual or electric – use some kind of mechanism to generate resistance. Most popular resistance systems used in exercise bikes are as follows:
- Flywheel-based resistance.
- Direct-contact (frictional) resistance.
- Magnetic resistance.
- Fan resistance.
Let’s talk about each of these systems a bit.
A flywheel is a heavy disc mounted in the front of the exercise bike. It imitates the wheels of a standard road bike – when you rotate the pedals, the flywheel is brought in motion via chains (just like in a real bicycle). Since the flywheel is heavy, it can create a decent amount of resistance.
Nowadays, manufacturers rarely use flywheel-only resistance systems. They often don’t generate enough resistance for good cardio. One solution to this issue would be to use a heavy flywheel, but this seems impractical because manufacturers instead prefer to combine flywheels with other resistance systems.
Bikes with direct-contact resistance systems employ braking pads. When you rotate the pedals to rotate the flywheel, the pads come in contact with the latter, slowing it down, creating resistance, and forcing you to exert more force to keep the flywheel going.
Direct-contact resistance systems offer a very tough workout. But they have one crucial downside – they wear down quickly from the friction with the flywheel. With that, direct-contact resistance systems require rather frequent maintenance.
Magnetic resistance systems have the same purpose as braking pads – they slow the flywheel down to make the workout harder. However, this is done only via electromagnetics with no friction or contact between any parts.
As a result, magnetic resistance systems have the following benefits:
- Reduced wear.
- Low maintenance.
- Smoother operation.
- Reduced noise.
Exercise bikes with magnetic resistance are rather expensive though, so if you want to enjoy these benefits, be ready to dig deep into your pocket.
Fan-based resistance systems employ a fan to make pedaling harder. By rotating the pedals, you are also rotating a built-in fan, and the faster the fan rotates, the more difficult it becomes to increase speed due to air resistance.
Note that exercise bikes with fan resistance are sometimes called air exercise bikes.
Fan resistance systems offer reduced maintenance, quiet & smooth operation (but not as quiet & smooth as magnetic systems), as well as a breeze while you are working out. Somewhat cheaper than magnetic exercise bikes, air bikes are a middle-ground option between magnetic and brake pad bikes.
Ideally, your exercise bike should have both horizontal and vertical seat adjustments. These adjustments would allow people with different arm and leg lengths to use the exercise bike comfortably. If more than one person will be using the bike, then adjustments are a must.
If you’ve ever ridden a bicycle, then you will know how you should feel on an exercise bike. You shouldn’t be too close or too far from the handlebars, and your legs shouldn’t overextend or flex too much while pedaling.
Every exercise bike has a rated weight under which it will operate safely in the long term. Your bike should be able to support your body weight, plus maybe 20% for added safety.
If more than one person will be using the bike, then find out who weighs the most, add 20%, and pick a bike that at least supports that weight.
Dimensions & space efficiency
Exercise bikes can be pretty large, so you should carefully consider their size when shopping. Needless to say, you should determine how much space you are willing to dedicate to an exercise bike and look for a bike accordingly.
One great way to save space with exercise bikes is to purchase a folding model. Typically, folding exercise bikes aren’t the strongest out there, but they are unparalleled when it comes to space efficiency.
Finally, pay attention to the power requirements of the desired exercise bike. Some bikes run on 2 AA batteries, while others require 120V AC power. To avoid disappointment and to make sure that you know what you are dealing with, check out the power specs of the bike.
Additionally, check out whether the bike comes with batteries/AC power adapter – some don’t, forcing you to buy the necessary electrical hardware separately.
The best exercise bikes for a home gym
Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
The ME-709 recumbent bike from Marcy is a good option if you are looking for something inexpensive. This exercise bike offers the benefits of recumbent bikes without breaking the bank.
Despite the price, ME-709 offers pretty solid functionality. It boasts a magnetic resistance system with 8 manually adjustable levels. Additionally, it allows you to adjust the handlebars and the horizontal seat position.
The seat adjustments are a little bit limited, which will especially show for short people. Judging by the feedback of buyers, around 5’1” is too short for this machine. So if you are short, you’ll either have to look for another machine or drill additional holes in the frame for seat adjustment.
ME-709 has a simple LCD that shows stats like total distance, calories, or whatnot. All in all, the digital functionality of this bike is nothing fancy, but it includes all the essentials.
The overall build here is pretty nice. Most importantly, the frame is made of powder-coated steel that should withstand up to 300 pounds. At the front, you also get a pair of wheels for convenient transport.
Now, at this price, you are of course going to deal with some quality issues, flimsy details, and not the smoothest operation. For the money though, we can’t complain too much. If you want a higher-quality machine, then we have a few better options coming up.
- Comfortable recumbent design.
- Magnetic resistance with 8 levels.
- Adjustable handlebars and seat position.
- The seat doesn’t come forward enough for short users.
XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
The FB150 folding exercise bike from XTERRA Fitness appears to be an excellent choice for limited budgets. Aside from that, thanks to its folding construction, this is one of the most space-efficient exercise bikes on the top.
In terms of functionality, FB150 is more or less similar to the Marcy ME-709 exercise bike. You are again getting 8 levels of magnetic resistance along with an adjustable seat, an LCD that displays key workout information, and pedals with safety straps.
FB150, however, is an upright bike, so it will offer a more traditional cycling experience. Note though that the pedals in this machine are farther ahead than we’d expect from an upright bike, especially when the seat is all the way up. This shouldn’t be problematic, but it’s an important detail to know about.
Also, note that this bike isn’t the best for tall people – it appears that about 6 feet is where the limit of this exercise bike is. The weight limit is just 225 pounds as well, though it will be fine for many buyers.
Finally, know that XTERRA Fitness offers a similar machine called FB350. It has the same base features but also boasts an adjustable backrest along with seat handles and accessory holders. FB350 is rather cheap like FB150, so it is again a good pocket-friendly pick.
- Very pocket-friendly.
- Folding and highly space-efficient.
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
- Not for tall people.
- The weight limit is 225 pounds, which isn’t that high.
YOSUDA Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike
The YOSUDA stationary exercise bike offers a traditional upright biking experience too. Not only that, but this exercise bike is rather inexpensive, so it’s a good entry-level option if your budget is tight.
Unlike all other exercise bikes on this list, the YOSUDA bike employs brake pads with adjustable resistance. This is likely to reduce costs, but the downside of this system is that it’ll wear down and require replacement sooner or later.
YOSUDA does include an extra replacement pad with the bike, but you’ll go through it relatively quickly.
The build and comfort in the YOSUDA bike are pretty decent. This model feels a little flimsy, but the powder-coated steel frame is tough, rustproof, and withstands up to 275 pounds.
The cushioned seat and handlebars offer a wide range of adjustments, so most buyers should be fine with the exercise bike. But do note that this model seems to be small for heights of 6 feet and up.
- Offers excellent value for the money.
- Traditional biking experience.
- Adjustable seat and handlebar.
- Feels flimsy.
- The brake pads need to be occasionally replaced.
- Probably won’t work for heights of 6 feet and up.
Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series
The Schwinn recumbent bike line is great for those who are ready to invest in quality. And best of all, this series has 3 good exercise bikes to choose from – the low-end A20, the mid-end 230, and the expensive 270.
At the basics, the 3 models are pretty much identical – all have a recumbent design and magnetic resistance. What differs between the bikes is the details, like the number of built-in programs (from 7 to 29), resistance levels (8-25), number of user profiles (1-4), and some other more or less important things.
For example, 230 and 270 have comfier seats with perforations for cooling, while A20 has a padded seat that is comfy but a little slippery.
Next, the A20 bike is a little weaker than others, rated for up to 275 pounds (230 and 270 are rated for 300). A20’s construction is different and seems flimsier too. Then again, it’s the cheapest exercise bike in the line, so we wouldn’t expect otherwise.
Schwinn 270 additionally has Bluetooth connectivity for more convenient progress sharing and saving. 270’s display is also backlit, so it offers better visibility.
All the Schwinn bikes have an adjustable fan too for a cooler and more comfortable workout. Additionally, they have a USB charging port, speakers (these are kind of meh, but still), a media rack, and heart rate monitoring (again not the best).
Note that Schwinn bikes run on 120V AC power (A20 doesn’t include an adapter), so placement options with them are limited.
All in all, Schwinn recumbent bikes are excellent for tough workouts and family use. They should be able to take heavy use easily, and they are functional enough to meet most people’s needs.
- Bluetooth connectivity in Schwinn 270.
- Perforated, breathable seats in 230 and 270.
- Several integrated training programs.
- Quiet and tough.
- USB charging port, speakers, adjustable fan, and tablet media rack.
- The seat in A20 is slippery.
- Runs on AC power, and A20 doesn’t include an AC adapter.
Exerpeutic Gold Foldable Exercise Bike
Lastly, we have the Gold foldable exercise bike from Exerpeutic. This is a rather pocket-friendly upright exercise bike that boasts a tough construction and pretty decent build quality.
The Exerpeutic folding bike boasts the highest weight capacity on this list – up to 400 pounds! And this isn’t just on paper – buyer reviews testify that this model feels very solid and is a good pick for long, tough workout sessions.
Exerpeutic also advertises that this bike is a good pick for riders from 5’1” to 6’5” tall. On the higher end of heights, this bike indeed doesn’t seem to have any issues – as for short people, it might not be too comfortable. Judging by buyer feedback, 5’1” – 5’4” is already too short for this bike, so be careful.
In terms of features, the Exerpeutic exercise bike is rather simple. It has a heartrate monitor, an LCD showing essential workout stats, and a space-efficient folding design. This is pretty decent but nothing special after the Schwinn bike line.
In the end, the Exerpeutic foldable exercise bike is a great option for taller and heavier users. This somewhat makes it the inverse of the XTERRA FB150 bike, which was a better pick for light and short people.
- Foldable and very compact.
- Tough frame that withstands up to 400 pounds.
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
- People shorter than 5’1” – 5’4” may struggle with this thing.
If needed, read this review carefully again to determine exactly what type of exercise bike would be the most suitable for you. Most people should be safe with our picks, but if necessary, make sure to do additional research.
Don’t feel pressured by our top picks as well – if you think that the best exercise bike for you would be a completely different model, then go for it. Just make sure that it will indeed work better for you!