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Cycling is a great form of low impact cardio. Rides can be intensified to fit your fitness level, and nowadays, you don't even have to go to a cycling class to experience the benefits. It's possible to find a bike that fits your home, even if you don't have a lot of space to devote to one.
At-home exercise bikes have come a long way in the last few years. Many are loaded with high-tech features, like tablet screens that let you cycle your way over virtual outdoor trails and sweat through spin class all in the comfort of your home. Whether you're looking to expand your home gym or simply feel like trying a new workout, there’s a bike out there that'll meet your needs.
Here, the best exercise bikes for any home gym.
Best Overall : Bowflex C6 Bike
Bowflex is one of the original makers of high-quality home exercise equipment, and their C6 Bike is designed to compete with top tier, WiFi-enabled bikes at a fraction of the cost. Instead of a touchscreen, Bowflex encourages users to use their own devices to stream top-rated cycling classes and workouts, including Peloton, Swift, and Explore the World— just keep in mind a separate monthly subscription is required to access those workouts that should be considered in the overall cost of the bike.
Choose from 100 resistance levels and use the Bluetooth-enabled armband to track your heart rate—a metric console displays your time, speed, and distance. The C6 has a spot to hold your device as you stream your workout and even a built-in charging cord so you don’t drain your tablet or phone battery while you spin.
A pair of 3-pound dumbbells are included to so you can work your upper body while you spin and a storage rack keeps them within easy reach. Dual water bottle holders ensure you won’t go thirsty, even during long workouts.
Best Investment : Peloton Bike
Whether or not you've cycled before, you've probably heard of Peloton. Their bike is a tech-savvy design, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can sync with your phone, tablet, or smartwatch to record rides, track your stats, and monitor your heart rate.
One of the standout features of the Peloton is the 22-inch, high-definition touchscreen tablet. The bike also has built-in speakers so you can be cheered on by your instructor and let the music amp up your ride—which, by the way, is super smooth thanks to an ultra-quiet belt drive.
Although the bike requires a monthly subscription fee, it includes Peloton’s extensive library of streaming workout videos—including strength, yoga, and running classes as well—and daily live exercise classes so you'll never grow bored with your workout. If you're not ready to commit, however, there's a 30-day home trial so you can test it out.
Best Budget: XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
This folding model is inexpensive and ideal for cramped quarters and apartment living. The bike’s X-frame allows it to fold to take up just 18 inches of floor space, perfect for storing the bike in a corner or closet when not in use. Transport wheels on the front of the bike make it easy to relocate.
Though this bike is little, you can still get a customized workout by adjusting between the eight resistance levels that are controlled with a tension knob. The extra-wide, padded seat and padded handlebars are designed for comfort. The handlebars also have pulse sensors while an LCD metric display stores your basic ride info—speed, distance, time, pulse, and calories burned. While this bike isn't the pick if you're looking for a replacement for your boutique cycling classes, it's a good option if you're interested in incorporating more low-impact cardio into your routine.
Best Versatile : Variis SoulCycle At-Home Bike
If tapping it back in time with your favorite artist is a way of life for you, SoulCycle has created their own at-home workout bike that lets you participate in their one-of-a-kind, high-vibe spin classes right from home.
The bike has a 21-inch, high-resolution touchscreen and surround sound speakers to help you feel like you’re in your favorite studio. Like Peloton, streaming classes requires a membership. In addition to SoulCycle classes, the Variis membership comes with classes from other boutique studios like Rumble boxing, Pure Yoga, and more.
Best Low-Impact : NordicTrack Commercial VR21 Recumbent Bike
If you’re new to cycling or high-intensity group spin classes just aren’t your style, a recumbent bike is a good alternative. This model from NordicTrack will save you a few hundred dollars over the latest studio-style bikes—plus, they're perfect for anyone who needs low-impact workouts or to keep stress off their back.
The bike is designed for comfort, with an adjustable, oversized seat that has a high-back and lumbar support. The seat is made from a mesh material to help keep you cool while you pedal. And if that doesn’t do the trick, there’s a self-adjusting, cooling fan built-into the bike’s console that will change speed according to your workout.
Extra-wide foot pedals ensure you won’t slip mid-ride and handlebar sensors let you keep track of your heart rate. The control center has holders for your tablet and a water bottle, so everything you need stays within reach. The bike has 25 resistance levels and 32 workouts built into the bike’s console, which is helpful if you aren't sure where to start. Frame-mounted wheels make it easy to move the bike and keep it stashed out of the way in between workouts.
Best Small Space : DeskCycle Bike Pedal Exerciser
Not every piece of home gym equipment has to be used with a serious, heart-thumping workout in mind. This no-frills desk bike is designed to fit under your desk so you can sneak in some extra movement while you work—whether that be at your desk or on a couch.
This low-profile pick is compact and easy to move around if you work in different areas of your home and it’s quiet, too, so it won’t disrupt Zoom meetings or conference calls. There are eight resistance levels to adjust how hard you want to work—no pun intended—and an LCD screen lets you monitor how long and how far you’ve pedaled and an estimate for the number of calories you burn per ride.
Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
If cycling isn’t your cup of tea but you still want to log some indoor cardio hours, this affordable model makes it easy to get your heart rate up. There’s no touchscreen or connectivity to stream workouts, but you can always play your own music or set it up in front of the TV.
The drive belt model is whisper quiet so you can work out any hour of the day without disturbing your household and a 40-pound flywheel provides smoothness and stability during your ride. An easy to use knob lets you adjust the bike’s resistance and the seat and handlebars are adjustable to fit your height. A small monitor lets you track stats on your ride—speed, distance, time, and calories burned included. The bike features holders for your phone and a water bottle, too.
Overall, our top choice is the Bowflex C6 Bike (view at Bowflex) because it's more affordable than other high-tech bikes and still provides the ability to access fitness apps, like Peloton and ZSwift. The bike offers a quiet ride, too, so it'll work for an at-home gym in a smaller space. To recreate a true cycling studio experience, we recommend the Peloton Bike (available at Peloton) for its library of workout classes and advanced technology.
What to Look For in an Exercise Bike
You might be surprised to learn that there are a few different types of exercise bikes out there. Most of the "it" bikes are spin bikes, which are styled after traditional road bikes and feature slim seats, pedals positioned right below the feet, and a forward body position. For a more comfortable ride, consider traditional upright bikes, which have wider, padded seats but allow for less dynamic movement. Recumbent bikes have a full, back-supporting seat and pedals located far in front of the body, providing a lower-impact workout that's easier on the joints.
No matter what, you're probably going to shell out a few hundred dollars—the least expensive models hover around $200. Price is determined by a number of factors, including weight (heavier bikes have a more solid foundation and a higher price tag), features (like the ability to adjust the handlebars and seat), type of resistance, and connected features (like access to guided classes). A cheaper bike doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad product—it'll just be a much more basic model.
Smart bikes (like Peloton and Bowflex) come with subscription services that give you access to guided classes. These bikes also track your progress and store your metrics, so you can get a better idea of how you're doing. They cost more than the feature-less models, but might be worth it if you're someone who regularly takes spin classes or could benefit from the added motivation.