As we progressively make our way into 2022, people are sure to reflect on everything that has been sustained in the past year. One common concern that infrequently gets complete attention is health and wellness. What starts as an item on a list to triumph ends up neglected or partially fulfilled. Of course, we cannot speak for everyone, as we encountered plenty of unbelievable transformations in 2021.
Fortunately, our research suggests a significant first step might involve an exercise bike for those still on the fence regarding weight management strategies. This isn’t astounding, seeing that cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart while limiting the risks of developing heart attacks, high blood pressure, and weight gain. When biking a certain way, individuals can also build lower body strength (i.e., calves, hamstrings, back, glutes, etc.) and improve mental and cognitive functions. Considering the overflowing benefits of biking, we proceeded to review thousands of exercise bikes in the market, only to have pegged down 18 with a high degree of confidence.
The following at-length guide will provide insight into what our editorial team believes are some of the best exercise bikes out there. Our ranking system demonstrated that several of them succeeded in making a lasting impression since their launch. Before diving deep into the processes that got us to the finish line, we must provide a glimpse into each one. So, in no particular order, here they are:
The Top 18 Exercise Bikes of 2022
- CAROL AI Bike
- Cyclace Stationary Exercise Bike
- Echelon EX-15
- Horizon Fitness
- IC1.5 Indoor Cycle
- JOROTO X2
- Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle
- MYX Fitness II Plus
- NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle
- Peloton Bike
- PooBoo Indoor Cycling Bike
- Pro-Form Studio Bike Pro
- RENPHO AI-Powered Bike
- Rogue Fitness Echo Bike
- Schwinn Fitness IC4
- YOSUDA Bike
CAROL AI Bike
- Brand: CAROL
- Starting Price: $2,395
CAROL is a stationary AI-powered bike designed to push individuals to reach their goals with a short and effective workout. The team avows to have used scientifically validated protocols proven to deliver superior cardiovascular health in just 26 minutes per week. As described, each bike is fully automated and comprises clear user guidance to perfect all exercises while also implementing safety measures for a healthy experience. It is deemed fundamental regarding the AI aspect of this bike because it will know exactly how hard one pushes. Ultimately, by factoring in variables such as age, gender, height, weight, and the performance described above data, everyone can anticipate a workout appropriate for their fitness levels.
The team also integrated dashboards, trends, and a leader board to maintain motivation. Also, up to eight members can handle their accounts with the CAROL subscription, making it reasonably priced. Luckily, individuals looking for variety can also find comfort in CAROL, as the stationary bike can be used with Peloton Digital and Apple Fitness+ classes. It includes a touchscreen console, computer-controlled magnetic brake, freewheel clutch, comfortable saddles, SPD pedals, hand-heart rate monitor, and Bluetooth connectivity.
So, what drew us closer to CAROL? Besides the above discussion, it turns out that consistency can guarantee consumers looked-for results within the first eight weeks of use. Second, this stationary bike has been tested within the realm of science. Finally, to see that it has amassed a diverse following from the public and fitness fanatics to renowned faces and medical experts is beyond moving!
Cyclace Stationary Exercise Bike
- Brand: Cyclace
- Starting Price: $329
Cyclace is one of the few stationary exercise bikes likely to respect varying budgets. Sold chiefly on Amazon and has garnered over 6000 reviews and counting, the Cyclace team believes their extended seat support will encourage families to make tweaks as required. The designer and fitness instructor behind this brand is supposed to have considered widened, thickened frame supports that match the stability of the Peloton bike. Then there are the flywheel and adjustable resistance; both promote a robust and smooth-riding experience and increase adaptations to workouts.
Verified customers seem to be celebrating the Cyclace stationary exercise bike for its ease of installation and use, with many swearing by its results-inducing capacities. In cases where issues were reported, the team’s quality customer service allegedly made up for it. One customer wrote, “Cyclace responded to this review […] They shipped me parts and tools to perform maintenance and replace the bearing. I was surprised at the quality and aggressiveness of their customer service. Cyclace checked in with me several times and made sure I didn’t have any issues.” Here is also a high quality video review of the Cyclace Stationary Exercise Bike:
While the former is reassuring, individuals may foresee squeakiness and dysfunction of resistance knobs with time. Standing up and putting weight on the handlebars is not recommended for people who like to spin, as it may worsen the rattling sounds. Nevertheless, many people were satisfied with its performance, calling it a functional bike for the suggested price!
- Brand: Echelon
- Starting Price: $499
The Echelon EX-15 is a smart connect fitness bike believed in providing a comfortable ride thanks to the integrated 0.6-inch seat, console lever-style adjustment, precise 32 resistance options, and handled rack for maximum freedom. Unlike the former bike, Echelon’s version comes with the Fit APP, equipped with immersive fitness programs and on-demand classes. Some examples include scenic rides, yoga, climbing, HIIT, endurance, and stretching, ranging between 20 to 75 minutes meant to please beginners and advanced riders equally. Here is also a high quality video review of the Echelon EX-15 exercise bike:
Another exercise bike to have amassed a lot of interest, most verified customers were happy with its sturdiness, noise-free operations, easy set-up, and Bluetooth connectivity. That said, the reported downfalls appear to range from limited instructions on getting the Connect software to work, increased telesales upon signing up to the subscription plan, risk of rusting, pedal issues, and buggy apps. Considering everything, we still believe that this bike is a top choice for its price and listed features. Nonetheless, we still encourage individuals to seek support from the Echelon team, as the reported issues can be easily rectified with assistance.
- Brand: Horizon Fitness
- Starting Price: $499
The Horizon Fitness brand is well-recognized in the fitness space, as the team avows to equip consumers with stylish, sturdy, and multi-functional exercise equipment. To date, it remains a famous brand among commercial gyms and homeowners, thanks to its impressive collection. The likes of Generation Iron, Men’s Journal, Shape, Yahoo!, Daily Beast, Fit Rated, and numerous other media outlets have shared nothing but positive experiences.
Getting back to bikes, Horizon Fitness carries two types of indoor exercise bikes: the GR3 and the IC7.9. The GR3 is the cheapest spinning bike that provides resistance through its integrated flywheel and mechanical brake system. That said, GR3 has been celebrated for its compact and lightweight nature for an at-home experience. Unfortunately, there isn’t a variety in online programs. It only supports people weighing less than 100kg to make things worse.
Compared to GR3, the IC7.9 costs slightly higher yet manages to have a more robust frame. Hence, people who weigh more than 100kg can find ways to push themselves. The automatic belt is translated in the bike as well, but it turns out that this is advantageous because it gives riders a realistic feel. As for resistance adjustment, it is better facilitated with the IC7.9 than GR3. The one similarity that the duo possesses is the absence of program versatility. However, these bikes could potentially be used with Peloton Digital, making the lack thereof a minor issue.
IC1.5 Indoor Cycle
- Brand: Inspire Fitness
- Starting Price: $899
Next, we have Inspire Fitness’ IC1.5 Indoor Cycle, which appears to carry some basics with specific tweaks. For instance, it has an adjustable magnetic resistance instead of the mechanical kind. In the former case, issues about friction resistance can be limited while also ensuring noise-free operations, pre-determined resistance levels, and minimized maintenance. Consequently, this feature alone would naturally imply higher prices.
In reviewing some of the reported concerns, one stood out to us. According to the claims made, individuals must invest in a workout subscription to see their performance metrics. Still, unfortunately, the bike is neither equipped with a console nor is a tablet included. The console is an essential component of an exercise bike as it keeps everyone updated on the calories burnt, speed, distance, and heart rate. Also, it displays the time, which we believe is an essential requirement. Here is also a high quality video review of the IC1.5 Indoor Cycle exercise bike:
So, how might one go about analyzing these stats? The Inspire Fitness App must be downloaded onto one’s respective devices. While a console can be purchased separately, getting hold of one is deemed nearly impossible (i.e., depending on the model). Other concerns include constant freezing, unstable seat post, and ill-set nature (giving rise to fear).
- Brand: JOROTO
- Starting Price: $399
Like Inspire Fitness’ take on indoor cycling, JOROTO’s “JOROTO X2” is touted for its magnetic resistance, but more is offered in the latter case for the price. Individuals will have access to a bike that has been integrated with a belt drive and bidirectional flywheel, functional digital monitor and holders, four-way wide ergonomic cushion, four-way adjustable handlebar, and wheels to facilitate swift moves from one place to the next.
Our editorial team was generally pleased by JOROTO, as the team has gone above and beyond to deliver the essentials yet managed to keep the prices reasonably low. This might explain why the bike is officially Amazon’s Choice, with over 6000 ratings (of which 71% testified in support of X2). For the most part, the X2 is liked for its ability to connect to the Peloton Digital app and others, sturdiness, and use of high-quality materials. To our surprise, it appears to include most of the fixtures that come with the Peloton bike (excluding WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity) and a smooth ride. Here is also a high-quality video review of the JOROTO X2 exercise bike:
What is a review we didn’t even ponder upon the cons, right? A couple that one should be watchful of include rubbing the belt against its cover (possibly leading to shredding). Additionally, this bike might not account for people of varying heights (at least that’s what reported incidents to suggest). Fortunately, the customer support team quickly responds and assists with any complaint.
Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle
- Brand: Keiser
- Starting Price: $1,895
Keiser has been in the fitness and wellness industry for over 20 years, where the company initially set out on a mission to “create a bike that would exceed the demands of indoor cycling.” Fast forward to 2022, the team pledges to have designed and executed bikes that fit riders of all shapes and sizes. How so? By introducing adjustable and straightforward solutions appropriate for a home setting (i.e., noise-free operations, simple engineering, space efficiency, etc.).
Looking closely into the M3i Indoor Cycle, we discovered that it is meant to match riders from 4’ 10” to 7’. The latter rests in this bike’s V-shaped design that can be adjusted to elicit unique frames. Next, it only includes one enormous rear wheel, which is easy to clean and ensures protection against sweat and corrosion. Then, there’s the drive train design, and as maintained by the team, it relies heavily on the Poly-V belt.
Other benefits include a curved crank arms rest, accessible transportation, stretch pad, M3i digital display, and the Keiser M Series App. How can anyone miss the fact that any training app or video can be accessed using their phone, tablet, or computer (i.e., Bkool, GOInd, Heart Zone Training, imPowered BeTrained, and Spivi)? Here is also a high-quality video review of the Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle exercise bike:
What was astonishing for us was that the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide. If issues were voiced, they regarded the absence of clear instructions or support. Bearing the previously mentioned in mind, we are convinced that support-related matters are likely to vary depending on the platform through which the M3i Indoor Cycle is purchased. Ultimately, Keiser’s decision to take the “simple is sweet” route was wise.
MYX Fitness II Plus
- Brand: MYX Fitness
- Starting Price: $1,599
MYX Fitness II Plus is advertised as a professional-quality bike that goes beyond accompanying riders. Specifically, the team claims to have incorporated floor workouts, weightlifting, recovery practices, and many others that can be followed within one swivel of the screen. People who aren’t sure where to start, their smart records eliminate all the guesswork by making personalized recommendations.
Unlike most heart rate displays, the one offered via MYX Fitness provides details based on three calibrated fitness zones (varies from person to person), which can be used to adjust one’s output accordingly. The latter addition is vital, as it embodies the use of science to guarantee results if individuals are consistent in riding 20 minutes twice a week. Here’s an explanation from the team:
“Our proprietary algorithm calibrates your individual heart rate zones based on your Zone Calibration Ride and marries that with recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Many training programs rely on speed, cadence, and distance alone. While MYX tracks these three metrics […] the most effective method of training is to work out through varying levels of heart rate intensity to achieve your goals – whether that’s weight loss, cardiac conditioning, strength, or flexibility.” Here is also a high-quality video review of the MYX Fitness II Plus exercise bike:
Other noteworthy facets include its broad height range, maximum weight capacity, adjustable handlebars, touchscreen with a built-in camera for live instruction, a sensor for performance data and simple information display, versatile pedals, the MYX+OpenFit App, and BeachBody workouts. That said, some things to be mindful of include the lack of support, leadership boards, cadence display, and versatile integrations.
NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle
- Brand: NordicTrack
- Starting Price: $1,499
The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle appears to be the most sought-for exercise bike, as seen in the whopping 37,000 positive reviews. With its high-speed WiFi connectivity, one can get started with the iFit workouts streamed directly onto the 360-degree fully rotating HD Smart Touchscreen. Moreover, individuals can gain access to a virtual elite iFIT trainer, who can digitally adjust one’s incline, decline, and resistance hands-free. This is an ideal addition for people who need an extra push in the right direction. This bike has a 20% live incline control, 10% live decline control, and 24 digital resistance levels. Here is also a high-quality video review of the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle exercise bike:
Other features include Bluetooth headphone connectivity, a new-mobile app, iFit family membership (i.e., add up to five adult users), access to Google Maps, a stats tracking system, ergonomic padded saddle, seat adjustments, no-slip handlebar, and AutoBreeze™ fan among an endless list. As for customer reception, several have expressed their experiences as being positive, fabulous, and health-changing with various training programs, stories, and unbeatable scenery. If NordicTrack is the way one wishes to go, the team pledges to send a free information kit on the S22i Studio Cycle upon signing up with a working email address.
- Brand: Peloton
- Starting Price: $1,495
Peloton reached stardom at the pandemic’s peak when gyms, bars, restaurants, and other social gathering places closed. This bike was touted for its ability to provide access to complete workouts. While the same level of hype is not exhibited in the present day (due to prolonged excitement and explosion in competition), Peloton is still celebrated because it practically set the standards for indoor cycling.
As in the case of most of the advanced exercise bikes that qualified for this guide, the Peloton bike is nothing without its app, which embodies the coming together of weekly live classes, on-demand library, motivating instructors, and diverse class types for all fitness levels. The real-time metrics are impressive because a summary of all classes can be found. This helps individuals see where improvement is needed and whether it’s time to kick things up a notch. To boost one’s motivation, Peloton also hands out badges for completion. How can anyone neglect the ability to jump from class to class using their Stacked Class feature for a total body workout
Undoubtedly, this bike checks off the fundamentals such as compact build (4’ x 2’) and portability, adjustable seat, handlebar and screen, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, near-silent belt drive for quiet operations. Fortunately, it doesn’t end here. The Peloton Bike+ has been deemed the better option for people who want to work on strength. Why? The advanced version allows one to effortlessly switch between cardio and strength while exposing themselves to a different world of strength workouts.
PooBoo Indoor Cycling Bike
- Brand: PooBoo
- Starting Price: $289.99
Another inexpensive yet moderately received exercise bike on Amazon is brought to us by PooBoo. Their goal is to develop products that induce excitement about sports based on the claims made. How has this been translated into their exercise bike? Their take factors in users of varying weights, quiet operations (i.e., belt-drive), a four-way adjustable seat and two-way adjustable multi-grip handlebar (for maximum comfort), adjustable resistance, non-slip pedals, and easy transportation.
Of the 4,300 reviews found online, 69% expressed satisfaction. Specifically, a consensus was reached regarding its assembly, ability to connect with the Peloton app, accessible transportation, quiet operations, and stability. As for the cons, some complaints suggested clicking noises, struggles with the pedal, seat wear-and-tear, limited metrics data, heaviness, poorly listed instructions, and lack of height inclusivity. People did agree that the PooBoo Indoor Cycling bike is functional. However, the price is measured to reflect its quality and features.
Pro-Form Studio Bike Pro
- Brand: Pro-Form
- Starting Price: $1,403
The Pro-Form Studio Bike Pro is another addition that offers not one. Still, a three-year iFIT® family membership comprised of interactive training sessions, streaming services for global and studio workout classes, and motivation through iFIT® trainers who can control the machine’s resistance to what they feel would be most effective on a case-by-case basis. To ensure that there is something in store for strength trainers, it looks like their studio bike also comes with two 3-pound dumbbells.
The Pro-Form Studio Bike Pro meets all our expectations through its adjustable handlebars and seat, interchangeable pedals, quiet operations (thanks to the SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance), long-lasting build, and easy transportation, and maximum outcomes both on and off the bike. These also seem to be the most spoken aspects of Pro-Form’s exercise bike and the iFit services. It is essential to mention that the Studio Bike Pro is a new entrant; hence, we either couldn’t find enough reviews or those that we did see were all positive.
RENPHO AI-Powered Bike
- Brand: RENPHO
- Starting Price: $599.99
The RENPHO AI exercise bike has been designed to tailor workout regimes based on individual power levels and biometric data. Besides the personalized experience attained through this bike, individuals can anticipate automatic modification to resistance based on power output and cadence and set goals. The RENPHO AI gym app has since been equipped with over 70 classes. Best of all, individuals need not pay membership fees as most brands in this list require. Should one decide to try different apps, the option has been provided, but of course, this would be a separate fee outside of RENPHO.
As the RENPHO AI-Powered Bike video explains, other features worth rejoicing over include 80 digital resistance levels, belt drive for quiet operations, Bluetooth connectivity, ability to sync with Apple Health and Google Fit, and compatibility with Apple Watch and ANT+ heart rate monitors. As for the type of training, options range between beginner and fat burning to endurance and muscle strength goals. To think that these are just some of several facets introduced into a simple-looking bike. On that note, some things to be mindful of include the strapped nature of the pedals (which might not be as supportive as some would hope), limited content (possibly for advanced users), and poor accommodation for taller people.
Rogue Fitness Echo Bike
- Brand: Rogue Fitness
- Starting Price: $795
According to the Rogue Fitness team, the Echo is a fan bike combining a patented design, heavy-duty steel, precision engineering, and customization for maximum strength and sturdiness. Its 127lb-overbuilt is said to guarantee a solid foundation for people looking to produce output bursts. Some of its incorporated qualities include the 1” polyurethane front wheels (for easy transportation), belt-driven operations, fan blade (for a smooth, consistent ride), and battery-powered LCD console.
Of the 3000 reviews, most verified users encourage the purchase of the windshield to avoid sweat drippings and seem to be generally satisfied by its quiet operations, simple assembly, and quality. However, regarding complaints, they primarily revolved around rusting issues, fragile monitor display, lack of height inclusivity, and the need to purchase add-ons (even as simple as a cupholder).
Schwinn Fitness IC4
- Brand: Schwinn Fitness
- Starting Price: $799
IC4 is the latest and most advanced exercise bike in the Schwinn Fitness series. It has been designed to work with the Peloton, Zwift, and the World Apps to provide diverse workout options and introduce virtual courses stunning trails, respectively. Just like the above-listed exercise bikes, the Schwinn Fitness IC4 includes Bluetooth connectivity and heart rate armband, LCD, biometric readings (i.e., time, distance, calories, RPMs, and heart rate), 100 resistance levels, a flywheel, and a seat rack that can be adjusted based on height.
A whopping 77% of 4000 ratings stand in support of this bike. That said, many taller people still feel the height adjustment is not inclusive enough (6’3”). In contrast, others pointed out that the IC4’s pedals might make periodic clunking noise (something that shouldn’t happen for at least 20-hour uses at a time), inaccurate power input (higher than it should be), and insufficient handle adjustments.
- Brand: Sunny Health & Fitness
- Starting Price: $449
SF-B1805 is an indoor exercise bike by Sunny Health & Fitness. This is yet another budget-friendly equipment poised to create a smooth, silent experience (by combining belt drive and magnetic tension) with optimal comfort (i.e., four-way adjustable seat and handlebar). Other highlighted aspects comprise a heavy-duty frame, 44lb flywheel, adjustable caged pedals, maximum weight capacity of 300lbs, integrated device- and bottle- holders, and transportation wheels (should one decide to shift locations).
Given its listed features and accompanying price, 78% of verified users gave SF-B1805 five stars because of its pairing capacities with the Peloton App, sturdiness, height accommodations, and smooth operations. Some claim to have experienced a vibration feel from the front wheel and unwelcoming noises, both of which indicate damage to the flywheel bearings. Nevertheless, it seems like the customer support team have done their role in rectifying specific issues, inducing customers to reconsider their reviews. Ultimately, when in doubt, contact the Sunny Health & Fitness customer support team!
- Brand: Stryde
- Starting Price: $1,495
Stryde started with the simple idea of providing home users the best and most personalized fitness experience ever. Today, the team has partnered with instructors and boutiques to fulfill their simple concept and further build upon it. This is how the Stryde bike took form, as it appears to incorporate immersive classes (optional at $29/month), a magnetic resistance system, modern design, 22-inch HD tablet, and family support (up to four profiles on the app, each coupled with personal workout histories).
Interestingly, it is comparable to the Peloton bike. However, what sets the former apart from the latter is its ability to offer multiple instructional styles, access to other apps, and optional cycling shoes and membership packages. In other words, the essentials are covered, while additions are not forced upon consumers. To date, many people expressed a delightful experience with the Stryde bike, but at the same, some also pointed out areas needing improvement. Minor complaints revolve around visible cords (that would be best hidden), absence of live classes (only includes pre-recorded ones), poor TV quality and Bluetooth connectivity (to some degree), inaccuracy of resistance, poor user interface, and some clicking noises.
- Brand: YOSUDA
- Starting Price: $299
Of all the inexpensive indoor exercise bikes found on Amazon, the YOSUDA bike carries an impressive 16,000 reviews. Does this mean that the team’s strategy worked? The cycle entails a sturdy steel frame, nearly silent belt drive, customizable settings, flywheel, LCD monitor, two-way adjustable handlebar, four-way adjustable seat, transportation wheels, and a bottle holder. Based on its size, this bike might only be suitable for people who weigh up to 270lbs.
Factors including simple assembly, quality, and the features described above were all celebrated. However, tall people felt that the ergonomics did not meet the mark. So, people as tall as 5’11” and more may find their knees grazing the handlebar. Other reported concerns range from rubbing/sound and cumbersome foot pedal latches to poor vertical support and manufacturing (i.e., drilling in the handlebars). Overall, the bad reviews appear to hint that this bike might not withstand long-term uses. This is not to say that the YOSUDA bike is ineffective. Instead, its appeal may vary depending on the type of user (i.e., beginner versus experienced user expectations is likely to fluctuate).
How We Cracked the Code to Landing on Our Specialty Indoor Exercise Bikes
Stationary exercise bikes have become a go-to for many households. Undoubtedly, our research has landed us on unique strategies that bring a broad range of features to the table. While having a lot of features ensures value, it begs the question of whether they are all useful, and if so, the extent to which one should be prioritized over the other. The only way to arrive at a sound conclusion is to account for expert opinion coupled with necessities. Extras can be considered incentives that facilitate the process of elimination. In no particular order, here are the aspects that formed the basis of our ranking system:
Manufacturer Reputation & Transparency
Purchasing a stationary bike is no small feat, as it can easily consume a decent portion of one’s finances. Thus, we needed to find brands that have a good reputation. If issues flourish into existence, a responsive customer support team must be actively available. The lack thereof can lead to unwanted distresses that our editorial team wanted to avoid altogether. By default, if a company failed to provide transparent information about the technology, software, hardware, and specifications, we refrained from including them. We don’t want anyone to start their fitness journeys with confusion and distrust!
Next, we have assembly. With just about any product involving assembly, the goal is to be a swift and straightforward one. On average, our picks will take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to install, given that the rightful company provides crystal clear instructions. Since it is unreasonable to assume everyone will be motivated by installation processes, our team decided to stick to those exceeding three hours. People inclined to install things might have a more effortless experience than those who rely on others for support.
Broad Height Range & Weight Capacity
The human body is different from one person to the next. So, we basically couldn’t avoid height and weight as factors. To put things into better context, let’s take the case of tall people. Taller people would find little to no comfort in a bike designed for short people. Likewise, heavier people are unlikely to have a pleasant riding experience if the cycle fails to withstand their weight. We aimed to ensure that the range and maximum capacities promote this duo’s total inclusivity and adjustability.
As with any exercise equipment, individuals should be investing in one sturdy enough to last months to years. Anything that causes issues within weeks of use has only been accepted if the customer support team has been historically known to offer assistance. In general, durability can be assessed by emphasizing the materials used, size, build, and weight capacity. Additionally, verified customer reviews are believed to offer intuition, which we also evidently studied before concluding.
Type of Resistance
Resistance comes in four primary types: flywheel-based, direct contact, magnetic and manual. The first type requires consumer effort; otherwise, the wheel will not turn. With the flywheel-based resistance system, individuals have the added benefit of burning extra calories while building their lower body strength. The direct contact system is founded on introducing friction and braking effects. In this case, the resistance is deemed matchless, making it a challenging workout for all. However, the risk of wear and tear might increase.
Regarding the latter two resistance systems, the magnetic one limits noise, carries varying resistance levels, and requires very little maintenance, whereas the manual one requires adjustment by hand. Manual techniques aren’t as liked because they are outdated, are more prone to damage, and make noise after a few tries.
Bikes touted as carrying a flywheel imply the existence of a weighted disc situated either at the front or back of the bike. Upon pedaling, the flywheel is said to commence spinning. As a result, momentum is built, providing a smooth and steady riding experience. From our listed picks of 2022, it should be evident that many of them come with varying weights—the heavier the flywheel, the more energy needed to move the bike. Overall, having a heavier wheel would be beneficial, as it could encourage individuals to challenge themselves.
Similarly, the heavier flywheels might be attractive for experienced bikers, but not beginners. Ultimately, one must review their needs and limitations beforehand. In the meantime, we did our best to include a wide range of weights!
The LCD summarizes time, speed, distance, calories burnt, and heart rate. These are simple metrics to study, as they indicate whether individuals are giving their best and may go as far as inducing motivation to perform better than the previous day. In general, standard bikes have some form of display to keep track of one’s efforts. Individuals will notice an LCD on the basic level, whereas advanced users may find a console display more worthwhile.
This leads to the question of whether an LCD is necessary. Some will say yes, while others may argue against it. In our opinion, one can do without starting and later purchase it as an add-on. There have been cases where the LCD may become defunct, yet the bike can still be ridden. Ultimately, it will come down to one’s preferences.
Warranties & Return Policies
Online purchases typically come with some unforeseen risk. Should the risk be in the form of a manufacturing defect, a warranty is a must-have. Similarly, any issues during one’s journey can be reported to customer service if a refund policy is in place. Our editorial team made sure either one or both procedures have been established for maximum protection.
Customer reviews were among the last things we looked for in analyzing exercise bikes. We factored them in if they were from verified customers looking to enlighten others on potential concerns. Individuals may want to assess whether the reported issue is relatable when reading through these. For instance, if height concerns were voiced, one must reflect on their height to see if it fits the case.
Uniqueness was used to choose between two or more closely identical exercise bikes. In other words, we were curious to see whether a brand had any competitive advantage over another that would facilitate decision-making. Benefits can include fan, scenery, and workout apps, console display, access to virtual personal trainers, advanced heart rate zones, scientific evidence, a medical advisory board, swiveling touchscreen monitors, and compatibility with other services.
Value for Money
Finally, value for money was assessed based on the number of boxes checked off from our ranking system. A bike was judged as carrying weight when a decent number of the factors were met. This puzzle piece must be evaluated at the end and usually provides a clear understanding of whether an exercise bike has been reasonably priced.
Science & Expert Opinions: The Benefits of Using an Indoor Exercise Bike
Indoor cycling is an appreciated activity, but this doesn’t mean that everyone will like it. The primary reason why one might choose an exercise bike is that it can satisfy one’s cardio requirement. As per our research, such a viewpoint prevents one from fully understanding its usefulness.
A 2019 systematic review of published guidelines and recommendations was conducted to grasp its health benefits. In so doing, 300 studies were collected, only 13 qualified. Results revealed that indoor cycling might improve aerobic capacity, blood pressure, lipid profile, and body composition. Furthermore, the researchers learned that “these enhancements may be achieved as a stand-alone intervention or combined with other physical exercises or diet .” That said, it is essential to note that the qualified studies were not randomized controlled trials; therefore, the findings must be interpreted with caution.
Another source  that delved into the effects of indoor cycling on health summarized that one could forestall strength building, cardiovascular benefits (i.e., running, swimming, and elliptical training), and calories expenditure (anywhere between 400 and 600 calories depending on output). The same piece took the time to review the muscle groups that will be targeted in the process, i.e., core (for balance), upper body, back (to strengthen and tone muscles), glutes, quadriceps (for toned legs), hamstrings (for strong hamstrings and stabilized joints), and lower legs support.
Experts’ viewpoints on cycling were covered in a piece that crossed our path. Starting with Robert Mazzeo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder , he said: “Cycling is non-weight-bearing, so it reduces the risk of injuries due to wear and tear on your joints, particularly your knees.” The professor explained that the knees are the first indications of aging; thus, they must be prioritized and maintained throughout one’s health.
This sentiment is quite common for people who are excited by cycling and plan to do it as often and intensely as possible because cycling releases feel-good endorphins. Unfortunately, going all-in can have some downfalls. Matt Wilpers, former NCAA athlete, cycling coach, and Peloton instructor, encourages frequency over unrealistic planning. Here’s what he usually recommends, “I like to start my athletes at (at least) 3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time, consistently for 4-6 weeks.”
Wilpers further noted that indoor cycling is excellent for people looking to improve their postures. If the bike is adjusted correctly from the handlebars to the pedals and the back isn’t engaged, individuals should notice and feel a significant improvement. Finally, when asked what cycling for one month will look like for consumers, the experts appear to have agreed on leaner muscles, ability to partake in various activities, and possibilities of a plateau (suggesting that it is time to change things up). Concerning long-term benefits, the idea of becoming hooked to cycling will likely become a reality. Furthermore, oxygen uptake might rise (naturally implying more blood flow to the muscles and better gains).
Finally, our editorial team was interested to see how indoor cycling might influence mental health. In one source, a study that looked at the effects of cycling on people taking anti-depressants was evaluated only to discover that 15 minutes of pedaling was all it took to decrease cortisol (i.e., the stress hormone) levels. Spending time in the great outdoors is superior, but with the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, indoor cycling is the best alternative .
The Three Main Types of Exercise Bikes
Now that we’ve reviewed the health benefits of indoor cycling, time must be invested in learning about the particular types. It turns out that there are three main types, each one delivering slightly different benefits and encouraging the use of various workout plans. Below is a quick brief on each one :
Most of the existing stationary exercise bikes constitute an excellent design resembling a regular bicycle with pedals underneath the body. This type is famous for a cardio workout that strengthens the leg and core muscles. Likewise, individuals can choose to ride standing up or sitting down.
Second, we have the stationary recumbent bike, which supports a comfortable recline and pedals positioned in front of the seat. A person who resorts to this style may do so because of its full-body support. Above all, it is trusted to put very little stress on the upper body, joints, and lower back. Since intensity levels are minimized, individuals with limited mobility and physical discomfort merely looking to get healthy movement will benefit most from it.
Lastly, we have dual action bikes whose pedals are beneath consumers, and the handlebars move along with one’s hands. In so doing, the upper body muscles are activated (i.e., pectorals, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, triceps, and biceps) while lower body health is upheld. It is important to note that some spinal strain can be expected due to the distinctive movements performed on this respective bike, but this is something that stretching before and after riding can alleviate.
Frequently Asked Questions About Exercise Bikes
Q: What is a stationary exercise bike?
A: A stationary exercise bike is exercise equipment used for indoor cycling.
Q: How often should a stationary exercise bike be used?
A: Individuals are recommended to use a stationary exercise bike two to five times a week for anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes. To prevent demotivation, beginners are asked to start with two to three days a week for one whole month before increasing the frequency and possibly the intensity .
Q: Do stationary exercise bikes need to be adjusted according to height and weight?
A: To some degree. The lengths of one’s arms, legs, and torso are of interest. The reason for this has to do safety precautions and maximum protection against any damages to one’s back, neck, and hips, among others .
Q: Do stationary exercise bikes require special footwear?
A: No, stationary exercise bikes do not need to be ridden in any special footwear. However, it is argued to be helpful. Factually, the reported advantages include improved performance, secure footing, more vigorous strokes, a smoother ride, and induced aerodynamics, writes one source .
Q: What is the difference between upright and spin exercise bikes?
A: The main difference between upright and spin exercise bikes is that the former comes with a padded seat and restricts consumers from standing up, whereas spinning bikes promote alternation between sitting and standing positions .
Q: Why are some stationary exercise bikes unequipped with console displays?
A: There’s no specific reason as to why a stationary exercise bike might not be equipped with console displays besides the lack of use. This is primarily witnessed among spinning bikes .
Q: Which of the three main stationary exercise bikes are suitable for seniors?
A: The recumbent bikes appear to fit seniors, especially those with limited mobility. This is not to say that the remaining two aren’t helpful or that seniors aren’t capable. Instead, we ask consumers to consult a health professional to be sure before proceeding.
Q: How should beginners get started with stationary exercise bikes?
A: Beginners are recommended to set forth their journeys at a low intensity for the first five to ten minutes, then slightly increase the power for another five. One should devote to high intensity for the remainder of the time, followed by five minutes of cooling to wrap things up .
Q: How should an exercise bike be used for weight loss?
A: For weight loss, individuals are asked to pedal at a low intensity for ten minutes followed by medium intensity for five minutes. Then, it is a matter of alternating between high (one to three minutes) and medium intensities (three to five minutes) for the next 20 to 30 minutes. A cooling period of five to ten minutes is highly advocated .
Q: How should an exercise bike be used for interval training?
A: Interval training involves alternating short bursts of intense exercise with longer intervals of less intense activity. In this case, starting at a low intensity for 10 minutes and then alternating between high and low intensities for two minutes respectively is recommended. The routine must be repeated for five rounds before cooling off .
Q: What types of activewear are suitable for riding?
A: Polyester is often recommended because it is lightweight, wrinkle-resistant, and ensures that moisture is completely evaporated. Other options include bamboo (i.e., moisture-wicking), cotton (i.e., gives off less of a post-workout reek), nylon (i.e., increased breathability), polypropylene (i.e., water-resistant), spandex (i.e., stretchy, and increased breathability), and Tencel (increased breathability and biodegradable) .
Q: Can indoor cycling replace a conventional full-body workout?
A: Yes, cycling is considered a whole body and mind workout—posture, intensity, and duration help increase the entire body potential of cycling. Individuals can also consider adding dumbbells or bodyweight to their routines to enhance strength.
Q: Will cycling make me feel exhausted?
A: Yes, cycling will induce exhaustion (based on one’s maximum effort), but it is a feel-good result coupled with soreness that usually disappears with a recovery period of a day or two.
Q: Is it better to buy a stationary exercise bike with a belt- or chain-drive system?
A: The belt-drive system provides a smooth riding experience, while the chain-drive design mimics an outdoor riding experience.
Q: Are flywheels useful?
A: Yes, based on our research, the heavier the flywheel, the more challenging riding might become. This can help develop the lower body further while also increasing one’s strength (to some degree).
Q: What is the iFit® membership?
A: The iFit® membership offers interactive, personalized fitness and health coaching at the comfort of one’s home. Hundreds of training programs and workouts can be accessed, all of which can be performed using just a stationary exercise bike (and bodyweight depending on the goal under question) .
Q: What safety concerns must be anticipated before riding a stationary bike?
A: Some safety concerns to bear in mind include muscle fatigue and injury from repetitive movement, poor form/posture, and imbalance issues. To prevent the aforesaid, individuals are recommended to improve their seated posture, seek support from a certified trainer, take breaks for the body to recuperate, and ensure that intensity rests well within the set boundaries. It is essential to consult a health practitioner, especially for poor heart or blood health, among other cardiovascular issues .
Q: Is keeping a stationary exercise bike high maintenance?
A: No, however, some maintenance is vital for long-term uses. Specifically, individuals are recommended to wipe down their bikes after every use. The best way is to spray solutions into a cloth and then wipe the bike down. Spraying directly onto the bike is frowned upon because it could negatively impact the material (leading to rust).
Q: What are the best stationary exercise bikes of 2022?
A: Refer to the top 18 stationary exercise bikes of 2022 above. They have been selected based on a curated ranking system that lays out the fundamentals of an impactful workout experience for abundantly noticeable results.
The Top 18 Exercise Bikes of 2022 Final Verdict
Based on the research above, stationary exercise bikes are offered in many shapes and sizes and may facilitate an array of health benefits. Whether individuals are looking to lose weight, enhance heart health, boost strength, or simply want to produce endorphins to induce feel-good sensations, there is at least one solution that can be chosen from our top picks.
Our editorial team pegged down 18 with great potential in analyzing thousands of indoor cycling bikes. Not only are these options unique, but they also are as inclusive as they can get. This means that people of all shapes, sizes, and works of life can finally make do with a bike that resonates with their health needs. Virtual workout programs and even certified trainers can be accessed right from home, thanks to technological and software advancements. Fortunately, our picks also go beyond delivering the basics (i.e., introducing compatibility with workout apps) while tending to various budgets.
Until we have a chance at updating the top picks, we hope that we succeeded in revealing potential stationary exercise bikes and the process of arriving at the finish line, which, as seen throughout this entire guide, is nowhere near direct. Here’s to reaching goals despite however many obstacles cross our paths!