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Are you searching for the best new exercise bike? After exhaustively researching all of the top-rated models on the market, we purchased nine for side-by-side testing. Our selection includes a diverse assortment of reasonably priced home exercise bikes with upright, recumbent, semi-recumbent, and under-desk models. Over the course of several weeks, we tested each model during at-home workouts of varying lengths and intensities. During these workouts, we closely scrutinized each exercise bike's exercise quality, comfort, features, and user interface. No matter your fitness or health goals, we found great options to suit your needs and budget.
The Schwinn IC4 is a fantastic exercise bike that can compete with the biggest names in home fitness. It looks and feels a lot like a spin bike you'd find in a commercial gym or spin studio, with an exercise quality to match. This sturdy bike has a 40 lb weighted flywheel and 100 micro-adjustable levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance. The 100 levels of resistance offer a huge range of difficulty levels suitable for all fitness levels and rider goals. This smart bike has a display for manual workouts, and it can also connect to your device through Bluetooth to work with apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the World for at-home studio and virtual workouts. A monthly fee is required to use any of these apps, which will likely be worth it for users who want the in-home studio or virtual training experience. We found the IC4 quite comfortable, with ample fit adjustments and a performance-oriented race style seat. It also has user-friendly features like bottle cages, hand weights, a USB charging port, a Bluetooth heart rate armband, and dual-function SPD/cage pedals.
The IC4 is among the most expensive exercise bikes we've ever tested, but it costs less than half the price of its primary big-name competition. However, if you seek the connected workout experience, you'll also need to consider the cost of a monthly or annual subscription to Peloton, Zwift, or Explore the World. It is also worth noting that the speed and distance readings on display are not accurate, and because it is a spin bike, it doesn't provide an accurate power output reading when using Zwift. It works; it's just far from perfect. It comes with a device holder, but you will need a tablet or smartphone to serve as the display when using the apps. We feel the IC4 is an impressive bike and an excellent choice for the rider seeking the studio cycling experience.
The Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike is an affordable upright spin-style model. It features a belt-driven 35 lb weighted flywheel with an infinite resistance adjustment range. It looks and feels like a spin bike you might ride at the gym, offered at a reasonable price. The considerable resistance range suits riders of all fitness levels or workout intensities. It boasts a high comfort level with a quality seat and seat post and handlebar height adjustments. The assembly process is straightforward, and the unit is easy enough to move around on its transport wheels. The steel frame is sturdy, and this bike is stable, no matter how hard you jam on the pedals. It also includes features like cage pedals, a device shelf, and a bottle cage to enhance your experience.
While we liked most things about the Yosuda, it lost a little ground to the competition for its basic display. Sure, it is functional, but it only shows one data field at a time. It also has no programmed workouts, so it is entirely up to you to control your training. We still feel this is a quality spin bike option at a reasonable price.
For a simple and effective recumbent exercise bike offered at a very reasonable price, look no further than the Marcy ME-709. This affordable model boasts a high comfort level with an easy step-through design, a large padded seat and backrest, and a padded handlebar. It has eight magnetic resistance levels and is best suited for exercise in the light to moderate-intensity range. The display is nothing fancy, but it shows pertinent workout information with relatively intuitive controls. The ME-709 is adjustable for length to accommodate a broad user height range, plus it has transport wheels, a smaller footprint, and a lower weight than other recumbents we tested.
We found the Marcy ME-709 to have a somewhat limited resistance range. Those with an already high fitness level or who seek a more intense workout may want to look elsewhere. It is also a relatively basic, no-frills model that lacks the more expensive competition's bells and whistles. While it may not be feature-packed, it is easy to use and provides a consistent, quality workout. We feel this inexpensive model is perfect for anyone on a budget who doesn't require fancy features or super high resistance levels.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright is an affordable semi-recumbent exercise bike with a convenient folding design. This bike provides a quality workout experience at nearly half the cost of the competition, with a simple and no-frills design that gets the job done. It has eight smooth and quiet magnetic resistance levels for workouts ranging from easy to moderate in difficulty. The simple console has an LCD display and a single button to control your workout information. The large padded seat was reasonably comfortable, and it has padded handles around the console with integrated heart rate sensors. The simple folding design significantly reduces its footprint when not in use and can easily fit in a closet or the corner of your room. It is also relatively lightweight and has integrated transport wheels, making it easier than most to move around.
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic seems a lot more like a semi-recumbent than a proper upright style bike despite having "Upright" in its name. It has a somewhat relaxed seated position, and you can't get off the seat and stand while pedaling the way you can on an upright model. Testers also found its resistance range somewhat limited, making this bike unsuitable for high-intensity workouts. Beyond that, we feel this is a very reasonably priced and convenient option if you're limited on space.
Renpho is a relative newcomer to the home exercise market, but we were impressed by the AI Smart Exercise Bike. This upright model has 80 levels of magnetic resistance, making it suitable for users of all fitness levels, and it's manually controlled using the resistance adjustment knob. The bike is FTMS Bluetooth enabled and works with Renpho's free AI Gym App and several other popular training apps like Zwift and Peloton. The AI Gym App is somewhat basic, but it has many fitness tests and training programs to choose from, plus the bike automatically changes resistance levels when using it and certain other apps. We found the bike relatively comfortable, with a nice seat and lots of handlebar and seat height adjustment. Assembly is straightforward, and moving the bike is relatively easy using the integrated transport wheels.
Renpho claims a massive recommended user height range of 4'11" to 6'5". While that claim is impressive, we feel it might be slightly exaggerated. Our six-foot-tall tester with long legs had the seat adjustments maxed out and could have used a little more height. The bike's display is also somewhat basic, showing one metric at a time. We feel the bike is best used with either the AI Gym App or another app with a phone or tablet to serve as the display. Despite these gripes, we think this is an excellent connected exercise bike at a pretty good value.
Anyone who has ever wanted to combine their workout with actual work should seriously consider the Exerwork 2000i Desk Bike. The desk/bike hybrid combines a semi-recumbent exercise bike with an adjustable desktop to create the best of both worlds. This highly versatile contender can be used in several ways: as a stationary bike, a desk, a bike and desk at the same time, or a standing desk. With 24 levels of magnetic resistance, it has a vast range of workout intensity, from very easy to as strenuous as you want. It also comes with 24 programmed workouts, and it works with the myCloudFitness app so you can control, track, and analyze your progress. The desk is highly customizable with tilt, fore/aft, and height adjustments to dial it in for comfort and ergonomics. It also has convenient features like a wrist pad, a drawer, cup/bottle holders, plus it folds for storage and has integrated wheels for transport.
The Exerwork 2000i is not without its quirks. Despite having a wealth of useful features, its display and controls leave a bit to be desired. The small LCD screen displays basic information one value at a time, making it harder to choose or follow the program workouts. While it does fold for storage, it remains quite large and can be somewhat cumbersome to move around and store due to its 67 lb weight. That said, we feel this would be an excellent addition to anyone's home, office, or both, who is interested in putting a little more work into their workout.
For the Desk Cycle, convenience is the name of the game. This tiny pedal exerciser fits under a desk at work to help sedentary office workers burn calories while improving their fitness and overall well-being. However, it isn't only for use under a desk, as you can easily use this compact and lightweight machine anywhere you can sit and have your legs free. Reading a book, watching TV, you name it; this exerciser is a great way to multi-task and improve your time efficiency. It has eight levels of magnetic resistance with a decent range of difficulty that should be more than adequate for users who seek a convenient exerciser like the DeskCycle. Testers were pleasantly surprised by this contender's quality of exercise, despite its diminutive stature. The magnetic resistance is also very quiet and creates minimal noise distraction when used in the office or your home. It is also easily portable and storable thanks to its size and impressively lightweight.
While we loved the convenience of the under-desk style, the nature of its design limits its exercise quality. We found it best suited for light to moderate-intensity exercise, so it's not the best match for those with a penchant for high-intensity training. Also, some users may require an adjustable height desk or chair, so factor in the fit when considering using the DeskCycle under a desk. Beyond that, we think this option offers a convenient and unobtrusive way to help improve your overall health and fitness at your home or office.
Our exercise bike test was led by Jeremy Benson. Benson is the Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor at OutdoorGearLab and has decades of cycling experience. In addition to testing and reviewing mountain bikes, this Lake Tahoe resident races in the Pro class in endurance gravel and mountain bike races. During the long winter months, Benson maintains his fitness while backcountry skiing and spending long hours spinning away the miles on indoor trainers and stationary bikes. He has ridden indoors for over two decades and has tried every type of trainer and exercise bike imaginable, from commercial spin and training bikes to at-home exercise models. In that time, he has developed a keen sense of the performance, qualities, and features that differentiate the styles and models on the market.
After exhaustively researching the best and most highly regarded affordable exercise bikes on the market, we purchased nine models for testing. Our diverse selection includes several different styles of bikes intended for home or office use. Since exercise is the point of an indoor bike, we wanted to get a feel for the quality of exercise each contender could provide. Once assembled, we moved the exercise bikes into our test space, and did multiple exercise sessions on each model. We completed similar high-intensity workouts and more casual light-moderate intensity spinning to get a complete picture of the range of each bike. These training sessions allowed us to examine the quality of each model's resistance. At the same time, the interval workout served as a baseline to determine the upper limit of each model's workout potential.
Our testing of exercise bikes is divided across five rating metrics:
Exercise Quality (30% of overall score weighting)
Comfort (20% weighting)
User Interface (20% weighting)
Features (20% weighting)
Setup and Portability (10% weighting)
Keeping these categories in mind while using and evaluating each bike allows us to deliver unbiased results to help you decide. Several hours spent testing each machine's exercise quality allowed us to thoroughly examine each model's user interface, comfort, and features. We timed the length of setup for each bike, experimented with settings, downloaded compatible apps, and explored the full range of options on each machine. We weigh the exercise quality metric at 30% because we believe it is the most important aspect of an exercise bike. We consider other metrics, like comfort, user interface, features, and ease of setup/portability, less critical, and thus, they weigh less. The combined scores from all metrics helped us determine our top-rated models.
Analysis and Test Results
This review tested each exercise bike head to head over several weeks to determine their strengths, weaknesses, and performance differences. Based on the bikes' performance and functionality, we rated each model on five predetermined metrics weighted by importance.
We don't let cost influence our testing or scoring, but we consider a product's price in relation to its performance. Top-of-the-line exercise bikes can cost a fortune, but all of the models we chose for this review qualify as affordable. Interestingly, we did notice significant performance differences when comparing the least and most expensive contenders we tested, with the more costly options providing a higher level of exercise quality, comfort, and features. A more expensive model, like the Schwinn IC4 is a good example. The IC4 provides a gym or spin studio-quality exercise experience, plus it has connected features to follow along to on-demand studio or virtual workouts on popular training apps. A less expensive model, like the Yosuda, has a similar exercise quality but without the connectivity that many users enjoy. Likewise, the Exerpeutic Folding Upright provides a decent quality workout, despite a somewhat limited intensity range, in a convenient folding design at a fraction of the cost of the top-rated models we tested.
The whole point of having an exercise bike is to get exercise, so we feel that the quality of the workout a bike provides is the most critical aspect of its performance. We weighted this metric as 30% of the overall score. We found that the exercise quality varied significantly between the different styles and models of bikes in this test. Some were designed with light to moderate-intensity exercise in mind, while others proved capable of a broader range of workouts, from easy to super high-intensity. The number of resistance levels, the range and quality of the resistance, and features like programmed workouts and heart rate sensors, played a role in the quality of exercise of each model.
The Schwinn IC4 and the Echelon EX-3 were head and shoulders above the competition in this metric, with exercise quality as good as you'll find in a commercial gym or spin studio. Both bikes are sturdy, high-quality machines with weighted flywheels and smooth, super quiet magnetic resistance. The Schwinn IC4 has 100 levels of micro-adjustable resistance. In addition to manual workouts, it can connect to your device to work with popular training apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the World (subscriptions required). As a bonus, it comes with a set of hand weights that hang on the bike's frame. We loved the versatility of the Schwinn. The Echelon EX-3 has 32 levels of magnetic resistance, and it is also a connected bike. Unlike the Schwinn, the EX-3 only works with the Echelon app. The Echelon app is great, and you can participate in live streaming classes or choose from thousands of on-demand workouts(subscription required). However, we found the EX-3's compatibility and functionality somewhat limited compared to the Schwinn.
The Schwinn 130 Upright is an upright model with a body position similar to riding a regular bike. With 16 magnetic resistance levels, it has a considerable intensity range suitable for all fitness levels and can provide a strenuous workout. Plus, the recent updates to the 130 include Bluetooth connectivity and functionality with popular training apps like Zwift and Explore the World. Similarly, the Renpho AI Smart Bike is an upright model with 80 levels of magnetic resistance, enough to satisfy any fitness level and FTMS Bluetooth connectivity that works with the AI Gym App and several other popular training apps. The AI Gym App is free to use with the Renpho bike, and while it isn't the most exciting, it features several fitness tests, training programs, and videos; plus, the bike makes automatic resistance changes based on the program you're following. The ability to use the bike with other apps is an appealing perk, offering a broad range of user preferences.
The DeskCycle is a small and portable under-desk exerciser that can't compete with the exercise quality of the competition mentioned above. Still, it is a great way to burn calories, boost the heart rate, and treadmill when you might otherwise be sitting still. We found it easy to work up a sweat and feel the burn, but it was limited to easy to moderate-intensity workouts. The Exerpeutic Folding Upright and the Marcy Recumbent ME-709 are relatively simple machines with limited features. Both models have eight levels of magnetic resistance and a somewhat limited resistance range that we found to provide light to medium difficulty levels. These bikes are not intended for hardcore training. Instead, they are well suited to riders interested in a less intense workout who don't require the bells and whistles of the more expensive competition.
Comfort is the most subjective metric we analyzed, but we feel it is an essential aspect of a quality exercise bike and give it a 20% influence on the overall score of the bikes. The more comfortable your bike is, the more likely you will ride it. The more you ride, the more calories you burn, and the more your fitness improves. During our test rides, we spent hours using each bike while scrutinizing each model's comfort. Things like the seat, backrest, and fit adjustments all play a role in how comfortable a bike is, especially for prolonged periods of exercise.
Most of the bikes we tested are comfortable, but the Renpho AI Smart Bike was among the best models we tested. An upright model promotes an athletic and active body position that may not suit everyone's tastes, but we loved that it was so similar to riding a regular bike. It has a nice padded seat and comfort adjustments like seat height, handlebar height, and pedal straps. Likewise, the Echelon EX-3 impressed us with its comfort. This bike has loads of seat and handlebar height adjustment and a slimmer, performance-oriented seat that mimics a regular road or studio spin bike saddle. It also comes with dual-function pedals with cages on one side and SPDs on the other, so you can choose the style that suits you best. Similarly, the Schwinn IC4 offers both vertical and horizontal adjustment in the seat and handlebar, allowing the rider to customize the fit to their preferences.
Recumbent models are inherently comfortable with their fully seated body position, and some users may prefer it. The Marcy ME-709 scored well, with a large cushioned seat and backrest, adequate length adjustability, a padded handlebar, and pedal straps. The Exerpeutic Folding Upright has more of a semi-recumbent style than its name suggests. It earned one of the lowest scores of the group; however, it still offers a reasonable comfort level for such an affordable and no-frills model. It has a wide cushioned seat and loads of seat height adjustability, along with pedal straps and padded handles around the console.
The user interface includes the display and controls, and their quality, size, and user-friendliness vary dramatically between the different models we tested. All of the bikes we tested have a computer console of some kind that includes a digital display and buttons to control the functions, modes, and information displayed. This metric accounts for 20% of the overall score for each product.
The Schwinn IC4 is a smart bike with connected features. It comes with a digital display that shows typical metrics like time, speed, distance, RPM, and heart rate, plus it also has a Bluetooth connection to sync with your device when used with apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the World. The Renpho AI Smart Bike has a relatively basic resistance adjustment knob with a small circular screen that displays one metric at a time. When connected to the AI Gym App or another app via Bluetooth, your device serves as the display while you follow along. The Renpho bike also makes resistance changes automatically based on the program you are following with certain apps.
The three least expensive models we tested share a relatively similar user interface. The DeskCycle, Exerpeutic Folding Upright, and the Marcy Recumbent all have basic computers with small LCD screens that show data like time, speed, distance, calories, and odometer. They have simple but reasonably intuitive controls that allow users to choose the data on display, set workout goals, and reset workout values. These models also have eight magnetic resistance levels controlled by turning a resistance knob.
The features found on a cycle can make it more or less engaging and useable during your workout, and we weigh this test category at 20% of the overall score. All of the exercise bikes in this test have at least a few basics, but we found a very direct correlation between a bike's price and its features. A simple no-frills bike that gets the job done may be all that many users are after, while others may want all the bells and whistles available to enhance their exercise experience. We rated each model based on how many features it had and how beneficial those features were.
The Schwinn 130 Upright was among the highest scorers in this metric, and it comes equipped with transport wheels, a water bottle holder, angle adjustable padded handlebar, contact heart rate sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, a device shelf, and pedal straps. The Renpho AI Smart Bike doesn't have a water bottle holder, but otherwise, it has nearly the same feature set as the Schwinn 130. Renpho ups the ante in the connectivity department with its FTMS Bluetooth and compatibility with more apps. Plus, it comes with the free AI Gym App, so you can use it without having to pay a subscription fee if you choose.
The Exerwork 2000i desk bike comes loaded with many useful features. Most notably, the large adjustable desk is one of the most useful, giving this bike a very high level of versatility. It can be used as an exercise bike alone, a bike and desk simultaneously, a sitting desk, or as a standing desk. The desktop is highly adjustable and can be moved up and down, fore and aft, or set in one of three tilt positions. The desk has two cup/bottle holders, a small drawer, and a comfortable wrist pad. Additionally, it comes with 24 workout programs, is compatible with the myCloudFitness app, and can be folded for storage when not in use.
The Echelon EX-3 also comes loaded with features. Its connectivity is one of its best attributes, and you can use it with the EchelonFit app for an at-home studio cycling experience. It also comes with bottle cages, a device holder, a rack for hand weights, and dual-function pedals. Likewise, the Schwinn IC4 is a connected bike that can be used with apps like Peloton, Zwift, and Explore the world for in-home studio or virtual training. The IC4 also comes loaded with a digital display, hand weights with cradles, bottle holders, dual-function pedals, a device holder, a USB charging port, and a Bluetooth armband.
Ease of Setup/Portability
After purchasing any of these exercise bikes, you will likely have to assemble it yourself, although some sellers offer professional assembly for an additional fee. The consumer can assemble all of the bikes we tested without too much difficulty. All parts, hardware, tools, and instructions are included with each model. However, the ease of setup and the time needed to complete the process varies depending on the number of steps and the bike's size, shape, and weight. Our lead tester was able to assemble each bike on his own, though the assistance of another person may be beneficial for the heavier models during this process. Once we completed each cycle assembly, we measured and weighed them to determine how much space they occupied and compared with the manufacturer's specifications. We also moved them from our garage to our workout space to gauge how easy they are to transport from one place to another.
The DeskCycle was the clear winner in this metric. This simple machine required minimal assembly and was ready to ride in approximately 15 minutes. Once assembled, it takes up less than a quarter of the space of the full-size competition and is easy to move around thanks to its lightweight and portable size. The next highest-rated model in this metric was the Renpho AI. It took us much longer to assemble than the DeskCycle, but it required fewer steps and was more straightforward than the rest of the competition.
The Echelon EX-3 and the Schwinn IC4 were both a bit more time-consuming to assemble, plus they weigh a whopping 105 and 106 lbs, respectively. It's easy enough to move them around on their transport wheels, but lifting either of them up or down a flight of stairs is a task for two people.
The Marcy Recumbent ME-709 and the Schwinn 130 Upright took about a full hour to assemble. The Schwinn tips the scales at 61 lbs, yet it is easy to move around on most floor surfaces by rolling it on its wheels. It doesn't collapse or fold for storage. However, the upright model has a significantly smaller footprint than a recumbent. The Marcy ME-709 is lightweight for a recumbent at just 54.2 lbs, although it has an inherently large footprint as well. That said, it is easier to move around and takes up less space than some other recumbent models when its length adjustment is fully compressed.
An exercise bike can be a great way to improve or maintain your health and fitness in the privacy of your own home or office. Whether you're just starting an exercise program to burn some calories, improve your cardiovascular fitness, or you're looking to do some more intense training, there are many excellent affordable options on the market to choose from. We hope this detailed comparative analysis helps you find the model that best suits your needs and budget.
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