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The 7 Best Budget Exercise Bikes of 2022

We tested models from Schwinn, Exerpeutic, Marcy, Yosuda, and more to find the best exercise bikes
Best Budget Exercise Bikes of 2022
Credit: Jeremy Benson
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Tuesday November 15, 2022
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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.

A quality exercise bike is an excellent start to a portable home gym and is a low-impact alternative to a high-quality treadmill. To round out our training reviews and help you up your fitness, there are many additions you can make. A set of the best dumbbells, quality resistance bands, or a top weight vest can all help you achieve your fitness goals without having to ever step into a commercial gym.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on November 15, 2022, to ensure our review's lineup is up to date.

Top 9 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 9
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Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $199 List
$199.00 at Amazon
$600 List
$599.99 at Amazon
$203 List
$134.00 at Amazon
$340 List
$209.99 at Amazon
$399 List
$383.35 at Amazon
Overall Score
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76
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Pros Lightweight and portable, can be used anywhere including your desk, good for easy to moderate intensity exerciseReasonable price, connected features, free AI Gym App, works with popular training apps, easy assemblyAffordable, folds for storage, simple no-frills designAffordable, smooth belt-driven weighted flywheel, infinitely adjustable resistance, stable and sturdyVersatile, bike and desk in one, feature packed, folds for storage
Cons Limited workout intensity, short crank armsNeeds a phone or tablet to serve as a display, limited seat height adjustmentLimited resistance range, basic displayBasic display, no program workouts, no connectivityHeavy, sub-par display and controls, may not fit taller users
Bottom Line A convenient model for light to moderate intensity exercise that you can use anywhereAn affordable FTMS Bluetooth-enabled upright exercise bike that comes with its own free app and works with popular training appsAn affordable and convenient folding model that is ideal for light workoutsA simple, effective, and affordable spin bike that lacks connected featuresThis desk bike hybrid is a convenient and versatile option for exercising and/or working at home
Rating Categories DeskCycle Under Des... Renpho AI Smart Exe... Exerpeutic Folding... Yosuda Indoor Cycli... Exerpeutic Exerwork...
Exercise Quality (30%)
4.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
5.0
8.0
8.0
User Interface (20%)
4.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Features (20%)
3.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
8.0
Setup/Portability (10%) Sort Icon
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs DeskCycle Under Des... Renpho AI Smart Exe... Exerpeutic Folding... Yosuda Indoor Cycli... Exerpeutic Exerwork...
Style Under Desk Upright Upright/semi-recumbent Upright Desk Bike, Semi-Recumbent
Resistance Settings 8 levels 80 levels 8 levels Infinite 24 levels
Measured Weight 20.2 lbs 79.9 lbs 41 lbs 68.8 lbs 67 lbs
Measured Dimensions 24.75" L x 20" W x 12.5" H (with display attached) 40" L x 20" W x 49" H 33" L x 22" W x 46.5" H 40.5" L x 21.5" W x 45" H 43" L x 25" W x 50.5" H
Foldable No No Yes No Yes
Folded Dimensions n/a n/a 20.5" L x 22" W x 55" H n/a 30" L x 25" W x 61.5" H
Max. Weight Capacity n/a 265 lbs 300 lbs 270 lbs 400 lbs
Recommended Height Range n/a 4'11" to 6'5" 5'3" to 6'1" 25" to 35" inseam height adjustment 5'1" to 6'3"
Resistance type Magnetic Magnetic with Smart Motor Damping Magnetic Weighted flywheel and adjustable resistance pad Magnetic
Resistance Adjustment type Knob Knob, automatic or manual Knob Knob Buttons
Preprogrammed Workouts No Through Renpho AI Gym App (iOS and Android) No No 24 courses
User Profiles No No No No No
Heart Rate Sensor No No Yes No No
Digital Display LCD display: 1.75" W x 1.5" H No (Device required) LCD display: 3.3" W x 1.5" H LCD LCD display: 2.25" W x 1.125" H
Display Information speed, time, distance, calories burned, and scan n/a distance, calories burned, time, speed, odometer, scan, and heart rate monitor time, speed, distance, calories, odometer distance, calories burned, time, speed, odometer, resistance elevels, and scan
Other Features Pedals with safety straps, digital display Transport wheels, Bluetooth, works with popular training apps, device holder, adjustable handlebar height, USB charging port pedals with safety straps, cell phone holder, transport wheels, folding for storage Bottle cage, device shelf, cage pedals, flywheel brake, transport wheels
Warranty 1 year 1 year Frame: 1 year, All other parts: 90 days 1 year parts replacement 3 year limited


Best Overall Exercise Bike


Schwinn IC4


80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 9.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • User Interface 7.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Setup/Portability 5.0
Style: Upright | Resistance Settings: 100
REASONS TO BUY
Studio exercise quality
100 levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance
Connected features
High-quality look and feel
Feature-packed
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't work perfectly with Zwift or Peloton
Inaccurate speed and distance readings
More expensive

The Schwinn IC4 is a fantastic exercise bike that can compete with the biggest names in home fitness. It is a spin bike with a commercial gym or spin studio look and feel, with an exercise quality to match. This sturdy model has a 40 lb weighted flywheel and offers 100 micro-adjustable levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance. The 100 levels of resistance offer a massive range of difficulty suitable for all fitness levels and rider goals. This connected smart bike has a display for manual workouts, and it can also sync to your device through a Bluetooth connection to work with apps like Peloton, Zwift, JRNY, 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. User-friendly features like bottle cages, hand weights, a USB charging port, a Bluetooth heart rate armband, and dual-function SPD/cage pedals enhance the user experience.

The IC4 is among the most expensive exercise bikes in this review, but it costs less than half the price of the high-end competition. However, if you seek a connected workout experience, you'll want 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 has a device holder, but you will need a tablet or smartphone to serve as the display when using the apps or for viewing entertainment. We feel the IC4 is an impressive bike and an excellent choice for the rider seeking the studio cycling experience.

Read more: Schwinn IC4 review

budget exercise bike - best overall exercise bike
The IC4 is an excellent, high-quality spin bike with connected features.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Best Bang for Your Buck Spin Bike


Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 7.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • User Interface 5.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Setup/Portability 7.0
Style: Upright | Resistance Settings: Infinite
REASONS TO BUY
Reasonable price
Huge resistance range
Stable and sturdy
Smooth and quiet weighted flywheel
REASONS TO AVOID
Basic display
No workout programs

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 fairly high comfort level with a quality seat and a good range of seat and handlebar height adjustment. 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 comes with useful features like cage pedals, a device shelf, and a bottle cage.

While we liked most things about the Yosuda, it lost a little ground to the competition for its relatively basic design. This includes the display, which, while functional, only shows one data field at a time. It also has no programmed workouts or connectivity, so it is entirely up to you to control your training. Regardless, we still feel this is a quality spin bike option that gets the job done at a reasonable price.

Read more: Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike review

budget exercise bike - best bang for your buck spin bike
The Yosuda exercise bike is sturdy and stable with a resistance range to suit any fitness level or exercise intensity.
Credit: Heather Benson

Best Bang for Your Buck Recumbent Bike


Marcy Recumbent ME-709


55
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 6.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • User Interface 4.0
  • Features 4.0
  • Setup/Portability 5.0
Style: Recumbent | Resistance Settings: 8
REASONS TO BUY
Reasonable price
Comfortable seated position
Lightweight for a recumbent
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited features
Large footprint
Limited resistance range/workout intensity

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 have 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 and prefers the recumbent style.

Read more: Marcy Recumbent ME-709 review

budget exercise bike - best bang for your buck recumbent bike
The Marcy Recumbent is one of the most comfortable exercise bikes we tested.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Best For Limited Space


Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse


55
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 6.0
  • Comfort 5.0
  • User Interface 5.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Setup/Portability 7.0
Style: Semi-Recumbent | Resistance Settings: 8
REASONS TO BUY
Reasonable price
Folds for storage
Simple no-frills design
Heart rate sensor
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited resistance range
Basic display

The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright is an inexpensive 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 quite easy 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 a true upright or spin bike 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 tight on storage space.

Read more: Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright review

budget exercise bike - best for limited space
The Folding Magnetic Upright is a great affordable folding model that is best for users with limited space.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Best for Connected Features at a Reasonable Price


Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 8.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • User Interface 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Setup/Portability 8.0
Style: Upright | Resistance Settings: 80
REASONS TO BUY
Reasonable price
Connected features
Free AI Gym App
Works with several other popular training apps
Easy Assembly
REASONS TO AVOID
Needs a phone or tablet to serve as a display
Limited seat height adjustment

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 also FTMS Bluetooth enabled and works with Renpho's free AI Gym App and several other popular training apps like Zwift and Peloton (subscriptions required). The AI Gym App is somewhat basic, but it has several 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 long-legged six-foot-tall tester 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 a great connected exercise bike at a reasonable price.

Read more: Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike review

budget exercise bike - best for connected features at a reasonable price
Resistance is changed by turning the dial that surrounds the small display. The display shows one piece of info at a time. When connected to the bike through an app, your device serves as the display.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Best for the Home Office


Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i Folding Exercise Desk Bike


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 7.0
  • Comfort 8.0
  • User Interface 6.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Setup/Portability 6.0
Style: Semi-Recumbent | Resistance Settings: 24
REASONS TO BUY
Versatile
Bike and desk hybrid
Feature-packed
Folds for storage
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy
Sub-par display and controls
Limited seat height adjustment

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 model 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 about 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.

Read more: Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i Folding Desk Bike review

budget exercise bike - best for the home office
If you've ever wanted to combine your time spent working and working out, we feel the Exerwork desk bike is a great way to do it.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Best Under Desk Exerciser


DeskCycle Under Desk Exerciser


49
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Quality 4.0
  • Comfort 7.0
  • User Interface 4.0
  • Features 3.0
  • Setup/Portability 9.0
Style: Under Desk | Resistance Settings: 8
REASONS TO BUY
Lightweight and portable
Can be used anywhere, including your desk
Good for easy to moderate-intensity exercise
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited workout intensity
Short crank arms

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 seeking the convenience of an exerciser like the DeskCycle. Testers were pleasantly surprised by this model'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 the most portable and storable option we've ever used due to its small 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, and it simply can't provide a high-intensity workout. 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.

Read more: DeskCycle Under Desk Exerciser review

budget exercise bike - the deskcycle is a compact exerciser that is great for use under a...
The DeskCycle is a compact exerciser that is great for use under a desk or anywhere else for that matter.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
80
Schwinn IC4
schwinn ic4 budget exercise bike review
$999
Editors' Choice Award
76
Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike
renpho ai smart exercise bike budget exercise bike review
$600
Top Pick Award
75
Echelon EX-3
echelon ex-3 budget exercise bike review
$1,200
74
Schwinn 130 Upright Bike
schwinn 130 upright bike budget exercise bike review
$499
71
Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i Folding Exercise Desk Bike
exerpeutic exerwork 2000i folding exercise desk bike budget exercise bike review
$399
Top Pick Award
68
Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike
yosuda indoor cycling bike budget exercise bike review
$340
Best Buy Award
55
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
exerpeutic folding magnetic upright bike with pulse budget exercise bike review
$203
Best Buy Award
55
Marcy Recumbent ME-709
marcy recumbent me-709 budget exercise bike review
$210
Best Buy Award
49
DeskCycle Under Desk Exerciser
deskcycle under desk exerciser budget exercise bike review
$199
Top Pick Award

budget exercise bike - we tested exercise quality by using each model for several workouts...
We tested exercise quality by using each model for several workouts of varying intensities.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Why You Should Trust Us


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 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.

Our testing process began with assembling each exercise bike after...
Our testing process began with assembling each exercise bike after removing it from its original packaging.
All of the bikes we tested can be moved relatively easily, but they...
All of the bikes we tested can be moved relatively easily, but they all have different sizes that take up more or less space in your home.
We also took the time to use each of the models we test during...
We also took the time to use each of the models we test during workouts ranging from casual spinning to intense interval training.

Analysis and Test Results


We 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 our five predetermined metrics to determine the top performers.


Value


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 typically 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.

budget exercise bike - the most important performance attribute of an exercise bike is the...
The most important performance attribute of an exercise bike is the quality of the workout it provides. The models we tested vary dramatically.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Exercise Quality


The whole point of having an exercise bike is to get exercise, so we feel that is the quality of the workout a bike provides. 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. In addition to manual workouts, The Schwinn IC4 has 100 levels of resistance and 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. In contrast to the Schwinn IC4, 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.

budget exercise bike - the echelon ex-3 has connected features that allow you to have a...
The Echelon EX-3 has connected features that allow you to have a studio workout experience from the comfort of your own home.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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 but the highest fitness levels and can provide a fairly 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 that may broaden its appeal to a wider range of users.

budget exercise bike - the models with 8 levels of resistance, like the exerpeutic folding...
The models with 8 levels of resistance, like the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic, tend to have less resistance range and limited workout intensity.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

budget exercise bike - comfort is the most subjective metric. what works best for you will...
Comfort is the most subjective metric. What works best for you will vary depending on your goals, needs, and preferences.
Credit: Heather Benson

Comfort


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. Keep in mind that many of these factors can be adjusted by placing a top-rated exercise mat underneath.


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.

budget exercise bike - recumbent style bikes generally have a relaxed seated position and...
Recumbent style bikes generally have a relaxed seated position and are easy to get in and out of.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

budget exercise bike - the user interface consists of the display and controls and they...
The user interface consists of the display and controls and they vary wildly from super simple, like the one pictured here, to relatively advanced.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

User Interface


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.

budget exercise bike - the schwinn ic4 has a regular digital display, plus it syncs to your...
The Schwinn IC4 has a regular digital display, plus it syncs to your device to use popular training apps.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

budget exercise bike - the exercise bikes we tested come with a variety of different...
The exercise bikes we tested come with a variety of different features. The Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i, for example, comes with an integrated desk that is highly adjustable.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Features


The features found on an exercise bike 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.

budget exercise bike - the dual function pedals on the echelon ex-3 are a nice feature that...
The dual function pedals on the Echelon EX-3 are a nice feature that allows you to use regular shoes and cages or cycling shoes with SPD cleats.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

budget exercise bike - the schwinn 130 upright removed from the box before assembly.
The Schwinn 130 Upright removed from the box before assembly.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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 bike's assembly, we measured and weighed them to determine how much space they occupied and compared them 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.

budget exercise bike - folding models like the exerpeutic folding magnetic upright are...
Folding models like the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright are great when space is limited. This bike can easily be stored in a closet when not in use.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

budget exercise bike - whatever your health and fitness goals, there&#039;s an affordable...
Whatever your health and fitness goals, there's an affordable exercise bike for you.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Conclusion


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 and 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.

Jeremy Benson


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