Are you searching for the best exercise bike? After researching the best models on the market, we purchased nine for side-by-side testing and comparison. A quality exercise bike can be a great way to reach new goals or maintain fitness from the comfort of your own home. With so many models on the market, it can be a challenge to find the right one. We spent months riding these bikes as much as possible while analyzing important factors like exercise quality, comfort, the user interface, features, and setup and portability. We bought companion app memberships, followed along to classes and programs, and pedaled hundreds of miles to help you find the best exercise bike for your needs and budget.A quality exercise bike can help you build or complete a home gym and is a great low impact alternative or complement to a quality indoor treadmill. To take your indoor cycling to the next level, consider a quality pair of cycling shoes or outfitting your workout space with a powerful fan to keep you cool. Adding a set of hand weights, exercise resistance bands, or a top-rated yoga mat can help you achieve total body fitness from the comfort of your own home. Serious outdoor cyclists interested in indoor or off-season training would be wise to consider a smart trainer.
$462.99 at Amazon
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$1,500 at Amazon
|Pros||Good exercise quality, Bluetooth connectivity for use with Zwift and Explore the World apps, program workouts, reasonable price||Echelon app is quite comprehensive, lots of comfort adjustments, feature-packed, large tilting touchscreen||Unique lean feature, loaded with features, capable of streaming entertainment and working with 3rd party apps, JRNY app costs less than the competition||iFit app, adjustable incline, AutoAdjust resistance and incline, narrow Q-factor, feature-packed, swiveling touchscreen|
|Cons||No handlebar height adjustment, more basic display than previous version||Echelon app isn't quite on par with Peloton, monthly/yearly app subscription cost, touchscreen does not swivel||Slightly larger footprint and heavier weight, JRNY app isn't quite as developed as some others, smaller screen (larger screen available at a higher price), screen has limited range of adjustability||Connectivity issues (eventually resolved), incline adjustability results in slightly reduced stability, ICON Fitness has a history of poor customer service, fan is somewhat noisy|
|Bottom Line||An upright exercise bike with connected features at a reasonable price||A quality bike and app make this model a close second to Peloton for at-home studio cycling workouts||The unique lean feature and compatibility with streaming entertainment and 3rd party apps set this model apart from the competition||This bike's auto-adjusting speed and incline work with the excellent iFit app to simulate real-world riding|
|Rating Categories||Schwinn 130 Upright...||Echelon Connect EX-5s||Bowflex VeloCore 16||NordicTrack Commerc...|
|Exercise Quality (35%)|
|Companion App/Connectivity (%)|
|User Interface (20%)|
|Setup and Portability (10%)|
|Specs||Schwinn 130 Upright...||Echelon Connect EX-5s||Bowflex VeloCore 16||NordicTrack Commerc...|
|Console||LCD display: 5" W x 3" H||22" HD tilting touchscreen||16" HD tilting touchscreen||22" HD rotating touchscreen|
|Companion App||Works with Zwift and Explore the World (subscriptions and viewing device required)||EchelonFit (subscription required)||JRNY (also works with Peloton and Zwift) (subscriptions required)||iFit (subscription required)|
|Resistance Settings||16 levels||32 levels||100 levels||24 levels|
|Max. Weight Capacity||300 lbs||300 lbs||325 lbs||350 lbs|
|Recommended Height Range||not specified (13 inches of seat height adjustment)||4'11" to 6'4"||5'1" to 6'5"||not specified (13 inches of seat height adjustment)|
|Measured Dimensions||42" L x 21.25" W x 51.5" H||58" L x 21.5" W x 61" H||59.8" L x 25.5" W x 52.5" H||58" L x 22" W x 60" H|
|Weight||61 lbs||124 lbs (claimed)||158.3 lbs (claimed)||203 lbs (claimed)|
|Resistance type||Magnetic||Magnetic||Magnetic||SMR Magnetic|
|Resistance Adjustment type||Buttons||Knob||Knob||Handlebar buttons or AutoAdjust|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth||Bluetooth, WiFi, ethernet||Bluetooth, WiFi||Bluetooth, WiFi|
|Heart Rate Sensor||Integrated in handlebar||Not included, but pairs with Bluetooth sensors||Bluetooth armband included||Not included, but pairs with Bluetooth sensors|
|Other Features||Bluetooth, works with Zwift and Explore the World, bottle cage, pedals with adjustable straps, heart rate sensors, adjustable handlebars, transport wheels, device shelf||Transport wheels, 2 bottle holders, dual-sided pedals, front and rear power ports, handweight cradles, USB port||Transport wheels, Bluetooth heart rate armband, 3 lb dumbells, leaning mode, dual-sided pedals, speakers, device shelf, USB port||Transport wheels, 2 water bottle holders, 3 lb dumbells, adjustable fan, adjustable incline (works with AutoAdjust), Google Maps integration, two 2" speakers|
|Warranty||Frame: 10 years, Parts: 2 years, Electronics: 1 year, Labor: 90 days||1-year limited warranty||Frame and Parts: 2 years, Electronics: 1 year, Labor: 1 year||Frame: 10 years, Parts: 2 years, Labor: 1 year|
Best Overall Exercise Bike
Bowflex VeloCore 16
The Bowflex VeloCore 16 offers a unique at-home cycling experience. This commercial quality spin bike has 100 levels of magnetic resistance suitable for all fitness levels, but it really sets itself apart with its lean feature. It has a locking mechanism that keeps it stationary, and when unlocked, the rider can tip the bike from side to side to simulate a more natural riding motion and follow along with the JRNY app's lean classes. While it may sound a little gimmicky, the lean feature is actually quite effective at working the core and other muscle groups while you ride. The 16-inch touchscreen uses Bluetooth to pair with accessories and WiFi to connect to the JRNY app. JRNY offers a wide range of studio classes, Explore the World scenic rides, and virtual coach programs to choose from, plus it offers the unique ability to stream entertainment from popular services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max (subscriptions required) to watch while you ride. It can't quite match the sheer number of classes on apps like Peloton or iFit, but JRNY provides plenty of variety, loads of off-the-bike workouts, and it costs less than the competition. The VeloCore also works with Peloton and Zwift through your own device, adding even more workout options.
We found the 16-inch touchscreen on the VeloCore to be adequate, but it is a fair amount smaller than the screens on other models we tested (the Velocore can also be purchased with a 22-inch screen for a significant bump in price). The screen also has limited mobility, with a small range of tilt, but no ability to rotate for viewing off the bike. While the JRNY app does offer plenty to satisfy most users, we think those interested purely in live and on-demand studio classes would be better off looking elsewhere. Due to the nature of the bike's design and unique lean feature, it has a slightly larger footprint than other bikes we tested, though this should only matter if you're super tight on space. Otherwise, we think the VeloCore is an excellent bike that offers something unique with its lean feature, plus the variety of the JRNY app and the ability to stream entertainment and work with third-party apps provides lots of options and broadens its appeal.
Read review: BowFlex VeloCore 16
Best Connected Spin Bike Without a Screen
The Schwinn IC4 offers a quality connected spin bike experience without the high-end price tag of the competition. A top-ranked model in our budget exercise bike review, the IC4 is more of a value proposition when compared to the screen-equipped competition. This bike does not come with a fancy touchscreen, so you will need your own tablet or phone to use JRNY or third-party apps like Peloton and Zwift (subscriptions required), but otherwise, this bike performs roughly on par with the more expensive models. The IC4 has a sturdy feel with 100 levels of quiet magnetic resistance. It uses Bluetooth to connect to your device to use the JRNY app, and it has a device holder to keep your screen in view while you ride. The JRNY app offers a variety of workouts, with studio classes, virtual coach, and Explore the World scenic rides, as well as the ability to stream entertainment from your favorite subscription services (like Netflix, Hulu, etc.). In addition to the cycling workouts, JRNY has a full range of off-the-bike classes to work on your total body fitness. The ability to use third-party apps like Peloton and Zwift expands this bike's versatility even further, and the Peloton app is much less expensive when used on a non-Peloton product. Of course, the IC4 can also be used without an app, and the small console provides a variety of metrics pertaining to your current workout. It also comes with features like 3-pound hand weights, dual-function pedals, a Bluetooth heart rate armband, bottle holders, and more to enhance the user experience.
While the IC4 does work with apps like Zwift, we found that it isn't quite perfect and the power output reading is a bit high. While this isn't necessarily a problem for casual riders, it could cause some issues if you're trying to compete with other riders on the app (we are told the bike can be recalibrated for better accuracy, but it still won't be perfect). We also found that the speed and distance readings on the bike's console were higher than they should have been, but this is only a problem if you base your workouts on those metrics. Beyond these inaccuracies, we feel the IC4 is a reasonably priced connected bike that can get you into the studio and virtual cycling scene without breaking the bank.
Read review: Schwinn IC4
Best Bang for Your Buck
Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike
If you're not looking to spend a lot of money and don't require fancy screens, apps, and connectivity, the Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike is an affordable option. While it is quite basic compared to high-end models, this simple and sturdy spin bike provides a very effective workout. It has a 35 lb weighted flywheel with an infinite range of friction resistance to suit any exercise intensity. Its upright style requires an athletic body position, and it offers a large range of seat and handlebar height adjustments to fit riders of varying user heights. The padded seat is comfortable, and the large handlebar offers numerous hand placement options. The LCD display is basic but functional, showing one workout metric at a time. Below the console is a device holder, so you can place a tablet or phone for viewing while you ride. It does not have any wireless connectivity, but you could easily follow along with studio workouts from popular apps, just without any metrics displayed on your screen. It also comes with toe cage pedals, a bottle holder, and transport wheels integrated into the front stabilizer.
The biggest drawback to the Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike is its lack of connectivity. You can follow along with some workouts, but the bike doesn't integrate with any apps the way higher-end bikes do. That said, it costs a fraction of the price, and it provides a great workout as long as you don't require app integration to get and keep you motivated. Simple yet effective, the Yosuda is a quality option that won't break the bank.
Read review: Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike
Best for Home Studio Cycling
Peloton has quickly grown into one of the most recognizable names in home fitness, and after testing the Peloton Bike+, we can tell you that it's more than just hype. While it is structurally nearly identical to the original Bike, the Bike+ has had some minor cosmetic changes, and it now comes with an upgraded 23.8-inch swiveling HD touchscreen, better speakers, improved connectivity, Auto-Follow automatic resistance changes, and more. These changes have also resulted in a significant increase in price, but thankfully that includes free delivery and professional assembly. The bike itself is very sleek and streamlined, with 100 levels of nearly silent magnetic resistance and ample range for riders of all fitness levels. The screen is bright, has excellent resolution, and integrates seamlessly with the Peloton app which is really the highlight of the Bike+. Peloton has done an amazing job of developing their app, with live classes daily, thousands of on-demand studio classes of all types, lengths, music genres, etc, and the best instructors in the business. After using the app during testing, we learned firsthand why Peloton and their instructors have such a devoted following and large user community. The new Auto-Follow resistance option will also change the resistance for you based on the instructor's prompts, or you can still adjust it manually using the resistance knob. They also offer a broad range of off-the-bike workouts, and the swiveling screen makes it easy to follow along from anywhere in the room.
The biggest drawback to the Peloton Bike+ is the price. Not only is this bike expensive, but the $39/month All-Access app membership (increasing to $44/month starting June 1st, 2022) is an ongoing cost to be considered. The bike is still perfectly functional but relatively limited without the app membership. While there are some scenic rides to choose from, the overwhelming majority of Peloton workouts are of the studio style. This will appeal to many users, it is what Peloton is known for, after all, but some people may want a little more variety than what is offered. That said, if the at-home studio cycling experience is what you're after, it doesn't get any better than the Peloton Bike+.
Read review: Peloton Bike+
Best for Total Body Fitness
MYX II Plus
MYX Fitness is a lesser-known brand increasingly crowded home exercise market, but they bring an intriguing option to the table with the MYX II Plus bike. While perhaps not as sleek-looking and refined as some of the competition, the bike itself is sturdy and stable with a massive range of friction resistance to suit users of all fitness levels. An enormous range of fit adjustments and a 350-pound weight capacity also means that it should work for most users. It comes equipped with a WiFi and Bluetooth-enabled 21.5-inch swiveling HD touchscreen that can be oriented however you like for on and off-the-bike workouts using the OpenFit app. OpenFit has a good selection of studio-style cycling workouts with all the ride types, lengths, and music genres to choose from, all of which are based on heart rate zones using the included Polar heart rate armband. The app also has a huge selection of off-bike workouts ranging from strength training and pilates to yoga and meditation, and the Plus version we tested comes with a set of 6 dumbells (you choose between light, medium, and heavy), a kettlebell, a bike mat, exercise mat, foam roller, and a resistance band so you can follow along and build you own little home gym. The MYX II Plus also comes with plenty of other useful features, and delivery and assembly are included in the price, adding to its impressive value.
While the MYX II Plus is a quality bike, the friction resistance does not have any preset levels and seems a little vague compared to other models. We enjoyed the OpenFit app's cycling workouts, but there's no denying that it's somewhat limited compared to Peloton, for example, although there are a lot of off-bike classes to balance it out. Of course, the app membership cost is not insignificant, and it's right up there with the most expensive competitor's apps. Regardless, we feel this is a reasonably priced option for at-home studio cycling that comes with features and extras for total body fitness.
Read review: MYX II Plus
Best for an Immersive Cycling Experience
NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
If you want to ride at home and don't love the studio-style classes of the competition, we feel the NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is a great option. This commercial quality spin bike has 24 levels of smooth, silent magnetic resistance providing a huge range of difficulty, along with the unique ability to adjust incline and decline between 20 and -10% to simulate the feel of real-world riding. The 22-inch swiveling touchscreen has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, and it seamlessly integrates with the iFit app. While it does include a good selection of studio classes, iFit sets itself from the studio-centric competition with thousands of trainer-led scenic rides in beautiful places all over the world. The engaging trainers provide prompts, commentary, and training tips, helping to keep you motivated and pass the time. Best of all, the bike has an AutoAdjust feature that changes the bike's resistance and incline based on the terrain and trainer you're following, allowing you to get completely immersed in the ride. iFit also includes the full spectrum of off-the-bike workouts and the swiveling screen can be turned for viewing in any direction. The S22i also comes loaded with features like an adjustable fan, speakers, 3-lb dumbbells, bottle holders, a heart rate armband, and a USB port to keep things charged.
It's not all gold stars for the NordicTrack S22i. Our test bike arrived with a non-functional screen, and it took a little time to get a hold of customer service to get a replacement. Once we got a working screen, it repeatedly dropped the WiFi connection in the middle of workouts. After some troubleshooting, we solved the connection issue by using 2.4Ghz WiFi, but the issue was frustrating nonetheless. In our research, we also discovered that Icon Fitness (NordicTrack's parent company) has a less than stellar customer service track record, although our experience was good once we finally got in touch with them. Despite these issues, we really came to love the realistic and immersive cycling experience this bike and the iFit app offer and would recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to feel trapped in a studio.
Read review: NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
Notable for FTMS Bluetooth Connectivity at a Reasonable Price
Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike
Renpho isn't exactly a household name in home exercise, but the AI Smart Exercise Bike has a lot to offer at a reasonable price. This bike earned high regard in our budget exercise bike review, but it's more of a value proposition when compared to the higher-end models here. The bike is quite sturdy with 80 levels of smart motor damping magnetic resistance to suit a huge range of exercise intensity. It has a fairly simple interface with a dial to change resistance and a digital display that shows one metric at a time. The bike can be controlled manually, but it is also FTMS Bluetooth enabled, so you can pair it with your tablet or phone to connect to the free AI Gym app. The AI Gym app is relatively bare-bones, but it includes a modest selection of fitness tests, classes, and scenic rides, plus the FTMS Bluetooth makes automatic resistance changes when following certain programs. Additionally, through your device, it works with a variety of third-party apps like Zwift, Kinomap, FulGaz, Wahoo SYSTM, and more, so you can train using your favorite platform. Unlike the higher-end spin bikes, the Renpho has a freewheel design to simulate the feel of riding outdoors. This bike is quick and easy to assemble, and it has a relatively small footprint compared to most other models we tested.
While the Renpho AI Smart Bike can accommodate a wide range of user heights, we feel that the upper end of the recommended 4'11" to 6'5" range may be slightly exaggerated. Our lead tester is 6"0" with a 35" inseam, and he had the seat height completely maxed out. While the resistance is relatively smooth and quiet, it can't quite match the feel and silence of the more expensive competition. The display and controls are functional but very basic on their own, and this bike is best used with a tablet or phone as the display with the AI Gym app or any of the other apps it's compatible with. We love that it is free, but the AI Gym app is incredibly basic compared to others like Peloton, Echelon, or iFit, for example. That said, it's better than nothing, and its compatibility with third-party apps makes it a compelling option for the price.
Read review: Renpho AI Smart Exercise Bike
Why You Should Trust Us
Our lead exercise bike tester is Jeremy Benson. The Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor at GearLab, Benson is our point person for all things cycling-related. A full-time mountain bike tester and reviewer, Benson has over three decades of cycling experience and races in the Pro class in endurance gravel and mountain bike events. In the winter, Benson maintains his fitness with a combination of backcountry skiing and long hours on indoor trainers and stationary bikes. He has used every indoor trainer and exercise bike you can think of, from smart trainers to commercial spin and home exercise models. This experience has given him a keen sense of the qualities, performance, and features that differentiate the best exercise bikes.
After researching the best exercise bikes on the market, we purchased nine models to test and compare side by side. Our selection includes models ranging from budget-friendly spin bikes to the most advanced connected, screen-equipped bikes that money can buy. To start the testing process, we assembled each model ourselves (when applicable) before diving into our rigorous testing process. Over the course of several months, we spent countless hours riding each model, often back to back for direct comparison. We explored the full range of exercise intensity, from easy spins to hard interval workouts, to get a feel for each bike's exercise quality. We bought companion app memberships, navigated screens, followed along to classes and workout programs, and analyzed the comfort and features of each model in the process.We rated each exercise bike across five rating metrics:
- Exercise Quality including companion apps (35% of overall score)
- Comfort (20% of overall score)
- User Interface (20% of overall score)
- Features (15% of overall score)
- Setup and Portability (5% of overall score)
We use these predetermined metrics to focus on performance differences between products while testing and evaluating them. Spending many hours spent riding each bike allows us to get a feel for the range of exercise intensity and the overall quality of the experience. This includes not just the range of resistance, but also a deep dive into the bikes' respective programs and companion apps to examine the variety, quality, and options offered, but also how the apps differ from one another. These days, the apps themselves dictate the type of experience many exercise bikes offer. We weight exercise quality at 35% of the total score because exercise is the point of an exercise bike, after all. We feel that the other metrics are still important, but less critical to overall performance and are therefore weighted less. The combined scores across all of our rating metrics help us determine our award winners.
Analysis and Test Results
Each exercise bike in this review was put through the same rigorous testing process and evaluation. We identified several metrics that we feel are important to each model's performance; exercise quality (including companion apps), comfort, user interface, features, and setup and portability. We took extensive notes during testing and scored each model on our predetermined metrics to identify our award winners and top recommendations.
Modern exercise bikes with fancy touchscreens, app integration, and all the bells and whistles can cost a pretty penny, and that's before you even factor in the ongoing cost of companion app subscriptions. If you're willing and able to pay top dollar for the latest and greatest models, you typically won't be disappointed. That said, some of the models we tested strike us as a particularly good value considering their ratio of price to performance. The MYX II Plus is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but this bike provides a great workout, comes with a swiveling touchscreen that integrates with the OpenFit app, delivery and assembly are included, along with a set of weights, mats, and more to outfit your home gym. The Renpho AI Smart Bike is a reasonably priced model that is FTMS Bluetooth enabled and works with the free AI Gym app and several other third-party apps through your tablet or phone. It's not quite as flashy as the more expensive competition, but it provides a solid workout and you can potentially save a lot of money in the long run using the free app. If you don't require connectivity or fitness apps, the Yosuda Exercise Bike is a simple but effective spin bike that gets the job done at a fraction of the price.
Exercise is the entire point of an exercise bike, and all of the models we tested can definitely provide you with a workout. The quality of the workout, however, varies somewhat among the models we tested, with some offering a commercial level or professional studio type experience, and others falling a bit below the high bar set by the top-ranked models. With advancements in technology, many high-end models now include screens, wireless connectivity, and apps that contribute to the overall exercise experience.
Among the higher-end models like the Peloton Bike+, Bowflex, Echelon, NordicTrack, Schwinn IC4and MYX II Plus, the bikes themselves are structurally quite similar. They are well-built and sturdy machines that are made to handle hard efforts and easy spins alike. They all offer a wide range of fit adjustments for comfort and performance, and all of them connect to their respective companion apps for viewing classes and videos through their fancy touchscreens (with the exception of the IC4 which does not have an attached screen). While they have various numbers of resistance levels (Peloton, Schwinn, and Bowflex have 100, Echelon has 32, NordicTrack has 24, and the MYX's adjustable friction resistance doesn't have preset levels), they all offer a range of resistance that is suitable for all fitness levels and workout intensities. These are all high-quality spin bikes that are capable of providing you with any workout challenge you're after, but a few set themselves apart from the competition.
The NordicTrack S22i has adjustable incline/decline, and the iFit app's trainer-led scenic rides and AutoAdjust resistance and incline help to simulate the feel of real-world riding and provide a unique, immersive workout. Bowflex also brings something unique to the table with the lean feature on the VeloCore. The bike can be ridden in a traditional stationary position, or it can be unlocked to enter lean mode where the rider can tip the bike side to side while following along with the lean programs on the JRNY app. Leaning the bike provides a natural-ish riding sensation and provides a surprisingly effective workout for the core and other stabilization muscles.
The Peloton Bike+ has an Auto-Follow feature and the bike can make automatic resistance changes based on the class you're following, and the large screen can be turned and tilted in any direction while doing any of the off-bike workouts. The MYX II Plus comes with a set of 6 hand weights, a kettlebell, mats, a resistance band, and a foam roller to outfit your exercise space with just about everything you need for the on and off-the-bike workouts on the OpenFit app. Like the Peloton, the MYX's screen also rotates and tilts for easy viewing.
The Renpho AI Smart Bike doesn't quite match the high-end feel of the higher-priced competition, but it offers a huge range of resistance, and its compatibility with various apps allows you to choose the workout experience you prefer. The Yosuda forgoes the fancy screens and connectivity of the top-ranked models, but there's no limit to how hard you can workout on this bike.
As the market continues to mature, these once-simple machines have grown along with technology and become much more than just a bike. These days, many bikes come with large touchscreens that connect to companion apps where you can view live and on-demand classes and videos, and often, the apps themselves and the different experiences they provide may even be a more important element of the exercise quality than the bike itself for some users. Even if bikes don't have dedicated screens, many can connect to a device through Bluetooth so you can use that as a screen while you follow along with a companion or third-party app. These apps cost money, of course, and they range from around $20-$40 a month which is a not-insignificant ongoing cost that needs to be considered.
Screen-equipped exercise bikes rely on WiFi to connect to their companion app, and Bluetooth to connect to wireless accessories and other devices. All of the bikes we tested with screens have their respective companion apps, Peloton works with Peloton All-Access, NordicTrack with iFit, MYX with OpenFit, Echelon with Echelon, and Bowflex with JRNY. Peloton is undoubtedly the elephant in the room, particularly in the context of live and on-demand studio cycling classes. It's not just the sheer number of classes either, but the excellent instructors, variety, user community, and production quality are second to none. After testing, it's easy to see why Peloton is so incredibly popular, even when it costs $39/month (increasing to $44/month on 6/1/2022) on top of the price of the Bike+. The Echelon app is very similar to Peloton with loads of live and on-demand studio classes, scenic rides, and off-the-bike workouts. It costs slightly less, provides a very similar experience, but hasn't inspired the cult-like following of its direct competitor. MYX's OpenFit app is also very studio-focused, and while it feels a bit sparse compared to Echelon or Peloton for cycling, there are tons of off-bike videos for total body fitness.
The Bowflex VeloCore uses JRNY, a less expensive app that provides lots of options to the user. JRNY has the typical studio classes (though significantly less than Peloton, for example), Explore the World scenic rides, and lots of "virtual coach" programs. One unique aspect of the JRNY app is that you can select the music genre or scenic ride to go with the virtual coach workout, and you can even stream entertainment on Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus (subscriptions required) through the screen. This bike also works with Peloton and Zwift through your own device, and frankly, we think it's great that it provides that flexibility and doesn't constrain you to one platform.
The NordicTrack S22i integrates with the iFit app through its touchscreen. iFit is quite different from the more studio class-focused apps of the competition, though it does have quite a few of those, as it is focused more on trainer-led scenic rides. There are literally thousands of these videos that take place in beautiful places around the world with engaging trainers who tell stories, provide prompts, and give training advice. The bike can also be controlled through its AutoAdjust feature, resulting in an immersive experience that almost feels like you're there on the ride. This is not the best choice for those seeking the Peloton experience, but that's also its appeal.
Connected bikes without screens typically use Bluetooth to connect to a tablet or smartphone where an app can be viewed. The Schwinn IC4 can connect to your device to work with the JRNY companion app and third-party apps like Peloton and Zwift (though not perfectly with Zwift). Similarly, the Renpho AI Bike uses Bluetooth to connect to a device to use the free AI Gym app and it works with various third-party apps. The Renpho has the FTMS Bluetooth protocol which allows the bike to make resistance changes for you when used with certain apps. While AI Gym is quite basic compared to other apps, it's free, and is certainly better than nothing.
Comfort is subjective, of course, so in addition to our tester's comfort level on each bike, we did our best to examine its fit range and comfort features. All of the bikes we tested have fit adjustments to suit a range of rider heights along with touchpoints like the seat and handlebar that are intended for workouts varying from easy to high intensity. We measured the range of vertical and horizontal seat and handlebar adjustability, as those numbers will determine a comfortable fit for riders of different shapes and sizes. During testing, we also considered the comfort of each bike's seat and handlebar on multiple rides of various lengths and intensities.
All of the bikes we tested strive to provide a comfortable fit for a wide range of user heights, but none do it quite as well as the MYX II Plus. The MYX bike has a weight limit of 350 lbs and is the most adjustable bike we tested with a massive recommended user height range of 4'11" to 6'8". This is achieved through 13-inches of vertical and 8-inches of fore/aft seat adjustability, along with 6-inches vertical and 3-inches of fore/aft handlebar adjustment range. The seat and handlebar are a little lackluster, but we found them to be comfortable enough and appropriate for this spin-style bike.
Both the Echelon EX-5s and the Schwinn IC4 also offer fit adjustments for the seat and handlebar vertically and horizontally. Neither bike provides quite as much adjustment range as the MYX, but both should be suitable for folks between roughly 4'11" and 6'4". Again, these bikes have slimmer, performance-oriented seats, and large handlebars that offer multiple hand positions for various riding styles and comfort. The Bowflex VeloCore, NordicTrack S22i, and Peloton Bike+ will also work for riders of varying heights. These bikes all have seats that can be adjusted vertically and fore/aft, as well as handlebars that can be raised and lowered a few inches. None of these bikes have horizontal handlebar adjustments, however, so you will need to compensate for reach length by shifting the seat on its horizontal adjustment. Regardless, we were always able to find a comfortable body position while testing.
The less expensive models, like the Yosuda, Schwinn 130, and Renpho all offer a sizeable seat adjustment range, but they have limited handlebar adjustments, larger seats, and more basic handlebars. Despite these differences, we found them all to provide a relatively comfortable riding experience.
The user interface refers to the ways in which a rider interacts with their exercise bike. Some models have simple dials or buttons to control resistance and digital displays to view metrics and information pertinent to your workout, while others have fancy touchscreens to connect to companion apps and view workouts while you ride. In between the more basic models and the top of the line are bikes that connect via Bluetooth to your tablet or phone, which then becomes your display, to use various training apps.
Among the screen-equipped models we tested, the Peloton Bike+ impressed us the most. The 23.8-inch HD touchscreen has excellent resolution, color, and touch sensitivity, plus it swivels and tilts so you can optimize its position for viewing from any angle. The Bike+ has a knob to control the resistance manually, plus it has an optional Auto-Follow feature that changes resistance for you so you can focus even more on the workout.
Not far behind the Peloton, the MYX II Plus has a 21.5-inch HD touchscreen that has vibrant color, great resolution, and it also swivels and tilts for optimal viewing both on and off the bike. The NordicTrack S22i has a 22-inch HD touchscreen with good resolution that integrates well with the iFit app. This screen also swivels, but its tilt range does limit its position somewhat for off-bike floor workouts. Unlike the other high-end models, the S22i doesn't use a knob to control resistance, instead, there are buttons on the handlebar to adjust incline and resistance, of the bike will do it for you through its AutoAdjust feature.
Two of the screen-equipped models have quality touchscreens, though they don't have the ability to rotate to optimize the viewing angle for workouts off the bike. The Echelon EX-5s has a knob to control resistance along with a 22-inch screen that tilts and can be flipped all the way over. This allows you to view workouts from in front of the bike, but not from the sides. Similarly, the Bowflex VeloCore has a slightly smaller 16-inch screen, although it has a more limited range of tilt adjustment that works only to find the perfect angle for viewing while you ride.
Of the models without screens, the Schwinn IC4 has a resistance adjustment knob, a small digital display that shows a number of metrics while you ride, plus it has a holder for viewing your device when connected to the bike and an app through Bluetooth. The Schwinn 130 Upright and the Renpho AI Smart Bike have buttons and a dial to control resistance, respectively, along with the Bluetooth capabilities to pair with your device to use that as a display when using a compatible app.
Most bikes come with at least some features that are intended to enhance the user experience, while others come loaded with all the bells and whistles you can think of. While you can certainly get a great workout on a more basic machine, many models now come with all the bells and whistles that you can think of. We feel the best features are those that are actually useful and impactful for the rider, or that offer something unique to the overall experience.
It comes as no surprise that the screen-equipped high-end models score well in the features metric. Two models, however, stood out from the crowd with features that provide a unique workout experience. The Bowflex VeloCore is a commercial quality spin bike that sets itself apart with its lean feature. Riders have the option to unlock the bike and lean it side to side while following along with the JRNY app's lean workouts, providing not only a more realistic ride feel, but also adding some core and stabilization muscle work to the workout. This bike also has the unique ability to stream entertainment through the JRNY app, it works with third-party apps like Peloton and Zwift, and it comes loaded with other features like hand weights, dual function pedals, a heart rate armband, and more.
Similar to the VeloCore, the NordicTrack S22i offers something different with adjustable incline and decline. The large swiveling touchscreen integrates with the iFit app, and the AutoAdjust feature makes automatic resistance and incline changes based on the trainer-led scenic ride you're following for an immersive ride experience that is a real departure from the studio classes of the competition. This bike also comes with hand weights, an adjustable fan, bottle holders, and a number of other useful features.
The MYX II Plus is another model that brings something extra to the table with a set of six dumbells, a kettlebell, mats, a resistance band, and a foam roller included with the bike. The bike itself is quite nice with a large swiveling touchscreen, but the inclusion of the weights and mats provides pretty much everything you need to follow along with the OpenFit app's on and off-the-bike workouts for total body fitness.
The Peloton Bike+ also scores well here for its best-in-test swiveling screen that can be positioned in any direction for viewing on and off-bike workouts, excellent speakers, and the new Auto-Follow feature that makes automatic resistance changes based on the class you're following. For the models without a screen, the Schwinn IC4 has a lot to offer with dual function pedals, hand weights, water bottle holders, and Bluetooth connectivity to pair with your device and connect with the JRNY app and a variety of third-party apps.
Setup and Portability
Most exercise bikes, with the exception of those that include professional assembly, are delivered in a large box and require some assembly to get them ready for use. To evaluate the ease of setup, we assembled each bike ourselves using the included instructions and tools and took note of the relative difficulty and time it took to complete the process. In terms of portability, we consider the weight of each model, how easy it is to move around, and measured the footprint and overall dimensions to see how much space they occupy. All of these bikes take up a fair amount of space, although the higher-end models with large touchscreens tend to be a little larger overall.
The clear winners in terms of setup are the Peloton Bike+ and the MYX II Plus because they include delivery and professional assembly in the purchase price. All you need to do is clear a space, and the delivery team will put the bike together for you. Both bikes have relatively average-sized footprints when compared to other high-end models, but their large touchscreens make them somewhat tall and stand out a bit in any room. At 140+ pounds each, these bikes are best left in a dedicated workout space, although they are fairly easy to move around on firm, flat surfaces thanks to their transport wheels.
The Renpho AI Smart Bike, Schwinn Upright 130, and Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike scored well in this metric for their quick and easy assembly process and smaller dimensions. Unlike the heavier higher-end bikes with more complicated assemblies, these models required fewer steps and time to complete the setup. With the smallest footprints of all the bikes tested, they also take up a fair amount less space in your home.
The Schwinn IC4, Bowflex VeloCore, and Echelon EX-5s weren't particularly difficult to assemble, but their heavier weight and the number of steps involved make them more time-consuming. You'll want to set aside 1-2 hours and enlist the help of another person for several of the steps, particularly when connecting the wires and attaching the consoles on the Bowflex and Echelon bikes. Without a large touchscreen, the IC4 is the lightest and has the smallest footprint, while the VeloCore and EX-5s are a fair amount larger and heavier, but comparable to other similar bikes with screens.
A quality exercise bike can be a great way to maintain fitness or meet new goals without ever leaving home. Whether you're just getting started on your fitness journey or looking to do some more intense training, there's a bike for you. We hope that our detailed comparative review helps you find the right exercise bike to suit your needs and budget.
— Jeremy Benson
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