Best Exercise Bikes
Finding the right exercise bike depends on a lot of things including your body, preferences, and fitness goals. This is before we even get into the diversity of stationary bikes and the unique ride and exercise benefits. Luckily, we’ve taken the time to eliminate some of the guesswork by exploring two of the most popular styles — recumbent and spin — to find you the best models on the market.
How We Chose the Best Exercise Bikes
We looked at all the spin and recumbent bikes made by Bladez, Diamondback, Keiser, Nautilus, NordicTrack, Peloton, ProForm, Schwinn, Spinning, and Sunny Health — the most reputable companies in the exercise bike market. Our starting list of 57 bikes included a vast range of engineering choices, technology uses, and price points. To discover what elements make some bikes better than others, we consulted physiotherapy and fitness experts and dug into sports medicine data. Then we compared these learnings to the machines’ stats.
Resistance mechanisms recreate the intensity of outdoor cycling, caused by wind, incline, and changing terrain. There are two exercise bike resistance systems, and weighted flywheels are at the core of each. One relies on a heavy flywheel alone, the other simulates weight by pulling on the metal flywheel with magnets.
Clean, intuitive controls
Spin and recumbent bikes couldn’t be more different in terms of programming, but our standards for each were surprisingly similar: Clear, helpful, usable information that improved our workout.
Durability backed by warranty
We prioritize long warranties for all exercise equipment. You’d be hard-pressed to find a piece of residential-use cardio equipment that didn’t have at least a handful of customer reviews detailing an unexpected breakdown or malfunction during the first year. The better the bike, the less likely it is you’ll be sent the one with a manufacturing flaw, but it’s not unprecedented to find a bad apple in a good bunch.