Exercise bikes let you pedal your way to a fitter you faster than you can say, "Look Ma, no hands!" And indoor cycling isn't only a calorie-burning cardio workout; you'll also get some mega muscle-boosting perks.
But buying an indoor bike is an investment you won't want to make without some research. Skip the hours of Googling and check out our list of the best stationary bikes on the market.
The Best Indoor Cycling Bikes
- Best Overall: Peloton Bike ($2,245, OnePeloton)
- Best Overall on a Budget: Echelon Smart Connect Bike Ex1 ($839.98, EchelonFit)
- Best for Beginners: Bladez Fitness Master GS Indoor Cycle Trainer ($599, Amazon)
- Best Deal: Sunny Health and Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike ($395.99, Amazon)
- Best for Seasoned Athletes: NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle ($1,999, NordicTrack)
Shopping for a Stationary Exercise Bike
"From quads and hamstrings to calves and glutes, cycling is a great way to target the muscles in the lower body," Tom Holland, exercise physiologist and certified strength and conditioning specialist says. "It's also a lower-impact option than something like running, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels."
To reap these benefits, though, you have to actually get on that bike. That's where purchasing an at-home option comes in; you'll stifle any skip-the-gym excuses, because, well, the bike is right there!
"For new parents, folks who work long hours, people who don't thrive in a gym environment and people who don't have access to a boutique cycling studio or whose local spot doesn't have a convenient schedule, owning your own bike is a really practical way to cycle consistently and comfortably," says Alex Lyons, stadium cycling and precision training instructor with Flywheel Sports.
Of course, having your own indoor cycling bike requires buying one. And admittedly, that can be a big purchase — both in terms of space and cost. Typically, the fewer bells and whistles, the less expensive an exercise bike will be.
Indoor bikes typically fall into one of two categories: bikes that give you the option to stream pre-recorded or live cycling classes, and bikes that do not. "If you can self-motivate, you probably don't need a bike with a screen," says Karen Maxwell, senior master instructor for cycling studio franchise CycleBar. "But if you enjoy taking classes or need to be pushed and motivated by an instructor, an on-demand bike is ideal."
Bikes with high-tech streaming features can be three to four (or more) times as expensive as more traditional options, Maxwell says. If you're on a budget, you'll also want to keep in mind that many of the options with screens also charge a monthly subscription fee.
Is Buying an Indoor Exercise Bike Worth It?
- Cycling at home can be more cost-effective than going to a studio
- The convenience of having your own bike might mean you exercise more frequently
- There are budget-friendly options on the market
- You can find a smaller-sized bike to save space
- At-home bikes can be costly and take up a fair amount of space
- Some varieties can be loud or disruptive at home
Best Indoor Cycling Bikes
1. Best Overall: Peloton Bike
One of the original players in the at-home indoor cycling game, the Peloton bike was literally created to offer riders 24/7 access to high-intensity classes. Here's how it works: You turn on the luxury device, select one of the 10,000+ workouts led by the motivational instructors Peloton is known for, clip in and get riding. If data is your jam, you can even keep tabs on your performance with real-time metrics.
If you're someone who enjoys the feel and camaraderie of an in-person workout but can't consistently attend a studio, you can stream one of the 20 live studio classes offered each day.
Peloton instructor Christine D'Ercole says this option makes the ride "a socially connected experience, because there's an instructor and a community of people riding with you, cheering you on every step of the way. It gives you the feeling that when you ride it, you're not alone."
The $39 monthly subscription to the Peloton App also lets you stream yoga, strength training and even outdoor workouts from anywhere. Because let's face it, there are probably only so many times a week your rear can handle seated exercise!
Buy it: OnePeloton.com; Price: $2,245
2. Best Overall on a Budget: Echelon Smart Connect Bike Ex1
The Echelon delivers access to professional, live-streamed classes through a downloadable app at a more budget-friendly price. To ride, you'll open the app on your phone or tablet, pick one of hundreds of classes of various lengths and intensities, prop the device up in Echelon's adjustable device holder and get coasting.
The app — which costs $39.99 a month — also gives you access to a range of non-cycling workouts including yoga, Pilates, strength training, kickboxing, Zumba and more.
"Both the cycling and non-cycling classes give you the feel that you're working out with your own personal trainer," says Nancy McCaffrey, a cycling instructor and Echelon's director of content. "The trainer will guide you through the workout, offering motivation and even calling out your name."
Another selling feature: The frame is smaller than other options, making it a great solution for apartment living.
Buy it: EchelonFit.com; Price: $839.98
3. Best for Beginners: Bladez Fitness Master GS Indoor Cycle Trainer
If you're new to cycling but want to invest in a quality at-home bike, Bladez is a great option. This bike is only 44 pounds and offers a fluid, smooth ride, making it feel like you're on a well-paved, pebble-free road. Plus, it's one of the quieter bikes on the market.
You can adjust the seat horizontally and vertically to vary your distance from the display and handlebars. The display is simple and allows you to monitor your pace, distance, resistance and calories-burned. (Of course, you can always cover up that info with a towel for a numbers-free ride.)
The biggest draw of this bike (especially for newbies) is its quality and price point. The Bladez bike sits at a middle-grade price point, which is great if you're not yet 100 percent committed to your indoor cycling career. The frame is sturdy and long-lasting, so even out of the saddle, you'll feel secure and supported — a major win for folks who get sore in the seat.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $599
4. Best Deal: Sunny Health and Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
This classic stationary exercise bike is a budget-friendly option for weekend warriors who enjoy a self-motivated ride without an instructor.
The bike may not offer tons of special features, but it delivers exactly what you need to feel like you're riding outdoors: an easy-to-adjust resistance knob, a water-bottle holder, a 40-pound chrome flywheel and an adjustable seat and handlebars.
That last point is especially noteworthy: Both the handlebars and seat move up, down, forward and back — so while the bike is relatively inexpensive, it fits more like a luxury pick.
Another major perk: This bike offers a completely silent ride; the only sounds you'll hear are your own huffs and puffs, meaning you can sneak in a quick ride without interrupting a sleeping kid or working partner.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $395.99
5. Best for Seasoned Athletes: NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle
Imagine this: You're cycling at home, following along with the instructor on your exercise bike's built-in screen, when suddenly your incline and resistance increase, seemingly on their own. Wild, right?
With NordicTrack's S22i Studio Cycle, the elite-level instructor on your screen can literally adjust your personal workout — digitally, of course. Whenever you want, you can stream an on-demand cycling class onto your 22-inch interactive screen and start sweating while the coach holds you accountable.
Mecayla Froerer, a certified personal trainer with iFit, is a huge fan of the fact that the S22i can be adjusted for incline, a feature most indoor cycling bikes don't offer. "Varying your incline and decline strengthens your leg muscles in a different way and better conditions you for outdoor cycling," she says.
Membership to the streaming service is included for a year after you buy the bike, and then you'll pay $39 per month. That subscription also includes non-cycling offerings like yoga and full-body bootcamps that you can follow comfortably by rotating the bike's screen to face away from the seat.
Buy it: NordicTrack.com; Price: $1,999