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 also get some mega muscle-boosting perks.
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But buying an indoor bike is an investment you don't want to make without some research. Skip the hours of Googling and check out our expert-approved list of the best stationary bikes on the market.
1. Best Overall: Peloton Bike
One of the original players in the at-home indoor cycling game, the Peloton bike was created to offer riders 24/7 access to high-intensity classes.
Here's how it works: You turn on the screen, select one of the 10,000+ workouts led by one of Peloton's motivational instructors, clip in and get riding. If data is your jam, you can even track your calories burned, speed and overall workout time (among plenty other stats).
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 dozens of 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.
Buy it: OnePeloton.com; Price: $1,495
2. Best for 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, CPT, a certified personal trainer with iFit, loves 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: $1,499
3. Best for Small Spaces: Echelon Connect Bike Ex-5s
Echelon delivers access to professional, live-streamed classes through a downloadable app. To ride, you open the app on your phone or tablet, pick one of hundreds of classes of various lengths and intensities, prop the device up on Echelon's adjustable device holder and start pedaling.
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, CPT, 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 great feature: The indoor bike's frame is smaller than other options, making it a great solution for apartment living.
Buy it: EchelonFit.com; Price: $1,499
4. Best for Beginners: Segmart Cycling Bike
If you're new to cycling but want to invest in a quality at-home exercise bike, consider Segmart's the best indoor bike for you. This bike is only 68 pounds and offers a fluid, smooth ride, making it feel like you're on a well-paved, pebble-free road. Plus, it has foot cages for new riders who haven't yet invested in indoor cycling shoes.
You can adjust the seat horizontally and vertically to vary your distance from the LCD 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 stationary bike (especially for newbies) is its quality and price point. This bike sits at a low-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 feel secure and supported — a major win for folks still adjusting to proper cycling posture.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $159.99
5. Best Basic: 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 delivers exactly what you need to feel like you're riding outdoors: an easy-to-adjust resistance knob, a water-bottle holder 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.
This pick is more low tech than other options, which is ideal for self-motivated riders, according to Karen Maxwell, senior master instructor for cycling studio franchise CycleBar.
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: $399
3 Factors to Consider When Searching for Your Best Indoor Bike
1. Your Available Space
Although most indoor cycling bikes are relatively similar in size, they can vary a bit. So, before you buy, you want to take a look at your available space compared to the size of different bikes on the market. Read the product details of your favorite bike closely and measure your free floor space.
Also, think about whether you want to keep your bike out in your room or stored away. Some bikes are taller than others and may not easily fit into your closet or free garage space.
2. Your Technology Preferences
While some bikes offer high-tech screens with hundreds of classes, others only have a simple LCD monitor, displaying the most standard metrics. The level of technology on your bike is totally personal preference.
The best 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 Maxwell. "But if you enjoy taking classes or need to be pushed and motivated by an instructor, an on-demand bike is ideal."
Those who like to monitor their progress over time may also want to consider a more high-tech option. More advanced indoor cycling bikes can record and store your data, making it easier to track how you're advancing.
3. Your Budget
Of course, having your own stationary 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.
The best indoor 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.
More advanced bikes also require buying indoor cycling shoes, which is another purchase to consider if you're shopping on a budget. Cheaper options, though, often have cages for your feet, so you can wear your regular gym shoes while on the bike.