5 Best Exercise Bikes to Stay Active Year-Round
You can stay fit year-round with indoor cycling. Here are the best exercise bikes, including spin and recumbent bikes, to use at home.
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The rise of exercise bikes and the home gym
Many people have tried to stay away from gyms and socially distance because of Covid-19, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped working out—in fact, at-home exercise has taken off this year in an unprecedented way, including the use of exercise bikes.
“It’s been amazing to see how many people haven’t stopped working out,” says Colleen Conlon, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor at Equinox in New York City. “I started doing Zoom classes the week after we went into lockdown.”
One form of at-home exercise that’s really seen a huge increase in sales and numbers is indoor biking. According to National Public Radio, sales of indoor stationary exercise bikes—whether they are spin bikes or recumbent bikes—grew by 31 percent in the first quarter of this year over the same time last year.
“I think a lot of people realized that they couldn’t be runners a few months into the pandemic and have decided to invest in a home bike,” says Roxie Jones, a personal trainer in New York City. “It’s an easy way to stay engaged and accountable with so many digital cycling platforms. I think it may be a good thing given that we don’t know what’s going to happen this winter. It’s important for us to stay moving and active, for physical and mental health, so at-home fitness is a saving grace.” (This is the best exercise equipment for at-home workouts.)
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How to choose the best exercise bike for home use
With so many indoor exercise bikes on the market, it’s important to know what to consider when choosing one. “Quality matters most,” says Joey Foley, owner and founder of Punch Pedal cycling and boxing studio in Brooklyn, New York. “Pay attention to the customer service for the company, too, because the bike will have issues, and you need to be able to get help to troubleshoot.”
If you want to get the most out of your bike, it has to work well. “Be sure to get a bike that’s stable enough to last a long time,” says Jones.
Next, you should pinpoint your goals and what you’re looking to get out of an indoor exercise bike. “Make sure you know what you value before spending the money, because not all bikes are created equally,” says Conlon. “Do you want to be able to track wattage and distance? Do you want your bike to be quiet, so no one in your home can hear you working out? Do you want someone on the other side teaching you?”
Figure out if you want movement based on rhythm, power, or if you’re just looking to train for a race or ride. Once you know what you’re looking for, it will help to narrow down the field. And don’t miss these spin shoes for indoor cycling you’ll want to pair with your new bike.
Exercise bikes and on-demand class platforms
A lot of exercise bikes come with on-demand class platforms or are compatible with different apps and on-demand class platforms. “I would try as many platforms and classes as you can,” suggests Foley. “Then, I would commit to a platform I like best.”
Most apps and platforms have free trials, so give a couple a go before you make a decision. And most are very affordable. “You’re paying for an experience, and knowledge, not to mention staying connected with a community,” says Jones. “It’s worth it if the user enjoys it and can commit to it.”
“Finally, look for a bike that fits your budget and style,” says Foley. But speaking of budget, It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes cost equals quality. “I would invest in the best quality, even though some seem expensive,” says Jones. “I know some people see the high prices and assume it’s too much, but you’re investing in an experience and your health. I’ve also heard of people purchasing cheaper options and using it only a few times before it just begins collecting dust.” Get the most out of it with these exercise bike products that help keep you healthy.
With all this in mind, here are five of the best indoor exercise bikes to help you stay fit year-round.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse
With over 11,000 reviews for a four-and-a-half out of five star average rating on Amazon, there’s no denying that this Exerpeutic bike is a great indoor option. The bike has a larger seat for a more comfortable experience, eight-levels of magnetic resistance, and an LCD display to track your distance, calories burned, time, speed, and pulse (which you can get from the hand sensors in the handlebars).
If you live in a small apartment and have limited space, this bike easily folds up to half the size and can be wheeled into the corner of the room when not in use. (Try these at-home workouts for a stronger core.)
JEEKEE – Recumbent Exercise Bike
If you prefer to sit back and have support behind you while you cycle, consider this recumbent bike from JEEKEE. It offers a workout free from joint pain, with a high backrest, a large soft seat cushion on an adjustable seat, and a comfortable, ergonomic design. It also has 8 levels of magnetic resistance so you can adjust the intensity of your workout, meaning this bike is suitable for everyone, whether you’re in physical therapy and need some light movement, or you’re looking to improve your endurance and build muscle.
It’s also great for all ages and sizes; one 5-star review from James reads, “I’m 68 years old. A recumbent bike is far easier for me to get a decent cardio workout on as I can sit back rather than lean forward. This bike fit the bill nicely, at a reasonable price. It assembled quite easily and has a small footprint. It also has back wheels to facilitate moving it around, and can be stored on end. It is not as large as recumbents at the gyms, but for it’s size I feel it’s pretty sturdy – and I’m not exactly a ‘lightweight’!”
Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Exercise Stationary Bike with Digital Monitor
Cycle along to your own external music device or while watching your television on this Sunny Health & Fitness indoor bike. It’s ergonomically designed for a comfortable ride, with an adjustable padded seat and foam-padded handlebars. A twist of the resistance knob will either make pedaling easier or harder, depending on what you’re looking for. The built-in monitor will keep tabs on your time, speed, distance, and calories burned.
DMASUN – Indoor Cycling Bike
If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, try this bike from DMASUN. It has a heavy-duty steel frame and a heavier flywheel, so you feel stable and secure while you ride. It also features a digital monitor so you can track your time, speed, distance, pulse, and calories burned.
In his 5-star review, Mark S. also praised the ease of assembly, writing, “It was very well packaged. I laid the parts out and my wife read the assembly directions. It took about a half hour from start to finish, the tools needed came in the box. It was easy to assemble by myself. It works great! It’s very quiet and has a solid stable feel, I’m 6 foot and 235 pounds. I like the adjustable tension. If you are looking for a good stationary bike at a good price you have found it.”
Cyclace Exercise Stationary Bike
First, adjust your seat and handlebars for a unique and comfortable fit, then turn up the resistance to challenge yourself as you cycle on this Cyclace exercise bike. The flywheel and belt-driven system offer a quieter option than some chain alternatives, which may be ideal in your home (especially if you’re cycling while others may be sleeping, working, or studying). The comfortable seat cushion will allow you to ride longer, and track your time, speed, distance, calories burned, and odometer as you progress.
You also can place a phone or tablet on the built-in holder to ride along to other videos or access other cycling memberships or apps you have access to. “A more experienced rider doesn’t need to be in a class setting and can train on a bike on their own, but it can be helpful to have the option to let someone verbally cue you through a ride,” says Conlon. “I think for experienced riders, using audio apps are just as powerful, too.” (If you’re using weights, avoid these weight-lifting mistakes.)
For more wellness wisdom, keep reading:
- Colleen Conlon, CPT-PTA GLOBAL, 200YYT, RKC Level 1, Schwinn Indoor Cycling, group fitness instructor at Equinox in New York City
- NPR: "Bike Sales Gear Up As The Homebound Try Socially Distant Exercise"
- Roxie Jones, NASM-CPT, personal trainer in New York City
- Joey Foley, NSM, CFSC, owner and founder of Punch Pedal cycling and boxing studio in Brooklyn, New York