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Best Exercise Bikes for 2023 Best Exercise Bikes for 2023
$799 at Walmart Best add-on for your outdoor bike Saris H3 Indoor Trainer View details While you can always climb on one of a... Best Exercise Bikes for 2023


$799 at Walmart

Saris H3

Best add-on for your outdoor bike

Saris H3 Indoor Trainer


View details

While you can always climb on one of a dozen exercise bikes neatly lined up at your local gym, it may surprise you to know there are a lot of way better options you can have at home without breaking the bank or taking up an entire room. Even before Peloton became a household name, exercise bikes have been getting smarter, sleeker and less expensive. For every exercise bike with a big screen mounted on the front showing you a spin-class-style workout and competitive ranking, there’s a great no-frills option you can tuck away when it’s not in use. All you need to do is pick the one that best fits your needs, so it doesn’t become an expensive place to hang up wet clothes after a few months. Don’t worry — we’re here to help identify the best exercise bike for you. 

Which is the best exercise bike?

I have more than five years experience testing indoor exercise bikes, and not just because I moved to a place where it gets too cold to enjoy my road bike all year long. There’s a lot to like about exercise bikes, no matter what your skill level is as a cyclist. Right now the best overall exercise bike is the Bowflex Velocore series. It’s easily one of the most versatile exercise bikes that doesn’t take up a massive amount of space, the included display offers a massive amount of training and entertainment options, and it comes in a budget-friendly version with a smaller display.

Best exercise bikes of 2023

Bowflex Velocore

Bowflex

Like

  • Sturdy design without being loud
  • Great display and speakers
  • Versatile software package

Don’t like

  • Not enough training courses for full-body workouts
  • Screen doesn’t turn left or right

Bowflex has worked hard to make its Velocore series something anyone can enjoy. The bike itself is surprisingly modular, and its magnetic resistance system allows you to get a whole body workout without making a ton of noise. The big front wheels make it easy to move around, and while you can use the big speakers on the front of the display, it also works great with headphones over Bluetooth. But the truly unique part of this design is the ability to lean into your rides thanks to a locked hinge, which offers a core workout while you ride.

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peloton1

Peloton

Like

  • Best-in-class build quality
  • Immersive classes
  • Killer display

Don’t like

  • Very little to do if you don’t want to take a class
  • Expensive monthly subscription
  • Limited full-body options

If you’ve been looking to buy an exercise bike, you’ve heard of Peloton. It has a reputation for higher than average build quality, a large crisp display and slick branding. Peloton bikes are frequently compared to Apple products when it comes to look and feel, and it’s not hard to see why. The frame can be easily adjusted to suit a variety of body types, with a frame that’s easier for many kinds of cyclists to easily use.

Myx II Plus

The Beachbody Company

Like

  • Flexible display
  • Huge collection of workout options
  • Good third-party fitness tracker support

Don’t like

  • Build quality could be better
  • Expensive monthly subscription

Myx bikes have always been aimed at the hardcore fitness fans, but when it merged with the folks at BeachBody an already great experience expanded to way more people as it released the Myx II Plus. This is a great bike for a bit variety of different body types, and the ability to adjust your screen in just about every direction. And unlikely many of its competitors, Myx II Plus makes it very easy to share the bike with up to five other people without needing multiple subscriptions.
Where most exercise bikes offer the ability to do a variety of workouts while on the bike, Myx II Plus offers a ton of things to do off the bike as well. The included software offers everything from yoga to kettlebell classes with everything in between in addition to an array of spin class-style workouts and even live classes you can join throughout the week. It’s one of the few exercise bikes in this price range to truly deliver on a full-body workout solution. 

  • Type: Magnetic resistance
  • Display: 21.5-inch HD Touchscreen
  • Weight: 150 pounds, 350 pound max rider weight
  • Dimensions: 21-in. x 54-in. x 47-in. (WDH)
  • Subscription: Myx+OpenFit – $39/month

bowflex-c6

Bowflex

Like

  • Simple, sturdy construction
  • Works with almost every tablet and phone

Don’t like

  • Bluetooth data could be more accurate
  • Takes up more space than most

Don’t let the Peloton folks hear this, but not everyone wants or needs a big screen on your bike with a class instructor shouting at you. For some folks, an inexpensive tablet sitting on a simpler bike playing this week’s episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to help get you through an hour of exercise is enough. If that sounds good to you, the BowFlex C6 is exactly what you’re looking for. The frame adjusts for all sorts of body types and riding positions, so anyone from novice to century rider can climb on and get a decent workout with minimal effort.

Wahoo Kickr Bike

Wahoo Fitness

Like

  • Automatic incline/decline resistance changes
  • Best-in-class performance data
  • Tons of frame and crank adjustment options

Don’t like

  • Very expensive
  • Max rider weight is much lower than most

The Wahoo Kickr is the closest thing you’ll get to an outdoor road bike, right down to the customizable gearing and simulated shifting. The aggressive seating position is designed to mimic a racing road bike, and the resistance you feel when riding matches the software you’re using. That means when your virtual ride in Zwift or other apps starts to go uphill, the bike adjusts your resistance automatically to give you the most realistic feeling possible as you ride. This is the only exercise bike capable of making you feel like you’re actually riding where the virtual ride shows you on the screen, and it’s incredible.

Saris H3

Saris

Like

  • Setup is easier than most
  • Supports most cycling apps
  • Quieter than previous generations

Don’t like

Instead of buying a separate exercise bike to ride when you can’t ride outside, you can instead use a Direct Drive Trainer. And if you’re going to go this route, you really want to make sure it’s smart enough to intelligently adjust along with your favorite workout apps.

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Factors to consider when choosing an exercise bike

Included in this article are loads of different options to suit the needs of just about every kind of cyclist. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a small apartment, a hardcore cyclist who already has a great outdoor bike, or someone who needs that class environment to feel motivated. I’ve done a ton of testing to help you pick the right option for you, but getting there means understanding what you need. 

Build quality and size

Not all exercise bikes are built the same, and I’m not just taking about the metals and plastics used in their construction. If a frame is too narrow and the weight not evenly distributed, it may be prone to tipping. If an exercise bike uses friction to add resistance rather than a magnetic drive, it can in many places either be louder or wear out faster. And no matter what the bike is made of, being able to move an exercise bike around easily is a big deal if you’re limited on space in your home.

Workout quality

Cycling is way more than just moving your legs. Many exercise bikes include the ability to clip your shoes to the pedals, which allows you to train a totally different set of leg muscles. Additionally, exercise bikes are frequently paired with weights or core leans to offer a full body workout. Depending on what kind of workout you want to do, the accessories surrounding your exercise bike can make a huge difference. 

Software and features

Not every bike comes with a screen, but every good bike should come with the ability to work with the many phone and tablet apps available for cyclists. Whether you’re bringing your own screen and racing friends in Zwift or you’re binging The Witcher to keep yourself on the bike longer on a large mounted display, the quality of the experience makes a huge difference in your workout.

How we test exercise bikes

Like so many other things at CNET, we test exercise bikes as thoroughly as possibly through rigorous examination and comparison. Each exercise bike in our list has been through at least 100 miles of riding, using as many of the built-in features as possible. Every exercise bike is judged against the following metrics:

Exercise bike volume

Every workout makes some noise, but a quieter bike typically means greater build quality. At the same time, if an exercise bike has a built-in display with speakers it’s important to know it’s possible to clearly hear the class instructor or your favorite TV show over the sound of you working out.

Riding position flexibility

It’s important to be able to set your exercise bike to the riding position that works best for you, and be able to ride in that position for extended periods of time. All of the bikes in this list are tested in cruiser, neutral and competition riding positions to ensure comfort for as many body types as possible. 

Software compatibility

Even if your bike doesn’t have a display, it likely has a way to connect to your phone or tablet to access performance apps. But that testing doesn’t end at the ability to connect to a phone, the accuracy of the information sent from the bike to your phone makes a big difference, especially if you’re counting calories or you want to use a competitive racing app to ride with friends. Making sure the power you push into your exercise bike is accurately reflected in the information sent to apps makes a big difference. 

Exercise bike FAQs

Is an exercise bike good for losing weight?

Absolutely! Exercise bikes are a great way for almost every body type to lose weight, due in large part to the constant movement. Even when an exercise bike is set to comparatively low levels of resistance, constantly moving your legs keeps your heart rate elevated. Moderate levels of riding for 30 minutes can burn more than 250 calories, and that increases dramatically as you become more comfortable with increasing resistance and riding for longer periods of time. 

Is an exercise bike better than a treadmill?

While it’s possible to get a great workout from a treadmill, using an exercise bike dramatically reduces strain on knees and ankles which allows you to work out for longer without soreness. It is true that treadmill workouts on average burn more calories than the same amount of effort on an exercise bike, but it’s possible to work out for longer on a bike, which can yield better long-term results. 

How much weight can an exercise bike hold?

Not all exercise bikes are created equally, but most can support riders up to 350 pounds. There are a couple of exercise bikes designed to support riders up to 400 pounds, but very few support more than that. On the other end of the spectrum, most exercise bikes aimed at performance-focused cyclists typically only support up to 250-pound riders. Be sure to confirm that the bike you are looking at can support your body type before buying. 





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