Written By
Published Feb 22, 2022 4:03 AM

The best indoor cycling bikes do far more than challenge your quads. Today’s indoor bikes mimic road bikes and spin classes for a solid workout from the comfort of home. Premium models include a monthly subscription to live workout classes and a huge library of pre-recorded classes. Less expensive models might not have a subscription, but they can still have a strong, sturdy build and include a media holder for workout help. 

The home exercise industry is overflowing with indoor bikes. The process of choosing one might make you want to run and hide. Fear not. We’ve chosen five of the best bikes on the market, as well as provided some tips to help you decide which model complements your fitness goals, exercise space, and budget. Take a look at the best indoor cycling bikes and get ready to clip in for an intense ride. 

How We Selected These Products 

Methodology 

I’ve ridden and researched indoor cycling bikes many times over the years. As a personal trainer, I know these bikes are a great way to train indoors or simply get an intense cardio workout. When choosing bikes for this list, I considered the following: 

  • Frame Strength and Durability: Sturdy aluminum or steel reduce wobble and create a frame that can hold larger bodies without swaying. Build quality also factored in. A well-designed frame creates more stability, so you can stand and push your body hard. 
  • Seat and Handlebar Adjustment: Vertical and horizontal adjustment in the seat and vertical adjustment for the handlebars allows users of different heights to comfortably spin to their hearts’ content—the more adjustment features, the better. 
  • Resistance Levels and Adjustment: Bikes with more resistance levels let riders adapt the bike to their fitness level and goals. However, the resistance type—manual or automatic—also affects the rider’s experience. 
  • Included Media Features: Many riders want to create a gym-class experience in their home. I evaluated how well riders can integrate their favorite exercise media with the bike, whether that’s a subscription service or watching a streaming service while exercising. 

The Best Indoor Cycling Bikes: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Echelon EX5-S Smart Connect Fitness Bike

The Echelon EX5-S skips a few of the premium features, but offers a sturdy build and excellent performance. Echelon

Why It Made The Cut: The Echelon EX5-S has an impressive build and solid performance with the option for a subscription, making it the best indoor cycling bike overall.  

Specs:

  • Weight: 123.45 pounds
  • Dimensions: 52.36 inches L x 21.25 inches W x 56.29 inches H
  • Resistance Levels: 32

Pros:

  • 22-inch rotating touch screen
  • Compatible with several third-party apps
  • Excellent seat and handlebar adjustment
  • Clip-in and cage pedals
  • Quiet operation

Cons: 

  • Uncomfortable seat
  • Not enough reach for taller users

The Echelon EX5-S offers stiff competition for Peloton and similarly priced indoor cycling bikes, but this model costs much less. The EX5-S comes with a 22-inch rotating touch screen, so you can take full advantage of bike and non-bike workouts through the Echelon app or other workout apps compatible with the bike. 

You can use the Echelon app without a subscription for access to a few pre-recorded workouts or opt for a monthly, yearly, or two-year subscription for full access to their entire library and live workouts. It has good third-party compatibility, but it’s not compatible with everything. For example, it’s compatible with Strava but not Zwift or Rouvy. 

You can adjust the seat vertically and horizontally and the handlebars vertically for a better fit. However, even with a good amount of adjustment, users over six feet tall may feel a bit cramped. The 28-pound flywheel is smooth and quiet, though on the lighter side for some riders. You can clip in or use cages for a more realistic ride. 

Some users complain about the seat’s comfort, but you can switch it out for a seat of your choice to customize your ride.   

Best Splurge: Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle

Best Splurge

The M3i’s unique frame design lets users mimic the feel of their road bike. Keiser

Why It Made The Cut: The M3i’s unique V-shaped frame lets you create a more realistic ride based on your outdoor bike design while connecting with a wide range of third-party riding apps. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 85 pounds
  • Dimensions: 45 inches L x 25.98 inches W x 48.98 inches H
  • Resistance Levels: 24

Pros:

  • Frame shape and adjustments better mimic road bikes
  • Fits a wide range of heights
  • Clips or cage pedals
  • Compatible with many third-party apps

Cons: 

  • Have to check more in-depth stats on the app

The Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle has a unique frame that adjusts in ways that mimic various road bike designs. The frame fits people from 4 feet, 7 inches to 7 feet tall, a wider range than many other bikes. The pedal design allows for clipping in or using cages for more efficient pedaling. 

A V-shaped frame provides a unique set of adjustments that let serious cyclists re-create the frame of their usual road bike. The front of the frame raises and lowers, and the handlebars can be moved forward or back toward the rider for a more comfortable fit. You can also lift the seat, as well as move it forward or backward. However, raising also pushes the seat toward the back of the frame and vice versa. 

The M3i has a companion app, but it doesn’t offer workouts like other premium bikes. Instead, you use it to track in-depth stats and analyze your rides. The M series computer is compatible with a number of popular third-party apps that you can use on a digital device. A media tray on the M3i holds devices so you can ride to your favorite course on your chosen app. 

Twenty-four magnetic resistance levels let you gradually increase or decrease your ride difficulty. If you want to re-create your road experience, this is the indoor bike for you. 

Best Classic Bike: Schwinn Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike

Best Classic Bike

A solid design and third-party compatibility let you take your favorite spin class from home. Schwinn Fitness

Why It Made The Cut: The Schwinn’s race-style seat, cage or clip pedals, and heart rate armband give you a spin class feel at home, making this model the best classic indoor bike.   

Specs:

  • Weight: 106 pounds
  • Dimensions: 47.8 inches L x 21.2 inches W x 51.8 inches H
  • Resistance Levels: 100

Pros:

  • Great seat height and position adjustment
  • Sturdy, solid frame
  • Bluetooth connects to fitness devices
  • Quiet operation

Cons: 

  • Sweat collects underneath the handlebar mount

The Schwinn Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike features a sturdy, heavy frame that can take larger riders. That solid build lets you push your physical limits with tough workouts. You can adjust the seat position vertically and horizontally for better comfort. With 100 resistance levels, you’ll definitely be able to get a challenging workout. 

The Schwinn has Bluetooth connectivity to connect to fitness trackers like Garmin or Fitbit. While the Schwinn doesn’t have a screen or accompanying app, you can connect it to select third-party apps or simply use workouts on your own device. A media holder works well for tablets and phones. Quiet operation rounds out the pros with this model. 

Be aware that perspiration may collect on the underside of the handlebars, where it’s difficult to clean.

Best Without App: Pooboo C505 Professional Commercial Exercise Bike

Best Without App

The Pooboo’s heavy, 44-pound flywheel and tough frame construction make it an excellent choice for those who aren’t worried about an accompanying app. Schwinn Fitness

Why It Made The Cut: The C505 has a strong aluminum frame and offers several handlebar holds and a media holder, making it the best indoor cycling bike without an app. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 147.71 pounds
  • Dimensions: 50.78 inches L x 19.88 inches W x 44.48 inches H
  • Resistance Levels: Variable resistance

Pros:

  • Thick, heavy-duty frame
  • Several handlebar options
  • Media holder 
  • Heavy 44-pound flywheel

Cons: 

  • Poor assembly instructions

The Pooboo C505 Professional Commercial Exercise Bike features a super-sturdy frame that can take intense workouts without wobbling. To help users get those intense rides, the handlebars have three hold positions to take you from your warm-up to standing rides.  

A 44-pound flywheel creates a smooth ride and excellent friction resistance with a design that’s built for heavy use and durability. A simple LCD monitor offers distance, time, and other ride information. This model doesn’t come with an app or offer any subscription services. However, it has a media holder, so you can watch your favorite shows or use a third-party app (not connected to the bike) to challenge your body. 

It has variable resistance, so you can gradually make the ride easier or more difficult without worrying about resistance levels. However, you might need some mechanical know-how, because the assembly instructions aren’t the greatest.

Best Budget: YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike

The YOSUDA’s steel frame and cushioned seat provide a comfortable, stable ride when you can’t hit the pavement. YOSUDA

Why It Made The Cut: The YOSUDA’s materials and construction are well above its price point, making it the best budget option you can buy. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 72.75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 40.16 inches L x 21.65 inches W x 46.06 inches H
  • Resistance Levels: Infinite resistance adjustment

Pros:

  • Infinite resistance adjustment and instant stop
  • 35-pound flywheel
  • Tablet bracket for media
  • Good seat adjustability

Cons: 

  • Some units have defective parts

The YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike skips bells and whistles for a solid build and good performance. It’s not as heavy-duty as more expensive models, but the 35-pound flywheel provides enough weight for a smooth ride. 

Variable friction resistance gives users a wide range of workout options. You can keep it low-intensity or crank it up and stand for hill workouts. The resistance adjustment can also put an instant stop to the flywheel. 

While this model doesn’t have a subscription service or app, it includes a tablet bracket to hold a tablet or phone so you can still use your favorite app or watch a streaming service to pass the time. 

For a bike at this price, the YOSUDA offers fairly good seat adjustability. You’ll certainly find more adjustability on more expensive models, but you can still move this seat horizontally and vertically. 

The only downside with this model is that some units have defective parts. It’s a small number, but check all the parts when they arrive and follow assembly instructions carefully. 

Things to Consider When Buying an Indoor Cycling Bike

Seat and Handlebar Adjustability

You need a good fit to work out comfortability and better imitate riding a road bike. Seats that adjust vertically and horizontally better fit users of different heights. Also, check how much adjustability it has. Some models may move only two or three inches, while others can fit riders from 5 feet to 7 feet tall. 

Handlebar adjustability is a less common feature but helps get a better fit and ride. Take a look at the handlebar grip options too. Some may have only a single handle position, while others have several handle positions, options, and heights. 

Pedal Design

For more intense workouts, look for pedals with a cage. They allow you to apply force on the rise and fall of the stroke. More serious cyclists may want to look for a model that lets you clip into the pedals. Be sure to check the clip type to make sure it matches the shoes you already have. 

Frame Materials and Construction

Heavy frames tend to be more sturdy and resist wobbling. Steel and aluminum offer excellent strength, with aluminum being a lighter weight but strong option. Thick tubes can also help with stability and durability. 

Look for models with protective coatings that resist corrosion. Perspiration will inevitably get on the frame. A protective coating prevents rust, which could shorten the life of the bike. 

Resistance Type and Levels

The main resistance types are friction and magnetic. Either one can provide an excellent workout. However, magnetic resistance tends to be quieter and more accurate. Friction resistance systems slowly loosen over time. You may need to replace the belt or tighten it on occasion. 

The number of resistance levels you need is mainly a matter of personal preference. Most people don’t need 100 resistance levels to get a good workout. But if you’re one of those people who like to change up their rides often and do high-intensity workouts, extra resistance levels will give you more choices. 

Indoor cycling bikes have either digital or manual resistance control. Digital controls are easier to use and won’t interfere with your stroke while you make the adjustment. Manual adjustment takes slightly more effort on the user’s part, but don’t discount it as inferior. You can still get an excellent workout and up to 100 resistance levels with manual control. 

Flywheel Weight

A heavy flywheel adds stability and smooths out the ride. However, don’t base your decision on flywheel weight alone. The position of the flywheel and its relationship to the frame’s design make a difference in stability too. 

FAQs

Q: Are indoor cycling bikes worth it?

Indoor cycling bikes are worth the price. They’re an excellent low-impact way to get a cardio or resistance workout when you can’t get to the gym or onto the road with your bike. Many have built-in programs or offer subscriptions to access workouts that go beyond the bike. 

Q: How much does a good stationary bike cost?

A good stationary bike costs anywhere from $600 to $1,200. These models have sturdy frames and heavy flywheels, and may have extras like a built-in screen, water-bottle holder, or media holder. A good budget bike can cost as little as $300. Expect a lighter frame and fewer extras, but still look for seat and handlebar adjustability. Premium models with subscription services and automatic resistance adjustment will cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. 

Q: What is the difference between a spin bike and a stationary bike? 

Spin bikes have more seat and handlebar adjustability to better mimic the riding position of a road bike. Stationary bikes, on the other hand, have lower seats, putting the rider in a more upright position. 

Spin bikes also have heavier frames and flywheels to make them more stable for the high-intensity workouts used during a spin class. They also have more handlebar positions and options to more closely match the experience of a road bike. Generally speaking, spin bikes are used by those who also cycle outdoors, and stationary bikes are used by those who mostly ride the indoor bike for fitness purposes only. 

Final Thoughts

The Echelon EX5-S Smart Connect Fitness Bike provides a big touch screen and access to workouts beyond the bike. You can also make adjustments to get comfortable and come closer to the position you’d use to ride a road bike. If you’re on a budget, the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike can work your body and take hard workouts at a much lower price. The heavy frame resists wobbling even when riders stand and ride hard. 

MORE TO READ