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Looking to get a killer workout from your living room? You’ve come to the right place. If you don’t fancy the treadmill, investing in one of our expert-tested exercise bikes is a great way to sustain and improve your cardio fitness, without the impact on your joints.
Modern models go well beyond the standard spin bikes you’d fancy at a class, with bright touchscreens giving users access to hundreds of interactive cycling, strength, HIIT and yoga classes.
We’ve already rounded up the best workouts for runners to try on a stationary bike, so let’s help you add one to your home gym set-up. Below you’ll find our top picks, from affordable bikes to use now and again, to advanced options that could revolutionise your training:
The best exercise bikes to buy now
How to choose an exercise bike
Interactive training: If you need the motivation to get you spinning, look for a bike with on-demand training options, which allow you to tune in to live spin classes with your favourite instructors and even compete with fellow riders in real-time. Often, you’ll have to pay a membership fee, but some bikes come with a year free when you sign up.
Resistance: Exercise bikes have four types of resistance – brake-based systems resistance, direct-contact resistance, magnetic resistance and fan-based resistance. A lot of the spin bikes on this list will work using magnetic resistance, which is often quieter and smoother.
Storing and moving the bike: If your home gym isn’t big enough to leave your bike out all the time, you might find yourself having to move it from room to room. Look for bikes with wheels to make this easier, as well as bikes that can be folded away for simpler storage.
Do I need to subscribe to an app to use my exercise bike?
This list is made up of Runner’s World Expert Tested products (which have been put through a rigorous testing process by our pedalling panel) and editors’ picks, hand-selected by the RW team.
Most of our editors’ picks will simply need setting up before you can get started, but all our Runner’s World Expert Tested bikes, bar the great value JTX Cyclo Studio V5, will require you to subscribe to an app before you jump into the saddle.
Memberships tend to cost between £24.99 and £39.99 per month, but for this price you gain access to a huge resource of live and pre-recorded workout classes. These tend to vary in difficulty and duration, while most apps will have non-cycling training sessions too, like HIIT, yoga, meditation and strength workouts. Some bikes also have virtual routes that will let you cycle picturesque routes from around the world, all without leaving the house.
Is an exercise bike worth it?
Exercise bikes can be expensive, but we do think they’re worth it, yes. They offer a ton of pros, from fun, low-impact aerobic exercise that strengthens your quads and hamstrings, to improved safety during the winter months.
How we test
Never the sort to do anything by halves, our testing team at the Runner’s World Lab set about devising a trial by fire for some of the top exercise bikes on the market.
Our experts put the pedal to the metal and cranked the resistance to the max to see how the bikes performed during high-intensity sessions. Special attention was paid to whether they wobbled at all in use, and if the flywheel moved smoothly and (near) silently throughout. Ease of use and overall design, including how well the bikes would fit in testers’ homes, were also considered before we decided on our final rankings.
If your exercise bike of choice is badgeless below, never fear. This means it’s been hand-picked by our editors who have years of experience using gym-based and home-gym equipment, so you can buy with confidence.
Ready for our full reviews?
1. NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
Best for: a realistic riding experience
Mustering the motivation to don your running shoes or jump on your road bike and brave Britain’s changeable weather for a bout of outdoor exercise isn’t the easiest of tasks.
Fortunately, the S22i provides a realistic riding experience from the comfort of your living room or home gym. Instructors can automatically change the bike’s resistance for you during classes, saving you from faffing about with manual controls, and the bike can also mimic steep inclines. In other words, slacking isn’t an option.
Testers really enjoyed the option to (virtually) take on some of the world’s most noteworthy rides, saying the top tips and insights into the terrain from instructors really brought the routes to life. They were also grateful for the in-built fan, which was appreciated during certain gradients.
2. Apex Smart Bike
Best for: ease of assembly and use
If you’re on the hunt for a more affordable model, look to this sleek spinning machine. It went down a treat with our testers, who loved the modern, compact design and found set-up a doddle thanks to clear step-by-step instructions. The bike moved smoothly (zero wobbling was reported, even when we picked up the pace), the resistance knob was within easy reach, and the adjustable handlebars and saddle provided great comfort.
There’s no built-in touchscreen but our testers didn’t mind – both phones and tablets slotted into the device holder nicely, meaning streaming sessions via the Apex app was simpler. The app also has a huge selection of live and on-demand studio classes.
Our testers heaped praise on the UK instructors, who were encouraging without being too ‘over-the-top or cringy’, and liked the various filter options (music, duration, experience level, etc) for selecting workouts. Data nerds will also be pleased to know you can track your weekly, monthly and yearly progress within the app. Other useful features include the conveniently placed bottle holder, a dumbbell rack and USB charging points to keep your device topped up while you ride.
Any downsides? We would have liked some scenic outdoor routes for a bit of variety, the foot straps were tricky to tighten, and the resistance dial was a little hit and miss. Still, an impressive bike for a decent mid-range price.
3. Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX-5S
Best for: range of exercise classes
Peloton may be the best-known exercise bike brand, but this Echelon cycle proved to be something of a dark horse, running the favourite mighty close in our rankings. Its standout feature is the incredible depth of the Echelon Fit app, which kept testers plenty busy with its enviable selection of quality classes. The beginners classes were particularly impressive, with plenty of advice and encouragement from instructors.
Our testing team enjoyed how easy it was to set up and get started too, with several also commenting on how quiet it was in use — ideal if you’re worried about disturbing neighbours with an early morning session.
4. JTX Cyclo Studio V5
Best for: an affordable gym-quality experience
There are plenty of all-singing, all-dancing exercise bikes in this round-up but if you want a solid spinning machine to see you through your sessions, without having to shell out on a monthly subscription, this is the one for you.
The computer console tracks cadence, speed, pulse, time and distance, plus there’s a tablet holder for tuning into live and pre-recorded workouts – or catching up on Netflix while you work up a sweat. You can also connect to Zwift or Kinomap via Bluetooth for a more interactive experience.
The 16kg flywheel allows for smooth pedalling and greater efficiency, the adjustable features helped adapt the bike to our body, and the bike was super quiet, so you needn’t worry about it disturbing neighbours. It is a hefty bit of kit, but it comes with built-in wheels for easy transportation and storage.
The resistance dial was easy to reach when we wanted to up the intensity mid-peddle, but there was a slight delay before it changed on screen. On that note, it wasn’t the easiest to read our stats on the display and the bike wasn’t the most stable on test nor the most comfortable. When you consider the price, though, it’s hard to complain.
5. Echelon Connect EX-3 Bike
Best for: Echelon fans on a budget
This more pocket-friendly Echelon model has many of the benefits of the brand’s pricier EX-5s bike; assembly is faff-free, you get 32 levels of quiet magnetic resistance and access to a jaw-dropping variety of live and on-demand classes via the Echelon Fit app, from scenic routes in picturesque locations around the globe to intense studio workouts or chilled-out yoga on the mat.
Plus, you can easily keep track of progress over time via the progress tab – our experts found this particularly motivating and encouraged them to keep pushing harder. It doesn’t have a built-in HD touchscreen for streaming sessions, but there is a tilting device holder for your tablet or phone.
The bold black and red design will make a statement in your living room, but the machine is a breeze to manoeuvre and store away thanks to the wheeled base. The adjustable seat and paddle allowed for the perfect positioning, but we would have liked a comfier seat to avoid sore bums during lengthy stints. We also experienced some wobbling at higher speeds but nothing too distracting. Overall, a trusty choice for those who want to upgrade their spin game without spending over the odds.
6 . Peloton Bike+
Best for: a premium buy
In cycling circles, Peloton is already a household name, thanks to the vastly successful Peloton Bike. But rather than rest on its laurels, the brand has now upped the stakes with its aptly named Bike+, adding nifty features like Apple GymKit integration, auto-resistance controls and a rotating screen ideal for HIIT, yoga and strength sessions.
Our testing team loved this last feature, saying it helped keep their at-home workout regime varied and enjoyable. Energetic instructors motivated them through an extensive range of classes, with differing durations, types and difficulty levels available, while the bike stayed smooth and stable throughout.
7. Technogym Bike
Best for: beginners wanting to boost their cardio
For a single monthly membership, you’ll get access to not one but two apps (1Rebel and Revolution) with this Technogym bike. Both apps have detailed sections on the instructors available and their respective areas of expertise, and there are helpful tutorial videos available too, making it easy to get started.
The bike comes with two 1.5kg dumbbells for upper body strength work, though it was a shame there were no yoga or meditation options on the apps. Still, testers said the positioning of the seat and handlebar kept them comfortable during rides, and the touchscreen was intuitive to use, making it a good fit for beginners seeking their cardio fix.
8. Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike
Best for: a budget buy
If you’re not looking to spend a fortune, this will do the job. It folds away for storage, has variable tension control and the console gives you all the information you need – such as time, distance, speed, heart rate and calories burnt.
9. Decathlon Essential Exercise Bike
Best for: recovery rides
Another super-affordable option, this offering from Decathlon allows you to spin away, without breaking the bank. It’s got eight levels of manual resistance and the small console tells you your calories, distance, duration and speed. It probably won’t be high-tech enough for serious training, but if you’re looking to do some gentle recovery rides, it’s a good choice.
10. Decathlon Basic Exercise Bike
Best for: cross-training a couple of times weekly
This bike from Decathlon is more like the spinning bike you might be used to in the gym. It’s designed to be used for an average of five hours per week, so won’t suit serious cyclists, but if you want something for cross-training, it’ll do the trick. It’s easy to move around, (thanks to the front wheels), it’s stable and the saddle and handlebars can be easily adjusted – handy if there are two of you sharing the bike.
11. JTX Cyclo-3 Indoor Racer Bike
Best for: a spin class experience for less than £400
This JTX offering is designed to give you a spin-class experience from home. It has a 17kg flywheel and infinity resistance for a smooth, balanced ride. The resistance-control knob allows you to easily up the challenge to simulate riding uphill, or reduce it when things get too tough. There are also toe-clip pedals, meaning you can ride wearing your running shoes. Wheels also allow you to move the bike from room to room.
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