The Best Exercise Bikes for Your Home

Exercise bikes are having fun with a resurgence because of a current explosion in obtainable know-how. Unlike their 1990s ancestors, most of at present’s stationary indoor exercise bikes immerse you in courses, digital actuality rides, and game-like apps that make driving to nowhere way more enjoyable than in many years previous. They can also show and gather loads of knowledge about your efforts which can assist you train smarter and supply real-time suggestions that helps maintain you engaged with the workouts.

Finding the fitting exercise bike (and the accompanying software program to reinforce your rides) generally is a highly effective solution to match fitness right into a busy life when climate, time, and circumstances conspire to push your workouts into that everlasting “tomorrow.” Picking a motorbike that meets your objectives and desires can even make sure you maintain coming again for workouts—lest or not it’s relegated to performing as an costly drying rack. Which is why our high decide for finest general house exercise bike is the Wattbike Atom. It’s a well-built bike that is an all-around nice sensible coach that features compatibility with a lot of apps.

The writer takes a spin on the Garmin TacX Neo Bike Plus exercise bike.

Justin Park

Related: 20 Best Exercises for Every Muscle, According to Science

For these opinions, we examined a number of of the preferred stationary exercise bikes in a variety of costs and kinds to share the professionals and cons of every. Read on to be taught extra about one of the best indoor exercise bikes obtainable at present and discover the coach that most closely fits your funds and exercise preferences so it will get coated in sweat as an alternative of mud.

Men’s Journal goals to characteristic solely one of the best services. We replace when doable, however offers expire and costs can change. If you purchase one thing through considered one of our hyperlinks, we could earn a fee. 

Best Overall Exercise Bike: Wattbike Atom

Wattbike Atom Exercise Bike

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When researching indoor biking bikes for this text, the Wattbike wasn’t on my radar at first. But as I talked to severe cyclists, the Wattbike stored developing as a detail-oriented bike with a mid-range worth beloved by racers and athletes for its severe training purposes. Despite its “hardcore” rep, the bike itself is pretty unassuming and appears just like different higher-end indoor trainers with street bike model handlebars, a efficiency seat, and many match adjustment factors. It’s additionally one of many few bikes that comes totally assembled which cuts out an enormous problem on the entrance finish of your indoor bike expertise. Fitting the bike is simple and the seat and handlebars transfer in a number of planes to dial in a cushty match—key to having fun with all these miles you’re going to log.

This is a reasonably simple bike when it comes to bells and whistles. Incline adjusts just about, there are not any Bluetooth followers, no built-in display screen, and no little dumbbells hanging from the body. The Atom sets itself aside by specializing in metrics and journey really feel as an alternative, making it an easy training software for athletes and leisure riders. 

The free Wattbike Hub app simply seems to be science-y and I discovered the pedal effectivity visible show entrancing and addictive. Even although I’m a rider chasing enjoyable and under no circumstances obsessive about effectivity and KOMs, I discovered myself instantly battling to clean my pedal strokes and stability proper, left, push, and pull and will see how this gamification of approach may translate to real-world outcomes. The Hub app additionally consists of a number of benchmark exams that make it simple to get baseline fitness metrics for your self after which test your progress as you train by taking the exams once more.

While the accuracy and training options enchantment to severe riders, the bike simply pairs with common studio apps like Peloton and digital journey apps resembling Zwift, so it’s nice for sharing with family members with totally different indoor training kinds. There’s no built-in display screen, however the pill/cellphone holder makes it simple to get arrange for digital rides.

Even for those who’re not going to make use of 100 p.c of its capabilities, the Wattbike is a good all-around sensible coach that’s a cheaper choice for riders that need accuracy, glorious compatibility with a variety of apps, and a top quality construct. The worth level may nonetheless be intimidating if that is your first indoor biking bike, but when funds permits, it’s a motorbike you can develop into in contrast to cheaper choices whose limitations develop into obvious shortly.

  • Flywheel weight: NA, electromagnetic resistance
  • Max resistance: 2,500 watts
  • Total weight: 105 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: No
$2,700 at Wattbike

Best Budget Exercise Bike: Merach S09 Indoor Bike

Merach S09 Indoor Exercise Bike

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Merach’s S09 Indoor Exercise Bike provides you an important options of the $4,000 bikes for lower than $500. If you’re new to indoor biking bikes, spending on the high finish of the spectrum generally is a expensive gamble, so the Merach S09 is a wallet-friendly solution to check the waters. The 35-pound flywheel with electronically managed magnetic resistance does a strong job replicating real-world driving and it’s almost as quiet because the bikes from the large identify firms. There’s no display screen included which retains the associated fee down and simplifies setup, however you’ll want to usher in a cellphone or pill for digital driving apps and there’s a cellphone/pill holder built-in at eye stage.

The bike has a number of tool-free match changes that allow you to transfer the handlebars and seat fore and aft and up and right down to get a cushty match and alter the match so a number of folks can use the identical bike. However, for those who’re used to driving a pleasant outside bike, you might wish to swap out the Merach’s pedals and seat for extra efficiency choices. The pedals have cages on one facet and SPD clip-in cleats on the opposite. Likewise, the seat isn’t unhealthy however will really feel clunky for those who’re used to slimmer saddles. 

Importantly, the S09 performed nicely with all of the apps we utilized in testing. Zwift booted up and linked to the app with no hiccups and when you don’t get all the identical options resembling incline modifications present in pricier choices, the essential expertise is there. There’s additionally the free Merach app which helps you to get a style of studio-style courses. It’s no Peloton app, but it surely’s not unhealthy to combine into your routine and it’s a no-cost solution to get started with apps. Hardcore riders could miss seeing their watts output, because the Merach simply shows distance, cadence, time, and a energy burned estimate.

Might you just like the $4,000 bikes higher? Sure, however for those who’re new to the class, this can be a nice starter bike to seek out out for those who’ll follow the behavior and you may at all times improve to one thing shinier later. With registration, you get a two-year guarantee, which is nice reassurance for a funds bike.

  • Flywheel weight: 35 kilos
  • Resistance ranges: 16
  • Total weight: 95 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: No
$500 at Merach
$500 at amazon

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Best Exercise Bike for Spin Classes: Peloton Bike+

Peloton Bike+ Exercise Bike

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Peloton is the usual in terms of studio-quality indoor bikes geared in direction of spin courses. While you should use the Peloton app with different bikes, solely a Peloton Bike will allow you to compete on the Peloton leaderboards, and for those who’re into Peloton courses, there’s no higher bike to maximise your expertise. Our tester felt that the bike itself, which incorporates an under-seat rack for light-weight dumbbells, was strong however that the software program is what actually makes the expertise right here.

Setting up these kind of bikes generally is a problem for those who’re working solo or simply not significantly helpful, so we appreciated that Peloton sends a staff along with your supply to convey the bike into your own home and deal with all of the meeting and preliminary setup. Fitting the bike is easy, however our taller tester wished you might modify the attain on the handlebars as an alternative of simply the height. Likewise the massive 24-inch monitor spins however isn’t in any other case adjustable to optimize your angle whereas driving. Clip-in pedals are included however you’ll want clip-in bike sneakers for those who don’t already personal them, or swap in alternate pedals if you wish to use common sneakers.

The Peloton app is entrance and heart right here and it stands out for the sheer breadth and depth of content material obtainable. There are hundreds of courses on supply and never simply for the bike. You can discover instructor-led content material for yoga, stretching, cardio, strength, running, Pilates, and extra. Our tester famous that it’s simple to browse courses and discover instructors and sophistication varieties that suit your schedule and preferences. You’re locked into the Peloton app right here, so no Zwift, TrainerRoad, or any of the opposite fitness or biking apps whereas on the Peloton Bike+, however they embrace an leisure mode that allows you to play content material from different apps resembling Netflix, Disney+, and NBA League Pass whereas preserving your journey metrics in a useful sidebar.

If you already know you’re keen on Peloton courses already, choosing up the Bike+ is a reasonably simple alternative regardless of the upper worth for the bike and the $44 per thirty days price for their All-Access Membership. If you’re keen on Peloton however hesitant to make the funding, there are few methods to dip your toes of their pool. First, there’s a free tier to their app which gives you entry to a small however consultant sampling of their courses, even for those who received’t have the ability to check it with the bike until you reside close to their New York City studio. Luckily in addition they supply a risk-free 30-day trial of the bike. Peloton will ship and arrange the bike, you attempt it for as much as 30 days, and for those who resolve it’s not for you, Peloton will refund you your price together with transport charges and are available pack up and take away the bike. Read our full evaluate of Peloton Bike+.

  • Flywheel weight: 38 kilos
  • Resistance ranges: 100
  • Total weight: 140 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: Yes
$2,500 at Peloton
$2,500 at Amazon

Best Budget Peloton Alternative: Echelon Connect EX-5S-10 Bike

Echelon Connect EX-5S-10 Exercise Bike

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Peloton could set the usual for digital fitness class libraries, however there are extra choices than ever on this house and plenty of of them, like Echelon, come very near matching the Peloton expertise.

Echelon has hundreds of courses, together with stay choices to affix and leaderboards to compete on, identical to Peloton. They even have a various providing of off-bike courses, making the acquisition of considered one of their bikes a extra full fitness answer than merely an at-home cardio machine.

Their Connect EX-5S-10 Bike may be had for about $500 lower than Peloton base bike (and roughly $1,500 lower than the Bike+), making it a pretty choice for people that wish to get motivated by the social app-based class surroundings, however aren’t certain it’s value it.

But is the Echelon bike and accompanying Echelon app any good? Our tester took benefit of the free 30-day trial and liked that there have been loads of choices for selections in music, instructors, capability stage, length, and extra. Unlike the bike, the associated fee for the app isn’t less expensive than Peloton at $40 per thirty days, however the financial savings on the bike versus the Peloton Bike+ may purchase you many years of the Premier plan on the Echelon app. With the only subscription, you rise up to 5 distinct person profiles, and our tester favored that he and his fiancee may share one subscription whereas nonetheless having distinct experiences.

Despite being a funds choice, the EX-5S-10 comes with a 22-inch display screen that’s massive sufficient for simple viewing with out making the bike high heavy or an excessive amount of of a distraction in a room. Like Peloton, you’re locked into the Echelon app right here so no Zwift or different fitness apps (no Peloton both, in fact), however you’ll be able to entry music and some different leisure choices.

Our tester found a backdoor that allows you to load different apps resembling Zwift and run them on the Echelon display screen which provides you much more choices for the bike. This gentle “hack” doesn’t require you to be a pc programmer, but it surely’s not precisely an permitted use of the bike and there’s no assure Echelon received’t discover a solution to shut this backdoor sooner or later.

In addition to the standard fundamentals of RPMs, energy burned and the like, the bike additionally measures your energy output in watts, a metric often disregarded by funds bikes. This provides you a extra goal driving metric to watch and opens up extra superior biking training rides that often focus on particular ranges and oscillations of energy output.

Overall, the Echelon Connect EX-5S-10 delivers most of what you get in a Peloton expertise at a fraction of the associated fee. If you’re already a Peloton devotee, that may not be sufficient to sway you, however for those who’re new to studio class-driven indoor biking, Echelon is a good funds choice to spin at house for much less.

  • Flywheel weight: 29 kilos
  • Resistance ranges: 32
  • Total weight: 124 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: Yes
$939 at amazon

Best High-End Peloton Alternative: NordicTrack S27i Studio Cycle

NordicTrack S27i Studio Cycle Exercise Bike

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It can appear to be the Peloton bike is your solely choice for those who’re wanting for an indoor bike with a give attention to studio spin courses, however there are literally a shocking variety of choices on this house, together with NordicTrack’s S27i paired with their very own iFIT content material.

The bike itself options thick, easy-to-grip handlebars that make a number of driving positions doable and it additionally comes with respectable pedals which have cages on one facet and clip-in SPD pedals on the opposite. One characteristic not discovered on most different studio bikes is the incline adjustment that tilts the bike up and right down to simulate grades from 20 levels uphill and -10 diploma decline. The gradients undoubtedly modified the journey expertise and added realism whereas following digital street rides on the display screen, however extra minor slope modifications apparent within the video weren’t at all times mirrored in gradient modifications on the bike and there was typically a lag.

The display screen is huge, which makes the digital rides extra immersive, although adjusting the display screen place was typically a problem. The draw back in our tiny house was that it made the large really feel prefer it took up rather more house in our lounge than the opposite bikes I examined and it made the S27i really feel like the focus of the room at occasions. Folks who’ve house in a house workplace or basement probably received’t be as bothered by this, however for those that maintain their indoor bike entrance and heart, it may be value contemplating the NordicTrack S22i which is actually the identical bike with a smaller display screen.

Like the Peloton bike, the S27i is a ready-to-ride, full indoor biking answer that gives a magnetic resistance bike with under-seat 3-pound dumbbells and a really massive built-in display screen that runs the iFIT interface. Like Peloton, you’re locked into the iFIT surroundings, so whereas we’re reviewing bikes right here, the iFIT membership is a key characteristic to contemplate for those who’re any of the NordicTrack bikes. iFIT pushes you in direction of the $39 per thirty days household membership, however there’s a person membership for $15 per thirty days that’s a lot for your one bike for those who’re the one rider or for those who aren’t involved with the app tailoring workouts to you.

Compared to Peloton, there aren’t almost as many studio courses, however the manufacturing stage is high, as is the vitality of the instructors. I particularly enjoyed the highly-produced, guided digital rides that took me from Iceland to Switzerland to Thailand to Nevada within the span of every week. The instructors are educated and so they share asides concerning the areas in addition to training tips that improve the expertise. The variety of digital real-world rides is likely one of the greatest differentiators between iFIT and the Peloton platform. My companion who prefers studio courses to digital rides favored the iFIT app and NordicTrack bike better of all of the bikes I introduced into the home for testing.

While this bike and the iFIT platform mixture are a worthy Peloton various, I’d like to see NordicTrack add leisure, like Peloton, and even higher, permit third-party apps resembling Zwift.

  • Flywheel weight: 32 kilos
  • Resistance ranges: 24
  • Total weight: 217 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: Yes
$2,500 at NordicTrack

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More Exercise Bikes We Love

Best Exercise Bike for Small Spaces: Bowflex IC Bike SE

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Schwinn and Bowflex are owned by Nautlius and you may see similarities between the Bowflex IC Bike SE and the Schwinn IC4 I reviewed, however the IC Bike SE stands out for its minimalist design that has an analogous footprint to different bikes however is less complicated to retailer in cramped areas because of the streamlined V design. There’s nonetheless a reasonably extensive base for stability, however there’s much less body down low so you’ll be able to tuck it up towards different furnishings and it’s simpler to wheel round a room for stowing away or bringing it out for a journey.

The bike itself is quiet and pedals clean but nonetheless has 100 ranges of resistance, which on the high finish can problem all however probably the most hardcore cyclists. The seat isn’t onerous like higher-end bikes and is an effective choice for a number of customers in a family, although severe cyclists will in all probability find yourself swapping it for one thing extra like their outside bike saddles. Similarly, the mix cage/SPD clip-in pedals work nicely for a number of customers, however you’ll be able to swap pedals for a minor further price to imitate you outside bike setup.

You get traditional exercise bike stats resembling energy burned, distance, and time, however I want energy (in watts) was captured because it’s a key stat for most of the biking apps resembling Zwift. That mentioned, the IC Bike SE performs nicely with most biking apps so you’ll be able to take pleasure in digital rides even for those who won’t get the identical expertise as extra totally featured bikes with greater worth tags. It’s additionally nice for studio biking rides and Bowflex/Schwinn has their very own JRNY app which has a lot of workouts tailor-made to their tools in addition to courses you’ll be able to take with out proudly owning a motorbike or treadmill. I’ve famous earlier than that I’m not a lot of a exercise class person as I discover I don’t want the interactivity to work out, however the JRNY workouts had been well-produced and my class-loving companion enjoyed them.

The built-in 7-inch show is sweet however I want they might’ve used that display screen to present you a tablet-like app interface as an alternative of simply an outsized show for your primary stats. Nearly half of the display screen is dedicated to a meter that reveals your estimated energy burned. The small shelf above the display screen works to position a pill, cellphone, and even laptop computer, however I discovered that if I used to be actually pushing onerous, I may simply knock my machine off since there isn’t a solution to lock it in on the platform.

  • Flywheel weight: NA
  • Resistance ranges: 100
  • Total weight: 135 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: Yes
$700 at BowFlex

Best Smart Exercise Bike: Garmin TacX Neo Bike Plus

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As a mountain biker that likes indoor training principally to organize for outside rides, I most popular the TacX Neo Bike Plus out of the entire bikes I examined. Along with the Wahoo Kickr Bike, that is as high-end because it will get in terms of sensible indoor biking bikes, however the worth buys you loads of very nice options for those who can afford it. When paired with Garmin’s TacX Training App, Zwift, and different apps, the bike turns into as near a digital actuality journey expertise as you will get in your house.

So how is that this bike totally different than $500 choices that seemingly function in principally the identical method? There are some apparent {hardware} options that stand out. The first distinction I observed is that there’s a digital freehub, as on most outside bikes, which helps you to coast for restoration on descents. On most different indoor bikes, for those who attempt to coast (and you’ll for those who journey outdoors), the pedals’ momentum will proceed and whip your ft round. This could sound like a minor factor on paper but it surely provides quite a bit to the realism of your digital rides.

Another surprisingly welcome characteristic is the simulated street really feel. While not distinctive to the Garmin bike, this functionality sends a various array of tactile vibrations by way of the bike when driving over digital gravel, cobblestones, bridges, and grime. When testing, I hadn’t learn the options carefully sufficient to anticipate it and was shocked after I crossed my first wood bridge in Zwift and located that it felt like I used to be crossing a wood bridge. There are additionally built-in followers that may be configured to blow on you in proportion to your velocity which helps cool you down and provides a bit of extra to the realism. You can transfer the followers round as nicely for those who don’t want them proper in your face.

All that mentioned, that is nonetheless a stationary bike. If you’re grunting out a climb outside, your bike rocks facet to facet and the Garmin doesn’t do this (but). It additionally solely simulates gradient just about through resistance modifications whereas many bikes together with the Wahoo Kickr really tilt your bike up and down which extra precisely mimics the body and bike positions when gradients change. Having examined the dynamic incline characteristic on a number of different bikes, the omission right here didn’t break my coronary heart. I’ve discovered this characteristic enjoyable when it really works nicely, however it could lag behind the modifications on-screen which breaks the digital spell. For $4,000, it looks as if one thing Garmin ought to attempt to deal with, but when it doesn’t work completely, I’d reasonably not have it in any respect.

You can pair the TacX Neo Bike Plus with the Garmin TacX Training app, Peloton, Zwift, TrainerRoad, and just about any biking app in the marketplace and Garmin appears to have put within the work to make sure clean compatibility. The TacX Training app isn’t included and it’s optionally available to make use of with the TacX bike, but it surely provides digital rides from all over the world. These rides provide you with a first-person digital view of the terrain and embrace simulated street really feel suggestions. I desire these rides to hosted rides I’ve tried on different platforms the place a information leads you and talks the entire time. You merely expertise the journey and may give attention to the expertise, although it’d really feel barebones to people that desire the interactions, badges, and different augmentations in digital biking worlds. You may create and observe your individual routes anyplace that Bing or Apple Maps cowl, which isn’t fairly as visually compelling, however generally is a nice training software when you’ve got a specific course you wish to train for.

The greatest draw back right here is price. The price ticket is high and also you’ll want so as to add pedals, app subscriptions, and a tool for viewing digital content material at minimal. The prices imply that this bike isn’t life like for any however probably the most devoted cyclists, however for these with the funds and the interior drive to get their cash’s value, the TacX Neo Bike Plus delivers the following neatest thing to driving outside.

  • Flywheel weight: NA, digital
  • Resistance: 2,200 watts max
  • Total weight: 110 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: No
$4,000 at Garmin

Best Exercise Bike Under $1,000: Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike

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While the Schwinn IC4 technically retails for $1,300, it has been out for a number of years now and may be had on-line from a number of retailers for nicely underneath $1,000, making it an excellent worth choice that matches each studio class fans in addition to digital biking racers. It’s super-quiet and simple to make use of, making it an choice for these simply wanting for an reasonably priced bike to log cardio, with or with out app enhancement.

For a funds bike, the substantial 40-pound flywheel offers loads of magnetically managed resistance through a front-and-center handbook knob. Because it’s handbook as an alternative of digital, you don’t get a knowledge output or display screen show of resistance and as an alternative need to go by really feel, or Rate of Perceived Exertion if you wish to use the exercise parlance for “how hard exercise feels.” The pedals are advantageous, providing SPD clip-in or cage however you’ll probably swap these out when you’ve got preferences out of your outside bike. The seat is a pleasant shock for a funds bike, providing a slimmer efficiency model construct that’s not too cushioned but additionally not race bike onerous. 

You get all the standard stats resembling distance, time, (estimated) energy burned, and RPMs, which is useful when following alongside in spin courses. Probably the largest omission is energy, which is sweet to have for most of the digital driving apps and training packages although they are going to often estimate watts primarily based on the resistance. The backlit LCD show simply provides you the fundamentals, however there’s a cellphone/pill holder for app viewing. Schwinn’s personal JRNY app isn’t included, but it surely pairs properly with the bike and you should use the beneficiant 60-day trial to see if the courses suit your exercise model.

The bike additionally has racks for the included 3-pound dumbbells included into most of the studio courses. For bigger guys like myself, such tiny dumbbells really feel like an pointless bonus however they didn’t get in the way in which. Much extra helpful and shocking is the included coronary heart fee monitor armband which transmits your coronary heart fee knowledge to apps and is a helpful gauge of exertion in lieu of metrics resembling wattage.

Compared to pricier bikes, the Schwinn IC4 retains it easy and thus is ready to maintain the upfront price affordable. This can be an excellent first indoor bike for people who aren’t certain they’ll develop into a devoted sufficient stationary bicycle owner to justify spending hundreds on an at-home cardio machine.

  • Flywheel weight: 40 kilos
  • Resistance: Manual, magnetic
  • Total weight: 106 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: No
$1,000 at Schwinn
$2,500 at Amazon

Best Exercise Bike for a Realistic Ride: Wahoo Kickr Smart Bike

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My health club used to have a Wahoo Kickr Core trainer that I’d join my mountain bike to (minus the rear wheel) that gave me my first style of app-enhanced sensible bike driving so I used to be excited to check Wahoo’s high-end indoor biking bike. The Kickr Smart Bike works very equally to the Garmin TacX Neo Bike Plus and for those who’re buying on this $4,000 stratosphere, you’re in all probability one of many two.

The most obvious distinction between the 2 is that the Kickr Bike has bodily incline changes that tilt the bike (robotically to mirror digital gradient modifications in apps or manually). This characteristic isn’t a dealbreaker for me when evaluating bikes, however Wahoo nails it on the Kickr Climb characteristic and it undeniably provides a component of realism to the digital rides.

The bikes in any other case are extraordinarily comparable in journey really feel and shifting, although some cyclists will undoubtedly discover sturdy preferences between the 2 bikes. The different apparent variations are within the bike setups. The Garmin is extra of a self-contained stationary bike whereas the Kickr Bike is extra of a mix of optionally available equipment with a pleasant, streamlined bike that felt prefer it took up much less room in our house. The followers which are built-in on the Garmin come as a sold-separately $240 Kickr Headwind fan that sits on the ground in entrance of you. 

There’s no cellphone/pill mount on the Kickr Bike both, however you’ll be able to add the Kickr standing desk on which I’m of two minds. I liked running biking apps on my laptop computer on the desk and located myself utilizing it as a standing desk on it’s personal, however the design makes the complete setup take up rather more room than if the bike merely had a display screen holder built-in. If house isn’t at a premium, it’s an excellent addition, but it surely’s undoubtedly an addition in terms of the footprint of your indoor biking setup.

The Kickr Smart Bike itself is nice and does one of the best job of any bikes I examined at replicating the texture of an actual bike. I discovered it simple to suit and liked the shape and aesthetics of the bike as nicely. It’s value shouting out the Wahoo app’s Fit Wizard right here because it undoubtedly helped me get the bike dialed to my body and most popular driving place higher than the opposite bikes. I didn’t have an expert bike match to reference for this, however for those who do, the Fit Wizard can use it that will help you get an much more exact match that mirrors your outside bike.

While I wasn’t capable of check Wahoo’s new Kickr Bike Shift for this, it drops the Climb gradient changes and lowers the value by about $1,500, making it a pretty compromise for people wanting for a less expensive various with many of the bells and whistles.

  • Flywheel weight: NA, electromagnetic
  • Max resistance: 2,500 watts
  • Total weight: 93 kilos
  • Built-in display screen: No
$3,000 at Wahoo

What to Look for in an Exercise Bike


The indoor exercise bike market at present is fractured by app subscriptions attempting to seize your month-to-month dues. Varying compatibility between bikes and apps forces you to contemplate not solely the bike you’re shopping for, however whether or not or not it really works nicely along with your favourite fitness apps. 

Peloton is an instructive instance. Their bike requires a $44/month software program subscription, and for those who take pleasure in their courses, their bike gives you one of the best Peloton expertise, but it surely received’t join with different packages resembling the favored digital biking app Zwift. Other bikes supply the flexibleness to attach with a number of totally different platforms, however you might lose sure options resembling the power to compete on Peloton’s leaderboards.

If you already know you’re keen on Peloton courses (or studio spin courses usually), you might not be bothered by being locked in to a single platform. (NordicTrack’s iFit platform is comparable and their bikes are equally restricted to iFit content material.)

But for those who’re shopping for an stationary exercise bike for the primary time and aren’t certain which platforms you want finest, it’s in all probability sensible to contemplate a extra open-source choice that gives entry to a number of totally different biking app environments earlier than you commit lots of, if not hundreds, of your {dollars} to a single software program platform bike.

If you’re bored by all this software program discuss and simply need an indoor bike to journey for some exercise with out extra screeen time, we suggest you attempt one of many cheaper suggestions we make beneath as most of the options you pay for within the higher-end bikes are most dear when utilizing the bikes along with software program and shows.

Related: 6 Killer Cycling Workouts

Realistic Ride Features

The Peloton bike is usually referred to as a spin bike since it’s used for studio courses, however the entire bikes we’ve reviewed right here use the identical primary design to duplicate the texture of an actual bike: magnetic resistance. The steel flywheel and magnets that management the resistance is why these bikes all weigh round 100 kilos. Other resistance mechanisms resembling followers or friction don’t mimic actual biking as nicely and are sometimes loud, so most good indoor biking bikes nowadays use some type of magnetic resistance.

Modern exercise bikes even have a variety of different options designed so as to add realism to your stationary biking expertise. Bikes such because the Garmin TacX Neo Bike Plus transmit several types of vibration by way of the bike when driving over digital grime or cobblestones. Several of the bikes we evaluate beneath mechanically modify the lean of the bike to simulate driving uphill or downhill. Many of the higher-end bikes we examined additionally include street bike-style handlebars and mechanical shifters that may be configured in apps to work identical to your outside bike.

If you’re training indoors for driving outside, many of those options will probably be thrilling to you and never solely assist make training extra life like, however make your rides extra partaking. If you’re merely driving indoors for fitness, they could simply add price and complexity that you just don’t want.


If you’re planning to observe together with digital rides or spin courses, you’ll want a tool to run the apps and management the surroundings when you’re on the bike. Many of the studio-style exercise bikes just like the Peloton include a big built-in show display screen and devoted software program, whereas many of the higher-end cyclist-oriented bikes have primary shows to point out journey stats and pressure you to make use of your individual pill, pc, or cellphone for apps.

The best choice for those that don’t wish to fiddle with extra tech than they need to is to make use of a Peloton or comparable stationary bike the place you’ve gotten a everlasting display screen that’s devoted to the native software program platform. The trade-off for this comfort is usually that your expertise is proscribed to at least one app or platform for the lifetime of your bike.

For people who need extra app flexibility however nonetheless need easy setup, utilizing your smartphone is an easy choice. Through our testing, we discovered that pairing exercise bikes and apps through the cellphone virtually at all times labored extra reliably and easily than different gadgets. The draw back of a cellphone is the small display screen dimension which might make it harder to learn your stats and function touchscreen button controls. Tablets are a detailed second in ease of use when bringing your individual display screen to the bike and take pleasure in a bigger show. Many of the bikes we examined have built-in cellphone/pill holders that make both a handy heads-up show.

Laptops additionally make nice show choices, and so they often have loads of horsepower for running graphics-intensive apps resembling Zwift. Laptops may be troublesome to mount on the bike, because the mounts on the bikes are often constructed for telephones and tablets. We additionally discovered that laptop computer and web-based apps had been buggier when connecting and speaking knowledge with the bikes. You may use any of those gadgets to solid your favourite biking apps to a TV for a bigger, extra immersive expertise, however in our testing we discovered that smaller screens near the bike had been a lot. Casting the apps may trigger extra interruptions and lags that make the environments much less life like. Running the apps from a pc or cellphone after which casting with Chromecast or Apple TV are your finest bets if you wish to journey with a giant display screen.

Why You Should Trust Me

I’m a leisure mountain biker nowadays, and I stay for the joys of the downhill and have at all times handled uphills as one thing to be endured to get the prize. Still, I’ve come round to appreciating how endurance training can assist me take pleasure in the complete journey outside and I’ve even (inform nobody) sometimes discovered myself having fun with the uphill struggling. For this text, I examined every of those bikes for a number of weeks and rotated them by way of different riders as nicely to ensure my private biases didn’t shade my opinions an excessive amount of. Several different Men’s Journal editors and writers additionally chipped in by testing a number of the stationary bikes featured right here.

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