Best Cheap Exercise Bikes for Home Use
Whether you're an athlete rehabilitating a sore knee, a newbie just beginning an exercise regimen, or a fitness enthusiast who wants a cardio workout but prefers the comfort of home to a crowded gym, an exercise bike may be just what you're looking for. Exercise bicycles, aka stationary bikes, offer a low-impact workout, can improve cardiovascular health, and can help you lose weight. They are far less costly than a gym membership, and the convenience factor increases the chances you'll actually use the bike. With so many on the market, many offering a slew of bells and whistles, the trick is finding the right exercise bike for you. We've examined a ton of reviews and looked at dozens of models to find indoor exercise bikes for $400 or less that offer sturdy designs, good electronic features, and a smooth, quiet ride.
Our Top Pick
Schwinn 230 (MY16) Review
- 22 preprogrammed workouts.
- 20 levels of computer-controlled magnetic resistance automatically adjust during workouts.
- Large, dual LCD screen offers a wide variety of stats, tracks goal achievement, and stores up to 2 rider profiles.
- Hand-grip heart-rate sensors.
- Convenience features include slider seat adjustment, 3-speed fan, media shelf, water bottle holder, built-in speakers, USB port for charging and data export, and transport wheels.
- Robust warranty: 10 years on the frame, 2 years mechanical, and 1 year electrical.
- No cushion on the seat or backrest, although the plastic is contoured and vented for coolness.
- May not suit tall people; riders over 6 feet say they barely fit even with seat as far back as possible.
Takeaway: For consumers looking for an exercise bike loaded with workout programs and extra features, the Schwinn 230 recumbent bike does not disappoint. Users say the multiple levels of resistance lock in quickly and range from light to "downright brutal," as one reviewer put it on Amazon. All of the stats on those worked-up sweats transfer easily to SchwinnConnect and MyFitnessPal accounts. The weight capacity is 300 pounds.
Schwinn 170 Review
- 29 programmed workouts.
- 22 levels of computer-controlled magnetic resistance automatically adjust during workouts.
- Cushioned seat adjusts both horizontally and vertically; the angle of the handlebars can also be adjusted.
- DualTrack console has two backlit LCD screens to display workout information and stores up to 4 rider profiles.
- Convenience features include a 3-speed fan, a media shelf, a water bottle holder, built-in speakers, a USB port for charging, and transport wheels.
- Bluetooth capability for wireless data transfer to multiple apps and connection to RideSocial for live riding with friends using virtual maps.
- Can be paired with a chest strap for heart-rate monitoring.
- 10-year frame, 2-year mechanical, and 1-year electrical warranty.
- A few reports of defective bikes; some riders note that the console positioning is slightly off and readings are not always accurate.
- A handful of reviews complain that the seat is uncomfortable.
Takeaway: The Schwinn 170 is a loaded upright bike. Consumers rave about its 29 programs, sturdy build, and quiet ride. While there are a few complaints regarding quality issues, the many positive reviews and perks more than compensate, and the bike is solid enough to support riders up to 300 pounds. Experts at Top Fitness Magazine claim that this exercise bike "probably has the best features and warranty that you will find at this price."
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 Review
- Smooth pedaling thanks to a 49-pound flywheel; belt drive for a quiet ride.
- At 116 pounds, with a heavy steel frame and 275-pound weight capacity, it's more stable than cheaper bikes; users say they feel confident riding out of the saddle.
- Horizontal and vertical seat adjustment.
- Very easy to put together, according to reviews.
- Wheels for transport and built-in water bottle holder.
- No display console.
- No media shelf (many users have attached their own phone and tablet holders).
- Handlebars cannot be adjusted forward and backward.
- Seat gets its fair share of complaints regarding comfort, despite its cushioning.
- Short 90-day warranty; some complaints of the seat mount breaking and pedals coming off.
Takeaway: A no-frills favorite, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 has earned praise from experts and hundreds of positive reviews from frugal consumers who love its sturdy build, smooth ride, and very budget-friendly price. The belt drive is a particularly welcome benefit for under $300. Although the handlebars may be a bit of a reach for some riders, users say they're well-designed and offer a good grip. Despite complaints that components may not be as sturdy as the frame, many satisfied owners, from novices to advanced cyclists, say this home spin bike more than measures up to the ones at the gym.
Marcy ME-709 Review
- Quiet and comfortable, according to user reviews, with 8 levels of preset magnetic resistance.
- Easy to assemble.
- LCD screen to monitor stats like time, distance, and calories burned.
- Weighted, counterbalanced pedals with adjustable straps for more secure ride.
- Small enough for riders with limited space; wheels for easier transport.
- Bike stays grounded, even during fast peddling.
- Limited seat padding, according to reviews, so long rides may be uncomfortable.
- Seat itself does not move forward or back; central rail is used to adjust the distance from the pedals.
- No preset workout programs.
- No heart-rate monitoring.
Takeaway: The Marcy ME-709 is a no-frills recumbent bike, but that's what many users like about it, according to online reviews. For the price, users say it's sturdy (the manufacturer claims it can hold up to 300 pounds, and heavier users suggest it can handle more) and they appreciate the overall quality. Even better, it's a cinch to set up. With support for the back and a reclined seating position, several seniors and some riders with injuries say the bike is perfect for their needs.
Exerpeutic 250XL Review
- A favorite with many users due to its small footprint and foldable design for easy storage; earns 5 stars from more than 3,500 reviewers -- nearly two-thirds of all reviewers -- on Amazon.
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
- High-resistance crank system allows for smooth, and challenging, pedaling.
- LCD screen to monitor stats.
- Hand-grip heart-rate sensors.
- V-belt drive offers a quiet workout; many users say they're amazed at the low noise level.
- Weighs just 39 pounds; wheels for easy portability.
- Not designed for intense workouts.
- Some riders find the seat uncomfortable and too wide.
- Pedals are too far forward for some users; others say the seat height doesn't adjust enough for shorter riders.
- Some complaints of defective bikes and loud squeaking noises.
- Short 1-year limited warranty for defects; 90 days on parts and workmanship.
Takeaway: The Exerpeutic 250XL strikes a great balance of sturdiness and stowability. This simple upright bike is easily folded, rolled, and tucked away, yet it has a 300-pound weight capacity. Considered a "starter" bike, it may disappoint more experienced riders, but by and large, average users with more tempered expectations have been really pleased with this bargain-priced buy, according to online reviews. Shorter people may want to try this one on for size before purchasing, however.
Bladez Fitness Echelon GS Review
- Consumers appreciate the compact design.
- Heavy, 40-pound flywheel for a smooth ride; belt drive keeps the noise level low.
- Sturdy steel frame and aluminum pedals (with toe baskets).
- Seat and handlebars adjust both vertically and horizontally.
- Basic console displays calories, distance, speed, and time.
- Wheels for transport and built-in water bottle holder.
- Lifetime warranty on the frame; 1 year on the parts and computer.
- Resistance levels aren't marked, and some users say the increments are too steep.
- Some complaints of an uncomfortable seat; many users recommend buying gel padding.
- Nowhere to put a MP3 player or tablet.
- A few users complain of defective products and poor customer service.
Takeaway: Although consumer reviews for the Bladez Fitness Echelon GS indoor cycle are fairly scarce and slightly mixed, it impresses with its low-priced, high-quality build (it can support up to 275 pounds) and shows up on many fitness enthusiasts' lists of top exercise bikes. Based on comparative testing, Reviews.com rates it the "Best Basic Spin Bike," lauding its quiet, smooth ride and stability. While it may have some drawbacks, shoppers will be hard-pressed to find a similar exercise bike in this price range with similar features and performance -- certainly not with a comparable warranty.
Marcy Club Revolution XJ-3220 Review
- Heavy, 40-pound flywheel provides a smooth ride.
- Sturdy and capable of supporting a maximum weight of 300 pounds.
- Seat can adjust both vertically and horizontally; handlebars are also adjustable.
- Many reviewers consider this a top-quality bike that's built to last.
- Comes mostly assembled; wheels for transport.
- Users complain that the seat is extremely uncomfortable.
- No computer; can't track workouts.
- Nowhere to put an MP3 player, book, or tablet, though there is a water bottle holder.
- Chain drive makes it noisier than a belt-drive bike.
- Several reports of pedals breaking off.
Takeaway: Although there are relatively few negative reviews about overall quality, the slightly clunkier chain drive and lack of a performance monitor on this Marcy Club Revolution spin bike does not make it competitive with the best cheap indoor cycles. The incredibly hard seat also does little to encourage users to stay in the saddle and stick to exercise goals. Many owners suggest swapping it out.
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