Best Exercise Bikes Under $400

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woman exercising on spin bike in home
Photo credit: RichLegg/istockphoto

SADDLE UP!

With so many exercise bikes on the market, finding the right one to help you lose weight, rehab an aching knee, train for the next triathlon, or just stay in shape can be overwhelming. From recumbent bikes and uprights to hybrids and even minis that you can take to work, which ones are worth the money? After researching dozens of models, Cheapism.com has selected six top exercise bikes under $400 that consumers prefer and experts recommend in online reviews. This roundup also includes a dual-action fan bike, a hybrid elliptical bike, and an under-the-desk model.

Prices and availability may vary.

Marcy ME-709
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

MARCY ME-709

Good Cheap Recumbent Exercise Bike
Est. Price: $122 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

Schwinn 230 (MY16)
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SCHWINN 230 (MY16)

Best Recumbent Exercise Bike
Est. Price: $350 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

Exerpeutic 250XL
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

EXERPEUTIC 250XL

Good Compact Exercise Bike
Est. Price: $149 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

Schwinn 170
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SCHWINN 170

Best Upright Exercise Bike
Est. Price: $400 | Buy it from Schwinn

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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."

Bladez Fitness Echelon GS
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

BLADEZ FITNESS ECHELON GS

Good Exercise Bike for Spinning at Home
Est. Price: $400 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SUNNY HEALTH & FITNESS SF-B1002

Best Cheap Exercise Bike for Spinning
Est. Price: $290 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- 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.

Cons:
- 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.

Schwinn Airdyne AD6
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SCHWINN AIRDYNE AD6

Bonus: Dual-Action Exercise Bike
Est. Price: $500 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- Fan allows for unlimited resistance.
- Exercises both upper and lower body at once, or separately.
- Pairs with Polar chest straps for heart-rate monitoring.
- Console displays stats such as time, distance, RPM, calories burned, power, and pulse.
- Generously sized seat with extra padding for comfort.
- Compact design and transport wheels for easy storage.
- 10-year frame, 2-year mechanical, and 2-year electrical warranty.

Cons:
- LCD screen is not backlit, making it difficult to read, according to some reviews.
- Riders have complained of trouble tightening the seat, which adjusts only up and down, not horizontally.
- In a few instances, parts were broken or missing upon arrival.
- Reports of parts breaking after only a couple of weeks.

Takeaway: The signature feature of the dual action Schwinn Airdyne AD6 is the fan: The harder you pedal, and the faster you work those arms, the more resistance is generated. It can deliver a killer workout for users looking to build up their fitness. Just keep in mind that the noise level will build up as well. While it's not the cheapest Airdyne exercise bike Schwinn offers, the mid-range AD6 provides a nice ratio of features to price.

ProForm Hybrid Trainer
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

PROFORM HYBRID TRAINER

Bonus: 2-in-1 Elliptical Cross Trainer & Exercise Bike
Est. Price: $350 | Buy it from Walmart

Pros:
- 16 programmed workouts.
- Hand-grip heart-rate monitoring.
- Adjustable console displays speed, time, distance, calories burned, power, and heart rate.
- 16 levels of digital magnetic resistance.
- Convenience features include slider seat adjustment, a tablet holder above the console, a water bottle holder, built-in speakers, and transport wheels.
- iPod-compatible and Bluetooth iFit-enabled.
- Padded seat adjusts both vertically and horizontally.
- Supports riders up to 350 pounds.
- 5-year warranty on the frame; 90 days for parts and labor.

Cons:
- Large footprint: nearly 6 feet long and just over 2 feet wide.
- Given the size and weight (estimated at more than 130 pounds), some users say this bike is not easy to move.
- Seat back is not adjustable.
- Challenging to put together; many users recommend professional assembly.
- Reports of damaged or defective bikes and squeaky or unstable operation.

Takeaway: Consumers looking for a full-body, low-impact exercise regimen at home will be tempted by the ProForm Hybrid Trainer, a recumbent bike and elliptical machine in one. With 16 preprogrammed workouts, this elliptical exercise bike offers plenty of options to get the heart rate up and burn calories. Users who subscribe to iFit have access to an even wider array of workouts and fitness tracking. One caveat: Given the plethora of parts, both mechanical and electrical, there's a lot that can go wrong. But at such a low price, many consumers have been up for the risk -- and pleased with their purchases. (Costco members can pick up this bike for even less (est. price $330).

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Magnetic Mini
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SUNNY HEALTH & FITNESS SF-B0418 MAGNETIC MINI

Bonus: Exercise Bike for Under Desk
Est. Price: $85 | Buy it on Amazon

Pros:
- Small and compact; weighs only 21 pounds.
- Sturdy and smooth pedaling experience.
- Quiet; ideal for office spaces.
- Can be used with both feet and hands, for an upper body workout.
- 8 levels of adjustable resistance.
- Small LCD screen displays calories, distance, speed, odometer, and time.
- Convenient carrying handle.

Cons:
- Shorter pedal motion than a traditional bike.
- Higher than average pedal positioning (to accommodate arm exercises) could be a challenge underneath some desks.
- Some complaints that it tends to slide during use, particularly at higher tension levels.
- Short 90-day warranty.

Takeaway: For those looking to infuse some exercise into a sedentary lifestyle or recover after an injury, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini makes a convenient companion, with its light weight, incredibly quiet operation, and a top-mounted handle for easy portability. Our pick for the best mini exercise bike supports up to 220 pounds and has most of the same features for nearly half the price of the popular DeskCycle model (starting around $159). It can be used at home or in an office and does double duty by accommodating arm workouts.

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