The 10 best exercise bikes to buy right now

28 April 2021

woman on exercise bike

If you want to take a ride from the comfort of your own home, check out the 10 best home exercise bikes currently on the market.

Whether you’re spinning along with a trainer or pedalling away in front of your favourite TV show, exercise bikes are a great low-impact workout to get your heart pumping and burn calories.

Since the gyms closed during lockdown, home gym equipment has been in high demand. Compared to machines like treadmills and cross trainers, exercise bikes are generally smaller and cheaper, and can offer plenty of variety for workouts.

There’s a bike to suit all levels from beginners to keen cyclists, including the most basic exercise bikes, machines that come with a cross trainer to work your arms and, if you’re short on space, you can buy foldable and compact designs too.

There are also smart bikes that connect to fitness trackers and virtual classes for an interactive experience, and videos that make you feel like you’re riding in the great outdoors. Even if you have the most basic of bikes, you can pay to use these apps through your phone or tablet.

Peloton is probably the most well-known of exercise bikes. A smart bike that comes with an inbuilt screen for streaming classes, prices start at £1,750 and you also have to pay membership fees. If that’s out of your price range, there are similar products on the market (read on for our alternative) that offer similar features.

Whether you want a bike that will simply burn calories or a machine that gives you a whole-body workout, check out the 10 best home exercise bikes to buy now.

1. Best home exercise bike: JLL IC400 Elite

“I got a JLL IC400 Elite in October and use the Les Mills app. It's a decent bike. Plenty of gear to stand and climb for the hills. Quiet and stable. Used by both my husband and I, so gets plenty of use. I'm going to cancel my gym membership and continue with it and the app. The only downside to this bike is you can't see the gear on the display – the gear is a twist knob – but I got used to the resistance on the pedals to gauge the gear pretty soon.”

1. Best home exercise bike: JLL IC400 Elite

A fitness company based in Birmingham, JLL have designed a range of home exercise bikes and you get a gym-quality bike with the IC400 Elite.

The heavy 20kg flywheel gives a smooth ride and the resistance can be increased for high intensity workouts. The bike can hold up to 150kg, and the seat and handlebars can be adjusted for multiple users.

The display is more basic than other machines and doesn’t provide any cycling programmes, but does give basic information, including time, distance, speed and calories.

It’s a heavy bike so you won’t want to move it around, but it’s suitable for both beginners and keen cyclists and, at under £500, it’s not a bad price either.

Pros

  • Heavy 20kg flywheel
  • Handlebar and seat can be adjusted for multiple users

Cons

  • Basic digital display
  • Flywheel can be quite noisy

Technical specs

  • Size: L133 x W54 x H130cm
  • Weight limit: 150kg
  • Resistance: Friction
Buy now from Amazon

2. Best budget exercise bike: JLL JF100

2. Best budget exercise bike: JLL JF100

Another one from JLL, this exercise bike appeals to those on a tighter budget. While the 4kg flywheel is not as heavy as our overall winner, the JLL JF100 gives a smooth ride for a very low price.

It offers 10 levels of magnetic resistance for higher – or lower – intensity rides. However, this bike is probably more suited for those just starting out as the highest level is unlikely to be challenging enough for more experienced riders.

An upright bike, it’s great for getting in your cardio exercise but is not designed for high intensity spinning classes. The seat and handlebars can be adjusted and it’s more compact than other machines. And, at £169.99, it’s the fraction of the price of some of the other bikes on our list.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Great low price

Cons

  • Doesn’t have as much power as other bikes
  • Not suitable for spinning classes

Technical specs

  • Size: L99 x W51 x H123cm
  • Weight limit: 100kg
  • Resistance: Magnetic
Buy now from Amazon

3. Best foldable exercise bike: Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider

“I have an Ultrasport folding exercise bike and it's great. It's proper-sized but folds up nicely. It has adjustable tension and a distance/time/pulse tracker which is handy. I do about half an hour on it every day."

3. Best foldable exercise bike: Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider

We don’t all have room for a home gym so this foldable bike from Ultrasport is a great option for saving space in your home.

Similar to our budget option, the JLL JF100, the Ultrasport F-Bike is not heavy-duty, but that’s part of the appeal. Weighing just 14kg, it’s lightweight enough to move around and folds down so it can be stored away more easily.

The bike has an LCD display with basic ride stats and a pulse monitor so you can track your fitness levels. There’s eight levels of resistance which will be great for regular riding to increase fitness, but it won’t be as challenging or versatile as other bikes and it’s not made for standing up.

Pros

  • Easily folds away to save space
  • Very low price

Cons

  • Doesn’t have as much power as other bikes
  • Not suitable for spinning classes

Technical specs

  • Size: 112 × 43.5 × 80.5cm (131 × 43.5 × 45cm folded)
  • Weight limit: 100kg
  • Resistance: Friction
Buy now from Amazon

4. Best recumbent exercise bike: Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR

4. Best recumbent exercise bike: Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR

The Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR recumbent bike will suit those looking for a more comfortable ride or who suffer with back or mobility issues.

The seat on a recumbent bike is more reclined than upright bikes and this one comes with a cushioned backrest to give more support when riding. It can hold up to 181kg in weight and can be adjusted to suit people from 5'2" to 6'5".

It’s a sturdy bike, with up to eight levels of resistance to choose from so you can increase your intensity as your fitness improves. The LCD computer screen is nothing fancy, but we like that the 525XLR can be folded up to almost half its size when not in use, with wheels to make it easier to move around.

Pros

  • Folds away to almost half its size
  • Reclined, padded seat for back support

Cons

  • Basic digital display

Technical specs

  • Size: L123 x W61 x H117cm (L68.5 x W45.5 x H122cm folded)
  • Weight limit: 181kg
  • Resistance: Magnetic
Buy now from Amazon

5. Best 2-in-1 cross trainer exercise bike: JTX Mission Air

5. Best 2-in-1 cross trainer exercise bike: JTX Mission Air

While other bikes tend to focus on cardio and the lower body, the JTX Mission Air is a cross trainer exercise bike so you can also work your core and arms while you’re pedalling.

Like the bars on a cross trainer, you pull your arms back and forth to get a whole-body workout. The Mission Air is a fan bike so there’s no limit to the resistance – the faster you pedal the more resistance builds up making it a great machine for HIIT and endurance training. In fact, you can burn up to 80 calories a minute on an air bike which is great for those wanting to lose weight.

The console comes with eight training programmes and you can also set your own interval training. It’s a very heavy machine but that makes it a very stable ride – which will be a comfort when you’re pedalling at high speed.

Pros

  • Works your arms and core while pedalling
  • Infinite resistance

Cons

  • Very heavy so not portable

Technical specs

  • Size: L122.5 x W55 x H120cm
  • Weight limit: 110kg
  • Resistance: Fan

Price: £710

Buy now from JTX

6. Best mini exercise bike: Oypla Arm/Leg Mini Cycle Pedal Exercise Resistance Bike

6. Best mini exercise bike: Oypla Arm/Leg Mini Cycle Pedal Exercise Resistance Bike

Mini exercise bikes don’t offer the same features or level of intensity as stationary bikes, but the Oypla Arm/Leg Mini Cycle Pedal will suit anyone wanting to build up body strength.

The compact design and carry handle allow you to easily move it around your home so you pedal under your desk or from the comfort of your sofa. You can even use it to build up strength in your arms.

It has a light 1.5kg flywheel so won’t be as smooth as other heavier machines, but the resistance can be adjusted by turning the dial and the digital display helps you track your progress. This is a good option for those short on space or who may need to go at a lighter pace.

Pros

  • Very small and portable
  • Allows leg and arm workouts
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Not a high intensity piece of equipment
  • May slip around

Technical specs

  • Size: 41 × 34 × 31cm
  • Weight limit: Not specified
  • Resistance: Not specified
Buy now from Amazon

7. Best quiet exercise bike: Life Fitness Lifecycle C1 Upright

“I have the Life Fitness C1 Upright bike. It’s very quiet and a good solid bike."

“We have a Life Fitness one, bought secondhand from eBay. I use it with the Peloton app – prop up my iPad on the upright handlebars, and the bike's monitor gives me the stats on resistance and cadence I need. DH uses it when he can't get out on his real bike.”

7. Best quiet exercise bike: Life Fitness Lifecycle C1 Upright

If you live in a flat and don’t want to disturb your neighbours or need to exercise early in the morning without waking the kids, it’s worth looking for a quiet bike like the Life Fitness Lifecycle C1 Upright (a popular bike with Mumsnetters).

The bike has a 11kg flywheel and up to 20 resistance levels to challenge both beginners and keen cyclists. It also comes with a Go console, which has 13 workout programmes, and you can store two profiles to keep track of your progress.

The C1 also has an energy-saving mode and is very quiet, so there’s no need to worry about disturbing anyone when you’re hitting those pedals at speed.

Pros

  • Very quiet exercise bike
  • Workout console with 13 programmes

Cons

  • Not as powerful as other models
  • Pricey

Technical specs

  • Size: L114 x W69 x H142cm
  • Weight limit: 135kg
  • Resistance: Magnetic
Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

8. Best upright exercise bike: JTX Cyclo-5

8. Best upright exercise bike: JTX Cyclo-5

A solid, high quality upright bike, the JTX Cyclo-5 comes with some great extra features to ensure you get the most out of your ride.

The bike’s computer is Bluetooth-compatible so you can download the cycling app, Kinomap, on your phone or tablet. As you cycle real routes, it automatically adjusts the bike’s resistance. You can also buy Bluetooth power pedals separately and connect with other cycling apps, such as Zwift and Sufferfest.

The bike comes with 16 resistance levels and the computer has 19 programmes, but if they’re not challenging you enough then you can design your own. Other nice features include heart training, which monitors your heart and adjusts the resistance, and speakers for playing your own music.

Pros

  • Bluetooth compatible for connecting to cycling apps
  • 19 programmes and design your own

Cons

  • Big and heavy so not portable
  • Not made for spinning classes

Technical specs

  • Size: L128 x W61 x H152cm
  • Weight limit: 150kg
  • Resistance: Magnetic

Price: £695

Buy now from JTX

9. Best smart exercise bike: Echelon Smart Connect EX3

9. Best smart exercise bike: Echelon Smart Connect EX3

If you like the sound of a Peloton bike but not the hefty price tag, the Echelon Smart Connect is a good alternative for a lot less money. Like with the Peloton, you get access to live and on-demand classes suitable for all levels including cycling routes, HIIT, yoga, Pilates and boxing.

You do have to pay £39.99 a month for the membership and, unlike Peloton, it doesn’t come with a built-in screen for streaming classes, so you need to use the app on a tablet or phone, but the bike does come with a holder for your device.

With a heavy 13kg flywheel and a whopping 32 levels of magnetic resistance, you’ll get extra intensity to your workouts – and the large, cushioned seat should make it more comfortable.

It’s a sleek, stylish bike and the adjustable toe cages are also a nice touch, giving extra peace of mind to riders during high-speed workouts.

Pros

  • Access to live and on-demand classes
  • 32 levels of resistance

Cons

  • You need a device to use the app
  • Expensive

Technical specs

  • Size: 124 × 50.5 × 111cm
  • Weight limit: 136kg
  • Resistance: Magnetic
Buy now from Amazon

10. Best interactive exercise bike: Nordictrack Commercial Studio S10i

10. Best interactive exercise bike: Nordictrack Commercial Studio S10i

Another Peloton rival, the Nordictrack Commercial Studio S10i gives you access to live, studio and global workouts and trainers, who can adjust your bike's resistance for you.

With a free one-year iFit family membership included, you can create up to five individual profiles and the classes are streamed through the interactive touchscreen display which can be rotated when you do a class off the bike. When you feel like doing your own thing, you can choose a route on Google Maps to ride.

As an extra challenge, you can incline and decline the bike and it has 22 resistance levels – you even get two light dumbbells for cross training. While this is an expensive piece of equipment, we think it is a great package with lots of interaction and variety.

Pros

  • Free one-year iFit membership includes virtual classes and trainers
  • Option to incline and decline the bike

Cons

  • Expensive

Technical specs

  • Size: 140 × 56 × 141 cm
  • Weight limit: 150kg
  • Resistance: Magnetic
Buy now from Amazon

Which is better – a treadmill or an exercise bike?

This comes down to personal preference. Each machine has their good and bad points. A treadmill is very effective at burning lots of calories (up to 700 per hour on an incline) and fat, but it will take up more room in your home, and come with a higher risk of injury as running puts more strain on your knees and back.

An exercise bike strengthens lower muscles and is low impact so there’s less chance of injury, however it won’t burn as many calories as a treadmill and doesn’t tend to work the top half of your body – and may come with an uncomfortable seat if you don't do your research.

Both machines offer varied workout programmes and the exercise you get from them is very beneficial to your health. Remember though that these machines take up space in your home so choose one that you are most likely to use otherwise it could end up being a very expensive clothes dryer.

How long should I ride an exercise bike?

This all depends on your level of fitness and what you want to get from your bike. Beginners should start doing around 30 minutes on their exercise bike at a time, gradually building up to longer sessions of up to 60 minutes. Make sure to start each session with a slow warm-up.

Try for three to five sessions a week or at least 150 minutes. For weight loss, alternate between higher and lower intensity to get your heart pumping. To see results, it’s important to be consistent and keep challenging yourself, but don’t expect to see dramatic changes overnight as it can take a couple of months.

What should I look for when buying an exercise bike?

Seating position

  • Upright exercise bike: These bikes tend to be more comfortable than indoor/spinning bikes. They are often cheaper and are good for beginners but, unlike indoor bikes, you may not be able to stand up to pedal so bear this in mind if you plan to do virtual spinning classes.
  • Indoor/spinning bike: These are the machines you tend to find in a spinning class. The forward-leaning riding position is more like a road bike and you can sit down and stand up to pedal, which offers more variety to your workouts.
  • Recumbent exercise bike: As the seat is reclined with a full back rest, these exercise bikes are more supportive than upright or indoor/spinning bikes and suitable for those who suffer with back problems, joint issues or limited mobility. They also tend to be bigger.
  • 2-in-1 exercise bike: If you want more versatility to your exercise, you can purchase a cross trainer exercise bike that works your arms too. You can also buy duo bikes that are both upright and recumbent.

Size

Measure how much space you have at home and think about where the bike will go – some bikes will be too big and heavy for moving around.

While you can buy compact, lightweight machines, you may not get as much resistance as on heavy-duty bikes. Do you need to store it away after use? If so, look for a folding exercise bike.

Weight limit

Check the bike’s maximum weight limit – this ranges from around 100kg up to 180kg.

Resistance

The resistance on an exercise bike determines how intense and varied your workouts will be. Most designs use a heavy metal flywheel that generates friction-resistance by turning a knob to apply a brake. These designs can suffer more wear and tear than others.

Other bikes use magnets to generate resistance. These tend to be quieter than flywheel bikes and offer more accurate settings, however you might not get the same level of resistance.

You can also buy air bikes, which uses a fan – the faster you pedal the more resistance you generate. Levels on bikes vary from around eight to 32.

Adjustable handles and seats

Bikes that come with an adjustable handle and seat will allow you to sit more comfortably. Handles that can be moved will also offer more variety for workouts.

Console or digital display

A lot of bikes come with a digital display telling you details of your ride such as distance, pace, calorie burn, heart rate and pulse.

More expensive bikes may come with a console with workout programmes or a screen for streaming classes, while others may have a tablet holder for using training apps – or even watching your favourite TV show while you pedal! For a more interactive experience, look for a bike with Bluetooth.

Price

While there’s no doubt that an exercise bike is not a small purchase, there are decent machines that can be bought for less than £200. If you want a gym-style bike, you’re looking at paying anywhere from £400 to over £1,500.

What is the best exercise bike for home use?

We think the JLL IC400 Elite is the best exercise bike for home use. It comes with a heavy 20kg flywheel and the resistance can be increased for high intensity workouts.

It can hold up to 150kg with an adjustable seat and handlebars for multiple users. A sturdy, powerful machine, it’s a good option for both beginners and keen cyclists without breaking the bank.

How we chose our recommendations

Most of our recommendations for home exercise bikes came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which home exercise bikes Mumsnetters really rated. We also researched various review sites to find out which exercise bikes performed well across the board.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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Main image credit: Echelon