Having to deal with poor weather, traffic, or, well, other people can be a major deterrent to biking outdoors—even for the most dedicated cyclist. If you can relate to these woes, it might be time to invest in an indoor exercise bike.
In addition to providing a great low-impact cardio workout, stationary bikes come with lots of other pluses. They make it easier to track your activity and fitness goals through metric display screens or a Bluetooth connection to your fitness apps. And you can enjoy your music or catch up on a favorite show while you pedal—without having to worry about where you’re going. Some even offer the ability to take a virtual class, so you can follow along with an instructor-curated workout. If it’s your first time shopping for a stationary bike, here are a few specifics worth considering.
How to choose the right exercise bike for you
The best way to start shopping is to think about the bikes you’ve liked at different studios and gyms, and jot down some pros and cons of each, Natalie Qayed, a NASM-certified personal trainer and master instructor at Cycle Haus Nashville, tells SELF. Then consider which features are important to you and your fitness goals, like a console that makes it easy to read your distance, time, and heart rate, or a larger display screen for following guided workouts. To that last point, a bike that comes with a workout app or class membership can be a great way to boost your energy and motivation, Emily Collins, a Los Angeles–based indoor cycling instructor at Verve Studios, tells SELF.
You should also think about the bike’s design. Some models have adjustable handlebars, seats, or both, which can help you find the right fit for your body—and they’re also great if you share your equipment with other people. If your bike of choice isn’t adjustable at all, make sure its measurements will be comfortable for you. There are other nice-to-have features to look out for too: Maybe you want one with a padded seat or ergonomic handles for added comfort, storage for dumbbells, or Wi-Fi connectivity to sync up to your playlists.
Finally, consider your budget. You can definitely find a less expensive, no-frills bike that’ll help you get your workouts in, but a bike with a sturdy design or high-end add-ons (i.e., an HD touchscreen) will likely cost more. “You get what you pay for,” Qayed says, alluding to cheaper bikes that appear to come with tons of features, but don’t perform or ride as well as they promise. “As with most fitness machines, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
If you’re not sure where to start, we asked indoor cycling instructors about the best exercise bikes to use for home workouts, and added some of our favorite SELF staffer-approved models too.
Our top picks
- Best Overall: Stages Precor SC2, $2,425
- Best Budget: Sunny Health & Fitness Pro II Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike, $300
- Best for Beginners: Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike, $497
- Best for Added Features: SoulCycle At-Home Bike, $2,500
- Best for Classes: Peloton Bike, $1,445