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Riding a stationary exercise bike can be an effective way to boost cardiovascular health and reduce body fat. It is also a safe and convenient alternative to road cycling.

This article explores the benefits and risks of stationary exercise bikes, what to look for when purchasing a new one, and eight of the best cheap exercise bikes available to buy online.

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Consumer Reports states that there are several key features to look for in an exercise bike.

The following sections will look at these in more detail.

Design and display

People who wish to use an exercise bike should consider where they will store it when not in use. It may be preferable to opt for a folding bike that will fit inside a cupboard or closet. Bikes that feature adjustable seats and handlebars could also offer an optimal fit.

Additionally, having a clear display with easy-to-use controls will also help make the most of any workout. Look for performance tracking metrics such as time, distance traveled, speed, calories burned, revolutions per minute, and heart rate or pulse monitors.

Stability

Look for nonslip pedals and a medium-to-low center of gravity to help with stability. Some cheaper models tend to have a higher center of gravity, which may feel unstable when training at a high intensity.

Also, consider the maximum weight the bike supports.

Resistance

Both manual and electric bikes should come with a good range of resistance levels. Electric bikes may also include a variety of fitness programs that users can adjust to suit their fitness levels, age, weight, or sex.

Considering what is important to an individual’s fitness routine and requirements will help.

Monitoring

Not all machines at the lower end of the price range will come with heart or pulse monitoring controls. If a particular model does not have these features, it may be worth purchasing a separate fitness tracker with a built-in heart monitor.

Here are eight affordable exercise bike options available for purchase.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike

This bike is suitable for those with limited space, folding up to roughly 18 inches (in) by 18 in when not in use.

A larger seat allows comfort and stability, while a small display provides distance, speed, time, calories burned, and pulse information.

It offers eight levels of manual resistance, which users can control through a tension knob below the handlebars.

The bike is suitable for users weighing up to 225 pounds (lb).

ECHANFIT Indoor Exercise Bike

This magnetic spinning bike can support up to 250 lb. A silent belt drive system makes it a quieter option than many in the cheaper price bracket.

Users can adjust the seat’s height up and down and forward and back, while the handlebar height is also adjustable.

A digital monitor provides information on time, speed, distance, and calories burned. It also features a smartphone holder.

Marcy Upright Exercise Bike

This magnetic exercise bike can support users up to 300 lb. With an inseam height ranging 26–34 in, it may be a suitable option for taller people.

A display monitor shows time, speed, distance, and calories burned. However, it does not have a pulse sensor, so users who wish to record this information will likely need to purchase an additional device.

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse

People can store this magnetic exercise bike away when not in use, as it folds to 22 in by 20 in.

It supports users weighing up to 300 lb and can accommodate people who are 5 feet (ft) 3 in to 6 ft 1 in tall. The LCD offers information on calories burned, time, speed, and pulse, using contact sensors within the handlebars.

Users can also choose from eight levels of resistance using the large dial knob.

VIGBODY Exercise Bike

This exercise bike can support a user weight of up to 330 lb, making it the most stable option on this list.

The handlebars can move up or down, while individuals can adjust the seat in height as well moving it forward or back.

A multifunctional display shows time, speed, distance, and calories burned. This bike also comes with 12 months of free replacement parts.

YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike

This bike can support the weight of users up to 270 lb and a height range of 25–35 in.

The 35-kilogram machine also features a 35-lb flywheel and heavy-duty steel frame. The nonslip handlebars can move up or down, while people can adjust the seat forward, backward, and in height.

An LCD monitor displays fitness metrics such as speed, distance traveled, and calories burned. The bike also comes with a tablet holder.

YOSUDA also offers a 1-year parts replacement warranty with this machine.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike

This recumbent exercise bike supports weights of up to 300 lb. It features front and side handlebars with heart pulse monitoring.

This bike has magnetic resistance with eight different resistance levels. Additionally, people can adjust the seat back and forward from a seated position.

A digital monitor also tracks time, speed, distance, calories, and heart rate.

Lanos Folding Exercise Bike

Individuals can use this exercise bike as an upright or recumbent bike. It supports a user weight of up to 300 lb and can accommodate people 4 ft 6 in to 6 ft tall.

The bike features 10 levels of resistance and a precision-balanced flywheel, which offers a smooth, quiet ride. The in-built display tracks speed, distance, calories, and heart pulse rate.

If a person is not satisfied with their purchase, Lanos will issue a full refund or replace the exercise bike.

A 2019 systematic review of indoor cycling suggests that regular use of an exercise bike has several positive health benefits.

The sections below will look at these benefits in more detail.

Burns body fat

Exercise bikes allow people to work out at a high intensity, which helps burn calories, reduce body fat, and build lean muscle mass.

A 30-minute vigorous workout on an exercise bike can burn between 315 and 466 calories, depending on a person’s body weight.

Improves fitness

Cardio workouts can help boost the flow of blood and oxygen through the body. This can have several health benefits, such as a stronger immune system, reduced blood pressure, improved mood, and more energy.

Working out at a high intensity for short intervals, also known as internal training, can also help boost fitness.

Provides low impact workouts

Unlike running and several other high-impact aerobic exercises, cycling does not put undue stress on the joints.

For this reason, it is suitable for people with joint injuries or underlying joint problems such as arthritis.

Is safe, convenient, and cost effective

Indoor cycling can be more convenient and safer than outdoor cycling. With no traffic or pedestrians to consider, no risk of collisions, and no adverse weather conditions to contend with, it can be much less hazardous than road cycling.

People with limited space may prefer the convenience of a folding exercise bike, which makes it easier to store when not in use.

With prices starting at under $200, an exercise bike can also be much cheaper than a gym membership.

Indoor cycling does not come without risks. For example, it is possible to develop knee pain if the saddle is too low or too far forward. Pedaling in too hard a gear may also strain or inflame the knee joint.

Additionally, putting too much weight on the hands instead of the lower body can sometimes result in numb hands and wrists, known as handlebar palsy. Bringing the handlebars up will help take this extra weight off the wrists and hands. It could also help relieve low back pain.

Some previous studies linked frequent cycling with erectile dysfunction. However, one 2018 study of thousands of cyclists, swimmers, and runners found no evidence to suggest that cyclists are at more risk of experiencing sexual or urinary issues.

Those looking for an alternative to stationary exercise bikes that also provides a good cardio workout and low impact on the joints may prefer to try an elliptical or a rowing machine. Both are available as home workout equipment.

Alternative activities that do not require home equipment but have similar health benefits include swimming and shadowboxing.

Stationary exercise bikes are an effective and convenient way of improving cardio fitness and reducing fat while minimizing impact on the joints.

People looking for a new exercise bike should consider their own fitness levels alongside the product’s design, stability, and ability to set resistance levels.

There is a range of cheap exercise bikes available to buy online.

Users who do not wish to cycle indoors but enjoy working out at home may prefer to purchase a rowing machine or an elliptical. These offer an effective cardio workout that reduces body fat.