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Riding a stationary exercise bike can be an effective way to boost cardiovascular health and increase fitness. 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.
A quick look at the 11 best cheap exercise bikes
- For limited space: XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
- For a quieter ride: ECHANFIT Indoor Exercise Bike
- For taller people: Marcy Upright Exercise Bike
- For a folding bike: Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse
- For stability: VIGBODY Exercise Bike
- For adjustable handlebars and seat: YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike
- For a recumbent bike: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
- For a 2-in-1 bike: Lanos Folding Exercise Bike
- For connectivity and resistance: Bowflex C6 Bike
- For maximum features on a tight budget: Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
- For resistance: ProForm Pro C10U
Medical News Today chooses fitness equipment that meets the following criteria:
- Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
- Size and capacity: MNT selects products to suit people of different heights, weights, and strength.
- Connectivity: Where fitness equipment has fitness memberships or subscriptions, MNT ensures variation in classes and services that benefit a person’s health.
- Materials: MNT chooses products that have safe and durable materials that are easy to clean and maintain.
- Ease of use: MNT selects simple-to-use products that have clear instructions. If set-up is complicated, MNT chooses brands that offer a set-up or installation service.
- Quality: MNT chooses companies that adhere to high quality manufacturing processes that ensure its products are safe for personal use.
- Reputable: MNT chooses products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices and that offer reliable customer service and support.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best for limited space: XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
Price: Around $179.99
This bike is suitable for people with limited space. It folds up to roughly 18 inches (in) by 18 when not in use.
The large seat offers comfort and stability, while a small display provides distance, speed, time, calories burned, and pulse information.
It has 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).
Some buyers complain that the company does not honor the warranty and does not have any available replacement parts, even though it is still producing the bike.
Best for a quieter ride: ECHANFIT Indoor Exercise Bike
Price: Around $189.99
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, forward and back. The handlebar height is also adjustable.
A digital monitor provides information on time, speed, distance, and calories burned. It also features a smartphone holder.
Buyers feel this bike is a good deal for the price, saying it is comfortable, sturdy, and provides challenging resistance options.
However, some found the setup directions confusing and the seat unstable, mentioning it does not properly attach itself to the bike.
Best for taller people: Marcy Upright Exercise Bike
Price: Around $132.91
This magnetic exercise bike can support users up to 300 lb. It may suit taller people with an inseam height ranging from 26–34 in.
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 need to purchase an additional device.
It is one of the cheapest bikes on the market, with over 3,000 positive reviews on Amazon.
Some negatives include:
- display does not have adaptive brightness to handle dark or overlit rooms
- need to use batteries to power the display
- buyers report inconsistent and weak tension
- narrow pedals
Best for a folding bike: Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse
Price: Around $199.99
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 resistance levels using the large dial knob.
On the downside, reviewers say it is noisy, while a few say the seat lacks padding for comfort.
Best for stability: VIGBODY Exercise Bike
Price: Around $249.99
This exercise bike can support a weight of up to 330 lb. It also features an adjustable base that adapts to different ground environments and a durable powder coating resistant to rust, corrosion, and wear.
The company says it makes this bike with lightweight commercial-grade and load-bearing materials, making it one of the most stable options on this list.
The handlebars can move up or down. People can also adjust the seat height and move it forward or back.
The bike has a media holder that can fit a tablet or a phone, infinite adjustable resistance via a knob, cage pedals, and transportation wheels.
A multifunctional display shows time, speed, distance, and calories burned. This bike also comes with 12 months of free replacement parts.
However, the infinite resistance knob means there is no way to know the precise resistance levels.
Best for adjustable handlebars and seat: YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike
Price: Around $439.99
This bike can support a weight of up to 270 lb.
The 35-kilogram machine also features a 35-lb flywheel and heavy-duty steel frame. The nonslip handlebars can move up or down. People can adjust the seat forward, backward, up, and down.
An LCD monitor displays fitness metrics such as speed, distance traveled, and calories burned. The bike also comes with a tablet holder.
A core problem with this bike is the lack of proper resistance. The manufacturer says it has infinite resistance levels. However, it is not clear how it works. Buyers say they can adjust the resistance using the knob, but there is no way to show the resistance level or accurately measure it.
YOSUDA also offers a 1-year parts replacement warranty with this machine.
Best for a recumbent bike: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike
Price: Around $229
This recumbent exercise bike supports weights of up to 300 lb. It features front and side handlebars with heart rate 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.
However, this bike lacks smart features such as apps, Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to sync metrics with other apps. Users also need batteries to power the digital monitor.
One notable advantage is that it has transportation wheels. Reviewers say it works well for recumbent exercise, though the quality does not match the price.
Best for a 2-in-1 bike: Lanos Folding Exercise Bike
Price: Around $269.99
People can use this exercise bike as an upright or recumbent bike. It supports users up to 300 lb and can accommodate people 4 ft 6 in to 6 ft tall.
The bike features 10 resistance levels and a precision-balanced flywheel, which offers a smooth, quiet ride. The built-in display tracks speed, distance, calories, and heart rate.
If a person is unsatisfied with their purchase, Lanos says it will issue a full refund or replace the exercise bike.
Additionally, a person can fold it into a flat position for easy storage.
The limiting number of resistance levels and the lack of Bluetooth may be too basic for some people. It also only comes with a 90-day warranty period.
For connectivity and resistance: Bowflex C6 Bike
Price: Around $999
Those looking for maximum connectivity for under $1,000 may consider this bike by Bowflex. It features:
- connectivity with JRNY, Zwift, Peleton, Rouvy, and other apps
- backlit metric console
- 100 magnetic resistance levels
- dual side pedals
- a pair of 3 lb dumbbells
- heart rate armband monitor with Bluetooth
- media device holder
This Bowflex bike comes with a one-year JRNY subscription, which gives buyers access to adaptive workouts with real-time coaching, virtual experiences, tracking, and on-demand classes.
People should note that to use the JRNY, Peleton, or Zwift apps, they must connect their phone or tablet to the bike. Additionally, some metrics, such as speed, heart rate, and distance, may not sync with all apps.
For maximum features on a tight budget: Schwinn 170 Upright Bike
Price: Around $499
This bike comes with a wide range of features at a reasonable price. These include:
- Bluetooth connectivity
- compatibility with Explore the World app
- 25 levels of resistance
- 29 workout programs
- backlist metric console
- heart rate sensors
- padded seat
- media tray for a phone or tablet
- USB charging port
- bottle holder
Reviewers on Amazon agree that the bike offers excellent value for the price. However, they also note the display lacks a good amount of brightness. Some buyers report receiving damaged goods.
For iFIT: ProForm Pro C10U
Price: Around $599
This upright lower-budget bike by ProForm works with the iFIT membership, typically available on more expensive exercise equipment.
The membership carries an additional monthly cost that some individuals with a tight budget may not appreciate. However, it features:
- indoor trainer-led workouts
- virtual trainer-led outdoor workouts
- the ability for trainers to automatically adjust the resistance during workouts
- exercise tracking
- strength training and other non-bike workouts
The bike itself comes with:
- a 10-in touchscreen
- 25 resistance levels
- a flywheel with inertia
- ergonomic pedals with adjustable straps
- a cooling fan
- a water bottle holder
On the downside, the iFIT membership is mandatory after the 30-day trial for anyone who wants to access the programs. The bike does not connect to other apps or have a tablet or phone holder.
Here is how the above bikes compare to each other:
(L x W x H)
|Weight capacity||Resistance levels|
|XTERRA Fitness||$179.99||1 year||31.89 in x|
18.1 in x
|ECHANFIT||$189.99||1 year||39.37 in x|
29.35 in x
|Marcy||$132.91||2 year limited||35 in x|
17.5 in x
|31 in x|
19 in x
|VIGBODY||$249.99||1 year||39 in x|
34 in x
|YOSUDA||$439.99||1 year||40.16 in x|
21.65 in x
|$229||3 years frame,|
180 days parts
|46 in x|
24.5 in x
29 in x
20 in x
32 in x
20 in x
|Bowflex||$999||10 years frame,|
3 years parts and electronics,
|48.7 in x|
21.2 in x
|Schwinn||$499||10 years frame,|
2 years parts,
90 days labor
|41.3 in x|
21.4 in x
|ProForm||$599||10 years frame,|
2 years parts,
|34.5 in x|
21.2 in x
Consumer Reports states there are several key features to look for in an exercise bike:
- Design. People who wish to use an exercise bike should consider where they will store it when not in use. Some may prefer to opt for a folding bike that will fit inside a cupboard or closet. Bikes featuring adjustable seats and handlebars help offer an optimal fit.
- Display. A clear display with easy-to-use controls will help users make the most of their workouts. People should consider metrics they want to track, such as time, distance traveled, speed, calories burned, revolutions per minute, and heart rate.
- 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. People should also consider the maximum supported weight.
- Resistance. Both manual and electric bikes should come with a good range of resistance levels. Electric bikes may also include various fitness programs to suit different fitness levels.
- Monitoring. Not all machines at the lower end of the price range will come with heart monitoring. If a particular model does not have these features, it may be worth purchasing a separate fitness tracker with a built-in heart monitor.
The sections below will look at these benefits in more detail.
Cardiovascular workouts can help boost blood and oxygen flow 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 help boost fitness.
Provides low impact workouts
Unlike running and 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.
Safe, convenient, and cost-effective
Indoor cycling tends to be safer and more convenient 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 less expensive 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. Bringing the handlebars up will help take this extra weight off the wrists and hands.
Additionally, some previous studies linked frequent cycling with erectile dysfunction. However, one 2018 study involving thousands of cyclists, swimmers, and runners found no evidence to suggest that cyclists have a higher risk of sexual or urinary issues.
Speaking to a doctor before starting an exercise routine is a good idea, especially for people with existing health conditions. A doctor can help determine if it is safe for a person to exercise.
Additionally, if someone feels unusual pain during or after exercising, they should stop working out. They should consider seeing a health professional if the discomfort does not go away.
If a person experiences chest pain or trouble breathing while exercising, they should stop and seek medical attention right away.
Here are some of the top questions people ask about indoor exercise bikes:
Do cheap exercise bikes work?
A higher price does not mean better body support or faster results. However, higher-end bikes tend to have additional features that some people may appreciate, such as Bluetooth connectivity, inclines and declines, and higher quality materials.
Is an under-desk exercise bike worth it?
An under-desk exercise bike may be a good solution for those who work at desks and want to exercise their legs. However, some people may find it hard to focus on work while exercising.
Stationary exercise bikes are an effective, convenient way to improve cardiovascular fitness and strength while minimizing the impact on the joints.
People looking for a new exercise bike should consider their fitness level, product design, and product feature.
Users who do not wish to cycle indoors but enjoy working out at home may prefer to purchase a rowing or elliptical machine.