Cycling is one of the best ways to burn calories and remain fit. For those lacking time (or a bicycle), exercise bikes such as cycling or stationary bikes are the ideal solutions to stay fit at the home or office.
Buying stationary bikes will set you back quite a bit though – most of the quality bikes can cost anywhere between $400 and go all the way to $2000 and above. While we do believe that the ones closer to the latter limit should only be bought by enthusiasts, professional athletes, and trainers; we think it’s important to distinguish what exactly separates a good stationary bike from a great one.
Best Rated Stationary Bikes in 2018
In this article, we’ll go through what we believe are some of the best stationary bikes available today. We also have a buyer’s guide at the end to help you with your purchase decision.
The Ideal Stationary Bike
The Scwhin 170 is popular stationary bike that strikes the perfect balance between a reasonable price point and incredible performance. It is a workout system great for all levels due to its versatility. It is comfortable, offers plenty of workout programs and resistance levels, and is loaded with features.
Sunny Fitness & Health Pro
Great Value for Money
The Sunny Health & Fitness Pro is one of the most affordable stationary bikes out there that rids itself of all the bells and whistles and bares the most essential features in a combination of fantastic durability and quality. This is one of the most popular stationary bikes on the market because of its easy of use and practicality.
Schwin makes some phenomenal stationary bikes at competitive price points that are reliable, durable, and user friendly. Out of all the stationary bikes they create, our favorite one is the Schwin 170. It is one of the highest rated stationary bikes on Amazon, and there’s good reason for it.
The Schwin 170 is an incredible workout system for all levels. Advanced athletes as well as beginners alike can benefit greatly from this user friendly upright bike due to its versatility and professional build quality.
It has a great form factor that makes it effective for homes, offices, or gyms. The seat is padded and curved for ergonomics, giving utmost comfort to encourage longer workout sessions. The seat as well as the handlebars are adjustable according to preference as well, allowing for customizability based on your physique and comfort.
The Schwin 170 comes with 29 built-in programs in its easy to read console. You can customize these plans or create your own as well as track your progress then save it on your smart device via Bluetooth.
The weighted flywheel embedded in the bike provides 25 different levels of resistance. The performance of the flywheel is silent, and the 3-piece crank used for the transmission gives a smooth, consistent workout without any troubles.
Everything about this bike speaks quality and performance, and there’s very little to criticize here. For this reason, we believe the Schwin 170 to be one of the best stationary bikes you can by right now. If you want a recumbent bike with the exact same features and performance, the Schwin 270 is a great option.
- Excellent for all types of users
- Flywheel is quiet and smooth
- Console is easy to use and highly details
- Packed with features including speakers and fan
- Sturdy and durable build
The mid-ranged Schwin AD6 Airdyne stationary exercise bike is an upright workout bike that behaves as a full-body cardio workout system. In addition to working your legs and helping you lose weight, it promises to build strength and burn calories comparable to an elliptical machine.
The Schwin AD6 Airdyne is different to other bikes because the amount of resistance directly depends on how hard and fast you pedal. This is achieved through a fan that is driven from a single-stage belt drive.
This puts no upper limit to the amount of resistance that the bike can offer, which means this stationary bike is suited to all levels of training experience. The handles are designed in such a way that you can use them to work your arms in addition to your legs, but it’s not mandatory like in an elliptical trainer. This makes the Schwin AD6 an incredible cardio machine that serves a purpose beyond the niche it occupies.
At the given price, the Schwin AD6 is an excellent purchase for individuals who want a full upper and lower body workout, together or separately. The resistance system is such that it is suited to everyone. We highly recommend this bike to everyone for its versatility and performance.
- Suitable for all levels of fitness
- Resistance has no limits
- Capable of working out the entire body
- Console is easy to read and simple
- Excellent for interval training
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- People with poor balance will find it hard to use this machine
When it comes to design and looks alone, not many exercise bikes can beat the Keiser M3i. This beautiful product of mechanical engineering is one of the most visually appealing exercise bikes out there.
It doesn’t look like the way it does just for aesthetics though; Keiser has spent nearly 10 years perfecting a design that is built to last a lifetime. It has all the gym-quality features you’d ever want brought in streamlined package. Simply put, the Keiser M3i is the Rolls Royce of workout bikes.
The Keiser M3i features a magnetic resistance which is extremely rare in most indoor cycling bikes. This makes it quite unique. It is a 24-gear Eddy Current Magnetic Resistance that simulates realistic motion. We can assure you that it will challenge every part of your body and give you a thorough workout, burning calories fast and effectively.
The magnetic resistance also has the advantage of being incredibly quiet. In fact, this is one of the quietest exercise bikes on the market.
Weighing around 140 pounds and having a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, the Keiser M3i is sturdy and durable. It does make it a little difficult to set up though, especially since it doesn’t come with many tools.
Moreover, we also felt that for such a highly priced bike, the console is rather rudimentary. It shows you the most basic information, and doesn’t feature pre-set workout programs, which is a bit disappointing given the cost.
Although this list predominantly focuses on stationary bikes, we added the Keiser for its Magnetic Resistance and unique offerings, and because it’s such a fantastic high-end product. We highly recommend it to anyone who can afford it.
- Incredible design
- Fantastic build quality and performance
- Magnetic resistance tension is brilliant
- Quiet operation
- Lasts a lifetime
- Extremely expensive
- Console is rudimentary
- Complicated to set up due to lack of tools
The Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor bike is a popular choice for many because of its affordability and good performance. It is one of the most reviewed exercise bikes on Amazon, and we believe it is by far the best upright bike when it comes to value for money.
This is because the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro indoor bike offers a sturdy and comfortable construction and performance at a price lower than many of its competitors. The four way adjustable seat is comfortably design and allows individuals of different heights and physiques to use it easily. At a max weight bearing capacity of 275 pounds, this bike should be suitable for everyone.
This stationary upright bike comes with 10 different levels of resistance, which is more than most affordable exercise bikes who provide only 8. The flywheel of the bike is quite large, which provides a smoother ride. It is also surprisingly quiet and does not wobble or jerk at higher speeds like other affordable bikes.
There is a big, sore negative to it though. The product doesn’t compromise on build quality and reliability, but to keep the price low it does skimp on electronics. In fact, there is no noticeable electronic system built into the bike – no display, no heart rate monitor, and no Bluetooth.
This is a stripped down experience that is suited for casual individuals looking to adopt a healthy lifestyle and burn calories, which makes it suited for beginners and intermediates. Serious enthusiasts and athletes would want hard data and detailed workout programs to follow, so they’ll have to look elsewhere.
- Great value for money
- Well built product
- Quiet operation
- Very easy to assemble
- Limited resistance levels
- No console or electronic part
- Seat isn’t the most comfortable
When it comes to Recumbent bikes, you want a system that is both comfortable, low-impact, and highly efficient. The Diamondback 910Sr is all that and more. It’s a bike that can be used by traditional users who want a more laidback cycling experience, but is more dedicated for individuals dealing with chronic pain.
The Diamondback 910Sr Recumbent bike is modern looking, with a stylish console and a simple yet elegant design. It is weighty, but much of the bike comes preassembled and the rest is easy to put together. It will need some maneuvering though, so it’s best to have a buddy to help along in the process.
Feature-wise, this exercise bike is packed to the brim. It boasts 32 individual levels of resistance through its Eddy Current Braking system, which is more than what you seen in more conventional stationary bikes.
The best part about the Diamondback 910Sr though are its electronics. This beast of a machine has an impressive looking console that is packed with features. It is music ready with a docking station dedicated for Apple products, as a multiple speed cooling fan, and a wireless heart rate monitor that works accurately.
And if that wasn’t enough, the device also includes a whopping 35 different workout programs preinstalled into it. This makes the Diamondback 910Sr practically a plug and play exercise bike, requiring little fiddling once it’s assembled.
Users have complained though of the seat being slightly uncomfortable for longer sessions, and despite its wonderful looking console, the display isn’t great. Nevertheless, at just around a grand, we believe the Diamonback 910Sr is one of the best recumbent bikes you can buy.
- Packed with features
- Great design
- Excellent quality and durability
- Great amount of resistance levels
- 35 workout programs
- Seat is not the most comfortable among recumbent bikes
- Can be awkward to assemble
Stationary bikes are not the same as spin exercise bikes, even though they may look the same. Spinning bikes are more versatile in the sense that they allow users to train in various positions to maximize fat-burning. Users can stand up and paddle on them.
Another big difference is the type of resistance mechanism in the bike. Spin bikes sport much heavier flywheels, but their resistance levels don’t vary as well as stationary bikes.
Stationary bikes do not allow athletes to stand up because the paddles are not reinforced. However, they are far more comfortable to use due to padded seats. Another great aspect of stationary bikes is how less expensive they are compared to spinning ones.
Although we have included one spin bike in the products listed above, it is mainly because it offers a similar resistance mechanism to stationary bikes. Spinning bikes are recommended for professional athletes and body builders, while for the rest of us stationary bikes more than serve the intended purpose.
In stationary bikes, you will find two variations: upright bikes and recumbent bikes.
The design of both don’t change all that much when it comes to the resistance mechanism. Your position on the other hand is completely altered.
Upright bikes are designed in such a way that they force the user to sit on the bike like it were a normal bicycle. You need to lean forward and grab the handles as you pedal the bike. This allows for more calories to be burned, but it is also more strenuous on your back.
People with chronic back problems and general upper body tend to struggle with that stance, so for them the genius stationary bike designers came up with recumbent bikes. Recumbent bikes have a negative inclined seat so your back rests in a natural posture as if you were sitting on a comfortable chair.
This allows individuals with back problems to burn calories without putting themselves through pain and additional strain. Recumbent bikes do tend to cost more than upright bikes though because of the elaborate seat design.
A lot of what makes a great stationary bike is under the hood. Most exercise bikes look similar, but their mechanism of action makes a huge different.
The different types of resistances offered mean the feel of the tension is different. The most common type of tension system is flywheel based with magnetic resistance.
This is the tried and tested tension system is incredibly quiet because there is no real contact between the two parts. The resistance is caused by the pull of the magnet on the flywheel, which can be adjusted at will from a console. This gives a smooth, continuous tension and makes them the quietest types on the market.
One newer type of resistance system that has gained popularity quickly is the fan-based resistance. This type of exercise bike is not built around a flywheel. It instead uses a large fan as a resistant. It uses a belt and pulley system.
The incredible thing about this simple yet effective resistance method is that it is literally limitless. The resistance directly depends on how hard and fast the user pedals. It might seem a bit pedestrian at first, but the tension is seriously felt as you work harder.
This makes fan-based resistances great for all experience levels. Another obvious plus is that you get to feel the breeze from the fan itself, requiring no cooler of any type. Many of the fan based resistance stationary bikes also come with moving handlebars that can work your upper body as well, which is a huge bonus.
Is a console necessary?
No, a console isn’t necessary, but it is always an added plus to have one. Consoles allow you to track important parameters at a glance, and they often provide pre-programmed workouts which greatly make life easier for users. If you can, paying an extra $100 for a bike with consoles is worth it.
What’s the recommended amount of resistance levels if I want to use the bike for a long time?
Though this will largely depend on your goals and how much you plan to use the bike, we don’t recommend any bike with less than 10 levels of resistance.
What are some of the benefits of stationary bikes?
Working out on stationary bikes is an aerobic exercise which greatly improves your cardiovascular performance as well as improves lower body strength. Some special bikes such as the above listed Schwin AD6 are designed to work out both upper and lower body as well.
Stationary bikes are also highly recommended for rehab of knees. Recumbent bikes are an excellent way to rehab knees without putting a strain on your back.
Should my fitness targets influence which work out bike I buy?
Yes, it should. You should ask yourself several questions before you decide to buy a workout bike. The most important one is to ask yourself what level you are. Are you a beginner, intermediate, or at an advanced stage in your workout plans? This question alone should determine how much you pay for the bike and what kind you want.