The best exercise bikes serve up incredible workouts without taking up as much room as a treadmill or rowing machine. Their low-impact nature means they’re easier on the knees too, and come in particularly handy for getting in a heart-pumping cardio fix when the weather’s grim and grey.

For all these reasons and more, we’ve put together a list of some of the best exercise bikes currently available, to help channel those spin class vibes in your living room. Before we jump into our list though, there are a few things to take into account—we’ve got the full rundown. 

(And while you’re at it, feel free to check out our other fitness guides if you’re on the hunt for things like running shoes, workout shorts, and workout shirts.)

What’s the best exercise bike?

NordicTrack S15i studio bike

After an exercise bike that matches up with the kind of equipment you’ll find in a gym? NordicTrack is for you. Working to create an indoor cycling experience that authentically replicates the real thing, the Commercial S15i Studio Cycle is built with a silent resistance system that can move between 24 digital levels, along with inclines ranging from 20 per cent to a ten per cent decline. This flexibility is impressive and makes for a great way of challenging your body when things get too comfortable. 
A generously-sized 14-inch touch LCD screen serves up all of your metrics and data while also displaying iFit virtual workouts to keep yourself motivated and on track. Thanks to the 360-degree rotation of the screen, you can also use it for other types of workout classes, angling it to another area of the room a la the Peleton+. Like its Peloton-made rival, this bike can also automatically adjust its resistance, incline and decline levels for a smoother workout, with live interactive training letting you spin with people from all around the world. And if you fancy a break, you can virtually cycle anywhere that takes your fancy via built-in Google Maps wizardry.

A gym-quality bike that’s quiet to ride, has the chops to challenge even experienced spin obsessives and a rotating touchscreen for truly versatile workouts. Expert classes are delivered via NordicTrack’s iFit subscription service (from $180 per year).

Best affordable exercise bike: Schwinn Speedbike IC8 

Schwinn Speedbike IC8 Indoor Cycle

Schwinn’s IC8 Indoor Cycle is a formidable entrant with almost all the fancy, adjustable components you’d expect from a high-end exercise bike, including 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels and cradles for 1.5kg dumbbells. We say “almost”, because while this bike has a console display, it lacks a large screen, helping keep the cost down compared to some rivals. Instead, it has a tablet holder, which lets you easily access popular apps like JRNY, Zwift, and Peleton Digital.

This one invests in what matters—the cycling experience—while saving you money on the the bells and whistles. Just add the iPad you already own and cycle your way through a couple of seasons of The Sopranos

Peleton Bike+

Peloton’s newer Bike+ introduces a new ‘Auto-Follow’ resistance system that scales based on your target metrics, adjusting itself based on what your instructor is telling you to do. Another noteworthy upgrade over the original is a new rotating 23.8-inch HD screen, which makes it even easier to switch between cycling and floor-based workouts. Apple Health fans will also be thrilled to hear that it plays nice with the Apple Watch too — not only does this conveniently keep your workout stats in one handy place, but you can compare your daily activities with friends and family for that all-important competitive edge. 
Peloton’s own real-time metrics are also available for an in-depth dive into your performance, and you can keep the momentum going by stacking together bike and off-bike classes to provide the ultimate full-body workout without ever having to step foot in a gym. You can forget uncomfortable headphones too, thanks to clear front and rear-facing speakers and a near-silent belt drive for stealth operation. Throw in a tank-like build, adjustable seats and handlebars, and it’s easy to see why Peleton remains one of the most popular at-home options out there.

Having reinvented home fitness, Peloton’s Bike+ brings a touch of luxury to your workouts with automatic resistance adjustments, Apple Watch connectivity and a rotating touchscreen. Its beloved roster of classes and instructors are subscription-dependent as ever ($42 per month).

What are the benefits of exercise bikes?

Exercise bikes get your legs moving and your heart pumping. Use one regularly and you’ll soon notice an improvement in your overall fitness, especially if you go for a high-intensity routine. Throw a sensible diet, upper body and lower body workouts into the mix, and you’ll be losing weight, building muscle and improving your overall fitness in no time.

What kind of console do exercise bikes use?

Many bikes use simple LCD displays for metrics like distance, pace and calories. Pay a little extra and you’ll get a HD touchscreen. Look for Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity for connecting to other fitness trackers and apps.

Are the seat and handlebars adjustable?

Even the most basic home bikes have adjustable seats and handlebars for comfortable pedaling during your indoor cycling sessions.

Is a treadmill or exercise bike better? 

Both treadmills and exercise bikes offer a great cardio workout and make for excellent home gym equipment additions. Treadmills generally cost more and take up more space, and have more impact on your joints. If you’re looking for a lower impact form of cardio, a bike might be a better choice in the long run. Both are great though—it’s just personal preference.

What extras should I look out for? 

Built-in bottle holders for water bottles are a godsend for grueling HIIT sessions. Some bikes have tablet holders for binging Netflix. Others have wheels that make them easy to move, while high-end foldable models are perfect for apartments and other small spaces. 

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