Home » Best exercise bikes in 2024 – our top stationary and upright picks

Best exercise bikes in 2024 – our top stationary and upright picks

Best exercise bikes

If you’re looking for the best exercise bikes, you’ve come to the right place. Cycling is an excellent form of cardio that is healthy for your joints as they’re not suffering the impact you do while running. It can also be used as physiotherapy while recovering from injury, and you can backpedal to go through…

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If you’re looking for the best exercise bikes, you’ve come to the right place.

Cycling is an excellent form of cardio that is healthy for your joints as they’re not suffering the impact you do while running. It can also be used as physiotherapy while recovering from injury, and you can backpedal to go through a different motion and target different muscle groups. 

However, we understand that not everyone has the space to keep a bicycle or the time to take it out for a spin every day. So, stationary or upright exercise bikes are an excellent alternative to that. You have options that can be folded or simply don’t take up much space and might even improve your decor.

So, if you set out to look for an exercise bike, you might be bombarded with option after option. That can leave you confused, and it only delays your decision. 

To that end, we’ve put together this in-depth buying guide that will list different options, their details, and pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Our list of the best exercise bikes

  • Best exercise bike overall: NordicTrack S22i
  • Best budget exercise bike: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002
  • Best premium exercise bike: Peloton Bike+
  • Best folding exercise bike: MARCY NS-652
  • Best leaning exercise bike: Bowflex VeloCore 16

How we picked 

We looked at and researched various options from different brands and compared them based on their build quality, weight, price, resistance levels, and other important features to present you with the best options to make an informed decision. We’re always updating our guides with the latest information, so check back for newer additions.

Best exercise bike overall

No products found.

ProsCons
Maximum weight capacity of 350 poundsHas a hefty price tag 
24 levels of magnetic resistance Heavy 
Quiet Drive Incline techWill have to pay for iFit after 30 days
Incline and resistance can be adjusted automatically depending on the program
Can use Google Maps to create custom routes
The seat can be adjusted vertically and horizontally 

Our top pick for the best exercise bike has to be the NordicTrack S22i, and it’s not without good reason. 

Let’s kick things off with a few specifications. This exercise bike has an aluminum build, which brings its weight to around 205 pounds and gives it a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds. What this means is that it should be durable enough to cater to individuals who might be a bit on the heavier side. On top of that, the frame and parts come with 10 and 2 years of warranty, so if any component gets damaged, you can rest easy knowing that it’ll be taken care of. 

The NordicTrack S22i features a -10% decline and 20% incline functionality with 24 levels of silent magnetic resistance. Another neat feature is that the iFit Trainers adjust the resistance and incline according to the training program. This means you won’t have to fiddle with the controls and focus on giving it your all.

It also comes with preset workout programs that you can choose from, but making a custom route using Google Maps Workout Technology is also an option. You can select the route you want to train for, and the bike will tune itself according to that. This makes it a great option to train for competitions. 

This exercise bike also sports a 22” HD touchscreen display. This should enable you to have follow-along workouts via iFit, which is great as it comes with dual 3-lb dumbbells. The virtual cycling routes are also a part of that and should give you the experience of cycling through different countries. 

The pedals allow you to choose between an SPD or a toe cage. This accessibility feature should provide a better foot placement and pedal connection. You can also connect a Bluetooth headset or earbuds with it, which can provide a rhythm you can follow. Lastly, it features an AutoBreeze fan, which should keep you cool during extended cardio sessions, and the output can be adjusted through the center console. 

Overall, the NordicTrack S22i is one of the best exercise bikes available on the market today due to the wide array of features and functionalities it brings to the table.

Best budget exercise bike

No products found.

ProsCons
49-pound wheel and belt drive for silent operationNo display or meter to track the progression
275-pound weight capacity 
Relatively cheap

If you’re looking for the best pocket-friendly exercise bike, look no further than the SF-B1002.

First off, this exercise bike is made from alloy steel, which should give it more points in the durability department. That said, it weighs 113.4 pounds, which should make it light enough to move around the house, and it has a maximum weight capacity of 275 pounds. 

It features a 49-pound flywheel with a leather pad resistance mechanism that can be adjusted manually. Add this to the belt drive system, and you should have an authentic road cycling experience without any of the added noise. 

The seat of this exercise bike is 4-way adjustable (up, down, forward, backward), and the handle has 2-way adjustability (up and down). This should add a layer to its accessibility as people with different heights should be able to customize this according to their preferences. 

The handlebar is designed to offer multi-grip functionality, which means you can change your grip and posture without putting strain on your wrist. As for other features, it comes with a bottle holder but lacks a meter or display for performance tracking and Bluetooth connectivity. So, that is something you should keep in mind, along with the price bracket in which this option falls.

Best premium exercise bike

No products found.

ProsCons
Manual and automatic resistance changeVery expensive 
23.8 HD touchscreen displayNot for beginners
Seat, handlebars, and screen can be adjusted
Has Bluetooth, ANT+, WiFi, and ethernet connectivity 

If money isn’t an issue and you’re willing to pay a premium for the absolute best, we recommend checking out the Peloton Bike+.

Let’s kick things off with the build quality and some other specifications. This exercise bike is made from Alloy steel and polypropylene (PP). This brings its weight to approximately 140 pounds and gives it a maximum weight capacity of 297 pounds. This means it should be durable enough to cater to a vast spectrum of people without a hitch. 

The dimensions of this exercise bike make it an ideal option for people who want a premium product but don’t want it to be too bulky. It has a 4×2-foot footprint, making it low-profile enough to fit snuggly in your house or apartment. On top of that, the overall design, color, and feel of the Peloton Bike+ makes it a good addition to your household by adding to the aesthetic. 

The Peloton Bike+ features a 23.8” HD touchscreen with an anti-reflective layer and an 8MP camera that can be rotated 360­° or 180° left or right. This might seem like a feature that might not be used much, but the landscape changes when you add the ocean of workouts available on the Peloton app.

You can turn the screen sideways and follow the instructor when you’re not cycling and doing any other form of exercise. That said, these workouts and training sessions aren’t free, and you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription fee to access them. 

The display also shows performance metrics such as output, calories, cadence, and more. This should allow you to better tweak your workout program for the best results. 

It features a magnetic 17kg flywheel, which can be adjusted manually or automatically. To adjust it manually, you can simply turn the knob left or right and set it to the desired resistance level. The catch with the automatic adjustment function is that it only works when you’re following a training program and they are behind a paywall, as mentioned previously. 

As for other features, it has Bluetooth, WiFi, ANT+, and ethernet connectivity options. Other than that, it has 4-channel front and rear speakers. So when you combine these elements, you get a dynamic workout experience that can be changed up daily depending on your preferences. 

The seat, handlebars, and screen can be adjusted, and the maximum height limit for this bike is 6.4 ft, with the minimum being 4.11ft. This means you can adjust it according to your requirements, and as the adjustment is easy – it should be efficient and allow multiple people to use it. 

So, as you can see, the Peloton Bike+ is chock-full of features that give it that high-end price tag, and it is one of the best exercise bikes out there. 

Best folding exercise bike

No products found.

ProsCons
LightweightHandles can’t be adjusted 
8 levels of magnetic resistance
Can be stored easily 

If space is an issue and you want an exercise bike that doesn’t take up much of it, then the MARCY NS-652 might be your saving grace.

First off, this exercise bike weighs approximately 39.5 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds. This means that it should be light enough to carry around the house or apartment, and its foldability makes it even better as it can also be easily stored or put in the corner when not in use. 

It’s made from 14-gauge steel, which should give it solid durability to withstand rigorous cycling sessions day after day. It has eight levels of magnetic resistance that can be adjusted with a simple turn of the knob. 

This Marcy exercise bike has an LCD that displays performance metrics like time, speed, distance, calories, and distance. This should provide insight into your current performance and help you keep track of your progress over time. Using that information, you can change your workout program or try something different that is more in line with your fitness goals. 

As for the seat, it can be easily adjusted to your preferred height. It can go up to a maximum of 33” and a minimum of 28” by loosening the knob and tightening it at your desired height. 

The features and functionality of this exercise bike are simple, but that is its main selling point. It doesn’t take up much space, can be folded for easy storage, and should help you get a killer workout. 

Best leaning exercise bike

No products found.

ProsCons
Standard and lean modeHeavy
Maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds22” inch screen variant most likely costs more
Supports for SPD and toe cages
100 magnetic resistance levels

If you’re looking for an exercise bike that provides something unique, then the Bowflex VeloCore 16 is sure to blow your mind. 

Let’s start with some basic specifications. The VeloCore 16 weighs approximately 158 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds. On top of that, it has 100 magnetic resistance levels. This is the highest number of resistance we’ve ever seen and puts this exercise bike into a league of its own. 

This exercise bike brings something unique to the table with its lean mode. How this works is that you can use it like a regular, upright bike or switch to the lean mode, which allows you to lean left or right, just as you would with a real bicycle. This adds a layer to the experience and should make your cycling sessions more fun. 

Add to this the JRNY workout programs, and you’ve got yourself a new and exciting challenge waiting for you every day. 

The pedals and handgrips on this bike bring a next level of versatility as you can grip the handlebar in six ways depending on your posture, and the pedals support SPD and toe cages. If you don’t have cycling shoes and prefer toe cages, you can use them or switch them out for SPD if you’ve already invested in cycling shoes. 

The VeloCore 16 also sports Bluetooth speakers that can play music and help you get into your zone. On top of that, the 22” or 16” touchscreen should make things fun as you can follow routes around the world, watch videos, or catch up with your favorite TV show. 
It also has two dumbbell holders in the front and comes with a Bluetooth heart rate armband, which should help you keep track of your performance, such as how long you’re staying in each zone and more. The display also shows in which direction you’re leaning, cadence, resistance level, burn rate, calories, and more.

This should help you track your progress better and achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. So, all of these factors combined, especially the lean mode, make the Bowflex VeloCore 16 a beast in the world of exercise bikes.

How to pick the best exercise bike

There are a few things you need to consider when you are buying an upright or stationary exercise bike. Ultimately, the best upright exercise bike is the one that suits you the best.

Let’s go over a few features worth knowing about.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacity of the bike plays a role in stability. For example, if you weigh 300 pounds and ride a bike with a capacity of just 250 pounds, it can wobble as you are riding. When a bike is sturdy, the exercise feels smoother. A flimsy bike won’t necessarily break, but a wobbly frame can simply make the exercise, in a way, feel “uninviting.”

Look at the specifications to determine the weight capacity (we prepared a comparison table with all the specs later in this article). Make sure you pick a bike that can accommodate your weight.

If possible, aim for one that can accommodate slightly more weight, though you should still be fine if the stated weight capacity is within your range.

Seat (Saddle)

The seat, also referred to as a saddle, on upright exercise bikes usually has an ergonomic design and plenty of foam padding. If the seat is too wide, this can cause chafing of your inner thighs as you are riding. There should be about half an inch of space between the sides of the seat and your legs.

The right amount of padding helps to absorb shock when you are riding. Other advantages of a padded seat are that it molds to your bottom, supports you better, and is more comfortable to sit on for a prolonged period. Proper molding can reduce pressure on your lower back so that you can ride longer without soreness.

Adjustments

All upright bikes (at least the best ones we review later in this article) allow you to adjust the seat height.

You should adjust the seat depending on your height. Stand up and raise or lower the seat until it is the same height as your hips. When you sit, your knees should be approximately 10 degrees when you are neutral.

Some bikes also let you take the seat forward or back. If you can adjust the seat’s horizontal position, you can achieve a more precise seated exercise position. This can be even more important to you if you are much shorter or taller than the average person.

When you are sitting, your feet and knees should be in vertical alignment with each other. This position allows for a proper stretch without having to strain your joints when you are riding.

Display

A console display lets you track your workout and other related statistics. The information provided often includes:

  • Calories burned
  • Distance traveled
  • How long you have been riding
  • Heart rate
  • Resistance level
  • Riding speed

Some bikes have a simple display with buttons that let you toggle between the information they provide, whereas others will display all of the figures on the screen.

There are also displays that use a gray background with black letters and numbers. Those with a more sophisticated display use an LED-backlit screen to display the information.

With more complex displays, you can often save your information to go back and compare past statistics to your current workout. If you have specific goals, this can be beneficial.

Workout Programs

Some bikes have a console with built-in workout programs, such as automatically varying intensity between periods of light cycling and more intense ones. Simulating uphills, downhills, and other conditions helps keep the workout less boring and adds some spice. If the bike has Bluetooth or USB, you can even upload custom workouts and download past workout data.

Pedals

The pedals for upright exercise bikes usually have a standard 9.16-inch thread size. Pedals with SPD cleats are ideal if you ride with cycling shoes. Some pedals have a toe cage on one side and the cleats on another.

The pedals should be wide enough so that the full width of your foot is on the pedal. If the pedal has a cage, your foot should fit inside without feeling tight. A toe cage helps to prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals as you ride.

Resistance Type

Magnetic resistance, direct-contact resistance, and air resistance are the primary options.

The higher the resistance, the harder it is to pedal and the more intense your workout is.

Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic resistance operates without friction. A series of steps generate the resistance. These bikes have magnets and a flywheel. The flywheel works as the conductor for the magnets. As you pedal, the flywheel rotates and interferes with the magnetic field. The resistance force comes from the attraction of the flywheel.

This type reduces your bike’s maintenance needs, is more reliable, and is quiet. There is usually a button or knob on the console that allows you to adjust the resistance. Magnetic resistance is the most common type of tension system in exercise bikes.

Direct-Contact Resistance

This type of resistance induces friction by using brake pads. The brakes apply to the flywheel. As you are riding, you can easily adjust the level of resistance. The resistance levels change as they do on a traditional bike with gears.

Bikes that use direct contact resistance tend to be noisy, and the flywheel can wear out, requiring replacement.

Noise

Stationary exercise bikes are among the quietest cardio equipment, making them ideal for home use. A noisy machine can drive your partner or family nuts if you don’t live alone. If you want an almost silent upright bike, look for one with magnetic resistance. 

The bikes that do tend to be noisier are the ones that use fan-based flywheels for resistance (such as the Air Bike). The noise is due to the bike using air resistance. As you pedal harder, the breeze gets stronger, causing the sound to get louder – something to remember while you make up your mind. 

Safety

Safety is usually not an issue, as all top exercise bikes are pretty safe. However, if you have young ones, you may want to look for a bike with covered mechanics that prevent them from sticking their hands through moving parts.

The fan or chain component should have a cover over it. The cover prevents your feet from getting caught in these elements while riding.

Can you lose belly fat by riding a stationary bike?

The answer to this question is yes, you can lose belly fat by riding a stationary bike, but there is more to it. First, you must know that you can’t lose fat in particular areas; fat loss happens to your entire body. Second, any form of exercise burns calories, leading to fat/weight loss. That said, a healthy and controlled diet is important for this to work.

Verdict

No products found.

After considering the features and functionalities that all the bikes brought to the table, it was clear that there is only one worthy of the crown: NordicTrack S22i. There are a lot of reasons to support this decision. First, it has ten years of warranty and a 350-pound weight limit. On top of that, it has an incline and decline functionality with 24 levels of magnetic resistance. 

This should result in a lung-burning workout; if that isn’t enough, it features the Google Maps Workout Technology. This allows you to create custom tracks that you can cycle on with the resistance and inclines functions being automatically adjusted. 

If you’re interested in exploring options that offer the same functionality as an exercise bike but with a different design, check out our guide for the best recumbent exercise bikes for the best picks.

About Tim & Lisa

Tim

Hey there, I’m Tim, co-founder of GymPerson.com.
I am a former fitness physique competitor with over 20 years of intense experience in strength training, weight lifting and body transformation.

I’m Lisa, a donut eater turned into a health conscious person turned into a marathon runner (side note: losing some 60+ pounds along the way!)

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