Indoor cycling bikes have had a resurgence and are more popular than ever. The convenience factor is huge, particularly for those with busy lifestyles who may not have the time or ability to get to a live class, says Karen ‘Kmax’ Maxwell, ACE CPT and Director of Training for CycleBar. And, much like the WFH era, they’re not going anywhere. Indoor cycling is a super effective workout, a great way to stay active and burn calories while strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles, notes Jennifer Jacobs, a certified indoor cycling instructor, BODi Super Trainer, and creator of Job 1. “Indoor cycling is a low impact exercise, yet the bike can allow you to perform a high-intensity workout with less strain and stress on the body,” she says. (And you won’t have to face the elements or deal with traffic the way you do with real-life biking.)
The only issue: The sheer amount of options is enough to make your pedals and your head spin. So to determine which indoor cycling bikes are worth the investment, we test-rode some of the top options on the market. We set up the bikes and did two cycling workouts per week for four weeks. Next, we evaluated and assessed each bike for comfort and stability, performance and display, and overall value.
Keep reading to discover the best indoor cycling bikes that PEOPLE tested.
Table of Contents
Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike
Compatible with clip-on bike shoes or regular sneakers
3 lbs. weights are included
Bike was extremely stable, no matter the type of workout
Seat could be slightly larger and more comfortable
Monitor displays RPM, not resistance levels
Cycling newbies, pros, and those in between should all consider checking out this winner, a solid pick for those of all fitness levels. We found that it was extremely stable, no matter the type of workout you choose, and super quiet, too — a boon for those who live in smaller spaces or apartments. The Schwinn offers the flexibility of riding with clip-on bike shoes or a regular pair of sneakers and comes equipped with a set of 3 lbs. dumbbells. You can easily pair the bike with any type of cycling app, although it does come with a year membership to JRNY, a platform that creates customized workouts.
It’s easy to track your stats — including RPMs — while you ride, and the easy-to-read display automatically pauses if you have to get off the bike for a few minutes. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t show your specific resistance; however, there are 100 micro-resistance levels to choose from, which adjust quickly and smoothly. In addition to up and down adjustments, the seat and handlebars can be moved forward and backward for different ride styles and users. The racing-type seat is a bit on the small side and slightly less comfortable than others. Assembly is fairly quick and straightforward, though it does require at least two people.
Price at time of publish: $1,199
Dimensions: 54.6 x 30.7 x 51.8 inches | Weight: 112 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: No | Maximum Weight Capacity: 330 lbs.
Bowflex VeloCore Bike
Two different size consoles available
Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband, 3 lbs. dumbbells, and floor mat are included
Unique “leaning” mode feels like you’re riding an outdoor bike
If you’re in the market for a bike with a lot of bells and whistles, this is it. We love the built-in features that the bike includes. Most noteworthy are its two unique modes — a stationary one for when you want to ride without the bike moving and a leaning one, where the bike tilts, making for a more challenging workout and an experience similar to outdoor riding. Either way, it always stays super stable and balanced, no need to worry about wobbling or shaking. Both the seat and handlebars can be adjusted up, down, forward, and backward. The bike seat provides solid weight distribution but is somewhat light on padding.
The VeloCore includes handy add-ons like a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband, a pair of 3 lbs. dumbbells, and a handy floor mat. The dual-sided pedals mean you can use clip-in cycle shoes or slip your regular athletic shoes into the toe cages. It also comes with a one-year JRNY membership, where there are plenty of workouts available, though it can be paired with other cycling apps as well. You can also watch TV or movies while you bike; simply by connecting your favorite streaming service to the monitor. Speaking of, it comes in both a 16-inch size (which we found to be plenty large and easy to see and access) or an oversized 22-inch version.
Price at time of publish: $1,799
Dimensions: 59.8 x 24.1 x 55.3 inches | Weight: 158.3 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: No | Maximum Weight Capacity: 325 lbs.
Myx Fitness The MYX II Plus
Touchscreen swivels, a nice feature for off-the-bike workouts
Metrics include speed, cadence, distance, and heart rate
Even during the most vigorous cycling sessions, this bike didn’t move or wobble an inch during our testing. And, in related news, no matter whether you wear sneakers or bike cleats, your feet will feel nice and secure in the dual-sided pedals. During your ride, you’ll be provided with details on your speed, cadence, and distance. The seat and handlebars can be adjusted up, down, forward, and backward for maximum comfort. Other extras include a stabilizer mat and an EVA foam roller to relieve any after-workout muscle tightness.
The MYX II also comes with a heart-rate monitor; many of the classes on the accompanying platform, BODi, are centered on heart rate, a nice choice for those who like to keep tabs on that as part of their cardiovascular workout. Speaking of workouts, while you can only use this with the BODi platform, the app offers a wide array of cycling and various strength options. And if you’re taking one of the strength-training classes, we liked that the screen swivels for easy viewing.
Price at time of publish: $1,399
Dimensions: 54 x 21 x 47 inches | Weight: 134 lbs. without touch screen; 150 lbs. with touch screen | Bike Cleats Required: No | Maximum Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
Best Studio-Like Experience
Peloton Bike + Essentials
Peloton offers the closest thing you can get to an IRL cycling studio ride, via the Peloton app, which provides an extensive array of daily classes that are both live and recorded. The display (shown on a very large, very clear screen) lets you interact with other riders in real-time and shows all your important metrics. Still, if you don’t want to see all of that, it’s easily customizable so that you can hide everything and just ride, a feature that we appreciated in our testing. Prefer something other than an instructor-led workout? The scenic rides — where you choose location, length, and music — also earned rave reviews.
The seat can be adjusted for height and depth, and the handlebars can be moved up and down. You will need to purchase your own bike cleats to ride the Peloton. We also noted that the bike’s 297 lbs. weight capacity is lower than the other bikes we tested. And while the bike is one of the pricier models we tested, delivery and set-up are included, a nice bonus. You can also rent the bike if you’re not quite ready to take the leap.
Price at time of publish: $2,495
Dimensions: 59 x 22 x 59 inches | Weight: 135 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: Yes | Maximum Weight Capacity: 297 lbs.
Equinox+ SoulCycle At-Home Bike
Pricey? Absolutely. Worth it? Also absolutely. We found this to be worth every penny, not only for the impeccable, high-quality construction, stability, and performance of the bike itself but also for the variety of rides and class options available. (Although yes, this does require a monthly membership to Equinox+ to access said content.) Still, If you’re ready to invest to level up your at-home cycling, this is the bike to buy. We found the SoulCycle At-Home just as good (or even better) than taking in-person classes. There’s no shortage of on-demand classes to choose from — pick your favorites by selecting from a variety of filters such as music type or fitness level — and the display is clear and easy to use. It’s also a top choice for those who have a lot of riders in their home, as it allows an unlimited number of users to access the membership.
The bike is delivered pre-assembled, and any adjustments or fine-tuning you need to make are fully explained in the instructional videos loaded on the included tablet. The seat and handlebars are easy to adjust for height and depth. Just grab your bike cleats, and you’ll be ready to ride.
Price at time of publish: $2,500
Dimensions: 62.2 x 22.2 x 53.5 inches | Weight: 142 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: Yes | Maximum Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
Stryde The Bike
Maybe you want to do a super high-intensity 45-minute workout. Maybe you just want to watch Netflix and casually pedal for 20 minutes. Either way, you can do it all (and then some) on this bike. Those after the former can either pay for the Stryde app to access hundreds of different workouts or utilize the bike’s Free Ryde function to pair it with another cycling platform of your choosing. For more relaxed riders, the tablet is pre-loaded with Netflix and can even be used to check your email. Either way, the display is bright and clear — with a monitor that boasts an automatic shut-off. Thanks to the convenient dual-sided pedals, you can ride the Stryde with athletic shoes or cleats.
The seat can be adjusted for height and depth, and the handlebars can be moved up and down as needed. The bike itself is stable and quiet, but the handlebars may become wobbly and require tightening. In addition, taller riders may find the handlebars too low for their comfort.
Price at time of publish: $1,895
Dimensions: 4 x 2 feet | Weight: 135 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: No | Maximum Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
Best for Small Spaces
NordicTrack Commercial S15i Studio Cycle
Extremely quiet, even at maximum speeds
The seat is easy to adjust, even during a workout
Comes with a set of dumbbells and a 30-day membership to a cycling platform
Only has 22 resistance levels, significantly less than many of the other options
Bike is heavier than others
Set-up may take longer than expected
If you think you can’t have an indoor cycling bike because you live in a small apartment, guess again. Not only does it have one of the smaller footprints of any of the bikes we tested, but we also found it to be extremely quiet. Even at maximum speeds, it barely made any noise, a major boon if you’re working out in a smaller space and are worried about disturbing your roommates or neighbors. The price is also noteworthy; keep tabs on it, as it’s often discounted on Amazon. It also comes with a 30-day membership to iFIT, an on-demand cycling workout platform with instructor-led classes, and a pair of 3 lbs. dumbbells. But, even without the membership, you can still choose rides set in beautiful places all over the world (think Hawaii, Jamaica), categorized according to fitness level and workout length.
The seat can be easily adjusted up and down and can be tilted slightly up or down if desired. The handlebars can be lifted or lowered to the appropriate height. With just 22 resistance levels, this bike has fewer options than others we tested. The weight of the bike — nearly 200 lbs. — might make assembly a bit more challenging and may be an issue if you need to move it around regularly. You can ride with your regular athletic shoes with the included pedals with toe cages. Replacement pedals can be purchased separately if you prefer to clip in with cleats.
Price at time of publish: $1,256
Dimensions: 60 x 22 x 58 inches | Weight: 193.6 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: No, but separate pedals are required if you want to use cleats | Maximum Weight Capacity: 350 lbs.
Best for Classes
Freebeat Fit Lit Bike
Automatic resistance feature may be frustrating for some
Screen is for streaming cycling classes, which must be purchased
While the screen on this bike is only compatible with the accompanying class membership, we found that it did offer quite a nice array of classes, with varying lengths, experience levels, and instructor styles. (There are strength-training workouts, too.) The platform also consistently runs competitions. Hit a certain ranking, and you’ll be entered into raffles for all kinds of rewards, including gift cards and membership credits — great for anyone who wants a little extra incentive to push themselves. You can use your regular athletic shoes with the Lit Bike or swap out the pedals (purchase separately) to use cleats.
This lightweight bike comes in four colors: moonbow beige, aurora pink, snowpeak white, and space black. It’s also easy to assemble. The seat can be adjusted vertically and horizontally, and the handlebars adjust up and down. The bike also touts a unique sensor that detects when you’re out of the saddle to ensure you’re in an ideal position. However, it does bear mentioning that an auto-resistance feature won’t let you adjust your resistance during said classes, something that we deemed to be a bit of a noteworthy drawback.
Price at time of publish: $1,799
Dimensions: 59 x 23 x 53 inches | Weight: 113.3 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: No, but separate pedals are required if you want to use cleats | Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Includes a free, 100-day in-home trial
Bike and tablet can be adjusted in various positions
Ensuring your bike is completely adjusted to you is key for ensuring the most comfortable (and enjoyable) ride possible. This winner is noteworthy because along with the seat (which can be moved up, down, forward, and backward) and five handlebar adjustments, it also has a display monitor that can be tiled up or down based on your needs and preferences. And while you can use the said monitor for either the accompanying Carol app or others, it is worth calling out that it’s much smaller than others, only 11 inches, something that we lamented during testing. The seat is also a bit smaller and less padded than other bikes we tested.
Still, the construction on the bike can’t be beaten; it’s sturdy and high-quality, clearly something that’s meant to be a long-term investment. The bike comes with a 100-day in-home trail, so you can ensure you’re fully satisfied with your purchase. The Carol Bike comes equipped with dual-sided pedals (toe cage and SPD click pedals) for the best of both worlds.
Price at time of publish: $2,595
Dimensions: 45.5 x 22 inches | Weight: 120 lbs. | Bike Cleats Required: No | Maximum Weight Capacity: 330 lbs.
Things to Consider Before Buying Indoor Cycling Bikes
Points of Adjustment
According to Jacobs, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a bike is how comfortable you will be; picking one that offers multiple points of adjustment is the easiest way to do exactly that. “Most bikes allow for at least two adjustments, raising and lowering the seat and handlebars. A bike with four adjustment points is ideal, however, as it allows riders to raise or lower the seat, change the pitch of the seat forward or back, raise or lower the handlebars, as well as slide the handlebars forward and back,” she explains.
Think about whether or not you’ll be riding with cycling shoes. Look for an indoor bike with hybrid pedals, like our overall winner, the Schwinn IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike, which includes SPD clips on one side and a flat pedal surface on the other so that they work with any athletic shoe or cycling shoe, suggests Jacobs.
Whereas some bikes, like the Peloton Bike+ Essentials and SoulCycle At-Home Bike, come with their own subscription or membership program, others can be used to connect with any one of your choosing. (For example, The Carol Bike 2.0 can either be used with the accompanying app or any other.) It’s worth thinking about, not only for the type of workouts you’ll be doing, but also to consider the additional cost of a monthly membership fee.
The dimensions are helpful to note and can help you determine the footprint the bike will take up, which is especially important if you’re setting it up in a smaller space. Take into account the bike’s height, your height, and the ceiling height of the room where the bike will be, particularly if you’re planning on doing rides where you’ll be out of the saddle and could potentially hit your head.
How We Tested
We started by setting up each bike according to the manufacturer’s instructions, taking note of how long it took to do so and how easy or difficult it was. Then, we connected to WiFi and the bike’s preferred streaming service, as well as any apps on our phone. We did at least two workouts per week on each bike for four weeks, evaluating what each workout was like, the display, the variety of workouts available, and weighing in on things such as how easy it was to adjust the seat and resistance. Ultimately, we rated each bike on a scale of one to five in the following categories: stability, performance, adjustability, comfort, display, and value (we did not know the retail price until after testing each bike). The bikes with the highest average ratings after testing earned a spot on this PEOPLE Tested list of the best indoor cycling bikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a spin bike and a stationary bike?
There is an important distinction here. “A stationary bike is meant for sitting only and is intended for more of a low impact, very moderate level of workout. It’s great if you’re recovering from an injury or for a basic, cardiovascular effort level,” explains Maxwell. On the flip side, a spin bike is more along the lines of what you’d see in an indoor cycling class, she notes and may have a monitor to display metrics such as resistance and RPM. Riding this bike in and out of the saddle will work your hamstrings, glutes, calves, quads, triceps, back, biceps, and core, giving you a full body workout if used effectively, she says. Spin bikes are also made to more closely mimic the riding position of an outdoor bike, Jacobs points out, adding that they’re great for HIIT and more intense workouts.
Are indoor cycling bikes a good investment?
Both experts we spoke with said yes — so long as you’re committed to doing the work at home and actually using them. One easy way to think about it? Consider how often you’ll be riding it, and figure out the cost per workout, comparing it to a gym membership or the money you’d spend on in-studio cycling classes instead.
How long should you ride an indoor cycling bike?
According to Maxwell, no matter your fitness level, aim to do cardio, like riding your indoor bike, three to four times per week. “Your intensity can be personal, but creating a habit will produce results,” she says. As for how long you need to ride, if you’re just starting your cardio journey, aim to ride for 30 minutes, she says. The more you ride, the more your endurance will increase, so you can work your way up to 45 or 60 minutes at a time.
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