Choosing the Best Home Exercise Bike for Your Needs and Budget
There are literally 100’s of different exercise bikes to choose from these days – finding the right model for you can be a daunting task.
This page makes choosing a bike easy.
Your options are broken down in two different ways here. First, the different types of home exercise bikes and their price levels are explained. If a suitable model does not jump out for you then there is another approach after that – creating a personal checklist and narrowing the search based on that.
Not only will you find detailed exercise bike reviews here, you’ll find summaries of the feedback from people already using the bikes too.
There are 4 ways to narrow your search. More detail can be found on them beneath this table. They are; money, space, your goals and your starting point (in terms of age, size and health).
Table #1 – Recs of Best Sellers in 2017 by Price
Budget Rec #1 - Body Sculpture BC1700
Best selling budget model with magnetic resistance, pulse monitor and extra comfort saddle. Huge amazon.co.uk discount at the time of writing
|Product Page Read Review|
Budget Rec #2 - Olympic 2000 Foldable
Ideal budget bike for those pushed for space. This folds for easy storage. Even at this low price you'll get a display for speed, calories, distance and time - solid buyer feedback too.
|Product Page Read Review|
Mid-Range Rec #1 - York Perform 210
York Fitness have a very solid reputation and this mid-price range bike is a sturdy and fully featured model. Expect touch-button resistance and ergonomic design.
|Product Page Read Review|
Mid-Range Rec #2 - JLL IC300 Spinner
Stunning looks (more of a spinning bike than a regular upright). It is the amazon.co.uk discount which brings this fully-featured bike into the mid-price range - 18kg flywheel for a super-smooth ride
|Product Page Read Review|
Upper-End Rec #1- Nordic Track U60
Nordic Track make top-end fitness equipment, and their U60 bike is no exception. This would not be out of place in a gym, and is compatible with the latest iFit Technology
|Product Page Read Review|
Upper-End Rec #2 - Reebok ZR8
Style and top spec from Reebok. This bike has excellent feedback from owners, and a computer console (with preset programs) which puts other models to shame!
|Product Page Read Review|
How to Narrow Down the Exercise Bike Reviews
Here are the main criteria to start narrowing the field of stationary bikes;
#1 Your Budget: You can buy a basic bike starting from less than £100. Top end machines are £251 and up. Below you will find an explanation of the type of features you can expect to get for your money in the low / mid / high price brackets.
#2 Space Available: This is more important than you might think. Some bikes will fold away, though generally not the higher spec ones, which are bigger and more robust. Smaller bikes can be just as effective, and I always urge readers to be realistic when it comes to space when considering fitness equipment reviews.
#3 Your Goals: I’m sure we all want to get super-fit, burn off those excess calories and get toned at the same time. You might want to be a little more specific. If you are a complete beginner will you really be tackling the high-resistance climb programs? If you are a serious cyclist looking for a winter workout will that flimsy budget bike really keep you engaged?
#4 Your Fitness Starting Point: Home exercise bikes are used by people of all ages, weights and by people with various medical histories. While you should always work with a medical professional before starting any exercise routine, these factors should always be considered when reviewing exercise bikes too. Recumbent (sit back) bikes are great for those who are less mobile.
The rest of this page goes into more detail on these criteria, giving examples of the home exercise bike reviews available for each category to help narrow down your search. At the end of the page I have flipped the search around. Instead of looking at a criteria based way to sort through the exercise bike reviews, I have looked at the different manufacturers instead.
Exercise Bike Reviews – What You’ll Get for Your Money in 2017
When I read some of the comments over at amazon.co.uk, it always feels like some people paying £100 are really expecting something similar to what they find in their local professional gym! Well, unfortunately gym-level bikes cost £1000+. The good news is that you can get a decent exercise bike for lot less.
Budget Exercise Bike Reviews (less than £100)
You can get a perfectly good bike for less than £100, though you’ll need to compromise on the looks, the overall sturdiness and some of those extra features. I have seen bikes with LCD displays and variable resistance levels for less than £70 (including Amazon discounts). These are not just for the budget minded, if you want to try out this form of exercise before you commit to a better featured / more comfortable model then there are plenty of budget machines which will fit the bill. Below are links to 2 home bike reviews which have great feedback, though will not break the bank:
What I like best about this model is that it should really be in the mid-range list… only the big amazon discount (at the time of writing at least) puts it firmly intpo the budget range. You’ll get an attractive upright bike, with smooth magnetic resistance (most budget bikes use belts) and a tracking display. As long as the discount stays, this is a great budget choice which fully deserves its place at the top of the best-seller lists.
You can check the amazon.co.uk product page here.
Alternatively you can read my full review here.
Unlike treadmills and rowers, which pivot easily in the middle – exercise bikes can take up a lot of room. When you choose a folding model, you’ll be able to (at least) prop your bike easily into a corner. Budget minded buyers will get a reliable bike, with a computer control panel and adjustable resistance for a super-low price with the Olympic 2000 Foldable model. This is a popular product, though you do need to set the expectation level correctly – at this low price you really wont get anything resembling what you find in the gym!
See the buyer feedback and latest discount on the amazon.co.uk product page here
Alternatively you can read my full review here.
Mid-Range Exercise Bike Reviews (less than £250)
The main change as you invest a little more is in the quality of the build and the way that the resistance (how hard it is to pedal) is controlled. One thing to look out for here is the size / weight of your flywheel. Without getting too technical, the bigger the wheel, the smoother and more consistent your ride will be.
As you move into this mid-range you can expect pre-set programs (lots of them in some cases) and pulse rate monitors to be standard too. Depending on which manufacturer you choose, you might find a more stylish model too. For me, the gap between the £100 and the £250 machines is the sweet spot of where the extra money will get you a lot more comfort, quiet / smooth rides and features. I also recommend you look out for bikes which are usually in the upper price range, and come down into the mid-level with amazon.co.uk discounts.
Here are 2 examples of mid-range exercise bike reviews which have been popular over the last year:
Mid-Range Rec #1 – York Perform 210 Exercise Bike
York Fitness create home gyms and exercise machines in a lot of different categories, and have a well-deserved reputation for creating solid mid-priced kit. The York 210 is a classic looking model. What stands out is the adjustable saddle / handlebars which can be configured to suit your posture and size. There are also 32 levels of magnetic resistance, which ensures there are no big jumps between levels. Feedback has been solid on this one – though it is the reputation of the maker for service and fast replacements which will be the deciding factor for many buyers.
Check out the amazon.co.uk product page for the full spec and feedback.
You can read my detailed review here.
Mid-Range Rec #2 – JLL IC3000 Spinning Bike
I have reviewed several home exercise bikes from JLL here at FitnessReview.co.uk – though the IC300 is easily the best looking. This looks like a racing machine – though of course it does not move. When you see the feature list you will quickly see that this is not just a pretty face. Key to the quality is a huge 18kg flywheel, making the ride super-smooth. This really belongs in the upper price range, though the discount (as usual I have to state ‘at the time of writing’) at amazon.co.uk brings it right down into the mid-range. A great looking bike for a very keen price!
Check out the product page at amazon.co.uk
You can find out more in my detailed review here
Higher Priced Home Exercise Bike Reviews (£251 and up)
There are some amazing models out there if you have the money to spare. At this end of the market you’ll usually find resistance levels which will adjust automatically as part of your program (tougher as you hit a hill and so on). You will also find the electronics taking a step up in class, with many programs to choose from plus memory of your sessions.
Monitors should be included as standard and I would expect to see compatibility with devices like POLAR watches, apps and other monitors. I would also expect to see stunning design and the very best in comfort – you’ll be amazed at what you can get when splashing out more on a top end exercise bike.
Here are 2 examples of top spec exercise bike reviews which show you what you can expect in this price bracket:
Higher-End Rec #1 – Nordic Track U60
You’ll find a lot of Nordic Track equipment in pro gyms, usually the ellipticals, treadmills and skiing machines. When a company with a prestigious line creates an exercise bike, well you know that the quality and features list will both be high. Your first clue with the U60 is the console, which is more of a mini-computer than the simple LCD displays on cheaper bikes. This is app compatible, so you can track and (if you want to) share results with iFit. Overall, the build, low noise level and durability of Nordic Track bikes mean you’ll get a machine that will last you and your entire family for years.
You can see the top-range spec on the amazon.co.uk product page.
Alternatively, check out this detailed review page instead.
Higher-End Rec #2 – Reebok ZR8
If you follow my treadmill reviews, then you’ll already know how highly I rate Reebok’s equipment. This bike combines the strong points all in one… it is stylish, it is beautifully engineered (the attention to detail is first class) and it is packed full of features too. This is not just my opinion, you will not find better buyer feedback for any home exercise bike. I also recommend checking out the colour console, adjustable features and smoothness of the preset programs and touch-button computer controlled resistance.
Here is the amazon.co.uk product page (check that buyer feedback!)
This link goes to my detailed review instead.
3 Special Categories of Home Exercise Bikes
Not all bikes are the same – with 3 special categories worth drawing to your attention.
Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews: First up, there are recumbent exercise bikes. In the intro I mentioned people who are less mobile, and recumbent bikes offer a great solution. Instead of sitting up on a saddle while you pedal, you are sat back in a comfortable padded chair. The exercise can be just as vigorous (this part is down to you!), you’ll just be a lot more comfortable while you do it. Keep in mind that these machines take up more space – and are less likely to be foldable.
Here are links to reviews of 2 of the most popular:
Hybrid Elliptical / Exercise Bike Reviews: You might expect to pay more for a machine which has 2 types of equipment rolled into one. With elliptical (also called cross trainer) and exercise bike combos, you’ll find they are very much at the budget end of the price spectrum. For me these are ellipticals first, with the possibility to use the pedals in a cycling motion at the turn of a level. A top option if you only have room for one, or if different members of your family want to use different kinds of exercise equipment. Here are reviews of some of the most popular hybrids:
Mini Exercise Bike Reviews: The best way to describe these machines is that they are just the pedals, and not much else. Think of a tiny box, 40 to 50cm high, with pedals sticking out of the side. This is a budget way to get going, and can sit under your desk or just on the floor while you watch the TV! Some manufacturers suggest you can also use them for arm workouts, though I am not too sure about that claim. There is even a model which can turn your regular push bike into an exercise bike. Here my review of the current best-selling mini-bike from Confidence Fitness:
Exercise Bike Reviews 2017 – Choosing with a Checklist!
This part of the page flips things around. You’ll find some of the key features of exercise bikes listed below. What I recommend is that you take a look through and make a mental note of which are the most important ones for you personally.
Of course, we would all like them all… though that requires some investment (cash!) to buy the best possible exercise bike. The benefit of prioritising here is that you’ll be able to look at the many detailed exercise bike reviews here and quickly see if your key elements are there or not.
After this list I have listed all of the different reviews of home exercise bikes, with a quick sentence describing each one.
Personal Criteria for Choosing an Exercise Bike
#1 – Space
Some bikes can be large, and you’ll need a spare room (or at the very least a spare corner) to keep them in. If you do not have too much space then you can consider a folding bike – though these are generally the budget models. As an alternative, look out for wheel on the base. That way you can move your bike easily between sessions.
#2 – Build Quality / Comfort
While to a large extent this goes with the different price brackets, it is worth looking out for in the comments / feedback from previous buyers. Some bikes have harder seats, or are naturally less stable than others.
As a side note, you can buy padded saddles which fit over the standard ones – here is an example.
Recumbent exercise bikes offer the best comfort, though this is at the expense of a larger size.
#3 – Resistance Type
How tough it is to pedal is what will keep the bike useful as your fitness improves. This can be done in several ways, with a pad against a flywheel the most common and magnetic resistance coming in at the mid-price level and above. Cheaper bikes have manual resistance. This means you need to stop peddling and turn a knob to change it. At the top end this is automatic as part of a computer controlled program.
As a general rule, the bigger the flywheel, the smoother the resistance switches will be.
#4 – Computer Control Panel
Even the cheapest home bikes will have a basic LCD panel. This will track your speed, calories burned, time and distance. A pulse rate monitor is also common (with the sensor in the handlebars).
As you get into the mid-range you’ll get a colour screen, pre-set fitness programs and memory for your previous trips. You will also find bikes which are compatible with various fitness apps, MP3 players and (at the top end) bikes which have entertainment modules built in.
#5 – Assembly
If you order from Amazon you’ll usually save a bunch of money, though you’ll find many bikes come packed in separate parts and will require assembly. It can be hard to tell from the comments of previous buyers, since there is always someone complaining about even the simplest assembly tasks. I have summarised the assembly for each bike in my detailed reviews (based on a fair reading of the comments left). Keep in mind that most of the very cheap home bikes will need someone to put them together.
Final Part! List of all the Detailed Exercise Reviews Here at Fitness Review
I have grouped these bikes as follows:
First, the regular bikes (each with a note on budget level and features). Second, the recumbent models, then the mini-bikes and finally the hybrids. The titles double up as links to each of the individual review pages.
Regular Exercise Bikes:
Nordic Track GX 5.1 Exercise Bike Review: You can get Nordic Track style and quality for a mid-range price with the GX 5.1. This bike has an innovative breaking system, 20kg fly wheel and looks impressive too.
Nordic Track U60 Exercise Bike: Upper price range and beautifully designed model from the respected Nordic Track. Silent magnetic resistance, top end console + iFit Compatible.
DKN AM_E Exercise Bike: Middle price range, smart looking bike with computer controlled resistance. Ahead of other bikes in the same price bracket and looks great.
Kettler M Exercise Bike: Lower middle price range. Another solid and attractive machine. This is the lowest price I have seen with full magnetic resistance. Even includes an ear-clip heart rate monitor!
York Perform 210 Exercise Bike: Very popular model from a popular manufacturer. This one includes 35 levels of touch button resistance and 19 different workout programs. Mid-price level.
We R Sports Aerobic Training Cycle: Budget range (when you include the huge amazon.co.uk discount) model which looks amazing with gym spinning bike design, very positive feedback.
Body Sculpture BC1700 Exercise Bike: Budget model which has simple good looks and does include a pulse monitor and computer console. Great value model (again, once you include the discount)
JLL Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike: Super-budget model which folds away for easy storage. This is a basic model, though does have a computer and even adjustable toe-straps!
JTX Cyclo 6 Gym Spec Aerobic Training Bike: This looks different to every other bike listed, amazing sleek and almost futuristic design. This is an upper-price range model which comes with every imaginable extra.
Olympic Belt Bike: Super-budget upright model. You will not find an upright bike like this one for much less – even includes a computer console.
Olympic Fit4Home Folding Exercise Bike: Another cheaper model from Olympic, this one folds away right at the middle. Includes a computer and does have good feedback for the price range.
Reebok ZR8 Exercise Bike: A personal pick in the upper price range. This bike has all the key features, and distinctive Reebok style – a serious piece of equipment!
JLL IC300 Exercise Bike: Middle price level and styled as a spinning bike / racing bike rather than an upright. The flywheel on this model is a massive 18kg for a super-smooth ride.
JLL IC200 Exercise Bike: Another JLL bike with spinning looks, though only a 10kg flywheel this time, this is lower mid-range price wise, though shares many features (and looks) with the IC300.
Ultrasport Foldable Exercise Bike: This foldable is just about middle price range. Many of the foldable models are flimsy / cheap – this is where folding meets the better spec.
PedalPro Cardio Exercise Bike: The most noticeable feature of this mid-range bike is that it is bright yellow… looks great none the less and includes some of the more advanced features for a reasonable price.
Recumbent Exercise Bikes
XS Sports Recumbent Exercise Bike: Budget level recumbent bike. This has 8 levels of magnetic resistance, pulse sensors and basic on board computer. Nice discount at amazon.co.uk at the time of writing too!
Life Fitness Platinum Club Recumbent Bike: I am not using the word ‘ultimate’ lightly when it comes to this bike. This is a truly amazing gym-level recumbent bike – with a giant price tag!
Kettler Recumbent Exercise Bike: Still upper end compared to many bikes, though down to earth compared with the life fitness model. This is a great looking and fully spec’d recumbent model.
Hybrid Exercise Bike / Cross Trainers
ATR Fitness New 2-in-1 Elliptical and Bike: Budget model which is essentially an Elliptical cross trainer which can be used to pedal, ideal for those who want the best of both worlds.
We R Sports 2-in-1 Elliptical / Bike: Another budget hybrid, this time from the ever popular We R Sports. This one looks great and has solid feedback over at amazon.co.uk too.
Mini Exercise Bikes
Confidence Fitness Sit Down Mini Bike: Just the pedals, a base and a console to track your progress. This machine can be used under your desk or in front of the TV.
Exercise Bike Reviews…. Final Thoughts (and just one more link!)
There are a lot of bikes out there, even a huge page like this can’t cover every combination of feature, price and spec. The most important thing for most of us is that we should not put off getting started with home fitness for the sake of a minor decision on a feature or two!
If you are genuinely stuck, then the latest discount offers at amazon.co.uk can be the deciding factor. While you were agonizing over which mid-price bike is best, one of the amazing spec top-end machines could have just received a 60% reduction.
You’ll see the most popular bikes, biggest discounts and many different styles on this page over at amazon.co.uk – check it out now!