Best budget exercise bikes 2022

One of the best budget exercise bikes being ridden by Sam Hopes, resident fitness writer at Live Science
(Image credit: Future)

The best budget exercise bikes can save you money but also help you get fitter and stronger from the comfort of your home, whatever the weather. And with so many different types to suit every ability and budget, the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) can help you level up your fitness game without breaking the bank.

Whether your goal is to increase your cardiovascular endurance (opens in new tab), train for an event or simply get fit (opens in new tab), exercise bikes are great for home workouts as they don’t take up much space, are low impact and suitable for all abilities. They are also a good option for beginners or people returning to exercise after a break or injury. And of course, having your own exercise bike means there’s no line to use it, or expensive gym membership.

Cycling has a ton of health benefits – as well as torching calories and boosting heart health, a study published in the journal Aging Cell (opens in new tab) found regular riding could hold back the effects of aging and keep your immune system young.

If you’re thinking about investing in one of the best budget exercise bikes, then read on to find out the pros and cons of the latest models in stock and available to buy now.

Best budget exercise bikes

Why you can trust Live Science Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Yosuda bike

(Image credit: Future)
The best budget exercise bike for most people

Specifications

Dimensions: 40” x 22” x 45”
Weight: 73lbs
Max user weight: 270lbs
Max user height: 6ft
Resistance: Friction
Pedals: Anti-skid toe cage

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy 
+
Comfortable seat
+
Device holder

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic metric tracking
-
No full-screen console
-
No Bluetooth connectivity

The Yosuda indoor stationary exercise bike combines affordability with a basic design that gets the job done. It’s a sturdy machine with a small footprint that will appeal to anyone short on space.

The ergonomic seat makes it really comfortable to ride, and while it’s fairly simplistic you can still enjoy a challenging workout without spending a fortune. As with many of the cheaper exercise bikes, it only has a small LCD screen and it doesn’t come with any workouts, so we recommend finding free online classes over on YouTube or via the iFit or Peloton app. 

Despite the low cost, the lightweight bike has a heavy steel frame and a surprisingly quiet 35lb friction resistance flywheel. The bike’s wide base adds stability and the front-loaded transport wheels mean you can easily stow it away after use. Our main complaint is it doesn't track cadence (pedal revolutions to indicate pace), but you can look at metrics using some of the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab).

User reviews

The Yosuda gets 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 61 percent giving it a full five stars. Fans of the bike praised it for being easy to assemble, incredibly comfortable and sturdy. One reviewer said: “The seat is padded and lovely. A really good weight flywheel means it’s a lovely smooth ride.” Negative reviews cited issues with bolts and brackets coming loose after a few months, and the bike “starting to creak and squeak horrendously”. 


Sunny Health & Fintess SB1002 bike in home

(Image credit: Maddy Biddulph)
The budget exercise bike for tall users

Specifications

Dimensions: 53” x 19” x 44”
Weight: 110lbs
Max user weight: 275lbs
Max user height: 6ft 2”
Resistance : Dial
Pedals: Toe cage

Reasons to buy

+
Good resistance range
+
Smooth ride
+
Doesn’t require cycling shoes

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
No cadence tracker
-
Uncomfortable seat

This basic exercise bike is a great entry-level machine that beginners will love. The pedals were comfortable, really easy to adjust and kept our feet secure, especially during standing rides. 

The bike doesn’t have a cadence tracker, which means you can’t tell what resistance you’re at, so you have to guess your intensity during workouts. It’s also lacking a screen, device holder or any preset workouts – in fact, the only accessory is a water bottle holder. You can follow online classes on the Sunny website and YouTube channel, but they are slightly lackluster.

Our other gripe is that the seat is quite uncomfortable, especially during longer rides. If you find it an issue, too, you could swap it for a more cushioned seat or even invest in a thick seat cover or padded cycling shorts.

User reviews

The Sunny Health & Fitness Bike has over 5,000 reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 58 percent giving it the full five stars. Positive reviews said the bike was well built, affordable and sturdy. Negative reviews said the seat was hard and uncomfortable - which we have to agree with. Others complained about the lack of resistance or cadence checker, but said over time they worked out the level of intensity they were at and wasn’t an issue. One reviewer pointed out that the manufacturer’s warranty was not valid in Canada, so be wary of this, Canadians!


Echelon EX3 Bike

(Image credit: Maddy Biddulph)
Best budget Peloton alternative

Specifications

Dimension: 59” x 23” x 53”
Weight: 105lbs / 48kg
Max user weight: 300lbs (136kg)
Max user height: 6’8”
Resistance: 32 levels
Pedals: Double sided: SPD compatible (clip in) / cage pedals

Reasons to buy

+
Great choice of workouts
+
App can be used by 5 people
+
Cheaper Peloton alternative

Reasons to avoid

-
No fast forward for on-demand classes
-
Monthly membership needed
-
Need a tablet or phone to watch classes
-
Resistance dial is under-sensitive

If you've been tempted to splash out on a Peloton, but would prefer a cheaper alternative, then this is the best fit for you. Not only does it come in a fetching black and red design, it mimics Peloton's set-up with its on-demand classes via the Echelon app (which costs an additional $11.99 - $39.99 per month).

There's no screen on the bike, which is probably why it's considerably cheaper than the Peloton. Instead, you'll have to plug into classes via a tablet or smartphone. 

You don't technically need the app to enjoy the bike, so there's no need to splash out on monthly membership fees. Even without the app, the bike connects via Bluetooth and allows you to track the usual metrics (think calories, cadence, distance and duration.)

It's sturdy, well-designed and good value. Our only real gripe is that the resistance levels can feel under-sensitive, so you need to give the dial a good twist to feel like you've gone up a level. 

User reviews

The bike has netted a respectable 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon. Happy customers comment on the solid build, durability and compact design of the bike. Some people point out that the seat is uncomfortable and recommend upgrading to Echelon's 'oversized' seat. Others have cited issues with the app for downgrading their review rating. 


Vigbody stationary bikes cardio workout machine

(Image credit: Amazon)

4. Vigbody stationary bikes cardio workout machine

Best for beginners

Specifications

Dimensions: 46.1” x 25.2” x 44.1”
Weight: 80lbs
Max user weight: 330lbs
Max user height: 5ft 10”
Resistance: Friction resistance
Pedals: Anti-skid toe cages

Reasons to buy

+
Transportation wheels
+
Quiet belt drive system
+
Good for beginners

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for taller users
-
No tablet holder
-
Uncomfortable seat

When you’re buying a budget exercise bike, some of the main things to look out for are transportation wheels so you can easily move it around, easy assembly and a smooth, quiet ride. The Vigbody ticks all three boxes, and for the price is a great entry level exercise bike for beginners.

It has a high max weight capacity of 330lbs and a ‘whisper quiet’ belt drive system that you’d usually expect to find on a more expensive machine. The Vigbody has a basic LCD monitor that’s simple to use and easy to read, tracking all core metrics from time, distance, speed and calories burned. A downside is the bike only has a phone holder and nowhere to put a tablet. But you can easily buy a tablet holder to attach to the handlebars for around $15. 

This is a great exercise bike for beginners and it provides a smooth and quiet ride. While we found the seat was rather uncomfortable, this is something you can easily change.

User reviews

This bike gets 4.5 out of five on Amazon, with 62 percent of users giving it the full five stars. Fans of the machine say it’s easy to move around, lightweight and a great price point. One user said it had “excellent stability while riding, great seat/handlebar adjustments, and I can’t forget how quiet it is! You hear nothing! I am so glad I purchased this bike and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a great spin bike.” While negative reviews complained that the bike wasn’t suitable for tall people and another said they chose to replace the seat for something more comfortable.

  • We are currently reviewing this bike and will update this guide once our full testing process is complete.

Urevo Kardio T1 Magnetic Exercise Bike

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Urevo Kardio T1 Magnetic Exercise Bike

Best low-intensity budget bike

Specifications

Dimensions: 39.4 x 19.7 x 47.2
Weight: 72lbs
Max user weight: 265lbs
Max user height: 6ft
Resistance: Manual
Pedals: Toe cages

Reasons to buy

+
Good value
+
Stable
+
Zwift compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited resistance
-
Not ideal for taller users
-
Not good for advanced cyclists

The Urevo Kardio T1 exercise bike is good value for money for people who want a low intensity ride without all the bells and whistles of more expensive machines. Put simply it’s a great option for people new or returning to exercise.

It’s compatible with Zwift so you can enjoy virtual workouts, but bear in mind that after the free trial there’s a $13pcm fee. The Bluetooth connectivity means you can pair it with other apps, too.

It’s not ideal for taller users, and the resistance range is rather poor. To get a reasonable amount of resistance you have to turn the knob all the way. That said, if you prefer gentler exercise on a bike and you're a complete beginner, this cheap model could be a good fit. 

User reviews

There are limited reviews of the Urevo Kardio T1 online, but users on YouTube praised it for being “a super quiet ride” and for being easy to adjust the seat and handlebars. Negative reviews complained about the lack of tablet holder and the fact that there is no cleat attachment on the pedals, but it means you save money as you won’t need to buy specialist cycling shoes.

  • We are currently reviewing this bike and will update this guide once our full testing process is complete.

Xterra Fitness FB150 Folding Bike

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Xterra Fitness FB150 Folding Bike

Best compact budget exercise bike

Specifications

Dimensions: 31.89" L x 18.1" W x 43.40"
Weight: 32lbs
Max user weight: 225lbs
Max user height: 5ft 10”
Resistance: Magnetic
Pedals: Toe cages

Reasons to buy

+
Foldable
+
Easy to move
+
Extra large padded seat

Reasons to avoid

-
Inaccurate metrics
-
No water bottle or table holder
-
Not suitable for heavier or taller users

With a small and simple LCD screen, the Xterra Fitness FB150 bike is super compact and folds away easily. It has a large and comfortable padded seat and takes up just 18.1” x 18.1” of floor space when folded. In fact this is probably its biggest pull, and it will appeal to people short on space.

It has a manual magnetic resistance system, which you adjust by turning the dial. There are eight resistance levels in total, so while it’s not that inspiring for seasoned cyclists, it’s enough to work up a sweat and be challenging for low impact training.

While it’s lacking any real features, including a bottle holder or somewhere to put your tablet or phone, if you want a bike that does a basic job without taking up too much space, this is a good choice. It's incredibly cheap, too, often retailing for less than $100. 

Reviews on the Xterra Fitness website praise the bike for being sturdy, lightweight and easy to transport on the rollers. Negative reviews cited issues with the monitor giving inaccurate metrics (distance and calories burned) and the seat being uncomfortable.

  • We are currently reviewing this bike and will update this guide once our full testing process is complete.

How we test the best budget exercise bikes

We test budget exercise bikes by putting them through their paces. We complete a sprint interval session on each model and a lengthy recovery ride, to see how well they hold up under pressure. We then also rank each bike for its design, features, performance and value for money.

What should I look for in an exercise bike?

The best budget exercise bikes often come without a screen (you’ll find these on more expensive machines) but you can use your smartphone or a tablet to access free and paid-for virtual classes.

One of the first things to consider is size and space. If you live in an apartment block or shared accommodation, you might want to opt for one of the more slimline models, or a foldable bike.

If you are particularly tall or short you will also want to check if you can adjust the seat and handlebar height. Budget exercise bikes often have a lower weight capacity, so take this into account too if you are on the larger side.

How noisy is the bike? You can read online reviews to find out if the bike you have your eye on is loud or quiet. Also think about resistance levels – beginners will probably be happy with a manual system, whereas more dedicated riders might prefer an auto-resistance feature, more often found on expensive models.

If you like group exercise, then you might want to consider a bike that comes with an app to stream live and on-demand workouts, like Peloton or iFit (subscription needed). You can use these apps on your phone or tablet even if you don’t have an actual Peloton Bike, but you won’t be able to sync your metrics.

Lastly, pedal type is important. Toe cage ones work best with normal sneakers, while clip-in ones need special cycling shoes. Many exercise bikes have dual pedals, which are interchangeable. Once you’ve chosen the best budget exercise bike for you, make sure you read our handy guide on how to get the most out of your exercise bike (opens in new tab).

Maddy is a freelance journalist and Level 3 personal trainer specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. She has been a writer and editor for 22 years, and has worked for some of the UK's bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Women's Health. Maddy loves HIIT training and can often be found working out while her two young daughters do matching burpees or star jumps. As a massive foodie, she loves cooking and trying out new healthy recipes (especially ones with hidden vegetables so the kids eat them).