The 7 best exercise bikes for home use in 2024

Investing in one of the best exercise bikes is a great way to boost your stamina and burn calories without putting excessive strain on your joints. These exercise machines also tend to be more compact and portable than treadmills or rowers, making them a perfect choice for those short on floor space. But exactly which exercise bike should you invest in?

There are plenty of machines available on the market, ranging from basic foldable bikes to eye-wateringly expensive models with smart screens, dedicated workout apps and other frills. We know that buying an exercise bike is not an easy task, which is why we have tested some of the best models on the market to help you make the best choice possible. Read on to find out which of the exercise bikes we liked the most. 

But if cycling is not up your street, make sure to check our guides to the best treadmills and rowing machines

The quick list

See the quick list below for a brief summary of our favorite exercise bikes, or scroll further down for more detailed reviews of each machine.

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The best exercise bikes we recommend in 2024

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

The best exercise bike overall

Best exercise bike for most people: The flagship Peloton machine is sturdy, thoughtfully designed and packed with fun features.


Dimensions: 59” x 53” x 23”
Weight: 135lbs / 61kg
Max user weight: 297lbs (134kg)
Max height: 6’4”
Display?: 21.5” color touchscreen
Resistance levels: 100
Pedals: Look Delta-compatible cleats (clip in)
Workouts: Live and on-demand via Peloton app (subscription required)

Reasons to buy

Stunning build 
Large HD screen 
No complicated setup required 

Reasons to avoid

Most expensive option
Monthly subscription for classes
Cycling shoes needed
Buy it if

You are looking for a durable bike: It holds steady, even during sweaty spin classes.

You enjoy engaging fitness classes: The Peloton App is packed with pre-recorded workouts.

You want a bike that is easy to set up: The Peloton bike comes fully put together, except for the screen. 

Don't buy it if

You are on a budget: This bike costs more than $1400. 

❌ You are looking for a space-saving design: This is a sizeable machine, and it can't be folded.

What the users say

The Peloton Bike gets rave reviews on the company's site, with customers awarding it 4.7 out of five stars. People heap praise on the energetic instructors and the sense of community built in the online classes. Negative reviews mostly complain about high membership fees, and some users also reported issues with pedals snapping.

Stylish and feature-rich, the Peloton Bike is a bestseller for good reason. It’s not cheap, but what you get for your dollar is an extremely well-made machine with endless features to keep you motivated and on track with your health and fitness goals. During our Peloton Bike review, it thoroughly impressed us with its robust design, ease of use, and top-quality fitness classes, which is why we placed this stylish bike in the top spot. 

The bike comes in Peloton’s signature black and red colors, and has a small footprint making it a good choice for people short on space. It’s also ergonomic so it feels comfortable and smooth to ride. Just bear in mind that the pedals require specific Look Delta cleat-compatible shoes, which is an extra cost on top of the bike.

The original Peloton Bike has a crisp touchscreen with all of its features hidden within the monitor — this is deliberate so that the bike itself isn’t cluttered by lots of buttons. With daily live workouts and on-demand classes via the Peloton app, one of the big draws of this bike is that you will never get bored as there is so much virtual content. A subscription is, however, needed to access the app. If you branch out and buy another Peloton product like the Peloton Tread, you can use your existing app subscription to access running content too. Another big pull is the bike is quiet and intuitive to use. 

Overall, the Peloton Bike offers one of the most satisfying riding experiences out there.

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Peloton bike review
Resistance rangeMeasured as a percentage of the maximum resistance
Extra featuresBottle holder, weights holder
Additional costsPeloton app membership: Basic - $12.99/month / Extended - $24/month

Best budget exercise bike

Best budget exercise bike: This durable and powerful Yosuda bike punches way above its affordable price tag.


Dimensions: 40.5” x 21.5” x 45”
Weight: 68.8lbs / 31.2kg
Max user weight: 270lbs (122kg)
Max height: 6’
Display?: Basic 1” x 2” LCD display
Resistance levels: Infinite
Workouts: None
Pedals: Standard toe cage

Reasons to buy

Smooth belt driven flywheel
Good value
Sturdy and smooth ride

Reasons to avoid

Basic display
No programmed workouts
Limited features
Buy it if

You are looking for good value for money: It is budget-friendly, but sturdy and stable.

You want a smooth ride: This bike impressed us with its wide seat and a quiet yet powerful flywheel. 

You want an easy setup: A how-to YouTube video will help you get it up and running in less than an hour. 

Don't buy it if

You enjoy on-demand fitness classes: No touchscreen or workout apps.

You want detailed workout tracking: Its display shows only calories, distance, time and speed.

❌ You are looking for a space-saving design: The bike is quite compact, but it can't be folded.

What the users say

The Yosuda Indoor Stationary bike has 4.4 out of five stars on Amazon. There's a lot of praise for its comfy seat, sturdy build and ease of assembly. However, some people have said that it does squeak after a few months of use.

The Yosuda indoor cycling bike is a great value exercise bike for people on a budget who want a spinning style workout. It is well-made and sturdy, with a simple design that makes it intuitive to use, and has a friction resistance on the flywheel that is fairly quiet and smooth. It’s this slightly lower tech system that also makes the bike more affordable ― one of the key reasons why we gave it a strong 4-star rating in our Yosuda Indoor Stationary Bike review

There is no touchscreen or monitor and the computer display is very basic, but it shows all the core metrics you need, including time, speed, distance and calories. The Yosuda exercise bike doesn’t have any programmed classes either, but you can get around this by simply watching a free Youtube workout on your phone or tablet, or using another app like iFit or Peloton to access live or on-demand online classes.

One big perk is the way the handlebars angle in — this really helps when leaning forward in racing style rides, as it’s a more comfortable and natural position for the shoulders and arms. 

Moreover, the bike has dual pedals — cage and clip in — so you don’t have to buy expensive cycling shoes to use the machine unless you want to.

Lastly, the Yosuda bike has a whopping 300lbs capacity, making it one of the sturdiest cardio machines in its affordable price range.    

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YOSUDA Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike
Attributes Notes
Resistance rangeKnob-adjustable
Extra featuresBottle holder, toe cage, phone holder
Additional costsNone

Best Peloton alternative

Best Peloton alternative: This Echelon bike comes with fun workouts and supportive community to keep you motivated.


Dimensions: 52"L x 20"W x 50"H
Weight: 123lb/ 56kg
Max user weight: 300lbs (136kg)
Max height: 6’8”
Display?: 21.5" screen
Resistance levels: 32
Pedals: Double sided: SPD compatible (clip in) / cage pedals
Workouts: Live and on-demand via Echelon Fit app (subscription required)

Reasons to buy

Great variety of workouts
Real time data
Affordable monthly membership

Reasons to avoid

Finding appropriate sessions can be tricky
Lack of consistent captioning
Scenic rides are uninspiring
Buy it if

You want good value for money: Functionality of the Peloton bike, but without the hefty price. 

You want a convenient way to monitor your progress: This bike provides a detailed breakdown of real-time workout data.

You thrive with a supportive community: Connect with other Echelon riders to stay motivated.

Don't buy it if

You want an intuitive display: The touchscreen can be tricky to navigate.

You prioritize comfort: Its seat can be uncomfortable.

❌ You are looking for a space-saving design: The bike is heavy, takes up much room, and can't be folded.

What the users say

The Echelon EX5-S scores 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. One reviewer said it was "sturdy, didn't break the bank and was super high quality,". But a minority of users complained about the seat being uncomfortable and the Bluetooth not working. 

The Echelon EX5-S is a great budget alternative to the Peloton bike, offering top-quality fitness content and a supportive community of riders. During our Echelon Connect EX5s review, we found it to be sturdy, good-looking, and packed with challenging cardio workouts suitable for beginners to advanced exercisers. 

We liked that instructors were enthusiastic and motivating, whilst also giving you opportunities to work at your own pace. We also liked that the Echelon bike offers a convenient way to monitor your progress ― you can see a detailed breakdown of real time data on the screen during classes, and you will also receive an email report after completing each session.

However, finding an appropriate class can be a challenging task. The screen is not very intuitive to navigate, and the class descriptions could benefit from more clarity. 

Also, some instructors were quite difficult to understand, and it does take a trial and error approach to find an instructor that appeals to you the most. 

The Echelon EX5-S is relatively expensive, but the monthly membership is quite reasonably priced, and its on demand library is packed to the brim with tutorial videos. We need to point out, however, that there are only a small handful of sessions that last longer than 45 minutes. 

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Echelon Connect EX5s
Resistance range32 levels
Extra featuresHeadphone jack, clip in cleat option
Additional costsEchelon app membership: Limited fitpass - $11.99/month / Full - $34.99/month

Best budget spin bike

Best budget spin bike: Whisper-quiet spin class experience at an affordable price.


Dimensions: 46.5” x 18” x 46”
Weight: 102lbs / 46kg
Max user weight: 275lbs (124kg)
Max height: 5'11
Display?: No
Resistance levels: 100
Pedals: Standard cage pedals
Workouts: Via the Sunny Health & Fitness app (subscription required)

Reasons to buy

Doesn't require cycling shoes
Relatively quiet (60dB)
Good resistance range

Reasons to avoid

Limited app
Uncomfortable seat
Doesn’t track cadence
Buy it if

You are on a budget: This bike offers a great spin-style experience without breaking the bank.

You want a smooth ride: Its hefty flywheel boasts great resistance and makes little noise. 

You don't want to buy cycling shoes: No cycling shoes required.

Don't buy it if

You enjoy immersive rides and engaging fitness classes: No touchscreen or device holder. 

You want detailed workout tracking: No cadence or resistance checker.

❌ You are looking for a portable piece of kit: It is heavier than it looks.

What the users say

Amazon users have given this bike 4.4 out of five stars. People praise its easy assembly and low price. Several people have pointed out that it doesn't come with any kind of speedometer, so it's difficult to monitor your output and effort level.

If you’re after a basic indoor cycling experience without breaking the bank, then the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Bike is a solid option. It’s pretty compact, and has the look and feel of a gym-style spin bike with a good resistance range on the flywheel. During our Sunny Health and Fitness Bike SF-B1002 review, we were impressed by its great performance. The resistance goes up to 100, which is more than enough for a challenging workout, and it moves smoothly between gears with minimal noise.

You’ll need to pay for a subscription to access the virtual content on the Sunny Health & Fitness app, but you can use the bike without it. It’s also budget-friendly, so if you’re not sure how much you’re going to use it, this might be a good option for you.

We love how quiet it is, which is a bonus for anyone living in shared accommodation or an apartment. A drawback is the seat can be a little uncomfortable, but after a few weeks of ‘breaking it in’, it’s easier to ride on. 

There’s also no way of tracking cadence (the speed you’re pedaling) so it’s hard to monitor intensity, but if you want to test-run an indoor bike without spending too much, then the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Bike is a no-frills choice.

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Sunny Health and Fitness Bike SF-B1002
Resistance rangeDial-adjustable
Extra featuresBottle holder
Additional costsNone

Best exercise bike for cycling purists

Best exercise bike for cycling purists: A great option for the semi-professional riders.


Dimensions: 48” x 19” x 39”
Weight: 110lbs / 50kg
Max user weight: 297lbs (135kg)
Max height: 6’5”
Display?: No
Resistance levels: 22
Pedals: Standard toe cage
Workouts: Via Wattbike Hub app

Reasons to buy

Realistic riding experience 
Wattbike app is free to use 
Challenging workouts 

Reasons to avoid

No screen 
App lacks engaging graphics  
Less accessible for beginners 
Buy it if

You want a realistic ride experience: The Wattbike Atom boasts 22 gears and auto-resistance that automatically adjusts to simulate different terrains.

You are looking for a bike suitable for ultra-intense workouts: The Wattbike Atom is built like a tank — you can put it through its paces and it will not break.

You want an easy setup: The bike comes in one piece, just plug it in and you are good to go. 

Don't buy it if

You are a cycling novice: You may be put off by the data-heavy, performance-oriented nature of the bike. 

You want fun and engaging fitness classes: It has no built-in monitor.

This is a competitively priced and high-quality machine for anyone looking for an all-rounder exercise bike. It’s well made, with a ton of features that will appeal to both data-hungry athletes and people new to indoor cycling. Make no mistake, this is a big machine, and you’ll need a lot of space to house it. Whilst it’s 11kg lighter than its predecessor the Wattbike Pro, at 44kg it’s still a bit of a beast so you’ll need to find a good location for it before setting it up.

The Wattbike offers a smooth and realistic ride, thanks to its new electromagnetic resistance and impressive range through 22 gears. It has auto-resistance that automatically adjusts to simulate different terrains and inclines, making for a more intense workout. As well as the Wattbike Hub app, it syncs nicely with other fitness apps including Zwift. On the whole, this exercise machine provides good value for cycling purists, which is why we gave it a strong 3-star rating in our Wattbike Atom review

On the other hand, it does not have a built-in monitor and lacks a USB port to charge your smartphone or tablet, which is a bit frustrating considering this is likely to be your main way of following online workouts. It is also not compatible with Apple Watch or Fitbit, which is a shame for the high price, but overall this is a well-made and feature-rich exercise bike that delivers on design and functionality.

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Wattbike Atom
Resistance range22 gears
Extra featuresBottle holder, device holder
Additional costsWattbike Hub membership: $7.99/month

Best exercise bike for realistic rides

Best for realistic rides: This highly customizable machine can fully recreate your outdoor bike indoors.


Dimensions: 48'' x 30'' x 37''
Weight: 93 lbs (42kg)
Max user weight: 250 lbs (113 kg)
Max user height: 6’4
Display?: Yes, small LED screen
Resistance levels: Customizable
Pedals: Not included

Reasons to buy

Ultra-realistic ride feel
Grade changes
Highly customizable fit
Apps packed with cycling workouts

Reasons to avoid

Maximum capacity of 250 lbs (113kg)
No smartphone or tablet holder
Buy it if

You want to recreate your outdoor bike: It allows you to fully customize its fit and gearing.

You aim to boost your cycling performance: The Wahoo apps are packed with workouts, tips and progress-tracking tools.  

You do not want to make much noise: The KICKR bike is ultra-quiet even at high speeds.

Don't buy it if

You are on a budget: It is one of the most expensive exercise bikes on the market.

You weigh more than 250lbs (113kg): This bike has limited weight capacity. 

❌ You want a basic exercise bike: The KICKR bike may be an overkill.

What the users say

The Wahoo KICKR Bike V2 scores 4.4 out of 5 stars on the Wahoo website, with nearly three-quarters of users giving it a full five stars. Positive reviews praise this machine for its customized features, sturdiness, connectivity, and incline changes. Negative reviews tend to focus on its high price and problematic levers.

The Wahoo KICKR bike (version 2) is a great option for those passionate about cycling in the great outdoors. This beastly machine features a highly customized fit, shifting and gearing, allowing you to fully recreate your outdoor bike in the comfort of your home. It is also compatible with a wide range of cycling workout apps, making it a useful tool for improving exercise performance and tracking progress. 

During our Wahoo KICKR bike V2 review, we were thoroughly impressed with its performance. This exercise bike is sturdy, stable and whisper-quiet, and unlike most models on the market, it features a wide range of incline changes and a set of brakes. We liked the ultra-realistic ride feel of the KICKR bike — it even makes the characteristic 'clunk' noise in-between gear changes. We also did not experience any issues with connectivity to third-party devices, such as laptops and mobile phones. 

However, the flagship Wahoo machine is not equipped with any touchscreens, smartphone holders, or other frills typical of more premium indoor bikes. Instead, it features a small LED screen located right beneath the handlebar, and it only displays basic metrics — the gear you are in, your incline, and whether your bike is connected to another device. If you are looking for more in-depth stats, you will have to rely on the connected apps.

Moreover, the KICKR bike is a heavy piece of machinery that requires some serious floor space, and some people may find its seat slightly uncomfortable. Not to mention, it boasts a whopping price tag of $3,999.99, making it one of the most expensive bikes on the market.          

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Wahoo KICKR Bike V2
Resistance rangeCustomizable
Extra featuresBottle holder
Additional costsWahoo SYSTM app membership - $14.99/month

Best exercise bike for resistance

Best for resistance: This sturdy spin bike offers a range of challenging workouts.


Dimensions: ‎54.6” x 30.7” x 51.8”
Weight: 112lbs / 51kg
Max user weight: 330lbs (150kg)
Max height: 6'6
Display?: Electronic
Resistance levels: 100
Workouts: JRNY, Zwift, Explore the World and Peloton compatible
Pedals: Standard toe cage

Reasons to buy

More affordable than Peloton 
Height inclusive
Compatible with Peloton and Zwift apps

Reasons to avoid

Flywheel can squeak 
Can be difficult to adjust
Calorie tracking inaccurate 
Buy it if

You are tall: This bike can be adjusted to suit a wide range of heights.

You are looking for a compact bike: It strikes a great balance between size, durability and resistance. 

You don't want to make much noise: The Schwinn bike is quiet even at high speeds.

Don't buy it if

You enjoy engaging fitness classes: The JRNY app falls behind its competitors.

You require a long power cable: You have to position the bike close to the socket.

❌ You want detailed workout tracking: This bike offers only basic metrics.

What the users say

On Amazon, this bike has 77% five star reviews, with an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5. One user loved that the Schwinn IC4 exercise bike can be used with the Peloton app without the cost of a Peloton bike. “And there you essentially have the Peloton bike for $1,500.00 less," they wrote. 

The Schwinn IC4 exercise bike is extremely popular and frequently sold out on online retailers. It offers compatibility with the best cycling apps, such as Zwift and Peloton, without the high equipment costs associated with these brands. 

During our Schwinn IC4 review, we were particularly impressed by its crisp display screen. The mounted monitor allows you to track time, distance, calories, RPMs & heart rate, although some users have reported that these stats can be inaccurate. 

Moreover, you can easily clip in your water bottle and a tablet for a comfortable ride, and the race-style seat is height adjustable. The dual link SPD foot pedals also come standard with toe cages or clips for whichever cycling shoes you want to use. In that regard, the Schwinn IC4 is very user-friendly and accessible.  

It tends to deliver on performance, too. The 100 levels of magnetic resistance make it easy to knock the resistance up and give yourself a challenging workout, before turning it back down for a cooldown. It does need to be plugged in, which can be a little restrictive as you’ll need to have the space to connect it.

On the downside, the bike can be noisy, and it is equipped with a heart monitor that requires syncing with the app every time you use it.  

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Schwinn IC4
Resistance range100 levels
Extra featuresDevice holder, dual pedals, 2 x bottle holder, weights holder
Additional costsJNRY app membership - $19.99/month

How we test exercise bikes at Live Science

We subjected all bikes to a rigorous review process, working through the gears to make sure they were able to deliver a lung-busting workout. This is to ensure that we can give an accurate and helpful review, regardless of the type of exercise you'll be putting your new bike through. If it falls short anywhere over our testing period, we will note this so you can make an informed choice.

Our testing team completed a range of workouts, including an active recovery session, an intense interval workout, and a longer endurance piece, before assessing each exercise bike on five factors:

  • Set up and usability
  • Design and display
  • Features
  • Performance
  • Value for money

Results were used to reach a final score out of five and inform a detailed verdict designed to summarize each exercise bike’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you pick the best product for you.

LifeSpan TR3000it being tested by Live Science writer Harry Bullmore

(Image credit: Future)

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Our expert

Sam Birch
Sam Birch

Currently a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at Pure Sports Medicine, Birch has a keen interest in post-surgical rehabilitation, cycling injuries and sports rehabilitation. We spoke to Sam about the potential benefits of indoor cycling and the pros and cons of different types of exercise bikes. 


Exercise bike vs. treadmill ― which is better?

Exercise bike vs treadmill ― which is better? Both allow you to focus on aerobic exercise (like jogging or gentle cycling, using oxygen) and anaerobic exercise (like sprinting or high-intensity spin, without using oxygen). Both also come packed with benefits like improved cardio fitness, stronger muscles, and healthier bones though they target your muscles differently. 

The downside for keen runners is the impact on joints, even if you run on shock-absorbing tread belts. Learning how to run properly and how running shoes should fit are two ways to tackle it, but exercise bikes mitigate the risks of joint injuries.

Recumbent bikes vs. upright bikes ― which is better?

Recumbent bikes vs upright bikes ― which is better? Recumbent bikes sit close to the floor in a reclined position and house front pedals, whereas upright bikes look like spin bikes. These models are an ergonomic solution because the front pedal position helps to redistribute your weight which places less pressure on your knees and tailbone, and they also have a backrest. However, this positioning could result in a lack of core, glute, and upper body engagement.

Birch says that the type of exercise bike you choose is up to you. “Personally, I find upright bikes better replicate an actual cycling position,” he tells us. “There’s also better leg muscle recruitment which allows maximal power output when pedaling.”

Two people on recumbent exercise bikes in gym

(Image credit: Getty)

Are recumbent exercise bikes effective?

Exercise bike vs. rowing machine ― which is better?

Which machine wins between rowing vs cycling? Well, neither is as high-impact as running, and both work the aerobic and anaerobic systems (if you decide to include HIIT), meaning cardio gains and improvements in power, strength, and endurance.

However, rowing targets roughly 86% of muscles in the body, offering a more full-body workout than cycling. It depends somewhat on how you train, though. For example, Harvard Medical School estimated calorie burn for a 155lb person after 30 minutes of moderate cycling and rowing to be the same, but rowing took victory during high-intensity training. 

Exercise bike vs. elliptical ― which is better?

Exercise bike vs elliptical. Both are low-impact, but ellipticals (also called cross trainers) engage the upper and lower body together for a full-body workout. Using an elliptical feels more like running though, so while it could be a safe alternative for runners, it’s unlikely that cyclists would favor them.

According to one study published in the National Institutes of Health, ellipticals encouraged greater engagement in the quadriceps and quadriceps-hamstrings coactivation than walking and stationary cycling. Exercise bikes are handier for saving space (especially folding designs), particularly if you live in a city apartment, but considering Harvard Medical School reckons a 155lb person could ramp up around 324 calories in 30 minutes – it could be worth making room.

Woman using elliptical trainer in home

(Image credit: Getty)

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More info

What should I look for in an exercise bike?

The best exercise bikes have a mix of clever design, awesome features and motivating classes.

A bigger budget generally equals a feature-rich exercise bike, but if you’re new to fitness this may not be a priority for you. In fact you can save money by opting for a bike that doesn’t come with a screen, and just use your smartphone or tablet to stream virtual classes.

The size of the exercise bike is worth considering, so think about floor space before making a big investment, especially if you live in shared accommodation. If you’re particularly tall or short, check if you can adjust the seat and handlebar height. Cheaper exercise bikes also tend to have a lower weight limit, so it may be worth taking note of the max weight if you think this will be a concern.

Noise levels are also worth considering – read the best exercise bike reviews to see how loud they are.

If you are someone that likes a group class setting, you’ll probably want to choose an exercise bike that works with an app to stream online classes, like Peloton or iFit (subscription needed). Remember that you can still use these apps with your phone or tablet on cheaper exercise bikes - you just won’t be able to sync your metrics.

Finally consider the pedal type – toe cage ones work with normal sneakers, whereas clip in ones require special cycling shoes. Many exercise bikes have dual pedals, which are interchangeable.

So are you ready to take the next step towards achieving your fitness goals? Once you’ve chosen your perfect machine, make sure you read our handy guide on how to get the most out of your exercise bike.

Is an exercise bike as good as cycling?

Birch tells us that exercise bikes offer consistent resistance over a set period, whereas outdoor cycling could mean contending with stop signals, traffic, or cruisey downhill routes. 

However, while this is beneficial for specific training methods or monitoring your power output during HIIT bike workouts, it can feel boring. Birch says that getting fresh air and cycling with friends might be a more pleasurable experience. 

Regardless, both methods can improve your cardio and get those glutes firing up, and most of the intensity of outdoor training can be matched on more advanced indoor spin bikes. 

The Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation studied a spinning group and a standard cycling group to see what (if any) differences there are. Somewhat surprisingly, the spinning group results were greater for improved body composition and fitness, although both groups saw positive changes across all health parameters. 

Although variables like weight, distance, and intensity will affect your results, spin classes might encourage the adherence and motivation lacking for some solo cyclists. Instructors may also have you pushing harder on those pedals when your head is telling you a firm ‘no.’ 

That isn’t to say outdoor cycling doesn’t offer its own set of unique perks. A study into the effects of outdoor cycling on people suffering from mental illness found that factors like community and fresh air could empower people and promote long-term physical activity – as published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 

What is the most comfortable exercise bike?

Birch recommends the Wattbike because of its realistic bike geometry, saying it’s easy to adjust and replicates a regular bike setup without the cramped feeling of upright bikes (like Peloton and Echelon). “Their lack of adjustability makes people feel they're stretching for the handlebars,” he says. And there isn’t much you can do to combat this. 

Personally, we loved the affordable Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike, which has the comfiest seat we’ve tested – something you’ll come to cherish if you’re buying your first bike, trust us. We found the Peloton bike too solid and kept adjusting mid-workout to find a comfier position (we didn’t find one).

If you’re recovering from injury, new to exercise or have long-term lower back or knee issues, a recumbent bike could provide far more support, although you’d need the space to house it. 

Keen to follow Birch and try the Wattbike? Our Wattbike Atom review can advise you on what to expect. All in all, it depends on your preferences, fitness goals, and home living situation.

Is an exercise bike good for losing weight?

If you’re questioning – Are exercise bikes good for weight loss? We asked Birch his thoughts. 

He tells us that exercise (in general) contributes toward weight loss, but a weight loss journey consists of a whole lot more, including your diet. And poor diet can’t be out-cycled. 

Instead, Birch advises a calorie deficit alongside your training if you’re aiming to lose weight.

Cycling does burn calories, but this shouldn’t pull focus from its ability to boost your cardio fitness and overall health. That said, exercise bikes still make it into our best exercise machines to lose weight guide. 

Wondering how to ramp up calorie burn? A study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism measured excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) in 12 men engaging in interval training and continuous cycling. EPOC refers to the increase in oxygen consumption after high-intensity exercise, resulting in a temporary rise in metabolism and calorie burn as we return to homeostasis – ‘normal.’

Results were similar when the total workload was similar, but the heart rate was higher during interval training. While pedaling against resistance, muscles are forced to work harder, increasing heart rate, respiration, and calorie burn. 

Meanwhile, a study published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation studied 24 female middle school students for 16 weeks cycling for one hour a day, three times a week, and compared spinning groups with regular cycling. Results showed improvements for both, with significant changes in the spinning group – especially in body fat percentage and body mass. 

Controlling speed and resistance can help you tap into aerobic, anaerobic, and strength training systems. Of course, a myriad of factors like diet, hormones, and lifestyle play a part, too. 

So, do exercise bikes burn belly fat? While aerobic training can optimize fat burn (read the best time to workout to find out why), unfortunately, you can’t ‘spot reduce’ fat. 

What are the benefits of riding a stationary bike every day?

Cycling is a brilliant way for those recovering from lower-limb injuries to still achieve a cardio workout, without the impact. That is because it is considered more of a lower body workout, but your upper body provides stabilization, and you can still improve your cardio and ramp up calorie burn, Birch said. 

The Journal of the American Heart Association found cycling to lower the risk of chronic cardiovascular disease and Spine Health encourages cycling as a gentle way to achieve high-intensity exercise. We’ve already mentioned most of the benefits, but discovering how to get the most out of your exercise bike can help you hit your goals more efficiently. 

Your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core benefit most from cycling (alongside your heart and lungs), but physiotherapist Birch says consistency is the key. He recommends daily cycling if you want to improve because this progressively loads and trains those muscle groups. “You will notice increased leg strength and improved cardio fitness, too,” he says. 

However, Birch recommends adding variation to keep it interesting. After all, variety is the spice of life. 

Although you might be concerned about which muscles are used in cycling, a well-crafted program includes weight training and increasing your daily movement (NEAT). 

Which is better: Peloton vs Echelon?

We recommend checking out our Peloton vs Echelon guide for the full lowdown as comparisons continue to rage.

In short, they’re very similar bike models. In our opinion, it comes down to cost (just). And If you’re on a budget, you may prefer to look elsewhere. 

Both models look very similar and pack live and on-demand workouts into a comprehensive library, so you’re unlikely to get bored either way. Echelon has dual pedals, but both work primarily with Delta cleats – although there are ways around this, like changing out your pedals. 

Peloton bikes are treated almost like a fashion label, with all their bikes, shoes, and accessories matching their iconic black and red aesthetic. Echelon offers more models, but Peloton are considered ‘hard to match’ for variety and the overall immersive spin experience. 

If you’re more of a numbers person, Peloton offers 100 levels of resistance compared to Echelon’s 32, and the instructor can control the Peloton bike + without you lifting a finger. Both have the usual mod cons like Bluetooth, compatible apps, and heart rate monitor compatibility, but Peloton + supports Apple GymKit. If you plan to purchase a heart rate monitor, it’s worth exploring your cardio heart rate zones first. 

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Sam Hopes
Staff writer

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and resident fitness writer at Future PLC. Having trained to work with both the mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and aims to bring mental wellbeing to the forefront of fitness. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and how we can build more sustainable training methods. You’ll find her writing about the importance of habit-building, nutrition, sleep, recovery, and workouts.

With contributions from