The Sunny Health & Fitness Bike (SF-B1002) might not top our best exercise bikes 2022 (opens in new tab)list, but it still offers a good indoor cycling experience at a budget-friendly price.
It looks like a typical spinning bike you’d find in the gym, and has a sturdy steel frame with a simple black, red and gray design. The heavy 49lb flywheel provides a smooth and quiet ride, while the manual resistance dial transitions easily between levels.
With this, it's capable of providing a lung-busting workout, with Cycling Weekly (opens in new tab) finding a 55kg person cycling at 18mph outdoors for one hour will burn 660kcal, compared to 490 calories while clocking 150 watts on a rowing machine (we make that one-nil in the rowing vs cycling debate).
However, the Sunny Health & Fitness Bike doesn’t have a cadence tracker, so it’s impossible to actually know what resistance you’re at or monitor intensity or RPM (revolutions per minute, basically how fast your legs are pedaling).
This bike doesn’t have a screen, device holder or preset workouts – in fact, the only accessory or feature of any kind is a water bottle holder. You can follow online classes on the Sunny website and YouTube channel, but they are slightly lacking in energy.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Bike is definitely missing a lot of the bells and whistles of its more expensive rivals, but for the price it is a good choice for people new to indoor cycling, or those on a budget.
Set-up and usability
- Set up and usability score: 4/5
Get your muscles ready and be careful with your back, because this bike is extremely heavy – 110.8lb (shipping weight 123lb) – so it’s not easy to move. Just lifting the box into the house was a two-person job. We then had a rather comical process of wiggling and pulling the various bike parts out of the cardboard box, which took about 15 minutes.
Once out of the box, however, the assembly was actually really simple, so don’t let the overly complicated instructions put you off. When we first looked at them our heart sank, as we thought we would be there for hours. In reality, there were only a few elements to assemble and the set up itself took about 15 minutes.
You can do it on your own, but it might be handy to have a friend to help lift the main, heaviest bit of the bike. We also found putting the pedals on quite tricky – there is definitely a knack to that, so call for backup if you struggle with this, too.
The Sunny Health & Fitness bike comes with front transportation wheels, so it’s easily portable. It also doesn’t need to be plugged in, so you don’t need a power source nearby.
The bike itself is really easy to use. It doesn’t have a screen or any fancy gadgets – the only accessory is a water bottle holder – so it’s literally a case of turning the resistance knob and starting pedaling. It looks very similar to the spin bikes you find in the gym, so will be familiar to spinning fans.
Design and display
- Design and display score: 4/5
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 bike is made of alloy steel and has a simple, red and gray design with an ergonomic padded seat and multi-grip handlebars. It’s very sturdy, and with a max weight capacity of 275lb it’s a good choice for heavier riders. It’s also pretty compact with a footprint of 53” x 19” x 44”.
As you’d expect, the seat and handlebars can be adjusted for height – the seat adjusts vertically and horizontally with a min 28” / max height of 39” and seat to handlebar distance of min 18” / max 22”.
One of the most important measurements when sizing a bike is your inseam length – basically the max distance between your ankle and inner thigh – as this indicates if you’ll be comfortable while riding. The Sunny Health & Fitness exercise bike can accommodate inseams between 27” and 42”.
The handlebars adjust to a max height of 37”, but just make sure you have tightened the adjustment dial securely after moving them up or down. We thought it was tight enough, then accidentally pulled the handlebars out when we started cycling and nearly smashed a big hole in our floor when we dropped it!
The Sunny Health & Fitness bike comes with cage pedals so you don’t need to buy cycling shoes to use it. This means you aren’t spending extra money on specialist kit, and other people can use the bike, too.
The pedals were comfortable, easy to adjust and kept our feet nice and tight, especially when we moved into a standing ride. If you are a fan of the cleat design or have cycling shoes already, however, it would be really easy to swap to clipless pedals.
- Features score: 2/5
This bike is pretty no frills so if you’re someone who needs lots of tech and gadgets, this is not the one for you.
It doesn’t have a screen and it’s lacking an app with online content. You can watch some Sunny Health & Fitness free workouts on their website or YouTube channel, but they weren’t overly inspiring. Besides, there is no device holder to watch them on!
As we already had a Peloton subscription, we just used that for virtual classes, and propped our iPad up against the handlebars. We're assuming the lack of device holder is a deliberate design choice by Sunny, but the bike would definitely benefit from having some kind of tray or storage given our appetite for online content.
You control the resistance with a simple dial, which transitions well between levels, but as there is no screen or cadence checker it’s impossible to know exactly what speed or resistance you are at. This is a shame, as it would be good to know the intensity you are working at – especially if you are following an online class and being told to be at a certain level.
Because the bike is pedal powered there is no USB port or charging dock, and the only accessory is the bottle holder on the right of the handlebars. Given the low price of the bike you wouldn’t expect it to be jam-packed with features, but prospective buyers should be fully aware that this is an entry-level spin bike with no bells or whistles.
- Performance score: 4/5
The bike is super smooth and quiet thanks to its durable belt drive and meaty 49-pound flywheel. We used a decibel counter app on our phone to measure noise levels and the max decibel (dB) was 60 – the equivalent to a normal conversation.
Even a standing ride with high resistance created barely any sound apart from the whirling of the flywheel, so we could still hear our music or the instructor on our online workouts.
As mentioned, the bike doesn’t come with an app or any pre-programmed workouts, but you can go to the Sunny website (opens in new tab) or the Sunny YouTube channel and find some classes to try.
We'll be honest, the classes lacked the energy we’ve come to expect from more premium brands like from Peloton and iFit. Plus, the instructors annoyingly told you to aim for certain cadences or resistance levels – which is impossible on this bike as there is no cadence checker.
There is no way of knowing what RPM you’re going at, and in truth that’s one of the biggest drawbacks of this bike. So, if you’re a beginner, it might take time to work out your resistance levels and speed.
After trying the Sunny workouts we did some freestyle rides on the bike, and it performed well throughout and provided a smooth experience. During a 20-minute active recovery workout at low speed the pedals moved fluidly and the resistance shifts went without issue. Next we did a more intense interval style session, incorporating standing rides with high resistance sprints, which also felt fluid.
Nevertheless, ultimately it is very frustrating not knowing what resistance level you are at. The following day we tested the bike out on a 45-minute endurance ride, with a heavy resistance (again, it’s anyone’s guess what level it really was!). You can, however, buy a cadence monitor from Amazon or other retailers to attach to the bike.
Our other big complaint is that the seat is quite hard for longer rides. Even after using the bike for a month, we still found it rather uncomfortable. If you find it an issue, too, you could replace it with a more cushioned seat or even invest in a thick seat cover or padded cycling shorts.
This bike is effectively a studio spin bike, so if you’re familiar with them from the gym, you will feel at ease with this machine, too.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Bike has over 5,000 reviews on Amazon and an impressive average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 58 percent of reviewers giving it the full five stars. Many users praised the machine for being sturdy, affordable and well built.
Negative reviews cited issues with lifting the heavy box into the house and the seat being hard and uncomfortable - problems we also had. Others complained about the lack of resistance or cadence checker, but said in time they got used to guessing what level of intensity they were at and it didn’t bother them.
One reviewer made a point that the manufacturer’s warranty was not valid in Canada, so be wary of this, Canadians!
Value for money
- Value for money score: 4/5
The Sunny Health & Fitness bike (SF-B1002) is great value for money. This is a really affordable entry-level spinning bike that’s ideal for beginners.
It’s obviously much cheaper than more premium machines (check out our Peloton vs Echelon: Which bike is better? (opens in new tab) feature to find out more about those). Just bear in mind that you get what you pay for. This is a very basic machine, with no features at all. But if you’re on a budget, or want to try out a home exercise bike to see if you’ll use it, this is a great option without breaking the bank.
This is an impressive spin-style exercise bike at a budget-friendly price that offers a satisfying ride for beginners and dedicated cyclists alike.
It’s very heavy, and takes a bit of effort to get out of the box, but assembly is quick and easy and it’s intuitive to use.
It’s also well designed, looks smart and feels sturdy and safe once in position. Our main complaints are the lack of cadence tracker, the uncomfortable seat and the lack of a screen or device holder. But you can replace all these things yourself and since the bike itself is so affordable, you won’t be adding a huge cost to the overall price.
If the Sunny Health & Fitness bike isn’t for you, then a good mid-range exercise bike is the Echelon Connect EX3 (opens in new tab). Dubbed a Peloton substitute, it has a lot of similar features (minus the snazzy screen) as well as engaging live and on-demand classes via the Echelon Fit app (subscription needed). The magnetic resistance dial is quiet and smooth, and it’s lightweight and easy to move around.
If you’ve got a bigger budget, then a premium alternative exercise bike is the Peloton (opens in new tab). Not only is it superbly designed, it has every little detail thought out to make your riding experience superior and immersive. Packed to the rafters with high tech features, it has a crisp 22” HD rotating touchscreen, 100 resistance levels and motivating online content via the Peloton app ($39 per month membership).