WHETHER you're an avid cyclist, a spin class fanatic or just out to get fitter, a home exercise bike is one of the best ways you can stay in shape.
Indoor cycle training has all the benefits of the real thing without the danger, fumes and aggro of the lanes outside, which is why the bike machine has long been a firm fixture in home gyms.
A versatile cardio machine with numerous benefits such as limited space usage and multitasking capabilities, their cost varies much as it does with a real bike.
You pay for brand and quality, but also for the wide array of tech such as heart rate monitors, odometers and the numerous apps that now go with them.
If you want to recreate the classic bike ride, you’ll want an upright bike, where the pedals are aligned under the user’s feet and the seat supports the user’s weight.
For those who prefer to lean back, go for a recumbent bike, where pedals are in front of the user’s feet instead of below.
Here’s our pick of the best bikes from the most popular types out there for you to give a spin.
1. Best upright bike: JTX Cyclo-Go
- JTX Cyclo-Go, £325 at JTX Fitness – buy here
Featuring 16 levels of resistance and an 11kg flywheel, the JTX Cyclo-Go includes 21 pre-installed programs that should get you feeling the burn – whatever your goals.
Cushioned handles and a seat with vertical and horizontal adjustments make this a comfortable ride, while it can be paired with a Polar heart rate monitor for an extra £50 to unlock tailored heart rate training programs.
2. Best spin class bike: Peloton
- £1,990 at Peloton – buy here
A complete home workout, from equipment to professional instructor, your bike comes complete with live classes that are streamed to your machine, with round the clock access to spin class sessions.
Price includes delivery and set-up, with add-on packages that come with shoes, weights, headphones, heart rate monitor, bike mat and even water bottles, although subscription to classes is extra. One for the hardcore indoor cyclist.
3. Best recumbent bike: Domyos E Seat Exercise Bike
- Domyos E Seat Exercise Bike, £299.99 from Decathlon – buy here
Despite its sturdy stature, this recumbent exercise bike from Decathlon’s in-house fitness brand Domyos is surprisingly adaptable and can be maneuvered thanks to its built-in wheels.
It has an ergonomic and supportive seat that is made from a breathable fabric – keeping you comfortable even when you’re putting in an effort – and its 6kg flywheel is ideally weighted for those looking to gradually get back in shape.
Its LCD screen displays six different functions – including calories burned and speed – and there are nine different coach-curated programs to put you through your paces.
The bike features a heart rate monitor that enables you to track even more stats, while it can be connected to compatible training apps such as Econnected or Kinomap.
4. Best indoor cycle: Keiser M31
- Keiser M31, £1,555 at Real Time Leisure – buy here
Designed to protect from sweat and corrosion, with a powerful magnetic resistance and a featherlight but sturdy flywheel, the Keiser M31 spins effortlessly.
Pin-drop silent and devoid of the need for any maintenance thanks to its moving parts never coming in contact with one another – when you change gears, it automatically adjusts to the magnetic flywheel.
Comes equipped with Bluetooth, free training apps and online training videos.
5. Best air bike: Assault AirBike Classic
- Assault AirBike Classic, £695 at Wolverson Fitness – buy here
With 20 sealed ball bearings in every pivot throughout its solid steel frame, the Assault AirBike assures you durability while using air resistance to automatically scale to your workout level: the harder you pedal, the greater the resistance.
Featuring a 25” diameter steel fan, hybrid seat with multi-adjustment options and an LCD screen that tracks watts, rpm, calories, heart rate, distance, time, odometer and interval training.
6. Best smart bike: Wattbike Atom (next generation)
- Wattbike Atom (next generation) smart bike, £1,899 from Wattbike – buy here
While the Peloton and Keiser offerings above might be the perfect at-home option for spinning fanatics, thoroughbred cyclists would probably prefer an exercise bike that is closer in ride feel to an actual bike and can simulate road-based efforts (be it climbing hills, chasing down a group or sprinting for the line).
Enter the Atom from Wattbike. Used by professional cyclists, Olympians and a staple of most premium gyms, it is the pinnacle of indoor cycle training, and is a vital tool for athletes who want to train precisely and accurately year-round without having to worry about the weather.
The Atom's latest iteration has a maximum power of 2,500w (a number even Chris Hoy would struggle to reach in his prime), and can be controlled in two modes – either manually using its 22-speed gear simulator or automatically via Ergo mode, where resistance will be adjusted depending on your cadence to keep you working at a fixed output of watts.
Compatible with a number of subscription-based third-party training platforms (including Zwift and Sufferfest), the Atom can also be used with the company’s own Wattbike Hub app, which is home to everything from one-off HIIT workouts and simulations of Tour de France climbs to 13-week training plans for various real-life events.
7. Best for Zwift: Wahoo Kickr Bike
- Wahoo Kickr Bike, £2,999 from Rutland Cycling – buy here
If you are an avid cyclist that is looking for an exercise bike, there’s a good chance you’ll want it to be compatible with the virtual training platform Zwift.
While it’s possible to train and race on the app using your own bike and a turbo trainer, if you’ve got the budget and space, a dedicated smart bike is the way to go.
The Kickr Bike by American turbo trainer and bike computer specialist Wahoo blurs the line between virtual and real-world training like never before, leaving you with a set-up that will ride and feel exactly like your bike (or any other bike you want, for that matter). It does this by having programmable shifting that can recreate the gear ratios and functionality of groupsets from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo, while adjustments can be made to completely match a bike’s geometry.
Throw in a gradient simulator that can recreate riding both up and downhill, and you’ve got an exercise bike that will leave you pinching yourself every time you take on a virtual session on Zwift.
Which exercise bike is best?
Finding the best exercise bike for you will depend on what you’re looking for from one. If you’re just starting or restarting your fitness journey, then a recumbent bike such as the Domyos E Seat Exercise Bike could be a worthwhile investment, whereas if you’re looking to recreate a spin class at home, then it’s tough to beat the Peloton offering.
Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?
Exercise bikes are a great tool for weight loss and can be used to perform a whole variety of training sessions. From high intensity interval training workouts (HIIT) that aim to get your heart rate up and burn a lot of calories in less time, to more endurance-focused stints, an exercise bike is great because it is easy to use and low impact.
Are exercise bikes worth the money?
While some exercise bikes can be quite expensive, they can soon start to pay for themselves when you factor in the money that you’re saving from dedicated spin classes or gym memberships.
Are exercise bikes noisy?
The noise level of an exercise bike will depend on each model. If you need something quiet because you live in a flat or don’t want to disturb others when using your exercise bike, then it’s worth looking for machines that have minimal moving parts that come into contact with each other, such as the Keiser M31
Looking for a budget option? We've also rounded up the best cheap exercise bikes you can buy.
Or, if you're hitting the road for real, we've rounded up the best road bikes on the market.
You can find more great recommendations in our dedicated health and fitness section.
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