Most days, your exercise routine probably includes a healthy mix of cardio and strength training… as in, running after your children, lifting furniture to retrieve lost toys, and carrying one too many heavy grocery bags to minimize the number of trips you have to take between your car and the kitchen. But sometimes, it’s nice to have some dedicated time and space to work out. While you may not be able fit a regular gym visit in your schedule, you can create a mini studio inside your house with the help of key fitness equipment. For example, an indoor exercise bike is a great option to help quickly break a sweat, and it can get your heart rate up just as effectively as hearing a crash and subsequent “Mooom!” from the next room.
Having an indoor bike at home is an easy way to squeeze in some cardio before the rest of the family wakes up or in between doing other crap, and there are a surprising number of affordable options available. We’re not saying we wouldn’t want a Peloton if we could find the money— but we hear you— it’s already being spent on essentials like groceries, kids clothes, college savings, blah, blah, blah…
Depending on what you’re looking for, you can find a great stationary bike for a few hundred dollars. So if it’s an upright, folding, or recumbent version — here are some of the best-selling exercise bikes on Amazon for your next ride at home.
Upright Stationary Exercise Bikes
This indoor cycling bike doesn’t have any fancy monitors but it will provide you with a good workout and a smooth ride with its 40-pound flywheel. The seat and handlebars are adjustable, and there is a micro-adjustable resistance knob and separate emergency brake. The bike uses felt-pad resistance to help create a more intense workout, and the ergonomic handles allow for multiple hand positions so you can ride comfortably for longer. There are also wheels mounted on the front of the bike to make it easier to set up or move around the house as needed.
One happy reviewer said, “This bike has a 40 lb. flywheel (A lot of more expensive bikes have lesser flywheels!) and having a heavy flywheel makes all the difference in smoothness; real bike feel and the ability to give you a good workout, even when you’re working with little or no resistance. The bike is rock solid (I weigh 190 lbs. and can thrash around and stand on the pedals without any worries at all). The quality, fit and finish are excellent. It even looks great.
I wanted a mechanically simple bike, to ensure durability and reliability- and this bike fits the bill perfectly. The resistance is provided by a simple knob, which actuates a brake caliper via 2 short cables, and causes a felt brake pad on both sides of the flywheel to move towards the flywheel or away from it. That, and a simple, sturdy chain drive, means this thing will last forever- there are no electronically-controlled switches and servos to malfunction, as on some much more expensive bikes.”
The MaxKare stationary bike has a belt-driven mechanism and 44-pound flywheel for a smooth, quiet workout. It can hold up to 264 pounds and riders that range from 4’11” to 6’3”. The bike has an adjustable seat and handlebars, a resistance knob and brake, adjustable toe-caged pedals, and a convenient water bottle holder. The LCD monitor can display your time, speed, distance, heart rate, and calories burned, and there is also a bracket to hold your phone or tablet. Plus, the bright yellow color will make it harder to ignore your next workout.
One reviewer said, “This MaxKare indoor spin bike is a professional-grade, high-quality, functional product; outstanding for the price; easy to assemble; fun to ride. The belt-driven 44 lb flywheel is very quiet, which is important to me because I like listening to lectures or watching them on DVD while working out. The heart-rate monitor agrees with my Charge-2 FitBit. Hence, I assume the other metrics are calibrated equally well. I look forward to using this bike regularly—especially on days when inclement weather conditions dictate indoor workouts. I highly recommend this MaxKare product.”
You may have grown up riding a Schwinn bike in your neighborhood, but this version can be parked inside your house. The Schwinn upright bike can accommodate height ranges from 4’6” to 6’6” and can hold up to 300 pounds. For those people who don’t want to deal with adjusting a resistance knob, this bike makes it easy for you — the LCD screen has 22 exercise programs and computer-controlled resistance. You can also track your distance, RPM, speed, goals, and even heart rate, as the handlebars have built-in heart rate sensors. There are angled handlebars for comfort, a water bottle holder, and a three-speed fan to keep you cool during your ride.
One reviewer said, “I purchased this bike because when I had to go for physical therapy after my knee replacement, they had two Schwinns. I love this bike! Everything is digital and easy to understand and operate. The LCD display is large and you can read it easily. I don’t use the bluetooth or the free training apps because for me there are plenty of built in programs and levels of resistance. I’ve had less expensive stationary bikes where the pedals eventually fell off. This bike is built solid and will probably outlive me!”
The YOSUDA indoor bike has a heavy steel frame and a 35-pound flywheel to help simulate the feel of a road bike. The seat and handlebars are adjustable in a variety of configurations to accommodate different heights. The bike has a bottle holder as well as an LCD monitor to display your time, speed, distance, and calories burned, but there’s also a table bracket if you just want to put your phone or tablet on the bike and indulge in some reality TV during your workout. The bike has transportation wheels on the bottom to help with setup, can support up to 270 pounds, and has an adjustable resistance knob that also doubles as an emergency brake.
One reviewer said, “This is a really great stationary bike and it was really easy to assemble and came with a really detailed instruction, it only took me about 30 minutes to assemble the entire thing. This stationary bike has a really solid frame, it looks really heavy, but it was surprisingly light to lift, it only took me to lift it. It was great the bike ride was really quiet, I usually exercise in the morning and don’t want to wake the kids. I really like the display it comes with, it almost needs no power to operate just a few AAA batteries to power the entire stationary bike, no loose wire that you can trip over. The display counts your time, distance, speed, and calories I really liked it. Next, it has a really nice fast acting brakes, perfect when you want to stop in a short amount of time it also doubles as the thing to add resistance to your bikes to add challenges while riding the bike.”
Folding Stationary Exercise Bikes
If you live in a smaller space, or just don’t want a large piece of fitness equipment taking up half your living room, consider a folding bike. The Exerpeutic bike is heavy duty and can support up to 300 pounds, but it also can fold into half its size and be wheeled out of the way. There’s a large seat cushion for comfort, sensors on the handle bars to measure your heart rate, and an LCD screen to measure your distance, calories burned, speed, and heart rate. The eight-level magnetic tension control system lets you adjust the difficulty of your workout.
This bike has over 6,000 five-star reviews, including this one from a mom: “I bought this bike because I needed an exercise bike that was quiet. My old bike was not magnetic and was very loud. So loud I couldn’t hear the TV or anything else over it. This bike is completely silent. I LOVE it. It folds up nicely, I can roll it out of the way, and move it back easily. I can exercise while my baby is napping without waking her up and my other kids can play and hear each other. The price is amazing. The quality is great. I am 5’9″ and it extends out far enough for me and my husband who is 6′. I put it together fairly quickly, the instructions were easy to follow. I think it took me maybe 20 minutes to construct it.”
The XTERRA folding bike is another space-saving option. It has a solid X-frame that allows it to be folded up to take just 18.1”x 18.1” of space, easily fitting in a corner when not in use. There are sensors on the handlebars to measure heart rate, and the simple LCD window displays all your basic metrics like time, speed, distance, and pulse. The seat is adjustable and has an oversized cushion, and there are eight levels of resistance you can control with a twist of a knob.
One reviewer said, “I ordered this for quick and easy in-home workouts while watching TV in the evenings. I read the reviews extensively before I purchased. The bike came very quickly (free shipping, came in 4-5 days max) and was easily moved in the house. I was able to put the whole thing together, by myself, in 10 minutes. The directions are very clearly written and easy to follow. It’s also pretty common-sensical. It’s compact, fits nicely in my small space and does fold up. The bike is pretty sturdy and you can definitely work up a sweat. Great quality and great price. Perfect for moderately interested fitness or health folks looking for a low-investment piece for their home.”
Recumbent Stationary Exercise Bikes
A recumbent bike can be great if you have lower back problems and/or prefer to be more reclined during your workout. But just because you’re sitting back, don’t think you won’t get a good cardio workout. The Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike has an adjustable seat, padded seat and back, and weighted pedals with adjustable straps. There is an LCD screen to track your time, speed, and distance, and a resistance knob that can be adjusted to eight different tension levels.
One reviewer said, “Does this bike have all the bells and whistles of the ones you’d find at a gym? Of course not. Does it get the job done? You bet. The bike assembled fairly easily (you will probably need another pair of hands to attach the tension and computer cables, but it’s not a job worth the $80 assembly fee), holds my weight, seems sturdy, and is quiet. The resistance setting does not have a lot of gradation (Just 1-8), so this probably isn’t a bike for someone training to be in a triathlon, but for something to sit in front of a TV and burn some calories, which is all I really wanted, it’s great, and you can’t beat the price.”
Schwinn’s recumbent bike has 20 levels of resistance, which can accommodate however hard of a workout you’re in the mood for. There are 22 preset workout programs built in, and the large-display LCD can track your goals, distance, speed, and heart rate (there are heart rate sensors on the handlebars by the seat). Both the seat and the backrest are contoured and ventilated, and the seat and pedal straps are adjustable to keep you in place. If you have more than one rider in your house, you can save two different user profiles on the bike.
One petite reviewer said, “So far, I’ve been impressed with the Schwinn M17 270 Recumbent Bike. It was easy to assemble (took about an hour), and the directions were easy to read and the tools and all pieces needed were packaged clearly. The bike is well made — it’s sturdy. When in use, it is relatively quiet and very smooth. As a person of a shorter stature (5ft), I was hoping that I would be able to reach the pedals (ha!) and that was not a problem. In fact, the seat is not even set on the lowest level for me, which means that someone even shorter can use this bike. I downloaded the app to use and keep track of my workouts, and so far so good! I’m really enjoying using this bike, and would absolutely recommend it.”
For other ways to upgrade your health and sanity, check out our other wellness picks.