Looking to get a killer workout from your living room? You’ve come to the right place. If you haven’t got room for a treadmill, investing in one of our expert-tested best exercise bikes is a great way to get all the aerobic and muscular benefits that complement your running, without the impact on your joints.
Modern models go well beyond standard spin sessions, with bright touchscreens giving users access to hundreds of interactive cycling, strength, HIIT and yoga classes.
We've already rounded up the best workouts for runners to try on a stationary bike, so let's help you add one to your home gym set-up.
How to choose an exercise bike
Interactive training: If you need the motivation to get you spinning, look for a bike with on-demand training options, which allow you to tune in to live spin classes with your favourite instructors and even compete with fellow riders in real-time. Often, you'll have to pay a membership fee, but some bikes come with a year free when you sign up.
Resistance: Exercise bikes have four types of resistance – brake-based systems resistance, direct-contact resistance, magnetic resistance and fan-based resistance. A lot of the spin bikes on this list will work using magnetic resistance, which is often quieter and smoother.
Storing and moving the bike: If you aren't fortunate enough to have a home gym big enough to leave your bike out all the time, you might find yourself having to move it from room to room. Look for bikes with wheels to make this easier, as well as bikes that can be folded away for simpler storage.
Do I need to subscribe to an app to use my exercise bike?
This list is made up of Runner's World Expert Tested products (which have been put through a rigorous testing process by our pedalling panel) and editors' picks, hand-selected by the RW team.
Most of our editors’ picks will simply need setting up before you can get started, but all of our Runner’s World Expert Tested bikes will require you to subscribe to an app before you jump into the saddle.
Memberships tend to cost between £24.99 and £39.99 per month, but for this price you gain access to a huge resource of live and pre-recorded workout classes. These tend to vary in difficulty and duration, while most apps will have non-cycling sessions too like HIIT, yoga, meditation and strength workouts. Some bikes also have virtual routes that will let you cycle picturesque routes from around the world, all without leaving the house.
Is an exercise bike worth it?
Exercise bikes can be expensive, but we do think they're worth it, yes. They offer a ton of pros, from fun, low-impact aerobic exercise that strengthens your lower body muscles to improved safety and fair weather fitness (after all, there's little reason to run in the rain when you can pedal away indoors, right?).
How we test
Runner's World Expert Tested
Never the sort to do anything by halves, our testing team at the Runner's World Lab set about devising a trial by fire for some of the top exercise bikes on the market.
Each bike was tested by three people of varying levels of fitness and spinning experience, with each panellist asked to put the pedal to the metal and crank the resistance to the max to see how the bikes performed during high intensity sessions.
Special attention was paid to whether they wobbled at all in use, and if the flywheel moved smoothly and (near) silently throughout. Ease of use and overall design, including how well the bikes would fit in testers’ homes, were also considered before we decided on our final rankings.
Runner's World Editor's Picks
If your exercise bike of choice is badgeless below, never fear. This means it's been hand-picked by our editors (no strangers to the static saddle) having proven it's more than capable of providing both lung-busting workouts and more relaxed recovery sessions. So, you can buy with confidence.
The best exercise bikes on the market 2022:
We've rounded up our top picks, from affordable bikes to use now and again, to advanced options that could revolutionise your training:
1. NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
Best for: realistic riding experience
Mustering the motivation to don your running shoes and brave Britain’s changeable weather for a bout of outdoor exercise isn’t the easiest of tasks. Fortunately, the S22i provides a realistic riding experience from the comfort of your living room or home gym. Instructors can automatically change the bike’s resistance for you during classes, saving you from faffing about with manual controls, and the bike can also mimic steep inclines. In other words, slacking isn’t an option.
Testers really enjoyed the option to (virtually) take on some of the world’s most noteworthy rides, saying the top tips and insights into the terrain from instructors really brought the routes to life. They were also grateful for the in-built fan, which was appreciated during certain gradients.
2 . Peloton Bike+
Best for: those wanting to freshen up their fitness routine
In cycling circles, Peloton is already a household name, thanks to the vastly successful Peloton Bike. But rather than rest on its laurels, the brand has now upped the stakes with its aptly named Bike+, adding nifty features like Apple GymKit integration, auto-resistance controls and a rotating screen ideal for HIIT, yoga and strength sessions.
Our testing team loved this last feature, saying it helped keep their at-home workout regime varied and enjoyable. Energetic instructors motivated them through an extensive range of classes, with differing durations, types and difficulty levels available, while the bike stayed smooth and stable throughout.
3. Technogym Bike
Best for: beginners wanting to boost their cardio
For a single monthly membership, you’ll get access to not one but two apps (1Rebel and Revolution) with this Technogym bike. Both apps have detailed sections on the instructors available and their respective areas of expertise, and there are helpful tutorial videos available too, making it easy to get started.
The bike comes with two 1.5kg dumbbells for upper body strength work, though it was a shame there were no yoga or meditation options on the apps. Still, testers said the positioning of the seat and handlebar kept them comfortable during rides, and the touchscreen was intuitive to use, making it a good fit for beginners seeking their cardio fix.
4. Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX-5S
Best for: former gym-goers looking for at-home workout inspiration
Peloton may be the best-known exercise bike brand, but this Echelon cycle proved to be something of a dark horse, running the favourite mighty close in our rankings. Its standout feature is the incredible depth of the Echelon Fit app, which kept testers plenty busy with its enviable selection of quality classes. The beginners classes were particularly impressive, with plenty of advice and encouragement from instructors.
Our testing team enjoyed how easy it was to set up and get started too, with several also commenting on how quiet it was in use — ideal if you’re worried about disturbing neighbours with an early morning session.
5. Opti Folding Magnetic Exercise Bike
Best for: those looking for an affordable option
If you're not looking to spend a fortune, this will do the job. It folds away for storage, has variable tension control and the console gives you all the information you need – such as time, distance, speed, heart rate and calories burnt.
6. Decathlon Essential Exercise Bike
Best for: those looking for a bike less than £150
Another super-affordable option, this offering from Decathlon allows you to spin away, without breaking the bank. It's got eight levels of manual resistance and the small console tells you your calories, distance, duration and speed. It probably won't be high-tech enough for serious training, but if you're looking to do some gentle recovery rides, it's a good choice.
7. Decathlon Basic Exercise Bike
Best for: those looking for an affordable bike to use a couple of times per week
This bike from Decathlon is more like the spinning bike you might be used to in the gym. It's designed to be used for an average of five hours per week, so won't suit serious cyclists, but if you want something for cross-training, it'll do the trick. It's easy to move around, (thanks to the front wheels), it's stable and the saddle and handlebars can be easily adjusted – handy if there are two of you sharing the bike.
8. JTX Cyclo-3 Indoor Racer Bike
Best for: those looking for a spin-class experience for less than £400
This is designed to give you a spin-class experience from home. It has a 17kg flywheel and infinity resistance for a smooth, balanced ride. The resistance-control knob allows you to easily up the challenge to simulate riding uphill, or reduce it when things get too tough. There are also toe-clip pedals, meaning you can ride wearing your running shoes. Wheels allow you to move the bike from room to room.
9. JTX Cyclo Studio: Indoor Training Bike
Best for: those looking for all the bells and whistles
JTX has designed this bike for runners and cyclists who are serious about their indoor training. There's a 25kg perimeter-weighted Max Traction flywheel, which allows for smooth pedalling and greater efficiency during indoor training. The computer console tracks cadence, speed, pulse, time and distance, plus there's a tablet holder, which allows you to tune into live and pre-recorded workouts.
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