Your Ultimate Guide to Buying an Exercise Bike: What Really Matters?

You’ve thought about adding an exercise bike to your home gym, but with such a variety of styles and different brands on the market, it can sometimes be hard to decide which one might be best to buy.

There are lots of things to consider before starting your search, like what’s your budget? How much space have you got? What do you want to achieve using this bike?

How big is your piggy bank?

Let’s start with the money. This is probably the main question and one that will help you sort your shortlist into a more manageable one. Bikes range from around the £100 mark with brands such as Opti and Pro Fitness, to the likes of CAROL and Peloton which will set you back £1000+. So there is a big difference!

The more you pay, normally means more features, heavier flywheels, more resistance levels and more workout integration (like classes to follow, app integration etc). And don’t worry too much if you’re budget isn’t massive, with most in the lower price bracket, you can still get a challenging workout and a quality bike without the bells and whistles.

What’s your space at home like?

Next, let’s think about space. Have you got enough of it for an exercise bike? Everyone’s circumstances are different, some may have room to put a bike up and keep it there, and others may have shared spaces where they can’t have it up all the time.

The key thing to remember is you need to have enough room to fit the bike (and you) comfortably. The good news is that if you’re short on space, there are lots of good foldable bikes around too! Also whilst we’re on the subject, if noise might be an issue for those early morning rides, then you’ll need to think about a quieter bike for your selection.

Why do you want an exercise bike?

Now, what do you want to get out of this exercise? What are your goals? Losing weight? Injury recovery? Getting fitter? Whatever your reason, you need to think about this as different types of exercise bikes will help deliver different results.

Don’t worry, keep reading and we’ll delve a bit deeper into the different types of bikes out there and all you need to know about exercise bikes, to make sure that you’re buying the bike that’s right for you!

What are the benefits of an exercise bike?

Exercise bikes are very popular and appeal to a wide range of people due to their versatility, and ability to adapt to most fitness abilities. There are lots of benefits of getting a bike for your home workouts, and here we talk about just a few:

  • Off the roads! Sounds simple, but if you enjoy cycling, but perhaps not on busy roads or on dark nights, then exercise bikes are great to make sure you’re safe and able to cycle all year round. No excuses!
  • Low impact workout: Cycling is low impact on your joints compared to other popular fitness machines like treadmills. Adapting a bike’s resistance levels means you can choose how much effort you’re putting on those knees which is why a bike is so versatile.  
  • Toning: Talking about resistance, you can also increase the intensity to really tone up those legs and thighs. 
  • Weight Loss; A lot of people buy exercise bikes to help them lose weight. This is a cardio workout where you will sweat and burn calories, so as long as you have a diet to support your plan, a bike will help you achieve this goal.
  • Improve Fitness: As I said, a bike will give you a good cardio workout, just like a treadmill or a cross-trainer. Getting your heart pumping will improve your cardio fitness and as we all know, will also help your heart, lungs and other parts of your body too!
  • A Cheaper Workout? The starting price for an exercise bike tends to be a lot cheaper than the likes of a cross-trainer and treadmill. So, if your budget isn’t huge, a bike could be a sensible option to start your home fitness journey. 

What are the popular types of exercise bikes?

As I said earlier on, there are quite a few different exercise bikes out there. Here are a few you may come across in your search for buying the perfect exercise bike:

Upright Exercise Bike: This is the most common bike you will have seen before and a great entry-level into fitness. You sit on the seat and the handlebars are slightly higher up. They are normally manual or electric. Manual is powered by you and often has a dial for you to change the resistance, whereas electric will need to be plugged in and are often more digital and normally has automatic/touch of a button resistance setting.

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 8/10

Recumbent Bike: This exercise bike ensures you’re seated in a reclined position, with your legs in front of you. It makes for a much more comfortable workout and generally is used by people who want a low impact workout and need back support.

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 7/10


Folding Exercise Bike: Becoming more popular (especially since lockdown), these are exactly what they say- a bike that folds away when you don’t need it. Despite them needing to be flexible, many still have heavy flywheels which will still give you a good workout. Although, some are perhaps not as good as certain non-folding ones. 

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 6/10

Spin Bikes: Just like you’ve seen in the gym, a bike that usually has the handlebars and the seat at the same level. Off the saddle challenges and easily accessible resistance, these bikes are a little pricier than a standard upright bike, but will often allow for a more intense workout.

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 8/10

What is an Air Bike? This is one if you’re looking to get your sweat on. These bikes normally have a big fan at the front and 2 handlebars that you move back and forth. And everything is powered by your movement. The design means you’re having a full-body workout, but don’t worry, you may get some air from the fan to help you out!

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 10/10

Connected Exercise Bike: These are also known as SMART bikes, where they are fancy and come connected to apps or have built-in workouts included in the machine. These bikes often have all the bells and whistles, but often mean they come in at a higher price bracket. But these bikes are great if you’re struggling with motivation and like to add variety to your workouts.

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 9/10

Mini Bikes: Great to keep moving even when you’re sitting at your desk, these mini bikes are usually just pedals in a small, compact design. You can use them for your arms or your legs and they often come with a remote control so you can change workouts or resistance levels without the need to bend down. Great for a low impact workout or for those in recovery.

GTR SWEAT LEVEL: 4/10

What exercise bike will help me hit my workout goals?

Now that you’ve thought a bit about what you want an exercise bike for, and the types of bikes on the market, let’s piece together what bikes are best suited to your fitness goal… 

What are the best bikes to help me lose weight?

Before we go through this, first of all, any exercise where you are burning calories and getting a sweat on is good for you. To get optimal weight loss through exercise, it’s also important that a healthy diet is considered too.
So thinking about what bike will help shift those pounds, we are looking at an upright bike, or if you’re really going for it, an air bike! An upright bike usually comes with built-in programs like fat burn for any ability, to help you hit that goal. Electronic resistance systems are often a better if you are using these programmes as you can automatically adjust intensity levels at the touch of a button. An upright bike that can help you with losing weight is the JTX Fitness Cyclo-5: Gym Exercise Bike.

Air bikes are great for weight loss because of the workout intensity. You are powering the bike with your arms and your legs, so it’s definitely a workout that will burn those calories! The Pro Fitness Air Bike is a good choice if you fancy a challenge!

What’s the best bike for a gym workout?

Still want that gym feel workout but in the comfort of your own home? Well, you need to think about a spin bike. Heavy flywheel (normally 20kgs+) and challenging resistance levels, you can really push yourself. There are so many apps and spin videos out there, you could even have your own gym instructor at home! If you’re thinking about a spin bike then the JLL IC300 PRO is a good choice.

What bike is good for a low impact workout?

If you’re recovering from an injury or looking to go easy on your joints then there are lots of options available. Exercise bikes are generally a lot lower impact than other machines like treadmills, but certain ones are built with this in mind.

A recumbent bike that has full back support is a good option, and we like the Marcy Start ME-709 Magnetic Recumbent Bike, which won’t break the bank either.  

We also talked before about mini bikes that just have pedals that you can use for your arms or legs. The Reviber Mini Motorised Bike is a quality example of this.

What is the best exercise bike to keep me motivated?

We all have days when we’d rather eat a custard slice than do any exercise (or maybe that’s just me), but staying motivated can be hard! Staying on track isn’t always easy when working out at home, but there are a few bikes that can help with this.

Don’t shout, but it’s the fancier (more pricey) ones I’m talking about here. The bikes come with integrated workouts and plans that will keep you going. The likes of the NordicTrack GX 4.6 Pro that comes with iFit workout membership or maybe the Echelon ECH-SPORT-S Smart Connect which comes with the app and live/on-demand classes are all good options.

Also, all JTX Fitness bikes come with a free personalised training plan, to help you keep on top of your goals.

What are your exercise bike’s must-have features?

Loads of exercise bikes come with lots of different features. Obviously, the more money you spend, the more features a bike might have. But it’s always good to decide on a top 3 feature priority list to help you to narrow your search down.

What type of display panel do you need?

Different bikes have different screens, some are no-frills basic and some are bigger and better. Do you need a big screen to read your workout feedback? Or doesn’t it matter, are you going to be using your SMART watch anyway? Worth thinking about this as a bigger screen for your workout data normally means a higher price.

What workout metrics do you want?

Speed, time, distance, and calories are normally standard on most bike consoles, but do you want pulse sensors for heart rate? Do you want Odometer calculations? Do you want the ability to save different profile metrics if more than one person in your home is using the bike?

Do you need to fold the bike away?

As I’ve already mentioned, this might be something to think about if you can’t have the bike assembled in one place all the time.

A comfortable ride

Bikes often come with adjustable features like the ability to change the settings and height on the handlebars and saddle. Also, pedal clips, non-slip foot pads are all nice additional extras.

Nice extras: Bottle and iPad holders?

You can upgrade your exercise bike selection to include bottle holders and somewhere to watch your tablet/device when you’re working out. Is this something that would be in your top 3 must-have features?

Safety features?

If you’ve got little kiddies around, you may need to make sure that the bike is safe if they might be close by. Some bikes have exposed mechanics and flywheels that could potentially be a hazard. Maybe overkill, but something to think about, perhaps.

Height and weight considerations.

Bikes tend to have maximum user weights and heights so it’s always important to check with the manufacturer that you are within these recommendations.

GymTechReview’s top-rated exercise bikes!

I know, there’s a lot of information here and when choosing a bike, you do need to do your research! At GymTechReview, we spend time reviewing treadmills in the hope we can make your selection process that little bit easier.
Here are a list of our top-rated exercise bikes:

Great Value Exercise Bike

JTX Fitness Cyclo-5 Exercise Bike

Shop now – View the latest price


Best Folding Exercise Bike

Roger Black Folding Exercise Bike

Shop now – View the latest price

Read full review – Roger Black Folding Bike Review


Feature Packed

Echelon Connect Sport Exercise Bike

Shop now – View the latest price

Read full review – Echelon Connect Bike Review


Top tips when using your exercise bike

Now you’ve got your exercise bike, here are some quick tips to get you up and running (or should i say pedalling!)

Make sure you adjust your bike to suit you: When you’re assembling the bike, check all of the adaptable features it has. Make sure the seat and the handlebars are the correct height for a comfortable workout. Also ensure pedal straps and settings are all tailor to you before you start.

Get the right space:
Normally you need about 50cm+ away from close objects. So make sure you have enough room wherever you’re planning to workout.

Get used to the console: Some displays will be basic, but some will have lots of features. Get used to how to work the console, what workouts are on there and how you select them, what metrics you can record and track, like calories, heart rate and distance. Do this before your first workout so you’re not interrupted.

Understand the resistance: Know what type of resistance your bike has and how you change it. Do you turn a knob? Is it changed by a button on the console? You’ll need to understand this to make sure you get the best workout. If it’s a manual knob change then get used to the levels and what you should be using before you start your first workout. Changing it half way through your exercise will be a pain.

Find a place for your distractions: Most of us listen to music or watch something when we are working out to help pass the time, what are you going to do? Whether it’s watching an ipad or having somewhere to put your phone for music, make sure you’ve got somewhere safe to do that if it’s not integrated into your bike already!

Don’t forget your water bottle! I always start cycling and forget to fill up my water bottle! Whether you’ve got a holder on your bike or have a table close by, make sure you’ve got it before you start, otherwise you’ll have to stop and interrupt your workout.

FAQ’s all about exercise bikes

How much does an exercise bike cost?
As we’ve already discussed, the price range for exercise bikes are quite broad. Starting from just under £100 going up to £2500, depending on features, you can get an exercise bike to suit any budget.

How much space do I need for my exercise bike?
It depends whether you’ve got a foldable bike or not, but when you’re exercising you should be about 50cm away from anything else. Always check the dimensions of your bike before you buy and make sure you have enough space. Some recumbent and connected bikes can be up to 2 metres in length.

Should I buy or hire my exercise bike?
If you’re thinking about a pricier bike like a Peloton or WattBike, a lot of companies offer to hire them AND buy them. Have a think about how long you’re planning to keep the bike for and how much you’ll be paying over time vs the RRP. It might be worth having a look at the interest rates they are charging and see if you are better off buying it and using an interest free credit card instead. If you do hire, then don’t forget you have to keep the exercise bike in good working order, and will often have to pay a deposit that is returned at the end of the hire term.

Or it might be that you only want the bike for a short term, so hiring is perfect! Whatever you decide, always do your homework before choosing to hire an exercise bike.

What fitness company has the best customer service and warranty?
At GymTechReview we review a lot of companies, and whilst all the big brands are good at putting customers first, we were most impressed with JTX Fitness. With their 28 day money back guarantee and at least 2 year in-house repair on almost all products, if you weren’t happy with their stuff or something went wrong, it would get  sorted straight away with their UK shop. Also their TrustPilot rating is Excellent!

Are exercise bikes hard to assemble?
Out of all the main at-home fitness machines, exercise bikes are a lot less complicated versus most treadmills and cross-trainers. You can read our product reviews or product customer reviews before you buy to find out what people thought, and often you can view the manual online too and see how tricky it looks before you hand over any money!

What is the best exercise bike to lose weight?
Any bike that gets your body moving is going to help you burn those calories and contribute to your weight loss goals. But, always remember that a good diet is also really important. In terms of what exercise bike to choose to lose those pounds, Air bikes will give you the most intense workout and upright bikes with fat burn programmes are also a great choice.

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