Updated April 27, 2021Exercise bikes, sometimes referred to as stationary bikes, provide a convenient way to workout without having to travel to the gym or bear the outdoor elements. More compact than most gym equipment, exercise bikes are ideal for smaller spaces yet still offer multiple levels of intensity. They’re also great for anyone with joint pain because they provide a lower impact workout than other common exercises like running or jumping.In this post, we’re breaking down the various types of exercise bikes and the benefits they can offer those who use them. We’re also discussing the different things to look for and keep in mind when shopping for a new exercise bike, so you can choose the best one for you.Best Exercise Bikes of 2021Best Exercise Bike Overall: NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio CycleMost Affordable Exercise Bike: Schwinn 170 Upright BikeMost Interactive Exercise Bike: Peloton BikeMost Advanced Exercise Bike: MYXBest Exercise Bike for Riders with Pain: NordicTrack Commercial VR21Best Exercise Bike of 2021Best Exercise Bike Overall: NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio CycleThe NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is an indoor cycling bike ideal for those who want to feel the real thing. The bike’s flex frame simulates the movement and feel of an outdoor cycle, giving the rider a natural and comfortable feel.The S22i Studio Cycle has a footprint of 55 inches by 21.9 inches. Riders will enjoy an ultra-smooth ride due to the expert-engineered inertia-enhanced flywheel, outfitted with SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance which creates a quiet, smooth experience. An ergonomic padded saddle can be adjusted horizontally and vertically, while the non-slip handlebar has multiple positions to suit different riders. The bike features 24 digital resistance levels, a 20-percent live incline, and 10-percent live decline control, plus a 22-inch rotating HD smart touch screen.The bike comes with NordicTrack’s unique iFit, an interactive personal training experience. The iFit trainers host live workouts, from studios and scenic locales around the world. The Automatic Trainer Control lets your iFit trainer adjust your resistance, incline, and decline in real-time so you can get the maximum out of your workout. Additionally, riders can access other types of workouts like strength training, using the included set of 3-pound dumbbells.The S22i Studio Cycle includes one year iFit Family Membership, a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty. Buyers can shop online and enjoy a 30-day return policy.Most Affordable Exercise Bike: Schwinn 170 Upright BikeThe Schwinn 170 Upright Bike mixes intuitive design with affordability. Its straightforward design keeps your focus on your workout, without all the distractions of fancy, over-the-top features.Adjustable, padded handlebars and a padded, contoured seat keep riders comfortable. A high-speed, high-inertia drive system allows for easy start-up and a quiet workout. The bike is built for convenience, with a charging USB port, MP3 input, and adjustable three-speed fan built-in.It also comes with a variety of options for a dynamic workout. A total of 25 computer-controlled resistance levels and 29 programs are displayed via the DualTrack two blue backlit LCD display screen. Riders can keep track of time, distance, and calorie goals via Bluetooth and connect to popular apps like MyFitnessPal and Apple Health. For a more global experience, the Explore the World features lets riders choose different courses taking them through scenic areas of the world.Shop Schwinn bikes online or at a retail location near you. Schwinn fitness equipment includes a 10-year frame, two-year parts, and a one-year electronics warranty.Most Interactive Exercise Bike: Peloton BikePeloton is an immersive indoor cycling bike known for its live and on-demand classes, streamed through a mounted touchscreen. Ideal for the competitive type, Peloton features a worldwide leaderboard, where you can track your progress and compare yourself to other riders.With a footprint of 4 feet by 2 feet, the Peloton bike can fit in most small spaces. It can comfortably suit riders ranging in height from 4 feet, 11 inches up to 6 feet, 4 inches and has an adjustable seat and handlebar for a custom fit. A near-silent belt drive means the bike is ultra-quiet when in use. The Peloton uses Delta-compatible clip-in pedals, so you’ll need cycling shoes to be able to use it, which can be purchased when buying the bike.In addition to purchasing the Peloton bike, owners are also required to sign up for a monthly All-Access membership, which grants users unlimited access to live classes with instructors and a library of on-demand classes, ranging from 5 to 90 minutes. Other perks include access to training programs, challenges, and special event programming, all on its adjustable sweat-proof 21.5-inch HD touchscreen. Plus, riders can tap into their in-workout metrics including power, cadence, resistance, and heart rate, and can be paired with a heart rate monitor.Buyers can shop online or visit one of their many nationwide showrooms. Each Peloton Bike comes with a 12-month limited warranty, 5-year frame warranty, and 30-day home trial.Most Advanced Exercise Bike: MYXThe MYX is a high-grade bike used in cycling studios and gyms, making it durable and approachable for just about anyone. In fact, it’s the only professional-quality bike offered for at-home use.Its footprint is compact, spanning just 3 feet, 4 inches in length and 1 foot, 7 inches in width. It’s built for riders ranging in height from 4 feet, 11 inches up to 6 feet, 8 inches, and quickly adjusts for up to four riders. The pedals can accommodate both SPD clip-ins or regular athletic shoes, making it a great option for someone who doesn’t have cycling shoes. The ride is smooth and quiet, due to its mechanical-friction braking and 4-pound flywheel weight.The 21.5-inch screen uniquely swivels 360 degrees, allowing the rider to hop off the bike for other non-cycling exercises, which are included in MYX’s library of workouts. By adding on the MYX fitness membership, riders get unlimited access to a variety of fitness classes, one-on-one coaching, heart-rate data, progress tracking, and more.MYX is available to shop online where buyers can enjoy full-service delivery, plus a 30-day return policy and 1-year warranty.Best Exercise Bike for Riders with Pain: NordicTrack Commercial VR21The Commercial VR21 is a recumbent bike built for comfort and versatility. It’s perfect for the person who wants a traditional recumbent bike but with the smart-tech features often seen on cycling models.The Commercial VR21’s oversized lumbar-support seat takes the pressure off of joints, and the EasyGlide™ seat adjusts with zero hassle. Adjustable straps and extra-wide ergonomic pedals ensure a stable ride, and the StepThru™ design makes hopping on and off a breeze.Its 32 onboard workouts and 25 resistance levels provide easy to intense exercise options. A 20-pound inertia-enhanced flywheel lets riders easily control their effort.Riders will enjoy a one-year NordicTrack iFit membership included with the bike purchase. The immersive fitness program features live workouts from iFit trainers, who also have the ability to adjust your bike’s settings in real-time so you can maximize your workout. The membership also includes access to a variety of other workouts like Crossfit for a well-rounded fitness experience.The Commercial VR21 includes a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty. Buyers can shop NordicTrack bikes online which includes a 30-day return policy.Types of Exercise BikesUpright BikesUpright exercise bikes are the most common type of home exercise equipment and are the most similar to a traditional bicycle, with the pedals under your body. Upright bikes are compact and great for smaller spaces and can be used both standing or sitting.These exercise bikes are ideal for anyone who doesn’t regularly exercise because they offer a low-impact workout that improves muscle tone, strengthens legs, and delivers a great cardio workout.Of all the home bikes, upright ones are typically the most affordable as well, making them a great entry-level option for someone looking for a basic indoor bike.Recumbent BikesRecumbent exercise bikes are similar to upright bikes but are better suited to anyone with knee or back injuries. Since recumbent bikes provide a chair in a reclined position rather than a saddle for a seat, they are more comfortable and supportive of the back.Due to their unique position, recumbent bikes focus more on exercising the glutes and have more of an impact on the lower stomach muscles and less on your upper body. While workouts on recumbent bikes can be less intense, they’re ideal for anyone with low mobility, injuries, or pain.Indoor Cycling BikesIndoor cycling bikes are like those found in cycling studios and great for anyone who regularly cycles. These bikes have a greater range of resistance levels than a typical exercise bike and can simulate what road bikes feel like, with their varying levels of gears.Indoor cycling bikes have a variety of resistance options and their saddle is as high as the handlebars, making them ideal for more strenuous and advanced workouts. Someone who is training for a cycling event will benefit the most from these types of exercise bikes.Smart BikesSimilar to indoor cycling bikes, smart bikes have a built-in screen that allows you to connect to cycling apps and programs. Usually, these bikes can automatically change the bike’s resistance according to the app workout.Smart bikes are much more interactive and intuitive than most types and thus come with a higher price tag. Anyone looking for a bike with lots of options and the potential to experience cycling classes and workouts from home will enjoy the benefits of a smart bike.What to Look For When Choosing the Best Exercise BikeThe most important thing to consider when choosing an exercise bike is comfort. While ensuring the bike properly fits you, keep in mind additional features like resistance levels and extra accessories like Bluetooth capabilities, tablet holders, and touchscreens.FitWith so many different bike sizes and shapes, it’s always best to actually try the bike in-store before you buy it if at all possible. Being able to adjust the bike to your height and size, and find pedals to fit your feet, are all crucial to how the bike will suit you. Certain seats may be uncomfortable to you, and some models may have handlebars that are too far to reach. Tall riders may find they hit their knees on the handlebars with certain models. Making sure the bike can be adjusted to suit you is crucial.ResistanceA bike’s resistance levels are one of the main factors for different workout levels. Most exercise bikes will have electronic resistance controls. Depending on how strenuous or varied you like your workouts will depend on how many resistance options you’ll want. Either way, you’ll want to look for a bike with easy-to-adjust levels.AccessoriesExercise bikes often come with a variety of extra features. Determine what ones are most important to you by envisioning how you’ll most often use the bike. Things to consider include a water bottle holder, book rest, easy-to-use heart-rate monitor, safety locks, and user-friendly controls. Data and programming are also something to keep in mind. If you’ll want a wide range of programs that adapt to different weights, ages, and fitness levels, keep in mind as well.Benefits of Exercise BikesExercise bikes provide a wide range of perks from health benefits to convenience and safety. Some main advantages include:Space-saving compared to other larger gym equipmentSafer than road cyclingStrengthens legs and lower bodyHelps with weight lossCan provide a low impact exercise, ideal for those with joint painEasy for interval trainingFAQsWhat exercise bike is best for weight loss?Weight loss is achieved by burning more calories in a day than you intake. Exercise is one of the best ways to burn calories, with a higher intensity workout burning more than a lower intensive workout.To increase intensity on an exercise bike, you’ll want to increase the level of resistance. Most bikes will feature resistance levels of 1-10, but some even reach up to 20 which simulate riding up a steep hill.Look for a bike with high resistance levels for the best weight loss. If you’re new to cycling or exercise bikes, you’ll want to set your resistance level low to begin and work your way up to higher levels.Is an elliptical better than a stationary bike?An elliptical is used in the standing position and works both your upper and lower body. Your legs move in a circular up-and-down motion while your arms move back and forth. Like a stationary bike, you can change the resistance or even adjust the incline to make it more challenging.Both machines are low impact, making them great choices for anyone with joint pain. A stationary bike, however, will burn slightly more calories at a high-intensity level, but the elliptical will engage more muscles overall because it incorporates both upper and lower body. An elliptical may be better for bone health because it’s more weight-bearing, while an exercise bike is more ideal for someone with knee, hip, or ankle pain.Both the elliptical and stationary bike provide a great workout, and ultimately whichever you enjoy more will be the better option for you.Is cycling as beneficial as walking?Cycling can burn about twice as many calories as walking does, making it a much more efficient workout. Harvard University compared how many calories a 155-pound person would burn doing various 30-minute exercises. Walking will burn 149 calories, moderately riding a stationary bike would burn 260 calories, and vigorously riding a stationary bike would burn 391 calories.While you may have to walk much longer or more intensely to burn the same amount of calories as biking, it’s still beneficial to your overall health.Is riding a stationary bike bad for knees?Riding a stationary bike is not necessarily bad for your knees, however, if you already have knee pain, it may make it worse. Anyone with knee pain will do best with a recumbent bike over other types of exercise bikes. A recumbent bike takes more weight off your knees and causes less strain. Remember, exercise is one of the best ways to improve joint pain, just don’t overwork yourself and stick to low-impact workouts.How do I choose an exercise bike?There are a few factors that play into choosing an exercise bike, but ultimately your overall comfort is most important. To find the best fit, make sure to actually try the bike in-person first to see if it adjusts and operates to your specific body and preference.Pay attention to resistance levels as well. The more resistance levels a bike has, the more vigorous and dynamic of a workout you’ll be able to achieve. Accessories are also important; find a bike that suits your wants and needs, whether that’s a water bottle holder or an LED screen with data.ConclusionAll exercise bikes can provide a bevy of health benefits like improving lower body strength and helping with weight loss. They offer a great alternative to those with joint pain who find other, more high-impact exercises put too much strain on their bodies.Whether choosing a high-tech indoor cycling bike or a traditional, low-impact recumbent bike, riders will reap its benefits as long it comfortably suits their height and preferences. Even the most intuitive, feature-loaded bike can do more harm than good if it doesn’t fit properly.To ensure you find your perfect fit, try the bike in-person first, if possible. This will ensure you choose the best bike for you.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.