Best exercise bikes and smart indoor bikes for home workouts 2024

Looking to get a pedal fix indoors? Here's our pick of the best exercise bikes that are always ready to ride

Indoor cyclist
(Image credit: Future)

Ultimately the best exercise bikes will be ones that motivate you to ride regularly. An exercise bike can have all the functionality in the world, but if it leaves you uninspired to cycle at home, it’ll end up gathering dust in a corner, or become an overpriced clothes horse.

From beginner to professional virtual e-sports cyclist, there is an exercise bike out there for you. Even if you already own one of the best road bikes, an indoor bike has huge benefits for every cyclist.

Some of the best exercise bikes will connect to the best indoor training apps for cycling and allow you to record your riding allowing you to track your progress in a similar way that the best power meters would, although some will require you to just wear a smartwatch or heart rate monitor and only give you a calorie burn indication.

If there is no connectivity, this doesn't mean the exercise bike isn't still a great option, you just need to be on top of monitoring your progress in another way. In terms of motivation, thinking of the money savings with a cheaper exercise bike might just be all you need.

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Spin bikes

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Smart bikes

Best Spin Bikes: Our Picks

Best spin bike on a budget

Domyos Basic Exercise Bike 100 is pictured here with front pointing to the right

(Image credit: Decathlon)

1. Domyos Basic Exercise Bike 100

Best spin bike on a budget

Specifications

Resistance: Mechanical resistance and adjustment
Weight: 220lbs/100kg
Height range: N/A
Digital display: Yes
Third party connectivity: No

Reasons to buy

+
Price of the exercise bike is a lot less than others 
+
Stability when using 
+
Easy set up to get going as soon as it's unpacked
+
Simplicity of use, but some helpful data to measure fitness progress

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited resistance so stronger riders might be left wanting
-
Screen holder if you wanted to watch or ride via an on-line class additional purchase
-
No on-line community platform

For riders who are newcomers to riding at home, the Domyos Basic Exercise bike can be the perfect transition. While reviews on the Decathlon house brand website say that it's no studio bike, they all applauded its sturdiness and value for money.

Arguably with only household users, the basic spin bike doesn't need to be quite so robust, and therefore gets away with being slightly lighter and more transportable, allowing it to be wheeled out the way when not in use.

A 12kg flywheel uses a mechanically applied leather brake pad to create resistance for the user, in what the brand says is 'moderate-intensity use, while a chain drivetrain should recreate a smooth pedalling sensation, similar to that of a normal bike.

The saddle height and fore/aft can be adjusted along with the handlebar height, very similar to a regular gym spin bike, and in theory you could attach your own pedals.

There isn't an online community or platform to join, which does mean you'll have to be self motivated to record your rides or find on line classes to attend. This does have the perks of no monthly subscription and doesn't tie you into any long term commitment.

If you're a strong rider or looking to mimic road sprints then look elsewhere, but if you want the freedom and flexibility of keeping fit with a little homemade spin class at home when the time suits you it's perfect.

The best value Peloton alternative

best exercise bikes for indoor cycling includes the Echelon Smart Connect EX3 in the image, which is shown with the front of the bike pointing left.

(Image credit: Echelon)

2. Echelon Smart Connect EX3

The best value Peloton alternative

Specifications

Resistance : Magnetic & mechanical adjustment
Weight limit: 299lbs/ 136kg
Height range: 4'5" - 6'8"/ 134cm -203cm
Display: Model depending
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Price when compared to competition
+
Entertainment via the bespoke app
+
Simplicity of use straight out the box
+
Off bike exercises for whole body workout

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited rider position adjustment
-
On going monthly subscription
-
No built in screen
-
Rear bottle holders only

Echelon says the sturdy and compact bike provides both comfort and functionality. Customisation is easy with adjustable oversized seat and handlebar console. A silent magnetic flywheel provides 32 levels of resistance and challenging workouts for all levels of rider.

A clear contender for the best Peloton alternatives, with unlimited personalised workouts and online community options. But unlike Peloton, all price plans allow you to join a variety of live and on-demand classes and special events led by Echelon's own trained instructors, the price just depends on your long term commitment. Access is provided through the Echelon Fit App using your mobile phone, tablet or smart TV.

The bike provides a more upright riding position than other smart exercise bikes, so longer torso riders might feel a bit squished up, while others may find the ride feel too distant from their real road bike.

Best motivational spin bike

best exercise bikes for indoor cycling includes this Peloton bike in the image with is front pointing to the right

Best motivational spin bike

Specifications

Resistance: Magnetic & mechanical adjustment
Weight limit: 297lbs/ 135kg
Height range: 4'11" - 6'4"/ 150cm -195cm
Screen size: 22" high definition touch screen sound system
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Entertainment factor, feels like you are attending a class with an instructor to hand
+
Motivation via app to keep you showing up
+
Off bike exercises included on app for all over workout

Reasons to avoid

-
Ongoing cost commitment for subscription
-
Limited data measured and captured
-
Estimated power output

"Okay Peloton, let's do this!" You have almost certainly seen the adverts for this on TV, the brand has been popping up everywhere and even non-cyclists now know of the word, peloton. The American brand dominates the US market and has made inroads into the UK one too.

The basic set up (and membership) includes daily live streamed classes, as well as 24hr access to the virtual studio for an entire household. There's curated playlists for all genres, instructors and coaches, as well as leaderboards to keep you motivated. There's even additional extra options that include strength, stretch and yoga classes.

It's cheaper than the Wahoo option, but nearly double that of the Echelon option. It's also worth noting that you may be tempted by the all motivational Peloton system, but be aware of the on going monthly subscription which if you don't keep up, can make the bike feel like a rather expensive spin bike.

There's a lot more information below on whether or not Peloton is worth it and the Peloton alternatives. If it all sounds like a tempting offer for virtual cycling, but are still undecided, we've even got a helpful guide on Zwift vs Peloton: which is best for your at-home workouts? which might help you decide.

If you struggle to plan your own workouts and need motivational entertainment, the Peloton is a great option. There's even the option for individual profiles for household access, so perfect if you're looking for a shared home bike option.

Read more: Peloton indoor training bike review 

schwinn exercise bike

(Image credit: Future)
Best exercise bike for the original spin bike experience

Specifications

Resistance: Mechanical adjustment
Weight limit: 299lbs/ 136.2kg
Height range: N/A
Digital display: Yes
Third party connectivity: Limited

Reasons to buy

+
No electricity required robust screen holder
+
Build in heart rate sensors
+
Basic data captured
+
Duel SPD pedals for riding with or without bike shoes
+
Oversized water bottle holder 

Reasons to avoid

-
No connectivity to third party apps or devices 
-
No gear selection, all done on breaking resistance
-
No Auto-resistance, so impossible to replicate resistance settings

If you've ever undertaken a gym spin class, the chances are that you were riding a Schwinn.

The home or away bike requires very little in terms of technical know how in order to set up and ride, and even comes with secure clipless pedals (SPD) so is ridable straight out of the box.

This may be a few hundred more than the entry level Domyos Basic Exercise Bike 100, but there won't be many people in the household who will overpower the Schwinn.

The sturdy indoor trainer uses a weighty flywheel and direct-contact resistance system, meaning you are in charge of your own training at all times.

The downside is that with this level of basic functions, you'll need to be pretty motivated to lead your own spin class at home, although the added tablet/ phone holder means you can join a virtual class, or watch a film/ read a book.

The lack of mains power means the bike's location can be really flexible, with mini roller wheels helping it to be transported. But the weight unit will limit its general living place, and I wouldn't be keen on rolling it or riding it without the use of heavy duty floor protection.

Read more: Schwinn IC8 Indoor Cycling Exercise bike full review

Concept 2 BikeErg is pictured here with the front pointing to the left

(Image credit: Concept 2)
Best exercise bike for dependable, repeatable and accurate workouts

Specifications

Resistance: Air
Weight: 300lbs/ 136kg
Height range: 5' - 6'4"/ 152cm -192cm
Digital display: Yes
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Connectivity to programming
+
Resistance settings easy to use
+
Relatively low weight of whole bike 
+
No power requirement
+
Price point compared to alternative options 

Reasons to avoid

-
No direct gear correlation or adjustability
-
No handle bar damping adjustment

Concept2 is a big name in gym equipment with its rowing machines considered the gold standard and this accuracy is carried over into the Concept2 BikeErg exercise bike. Its PM5 power meter measures a host of metrics to give repeatable values from its fan-based resistance unit.

That means that there's no heavy flywheel or magnetic resistance unit, so the Concept2 BikeErg is lighter than many competitors and there's no need for a power supply. 

We found the set-up to be quick and there's a wide range of tool-free adjustment of all the contact points. Shorter or taller riders can buy a different length seatpost for even more inside leg length range. You can also swap out handlebars, saddle and pedals, although not the crank length.

On test, the belt drive and air resistance make for a really smooth, quiet ride. It's easy to do one of Conept2's sessions or to hook up to Zwift for more stimulation; a tablet mount is an extra worth buying.

On the downside, we didn't find power measurement all that accurate, although it was consistent, and you need to reach down to the flywheel to alter resistance rather than having a bar-mounted lever.

Read more: Concept 2 BikeErg review 

Horizon Fitness' 7.0 IC Fitness Bike

(Image credit: Jennaye Derge)
Best budget option to ride with Zwift

Specifications

Resistance: Magnetic
Weight: 300lbs/ 136kg
Height range: N/A
Digital display: Yes
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Easy set-up 
+
Bluetooth connectivity to apps
+
Small footprint

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited adjustment range for taller riders
-
Manual resistance setting

Horizon Fitness offers indoor exercise kit that all costs under $1,000, with the 7.0 IC offer including a Bluetooth heart rate monitor. Set-up isn't too laborious, although there's a limited range of adjustment and the saddle is rather hard.

The Horizon Fitness bike comes with pedals with SPD clips on one side and straps on the other and you get two water bottle holders. It doesn't take up too much space.

You get Bluetooth connectivity, so you can use a phone or tablet to join classes or rides online and your speed and other metrics will be sent to the app, although you're still going to need to adjust the resistance manually. With a total of 100 levels, there's plenty of fine-resolution and high-end resistance available and the transition between levels is smooth.

Read more: Horizon Fitness 7.0 IC Fitness Bike review

Best smart bikes

Best smart bikes on test

(Image credit: Future)

Once upon a time, indoor training used to be nothing more than a painful perspiration-filled monotony that put fitness well and truly in front of engagement. However, in today’s increasingly virtual world, the dark scene of a person training in a dingy garage is much more colourful. 

Zwift, RGT, and other platforms have all helped bring a level of gamification to training, and hardware manufacturers have been busy facilitating the new software, whether it's moving turbo trainers or full-blown smart bikes.

The latter is a category mostly aimed at indoor enthusiasts. Costing anywhere from $1,500 / £1,000 to more than $3,000 / £3,000, these pimped-out smart bikes offer all the functionality we are used to seeing from the best smart turbo trainers and controllers rolled into one. Coming in at such a premium cost, smart bikes really do need to offer the full package - quality, functionality and convenience.

Smart bikes are also designed from the ground up for indoor riding, which generally means a more stable platform that can be optimised better for the needs of your garage or living room, all the while keeping chain oil as far away from trouble as possible.

We've pitched three of the hottest smart bikes and pitched them head-to-head to see which is the best model on the market.

Best smart bike for a smooth ride

Image shows the Tacx Neo Bike Plus


(Image credit: Future)
Best smart bike for a smooth ride

Specifications

Resistance: Electro magnetic, electronic shifting
Weight limit: 265lbs/ 120kg
Height range: 640 - 900mm (bottom bracket to saddle height)
Digital display: Yes
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Very stable
+
Incredibly smooth
+
New shifters are perfect
+
Tablet mount and fans included
+
Superb adjustability

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive - $3,199/£2,299
-
Fans not quite powerful enough
-
Thigh still hits the seatpost in some positions
-
Heavy - two people preferable for set-up

The Tacx Neo Bike Plus builds upon the already superb Tacx Neo 2T base hardware and improves on many of the issues that were there with the first Neo Bike. The shifters have been revamped with improved feel and functionality, the seatpost is slimmer to avoid thigh rub, and the cranks have been redesigned to offer more length options. 

Initial setup is surprisingly easy, with all tools supplied and simple instructions to follow. The bike is incredibly heavy, but wheels at the back help manoeuvre it around a room. The inclusion of inbuilt tablet holder, holding bay for phone and such, and inbuilt fans are appreciated. The inbuilt USB chargers are also fantastic for charging a tablet while Zwifting!

We found the Neo Bike Plus to have possibly the smoothest ride feel of any indoor trainer we have tested, thanks to the Neodymium magnets in the flywheel to create resistance. ERG mode is incredibly precise with no lag in application and the whole platform is incredibly stable for all sorts of efforts. 

Accuracy-wise, it tracks brilliantly with similarly accurate power meters across the board. The new updated shifters work fantastically and the customisable gears mean you can be prepared for any sort of ride and never worry about cross chaining or chain dropping.

Read more: Tacx Neo Bike Plus full review

Best smart bike for a realistic ride

Wahoo Kickr Bike

(Image credit: Future)
Best smart bike for a realistic ride

Specifications

Resistance: Electromagnetic & enhanced motor
Weight limit : 250lbs/ 113kg
Height range : 5' - 6'4"/ 152cm -192cm
Digital display: None
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Akin to real life riding 
+
Climb features are realistic 
+
Customisation of shifters to make it mirror your bike
+
Connectivity to third party apps 
+
Great adjustability for bike set up  

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive option if not needing all of the features - $3,999/£3,499
-
No screen holder when riding an 'on-line' platform.

This is as close as you will get to merging the line between virtual riding and reality. The Wahoo Kickr Bike has an amazing set of strings to its bow. Features such as integrated grade changes, customizable gearing, and simulated shifting put it in the running as one of the best exercise bikes.

While riding, you can adjust the gradient all the way up to 20 per cent, or, if you wanted to feel like you were descending, -15 per cent too. This is to make the Kickr Bike feel as realistic as possible. You can also fit the bike to your exact specifications with help from the very detailed and informative Wahoo fitness app.

The Kickr Bike is can mimic any of the big brands: Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo. The virtual shifting technology recognises every detail to make sure that the smart shifting of the bike works with what you want, allowing you to even add your own handlebars, saddle and pedals.

There isn't a screen/ dedicated on-line trainer, but even that gives you the freedom to dictate your own virtual training package. The only real downside is that you'll need to configure some kind of screen stand.

Read more: Wahoo Kickr bike review

Best value smart bike

Wattbike Atom

(Image credit: Future)
Best value smart bike

Specifications

Resistance: Electromagnetic
Weight limit: 297lbs/ 135kg
Height range: 5' - 6'5"/ 152cm -195.5cm
Digital display: Yes
Third party connectivity: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Simplicity of set up 
+
Solid ride feel
+
Connectivity to 3rd party apps
+
Price when compared to peers
+
Reasonably lightweight option
+
Data measuring accuracy

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow gear shift can be frustrating 
-
Lack of adjustability and customisation of position and set up 

Wattbike is one of the leaders in exercise bikes, supplying federations and gyms, and the original smart bike system.

The consumer model, the Atom, has recently been updated with an improved, faster, electromagnetic resistance which Wattbike says also allows for an extra 500 watts at the top end (2,500w compared to 2,000w) and more accuracy.

In our review of the original Atom we commented that "pedalling fluidity is second to none." We also found it to be incredibly quiet, too, so a good option if you don't have a dedicated outbuilding to train in, or live in a flat and don't want to annoy the neighbours.

Connectivity comes via ANT+ or Bluetooth, and you can use set workouts via the Wattbike Hub, its own training and analysis platform, or you can hook it up to an indoor training app.

There is limited adjustability when compared to the other smart bikes, but it does have road bike-style geometry including a 160mm Q-Factor. As shipped, you'll find flat pedals with toe clips. Clipless pedals are an easy swap. All in, it weighs 97lbs/ 44kg making it one of the lightest sma