What is the best exercise bike for home gyms?
Maybe you’re trying to uncover what you should look for, how to compare bikes, and the must-have features worth the price tag.
Or maybe you’re trying to decide between a stationary bike, a recumbent exercise bike, a studio-style one, or an upright exercise bike.
No matter which group you fall under, this exercise bike buying guide is for you.
That’s because we’re sharing everything you need to know about purchasing an exercise bike online, including what to look for when choosing an indoor exercise bike, the differences between each bike style, and our top picks in each category.
Here’s a quick breakdown of everything we’re covering in this exercise bike guide:
Before we get into what to look for, there are some foundational questions you’ll want to answer to help narrow down your search:
The first question to answer when searching for an exercise bike that fits you comfortably and helps you reach your fitness goals is:
Exercise Bikes are divided into three distinct categories, each offering something different despite being an exercise bike at its core.
We’ll dive deeper into each style of bike later on, but this gives you a quick breakdown to help you start to narrow down your search.
1. Upright Stationary Exercise Bikes
Upright exercise bikes position the user vertically similarly to riding a beach cruiser or traditional bike where the back is upright versus bent.
An upright stationary bike may be perfect for people who want an authentic bike riding experience, minus the inclement weather and outdoor terrain.
All of the NordicTrack bikes use resistance to create that real-world experience.
Users can override the automatic settings to increase or decrease the resistance as needed, which is similar to changing gears on an actual bike.
2. Recumbent Exercise Bikes
On the other hand, Recumbent bikes allow users to ride comfortably in a reclined position that supports the back and places their legs in front.
This creates a less strenuous, stable way to ride a bike, perfect for anyone looking for low-impact exercise, and makes them great for beginners.
3. Studio Bikes
Lastly, we have Studio Bikes designed for high-intensity workouts similar to the ones you’d see in person in a cycling class.
The NordicTrack Studio bikes (S22i, S27i) have incline and decline, as well as resistance, to create an even more realistic simulation of riding on real terrain.
Like upright stationary bikes, studio bikes mimic what it’s like to ride a road or mountain bike with the body positioned in a more competitive position.
With a fixed wheel, pedals do not move independently from the flywheel. The pedals move if the flywheel moves.
Users should be cautious on a fixed-wheel bike when slowing down or trying to stop. You can’t just stop the pedals from moving due to the inertia of the flywheel.
A quick stop of the pedals requires the use of the safety break to quickly stop the flywheel from turning.
There’s also SMR™ SILENT MAGNETIC RESISTANCE on NordicTrack Studio Bikes, which offers adjustable resistance levels to help you change how easy or difficult your rides are.
We’ll discuss these different styles of bikes more in-depth later on in this guide, but hopefully, this gives you a better idea of what type you may be gravitating towards.
Before you decide, be sure to consider the following two questions next:
After reading about the different types of exercise bikes a clear winner may have emerged for you.
But, if other people in your household will also be using the bike, it’s a good idea to consider their needs before making a decision.
For example, if you’re looking for a low-impact ride but someone in your house prefers speed and intensity, a recumbent bike may not work for both of your fitness goals since it’s much harder to crank up the intensity in a reclined position.
That’s why it’s a good idea to consider who will use the bike before moving on.
Lastly, consider how much room you have for an exercise bike in your home.
Upright stationary bikes and studio-style ones are usually more compact in their footprint length. However, you’ll need more vertical clearance space since they position users higher and more upright.
You may also want to stand up on the pedals when using a studio bike paired with iFIT workouts, which would also mean you need a bit more clearance space.
This is something to consider if you plan to use your exercise bike in a low-clearance basement or garage.
Another point to think about when it comes to space is the clearance space needed, which is the area around your exercise bike that should be free.
All bikes featured in this buying guide should be placed on a level surface with at least 60cm clearance space around them.
We’ll discuss the different bike sizes more in-depth shortly, but for now, it pays to measure out your space, including the clearance space, so that you can better understand which ones could fit your room.
Now that you’ve thought about those factors, let’s move on to some other important points to think about.
On top of thinking about the style of bike that could work for you and how much space you have, you’ll also want to think about the following items when browsing exercise bikes online:
Adjustability is how many areas on the bike can be adjusted.
A high-quality exercise bike will offer a few adjustment options to position the bike perfectly for your size.
Adjusting the seat, for example, means you can raise or lower it so you can comfortably reach the pedals.
Some exercise bikes also let you slide the seat horizontally forward and back so you’re not stretching too far to reach the pedals or feeling too crammed and close to the console.
Another area you’ll want to be able to adjust is the handlebars.
Lowering and raising the handlebars means you can position them to your specific arm’s length and desired posture.
So you can align yourself to comfortably lean forward or sit perfectly upright.
Consider whether the exercise bikes you’re looking at can be adjusted and to what degree before moving on to the other features that matter most.
The features that come with exercise bikes are one area that can get overwhelming.
We’ll break down the top eight here so you can decide which are must-have features for you before browsing bikes online.
1. Magnetic Resistance
It may not seem like much, but how the resistance is created on an exercise bike can make the difference between a smooth, comfortable, quiet ride versus one that’s noisy, clunky, and hard to power through.
To create that smooth, quiet ride, NordicTrack exercise bikes use SMR™, which stands for Silent Magnetic Resistance.
With this, magnets are strategically placed over the top of the flywheel in either a full or half-moon position to adjust the resistance levels as you pedal.
Using these magnets makes the resistance both frictionless and silent, creating a smooth ride that’s effortless and great for quiet environments, such as working out at home.
2. Different Resistance Levels
A high-quality exercise bike also offers a wide range of resistance levels for you to choose from.
This feature allows you to customize how easy or difficult your workouts are.
As you improve your fitness, you’ll want to progress to the next level, which is only possible if the exercise bikes you’re looking at offer various resistance levels.
3. The Ability to Incline and Decline
Changing the resistance level on your exercise bike is one way to change how easy or difficult your workouts are, but it’s not the only way.
Adjusting the incline and decline on a stationary bike, something that can be done on some NordicTrack Bikes, can also change the intensity of your workouts.
Increasing the bike incline mimics what riding up or down a hill is like in the comfort of your home or workout space.
You can also practice interval training by changing your inclines and declines in 30-second to one-minute intervals, offering another effective way to challenge yourself and switch up your workouts using one piece of exercise equipment.
So, while having various resistance levels is a great first step, it’s also a good idea to check the incline and decline features of any exercise bikes you’re looking at.
For example, the NordicTrack S27i Studio Cycle exercise bike reaches up to a 20% incline and a -10% decline, giving you plenty of great ways to challenge yourself.
4. Interactive Touchscreen Display Screens That Stream Virtual Workouts
Another feature you may not have given much attention to is the exercise bike’s display console.
At a minimum, any stationary bike you’re looking at should be able to track your stats, including how far you’ve gone, the duration of your workouts, any estimated calorie burn, heart rate, and other metrics like:
However, some exercise bikes on the market take this further by offering an interactive touchscreen display.
With this, you can stream motivating workouts, such as those from the paid subscription service iFIT, that do the heavy lifting for you.
IFIT workouts, for example, are preprogrammed with scenic rides from around the world with best-in-class trainers.
All you have to do is show up, and the workouts are done for you.
And, if you need to change the intensity of the workout to be easier or more challenging, you can easily do so with One Touch® Controls that only require a few quick taps.
Having access to a variety of workouts keeps things exciting and challenging.
On top of that, with an iFIT subscription, your machine will remember the adjustments you’ve made for future rides so you can pick up right where you left off and continue on your fitness journey.
You’ll also see weekly, monthly, and yearly stats to show how far you’ve come.
So, instead of only tracking your stats for the workout you’re on, you can compare data over a more extended period.
But that’s only possible when you purchase an exercise bike with an interactive touchscreen display and an active iFIT membership.
5. Bluetooth® Headphone Connectivity
Another fun feature to add to your must-have list is connecting your Bluetooth® headphones to your exercise bike so you can listen to iFit workouts and iFit radio stations uninterrupted by background noise.
This feature will help you zone into your workout and tune out what’s around so you can truly enjoy your ride.
6. Heart Rate Monitor Connectivity
Some exercise bikes on the market will also connect to a heart rate monitor*, which tracks and tells you what target heart rate zone you’re in.
(*Heart rate monitor is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition. Accuracy depends on usage and other physiological factors.)
Knowing this metric is helpful if you’re trying to improve your cardiovascular health and fitness levels.
But NordicTrack exercise bikes take this vital intel further with iFIT’s ActivePulse™ (available with an active iFIT membership).
With this powerful feature, you’ll get real-time feedback between your measured heart rate and your NordicTrack exercise bike’s speed and incline.
Based on your heart rate reading, your bike, using ActivePulse™, will adjust your intensity up or down to keep you working right in your target heart rate zone.
So, instead of manually monitoring your heart rate and adjusting your training, ActivePulse™ and your NordicTrack bike will do that for you.
Keep in mind this feature is only available with an active iFIT subscription.
This type of personalized training is unmatched, and once you try it, you’ll likely wonder how you’ve trained for so many years without it. It’s that good.
7. Consider the Pedal Design
The next feature, the pedal design, is another one you may not have given much thought to, but you’ll now want to since it can impact your ride and how steady and comfortable it is.
After all, you don’t want your feet to keep slipping off the pedals, which makes for a distracting and ineffective ride.
On the NordicTrack S27i Studio bike, we use a two-sided SPD pedal design to give you a secure shoe-to-pedal fit whether you prefer SPD or toe cages.
Our R35 recumbent stationary bike has purposefully designed ergonomic, extra wide foot pedals to help you power through any workout.
Check out the bike pedals on any exercise bikes you’re considering to ensure they offer a comfortable and sturdy fit.
8. Transport Wheels
Lastly, when it comes to features, if you’re short on space and need to move your exercise bike out of the way when it’s not in use, be sure to look for ones with transport wheels.
The NordicTrack S27i Studio Bike and the R35 recumbent bike both have front-mounted transport wheels that make it easy to pick up your exercise bike and roll it to wherever you need.
The wheel mounts help carry some of the machine’s weight, while the wheels make it easy to roll.
So, if you need to move your exercise bike out of the way, make sure transport wheels are on your must-have feature list.
The correct height for an exercise bike depends on the user’s size.
The best thing you can do is find an exercise bike that lets you adjust the height of your bike to fit you perfectly.
Generally, your bike seat should be level with your hip when standing beside it in an upright stationary bike.
For recumbent bikes, you should be able to comfortably reach the pedals without feeling too far out of reach or too cramped and close together.
The weight limit on stationary exercise bikes varies by brand and model.
You can have different weight limits even within the same brand, which is why it’s essential to research the specific model you’re looking at to be sure.
Low-end exercise bikes will have a much lower weight threshold simply because the frames are not meant to support the added weight.
High-quality exercise bikes range in their weight limit from 147kg to 158 kg user weight capacities.
As a quick reference, here are the following weight limits for NordicTrack’s exercise bikes:
How much you should spend on an exercise bike is a personal decision, but there are a few factors to consider.
If you’re serious about your fitness goals, you’re getting more serious about them, and you plan to use your exercise bike regularly, it pays to invest in a high-quality bike that has your top must-have features along with a sturdy design and quiet ride.
The type of exercise bike you use can also affect the price, which is something else to consider.
Studio-Style Cycle bikes are a little higher in price due to their high-intensity capabilities, while upright stationary bikes may be on the lower end of the price spectrum.
Recumbent exercise bikes often fall somewhere in between those two.
At NordicTrack, our exercise bikes range in price from $999.00 (based on current sales and inventory) to $3799 for the top-of-the-line options.
We also offer sales and promotional pricing throughout the year, which can help you score a high-quality bike for less.
To see our current sales on exercise bikes, visit that page now.
Do exercise bikes come with lifetime warranties?
To answer the question, most exercise bikes on the market do not come with a lifetime warranty.
However, good ones still have some great coverage.
At NordicTrack, every exercise bike comes with the following warranty:
Learn more about both plans by visiting that page when you’re done here.
Now that you’ve learned about the must-have features and have a better idea of what you’re looking for let’s answer the question: what is the best stationary bike? And we’ll dive into the top three best exercise bikes for home gyms:
The S27i Studio Bike is a high-performance bike with various features that make it ideal for fitness enthusiasts and serious cyclists.
If you love in-person high-intensity cycle classes you’ve done in a studio, the S27i can help you take those same rides right from home.
Featuring our SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance, you can quietly power through up to 24 digital resistance levels.
A Powergrade Incline and Decline Drive System lets you challenge yourself even more by reaching up to a 20% incline or a -10% decline.
So whether you want to enjoy a nice, scenic ride with iFIT or you’re ready to add some hills to your bike workout routine, the S27i can help you do both.
When it comes to fitting the S27i exercise bike to your height, there are plenty of ways to do that.
You can adjust the seat both up and down, forward and back, and the handlebars’ height to ensure the perfect fit while you ride.
Enjoy the ergonomic padded seat and the 2-sided SPD pedals, which you can use toe clips or straps for, and settle in comfortably for your ride ahead.
These must-have features help you focus more on the ride and less on what you’re riding on.
The S27i Studio Cycle exercise bike also comes with the following features:
As seen in the image below, the footprint for the S27i Studio Bike is L 141cm x W 56cm x H 155cm and it should have at least 60cm of clearance space around all sides of it.
The NordicTrack S27i also has a 150kg capacity and comes with the following warranty:
To learn more about the S27i Studio Bike, visit that page now.
If you’re wondering what is the best recumbent exercise bike, it’s the R35 Recumbent bike.
This recumbent exercise bike is perfect for anyone wanting more movement but you’re looking for a less strenuous bike workout.
Unlike the other two exercise bikes on this list, the R35 Recumbent bike features an oversized lumbar-supported cushion seat, which provides maximum comfort and support during your ride.
The unique step-through design also makes it easy to get on and off the bike and means you don’t have to stretch far to settle in and get ready for your ride.
You can use the Easy Glide seat adjustment to slide the seat perfectly to your height and enjoy the extra wide ergonomic foot pedals with adjustable straps, which keep you comfortable and secure.
Like the S27i exercise bike, the R35 Recumbent bike uses our unique SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance to create a quiet, smooth resistance without the added noise.
It also has 26 digital resistance levels, which let you decide how easy or hard your workouts are. Both features help you get in a solid workout no matter your fitness level.
Some of the other noteworthy features of the R35 Recumbent bike include the following:
The R35 Recumbent exercise bike also has a 160kg user capacity and comes with the following warranty:
With all those features, it’s easy to see why the R35 is the best recumbent exercise bike for home gyms.
Learn more about the R35 Recumbent bike by visiting that page now.
If you’re looking to take your bike workouts indoors but don’t necessarily need the high-intensity style of a studio bike, an upright stationary bike, such as the VU29 Upright bike , may be a great fit.
Like a road bike, you’ll be positioned upright and over the pedals instead of being laid back and reclined like you would in a recumbent bike.
However, similar to the studio bikes, you’ll get a great workout thanks to the 24 digital resistance levels, which creates a smooth, seamless resistance.
Our SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance also ensures that your ride remains quiet no matter your resistance level.
As for adjustability, you can change the seat vertically and horizontally to perfectly match your height.
The oversized cushioned seat and ergonomic foot pedals, which can be adjusted with the straps, also provide support and comfort for all your rides ahead.
One thing to note with this exercise bike, compared to the S27i, is that you won’t have the option to incline or decline. So, if those features are important to you, the S27i may be a better choice.
Some other standout features of the VU29 Upright bike include the following:
The VU29 Recumbent bike also has a 325-pound user capacity and comes with the following warranty:
As seen in the image below, the footprint for the VU29 Recumbent exercise bike is 105cm in length, 63cm in width, and 140cm in height, and it should have at least 60cm of clearance space around all sides of it.
To learn more about the VU29 Recumbent exercise bike, visit that page now.
If you’re looking for the best exercise bike for your home gym, the S27i Studio bike is it.
Not only does it give you that exact studio cycle ride you’ve likely enjoyed in person, but it’s also great if you’re an avid outdoor bike rider too.
With 24 digital resistance levels, up to a 20% incline, and a -10% decline, you can create those HIIT rides you love or mimic an outdoor hill bike ride whenever you want.
The S27i also offers several ways to adjust the bike to suit your height and arm’s length perfectly.
Slide the seat horizontally and vertically and adjust the handlebars up and down so the bike fits you, not the other way around.
The S27i also comes with two 1.4kg dumbbells, so you can integrate strength training into your cardio routine.
Some other standout features of the S27i Studio bike include the following:
So whether you’re an avid bike rider, someone who prefers cycle studios, or a soon-to-be bike enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with the S27i.
Learn more about this incredibly powerful exercise bike by visiting that page now.
Now, if you want the benefits of riding an indoor bike but prefer a low-impact, more supported way to do so, a recumbent bike such as the R35 could be a perfect fit.
The oversized, lumbar support seat helps you settle in comfortably, while the ergonomic, extra wide foot pedals allow you to easily power through your rides.
Despite being comfortably reclined and supported, you can still create challenging workouts thanks to the 26 digital resistance levels.
Crank the intensity up or down as you need while the SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance creates a smooth, quiet resistance for you.
The unique step-through design makes getting on and off the bike easy and means you don’t have to stretch far to settle in and prepare for your ride.
Some other standout features of the R35 Recumbent bike include the following:
If a recumbent bike seems right up your alley, check out the R35 recumbent bike by visiting that page now.
For any readers looking to take the bike riding experience indoors but you’re not necessarily looking for all the bells and whistles of incline and decline features, the VU upright stationary bike may be ideal.
With 24 resistance levels, you can still get in a solid, low-impact workout without needing to climb any metaphorical hills.
The SMR™ Silent Magnetic Resistance also ensures that your ride is seamless and virtually noise-less, no matter what resistance level you’re on.
On top of that, the oversized cushioned seat and extra wide ergonomic foot pedals with adjustable straps ensure you’re comfortably positioned while powering through your ride.
You can also adjust the seat vertically and horizontally to fit your height perfectly.
Some other standout features of the VU29 upright bike include the following:
If you’re ready to take your bike workout indoors, or you’re starting out with indoor rides, check out the VU29 Upright bike by visiting that page now.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the NordicTrack VU29 upright stationary exercise bike is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an indoor exercise bike that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles.
Because it’s not loaded with as many features, like the incline and decline capabilities on the S27i, it’s an affordable option if your budget for an exercise bike is on the lower end.
However, despite its smaller price tag, you still get the same great high-quality NordicTrack exercise bike plus some must-have features.
With the VU29 Upright bike, you’ll find the following features:
To learn more about this affordable exercise bike, visit that page now.
We hope the information we shared in this exercise bike buying guide helps you find the perfect one for your fitness goals.
Before we sign off, we also want to share one last tip: research where you’re getting it from before purchasing an exercise bike online.
In many cases, it pays to go direct, buying from NordicTrackfitness.com.au for example, to ensure you’re getting the best quality product and the exact warranties that it comes with.
Doing so will save you headaches and hassles both in the short and long term.
Once you do that, all that’s left is picking out the right stationary exercise bike for you and enjoying at-home workouts once it gets delivered.
In a few workouts, you’ll likely see that it was one of the best decisions you could have made.