Best Indoor Cycles & Spin Bikes

Exercise Bike Editorial Team · Last Updated: September 22, 2020

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Our Top Three Spin Bikes

Our top three favorite indoor cycle trainers score high on comfort, performance, and value. These bikes also provide essential workout feedback. The first model is the NordicTrack S22i, which first gained popularity in commercial gyms. Spin enthusiasts are bringing this trainer home thanks to its great adjustability, durability and selection of data screens. Our second recommendation is the Echelon EX3. It’s a well-made, versatile spin bike that’s ideal for any fitness level. Third, the Sole SB900 lets you bring home an affordable combination of exercise intensity, comfort and useful data feedback.

An Important Note: The Difference Between Exercise Bikes and Spin Bikes

Many people use the words “Spin bike” and “indoor cycle” interchangeably, but there’s an important distinction that needs to be made here. All of the following words are actually trademarked terms owned by Mad Dogg Athletics: SPIN®, Spinning®, Spinner®, and Spin Fitness®. So, anything related to Spinning—whether you’re talking about Spin bikes or Spin classes—actually refers to a specific brand of exercise bikes and indoor cycling classes. In other words, not all indoor cycling is “Spinning,” and not all indoor bikes are Spin bikes, even though this is a common mistake.

Also, Spin bikes themselves are unique because of their large, heavy flywheel. This is what helps them stand out against other indoor cycles because it allows a Spin bike to mimic the experience of riding your bike in the great outdoors, rather than in an indoor, controlled environment. And that’s what helps you move through a higher intensity workout that builds stamina and strength.

Best Indoor Cycles for Home Use

It can be difficult to fit exercise equipment in a condo, smaller home or even in a small room. Being able to move it around is also a very important functionality. Here are our top three choices for Spin bikes for home-use:

Best Indoor Cycles for Working Out

Spin class or "Spinning class" is one of the best cardio work-outs that you can do. If you can't make it out to a class or feel like doing a class within the comfort of your own home, here are three of the VERY best spin bikes for the workout grind.

Best Indoor Cycles for Commercial Use

Brand name bikes are more expensive. However, you end up getting pretty high quality pieces of equipment in return. In our top three list, you've probably seen one or two if these bikes before.

Best Indoor Cycles for Magnetic Resistance

Even though magnetic resistance spin bikes are more costly then friction spin bikes the benefit might out-way the costs. There are a lot of pluses to have a magnetic resistance spin bike, explore them by viewing our top three choices:

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in an indoor cycling bike?

Look for a good combination of comfort, performance features, data feedback, adjustability, durability and warranty coverage. Also keep in mind specific specs such as flywheel weight, dimensions, and weight capacity. You want to find a bike that combines these features in a way that best suits your budget, workout needs, and spatial requirements.

What is the average weight of a flywheel in indoor cycles?

The average weight of an indoor cycle flywheel is around 40 pounds. This is double what you’d get from a traditional exercise bike.

Which is better, a belt or a chain drive for magnetic resistance indoor cycles?

This depends on whether you prioritize quietness and having a bike with less maintenance over a road-bike feel. A belt drive requires less maintenance than one with a chain, and delivers a quieter (and usually smoother) ride. Serious bikers, however, may prefer a chain drive to more closely mirror the feel of an outdoor bike.

WHY YOU SHOULD CYCLE

Cycling is an effective, accessible, and popular form of exercise. Contrary to popular belief, cycling doesn’t just work your legs. If you crank up the resistance, get up out the saddle, and either sprint or climb up a steep hill, your entire body gets in on the action. If you want strong legs and toned arms, cycling can work wonders. It’s also good for the environment. Other than exhaled carbon dioxide, cyclists produce no pollution. A bicycle is also cheaper to buy than a car, and much cheaper to run.

Good for developing fitness and burning fat, cycling is a low impact form of exercise which means it’s much easier on your joints than running. That’s good news if you are a little on the heavy side or you have any pre-existing foot, ankle, knee, hip, or even lower back problems. When you run, your feet hit the ground with a force equal to about eight times your bodyweight. That’s a lot of stress if you weigh 140lbs., and could lead to serious injury if you tip the scales at closer to 200lbs.

Unfortunately, as good a workout as outdoor cycling is, it’s not always practical or safe. Bad weather can make cycling outdoors far from comfortable, and heavy traffic can make your workout risky. Cycling at night presents a host of additional hazards, and badly maintained roads can make riding outdoors even more difficult. That’s why you must always wear a helmet when cycling outdoors. Punctures are also a constant worry for outdoor cyclists, as are mechanical breakdowns.

Getting a decent workout on a regular outdoor bike can also be problematic. Traffic and other road users may impede your progress, forcing you to stop when you all you really want to do is put your head down and maintain your heart rate. Anytime your heart rate is not in the right zone, your workout loses some of its potency. It’s also difficult to do high-intensity interval training on a regular bike. Again, traffic and other road users may force you to slow down before your timed interval is finished. If you’re busy concentrating on your heart rate, your stopwatch, and cycling as fast as you can, it’s much harder to keep an eye out for traffic and other hazards.

HOW CAN I MAKE CYCLING SAFER?

One way to make cycling safer and more effective is to do your cycling indoors. How? Although you could try to convert your regular bike into an exercise bike by mounting it on a set of rollers or what is commonly called a turbo or fan trainer, it’s a far from ideal solution. For starters, these devices don’t usually offer enough resistance for most exercisers and they may even damage your bike. A bike frame is designed to flex as you ride it but, when locked into a set of rollers or a turbo trainer, this can’t happen. The result? A lot of stress on the welds of your bike and a real risk of frame damage. A much better option would be to buy a dedicated exercise bike for indoor use.

GO WITH AN INDOOR CYCLE

Indoor cycling bikes are also known as indoor cycle trainers and spin bikes. Compared with traditional stationary bikes, they’re better at simulating the feel of outdoor cycling. They also allow for more intense workout sessions and are ideal for high-intensity interval training. You might choose an indoor cycling bike to train for races, to get challenging cardio workouts, to manage your weight, or build lower body strength. You can also combine training on an indoor bike with simple bodyweight or strength training exercises for a fun and effective workout in the comfort of your own home. If you have an indoor exercise bike, there is no need to join a gym.

The resistance system on an indoor cycling bike is largely responsible for its on-the-road sensation. The flywheel will generally weigh at least 40 pounds (which is double what you’d get from a traditional exercise bike) and is engineered to build inertia like a road bike. The flywheel delivers very smooth, instantly adjustable resistance. On an indoor cycle trainer, you can actually sense that you’re climbing hills, and you can stand on the pedals to isolate different muscle groups.

INDOOR BIKE BENEFITS

Indoor bikes are also very quiet when in use. Many do not need to be connected to an electrical outlet, and usually they are easy to move around. For those that don’t need to be connected, you could take your bike out to your garden to exercise there, or pop it in front of the TV to enjoy some shows while you work out. These might seem like unimportant features, but one of the keys to successful exercise is enjoyment. If you enjoy your workout, you are much more likely to do it consistently. On other hand, if your workout is boring, time-consuming, or otherwise inconvenient, you are much less likely to stick with it for long.

Additionally, indoor cycles usually have racing-style handlebars, and it’s likely you can customize the pedals and saddle. They’re also usually fully adjustable. You can alter the seat height, the height of the handlebars, and most will also allow you to move your saddle and handlebars fore and aft. This means that you can customize your bike to perfection, and your riding position will be optimized according to your height, leg length, torso length, and arm length. In return, your workout will be as comfortable as possible. As for data feedback, the best indoor bikes have wireless heart-rate monitoring to guide your workout intensity. Data and workout programs tend to be absent or streamlined compared with the variety found on traditional stationary bikes. Exceptions are pointed out in our spin bike reviews, which look at cycle trainers part-by-part.

ALL INDOOR CYCLES (SORTED BY HIGHEST RATING)

Indoor spin cycles closely replicate the feeling of riding a bike outdoors. Compared with other indoor exercise bikes, they also support especially intense training and can provide greater resistance. This is why they are becoming more popular than ever before. Check out our in-depth reviews below to explore the inclusive range of indoor cycles currently on the market. Expect to find indoor cycles in every budget, from elite models to bargain-basement gems. Discount brands offer some enticing deals too. The most inexpensive yet durable indoor bike we’ve seen is from Sunny Health & Fitness; it’s simply named the Indoor Cycle Trainer.

All Indoor Cycles
Specific Use
All
Commercial Use
Home Use
Magnetic Resistance
Working Out
Price Range
All
$1 - $499
$500 - $999
$1,000 - $1,499
$1,500 - $1,999
$2,000 - $2,499
$2,500 - $2,999
$3,000+

The battle for the budget-class smart bike is fierce indeed and Echelon is spinning a new offering into the marketplace with its EX-Prime Smart…

Introducing the new cutting edge indoor cycle from Bowflex.

High-quality components are the focus of the Life Fitness IC4 indoor cycle. Although it's not a tech-savvy bike, it's an elite riding experience.

With smooth electro-magnetic resistance and a heavy drive, the Johnny G bike will satisfy newbies to Spinning and avid road cyclists alike.

The SoulCycle at-home bike combines adjustability, high-quality components and top-spec tech for an elite workout experience.

The Bowflex C6 is an affordable but durable indoor cycle that works with a variety of apps for interactive training including Peloton and Zwift.

The competitive pool looking to dethrone Peloton keeps growing, however the MYX Fitness bike enters the fray from a slightly different angle than most.…

The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ub Upright Bike offers 32 levels of smooth magnetic resistance from a 25-pound flywheel.

The Schwinn IC4 is an affordable indoor cycle with an impressive combination of performance features and Bluetooth for interactive training.

The Echelon EX5S enters the ring as the latest competitor to the Peloton Bike and NordicTrack S22i. How does it stack up?

The Horizon IC7.9 Indoor Cycle delivers great bang-for-buck value if built-in training isn't a priority.

The Life Fitness IC1 is a solid example of a well-constructed no-frills indoor cycle. It's low on tech, but is built to last for…

The Horizon GR3 is a great budget option for on road cyclists looking to train indoors during the offseason.

This is a fantastic bike for delivering a top notch workout to those who put in the time. With so much variety in programming…

The Life Fitness C1 Lifecycle Exercise Bike is a sturdy and well-executed offering in the mid-tier segment. Where it falls short in cutting-edge tech,…

The Asuna 6100 Sprinting Commercial Indoor Cycling Bike is a good bike option for those who are interested in sprint training and pushing themselves…

The Proform X-Bike Elite Exercise Bike is a good entry-level, inexpensive option for a low-impact workout. The improvements on the minimalist design of the…

The XTERRA MBX2500 is a low-priced spin bike for home use. For smooth pedaling it features a 48.5-pound flywheel, and it lets you choose…

The S22i is NordicTrack’s response to the Peloton revolution. It allows you to bring the energizing atmosphere of a studio spin bike class home.

If you’ve tried out the Airdyne AD Pro in your gym and wished you had something similar to use at home, the Schwinn AD7…

See More Indoor Cycles
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1 Comment
  1. Madhusree Basu March 19, 2019 at 12:50 pm
    Oh wow.. This piece is the "Complete Reference" for buying an Iindoor cycling machine. Great pot.. I appreciate the effort you have put in adding so many variants of indoor bikes.. Great post .. thanks!

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