A Comparison of the Best Exercise Bikes on the Market

The best stationary exercise bikes in terms of cost, quality and consumer satisfaction rating can be found right here, along with other tips on buying the right one to fit your home space and particular needs. Read on, and discover for yourself the top brands of home exercise bikes, from the most expensive ones built of the most durable material, to the more affordable ones that will still give you years of workout satisfaction. The going rate for exercise bikes is currently from between $149 and $3,300. More important than price, however, is ergonomics and functionality. Compare different models by trying them out when shopping around for stationary bikes, as it is tantamount to your overall enjoyment of it. Choose the model that you feel most comfortable on, even if that means paying substantially more or less money for your exercise bike.
Exercise Bike.
Let’s start with NordicTrack, a leader in exercise equipment. Their best stationary exercise bikes include recumbent and upright models, and one with interactive features. Their New 2010 C2 SI Upright model will currently run you only $399 (normally $699), and has interactive fitness games, 16 personal trainer workouts, and is iFiT compatible. Next up, their Free Motion c7.7 Upright offers 20 levels of resistance and 350 lbs. weight capacity, and is on sale for $1,699 (normally $2,599). In terms of recumbent models (recommended for better ergonomic fit), the C3 si currently fetches $999, and features a 300 lb. capacity, is iFiT compatible, and gives you 20 personal trainer workouts. Another recumbent model, the Commercial 400 gives you 30 personal trainer workouts, a compact recumbent frame, a CoolAire workout fan, and a 350 lb. user capacity, retailing for only $699, sale price (normally $1,299). Rounding out the NordicTrack stationary bikes is the CR3 Interactive bike, which retails at $499, sale price ($699 normally). This bike features interactive GameFit fitness games, iFit workout card technology, and touch-screen display.

The PreCor C846R has many enjoyable features for those looking for comfort, durability and intelligent design options when searching for the best stationary exercise bikes on the market. The R stands for recumbent, which has become the choice for those looking to avoid back and joint pain. It’s current sale price is $1,395, and it features a powder-coated steel frame that’s rust resistant, and foam-coated hand grips that stay dry. The PreCor C846 Upright exercise bike offers 5 programmed courses, a customizable seat, is self-powered, cordless, and carries a back-up battery. It has 20 resistance settings. At 152 lbs., it’s relatively lightweight, and relatively compact at 56″L x 24″W x 48″H.

The Stamina Products Magnetic Fusion 7100 exercise bike from Sports Unlimited, Inc. combines the traditional feel of an upright with the ergonomic “correctness” of a recumbent. It sells for $299, and represents perhaps the best value out there. The Schwinn 240 Recumbent bike is a great value as well, at only $449. It has many attractive features, including multi-level workouts, 18 preset workout programs, 10 adjustment levels, and 16 levels of resistance. The Pro Form 480 CSX is also a remarkable value at $479 from Mercantila.com. This stationary exercise bike features an interactive iFit workout card, and adjustable seat. Each workout card is designed by a Certified personal trainer and plugs directly into your console. Your speed is automatically adjusted, while the voice of a personal trainer guides you through each workout.

A good middle-range fitness bike, the familiar Diamondback name in mountain bikes brings us the Light Commercial 1000 HR Walk Through model for $997. Highlights include quiet drive and pedal system, a high consumer rating (4.6 out of 5 stars), water bottle holder, adjustable seat, and advanced console features.

The Star Trac Spinner Pro 6800 is a select model stationary exercise bike, featuring micro-adjustable seat slider, ergonomic saddle with flexible seat base, anatomical cut-out comfort, reinforced bearing, crank and axle strength, no-slip grip handlebars, and one motion emergency stop feature. This bike retails for $1,025 (normally $1,225) on the iFitness Direct website. It also has fixed-gear drive train, wide stabilizers and a heavy duty steel frame for maximum user satisfaction and low maintenance.

Top of the line exercise bikes

At the higher end of the exercise bike spectrum, there’s the NEXT Bike Life Fitness 9500RHRNG Recumbent, retailing at $3,301.25 at the Exercise Bike Superstore. This price includes inside delivery and a $25 rebate coupon. This is the Rolls Royce of stationary bikes, and includes every conceivable amenity, including:

  • An ergonomically optimum seat and frame
  • Smooth Poly V belt drive system
  • Advanced biomechanic design
  • Lifepulse contact heart rate and Polar telemetry
  • HeartSync heart rate controlled workouts
  • Interval and sport training
  • Customized workout programs

The top fitness clubs in the world feature this bike and those similar to it.

Another Life Fitness stationary model which normally retails at the higher end of things is the C1 Upright Lifecycle ($1,399 – on sale for $1,199 through iFitnessDirect.com). This exercise machine features an advanced console with contact heart rate hand sensors, 20 resistance levels, 14 positions, deluxe cushioning, quick start mode, HeartSync and fat burn workouts. It also features an oversized dual accessory tray and built-in reading rack, and ergonomically-designed racing style handlebars.

The SPIRIT XBR25 XR895 and XR425 represent a nice line of recumbent stationary exercise bikes at affordable prices. The XBR25 is on sale for $1,099 (normally $1,499) features easy-access design, 20 levels of resistance, 24 lb. flywheel, oversized foot pedals with natural-feel inward slant, and contact and telemetry heart monitoring. It also features cooling fans and a water bottle holder. The XR895 ($1,300 on sale) has a built-in generator that makes the unit cordless. The XR425 is highly compact while still ergonomically friendly. It has a breathable mesh seat back and Polar heart rate control, 6 programs and 20 resistance levels, and is on sale for $950 (normally $1,099).

Cheap, yet high functioning…best exercise bikes “for the money”

Conversely, the Weslo Pursuit CT3.8 Recumbent exercise bike is one of the lowest priced bikes out there, at $175.99 (list price $228.79), featured on Hayneedleshopping.com. This is a good, standard choice, and will “do the trick”, for those not looking for anything too fancy. That said, it has such higher-end features as:

  • Multiple workout programs with varied intensity
  • Thumb pulse and RPM meter for heart rate monitoring
  • Adjustable magnetic resistance for smoother workouts
  • Low-impact design for extra comfort
  • Monitors speed, time, distance, calories and fat calories burned
  • Sturdy, ergonomically-designed frame

The Weslo 360 Recumbent is the least expensive stationary exercise bike found in this research, at $149. Its features include low-impact frame design, smooth, frictionless resistance system, and silent magnetic resistance (SMR) technology, which allows you to switch between high and low resistance seamlessly. The large LCD display tracks time, distance, calories burned, pulse, and more. This unit sells and is shipped through the Walgreens website. This bike is a terrific bargain if you’re short on cash, yet looking for a fitness machine that’ll do you right.

The Schwinn 230 Recumbent exercise bike goes for $399 ($464 with shipping cost) on Mercantila.com, The Fitness Equipment Superstore and the Exercise Bike Superstore. This bike features a walk-through design that’s ergonomically friendly, as well as a full range of workout modes, such as Manual, Profile, Calorie Goal, BMI Measurement, Recovery Test, Results mode, and Quick Start. The BioFit comfort-wide seat boasts a dual position lumbar support, as well as back and side bolsters.

The final word

Another important tip when shopping for stationary exercise bikes is to be mindful of the space you have available in your home for the unit. No matter the quality of workout machine, if your new home exercise bike is a poor fit, this will greatly decrease the ergonomic quality and your personal enjoyment of it. Also be sure to supervise children under 12 years old, as some moving parts can be a danger to smaller children. The bottom line with the lesser and best stationary exercise bikes is to try out each and every one you have your eye on, if possible, and if not, speak with customer service reps and ask all the questions you need to in order to get the full picture of that particular fitness machine prior to purchasing.