Table of Contents
There are some wonderful, dare I say, magical perks to working out at home. You can roll out of bed, throw on those shorts that may be a 'little' too ripe to wear in public, forget about combing out your bed head hair, skip the mouthwash, and hit the work out grind from the comfort of your garage, living room, spare bedroom, or wherever you have found space for your set up. The thing about a home gym is that you may not have commercial-level equipment that gives you the same work out as you get in a commercial-level gym. This is 2020 friends...time to change that! You can have a commercial-level gym experience complete with a killer exercise bike in your home gym. Here's the hangup...in a sea of options how do I know what equipment to purchase? I want the best bang for my buck, dog on it! We want to help you with that...what can we say, you're our people. We've compiled 10 of the best exercise bikes that we've tested at all budget levels so no matter how much you plan to spend, you can get a great bike.
Looking for a bike that is the most likely to survive the Apocolypse? Rogue has definitely outdone themselves with this one. The Rogue Echo Bike is a well-built machine that is basically a deconstructed version of a Rogue Squat Rack. With its combined rock-solid foundation and smooth ride, it's at the top of the game. It uses a belt drive system that requires virtually no maintenance and a monitor that tracks useful metrics. It is heavy, so be aware of this if you plan to move it, however, it has wheels on the front that make it easier to do so.
We’ve reviewed the Echo Bike in-depth via video and multiple articles because we like it that much. For most of our readers, this is the bike we suggest due to its durability, warranty, availability, and ease of use. If you want to be absolutely smoked at the end of a workout without having to learn a lot of technique or put a lot of thought into it, the Echo Bike is king.
The Echo Bike isn’t the only air bike on our list for our 10 Best Exercise Bikes, but it was picked as our Top Pick for the Best Air Bike for the past two years running.
The Concept 2 BikeErg is the bike that when released absolutely took the CrossFit world by storm (largely because it was made by Concept 2 which dominates the rowing machine market.) The BikeErg was first off, not designed for CrossFitters (same with their rowers,) although it’s great for those that compete and train for CrossFit, it’s actually designed more with traditional cyclists in mind.
We reviewed the BikeErg when it was initially released (in fact, at that time we had to call into Concept 2 to make our order) and despite it being absolutely used and abused in my garage gym as well as my personal training studio, it's as good as it was on day one.
Now if you're wondering if the BikeErg delivers a killer workout, the answer is a resounding, YES! It’s different than a traditional spin bike in that it uses a flywheel and damper system who’s resistance is wind rather than a brake, but regardless of this, the BikeErg can absolutely make you cry like a little girl if used properly.
Concept 2 has, essentially, taken what they do exceedingly well, building very durable and effective equipment like the Model D Rower (which is by far my favorite,) and applied it to a spin bike equivalent. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing design I will admit, but it is made to take a beating and keep on going. We have over 1M Meters on the one that we’ve been testing for a few years and it still performs like it did on day one without any maintenance. Now that’s special.
Honestly, how could we not include the Peloton Bike? There are few pieces of gym equipment that have revolutionized the home gym training market quite as much as the Peloton Bike. Yes, we've all seen the commercials...it's not just hype, this bike is revolutionary and has changed the industry. Is it pricey? Yes. Do you get what you pay for? Yes. Is it one of the most immersive training experiences you'll find from the comfort of your home? Yes. Yes. Yes.
The reason we recommend the Peloton Bike is not because it’s built extremely well. In fact, the bike itself isn’t all that good. Reviews constantly mention it breaking down, warranty replacements taking a while, and just an overall bad experience with the hardware on the bike. However, what causes people to continue flocking to the bike like seagulls on a trash-filled beach? The experience. Seriously, there is nothing else like the Peloton Bike experience. We’ve tested and reviewed many of the alternative options (and even have some recommended on this list) but few can compare to the feeling of taking a Peloton Spin Class.
An exercise bike is only as good as the workout it produces. If you don’t use it, it’s worthless outside of the clothes you use to hang on it for drying purposes. This is why Peloton is so great. Nearly every rider who owns a Peloton Bike works out more than they would without it because of the live classes. If you struggle to workout at home and have the money to spend, Peloton is truly your best option.
Looking for the best spin bike you can buy? The Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle is that bike. There’s a reason nearly every luxury commercial gym in the world has rooms filled with M3i’s and it’s not just because of the name, but because of the quality of the components used.
Sure, there’s no screen or live classes available for the bike (although you could easily get a Peloton Subscription and add an iPad to the bike,) but the physical Peloton Bike can’t compare to any Keiser Spin Bikes, let alone the M3i. One of the things the Keiser bikes are known for is how smooth they are to ride. We would be hard-pressed to find any type of exercise bike that is as smooth or as durable as a Keiser.
One thing that makes the Keiser so durable is the fact that it’s the only indoor bike built in the USA and uses extremely high-end components. Pretty much everything on the bike is metal and it is also completely adjustable. The seat height, handle height, seat angle, and the forward and backward travel of both the seat and handlebars are adjustable. The design is most similar to a road-bike frame which is a big audience for Keiser.
Not everything on the Keiser is perfect, however. The biggest drawback to the bike is the price. Their primary audience is commercial gyms, but there are many home gym owners that want the best and don’t mind paying for it. If you’re in that camp, then you can’t go wrong with the M3i, although there are certainly cheaper spin bikes that are still high quality.
And the winner for most popular AirBike goes too...the Assault AirBike. The Assault Bike is the most popular air bike currently available, largely because it’s been used in the CrossFit Games and in a ton of different CrossFit Affiliate Gyms, but also because it was the first Airdyne-type bike to come to market that didn’t look like it belonged in your Grandma’s basement (no offense Grandma.)
Ultimately, the Assault AirBike has a time-tested solid design with an oversized fan and chain drive system. It’s certainly not our favorite air bike (the Rogue Echo Bike takes the cake on that,) but there are a ton of people who still absolutely love their Assault Bike. One of the reasons we aren’t so high on the Assault Bike is due to its chain-drive system. Chain drives are notorious for requiring much more maintenance and experience failures more often than a belt drive system like what is seen on the Schwinn AD Pro Airdyne and Rogue Echo Bike.
That said, if you don’t mind getting your wrenches out every so often and lubing the chains here and there, the Assault AirBike is a proven fan bike. If you’re training for the CrossFit Games or just want an AirBike that starts and stops easier and quicker than the Echo Bike, then this is a great option for the price.
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1002 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Trainer (wow that’s a mouthful) is a budget-friendly spin bike. You've probably never heard of it and that's because all they make are exercise bikes and the only place they sell them is Amazon. This is a super quiet, belt-driven bike that won't drown out the tv while you're getting in your afternoon workout.
The SF-B1002 is, to be honest, one of the worst bikes on our list. However, the reason we recommend it is largely because of the price. There aren’t many spin bikes we’d recommend that are available for a lower price than this one. We recognize that we have many of our home gym owning readers don’t have the money to spend on $1,000 bikes so we like to offer budget-friendly alternatives. If you’re on a budget, but want a decent spin bike that will function well and not require a ton of maintenance, then Sunny Health is a great option.
Overall, the Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Trainer from SF is a pretty decent bike with a nice 30-days full refund guarantee and 1-year free parts replacement warranty if you end up not liking the bike. One of the biggest reasons we feel confident in recommending it is because of just how many positive reviews there are on Amazon. In fact, this is the most reviewed spin bike on Amazon and despite over 1,547 reviews, it has a rating of 4.1/5 stars. For a bike under $300 with free shipping to your door, that’s hard to ignore.
Wattbike is absolutely legendary among cyclists. Nearly every high-end cycling studio/real athlete training gym has used Wattbikes over the years. Unfortunately, for those in a home gym, Wattbikes have been out of reach due to their low availability and price. However, that was for the Wattbike Pro/Trainer. Recently, Wattbike released a new version specifically for those training at home and they call it the Wattbike Atom.
The Atom is, according to Wattbike, the “smartest indoor bike trainer, bar none.” Is that true, well, it probably is. Wattbike decided to take what worked on the Pro/Trainer and remove some of the things that cause it to be so expensive to create the Atom. Don’t get it twisted, the Atom is still very expensive, however, for those that want a bike that tracks nearly every metric, feels eerily similar to riding on the road, and is made to last, then the Atom is a great option.
Although the Atom is a beautiful looking bike, what really sets it apart is all of the data and analysis that goes on behind the scenes. Thanks to its seamless connectivity and data accuracy at +/- 2% across the bikes full power range of 0=2,0000 watts you’ll always know where you need to improve and how you’re progressing. This is certainly not the bike for those of you that just want a nice ride. This is for those that are serious about their training, know they will put the bike to use, and have the money to spend. We certainly wouldn’t recommend this to most reading.
Before the Rogue Echo Bike was introduced, the Schwinn AD Pro Airdyne was our Top Pick for the Best Air Bike. It’s since been unseated by Rogue and there are more competitors at lower prices, however, it is still an incredible bike.
The AD Pro has great features like a belt drive system, outstanding monitor, and great overall build quality. The overall design of the Airdyne Pro is excellent which makes things easy to adjust and gives the bike a comfortable ride pretty much out of the box. While Schwinn has been making air bikes for much longer than anyone else (the first Airdyne was introduced in 1978,) it wasn't until the Airdyne Pro was released that Schwinn had an air bike designed for true fitness and commercial applications (seriously, have you seen how many older, broken Airdyne’s are still on the market?)
The main reason the Schwinn Airdyne Pro is our former top pick is due to its belt drive system, price, and overall build quality. The Schwinn AD Pro is still nearly $1,000 at most places which is much more expensive than other comparable options. The AD Pro is an excellent bike, we just feel the Rogue Echo is a superior value. Out of all the air bikes that we’ve reviewed (27, as of this writing,) this has been one of the most durable and most enjoyable to use by nearly everyone we’ve had try it. It is expensive (please Schwinn, lower the price to compete with others,) but Schwinn went back to the drawing board and pretty much completely reworked their original Airdyne’s to create something truly special for the modern age.
If you’re looking for the Peloton experience, but don’t want to pay quite what a Peloton costs with a very similar bike, then the Echelon Smart Connect Bike is a great option. No doubt about it, the classes on the Echelon Bikes aren’t anywhere near as engaging as Peloton or as well-produced, but the Echelon Bike is over half the cost of a Peloton Bike and to be honest, it’s pretty much the same bike quality.
It’s obvious that Echelon is a copy of Peloton. Quite literally, everything from the name of the bike to the design of their website is a mirror image of Peloton. What isn’t a mirror image is their classes. Although they’re engaging, they don’t live up to the level of production that Peloton has created. However, for most people, this doesn’t really matter. Also, if you really want the Peloton Live Classes, you can still pay for their subscription and use your Echelon Bike.
One reason the Echelon Bike is cheaper than the Peloton Bike is that it doesn’t include a screen. Echelon instead included an iPad holder that the bike connects to via Bluetooth and then allows users to track metrics in a similar manner as Peloton. Again, don’t get mixed up, Peloton is a much better overall experience. However, if you just want to get the job done, this will do it.
The Xebex AirMill is essentially a more budget-friendly version of the ever-popular Assault AirBike. Initially, Xebex released the Air Bike, which we rated very high, but in looking to hit a lower price point, Xebex came out with the Airmill that features all of the same things as the Air Bike, but with different arms and a much lower price.
The Xebex Airmill and the Assault Bike are very much identical. Nearly everything about them is the same from their chain-driven system to their frame. The main difference between the bikes is the price and the monitor. The frame on the Airmill is as solid as they come. In fact, because the frame of the bike is so heavy and well-built, it shakes very little; mainly at the start of sprints.
We prefer the Assault Bike over the AirMill, but the AirMill can often be had for less and it’s a very similar bike. If you don’t like our other fan bike recommendations, we suggest taking a look at this one.
When building a home gym on a budget, determining what equipment to buy and where to put things can be difficult. So, to give you some inspiration, here are the 10 best budget home gym setups we've encountered. Read More
Every year, after the CrossFit Games, Rogue Fitness sells some of the Games-used gear at a big discount. Here's the details. Read More
Amazon offers the largest marketplace in the world, which in turn means there are many products to help build a home on a budget. This will be a consistently updated article as new items are introduced to the market. If you're looking to build a home gym, Amazon is a great place to start. Read More
The Squat Rack is the centerpiece of nearly every home gym. In the Ultimate Squat Rack Guide we cover your most asked questions on power racks and give our recommendations at various price points. Read More