“where cheap is chic” — wisebread
In this review:
  1. Cheap Exercise Bikes
  2. Exercise Bike Programs, Exercise Bike Resistance
  3. Best Exercise Bikes, Compact Exercise Bikes
  4. Exercise Bike Reviews
  5. Exercise Bike Deals
  6. Discount Exercise Bikes Features Comparison Table

Cheap Exercise Bikes Buying Guide

Whether you're rehabilitating a sore knee, training for your next triathlon, or just starting out with an exercise or weight-loss regimen, a cheap exercise bike is a valuable addition to your home gym. Medical experts and trainers praise exercise bicycles, a.k.a.

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stationary or workout bikes, for their low-impact workout (gentle on joints) and ease of use.

There are many advantages to having an exercise bike at home. For one, a cheap exercise bike is far less costly than a gym membership, and the convenience factor increases the chances you'll actually use it. The experts at WebMD note that an in-home exercise bike lets you fit in a 30-minute workout while watching your favorite TV show, saves you the bother and expense of special clothing or shoes needed for other forms of exercise, and frees you from worries about the weather. Better yet, these experts actually recommend an exercise bike that's cheap, particularly if you're a newbie and not sure whether you'll stick with it. The most important thing, they say, is to get up and get moving.

Staying healthy and keeping motivated doesn't have to mean spending up to $4,000 for a spinner bike with thousands of customized workouts and a built-in high-resolution data/entertainment screen. It's equally possible to get a good workout with a cheap exercise bike that costs less than $400, although Allexercisebikes.net suggests springing for a pricier model if you expect to ride more than five miles a day. Major players in the home exercise bikes market include Cybex, Healthrider, Kettler, LifeCycle, Nautilus, NordicTrack, Precor, ProForm, Schwinn, and Stamina.

There are several types of cheap exercise bikes. Upright exercise bikes mimic the experience of an actual bicycle. Spine specialists say the forward leaning position on an upright exercise bike is particularly good for people with spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis. Spinner bikes are a type of upright bicycle that's acquired a following in recent years, particularly in gym exercise classes and among die-hard cyclists who use it as an indoor training alternative. Recumbent exercise bikes let you sit back while pedaling with your legs out front. Recumbent exercise bikes are recommended for seniors, people with joint problems, and those just starting out, but may provide a less strenuous cardio workout. Dual action exercise bikes have handlebars that move, thus incorporating your upper body and delivering a more complete workout. Most, but not all, dual action models are priced beyond the Cheapism range. And finally, you can always convert a bicycle you already own into an exercise bike with a stand that costs about $50.

Regardless which type of cheap exercise bike suits your fitness level and goals, it should possess several critical qualities. Chief among them is comfort -- because any exercise bike that irritates is one you won't use -- so pay attention to the seat and the bike's size. You should be able to sit for extended periods and be confident that your knees won't hit the handlebars and your feet can reach the pedals. (Consumer Reports found that the specs for some models overstate the maximum user height that can be comfortably accommodated.) Also check the maximum weight a cheap exercise bike can handle. Expensive, gym-quality stationary bikes are good up to 350 pounds but the maximum weight on cheap exercise bikes usually stops at 250 or 300 pounds. If possible, test-ride the equipment before committing.

Also be on the lookout for certain features. A good cheap exercise bike can be adjusted to your improving fitness levels by letting you increase the resistance you feel as you pedal. Many cheap exercise bikes come with a number of preset resistance levels as well as workout programs that can be customized or ignored. Consoles with a workout tracker that keep tabs on your progress are common, and a few cheap exercise bikes even come with heart rate monitors and screens that display calming scenes (like vacation spots), video games, or workouts led by fitness gurus.

Review continues below

Among the many brands and models out there, we found several high-quality, cheap exercise bikes that should suit your frugal budget. Our two favorites are recumbent exercise bikes that give value for the price. The Schwinn 240 Recumbent (starting at $399) stands out for the variety of workout programs, build quality, and the ease of kicking it up (or down) a notch, and the Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle (starting at $154) wins points for its low price and quiet and smooth operation. Our runner-up choices include the ProForm 290 Indoor Cycle Trainer (starting at $297), a bare-bones, mechanical upright spinning cycle that provides an intense workout, and the NordicTrack Upright Exercise Cycle GX 2.0 (starting at $299), which boasts plenty of challenging preset programs and a rich feature set. We also found one exercise bike that isn't all it could be. The Stamina 15-0200 InTone Folding Recumbent Bike (starting at $153) scores with its small footprint, storability, and ease of assembly but is sabotaged by durability issues.

by Elizabeth Sheer (Google+ Profile)

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Best Cheap Exercise Bikes

Schwinn 240 Recumbent
Gold Medal

Schwinn 240 Recumbent

Sturdy, smooth, comfortable, and quiet as a mouse, this recumbent exercise bike wins rave reviews from experienced and novice riders alike. Numerous preset workout programs and resistance levels and an adjustable seat with lumbar support keep 'em movin'.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle
Gold Medal

Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle

Magnetic resistance makes for smooth and nearly silent operation of this lightweight and cheap recumbent bike. With its eight resistance levels, it's a good choice for beginning exercisers and those recovering from injury.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap Exercise Bikes

ProForm 290 SPX Indoor Cycle Trainer
Gold Medal

ProForm 290 SPX Indoor Cycle Trainer

An upright stationary bike that's a great indoor training alternative, this is really a spinner bike that operates by friction with unlimited resistance. The seat's a bit hard for some, but the bike provides an excellent workout.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
NordicTrack Upright GX 2.0
Gold Medal

NordicTrack Upright GX 2.0

With lots of preset workouts and 20 resistance levels, heart-rate monitoring and an iPod port, this stationary bike keeps things interesting. It's big and sturdy, and features a seat that adjusts both horizontally and vertically.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Don't Bother

Stamina 15-0200 InTone Folding Recumbent Bike

A very low-cost semi-recumbent bike, this model suits average-size people who don't expect to do any hard riding. Its small footprint and folding design have strong appeal, but issues with build quality give us pause.

Read more »

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