This relatively budget-friendly option offers an adjustable resistance knob — and doesn't require a membership fee. With that, it lacks some of the bells and whistles we'll see below. Whether you require those is a personal preference, of course: There's no screen. And the chain drive may make it slightly noisy.
The IC7.9 is designed to work with multiple streaming fitness apps — like Peloton's — without the cost of a Peloton exercise bike. It relies on magnetic resistance and while it doesn't come with a tablet, a holder designed for it will allow you to equip yours without blocking the bike's performance feedback. Dual-sided pedals let you use any pair of sneakers or clip-in cycling shoes. Finally, both the seat and handlebar are adjustable.
While this $699 NordicTrack option is an investment, it's relatively much more affordable than the $1,000-plus options we'll be getting into below. A 5-inch display can show you stats like heart rate, distance and intensity. The bike is also equipped with trainer-created routines that adjust your workout as you go — NordicTrack adds at least one workout recommendation for you each day so it'll take a while to run out of options.
An adjustable seat and ergonomic handlebars — with integrated heart monitors — and wheels for portability make for a feature-heavy and relatively affordable at-home fitness solution from a leading brand like Schwinn. The LCD screen comes with 29 included exercise routines — no trainers here for smart workout but the bike can react with resistance to your heart rate, allowing for up to four different user profiles.
Schwinn's take on the stationary bike is equipped with pedals that allow for different types of footwear — you can wear regular sneakers or utilize higher-end clip-in shoes. It's the product of a renowned cycling brand, which might matter to some. And it comes equipped with padded handlebars. Like the more affordable option above, there's no built-in screen, although there’s a spot for your own tablet if you wanted to rely on its offerings.
Elevated stationary bikes for at-home cycling
Lindsay Goldman, the director of membership for USA Cycling, a nonprofit group focused on cycling as a sport, advises serious riders to prepare for a hefty price tag if they’re looking for quality equipment. “Generally, the more money that you spend on cycling equipment and gear, the better it will be,” Goldman said.
As you saw in the options above, more basic stationary bikes don't have to hit $1,000 — and allow for a similar physical experience as more expensive brands. It's when you introduce screens, monitors and trackers — as well as features allowing for social connectedness — that prices climb significantly.
The NordicTrack stationary bike includes a one-year membership to its iFit service, an interactive personal training program. Its 14-inch HD touchscreen allow for 360-degree rotation and streams iFit content directly. It also shows up with two three-pound dumbbells for cross training exercises and its seat and handlebars are fully adjustable.
The latest EX5S Bike model comes with a 21.5-inch HD touchscreen that flips 180 degrees for live streaming workouts. It's equipped with adjustable handlebars and has been outfitted with a new motor for more precise resistance levels. If incline and decline cycling are important to you, note the Echelon won't let you adjust either.
The Keiser allows you to adjust its handlebars and the seat to accommodate your specific preference and the pre-tensioned resistance belt is designed to stay durable. It's also Bluetooth-enabled so you can stream directly from it or connect your smart devices to it. As you're setting the bike up yourself, note that it might be difficult to assemble. It doesn't offer a screen but you can use the tablet holder to follow virtual classes with your own smart device.
"When you have had enough indoor training, go outside and look around," Goldman said. "You have to have both — good quality training, but also time where your soul connects and gets fresh air. Balance is critical."
Exercise bike alternative
You can still cycle without a bike — in a sense.
The Cubii under-desk elliptical is exactly what it sounds like: It allows you to cycle while you work or are sitting with other tasks. It connects to your smartphone to track your stats, as well sync with your steps and burnt calories. Designed to be especially quiet, it should be less distracting to fellow remote workers than other options. A more affordable option, the Cubii Jr. cuts out the smart connection and replaces it with a small display to track stats.
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