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Fitness equipment is more popular now than ever, with so many people working, learning and doing just about everything from home. It can be challenging to find anything in stock near you, with no idea of when your preferred exercise bike will be available to buy.
Naturally, that's where the internet comes in, making it a lot easier to get the type of bike you want most. Looking for live and on-demand fitness classes on a machine that automatically increases and decreases resistance - or that even allows a coach to remotely shift your settings to give you an extra push (or a break!)? Shopping online gives you access to not just one company but several that offer that boutique-style workout experience.
Friday, September 17th
NordicTrack is one of two exercise bike retailers owned by ICON Health and Fitness, along with ProForm. You'll see a lot of similarities between those two brands, especially when it comes to their iFit membership platform and all of its features (like on-demand and live fitness classes).
Top features at a great price
You've got three style options with NordicTrack: upright, recumbent and studio. They're all competitively priced between $999 and $1999, and even the most affordable one comes with plenty of features: Bluetooth-compatible speakers, pivoting tablet holder, 7" Smart HD color touchscreen, 32 on-board workouts plus on-demand through iFit, and 24 digital resistance levels.
Let's ride up and down a hill!
The bikes sold by both NordicTrack and ProForm are pretty similar in terms of features, but you'll notice that NordicTrack tends to come in on the higher side price-wise. To find out why, we reached out to their online chat (pro tip: you can access that chat on either site, and they can help you compare bikes across both sites! Very helpful!). It turns out that two of the NordicTrack models, the s22i and s15i, have a feature that we haven't seen anywhere else: the ride can actually incline and decline. Yes, just like a treadmill, that's really a thing - so when you're following an iFit ride that has you riding up the hills of Wine Country - your bike will shift to imitate the ups and downs. Isn't that cool?
Top features at a great price
You've got three style options with NordicTrack: upright, recumbent and studio. They're all competitively priced between $999 and $1999, and even the most affordable one comes with plenty of features: Bluetooth-compatible speakers, pivoting tablet holder, 7" Smart HD color touchscreen, 32 on-board workouts plus on-demand through iFit, and 24 digital resistance levels.
Let's ride up and down a hill!
The bikes sold by both NordicTrack and ProForm are pretty similar in terms of features, but you'll notice that NordicTrack tends to come in on the higher side price-wise. To find out why, we reached out to their online chat (pro tip: you can access that chat on either site, and they can help you compare bikes across both sites! Very helpful!). It turns out that two of the NordicTrack models, the s22i and s15i, have a feature that we haven't seen anywhere else: the ride can actually incline and decline. Yes, just like a treadmill, that's really a thing - so when you're following an iFit ride that has you riding up the hills of Wine Country...your bike will shift to imitate the ups and downs. Isn't that cool?
One year of free live and on-demand classes
You'll get a free year of iFit membership with any NordicTrack exercise bike (which is another reason the prices are higher here than Proform, where they make the iFit subscription an add-on cost from the get-go). iFit gives you access to some amazing workouts, both live and on-demand, just like the other big-name-in-exercise-bikes-we-won't-mention. You can check out user ratings for specific rides and pick one that sounds good, or just select one that appeals to you. Out of nearly 300 ride reviews, iFit averaged 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Get the swivel for greater versatility
If you plan on using these classes not just for cycling but also for yoga, strength training and more, consider getting a NordicTrack bike that has a swivel screen. That lets you position it at any angle you need, without the bike getting in your way.
Extra savings, free shipping and set-up
Keep an eye out for pop-ups as you browse the NordicTrack site. We spotted one offering a $25 discount on purchases of $399 and up if we signed up for marketing texts. Might as well snag some savings, right? Shipping is always free, no code needed, and your delivery includes in-home set-up of your bike.
Excellent attention to customer service
NordicTrack has been around for a long time: over 40 years, to be exact. Parent company Icon Health and Fitness maintains an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. While the company has gotten its fair share of complaints from customers, their reps do a noteworthy job of responding to each of them. We were pleased to see how quickly we were able to reach someone via live chat, and our experience with the representative was professional, knowledgeable, and actually fun!
Top all-around retailer of exercise bikes
There are a lot of brands to choose from when it comes to exercise bikes, and NordicTrack presents the best overall package: durable equipment, generous warranty coverage, affordable pricing, and lots of the hottest gadgets and connectivity options. For all of these reasons, they've earned our top ranking and should be the first place you shop for your exercise bike.
Since 1986 Bowflex has asserted itself as a titan in the home fitness industry. Offering high quality and innovate equipment that delivers for individuals from all walks of life, and all levels of fitness, Bowflex has clearly distinguished itself from competitors.
Award-winning exercise equipment
This commitment and dedication to unique and efficient products for consumers have even earned Bowflex numerous awards, including: the ISPO Award in Health & Fitness (2018), the IDA Award in Outdoor & Exercise Equipment (2017), and several other prestigious awards for specific Bowflex products. Clearly, Bowflex designs and creates top quality exercise products.
Setting itself apart
Now, at long last, Bowflex is making its debut into the Exercise Bike market - and with a very impressive entry. Although Bowflex only offers one exercise bike model - which certainly narrows their offered supply and limits their ability to meet demand - the Bowflex C6 bike is quickly setting itself apart at the top of the field. Marketed as a more affordable alternative to the much acclaimed Pelaton bike, the C6 Bike offers attractive, technology-friendly, and high-powered performance that meets every level of expertise without breaking the bank.
One of the most impressive features of the C6 Bike include its ability to connect with any Smart Screen (tablet, phone, Apple TV, Chromecast, I-Pad, and so on). This feature also means that the user can stream any fitness app of their choice-- including the Peloton app., Zwift app., and soon the Explore the World app. (plus more). The bike also has a backlit LCD metric console, offers magnetic resistance with 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels, and comes with a Bluetooth enabled heart rate armband monitor. Additionally, there are two water bottle holders, and two 3lb dumbbells (included with purchase). All of this, which is offered at roughly 40% of the advertised price of the Peloton Basics Package.
While Bowflex does limit itself by only offering one exercise bike option for consumers, the output of the product offered is simply flat-out superior and at a price that soundly beats that of many competitors. While it could be viewed as a negative that the C6 Bike does not come with its own tablet display, we find that most consumers appreciate the freedom of the bike to connect with any device that is most convenient for the individual. Well worth the wait, Bowflex is entering the Exercise Bike race and quickly spinning its wheels far ahead of its competitors.
New to the exercise bike market
As the Bowflex C6 Bike just hit the market late October 2019, the product is still gaining usage and reviews. However, while the quantity of reviews is still relatively small, the quality of those reviews are glowing. We continue to be impressed with the near universal satisfaction of consumers, and are certain this product will continue to exponentially rise in esteem.
Bowflex could continue to best serve customers by offering a variety of products and honoring the differing needs of unique individuals. Hopefully the success of the C6 Bike will provide the credibility and public interest for them to continue doing just that. The quality of the C6 Bike, combined with the incredible price and multiple included amenities, makes Bowflex a fantastic option for consumers to consider.
Isn't Schwinn synonymous with riding a bike? You bet. Your first ride ever may have even been on a Schwinn! Fortunately, you can capture that feeling again, indoors, with one of their exercise bikes.
Lots of bike styles
Schwinn has four exercise bike styles to choose from: Indoor, Upright, Recumbent, and Airdyne. Amazingly, all of them are priced under $1000 and come with free shipping if you live in the continental United States. Chances are good that you already know the differences among those bike styles, and we can tell you that Schwinn is comparable to and competitive with rival retailers in each design.
Big workouts, little price
If you're looking for a studio-style ride with the ability to follow live workouts, we recommend you look at Schwinn's highest-priced model, the IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike. Priced at $999, it's one of the best values you'll find for a bike that offers integration with fitness apps like Zwift and the Big Name in Home Cycling We Won't Name Here. You get a free 6-month subscription to the JRNY app too. This bike even includes 3-lb dumbbells with cradles that attach to the bike, a Bluetooth-enabled armband monitor, and dual-sided pedals with cages that let you ride with or without clip-in cycling shoes. Out of nearly 3700 customer reviews of this bike, it gets an average of 4.6 stars: impressive when you consider that you'd spend more than twice the money to get the same features (or fewer!) with many equivalent indoor cycles sold by other makers.
Watch out for weight limits
Among the other models Schwinn carries, it's really a matter of preferences and needs. Just keep an eye on the weight capacity, because some of their bikes only go up to a maximum of 250 pounds - and there are plenty of fit individuals who weigh more than that!
Owned by Nautilus
Schwinn's listing with the Better Business Bureau falls under the heading of parent company, Nautilus. The BBB gives Nautilus and all of its related brands a decent "A-" rating. There were about 150 complaints registered there in the year leading up to this review, but bear in mind that they apply to fitness equipment branded as not just Schwinn but also Bowflex and Nautilus itself.
Generous 6-week return policy, average warranty
You'll have six weeks to put your Schwinn bike to the test. If you're not completely satisfied, you can get a full refund of what you paid - minus shipping and handling fees for the return. The warranty on Schwinn bikes is relatively good: not the most generous we've ever seen, but not as short either.
Great feedback from Schwinn owners
Hopefully that won't be a problem since most customer reviews on all Schwinn exercise bikes are 4 or 5 stars. We recommend reading through the buyer comments on the Schwinn site, to get a feel for how each model you like holds up under normal home use. We enjoyed hearing that the ride is smooth and quiet, and that the majority of shoppers would recommend the bike they bought to a friend.
One of the best
It's nice to see that a nostalgic brand like Schwinn (*Cue a bicycle-related song by Queen*) has still got it in today's age of tech features and high shopper expectations. You won't be disappointed with what you find here, and you'll get a bike to ride triumphantly into the sunset - virtually, of course! Schwinn gets one of our highest rankings for exercise bikes.
ProForm is the partner brand to NordicTrack: you can think of it as the little sister of the pair, not quite as fancy but still with features to consider. Both are a part of the ICON Health and Fitness group, and you'll see a lot of similarities between the two online stores.
Superior value for the money
ProForm has some of the best values in exercise bikes on the market. For example, consider the 440 ES. Priced at $699, this recumbent model delivers 25 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance, generous warranty coverage of 10 years on the frame and a year on parts and labor, and an easy-to-read backlit display. The highest end of the price spectrum at ProForm is represented by the Studio Bike Pro 22, selling for $1499. You'll get a huge 22" touchscreen that swivels (for easier viewing of on-demand, non-cycling workouts), a free year of iFit Family, and both seat and handlebars can be adjusted to match your unique physiology. Comparable bikes from other companies usually sell for at least $1000 more: why spend that if you don't have to?
On-demand and live workouts optional but available
Another great feature of ProForm bikes: they're all compatible with the iFit platform, which lets you access live and on-demand workouts. You'll get a free one-month membership trial, but after that you'll pay $180 per year if you want to keep using the service. (It's optional: you can continue to ride using all of the non-membership capabilities of the bike with no problem.) It's worth keeping, though: from youngest to oldest, your family members can do weight training, yoga classes, or get a good stretch - but we recommend you choose a bike with a movable screen for easier viewing, if you don't plan on using your own tablet or smartphone instead.
No incline/decline rides
ProForm gets edged out slightly by NordicTrack because, according to the ever-so-helpful representative we got on live chat, only NordicTrack bikes have the option of incline/decline rides. That's a pretty small factor, but she (the rep) actually has a NT bike and said she thinks the extra money is worth the feature. You may think otherwise, but it's good to know that's what you're paying for when comparing the top two models between ProForm and NordicTrack.
Check out reviews from previous customers
This company aims to be customer-friendly, with free shipping on all exercise bikes and warranty policies that go beyond many of their rivals. ICON has an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, which means they do a solid job of responding to any issues as they come up. But, if you need more convincing, we encourage you to read the reviews under any bike that interests you: they're unfiltered, which is unusual (but a good thing!), and you might get some insights from actual users about what to expect from your equipment.
Top pick for budget-friendly, durable exercise bikes
If NordicTrack bikes are priced just beyond your reach, don't hesitate to get one from ProForm. You'll get a terrific workout, your bike will have warranty coverage for a long time, and you won't have to break the bank to pay for it. You're going to love the iFit classes, if you choose to use them, and your overall experience with this company is likely to be a good one. ProForm is one of our favorite budget-friendly places to get a reliable exercise bike.
Xterra Fitness has something for just about everyone with a wide range of treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes and other home fitness equipment to choose from. They're one of just a few retailers offering compact, foldable designs that are perfect for anyone with big goals and not much extra space at home!
Nothing fancy, just good exercise bikes
We'll come right out and say it: Xterra exercise bikes are not going to make you think you're working out at the gym. Most of their equipment is not the sturdiest you'll ever ride, and you're not going to get live fitness classes on a fancy touchscreen. What you will get is a decent bike at a price that will leave you plenty of room to buy whatever else you'd like to complement your workout.
Bikes under $300? Yes!
For example, Xterra's UB120 Upright Bike comes in at under $200 (that's not a typo). You'll have a teeny-tiny 1.7" display and just 8 levels of flywheel resistance, but again, it's less than $200. How about a recumbent bike for under $300? Same deal: miniscule screen, not much resistance, but an unbeatable price on the SB120.
Foldable bikes for small spaces
This is also the only place we found foldable bikes. They're vaguely reminiscent of an ironing board in the way they collapse for storage, but if space is at a premium where you live (or work!), you've got the FB150 and FB160 to choose from, with price tags of $199.99 and $219.99, respectively.
Nothing over $1,200
You'll have exercise bike options in other bike styles as well, including a studio-style model with the wheel in the back and adjustable seat/handlebars for maximum fit, and two air bike designs that let you push and pull the movable handlebars for a full-body workout. Even at the highest end of Xterra's pricing, you're still only looking at spending $1199.99.
Free shipping, limited warranty
All of Xterra's exercise bikes ship for free, and their warranty can go up to a year on most components and a lifetime on the frame. Of course, that's for the higher-end products; the least expensive ones are usually only covered for 90 days to a year.
Few bells and whistles
What don't you get with Xterra? It's probably obvious by now: these aren't the bikes that will integrate with your Garmin or Apple Watch or have you getting live coaching while you ride (unless you buy that kind of fitness subscription separately). You may also need to watch out for user weight capacity: some Xterra models max out at just 225 lbs.; we're not sure about you, but some of the healthiest people we know weigh in at more than that!
US-based customer service
Xterra doesn't have a listing we could find with the Better Business Bureau, probably because of the big brand family they belong to: it includes Spirit Fitness, SOLE, and Dyaco (the parent company). Although Dyaco itself seems to be headquartered in Taiwan, Xterra has US-based customer service out of Arkansas and can be reached during regular business hours.
Thousands of 5-star reviews
Looking at other sources of feedback, Xterra bikes perform remarkably well. For instance, while the FB150 Folding Bike had a modest 11 reviews on the Xterra site and all were 5-star ratings, we found a third-party site that had nearly 15 thousand reviews of the same model - and that still worked out to be an average of 4.6/5 stars. That makes this one surprisingly reliable exercise bike.
Ideal for shoppers who need a bargain bike
Sometimes, you don't need something with cutting-edge technology or the newest thing on the market. You just need something affordable that works. That's exactly what Xterra can do for you. For low-priced exercise bikes that get the job done and have a reputation for reliability, Xterra is your best choice.
Yosuda is a Chinese company that originated in 2018. You'll notice some inconsistencies with information and grammatical errors around the website, but Yosuda is a legitimate, reliable exercise bike company. They mainly sell family fitness equipment like under-desk bikes and stationary bikes, but they have plans to offer more options in the future like trampolines, treadmills, and pull-up equipment.
Covers the basics
Yosuda doesn't have a big selection of products, which might be a good thing since it makes it pretty easy to decide what to buy. There is one under-desk cycling bike and two full-size stationary bikes. The stationary bikes have adjustable handlebars and seats, iPad holders, multifunctional LCD monitors to track distance, speed, calories, and more. They have adjustable resistance, a silent belt drive, and rollaway wheels for easy transport. You'll get everything you need to meet your cardio fitness goals while having fun doing it.
Buy spare parts
In the event that your bike seat wears out or you need a new LCD monitor or spare bolts for your bike, you can buy them from Yosuda. If you want to add a water bottle holder to your bike, you can get that from the website as well. This is useful in case you need to replace small parts down the road .
If you sign up for Yosuda's email list, you'll get a discount code for 20% off your order. This is a huge savings if you're spending a couple hundred dollars on a bike! The Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike YB001 costs $323.99 and the Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike YB007A costs $373.99. All products from Yosuda ship for free, so you don't have to worry about that added cost!
If you aren't 100% satisfied with your exercise bike, Yosuda will allow you to return it within 30 days of receipt. You'll need to email their customer service team to request a return shipping label. As long as your bike isn't damaged, missing parts, or stained, you will be able to get a full refund. Unlike most other exercise bike retailers, Yosuda doesn't mention anything about warranty coverage, so we can assume you'll need to contact customer service if you have issues with your bike after the 30-day return window, but can't guarantee you'll get anything replaced.
Yosuda isn't rated by the Better Business Bureau. This is likely because their company is so new. However, together, the two Yosuda exercise bikes have over 100 customer reviews on their website with thousands of reviews found elsewhere online. Overall, people are extremely satisfied with the bikes and describe them as comfortable, functional, sturdy, and a good value. Some mentioned that the bike creaks and wobbles a bit, but still works great and isn't too hard to assemble. For under $400, Yosuda's exercise bikes are some of the least expensive options on the market. If you want the ability to workout from home without spending a fortune, this is a good choice.
Want to buy your fitness equipment from the original manufacturer of electronic stationary bikes? That would be Life Fitness, a household name in exercise equipment for about 50 years. Look around at a gym near you and you'll likely find at least one treadmill, elliptical or cycle with the Life Fitness name on it.
Indoor Cycling or Exercise Bikes
As you're shopping the Life Fitness site, you should be aware that they categorize their bikes in two different ways: Indoor Cycling and Exercise Bikes. Indoor Cycling models are more like what you'd find in a competitive studio setting, with seats that move forward or backward as needed, and grips that allow you to lean over the handlebars for out-of-the-saddle sprints or hill work. Exercise Bikes encompasses both upright and recumbent styles, still giving you a great cardio workout without looking like you just stepped out of a SoulCycle location somewhere.
Nice range of tech features
Even at the lowest price point ($1588), you'll find that Life Fitness exercise bikes are well-appointed with respect to technology. While you may need to bring your own smartphone or tablet to follow along with your favorite workout (or catch up on your latest TV binge), you can connect your bike to sync with most of today's apps like Fitbit, Garmin, and Apple Health.
Pay a LOT more for upgraded monitor
You'll have to move up on the price scale to get access to on-demand (not live), instructor-led classes through Life Fitness on Demand. For example, the Club Series + Recumbent Lifecycle was priced at $2,253 with the standard SE3 console; to stream classes, you'd need to upgrade to the S3HD monitor, bringing the base price all the way up to $6889.
On-demand access included with no time limit
They also don't come out and tell you if you have to pay for the LFOD membership. We had to search for it, and the website that came up was definitely geared towards gym owners who wanted to give members access to the platform. (Eventually we found that it's included with the purchase of the upgraded display, so figure that extra $4500-ish covers your LFOD...indefinitely.)
Disappointing return policy
Life Fitness doesn't offer the same generous trial period and return policy as they did previously. Their current policy states that returns may only be requested within the first 15 days after delivery, and they'll only be approved if the exercise bike was defective, damaged in transit, or the wrong product. If you're spending over $7,000 on a piece of exercise equipment, don't you want more reassurance than that?
Bye-bye, free shipping
Another disappointing change is their shipping fees. You used to get free delivery on all exercise bikes. Now you'll pay up to $300, depending on which bike you choose. There was no option at checkout to upgrade that delivery to include setup, either.
Excellent warranty and reputation
And yet, Life Fitness still has an "A+' reputation and nearly a half-century in business, with almost no complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau in the last three years. They provide excellent warranty coverage on all of their bikes, with a lifetime guarantee on the frame and anywhere from 3-5 years on electronic and mechanical parts. Their equipment can be found in fitness centers, gyms and studios around the world: if you want to replicate your experience working out there, these exercise bikes would be a great addition to your home.
Great bikes - at high prices
But you'll pay for it, in more ways than one. With no financing options, expensive shipping fees, and much higher than average prices, Life Fitness is going to be out of range for a lot of customers. We can't argue with the quality of the equipment or the solid reputation for customer service, but you might get more for your money with another exercise bike company.
If you could improve your fitness with a workout that lasts less than 9 minutes, would you jump at the chance? That's what CAROL offers with their novel exercise bike system. With sprints at an intensity three times higher than the average HIIT cycling class, with scientifically-timed changes to resistance, you'll be doing all the work necessary to improve your cardiovascular health - in a fraction of the time.
Bike calibrates to your unique physiology
We can easily say that CAROL is the most unique exercise bike setup we've ever seen. It starts right away with the setup: your first three rides are known as "ramp-ups" and you'll only have access to the main workout, with sprints lasting just 10 seconds. On rides 4-6, CAROL calibrates itself to your efforts on 10-, 15-, and 20-second sprints, calculating the precise resistance you need to reach your specific maximum intensity. As you continue to use the bike after ride 6, the bike measures multiple metrics each time and recalculates to reflect any changes to your fitness (up or down).
Six main ride settings
There are six ride settings used on the CAROL bike: intense, energizer, fat burn, constant power, endurance, and free ride. Most of these programs get your workout done in about 8 minutes, though you have options to go longer. And, if you want to connect with a live or on-demand workout through a third-party app, CAROL has the capability for that too.
Not for users over 287 lbs.
This exercise bike might not be suitable for all users. It has a weight capacity of 130 kg (yes, the company is based in England; that's 286.6 lbs. for those of us on this side of the pond), so heavier athletes might have to look to a different brand if they need a capacity of 325, 350, or 400 lbs.
100-day trial: more details, please!
We think a 100-day risk-free trial sounds pretty awesome. There wasn't much said about the particulars, though. What if something breaks during that time? What if it's not exactly in like-new condition? Will CAROL pay for the return costs? Those are details that are usually offered by companies with similar trial periods, but we didn't find it on this site no matter how hard we dug.
Three pricing packages
Pricing for the CAROL bike is surprisingly competitive. Your price depends on the warranty coverage you prefer: starting at $2,395 for a 1-year warranty and going up to $2,795 for a 3-year plan. We don't necessarily love that way of doing things - a lot of exercise bikes give you that length of coverage or longer (up to lifetime on the frame and 5-10 years on everything else) - but it definitely simplifies the shopping process. The two packages above the base include goodies like a chest belt (heart rate monitor), tablet holder, bottle holder, and floor mat, depending on which one you buy. Your cost will also include a monthly membership fee of $12.
Still too new to decide
All of this aside, CAROL is still really new. At the time of this review, they said that there were 10,000 riders in their community: sounds like a lot, but compared with hundreds of thousands (or millions) of fitness enthusiasts on other platforms, it's pretty small. Beyond the handful of testimonials on the CAROL website, we only found a little under 100 customer reviews elsewhere. The majority of them had really positive things to say, especially about CAROL's customer service, and they like the efficient nature of the bike's programmed workouts. A few said that the bike doesn't pedal as smoothly as some comparable models from other manufacturers, especially when the rider is out of the saddle, and it's not always easy to change the resistance settings to follow a live workout. (It doesn't happen automatically because its controls aren't integrated with any third-party service you may use.)
CAROL absolutely adds something to the exercise bike world that we haven't seen before. We're expecting a lot from this company and we're pretty sure they're only going to keep trending upward. Expect to see CAROL rise in our rankings as more customer feedback (and praise?) rolls in as time goes by!
Peloton: it's probably the first name you think of when shopping for an exercise bike. And why wouldn't you? Their fitness classes have taken the home workout scene to a new level: there's no need to go to the gym to get a sweat session perfectly geared towards your ability (and maybe your competitiveness too!).
Choose between Bike and Bike+
There are just two models of exercise bikes to choose from at Peloton, with just a few slight differences between them. The Bike is $1,895 plus tax with a 22" touchscreen. The Bike+ is $2,495 plus tax with a 24" touchscreen that swivels 360 degrees, Apple Watch pairing, AutoFollow resistance and a forward facing sound bar. Both have the same Membership content (which ranges anywhere from $12.95 to $39 a month, depending on the promotions available when you sign up), Bluetooth capability and standard headphone jack.
Worth extra for the swiveling screen
Is it worth the extra money to get the Bike+? For most people, probably. You get the obvious upgrades on the technology - bigger touchscreen, greater connectivity, and so on - but the swiveling screen makes it much easier to do the non-cycling workouts. You just flip the screen in whatever direction you need to be able to follow your favorite strength class or yoga session (instead of trying to see it from behind your Peloton bike).
Have to order toe cages if needed
Both Peloton bikes use clip-in pedals by default. That means they're harder to use with your regular gym shoes, and you'll need to buy Look Delta-compatible cycling shoes (which are available through Peloton or from the retailer of your choice). If you don't want to use clips, you can buy toe cages through Peloton: they're $35 if you order them at the same time as your bike, or $50 if you order them separately.
Accessory packages available
You can also gear up when you buy a package from Peloton. It's a good option especially if you have multiple people in your household who will be using the exercise bike. For example, the Family Package comes with two pairs of cycling shoes, a bike mat, weights, and all extras needed for Peloton's streamed yoga classes (resistance bands, blocks, workout mat, etc.). If you're not sure on the fit of the shoes, Peloton's customer service says they fit like most Nike athletic shoes but without half-sizes so order a size up - and rest assured that you can exchange them within the first 30 days.
Risk-free 30-day trial
Peloton offers a fantastic 30-day in-home trial. Not only will you get free shipping and in-home, professional setup, but you get to use the exercise bike and all of its membership features for 30 days. If you want to send it back for any reason, Peloton will refund the full cost of the Peloton, accessories, and membership after the Peloton is picked up. You don't even pay return shipping costs! That's a deal you probably won't find anywhere else.
Delivery in 2 weeks
At the time of our review, Peloton was operating within about a two-week delivery window in most areas. You won't get an official delivery date range until you place your order, but once it's confirmed you get to choose the date you prefer.
Improving in order fulfillment
That's good to know: like most retailers of home fitness equipment, Peloton has had problems in the past with keeping up with customer demand. The Better Business Bureau shifted Peloton's evaluation to "Not Rated" because of a pattern of delays in order fulfillment in the past. Fortunately, that seems to have been resolved, and two weeks isn't a bad timeframe at all to wait for a Peloton exercise bike.
Less warranty, lower weight capacity
All of that being said, Peloton still doesn't capture our highest ranking. Why? Their warranty coverage doesn't quite compare with many of their rivals': just 5 years on the frame and a year on everything else. For most bikes in Peloton's price range, you'll usually get lifetime warranty on the frame and up to 10 years on electronic/mechanical components. Their bikes also have a weight capacity of just under 300 lbs., while other manufacturers have options up to 350 or 400. That's not a dealbreaker per se, but it's worth keeping in mind.
Too many complaints
Our other concern with Peloton is the pattern of complaints received by the BBB that describe major hassles with delivery and service post-purchase. There were over 1900 complaints filed in the 12 months leading up to this evaluation, and almost all of them describe serious delays in getting exchanges, repairs covered under warranty, or refunds for returns. We're glad to see that the Peloton team responds to each complaint but it shouldn't take Herculean efforts (as one review put it) to get and maintain a working exercise bike - otherwise, it just becomes a very expensive clothes rack!
Not the only option for live fitness
Peloton may have set the standard for studio-style cycling at home, and no one can argue that their classes aren't amazing. But, with so many look-alike exercise bikes out there for much less money - or with much higher quality and better service after placing the order - Peloton needs their equipment and their delivery/warranty/repair service to match if they want to earn the #1 ranking here.
LifeSpan wants to help you embrace a healthy lifestyle, whatever your age or current fitness level. For more than 20 years, the company has strived to provide fitness equipment that addresses some of the challenges to weight loss - especially the sedentary nature of most workplaces.
Extremely basic exercise bikes
In the Home Fitness Bikes category, LifeSpan has four fairly traditional options: two recumbent cycles and two uprights. Neither of the upright bikes have the studio styling (with the wheel in the back), but that won't be important to a lot of home users. At the time of our review, the two bikes designated as "commercial" were both sold out; the available models were the C5i upright at $1699 and the R5i recumbent at $1899. None of these bikes have anything exceptional to report: they actually seem fairly overpriced for what they offer (or omit). The console is generic, the machines aren't compatible with wireless devices like Fitbit watches or fitness apps on your phone, and your only connectivity option seems to be the proprietary LifeSpan Club app. You also won't get any fitness classes on demand here.
Biking and boxing at the same time
But, there are some novel options sold by LifeSpan that we're pretty sure you won't find with most other exercise bike retailers. The first one to take a peek at is the Cycle Boxer: an upright bike...with a punch pad! Yes, pull on your gloves and get ready for an all-body workout as you pedal and punch at the same time. Have you ever played Whack-a-Mole...while biking? Now's your chance! Various targets on the pad light up and you hit them as you ride. This unique boxer-cycle is priced at $2499.
Bikes for multitasking at home or office
The fun isn't over! What a lot of people come to LifeSpan to buy are their "Office Wellness" fitness machines. C'mon, you know you've always wanted a bike desk! We encourage you to visit the LifeSpan site to see what is actually in stock at the time you'd be making a purchase: there's lots to choose from, but they've spiked in popularity as working (and learning) from home has become more prevalent. And, as you'd guess, that leads to more things being sold out. Some of the choices you'll want to consider are the under desk bikes, all-in-one bike and desk combos, and even the Unity Kids' Bike Desk.
30 days on returns, great warranty
There are some upsides to buying an exercise bike from LifeSpan. All models come with free shipping and a 30-day trial/return policy. The warranty coverage is better than most, with a lifetime benefit on the frame, 5 years on parts, and not 1 but 2 years on labor.
Mixed, limited feedback from customers
How about reputation? There's not a ton of feedback on LifeSpan exercise bikes or the company overall, but what we found was mixed at best. On a positive note, their parent company (Park City Entertainment, based out of Utah) had an "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB, with just 9 complaints registered in the last three years. But, we also found a few comments from customers describing lots of delays, not just with deliveries but also in getting parts and repairs made under warranty. LifeSpan doesn't have a lot of customer buzz either way, though, so it's not a huge factor in their ranking here.
Better for work-and-ride than general fitness
LifeSpan gets a thumbs-up for having exercise bikes we didn't even know to dream of, let alone to shop for, and for offering longer warranty protection than a lot of equipment out there. However, for most fitness enthusiasts looking for a more traditional exercise bike with all of the techie bells and whistles, this store isn't going to have as much to offer when considering all of the options out there.
Diamondback Fitness has been offering home fitness equipment since 2007. All of their exercise bikes have a retail price under $1200, making them one of the more affordable brands on the market.
4 bike styles to pick from
You've got four exercise bike designs to choose from here: Studio, Indoor, Upright and Recumbent. Studio and Indoor are essentially the same, replicating the type of equipment in a spin class. The primary difference is that the one Studio model has a rear wheel, while the two Indoor cycles are magnetic trainers with the resistance in the front. You guessed it when you figured that the Upright model is...upright. There's very little lean to the seating angle, and the resistance is magnetic. There's one Upright model sold at this store. And, of course, there's the Recumbent that lets you easily step through and sit down; Diamondback offers two models of that style as well.
Middle-of-the-road tech features
Compared with other makers of exercise bikes, the ones offered by Diamondback are a little on the low-tech side. Some models have a console that can connect with your favorite fitness apps and wearable technology, but you won't find any boutique-style live fitness classes or on-demand workout libraries to choose from.
Nice prices, nicer warranty
On the flipside of that, no bikes sold here are more than $1200. You'll also get free shipping if you live within the continental United States, and you'll get better warranty coverage than with similarly-priced fitness equipment sold elsewhere: anywhere from 5 years to lifetime on the frame, 3 years on parts and electronics, a year on labor, and 90 days on wear components.
Reputation has tanked
Unfortunately, Diamondback is no longer our first-place winner among retailers of exercise bikes. Their BBB listing during our most recent visit was a not-inspiring "B-" , and customer feedback lines up with that. One person described his experience as ordering a bike in January and not having anything to show for it three months later: he said to beware the fact that Diamondback Fitness is "owned by a marketing company and it's not a fitness brand." He's not wrong: the Diamondback site says that they're a Net Media Group company.
Bikes break down or never work
When numerous people refer to an exercise bike as having a "flawed design" and that it never worked from the moment it was delivered, that's good motivation to shop somewhere else. Even when still covered under warranty, broken bikes go unrepaired - and sometimes the customer service reps tell buyers to fix it themselves!
Not doing much business now?
We were amazed to see so many positive customer reviews on the individual exercise bike pages - and then puzzled by the fact that none of them were newer than a year old. That lined up with comments we read that said that some parts weren't available anymore, and with the fact that many of the third-party sites that carried Diamondback bikes now show them as "unavailable" .
No longer leading the pack
Oh, how the mighty have fallen in the case of Diamondback Fitness and their exercise bikes. We want you to have the best possible customer experience, and for that reason we can no longer give this brand our first-place finish among bike stores. You might still be able to get a decent bike at a reasonable price, but all indications say that you're more likely to have that happen if you shop at another retailer instead.
For over three decades, Precor has provided durable fitness equipment to fitness facilities, the military, and everyday home users. They offer two styles of exercise bikes: upright and recumbent.
Sorting through your options on the Precor website isn't very intuitive. They don't make it easy to see the differences among the 8 models of bikes, or the options for upgrading monitors. The best they can do is a chart comparing each bike side-by-side, but you'll have to read through the tiny print to see what the differences are. (Spoiler alert: the differences are usually related to the number of pre-programmed workouts, the riding positions, and if the pedals are single- or dual-sided.)
Almost zero tech capabilities
Precor is still laughably low-tech. They recently added the ability to connect their highest-end exercise bike models to Apple Watches, but that's about it. You'll need to use an old-fashioned chest strap if you don't have an Apple Watch and want your workout metrics to show up on your machine - and not every Precor bike is chest strap compatible. That's as fancy as it gets here: no livestreaming workouts, no connection with today's most popular fitness apps, nothing. Considering that the lowest-priced bike is almost $3000, we're not sure why someone would choose Precor over comparably-priced equipment that has all of the bells and whistles they could want.
No returns or free shipping
Precor also hasn't made any improvements to their return policy or shipping fees lately. You'll still pay $199 for delivery, and Precor doesn't accept returns on exercise bikes for any reason. No risk-free trial with this company, unfortunately.
The biggest positive with Precor equipment is their generous warranty coverage. No matter which bike you buy, you'll get a lifetime guarantee on the frame and welds, 10 years on the parts and even wear items, 3 years on the console/electronics, and 1 year on labor costs.
Higher weight capacity than most
We also appreciate that all Precor exercise bikes have a weight capacity of 350 lbs. Some of their rivals' indoor cycles only go up to 250, and we know plenty of people who need something more capable than that.
Reputation-wise, Precor holds its own. Their main company gets an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, and their Home Fitness division earns a respectable "A-" . Very few complaints have been registered with the BBB: just a handful over the last three years, compared with Precor competitors who have thousands of negative reviews in the most recent 12 months alone. Then again, we're not exactly sure how much volume Precor has within the home fitness marketplace, with exercise bikes that are noticeably less advanced than most available today.
Get more for your money elsewhere
Good, solid bikes? Yes. Seemingly decent customer service? That too. But do Precor bikes offer the best all-around value in the industry? Not even close. Zero return policy, high shipping fees, and virtually none of the tech features that most people want: these are all factors in Precor's lower-than-average ranking among retailers of exercise bikes.
Echelon is one of the most recent additions to the "studio experience at home" marketplace. Their fitness equipment includes treadmills, rowers, exercise bikes and even a screen/mirror that deliver on-demand and live classes just like you'd get at your local gym.
Not many differences in 4 models
What are the differences among the four models of exercise bikes offered by Echelon? The main differences you'll notice are upgrades to the handling, the resistance and the general upgrade in technology when you move on from the EX-3 up to the EX-5. Another point you will see is that certain models, the ones that end with the letter "S" (like the EX-5S) come with a built-in screen.
All bikes have on-demand and live classes
All Echelon bikes come with access to their United stervice, which gives you not only live-coached and on-demand rides but also full-body workouts, yoga and strength training. Each model either has a device mount or a built-in touchscreen, and either way you can rotate the screen or mount to position it the way you want for the type of workout you're doing.
Free iPad and 1-year membership
Bikes here are priced between $799 and $1999. At the time of our review, Echelon had a promotion where shoppers could get a free iPad with the purchase of any major exercise equipment, as well as a free one-year membership to their United platform (valued at $399).
Not impressed by customer service
Customer service at Echelon leaves a lot of room for improvement. When we went into the live chat to ask questions about their four models of exercise bike, the representative basically told us to look it up ourselves! We tried to explain that their site doesn't make it easy to see a side-by-side comparison to highlight the differences among them. But, when we clicked the link the rep gave us, the chat posted a bunch of irrelevant links and closed itself!
Company is still learning
The company was still too new at the time of this review to have anything beyond a "Not Rated" designation from the Better Business Bureau, but even there we found more than 260 complaints filed against Echelon in the year prior to our evaluation. Customers describe problems with bikes breaking and not getting any resolution until filing a complaint with the BBB. A good company takes care of issues promptly so that a complaint doesn't need to be filed, and Echelon doesn't quite measure up to that yet.
Warranty limited to 1 year
Those delays in repairs are significant when you consider that Echelon only warranties their bikes for a year. With other retailers, your coverage will usually be much longer, especially on the frame and welds. Echelon doesn't post any customer reviews to their exercise bike product pages, making it hard to tell if the quality of the construction is reliable or not. And, looking at the handful of product reviews we found elsewhere, it's a good question to ask. Would you want to be told to troubleshoot your own squeaking pedals or wobby frame instead of getting a repair under warranty? We wouldn't.
No free delivery here
Plus, unlike many of their rivals, Echelon doesn't give you free shipping on your exercise bike: you'll have to wait until checkout to find out how much it'll cost to deliver to your zip code.
Room to improve
Echelon comes out of the gate strong: the website makes you want to sign up right away so that you can start riding in friendly competition with other bike owners. Sadly, everything we find on the post-purchase customer experience lands Echelon at the bottom of our rankings. We'd love to see an upswing in their reviews in the future, but until then we can't give the company more than two stars in this very competitive category. There are just better exercise bikes out there.
Or, maybe your doctor has told you that you can't do high-impact exercise anymore, but you still need something to stay healthy. Recumbent bikes to the rescue! There are plenty of models available from internet retailers, from basic models under $500 to high-tech designs with plenty of features for over $2,000.
There are even exercise bikes designed for use under your desk or with a tabletop/desk built in: no more using work as your excuse for not working out! Your coworkers can get in on the fun if you choose a model that has three bikes at the same round table, too.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you start your search for the exercise bike that's right for you. Studio style? Recumbent? Touchscreen or basic console? Fortunately, there are several criteria you can use to narrow down your options and find something that fits:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online retailers of exercise bikes available today. We're confident that this information will help you get the indoor ride you've been hoping for!
Finding a quality exercise bike for your home can be a positive, convenient experience without the hassle and stress of traveling from store to store to listen to another sales pitch. Search the widest selection of exercise bikes, easily access product information for a well-informed decision, and shop when it's convenient for you. We're referring to the superstore of exercise bikes - the Internet.
The Internet allows you to quickly compare and contrast several brands and models of exercise bikes at one time. You also have access to product reviews and customer feedback that is not available anywhere else. Also, enjoy the convenience of having your bike shipped directly to your doorstep - no need to squeeze a large box into your car or waste money renting a truck.
When shopping for a quality exercise bike you should consider the following in your search:
In summary, purchasing an exercise bike from the internet provides several benefits. With the largest selection available, the ability to easily compare and contrast products, competitive pricing, and convenience it's easier than ever to find exactly what you're looking for when it's most convenient for you.
Select any 2 Exercise Bikes to compare them head to head