The Finest Price range Train Bikes Are Good for a Low cost Residence Exercise

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Exercise bikes have come a long way since the advent of the novel Schwinn Airdyne in the 1970s. w there are high-tech connected stationary bikes packed with features to entice everyone from competitive cyclists to spin class junkies. Unfortunately, the inexpensive exercise bikes of old have become bloated with features and functions, making cost shoot up. The top exercise bikes from brands like Peloton and Garmin now cost between $2,000 and $4,000. That’s years worth of gym memberships. Unless you’re a truly diehard data-obsessed cyclist, the cost just doesn’t pencil out for most people looking for a stationary bike 

Luckily, there are budget exercise bikes options available for wallet-conscious riders that actually aren't that much different from the classic indoor bike. Cheap exercise bikes still provide a low-impact means of building your aerobic base from the comfort of home—and many can be had for $500 or less.

While they lack the top-end bells and whistles, inexpensive exercise bikes do sometimes feature connectivity with simulated riding apps like Zwift. Some budget exercise bikes even connect to spin class platforms like Peloton, while others have their own group class platforms as well.

For this review, we tested several of the most popular budget exercise bikes, including several we tested and featured in our overall best exercise bikes article. (Check it out if you’re curious about those $4,000 bikes.) Our pick for best overall cheap exercise bike is the Merach S09, which has several features found on higher end bikes but is easy on your wallet. Read on to learn more about the best inexpensive indoor bikes available today and find the one that fits your cost needs and workout habits.

Related: We Tested 9 Highly Rated Exercise Bikes for Your Home. These are the Very Best

Best Overall Budget Exercise Bike: Merach S09 

Merach S09 Exercise Bike

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Merach’s S09 exercise bike gives you the basics that you’d get in a higher-end bike for less than $500. If you’re new to indoor cycling bikes, the Merach S09 is a wallet-friendly way to test the waters. The 35-pound flywheel with electronically controlled magnetic resistance does a solid job replicating real-world riding, and it’s nearly as quiet as the bikes from the big name companies. There’s no screen included, which keeps the cost down, and actually simplifies setup. But you’ll need to bring in a phone or tablet for virtual riding apps, and there’s a phone/tablet holder built-in at eye level.

Some of the little things could be better. The pedals have cages on one side and SPD clip-in cleats on the other, while the seat might feel cheap and clunky if you’re used to slimmer seats. Serious riders will want to swap them out for performance-oriented options. On the positive side, the bike has many tool-free fit adjustments so you can move the handlebars and seat fore and aft and up and down to easily get a comfortable fit and change the fit.

Importantly, the S09 played well with all the apps we used in testing. Zwift booted up and connected to the app with no hiccups. While you don’t get all the same features like incline changes found in pricier options, the basic experience is there. There’s also the free Merach app which lets you get a taste of studio-style classes. It’s no Peloton app, but it’s not bad to mix into your routine, and it’s a no-cost way to get started. Hardcore riders will miss wattage output, as you just get distance, cadence, time, and a calories burned estimate. With registration, you get a two-year warranty, which is pretty good reassurance for a budget bike.

  • Flywheel weight: 35 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Total weight: 95 pounds
  • Built-in screen: 

$424 at Amazon

Best Low-Tech Budget Exercise Bike: Yosuda Pro-M

Yosuda Pro-M Exercise Bike

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t everyone wants to connect to proprietary app platforms or third-party virtual ride services. Some folks just want an old-fashioned stationary bike. Yosuda makes several models that do offer Bluetooth connectivity, but the Pro-M delivers a smooth, quiet ride for less than $350.

The 40-pound flywheel delivers magnetic resistance that’s easy to manually tweak via the adjustment knob. Paired with a solid steel frame, its a heavier bike, which translates to a more stable platform.

There’s a reason expensive bikes use heavy flywheels—it provides a smoother, more realistic ride. While it might take more effort to get going, such bikes do a better job mimicking real rides. Think about it: pedaling a bike on the road or trail takes more effort and a lower gear to get started, but once you get your mass moving at speed, you can pedal faster to simply maintain that momentum. Heavier flywheels work in a similar way and result in a more natural ride experience. The Yosuda Pro-M is one of the few budget bikes that have a flywheel this robust.

The other important advantage of the Pro-M’s heavy flywheel is that it permits a higher top-end resistance. You can push lighter flywheels faster to get a more intense workout, but only to a point. If you’re a stronger cyclist, you’ll find the top end of many cheaper bikes insufficient. The Pro-M can match the maximum resistance of many more expensive models, even if it comes at the cost of Bluetooth and other features.

  • Flywheel weight: 40 pounds
  • Resistance levels: Infinite
  • Total weight: 86 pounds
  • Built-in screen: 

$400 at Yosuda Bikes

Best Peloton Alternative Budget Exercise Bike: Echelon Connect EX-5S-10

Echelon Connect EX-5S-10 Exercise Bike

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Echelon's Connect EX-5S-10 costs thousands less than Peloton, making it an attractive option for folks that want to get in on the interactivity and motivation provided by the social app-based class environment, but aren’t sure it’s worth it.

Peloton may set the standard for video fitness classes, but Echelon comes close to matching that experience. Echelon has thousands of classes, which include live options and leaderboards. They have a diverse offering of off-bike fitness classes, so purchasing one of their bikes provides a complete fitness solution.

But is the Echelon bike and accompanying Echelon app any good? Our tester took advantage of the free 30-day trial and loved that there were plenty of options for choices in music, instructors, ability level, duration, and more. The app costs $40 per month, not too much cheaper than Peloton, but the savings on this bike versus Peloton buys several years of the Echelon Premier plan. With the single subscription, you get five distinct user profiles, which our tester liked so he and his fiancé could share one subscription but have distinct experiences.

The EX-5S-10 comes with a 22-inch screen that’s large enough for easy viewing without making the bike top heavy or too much of a distraction in a room. However, you’re locked into the Echelon app here, so no Zwift or other fitness apps, but you can access music and a few other entertainment options.

In addition to the usual basics of RPMs, calories burned, and the like, the bike also measures your power output in watts, a metric usually left out by budget bikes. This gives you a more objective riding metric to monitor and opens up more advanced cycling training rides that usually center around specific levels and oscillations of power output.

Overall, the Echelon Connect EX-5S-10 delivers most of what you get in a Peloton experience at a fraction of the cost. If you’re already a Peloton devotee, that might not be enough to sway you, but if you’re new to studio class-driven indoor cycling, Echelon is a great budget option to spin at-home for less. If the price tag is still too high but you’re interested in a cheaper option for group rides and fitness classes, Echelon’s EX-15 loses the built-in monitor for a much much, much lower cost but still connects to their app and classes library via subscription.

  • Flywheel weight: 38 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 100
  • Total weight: 140 pounds
  • Built-in screen: Yes

$920 at Amazon

Related: The Best Cross-Training Shoes of 2024 to Support Every Workout

Best Lightweight Budget Exercise Bike: Sunny SMART Magnetic Resistance

Sunny SMART Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike

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Most stationary bikes are heavy. Metal frames paired with heavy flywheels make it tough to move them around, even though most come with wheels or casters to make it easier. Sunny’s new SMART Magnetic Resistance bike has a light flywheel, which makes it much, much easier to move around.

At 60 pounds, a strong adult can simply pick it up and move it, which helps if you need to transport it over rugs and other obstacles. But even smaller folks can wheel it around with ease, especially on hard, flat surfaces, which is a major plus if you need to stow the bike away when not in use. The downside here is that it’s a bit less stable, especially when we tested it at higher RPMs on padded carpet.

The lighter flywheel still uses magnetic resistance, which makes micro-adjustments easily so you can dial the right amount of effort. The biggest downside is stronger riders will struggle to get enough resistance on the lighter wheel for their max efforts, but this won’t affect most casual exercisers. The bike comes with a rear dumbbell holder, but no dumbbells. I didn’t use this feature, but it could come in handy if you use the bike for group fitness classes.

The SMART bike also has Bluetooth connectivity, which transmits your output data to connected devices and lets you use the SunnyFit app to join thousands of instructor-led classes and workouts. The app is a bit clunky compared to more polished platforms, but it’s free, and there are enough different instructors and challenge levels to find the vibe you click with. The biggest downside here is you can’t connect the bike with other apps such as Zwift and TrainerRoad.

  • Flywheel weight: 13 pounds
  • Resistance levels: Infinite/stepless
  • Total weight: 60 pounds
  • Built-in screen: 

$350 at Sunny Health Fitness

Best Value Budget Exercise Bike: Merach S26

Merach S26 Exercise Bike

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Like the Sunny SMART bike, Merach’s S26 is much lighter (about 60 pounds) than most indoor bikes with heavy flywheels and thus much easier to move around as-needed. Because the small readout display runs on battery, there’s also no power cord to trip over or manage when moving. It’s also much cheaper, available for less than $200 on Amazon at the time of this writing, making it the most affordable bike we tested.

The biggest difference between the S26 and the other bikes we tested is that the S26 uses a friction system to adjust resistance instead of the magnetic systems found on other bikes. In practice, this is like someone holding a towel against the flywheel while you pedal to make it harder, backing off to make it easier. Functionally, it’s the same experience as magnetic as you adjust the resistance with the familiar knob centered between your knees on the frame.

In practice, the resistance works but is more sensitive and less predictable. In testing, we found that knobs using magnetic systems allowed for much finer adjustments in resistance. The friction system on the S26 had more of a hair trigger and it seemed that about half a turn of the knob contained most of the range of resistance, meaning that the slightest touch could result in a big jump in difficulty. And like most cheaper bikes, the clip-in pedals and squishy oversized seat are functional but underwhelming if you’re used to better accessories on your real bike.

On the plus side, the bike’s Bluetooth had no problem connecting to virtual ride apps. There was quite a bit of lag between the action on-screen and the bike output at times, but the experience was good enough, especially for a bike at this price point. This is a great option for casual riders who want app connectivity but aren’t sure they’re ready to spend big bucks on indoor biking just yet.

  • Flywheel weight: NA
  • Resistance levels: Infinite/stepless
  • Total weight: 59.5 pounds
  • Built-in screen: 

$209 at Amazon

Related: 10 Chest Exercises to Build Bigger Pecs

What to Look for in a Budget Exercise Bike


All of the budget bikes on our list allow for Bluetooth connectivity.

Justin Park

Bluetooth connectivity with phones, tablets, and connected TVs opens up the world of virtual rides and classes, which is one of the biggest differences between stationary bikes today and those of even a decade ago. Once reserved for higher-end options, this option has trickled down into even the cheapest bike we tested.

It should be easy to tell from product descriptions if a bike has Bluetooth or wifi connectivity, but the details matter. Many bikes are restricted to that brand’s platform a la Peloton bikes and the Sunny bike featured above. If you’re not sure what kind of virtual riding you prefer, it’s probably best to look for an open-source option that will connect to a variety of different third-party apps so you can test different platforms.

If a bike is restricted to a single app/platform, use the Apple Store and/or Google Play to read reviews and get a sense for how well they’ve executed it. It’s also important to make sure the platform is available for your device’s operating system (typically iOS or Android).

Weight and Resistance

Most exercise bikes use magnetic resistance, which do the best job of simulating real-world riding.

Justin Park

Higher-end indoor bikes all use some form of magnetic resistance to simulate real-world riding and to let you adjust the resistance. When you get into the budget end of the spectrum, other less-desirable resistance methods start to enter the picture, so it’s important to pay attention to this basic design question when shopping for cheaper bikes.

Even on bikes that use a magnetic flywheel, the cheaper bikes will often have a lighter wheel which is nice for when you need to move the bike, but can make the bike less stable and detract from the ride experience if the wheel gets too light. Around a 30- to 40-pound flywheel is ideal for maximizing ride feel and top-end resistance, but most riders will be happy to have the lighter magnetic flywheels on cheaper bikes to make them easier to move around and won’t notice

Other modes of resistance such as friction can provide a decent indoor biking experience, but they are more subject to wear and generally more difficult to adjust. Because they’re often much cheaper, it may be worth considering a non-magnetic flywheel bike—just keep in mind those downsides.

Fit and Adjustments

From this angle, it's possible to see adjustments for the handlebars and seat of the Merlach S26.

Justin Park

A poor fit on the bike is hard to overcome, so it’s important that you find a bike with several fit adjustments. Ideally, the seat can be move forward, back, up, and down. It's a bonus if the handlebars can move in all four planes as well, but up and down is a must. All the bikes we tested have at least some adjustment capability, but if you’re concerned about fit, pay attention to how many adjustments are available.

The more planes of adjustment, the easier it is to change the fit for performance. Most budget bikes default to an upright stance. Serious riders will usually prefer an aggressive, hunched-over body position. Seats are easy enough to swap out, and even budget bikes use the common rail-style mounts.

Cheaper bikes also usually have thicker, comfort-oriented handlebars. Serious cyclists will find these tiresome over longer rides, but if you want race-style bars, you’ll have to make a jump in your spending, since budget bikes rarely have the ability to swap the bars out.

Depending on the bike, the pedal system will look different.

Justin Park

Why You Should Trust Me

I’m a recreational mountain biker these days. I live for the thrill of the downhill and have always treated uphills as something to be endured to get the prize. Still, I’ve come around to appreciating how endurance training can help me enjoy the entire ride outdoors and I’ve even (tell no one) occasionally found myself enjoying the uphill suffering. For this article, I tested each of these bikes for several weeks and rotated them through other riders as well to make sure my personal biases didn’t color my reviews too much. Several other Men’s Journal editors and writers also chipped in by testing some of the stationary bikes featured here.

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