Best home exercise bikes to get your indoor cycling fix

·8-min read

For the most part, bikes now have connected technology at their core, and when this is coupled with addictive virtual cycling games or immersive live streamed HIIT classes, the end results are sublime. You will be highly motivated to hop on the bike - which is also very conveniently located in your own home - and workout, when perhaps you might have otherwise skipped a session.

Of course, budget will dictate to what degree the bike is connected, and how the riding experience feels. At the lower end of the market, you’ll get a simple flywheel (the weighted spinning disc) a small range of resistance levels, very basic data on a simple frame. Then, as we move up in budget, there will broadly be two categories of bikes to choose from.

Firstly, there’s spinning, aka Peloton, which is based around High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes. You’ll be able to take part in live workouts with an instructor shouting at you personally to keep you going if you start easing off (there’s also a huge back catalogue for on demand classes). There’ll also be small weights on the back of the bike for a more all round workout. These spinning bikes are more general fitness orientated - they don’t accurately recreate real cycling - and not a choice the cycling purist is likely to go for. They will, however, be just the ticket for a number of people.

The second option at the higher end of the market is the smart bike. Here, the bike very closely simulates riding on the road - the feel, the gear changes, adjustability and accuracy of data. Sync with a virtual cycling app such as Zwift, and the app will tell the bike to add or subtract resistance if you’re cycling up or down hills, or on a training programme. For the cycling purist, and more numbers driven user, there is no question this will be for you.

We’ve put together a range of bikes with options for every budget and style of riding. Here are our top picks.

Wattbike Atom Bike

Since 2008, this British brand has been manufacturing class leading smart bikes. They’ve amassed a wealth of experience in turning out tried and tested, reliable and top quality gear - there’s a lot to be said for that.

The Atom is their home specific model and - compared to Wattbike’s lineup of commercial counterparts, used by sports stars and teams the world over - it is more affordable, quieter, simpler to use and has the connectivity to 3rd party training apps that you’ll be wanting. The futuristic looking bike feels totally solid, is highly adjustable, and is sufficiently quiet for home use. You’ll need to pair with an iPad or similar as there is no built in screen (this is typical with a smart bike), but then you’re good to go with Zwift etc. Albeit this is a top quality and reliable smart bike, it’s price point is keen and the most affordable of the top end smart bikes.

Buy now £1999.00, Wattbike

Wahoo KICKR Bike

Wahoo are well established and reputed in the smart trainer space, which is a resistance training device you affix to the back wheel of a regular bike for indoor training.The KICKR BIKE is the first smart bike and is probably the most hotly anticipated release amongst the more performance orientated home cyclists.

Packed with the latest hardware and features, one of the most standout of which is grade simulation whereby the bike automatically tilts up to 20 per cent backwards and forwards, realistically replicating the climbs you’re riding. It has exceptionally smooth pedal action, and other nice features are its very realistic gear shifters, ease of adjustment (no tools required) and it’s very quiet.

It is the most expensive smart bike, however there’s no doubt this won’t put off those who like the latest and greatest gear.

The brand also offers the KICKR v5 Smart Turbo Trainer (£999.99) where you affix your traditional bike on the attachment to keep it stationary while you ride indoors.

Buy now £2999.99, Wiggle

Tacx NEO Smart Bike

This is the mid-priced offering amongst the top end smart bike heroes, but that’s not to say it’s lacking in features. Backed by Garmin, be assured this bike is super solidly built with quality components. A particular standout feature the NEO has is real ride feel, whereby road patterns (e.g. vibrations over cobbles or rough road) in the virtual world you’re cycling in are replicated into the ride sensation in the pedals. Another neat and unique spec amongst other smart bikes is the integrated 4.5” LCD - a neat always there reference of key data (eg gear, watts, heart rate), and you’d of course then have your tablet or phone synced to be running your preferred training app. There’s also two inbuilt fans and some funky lighting that adjusts depending on how hard you’re pedalling.

Buy now £2299.99, Wiggle

Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle

“I advise all my clients to purchase a Keiser M3 if they are looking to recreate the buzz of an indoor cycling class at the comfort of their own home. They are incredibly efficient, light-weight, long-distance and pretty savvy in both design and ride”. Advises Danny Osbourne, Fitness Manager of ONE LDN

Buy now £2069.00, Bestgym Equipment

Stages Smart Bike

Back up at the pricier end of the spectrum, Stages are particularly known for their power meters as well as indoor spinning bikes, so for data accuracy and build quality, this is second to none. It is exceptionally quiet, is fitted with real road bike style drop handlebars, has a great easily adjustable mount for both smartphone and tablet, and similar to the Wattbike gives both left and right power readings. It’s fitted with a comfortable saddle as standard.

Buy now £1899.99, Wiggle

Apex Bike

The hot space of class focused HIIT spinning is brought to your home from British brand Apex. They’ve partnered with Boom Cycle which means you can enjoy live classes or on demand sessions anytime, and this subscription comes at under £30 a month. The interface is via your own iPad or iPhone (note, their app is only compatible with Apple at the moment) which sits nicely on a mount on the handles, and of course there’s the customary weights on the back of the bike for arm exercises that are built into the class. It’s a very neat piece of product design with great functionality and fairly priced too.

Buy now £599.00, Apex

Bodytrain Racer Exercise Bike

There’s no frills on this bike, but if you’re after the most affordable option out there that will get you spinning, well this is probably for you. A small display will show one piece of data at anyone time - including pulse from the handlebar pulse sensors, time exercising, speed, distance covered and calories used - and scroll between using the buttons. It is fitted with a 13kg flywheel, and resistance is varied by twisting a knob which in turn applies resistance. It’s a simple piece of kit, but then it

Buy now £119.95, Amazon

Air Assault Bike

For anyone into their CrossFit training, you will be familiar with this love/hate piece of equipment. The Assault Bike is the perfect option for high-intensity interval training. Powered solely by you, resistance and intensity increases as you create a larger power output. Not only will you have to work your lower body and upper body simultaneously but this particular piece of equipment takes a great deal of mental strength to power you through too.

Buy now £750.00, Powerhouse Fitness

Peloton

The most well known of all the home HIIT spinning bikes, Peloton have defined the entertainment and exercise combination. Via the integrated sweatproof 22” high definition touchscreen, simply login into the Peloton app - which is £12.99 per month and also has the nice perk of including a host of other classes such as yoga, strength - and you’ll be riding in a live class with fellow fitness seekers from around the world. Given the interactivity of the Peloton classes and the ease of adjustability of the bike, it’s great for all the family to use too. It’s worth noting they offer zero per cent finance over 39 months, somewhat lessening the financial blow which is handy. It won’t be for the keen cyclist out there, but it’s a great option for those who like their HIIT classes.

Buy now £1345.00, Peleton

Ergo Bike ESX500

If you’re on a tighter budget, this is a great option that’ll do the job in keeping you active. Needless to say, the features are on the lighter side, but it has all you need for a decent work out - 16 resistance levels along with 12 pre-installed training programmes, a five-inch LED digital display along with USB charging port. It is heart rate belt compatible as well as having sensors built into the handlebars. Both the saddle and handlebar heights are adjustable for a wide range of heights, and you’re all set for a bike at an affordable price.

Buy now £282.00, Sportstech

Verdict

If you’re looking to just get spinning, and perhaps unsure as to your long term commitment to using it regularly, or you’re on a budget, the Ergo Bike is a great option - it’s no nonsense and affordable.

If more general exercise and keeping in shape is your thing, Peloton’s array of live classes and built in 22-inch screen will get your motivation sky high to use the bike regularly.

All in all - with price, features and build quality taken into consideration, and if you’re more into the data side of things, or thorough training plans, the Wattbike Atom is our outright recommendation. This is a piece of kit that’ll be a reliable training buddy for years.

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