For an engaging indoor home cycling experience, we recommend saddling up on one of the best exercise bikes.

Exercise bikes have really come into their own over the past few years. Not only are fitness enthusiasts turning to them when it’s too cold, dark or wet outside; they’re also realising they are useful tools for getting in regular, measured training.

On a traditional bike you have less time or opportunity to assess your workout. On the road there’s traffic to contend with; off-road there’s changing, technical terrain to tackle. So you’re less able to monitor whether you’re riding in a certain heart rate zone, or at a particular power output or revs per minute etc.

It’s also difficult to get your interval sessions in when you’re stopping at traffic lights or riding on rolling off-road terrain.

Exercise bikes allow you to dictate your workout. They provide a platform for more measured efforts than cycling outdoors. But unlike previous iterations, they also offer an immersive experience, with the aid of virtual rides or exercise classes on demand. It may not beat the feeling of real riding but with features like incline and road surface replication, the best exercise bikes come pretty close.

Why you can trust Men’s Fitness

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test. Our team of exercise bike testers included experienced product testers, PTs and fitness writers – as well as the core MF team – who know exactly what sets the best products apart from the rest.

These are the best exercise bikes we’ve tested

Packed with smart features and brimming with key insights, the Wattbike Atom is one of the most powerful home training tools you can buy. If you can stomach the initial cost, you’ll have a valuable fitness investment that we think it’s impossible to get tired of.

Other exercise bike recommendations

Best for realismGiving the Wattbike Atom a run for its money, the Garmin TACX Neo Bike Plus provides an equally authentic ride experience. We’re big fans of the road replication feature, where a bottom bracket motor vibrates to give the feel of cobbles or gravel.
Best for dynamic workoutsEven with immersive content, most exercise bikes provide fairly static experiences. Not the Bowflex VeloCore, which tilts on its axis to replicate the feeling of cornering and targets your core and arms as well as your legs.
Best air bikeThe OG of air bikes, there’s a reason why you’ll see an AssaultBike Classic in most gyms. A robust and reliable way to torch calories, its low maintenance and aftermarket accessories have helped it become an industry standard.
Product shot of an indoor exercise bikeMen's Fitness editor's choice badge

1. Wattbike Atom

Men’s Fitness verdict

Although it’s a big investment, if cycling is your go-to and you’re not a fan of turbo trainers, this is one of the best bikes you can get – and the closest to replicating the feeling of real riding.
  • Easy set-up
  • Genuine real-ride feel
  • Smart resistance mode is a handy automatic gear change option
  • A wealth of insights on the Wattbike Hub
  • Noisy
  • Feels geared more towards experienced cyclists than beginners

There’s a reason the Wattbike Atom has become the number one exercise bike in public gyms and elite-level fitness spaces alike. It’s the perfect machine to make the most of the Hub’s wealth of workouts and training plans. Use the Hub’s pedal efficiency score to hone your technique or replicate some of the toughest climbs on the pro racing circuit.

The bike itself is super-sturdy and will last years of abuse, yet is precise enough to read your crank position 1,000 times a second to ensure exact shifting. You can go from using the 22 integrated gears in manual mode to ‘ergo’ mode, which automatically selects your gear to suit the gradient or power requirment – at the push of a button. OK, so you need to bring your own screen to the party, but the Wattbike has everything else you need to take your cycling to the next level.

2. Garmin TACX Neo Bike Plus

The Garmin TACX Neo Bike Plus smart bike

Men’s Fitness verdict

Highly adjustable and hugely enjoyable, the Garmin TACX Neo Bike Plus is the pinnacle of exercise bikes and offers a realistic, immersive riding experience.
  • Excellent app compatability
  • Immersive real-road feel
  • Highly controllable fans
  • Some flex in the drop bars

The days of exercise bikes being divorced from the real-world cycling experience are long gone. Garmin is changing the game with the TACX Neo Bike Plus, which has a built-in motor to replicate the ‘rumble’ of riding on different road surfaces, including cobbles and gravel, as well as resistance to mimic climbs of up to 25%.

Its programmable shifters can be made to behave like Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo ones, and although there’s a build-in data screen, you can pair any Bluetooth screen with the Garmin app, as well as Strava, Zwift and TrainerRoad, for an immersive real-time ride experience. Close your eyes and feel the wind from the adjustable-power fans on your face and you could easily be out on your favourite ride or a famous climb on the cobbled Spring Classics.

3. Bowflex VeloCore  

Front-on shot of a man riding a leaning Bowflex VeloCore exercise bike

Men’s Fitness verdict

If you have the space and cash and love cycling, the Bowflex VeloCore may be the exercise bike for you. This innovative bike offers a unique workout experience, and you’ll reap the fitness benefits.
  • Leaning feature targets the core and arms as well as legs
  • Decent selection of riding modes
  • One-year free JRNY app membership
  • Smooth and quiet ride
  • Design is bigger and heavier than most indoor bikes
  • Expensive

No bike works your core quite like the Bowflex VeloCore. That’s because at the press of a button it morphs from a stationary bike to a tilting one, adding a sense of realism and a whole new dimension to your cycling workout. It’s built-in screen comes in two sizes – this 22in version and a cheaper (£2,499) 16in one – both of which can be used with a variety of streaming apps.

You get a readout of all your usual metrics, as well as the amount of lean – which you can switch on and off mid-ride. You can also use the large red knob to select one of 100 resistance levels to make your workouts more challenging. A one-year subscription is included to the JRNY adaptive fitness platform, which includes a personalised coaching system and daily custom workouts.

4. AssaultBike Classic

Product shot of air bike

Men’s Fitness verdict

The AssaultBike Classic has a robust design, good ergonomics, easy-to-access workouts and comfortable and adjustable contact points – and offers an ‘easy’ way to torch calories.
  • Robust design
  • Easy-to-programme workouts
  • Upgradable parts
  • Console can be hard to read

If torching fat is your primary aim when looking for an exercise bike, there’s little more focused on this task than an air bike. And given that the AssaultBike Classic is the OG of air bikes, and can still be found in commercial gyms up and down the land, it’s still the one to get.

While newer models might have a few more features, there’s nothing like the paired-back simplicity of the Classic. The ergonomics are dialled in, the belt drive super-smooth and almost every part can either be upgraded or replaced as an aftermarket purchase. If there’s such a thing as an air bike for life, the AssaultBike Classic is it.

5. Apex Smart Bike

Apex Smart Bike

Men’s Fitness verdict

You forgo the integrated screen and immersive experience of pricier models, but pound for pound the Apex Smart Bike is up there with the best.
  • Competitive price
  • Modern, stylish design
  • Well made and easy to set up
  • Membership inclues an extensive range of classes and instructors
  • No built-in screen
  • The seat can be slightly uncomfortable

With most bikes on test costing two grand and over, it’s refreshing to find an well designed exercise bike that comes in under the $1,000 / £1,000 mark. The Apex may be cheap, but it’s by no means light on features, with Bluetooth, WiFI and USB connectivity. Though there’s no built-in screen, you can tap into the fully featured Apex app through your iOS device.

Apex membership gives you access to a plethora of engaging instructor-led workouts, as well as playlists galore. All your riding stats are accessible throughout, including an approximate power output (calculated using current resistance and your RPM). It looks more stylish than most, so won’t look out of place in your living room. It’s also available in three colours, as well as the usual black.

How we test these exercise bikes

Our team of reviewers took delivery of these exercise bikes at home, to see how straight-forward delivery, unboxing and set-up was. They then joined any bundled content subscription services or fitness platforms, examining the quality of on-demand classes or training insights each provided. Where appropriate, they paired the bikes with third-party apps such as Zwift or Rouvy to assess each bike’s training versatility. They also assessed the reliability and performance of any Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity by pairing to Android and iOS phones and tablets, as well as third-party heart rate monitors and smart watches, testing multiple connections where possible.

Our reviewers spent at least a month with each exercise bike in order to test each feature comprehensively and to assess the bike’s overall performance. Their workouts included interval sessions and longer endurance efforts. Where available, they’d also create workouts that utilized the bike’s full gear ratios, resistance ranges or hill incline features. Finally our testers examined build quality and looked for any potential wear issues that arose after at least a month of intense testing. Out testers took price, availability and access to after-market upgrades or replacement parts into consideration when giving each bike an overall score.

What to look for in the best exercise bikes

Resistance: Ideally you want as wide a resistance or gearing range as possible. Systems can vary immensely, from a simple adjustable flywheel to replicating complete drivetrains from specific manufacturers such as SRAM, Campagnolo and Shimano. Some systems are advanced rollers, on which you can mount your own bike, making the transition between indoor and outdoor riding as seamless as possible.

Adjustability: All indoor cycles will have some form of saddle and bar adjustability. Ideally you want both horizontal and vertical adjustment so you can dial in your perfect fit. Most also have quick-release adjustments and measurement scales, allowing you to quickly swap set-ups between riders.

Connectivity: Are you looking to connect a heart rate monitor or Bluetooth headphones or to stream content to a larger screen? Be sure to check out ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity.

Comfort: Contact points are particularly important for promoting comfort – particularly over longer sessions. Saddles are a particularly subjective piece of kit. Only real-world testing will tell you if the saddle and bar set-up will be comfortable for you. So if you can try before you buy, so much the better. Most models also have swappable pedals so you can ride with trainers in toe straps or use your own SPD-specific pedals.

Interactivity: Whereas air bikes tend to just have simple screens with visual feedback showing speed, rpm, calories or heartrate, any indoor bike worth its salt will have some form of interactivity. Whether its via a built-in monitor or your own phone or tablet, you should be able to stream interactive content or access on-demand classes to supplement your workout. Though you may well have to pay a monthly subscription for these services.

Compact footprint: The actual bodies of most exercise bikes are quite compact, but watch out for the stands, which will increase the footprint significantly. Handlebar extensions and screen housings or holders can also create a significant overhang at the front, which will increase the space needed to store the bike.

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