Stationary bikes are one of my favorite pieces of equipment for getting a killer cardio session at home. It’s right up there with the rowing machine.
I got into indoor cycling and spinning about three years ago when I had to give up running due to a hip injury. I quickly became obsessed with it and discovered that indoor biking has some seriously awesome and unique benefits.
But, an exercise bike can be a pricey item to add to your home gym. The good news is, you don’t need to drop thousands on a Peloton to get a fantastic workout.
In fact, you can find decent spinners for only a few hundred bucks.
That’s what I found when I did the research to determine the overall best exercise bike under 500 bucks as well as several other good options. You can find any of these on Amazon and they will help you get a great indoor cycling workout without breaking the bank! (But if you need something smaller, check out a compact elliptical like the Cubii)
**I was not paid to write this review. However, this post does contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) These are my own opinions and honest thoughts after using the app. Full disclosure here. **
Table of Contents
- 1 | Overview of the Best Exercise Bikes
- 2 | Best Overall Exercise Bike
- 3 | Best Runner Up
- 4 | Best Bike with Magnetic Resistance
- 5 | Best Recumbent Bike
- 6 | Best Folding Exercise Bike
- 7 | Best Under Desk Bike
- 8 | Best Multi Functional Bike
- 9 | Best Upright Bike
- 10 | How to Choose the Best Exercise Bike for You
- 11 | How to Incorporate Indoor Biking into Your Exercise Routine
- 12 | Summary
- 13 | FAQ
Overview: The Best Exercise Bike Under 500 Dollars & Alternatives
Best Overall Exercise Bike – PYHIGH Indoor Cycling Bike
Best Runner Up – Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
Best Bike with Magnetic Resistance – MEVEM Indoor Cycling Bike
Best Recumbent Exercise Bike –Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike
Best Folding Exercise Bike – XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
Best Under-Desk Exercise Bike – Cubii Jr.
Best Multi-Functional Bike – MaxKare Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike
Best Upright Bike – Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike
Best Overall Exercise Bike Under 500
This sturdy bike is equipped with a 35 lb flywheel to give you a smooth ride. It uses a felt pad friction to provide different levels of resistance.
The monitor tracks your speed, distance, and calorie burn estimate. It also offers caged pedals to prevent your foot from slipping off during your workout.
Other features include roller wheels so you can move the bike around when needed, an oversized saddle for comfort, and anti slip handle bars.
The bike is reported to be relatively easy to assemble and quiet during use. The seat and handlebars are adjustable which makes it a good size for most people, unless you are really tall.
It checks a lot of boxes and is well within your budget. That’s why it’s #1 as the best exercise bike under 500 bucks.
- Sturdy bike with a 35 lb flywheel
- Great value for the price
- Large seat for added comfort
- Attractive design
- Some people have reported it might be a little small if you are really tall
- Felt pad resistance tends to be subject to more wear and tear over time
Best Runner-Up Bike
Sunny Health & Fitness makes lots of quality exercise equipment and this bike is among them. It also uses felt pad friction but comes with a slightly heavier flywheel than the PYHIGH, which means it would be a slightly smoother ride.
The biggest downside to this bike is that it doesn’t come with any kind of monitor to track your distance or calories. However, if you use a wearable tracker or are fine just using the timer on your phone to time your workouts, this is a relatively minor issue.
- Good quality bike for the money
- Heavier flywheel for smoother ride
- No tracking monitor
- Felt pad resistance tends to be subject to more wear and tear over time
Best Bike with Magnetic Resistance
While the first two bikes use felt pads to create fiction and harder levels of resistance, this bike uses a lighter flywheel and magnetic resistance. Magnetic bikes are typically quieter than padded ones and the tension knob offers clear-cut levels of resistance (rather than just cranking it up or down by feel.)
The LCD screen is basic but a nice large size.
Some users have reported this bike does have a tendency to squeak a bit, but overall is a good magnetic bike for the price. It also comes with a phone/book holder and water bottle holder. It also comes with wheels on the front so you can tilt and roll. The lighter flywheel may also make it more convenient for wheeling around.
Other perks include easy assembly, caged anti-slip pedals, and a 12-month warranty.
- Magnetic resistance offers clear-cut levels of difficulty
- Large display screen
- Easy to assemble
- 12-month warranty
- Some users have found it does squeak a bit
Best Recumbent bike
Recumbent bikes are great if you need to work out your legs and glutes with minimal stress on the joints. They also tend to be more comfortable to sit on than standard indoor bikes.
The Marcy Recumbent bike is a good choice because it’s easy to put together and good value for the price. It also has wheels for tilt n’ roll capability.
The downside to this bike is that, although the seat is adjustable, it can be a pain to move back and forth if you are sharing the bike with another person of a different height.
- Easy to assemble and use
- Good quality material
- Not easily adjustable for more than one person to ride
Best Folding Exercise Bike
This bike only weighs 32 lbs when assembled, and you can see there isn’t much to it. Because of this, it can only accommodate up to 225 lbs. However, it’s light weight makes it super convenient for small spaces.
It has wheels and easily folds up so you can tuck it away when not in use.
One cool thing about this bike is it does come with handlebars that monitor your heart rate, which is convenient if you don’t already wear a fitness tracker.
It offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance and has a small but easy-to-use LCD screen to measure distance, speed, calories and pulse.
It’s also one of the more cost effective options on this list!
However, this bike appears to be more for casual use and not really designed for intense workouts.
- Portable and lightweight
- Handlebars include a heart rate monitor
- Easy to assemble
- Cost effective
- Might not hold up to a lot of high-intensity use
Best under desk Exercise bike
Although not a true exercise bike, it’s still an investment worth considering if you have a desk job and need a way to burn a few extra calories while you work.
And as far as under-the-desk bikes go, Cubii is pretty much the Rolls Royce. It’s very quiet and easy to assemble.
Cubii also has a great reputation for stellar customer service should you need to contact them regarding your Cubii.
It does come with a display screen but it’s pretty small and some people find it’s hard to read it while using it.
Of course, it’s not going to offer you the kind of workout that leaves you drenched in sweat. But if you just need something to help you boost your daily calorie burn, this is a super convenient option.
Cubii also has a Pro version which is a bit more expensive but offers Bluetooth tracking to sync your stats to your phone or FitBit.
- Easy to assemble, small, and portable
- Very quiet
- Easy to use while working at a desk
- A reputation for good customer service
- Not intended for high-intensity workouts
- Small screen may be hard to see while in use
- Have to pay for the pro version if you want the Bluetooth/app syncing capabilities
Best Multi-Functional Bike
If you like your exercise equipment to have a little extra functionality, you might like this magnetic bike from MaxKare. It features a pair of tension straps that you can use to exercise your arms while you’re peddling.
It also transforms from a standard exercise bike into both an upright bike and recumbent bike. It’s ideal if you have more than one person in the household who prefers a different type of bike than you, or if you just like to mix it up!
Some users have warned that if you are very tall or very short, you may not find it adjustable enough for your needs.
It’s a bike best-suited to beginners, but like the other bikes on this list, it’s good value for the price.
- Tension bands allow for work out upper body workout while cycling
- Can be used as a standard, recumbent or upright bike
- Foldable and easy to transport
- May need to be wary if you are particularly short or tall
Best Upright Bike
Some people may not want to lean back as with a recumbent bike but find leaning forward to be uncomfortable as on a standard bike. That’s when an upright bike like this Exerpeutic can be the comfortable alternative as it allows you to pedal with an upright, neutral spine.
It comes with a large easy-to-read digital screen and offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
Although it’s foldable and easy to store, it can still accommodate up to 300 lbs. It’s also one of the more cost effective options on this list.
This bike is designed for easy to moderate intensity but some reviewers suggest it may not hold up to more vigorous exercise.
- Large seat for comfort
- Designed to be used in an upright position for comfort
- Portable and easy to store
- Might not hold up to vigorous use
How to Choose the Best Bike for You
We’ve taken a run through all the best budget exercise bikes under 500 bucks, but as you can see, they’re all pretty different from each other.
So which bike should you choose?
As with any other piece of exercise equipment, it really depends on your goals and preferences. But here’s a checklist to run through to help you make the right pick.
Most of the bikes on this list are well under $500, so if you can spend this much then making the choice will be easier. If you need to stick to something more cost-effective, you may need to go with one of the more lightweight folding bikes, keeping in mind that they might not hold up to more vigorous use.
Bike Resistance Type
You’ll notice that these bikes offer two main levels of resistance; magnetic and friction.
Bikes with friction resistance use a felt pad that adds pressure to the flywheel as you turn up the resistance knob. The higher you turn it, the harder it gets to pedal. The nice thing about this method is that you can make it as challenging as you want, to the point where you can barely pedal at all.
However, as the felt pad does wear over time, you will likely find you have to keep cranking the knob further for the same level of resistance, and eventually you will probably need to replace the pad.
Padded resistance also tends to be a little noisier than the magnetic models.
Magnetic resistance works through magnetic force applied to the flywheel. But unlike friction resistance, nothing actually touches the flywheel so it makes for a quieter, smoother ride.
Resistance levels also remain consistent since there’s no friction wearing down the resistance. And because there is no wearing, magnetic bikes generally require less maintenance.
However, these types of bikes are usually more expensive and although there are magnetic bikes for under $500 as seen on this list, realistically in this price range they are just as likely to need maintenance the way the friction bikes do.
When and where are you going to use the bike? If you’re looking for something you can use while you’re working, an under-the-desk bike will be the way to go. But if you’re looking for something that’s going to give you more of an intense workout, you’ll want one of the more traditional exercise bikes with a heavy flywheel.
Most of these bikes are pretty quiet, so the biggest concern you may have when it comes to finding the right bike for you is how much space it takes up. Where will you be setting up the bike? Can you find a permanent place for it, or would it be better to get a bike that folds up and rolls away when you’re not using it?
Are you looking for something that mimics riding outdoors? You’ll want to get one of the standard exercise bikes.
If you’re looking for a more comfortable ride where you can burn a few calories while you’re reading or watching TV, then a recumbent bike might be your best bet.
But if you need a bike that’s easier on your back, an upright bike might be the way to go.
How to Incorporate Indoor Biking into Your Exercise Routine
Personally, I’ve been using an exercise bike for the past three years, ever since I had to give up running, and it’s been a godsend to my overall health and fitness!
(In fact, I like it so much that I wrote a post all about it’s unique benefits. If you’re on the fence about whether or not indoor biking is for you, you should definitely check it out!)
The thing is, once you get an indoor exercise bike, it’s really easy to set it up somewhere and then forget about it after a week or two. In order for the bike to be worth the investment, you have to actually use it!
It all comes down to motivation. So you might be wondering, how do you motivate yourself to use your new exercise bike?
As someone who struggled with fitness motivation for years, here’s what I do that works for me:
Use an a Fitness app
The right fitness app can be a powerful tool in your fitness journey. Just pedaling away with no real goal in mind can be a bit boring, which is why I recommend using an app like Aaptiv to get audio-guided cycling workouts.
I love this app because it offers a ton of different cycling workouts that you can sort by trainer, music type, difficulty and duration. If you’re ready to get motivated and challenge yourself, this app will help you get there! (If you’re interested to learn more, head on over to read my full Aaptiv review.)
Start with short sessions
You might be tempted to go all in with your new bike and pedal away for 40-60 minutes every day. But it’s rarely sustainable for most people and when you miss a couple days you could end up losing motivation to keep going.
I say it’s better to start off small and work your way up. There is nothing wrong with cycling for 10-15 minutes to start! In fact, just 10 minutes of cycling can burn around 50-60 calories. (Of course, calorie burn depends on your gender and weight so you can always use a calculator like this one to calculate a more accurate calorie burn.
The point is, even a little every day will add up quickly!
It’s all about forming the habit. Crank up the difficulty only when the act of cycling has become routine.
Treat Yourself to an Audiobook or Podcast
One of my favorite things about using an indoor bike is that its conducive to multitasking. You can totally watch TV while you’re working out, for instance.
But I like to treat myself to an audiobook from Audible or a podcast. I find once the blood gets pumping I’m able to retain information better and I enjoy learning new things or listening to interesting ideas while I’m biking.
It’s a double dose of productivity and makes your workouts something you actually look forward to.
Give it a try and I think you’ll like it!
We’ve determined the best exercise bike under 500 bucks, reviewed how to choose the best bike for your purposes, and even checked out some strategies on how to make use of your bike once you have it.
I think once you get in the habit of indoor cycling you will love it! There are few forms of cardio that are as fun, easy and effective!
Yes. It’s a super convenient and effective way to get cardiovascular exercise at home without needing to go to a gym or putting a lot of stress on your joints.
It depends on your purposes but the overall top pick based on my research is the PYHIGH Indoor Cycling Bike available on Amazon.
Most people will probably tell you magnetic resistance is better overall, but when it comes to budget exercise bikes either is fine.
You can ride an indoor bike every day as part of your daily exercise regime, but it shouldn’t be the only exercise you do. Biking does wonders for your heart and legs but doesn’t do as much for upper body strength or resistance training.
It depends what your fitness goals are, but 30 minutes of cardio is a good length session to exercise. Remember that when it comes to losing weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat, so 30 minutes is only enough if you are keeping your calorie intake in check!
Although you cannot spot-reduce fat from a specific part of your body with any exercise, riding a bike can help you lose fat from all over your body which can contribute to a leaner midsection. But please don’t forget about the importance of diet and strength training in this endeavour!
In terms of calorie burn, you are likely to burn more calories by biking than by walking, provided you are peddling with at least moderate effort. But they are both great forms of exercise!