The Best Indoor Cycling Bikes of 2023, Tested By Shape

We clipped in to 17 popular at-home bikes and found these five to be the best of the best.

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Best Indoor Cycling Bikes

Shape / David Hattan

Whether you don’t live near a cycling studio or you want all the benefits of low-impact cardio right from your living room, indoor cycling is one of the most popular ways to work out at home — and for good reason. Not only are at-home bikes relatively compact, but cycling strengthens your lower body, lowers your risk of heart disease, and improves your posture, all without the high impact of other cardio options (ahem, running).

And of course, there’s the convenience of being able to work out on your terms. “I always prefer a live, in-person class, but I understand that option is not for everyone, so the convenience factor is huge here,” says Karen Maxwell, ACE-certified personal trainer and senior master instructor for CycleBar cycling studios.

If you’re in the market to buy an indoor cycling bike, you might be surprised at just how much variety there is to choose from. Do you want a name-brand bike from Peloton or SoulCycle, or would you be happy with a cheaper alternative that’s more no-frills? Do you want your bike to include guided classes, or do you want to do your own thing? Turns out, there’s a lot to consider.

To help you choose the best indoor cycling bike for your needs, Shape conducted an in-depth test of 17 popular and highly rated at-home exercise bikes. Over the course of a month, our testers completed at least eight workouts on their bike, rating each option on performance, stability, comfort, adjustability, value, and more. We analyzed their scores and comments to determine which bikes made the cut, and we also followed up with the top contenders two months after our original test to see how each bike performed long-term. Here’s what our testing showed to be the best indoor cycling bike (spoiler alert: it’s not Peloton); plus, a few other options that might appeal to your needs.

The Winners

01 of 05

Best Overall: Schwinn IC4 Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike

Schwinn IC4 Fitness Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike


Why We Like It: Our testers found it to be wobble-proof and quiet — perfect for apartment living.

It's Worth Noting: The seat wasn’t comfortable for long rides.

Our choice for best indoor cycling bike overall went to the Schwinn IC4 bike, a solid, price-friendly bike whose features meet the needs of beginner and advanced cyclists. Beginners will appreciate that the bike is easy to set up (although it does require another person), and it comes with the essentials; namely, dual-link pedals that let you choose between toe cages or clip-in cycling shoes, plus a set of 3-pound weights. The bike’s stability really impressed us, and we noticed that it stayed steady (and totally quiet) at all different speeds and cycling positions. The value was also a major pro; this bike costs less than its premium counterparts and doesn’t require you to opt into a subscription. Instead, it has a built-in tablet stand for you to choose your own streaming. After two months of additional testing, this bike was still performing well and working properly, so we feel confident in its longevity.

We were a little surprised to notice that the monitor doesn’t display resistance, and heads up: You’ll need two people to set up this indoor bike. We also noted that the included bike seat got a little uncomfortable during longer rides and felt a little small, so you may want to purchase a bike seat for additional padding.

Price at time of publish: $1,199

Item weight: 112 lbs | Max weight: 330 lbs | Basic LCD console | Dual-link SPD pedals with toe cages | No on-demand classes | Membership not required

02 of 05

Best for Beginners: Freebeat Lit Bike

Freebeat Fit Lit Bike

Freebeat Fit

Why We Like It:  You can gamify your rides to earn raffle entries for prizes.

It's Worth Noting: The auto-resistance feature was unpredictable and frustrating.

The Freebeat Lit Bike includes on-screen introductions to cycling and bike set-up, plus options for 15- and 30-minute classes for beginners specifically — perfect if you’re new to cycling (you will need to opt-in to a $39 per month membership in order to access guided classes). Adjusting the bike was easy, and the seat cushion felt comfortable and well-cushioned. The high-res screen rotates and its brightness can be adjusted, which is a feature we typically see on more expensive bikes. The color options let you have a little more say in the bike’s aesthetic, and you can gamify your rides and earn chances at incentives such as membership credits, gift cards, and more.

We weren’t impressed by the auto-resistance, which was touted as a premium feature. You can’t turn the auto-resistance off for an entire ride, so even if you adjust the resistance during your ride, it will automatically adjust back to match the instructor's cue. This prevented us from pushing on rides where we wanted to go harder or taking it easier on rest days. You’ll also have to purchase separate pedals if you want to clip in.

Price at time of publish: $1,799

Item weight: 113.3 lbs | Max weight: 300 lbs | 21.5” HD touchscreen | Pedals with toe cages | On-demand classes with membership | Freebeat membership required for access to classes ($39/month)

03 of 05

Best Splurge: SoulCycle At-Home Bike

Equinox + SoulCycle At-Home Bike


Why We Like It: You can stream your own entertainment or opt for live or guided classes.

It’s Worth Noting: The bike seat felt thin and narrow.

SoulCycle has been a major player in indoor cycling for years, and its at-home bike brings the studio experience to your house (sans candles and dim lighting). We were thrilled that the bike comes fully set up, and our test rides felt stable across a variety of speeds and resistance levels. You also have plenty of options for rides: In addition to live and pre-recorded classes, you can Free Ride or stream entertainment from Disney+, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. It was easy to sort and filter classes to find the perfect workout, and we also appreciated the video guide to bike set-up.

Like most other bike seats, this one is on the thin side, so if comfort is important to you, you might add a bike seat. The bike is also priced to match its premium branding: It’s the most expensive bike we tested, and you’ll have to pay for a monthly subscription on top of that. If you want to ride live with an in-studio stream, that’s an extra $20 a pop — which didn’t feel worth it to us.

Price at time of publish: $2,500

Item weight: 142 lbs | Max weight: 350 lbs | 21.5” HD touchscreen | Pedals fit three-bolt cleats | On-demand classes with membership | Equinox+ membership required for access to classes ($39/month)

04 of 05

Best Studio-Like Experience: Peloton Bike+

Peloton Bike+

Dick's Sporting Goods

Why We Like It: The rotating screen is large and immersive with high-quality speakers.

It’s Worth Noting: You can’t stream your own music or entertainment.

From charismatic instructors, themed rides, the ability to take a class with friends, and even personalized shout-outs, the Peloton Bike+ is the best indoor cycling bike that mimics the in-studio experience. With the largest display screen among the bikes we tested (23.8”) and high-quality audio, you’ll feel like you’re actually in the Peloton studio. There’s even an auto-resistance feature so you don’t have to reach down to manually adjust anything during your ride, allowing you to immerse yourself even further (and the auto-resistance worked much better than the Freebeat Lit Bike). We felt the HD display was crystal-clear, and we liked that you can hide or show as many metrics or information (such as time left in the ride or the leaderboard) as you want on-screen. The display screen also rotates for easy viewing during off-bike classes (such as strength, yoga, or Pilates).

We purchased the Bike+ Starter package, which includes Peloton brand cycling shoes, and we didn’t feel that those shoes were a value-add to our bike (they felt too stiff and uncomfortable). We were also disappointed we couldn’t stream our own music or entertainment, which is one way the Peloton Bike+ falls short of the SoulCycle At-Home Bike.

Price at time of publish: $2,495 for Bike+ Basics Package

Item weight: 140 lbs | Max weight: 297 lbs | 23.8” HD touchscreen | Pedals fit Delta cleats | On-demand and live classes with membership | Peloton membership required for access to classes ($44/month)

05 of 05

Best for Full-Body Workouts: Bowflex Velocore Bike 16”

Bowflex VeloCore 16" Console Indoor Leaning Exercise Bike


Why We Liked It: You can ride in “Leaning Mode” to target your core and upper body.

It’s Worth Noting: Set-up took over an hour, unless you pay $199 for in-home assembly.

While any indoor cycling bike will work your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, you’ll have to go beyond the bike to strengthen your core and upper body. The Bowflex Velocore stands out from other bikes we tested thanks to its unique “Leaning Mode,” which targets your core and upper body by letting you lean from side to side. The result is a more natural-feeling ride that engages your obliques, abs, shoulders, and more. The bike also comes with 3-pound dumbbells for even more upper-body workout options.

Set-up took noticeably longer than other bikes we tested, clocking in at over an hour with multiple packages to open and parts to assemble (21 parts, to be specific). It wasn’t difficult, per se, but it did require two people.

Price at time of publish: $1,799

Item weight: 158 lbs | Max weight: 325 lbs | 16” touchscreen | Dual link pedals with toe cages or Shimano SPD clips | On-demand classes with membership | JRNY membership required for access to classes ($20/month)

Our Testing Process

We chose the best indoor cycling bikes through a weeks-long testing process, starting with competitive research on the highest rated and most popular indoor cycling bikes on the market. From there, we narrowed it down to 17 bikes to test over the course of one month. Our testers committed to at least eight rides during the testing period, and they provided detailed notes on every aspect of the experience. Specifically, we asked testers to comment on stability, performance, adjustability, comfort, display, and value. Testers were also asked how easy the set-up and delivery processes were, noting how long set-up took and whether everything needed was included. With all of those insights in hand, we consolidated ratings and chose superlatives based on our readers’ needs. We also planned for two-month and six-month follow-ups with our testers, so we can regularly update this article with the latest insights and speak to how the bikes perform over time.

What to Know About Indoor Cycling Bikes

Indoor cycling bikes are a major investment, both in terms of price and in terms of taking up space in your home. Here’s what you should consider before buying one.


Your indoor cycling bike should have multiple points of adjustment to give you the most comfortable ride and the best alignment. You should be able to adjust your seat height, move your seat forward and backward, and adjust the handlebar height. “Ideally, [when] you are riding in the saddle, aim for a full leg extension pedal stroke, giving your knee a 20 to 25 percent bend in the knee when the foot is at 6 o'clock,” says Maxwell. “When riding out of the saddle, arms should be extended to the ends of the handlebars, hips remain over the saddle and the core is engaged.”

Pedals and Cleat Compatibility

Some indoor cycling bikes come with pedals with built-in toe cages, while others are compatible with clip-in cycling shoes (some, like the Schwinn IC4, offer both). Cycling with toe cages lets multiple people use the bike without owning individual pairs of shoes, but clip-in cycling shoes offer a smoother, more powerful ride. “Indoor cycling shoes have a hard bottom by design,” explains Maxwell. “When you slip your tennis shoes with a soft rubber bottom into the cages, you will lack stability and your feet will cramp up.”

If you want an indoor bike with clip-in pedals, you’ll have the option of two-bolt or three-bolt cleats. SPD is a common two-bolt cleat system, and Delta is a common three-bolt cleat system.


For many people, having access to on-demand and live classes will be a major plus to buying an indoor cycling bike. However, take note that most of these classes are behind a paywall, so you’ll have to pay a monthly membership fee to access them.


Most of the at-home bikes tested had a display screen of at least 16” that you can use to stream on-demand or live classes, keep track of metrics, engage on a leaderboard, or watch the entertainment of your choice. Many indoor cycling bikes can be connected via Bluetooth to your favorite fitness trackers, so your stats show up on the display in real time. “We are in the age of fitness trackers and wearables,” points out Maxwell. “People like to track their success and goals, so having a bike that you can pair your wearable device to is a nice feature to look for in an at home bike. If a bike has a monitor on it with numbers that you can pair your Bluetooth with, this is an excellent accountability tool.”

Bike Seats

The saddles on most indoor cycling bikes aren't necessarily built for comfort. Most bike seats are narrow, without excessive padding, which feels uncomfortable to many people. If your bike seat is too wide, you may feel friction in the upper thighs, but if it's too narrow, your weight won't be distributed properly. If your bike seat isn't comfortable, consider adding on a padded bike seat, which you can easily attach over top of your existing saddle.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What shoes do you need for indoor cycling?

    The type of shoes you need for your indoor cycling bike will depend on the specific bike. Some bikes may be compatible with regular gym shoes, while others will require indoor cycling shoes with two-bolt or three-bolt cleats.

  • Is a stationary bike good exercise?

    Yes, indoor cycling is an effective cardio workout, and it can strengthen your lower body as well. Try HIIT bike workouts to build stamina more effectively.

  • What muscles do exercise bikes work?

    Exercise bikes primarily strengthen your lower body muscles: quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Pushing down on the pedal activates all the muscles in your quads and calves, while pulling up on the pedal engaged your hamstrings, glutes, and shin muscles.

Why Trust Shape

We took on this quest to find the best indoor cycling bikes with the help of our testing lab, which created a streamlined, consistent testing process for all 17 bikes, and Karen Maxwell, a professional cycling instructor who knows exactly how a great bike can improve your workout. Kristen Geil is the senior fitness editor at Shape, and she tackled extra research and expert interviews to fully break down the features, specs, pros, and cons of each bike in contention. She recently led Shape’s first-ever Best in Fitness Awards, where she helped choose nearly 170 of the best products in the fitness industry (including at-home exercise bikes and other large home gym equipment), giving her a specialized perspective on this test. She’s been taking cycling classes since 2011 and loves her Peloton, despite what these testers chose as Best Overall.

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