All told, fat people have a hell of a time working out — I know, because I'm one of them. And no, it's not because of stereotypes about how fat bodies can't or don't want to move: I can assure you that many fat, plus-size, or other similarly identified people love working out just as much as anyone else.
But when you're a bigger person who enjoys exercise, there are simply a lot of barriers to entry, including but not limited to fatphobic health, wellness, and fitness spaces, lack of workout gear in extended sizes, and equipment that doesn't necessarily work for or can't be adapted for larger bodies. If you're not fat, you might not even know these problems exist for much of the population — but anyone living in a larger body knows exactly what I'm talking about.
And to that last point: I love to cycle indoors, probably about as much as I loved riding my bike as a kid (and as an adult, when the weather is above 20 degrees). In the before-COVID times, I attended SoulCycle and FlyWheel classes on occasion, each time thoroughly impressed and exhausted by the workout. When studios closed and it became unsafe to work out in public, I decided it would be a good idea to find a spin bike for my apartment. After all, I've got to keep the dopamine flowing somehow.
As I researched for the best stationary bike, I immediately hit a roadblock. Peloton bikes are praised for their quality — I've ridden one, and they are really that nice. However, I didn't necessarily want to spend $2,000, nor did I want to wait for months for it to be delivered. So, I did what anyone looking for a lot of options and short delivery times would do: I looked at the stationary bikes available on Amazon. (Related: The Best Peloton Bike Alternatives On Amazon, According to Reviews)
There are dozens of reasonably-priced stationary bike options to choose from on the mega e-retailer, but unfortunately, many of the reviews I read on the more affordably-priced models were the same: Customers complained of them being poorly-constructed, rickety, and uncomfortable. And, it stands to reason that if those reviews are true for straight-sized people, plus-size people would ultimately have even more difficulty.
Luckily, I didn't give up and finally came across the Cyclace's super-sturdy stationary bike (Buy It, $385, amazon.com) with a 36-pound flywheel and a weight capacity of up to 330 pounds. The bike comes with a comfortable seat cushion, built-in odometer, and an LCD monitor that allows you to track your time, speed, distance, and calories burned. Though the bike doesn't have a monitor as you see on fancier models, it comes with a stand so you can use your phone or iPad to follow along with any virtual classes.
Essentially, it has everything you need for the same at-home workout you'd get with a familiar studio or name brand bike, but at a fraction of the price and wait: The Cyclace is just $385 on Amazon, and it ships in two days if you have Amazon Prime.
So why, exactly, does this particular model feel like the perfect option for those living in larger bodies? For starters, the frame itself is sturdy. It comes in one big piece (save for the handlebars and seat), and every piece on the frame of the bike feels like it's built to last. Additionally, unlike the super-skinny, rock hard bike seats that can be uncomfortable for bigger bodies, this seat has some width and cushion to it. I'm not going to say I wasn't in pain after 30 minutes of use, but it wasn't because of the seat. (Related: The Best Heart Rate Monitors for Peloton — and Any Other Bike)
I'm not the only person who noticed the quality and durability of this bike, either. Thousands of Amazon shoppers have given it five-star reviews. And while there's no way to know if all of the reviews I've read were written by plus-size people, many of them commented on the ease of setup, overall sturdiness, and general comfort level of the seat.
"This exercise bike is a fantastic value for the money. It arrived quickly with no damage." writes one reviewer. "It was extremely easy to assemble. We bought this bike to get in shape and lose weight because we're stuck at home during the quarantine. I'm so happy to add that if you are a heavy person this bike will not disappoint. The weight limit is 330lbs. The bike doesn't feel cheap when you get on or ride, it feels solid and sturdy. It's super quiet. The seat cushion is very comfortable."
"The Cyclace spin bike is an incredibly solid stationary bike," writes another shopper. "I weigh just over 300 pounds, and this bike felt just as sturdy as any 'pro'-level bike that I've ridden in my local gym. It has a super high-quality build, sports a heavy-duty flywheel, comfortable seat, and has a very sleek style. I've had zero issues riding it and look forward to it each morning."
Another happy camper, who specified their height as 6'4" and weight as 200 pounds, wrote, "I picked this bike because it seems to have the biggest available seat range on Amazon." Pro-tip: If you want an even more comfortable ride, there are also dozens of universal extra-wide bike seats on Amazon, such as the YGL Oversized Comfort Bike Seat (Buy It, $43, amazon.com), you can swap out for the seat that's included.
All told, as a larger person who enjoys kicking her own ass at workouts, but resoundingly does not enjoy rickety, uncomfortable, unstable equipment (or spending a ton of money), the Cyclace bike checked all my boxes. If it sounds like it might for you, too, don't wait. This bike has sold out several times on Amazon, and will likely again soon.