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Best Exercise Bike Under $500 Reviewed
If you’re spending more time at home and less time at the gym, you’ve probably thought about getting a stationary exercise bike.
It can be tricky to find a durable exercise bike without breaking the back, however there are a lot of cheap options that simply won’t do the job that they are supposed to.
You may know from a previous experience, the disappointment that may result from cheap pieces of workout equipment.
We here at cogmag.com scoured today’s saturated market to help you find the best exercise bikes for under $500. Our team has reviewed our top 5 bikes that we believe will be the perfect fit for your home gym.
The good news is that the world is finally moving out of an exercise bike dark age and into the light. New models are hitting the market, and they’re offering all of the features you could possibly want and more.
There’s a decent level of competition too. The industry is in the midst of a seemingly endless game of oneupmanship where each brand attempts to bring something new to the table, while all try to keep up. It’s a happy situation for consumers because it means falling prices and more features.
Modern static exercise bikes take the cycling experience to new levels. Many of the models you’ll read about in the sections below have elliptical options and exercise arms, allowing you to challenge your upper body as well as your legs.
These models also provide high-tech LCD monitors that show you the energy you expend, distanced traveled, and more.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the bikes themselves.
Check Out Our Favorite Exercise Bike Under $500
Top Exercise Bikes Under $500 Comparison Chart
Best Exercise Bike Under $500
Bikes in the Schwinn Airdyne Exercise Series make it easy to get an intense cardio workout in the comfort of your own home.
The bike uses some rather clever wind resistance technology that actually feels very natural and provides quiet and smooth operation.
As you pedal the cranks, you turn a fan inside a protective cage at the front of the bike. Adjusting the controls near the display changes the shape of the fan, increasing or decreasing the resistance.
Unlike the mechanical exercise bikes of yesteryear, the resistance gradient is wonderfully smooth. You don’t get that annoying stiction you used to have when components physically resisted the rotation of the wheel. Instead, the intensity builds continually, the harder you push.
This bike comes with several features that you’ll appreciate. The first is the handy water bottle holder that sits just behind the main console. This lets you grab a drink during long, hot, and sweaty sessions on the bike.
There’s also a handy AD6 Reading Rack and Wind Screen you can attach to the shrouding around the propeller. This lets you turn the pedals while reading a book in the saddle, without wind continually ruffling the pages.
The exercise bike comes with two lever handles which you can swivel back and forth. They also share resistance with the pedals, so you can balance your input between the two quite nicely.
Overall this bike is for people who want a single upper and lower body exercise platform for their living room or home gym.
Sunny Health & Fitness takes a slightly different tack. The brand’s SF-B1709 Magnetic Exercise Bike looks very similar to the static bikes of the olden days, but with some important upgrades.
The first is the resistance system. The bike uses a 13-level magnetic resistance system that makes it more challenging to pedal, the higher the setting.
As a rider, you essentially load a heavy flywheel with energy and then allow resistance to slow it down. The stronger the pull from the magnets, the faster it loses energy.
There are no movable arm levers on this bike. But you do get four-way adjustable handlebars which allow you to mimic the setup on your actual bike.
Rideers will love this product since it is one of the few static bikes that you can buy that provides you with hook-around-and-under bars, as well as aero handles directly out in front.
Just like the Schwinn, you get a handy bottle holder at the front of the bike. And the LCD comes with a cadence sensor which shows you how many times you’re performing a pedal stroke per minute, letting you know whether you’re in the right gear or not.
You also get other important information, such as record speed, average speed, and distance traveled. For those interested in monitoring spin speed, there’s also an RPM function.
Thus, this bike is mainly for people wanting to accurately mimic regular road and cross-country cycling. It’s great for when the weather is terrible.
Marcy knows that exercise bikes of the past severely lacked quality. You’d pick one up for under a hundred bucks, use it a couple of times, and then have to throw the whole thing out.
That’s why the brand designs its products to be bombproof. Nothing should get in the way of them performing.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Marcy Upright Fan Exercise Bicycle is just how much it weighs. This thing is built like a tank.
The reassuring 79 lbs chassis, and premium steel body throughout keep you wobble-free as you pedal.
The entire product feels very much like something you’d find in a commercial setting. The seat and seat post are fully reinforced.
There are heavy-duty rubberized anti-slip pads on the legs. And there’s a helpful jockey-wheel at the front, allowing you to tow it from one location to another easily.
The adjustable levers on the legs are perhaps the most welcome feature on the bike, especially for people who like to get out of the saddle when pounding away at the highest difficulty settings.
You simply rotate a cog on the side of the legs to move the supports inwards or outwards, depending on your preferences.
The bike also comes with stay-cool technology, thanks to the fan at the front, and foot straps, keeping your feet in the right place as you pedal.
This bike, therefore, is for the individual who wants a genuine gym-like experience at home. The robust construction makes this a bike you can use daily for years on end.
The Body Champ 2 takes the basic idea of an exercise bike and embellishes it somewhat.
Yes – you’re getting a regular sit-down bike the provides a traditional static cycling experience. But you’re also getting a cardio and elliptical trainer too.
Body Max, the brand behind the product, went in this direction for an obvious reason: elliptical training is by far the most effective for helping people lose body fat. Creating a dual system was a no-brainer.
The way the system works is actually quite clever. Most elliptical machines are identical to bikes in the sense that they rotate something – in this case, a large flywheel in the chassis of the bike.
The footpads for the elliptical mode sit on the same metal bars as the pedals so you can move them both in tandem. And that means that you can stand up, sit down, and switch up your workout however you like.
The Body Champ 2 in 1 Elliptical runs quietly and provides two sets of handlebars – one for pedal riding and one for elliptical training. The seat is two-way adjustable. And you get a “deluxe” LCD too that allows you to program specific training circuits.
This bike, therefore, is for people who like the idea of combining multiple pieces of gym equipment into one. You can use it to train your entire body, not just your legs.
Those looking for a bike that they can easily fold-away to save space should consider the Barwing Foldable Stationary Exercise Bike.
The bike uses an X-shaped design, allowing you to fold it down and store it up against the wall or in the loft when you’re not using it.
The bike comes with a bunch of features and requires practically no maintenance to keep running. The handlebars are fully adjustable and have resistance bands built into the stem that allow you get in an upper body workout simultaneously.
The bike offers sixteen resistance intensity levels based on magnetic technology. Barwing recommends the first four settings for beginners, 7 to 10 for intermediates, and then 13 to 16 for advanced and athletes.
The great thing about magnetic technology is that it doesn’t involve any friction with the wheel. Operation is almost silent, while the difficulty ramp is very smooth with little stiction.
This bike, therefore, is for anyone looking to save space. The unit folds up small, making it easy to stuff inside cupboards or attics. And it comes with resistance bands for upper bodywork.
Top Exercise Bikes Under $500 Features To Consider
Spending more than $1,000 on a static exercise bike almost guarantees that you’ll get something of high quality.
If, however, you’re coming in under this price point, you need to be a little more selective and arm yourself with the right knowledge.
Here are some of the considerations you’ll want to bear in mind before you start shopping:
Exercise bikes need ways of dissipating the energy you put into them. On a normal bike, wind resistance does this, pushing you back harder the faster you go. But on a stationary bike, manufacturers have no such luxury.
So for that reason, they need other methods. If there was no resistance, the wheel would just continue speeding up and up.
Mechanical: We didn’t include any mechanical or friction-based systems in this list because they’re not very good. They work by applying a brake to the wheel, slowing it down. It feels similar to riding a regular bike with the brake pulled continually.
Magnetic: Magnetic systems are much improved. These use a series of magnets to pull on the wheel to slow it down as it travels. Nothing comes into physical contact with the wheel, helping components last longer.
Air resistance: These bikes put fan-like wheels behind a shroud, providing both resistance and cooling breeze at the same time.
Ideally, you want a friction-free system as the old mechanical versions tend to wear out quickly.
Dual Or Single-Purpose?
Dual-purpose exercise bikes are becoming increasingly popular as people look for models that let them exercise both their lower and upper bodies.
Again, which you choose is a matter of personal preferences. Truth be told, elliptical machines don’t do a great deal to activate the upper body or build muscle. However, some people may find the movement easier on the hips.
Purists will prefer single-purpose bikes. They tend to offer the most stability and adjustment options for the handlebars.
Whenever you choose a bike, be sure to find one that fits you. Seats and bars are adjustable, but not infinitely.
Spending less than $500 on an exercise bike limits the quality of the display manufacturers can include with the unit. Most are black and white at this price point. And many use non-dot-matrix displays to save money.
With that said, you’ll still want to carefully consider the features you get. Most will provide details like the time you’ve been exercising, cadence, and calories burned. Some will also come with RPM accessories and even tags you can use to measure your heart rate.
More expensive models double up as TV screens, allowing you to watch videos, but these are rare in the sub-$500 price category. Finding a product with a full-color screen at this price point usually means the brand made compromises elsewhere.