Cardio, cardio, and more cardio! We’re sure you’ve heard the word “cardio” enough times to know that cardio exercises are an excellent choice for weight loss. Whether you get your cardio on at the gym or at home, cardio work burns calories. We’re also sure you know that burning calories is a proven way to lose weight. Welcome to our guide to choosing the best exercise bike for losing weight.
In this complete guide, we share:
- Top 10 Exercise Bikes for Weight Loss
- Exercise Bike Reviews
- Best Exercise Bike Workouts for Weight Loss
|#1) Concept2 BikeErg 2900 Stationary Exercise Bike
|#2) Assault Classic AirBike
|#3) Schwinn Airdyne AD7
|#4) NordicTrack S22i Commercial Studio Cycle
|#5) Nautilus U618 Upright Bike Series
|#6) Keiser M3 Plus (M3i) Indoor Cycle
|#7) Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901B 40 lb Flywheel Belt Drive Stationary Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
|#8) Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Exercise Bike
|#9) Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike With Resistance
|#10) 3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike
Reviews of the Best Exercise Bikes for Weight Loss
When choosing an exercise bike to match your weight loss goals, there are several key factors to consider. Do you want a bike that’s easy on your joints, particularly your knees? Are you ready to take on intense fat-burning exercises that’ll end with the most calories burned? No matter what your fitness goals are, there’s a bike in our Top 10 that’s a perfect match for you! Allow our individual exercise bike reviews to guide you to your destiny…
Concept2 BikeErg 2900 Stationary Exercise Bike
We’re big, big fans of Concept2 fitness equipment. The Concept2 Model E is the best rowing machine on the planet, and we think Concept2 hit another one out of the park with its BikeErg. The BikeErg may not be the most glamorous bike in our Top 10, but it’s certainly the best exercise bike for losing weight.
The BikeErg is a hybrid Airdyne/upright stationary exercise bike that’ll undoubtedly push you to your limits every time you dare sit on it. The concept behind an air bike is the harder you peddle the harder the bike pushes back. There’s no limit to how far you can take your workout resistance, and that’s what makes this exercise bike the best calorie burner.
- The sturdy 58-lb frame keeps the bike 100% stable while you push yourself during sprints
- The built-in PM5 monitor accurately tracks your stats
- Easy adjustments to the seat and handlebars
- Clutched flywheel continues to spin when your feet stop peddling for smooth cruising between sprints
- Caster wheels for easy moving
- Cheap Peloton alternative (that’s actually better)
- The PM5 Monitor may appear outdated, but it’s awesome for tracking stats
- No learning curve
- High calorie-burning workout
- Option to add iPad or tablet mount
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Very easy to assemble
- Great leg workout
- Sweat may drip onto the wheel
- Limited PM5 compatibility with other devices
- Non-adjustable seat tilt
Schwinn Airdyne AD7
The Schwinn Airdyne AD7 is perfect for beginner air bike users all the way up to the pros. Schwinn covered every detail when it designed the Pro version of its Airdyne. The feature we like the most is the quiet single-stage belt drive system that powers the 26-blade fan. The design ensures that every ounce of energy you put into your air bike workout leads to calories burned. The level of efficiency doesn’t get any better.
The sturdy commercial-grade frame is built to last a lifetime and keep the foundation of the bike rock-solid every time you ride it. The four contact levelers guarantee no wobbling. A Class ‘A’ Watts rating means the Airdyne AD7 is the most accurate on the market for measuring watt output below 50 RPM. It also produces more power at the same RPMs as its competitors.
- Super-quiet operation, especially compared to a chain-drive Airdyne bike
- Sturdy enough to support large men comfortably
- An excellent HIIT training machine (recommended by users with lower back pain)
- Good exercise bike for short people
- The best low impact exercise for weight loss
- Excellent for weight loss therapy after surgery
- Burn more calories in less time
- Uncomfortable seat reports (some owners chose to upgrade)
- Several customer service complaints
- Difficult repairs
Nautilus U618 Upright Bike Series
The Nautilus U618 topped our list of best upright stationary bikes for weight loss because it’s just pure awesomeness from every angle. The upgrades over the U614 and U616 make it the superior choice for satisfying riders of all skill levels.
The most important upgrades are the heavier 30-lb flywheel (compared to 20-lb on the U614), resistance adjustment buttons on the ends of the handlebars for quick in-workout tweaks, and more comfortable ergonomic handlebars.
Overall, the U618 is an excellent budget Peloton & Zwift alternative. The one drawback that advanced riders may not be fond of is no watt reading on the built-in computer. However, outside of that tiny inconvenience, there’s not a whole lot not to like about the U618. It’s super comfortable, quiet, adjustable, and the upright bike frame takes up less space than most stationary and recumbent bikes. Lastly, we find that the Nautilus Gel seat is more comfortable than standard Schwinn seats.
- Gym-quality exercise bike
- The best exercise bike to lose weight
- An excellent physical therapy exercise bike (recommended by physical therapists for knee strengthening)
- Suitable for men over 6’5″
- Top low-impact cardio workout
- Good heart rate monitor
- Comfortable bike seat
- Nautilus customer service is great
- Several quality control issues reported
- Stat tracking may not be as accurate as you like
- Handlebar height is not adjustable
Keiser M3 Plus (M3i) Indoor Cycle
The Keiser M3 Plus or M3i is truly a work of art. We can only salivate when we lay our eyes on it. Are you feeling the same way? The M3i replaced the M3+ model in early 2015.
M3 vs M3i: You may be wondering what the major difference is between the two models, and there are really only two major differences. The M3i model has a fully adjustable handlebar design that allows the rider to switch between spinning and outdoor cycling positions.
Secondly, the M3i features Bluetooth. Overall, the M3i is a more versatile exercise bike with enhanced Bluetooth functionality. Depending on whether you intend to share the bike or use it for spinning only, you may find that it’s worth saving some bucks by opting for the M3.
- Made in the USA
- Bluetooth interactive cycling with the Keiser M Series app
- The V-shape design allows for amazingly painless & versatile adjustability
- Rear-Wheel Design = Less Maintenance and Longer Life
- Automotive-Quality Poly-V Belt for an ultra-smooth & quiet ride
- Curved Crank Arms compatible with all types of rider footwear including SPD riders
- Easy to move
- Tons of hand position options
- Media Tray, Water Bottle Holder, and Stretch Pad
- Tracks watts for advanced cyclists
- A nearly silent exercise bike (awesome exercise bike for apartment dwellers)
- True gym-quality stationary bike
- Top-notch quality materials and features throughout the bike
- Heavy-duty sturdy construction
- The near-limitless range of resistance levels
- Easy to make seat and handlebar adjustments to suit everyone’s taste
- Worthy and better Peloton alternative
- The app is great for tracking workout stats
- The flywheel is a good resistance for spinning
- Handlebar positions are not the best for road cyclists (no aero or drop positions)
- The saddle clamp is a bolt system rather than a more advanced cam-lock
- The pedals may not live up to the hype (plastic bodies and cages)
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901B 40 lb Flywheel Belt Drive Stationary Pro Indoor Cycling Bike
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B901B is certainly in the conversation for the best cheap exercise bike on the market. However, don’t let the word “cheap” fool you. The SF-B901B is a feature-rich spin bike that’s more than adequate for beginners and advanced riders alike. The 40-lb flywheel is enough to push riders of all sizes to burn more calories.
The heavy-duty steel frame supports up to 275 lbs and is built to stand the test of time. An emergency stop lever and dual-felt brake pad system ensure you’ll be able to find your ideal resistance and have the ability to instantly stop the wheel at any point during your workout.
The low-maintenance belt-drive system is quieter and smoother than a chain-driven system. Lastly, the seat and handlebar adjustments give every rider the ability to find their sweet spot.
- The best exercise bike for the price (it gets the job done)
- The heavy-duty frame is the real deal
- Fore-aft saddle position adjustments
- Extremely easy to assemble
- Sunny Health & Fitness customer service is easy to deal with
- A great LISS workout (low-intensity steady-state)
- A top exercise bike for weight loss
- No fancy monitor
- Reports of the dual-pad system failing to contact the flywheel on one side
- It may not be suitable for short people under 5′
- Louder than premium exercise bikes in our Top 10
- The seat is too hard for some people
- Reported problems with the tension knob
Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike
If you’re interested in a full-body cardio workout on a recumbent bike, the Stamina Elite Total Body Recumbent Bike is our top choice in that department. The Stamina Elite recumbent is in the mix as the best full-body cardio workout machine currently on the market. We feel it’s best for people who desire a low-impact, total-body cardio workout. If you suffered an injury in the past or simply want a full-body workout that’s easy on your joints, the Total Body recumbent bike fits the bill.
The standout feature that we like the most when compared to most upright bikes is the comfortable seat. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how comfortable you like to be during your workout. Most people don’t want to get so comfortable that they’re ready to take a nap.
The magnetic resistance system is whisper-quiet, and the tension control knob makes adjustments easy before or during your workout. The pulse sensors along the sides of the seat allow you to stay within your target heart rate zone for the duration of your ride. Overall, this bike is great for people who want a low-impact cardio machine that’ll stand the test of time.
- Quite easy to use for anyone
- Sturdy construction
- A great bike for cardiac rehabilitation physical therapy (recommended by users recovering from heart surgery)
- Quiet operation
- Awesome cardio machine for physical therapy after injuries
- Comfortable seat
- Easy on the knees
- Reported problems with knee clearance below the handlebars
- No resistance adjustments for the hand pedals
- More than a handful of complaints about knobs and pedal straps falling off
- Problems with the seat moving
Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike With Resistance
If you’re shopping for a cheap exercise bike that’ll help you burn more calories to lose weight, look no further than the Marcy ME-709. The ME-709 is low-impact cardio at its finest without the need to pay for all the bells and whistles found on premium exercise bikes. Of course, there are far better options for advanced riders and people who want to track their workout stats.
Despite not being the best bike on the block, the MED-709 does have a functional computer system with an LCD display that tracks the basics including time, speed, distance, and calories burned (although we wouldn’t count on the calorie counter to be 100% accurate in this price range). For the price, this bike is a tough one beat, and there are a lot more users who love the bike than people who regret buying it.
- Good cheap exercise bike
- Gets the job done and will stand the test of the time for the price
- Approved by larger male users for comfort and quality
- Good exercise bike for seniors
- Easy to move around with the built-in wheels
- Impossible to beat the value for the money
- The best exercise bike for arthritic knees
- Inaccurate calorie counter
- No workout programs like iFit
- The seat could use more padding
- The highest tension level of 8 isn’t challenging enough for younger, stronger, more able-bodied individuals
3G Cardio Elite RB Recumbent Bike
Now, let’s check out the other side of the recumbent spectrum. If the Marcy ME-709 is the best cheap recumbent bike, then the 3G Cardio Elite RB is a true premium top-rated recumbent bike. The seat is of the utmost importance in a recumbent since they’re widely used as therapy bikes, and the 3G seat does not disappoint. The seatback is made of Infinite Airflow Mesh Flex for added comfort during your workout, and oh yeah, it has a reclining feature.
The 3G console comes standard with 12 pre-programmed workouts and more accurate tracking than you’ll find in a cheap recumbent. The pedal design is made for comfort, and the low-height step-thru center frame makes the machine easy for anyone to mount. The convenient electronic handle controls make in-workout adjustments a breeze. Overall, we love this bike, and it’s an excellent choice for low-impact cardio weight loss at home.
- 16 magnetic resistance levels and 4 programmable user profiles
- Very comfortable and quiet operation
- The comfort adjustability options help you stay consistent with your workout regimen
- Built to last a lifetime
- A top recumbent bike for seniors (very low starting resistance)
- Comparable to commercial gym equipment
- The best exercise bike with an adjustable backrest
- The console may not be as user-friendly as other bikes
- Not the easiest bike to assemble
Exercise Bike Workouts for Weight Loss
An exercise bike is one of the best home cardio machines for burning calories, which naturally makes it one of the best cardio workout machines for weight loss. While the treadmill is the king of calorie-burning, the exercise bike has the advantage of being a low-impact cardio machine (great for us aging fitness enthusiasts). This also makes exercise bikes good for people recovering from injuries, arthritis sufferers, and seniors who want a workout that’s easy on the joints.
Of all the bikes in our Top 10, air bikes aka Airdyne bikes are going to burn the most calories in the least time. This also makes them the most challenging to use. To give you an idea of how intense of a cardio workout the Airdyne bike delivers, watch the gentleman in the video below burn 86 calories in 60 seconds:
The video also gives you an idea of why Airdyne exercises are full-body cardio workouts. Workouts of this caliber are made for weight loss and to burn the most calories in the least amount of time.
This type of exercise is also a more-than-worthy HIIT workout. HIIT workouts are excellent for weight loss and strength gains since LISS is less favorable for maintaining & building lean muscle mass. The reason behind this is that steady-state, long cardio workouts can lead to an unfavorable rise in cortisol. Excessive cortisol can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midsection (*).
Air Bike HIIT
Popular ratios for air bike HIIT workouts range from 1:1 to 1:4. A 1:1 ratio equals 20-60 seconds of all-out 100% effort followed by 30-60 seconds of rest. Most people max out at 15 minutes total which can be anywhere from 15-30 rounds.
However, the ratios are not set in stone as shown in the demonstration video below. What always remains the same in HIIT is switching between max effort and break periods:
The bottom line is if you’re serious about losing weight, this is the exercise to do.
Outside of HIIT workouts on an exercise bike, the key is to stay consistent and engaged. Consistency and burning more calories than you eat each day will more often than not lead to weight loss. People who expect to hop on an exercise bike once a week and lose weight are the people who are feeling disappointed.
One reason we love the NordicTrack S22i is the iFit membership keeps people engaged, especially beginners. The ability to virtually bike anywhere in the world and follow on-demand training programs with real trainers is more than enough to keep most people motivated.
We love cycling. It’s one of the best home low-impact cardio workouts for weight loss and perfect for everyone. No matter what skill level or age you are, an exercise bike is an excellent piece of weight loss equipment to add to your home gym. The premium bikes in our Top 10 will stand the test of time.
Always remember to identify your fitness goals before you choose a piece of cardio equipment. Airdyne bikes are awesome for burning calories, but they’re a lot less enjoyable to use than standard stationary bikes. Even fitness buffs get intimidated by them. Recumbent bikes are the easiest on the joints and most comfortable to ride. These are all key points to consider before you choose a bike.