I have a confession to make. Despite being a self-proclaimed cyclist, gear writer, and tech dork, Peloton was the only indoor bike I could list off the top of my head before I started writing this article. Sure, I knew others existed, but I hadn’t found an occasion to go down the rabbit hole. So I decided to turn myself into a guinea pig and get familiar with as many as I could.
For years I was convinced that indoor cycling wasn’t worth the effort or cost. Indoor bikes looked clunky and unfathomably boring, sitting in place and pedaling to nowhere. However, as I’ve recently learned, improvements in technology and design have evolved the market considerably, driven by a surge in spin classes, platforms like Zwift, and innovative brands like Peloton.
The pandemic threw gasoline on the fire, helping many indoor bike companies double and some even triple their sales in a single year. These aren’t small potatoes, either. Peloton’s reported $1.8B revenue last year is nearly as much as Specialized and Trek — the two largest outdoor bike companies — combined.
Gear Patrol has covered that brand extensively, in everything from comparison pieces to news about its rotating screen. But what else is out there, and how does it stack up? After researching and testing different bikes from across the industry, I landed on the following seven bikes as the best non-Peloton options you can buy right now.
Best Overall Indoor Bike: NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle
If you’re looking for a variety of workouts on and off the bike, the updated NordicTrack Stio Cycle is just unbeatable. With a 14-inch touchscreen, built-in speaker system and proprietary iFit program with tens of thousands of workouts, live classes, and an array of stats, the NordicTrack is a true competitor to Peloton at $300 less than that brand's base model and $900 less than the top-of-the-line Peloton Bike+. Standout features include uphill and downhill training, simulating steep inclines and descents, a 360-degree swivel screen that allows for off-bike resistance-training routines (not unlike the Peloton Bike+) and a well-designed fan to keep you cool while you're working hard.
Best Upgrade Indoor Bike: Wahoo KICKR Bike
If you’re looking for an indoor bike that makes you think — even for a second — that you’re riding outside, this is the one. And at a grand more than the Peloton Bike+, it had better. Intended for the dedicated cyclist, the KICKR features Bluetooth connections to Garmin, Suunto, Zwift, Strava and other apps and a comfortable out-of-the-box feel, but the real value is tweaking it to fit you. It’s easy to install your own seat, handlebars and pedals — and match the shifters to your actual road bike, so riding in your living room feels like roads around town. Even better? The KICKR has an actuator that tilts 20 percent for climbs and 15 percent for descents, so you really feel like you’re going up or down a hill.
Best Value Indoor Bike: Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike YB001
I admit I was a bit surprised that I actually liked this bike, which is very affordably priced (currently $285.99 on Amazon). The flywheel is smooth and quiet, and it has a massive range of resistance, making it good for even fairly strong riders. You sit in an upright, comfortable position, and the seat is adjustable for many heights. The big downside is the total lack of a fancy interface — a basic LCD monitor displays your time, speed, distance and calories burned. However, it’s still one of the most popular bikes on the market because of its price. The Yosuda is a gym-quality, no-frills spin bike, which makes it more than capable of providing a decent workout.
Most Approachable Indoor Bike: Bowflex C6
A relatively new entry to the indoor bike market at just over half the price of a standard Peloton, the C6 turned heads when it launched two years ago. With a burly build quality, good ergonomics, ample adjustability, a smooth feel and a quiet flywheel, you have all the features you need for a solid workout. It is also compatible with Zwift and other platforms, but you’ll need your own tablet; while the C6 does feature a backlit LCD metric console, it does not pack its own immersive screen.
Most Tech-Heavy Indoor Bike: The MYX
The newest entrant in the fully-digital indoor bike market, MYX comes with nearly all the bells and whistles of Peloton at a much more affordable $1,300 MSRP. MYX has a huge 21” touch screen and it’s own streaming training platform much like Peloton, which many other competitors can’t say. It’s a well built design with dual sided pedals, water bottle holders, swiveling screen, bluetooth compatibility, and surprisingly enjoyable app with music, trainers, and personalized heart rate zone training. Still lacking live classes and leaderboards as well as integration with Strava and Zwift, the MYX isn’t for everyone but was one of the best bikes I tested.
Best Minimalist Indoor Bike: Schwinn IC3
With a simple, minimalist design, the IC3 indoor bike is a great option for new riders hoping to get a good workout on a piece of equipment that will last a long time. The pedals come with multiple options, as do the handlebar grips, and wireless heart rate tracking is built in. These are all bonus features for most indoor bikes priced at $600. While it lacks an interactive screen with workouts and coaching like Peloton, it still has a massive flywheel with a large array of resistance options. The biggest downside is the lack of a built-in fan, though.
Best Folding Indoor Bike: Exerpuetic Folding Exercise Bike
If you live in a small apartment, cabin, or any home where space is at a premium, folding bikes are likely your best option. The Exerpuetic is one of the best in the category, fitting pretty easily in a closet or under your bed. With a large, padded seat, lots of adjustability for different rider heights, and eight different levels of resistance, it’s a decent tool for getting a sweat, although lacking a flywheel means that it probably isn’t the best bet for the more extreme riders. The features are few and far between, but that’s generally par for the course in the folding bike category.