So you’ve decided it’s time to deck out your at-home gym. Whether that’s a corner of your apartment or an entire room in your basement, an indoor cycling bike should be top of mind. Banish all thoughts of the boring bike you had to ride when you were hurt during high school or college sports and replace that with a sleek and flashy ride that likely comes with some screen for you to follow along. If you like traveling through the rocky hills of the Grand Canyon, or prefer the motivating sounds of an instructor’s voice, there’s a bike that will work for you. “A stationary bike is a great addition to your home gym because it is a low impact cardio exercise,” Dr. David Reavy, PT and founder of React Physical Therapy, says.
Have you ever left an indoor cycling workout class and not been sweaty? Likely, no. “When done properly, [the bike] strengthens your core and leg muscles,” Dr. Reavy says. “The pedal stroke consists of four motions: down, forward, back and up. This allows you to work all leg muscles in the frontal plane in addition to your core.” No matter what your typical workout preference is (running, biking, hiking, swimming) studies have shown that hopping on the indoor cycling bike for a high-intensity workout can help improve fitness in all types of athletes. To feel the benefits of indoor cycling, Reavy recommends working out on the bike at least three times a week.
With the holidays right around the corner, gifting options are endless — you’ll need indoor cycling shoes, a water bottle that’s easy to squeeze and drink while riding, maybe even some new bike shorts. Peruse the bikes, then make your list.
The bike is what initially made Peloton famous. People all over the world log and clip in to live workout classes streamed up to 10 times a day. No matter where you live, you can get a hardcore workout on the bike in your home. “I have a Peloton bike because of the convenience to help me cross train,” Dr. Reavy says. “I include biking as my cardio routine when I can’t get to the gym. It’s quick and effective when done properly. My wife has noticed a change in my body since I started riding six months ago.” What makes this bike shine is the Peloton subscription with an ever-expanding class list– both on-demand and live from the studio in NYC. If you’re sharing with roommates or a family, you need one subscription, and you can each use it. We recommend splurging for the package with the shoes, weights and headphones, so that you can get the most out of the workout.
Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus
This bike should look familiar — typically found in gyms across the country — my hometown YMCA used a bike that looked just like this. The aluminum frame is rust-free and lighter than steel but has a heavier six-magnet brake system all manufactured by Giant. You can clip in with both SPD pedals and toe-clip combinations, so you won’t have to purchase a new pair of shoes. This one doesn’t come with a computer though, so you’ll likely want to buy one to get your stats.
NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
If you can’t be bothered to follow along with another dull studio space, the NordicTrack bike is for you. With a one-year membership to iFit, you can experience cycling outdoors, and your bike will automatically adjust to the real-life conditions. The 20 percent incline and 10 percent decline mimic what it’s like to ride in Moab, Switzerland, Spain, Norway and more. Hop off the bike for an upper body workout (weights included here) or try a yoga or strength class. It’s just one tool but works a variety of muscle chains.
Flywheel Fly On Demand Bike
In New York City, it’s typical that if someone likes indoor cycling, you can ask them if they are a SoulCycle or Flywheel fan. SoulCycle is all about the feel, while FlyWheel is more about your stats and power. The brand offers its popular classes on demand and live including the epic and precision training rides. Whether you’re training for a century or a triathlon, the instructors are well-versed in prepping the riders. For $300, you get a built-in 15.6-inch screen, so if you don’t have a smart television or a tablet to stream the workouts, this is a much-advised addition. During November, FlyWheel offers a free starter pack (which includes an indoor cycling shoe, water bottle and headphones) when you use code
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.