In selecting these bikes I’ve spent considerable time checking out their specifications, product listings, manufacturers website, manuals, customer reviews and asked questions of the manufacturer. I then compared and contrasted the bikes under $500 to come up with the top ones for this list (if you want to pay under $200 you can see my top picks here)
The criteria I used in determining the bikes are:
Adjustability. The bikes need to be adjustable so they can fit the rider properly and thereby be used by multiple users. The adjustments need to quick and easy to do to not get in the way of the exercising.
Durability. It’s all very well having a bike that doesn’t cost the earth but it also needs to be able to stand up to the pounding of the training.
Stability. When riding you don’t want the bike to be rocking from side to side so that you’re not concerned about your safety.
Natural Ride. I was looking for bikes that have heavy flywheels that bring through the pedals to help with the cycling motion and with standing on the pedals.
Noise. The bikes need to provide a low noise workout so that they won’t disturb others in the home.
These bikes are good solid bikes and will give you many hours of cardio workouts. They are basic no frills bikes, like many spin bikes but you can get a great ride and workout with them to meet your fitness and weight loss goals.
Sunny Health & Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling – 49 lbs
The belt drive provides an almost silent ride with the resistance pad on the flywheel being the loudest sound coming from the bike. You can hear the TV with only having to turn the volume up slightly.
The heavy flywheel provides the inertia to give a smooth and natural feel to the ride.
The bike has a heavy duty steel frame that holds it in place without flexing or shaking whether you are in or out of the saddle.
The bike can be adjusted for people between the heights of 5 ft 3 inches and 6ft 8. The seat can be moved up/down and forwards/backwards so that it can be adjusted to give a comfortable fit. This is a quick process so it means various members of the family can use it to get their workouts.
The seat is uncomfortable but can be replaced by a standard size bike seat. The pedals are toe cages for athletic shoes. They can be replaced if you supply your own pedals if you want to use specialist shoes.
It has transport wheels that make it easy to move to and from storage.
This our top choice in this price range for a natual smooth ride and its ablity to stand up the rigors of tough workouts.
Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike
Unlike most spin bikes, the Schwinn IC2 comes with a simple console that cycles between RPM, calories burned, time, distance and speed every 5 seconds. This helps in keep you on track with feedback that also helps with motivation.
The bike’s seat can be moved on 4 directions and the handlebars can be moved in 2 – up and down. Adjusting the bike is quick and easy for people between the heights of 4 ft 9 ins and 6 ft 5 ins (although you may struggle to get comfortable if you’re near the bottom and top of the range due to people having different leg lengths).
The bike has a lighter flywheel at 31 lbs than the Sunny bike but it is perimeter weighted which helps build the inertia needed to pull the pedals round.
It has a chain drive that is little noisier than a belt drive and requires more maintenance but does provide a more authentic feel as the pedals vibrate slightly as the chain moves across the sprockets.
The seat is deemed uncomfortable by users and the pedals have toe cups for athletic shoes – these both can be change if you want.
The bike provides a good solid base for workouts and is great for beginners and above. Although the console basic I like to see these on a bike and it helps with motivation and how you are progressing.
Manufactured by the company that created the original this bike is part of their affordable range of bikes.
The bike comes with 4 spinning workout DVDs to get you started. The music is a little cheesy but the workouts are fine and it gives you the information on how to set up the bike properly and how to use it effectively.
Many of the other features are similar to the Schwinn IC2 bike with friction resistance, chain drive, adjustability all the same. The bike can be adjusted to fit people between the heights 4ft 10 ins and 5 ft 10 ins. It is quick and easy to do. The max user weight is 250 lbs.
As with the other spin bikes it comes part-assembled. The assembly process can be completed within an hour.
It doesn’t come with a console, so you need to keep yourself motivated and estimate whether you are on track which is like many spin bikes.
It provides a good solid base for your workouts and there isn’t any rocking when you are pushing hard whether in or out of the saddle so you can just get on with your workout. The workout DVDs are great way to get you started with your training and exercising plan.