Best Exercise Bikes Under $500

Fit woman training on one of the best budget exercise bikes under $500
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It’s no secret that good exercise bikes can be extraordinarily expensive. High-end brands like Peloton produce machines that cost thousands of dollars and are filled with top-of-the-line features that are all appealing, but not essential.

If you’re looking for a way to get in some regular exercise without having to spend a bomb, the sub-$500 category of stationary bikes offers some very tempting choices. These might not have huge HD touchscreens or interactive training programs, but they
will allow you to achieve a diverse set of fitness goals and enjoy your money’s worth.

To help you choose the best exercise bikes under $500 that best suit your needs, this article compiles all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision.

We’ll discuss what features you should look out for, how cycling compares to other alternative modes of exercise, and nine of the best exercise bikes in this category that will be a welcome addition to any home or garage gym.

Top Exercise Bike Under $500s At a Glance

Woman on nautilus u616 upright bike

Best Exercise Bike Under $500 Overall

Nautilus U616 Upright Bike

The Nautilus U616 has the most extensive set of features of any exercise bike under $500. A durable frame, 25 levels of magnetic resistance, 29 pre-set programs, and wireless heart rate monitoring are only some in a long list of things the U616 does right. Not only does it allow you to train rigorously, but also makes workouts fun through its Bluetooth support for fitness apps.

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Woman on schwinn 230 recumbent bike

Best Recumbent Bike Under $500

Schwinn 230
Recumbent Bike

The 230 is the ideal exercise bike for anyone who wants a reliable machine that can help them exercise regularly. Though its flywheel is fairly light, the magnetic resistance and preset programs make workouts fun and enjoyable. If you suffer from any lower body pain or injuries that might be exacerbated by an upright bike, this is the exercise bike for you.

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Woman on maxkare magnetic indoor cycling bike

Best Spin Bike Under $500

MaxKare Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike

For just a couple few dollars, MaxKare’s indoor cycling bike covers all the essentials of a basic spin bike extremely well. It has a solid frame, a 40lbs flywheel, a comfortable seat, and a smooth pedaling action. Though it doesn’t have any premium features, this machine will definitely get the job done.

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Should You Get an Exercise Bike for Less Than $500?

Exercise bikes under $500 are ideal for those who are looking to regularly exercise at home in order to lose weight or stay in shape without having to spend a bomb on equipment.

Cycling is known to improve lung and heart health, while also having a ton of secondary benefits. These include putting you at a lower risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, etc., and improvements in cognitive function.

While this category doesn’t have too many premium options—those generally cost upwards of $1000—these bikes are by no means of cheap quality. As such, if you make an informed decision or select one of the bikes we’ve listed, you’re very likely to get years of usage out of them.

Exercise bikes also have tons of advantages over alternatives like walking, jogging, swimming, rowing, etc., especially if you’re doing the former two outdoors.

The potential for weight loss is the highest in cycling, which allows you to burn as many as 315-470 calories in a 30-minute period if you cycle vigorously. You’ll avoid exposure to pollution, traffic, and extreme or unpredictable weather conditions. Moreover, you’ll save money that would’ve been spent on a gym or club membership.

Cycling, unlike walking or jogging on a treadmill, is also a low-impact exercise—it places minimal pressure on your joints, thus avoiding pain and injuries. As you can see, there is much to gain from cycling, and you can easily avail all of these benefits with a machine that costs below $500.

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Top 8 Exercise Bikes Under $500

Nautilus u616 upright bike Nautilus U616 Upright Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $
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Schwinn 230 recumbent bike Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $$$
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Maxkare magnetic indoor cycling bike MaxKare Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 264 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $
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Yosuda indoor stationary cycling bike l-007a Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike L-007A
  • User Weight Capacity: 330 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Tension
  • Cost: $
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Schwinn 130 upright bike Schwinn 130 Upright Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $$
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Joroto x2 belt drive indoor cycling bike Joroto X2 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $
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Jsunny health and fitness sf-b1509 premium indoor cycling exercise bike Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1509 Premium Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Tension
  • Cost: $
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Schwinn ic2 Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Tension
  • Cost: $$$
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Nautilus U616 Upright Bike
Nautilus u616 upright bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $
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Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike
Schwinn 230 recumbent bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $$$
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MaxKare Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike
Maxkare magnetic indoor cycling bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 264 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $
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Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike L-007A
Yosuda indoor stationary cycling bike l-007a
  • User Weight Capacity: 330 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Tension
  • Cost: $
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Schwinn 130 Upright Bike
Schwinn 130 upright bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $$
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Joroto X2 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
Joroto x2 belt drive indoor cycling bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Magnetic
  • Cost: $
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Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1509 Premium Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
Jsunny health and fitness sf-b1509 premium indoor cycling exercise bike
  • User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Tension
  • Cost: $
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Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike
Schwinn ic2
  • User Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
  • Type of resistance: Tension
  • Cost: $$$
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#1. Nautilus U616 Upright Bike

Man on nautilus u616 upright bike

The Nautilus U616 is the best exercise bike under $500 for the simple reason that it has the best suite of features of any bike in this category.

Starting with the durability of the frame, the U616 has a 300 lbs. maximum weight capacity. This means that the bike should remain sturdy and have minimal wobble even when pedaling at high intensities.

The flywheel weighs 22 lbs, which is on the lighter side, but should suffice for beginners and intermediates. The magnetic resistance mechanism ensures that your workouts will be smooth and quiet. The 25 levels of resistance also mean that you can fine-tune the resistance to your preference easily.

Coming to some premium features, the U616 contains 29 pre-programmed workouts—the most of any bike on this list. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to access cycling routes from across the world through various fitness apps (e.g., Explore the World) on your personal devices. While you enjoy these, you can also track your heart rate wirelessly, the U616 being one of the few bikes in this category to have this feature. All of these features make for a relatively enjoyable cycling/workout experience.

While this is a great bike, it’s not a premium or commercial-quality machine, and it has some flaws. Perhaps the major drawback is the seat, which you may find somewhat uncomfortable due to how wide it is. For some users, its width will provide a nice platform for your rump. But for others, it may force your legs outwards unnaturally which can place undue stress on your hips and cause pain. Thankfully, it’s easy to swap the seat out for one you find more comfortable if this is the case.

Another flaw you’ll notice when you use a tablet, phone, or reader on the media shelf. When doing this, your device will block your view of the top half of the console, which is where your workout stats are displayed. This is more of an annoyance than anything, but a design flaw nonetheless.

All-in-all, for under $500 this upright exercise bike from Nautilus should prove to be a great buy.

The Good

  • 29 pre-programmed workouts
  • 25 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Wireless heart rate monitoring
  • Bluetooth connectivity allows access to fitness apps

The Not So Good

  • Slightly light flywheel (more prone to wear and tear)
  • Wide seat may be uncomfortable for some users
  • Media shelf ensures your device will partially block the console

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#2. Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike

Man on schwinn 230 recumbent bike

The Schwinn 230 is arguably the best value for money pick of any exercise bike on this list, but certainly the best recumbent bike you can get for under $500

Like the U616 above, this bike has a 300 lbs. maximum weight capacity, meaning it will be nice and sturdy for users who are on the heavier side. It also has 20 levels of magnetic resistance, as well as 22 pre-programmed workouts that allow you to just get on and ride without too much hassle.

The bike can also connect via Bluetooth to fitness apps such Explore the World (Schwinn’s proprietary app) and Zwift. Other handy features included with the Schwinn 230 are the accessory tray, USB port, music system, a water bottle holder, and contact heart rate sensors (though these are notorious for being imprecise).

One shortcoming to be wary of is that the flywheel on this bike is only 13 lbs., which is comparatively very light. As such, it is more prone to wear and tear and you may find that over time it shifts away from magnetic travel that generates the resistance. This will manifest in issues with the resistance level (e.g., there will be either too little or too much resistance). Thankfully, the problem can be fairly easily remedied by removing the flywheel’s housing and adjusting the position of the flywheel via one 5/8 inch bolt.

Two other major negatives in this bike to be aware of are the seat being relatively uncomfortable, and the length of the bike making it less suitable for tall people. The seat is made of hard plastic, which you may find somewhat uncomfortable. This can be rectified by purchasing a cover or placing a seat cushion on it. Also if you’re taller than about 6’1”, then you may find that the bike feels a little cramped. It’s definitely more suited for shorter folk.

All in all, the Schwinn 230 is a solid recumbent bike with all the features you’ll need for effective, regular workouts to stay in shape. Much like the U616, it’s not a premium model and has a number of drawbacks. That being said, if you’re not looking to engage in overly intensive sessions and are on a budget, this is the bike for you.

The Good

  • Great value for money
  • 22 pre-programmed workouts
  • 20 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Several miscellaneous features for convenience

The Not So Good

  • Very light flywheel that can shift over time and cause issues with resistance
  • Uncomfortable hard plastic seat
  • May not be suitable for taller people

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#3. MaxKare Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike

Maxkare magnetic indoor cycling bike

MaxKare’s exercise bike is yet another affordable option brimming with useful features.

Its 40 lbs. flywheel generates enough resistance for users of all proficiencies, while the magnetic resistance mechanism ensures that your workouts are smooth and quiet. This bike also has a belt drive system, which further enhances the pedaling action while also requiring less maintenance compared to chain drive systems.

If you’d like access to interactive training programs and scenic routes while cycling, the included tablet holder allows you to do that provided you have a subscription to any fitness app.

The seat and handlebars are both 4-way adjustable. The seat is fairly wide and has extra cushioning on the backside to support your rump. However, this might cause pain to some because of the awkward angle a wide seat can cause for your legs. Thankfully, this can be remedied by purchasing a seat cover.

With this bike, you’ll also have a ton of miscellaneous features such as a bottle holder, transportation wheels, and integrated pulse sensors. The wheels in particular allow you to store the bike away when it’s not in use—an important feature if you’re pressed for space in your home or garage gym.

One minor factor to be wary of is that the maximum weight capacity of this bike is only 264lbs, which is lower than most others on this list. However, this should be sufficient for most users, in which case this bike is as good a choice as any.

The bike also has a basic console attached that can display metrics like time taken, total distance, speed, calories burned, etc. However, using the tablet holder covers the console, meaning that you won’t be able to read these metrics as you work out. This can be an annoyance to those who use the console to push themselves or are trying to stick to a certain target, like covering a distance of 5km per session.

The Good

  • Magnetic resistance with belt drive system
  • 40lbs flywheel
  • Tablet holder allows access to training programs
  • Seat and handlebars are 4-way adjustable

The Not So Good

  • Slightly low maximum weight capacity
  • Using the tablet holder covers the console

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#4. Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike L-007A

Woman on yosuda indoor stationary cycling bike l-007a

The Yosuda L-0007A retains everything good about the MaxKare bike and also fixes its biggest issue.

With a maximum weight capacity of 330lbs, the L-007A has one of the most durable and sturdy frames of any exercise bike on this list. Like the MaxKare and Titan bikes, it features a 40lbs flywheel that provides more than adequate resistance for your workouts. Though it comes with a fiction-based resistance mechanism, the flywheel weight and belt drive system make sure that the pedaling action on this bike feels smooth and realistic. Furthermore, you can adjust the resistance infinitely to suit your preferences.

The L-007A also has a tablet holder which can be used to access interactive training programs, cycling trails from across the world, and video-streaming apps like Netflix to make workouts more engaging and fun. The seat here is large and comfortable, and it can be adjusted four ways. However, the handlebars are only 2-way adjustable. An included console can track basic metrics to help you track your progress over time.

The physical resistance system is the only major sticking point here. All in all, this bike has several premium features that aren’t always found in this category at a very reasonable price. If you don’t mind a tension resistance mechanism, this is agreat option to consider.

The Good

  • Maximum weight capacity of 330lbs
  • 40lbs flywheel
  • Tablet holder helps make workouts more fun
  • Comfortable seat

The Not So Good

  • Friction-based resistance system
  • Handlebars can only be adjusted 2 ways

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#5. Schwinn 130 Upright Bike

Woman on schwinn 130 upright bike

Schwinn’s 130 upright bike is very similar to its 230 recumbent bike that we discussed earlier in terms of features. It has the same 300lbs of maximum weight capacity, a magnetic resistance system, a 13lbs flywheel, and 22 preset programs. They also share
the same warranty.

Coming to the differences, the 130 is significantly cheaper than the 230. Besides this, a choice between the two comes down to whether you’re looking for a recumbent or upright bike. Since the 130 is an upright bike, you’ll be able to get in more intensive workouts. But this also means that the extremely light flywheel becomes a bigger issue because it can only generate so much resistance.

As such, the 130 is an exercise bike that is mainly suitable for beginners. The magnetic resistance and preset programs mean that it is an engaging way to introduce oneself to indoor cycling. However, more experienced users will likely need a machine with a heavier flywheel.

The Good

  • Durable frame
  • Magnetic resistance system
  • 22 preset programs
  • Very affordable

The Not So Good

  • Light flywheel
  • Seat only adjusts 2 ways

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#6. Joroto X2 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike

Joroto x2 belt drive indoor cycling bike

The Joroto X2 is slightly more expensive than the IC2, but it fixes many issues that the latter suffers from.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 280lbs, ensuring that it is durable enough for intensive workouts. The flywheel weighs 35lbs, which is suitable for all types of users. The bike also comes with a magnetic resistance mechanism that has an infinite number of levels to allow you to fine-tune the resistance to your exact preference. Moreover, it allows for a much smoother pedaling action compared to friction-based resistance systems.

The X2’s multi-use holder means that you can make your workouts engaging by accessing interactive training programs, cycling routes, and apps like Netflix to watch your favorite shows while exercising. In fact, the holder is big enough to accommodate laptops as well.

The seat and multi-grip handlebars are both adjustable 4 ways. The former is large and well padded with leather for extra comfort. This makes up for the disappointingly small console that is included with the machine. Basic consoles are the norm in this category, but the X2’s console has a screen that is far too small, displays only one statistic at a time, and isn’t backlit either.

This bike also has some miscellaneous features in the form of two bottle holders. However, the bike is designed such that the bottle and multi-use holders cannot be used together. This unusual idiosyncrasy aside, the X2 is yet another bike that is perfectly capable of enabling the pursuit of various fitness goals for all types of users while also keeping workouts fun.

The Good

  • Durable frame
  • 35lbs flywheel
  • Multi-use holder allows for more engaging workouts
  • Infinite levels of magnetic resistance

The Not So Good

  • Disappointingly small console
  • Bottle and multi-use holders can’t be used together

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#7. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1509 Premium Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike

Woman on jsunny health and fitness sf-b1509 premium indoor cycling exercise bike

Sunny Health and Fitness is renowned for making quality equipment at affordable prices, and this exercise bike is no different.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 300lbs, indicating a durable and sturdy frame. The flywheel weighs 40lbs, which is as heavy as it gets in even the most premium machines. Though the resistance mechanism is friction-based, it is accompanied by a belt drive system. That, along with the heavy flywheel, should allow for a smooth pedaling motion while exercising. The seat and handlebars are also adjustable in case multiple people are going to be using the machine.

One major drawback of this machine is that it lacks a console, and it doesn’t have a device holder either. You’ll have to rely on your phone or smartwatches to track your progress. The machine is also on the heavier side, making it difficult to move around when it’s not in use.

Though the seat is slightly bigger compared to other bikes and is 4-way adjustable, it’s nevertheless slightly uncomfortable which means that you’ll probably have to purchase a cover for it. Also, the machine is on the heavier side, which might make moving it around regularly for storage slightly inconvenient.

Overall, if you own a smartwatch or don’t mind using your phone to track your progress, this machine has everything you’ll need to inch closer towards your fitness goals.

The Good

  • Durable frame
  • 40lbs flywheel
  • Belt drive system
  • Adjustable seat and handlebars

The Not So Good

  • Lacks a console
  • Slightly heavy

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#8. Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike

Man on schwinn ic2

The IC2 is a great exercise bike for beginners looking to dip their toes into indoor cycling, but might not suit more experienced users.

It has a maximum weight capacity of 250lbs, which is the lowest on this list. It also has a 31lbs flywheel, which is more than sufficient for both beginner and intermediate users. The resistance mechanism is friction-based, which might not provide the smoothest pedaling action despite the belt drive system. It is also known to be slightly squeaky, which might be an annoyance to some.

This machine also comes with a basic console to help you track essential metrics. The bike has a small footprint, and the transportation wheels enable you to store the machine away when it isn’t being used.

The seat is 4-way adjustable, which allows users with a wide range of heights to comfortably use the machine. If you’re between 5’ and 6’ 5’’, you should not face any issues when it comes to being able to extend your legs and pedal without feeling cramped. However, the seat might be slightly hard for some, which can hurt your tailbone. Even if that turns out to be the case, you can solve this issue by purchasing a seat cover.

All of these features will suit a beginner just fine. If you weigh below 250lbs and haven’t cycled before, this bike can be a good investment to explore the activity and decide whether you want to engage in it long-term. However, experienced users should probably look elsewhere to have their fitness needs fulfilled.

Regardless of your proficiency in cycling, if you’re purchasing this bike, there’s one last thing you should keep in mind. Several users have reported that the black version of the IC2 has much better quality control than the silver version. It’s not clear why the difference in color is affecting quality but you may want to go with the black bike nonetheless.

The Good

  • Sufficiently heavy flywheel
  • Belt drive system
  • Small footprint and transportation wheels allow easy storage
  • Adjustable seat and handlebars

The Not So Good

  • Low maximum weight capacity
  • Resistance mechanism can be squeaky
  • Seat might be uncomfortable for some

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Choosing the Right Exercise Bike Under $500

Upright vs Recumbent Bikes

The first important decision you need to make when selecting an exercise bike under $500 is whether you want it to be an upright bike or a recumbent one.

The latter comes with back support which helps avoid pain in the region from cycling. Upright bikes, on the other hand, exercise your glutes, hamstrings, quads, etc., more rigorously. But this is because they compromise on spinal posture, which may result in some pain in the lower back area.

If you don’t suffer from any injuries in your lower body and want to be able to work out more intensely, go for an upright bike. However, if you’re concerned about posture and/or have injuries in your lower back, hips, neck, shoulders, or wrists then you may be better off with a good quality recumbent bike.

Frame

Exercise bikes under $500 generally have similar steel frames and so their durability can be assessed through their maximum weight capacity. The ideal capacity depends entirely on you and the other people who are going to be using the bike. However, as a general rule, your exercise bike is bound to be sturdy if its maximum capacity is up around 300 lbs of weight.

When choosing an exercise bike, remember to take the size of the frame into account so that you don’t end up with an overly large machine you don’t have enough space for at your home or garage gym. Conversely, if you are on the taller side, you want to ensure that the exercise bike you get can actually fit you comfortably. This is more relevant for recumbent bikes than upright bikes.

Resistance type

Sub-$500 exercise bikes generally have three types of resistance mechanisms. The best of these is magnetic resistance, which allows for the smoothest and quietest workouts of the lot. This prevents your neighbors or other members of your family from being disturbed by you working out, and also makes cycling a more enjoyable experience.

The second type is air resistance, which is less common but also a viable option. Many feel that air resistance mechanisms are just as good as magnetic ones. However, they can be fairly noisy.

Lastly, there is direct-contact resistance. These utilize rubber pads on the flywheel to generate resistance. Bikes with this resistance mechanism are significantly cheaper, but they are also less smooth. Moreover, the rubber pads will need to be replaced from time to time.

Flywheel weight

Along with the resistance mechanism, the weight of your bike’s flywheel also plays a role in how smooth the pedaling action is. However, its primary purpose is to generate resistance.

The heavier the flywheel, the more resistance it can generate. For exercise bikes that cost less than $500, you’ll ideally want a flywheel that weighs between 30-40lbs. If you’re a beginner, you can probably manage with a lighter flywheel of around 20lbs.

Drive System

Drive systems are the third important determinant of how the pedaling action of your exercise bike feels. These systems are of two types, based either on chain or belt drives.

The former type of system is very similar to the one you’ll find on an outdoor cycle. While this feels more realistic while cycling, it also requires more maintenance. The chain needs to be lubricated every few weeks and also replaced if it breaks down.

Belt drive systems are smoother and do not require any maintenance, but they don’t feel the same as riding an outdoor cycle. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, and the choice ultimately comes down to preference.

Console

Exercise bikes under $500 almost always come with a very basic console that can only track essential metrics such as time spent cycling, calories burned, rotations per minute, distance covered, etc. However, some bikes offer Bluetooth connectivity and have a tablet holder so that you can access fitness apps through your personal devices.

This allows you to utilize interactive training programs, cycle on scenic routes from across the world, video-streaming apps like Netflix and even track your data more extensively than the included console. Cycling may become tremendously more enjoyable, but nevertheless, these are not essential features and a basic console might well fulfill your needs.

Miscellaneous features

Exercise bikes often come with certain miscellaneous features that are relatively minor but can be very convenient.

For example, some have bottle holders, others have USB ports, speakers, accessory trays, transportation wheels, etc. The adjustability of your seat and handlebars is also another important feature to look out for, especially if multiple people are going to be using the bike.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Sub-$500 Exercise Bikes

Are stationary bikes worth it?

Yes! If you want to lose weight or just stay in shape, stationary bikes, even those under $500, will do the job for you.

In fact, exercise bikes will help you lose more weight than other alternatives like walking, running, etc. They are a good investment in the long-term and give you the convenience of being able to exercise whenever you’d like.

Which is better a stationary bike or treadmill?

Stationary bikes are better for three reasons.

First, they carry a significantly lower risk of injury since cycling is a low-impact exercise.

Second, cycling on an exercise bike will burn you more calories than walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill.

Third, exercise bikes generally take much less space to store or keep in your house/garage.

How long should you spend on an exercise bike?

The answer to this question depends entirely on what your fitness goals are, and how intensively you cycle on the exercise bike.

If you want to lose weight, 30-45 minutes of vigorous cycling will generally be enough. However, if you just want to maintain your current weight or get in the occasional workout, 20-30 minutes at a moderate intensity will do the job.

Does biking make your legs bigger?

Yes, biking does make your leg muscles bigger, but that requires you to spend large amounts of time cycling at an intensive speed. If you consistently cycle for around five days a week for at least 45 minutes each at an appropriate pace, you will eventually see results accordingly.

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Well, there you have it: The best exercise bikes under $500. In this article, we’ve discussed everything you need to know in order to make an informed purchase.

Indoor cycling is a convenient, safe, and enjoyable way to get in some exercise regularly without spending too much money. Through our list of recommended products, you can make a good addition to your home or garage gym that is sure to help you achieve
your fitness goals for the foreseeable future.

 

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