Best Spin Bikes Under $500 | From a Certified Spinning® Instructor

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By Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor & Personal Trainer.

Do the Peloton commercials have you convinced you must spend thousands on an indoor cycling bike to get a fantastic ride? Then, let us show you our top indoor cycles that cost less than $500 but deliver a great riding experience.

What Makes A Good, Affordable Spin Bike?

When I used to travel a lot for work, I spent a lot of time in the fitness centers located in my hotel. Unfortunately, often the equipment was less than stellar, and the indoor cycling bikes provided a jerky pedal stroke. I feel the most crucial feature is the smoothness of the ride. If the pedal stroke is not fluid, it not only is hard on joints but makes the ride itself unenjoyable. Let’s look at a few features that help provide a smooth pedal stroke in addition to other great characteristics. 

Key Features of a Great Indoor Cycle:

  • Commercial-grade construction: the quality of the bike’s structure increases its performance and extends the longevity of the piece of equipment.
  • Quality drive-system: Look for a chain or belt-drive.
  • Fluidity of resistance: Does the bike offer micro-adjustments for magnetic resistance? How many friction resistance pads are included? 
  • Heavier flywheel: A heavier flywheel provides a smoother ride compared to its lighter counterparts. Focus on a front flywheel that weighs at least 35lbs and less than 55lbs.
  • Pedal options: often, pedals will feature at least a toe cage option if not an SPD option.
  • Connectivity: Many affordable bikes offer Bluetooth connectivity.
BEST BUDGET INDOOR CYCLES & SPIN BIKES UNDER $500 New

Our Top 7 Budget Spin Bikes Under $500

Best Overall: Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Bike SF-B1879

Sunny Health Synergy Magnetic Bike Sunny Health Synergy Magnetic Bike
4.7

This belt-driven bike includes a 30-pound flywheel and performance monitor. It offers pulse-sensing handlebars.

Use SAVE10 coupon code on Sunny Official Site for 10% OFF !!!

Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Bike SF-B1879 Specs

  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Drive System: Belt
  • Flywheel Weight: 30 pounds
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 49 x 22 x 50.5
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • User Inseam Range: 27″ -37.5″
  • Max User Weight: 275 pounds

The Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Bike features a 30-pound flywheel and offers magnetic resistance. In addition, the handlebars feature pulse sensors.

The performance monitor provides basic metrics, including speed, distance, time, calories, odometer, RPM, pulse, and scan. Since this monitor is battery-operated, this bike doesn’t require an electrical outlet. The handlebars move up and down, while the seat offers 4-way adjustability. Although users rated this cycle a 4.6 out of 5, shorter riders expressed that they wished that the handlebars also moved front and back since they had difficulty finding the correct riding position. However, purchasers still commented that this cycle was an excellent value and very easy to assemble.

Runner-Up: JOROTO X2 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike

JOROTO X2 Magnetic Bike JOROTO X2 Magnetic Bike
4.7

A belt-driven cycling bike that is affordable and well made. Users talk about its great construction quality and the silent operation.

-30$ with the Code "OFF30" on JOROTO Official!

JOROTO X2 Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike Specs

  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Drive System: Belt
  • Flywheel Weight: 35 pounds
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 43 x 20 x 42.5
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • User Inseam Range: 27.5″ -36.2″
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds

The JOROTO X2 Belt Drive indoor Cycling bike also showcases magnetic resistance and a 35-pound flywheel, featuring a belt drive system. The handlebars and seat feature 4-way adjustability therefore accommodating an extensive array of riders.

This model offers many great features, that is why it is our Runner-up, but one of the most interesting ones we wanted to note is that the saddle is not the standard competitive style but offers a broader seat of about 3 inches. The fully adjustable handlebars also feature a water bottle holder and tablet stand. 

It is no wonder why users rated it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Users described this model as solid, stable, and sturdy. Users made statements such as “puts Peloton to shame” and “See ya later, Peloton!” The monitor tracks basic metrics, including time, speed, and distance. However, if you are interested in monitoring cadence, you will need to purchase an additional sensor.

Best Value No1: Sunny Health and Fitness Endurance Magnetic Indoor Bike – SF-B1877

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Indoor Bike (SF-B1877) Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Indoor Bike (SF-B1877)
4.6

In addition to the quiet ride, this model includes a battery-operated performance monitor that displays cadence, speed, distance, calories, time, and heart rate.

Use SAVE10 coupon code on Sunny Official Site for 10% OFF !!!

Sunny Health and Fitness Endurance Magnetic Indoor Bike Specs

  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Drive System: Belt
  • Flywheel Weight: 30 pounds
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 49”x22”x 50.5”
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • User Inseam Range: 27″ -37.5″
  • Max User Weight: 275 pounds

The Sunny Health and Fitness Endurance Magnetic Indoor Bike offer a magnetic resistance system with micro-adjustment levels. In addition, this model features a 30-pound front flywheel and a belt-drive system.

We liked the price of this cycle in correlation to all the features that this Sunny model provides. In addition to the quiet ride, this model includes a battery-operated performance monitor that displays cadence, speed, distance, calories, time, and heart rate. Since the monitor is battery operated, this cycle does not require an electrical outlet to be fully functional. 

The saddle can accommodate shorter riders as it does move forward and backward in addition to up and down. Although this brand does not include an integrated fitness platform, a convenient tablet holder is available on the handlebars. One of the unique features that we loved is that the handlebars feature pulse grip sensors. 

Best Value No2: CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike

CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike
4.5

The CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike features a 37-pound front flywheel and is equipped with magnetic resistance. This belt-driven bike features toe cages and accommodate riders up to 300 pounds.

CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike Specs

  • Resistance Type: Magnetic
  • Drive System: Belt
  • Flywheel Weight: 37 pounds
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 41.34 x 20.08 x 44.49
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds

Priced at only $261.99, the CHAOKE Indoor Cycling Bike offers riders many great features. The magnetic resistance system creates a quiet riding space for riders to enjoy their favorite show or app while their device rests on the device holder located on the handlebars. Users rated this cycle a 4.4 out of 5 stars. They were amazed at how quiet this model was for such an affordable price.

The LCD monitor provides basic metrics such as speed, distance, time, calories, and heart rate. Heart rate is quickly taken on the pulse sensors located on the handlebars. If you want to take a live or on-demand class on another platform, an additional cadence monitor will be needed.

Best with Friction Resistance: YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike

YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary
4.6

Featuring a 40-pound flywheel, the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike also includes friction resistance and a belt drive. Additionally, riders up to 330 pounds are accommodated due to the frame’s thickened tube design.

YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Specs

  • Resistance Type: Friction
  • Drive System: Belt
  • Flywheel Weight: 40 pounds
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 44.5 X 27.1 x 45.3
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • User Inseam Range: 29″ -36″
  • Max User Weight: 330 pounds

We liked that YOSUDA’s LCD monitor included cadence and other key metrics, including distance, time, speed, and calories. With a rating of 4.5, consumers enjoyed that this model is relatively easy to assemble without assistance and easy to move with the convenient front wheels. 

This model features a friction resistance system with felted wool brake pads. We liked that YOSUDA even provides an additional pad with purchase as it is a common complaint that friction resistance pads need more maintenance as they need to be replaced. 

Best Smart Bike with App: Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike

Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike, Black Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike, Black
4.5

The Echelon EX-15 offers 32 levels of precision resistance. In addition, this model includes an extra-large seat cushion and ergonomically designed handlebars.

Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike Specs

  • Resistance Type: Precision
  • Drive System: Belt
  • Flywheel Weight: 20 pounds
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 20.28 x 10 x 37.8
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • Max User Weight: 300 pounds

We liked the Echelon EX-15 due to the app offered by Echelon. Riders can select from an extensive class catalog of live and on-demand exercise classes in many formats. Unfortunately, the Echelon app requires an additional monthly cost of $39.99. However, with a simple turn of the resistance knob, riders can quickly increase or decrease resistance with Echelon’s resistance system.

Best Technology: RENPHO AI Smart Exercise Bike

RENPHO AI Smart Exercise Bike RENPHO AI Smart Exercise Bike
4.5

The RENPHO AI Smart Exercise Bike features automatic resistance that integrates with RENPHO’s free AI Gym App. This model accommodates riders between 4’11” to 6’5” tall.

RENPHO AI Smart Exercise Bike Specs

  • Resistance Type: Auto
  • Drive System: N/A
  • Flywheel Weight: No Flywheel
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 40″ L x 20″ W x 49
  • Pedal Type: Caged
  • User Height Range: 4’11”-6’5″
  • Max User Weight: 265 pounds

We selected this model because of the incredible savings it offers purchasers as it pairs an affordable bike and online platform. Most other companies require an additional membership to access on-demand classes, but the RENPHO AI includes this incredible feature for free. Riders can enjoy over 70 classes that have five different training modes. Coach-led workouts, scenic rides, and various challenges are available to keep riders engaged. In addition, the automatic resistance system adjusts to your selected activity so that you can get the most from your workout. 


Indoor Cycle vs Upright & Recumbent: What Is the Difference?

Stationary bikes can be further divided into indoor cycles, upright, and recumbent bikes. While they all require a pedaling motion, their appearance and feel differ dramatically. Take a look at the table below to see the key differences between the three. 

DifferenceIndoor CyclesUpright BikesRecumbent Bikes
ResistanceHeavy flywheel. Light flywheel. Light flywheel. 
Seated PositionSeat is above the handlebars. Rider sits with a forward lean. Pedals are beneath the seat. Seat is below the handlebars. Rider sits in an upright position. Pedals are beneath the seat. Seat is below the handlebars. Rider sits with a backward lean. Pedals are in front of the seat. 
GadgetsSome models are compatible with apps, but others lack real-time data.Typically display real-time data. Typically display real-time data. 
SeatFirm and narrow.Wide and comfortable.Wide and comfortable.
PriceGenerally speaking, they are more expensive. Generally speaking, they are cheaper. Generally speaking, they are cheaper. 

What You Should Consider Before Buying a Bike for Indoor Cycling

Now we’ve looked at our indoor cycle top picks, let’s help you determine which one is best for you. We all have our criteria when it comes to making an investment. Here are the main things you should consider before buying your indoor cycle. 

Resistance

Adjusting the resistance on your indoor cycle allows you to work at different intensity levels. Training at different intensities helps you train towards your individual fitness goal. Playing with the resistance can also aid progression as you get fitter.

Additionally, you’ll have to consider how the bike creates resistance. Resistance is created by magnets, friction, or a combination of both. Magnetic resistance is typically quieter, requires less maintenance, and doesn’t need to be replaced often. But, friction resistance is much more affordable. 

Flywheel Weight

Flywheel weight is a popular topic of conversation when it comes to indoor cycles. The greatest question is whether a heavier or lighter flywheel is better? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. Heavier flywheels make pedaling controlled and less jerky. They produce more power at a steady rate, thus placing less pressure on the joints. But, heavier flywheels do require more energy to get moving and typically cost more. Conversely, lighter flywheels need less effort to get moving and are typically more cost-friendly. However, its lightweight makes the movement less smooth and thus can aggravate the joints. Most indoor cycles are designed to suit heavy flywheels. But, advancements in engineering have shown indoor cycles can provide a smooth, stress-free ride with a light flywheel.

Drive System

Most indoor cycles operate with a chain or belt drive. Chain drives mimic that of a real-life road bike. Many road cyclists prefer this feel as it crosses over into their primary sport. But, chain drives are more susceptible to wear and tear due to their connected chain links. Therefore, chain-drive bikes often require more maintenance. Belt drives don’t have chain links, therefore, are less likely to need regular maintenance. Belt drives are often quieter than chain drives, perfect if noise is a concern. 

Q-Factor 

Q-factor is defined as the distance between the pedal attachment points of each crank. Essentially, it measures your stance width when standing up. A narrower Q-factor allows for greater speed because less force is needed to rotate the cranks. Additionally, Q-factor is used for people with knee injuries and rehabilitation. Q-factors that are too wide or too narrow may cause additional knee problems. 

Inseam 

Inseam refers to your individual leg length. Finding the optimal inseam can make your ride safer and more comfortable. Just like your clothes measurement, the inseam is the distance between the highest point of your inner thigh and the heel of your foot. You’ll need your bike to accommodate your inseam measurement to provide maximal safety and efficiency. Most bikes accommodate the majority of the population. But, if you’re particularly small or tall, you may want to double-check before investing.

Connectivity

Many indoor cycles are compatible with specific cycling or workouts apps. If you want to get data specific with your cycling or follow non-cycling-specific workouts, connectivity is a must. While they’re great features, they often come at a cost. If data isn’t your thing and you just want something to get you moving a bit more, basic, cheaper models are generally just as good.

FAQ

Can you do spinning on a normal exercise bike?

Unless the bike has a flywheel, the experience will not be the same. 

Is chain or belt better for a spin bike? 

If you enjoy riding an outdoor bike, then a chain belt will feel more comfortable. Belt-driven bikes are a little quieter but have a different feeling.

The Bottom Line

There are affordable indoor cycling bikes on the market, but it is important to vet your options before purchasing through research and test riding specific models if possible. A few minutes on a potential bike can provide great insight on if it is the ride option for you.

Important Information

Spin®, Spinner®, Spinning®, Spin Fitness® are trademarks of Mad Dogg Athletics. Even if we use the phrase “spin bikes” sometimes to refer to the Indoor Cycle type of bikes, we must inform you that they are not in reality. When we are referring to Spin Bikes, we mean the official Spinner Bikes of Mad Dogg Athletics. However, keep in mind that in this article, where we talk about resistance, the Spin Bikes and Indoor Cycles share similar characteristics.

Katie Pierson

Katie is the creator of MT Girl Fitness and has been a certified fitness professional for almost twenty years. She currently holds ten different fitness certifications, including Group Fitness, Spinning Elite, Rockstar Spinning, and Personal Training. Fitness is her passion, and she loves seeing her clients reach goals they never imagined.

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