Editors Choice

Best Exercise Bike UK [Expert Review Guide]

If you know you’re in the market for an exercise bike, please head straight down to our exercise bike reviews. If you want to know a bit more about exercise bikes before you choose one, please head on down to our exercise bike buyer’s guide. If you want to know whether or not an exercise bike is the best choice for you, then please keep reading.

Best Exercise Bike UK

Is an exercise bike right for you?

Exercise bikes deliver a combination of cardio, lower-body work and, potentially, upper-body work. They’re affordable, quiet, compact and easy to use. In fact, they’re even easier to use than regular bikes because they balance themselves. Exercise bikes are also fairly gentle on the joints. That said, if protecting your joints is your main concern, go for a cross-trainer.

How are exercise bikes different from road bikes?

Road bikes are great for exercise, but you do have to deal with whatever the environment throws at you. Factors such as the weather, the terrain/road conditions and the impact of traffic lights can all make a difference as to how challenging your ride is.

With exercise bikes, you have total control over everything so you can focus on your fitness. For example, you can get out of the saddle whenever you want. You can also let go of the handlebars safely and really work your upper body.

There are all kinds of workouts you can do with exercise bikes, including HIIT. What’s more, you can now do exercise classes from the comfort of your own home. Depending on your taste and budget, you can work with a live, instructor-led group or just stream a pre-recorded workout session.

Best Exercise Bike UK

Are there any negatives to exercise bikes?

If you use your exercise bike like a static road bike, then you’ll only workout a small number of muscles. Basically “classic” cycling is all about the quads. There’s also a small risk that you’ll overload your hips. This is, however, very unlikely for the average person.

The solution to this is to treat your exercise bike as an exercise bike, not a road bike. In particular, get up out of the saddle to work your whole leg and glutes. Add in upper-body movements (ideally with resistance bands or weights) for an overall workout.

Combine using your exercise bike with flexibility work. This could be a great way to get some light exercise on your rest days. Anything involving stretching is good, or go for a whole-body exercise like swimming.

BUYERS GUIDE

Exercise bike buyer’s guide

Here’s a quick guide to what to look for if you’re choosing an exercise bike.

Style

Uprights are exactly what they sound like. They’re the same sort of idea as your standard “shopper” road bike. Some uprights have a more forward-leaning position. These are sometimes known as “spin bikes”. The idea is that you have a more “racing” posture and are primed to get up off the saddle.

Recumbent exercise bikes generally position the rider so that their back is upright and supported and their legs are stretched out almost straight in front of them. This makes it effectively impossible for the rider to get up out of the saddle. It does, however, make for a high degree of comfort and security, especially for people with back pain.

Mini exercise bikes are essentially just a pedalling mechanism. This means that, really, they only work the lower legs. On the one hand, this clearly limits their usefulness for serious exercise. On the other hand, if you just want light exercise and/or are short of money/space, then they are still a pretty decent option.

Dimensions

The term "dimensions" means a bit more than just size. It also means the length to height ratio. In other words, upright bikes and mini steppers only take up a minimal amount of floor space in use. Recumbents need a lot more space.

Supported weight

Most exercise bikes will support users of up to 100Kg (15st 10lb). If you’re over this, then it’s advisable to check the maximum weight an exercise bike will support before you commit to a purchase.

Foldability

Most exercise bikes have folding mechanisms. The heavier ones, however, are, of course, harder to move from place to place. This means that you generally want to store them where you want to use them, or at least somewhere near. 

Seat, handlebars and pedals

Getting the seat and handlebars in the right position is essential for your comfort. This means that, ideally, you want to be able to adjust them both vertically and horizontally. Pedals are important, but they’re also fairly easy to swap out.

With pedals, your main decision is whether or not you want cleats. Cleats are used by pro riders to make the most of every stroke. Basically, using cleats means that you’re powering the bike with your upstroke as well as your downstroke.

On the other hand, if you use cleated pedals, you also need to use cleated shoes. This means that you need to clip in and clip out every time you mount or dismount your exercise bike. This is less hassle than on a road bike. It is, however, an inconvenience some people prefer to avoid.

Resistance (type and levels)

Most exercise bikes will be driven by a belt attached to a flywheel. The standard method of adjusting resistance is to use friction brakes on the belt. The brakes are typically controlled via a knob on the front of the bike. This approach is simple, fairly accurate and allows for quick changes of resistance levels.

Some exercise bikes use magnetic resistance. Magnetic resistance brakes are easier to maintain than friction brakes. They can also be set more accurately. Unfortunately, the price of this accuracy is a slower response and a loss of power.

For this reason, magnetic resistance brakes are very much a niche option. It also seems likely that they’ll stay that way, given the popularity of spinning and HIIT.

In addition to looking at the type of resistance, you also want to look at the minimum and maximum levels and how you change between resistance levels.

Consol and heart-rate monitor

These days even budget exercise bikes will, at least, have an LCD with basic information about your workout. Essentially, the higher up the price range you go, the more information you’re likely to get. You’re also likely to get a larger, clearer, better-quality display. Heart-rate monitors tend to be found on mid-level and premium exercise bikes.

Add-on features

As you go up the price range, you can get “nice-to-have” features. These typically include water-bottle holders, tablet holders and, sometimes, fans. Tablet holders are, of course, handy for people who want to do classes. There is, however, an alternative for those without them. Just buy a basic music stand. It’ll do fine.

beest excercise bike uk

Best Exercise Bike UK

Exercise bike reviews

Whatever your budget, we have an exercise bike recommendation for you. Each of these exercise bikes has been rated according to its price bracket. In other words, our picks are based on all-round value-for-money.

Best cheap budget exercise bike

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Ultrasport Mini Bike Exercise Bike

Ultrasport Mini Bike Exercise Bike

Up until 2020, we’d have put this mini exercise bike strictly in the “seniors and rehabilitation” category. Now, however, we’re genuinely suggesting it as a serious exercise option.

Our logic is simple. A lot of people are really tight for space and/or cash, but still want to get a decent home workout. This mini exercise bike has a tiny price and a tiny footprint. It can, however, still give you a pretty reasonable workout. As a bonus, you can use it for your arms as well as your legs.

We doubt that anyone serious about fitness is going to want to use this mini exercise bike on its own. We could, however, see people serious about fitness using it with other affordable and compact pieces of exercise equipment. These could include (cordless) skipping ropes, balance balls, weights/resistance bands and steps/stools/chairs.

Throw in some bodyweight exercises and stretching and you’re pretty much sorted. It may not be as good as the gym, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing. At least it’ll keep you going until either the gyms open or you have space/money for something better.

PRODUCT FEATURE

  • Dimensions 36 x 36 x 29 cm
  • Weight 5.9 kg
  • Max. user weight 100 kg
  • 2 kg flywheel, manual resistance settings
  • LCD display shows time, distance, rotations per exercise session, total rotations and calorie consumption

Pros - Affordable, compact, can be used to work out the arms as well as the legs
Cons - Very limited functionality

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Ultrasport Mini Bike Exercise Bike, movement trainer, arm and leg trainer, pedal...

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Last update was on: December 5, 2020 4:40 am

Best budget exercise bike

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Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider

Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider

In case you’re wondering, no, we don’t have any connections with Ultrasport. They’re just big on the budget end of the market. There’s a good reason for this as there’s a lot to like about this exercise bike.

The overall build quality is excellent and, for the most part, this exercise bike ticks all the right boxes for usability. It’s easy to fold/unfold and while it’s open it’s stable thanks to the robust build quality, including a wide base and anti-slip feet. The saddle has a decent range of vertical adjustability and the LCD display is perfectly adequate.

There have clearly been some compromises made to keep the price low. The most obvious ones are that there’s no horizontal adjustment for the saddle and no handlebar adjustment at all. You’ll also quickly discover that resistance is on the lighter side. That said, it’s probably more than adequate for the beginners who’re likely to use it.

The only real downside to this bike is that the saddle is, frankly, dire. It feels like it’s made out of concrete. That said, at this price you can easily invest in a decent saddle cover. Alternatively, just tape on some foam.

PRODUCT FEATURE

  • Dimensions 117.5 x 40 x 21 cm
  • Weight 14 kg
  • Max. user weight 100 kg
  • 1.5 kg flywheel, manual resistance 8 settings
  • LCD display shows time/ calories / speed / distance / pulse

Pros - Easy to fold/unfold, good adjustability, stays in place well
Cons - Fairly light flywheel, saddle could do with improvement

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Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider, Fitness Bike Trainer, Sporting Equipment, Ideal Cardio Trainer,...

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Last update was on: December 5, 2020 4:40 am

Best exercise bike under £200

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Birtech Exercise Bike

Birtech Exercise Bike

Honestly, looked at just as an exercise bike there’s really nothing particularly special about this option from Birtech. It’s almost identical to the (much more affordable) Ultrasport F Bike. Sadly, this resemblance extends to the same hard saddle.

What makes this exercise bike different, however, is the add-on options, namely the integrated resistance bands and twist plate. For clarity, the twister plate has absolutely nothing to do with the cycling action. It’s intended for use with alternative exercises. Basically, the idea is to make this exercise bike more of an all-round exercise machine.

PRODUCT FEATURE

  • Dimensions 1117442
  • Weight 15 kg
  • Max. user weight 110Kg
  • 1.5 kg flywheel, manual resistance 8 settings
  • LCD display shows distance, speed, time and heart rate

Pros - Transport wheels, resistance bands, twister plate
Cons - Fairly light flywheel, saddle is pretty hard

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Exercise Bike, Folding Fitness Bike Spin Bike Indoor Cycle Bike with Resistance...

Last update was on: December 5, 2020 4:40 am

Best exercise bike under £300

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Reebok GB50 Exercise Bike

Reebok Exercise Bike

If you’re seriously into peloton/spinning or anything else to do with indoor cycling, then this exercise bike is a great investment. It really is the closest we’ve come to a studio experience at a price the average person can afford.  

We’re going to say up front that this exercise bike needs an investment of space as well as money. There’s no way to fold it and even if there was, it’s way too heavy to move easily. On the plus side, part of the reason why it’s heavy is that the build quality is excellent. We’re confident that this exercise bike has what it takes to go the distance.

Another piece of good news is that both the saddle and handlebars offer plenty of scope for adjustment. What’s more, the saddle is well-padded and comfortable. The LCD screen is large and clear. This is handy for both reading your statistics and following along with the pre-set programs. You set the resistance on the console. We’re not keen on this, but we do like the 32 levels.

The only downside to this exercise bike is that setting it up is a bit of a pain. You have to open up the packaging very carefully so as not to damage it. You then have to figure out the instructions (or go online for help). To be fair, however, if you keep calm and think it through you should be fine. We’ve certainly assembled items with much worse instructions.

PRODUCT FEATURE

  • Dimensions 13010052 cm
  • Weight 30.3kg
  • Max. user weight 120 kg
  • 9 kg flywheel electronic resistance 32 levels
  • LCD display shows speed, distance, time, calories, pulse, watts and RPM

Pros - Adjustable handlebars, great saddle, preset programs
Cons - Forget about folding this. Electronic resistance controls

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Reebok GB50 Exercise Bike

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Last update was on: December 5, 2020 4:40 am
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Best exercise bike UK

Objectively, we’d say that the Reebok GVB50 is the best exercise bike currently available in the UK. It is, however, also the most expensive and can’t be folded. Either the Birtech or the Ultrasport F Bike can offer good performance for a decent price. If you’re really short for space or cash, then the Ultrasport Mini Bike is at least worth a look.

Andrew Ellis
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Jedi Master

Fitness, health, blogging and Psychology are my main interests. I’ve worked in many roles from product designer to engineer working with many products from fitness equipment and spa products to this role as a hands on webmaster. Avid gym going and captain of the good ship Poshh Living

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