I discovered both the challenge and fun of indoor exercise cycling when I recently joined a gym that had spin bikes. I have enjoyed group classes in the past and have even tried indoor spinning in a live class led by an instructor. Spinning is a TOUGH workout and will always provide a challenge to even the fittest athletes. As a bonus, you’ll almost always find great energy in group classes. However, group classes aren’t for everyone. Sometimes they don’t fit your schedule, and other times working out on your own time and terms is the best.
When I saw the Peloton bikes at my gym, I was curious. I’d seen them advertised; I just wasn’t sure if this type of workout was something that I’d find interesting. I’ve done lots of cardio, whether it’s been running, high-intensity intervals, or just lifting weights and doing resistance training at a faster pace. Indoor exercise bikes have been around for ages, but the advent of app-assisted indoor cycling is relatively new. First, the spinning indoor cycling program was developed by South African endurance bicycle racer Johnny Goldberg (known as Johnny G) in the mid-1980s. Indoor spinning has progressed to include many trademarked bike brands and programs.
One day I finally hopped on the Peloton at the gym, selected an on-demand cycling workout, and pushed my way through it. I loved that this was an independent workout that still had the benefit of a live instructor to keep things fun and motivating. I hadn’t considered how inspiring that aspect of the workout would be until I was in some of the most difficult parts of the session. I realized that I was also pushing myself harder because of how these classes were choreographed and instructor-led. I enjoyed the class options and statistics so much that I found myself having the goal of doing these cycling workouts 4-5 times a week for 20-30 minutes as part of the rest of my workout.
After several weeks I began seeing changes in my body that I was proud of, and my husband noticed it too! I was then even more highly motivated to continue this indoor cycling routine as part of my workouts. This also got me thinking about how Internet-connected stationary bikes compare to each other. There are now many options on the market, at different price points, with unique features.
The difference between spin cycling or a stationary bike and the newer wave of stationary bikes is Internet connectivity. Peloton is an exercise equipment and media company that introduced Internet-connected stationary bikes and treadmills in 2012. The most important point is to compare the various Internet-connected stationary bikes with each other, rather than the traditional stationary or recumbent bikes that don’t have interactive software.
This list is not in order of the best to the “least of” the best but rather a comparison of what these various bikes offer and what will best suit your weight loss goal for the price. There are features on some of the bikes that are “nice to have,” but you may not find it necessary to keep you interested or to accomplish your weight loss goal.
Starting Price: $1,445
Membership Subscription: $44/month all-access plan
Features: sturdy hardware, hybrid toe clip pedals, interactive swivel touchscreen, over 55 trainers, in-workout data including heart rate, speed, cadence, resistance, and distance, daily live classes, 24-hour access for the whole family, 30-day commitment-free
The Peloton bike brings you the most convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from their NYC studio directly into your home. You’ll have 24-hour access to studio cycling classes available to your entire household. Peloton also offers home delivery and assembly by their team of professionals. The Peloton Bike is built to last. If anything does happen, your bike includes a 12-month limited parts and labor warranty, plus 5 years of coverage on the frame.
Peloton has over 20,000 reviews, getting 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Customer Review: “I started my free trial with the peloton app during the start of the pandemic and quickly became obsessed. After staying committed for two years, I took the plunge and bought the bike. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase! The bike pushes me harder, and I’m able to fit in quick but effective workouts. It’s taken out the guesswork of resistance and cadence, so now I can focus on beating my PR. Without the bike, there is no way I would be able to work out so consistently with two small children and living on a farm. The Peloton bike is farm wife’s best friend.” – Megan
Starting Price: $1,399
Membership Subscription: $39/month
Features: sturdy hardware, interactive swivel touchscreen tablet, dozens of trainers, thousands of workouts with new sessions added weekly, in-workout data including heart rate, speed, cadence, and distance, Polar OH1 Heart Rate Monitor, 12-month manufacturer’s warranty
MyXFitness is a science-driven, highly personalized heart rate-based training. MYX comes with a heart rate monitor for a reason. For optimum health and fitness, you need to work out across a variety of intensity levels (heart rate zones). The MYX tech will assess your current cardiovascular fitness, and their trainers will guide you where you need to go to achieve your specific goals based on three heart rate zones calibrated just for you. MYX prides itself on being about fitness based on facts, not fads.
MyXFitness also offers a 30-day risk-free return, 1-year warranty, and full-service delivery, including setup.
Customer Review: “My experience has been amazing with the bike. It was delivered just after Christmas (took ~3 weeks). I have truly enjoyed using it, as well as the Openfit App. I’ve been able to work at my own pace, and the instructors do a great job keeping me motivated, which can be hard for me to do at home. I absolutely love this bike. I love the variety of classes offered. I think if you are a beginner and you are looking to lose some weight or get back in the saddle, this is a great bike for the price. This is the perfect system for me! I’ve already lost weight, feel great, and I’m staying motivated! Thank you, Myx!!” – Leila
Starting Price: $1,899
Membership Subscription: $39/month
Features: sturdy hardware, interactive 360-degree swivel touchscreen, premium 30W sound system, auto-adjusting resistance & incline, exclusive incline, and decline feature, iFit on-demand worldwide workouts, padded ergonomic saddle, hybrid SPD+Toe Clip Pedals
There are a few features that are unique to the NordicTrack Studio Series bike. It mimics real workouts that need realistic terrain by automatically delivering an incline and decline at the front end of the bike. The subscription not only includes wholistic studio workouts, but you can also follow your trainer through some of the most majestic destinations the world has to offer. Because the screen has a 360-degree swivel, you can get off the bike, rotate the screen and take advantage of additional off-bike workouts from HIIT to Yoga. The NordicTrack S22i also adjusts your resistance, incline, and decline automatically so that you can focus entirely on your workout. Just get on the bike and start pedaling.
Customer Review: “CAN’T BELIEVE HOW FUN THIS IS! Every time I finish a workout, I say, “That was so fun!” There are so many workouts available that I will never run out. Great product. I am thrilled with the bike!” – Allison
Starting Price: $899.99
Membership Subscription: $34.99/month or discounted yearly or two-year options
Features: 32 levels of magnetic resistance, adjustable seat, SPD shoe clips + toe cage, 4-way adjustable handlebars, 40+ daily live classes, 3,000 + on-demand workouts, 60+ world-class instructors
The Echelon GT + will usher you into the world of Internet-connected bikes without the initial high price tag. The primary reason for the price difference is that rather than this Echelon model coming with an onboard touch display, it requires the use of a personal iPad or tablet device. They sometimes run specials that include an iPad with your purchase, so that will be something to ask about before placing your order.
Customer Review: “This bike is perfect for me. It is challenging enough, and it fits my size. It is also very quiet. The classes on the app are good, but the app does not track your progress and improvement from class to class. It only tracks what classes you take and the day. It does not remember your average output, which the bike is designed to capture. With all the capabilities of this bike and app combo, I’m surprised it’s missing that piece.” – Robyn
As with all connected bikes, the motivation comes through the community that is offered, which makes for more motivating workouts. If your goal is to lose weight, focus on what the on-demand programs have to offer (are the workouts good for YOU), the energy and ability of the instructors (are they successful in how they deliver a workout), and the community that is a part of what comes with whichever exercise bike you use. Read the reviews from the community to get the most insight into which choice is right for you. The right combination of these things will be what keeps you getting on the bike and riding consistently, which is the gateway to any weight loss goal.