Best Compact Exercise Bikes for Small Spaces Review 2019
updated January 1, 2019
Finding the space to work out at home can be a real challenge for many. Apartments, basements and bedrooms often have just a few feet of space that can be used for a short time. Thankfully there are some great exercise bikes to meet this requirement. In this article, we identify the best compact exercise bikes for small spaces that provide you with a quality workout and then can be stored away inconspicuously.
A Quick Snapshot of the Best Recumbent Bikes
The best exercise bike for small spaces is the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright bike, which is a very solid, yet compact and lightweight unit that provides a smooth ride thanks to its high torque crank system. Our runner up is the Sunny Indoor Exercise Cycle, which features a heavy duty 22 pound flywheel and a comfortable, ergonomic fit.
Our bronze medal small stationary bike is the Innova XBR450, which has all the features you’d expect with the addition of a tablet holder, back rest and dual precision flywheels.
To make it easy for you to compare and contrast the best compact cycles on the market, we have rated the Top 10 on the basis of price and durability. Then we’ve provided and overall rating out of 5 for each product. In the following section, we provide in-depth reviews of each cycle.
A Quick Snapshot of the Best Recumbent Bikes
The Best Bikes In-Depth
The Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright bike is a lightweight foldable stationary bike which is solidly constructed with a hardy frame that can handle up to a 300 pound user weight. Leg stabilizers ensure that the bike will sit upright, and the framing is made from robust steel tubing. You get 8 levels of adjustable resistance, along with dual pulse sensors which provide an accurate heart rate reading. This is a rare thing on a cheap folding exercycle.
A three high torque cranking system ensures that you get a very smooth cycling motion with the Exerpeutic folding. This collapsible exercise bike collapses like an ironing board, and weighs just 43 pounds. It is also very quiet to operate. The large LCD monitor allows you to track your training data.
The Exerpeutic 400XL is also a great choice for comfort and convenience. It is a recumbent exercise bike, so it is much more supportive on your lower back. The pedals are also equipped with straps to ensure that your feet don’t slip and minimise the pressure on your joints.
The Sunny Indoor Exercise Cycle is a very simple designed, functional lightweight foldaway exercise bike. It has an oversized seat with comfortable padding. Y9u simply twist the knob to adjust the level of resistance. The LCD screen is large and clear, providing you with readouts of your time, speed, distance and calories burned. The maximum user weight of 220 pounds is little light, compared to the likes of the Exerpeutic folding bike.
The Sunny Indoor Exercise Cycle is extremely lightweight, with an overall weight of just 61 pounds, which includes a durable 22 pound flywheel. It folds to a very compact size, which can be stored in a closet or under a bed. The frame construction is solid and this collapsible stationary bike is secure when set up.
The Innova XBR450 is a quality folding compact bike which features some noteworthy extras. You get a sturdy tablet holder that allows you to safely use your technology while your cycling. The precision dual flywheels have multi crank technology to provide a smooth pedal revolution. You also get multi level magnetic resistance adjustment. A backrest provides a good level of lower back support, with the seat being adjustable in four directions.
The LCD monitor is clear, providing you with scanning readouts of you time, distance, calories and speed. Built-in hand pulse monitors provide an accurate pulse reading. The space saving design is very stable and secure. This is a solid unit with extra features that you won’t find elsewhere.
The Marcy Foldable exercise bike is constructed from 14 gauge steel to provide you with a very sturdy yet compact and lightweight unit. The ride is quite smooth thanks to the magnetic resistance and multi level adjustable resistance. The oversized seat is ergonomically designed and allows for adjustment in both directions. The gripped pedals provide basket cages to allow you to get a secure foot hold.
The stylish monitor of the Marcy Foldable exercise bike provides a clear LCD display that provides you with readout of your speed, distance, time, calories burned and time of exercise. The compact design allows you to train in even the smallest of space, and then store the bike away in a closet.
The Ivation Upright bike provides you with an oversized, thickly padded seat which is extremely comfortable. The magnetic tension system gives a relatively smooth riding experience. You get 8 levels of adjustable resistance to accommodate all exercise levels. Brackets are included which can act as a stand for your tablet. There is also a mount to house your TV remote control. The bike folds up like an ironing board to half it size.
The Ivation folding compact exercycle has a large, centrally located LCD screen which provides a scanning readout of your training time, distance, speed, calories burned and heart rate. It has an impressive maximum user weight of 300 pounds, yet weighs just 35 pounds!
The ProGear Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike is a robust,secure foldable bike. It provides you with 8 levels of magnetic tension control, an ergonomic contoured seat cushion for extra comfort and a dual transmission flywheel for very smooth and natural pedaling motion. The LCD display provides you with readout of your time, calories, speed, pulse and scan.
Finding the right home exercise bike to meet your needs is a challenge. Take out the guesswork by checking our comprehensive Best Exercise Bikes 2019 - we’ve got full reviews of the best of the best.
The Ancheer Indoor Magnetic portable collapsible cycle comes with a large, padded back support to protect your lower back while exercising. It also features a 7 level adjustment control system, allowing you to dial in the right intensity for your level. This bike has a very strong steel frame, allowing for an impressive maximum user weight of 400 pounds. The fully adjustable oversized padded seat is fully adjustable and very comfortable.
The Ancheer lightweight folding exercise bike has a large LCD display that tracks your training time, speed, distance and calories burned. The large pedals have adjustable straps so so you can a secure footing. This unit is very lightweight and is easily collapsible. When set up, however, it is impressively sturdy.
When you’re looking for a top quality exercise bike, ProForm is a brand name that you can’t ignore. They’ve built a reputation for excellence and affordability. Find out if ProForm is the right fit for you with our ProForm Exercise Bikes Review 2019 - it has a complete breakdown of the best of the Proform range.
The Locktek Under Desk folding bike is designed to be used by office workers, allowing them to multi task their extra calories away. It features a compact, lightweight design that is foldable for easy storage. Transportation wheels make it easy to move around the office. The quiet magnetic tension system provides a smooth resistance and resistance adjustment is easy and fluid.
The Locktek Under Desk folding bike comes with comfortable seat and back rest, long with secure platform to place your tablet or laptop computer. It has a maximum load of 300 pounds.
The Xspec Upright Folding Cycle features dual action anti skid device handle bars to provide the best positioning and grip while riding. It also has extra large pedals with adjustable foot straps to ensure a secure footing. The heavy duty steel frame provides a solid base to work from and yet is lightweight and compact, folding to half its original size. 8 levels of magnetic tension allow you to adjust your training intensity as you get fitter.
The Xspec Upright Folding Cycle is very quiet when in operation. It seat is very comfortable and you have backwards and forwards pedaling motion. The monitor is quite basic, but still records your speed, distance, training time and calories burned.
Sunny Health and Fitness have quickly established themselves as a market leader in the home sports industry. Find out their exercycle range stacks up with our Sunny Health Exercise Bikes Review 2019 - you may just find your new bike there!
What to look for when buying a bike:
The flywheel is the powerhouse of any cycle. It gives you resistance and determines the fluidity of the pedalling action. As the name suggests it is a big wheel, made of metal, that is positioned at the front of the bike. When you turn the pedals, the flywheel also turns. A chain or belt drive connects the flywheel to the pedals.
The heavier a flywheel is the harder you need to pedal to get it moving and the more revolutions it will make before slowing down once you stop pedalling. Before flywheels were introduced in the 1980’s, exercise bikes did not produce the natural pedal motion that you get with an outdoor bike. If you get a bike without a flywheel, you will find it way too easy to pedal and you won’t get a good training experience.
Flywheels are measured by weight with the heavier the better. This is because heavier flywheels replicate the hard pedalling that you need to do get started when cycling on an outdoor bike. If the flywheel is too light you will always be having to increase your resistance level to keep the pedal motion natural and fluid. This can produce a jerkiness that is not only frustrating, it’s also hard work on your joints.
Spin bikes have the heaviest flywheel weight, followed by upright. A flywheel weight of around 30 pounds (18kg) will provide you with a fluid motion and plenty of resistance. As a beginner you will want to get a bike with a flywheel that is at least 20 pounds. Any less than this and the motion is not very smooth.
Flywheel weight is a big contributor to both the weight and the cost of a bike. As a result, more budget bikes and those that are foldable will have lighter flywheels. However, it would be a mistake to compromise on this important feature to save a few bucks or to get a lighter bike.
Exercise bikes will use either friction, magnetic or electro-magnetic resistance. The best most expensive is electro-magnetic resistance, which uses a copper coil wire and electric current which is controlled through the bike’s console.
Next best is magnetic resistance, which is what you will find in most mid-range bikes. It features a series of ferrous magnets placed around the flywheel which are controlled by the computer console. Of the three resistance types, this is the most reliable and the one we recommend.
Friction resistance is the least desirable of the three. It features a felt pad which contacts the flywheel and can be tension adjusted. It often produces a jerky action and will wear easily.
The seat should provide you with the means of custom adjustment. You should be able to move it both fore and aft (up, down and sideways). Being able to move the seat closer to the handlebars is important if you have lower back niggles as it relieves the tension on the erector spinae muscles that run alongside your spine.
Getting the right seat height will allow you to maintain a proper knee to heel angle when pedalling. This prevents the knee from coming out excessively past the line of the pedal, which places undue stress on the knee joint.
The seat of your bike should also provide you with a decent level of comfort through its padding. You will be spending a lot of time on your bike seat.
Sometimes you may find that you just don’t find it comfortable and are wanting to replace it with another that is more to your liking. You need to know that many bikes under two hundred dollars do not easily allow you to swap out the seat. You should check whether the bike has a quick mechanism for removing the seat before buying.
Look for a bike that has a solid stable, steel frame. An ‘A’ shaped frame provides you with a very solid base with all of the pressure being driven into the ground. The fewer separate parts the better as there is less that can go wrong. Look for a bike that has a max user weight of about 50 pounds more than your own weight. Keep in mind, though that the more sturdy and weight resistant a bike is, the more it will cost. So, if you are 145 pounds, you don’t need a bike that is more than 200 pounds (unless you are buying it for other users who are 200+ pounds). The bike should have a stable, wide base that prevents it from sliding around when you are going all out with high intensity.
Many bikes will market the multi training programs that are built into their monitors. However, most people hardly use such programs, so don’t make number of programs a deciding factor. An upright that provide 5-10 programs is plenty. However, your monitor should provide the following training diagnostics: Speed, RPM, workout time, pulse rate and distance. These allow you to keep an eye on how you progressing in terms of fitness from one session to the next.
Tall or Short Users
Most exercise bikes are designed to be adjustable for people in the height range of between 5’2” and 6’. People who are taller or shorter than that will have more difficulty in finding the bike that is right for them. If buying online, check the reviews to see if people your height can properly use the bike.
If you are under 5’2” or over 6’, the Sole B94 will adjust to your user specs. This is a light commercial bike that is rather pricey (just over $1000). It will provide you with a consistent, smooth ride but the flywheel weight is only 20 pounds and it doesn’t provide you with that many in-built workout programs for the price.
The amount of money that you pay is going to determine the weight of the flywheel, the sturdiness of the frame, seat comfort, fluidity of pedalling motion and the quality of the monitor. Here’s what you can expect in the various price ranges.
Under $200 – You can get a quality beginners or intermediate bike for under $200 with a flywheel around 30 pounds in weight and a smooth pedal motion. As your intensity level goes up (for example when doing HIIT workouts) these bikes may get a little stutter in their pedal action, which can be a bit hard on your joints.
The biggest compromise in bikes under $200 comes in the functionality of the monitor. It will be pretty basic and will probably lack built in exercise programs. While these are nice to have, they will not actually affect the performance output possible on the bike.
$200-$500 – In this price range you can expect a heavier flywheel that will allow you to get a higher level of riding intensity. This should be enough to meet the needs of all but the most advanced of riders. However, those who are after challenges such as extreme hill climbs for a bike under $500 should be able to find what they’re after in a mid-priced spin bike.
In terms of computer monitor, in this range you will get a good range of inbuilt programs and one press resistance levels (usually between 6 and 12 of each).
$500+ - Bikes in the 500 plus range are often designed for light commercial use. As a result, they will have a more durable frame, enabling them to take more punishment and the seat and handle -bars will be fully adjustable to suit a range of users. Flywheel weights will range between 25 and 55 pounds, providing the experienced high-end user with plenty of grunt.
The monitor on a bike in this range will feature more in-built programs and resistance levels, with some providing dozens of each. The monitor will probably also be paired with an app so that you can download your training data to your computer for future analysis.
Bikes in this price range are best suited for experienced cyclists or high intensity advanced fitness trainers. Beginners should be able to find everything they need for a lot less of an outlay.
The best compact space saving stationary bike on the market is the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright bike, which features a high torque crank system to provide a smooth ride at a great price, and yet is surprisingly lightweight and portable. We also love the Sunny Indoor , with its large ultra comfortable seat and heavy duty 22 pound flywheel.
Rounding out our top 3 compact exercycles is the Innova XBR450 which comes with such handy extras as a tablet holder, back rest and dual precision flywheels.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.