Stationary bikes can provide a low-impact, effective cardio workout. When it comes to the best exercise bikes, spin bikes (which are technically called indoor cycles) tend to provide a superior workout to traditional stationary bikes.
Although there are pricey indoor cycles and exercise bikes, there are also plenty of inexpensive spin bikes that still are durable enough to handle vigorous workouts and withstand the test of time.
Are you looking for an exercise bike for home workouts? Keep reading for what to look for when buying an inexpensive spin bike – and our picks for the best spin bikes under $500.
4 Key Elements To The Best Spin Bikes Under 500 Dollars
Before we share our bikes for the best inexpensive spin bikes, we’d like to provide a few tips for buying spin bikes and also touch upon what we mean by “spin bike”.
Much like how some people use the brand name “Kleenex” to mean tissues in general, “Spin Bikes” are actually a trademarked product from the company Spinning. They describe the general product called an indoor cycle, which is an exercise bike with a weighted flywheel.
That said, most people are more familiar with the term “spin bikes.”
When you’re looking for the best indoor cycling bike under $500, consider the following factors:
#1. Resistance Source
Indoor cycles typically use either magnetic resistance or friction to increase the difficulty of each pedal stroke. Exercise bikes with magnetic friction often feel smoother and provide more consistent tension.
They tend to cost more, but require less maintenance than exercise bikes that rely on friction.
Moreover, a bike with magnetic resistance offers a quantifiable workout with discrete levels of resistance whereas a friction bike just uses a knob with a dial and arrows to indicate more or less tension.
Friction-based spin bikes provide any amount of resistance and a higher max resistance, but the felt pads can wear out and will need to be replaced. It’s also harder to know your cycling wattage or power.
Indoor cycles have a flywheel, which is a weighted disk that is connected to the pedals via a belt or chain. The flywheel is usually where the front wheel would go, though it can also be at the back.
The heavier the flywheel, the smoother the exercise bike will feel.
Consider what stats – if any – are important to you.
Inexpensive spin bikes often have a very basic console with limited information, such as total workout time and distance.
On the other hand, premium indoor cycles or smart spin have full-feature consoles or integrated HD touchscreens with all sorts of workout metrics, along with the ability to stream workouts or media and connect to various apps.
#4. Resistance Levels
Indoor cycles that have magnetic resistance have discrete levels. If you’re an advanced athlete, you’ll want as many levels as possible.
Similarly, if you’re a beginner or less fit, it’s also important to get an exercise bike with at least 10 levels to ensure you can progress the resistance over time. You want your exercise bike to challenge you now and also grow as you become stronger.
BikeTips Recommends: The 6 Best Spin Bikes Under $500
Best Friction Resistance Spin Bike Under $500: YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike
For well under $500, the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike is our pick for the best friction resistance spin bike under $500.
Friction resistance gives you a continuous dial to adjust resistance rather than distinct, locked-in levels. This allows you to make tiny adjustments to dial into the exact level of tension you want, with greater maximum resistance.
The YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike is one of the least expensive exercise bikes on our list but it’s a surprisingly well-built, fun indoor cycle.
It features a carbon steel frame capable of supporting up to 270 pounds and a super quiet belt drive mechanism. The pedaling stroke is smooth and even thanks to the 35-pound flywheel.
At only 76 pounds, the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike is lightweight and easy to move around with the transportation wheels.
Although the YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike can accommodate riders with up to a 35-inch inseam, it’s also one of the best spin bikes for petite riders because the adjustable seat and handlebars accommodate riders with an inseam as short as 25 inches.
Lastly, the LCD monitor tracks your time, speed, distance, calories burned, and lifetime miles, and the indoor cycle comes with a tablet holder so you can enjoy your media while you ride. There is a one-year warranty on the frame and parts.
Best Spin Bike Under 500 Dollars for Use With Cycling Apps: YESOUL S3 Indoor Exercise Bike
The YESOUL S3 Indoor Exercise Bike is another great smart spin bike under $500.
Made from durable carbon steel, this smart indoor cycle is as stable and sturdy as it is connected and technologically advanced.
It features Bluetooth connectivity and is designed to work with the intuitive Yesoul Sports app.
The YESOUL S3 Indoor Exercise Bike has a phone and tablet holder, a silent belt drive mechanism, and 100 levels of precision magnetic resistance, which is perfect for seniors looking for maximal adjustability.
Best Smart Spin Bike Under $500: Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike EX-15
Our pick for the best smart spin bike under $500 is the Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike EX-15.
At less than $500, the Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike offers the benefits of smart bikes – such as streaming Echelon indoor cycle workouts and integrating with fitness apps – on a budget.
The Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike is a sturdy, stable bike despite having a lighter flywheel (7 kg). The belt drive mechanism is extremely smooth and efficient, and there are 32 levels of quiet magnetic resistance.
Echelon makes several high-end smart exercise bikes, but the Echelon EX-15 Smart Connect Fitness Bike is a great option for those looking for an inexpensive smart bike.
The bike can accommodate riders up to 300 pounds.
- Want to know more? Check out Echelon Vs Peloton Bikes Head-To-Head here!
Best Magnetic Resistance Spin Bike Under 500 Dollars: ADVENOR Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike
If your budget is a little tighter, we recommend the ADVENOR Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike as the best spin bike under $500, with change left over.
Even though most cheap spin bikes use friction resistance, this inexpensive indoor cycle has 100 levels of micro-adjustable magnetic resistance.
The ADVENOR Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike is a great Peloton alternative for those on a budget because it’s compatible with the Peloton digital app.
This will allow you to easily take cues from your favorite instructors without needing to convert numbers or approximate your intensity level.
The ADVENOR Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike has a 35-pound flywheel, which is great for vigorous workouts. The bike can support up to 330 pounds and can be adjusted to fit riders from 5’1” to 6’5” tall.
It has a comfortable seat and an LCD console for tracking basic workout stats.
Best Lightweight Spin Bike Under $500: Sportneer Flywheel S1 Exercise Bike
If you live by yourself, are a petite rider, or otherwise prioritize having a lightweight spin bike, you will absolutely love the Sportneer Flywheel S1 Exercise Bike.
This indoor cycle weighs just 62 pounds, which is significantly less than other full-size spin bikes. You can easily move it around.
Even though it’s super lightweight, it feels solid and durable when you ride it. The frame itself is sturdy stainless steel, but the weight savings come from the fact that the flywheel is constructed from aluminum rather than iron.
The Sportneer FlyWheel S1 has 100 levels of very quiet magnetic resistance and a smooth belt drive mechanism. Riding is comfortable due to the geometry of the bike and the adjustable handlebars and seat cushion.
Lastly, this lightweight indoor cycle has Bluetooth connectivity and syncs to the Sportneer app so you can track all your workout metrics or follow along with specific cycling workouts. The onboard console shows heart rate, time, speed, distance, and calories too.
It’s fantastic value for a very impressive spin bike!
Best Heavy Duty Spin Bike Under $500: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1714 Evolution Pro
The biggest difference between cheap spin bikes and the nice models you ride at your gym is usually the durability of construction and quality of materials.
As a result, a commercial indoor cycle is typically sturdier and often rides smoother than even the best spin bikes under $500.
While this may not be an issue if you’re a smaller rider, if you anticipate heavy use for your exercise bike (either a large user, frequent rides, or vigorous workouts) and want the indoor cycle to last a long time, it’s a good idea to look for a study, durable, commercial-quality spin bike.
Although it’s difficult to find a spin bike under $500 with gym-quality construction, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1714 Evolution Pro more than matches many indoor studio cycles.
Its steel frame and extra heavy, 44-pound (20 kg) flywheel make it suitable for users up to 330 pounds. It’s robust and sturdy enough to withstand the toughest rides day in and day out without breaking down.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1714 Evolution Pro bike feels incredibly stable and solid. It features micro-adjustable magnetic resistance with a nearly unlimited range in potential resistance with the turn of a dial and a silent and smooth belt drive system.
With adjustable handlebars and seat, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1714 Evolution Pro can accommodate a wide range of riders, with an inseam from 73-99 cm.
The only downside of this heavy-duty inexpensive spin bike is that there is no console, which means you have to use your phone or tablet with an app or buy a specific cycle computer device if you want your workout stats.