If you are planning on losing a few extra pounds or just want to stay in shape, buying an exercise bike can be a good alternative to joining and visiting the gym regularly. These pieces of equipment are easy to use and can be set up in your living space. They let you work out in the comfort of your home and save you the time and effort of making a trip to the gym every day. And consider this: since you won’t have to leave your home to exercise, you won’t have to skip your workout routine because of bad weather outside or if you’re feeling lazy or tired.
Each model comes with an LCD display that shows you the number of calories burned and your pulse rate. Some mid- to high-end exercise bikes also feature built-in programming that can help you improve and plan out an exercise routine optimized for you. Used right, you can benefit greatly from these features and reach your fitness goals more efficiently.
There are plenty of different kinds of exercise bikes available on the market; how much you pay will depend on their portability, build, resistance type and level, and any additional features. The area where most of this equipment usually lacks is portability. More often than not, these bikes are heavy and can’t be moved around that easily, so you’ll have to dedicate a part of your living space to it—which may not be an option if you live in a small apartment.
This is where folding bikes get a chance to shine. They are lightweight, portable, and can be stored away after every use…and they manage to do this while retaining many important features from their heavier counterparts.
If your living space can’t accommodate bulky workout equipment, or if you dislike the idea of heading to the gym every day because you can’t spare extra square footage for equipment, a folding exercise bike might just be the ideal solution to your problem. You can configure workout presets, resistance levels, and monitor your calorie burn and heart rate.
Yes—the market is flooded with exercise bikes. But that doesn’t mean choosing the one right for you will be a straightforward process. You’ll be spending a good amount of money, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll end up with a bike that’s ill-suited for your needs. You won’t enjoy riding it…or you might just dread it. And if that’s the case, your money just went to waste.
As you can see, it is very important to consider your options carefully, and make a well-informed decision. You’ll need to be able to tell the difference between core features, and additional bells and whistles…ones that you may not need.
To help you find the perfect exercise bike, here are our top 5 picks for some of the best folding exercise bikes on the market today.
Marcy NS-652 Foldable Exercise Bike
Customizable resistance levels, compact and portable design, comfortable seat and cushioning, weight support, stability, and a clear display panel: These are the features you’ll need to look for when shopping for a folding exercise bike. Our top pick, Marcy NS-652 packs all these and more.
This bike has different configurable resistance options. It is usually good practice to start out at lower resistance and work your way toward a more intense workout. With its eight levels of easily adjustable magnetic resistance, you can have a smooth ride on whatever setting you choose.
Its seat contour is padded and can be positioned into five different configurations. The comfort factor matters more than you might think. If the seat is comfortable, you’ll ride for longer and more often. This will help you with your fitness goal. The NS-652 is height-adjustable and has a maximum weight capacity of up to 250 pounds. As a general rule of thumb, you should choose a bike that can support at least 50 pounds more than your actual weight. This bike also comes with gripped pedals, which add comfort and keep your feet from losing their grip.
This model displays your workout stats on an LCD panel to keep track of your progress. It monitors your time, how much distance you’ve covered, and the number the calories you burned during the workout session. This information not only motivates you further but also helps you to plan out a better fitness session for next time.
As with the rest of the bikes on our list, this one folds into a lightweight and portable package which you can store away after use.
The design is straightforward, easy to use, and perfect if you have limited space. This bike’s weight capacity isn’t as good as the rest of its competition, however. But that can be forgiven because it’s one of the best inexpensive folding bikes around, making it an attractive option if you’re on a tight budget.
Marcy NS-652 Foldable Exercise Bike at a glance:
Marcy NS-652 Foldable Exercise Bike
Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS Folding Upright Exercise Bike
The Exerpeutic 500 XLS is designed for heavy-duty use and durability. It has a steel X-frame which is coated with corrosion resistant powder and can support up to 400 pounds.
Its design offers many high-end features such as higher torque, eight levels of magnetic tension, a grip sensor for monitoring heart rate, a 3-piece crank, and a double transmission system. It is also V-belt driven, has a precise and balanced flywheel, and operates smoothly and quietly. The large pedals are equipped with safety straps to prevent you from slipping while working out. The overall build quality is robust and durable, so it should last you quite some time.
Most stationary bikes rely on their heavy weight to provide stability so you won’t wobble while working out, and while this may work for stationary bikes that aren’t meant to be portable, it poses a problem for folding and portable stationary bikes. The Exerpeutic 500 XLS solves this problem with extended leg stabilizers, to offer added stability while riding.
This bike also features a large and easy to read LCD screen, which displays workout data such as distance, time, calories burned, and speed.
In addition to the 400-pound weight capacity, this stationary bike is fairly versatile when it comes to height as well. It supports heights anywhere between 5’1” and 6’5”, which should prove sufficient in most cases; it an excellent choice for a short person.
As we explained earlier, durability is where this stationary bike excels. It has a strong steel frame which is corrosion resistant, operates with a belt drive, and is foldable. It supports more weight than its competitors with a similar price point, and the belt drive ensures smoother cycling experience—which requires less maintenance.
If you are looking for a stationary bike within the price range of $200-$300, you can’t go wrong with this purchase.
Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS Folding Upright Exercise Bike at a glance:
Exerpeutic Gold 500 XLS
ProGear 225 Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike
The ProGear 225 is not too different from our top pick, the Marcy NS-652. There’s one key difference though, the ProGear 225 measures your pulse rate as well. As you may have guessed already, it features magnetic tension and is ideal for a cardio workout at home.
It is one of the more beginner friendly stationary bikes out there and has a relatively simple and basic construction. It features an X-shaped frame coated with corrosion-resistant, lending it durability and strength. Not only is it strong and enduring, but it is also incredibly lightweight as it weighs in at just under 35 lbs. This makes it portable, and easier to move and stow away. What kept it from making it to the top of our list is its weight capacity of only 220 pounds.
The contoured rubber seat can be adjusted to two different positions, and it accommodates riders between the height of 5.1” and 6”.
The handlebars provide a comfortable and firm grip, while also tracking the user’s pulse rate with their built-in EKG-sensors.
You can customize the resistance on the pedals with its manual magnetic resistance system. It has 8 different levels of tension, allowing for a range of lighter to intense cardio workouts. This bike doesn’t seem to work well for more intense cardio exercises, however.
The ProGear 225 has a steady flywheel and a solid belt drive system, both of which minimize noise. These elements not only make the operation quieter and smoother, but they also require little to no maintenance.
While its base caps double as stabilizers and it comes with extended metal arms for additional stability, we would not recommend pedaling while standing up; despite both these features, it is far less stable than its heavier competitors.
Which brings us to the next element of this stationary bike, the pedals. They’re self-leveling and are equipped with standard threads and straps to provide a secure grip.
The console readout is pretty basic and serves as an odometer as well as a pulse monitor. It displays all the fitness metrics you’d expect from a basic console, and it turns itself off after a few minutes of inactivity, so you don’t get distracted by it while doing other things in the room.
As good a model this one is, we do have some complaints. The console readout isn’t backlit, so it won’t work too well in darker surroundings; we also noticed that the calorie readings aren’t very accurate.
ProGear 225 Foldable Magnetic Upright Bike at a glance:
ProGear 225 Foldable Magnetic
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Bike with Pulse
Moving down the list, we’ve reviewed a second Exerpeutic model, this one being geared toward beginners. Its X-frame build can support up to 300 pounds, which is fairly higher than other beginner-friendly stationary bikes on the market. Its footprint while in use is compact, and it can fold up to half of that size, which means it can be stored just about anywhere.
It also has a precise and steady flywheel and a V-belt drive system for a smoother and quieter operation. The 3-piece crank system provides high torque and allows for a jerk and shake-free pedaling experience. The pedals are large and come with straps for a more secure grip.
The large, cushioned seat is quite comfortable and can only accommodate riders 5’3’’ to 6’, which makes it less versatile than other models on this list. It features a 3.3” x1.5” LCD display which tells you the distance, number of calories burned, speed, and time. Another neat feature this model offers is pulse rate tracking, as its handlebars are equipped with pulse sensors.
Pedal resistance can be controlled with an 8-level magnetic tension system, allowing you to customize your workout from easy to intense…and everything in between. The thoughtful design makes this bike easy to hop on and off of.While this entry-level stationary bike won’t allow for more intense workouts and the belt isn't as sturdy as we’d like, it has an incredibly affordable price of $150, making it one of the best budget folding bikes on the market.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Bike with Pulse at a glance:
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Bike
Innova XBR450 Folding Upright Bike
The Innova XNR450 stands out from the rest of the models on our list for a couple of reasons. It has a universal tablet holder so you can stay connected even when you’re working out, and it has dual precision flywheels, multiple cranks, and magnetic resistance levels. These features ensure a smooth and quiet ride every time.
The frame is sturdy steel and has stabilizer bars—which don’t completely dampen the wobbly motion—but it's steady enough to keep you from toppling over while riding it at a fairly intense pace.
This model is lightweight too, weighing in at just 44 pounds, meaning that relocating it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. As with any exercise bike, the manufacturers recommend that you place it on level ground; setting it up on an uneven floor will result in the bike rocking a bit when you’re riding. They also offer a one-year warranty on the construction materials. All in all, the build quality is solid, and it will last you quite some time.
It has eight levels of magnetic resistance, which can be set manually, and the pedals have plastic straps which help your feet get a secure grip. This model also sports a 4-way adjustable seat, which is larger than most, and a backrest, which makes the riding experience even more comfortable.
The console displays the usual exercise metrics and also monitors your heart rate; it is slightly smaller, however, and not as easily readable than other models on this list. We also found that the readings aren’t very reliable or accurate; if you’re content with rough estimates, this shouldn’t bother you.
We have a couple of other complaints as well; it doesn’t perform well for more intense and challenging workouts and doesn’t have transport wheels for easy mobility.
Innova XBR450 Folding Upright Bike at a glance:
Why choose a folding stationary bike?
The folding feature can be a deal breaker for many people when shopping for exercise bikes.
If you have limited space indoors and you don’t want to dedicate a portion of it to traditional exercise bikes, or if you don’t want your exercise equipment on permanent display in the middle of your living space, it's tough to beat folding exercise bikes.
They’re incredibly lightweight, compact and portable. So compact, in fact, that you can stow one away in your closet or under your bed—and you won’t have to lug bulky and heavy equipment around to do so.
And they’re not just portable—they’re affordable. These models cost only a fraction of their traditional counterparts. So if you are on a tight budget, consider investing in a folding bike instead.
They have a reputation for being entry-level exercise equipment because they’re perfect for beginners. If you’ve just started biking or if you want to lose weight without the hassle of visiting the gym every day, a folding exercise is perfect for you; they’re easy to use and you don’t need a lot of training to figure them out.
What to consider when choosing a folding stationary bike?
Each model is usually geared toward a group of people with a particular set of abilities and fitness levels. You’ll have to take your physical fitness into account to find one that will suit your needs.
For instance, elderly riders and people with back issues would more than likely need a low-impact cardio workout. If either of these is the case for you, a recumbent bike would work best for you. They have comfortable cushioning and backrests so you can gently recline while working out. They are also very easy to hop on and off of, which makes for a comfortable riding experience.
But if you want to get in or stay in shape and are looking for more intense cardio exercises, an upright would be your best bet. They have variable resistance levels and built-in programs, which allow for a more challenging workout.
Different models rely on different mechanisms to generate the resistance required on the pedals, and each mechanism generates different levels of resistance and noise. Exercise bikes can make use of flywheel, fan-based, friction-based, or magnetic resistance. Out of all these mechanisms, magnetic resistance is the quietest and is highly reliable because it needs little to no maintenance. For these reasons, this system is used in most high-end exercise bikes.
Comfort is another factor that requires due consideration. Make sure the design you choose is comfortable and ergonomically correct for your body type. You’ll be using it multiple times a week (or at least you should be), and if it's not comfortable, you will inevitably end up dreading your workouts.
Besides these core features, make a list the additional features you may want. Even the most basic designs feature a readout which displays workout stats such as distance, speed, time, and calories burned; some of the more high-end designs also feature heart rate monitoring and preset programs for your exercise regimen.
You need to put a lot of thought into purchasing a folding exercise bike. After you’ve figured what features you need and want the most, prioritize them and take into account the factors we’ve mentioned above before shopping.
We’ve listed some of the best options to choose from in this article, and since each model is high-quality and affordable, it is likely that you’ll find the one that matches your requirements here. However, if you can’t find one that does, use these reviews as a guideline to look for a bike that will.