Cycling is an incredible way to get your heart rate up with minimal impact on your joints. Indoor bikes have a smaller footprint than something like a treadmill or an elliptical machine, however they still take up a decent amount of space with their fixed bases, which can be detrimental in smaller homes when you’re trying to tidy things up. This is where a folding exercise bike can be very useful.
If you’re not someone who is going to be pounding the pedals for an hour or two each day, and don’t need some kind of gym-quality bike, but rather someone who likes to go for a quick ride every now and then to burn some calories but doesn’t want to dedicate a corner of your home as a permanent residence for a spin bike, then a folding bike is perfect for you. We’ve sifted through so many different options in order to curate this list to help you choose the very best folding exercise bike for your home.
In a hurry? The test winner after 14 hours of research:
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic
Why is it better?
Last Updated: January 25, 2019
By Max Shumpert: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding folding exercise bikes available for those who are interested in exercising at home. The best 7 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best folding exercise bicycles currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic
Exerpeutic WORKFIT 1000
Best Folding Upright Exercise Bike
Upright bikes are a great option if you’re looking for the feel of a traditional bike ride when you work out.
Just like a bicycle, upright fold up exercise bikes feature a saddle seat, and the pedals are located under the rider’s body.
1. EXERPEUTIC FOLDING MAGNETIC
Our personal favorite is the folding magnetic upright from Exerpeutic.
This bike manages to maintain a tiny footprint despite its feature-packed, affordable design.
It features a high torque three-piece crank system and ‘double drive’ transmission system designed to provide the rider with the smoothest operation possible.
The adjustable tension is magnetic and offers eight different tension options which provide a challenging workout regardless of your fitness level.
This Exerpeutic bike also features an oversized, heavily padded seat, large display, and hand pulse sensors to keep you comfortable and dialed into your workout. The weight limit for this bike is 300 pounds. This bike is built to last, and a one-year limited warranty is included, which adds some peace of mind.
Even when fully assembled, this bike has a small footprint. But, when it’s folded, you’ll be able to save on space even further. It’s folded dimensions of 22”L x 20”W x 55.5”H are sure to be a hit with people who are very short on free space.
As for the workout itself, extra wide leg stabilizers provide smooth and comfortable operation without the fear of tipping over. The drive mechanism is extremely quiet, so you won’t have to worry about disturbing anyone while riding, including yourself.
Click here to read our review.
2. MARCY NS-652
Another strong option in the upright category is the NS-652 from Marcy.
This bike features one of the smallest footprints of any bike on the market, making it a strong choice for anyone with only a tiny space for workouts.
Like the Exerpeutic model above, this bike also features eight levels of magnetic resistance which provide a challenging workout for people of all skill and fitness levels.
The resistance levels on this bike are particularly easy to adjust, even on the fly.
It’s heavy-duty and durable design is where this bike truly shines. It’s constructed from high grade 14 gauge steel that’s powder coated with a scratch resistant finish. The pedals are counterweighted and offer the feel of a high-end bike at a fraction of the cost.
This Marcy folding exercise bike has a 2” LCD computer which provides the rider with some different variables including calories burned, speed, distance and time.
At only 37 pounds, it’s one of the lighter bikes on the market, and certainly one of the smallest, whether it’s ready to ride or folded up for storage. However, the bike still manages to support most riders with its 250-pound weight capacity.
Read our in-depth review of this bike by clicking here.
3. INNOVA XBR450
The Innova XBR450 combines useful features with 21st-century sensibility to provide a bike that holds its own next to the best in its class.
If you’re looking for comfort, this may be your best bet for an upright bike. It features an oversized, heavily padded seat with a padded backrest, and the seat can be adjusted front to back as well as up and down to provide for maximum comfort during your workouts. It also features a second set of handlebars located at the seat for an extra level of versatility and comfort.
Just like the other two uprights we’ve featured, it has eight levels of magnetic resistance. Dual flywheels and an adjustable multi crank help to ensure a smooth workout regardless of your experience level.
From an entertainment perspective, the XBR450 can’t be beaten. Like most other bikes, it includes an LCD display with readouts for time, distance, speed, calories, and heart rate. But, unless other bikes, it also includes Innova’s patent-pending tablet holder.
The tablet holder is compatible with iPad, android, kindle, and seemingly every brand of tablet. That way, your foldable exercise bike functions as an all-in-one entertainment center that makes sure you’ll have plenty to occupy yourself with while you’re working out.
Best Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike
With a recumbent bike, you’ll find several differences compared to an upright. First, the seat is more similar to a chair, with a seat section as well as a back. Also, the pedals are in front of the rider, instead of underneath them.
This allows for a ride that many feels are more comfortable than an upright bike, especially for extended periods of time. Many riders find that the position of the bike helps alleviate muscle fatigue.
Recumbent bikes are especially well suited for anyone who is older, or people with joint or mobility issues, as they’re easier to get on and off of compared to an upright bike.
Despite the fact that these bikes can be more comfortable to use than upright bikes, that doesn’t mean they’re easier to ride. Due to the way the seat and pedals are pitched, a recumbent bike requires additional effort to pedal the bike.
1. EXERPEUTIC 400XL
When it comes to folding recumbent portable exercise bike options, the 400XL from Exerpeutic may be the best choice you could make, thanks to its intelligent and feature-rich design.
Much like the other bikes we’ve profiled, this Exerpeutic folding exercise bike features eight levels of magnetic resistance control. It also features a three-piece high-torque crank system. The V-belt dual drive transmission system is ultra-quiet.
These features work in concert to provide one of the smoothest exercise experiences for riders of all skill and fitness levels.
Those seeking comfort are sure to appreciate the heavily padded seat and backrest of the 400XL. Unlike most bikes, the seat on this model is nearly as comfortable as a high-end desk chair.
The display is large and easy to read. It offers readouts for time, speed, calories burned, speed and heart rate.
It also features a heavy-duty build and a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds which makes this an ideal choice for larger riders and anyone looking for a bike that’s built to last.
Click here to read our in-depth review.
2. MARCY ME-709
The ME-709 is another standout in the category, and packs plenty of features into its affordable frame.
Where the ME-709 truly shines is in its versatility and ease of use. The body of the machine is low to the ground, which allows for incredibly easy entry and exit to and from the bike. This design makes this model a strong choice for anyone with mobility issues. Unlike most recumbent bikes, it also features a set of handlebars located at the front of the machine to give a classic biking experience.
The bike features eight levels of magnetic resistance, heavy-duty counterweighted pedals, and a quiet and smooth driving experience.
The ME-709 is also a popular choice for anyone looking for the most comfortable experience possible, thanks to its high-density padded seat and ergonomic, foam covered handlebars.
From a durability standpoint, this bike uses heavy-duty 14 gauge steel and is powder coated with a durable finish that resists scratches and chips. It accommodates riders up to 300 pounds. Unlike most other bikes which come with a one year warranty, the ME-709 has a two-year warranty, which adds an extra degree of peace of mind.
The large and easy to read LCD display provides time, distance, speed and calories burned. However, it doesn’t have a pulse feature.
3. PROGEAR 190
The ProGear 190 is another popular option in the folding recumbent bike category. It has plenty of desirable features and an attractive price point.
This bike is a smooth operator thanks to its eight adjustable resistance settings, high-torque three-piece crank system, and quiet drive motor.
It’s also comfortable to sit on and to ride. It has a large padded seat with backrest, and larger than average pedals with safety straps.
The large pedals provide the rider with a comfortable and stable feeling pedal that you can ride for hours without fatiguing.
This is also one of the lightest recumbents on the market, coming in at an impressive 38 pounds. It’s also a smart choice for people concerned with space since it’s assembled dimensions are only 38”L x 21”W x 44”H. It folds up to about half the size, and it’s especially easy to store thanks to its integrated transport wheels.
The ProGear 190 also features one of the largest and easiest to read displays on the market. It’s also a very comprehensive display, with readouts for time, distance, scan, speed, calories burned and heart rate.
Desk Station Folding Exercise Bike
Does it seem nearly impossible for you to put down your work for long enough to get a good workout in? Fortunately, desk station bikes make it easy for you to take your work with you. Desk station bikes feature an integrated desk that’s large enough for a laptop computer, so you can keep up with work while you’re working out.
These bikes are growing increasingly popular and seem like a good fit for those who are otherwise too busy to exercise.
They’re even finding a home in libraries and office buildings throughout the country, so people are able to get a workout in while they study, read or work.
1. EXERPEUTIC WORKFIT 1000
The Exerpeutic WORKFIT 1000 fully adjustable desk folding exercise bike with pulse is one of the most practical pieces of workout gear on the market thanks to its integrated, ergonomic desk feature.
The large, fully adjustable desktop adjusts from 41”-45” and there are three different tilt settings, so you’ll be able to angle your work to your most comfortable position. The desk also features a storage drawer, two cupholders, and a padded armrest. Best of all, it makes an ideal standing desk for those who like to stand while they work as well.
Integrated into the desktop is an LCD display with readouts for distance, calories burned, time, speed and heart rate.
At around 65 pounds, it’s one of the heavier bikes on the market. However, integrated transportation wheels allow you to move the bike anywhere you need to with limited effort. Those who are concerned with space are sure to appreciate the space savings they get from folding the machine up. When folded, this bike is only 21.25”L x 25.50”W.
As for the ride itself, a three-piece, high-torque cranking system, and V-belt drive provide smooth and quiet operation. The bike also features the industry standard eight levels of magnetic resistance.
Comfort-wise, it’s tough to top the WORKFIT 1000. While it does feature a bike seat instead of a standard seat, the seat is thick and made from a cooling material that remains cool to the touch after use. A standard seat may be preferable for some people, especially those who work at the desk for hours. But, this seat is certainly among the more comfortable options on the market.
Check out our in-depth review by clicking here.
Pros and Cons of Folding Exercise Bikes
When it comes to portable exercise bikes, there are some benefits as well as some pitfalls when compared to a traditional exercise bike.
On the plus side, it’s difficult to beat a folding bike when it comes to saving space.
It’s great to be able to fold your bike up and stow it out of the way when it isn’t in use. Some of these bikes fold up so small that they can even fit under a bed, or in a closet when they aren’t in use.
This feature alone is reason enough for many people who don’t have much space to work out in to opt for a folding bike.
Plus, folding bikes tend to be much more affordable than their larger counterparts. They’re also easier to assemble and transport if necessary.
At the same time, there are some drawbacks to opting for a folding bike.
When compared to a traditional stationary bike, folding bikes are much less stable and don’t give you the same feeling of security that a non-folding bike would.
To make a folding bike practical, several concessions must be made in its design.
They’re usually lightweight, and the stability features are much less robust than what you’ll find on a traditional stationary bike. In most cases, the smaller and easier to store a folding bike is, the less stable it feels when you’re riding it.
For many riders, the benefit of being able to stow your equipment away when you aren’t using it outweighs the drawback of stability. Unless you have a large room in your home or apartment that you can dedicate to working out, a traditional exercise bike is rarely practical.
Another drawback with folding bikes is they tend to lack many of the higher-end features that make a traditional stationary bike so desirable.
Folding bikes usually feature small screens with a limited number of readouts compared to non-folding bikes. They also don’t provide the same level of resistance that a traditional bike can, making them a poor choice for serious riders and cyclists.
There are also several benefits of a stationary bike compared to a traditional outdoor bike. For one, a stationary bike allows you to workout at any time, regardless of whether conditions. You’re also able to listen to music, watch tv, browse the web or even do work when on a stationary bike.
Sure, you won’t be able to enjoy the great outdoors from your seat on a stationary bike, but they still represent a very practical alternative to a traditional bike for most people.
Why You Should Choose Your Foldable Exercise Bike Carefully
Purchasing a new fold up exercise bike can be a major expense, especially if you’re looking for a more high-end model, which can reach towards $1000.
Not only can a new bike be a relatively major expense, but making a poorly informed choice can lead to you purchasing a bike you’re not quite happy with, which will result in you dreading your workout, or worse yet, not doing it at all.
By carefully selecting the best bike for your needs, you’ll be able to ensure that the bike you choose falls within your budget and provides you with all the features you need.
Most importantly, you’ll be sure that you’re selecting a bike that provides a comfortable riding experience.
This is perhaps the most important facet of an exercise bike. If your bike is uncomfortable, you’ll be making excuses for skipping your workouts in no time.
On What to Pay Attention to When Choosing Your Folding Exercise Bike
When it comes to selecting the best bike for your needs, there are several features you’ll want to consider before arriving at your decision. Depending on your needs, some of these features will be more or less important to you.
A helpful way to narrow down what is and isn’t important to you is to create a list with each of the features below. Then, score how important each feature is to you on a scale of 1-5. That way you can organize which features are most important so you’ll know exactly what to look for when you start shopping.
For many riders, one of the most important features is sturdiness and stability. To create a practical and useful folding bike, several concessions must be made when compared to traditional stationary bikes. One of those concessions is usually stability.
Bikes that are particularly small and portable tend to be the least sturdy, while more substantial bikes tend to provide more stability and sturdiness. If you’re a large rider, or if you’re planning on engaging in demanding workouts, you’re going to want to look towards a model that can handle everything that you can dish out.
This may mean sacrificing on size, weight, and portability, but you’re likely to find that the added stability is worth the trade-off.
Ask anyone who uses a foldable exercise bike, and they’re likely to tell you that the main reason they opted for a folding bike was to save time. No one wants to spend the first ten minutes of their workout fumbling around with their bike trying to get it set up and ready to go.
Today, many bikes can be set up and ready to ride in under a minute. But, there are still plenty of bikes on the market that is a bit more clumsy and difficult to set up and ride. If time is a concern for you, you’ll want to choose a bike that’s quick and easy to set up from its folded state.
Your Fitness Level
How physically fit you are is another important consideration you’ll need to make when evaluating the best folding exercise bike for your needs.
If you’re looking for a low-impact workout on a bike that’s easy to ride, you’ll be looking at different models than a cyclist who is looking to stay sharp when they’re unable to ride outside.
Fortunately, there are models available for people of all abilities and skill levels.
Older riders, as well as riders who have joint, mobility or other health issues, will likely find that a recumbent bike suits their needs the best. These styles of bike are the easiest to get on and off of, and they usually feature heavily padded chairs with backrests that make riding a comfortable experience.
Meanwhile, if you’re a serious cycling enthusiast or just someone who is looking for a more challenging workout, you may choose to opt for an upright bike that’s capable of providing an experience that’s closer to cycling, with resistance levels and programs designed to challenge the rider.
Resistance Types and Levels
There are several different types of resistance available on stationary bikes.
Most bikes you’ll come across will have magnetic resistance. You’ll also find bikes that use different resistance systems, including flywheel-based resistance, fan resistance, and friction resistance.
This resistance style isn’t particularly common because it’s not very practical. With this style of bike, a large flywheel is used to create the resistance on the bike. This can result in a bike that’s extremely heavy since a flywheel can weigh upwards of 50 pounds. Sometimes, flywheel’s are used in conjunction with other resistance styles. But, as other resistance models become more accessible, bikes that only use a flywheel for resistance are going the way of the dinosaur.
Bikes that use friction for resistance are among the most popular for serious workout enthusiasts and cyclists. These bikes use brakes to affect how difficult it is to pedal the bike. They’re reliable and can generate extremely high levels of resistance.
These bikes are less popular for home use because they do create quite a bit of noise. They also require occasional maintenance to make sure the brake pads are operating properly.
Occasionally, they need to be replaced, which adds maintenance cost to the bike.
If you’re a casual cyclist, or someone looking for a basic home workout, you’ll probably find a friction resistance bike isn’t best suited for your needs.
As you’d imagine, this style of bike uses magnets to generate resistance for the rider as they pedal.
These bikes are most popular for home use for many different reasons. First, they require no maintenance at all, while offering reliable operation that’s well suited to most riding scenarios.
These bikes are also among the quietest available, making them a strong choice for multitaskers who would like to work, listen to music, or watch television as they ride.
Nearly every rider will find that a bike with magnetic resistance offers a high quality, challenging workout. So, unless you’re looking for a high-end cycling experience, this style of bike could be your best choice.
This style of bike is perhaps the most interesting. With fan-based resistance, the bike’s flywheel is eliminated. Instead of using friction or magnets to generate resistance, a large fan located inside the front section of the bike works to create resistance. The faster you pedal the bike; the more resistance is generated.
This style of bike is very popular among professional cyclists because of the level of resistance it can generate. It also offers the bonus of increasing airflow in the area, which helps keep the rider cool and comfortable during their workout.
These bikes are relatively quiet, which makes them a strong choice for at home use. Unfortunately, they’re prohibitively expensive for most riders, and due to the large fan located at the front of the bike, they aren’t available in a folding format.
Comfort Level (adjustable seat and handlebars, pedals, etc…)
Comfort is usually a critical consideration for most riders, for obvious reasons.
If you expect to use your new stationary bike several times each week, you’re going to want it to provide you with a workout that’s at least somewhat comfortable.
Most bikes are relatively adjustable and can be altered to fit the needs and body types of different riders. While not all components of a bike will be adjustable, you’ll likely want to find an option where you can at least adjust the height of the seat. Some bikes feature additional adjustments and allow you to adjust the pedals and handlebars as well as the seat. The more room for adjustment on the bike, the easier it will be for you to dial in a perfect fit to achieve a comfortable work out.
For people who are especially short or tall, it can be challenging to find a bike that’s comfortable to ride, so you may want to try and ride as many different options as possible in a store before making your decision.
The seat will be a major consideration for anyone hoping for a comfortable workout as well. Most upright bikes feature standard bike seats to mimic the act of cycling. This style of seat can be much more unforgiving than a heavily padded seat with a back like you’ll find on most recumbent exercise bikes.
That said, upright bike seats can still be very comfortable, you just need to select the right one. Some manufacturers have aftermarket seats available as well. Most seats can be outfitted with gel padded seat covers designed to provide an extra level of padding and comfort as well.
Some upright bikes and most recumbent bikes feature seats which are far more forgiving than a standard bike seat. Some are heavily padded and large and offer an experience similar to sitting in a comfortable desk chair. These seats may be best for people with limited fitness levels, as well as older people as well.
These seats also usually feature padded back sections which make riding even easier and more comfortable.
A final consideration to make when it comes to comfort is the ergonomics of the bike.
Today, many bikes feature ergonomic designs that allow the rider to maintain a comfortable posture and positioning while riding. Ergonomic design extends to every aspect of the bike, including the seat, pedals and handlebars. Bikes that are ergonomically designed can be significantly more comfortable, and they’re especially helpful for longer exercise sessions.
Ease of Use
Another important consideration to make is the ease of use of the bike. This includes things like how easy the bike is to assemble, set up, fold for storage and ride.
When it comes to assembly, most folding bikes are relatively easy to put together, especially when compared to non-folding bikes which tend to have a much more involved assembly process.
If you don’t have any experience assembling workout equipment, or if the idea of spending more than an hour or so constructing a bike seems like torture to you, you may want to opt for a bike where most of the assembly is already completed for you.
The next aspect to consider is how easy or difficult it is to get the bike set up, or folded away for storage. Some bikes, especially the more expensive options, can be set up for use in just a few seconds, with very little effort.
On the other hand, there are plenty of options that aren’t nearly as easy to set up, and they can leave riders feeling frustrated and less interested in working out.
If you plan on stowing your bike away often, chances are you’ll want a bike that can be set up and stowed away quickly and with ease. It also may be helpful to look for a model with integrated wheels, which make moving your bike around the house or transporting it much easier.
So far, we’ve covered many of the basic considerations you’ll need to make when choosing the best bike for your needs. But, there are still many additional features, gadgets, and options available on different bikes.
This includes things like the onboard computer and display of a bike. Even bare-bones models provide some degree of information on an LCD screen. Most provide values like time, distance, calories burned and speed. More advanced models include things like heart rate monitoring as well as different programs that simulate an actual bike ride over different types of terrain.
If your needs are very basic, you probably aren’t very concerned with how comprehensive the computer system of your bike is. But, for more serious riders as well as anyone who’s interested in a bike that offers specific workout programs, you’ll want to invest in a bike with a more robust onboard computer.
Another style of bike that’s rising in popularity are bikes that also include adjustable desks that allow you to work while you exercise.
These bikes are a particularly attractive alternative to a traditional stationary bike for anyone who has difficulty taking time away from work in order to exercise. Most of these bikes make great standing desks as well, so they can be used even when you aren’t working out.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into selecting the best bike for your needs.
Whether you’re in the market for a foldable upright exercise bike, or a recumbent model, you’ll want to consider your options carefully before making a decision.
Based on the needs of most riders, we’ve recommended several bikes, all of which are affordable and high quality and provide a solid home workout without encroaching on your space to do other things.
At the same time, you may find that the best foldable exercise bike for you isn’t one of the ones we’ve covered above.
The important thing is that you do your research, prioritize which features are most important to you, and select a bike that’s going to provide you with everything you need for a high quality workout in the comfort of your home
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