The best exercise bikes that don’t require a subscription

Nearly every piece of home fitness equipment has a catch: They require a subscription to a paid app in order to use them to their fullest. It’s an added expense on top of already expensive equipment, and racking up that amount of money especially for multiple subscriptions can feel more painful than three rounds of deep squats. Pelotons’ $1,500 upfront investment includes over $500 in app fees over the course of the year, and the NordicTracks iFIT app costs $39 per month. Sure, you couldn’t pay them and the bikes would still ride, but it’s a bit like refusing to buy gas for a Porsche and just sitting in the front seat and enjoying yourself.

The good news is that you don’t need to invest that much for a great workout, and there are plenty of non-subscription stationary bikes that offer the same amount of resistance and speed as upscale spin bikes like the Peloton and NordicTrack for a fraction of the up-front. cost. These bikes can also be used in conjunction with an app like Pelotons for the classy experience without paying thousands for the bike itself.

The best exercise bikes without a subscription – at a glance

What the experts say

Chloe Woo is an instructor at Dogpound in New York City and frequently uses stationary bikes with her clients that don’t require a membership. She is a fan of these streamlined bikes as long as the person possesses the discipline to use them consistently on their own.

Often people lack the drive and consistency when they train on their own, Woo said. That is why fitness classes, online streaming apps and personal trainers are great because they help the individual achieve their goals and stick to their plans.

He said it’s all about knowing yourself and whether someone has enough discipline and drive to complete a full bike workout on their own without any guidance or push from anyone else.

A basic stationary bike is an excellent workout and has all the same benefits of having a full cycle workout at no extra cost, Woo said. Also, most of these larger subscription-based bikes have online apps that you can still stream separately without the bike!

In terms of finding a bike worth buying, Woo pointed out a few key features to look out for. I look for sturdy clips or straps to secure your feet, the ones that have an almost rounded cage tend not to be strong enough and wear out over time, he said she.

Also, taking the handlebars into account is the second detail I look for. Having two sets of handlebars, one wide and one narrow, allows for a different body position and overall change in grip and posture while riding.

What is the ROI?

Ultimately, this is only a cheap investment if the user has an above-average level of self-discipline. All of these bikes are cheaper than the high-end subscription-based brands, and if the user is motivated enough to use them consistently, they will provide the same workout and results as the more expensive options. The financial cost is lower and the emotional cost might be a bit higher, but overall it makes sense for those not looking to join a rotating cult.

Courtesy of Bowflex


The Bowflexs C6 bike is one of the best bikes you can buy without a membership that can be used with or without a fitness app to get a strenuous and challenging workout. It comes with 100 levels of magnetic resistance, more than any other bike on this list, and gives the rider plenty of flexibility in terms of intensity. The bike also features double-sided pedals with SPD clips—a type of clip that’s compatible with most spin shoes—rather than a toe cage, which Woo warned against. The Bluetooth heart rate monitor is a nice touch, and there’s a backlit LCD metric console for measuring speed and power.

Courtesy of Amazon


Made for: Those willing to invest a little more, but without constraints.

Why it’s great: Schwinn’s bike is still $1,000, which isn’t cheap, but it has one of the sturdiest and most reliable designs in the class. It comes with optional Bluetooth connectivity and a device console to hold phones and tablets, plus a racing-style seat that makes it perfect for indoor training. The 40lb flywheel offers plenty of stability and has an LCD metrics screen for proper tracking.

ROI: The ROI here won’t be as high as other options on this list as it comes at a higher price point and requires more discipline on your part, but it’s still a very solid investment.

Courtesy of Amazon

best for small spaces

Made for: Cramped apartment dwellers looking to exercise at home.

Why it’s great: The Echelons membership-free exercise bike is super slim and doesn’t take up a ton of space, making it perfect for smaller apartments where space is at a premium. It only has 32 levels of resistance, which simply means that the increments between levels are larger than with other options. Anyone can still get a strenuous workout on this bike, jumps between settings are just higher.

ROI: This bike is $200 cheaper than the other options on this list and saves space and clutter, making it a great investment if used often enough.

Courtesy of Amazon


Made for: Those who don’t want to invest a lot of money to ride from time to time.

Why it’s great: YOSUDA’s bike is priced hard to argue with, and despite being a lot cheaper, it still checks a lot of boxes. Comes with a 35lb flywheel with a belt system for a smooth ride. The handlebars are wider, making it a better choice for those who have trouble keeping upright on a bike. YOSUDA ​​doesn’t specify the resistance range, but many Amazon reviewers say it’s a challenging workout.

ROI: This bike isn’t of the same caliber as the pricier options on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile investment. For those looking to pay as little as possible, it will still give anyone the ability to hustle and burn calories without a huge sunk cost.

Courtesy of Amazon

best dumbbells

Made for: Those whose upper back and core tire easily.

Why it’s great: A great set of handlebars can contribute more to a spin bike than a resistance wheel or knob, as they dictate much of your body positioning during the ride. This bike comes with two sets of handlebars, one wider and one narrower set for crunching during a heavy climb or series of intervals. It also comes with many of the same features as the other bikes: a device mount and micro-adjustable resistance, no membership required.

ROI: This mid-range bike price tag makes it an easier buy than other options, and it comes from one of the best budget brands on Amazon: Sunny Health & Fitness.

Yes, all of these bikes can be used in conjunction with an app like Peloton or NordicTrack, it just takes one more step to quantify the bikes resistance versus the instructors resistance on their bike. There are many conversion charts online that are easy to follow.

Yes, but so many spin bikes have gotten smarter, more advanced, and more expensive. There’s no need to spend thousands just to sell to drag, which is why these bikes make a great alternative for those who don’t want to break the bank.

The difference is in the type of resistance. An assault bike uses wind resistance and gets more challenging the harder you pedal. These bikes use a set magnetic resistance that doesn’t change unless you dial it up and down manually.

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