$2k for exercise bike

I’m looking for an exercise bike and have tried many so far. I really need help.
I need the bike to show accurate speed in mph and distance in mi. And keep a record so I can look at my history to see how much I improve etc. I don’t know why bikes don’t do this. They don’t show speed in mph or don’t keep a record.
I’d like Zwift and other apps support. I’d like the bike to have a touchscreen but not 100% necessary. Ifit is cool kinda. I like it’s manual mode showing a quarter mile track and your position on it.

I’ve tried —
Schwinn IC4
Bowflex Velocore 16”
Bowflex C7 with its 7” screen.
ProForm carbon c10 something. 10” ifit.
NordicTrack R35
Sole R92
Sole LCR

The upright bikes have great smooth wheels. The recumbent don’t. The NordicTrack and Sole are recumbent. Their issue with the wheel is they don’t have the pedals/cranks properly attached to the wheel so the wheel only goes forwards. This is a big issue.

I liked the upright bikes. The bike. But Bowflex screen don’t show you your speed in mph and I don’t think they work with Zwift and other apps.

The Schwinn IC4 lcd console is incredibly inaccurate showing I was going way faster then I was thus the distance was way off too. And it’s not compatible with apps either.

The ProForm isn’t compatible with apps.

My budget is $2k. Im not into a trainer and outdoor bike. Just an exercise bike.

Im considering the Matrix ICR50 and Keiser M3i. Except I have a hard time bending over. It’s not comfortable much. So I’m hoping I could raise the handle bars so I don’t have to lean over much. But then they don’t show speed in mph or at least the Keiser don’t. And I’m not fond of paying $400 to return them if necessary. Return shipping plus 15% restock. That’s insane. Im on disability so I don’t get much money.

I really need help. Please and thank you.

your essentially using the wrong metric to show improvement with regard to indoor riding.

You are not riding anywhere, so speed / distance is a bit of a fallacy.

Power over time is a better metric for indoor use and how most apps these days want you to interact with them.

I get that its different to outdoor riding, but to be blunt, it is different.

For £2k, buy a wattbike atom.


You are stuck in a loop and not listening to all the advice given to you. Speed in Zwift will NOT match speed IRL. Period.

You might get close with a smart device (bike or trainer) and the settings at 100%. But the more gradient, the less they will match…at least in my experience. But you are not interested in a real bike and trainer.

You can get any spin bike you want…just put power pedals on and Zwift works. But you will not get speed out unless it comes with its own screen. BUT IT WILL NOT MATCH THE ZWIFT SPEED.

If you cannot bend over…the best option is to get a mountain or hybrid bike and put it on a wheel on smart trainer. Put a speed sensor on the rear wheel and use bike computer to get your speed/distance, etc…but it will not match Zwift. But you do not want a real bike.

So your solution is something you will have to build or hunt down.

A lot of these bikes use proprietary wireless protocols and hacking is required to get them to work. Some people use the Keiser…I have no idea if this works well or not. Power pedals (or other power meter…some have installed crank based on their units) will always work for Zwift.


I agree with @Lee_H, another good metric to use is heart rate. Don’t worry so much about speed and distance, I can coast down a huge hill outside and improve speed and distance without any exertion.

Power, time and heart rate are much better metrics to track for improvement.


Thanks. I’m new to this so I’m only familiar with speed in mph and distance in mi. And time. I don’t know the other stuff.
I want to be able to see how far I’ve come. Like ride longer distance etc.

The Watt bike Atom. It’s $2600. Way over budget. But hmm. I’m not into incline and decline. Just auto resistance is good. I’d never use incline and decline.

Is that a good bike? How about the Keiser and Matrix? Anyone?

Gradient changes are automatic in Zwift. With the Wattbike it will change resistance to mimic.

I would take the Wattbike in heartbeat over the Keiser and Matrix if you plan to Zwift/Rouvy/Fulgaz, etc…

The issue you have is, all those spin bikes you are looking at have not been made with Zwift or its like in mind, they are spin bikes. If you want to use Zwift, you either accept that it wont be a perfect fit and will have oddities such as speed / distance not being accurate plus potential set up issues or if you are set on using zwift, buy something that is zwift specific - A multitude of turbo trainers and a bike can be bought in that price range or look at specific all in one option, SB20, wattbike etc…

Don’t buy a spin bike for Zwift or any other fitness app like trainer road. Get a direct drive smart trainer with a real bike or a smart bike to actually use the apps as they are intended. Spin bikes with a knob to adjust tension are a waste of money.

Edit: Goto DC Rainmaker’s site to get proper in-depth reviews of trainers: The Smart Trainer Recommendations Guide: Winter 2020-2021 | DC Rainmaker

i assume you have a bike already.

if you don’t want to get too into the trainer money-wise, go for a wahoo kickr snap.

if you’re already into using the heck out of this thing, then get a direct drive. here’s rec’s from zwiftinsider:

also, especially if you want to look at data for improvement, get a heart rate monitor. i like this one:

Thanks guys.
I have read dc rainmaker but not sure if I read that article ^^.

I don’t have a bike. Except I have the Sole LCR that is being picked up tomorrow for return. Then I have nothing.

I want an exercise bike that works with apps. Im just so picky. I have some mental disorders that at times can be very serious. OCD, Asperger, Tourette, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety disorder. Slight learning disability.

My desire is to get an exercise bike that works with apps and when I get in better shape then get an ebike for riding outside.

I just want to know speed in mph, distance in mi and time. I don’t care about the other stuff in that I’m not sure what it is etc. Then I might care but I’m used to mph etc.

I’m concerned I won’t like anything. I read about the Wattbike Atom. It is loud and rumbles when you pedal? Vibrates. I don’t care for that. I want silence. I don’t pedal hard/fast. The bikes I mentioned were silent/near silent.

I’m just so picky. And I don’t mean to be. It’s part of my disorders.

I don’t know what spin bike means.

Bless y’all.

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Here’s what I hear you saying you want:

  1. Exercise bike, not trainer/bike setup
  2. Use Zwift
  3. Accurate speed / distance
  4. Keep a record.

First, no. 4. Most bikes don’t keep their own records. Expect to connect them to your computer (or phone), and keep your records on the computer.

Nos. 2 and 3. To use Zwift and get realistic speed and distance, some kind of “smart” machine is best. One that sends power readings to Zwift. You might not be interested in power, but Zwift uses it to calculate your speed. You could get by with a “dumb” machine and a speed sensor but it might not be realistic.

No 1. The only way to get this WITH nos 2, 3 and 4 is a smart bike like the Wattbike Atom or Kickr bike. These are expensive, and outside your budget – unless you can get a second hand one.

Nothing wrong with being picky, but it looks like you can’t get everything you want.

So something has to give. My suggestion would be to get a smart trainer and a bicycle to put on it. If money is tight, a second hand bike would do fine, it doesn’t have to be the latest featherweight carbon framed TdF job. Once you’ve got it set up, you don’t have to disturb it and, to be honest, it wouldn’t be that different from having an exercise bike sitting there – although if you’re as picky as me you might not agree :grin:

Hope that helps.

I got some good info from Keiser. The only two bikes I can think of to try is the Keiser m3i and matrix ICR50.
It sucks Zwift don’t care about this. They have very few supported bikes and all are way expensive. They need to work with way more. Anyway.

I’ll probably end up with nothing. I’m so picky.

@Buggs1a - Joe - those bikes aren’t compatible. There’s not much Zwift can do. Zwift uses existing standards, and very few of the exercise bikes use those standards. To be fair, most of them don’t even have a power sensor, which is what you need for any kind of accuracy with Zwift.

Tracking distance/speed is near meaningless - you can go 60km/h downhill with far less effort than going 10km/h up the same hill.

You’re looking at the Kickr Bike, Wattbike, and a couple others if you absolutely need a stationary bike.

A used (real) bike and a Kickr Core is probably your best bet with that budget, honestly.

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Keiser m3i is compatible with Zwift. Matrix ICR50 also is. They’re listed on zwifts list. The others are not except the Sole R92 which sucks. Horrible wheel.

But ya. A road bike is out of the question. I’ll get an ebike when I get in better shape and I don’t have space for a trainer plus road bike. So a stationary bike is it.

for comparison sake, my road bike on a kickr core is about 5 ft 6 inches in length and less than 2 ft wide. My wifes cheap spin bike (not used for Zwift) is 4 ft in length and the same width. So only need about 16 inches more space to fit a road bike on a trainer. Of course you could also remove the front wheel off the bike and then it would be about the same size as the spin bike (you would need a stand designed for front fork, but they do exist).

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Do they make noise when pedaling cus they use chains instead of belts? Bike not trainer. I can’t handle noise like that. It needs to be pretty silent. My disorders.

So I guess man. So much out there. Too many options. Sigh.

Kicker core. Max weight. 250 lbs.
that’s out.

DCRainmaker has some good videos testing sound.

My H3 smart trainer and bike is about the same sound level as my wife’s spin bike. Except for the free wheel but I don’t free wheel when training.

I meant the bikes. Cousin of mine says I should get a mountain bike. But if I get a kicker core then that leaves $600 or so for a bike. And I’d never order one online. I’d have to try it first.

But the kickr core max weight is 250. I’m more. So I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

A well kept drive chain is quite low on noise, if you don’t take care of it regularly it will develop squeaks and be louder. I would not use a mountain bike on Zwift, too many people complain that they run out of gears and can’t get enough base resistance due to the usually smaller gear ratio designed for short punchy climbs that you find while mountain biking. Road bikes are designed to have larger gears allowing you to go faster on flat roads.

I think your best bet would be a less expensive spin bike that fits your parameters and a pair of power meter pedals that can communicate with Zwift such as the Favero Assioma pedals. This should cost you around half of your budget. You won’t get the automatic resistance, but can still have accurate power numbers (watts) and enjoy Zwift. Linking your Zwift account to Strava or similar service will do all the tracking for you. Get a heart rate monitor too so you can capture that data.

Good luck and I hope you find something that works!

:ride_on: :muscle:

Yea! I agree. I forgot about pedals. Hmm. Will other apps work with the pedals too?
Doesn’t strata cost monthly? I can’t really afford much :frowning: