List of Budget Indoor Bikes with Resistance Control

Hi everyone, I’m fairly new to the Zwift community, and must say it’s been a great way to get back into fitness. I’ve been working out on Zwift nearly every day for the last month, and lost around 5kg along the way (goes without saying that diet control was needed to achieve the calorie deficit). I’m sure there are many who are in the same situation as me - looking to get started on Zwift for the fitness, not necessarily interested in actual road cycling, and don’t wish to invest heavily on hardware until they are certain Zwift is right for them.

So long story short, I’ve been doing some research on the exercise and spin bikes that offer a more complete Zwift experience (with controllable resistance), without having to shell out several thousands for the likes of a Tacx Neo Bike, Wattbike Atom, Stages SB20 or Wahoo Kickr Bike. I’m aware that there’s an official compatibility list, so that’s the first stop for most people. And the second stop should be a combination of actual bikes and smart trainers. The list below is really only for those who feel that budget indoor bikes are the only option they’ll consider at this point, and don’t mind using hardware that are not officially supported. In fact, some technical workarounds might even be needed to achieve Zwift compatibility.

(Edit: I’m prohibited from posting links as a new user. Will post the links to the product websites in future replies once I’m able to do so.)

  1. Renpho AI-Powered Bike
    Current Price: USD549 after discount and free shipping
    Remarks: This indoor bike claims to have out of the box compatibility with Zwift, and the electronically adjusted resistance with 80 steps would be rather useful for ERG mode. The low entry price is also only a fraction of the Big 4 bikes. Renpho is a relatively unknown brand, but at least there’s a number of reviews available for this bike on YouTube so check them out to find out more.

  2. Magene Onelap Spin Bike G801
    Current Price: USD899 before shipping
    Remarks: The community is probably more familiar with Magene’s line of sensors and smart trainers, but they do manufacture their own indoor bikes under the Onelap brand. To be honest, I’ve not heard of anyone using this bike for Zwift and reviews on YouTube are scarce as well. That said, it does claim to be Zwift compatible and offers automatic resistance too. If anyone has this bike, do leave a reply below and share your experience with it.

  3. Nexgim AI Bike
    Current Price: HKD2,998 (~USD390)
    Remarks: Nexgim is a sister brand of Renpho’s, and it focuses on the Asian market, so this bike will be harder to get outside of Asia. Nevertheless, it’s probably the cheapest indoor bike that one can get with Zwift compatibility out of the box. That said, it’s really more of an upright fitness bike, and not meant for hard riding, or even standing while riding.

  4. Bikes supported by qdomyos-zwift app
    Current Price: BYO supported bikes + USD3.99 for the app
    Supported Bikes: Echelon EX3/EX5, Proform, NordicTrack, Domyos E-Connected bikes, etc.
    Remarks: This probably isn’t new to the community as well. Roberto (the developer) has come up with an almost magical app that allows unsupported indoor bikes to connect to Zwift and Peloton. The app basically serves as a bridge that reads in the proprietary data transmitted by the bikes and rebroadcasts it in a format recognised by Zwift. In doing so, many bikes that were previously unsupported can now run Zwift flawlessly. This is also the option I opted for, and I’m happily using Zwift on a Domyos Exercise Bike 500 with this app.

That’s it for now. If you’re aware of other budget indoor bikes that support Zwift, do feel free to reply below. Again, the bikes above would not make sense for the majority of Zwift users who wish to get into cycling more seriously. But hopefully this thread provides a space for us to discuss the various options available for budget indoor bikes and also our experience in using them.

Buy the cheapest spin bike and put power pedals on it. At least it is now accurate.

But the experience is severely lacking. The whole point is having the trainer react to the terrain of the program. Once that is lost, IMO there is no point to the Zwift experience. Might as well get a cheap spin program off of Youtube.

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Agree wholeheartedly. Controllable resistance that adjusts with the terrain is an essential part of the whole Zwift experience, which is why every bike listed above has this feature. That said, being on the budget end of the spectrum, there’ll certainly be some trade-offs, such as lower resistance limits (I don’t believe any of the bikes above can push 2200W like the SB20), less accurate power output numbers or being less sturdy in build quality. So I’ll say one should only go with these bikes if they are willing to accept these compromises.

Sorry, you are correct…I thought the Magene adjusted resistance via the orange lever and the Renpho via the dial. I went through the Magene page three times before I saw it.

That said…Zwift compatibility is not front and center on their web pages…I would be very leery that these work very well with Zwift much less the other apps (Roovy, Fulgaz, etc…). Their goal is to push you onto their app.

People need to value their frustration and time and understand the risks before using devices outside the norm.

Certainly, part of the reason I’m posting here is so that we can consolidate feedback from actual owners of these bikes. So if anyone here is using the bikes above, feel free to chime in and share your experience and cautionary tales so the newcomers don’t have to relearn the same lessons. Cheers!

you would be surprised how many people ride on Zwift with trainer difficulty set to 0% :wink:

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I’m completely new to the world of exercise bikes but wanted a cheap way into Zwift (looks like it would keep my interest better than just riding). So looking around at the cheaper options (I know you get what you pay for but this was really just to see how I get on with exercise bikes) I couldn’t find many that worked with Zwift. I did come across the SportsTech ESX500 (On Amazon for £350) which was listed as compatible on the qdomyos-zwift app so thought I would chance it and see if it all worked. Having received the bike and loaded up Zwift I thought I would just see what happens if you try and connect and to my surprise it found the bike straight away, so no additional app needed (all info I found said it wasn’t compatible with Zwift, so maybe an update somewhere). All seems to work well, auto resistance works without a problem. The bike had mixed reviews to be fair (mainly due to customer service than how the bike worked) but i’m more than happy with it so far. So basically another bike that can be added to the list.

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Thanks Diane! It’s good to hear from someone who is using one of these bikes! It seems that the forum does not allow me to edit the original post after a certain number of days, so I can’t add your bike to the list. Let me try to get in touch with the moderators and see if they can do something about it.

That said, are you able to get into a standing position while riding on the ESX500? That’s an issue with some of the other upright/exercise bikes.

Thanks for the thread.
I have had the Renpho AI for about 3 weeks.
I’ve used their free apps.

I have also tried Peloton App, Kinomaps, and Zwift.
Following the trials, I have signed up for Zwift.
I am very happy with how it works with Zwift.

It’s a very solid, silent, and comfortable bike, and at the recent price of $499 (Canadian) it’s pretty hard to beat.

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Thanks for sharing! How’s your experience with the automatic resistance control on the Renpho? The reviews on YouTube don’t usually mention this, or usage of this bike with Zwift in general.

For those interested in using spin bikes with Zwift. I came across another option for our European friend - Bodytone SMB1 v2. It claims to be compatible with Zwift and supports automatic resistance control too. If anyone has experience with it, do share your experience in this thread.

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I just bought the Renpho bike! The bike is $699 on sale for $599. I used Honey’s discount app and got $200 off so paid $399 with free shipping! Really excited to try this bike! :blush:
Thank you for the info about these bikes!