The Best Exercise Bikes For Bad Knees, Expert Tested and Reviewed

One in four US adults suffers from knee pain, and it’s become significantly more common in the last few decades. (1) Interestingly enough, knee pain isn’t necessarily tied to increases in age or body weight, and research shows that even among physically active young adults, there’s a surprisingly high rate of knee problems. (2)(3) There are plenty of different causes of knee pain, from tendonitis and arthritis to strained ligaments, and the fix depends on the root cause. (4) But, in general, exercise is one of the best things you can do for cranky knees. (5)

Indoor cycling on an exercise bike can be a great option to get moving, whether you’re dealing with knee pain from lack of activity or rehabbing an injury. Exercise bikes offer a low-impact workout you can scale to your abilities and can help you break a sweat without leaving your house. If you’re looking for knee-friendly cardio and a machine to help you get it done, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve combed through tons of exercise bikes on the market, tested and reviewed them, and singled out the best exercise bikes for bad knees. Keep reading to find one that meets your budget, needs, and goals.

Best Exercise Bikes For Bad Knees

Best Overall Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: NordicTrack S22i

Best Air Bike for Bad Knees: Concept2 BikeErg

Best Budget Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: ProForm Carbon CX

Best Recumbent Bike for Bad Knees: NordicTrack Commercial R35

Best High-End Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: Echelon Connect EX-8s

Best Adjustable Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: CAROL Bike

Best Exercise Bike for Bad Knees for Seniors: Marcy ME-709

Best Value Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike

About our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer, CrossFit Level 1 instructor, and BarBend editorial team member. She reviewed the research we cite and the exercise bikes we listed to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Exercise Bikes for Bad Knees

The BarBend team has been testing fitness equipment, including exercise bikes, for years, and we can help you find the best model for your needs — and knees. We combed through the many options online and personally tested more than 20 bikes to determine which are good buys. Our group of expert testers (including certified personal trainers and an Olympic lifter) evaluated the bikes based on factors like footprint and portability, durability, adjustability and ergonomics, tech capabilities, warranty, and even customer service to arrive at the eight picks below. Here are a few factors we paid extra attention to when picking these exercise bikes for people with bad knees, specifically.

Adjustability and Ergonomics

If you’re looking to buy an exercise bike and deal with knee pain, this factor is perhaps the most important. Cycling with improper positioning, such as the wrong seat height, can lead to more pain or injury and affect your performance. (6) Research shows that just a five percent change in saddle height can affect knee joint kinematics by 35 percent. (7

You’ll want to ensure you can set up your exercise bike for optimal performance and comfort. Almost all the bikes here have one- or two-way adjustable seats and handlebars, and many allow you to swap out the saddle entirely so you can arrange your bike into a position that’s comfortable for you — and will help you ease your knee pain, not create more.


When you’re buying any piece of exercise equipment, you’ll want to make sure it lasts long enough so you can get your money’s worth. While testing all the bikes below, we kept this top of mind and included only picks that feel sturdy enough to stand up to even serious sweat sessions. Warranties are a part of this consideration, too. The most durable bikes come with 10- or even 15-year warranties, but Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer recommends looking for, “at least five years on the frame, two years on parts, and one year for labor.”


You can buy an exercise bike for as little as $150 and as much as several thousand — and the price will more or less dictate the quality you’ll get. We evaluated bikes based on value to ensure they’re actually worth the price you’re paying. After all, buying a mid-range or high-end bike is only worth it if it performs like one.


When selecting an exercise bike, you can choose your own adventure: Go for a feature-rich, high-tech bike or one with just the basics. We kept an eye out for all the necessities, like a water bottle holder and media shelf, and evaluated the fancier features, like workout streaming and automatic resistance adjustments. We’ve included a range of options here with varying features so you can see what’s available and what piques your interest. Then, it’s up to you to decide which ones matter based on your budget, workout needs, and goals.

Best Overall Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: NordicTrack S22i

NordicTrack Commercial S22i

NordicTrack Commercial S22i

The NordicTrack Commercial S22i is high-tech and high quality, featuring both advancements like a 22” touchscreen display, and solid specs like 24 levels of quiet magnetic resistance.

Shop NordicTrack


Price: $1,999

Dimensions: 61″ L x 22″ W x 58″ H 

Weight: 205lbs (in box)

Resistance type: SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance

Max User Capacity: 350lbs


The S22i can incline up to 20 percent and decline down to -10 percent, a feature you won’t find on many exercise bikes.

The 22-inch touchscreen is iFIT-enabled and can swivel, allowing you to take 60+ types of workout classes both on and off the bike (including strength and stretching, both of which can help with knee pain). (8)

There are 24 digital resistance levels, and the bike will automatically adjust them during guided workouts.


At nearly $2,000, this exercise bike is one of the more expensive on the market, costing as much as three years of a gym membership.

You can’t stream non-iFIT workouts or entertainment like Netflix on the touchscreen.

Some reviewers say they have trouble reaching the handlebars, which aren’t adjustable horizontally.

The NordicTrack S22i, our selection for the best exercise bike for bad knees overall, is a solid pick no matter how your joints are feeling. It offers a unique feature you won’t find on hardly many other exercise bikes: You can pedal on a decline (down to -10 percent) and an incline (up to 20 percent) to replicate the feel of an outdoor ride. This standout feature is one of the reasons our testers give it a perfect 5 out of 5 for its dynamic programming, customizations, and tech capabilities, which combined, earned this bike the top overall spot.

Our BarBend product tester moving the NordicTrack S22i.

Those tech capabilities include the impressive 22-inch HD touchscreen, which streams iFIT workouts and can connect to headphones or other devices via Bluetooth. iFIT offers a huge variety of classes across 60+ modalities. On the bike, you can take studio-style cycling classes or pedal through scenic rides, and the bike will automatically adjust your resistance and incline/decline to match the terrain or trainer cues. Off the bike, you swivel the screen to strength train, stretch, or do yoga. 

iFIT does come at an extra cost: You get a 30-day free trial with purchase, but after that, it costs $39 a month or $180 a year. Without the membership, the bike can’t do much. You can pedal in manual mode, and there are a few classes you can access for free, but you can’t stream other workouts or watch TV.

Good news for your knees: Our tester gave the bike a 4.8 out of 5 for adjustability and ergonomics. “The seat is highly adjustable and moves vertically and horizontally, and can also be tilted up and down,” our tester and certified personal trainer, Kate Meier, said. It also comes with two-sided pedals — SPD clip-in and toe cages — which is helpful for people with bad knees, as some people find clipping in to be more comfortable, while others prefer flat pedals.

The commitment to iFIT is a real consideration with this bike, and one of the only drawbacks. Otherwise, Meier said, “This is a fantastic bike. The touchscreen is impressive and the incline/decline feature makes it unique. Without the iFit subscription, though, the bike isn’t very impressive.”

Read our full NordicTrack S22i Exercise Bike Review.

Best Air Bike for Bad Knees: Concept2 BikeErg

Concept2 Bike Erg

Concept2 Bike Erg

The lightweight Concept2 BikeErg eschews the moveable arms you’ll find on most air bikes, delivering a power-driven ride that operates more like a standard cycle than a spin bike. The flywheel’s unique damper allows riders to adjust airflow, which is akin to switching gears on a mountain bike. 

Shop Amazon


Price: $1,100

Dimensions: 48″ L x 24″ W  

Weight: 68lbs

Resistance Type: Air

Max User Capacity: 350lbs


The seat and handlebars are highly customizable, with a ratcheting system that allows for precise adjustments.

The clutched flywheel keeps spinning when the pedals stop, so you can “coast” just like on a real bike, limiting the force placed on your knees when slowing down.

Air bikes are well-suited for interval training.

The seat, pedals, and other bike parts are easily swappable if you’d like to customize it for a better fit.


This bike isn’t designed for riding out of the saddle.

It’s made with an aluminum frame, which isn’t as durable as steel, but lighter and easier to move around.

Riders outside the 31–40.5” inseam range may need to purchase a Short or Tall seatpost from the brand for an extra charge.

Air bikes get their name from the fact that they use air as resistance. Your pedal strokes spin a fan wheel, which pushes against the air, providing resistance for you to work against. On most air bikes, there are also moving handlebars that you can push and pull as you pedal. The Concept2 BikeErg, however, isn’t like most air bikes. It looks like a traditional stationary bike but is hiding a fan blade wheel where you’d expect a metal flywheel.

The wind-powered resistance comes with a few perks, especially for people with bad knees: The flywheel isn’t directly fixed to the pedals, so you can stop pedaling (for example, to take a rest interval during HIIT training) and the flywheel will keep spinning and slow down without taking your feet with it. This avoids placing any jarring force on your knees when changing speed or coming to a stop. There are 10 levels of gearing via a damper, which allows you to adjust the airflow so that you can shift into heavier or lighter “gears,” also like on a real bike.

BarBend tester using Concept2 air bike.

The Performance Monitor 5 (PM5) on the BikeErg is basic, showing real-time metrics just like on the brand’s RowErg or SkiErg machine, but you can easily level up the experience by adding your own device, which you can pop right onto the included media shelf. The PM5 can connect via Bluetooth to your phone or tablet, and sync your stats to their app, ErgData, or other compatible apps including Zwift and Wahoo.

On Amazon, the bike has an impressive 4.8 out of 5 rating, and reviewers have commented that this bike is “built like a tank.” It has an aluminum frame — not quite as durable as steel, which is often used for exercise bikes — but that makes it lighter and easier to move around. The brand also offers a five-year frame warranty and a two-year parts warranty, though you may not even need to take advantage. “Three years later and it’s been absolutely trouble-free and a great addition to my life and conditioning efforts,” writes one reviewer. “Not a moment’s trouble. I’ve ridden over 16 million meters on it in three years.”

Best Budget Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: ProForm Carbon CX

ProForm Carbon CX Exercise Bike

ProForm Carbon CX Exercise Bike

The ProForm Carbon CX is a sturdy steel 125-pound build with 16 levels of silent magnetic resistance. In addition to being one of the quietest options on the market, this bike also comes with a free year of iFit and a swiveling tablet holder, so you can stream classes on and off the bike.

Shop ProForm


Price: $599

Dimensions: 52.5″ L x 21.9″ W x 51″ H 

Weight: 125lbs (in box)

Resistance Type: Silent Magnetic Resistance

Max User Capacity: 250lbs


This is one of the most affordable bikes on the list, coming in at nearly a quarter of the price of some of the more expensive options on this list.

The bike has 16 levels of quiet magnetic resistance, which the bike can auto-adjust for you during iFIT workouts (a fancy feature for a budget bike).

Because this bike is BYOD (bring your own device) you can use it with whichever workout or entertainment streaming service you’d like.


The built-in LCD display shows limited stats and offers no guided workouts or programming.

Many reviewers report needing to swap out the seat because it’s uncomfortable.

Some reviewers have reported issues reaching customer service.

Best-in-class stationary bikes go for upwards of $2,000, but there’s no need to spend over $1,000 if you don’t want to. There are plenty of budget-friendly options out there, including pretty decent exercise bikes under $500. The ProForm Carbon CX hovers right around that price point, with an official price tag of $599, and with it, you’ll get a solid mid-range exercise bike without spending too much.

Our expert tester and certified personal trainer gave it high marks for value, scoring it a 4.5 out of 5. “It has a quiet flywheel and smooth ride, is quite stable, can connect to streaming (without making it the main focus or requiring a membership), and it’s often on sale for under $500,” they said. “Overall, it’s a great value for an exercise bike.”

BarBend reviews writer Matt Cummings on the ProForm Carbon CX.

For a budget bike, it also comes with a 10-year frame warranty, plus one year for parts and labor. That’s generally longer than you’ll see on other budget models, which tend to cover one to five years. Our expert tester was impressed by the bike’s stability, saying, “I didn’t notice any wobbling at all, and the alloy steel frame and welding seems very sturdy.”

Now, about those knees. Our expert tester gave the Carbon CX a 3.5 out of 5 for ergonomics and adjustability, as it has a four-way adjustable seat and two-way adjustable handlebars. The adjustments aren’t stepless, meaning you can’t be super precise with your setting selection, though this is expected on a budget model.

The bike has a small LCD display that shows basic ride stats, but its lack of a real screen means you can pop your phone or tablet in the device holder and stream whatever workouts or entertainment content that you want. It has Bluetooth capabilities which allow you to connect the bike to the iFIT app, which offers thousands of workout classes across 60+ modalities, and which you’ll need to use if you want to take advantage of the auto-adjusting resistance. 

The bike comes with one free month of iFIT, but then it costs $39 a month or $180 a year. You can also pivot the tablet holder to take bike bootcamp classes or other workouts off the bike. It’s a significant cost to tack on to a budget bike, but reviewers love the content, for what it’s worth.

Read our full ProForm Carbon CX Exercise Bike Review

Best Recumbent Bike for Bad Knees: NordicTrack Commercial R35

NordicTrack Commercial R35 Exercise Bike

NordicTrack Commercial R35 Exercise Bike

This recumbent bike features a 25-pound flywheel and 26 levels of magnetic resistance. With your purchase, you’ll receive a 30-day trial to iFit, granting you access to over 16,000 workout classes ranging from cardio to strength training. 

Shop NordicTrack


Price: $1,499

Dimensions: 68.22″ L x 23.69″ W x 53.42″ H  

Weight: 192lbs (in box)

Resistance type: SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance

Max User Capacity: 350lbs


Because recumbent bikes place less impact on your joints, they can be a better choice for bad knees than upright bikes. 

iFIT is integrated into the bike’s 14” HD touchscreen, allowing you to ride in scenic places or take engaging studio classes.

The bike has a fan, armrests, and an oversized seat with back support, making for a comfortable ride.


You can’t use the screen to watch TV or stream other workouts outside of iFIT, which costs an extra $39 a month.

The seated positioning of a recumbent bike means you get less core muscle engagement while riding, and can’t pedal out of the saddle. (9)

You can only adjust the seat horizontally, which means you’re limited in fitting the bike to you.

For anyone dealing with knee pain, it may be smart to consider buying a recumbent bike vs. an upright bike. “Recumbent bikes allow people with mobility limitations or injuries to enjoy cycling, as they are reclined and take pressure off of the hips and back,” says our expert reviewer and certified personal trainer, Amanda Capritto. 

You’re seated behind the pedals rather than above them, which means there’s less weight and force placed on your lower-body joints, including your knees. Recumbent bikes also have backrests and often armrests, too. The result is a gentler, more comfortable ride overall, well-suited for seniors, beginners, or those with injuries. This NordicTrack bike has a 350lb user weight limit (the max we’ve seen on home exercise bikes), making it a particularly great bike for heavy riders, too.

“This bike is pretty stable and super easy to use,” says our tester. “I can see it being useful for people who can’t use a traditional exercise bike or are recovering from an injury. It’s super low-impact and a nice way to stay active while reading, enjoying iFIT programming, or watching TV.”

Our tester on the NordicTrack Commercial R35

That iFIT programming is one of the main draws for this bike — our tester gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 for dynamic programming — and part of what makes it worth the $1K+ price tag. iFIT is a streaming workout platform integrated into the HD touchscreen, offering thousands of classes across 60+ workout types. On the bike, you can enjoy trainer-led studio-style classes, or pedal through scenic rides almost anywhere on Earth. You’ll get a 30-day free trial with purchase, but then it’ll cost $39 per month (or $180 per year). 

Without the membership, your options are limited; you can pedal in manual mode, but won’t have access to guided workouts or the coolest feature, the AutoAdjust resistance. And you can’t use the screen to stream anything else, like other workout platforms or TV. You can do so using your own device, but you’ll only have a place to set your phone or tablet if you buy a media shelf separately.

Recumbent bikes generally aren’t as adjustable as upright bikes, and that remains true with this model; the only tweak you can make is moving the seat horizontally. Still, it’s designed with comfort in mind; “The seat is oversized, comfortable, and has lots of lumbar support,” our tester said, giving it a 4 out of 5 for customizations, ergonomics, and adjustability. 

Read our full NordicTrack Commercial R35 Review.

Best High-End Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: Echelon Connect EX-8s

Echelon Connect EX-8s Exercise Bike

Echelon Connect EX-8s Exercise Bike

The Echelon EX-8s can glam up your home gym with a dual-flywheel design outfitted with LEDs you can customize by color, tempo, and brightness. The 24-inch touchscreen is curved to offer a deeper sense of immersion during classes on the Echelon Fit app.  

Shop Echelon


Price: $2,999

Dimensions: 59″ L x 23″ W x 65” H

Weight: 124lbs

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Max User Capacity: 300lbs


The shock-absorbing steel frame is designed to flex with your movements, minimizing the stress and impact on your joints.

The EX-8s has a sleek and unique look, with a dual-ring design and rainbow LED lights that change color to match your riding intensity.

The 24” curved HD touchscreen is one the biggest we’ve seen and can swivel for streaming classes off the bike. 


The display is so big, it can feel unwieldy, especially when moving the bike around.

The Echelon Fit app and classes aren’t quite as polished as competitors, like Peloton or iFIT.

The warranty is only 12 months without an Echelon Fit Premier subscription and five years with one — far less than the 10 years offered by other high-end bikes.

If you’re not limited by budget, you’re likely looking at higher-end exercise bikes, such as the Peloton Bike+ or NordicTrack S27i. The Echelon Connect EX-8s has some snazzy features that other models don’t, and one is especially great for riders with bad knees: The bike’s steel frame flexes slightly with your movements, reducing the impact on your joints as you pedal. 

Otherwise, it matches industry standards for resistance range, flywheel weight (which helps ensure a smooth ride), and adjustability. The bike has a four-way adjustable seat and handlebars, so you can find an ergonomic fit — more good news for your knees — plus dual-sided pedals compatible with sneakers and clip-in bike shoes. All that considered, our tester gave the bike a 4 out of 5 for adjustability, ergonomics, and customizations.

Our BarBend tester riding the Echelon Connect EX-8s.

Looks aren’t everything, but they’re one of the standout features of this bike. It has a unique dual-ring design, making it look like it has two flywheels (in reality, there’s one 38-pound wheel) and 15 LED lights that change color to sync with your riding intensity. If the lights alone don’t make you feel like you’re in a cycling class, the 24” HD touchscreen will. The curved display creates a super immersive experience and beats competitors like Peloton by a couple of inches. It’s part of why our tester gave this bike a 5 out of 5 for tech capabilities.

The screen also has dual speakers and Bluetooth audio, a camera, a USB charging port, and can flip to show content off the bike. Like other models with their own displays, you’ll need a membership to make the most of this bike. The Echelon Fit app offers an array of workouts including 40+ live classes daily and scenic rides. Their Fit OS platform (in beta) also gives you access to Echelon Worlds, a gamified fitness experience, and the ability to connect to social media or watch TV. To access all this, you’ll need the Premier membership, which costs $39 per month or $399 per year — pretty pricey, but on par with iFIT and Peloton fees.

The large screen is also a bit of a downside. “The bike looks a lot more cumbersome than a bike with a smaller screen, and it’s a bit unwieldy to move,” our tester says. “There are stabilizers which make the frame feel pretty stable, but the screen can wobble while you ride.” And at $3,000, the value is up for debate. “It seems really pricey for what it is,” our tester says, especially considering the warranty times out after just a year without the premier membership.

Read our full Echelon Connect EX-8s Exercise Bike Review.

Best Adjustable Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: CAROL Bike



The CAROL bike’s AI capabilities provide you with tailored training, designed to give you the best workout in the least amount of time. Customers have a 100-day trial period to decide whether or not this bike is right for them.



Price: $2,595

Dimensions: 45.5″ L x 22″ W

Weight: 120lbs

Resistance type: AI-controlled, motorized resistance

Max User Capacity: 330lbs


Stepless adjustments allow riders from 4’ 7” to 6’ 7” tall to dial-in to their exact ideal bike setup.

The bike offers AI-guided workouts and hyper-personalized HIIT training that you quite literally can’t get anywhere else.

You’re not beholden to CAROL’s workouts; the bike is compatible with tons of other platforms like Peloton, Zwift, YouTube, Netflix, or Apple Fitness+ using the Free Ride mode.


You’ll need a $20/month membership to access many of the best features, including AI-guided workouts, detailed performance metrics, and software updates.

Close to $2,600 in price, this is one of the most expensive options on the list and only comes with a one-year warranty.

You’ll need to wear a heart rate monitor to make the most of the bike’s responsive AI programming, though you do get a free one with purchase.

If you want as many options as possible — in terms of training style, streaming capabilities, and physical adjustments — CAROL could be the bike for you. 

Our tester gave it a stellar 4.5 out of 5 for customizations, ergonomics, and adjustability for a reason. The bike has smooth, stepless adjustments for seat and handlebar height, so you aren’t forced to find a fit wherever holes are drilled. The seat moves horizontally, too. “This means you can really dial in the bike for nearly any rider,” our tester says. “The locking mechanisms are strong and easy to operate, even while on the bike.” A better bike fit reduces the chance of angering bad knees or creating another injury.

The training options are one-of-a-kind, too. This bike was founded on a concept called reduced-exertion HIIT (REHIT). Using AI, the bike learns where your personal maximum intensity is, and adjusts the resistance accordingly while you’re working out so that you actually reach your personal max. The bike is loaded with workouts that follow this science-backed protocol, offering results in an impressively short amount of time. 

Our BarBend tester riding the CAROL Bike.

A study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise tested the method and found that 10 minutes of REHIT on the CAROL bike imparts more cardio benefits than 30 minutes of steady moderate-intensity training. (10) Our tester was sold: “The programmed workouts are amazing for HIIT. The resistance is automatically applied and adjusted during your ride by AI and changes from ride to ride based upon your performance. I’m a massive fan.”

However, unlike other high-end bikes that come with their own displays and strongarm you into exclusively using their streaming platform, you’re not limited to CAROL’s offerings. The bike’s 11” touchscreen is essentially an Android tablet — “It’s just OK, and could use more refinement,” says our tester — but it means you’re free to stream content via pretty much any other workout or entertainment app.

The catch? CAROL’s membership costs $20 a month, and you’ll need it to access all their science-backed workouts. And if you want follow-along classes, too, a là Peloton or iFIT, you’ll also be paying a second membership fee — on top of the $2,500+ price tag for the state-of-the-art bike. Hence, our tester gave it a 3.5 out of 5 for value.

Best Exercise Bike for Bad Knees for Seniors: Marcy ME-709

Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike

Marcy Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike

This bike isn’t fancy, but it still has everything you need for a solid at-home cardio workout. It offers eight levels of magnetic resistance, and you can track your stats on the LCD display screen. 

Shop Amazon


Price: Starting at $185.49

Dimensions: 58″ L x 20″ W x 38″ H  

Weight: 53lbs

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Max User Capacity: 300lbs


A recumbent bike places less impact on your knees, making it a gentler option for seniors than an upright or cycling bike.

Under $200, this is by far the cheapest exercise bike on this list.

Because it weighs only 50lbs, this recumbent bike is easier to move around than many other models, which can weigh close to 200lbs.


It’s not very adjustable; you have to move the whole seat section of the bike to find a fit according to your height.

There’s no device shelf, so you won’t have a place to set your phone, tablet, or book.

You can increase the resistance, but otherwise, you’re limited in terms of workout intensity.

If you’re a senior shopping for an exercise bike and you have bad knees, a recumbent bike like this Marcy ME-709 could be the best fit. On recumbent bikes, the seat isn’t over the pedals but behind them, which puts less weight (and, thus, force) on your hips, knees, and feet. Recumbent bikes also have backrests, armrests, and bigger seats, so your whole body is supported while you ride.

This Marcy bike isn’t the fanciest recumbent bike out there but includes all the basic features you need to get your legs moving. You can adjust the magnetic resistance within eight present levels, and see basic stats on the little LCD screen. There’s no media shelf to hold a tablet, phone, or book, but you can purchase one separately or pedal while streaming content on your TV. 

It’s particularly great for the latter, as customers say it’s “basically silent.” And they were surprised by the challenge offered by the resistance, even within the limited range. “I’m a very rough guy so I was hoping that level 8 resistance would be enough to at least give me a good workout (because this is a very cheap bike), but yeah, I believe it is, because level 6 is kicking my [butt]!” one reviewer writes. “The ride is extremely smooth, which is great for everyone whether you have ailments or not.”

The bike has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon after an impressive 20,000+ reviews, and many of those customers are people with bad knees who report using the bike with great results. “I had [a] total knee replacement and this was a dream,” writes one reviewer. “Very low impact on my knees.” People also say it’s easy to assemble, seems long-lasting, and is surprisingly sturdy despite not weighing or costing much.

Best Value Exercise Bike for Bad Knees: Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike

Yosuda YB001R Exercise Bike

Yosuda YB001R Exercise Bike

Smooth and quiet cycling with a 35 lb flywheel and attached transport wheels so you can cruise where you want to. Simple LCD screen with a lip for an iPad, tablet, or phone.

Shop Yosuda


Price: $439.99

Dimensions: 40″ L x 22″ W x 45″ H 

Weight: 68lbs

Resistance Type: Magnetic

Max User Capacity: 270lbs


Under $500 (and often on sale), the Yosuda offers a cycling-style experience for $1,000 less than other popular brands.

The flywheel weighs 35 pounds — close to that of high-end models from Peloton and Echelon — providing a smooth ride.

Many reviewers report using this bike for knee problems or to rehab injuries with great results.


Our expert tester has concerns about its durability, as it’s quick to show wear and tear.

Customers complain that parts have broken or fallen off, and our tester notes that the pedal straps tend to come undone.

The LCD screen only displays basic stats and isn’t backlit, so it can be difficult to read.

At full price, the Yosuda YB001R Indoor Cycling Bike costs under $500 — and it’s often on sale for closer to $300. Despite its budget-friendly price, it offers a solid workout experience, especially if you’re looking for a cycling-style bike (i.e. the ones used in group cycling classes). It’s not the cheapest model out there, nor the fanciest, but it’s a great value for what you’re paying.

Take it from our expert tester and personal trainer, who says, “It’s a very quiet and heavy-duty bike that’s easily portable and adjustable, and simple to use.” It features a 35-pound flywheel (the spinning metal disc that provides resistance and momentum as you pedal), which is close to the weight of the flywheel on higher-end bikes like the Peloton Bike or Echelon Connect EX-8s. (They have 38-pound flywheels but cost about $1,500 and $3,000, respectively.) For the most part, the heavier the flywheel is on a stationary bike, the smoother the ride is.

Our BarBend Tester riding the Yosuda YB001R exercise bike.

Otherwise, the bike has standard features, with quiet magnetic resistance, a water bottle holder, a tablet shelf, and an LCD display that rotates between basic stats and has Bluetooth capabilities. It fits a good range of riders (with inseams from 25-35”) and is adjustable so you can find an ergonomic fit; our expert tester gave it a 3.5 out of 5 for adjustability and ergonomics. 

The seat can move vertically and horizontally, and the handlebars can move up and down. Customers with knee issues are especially happy with this bike: “I would recommend to any one with joint problems who still has a desire to work out daily,” writes one buyer. “The pain in my knees and hip [has] decreased since working out on this bike!”

As far as stationary bikes go, this one offers good value — our expert tester gave it a 3.5 out of 5 — but it’s still a budget bike. Our expert tester has concerns about its durability and ability to perform in the long run: “It comes at a great price but you’ll likely need to replace it within a couple of years,” they say. In reviews, customers report having some issues with parts falling off, including the pedals. It comes with a three-year warranty on the frame, six months for parts, and one year for labor, which isn’t much, but in the usual range for a budget bike. Customers who’ve contacted customer service report being quite happy with their experience.

Benefits of Exercise Bikes for Bad Knees

Indoor cycling can impart tons of physical health perks, for your knees and beyond. “Cycling brings an impressive collection of health benefits to the table: Cardiovascular health, endurance, stamina, and muscular endurance are all improved with cycling,” says Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. It’s likely to benefit your mental health, too. Any type of exercise is shown to help reduce anxiety and depression, while improving mood, self-esteem, and cognitive function, according to research. (11) Here are some other demonstrated benefits you can look forward to from hitting the saddle.

Reduced Knee Pain

Depending on the cause of your knee pain, cycling may help reduce your symptoms. Research shows that stationary biking can help improve pain and sports performance in people with knee osteoarthritis. (12) Cycling on an exercise bike is also commonly used to rehab knee injuries because you can easily control the amount of stress placed on the knee while pedaling. (13)

Stronger Legs, Lungs, and Bones

Regular cycling can result in muscle growth and strength gains for both younger and older adults, as well as improve cardio fitness while maintaining a low risk of injury. (14) You’ll benefit from stronger bones, too. Cycling increases bone density, which reduces your risk of breaking bones or developing osteoporosis later in life. (15)

Low-Impact Cardio

Because some of your weight is supported by the seat, cycling makes a great low-impact cardio workout option. It has much less impact on your joints than other modalities like running, plyometrics, or jump-roping, and even less than other activities where you bear your full body weight, like walking or stair climbing. (16)

What to Consider Before Buying an Exercise Bike for Bad Knees 

Perhaps you’re considering buying an exercise bike because your doctor recommended it, or you’re seeking out a cardio option that’s friendly to bad knees. No matter why you’re interested in buying an exercise bike, there are a few things to think about before you choose one. After all, it’s going to cost you at least a few hundred dollars and take up a decent amount of space in your home or home gym.

Close look at the handlebars while our BarBend Tester rides the Yosuda YB001R.

First, think about what you’re looking for in an exercise bike. Do you want to stream follow-along workout classes, or are you more interested in a place to pedal while watching movies or TV? How much are you willing to spend on the bike, and how long do you hope it lasts? Are you willing to pay an additional cost for a streaming service? Here are a few key factors to think over when shopping for an exercise bike for bad knees.

Adjustability and Fit

If you’re dealing with knee problems, finding a bike that’ll fit you well is paramount. Take a look at the maximum weight it can support, the inseam lengths or heights it can accommodate, and how adjustable the setup is: does the seat have many height settings or just a few? Can the handlebars move, too? Is the seat replaceable if you don’t find the default one comfortable? Having the wrong bike setup can directly impact your biomechanics and joint health, so you’ll want to ensure you can properly fit the machine to you. (6)

Workout Intensity

How hard will you train on this bike? That’s an important thing to consider before choosing one. If you’re simply looking to care for your knees by getting them moving, you may not need a cycling-style bike; a gentler model like a recumbent bike might be better. However, if you’d like the option to ride out of the saddle or increase your intensity as you get stronger, a heavier-duty cycling-style bike could be the better fit. 


The bikes listed here sell for $200 to $3,000 — that’s a huge range. To a certain extent, you get what you pay for. A bike under $500 likely won’t last as long, come with a lengthy warranty, or offer high-tech features. The more expensive bikes, on the other hand, will come with their own display and offer a higher-performance ride. 

BarBend’s Jake Herod riding the NordicTrack S22i.

You’ll also want to decide if you’re willing to pay for a streaming service — which is necessary to make the most of some of these bikes. “If this is something you’re interested in, be prepared to shell out a significant amount of cash and also pay for a monthly subscription,” says Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. “Budget-friendly options are available, but comparatively lack in the tech department.”

Tips for Using an Exercise Bike for Bad Knees

No one should just hop on an exercise bike and start pedaling like the wind, and that’s especially true if you have knee discomfort. Keep these tips in mind if you’re going to use an exercise bike with bad knees. 

Take Time to Find the Proper Set-up

In case you missed it above, having the wrong bike setup can have a direct implication on your biomechanics and injury risk. (6)(7) If you already deal with knee pain, you’ll want to be extra careful about setting up your bike (that is, the seat setting, handlebar setting, and even pedal type) both when you first get your exercise bike and every time you do a workout. Your bike should come with specific instructions on how to best set up the bike for your body, but you can also search YouTube for free videos that help you do so, too.

Start Small and Progress Slowly

The most surefire way to get injured doing any type of workout is by doing too much, too fast — and this goes with indoor cycling, too. (17) Start slow with your workouts, perhaps doing as little as 10 to 20 minutes per day, a few days a week, until your body can build up strength and tolerance to the practice. When in doubt, chat with your doctor or a fitness professional to get a personalized workout plan.

Include Stretching and Strength

Cycling may be great for your knees, but you’ll want to pair it with other types of workouts, too, for best results. Both strength work and stretching can help prevent sports-related injuries, such as those from cycling, as well as help with existing knee issues. (18)(19)(8) For example, spending tons of time on the bike can result in tight hips or strength imbalances; it’s smart to add some stretching, like yoga, and basic strength work into your fitness routine to counteract that.

Listen to Your Body

Cycling can be super helpful for some people with bad knees, but for others, it could exacerbate pain. “As wonderful as exercise bikes are, they aren’t for everyone,” says Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. If you try cycling and start to feel pain, you should stop and chat with your doctor to confirm that this type of exercise is right for you.

Types of Exercise Bikes 

If you’re shopping for an exercise bike, “first, you’ll need to decide what type of exercise bike you want,” says Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. There are four main categories to choose from: upright, cycling, recumbent, and air. Here’s more info on each.


Cycling bikes are the ones you’ll see in a studio cycling class or gym. They have a spinning metal flywheel, resistance dial, and curved handlebars that you usually need to lean forward to reach. They typically have hard, slim seats and allow you to stand up and pedal in addition to riding while sitting down. They more or less replicate the experience of being on a road bike.


An upright bike is a stationary bike that positions you in more of an upright position compared to a cycling bike. They typically have bigger, cushier seats, and you can reach the handlebars without leaning forward. They typically don’t allow you to ride out of the saddle. They feel similar to riding a cruiser or beach bike.


A recumbent bike offers the gentlest workout of the four types of exercise bikes, making it especially well-suited for beginners, seniors, or those with injuries. “Seniors and individuals with limited mobility may struggle to get on and off of an exercise bike, in which case a recumbent bike is recommended,” adds Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. 

Our BarBend Tester rides the Schwinn 230 Recumbent Bike.

Recumbent bikes usually have a backrest and armrests in addition to a larger seat, so your torso is supported while you pedal. The seat is typically situated well behind the pedals rather than over the top, which places less weight and impact on your lower-body.


Air bikes (aka fan bikes) are common in functional fitness studios and CrossFit boxes. They have a fan flywheel that pushes against the air, creating resistance while you pedal. They’re generally motorless, and often, instead of handlebars, they often have two large moving arms that you push and pull in addition to pedaling with your feet. They’re great for HIIT training since the harder you pedal, the more resistance you face, pushing you to a high workout intensity with relative ease. However, they aren’t as good for longer workouts, training for outdoor rides, or steaming cycling classes.

Final Word 

If you’re dealing with chronic knee pain, you might be willing to do anything to make it stop. Buying an at-home exercise bike could be the first step in feeling better or finally getting active in spite of your cranky knees. It’s an exciting prospect, but you don’t want to rush the process of choosing the right one. After all, cardio machines are a big investment, both in terms of money and space in your home.

With the help of this list, we’re confident you can find an exercise bike that fits your budget, home, workout routine, and needs — including your bothersome knees. One of these is bound to give you the experience you’re looking for, whether it’s a spot to engage in some gentle cardio or a place to break a real sweat. No matter which you choose, there’s a high likelihood that happier knees are on the other side of hitting “add to cart.”


What is the best exercise bike for bad knees?

There’s no single best exercise for bad knees, as the best model will depend on exactly why you’re experiencing knee discomfort and what your workout needs are. However, we feel pretty confident in our top pick — the NordicTrack S22i — for its sturdy frame, long warranty, standout incline/decline feature, and iFIT streaming integration. If you’re looking for something gentler or more affordable, our picks for a recumbent bike or a budget exercise bike may be more up your alley while still meeting our high standards for recommendation.

Are exercise bikes good for knee problems?

You might be surprised to hear it, but yes, they are. Cycling is low-impact, unlike running and jumping, meaning there’s not a ton of force placed on your joints. Research also shows that cycling can help reduce pain and improve sports performance in people with knee osteoarthritis, and helps improve or recover joint range of motion in people with musculoskeletal injuries. (12)(20) Cycling also helps to build strength in the muscles around the knee, like the quadriceps, which can help support the knee joint as a whole. (14)

Is an exercise bike or treadmill better for bad knees?

Depending on what’s going on with your knees, the answer could be either one. However, research shows that cycling places less force on the knee joint and ligaments compared to exercises where you bear your full bodyweight, like walking or stair climbing. (16)


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