A mini stationary exercise bike is a great tool for burning extra calories at home. They are small enough to fit in a cupboard, highly portable and can provide light workouts while watching TV or working. But which is the best mini exercise bike or pedal exerciser? And can they really help you lose weight? Keep reading to find out!
Our top pick for a mini exercise bike is the excellent Ultrasport Mini Bike 50. It's a great all-rounder that provides excellent value and an effective workout. With variable resistance, the option of using it as a hand bike and an on-board computer, it's also versatile.
Mini bikes have been available for a while, but are often overlooked by people who want to burn calories at home. That's understandable - the small size and lack of a frame can make mini bikes look ineffective.
While it's true that they don't provide the same intensity of workout as full size exercise bikes or spin bikes, that doesn't mean these tiny bikes should be ignored. They are small and cheap, which is great if you don't have much space, and can be used while watching TV or working at a desk.
Aside from burning calories, mini bikes can also be used for gentle rehabilitation after injury or by people with disabilities. Motorised mini exercise bikes (which pedal for the user), in particular, can improve circulation without causing pain for people with multiple-sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.
In this article, we've listed our top mini exercise bike reviews. After comparing many bikes, we think these models provide outstanding value for money and a great home workout. We've included pedal exercisers, standard mini bikes and motorised models on this list, so there's something for everyone.
Before we go any further though, let's answer the important question...
Mini Bike Vs. Pedal Exerciser - What's the Difference?
In many cases, the terms pedal exerciser and mini exercise bike are used interchangeably, so the difference is blurred. Pedal exercisers tend to be more basic though. Many don't have adjustable resistance (so you can't change the difficulty of your workout) and they usually don't have an LCD screen. They are often built with a simple metal frame.
Mini exercise cycles are generally more advanced. They often have on-board computers, adjustable resistance and a bulkier design. As you would expect, mini bikes are also more expensive, although they are still much cheaper than a full-size bike.
As the two are similar in terms of design and benefits, we've included both pedal exercisers and mini exercise bikes on this list. We'll also use the phrase "mini exercise bike" when discussing both types for clarity, unless the model in question is called a pedal exerciser by the manufacturer.
Which are the Best Mini Exercise Bikes?
|Name||Type||Weight||Best For...||View Price|
|Ultrasport Mini Bike 50||Mini Bike||6kg||All-Rounder||View Price|
|Ultrasport MPE 25 Pedal Exerciser||Pedal Exerciser||2.7kg||Improved Circulation & Basic Calorie Burning||View Price|
|Aidapt Deluxe Pedal Exerciser||Motorised Mini Bike||5.5kg||Rehabilitation, Physio Therapy & Elderly People||View Price|
|DeskCycle||Mini Bike||10.5kg||Desk Cycling||View Price|
1. Ultrasport Mini Bike 50 (Best Mini Pedal Exercise Bike)
Our top pick for a mini stationary exercise bike is the excellent Ultrasport Mini Bike 50. It's a versatile machine that you can use with either your hands or feet - and it's available for a very reasonable price.
Unlike cheaper mini pedal exercisers, it has a built-in computer. This is very basic compared to screens found on full-size exercise bikes, but shows statistics such as time, rotations, calories burned (although it overestimates this metric) and distance. It also only weighs 6kg and has an integrated handle, so it's easy to store.
As we mentioned, the Mini Bike 50 has both handles and pedals. This allows you to use it as a regular cycle or place it on a table for an upper body workout. It also has a frictional resistance system that can be adjusted using the knob at the front of the device.
While the Ultrasport 50 is theoretically great for using under a desk, we think it's too tall for this to be practical. It's great for burning a few extra calories while watching TV, but for exercising while working take a look at the DeskCycle below.
The Ultrasport is a relatively simple model - but it does a great job of providing an effective and comfortable workout. It's built with a 2kg flywheel, has a maximum user weight of 100kg and the adjustable resistance makes it suitable for everyone. It also provides great value, which is why we think it's the best mini exercise bike on the market.
2. Ultrasport MPE 25 Collapsible Mini Bike (Best Pedal Exerciser)
If you're looking for a simple pedal exerciser, this model by Ultrasport could be the perfect choice. It's a very simple machine, but is durable and great for improving circulation while relaxing or working.
The MPE 25 is designed to be comfortable and easy to use. With its durable construction and relatively lightweight design, it'll last a long time and is also easy to put together. A bonus is that it has a folding design, making it even easier to store.
There is a simple knob for adjusting resistance. Like the Ultrasport Mini Bike 50, this is a basic frictional resistance system, so don't expect too much difficulty. But for gradually increasing the difficulty of your workout it's a handy option.
The Ultrasport Folding Pedal Exerciser is a great option for improving circulation, recovering from surgery or keeping joints moving if you have arthritis. It's compact and easy to carry, but even the highest resistance won't challenge advanced users. For a cheap and basic workout, however, the MPE 25 is a great option.
3. Aidapt Deluxe Pedal Exerciser (Best Rehabilitation Pedal Exerciser)
As we mentioned earlier in the article, a motorised pedal exerciser is a great way for people with disabilities or recovering from surgery to increase circulation and mobility. Our top recommendation for a motorised mini exercise bike is the Aidapt Deluxe, as it provides a range of options for a very reasonable price.
The Aidapt is an electronic mini exercise bike, so it's more advanced than the other options on this list. There are 12 speed settings and you can program a total exercise time. It has variable resistance and allows for custom workouts, so you don't need to push the pedals if that's uncomfortable or you're unable to do so.
A useful feature is the remote control. This isn't truly remote, as it's attached to the machine, but makes it easier to change settings such as speed and direction without needing to bend down. It's also built with comfortable pedals and a compact design.
If you need a motorised mini exercise bike for rehabilitation or physio therapy, the Aidapt Deluxe is a great choice. Make sure you talk to your healthcare professional before you buy though, as it's important to choose a model that provides the right type of workout and movement for your condition. People with limited mobility will also probably need help setting up the machine.
4. DeskCycle (Best Mini Bike for Desks)
The DeskCycle is an excellent mini cycle bike if you want a machine that can be used while you work. It has a low profile design so it can fit under an office desk without banging your knees. It's expensive, but has a number of advanced features not found on other models.
Let's start with the design. The DeskCycle claims to have the lowest pedal height of any commercial indoor bike, which is great if you want to use it under a table or desk. The pedal height is 24cm, and DeskCycle's promotional material says that it can be used on desks as low as 70cm.
It's also a magnetic machine (click here for more information about resistance types). This means it's quieter than the other models on this list, as it doesn't use friction to increase resistance. It's also less likely to require ongoing maintenance. The eight resistance levels are more challenging than cheaper mini bikes - although don't expect a tough workout if you're an experienced user.
A simple LCD display is included with the DeskCycle. This shows basic statistics such as time, distance, speed and calories burned. There's a relatively long lead for the display, so you can place it on the desk if you wish.
There are a few drawbacks to the DeskCycle though. The biggest is the price - this is an expensive mini bike that costs a similar amount to lower-end full-size cycles. It doesn't have a handle and the long stability bars make it more difficult to store. We also recommend buying a separate non-slip mat if you're going to use it on a smooth floor.
Even so, the DeskCycle is one of the highest quality mini exercise bikes on the market. Its low-profile design makes it perfect for burning calories while you work, and it can provide a tougher workout than many other mini bikes. The magnetic resistance system is also a bonus if you want to keep your workouts quiet.
Do Mini Exerciser Bikes Really Work?
The honest answer is that it depends on your fitness goals. A mini exercise machine is never going to be as effective for fitness as a full-size bike, but that doesn't mean they are useless.
- Weight Loss and Calorie Burning. One of the most common reasons to buy any type of fitness equipment is weight loss. While it's impossible to accurately say how many calories a mini exercise bike burns, it's probably around the same as a gentle walk. This might not sound like much, but you can easily use one while watching TV or working at a desk. It's this ability to multi-task that makes this type of exercise equipment effective at helping you lose weight, rather than the number of calories it burns per hour.
- Cardiovascular Fitness. If you have a low level of fitness and want to gradually improve, a mini exerciser bike could make a difference to your aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. They don't have the stability or resistance for high intensity workouts though, so if you're already in good shape you're unlikely to improve your fitness levels. In contrast to full-size bikes or treadmills, there's also a fixed limit to the intensity of workout. You're certainly not going to get to Mo Farah-levels of aerobic fitness using one! For gentle toning, circulation and calorie burning, however, they are a great option.
- Rehabilitation or Physical Therapy. When searching for a mini exercise bike, you may come across motorised models. These have pedals that turn automatically instead of relying on the user to push them. This can be an effective way to improve circulation and joint mobility for elderly or disabled people.
So, in answer to the question "do mini exercise bikes work?" the answer is yes - as long as you have realistic expectations.
Mini Exercise Bike Vs Full-Size Bikes - What are the Pros and Cons?
If you're wondering whether to buy a mini bike or a full-size model, here's a quick overview of the pros and cons of each.
Mini Exercise Bike
- Mini bikes don't have a frame, seat or handlebars, so they are much smaller. You can easily fit them in a cupboard when not in use.
- The small size means they are much less stable. They can't be used for intense exercise or fast pedalling.
- They also have an low upper limit to the improvement in cardiovascular improvement they are capable of providing.
- The highest resistance level can increase the number of calories burned, but won't provide a difficult workout to experienced users.
- Mini exercise bikes are relatively cheap.
- Some mini bikes can also be used as an arm workout.
Full-Size Exercise Bike or Spin Bike
- Full-size exercise bikes are much larger and bulkier. While you can get folding exercise bikes, they still require more room to store.
- Exercise bikes are heavier and more stable. This means they are suitable for HIIT and faster pedalling.
- A high-quality exercise bike can provide near-infinite aerobic fitness improvement via increased resistance and intense workouts.
- The best exercise bikes have a wide range of resistance levels to challenge everyone from beginners to advanced users.
- Full-size bikes are considerably more expensive.
- Exercise bikes only provide a lower body workout.
To summarise, if you're looking for an intense workout or to burn the maximum number of calories, a full-size exercise bike is clearly the better option. If you want a cheap and small piece of equipment to burn a few extra calories while working or relaxing, then a mini bike is a great choice.
Buying a mini exercise bike can be a great way to get a light workout without spending a lot of money. While a mini bike or pedal exerciser isn't suitable for high-intensity workouts, they can provide the equivalent of a gentle walk from the comfort of your sofa or desk. They are also great for promoting circulation and supple joints.
If you're looking for a great all-round mini bike that provides an effective workout, the Ultrasport Mini Bike 50 is our top recommendation. It's a simple model with any advanced features, but provides great value for money.
Do you have any questions about choosing a mini exercise bike? Or do you have any feedback about the models on this list? Let us know in the comments!