An indoor bike is an excellent investment. Cycling indoors enables you to score a low-impact cardio workout that strengthens your lower-body muscles and burns calories — without ever leaving home.
If you’ve gotten serious about your indoor rides or you’re outfitting your brand-new stationary bike, consider upgrading your home set-up with a few exercise bike accessories.
Small additions like a mat or phone mount can make your indoor cycling workouts more enjoyable, whereas bigger investments like bike seats and cycling shoes can elevate your comfort and performance.
Check out our recommendations for the best exercise bike accessories to add to your home set-up.
We turned to Jennifer Jacobs, CPT, certified indoor cycling instructor and Beachbody Super Trainer, for her top tips for finding the best exercise bike accessories. Then, we rounded up several options per category, using the following criteria:
- User ratings
Indoor bike seats are notoriously uncomfortable. But luckily, you’re not doomed to end every ride with a numb rear.
Bike saddles come in many shapes, widths and styles. So, if your bike’s built-in seat is giving you pain, swap it out for one that better suits your body type and personal preferences. You may also want to keep an eye out for helpful features like ventilation, cushioning and an ergonomic design that ensures optimal blood flow to sensitive areas.
Cyclists with prostates, for example, may benefit from a prostate-friendly bike seat built to reduce pressure on soft tissues.
Don’t immediately snap up the highest-rated saddle you find, however. Similarly, don’t opt for a bike saddle simply because your cycling friends swear by it. “The perfect saddle doesn’t exist,” Jacobs says. “One that’s ideal for one person may not be ideal for the next.”
In fact, you may need to test out a few different options before you land on the best bike seat for you.
Check the brand’s return policy before buying to ensure you don’t waste money on saddles you find uncomfortable. Stick with brands that offer 30-day unconditional guarantees.
Prefer not to remove your seat? Try a stationary bike seat cover. These fit on top of most existing bike seats to provide extra cushioning.
Shop These Bike Saddles and Covers
The right shoes can make or break your workout, and cycling is no exception.
The main benefit of indoor cycling shoes is they connect your feet to the pedals, which helps you transfer more power to the bike through the entire stroke. Your hamstrings are free to push and your hip flexors (a group of muscles in front of your pelvis) are able to pull. Without that connection, you’ll leak power in every stroke, thereby decreasing the benefits of your hard work, Jacobs says.
Before you buy a pair of indoor cycling shoes, check the shoe’s cleat type to ensure that it will work with your stationary bike. To secure your cycling shoes to your bike, you have to “clip” your shoes into your pedals with metal cleats.
These cleats come in two main types: SPD and Delta. Most at-home stationary bikes are compatible with one or the other cleat type, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with which type your bike uses before plunking down your hard-earned cash.
Why Are Cycling Shoes Marketed to Men and Women?
Some manufacturers market cycling shoes according to gender, whereas other shoes are designed to be gender neutral. The main difference between most men’s and women’s shoes lies in the shoe width and size: Many men’s shoes are designed to support greater weights. People with larger bodies may feel more comfortable in men’s versions, whereas people with smaller bodies may want to opt for women’s versions.
Hardcore indoor cycling workouts can really do a number on your floors. Create a protective barrier with a bike mat.
An exercise mat is not only easier to clean, but it can also prevent the metallic feet of your stationary bike from scratching or ripping your floors. “If you don’t want the sweat from all your hard work to eat away at your floors, then putting a mat underneath your bike makes great sense,” Jacobs says.
Check that the mat is large enough to fit under your indoor bike and provides sufficient coverage to catch sweat when it flies. You may also want a dense mat to dull any noise or vibrations from your bike.
A phone or tablet bike mount will come in handy if your indoor bike doesn’t have an integrated screen for streaming workouts. It’s also a great option if you enjoy watching shows while pedaling.
Try to set up your phone or tablet in a position that doesn’t throw your cycling form out of whack. “A great alternative is to stream your cycling workout on a TV or tablet set out in front of your bike to ensure proper cycling form,” Jacobs says.
Shop These Phone or Tablet Mounts
Sure, you can always hydrate with your existing water bottle, but bike water bottles offer cyclist-friendly features, including self-sealing nozzles to prevent leaks, a squeezable design to facilitate quick gulps and slim profiles that are easier to grip while pedaling.
Plus, your everyday water bottle may not fit in a standard bike water bottle cage.
The best bike water bottle for you comes down to personal preference. Consider the material (plastic and stainless steel are most common), nozzle type, bottle size and weight and whether you need insulation or easy-grip features.
Shop These Bike Water Bottles
6. Bike Water Bottle Holder
Even if you don’t plan to spring for a bike-specific water bottle, chances are good you’ll still need a bike water bottle holder to keep fluids within reach during your ride.
When shopping, look for a bike water bottle holder that will fit both your bottle and your bike. While some water bottle cages can be adjusted to fit your bike frame or bottle, others come as-is.
Consider where to mount the holder on your bike, too. Most water bottle cages mount to the downtube of your bike frame (the long diagonal bar that runs from the handlebars to the pedals), but others can be mounted to the seat post on the back of your bike.
You’ll probably do just fine with the frame mount. However, some people may prefer to retrieve their bottle from behind their seat.
Shop These Bike Water Bottle Holders