Most exercise bikes use a combination of resistance and cadence to guide you through workouts. Our best value pick Myx is a little different. It comes with a Polar heart-rate monitor that you use to see your heart rate on the screen and aim to hit three different exertion zones throughout the workout (most heart-rate training systems use five, but Myx stuck with three zones to keep it simpler). When you first get the bike, you take a 20-minute assessment ride to figure out the range for your zones. During rides, instructors don’t tell you to hit a certain number for speed, resistance, or RPM (revolutions per minute of the flywheel)—instead, they tell you to increase or decrease the resistance based on how you feel and use it to hit the heart-rate zone they want you to be in. The screen also shows the calories burned during the class, and when it’s over, how many minutes were spent in each zone. (It may remind some of OrangeTheory, a workout studio that encourages members to stay in an elevated heart-rate zone for a certain amount of time during class for maximum results.)
This can take getting used to if you’re accustomed to the standard studio-class setup that uses speed, resistance, RPM, and/or power metrics. But once I got going with Myx, I really liked its approach—it’s cool to see how your heart rate changes over the course of a 30-minute cycling class, what you do during the class to make it spike or fall, and how it makes you feel after you're done. I also thought the instructors did a great job of talking us through the zones and explaining how to get there. You can also cycle to “scenic” rides (other bikes offer these as well), which take you through places like Patagonia and Northern Italy on the screen, or watch or read the news from Newsy as you ride. (We could make a joke here about how your heart rate is probably already high enough, but we won’t.) Myx itself offers a decent selection of streaming on- and off-bike classes, and through partnerships with Openfit and Beachbody (with whom it recently merged), additional on-demand as well as live classes are available. (Annoyingly, the Beachbody classes have a serious upcharge of about $20 a month plus a $100 annual fee, so we didn’t test those.)
Another plus: Myx’s 21.5-inch touchscreen display sits on a flexible rod that allows it to swivel in any direction you want, a feature we appreciated in other bikes as well. This is especially useful for Myx’s non-cycling classes, which include barre, Pilates, HIIT, yoga, and meditation when you’d want to flip the screen away from the bike and sit in front of it without having to worry about whacking anything while in a down dog or doing leg lifts. The heart-rate monitor is a nice add-on for these classes, too—I liked seeing how my heart rate changed over the course of something more low-impact like a barre class and thought it was cool that the instructors in these classes emphasized that your heart doesn’t always have to be pounding to get a good workout.
The machine itself is a customized bike made by Star Trac, a reputable commercial-gym brand, so it feels solid and has a 350-pound weight limit and the seat and handlebars are adjustable to suit riders from 4 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 8 inches. Its wheel stays quiet throughout classes—even though it has mechanical resistance, not the higher-end electromagnetic resistance of Peloton, SoulCycle, and NordicTrack—and the screen always showed a crisp, clear picture. The handlebars are narrower and have less padding than others, which made them a little uncomfortable, though this was by no means untenable.
That said, if you want the competitive studio-cycle experience that you get from Peloton, Myx isn’t your best option (for a truer Peloton dupe at a lower price, an Echelon bike is the way to go; see “Other Exercise Bikes We Tested”). There’s no leaderboard on display and no references to racing your peers during class. This isn’t an issue for someone who favors doing their own thing and doesn’t get jazzed by competition, but if that’s not you, you won’t love Myx. With the Myx II’s new speed sensor you can view your cadence, speed, and distance, a feature we missed with the original Myx bike. And, on a superficial note, Myx’s overall class aesthetic is a little bland. The instructors are great, but they sit in a bright, generic room that looks like a shared workspace, as opposed to the darkened stadium rooms with dramatic spotlights that can make a cycling experience more exciting.
Finally, you can select some classes based on theme, like “Disco” or “90s Rap,” but the playlist changes every time the class is played—it’s curated from a streaming service and plays songs that align with the approximate rhythm the instructors want you to hit. On one hand, this is cool, because it means you can return to a workout you liked and get a fresh playlist each time. On the other, it means you can’t vet the playlist in advance (like you can with many Peloton workouts),but you have the option to skip up to five songs in most classes. For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the music that played during the workouts, though I missed some of the things spin teachers tend to do when they curate their own playlists, like calling out a cadence to hit to match the beat or just singing along or commenting about how this song is the song that changed their life, which can inject more energy into the workout. Overall, though, we liked that Myx offered something that felt more and different than a wannabe Peloton. If you’re not overly motivated by competition, Myx provides a lot of opportunities for long-term physical growth without relying on comparing yourself to others.
The Myx II bike comes in two colors, “natural white” and “deep charcoal.” The company also sells two packages with its bike: An a la carte for $1,399, which comes with the heart-rate monitor only, and the “plus” version for $1,599, which is the same bike and monitor and heart-rate strap, but also comes with an exercise mat, a stabilizing mat for the bike, a foam roller, a resistance band, a kettlebell, and three sets of dumbbells. You can choose whether you want a trio of light weights (3, 6, and 9 pounds) medium weights (6, 9, and 12 pounds), or heavy weights (9, 12, and 15 pounds), as well as a 15-, 20-, or 25-pound kettlebell. Many of Myx’s off-bike classes call for weights, so shelling out the extra $200 for the gear is actually a pretty good deal. The bike’s pedals come with cages to use with regular shoes—though, annoyingly, the straps are really long, particularly if you have small feet, and flap and slap against the bike—or you can clip in with bike shoes outfitted with SPD cleats. Myx also offers no-interest financing on the bike at roughly $29 a month for 48 months (or $34 for the Plus package) plus the $29 monthly app fee, which allows up to five users to have accounts. The included warranty covers the components, labor, and accessories for one year and the bike frame for five years, and you can purchase an additional one or two year warranty for $99 or $149.
First-year total cost (if bike paid in full): $1,747 for the basic package or $1,947 for the plus package