This no-frills folding bike is sturdy, compact and beginner-friendly, and it’s ideal for light workouts or post-injury rehab. The lack of workout programmes and limited resistance won’t satisfy those looking to do high-intensity workouts, but it’s a welcome budget option.
- Great value
- Compact and easy to store
- Feels stable when riding
- Smooth pedalling action
- No built-in programmes
- No phone or tablet holder
- No wheels to move it around
- Light flywheel means at high intensity the floor vibrates
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While it’s possible to spend four figures on a top-of-the-range smart indoor exercise bike, at the other end of the scale are simpler machines that don’t cost a fortune. You won’t get pre-set workout programmes or connected apps with these, and the flywheels tend to be much lighter, with less resistance available – but that doesn’t mean such bikes are any less deserving of a place on Coach’s best exercise bike list, as long as they’re reliable and deliver on what they promise.
I usually run and cycle outdoors, but after undergoing surgery on my ankle, my exercise options were limited and I didn’t have time to fit in regular visits to a gym. I decided to buy a cheap folding exercise bike so I could get a low-impact workout at home as part of my post-op rehab.
Before my operation I enjoyed a spinning class, but my physiotherapist warned me not to get a spinning bike because the more aggressive riding position means it is not low enough impact for rehab. I began to look at basic upright cycles and chose the Marcy Foldable Bike NS-652. It looked sturdy enough for my needs and compact enough not to get in the way.
Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike: Price And Availability
The Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike NS-652 costs $169.99 in the US and £169 in the UK, and it’s available from Amazon and other retailers. In the US you can buy it direct from Marcy, which is based in California. In the UK it’s distributed by Pure Tec.
The Set Up
The bike came in a compact rectangular box and required assembly, which took me around 20 minutes. It came with all the necessary tools, and included two AAA batteries required for the computer monitor. The frame is made of steel, and it feels solid and heavy-duty. It’s easy to remove the pin in the frame and fold the bike, securing it once again with the pin in the folded position. The bike weighs 39.5lb (18kg) so it’s not too heavy to move, although it wasn’t the easiest to manoeuvre and small wheels on one end would have been a welcome addition.
How I Tested The Bike
I used the Marcy Foldable Bike for 30-minute workouts several times a week over a three-week period. I used a variety of resistance settings and rode at different intensities.
The bike looks extremely compact when in use as well as when folded, and yet is surprisingly comfortable to ride. Having read some user reviews I was worried that at 5ft 3in (160cm) I might be too short to climb on the bike comfortably, but this was not the case: I could get on easily and with the seat on the lowest setting the proportions felt just right. The manufacturer has defined the minimum height requirement as 5ft 1in (155cm) and the maximum as 6ft 3in (190cm), but it will depend on your inseam measurement – the seat to pedal distance varies from 28in to 33in (71-84cm).
There’s a large knob below the handlebars that allows you to change the resistance, with settings ranging from one to eight. Loud clicks can be heard as you crank up the resistance, although be aware that the top level is not all that hard. It’s certainly tough enough for me in my rehab, though, giving a pleasing amount of variety to a workout.
The computer has a small screen which by default cycles through various stats, giving you time, speed, calories, distance, odometer (total distance) and pulse, which is measured through sensors on the handlebars. The pulse measurement was not very accurate, but enough to give you an idea of whether you’re working hard or not.
The seat is wide and padded, and was more comfortable than I had expected. The pedals are quite small, with a rubber strap to secure your feet, but even so my size UK 5 running trainers only just fit in with the strap on the longest setting. So unless you’re using slim cycling shoes, larger feet might not fit in the pedals very easily.
The bike was easy to use, and extremely quiet. It’s not designed for riding standing up, but the shape of the handles accommodates a variety of riding positions. It felt solid and stable and I found it comfortable to ride, although when I really went for it, hitting higher RPMs, it made the floor shake, which would not have happened on a machine with a heavier flywheel.
I did wish there was somewhere to rest a phone or tablet on the bike, but you could always set up a screen nearby to follow a guided exercise bike workout.
Is The Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike Worth It?
Robust, compact and quiet, the Marcy Foldable Exercise Bike is a convenient way to get a workout at home and at this price it’s excellent value. While I wouldn’t recommend it for those looking to push themselves hard with high-intensity workouts, or anyone who wants to follow live or pre-recorded spinning classes, this bike would suit anyone returning from an injury, starting a beginner level fitness programme or looking to keep their fitness ticking over with a light- to medium-intensity workout.
Camilla Artault is a writer and keen runner. She has covered women’s running gear – testing leggings, jackets, running bras, tops and shorts – for Coach since 2018, as well as interviewing experts and writing about a range of health and lifestyle topics.