Trying to figure out the best spin bikes online can be difficult if you’ve never bought one before, and you cannot rely on the product description alone. There are different of exercise bikes and knowing the difference between them is going to help you narrow your choices down. However, there are the lot of other factors that you need to consider apart from a sturdy frame and the amount of resistance it can provide.
In this buyers’ guide we’re going to take a look at the most important features of a spinning bike or indoor exercise bike, and then we’ll examine the major components and explain how ergonomics and other factors come into play.
What are the Most Important Features of Best Spin Bikes?
Spinning bikes come with a vast array of features ranging from full-fledged to barebones. The number of features depends on the type and cost of the bike, but only you can select what features are important and what are superfluous. The cheapest ones will, at least, have a configurable workout resistance plus a few other options for programming.
Spinning bikes in the mid-price range are more solidly built, sturdier and don’t produce as much noise as the cheaper bikes. The high-end spinning bikes have more sophisticated features, numerous resistance levels, longer warranty, multiple user profiles and preset workout programs.
No matter which spinning bike you decide to buy it must have at least a few basic and essential features like:
- Several resistance levels
- An adjustable seat
- Comfortable seat: if you like a particular spinner bike, but it doesn’t have comfortable seats, you can always buy padding or a gel cover. You must never compromise when it comes to comfort regardless of your budget.
Aside from the basics, you should also look for the following.
- A Heavy Flywheel - Make certain the bike you’re buying comes with a 40 lb. Flywheel minimum. The flywheel is the object that spins and rotates as your pedal, simulating the momentum that comes from using a traditional bike. Generally speaking, heavy wheels turn more smoothly and helps keep the bike stable. Avoid bikes with light flywheels because it will feel like the pedal is too wobbly and unstable.
- Handlebars with Aft and Fore Settings - Bikes with fore and aft settings mean you will be able to move the handlebar front and back, up and down until you get the position that suits you. This feature is especially useful for women as their torsos are usually lower compared to men: with these settings you will be ready to make easier adjustments.
- Belt Drive vs. Chain Drive - The pedals are hooked up to the flywheel with a belt or chain, and when the pedals turn it leads to the rotation of the flywheel. Between the chain and the belt, the belt is better since it’s more durable.
- Get a Mat for the Bike - Most of these indoor bikes are capable of working you to the point out it’s almost like undergoing interval training. Because of this, you’ll want a mat placed on your bike so that it will serve as a cushion, and at the same time, the mat will safeguard your carpet or floor from fine dust, grease or sweat that could emanate from different areas of the bike.
A mat also serves as protection, so lint and dust are kept out of the mechanisms. Last but not the least, bear in mind your weight and that of the bike rests on just a couple of points, so having a carpet is going to help cut down the wear and tear.
What about Accessories?
There is no shortage of accessories and options for these bikes, but only you can decide what’s essential. A water bottle holder is probably the one you’re going to start with for obvious reasons, but another one would be a computer or LCD.
For casual workouts, a digital display might be too much but if you’re serious about getting in shape, a computer that shows time, distance covered, and calories burned, RPM and heart rate will be necessary. These devices are usually set on the handlebars, but there may be more certain options with the model you buy.
Some fans have built-in fans to cool you off and provide air resistance. If you’re the type of person that likes to exercise with music, look for bikes that come with sound systems so you can play songs out loud. Aside from these, you might be interested in a magazine stand and remote control cups.
Bike Weight Limit and Capacity
One of the most vital features of using indoor bikes is stability because a wobbly and unstable bike can lead to injury. If the bike feels unbalanced, then don’t buy it regardless of how beautiful it looks or how affordable the price tag is. The standard rule when it comes to these bikes is the more they weigh, the more stable they are.
If you’re buying a heavy spinning bike, there should be transport wheels because if not it’s going to be difficult to move. You should also verify the maximum supported weight and make certain you’re well within its range.
The best spin bikes are noted for being quiet, and while it’s not a big issue for some people, it is to others. The noise level that these spinning bikes generate depends on their resistance level and design: indoor bikes with fans are usually louder because of the air resistance because the harder you pedal, the stronger the breeze generated and the louder it gets. Most of these bikes don’t make a lot of noise, but if you’re going to watch TV or listen to music while working out, the noise level will be an issue.
The indoor spinning bike you buy must have safety mechanisms built in this is especially important if there are young kids with you who might try to use the bike. To avoid injuries and accidents, cover the flywheel and chain, so kids won’t be able to tamper with them.
The subject of computer displays was touched upon earlier, but it’s important to talk about this more in depth. The console of equipment or central console unit acts as your bike’s central nervous system. The console retrieves data from the devices and sensors that are connected to the bike, and the information is shown on an LCD.
This feature isn’t built into most spinning bikes, but in those that do you can adjust the settings, choose from several workouts presets and modify the level of resistance. If you’re an advanced user and want complete control over your workouts, then this is a feature worth investing in.
The LCD screen is the most crucial component of the console because it is the means by which you are notified of all the numbers and parameters during your workout. The information displayed on the screen depends on the model’s design, but most of them cover the basics and allow for customization.
It is, of course, possible to have a good workout without a computer console, and many people do, but it’s going to be indispensable if you’re after specific goals (i.e. want to burn a specific amount of calories or cover a particular distance). The more advanced and expensive indoor spinning bikes even come with interactive video games that integrate your performance in the game, so you’ll have additional motivation.
A word here about heart rate monitors: these usually aren’t built in standard spinning bikes, and it is optional. If you bought a regular spinning bike, you can always purchase a heart rate monitor device and use it. But if you’re going to use the exercise bike for cardio workouts, having a heart rate monitor is necessary for keeping track of your heart beat. For cardio workouts to be efficient, your heart needs to beat at a particular rate, and a monitor will help you keep track.
If you are going to spend a lot of time on spinning bikes, then emphasis must be placed on ergonomics and comfort. This is one of the advantages of riding an indoor rather than an outdoor bike because as fun as it is to ride a bicycle, it will never be as comfortable as an indoor spinning bike.
What makes spinning bikes ergonomically sound is their built: you are stationary yet pedaling, and this permits you to assume as comfortable a position as you like. Another advantage of spinning bikes is the seats usually have plenty of padding and have already taken ergonomics into account. What this means is even if you spend a lot of time working out, you won’t feel any discomfort or pain.
Recumbent spinning bikes are especially good in the ergonomics area: mostly you are pedaling in a reclined position, and this is good because it minimizes lower back stress. On a recumbent bike, the pressure is more uniform and is not concentrated on your gluteus and back.
These types of spinning bikes are especially useful if you experience pain or discomfort when trying to lean on an upright bike. Whether you opt for a recumbent or upright spinning bike, you’re going to have the opportunity to adjust the seat to the level you’re comfortable with.
The ergonomics of the bike will also come into play with the pedal straps: the best spinning bikes have great brakes that will more than suffice. Look for pedal straps that will prevent feet slippage while you’re undergoing intense workouts. Make sure also the pedals are adjustable, so your feet will be safe from injuries or strain. Spinning bikes are safer than free bikes, but it’s better to be safe and always to assume the proper position so you can achieve optimum results.
The subject of Ergonomics is a broad one so some spinning bikes might include water bottle holders, speakers and built-in fans on this list, whereas they should be considered as accessories. As was pointed earlier here, not all those who work out on exercise bikes feel those as essential, so they’re only optional.
Setting up the Seats
Once you have bought an indoor cycling machine, you should spend some time getting familiar with its features. Generally speaking, they have the same features, shape, position, and size as those on a regular bicycle. As was indicated above you can adjust them in different ways, but one configuration you can do if your knees bent at around 30 degrees as the pedal is set perpendicular to the ground.
When the pedal is parallel to the surface, your kneecap ought to be aligned with the pedal’s center. Now you just need to slide your seat backward or forwards until you get to the position you want.
Why Spin Bikes?
My passion for spin bikes was born when I first decided to invest in my indoor cycling bike - I realized that many review websites held a bias toward particular brands or types and decided then and there to create a website to provide fair. Balanced reviews of all makes and models of indoor cycling and stationary bikes.
Just from a quick search it is easy to see that many people are struggling to find good advice on which stationary or indoor cycling bike to invest in and this website is to help those people - people like you - who may need a non-pushy, no-sales approach to laying out the pros and cons of each model with no hidden agenda and an understanding that not everybody understands technical or fitness-based jargon.
Stationary and indoor cycle bikes are very dynamic, with different features to suit the needs of each user, such as; adjustable seats and handlebars to make sure that the bike is both comfortable and optimized for the best results and safest workout. Designs created for less mobile people or those with disabilities to allow easy mounting and dismounting; as well as LCD screens with built-in heart rate, speed and distance monitors for people who need a clearer view of their progress.
It is due to all of these features that I believe that indoor cycling bike is accessible to almost every person, from any walk of life, to improve their fitness and overall health, regardless of budget, ability or available space.
Which Spinning Bike Should You Buy?
The best spin bikes are not the most expensive or feature packed, but the one that meets your needs and requirements. There’s no point buying the most expensive spinning bicycle if you’re not going to use their features. If you’ve never used one of these before or only plan to use them on occasion, a basic spinning indoor bike will do just fine.
The report here should be enough to get you started on the right track, but there are other points you need to take into consideration. This includes the cost: compare different models of various vendors until you find the one that offers the most value for your money.
You also have to account for the customer feedback and reviews. The spinning bike looks good yes, but what are people saying about it? Is it any good? Is the seat comfortable? Is it ergonomically designed? These are questions that reviewers can answer for you, so it’s something you need to check out.
Last but not the least you need to think about your plans for the future: if you have plans of expanding your workouts and want to make the spinning bike an integral part, then you should invest in a high-quality machine.