You want to buy a spin bike for your home and want to know what features to look for? Then you have come to the right place. Here, we have discussed in detail all the factors that you should consider before getting a spin bike for at-home workouts. There are a bunch of deciding factors when buying a spin bike and each person will have unique requirements that need to be met. Here are 10 things to keep in mind.
Factors to consider before buying a spin bike for your home
1. Flywheel Weight
The weight of the flywheel determines the smoothness of the pedaling motion. The heavier the flywheel, the smoother the motion. Generally, a spin bike has a heavier flywheel compared to that of other types of stationary bikes. Most spin bike flywheels weigh around 16-22 kg. We recommend not going lower than 14 kg. Too light a flywheel and the motion might not be seamless at all times. Also, beginners shouldn’t shy away from heavy flywheels since it does not affect the difficulty or resistance of the machine. You will only feel the difference in the first few seconds of pedaling.
The resistance level of a spin bike should be suitable for your fitness level. While buying a spin bike, make sure the minimum resistance level feels quite easy and that the resistance at 50-60% of the maximum is challenging enough. This leaves room for growth while also allowing you to keep pedaling non-stop during a workout. Next, you should also consider the type of resistance. There are two types – friction resistance and magnetic resistance.
➥ Read more: Best Magnetic Resistance Spin Bikes in the Market.
In a friction resistance system, a felt brake pad is pressed against the flywheel to adjust the resistance. This is done manually by a dial/knob. The brake pad gets worn down and needs to be replaced from time to time. Most magnetic resistance systems are also adjusted the same way using a dial. But instead of a pad, magnets are brought towards or away from the flywheel to provide resistance. This system is smoother and more robust. In many modern spin bikes, the resistance can be adjusted with console buttons which are easier to use.
3. Seat, Handlebars & Adjustability
One of the most important aspects of a spin bike is comfort. If you are not comfortable, chances are that you won’t continue using the bike for long. The position of the seat and the handlebars are the main determiners of comfort. Both the seat and handlebars can have either vertical adjustment, or fore/aft adjustment, or both. It’s best to have full adjustability as it allows multiple users to ride the same spin bike. Before using, you have to properly set up the position of the seat and handlebars. The following video demonstrates how to do that:-
4. Drive Mechanism
The drive mechanism is what transfers the motion from the pedals to the flywheels. Two types are available – chain-driven and belt-driven. Chains are found in cheaper models. A chain-driven system requires regular maintenance and makes a significant amount of noise at high speeds. A belt requires almost zero maintenance and runs silently. Even though a belt-driven spin bike is more expensive, you should get it because they are simply better for home use. The only downside of a belt is that you might need to replace it after a few years. This is because the belt eventually gets deformed and stretches.
5. The Q Factor
Another property that plays a role in the comfort level is something called the Q factor. Simply put, the Q factor is the distance between the outside of the two crank arms. Normally, a narrow Q factor is better as it is more comfortable and simulates a road bike. However, those with a wide hip might need a wider Q factor. You should check whether your knees are in line with your feet when viewed from the front or back. This is the optimum position.
Most spin bikes will have pedals with attached toe-cages that keep your feet securely in place and prevents slipping. Those of you who are more serious cyclists might want to look for SPD pedals, aka clipless pedals. Many spin bikes will have dual-sided pedals that offer both options. You will need proper cycling shoes to go with the SPD pedals. These pedals improve pedal efficiency and provide better control. You might already have cycling shoes but the number of cleats might not be compatible with the pedals on a spin bike. In this case, you can sometimes replace the pedals entirely with a separately bought set.
7. Weight Limit
All exercise machines have a specified weight limit and it’s a good idea to check it, especially for those who are overweight. A typical spin bike can support between 250 and 350 lbs of weight. Although, there are ones that go higher or lower. The ones with a higher capacity will usually be heavier themselves due to the sturdy build. Other than being able to support your weight, there is another advantage to a heavier spin bike. It will also be more stable and won’t topple over when you are pedaling at maximum effort.
8. Console & Connectivity
A console displays your stats such as calories burned, distance, speed, and time. This allows you to keep track of your progress and motivates you to do more. For higher prices, you can get a console with additional features like a heart rate monitor, built-in workout programs, a large backlit display, and even Bluetooth/internet connectivity. These features provide a lot of conveniences. By connecting to your smartphone or tablet, you can save your data or share it with others. Some companies like Peloton offer a fully immersive experience with live online spin classes. Remember that the more features you want, the more you’ll have to spend.
9. Bottle/Device Holders
Spinning is often a strenuous activity where you will likely sweat a lot. Hence, it’s good to have a bottle of water at hand. A bottle holder saves you from having to interrupt your workout to get a drink of water. The placement of the holder is also important. In some machines it can be harder to reach, so keep an eye on that. Some spin bikes also have a tray on the handlebars for holding a smart device. So, you can watch videos or listen to music as you exercise.
10. Transport Wheels
Transport wheels are especially important for home-use spin bikes. These are two small wheels at the front base of the machine. They allow you to tilt the bike and easily roll it around the house. Many people prefer to keep the bike in one room and workout in another room. Transport wheels are a must-have for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Which brand of spin bike should I buy?
Ans.: There are plenty of known brands of spin bikes to choose from. These include NordicTrack, ProForm, Schwinn, Peloton, Sunny Health & Fitness, and Yosuda. We recommend buying from a reputed manufacturer. There are plenty of cheap machines on the market that will have numerous breakdowns and probably not last as long. If you’re low on budget, then save up for a better machine. It will be worth it in the long run. But $500 is a good budget for buying a spin bike. Here are some spin bikes that you can buy for under $500.
➥ Read more: Best Budget Spin Bikes You can Buy in the Market.
Q2. Is it worth it to buy a spin bike for home use?
Ans.: Having your own spin bike at home has a lot of advantages. First of all, it’s a one-time investment and you won’t be spending on an expensive gym membership. Secondly, you can use it at any time in any weather. The commute time to the gym is also saved. At the gym, you would have also had to wait your turn and adjust the seat each time. There are no such issues with a personal spin bike for your home.
Q3. Why should I pick a spin bike over an upright bike or a recumbent bike?
Ans.: If you want to take your indoor cycling to the next level, then a spin bike is the right machine for you. A spin bike comes the closest to resembling a road bike. Therefore, it is also a great tool for road cyclists to continue their training during the winter months. Spin bikes are designed to handle high-intensity workouts, allowing you to burn more calories as well. Overall, if you don’t have any back problems and are looking for high-intensity cardio workouts, then a spin is the right choice.
➥ If you wanna get relieved from this confusion, we suggest you have a look at the in-depth comparison between spin bikes and exercise bikes.
Well, now you should have a comprehensive idea about what to look for when shopping for a spin bike. If possible, try out a spin bike in person before making a purchase. If you’re shopping online, make sure that you have the option to return it. Having a spin bike that feels comfortable to use is absolutely crucial. There are countless options out there. So, you are bound to find one that checks all your boxes.