What Is Magnetic Resistance On An Exercise Bike?

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Exercise bikes that have magnetic resistance on them that provide resistance by utilizing magnets to generate pressure against the flywheel. This is quite different from the friction or contact resistance we are usually used to, as the magnets never touch each other nor the flywheel. So you can ride seamlessly while also picking your preferred resistance level during your exercise sessions. In this article, we will explain in detail how magnetic resistance bikes work, what advantages they can offer, and how you can maintain them to get the best performance.

Magnetic Resistance Bike Anatomy

Image Source: uk-fit.com

Fundamental Working Principle

There are various kinds of exercise bikes out there. Among all of them, the exercise bikes are equipped with magnetic resistance functions based on the fundamentals of magnetism. Here, the bikes are controlled using electricity, and the resistance levels are shifted by using the flywheel of the exercise bike. In the market, you will find only two key types of exercise bikes that you can purchase. Out of these two, the magnetic resistance exercise bike is the one that is more in demand and popular in the cycling community. Such exercise bikes utilize the flywheel, electricity, and the ability of magnetism to control the bike and it’s resistance levels. Thus, providing you with a more productive and efficient workout.

Magnetic Resistance Bike Drive System

Image Source: exercisebikeresistance.weebly.com

Magnetism & Electricity

Before, exercise bikes used to apply resistance by utilizing the bike’s tension belt and pressure implemented by the rider. Now that has completely changed due to the availability of magnetic resistance systems. Exercise bikes with magnetic resistance systems use electricity and magnetism to provide an effective ride. Electricity influences the magnetism of the exercise bike by either increasing or decreasing the attraction of the magnets in the bike. Therefore, based on the charge of the magnets, they either repel or attract each other. The rider can control the resistance using the exercise console. When the rider presses the button to increase the resistance, the current is increased and therefore resistance is higher. Similarly, when the button to lower the resistance is pressed, the current flow is reduced and the resistance decreases. Therefore, the higher the current, the higher the magnetic resistance.

Advantages & Disadvantages of using Magnetic-based Resistance Exercise Bikes


Compared to magnetic resistance bikes, friction resistance bikes have quite a few limitations. That is where the magnetic resistance systems come in two gets rid of all those limitations. So let’s take a look at some of the benefits offered by magnetic resistance.

1. Smooth & Quiet Operation

Magnetic resistance exercise bikes function quite well. Unlike friction resistance bikes, none of the parts of a magnetic resistance system comes in direct contact with each other for generating resistance. These exercise bikes will enable you to enjoy working out even more due to their seamless performance. It also creates a quiet environment which will allow you to stay focused.

This lack of noise will also provide you with the option to watch videos or listen to music while you work out. You can also choose to exercise in the comfort of your own home as it will not bother your neighbors or other family members.

2. Marked Resistance levels

You will not get specific resistance levels with friction resistance bikes. This is because in such bikes you have to select your resistance level using a knob. Therefore, you can only have an estimation level of the resistance you are riding on.

The resistance you choose after turning the knob will stay constant during the rest of the workout session. You have to turn the knob again if you want to increase the resistance as riding at high revolution per minute will not alter the resistance. On the other hand, magnetic resistance systems function differently. The resistance levels are set by the manufacturing company. The exercise console clearly indicates the marked levels of resistance. You can select your preferred resistance level using the button on the exercise console. Here, the resistance shifts along with the speed. When the speed is very high, so is the resistance of the bike.

3. Less maintenance

Exercise bikes with friction resistance systems need frequent pad replacements.
You will also need to dust and lubricate the exercise bike as it will have a lot of wear and tear. They have a lot of wear and tear as it consists of moving parts that regularly come into contact with each other. As a result, friction resistance exercise bikes need a lot of maintenance which requires increased costs.

As we already know that none of the parts of magnetic resistance bikes come in contact with each other, their components do not have any wear and tear. Therefore, neither lubrication nor dusting is required. It only requires minimal maintenance. You may only need to tighten the screws and wires. And that also after working out on it for several years.

4. Hard to overcome

There are many configurations available on a magnetic resistance bike. You can set it to provide highly aggressive workouts. It provides more than enough resistance to your workouts. However, it will always keep things challenging for you. So no matter how much you improve, these magnetic resistance systems will allow you to keep on upgrading your body and strength.

5. Emergency Stoppage

Magnetic-based resistance bikes come with an emergency stop. An emergency stop is an essential component of any indoor exercise bike. When you are pedaling too aggressively or you are experiencing any kind of pain, then you can just press the emergency stop and the bike’s flywheel will stop automatically as quickly as possible.

Emergency Stop Brake

Image Source: cyclefromhome.com

With friction resistance bikes, it’s cotton pads automatically grip the flywheel and push against it a high amount of pressure. As a result, the flywheel stops.

On a magnetic resistance bike, the magnets are located quite close to each other. Therefore, when the emergency stop is applied, the bike’s flywheel drops all of the moment and comes to a halt in a matter of seconds.


The one major downside of magnetic resistance exercise bikes is that they are quite expensive. And they are definitely more costly than the exercise bikes with friction resistance. This is because magnetic resistance can be very costly to produce. As a result, the magnetic resistance bike is so highly-priced. With that being said, the advantages offered by magnetic resistance bikes make it worth the money.

Maintenance & Repair Tips

You are most likely to encounter two kinds of problems with your magnetic exercise bike.

1. Slippage

The first problem you can face is that the exercise belt can slip off quite often. This belt takes on all the pressure that is applied by the rider to the exercise bike. If that happens, you can either fix it or just replace it.

To fix this, you should first unplug the exercise machine. Then take off the pedals with the help of a crank arm. Then you should remove the screws to detach the side shield. After that simply adjust the tension of the belt. You can do this by tightening or loosening the two nuts located around the Eddie Mech Idler bracket.

You can watch the video linked below to get a better idea:

2. Squeaking or Knocking Sound

You can experience a knocking or squeaking sound from your exercise bike. Often this is caused by the pedal, rustiness, motor jamming, or even exhausted belts.

To fix this noise issue, you must first locate where the noise is coming from. After doing so you should disassemble the exercise bike. Then lubricate or clean the source of the noise and make sure the bike operates smoothly. Carrying out a scheduled maintenance every week or month can reduce the chances of these issues.

There are some standard tips listed down below. Following these tips will ensure that your exercise bike provides a smooth and durable performance.

  • Clean the exercise bike using a soft piece of cloth.
  • You should evaluate the accuracy of the exercise bike’s sensors.
  • You should test and make sure that the straps and pedals work properly.
  • Inspect if the exercise bike makes any type of squeaking or knocking sounds.
  • You should lubricate the pedals, motor, and flywheel.
  • You should make sure the tension of the belt is adjusted regularly.
  • Any type of dust or grease on the exercise bike should be cleaned out regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How does magnetic resistance work?

Ans.: Magnetic resistance is produced by revolving a metal disc or ring across a magnetic field. Eddy currents are formed due to this procedure and it applied drag onto the metal disc which is spun in the magnetic field. A magnetic resistance unit offers much smoother, quieter, and high-performance resistance. You can watch the video linked below to understand this in more detail.

Q2. What is the difference between a manual and magnetic exercise bike?

Ans.: Magnetic exercise bikes generate resistance with the help of magnets. When the flywheel revolves, it goes through two magnets. To increase or decrease the resistance, the magnets shift closer to or further away from the flywheel.

On the other hand, friction-based bikes utilize felt pads located on the flywheel. It produces resistance from the pressure applied by the pads on the flywheel.

The other difference between the two is that magnetic bikes are way more expensive due to their superior performance.

Q3. Are magnetic resistance bikes better?

Ans.: Exercise bikes equipped with magnetic resistance offer more reliable and consistent resistance. It will also enable you to adjust your bike’s resistance more accurately. Magnetic-based exercise bikes are perfect for high-speed and intensive workouts. The fact that they require low maintenance and are highly durable makes them worth every penny!

Q4. What is silent magnetic resistance?

Ans.: The best part about having an eddy current system on your exercise bike is its lack of noise. That is why they are referred to as silent magnetic resistance. As it lacks contact between its parts and components, the operation is completely silent and it also requires almost zero maintenance.


Magnetic based exercise bikes are the most popular choice these days. Therefore, you must know all about them before purchasing a new one for yourself. We hope we were able to provide you with everything you need to make your final decision. Best of luck with your health and exercise goals. Have fun and ride safely!

Dion Lewis

My name is Dion Lewis.I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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