Today indoor cycling enables us to derive all the wonderful health benefits of cycling without stepping out of the home. We can gain gym cycling experience in our houses quite easily. Spin bikes are one of the most popular indoor cycling equipment. It is truly a wonderful method to scorch all those extra calories. Using this you can come in perfect shape in no time. Moreover, you can reap the benefits of this exercise in an amazingly short amount of time.
Now in the market, you will find many spin bikes of various models having diversified characteristics. It is quite natural for you to become confused about the desirable traits and qualities of your spin bike. What features will you look for while buying a spin bike? We have covered everything that can help to answer this question of yours in this article.
The prime features to consider while choosing your own spin bike are body position, foot pedals, flywheel, resistance, frame and legs, noise-free drive system, braking system, comfort, adjustable saddle and handlebars, Q factor, display screen, bottle holder, transportation wheels and warranty of parts.
What is a Spin Bike?
Seen mainly in training centers and gyms, a spin bike is a stationary indoor bike. Its pedal is connected directly to a heavy flywheel. It gives a workout to the whole body. If you want to strengthen your calves, thighs, abs, hips, and shoulders, a spin bike is an excellent cycling option for you.
What features to look for in a spin bike
The main similarity between spin bikes and road bikes is that both have a low body profile. To replicate the dropped down position of the handlebar in road bikes, the handlebars and saddle of the spin bike must be approximately at an identical height. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd positions are provided by these handlebars, which enable the user to pedal in numerous positions and work on different groups of muscles.
A strap is provided in the pedals to fix the user’s foot firmly to the spin bike. Commercial bikes bear a fixing for the SPD cleats on specialized cycling shoes. This feature is better than toe straps. The driving down and pulling up the ability of a spin bike is also highly similar to a road bike. But it has an added advantage as it works on more muscle groups and delivers an enhanced workout experience.
An open front flywheel is used in spin bikes. This flywheel is driven by a belt or a chain. The visible rotational feature and the transferable force from foot pedals to the flywheel simulate an experience identical to rolling road bikes. Due to the fixed-gear, the spin bike cannot stop suddenly and creates a silk-smooth cycling experience.
The resistance of a spin bike can be raised easily by tightening a pad present on the spinning wheel. When resistance is increased, the user needs to apply greater pressure to sustain his/her workout rhythm. In a normal stationary bike pressing, electronic buttons change resistance levels, but in a spin bike, this work is done by turning a wheel or knob.
A spin bike may contain any of the four resistance mechanisms.
- Cable resistance
- Manual Screw resistance
- Electronic and Magnetic Resistance
- Electromagnetic Resistance
Entry-level bikes may contain cable resistance. This resistance may slip now and then, so it is not that reliable. A knob is used in manual screw resistance. A compact hydraulic system is used in electronic magnetic resistance. Here a magnet is moved by the hydraulic system to apply resistance to the wheel. The most recent resistance mechanism is electromagnetic resistance. It doesn’t incorporate mobile parts, rather an electromagnetic field is utilized to produce resistance. Our advice will be to opt for magnetic or electromagnetic resistance in spin bikes.
➥ Read more: Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike Problems.
Frame and Legs
All spin bikes feature a sturdy heave frame. However, if your spin bike is small and cheap, its legs will be a bit narrow. This is not recommended. Wider legs ensure more stability during exercise, resulting in reduced risks of falling from the bike and injuring yourself.
Noise-free Drive System
The Drive system is the system connection between pedals and flywheel. It is of two types- chain system and belt system.
Spin bikes with belt drive mechanisms render a noise-free workout experience. Further, these need minimal maintenance. Bikes with chain drive mechanisms create much cluttering noise. Also greater maintenance is needed for them.
A spin bike may have any one of these three braking systems.
- Fabric brake pads
- Leather Brake pads
- Magnetic Braking
Entry-level indoor spin bikes contain fabric brake pads. Higher-end commercial and domestic bikes contain leather brake pads. But the best braking system is the magnetic one. It involves zero physical contact and so is totally noise-free. Also, maintenance or replacement of parts is not needed. Overall, it is the most recommended braking system to consider while buying a spin bike.
Comfortability is a highly important point to consider while choosing your spin bike. You must be comfortable during the workout, otherwise, all those hours of drenching in sweat will end into nothingness. A very hard and firm seat will cause pain in your spinal cord. Also, your legs and toes may feel numb. Choose a spin bike whose seat is flexible, contains gel or foam, and is ergonomic.
Adjustable saddle handlebars
Adjustable saddles and handlebars should be taken into consideration for a better exercise workout experience. The user must be able to move in forward-backward and up-down directions. Aft and fore angles ought to be offered for preventing pain in the lower back.
The Q Factor
The distance between the outer portion of one crank arm to the outer portion of the opposite crank arm is referred to as the Q factor of a spin bike. Less expensive spin bikes have a wider Q factor. If you have a small gap between your knees, using such a spin bike will prove damaging for you. A wider Q factor generally accounts for reduced workout efficiency and reduced enjoyment. On the contrary, a narrower Q factor creates a more efficient and enjoyable exercise experience. However, this particular feature may prove harmful for you if you have a greater gap between your knees. Hence, before deciding on the Q factor, check the gap between your knees to know which will be better for you.
A display screen shows the bike speed, net distance traveled and the calories burned during exercise. Some advanced display screens even show the user’s heart rate, pulse rate, and more. A spin bike having a console display with advanced tech features is of course a great buy option. Do check for heart rate monitoring with a telemetry strap.
Don’t be under the misconception that spin cycling is less taxing and exhausting in comparison to outdoor cycling. It is just as strenuous as other cycling exercises. So, you must remain hydrated. A water bottle holder is an important feature to look for in your spin bike. Do check if the bottle holder is in the proper position, or it will be difficult to take the bottle during cycling.
Spin bikes bear a quite heavy flywheel, so it is very difficult to transport. If your spin bike contains transportation wheels, this problem will be resolved.
Do check whether the parts of your spin bike have a warranty of more than one year.
Lastly, do remember these two essential points.
- Think carefully about who will use the spinning bike, and also how often he/she will use it
- Consider the user height and weight capacity properly before choosing.
➥ We have exactly the line-up for you if you happen to be on a budget and need a budget spin bike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the best spin bike for home use?
Ans.: We have enlisted 5 top-notch spin bike models for home use.
- Keiser M3i
- L Now Pooboo
- Joroto X2
➥ If you want to know more details related to the above-mentioned spin bikes, then, we recommend you, have a look at the spin bikes for home-usage.
Q2. What is the best flywheel weight for a spin bike?
Ans: The best flywheel weight for a spin bike for home use is around 18-20 kgs. Again the flywheel weight for commercial bikes may be in the range of 20-22 kg. The heavier the flywheel of a spin bike, the more natural and smoother your riding motion.
Q3. How much should you spend on a spin bike?
Ans: A decent enough spin bike can be bought at under $500 ( e. g. the Sunny Health Model spin bike). Spin bikes with display screens can be bought in the price range of $1000-$2000.
Q4. Are magnetic spin bikes better?
Ans: Yes, they are. A greater resistance level and greater adjustability are provided in magnetic resistance spin bikes. These are perfect for high-speed exercises. Although you might find them a bit expensive, their increased durability, stability, and reliable structure make the extra dollars spent worth it.
This wraps up our discussion about the features to look for while buying your own spin bike. These features will cater to all your needs and requirements whether you are a beginner in cycling or an ardent experienced cyclist. In the end, it depends on your choices, preferences, and personal needs. Now hurry up and get ready to enter the world of cycling!