Best Spin Bikes
The workout that you can achieve simply from riding a bike is truly remarkable. However, the conditions are not always feasible for you to do so. In situations where Mother Nature is not cooperating, it sure is nice when you have an exercise bike. Well, today, one of the specific types is going to be documented at length and it is known as a spin bike. Essentially, this is a machine that is going to replicate what it is like to ride outdoors. But, you can do so at the comfort of your own home. That is the beauty of it, truth be told. Yet, in order for you to buy the model that you desire, you will need to keep some key features and characteristics in mind.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 2.75 hrs of research
Designed with heart rate sensors
Includes 14 workout programs
16 different resistance levels can be adjusted to
- DIAMONDBACK FITNESS 510LC
- KEISER M3I
- LIFE FITNESS LIFECYCLE GX
- SOLE FITNESS SB700
- SCHWINN FITNESS AC PLUS
- MARCY CLUB BIKE TRAINER
- BLADEZ FITNESS MASTER GS
- PHOENIX REVOLUTION PRO II
- SUNNY SF-B1001
- SUNNY HEALTH & FITNESS
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Expert Interviews & Opinions
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST SPIN BIKES
1. DIAMONDBACK FITNESS 510LC
Designed with heart rate sensors
Includes 14 workout programs
16 different resistance levels can be adjusted to
A few buyers have criticized the accuracy of the heart rate monitor
The assembly process could have been improved
It is not very hard to see why Diamondback Fitness takes so much pride in the design of their 510lc. Arguably the most talked about feature, and one that sets this one apart, is its 16 levels of resistance.Read more
The 510lc has been outfitted with a heavy-duty, 31-pound flywheel. With this, you are provided with a smooth ride without the unwanted whirring noise.
No, this is not your ordinary spin bike. It sports a built-in computer that consists of 14 different workout programs (with four of them being heart rate controlled). All of which can be accessed via the backlit LCD screen.
As was mentioned, one of the best features of this entire design is the 16 levels of resistance that can be achieved. Additionally, this does allow for seat and handlebar adjustments.
In addition to the aforementioned adjustable seat and handlebars (which can enhance the comfort for different users), both of them are also equipped with thick padding.
Even near 300 pounders can shred fat on this machine (with a weight limit of 300 pounds exactly, though). Part of the reason why the 510lc is so durable is it implements steel-crafted components.
Shockingly, this is actually an affordable, top-end model (when compared to others). It is top-end, though, and its features like the built-in programs and the resistance levels that prove that.
2. KEISER M3I
The produced ride is very smooth
Integrates Bluetooth technology
The components are designed to avoid corrosion from sweat
A few users were not pleased with the dated software
To say this is a celebrated model is an understatement. If you are looking for nothing more than the best and do not have a tight budget, then the M3i is as good as it is going to get.Read more
The magic of this model is in its resistance system. You see, no adjustments will need to be made due to the belt’s pre-tensioned designs. Also, the Poly-V belt is going to produce a smooth ride without the annoying noise of a cog belt.
Even though there are some top-end features featured here, many buyers have been disappointed with the dated computer (which is fair). Still, this does integrate Bluetooth technology and can also be connected to the Keiser M Series app.
Even though no adjustments will be needed for the belt, this machine is outfitted with an adjustable seat and handlebars. All in all, it can account for riders as short as 4-foot-10-inches all the way up to seven-foot.
One nice aspect of the complex shape of the main frame is it allows you to get comfortable in different positions.
Outside of the fact that the frame is built to last, this is also intelligently designed. All the vulnerable components are ideally orchestrated to avoid sweat (which can lead to corrosion).
For some of you, it will be utterly asinine to spend so much money on an exercise machine. Do not get it twisted; the M3i is truly for those of you who are serious about this technology.
3. LIFE FITNESS LIFECYCLE GX
The belt drive increases the smoothness
Finished with an e-coating that prevents rust
The onboard computer sports a touchscreen
Some reviewers have mentioned that the resistance can be unstable
From one elite model to the next, let’s take a look at the greatness of the Lifecycle GX. Of course, where do you start with a design such as this? To avoid any stalling, let’s just get right into this one.Read more
Two key design features really make this a tremendous machine. This is alluding to the dual-magnetic brake resistance system and the multi-ribbed belt drive that improves the smoothness. Of course, some buyers have noted the resistance can be unstable at times.
Included with the Lifecycle GX is a built-in cycling computer. With this integrated, you are able to view key metrics such as your speed, heart rate, distance, cadence, calories burned, and resistance level.
To make it possible to achieve the results that you desire, this has been outfitted with micro adjustments that make the entire process easier.
A special note here is the dual-sided SPD pedals are actually quite comfortable and are optimized for both soft sole and cycling shoes.
Life Fitness did not design their model to be cheap and it certainly shows. Not only is it designed with a robotically welded steel frame but Life Fitness also finished it with a rust prevention e-coating.
At the end of the day, it is tough to go wrong with a model that includes almost everything you look for in a high-quality spin bike. Indeed, this is a perfect example of just that.
4. SOLE FITNESS SB700
Designed with an ergonomically padded saddle
It is compatible with wireless chest straps
It is backed by a comprehensive warranty
The resistance system is limited in its adjustability
The handlebars may not be of a suitable height for everyone
There is a lot to love about the SB700 including the 48-pound flywheel and backlit, LCD console. While it is not a flawless model, it is worthy enough to close out the top five.Read more
Indeed, this is built with a 48-pound flywheel and makes it for an ultra smooth resistance system.
First off, the SB700 is designed with an LCD console and it displays for your speed, time, distance, and RPM. Also, this system is compatible with wireless chest straps for heart rate monitoring.
Although this is an adjustable model, its adjustment features have been criticized. This includes the handlebars (which will not raise high enough for some of you) and the resistance knob (as there really is not a good medium resistance).
Now, both the seat and the handlebars can be adjusted to your desired preferences. As for the seat, it is equipped with ample padding for enhanced comfort.
Even if for some reason any of the components break on you, the SB700 is backed with a comprehensive warranty that covers the frame for life and the electronics for three years.
If upgraded adjustment systems could have been integrated into the SB700, it could have landed even higher on this list. That really goes to show how great it is, however.
5. SCHWINN FITNESS AC PLUS
The belt drive requires no maintenance
Designed with an aluminum frame
Implements a six-magnet brake system
The seat has been criticized
It is difficult to adjust the handlebars
Gee, it is not getting any cheaper, is it? While some of you will feel this model is not quite worth the price of admission, it is one of the best in the business when viewed from an overall scope.Read more
The combination of the belt drive that uses Carbon Blue technology (to create an authentic outdoor riding experience) and the six-magnet brake system make for unbeatable performance.
It is interesting to note that there is actually an upgraded version of the Schwinn MPower Echelon 2 console that you can pay for. Though it is even more money, the improvements may be worth it.
This is not a flawless design and the handlebars are a good example of that. For whatever reason, adjusting them is a flat hassle. Better engineering should have been present here.
Though the same handlebars that were just alluded to can increase the comfort, the included seat is not well-designed and can cause discomfort. In fact, one reviewer even claimed it was terrible.
To eliminate friction and wear, the magnetic brake does not contact the flywheel. Also, the frame is made out of aluminum (instead of steel) and is much lighter and will never rust, as a result.
From unbiased eyes, you can see why this is such an expensive model. Then again, while the quality is certainly present, there are a few hiccups that some of you will not forgive.
6. MARCY CLUB BIKE TRAINER
There are built-in transport wheels
Sports a resistance knob that is easy to use
Complete with a powder coating
Lacks advanced functionality
The included seat is not very comfortable
This is another option that is not necessarily technologically advanced but one that is well-designed. As a bit of an extra feature, though, it does sport an integrated water bottle holder.Read more
To offer a smooth ride, the designer built this model with a 40-pound flywheel. Additionally, a quick-stop mechanism has also been incorporated and this can halt your momentum very quickly.
Overall, this is lacking many advanced features. But, as was alluded to, a water bottle holder is featured. However, for the record, you need to supply the water bottle yourself.
The handlebars can be adjusted vertically, the seat can be adjusted vertically and horizontally, and the resistance of the ride can be altered via the resistance knob.
Even though this is ergonomically designed, the included seat is not the best. In fact, it is quite hard and may need to be replaced for another, more comfortable seat.
One thing is for sure; you can’t critique the build quality of this model too much. It is built with a heavy-duty steel frame with enhanced welding points and topped off with a powder coating. All in all, it can support up to 300 pounds.
Simple, yet effective, is the best way to summarize this bike trainer. What makes it even more compelling is the fact that it is built to last several years, in addition.
7. BLADEZ FITNESS MASTER GS
It is compatible with Polar heart rate monitors
Sports a digital display
It can support up to 300 pounds
Shorter users will have trouble reaching the pedals
You can’t adjust the handlebars back over the stem
As opposed to the last entry, this sports a massive flywheel that weighs 45 pounds. As a bit of an extra, this is also compatible with Polar heart rate monitors (though none are included).Read more
Past the 45-pound flywheel, this spin bike is also equipped with a top-down magnetic resistance system that is going to be ideal for expert riders.
In addition to the fact that this is compatible with heart rate monitors, it is also built with a digital computer. With this, you can view such statistics as your calories burned and the displaced time.
Even though this is a fully adjustable model, shorter users will have trouble reaching the pedals. As some buyers have noted, anyone under five-foot five-inches in height should look elsewhere.
It sure would have been nice if this was designed with the ability to adjust lower. Due to this, some users will simply not be able to find a comfortable position.
With a weight capacity of 300 pounds, this may not be able to comfortably fit all users but it certainly will be able to support most of them.
Shorter readers beware; this is not going to be for you. This is not meant to call any of you out but if you are not of a suitable height, you will not be able to reach the pedals comfortably.
8. PHOENIX REVOLUTION PRO II
There are eight resistance levels
The front wheels make portability easier
Designed with a heavy-duty brake pad resistance system
It is not very quiet
There is no onboard computer
As great as this next spin bike is, you need to be fully aware that it does not include a computer of any kind. This limits its extra functionality, admittedly, and may not be modernized enough for some of you.Read more
Being designed with a direct-drive system that lets you pedal both forward and backward and a quick-stop handle brake, this is optimized for convenience. Also, this sports a 39.6-pound flywheel.
As was mentioned, there is no onboard computer. If you are an avid enthusiast of metrics and statistics, this will seriously limit the functionality of this model.
All in all, there are eight resistance levels that can be adjusted to with the built-in tension knob. Also, this can be adjusted for users of different heights.
Even if you do not like the included seat, it can be replaced with another that has improved padding. Again, this can also be adjusted to suit your height, so that is nice.
Granted you do not exceed the 250-pound weight limit, you will find great enjoyment biking with this model. The frame is well built and is not going to collapse under heavy loads.
The lack of modern technology does hurt this spin bike a little when looking at the grand scheme of things. In regard to its performance, however, it is top-notch.
9. SUNNY SF-B1001
The textured non-slip foot pedals accommodate for all sizes
Features a water bottle holder
Suitable for users a various skill levels
Not the quietest machine out there
The seat is uncomfortable
Admittedly, there are some quirks to this design that should have been addressed and the flywheel is not the heaviest out there. But, all things considered, the SF-B1001 will give you one heck of a workout.Read more
The flywheel is 30 pounds and it will deliver a fairly smooth ride. Additionally, this includes textured non-slip foot pedals that will be ideal for users of all sizes.
Really, there is a lack of advanced features to speak of. Yet, you do get a nice bottle holder so that is convenient.
With the integrated tension knob at your disposal, you can completely take over your workout. You can adjust the resistance level according to your personal preferences.
The good news is you can adjust the seat but the bad news is the seat that is included is not very comfortable. It tends to come loose quite often, according to one previous user.
To ensure this would last a long time, the engineers designed it with a steel frame. While rust can be an issue, it is less of a worry indoors.
This is nothing more than an incredibly solid option. It may not blow you away but the attention to detail is present and it truly shows.
10. SUNNY HEALTH & FITNESS
Sports a 40-pound flywheel
Pretty good quality for the price
A challenging workout can be provided
It needs to be tuned
It lacks extra functionality
For the price of admission, it really is hard to go wrong here. Yes, you will need to deal with some limitations but that is to be expected with a model at this price range.Read more
Above all else, the 40-pound flywheel provides a smooth cycling experience. This bike is lacking in certain areas but the performance is certainly not one of them.
Overall, Sunny Health & Fitness implemented a very simple design here. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that, it will be disappointing for those of you seeking a top-notch computer system.
Though the dial-in resistance system is not the smoothest, it is present and that is a plus. Also, the handlebars can’t adjust horizontally.
The lack of adjustments, with the handlebars and the seat, does make it harder to find a comfortable fit.
Even for the lower price, the build quality is great. That is certainly one area that was not sacrificed a lot for the price.
It is easy to see why this is not for hardcore users. It lacks a computer system and has limitations with its adjustability features. Then again, it is built well and performs efficiently.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The few very important design features you need to pay attention to are going to heavily dictate the performance.
There are certain design features that you need to look for that will have a direct impact on the overall performance of any given spin bike. The first is with the flywheel. Arguably, this is the most important feature of the entire design as it affects the performance as much as any other feature does. In regard to what it is, the flywheel is an integral component that provides the momentum to actually turn the pedals. It could be thought of as the engine, in a lot of ways. What you are really looking for is the weight. Most models will sport flywheels that range anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds. The lightest you should go is around 30 pounds but if you are looking for a more engaging workout, aim for heavier flywheels upward of 40 to 50 pounds.
Another critical feature is the resistance system and you will see one of two types integrated. The first is what is known as friction resistance and it is the most common. In short, by the turning of a knob, this system works with wool pads that tighten onto the flywheel. And, this can either be applied via a caliper style system or a single pad system (with the latter being less likely to move). The other resistance system is going to be magnetic and this works much in the same way. However, instead of pads, magnets will be moved closer to the flywheel and this will dictate the resistance.
Though advanced features are technically unneeded, some of you will appreciate the integration of an onboard console.
Before you get into this section, you need to ask yourself a question. Are you on a budget? If you are on a tight one, specifically, then all of this information may be irrelevant to you. There are spin bikes on the market that are very simple in their design. These models can perform extremely well but they may lack advanced features such as an onboard computer and any accessories.
If you are interested in investing in a model that sports a console, then understand something. Even these types of machines will typically not implement consoles that resemble the software found in most smart devices. Instead, all you may get is a backlit, LCD console that displays for you statistics such as calories burned, speed, RPM, and distance traveled. Furthermore, this information will most likely need to be saved manually if you shut down the machine (as their probably will not be built-in memory to store this information). In regard to accessories, most models will be limited here, as well. Although, you may see something such as an integrated water bottle holder.
Not only will you probably want to adjust the resistance level as you pedal but to adjust for your height, you will also need other adjustable components.
Buying a spin bike that can be adjusted is going to be critical for most of you. What makes it even more important is there are several different areas of adjustability that you need to look out for. To begin, you will probably be aiming to be able to adjust the resistance of your ride. Much like you would do with an outdoor bike and its gear system, these types of bikes can be adjusted if the design accounts for it. In fact, both of the aforementioned resistance systems (magnetic and friction) are designed to be adjusted. Typically, there will be an integrated resistance knob but if the system is advanced enough, you may be able to adjust the resistance via the console.
Of course, both the seat and the handlebars should be adjustable. Due to the fact that everyone is different, it is impossible for one set position to be comfortable for all users. With adjustable handlebars and an adjustable seat, you can tailor the machine to your height and preferences. Also, if you desire, make sure the handlebars can be adjusted in all four directions.
Even if the included seat is uncomfortable, you may be able to swap it out for another (but make sure this feature is present).
This section can be tough to assess, to be honest. What you may find uncomfortable, someone else may find comfortable. With that being said, it does not mean that you should not look for certain features that can enhance the comfort. Outside of the adjustability (which was documented earlier), you may want to analyze the design of the seat. Now, it is not uncommon for a spin bike to come with an uncomfortable seat. If this happens to be the case, then make sure you can switch out the seat for one with superior padding (much like you would do with an outdoor bike). Or, even if you can slide on a gel cover that can sometimes do the trick.
The last thing you want to do is buy a cheap piece of equipment, right?
Even if you do not want to spend a ton of money on a spin bike, you should still be able to find an affordable option that is built well. Most engineers will opt for a steel frame and it is certainly not hard to see why. Steel offers excellent durability and it can scratch and ding and still retain its structural integrity. Of course, this is a metal that is susceptible to rust. This is why if you do go with a model with a steel frame, you will want to look for a rustproof coating. Such an example is powder-coating and this is one of the most popular engineering techniques employed.
As far as another popular metal goes, aluminum, this is not as strong as steel and is more brittle. With that said, aluminum is a lot lighter than steel and it is also rustproof (though it can corrode). Either way you go, though, be sure to assess the weight capacity. Most options will support anywhere from 250 to 300 pounds, for the record.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When it comes to buying a spin bike, there are some absolutely critical design features that you will need to keep in mind. Of course, the first is the flywheel. This is really what powers this machine and what you need to keep an eye on is the weight. The heavier it is, the harder the workout can be. Also, keep an eye on the resistance system. Some utilize magnets while others wool pads.
Modern technologies continue to adapt and continue to become more advanced. However, this is an instance where the advanced technology is technically not needed. Yet, for a certain demographic, an onboard console is going to be mandatory. Even having simple statistics at your fingertips such as your calories burned, speed and total elapsed time can be crucial to you. Of course, there are other minor accessories (such as water bottle holders) that you may be interested in.
Have you ever owned a bicycle that implemented a single-gear system? While this cuts down on the complexity, it seriously limits the workout you can achieve. The good news is that is most likely not going to be the case with your new spin bike. Most models will come with a tension knob that can adjust the resistance level. Also, in regard to adjustability, look for adjustable handlebars and an adjustable seat.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are the benefits of indoor cycling?
There are really a ton of benefits to this type of an exercise (much like riding a normal bike). First off, it is a low-impact workout and it is not going to be tough on your joints. Plus, you can pop on your favorite TV show or movie in the background. Also, indoor cycling is an excellent way to burn calories. Oh yeah, and it can also improve your cardiovascular health so there is that.
q: What is the difference between this and a regular cycling bike?
In your head, you may think that there is no real different between this type of a bike and a regular cycling bike. Well, the main difference comes down to the respective drive mechanisms. What spin bike will implement is a flywheel and this has been discussed in-depth. However, normal cycling models will employ some sort of freewheel setup. Also, not to say that normal models can’t offer an intense workout but spin bikes are optimized for it.
q: Do you need special shoes?
Here is the deal; no, you technically do not need to wear special shoes when you are utilizing this machine. Yet, you should. While a normal pair of sneakers is going to suffice, nothing can beat the performance of a high-quality pair of cycling shoes. All in all, this footwear is going to be safer to use as they sport hard soles to disperse the weight and can also clip into the pedals.
q: Is this bad for your knees?
It was just mentioned that this is a form of low-impact exercising. Yet, a common issue with cycling users is that they experience knee pain. So, does that mean that the exercise is bad for your knees? No, it just means that you need to be performing correctly. It also helps to have high-quality equipment and good form. Also, the more you build your leg strength, the better off you are going to be.
q: Is proper adjustment mandatory?
In a way, yes, you could say that proper adjustments are mandatory. This really goes back to why being able to adjust the seat and the handlebars is so vital. Users of varying heights will need the seat and handlebars in different positions. If you ignore adjusting both to a comfortable position, it could lead to unwanted pain and also discomfort.
q: What about the noise factor?
While these machines will generate some noise, others will do so louder than others. What you really need to focus on, though, is proper maintenance. This is actually more of an issue with friction resistance systems as the pads can cause screeching noises. No worries; as all you need to remedy this issue is a bit of lubrication.