If you are looking to keep fit from the comfort of your own home, an exercise bike is a great option. There are many different kinds of exercise bikes out there and the choices can be a bit overwhelming and confusing.
A spin bike is a brilliant option to get your heart racing and keep you fit and healthy. In this article I’ll take a closer look at the key elements to consider before buying a spin bike. Then I will share some top picks, along with their pros and cons.
What Is a Spin Bike?
A spin bike is an indoor, stationary exercise bike. Commonly used in ‘spinning’ classes at the gym, a spin bike can easily be used at home too. Users are positioned in the same way they would be when riding a bicycle.
A spin exercise bike features a weighted flywheel and adjustable resistance. This allows users to alter the intensity of their workout. The flywheel is what sets a spin bike apart from other indoor exercise bikes.
The design of the weighted flywheel mimics the feeling of being on a real bike. This is done through a build up of momentum, combined with some resistance via brakes. The weight of the flywheel directly impacts the amount of momentum that can be achieved when riding.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Spin Bike?
Using a spin bike makes exercising at home easy and convenient. There are a number of great benefits from using a spin bike. Firstly, it is a relatively low impact method of exercise.
This means that you are less likely to suffer strains or injury. Unlike running, cycling is not tough on your joints. You can cycle regularly without risk to your hips, knees or ankles.
As cycling is such a great workout, it’s incredibly beneficial for cardiovascular health. Getting your heart rate up while cycling strengthens your heart and improves circulation. In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, cycling is also a great calorie burner. (1)
Depending on the length or intensity of your workout session, you could burn over 1,000 calories in just one session. This amount of calories is burned because indoor cycling, or spinning, is a full body workout. Not only are your legs being worked by pedaling, but your arms are engaged by supporting your upper body. (2)
Holding onto the handlebars works your shoulders and arms. You will also find that your abdominal muscles are engaged and working throughout a cycling workout too. Because of this, it’s one of my favorite exercises.
What to Look for in a Spin Bike
When it comes to purchasing a spin bike, consider the following features.
Some spin bikes come complete with a built-in computer display. This display may show you the revolutions per minute (RPM), time, resistance and distance. However, these trackers might not be as accurate or detailed as other kinds of exercise bikes.
This may be an important factor you to consider when purchasing a spin bike. Having a computer to keep track of your workout is hugely beneficial for tracking your progress. However, you could also consider using other equipment if you are looking for consistent and accurate results. (3)
Another key factor to consider when purchasing a spin bike is how easy it is to adjust. The best option would be a bike that allows you to adjust the seat position and height, as well as the handlebars and pedals.
This is very important to ensure you are comfortable, and safe, during your workout.
If your seat or handlebars are not in the correct position or height, you will not only be uncomfortable but could risk injuring yourself.
In my opinion, one of the most important features of an indoor cycling workout is resistance. Using resistance is a key part to the workout, to adapt the intensity. Therefore, it is important to choose a bike that allows you to alter the level of resistance.
Tips for Spinning at Home
Before you start working on your spin bike at home, here are some handy tips to ensure the best experience.
Make sure to wear clothing that is not loose fitting when working out. Shorts or tight gym leggings are the best option for extra comfort and safety. Loose clothing can get caught in the pedals or gears and cause injury.
Also be sure to wear the correct footwear to give your feet good grip on the pedals and to keep them safe. When spinning, your feet are very close to the moving parts around the pedals.
In order to help prevent injury, there are special types of indoor bike shoes that don’t have laces. Stray laces getting caught in the pedals can result in injured feet or ankles.
If you are likely to be regularly spinning at home, it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of cycle shoes. This will not only make your cycling more comfortable, but massively lowers the risk of injury.
Spin bikes typically don’t come with built-in pre-programmed workouts. With that said, to make the most of your spin bike, look for spin bike workouts online or on DVD. This way you have a clear focus and something to follow.
It will not only help to make your workout more structured, but will also keep you focused. Following a workout video can improve your motivation and even help you to challenge yourself more than you might on your own.
As exercise equipment can be quite expensive, it is important to look after it properly to make sure it performs for some time. While exercise bikes are generally made to be tough and built to last, there are few things you can do to maintain your bike.
The most important thing is to avoid moisture. Make sure you wipe your bike down after every use to remove any sweat or moisture from the bike. Moisture can cause corrosion on any metal parts of your bike. If the metal on your bike starts to corrode, it can affect the overall function of the machine.
The Best Spin Bikes Reviewed (Our Choices)
Marcy Club Revolution Cycle XJ-3220
The XJ-3220 is a great option for a spin bike at home. It features a strong, durable frame which can be transported smoothly around the house, thanks to its wheels. This bike can also be easily adjusted for different body shapes, to work out with ease.
The seat, pedals and handlebars are all fully adjustable, which is great for safety and comfort. Marcy has really made a safety a priority with this bike too, by including a quick-stop brake. This allows users to quickly and effectively stop the flywheel.
Some users have highlighted that this bike can be a bit loud during use. So it might not be the best option if you are sharing a house with others.
The XJ-3220 doesn’t have a built-in computer. Considering this factor, you may want to use other equipment to monitor your heart rate and the time of your workout.
However, this may not be a problem for you if you are planning on following different workout videos at home.
A great feature about this spin bike is the weight of its flywheel. This bike features a 40-pound flywheel, which is good for building momentum.
- Rust and corrosion-resistant, making it stand the test of time.
- Adjustable seat, pedals and handlebars.
- Quick stop brake is a brilliant security measure to keep users safe.
- Easy to adjust resistance.
- Transport wheels make it easy to move around the house.
- Can be a bit loud during use.
- No tracking monitor.
Akonza Stationary Exercise Bike
Akonza’s stationary exercise bike is another great option for an at-home spin bike. It features a built-in LED display to track your workout and progress. Users can easily adjust the seat, handlebars and pedals for a safe and comfortable ride.
Some reviews reflect that the seat itself is not very comfortable. This may be a deal-breaker for some, however, this issue can easily be fixed.
If you are looking to make your bike seat more padded and comfortable, there are padded gel seat covers available online. Users can also buy padded cycling shorts to make their workout more comfortable.
The flywheel of this bike weighs 33 pounds. While this is not a bad weight, if the flywheel was a little heavier, better momentum could be achieved.
- The built-in digital computer is great to track progress.
- Portable with easy transport wheels.
- Resistance is adjustable, makes each workout session unique and challenging.
- Adjustable seat, pedals and handlebars.
- Uncomfortable seat.
- Flywheel a little on the light side.
EFITMENT Indoor Exercise Bike
EFITMENT’s indoor spin bike has some great features. First of all, it features magnetic resistance as opposed to friction resistance. This makes the bike quieter and smoother when using it.
This indoor spin bike comes complete with an LCD screen and pulse sensors to monitor and track your workout. While this is a great feature to include, the execution could be better. Some reviews reflect that the quality of the LCD is not great and that the pulse reader is inaccurate.
Users are in for a good workout with this bike’s 40-pound flywheel. This makes it easy to build up momentum for a more effective workout. With fully adjustable handlebars, seat and pedals, users can make it as comfortable as possible.
While I’m mentioning comfort, the bike comes complete with a large padded seat. The seat is slightly wider than other spin bike seats and features extra padding. This is something which you will be grateful for during a long workout.
Finally, this bike does come equipped with an emergency brake as an added safety feature. However, some reviews have highlighted that the brake takes a few seconds to stop the wheel. With that said, you may want to approach with caution if you are a beginner and are worried about safely stopping the bike quickly.
- Digital monitor helps to track your workout progress.
- Adjustable seat, handlebars and pedals.
- Extra padding on the seat.
- Micro adjustable magnetic resistance.
- Emergency brake slow to respond.
- LCD quality and accuracy not great.
L NOW Indoor Cycling Bike
Another great spin bike is L NOW’s indoor cycling bike. With multi-grip and adjustable handlebars, users have extra options to ensure the right position and comfort. The heavy-duty steel frame also features a turning knob for adjusting resistance.
The flywheel of this bike is the lightest of our top choices at only 20 pounds. This is not the best option for those looking for higher momentum. However, a lighter flywheel makes the bike easier to move around the house and store.
Users who are over six feet tall may want to choose a different bike, as the seat adjustment does not really accommodate very tall people. However, if height is not an issue, this bike’s LCD monitor tracks and monitors your workout very well. This bike is a great all-round choice, especially for those looking for extra portability at home.
- Multi-grip handlebar is excellent for added comfort.
- LCD monitor to help track your progress.
- Easily adjustable resistance which is great for a varied workout.
- Lightweight and portable, with travel wheels.
- Lighter flywheel: not as much momentum built up during exercise.
- Seat adjustment insufficient for taller riders.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 Bike
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1002 has the heaviest flywheel of our top picks. Complete with a 49-pound flywheel, momentum is at its best on this bike. The handlebars, seat and pedals are all easily adjustable on this bike too.
If you are particularly tall, this could be a great option for you. The seat’s inseam features a range of 29–40 inches, which is a great deal of adjustability for users of all heights. Portability is also really easy with this bike, thanks to its transport wheels.
If you are looking to monitor and track your workouts, then this might not be the best option for you. The SF-B1002 has no monitor or LCD screen to track your workout. If required, you would have to use extra equipment to track distance, time and heart rate.
- Fully adjustable handlebars, pedals and seat.
- Quiet belt system means you can exercise in peace.
- Heavy flywheel helps build a good amount of momentum.
- Easily adjustable resistance which is great for adapting your workout.
- No digital monitor to track your progress.
- Seat not very comfortable—could be an issue for long workouts.
If you are looking for an amazing full-body workout then a spin bike is a great option. Make sure to select a bike that is adjustable, for safety and comfort. Also choose a bike that you can adjust the resistance of, to make the most of each workout.
Not all spin bikes come with built-in LCD computers to track your workouts and progress. If you are looking to track certain elements of your workout accurately, you may want to consider using extra equipment. While some spin bikes do come with built-in tracking equipment, it is not always accurate.
When it comes to a favorite, I would have to side with the L NOW indoor cycling bike. This bike has a great selection of features, including a built-in tracker and monitor. I also love that this bike has a multi-grip handlebar for extra comfort and support when cycling.
In terms of getting the most out of your spin bike, take care of it by keeping it clean and dry after each use. Also, remember to wear appropriate clothing and stay hydrated. Cycling can—and should—really get your heart rate pumping.