How to Choose a Spin Bike: The Complete Buying Guide
What Is a Spin Bike?
You'll be riding nowhere, pedalling inside the comfort of your own home. These feature-rich spinning bikes allow you to benefit from a bike ride whether it’s snowing outside or a hot summer day.
You can purchase an entry-level bike that has minimal features or a high-end model with robust features.
If you’re considering indoor cycling but are unsure if a spin bike is the right choice for you, this spin bike buying guide will help you to make a decision.
If you're still struggling, don't hesitate to get in touch!
What Features to Look for in a Spin Bike
Spinning bikes can have complex features, such as riding programs, or they can be basic with a simple monitor and resistance. At the heart of every bike, there are a few main features to consider:
- Resistance - The resistance level types available are outlined extensively below. Different resistance types have different benefits which are outlined extensively in the next section of this article.
- Adjusting – A variety of adjustable features may or may not be available. Seats, handlebars and foot pedal adjustments allow for users of all heights to use their bike with proper form.
- Consoles -The console is the “brains” of your bike, allowing for greater control over your session. Monitor your intensity, time, distance or calories burned. You can also change resistance and maybe even scroll through different programmes.
Additional features that should be considered are:
- Flywheel weight
- Seat padding
- Weight capacity
- Workout tracking
So how do you choose the right spin bike? Ratings and reviews are a good starting point and can help you find a bike that fits in your budget and is well-made.
Flywheel weight will impact performance slightly. You need to exert more energy to propel a larger flywheel. The initial stroke will be the most notable with a heavier flywheel. Larger flywheels allow for a smoother cycling experience and give you a feel that is closer to riding a normal bike.
Larger flywheels add to the weight of the bike and will help you burn more calories, too.
All of these features go into the “perfect” bike, but you need to consider your budget, too. If you have a higher budget, you’ll be able to purchase a spin bike that has a more advanced console, perhaps a built-in heart rate monitor and programmes to follow.
What Resistance Types Are Available
Spin bike resistance is one of the most important features you can look for when making a purchase. The resistance will increase your:
- Calories burned
- Fitness levels
- Muscle growth
Resistance will put a higher demand on your quadricep muscles, allowing you to grow your muscles faster.
The main spin bike resistance types are:
Magnetic resistance is the new leader in stationary bike resistance. The advantage of magnetic resistance is that there’s no wear and tear. You can continue using resistance without friction or contact, leading to costly repairs.
When electromagnetic resistance is provided, the resistance remains constant and reliable.
There are magnetic bars on each side of the flywheel to provide resistance. Numerous resistance levels are often available, so there’s a limit to the resistance level you can choose. You won’t have to worry about lubrication, dust or noise production with magnetic resistance.
A mechanical resistance is similar to brake-based resistance. Rubber pads are placed on each side of the flywheel to make it more difficult to cycle. Using a tension knob, you can slowly increase intensity levels.
The pads, since they use friction to create resistance, do increase noise production.
Lubricating the flywheel often is required to keep noise production at a minimum.
The introduction of fan-based resistance allows you to pedal faster to increase intensity. A giant fan and belt are included on these stationary bikes, making them larger than models with other resistance levels.
You won’t have to maintain fan bikes as often, and you can burn significantly more calories on these bikes. Handles on these bikes move, allowing for a full body workout.
The downside of a fan-based bike is that you’ll need to have a larger space to hold your bike and resistance is less accurate than other forms of resistance. If you have an off day, the resistance will go only as high as your intensity.
Magnetic and fan-based resistance are the two most common. If you plan on adding resistance to your cardio session, be sure to consider the type of resistance before making your purchase.
How Many Calories Can You Burn on a Spin Bike?
The calories you burn during your session can range from 0 to 1,000+ calories or more per session. A lot of factors go into the number of calories you’ll burn, including:
- Fitness level
A 30-minute session will burn less calories than a 60-minute session. For example, let’s assume that you weigh 14 stone and engage in a 60-minute cycling session. You'll burn the following calories depending on intensity:
- 668 calories at low intensity
- 822 calories at mid intensity
- 976 calories at high intensity
Multiple factors go into your overall energy expenditure and caloric burn. You can add in resistance for added difficulty and measure your heart rate to better know how many calories you’re burning.
If you cycle at a high intensity level, you’ll burn more calories than a person cycling at a leisurely pace.
How Much Does a Spinning Bike Cost?
Costs vary from one spin bike to the next. Models vary in intensity and quality, which is reflected in the price. A general price range is from:
- £110 to £7,000+
Most people don’t need the high-end indoor bike that is priced as high as £7,000. You can purchase a decent spin bike for £100, but you’ll be sacrificing features and quality. These lower-priced models will still help increase your heart rate and burn excess calories.
Ideally, if you plan on using your bike frequently, you’ll spend £200 or more.
These are still low-end bikes, but they get incrementally better when you reach the £200 to £350 range.
We have a range of spin bikes available to suit a wide range of budgets: