It might seem like the rise of spin cycling is a newer fad, with places like CycleBar popping up all over offering group spin classes, but the exercise has been around since the 1980s.
Then Peleton came along in 2012 with the idea of taking live spin classes into the home, so that you never have to step foot into a gym. The latter is a pricy option, but fortunately not your only option for spin bikes at home, which is where our guide comes in.
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How Indoor Spin Bikes Work
With the invention of electric bicycles, many people are using bikes as a mode of transport rather than exercise equipment. Indoor spinning classes have become a trendy and efficient way to improve fitness.
Spin bikes are indoor stationary bikes that work not only your glutes, but also your quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, and core. They are a high-intensity exercise that can burn 800+ calories per hour, and ideal for users short on time.
Indoor spin bikes are meant to mimic outdoor bike riding conditions. They have a weighted flywheel in the front that is locked to the pedals, meaning that the pedals will keep turning with the momentum of the flywheel, even if you've personally slowed down. On a spin bike, you are seated forward and will truly receive a total body workout.
Types of Exercise Bikes
Not all exercise bikes are created equal, and they vary greatly depending on your goals and lifestyle. Below are the four types of exercise bikes:
As stated above, spin bikes are meant to mimic intense outdoor cycling, like what you would see in the Tour de France. They provide a high-intensity cardio workout that can burn 800+ calories per hour. These bikes are intended for users who are already in shape, but beginners can quickly get there with a bit of practice. Check out these tips from SELF Magazine.
Recumbent bikes are made to allow the user to sit back in a relaxed position, with the pedals out in front of them. These bikes still allow for a cardio workout while focusing mostly on the lower half of your body (legs). Recumbent bikes are great for people who have back pain, as you can avoid the arching back required by other stationary bikes. They are also great for keeping seniors fit.
Upright bikes are similar to stationary spin bikes in their design, but allow the user to sit more upright. Whereas spin bikes really engage the core, upright stationary bikes are more focused on the quads, glutes, and calves. You can expect a moderate calorie burn with an upright bike. They might be a good stepping-stone to working your way up to a spin bike if you are out of shape.
Outdoor bikes come in many different styles. Average outdoor bikes come with several speed/resistance settings, and your workout will be based primarily on the conditions outside. Riding along a paved road without any hills will offer a completely different exercise than riding off-road on dirt trails. We always recommend wearing a helmet when riding an outdoor bike.
Benefits of Using a Spin Bike
There are numerous benefits to using a spin bike, all pointing to greater overall health. Here, we highlight our Top 3 Benefits of Using a Spin Bike:
- 1Increased Calorie Burn
We're all extraordinarily busy in this day-and-age, and not everyone has hours to work out daily. Spin bikes allow you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
- 2Heart Health
Cardio exercise not only strengthens your heart, but it also allows it to pump blood throughout your body more efficiently. Improving your heart health can also have a lasting impact on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- 3Reduced stress
Cardio exercising releases endorphins into our bloodstream, that "happy hormone" that gives us that high feeling during and after a workout. Releasing endorphins will not only make us feel momentary bliss, but it will also reduce overall stress.
How to Choose a Quality Indoor Cycle
The flywheel of a spin bike is perhaps the most critical feature, as it helps to keep the momentum going. It is generally considered that the heavier the flywheel, the better. Why? With a heavier flywheel, you won't have to pedal as hard to increase momentum, and you can take small breaks while your legs continue to be pulled by the energy you've already inputted. Check out this article for other reasons why the flywheel is important.
Unlike upright stationary bikes that can come with a multitude of resistant types, spin bikes generally fall into two categories: friction resistance and magnetic resistance. Friction resistance uses felt pads. Using a manual knob, you can increase or decrease the amount of friction on the flywheel based on your workout needs.
Magnetic resistance is when the flywheel is controlled the magnetic field that it spins within. There are essentially two magnets, and the closer they are to the flywheel, the more resistance will be felt. Magnetic resistance bikes are controlled with a knob or with buttons on the computer console.
User Weight Limitation
When it comes to weight capacity, you can expect the average home spin bike to be able to hold around 250 lbs. Models that are more heavy-duty or also marketed for professional gym use can often hold 350 lbs. or more, but will come with an extra cost. Users who are heavier than 350 pounds should check with their doctors before beginning a spinning regimen.
Spin bike handlebars are designed so that the user can hold them a couple of different ways: both in an upright position and a forward-leaning position like you would in a road race. If you have the opportunity to try a spin bike before purchases, make sure that the handlebars can adjust to a comfortable level.
Many bikes have handlebars that can adjust up and down, but some bikes only have adjustable seats, making a little more challenging to get just the right fit. Check out this video on how to properly set up your bike's handlebars:
When it comes to spin bikes, you will likely find that most of the seats resemble those of road-racing bikes. I would describe them as slim, solid, and uncomfortable. This is likely because they aren't built for comfort but instead are built for a place to rest your bottom during less-intense portions of your exercise.
In spinning, you will find that you'll be standing up for lengthy periods. If you're not satisfied with the seat that your spin bike comes with, there are broader, padded seat covers that can be purchased and universally used. Other riders compensate by wearing padded biking shorts.
The pedals on a spin bike can come in a few different styles, and over time many cyclists upgrade their pedals for a more professional ride. The first type of pedal is the standard bike pedal that we all know. Then some pedals come with straps so that you can essentially belt your shoes to the pedals and avoid any slipping.
As an alternative, some bikes have what they call pedal cages or pedal baskets, which are essentially a pocket to slip your shoe into. Professional cyclists often prefer to use spinning cleats, which are special shoes/pedals that essentially lock together during your ride.
Safety & Ease of Use
Making sure that your bike is set up the correct way is the number one thing you can do to safeguard yourself while spinning.
We also recommend familiarizing yourself with all the controls and features that your bike offers before embarking on your first ride. This will ensure that you know how to use the emergency stop, don't slip off the pedals, etc.
Many spin bikes come with convenience features, or extras to make your workout more efficient and enjoyable.
Some of these features include a braking system, adjustable tension levels, pedal features (like listed above), a heart rate monitor, preprogrammed exercise levels, a water bottle holder, and a media center (to hold your phone or tablet).
Display Console & Workout Programs
Some, but not all, spin bikes come with a display console and workout programs built-in. Unlike ellipticals where the console is almost standard, that is not the case with spin bikes.
So, if having a display console is important to you, then make sure the model you're looking at comes with one. Some bikes don't come with any console but are Bluetooth enabled so that you can use workout programs on your iPad or other WiFi connected device.
When purchasing a large piece of fitness equipment that you expect to work for several years to come, you will want to compare the types of warranties that are offered. It's pretty standard that spin bikes should come with at least a one-year warranty.
I would be incredibly wary of any bike that didn't. Many of the bikes in our article here have additional warranties. For example, the Bodycraft SPX Club comes with a lifetime warranty on the bike frame, a five-year warranty on parts, and even a two-year warranty on labor.
9 Best Spin Bikes Reviewed
1. ProGear 100S
Best Indoor Spin Bike for Home Use
Friction Resistance/ Chain Driven 22-lb Flywheel
For people up to 6’2”
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
The ProGear 100S is the best indoor spin bike for home use, not only because it is extremely quiet but also because it is compact and easy to store away. The 22-lb flywheel is chain driven to simulate real road conditions, and the resistance can be manually adjusted by using the tension knob.
One of the first accessories that spin bike owners purchase after their bike is a seat cushion because these at-home bikes are known for being uncomfortable. That's not the case with the ProGear 100S. It has the best seat for a spin bike, which is not only wide and comfortable but can be adjusted forwards, backward, up and down for the perfect "fit."
The idea of putting together a piece of exercise equipment can be quite daunting. If you have the extra cash, Amazon has an in-home expert setup that can be purchased at the same time as the equipment. But with a little time, even an average Joe should have no problems with installation.
Overall, we really don't think you can beat this bike, especially if you're a beginner when it comes to spinning. For the price of this bike, you will save bundles on trekking to the gym for cycling classes.
2. Keiser M3i
Best Commercial Spin Bike
No, but has Bluetooth-enabled Interactive Cycling
For people up to 7 ft
Yes – 3 Year Warranty on Frame / 6 Month Warranty on Parts
Many spinning enthusiasts are eager to find the same type of bike for home as they would find in a group spinning class. The Keiser M3i is the best commercial spin bike for home use with the quality you can trust from any marketable establishment. The entire bike is made in the United States and manufactured in California because of their high quality-control standards.
The Keiser M3i is especially unique in that it has a rear-facing flywheel that the creators describe as "out of the sweat zone." This allows the bike to maximize performance while safeguarding the heavy components from sweat and water.
I was slightly disappointed to find that the M3i doesn't have any onboard exercise programs, but it is Bluetooth-enabled to connect with what some users call the best spin bike app. The M Series app is free to download and use, and connects users to unlimited classes, both live and recorded. It is also compatible with the Peloton app (which does have a monthly fee.)
Check out our full guide to Keiser spin bikes, found here.
On the Keiser website, user Suzanne couldn't be happier with the bike. She says, "I did TONS of research on the high-end bikes and ultimately decided the Keiser M3i would actually be the best bike. I could not have been more correct! This bike is absolutely a dream come true! Yes it is expensive, but this is a professional level bike."
3. Sunny Health & Fitness Pro
Best Compact Spin Bike
Friction / Felt-Resistance (Belt or Chain Drive)
Yes – 3 Years Warranty on Frame / 6 Month Warranty on Parts
For those of us short on space, the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro is the best compact spin bike. It measures just 46.5" in length and 18" wide, which makes it ideal for a bedroom or small apartment. The bike itself does not fold up, but if you need to move it, it does have wheels for easy transportation on the front.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Pro is a solid piece of exercise equipment. The centerpiece of the design is a 40-lb flywheel. With a frame totaling 102 lbs. total you will feel like you have a sturdy bike underneath you, even if you're close to the 275 lb. weight limit.
For a complete video overview of the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro, check out this video:
Best Affordable Spin Bike
For people up to 6’2”
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
When looking for the best affordable spin bike, our checklist included finding a bike that was middle of the range, but still functional and stylish. We've hit all those checkmarks with this Ancheer model. At under $300, if you're a beginner or looking for a reasonably priced bike for occasional use, then this is the model for you.
The Ancheer spin bike comes in 3 different colors (silver, black and yellow), which is an excellent way to personalize your experience, especially if your home gym already includes other equipment like a treadmill or elliptical.
Of all the spin bikes we look at, the Ancheer is reviewed as one of the easiest to assemble. On the Ancheer website, reviewer Caesar Victor says, "Really great bike. I have no problem at all with it. Worth the money. This bike came with clear instructions and was easy to assemble. It is very solid and the adjustments are great."
The flywheel on the Ancheer spin bike is small, but a mighty 49 pounds that will genuinely make you feel like you're racing along a country road. While there aren't any built-in programs to follow, a small computer does display your distance, speed, duration, and calorie burn. There is a small tray that will hold your smartphone as well, although it is too short to hold a tablet.
5. Bodycraft SPX Club
Top of the Range
Patented Brake Resistance / Flywheel with Belt Drive
No / Bluetooth Enabled
Lifetime Warranty on Frame / 5 Year Warranty on Parts / 2 Year Warranty on Labor
The Bodycraft brand is known for carrying top of the range fitness equipment, and their SPX Indoor Training Cycle is no exception.
When purchased for in-home use, this Bodycraft model comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 5-year warranty for parts, and even a 2-year warranty on labor, which is almost unheard of for fitness equipment. A guarantee like that assures you that the Bodycraft design is the real deal, although it will cost you a pretty penny.
The ride on this bike is super quiet, which is great for people like me who like to watch the news while I get my workout in. Users cannot get enough of this bike.
On the Bodycraft website, using AJ says, "The BodyCraft bike is super smooth and quiet, and the design is really sleek and high quality. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. It was super easy to put together too; anyone could put it together- the hardest part was hauling all 133 pounds of it up my stairs.
You may need a little help if that is also your case. It is worth every penny and I felt the price was outstanding for this kind of quality. Thank you to the previous customers who rated this Five Stars as my decision to go with this bike was based on those reviews and they were absolutely right!"
The only downside to this machine is that even though it is Bluetooth enabled, the functions for computer with comprehensive feedback and tablet holders are sold separately.
6. Sole Fitness SB700
Best Spin Bike Under $1,000
Best Spin Bike Under $1,000
Yes – Lifetime Warranty on Frame / 3 Year Warranty on Parts / 1 Year Warranty on Labor
For cyclists who are looking to bring a professional-grade ride into their home, without paying the commercial price, the Sole Fitness SB700 is the best spin bike under $1,000. Described as the most stable and most solid ride in its class, this bike truly brings the high-end gym home. This is great if you're looking for a permanent set up in your house, but keep in mind if you'll be moving it out of the way often that it weighs in at a solid 140 lbs.
The built-in console will keep you up to date with your RPM, calories burned, time, distance, and speed. And unlike other heart rate monitors that try to find your pulse through your hands on the handlebars, the Sole Fitness comes with an adjustable, wireless chest strap that reads your heart rate for optimal training.
The only complaint we saw consistently with this bike was that users found the seat uncomfortable, which is something that can be remedied with extra padding.
Best Spin Bike Under $500
Yes – 3 Year Warranty on Frame / 90 Day Warranty on Parts
In my humble opinion, this spin bike by Efitment is in a class of its own because it brings you all the aspects of a spin bike but has the comfort of a leisure bike with its extra-wide seat. When we looked at all of the features that this bike has to offer, we were shocked to learn that it is also extremely budget-friendly. For that reason, we rate this Efitment model as the best spin bike under $500.
The Efitment Indoor Spin Cycle comes with a built-in LCD screen that will give you readings on your time, distance, scan, speed, calories burned, and pulse rate. Many users opt to purchase Wahoo RPM Cycling Speed and Cadence Sensor to go along with this bike. For under $50, this small Bluetooth sensor allows you to track real-time cycling info and pair it with your Apple Health App, or other similar fitness apps.
The magnetic resistance on this Efitment bike will ensure you not only a super smooth ride but also a nearly silent one. You won't need to turn up the TV when exercising on this bike. Not only that, but there aren't any felt pads that need replacing over time, so this bike is nearly maintenance-free.
8. Bladez Fitness Master GS
Best Value with Monitor
Yes – Lifetime Warranty on Frame / 1 Year Warranty on Parts and Labor
The Bladez Fitness Master GS is the best value indoor spin bike with a monitor. This bike falls well under the price of some of its more professional "siblings," but no one will know you didn't pay as much. The LCD monitor itself will give you accurate readings on speed, RPM, distance, calories, room temperature, and clock. It's also compatible with the Polar Heart Rate Monitor, which is sold separately.
On the Dick's Sporting Goods website with a review titled "I Love This Bike!!" user Jeff tells us, "I weigh 255 lbs. I could have spent 3X the money and not been happier. It's quiet, smooth and comfortable. I'm 5"11" and 67 yrs. old with a lower back issue and I have no problems with this bike."
My favorite feature of this bike is what they call their "micro-adjustable seat." Not only does it adjust up and down, but it can also change from back to front, meaning that you can easily find just the right fit for a comfortable ride.
For a complete overview of the Bladex Fitness Master GS, check out this video.
9. Marcy Club Revolution
Best Spin Bike for a Tall Person
Friction / Chain Driven
Yes – 1 Year Warranty
The Marcy Gymnasium Equipment Company has been a staple of fitness equipment in the US for over 50 years, and this Marcy Club Revolution is no exception to their quality products. Weighing in at just 83 pounds, this lightweight spin bike can hold an entire 300 pounds engaged in a standing position. Its sturdy structure makes it ideal for people who are tall and lean, with uses up to 6'2" impressed with how comfortably they can ride.
It should be noted that unlike most of the spin bikes in our list, the Marcy Club Revolution is chain driven instead of belt-driven. This means that it will likely be louder than spin bikes at a fitness center and will sound more like a road bike. Chain driven bikes also require more maintenance, with routine lubrication to keep them functioning correctly.
Belt Vs Chain Drives Explained
When it comes to belt vs. chain drive on a home spin bike, it really will come down to preference. Some of the bikes we looked at in this article can be customized to have either, like the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro. Belt drive exercise bikes are known for being incredibly quiet and smooth.
Belt drive requires virtually no maintenance. Chain driven exercise bikes provide more authentic sounds and feel of an actual road bike. They require regular maintenance.
So, which is better? For the beginner, I would recommend only looking for belt drive exercise bikes, as you learn the ins and outs of cycling. Belt drives are also great for anyone in apartments or parents in close quarters with sleeping children as they are whisper-quiet. For outdoor cyclists looking to bring their workout indoors, a chain drive system will probably be more satisfying.
How To Adjust Indoor Spin Bikes
When it comes to spinning, the most critical part of your workout takes place before you even begin to pedal, and that is adjusting your bike.
Without a proper adjustment, you not only risk feeling uncomfortable and awkward, but you can also injure yourself.
Correct form will ensure that you have the most efficient calorie-burning workout.
In general, you will need to adjust the seat height, knee bend, and handlebars.
This guide from Glamour Magazine walks you through how to adjust your spin bike properly.
The good news is that if you're purchasing a spin bike at home, you will likely only have to make these adjustments once for the perfect fit.
Care, Maintenance & Cleaning
If you take proper care of your spin bike, you will find that the upkeep and maintenance are easy over time. The most important thing to remember is that your spin bike needs to be wiped down after every ride.
This is not only polite etiquette within a gym but will also ensure that your salty sweat does not destroy your bike's parts over time. We recommend watching this two-minute video on how to maintain your spin bike.
Belt driven flywheels don't require any maintenance, but if you have a chain drive, you will need to keep the chain lubricated over time for optimal functioning.
Who can use Indoor Spin Bikes?
Spin bikes are ideal for people who have been cleared for moderate to high-intensity cardio workouts. In fact, many doctors even recommend spinning to their pregnant patients, because it offers a more stabilizing exercise than that of running on a treadmill or elliptical. Check out this article for safe spinning practices during pregnancy.
That is not to say that spinning is ideal for everyone, though. For people with chronic back pain or balance issues, a recumbent bike will likely be a better fit. As with any exercise equipment, if you're not sure, it's best to check with your doctor before trying.
Pointers for Beginners Cyclists
Before starting any exercise regimen, it's a good idea to talk to your primary doctor to make sure that your body is up to the task. For those who are in good health, it's still considered the best practice to enter the world of cycling slow. Failure to do so could cause injury or muscle wasting, a rare but severe disorder.
The important things to remember are to dress appropriately (no loose clothing!), set up your bike correctly, and have fun. If you're planning on following along with a class online, you might want to see if you'll need any weights, how long the class is, and any important lingo (like what a tap back is.)
Spin Bike Workouts
When it comes to finding spin bike workouts, your options are nearly endless as more companies bring their classes home with On Demand programming, like Studio SWEAT. Some of the bikes we've looked at, like the Keiser M3i, even have Bluetooth capabilities that allow you to plug in and compete in live classes, like those offered on the Peloton app.
Most of these platforms have a monthly or yearly membership fee, but there are still plenty of free trial workouts available on YouTube to get you started.
Spin Bike Accessories
When it comes to spinning, you want to avoid loose-fitting clothing on the bottom, as the extra fabric may become entangled in the bike as you use it (causing torn clothes or injury). I recommend investing in a good pair of spinning pants.
These form-fitting pants often have built-in padding on the rear for additional comfort. Many often include very light, breathable material that is quick to wick away sweat and dry out quickly.
It's crucial to stay hydrated during your spinning workout, as you will be losing water through sweat. Always make sure to keep a water bottle on hand.
Spin Bike Seat Cover
Some spin bikes come with extremely uncomfortable seats (maybe to motivate you to stand more during your ride?) For additional comfort, there is a multitude of spin bike seat covers that can be purchased to fit on top of yours. Some people even bring their covers to the gym to personalize their equipment every time.
Spin Bike Shoes
Are spin bike shoes necessary for your ride? No, not necessarily, but they will enhance your experience and performance. Spin bike shoes often have Velcro enclosures so that you don't have to worry about laces getting in the way of the flywheel.
Not all spin bikes have a place to put your iPad or tablet, which can be frustrating if you're planning on working with an app or YouTube video. Luckily the fix isn't costly. We have found that the best iPad mount for your spin bike is this one from Tackform Solutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which muscles of your body are being worked out by a spin bike?
Spin bikes work not only your glutes, but also your quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, and core.
How many calories can you burn on a spin bike?
According to SELF Magazine, a leisurely bike ride of 10-12 miles per hour will burn about 256 calories. More intense exercise regimens can burn up to almost 800 calories per hour.
Will you lose weight when using these exercise bikes?
Spinning, like any cardio exercise, is a great way to keep your heart healthy and burn fat. Spinning can help you lose weight, so long as you aren't replacing all those burned calories with beers and French fries after class. In addition to fat-burning, spin bikes are also great for building leg muscles.
Can seniors benefit from bikes?
Yes, seniors can very much benefit from the cardio exercise that comes from exercise bikes. Talk to your doctor about any limitations you may have before purchasing a bike. We recommend recumbent bikes for seniors, as they don't require an upright sitting position and you won't risk injuring your back.
Can I use these machines sitting and standing?
Yes! Spin bikes are designed that you can use them while sitting like you are riding down a country road or standing (as if you are climbing a hill). Most classes will require a combination of sitting and standing throughout.
Spin bike vs. upright bike. Which is better?
Spin bikes, as you can see through this guide, are made for moderate to high-intensity workouts that usually require the user to go through times of both sitting and standing. Upright bikes, on the other hand, are still made for exercise of course, but will only offer a moderate workout because their pedals are not reinforced for standing.
Also, their fan-driven mechanisms don't provide as much momentum and resistance, but their seats are usually more comfortable and allow for a more leisurely ride. Both types of bikes can offer you a heart-healthy workout, but if you're looking to amp of your game, we recommend a spin bike over a traditional upright.
Do these devices come assembled, or can I put them together easily?
Most spin bikes come unassembled, as it's the most efficient way for them to ship them to your home. However, Amazon does offer the option to include an expert assembly with your order. This usually costs between $80 and $100 and may be well worth it if you don't have the time to assemble the bike yourself.
Spinning is a great exercise, and whereas fitness centers offering classes are growing in popularity, there is also an excellent market for spinning at home. We hope our guide has helped point you in the direction of your ideal spin bike.
If you're just starting out, we recommend checking out the ProGear 100S. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it is a great starter bike for any cyclist.
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