Having any kind of gym equipment in the comfort of your own home can motivate you to get healthier and fitter.
For some people, it’s as simple as a yoga mat. For others, it’s a machine you can find at the gym.
One machine you can choose as your own is an indoor bike, which is simply a stationary spin bike that provides a full-body workout. Depending on what brand or model you get, spinning bikes can easily adjust their resistance, incline, and speed.
There are a lot of options and things to think about before investing like this. Don’t worry though; I’m here to help out. Here are some of the best spinning bikes out on the market today as rated by other consumers for function, durability and more.
Best Spin Bikes For Home Gyms Compared and Reviewed
|Top||NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle||NordicTrack||Check Price on Amazon|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycling Bike Pro||Sunny Health & Fitness||Check Price on Amazon|
|YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike||YOSUDA||Check Price on Amazon|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike||Sunny Health & Fitness||Check Price on Amazon|
|VIGBODY Exercise Bike||VIGBODY||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle
If you have some money to shell out, this is a spinning bike you might want to consider. NordicTrack has always been at the forefront of gym equipment, but it also comes with a hefty price tag.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about this bike is how it has a 22-inch touchscreen display to help keep you on your toes as you go on your cycling adventure.
How? Buying this spinning bike actually gives you 1 year of their membership program that provides different workouts that you can follow.
The cool thing about it is that some workouts include trainers who digitally adjust your incline and speed. That’s quite a challenge! The incline adjusts from -10 to 20 percent to increase the difficulty if you’d like.
Cycling can also get boring and repetitive, so the 24 digital resistance levels can be useful to keep you on your toes. The program can also imitate real-life terrain, and if the bike gets too much of a bore, you can follow their off the bike workouts.
If you feel like you’re getting stuck, the Android tablet display will help you get off your feet by showing you your stats, which include your heart rate, elevation, and intensity. In my opinion, these are slick features that will encourage you to push yourself more and more.
#2 - Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycling Bike Pro
I’ve always seen Sunny Health & Fitness as a good budget-friendly alternative to the pricey equipment you’ll find out there. That’s why they’re always some of my top picks, and that includes their spinning bike.
One of the important things you need in a good cycling bike is a heavy and supportive flywheel.
The flywheel is basically the gear that would be turning as you cycle. If this is too loose or too flimsy, then you’ll have an inconsistent cycling experience, which will hinder any progress.
They boast, though, that their flywheel weighs 40 pounds to promote consistent, smooth, and stable cycling.
The flywheel is also how you can increase or decrease your resistance to make your exercise more difficult. You only have to move the friction resistance knob.
I know a lot of fitness enthusiasts out there who drown in large gym equipment, so much so that it’s uncomfortable to use. This particular bike seat can easily adjust to your height and is adjustable in four ways.
The handlebar height is also adjustable. I also really like how this feels in your grip; it is firm but not harsh, and it has an ergonomic design so you can perform several riding styles.
Levelers are also included to create more stability as you cycle. These features are all great, but it’s scary to see some users report that it seems they were not sent brand new machines.
Some claim that theirs broke after only months. The 3-year warranty should make up for this, though.
#3 - YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike
That’s why I like placing budget-friendly options on my top choices. The YOSUDA indoor cycling bike is a surprising favorite.
To recap, the importance of a flywheel lies in its ability to create a smooth, consistent cycling motion. Unstable flywheels tend to be lighter, which causes inconsistent cycling and hinders progress. You want quite a hefty flywheel!
This particular bike has a flywheel weighing 35 pounds. It also has a belt system that is smoother and less noisy than the chain.
You can adjust the handlebars in two ways only. You lose the option of a semi-upright position.
It does have an LCD monitor to track your time, speed, distance, and calories, though, which I think is necessary to help you keep track of your progress.
If you want to watch some of your favorite series while cycling, you can with its iPad mount. Its transport wheels are also a plus for me.
One of the major cons for me in this bike is how little you can adjust both the handlebars and the seat height. The seat is also not as firm as you want it to be, so you’ll be feeling the metal frame instead of the seat.
#4 - Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
More than its pro model, it has a heavier flywheel that weighs 44 pounds, which will not only work your muscles more but will create a more stable, consistent ride.
Both its handlebar and seat are adjustable, which I really like. It also has a tablet holder that would be great if you want to watch anything while getting your workout in.
With its belt drive system, it has a smoother and quieter ride than you’d have with a chain. It also magnetically increases resistance, maintaining that smoothness and consistency. This makes it a low maintenance bike, too.
For safety, it has seat pedals and an emergency stop brake. Some users have even mentioned that you can use this instead of a Peleton bike, which is usually regarded as the top bike but is too expensive for most people.
There are a lot of scary complaints out there by users, including broken wheels, uncomfortable seats, and even emergency brakes being stuck. Their customer service proves to be responsive, though.
#5 - VIGBODY Exercise Bike
For starters, its belt drive is quite smooth, which I really like. Its main feature for me is its steel body. It is very clearly a durable bike with solid sturdy construction, especially with its square tubes, easily holding up to 330 pounds weight capacity.
It’s also easily adjustable, making it an inclusive bike for most heights and sizes. Its straps are also adjustable for whatever shoe size you need.
Increase or decrease the resistance with the turn of a knob. You also have an LCD monitor to display stats such as your time, speed, distance, and calories.
You can adjust your speed too, which is really important for me! Consistent speed makes for a more effective workout.
Its warranty also lasts up to 12 months, which is a great indicator of the quality of this product. Their customer service is also very clearly active, as users get responses from them whenever they complain.
Their complaints consist mostly of broken parts and poor assembly. It also is apparently not that great for taller people.
My Number One Pick
Key Considerations When Looking For The Best Indoor Cycling Bike
An indoor cycling bike is especially great for beginners who aren’t too keen yet on high-impact cardio exercises like running. Cardio can sometimes be really intimidating, and taking advantage of the support that a bike brings can ease you into your very own fitness routine.
Those who are more advanced in their fitness journey can definitely benefit from a spinning bike, too. Incorporating a new kind of movement into your routine or increasing the resistance of the bike can make you stronger.
I can’t say that a spinning bike is for everybody, so it’s important that you know your preferences in your fitness journey.
Some people might find the spinning bike absolutely exhilarating, while others might find it boring, especially those who are used to high-intensity cardio.
The difference between a spinning bike and an upright stationary bike, though, is that spinning bikes typically allow your upper body to be almost horizontal, which works your upper body more than the upright position. This effect is heightened when you stand up.
Don’t underestimate the bike! Despite the fact that it has a seat, things can get really intense. Put in more incline and more resistance and you’ll be heaving in no time.
Those are just examples of the things you can find in a good indoor bike. Here are some of the things you might want to think about while choosing your spinning indoor bike.
Incline and Body Position
I can explain the incline of an indoor bike in two parts. The first would be about the positioning of your body.
For a harder workout, you want your upper body to go lower. Some advanced cyclists like to have their handlebars lower than their seats, which makes it more difficult for both your upper body and lower body.
This is usually easily done since indoor spin bikes will usually have adjustments for both. The second incline I would like to mention is the actual incline of the bike itself. Some bikes go up to -15 degrees decline, meaning the front is lower than the back, mimicking the position of a bike when going downhill.
Incline mimics going uphill, which is why it’s deemed more difficult.
Some indoor spin bikes have a mind of its own, meaning that it doesn’t need your pedaling to move. It’s like a treadmill; your body has to adjust to the speed of the machine.
The advantage of using speed for a spin bike is you’re going to have a more consistent movement. It’s also much easier for you to remember your speed and gradually increase it in your next session.
To make things more challenging, you can increase the resistance of your spin bike.
Some make use of a resistance knob to easily make your flywheel heavier with the use of added friction. More resistance will require more force from your muscles, therefore strengthening them.
Does the flywheel create a consistent, smooth movement?
The flywheel is a critical part of your spin bike. If it does not move smoothly, it will not be as effective. To get your flywheel to move at a more consistent pace, you’re going to want a heavy flywheel, which is usually around 40 pounds.
You also want to check the material that keeps the wheel going, which is usually either a chain or a belt. I personally prefer a belt. Although it does not give you an authentic biking experience, it is lower maintenance and smoother.
Does it have protective features?
Some protective features you want to look out for is a pedal strap, which will keep your feet in place as you push down.
You also want to check if the handlebars are ergonomic, meaning that they can easily be gripped or can handle your forearms well.
Lastly, and probably the most important protective feature, is an emergency stop brake. Suddenly stopping after going incredibly fast on the bike will send you out of your seat, so having the emergency brake will stop it quickly if you need to.
Does it have added features, such as a display tablet with workouts?
A display tablet is definitely something to look out for, although it’s not a necessity. Some spin bikes will have an analog display in place of the tablet.
Any kind of display will usually do, as long as it shows some of my stats, such as my speed, time, and distance. These are things I usually keep mental notes of so I can improve in my next session.
Benefits Of Using A Indoor Spin Bike
You’ll find that a spinning bike has a lot of the same benefits that any cardio exercise has.
Although these benefits are quite similar, it really boils down to which cardio you actually enjoy doing.
An enjoyable exercise will help you be consistent with your fitness routine without feeling that exercise is a dreadful thing. This can also shake up things if your routine is too… well, routine.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll get from the exhilarating spinning bike exercise.
Spin bikes help you lose weight by burning calories
Most people turn to cardiovascular exercise to burn calories, which in turn helps them lose weight.
According to a Harvard study, a 155-pound person can burn 391 calories in a 30-minute vigorous stationary cycling session. Compare that to running at 5.2 mph with the same weight which has 335 calories in 30 minutes. Not too bad, eh?
If you want a more accurate way to figure out how many calories you’ll be burning for your weight and for a certain amount of time, I recommend that you check the MET value for stationary bicycling.
According to a study from 2011 by Ainsworth, et al. from the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, stationary bicycling has a MET level of 3.5 for very light to light effort and 6.8 for moderate to vigorous effort..
MET, aka metabolic equivalent, is essentially the rate at which energy is used, so a higher number means more energy consumed.
This can be converted to the number of calories using any online MET calculator, you can check one out here. You can also use the formula from the same 2011 study: calories = MET x weight in kilograms x duration in hours.
So, if you’re a 70-kilogram individual who went cycling vigorously for 30 minutes, the amount of calories you’ll be burning is equal to 6.8 x 70 kg x 0.5 hours = 238 calories.
That’s pretty good for a relatively low-impact exercise that has a seat! Speaking of which…
Low impact on your joints
Spinning is a low-impact exercise, which is great for older individuals who want to take care of their joints.
You younglings be not afraid, though, as this exercise is great for anyone who wants to get their heart rate up with a relatively lower risk of injury than, say, running.
This is because spinning involves a smoother, more consistent action that does not require too much shock absorption from your joints. If your flywheel is heavy enough, you’ll be eased into the exercise slowly.
Once you get the groove of it, though, it’s your cardiovascular system and muscles that will be working for you.
Improves your strength and fitness
Overall, spinning is a great way to improve your strength, not only in your lower body but also in your upper body.
Obviously, your lower body is there to keep your feet pedaling to resist the weight of the flywheel. This will get your leg muscles to work harder.
Your upper body is there to keep you stable as your legs push. Because spinning needs your body to be almost parallel to the floor, your gravity is as heavy as ever, placing pressure on your back, shoulders, chest, and arms.
If you’re curious, here is a list by Healthline about the muscles worked in indoor cycling:
- Core – Stabilizes your body
- Upper body – Supports your body as you pedal. You can also add weights such as dumbbells to increase pressure.
- Back – Stabilizes your body
- Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, lower legs – These muscles are strengthened by the cycling motion.
Some Questions You Might Have About Indoor Cycling Bikes
Q: Are spinning bikes effective for weight loss?
A: Because spinning bikes induce calorie burning, it can be very effective for weight loss. However, don’t expect it to be an easy fix. As with any other exercise, you will see weight loss results if you do the exercise consistently. That means exercising 3 to 6 times a week!
Q: Can I use a spin bike even with knee and hip pain?
A: Generally, yes! Spin bikes are low impact exercises, which means that you won’t be feeling too much shock at your joints. Instead, you’ll be feeling it in your muscles and your cardiovascular system. Make sure to check with your doctor first, though, and to start slow.
Q: How do I know when my seat and handlebars are adjusted?
A: Spin bikes usually will require that your seat and handlebar are only a few inches apart, if not at the same level. To know when your seat is close enough to the handlebar, simply measure out the space between the edge of the seat to the edge of the handlebar with your forearm. The seat must be touching your elbow, and your fingers touching the edge of the handlebar.
Spin bikes are a great way to introduce a new cardio exercise in your fitness routine, whether you are advanced in your fitness routine and want to shake things up, or if you’re a beginner who is too wary of other high-impact exercises.
Spin bikes usually come with quite a hefty price tag, so make sure to do your research before purchasing. Try on spin bikes at the store and see which kind of exercise bike you like, or if you prefer a chain to a belt.
Have fun cycling your way to the top!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.