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All You Need To Know About the Best Spin Bikes of 2021

If you’re looking to take your cycle training indoors, there’s no better way than choosing one of the best spin bikes available in 2021.

Spin bikes are the indoor bikes you see in spin classes at the gym. They’re adjustable stationary bikes that usually use a flywheel for resistance so you get the best workout. They also have different bar setups so you can use them for standing and pedaling, as well as seated efforts.

Indoor exercise bikes, however, are slightly different. They can come in either reclined or upright positions, and use a lighter flywheel, offering slightly less resistance.

Both are great tools to use to get fit, so let’s take a look at all you need to know about the best spin bikes of 2021.

spin bike vs upright bike


 

Table of Contents

1. Spin Bikes 101
Terminology
Spin bike vs.
Technology

2. Best Spin Bikes of 2021 🏆
+ Accessories

3. Getting Started

4. FAQs


 

 

 

How To Choose?

What is a spin bike?

Spin bike is a trademark of a fitness-focused type of indoor exercise bike. Unlike a workout on a regular exercise bike, spinning is considered a high-intensity workout as the rider is positioned similarly to that of road bike geometry.

WORKOUT

Another difference is also the type of workout that can be done on a spin bike. For example, you can test your strength by standing and riding. This is key, as it leads to many more muscles groups getting a solid workout compared to a standard exercise bike. 

TYPES OF RESISTANCE

Resistance on a spin bike is created by fans, magnets, and/or friction mechanisms aka flywheels.

Are spin bikes the most advanced exercises bikes?

Although spin bikes allow you to get in shape and maintain your fitness levels, their technology is not the most complex. It is the smart bike trainers that are believed to be the best in terms of technology and program integration (for example with Zwift). 

Exercise bike = Exercycle

Spin Bike = Spin Cycle = Spin Cycle Bike

Started out in 1993? – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinning_(cycling)

spin bike at a gym

One of the most popular spin/smart trainers – the Peloton. Image source: Unsplash.com


Spin bike must-have features √

A large, momentum-driven flywheel that is separate from the pedals

Road-bike position

Drop-bar handlebar

Adjustability on the seat & handlebars

Stand-up pedaling for sprints and climbs

No digital console

Resistance knob

Transportation wheels

Chain Guard

Stabilizer bars with levers


 

Spin Bikes 101 Guide

 


 

Terminology

IC Bike = Indoor Cycling Bike

Exercise bike = A common term for indoor training bike.

Stationary Bike = Any indoor training bike.

Spin bikeSpin cycle. A performance exercise bike where the position resembles riding a road bike.

Upright bike = One of the most common indoor cycling types.

Recumbent bike = The most comfortable exercise bike. Large seat, reclined body position where the pedals are in the front. Suitable for beginners or anyone with an injury.

*The position on a recumbent bike is believed to be the ‘healthiest’ due to its low-resistance effects on the body.

Fluid Trainer = A type of indoor training equipment where the actual road bike is used on a rolling trainer.

types of exercise bikes

Spin bikes can be distinguished by the resistance knob on the frame

The PURPOSE of Spin Bikes
Spin bikes are mainly designed to be used in spin classes at gyms.
Exercise bikes in general are mainly used at home for overall well-being.

COMMON FEATURES of Exercise Bikes & Spin Bikes

  • Increased fitness
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Muscle strength building
  • Weight loss

Stationary bikes are less intense versions of the spin bike. Most home-use stationary bikes are basically exercise bikes while the spin bike is a more performance-focused version of that. The primary use of a spin bike is spinning, whereas the stationary bike is used for regular cycling.

MUSCLE WORKOUT – Spin bike vs. Exercise Bikes.
Muscles used on a regular bike: Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes, Quads
Muscles used on a spin bike: Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes, Quads + Shoulder, Back, Core, Biceps, and Triceps (When standing up).

*Antagonist muscles are activated by pedaling backwards.

WORKOUT MODES on Spin vs. Exercise Bikes
Workouts on a regular stationary bike: Increase resistance, increase speed.
Spin Bike Workout: Increase resistance, increase speed, standing.

Body POSITION
Body position on a spin bike resembles riding a road bike, whereas an exercise bike has a more comfortable, upright bike riding position.


Spin Bikes vs.

Spin Bike vs Stationary Bike

A spin bike is considered to be a stationary bike due as it is static stand. All indoor exercise bikes are stationary bikes, not including the fluid and roller trainers.

Spin Bike vs Exercise Bike

An exercise bike is commonly known as any sort of indoor stationary bicycle, while a spin bike is the performance version of that.

Spin Bike vs Recumbent Bike

Although the two are indeed stationary bikes, they fall under different proposed uses. Spin bikes are the performance indoor training bikes, while the recumbent is used for recreational training. Recumbent bikes are often used at gyms as warm-up or cool-down tools, while the spin bike is used for intense workouts.

Recumbent bikes have large saddles, and a comfortable seating position while the spin bikes are focused on maximum power output.

spin bike vs upright bike

Spin bike resembles a road bike riding, while an upright bike is best for comfortable commuting

Upright bike vs Spin Bike

Upright training bikes are comfortable and often used by beginner or recreational cyclists. The riding position on an upright fitness bike resembles riding a comfort bike, while a spin bike resembles riding a road bike.

  • Spin bikes have manual resistance
  • Spin bikes can be pedaled standing up
  • Spin bikes have wide adjustability on the saddle and handlebar
  • Spin bikes are great for HIIT workouts
  • Spin bikes are more expensive

Spin Bike vs Smart Bike Trainer

Smart trainers come in various forms, but they are all focused on smart connectivity to get as much data as possible. Most smart bike trainers are designed to fit road bikes, although it is possible on some to use adaptors for thru-axle wheels such as those commonly found on mountain bikes. 

Fluid Trainer vs Stationary Bike

Fluid trainers are convenient to use with road bikes. They are a great alternative if you have limited space at your home, and would like to use your own bicycle.

*It is recommended to use a slick or turbo specific tire on a wheel-on/fluid trainer since there’s direct contact between the tire and the trainer

bike roller vs fluid trainer

Alternatives to spin bikes Bike roller (Left), Fluid Trainer (Right).

Belt vs Chain

Chain and belt drives are two common styles of drivetrains on spin bikes.

Chains are the same as those found on regular bikes, whereas belt drives use a rubber belt in order to drive the flywheel of the spin bike. Chains are typically found on older or cheaper models of spin bikes as they wear faster and are noisier than belts. Belt drives are strong and often reinforced with kevlar for maximum durability.

They also require far less maintenance than chain drives, as they require no regular oiling or cleaning.

Monthly Subscriptions

Some spin bikes also come with hi-tech software that allows users to take part in online classes, training programs and more.

These are often subject to monthly subscriptions, which can vary in price. Some bikes can also be rented rather than bought outright, and just paid for by a monthly subscription cost.

Make sure you decide what you want out of your spin/exercise bike before purchasing to avoid any unexpected costs!


 

Best Spin Bikes of 2021 🏆

The following list of top spin bikes has been put together after in-depth research of what consumers look out for the most

 


 

NordicTrack – Commercial Studio Cycle

One year free training program, and 50% less than the Peloton or Echelon monthly subscriptions

NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle

Available in two sizes: 15″ and 22″

Check Price at Amazon.com

The Nordictrack Commercial Studio Cycle exercise bike is an Amazon favorite, and for good reason.

This indoor spin bike comes with a 22″ interactive screen which can display iFIT workouts and streams for you to follow while you ride. It also uses a Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) belt to provide smooth and quiet riding. If you use the iFIT workout, your bike will automatically adjust the resistance to the required level. Thus eliminating the need to manually adjust your resistance so you can focus on getting the best workout in.

At $3,699 it’s not cheap, but it’s a great tool for getting fit or using as an alternative to an outdoor bike when the weather is unpleasant.

  • Number of resistance levels: 24
  • Weight: 203lbs (92kg)
  • 22″ HD touch-screen
  • 10-year frame warranty, 2 years on the parts 🏆
  • Drivetrain: Belt
  • Max weight capacity: 350 lbs

 

Stages SC3

MSRP $2,690 Stages Cycling

The popular cycling power meter manufacturers Stages have their own spin bike; the Stages SC3.

This Stages spin bike is used in spin studios across the world, and they are widely regarded as one of the leaders in indoor cycling technology. It’s compatible with most indoor training apps including Zwift, Trainer Road, and Rouvy, so you can ride with your friends indoors or complete workouts and races. It’s one of the few bicycle trainers that use an attached power meter, so it’s well worth the price of $2,690. Using a Gates Carbon Belt Drive means the bike is quiet and fuss-free when it comes to maintenance.

The high-inertia flywheel makes for a smooth power transition, and the bike is highly adjustable, suiting riders from 4’10” to 6’10”.

  • Weight: 96 lbs
  • Max rider weight: 350 lbs
  • Compatibility: Zwift, Rouvy, Trainer Road, Road Gran Tour, Fulgaz
  • Drivetrain: Gates Carbon Belt Drive

Maximum rider height: 6’9″ / 208cm
Minimum rider height: 4’10” / 147cm


 

Bowflex C7

bowflex fitness bike

Check Availability – Amazon.com

Another Amazon favorite is the Bowflex spin bike, the C7.

This stationary spin bike uses smooth magnetic resistance that can be altered with a knob, with over 100 resistances to choose from. The Bowflex C7 uses the JRNY Experience technology to integrate workouts and app connectivity into your bike’s console. This means you can watch your favorite Netflix program while riding or follow along with trainer-led workouts.

An easy to use cheaper alternative to the bigger brand names, the C7 is a nifty spin bike that will help you reach your fitness goals from the comfort of your own home.

  • 7@ HD touchscreen
  • 100 Resistance Levels
  • Bluetooth connectivity, most-used apps available (Peloton, Zwift)
  • 3.3 lbs dumbbells included (1.5kg)
  • Dual side pedals
  • Dual water bottle holders
  • Bluetooth: HR armband, speakers
  • Weight: 111.1 lbs (50,4 kg)
  • Drivetrain: Belt

 

Max rider weight: 330lbs (150kg)


 

Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor – SF-B1002/C

Check Price at Amazon.com

This Sunny spin bike is a great training option for those on a budget.

Costing less than $1,000 at the time of writing, the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor SF-B1002/C is an adjustable static bike that uses a chain drive for multi-resistance cycle training. It uses a heavy 40lb flywheel for smooth riding and there is a knob adjuster for you to change the resistance according to your workout requirements. It comes with a bottle holder and caged/spd compatible pedals.

The SF-B1002/C is a great starter spin bike for those looking for a bargain.

  • Weight: 114 lbs
  • Max rider weight: 265 lbs
  • Flywheel: 49 lbs (22kg)
  • Drivetrain: Chain

Maximum height: 6′ (183cm)
Minimum height:  5′ (152cm)


 

Proform – Smart Power 10.0 Pro

Studio Bike Pro 22

MSRP $1,499 Proform.com

The Proform Smart Power 10.0 Pro is a high tech spin bike with plenty of built-in technology to help you reach your fitness goals.

It comes equipped with a 22″ touch screen and a one-year 1Fit membership which opens up a world of interactive workouts for you to do from the comfort of your own home. Dumbbells are also included for those who like to cross-train, and their patented Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) technology means you won’t disturb others in your house while you exercise.

At $1,499 the Proform Smart Power 10.0 Pro is a great bit of kit for the money.

  • 22″ touch screen
  • Automatic resistance change
  • Includes 1-year iFit Family membership
  • Easy to roll
  • 24 digital levels of resistance
  • 250lb weight capacity
  • Weight: 144 lbs
  • Drivetrain: Belt

 

Schwinn IC3

Well-known brand’s entry into spin bike market

Check Price at Amazon.com

Schwinn and cycling go together like bread and butter.

One of the oldest and largest bike brands in the market produces a wide variety of exercise bikes, and the IC3 is believed to be the most popular choice. This Schwinn spin bike comes with a heavy 40lbs flywheel for super smooth spinning and an adjustable frame so you can find the best fit. It also comes with an LCD screen to keep track of your riding metrics such as time, calories burnt, distance, and RPM.

At just over $1,000 it’s a bargain for anyone looking to get started with an indoor spin bike from a brand you can trust.

  • Max weight: 300 lb
  • 40 lbs flywheel
  • Weight: 100 lbs
  • Ventilated seat
  • Water bottle holder and media rack
  • Drivetrain: Belt

 

JOROTO X2

Whisper quiet

Check Price at Amazon.com

The Joroto X2 is an affordable belt-driven spin bike.

Using magnetic resistance (with seven magnets) for whisper-quiet riding, the X2 makes sure you can ride without disturbing neighbors or others in your house. The bike is fully adjustable to make sure it fits almost anyone, making spinning more accessible. It comes with caged pedals so you don’t need specific cycling shoes to get the most out of the bike.

The Joroto X2 is an affordable spin bike, ideal for those looking for their first indoor riding experience. And if you buy from Amazon, the company offers one year of free replacement parts.

  • Belt-driven
  • Weight: 94 lbs
  • Transportation wheels
  • Bidirectional flywheel
  • Magnetic resistance (7x magnets)
  • Drivetrain: Belt

Inseam capacity: 27.5″ – 36.2″
Max Weight: 300 lbs


 

How To Set Up a Spin Bike?

If you’re lucky enough to have bought a spin bike, the first thing you’ll want to do is get it set up right before your first use. Read on for how to adjust your spin bike.

Saddle Height

Firstly, you want to adjust your saddle height. For a good starting point, stand next to the spin bike and move your saddle to hip height. Then jump on the bike and see how it feels. You want your leg to be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal rotation.

Saddle Position

You can also adjust your saddle position on a spin bike which can alter your reach. Push it forward to be closer to the bars, and further back for more reach. Try and get your knee directly above your pedal as a good starting point.

Handlebars

The next thing you can set up is your handlebars. Adjustment levels vary depending on the spin bike you have, but if you can, try and get the bars to a comfortable position that allows you to put out the most power. If you’re just starting out, keep the handlebars above the saddle but if you’re more experienced, then you can try riding with the handlebars level or below the saddle height.

Pedals

Last but not least, make sure your feet are secure in the pedals – whether you’re using straps or cleats, and enjoy your spinning session!


 

FAQ

What are the downsides to spin bikes?

Spin class bikes can be heavy and take up a lot of room. This means that you have to have enough space to own one, and if you need to move it around they are often quite difficult to manouver.

Is Peloton bike a spin bike?

Peloton is a fitness bike and uses Peloton workouts and their own subscription service for riders to get the most out of their bikes.

How can I maintain a spin bike at home?

Every once in a while make sure all the bolts are still done up securely, and lubricate the moving parts. Individual manufacturers will have a maintenance guide included in their manual, so it’s worth checking that for a more detailed and specific regime.

What are the best spin bike brands?

We’ve tried to list some of the best, most affordable, and most interesting, but some we haven’t included are Peloton, Wahoo, Tackx.

Why do spin bikes have a higher risk of injury?

Compared to other exercise bikes, indoor spin bikes have the advantage of pedaling while standing up, and with this greater range of movement, the higher the chance of injury. Conversely, on a recumbent or upright bike the rider is sitting down in one steady position.

How and where to buy spin bikes?

The Amazon exercise bike selection is quite popular due to the large variety of feedback and ratings, but you can also find a wide variety of spin bikes on REI and other popular outdoor brand websites.


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