Our Top Three SPIN BIKES
Our top three favorite cycle trainers score high on comfort and performance, and you can get data feedback from this set of bikes too.. The first model is the NordicTrack s22i , which first gained popularity in commercial gyms. Spin enthusiasts are bringing this trainer home thanks to its great adjustability, durability and selection of data screens. A second recommendation is the Keiser M3 Plus. It costs more than the NordicTrack s22i but has a lighter fly wheel and it gets overwhelmingly positive reviews. Third, the Sole SB900 lets you bring home an affordable combo of exercise intensity, comfort and useful data feedback.
Our three favorite indoor bikes supply workout data and come from the brands Keiser, Sole and NordicTrack. Discount brands offer some enticing deals too, although they don’t always provide heart rate receivers. The most inexpensive yet durable indoor bike we’ve seen is from Sunny Health & Fitness. It’s simply named the Indoor Cycle Trainer.
Cycling is an effective, accessible, fun, and popular form of exercise which, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t just work your legs. If you crank up the resistance, get up out the saddle, and either sprint or climb up a steep hill, your entire body gets in on the action. Want strong legs AND toned arms? Cycling can help!
An Important Note: The Difference Between Exercise Bikes and Spin Bikes
Many people use the words “Spin bike” and “indoor cycle” interchangeably, but there’s an important distinction that needs to be made between these exercise bike options.
All of the following words are actually trademarked terms owned by Mad Dogg Athletics: SPIN®, Spinning®, Spinner®, and Spin Fitness®. So, anything related to Spinning, whether you’re talking about Spin bikes or Spin classes, actually refers to a specific brand of exercise bikes and indoor cycling classes. In other words, not all indoor cycling is “Spinning,” and not all indoor bikes are Spin bikes, even though this is a common mistake.
Also, Spin bikes themselves are unique because of their large, heavy flywheel. This is what helps them stand out against other indoor cycles because it allows a Spin bike to mimic the experience of riding your bike in the great outdoors, rather than in an indoor, controlled environment. And that’s what helps you move through a higher intensity workout that builds stamina and strength.
WHY YOU SHOULD CYCLE
Cycling is also good for the environment as, other than exhaled carbon dioxide, cyclists produce no pollution. A bicycle is also cheaper to buy than a car, and much cheaper to run.
Good for developing fitness and burning fat, cycling is a low impact workout which means it’s much easier on your joints than running. That’s good news if you are a little on the heavy side or you have any pre-existing foot, ankle, knee, hip, or even lower back problems. When you run, your feet hit the ground with a force equal to about eight times your bodyweight. That’s a lot of stress if you weigh 140lbs. but could lead to serious injury if you tip the scales at closer to 200lbs.
Unfortunately, as good a workout is cycling is, it’s not always practical or safe. Bad weather can make cycling outdoors far from comfortable, and heavy traffic can make your workout a real risk to life and limb. Cycling at night presents a host of additional hazards, and badly maintained roads can make riding a road bike a real test of skill and luck; how good are you at dodging potholes?
Punctures are also a constant worry for outdoor cyclists, as are mechanical breakdowns. While you should always carry spare innertubes and a basic repair kit when you cycle outdoors, there is nothing to say you will be able to get your bike back on the road if you suffer a breakdown or get several punctures in a row and run out innertubes or tire patches. Punctures and breakdowns can really take the fun out of cycling and will interrupt your workout too.
Getting a decent workout on a regular bike can also be problematic. Traffic signals and other road users may impede your progress, forcing you to slow down or even stop when you all you really want to do is put your head down and maintain your heart rate. Anytime your heart rate is not in the right zone, your workout loses some of its potency.
It’s also very hard to do things like high intensity interval training on a regular bike. Again, the flow of traffic and other road users may force you to slow down before your timed interval is finished, and if you are busy concentrating on your heart rate, your stopwatch, and cycling as fast as you can, it’s much harder to keep an eye out for traffic and other hazards. It’s not surprising that so many cyclists have accidents, many of them serious. If you DO cycle outdoors, make sure you always wear a helmet.
HOW CAN I MAKE CYCLING SAFER?
One way to make cycling safer and more effective is to do your cycling indoors. How? Good question!
You could convert your regular bike into an exercise bike by mounting it on a set of rollers or what is commonly called a turbo or fan trainer, but that’s far from ideal. For starters, these devices do not usually offer enough resistance for most exercisers and they may even damage your bike. A bike frame is designed to flex as you ride it but, when locked into a set of rollers or a turbo trainer, this can’t happen. The result? A lot of stress on the welds of your bike and a real risk of frame damage.
A better option would be to buy a dedicated exercise bike for indoor use.
GO WITH AN INDOOR CYCLE!
Indoor cycling bikes are also known as indoor cycle trainers and spin bikes. Compared with traditional stationary bikes, they’re better at simulating the feel of outdoor cycling. They also allow more intense workout sessions and are ideal for high intensity interval training. You might choose an indoor cycling bike to train for races, to get challenging cardio workouts, to manage your weight, or build lower body strength.
You can also combine training on an indoor bike with simple bodyweight or strength training exercises for a fun and effective workout in the comfort of your own home. If you have an indoor exercise bike, there is no need to join a gym.
The resistance system on an indoor cycling bike is largely responsible for its on-the-road sensation. The flywheel weighs at least 40 pounds (which is double what you’d get from a traditional exercise bike) and is engineered to build inertia like a road bike. On an indoor cycle trainer, you can actually sense that you’re climbing hills, and you can stand on the pedals to isolate different muscle groups.
The flywheel provides very smooth, even, and instantly adjustable resistance – much better than the electromagnetic resistance system which is another common braking mechanism used on other types of exercise bike. With fewer parts and less reliance on technology, exercise bikes with flywheels are very low maintenance and much more reliable.
INDOOR BIKE BENEFITS
Indoor bikes are also very quiet in use, do not need to be connected to an electrical outlet, and are easy to move so that you are in the ideal place for your workout. Want to watch TV while you exercise? No problem? Want to take your bike outside into your garden and exercise there? You can do that too.
These might seem like unimportant features but one of the keys to successful exercise is enjoyment. If you enjoy your workout, you are much more likely to do it consistently. On other hand, if your workout is boring, time-consuming, or otherwise inconvenient, you are much less likely to stick with it for long, even if your initial intentions were good.
Additionally, this kind of ride usually has racing-style handlebars, and it’s likely you can customize the pedals and saddle. Add parts built for outdoor bikes and prepare for your cycling tours like never before!
Indoor bikes are also fully adjustable. You can alter the seat height, the height of the handlebars, and most will also allow you to move your saddle and handlebars forward or backward. This means that you can customize your bike to perfection, and your riding position will be optimized according to your height, leg length, torso length, and arm length. In return, your workout will be as comfortable as possible.
As for data feedback, the best indoor bikes have wireless heart rate monitoring to guide your workout intensity. But data and workout programs tend to be absent or streamlined compared with the variety found on traditional stationary bikes. Exceptions are pointed out in our spin bike reviews, which look at cycle trainers part-by-part.
ALL INDOOR CYCLES (SORTED BY HIGHEST RATING)
Indoor spin cycles replicate the feel of outdoor bicycle riding. Compared with other inside bikes, they support especially intense training and can provide greater resistance. Click images below to see honest in-depth reviews for a wide range of indoor bikes.