Our Top Three Spin Bikes
Our top three favorite indoor cycle trainers score high on comfort, performance, and value. These bikes also provide essential workout feedback. 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. Our second recommendation is the Echelon EX3. It’s a well-made, versatile spin bike that’s ideal for any fitness level. Third, the Sole SB900 lets you bring home an affordable combination of exercise intensity, comfort and useful data feedback.
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 here. 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 an effective, accessible, and popular form of exercise. Contrary to popular belief, cycling 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. If you want strong legs and toned arms, cycling can work wonders. It’s also good for the environment. 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 form of exercise 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., and could lead to serious injury if you tip the scales at closer to 200lbs.
Unfortunately, as good a workout as outdoor 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 risky. Cycling at night presents a host of additional hazards, and badly maintained roads can make riding outdoors even more difficult. That’s why you must always wear a helmet when cycling outdoors. Punctures are also a constant worry for outdoor cyclists, as are mechanical breakdowns.
Getting a decent workout on a regular outdoor bike can also be problematic. Traffic and other road users may impede your progress, forcing you to 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 difficult to do high-intensity interval training on a regular bike. Again, traffic and other road users may force you to slow down before your timed interval is finished. If you’re 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.
HOW CAN I MAKE CYCLING SAFER?
One way to make cycling safer and more effective is to do your cycling indoors. How? Although you could try to 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, it’s a far from ideal solution. For starters, these devices don’t 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 much 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 for 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 will generally weigh 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. The flywheel delivers very smooth, instantly adjustable resistance. 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.
INDOOR BIKE BENEFITS
Indoor bikes are also very quiet when in use. Many do not need to be connected to an electrical outlet, and usually they are easy to move around. For those that don’t need to be connected, you could take your bike out to your garden to exercise there, or pop it in front of the TV to enjoy some shows while you work out. 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.
Additionally, indoor cycles usually have racing-style handlebars, and it’s likely you can customize the pedals and saddle. They’re also usually 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 fore and aft. 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. 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 closely replicate the feeling of riding a bike outdoors. Compared with other indoor exercise bikes, they also support especially intense training and can provide greater resistance. This is why they are becoming more popular than ever before. Check out our in-depth reviews below to explore the inclusive range of indoor cycles currently on the market. Expect to find indoor cycles in every budget, from elite models to bargain-basement gems. Discount brands offer some enticing deals too. The most inexpensive yet durable indoor bike we’ve seen is from Sunny Health & Fitness; it’s simply named the Indoor Cycle Trainer.