The Geek’s Guide to Spin Bikes
Spin bikes are continuously evolving to be a top choice for home fitness equipment by providing more effective workouts, variety in routines to keep you engaged and motivated, and more comfort features to deliver low-impact workouts that meet your cardio needs.
Without question, indoor cycling continues to be one of the hottest trends in fitness. And whether you’re a indoor cycle enthusiast—or you just crave a road-bike feel when working out at home —here are five key questions to ask when purchasing the ideal indoor bike for your home gym.
1. What Kind of Drive Does the Spin Bike Have?
Older spin bikes typically feature a chain drive system. While many biking veterans prefer a chain drive for its outdoor-bike feel, a chain drive is more likely to wear down and break over time. (You’re familiar with the term “weak link?” We’re talking chains here, so there you go.)
For maximum durability and efficiency, nothing beats an indoor bike with a belt drive. Since its design isn’t chain-based, belt drives lack the weakening links that inevitably wear out on a chain. Also, a belt drive allows for quiet operation, making it much more family- and roommate-friendly in close quarters.
2. What Kind of Resistance System Does the Spin Bike Have?
Indoor bikes feature one of two types of resistance systems: physical or magnetic. Here’s a quick rundown of both types.
Physical Resistance: Also called Friction Resistance, physical resistance systems are spring-driven double calipers that provide resistance by squeezing pads against the fly wheel (much like a real bicycle). It provides for a real-road feel, and while it’s not nearly as durable long-term as magnetic resistance (see below), it’s a terrific option for indoor bike fans on a budget. (A great model to consider is the the LeMond Revmaster Sport, which features a durable leather pad instead of felt.)
Magnetic Resistance: Nothing beats the longevity of magnetic resistance for the simple fact that there are no rubbing parts. Plus, bikes with magnetic resistance provide more consistent resistance and a greater ability to adjust resistance level overall. Magnetic resistance systems are ideal for high-speed workouts. They may cost a bit more up front, but the durability and lack of maintenance required means a better investment long-term.
For the best in magnetic resistance spin bikes, take a look at the Schwinn AC Series, which features top-of-the line resistance features and unbeatable durability.
3. How Adjustable is the Spin Bike?
While early spin bikes didn’t have many ways to adjust seat and handle positions, it’s a different game entirely today. Premium indoor bikes allow you to adjust not just your seat height, but also seat fore-and-aft, handlebar height, and handlebar fore-and-aft (and resistance level, of course). Our top pick for adjustability is Lemond (particularly the LeMond Revmaster Pro) a brand whose indoor bikes feature a universal adjustment, enabling you not only to place your seat anywhere—but to use your own seat from your own outdoor bike.
4. How is the Spin Bike’s Flywheel Weighted?
Spin bikes come in two varieties when it comes to flywheel weighting: Perimeter-Weighted and Center-Weighted. Neither is better than the other, but there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.
First, the heavier the flywheel, the more resistance you can achieve—but the more stress that’s placed over time on your knees. Perimeter-weighted flywheels do tend to be heavier for maximum resistance levels, but also have less consistent flywheel weight distribution overall.
Center-weighted flywheels provide for more consistent weight distribution without the risk of added stress to your knees. Finding a bike that features a lighter weight flywheel and smooth resistance—plus the ability to switch from “normal” spin bike to one that destabilizes to effectively work oblique muscles — will guarantee an excellent home workout.
Second, just remember that when it comes to flywheel weight, bigger doesn’t mean better. Many inferior bike manufacturers use heavy flywheels to disguise sub-par components. When purchasing a bike, take a close look at the crankshaft and other gear that gets a lot of wear and tear. Investing in a bike with quality components will go a long way toward your long-term performance and results.
5. What Are Your Fitness Goals?
Most importantly – fitness goals are personal and unique to everyone, and there is a ton of home fitness equipment that can help you reach your goals:
– Want a quiet, smooth ride? The BH Fitness Indoor Cycle is a great choice. It is designed to replicate an outdoor cycling workout.
– Need a customizable, yet challenging, cardio workout? The Schwinn Airdyne Pro is a great choice. It’s progressive wind-resistance offers a challenging, low-impact workout; making it a great piece of home workout equipment for exercisers of all levels.
– Want a comfortable ride, coupled with an efficient workout and a compact design? The True ES900 Recumbent Bike is a great option to add to your home gym.
For even more information about top-quality spin bikes (and for help choosing the right one for you) take a spin over to Gym Source. Connect with one of our fitness equipment experts to find the perfect addition to your home gym.
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