Most people don’t love waking up in the wee hours to travel to the gym. They also find it frustrating trying to find a spin class that has room for them.
You probably feel the same way. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just roll out of bed and start a powerful fat-burning workout in the convenience of your own home?
Well, with the right spin bike, you can!
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Spin Bike?
- 2 What to Look for in a Spin Bike
- 3 Our Spin Bike Reviews and Ratings
- 4 Our Final Verdict
What is a Spin Bike?
To the uninitiated, it might seem like a bike is just a bike, but the spin bike has some unique qualities. For one thing, the spin bike is a hallmark of spin classes at the gym, which are known for upbeat music and an upbeat instructor. They work wonders at keeping you pumped and burning calories.
Aside from its gym roots, the key difference between the spin bike and a typical stationary bike is the flywheel. The spin bike features a large wheel, usually in the front and separated from the pedals, that provides resistance and momentum to mirror the experience of riding a bike outdoors.
These flywheels are usually heavier, weighing in at more than 30 pounds. With its unique flywheel setup, you can expect an intense workout on the spin bike!
What to Look for in a Spin Bike
If you’ve browsed spin bikes online, you may already be overwhelmed by all of the choices. Like with anything, when you’re shopping for a spin bike, you’re trying to find the features you need at the best possible price.
But pinpointing the right spin bike for you is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve done the hard part for you. Below, you’ll see spin bikes we’ve reviewed, organized by price and rated under four key categories:
Resistance: The best bikes have a large range of resistances for novice and expert athletes alike.
Support: You want a stable bike that holds its own, so you can focus on your workout.
Materials: The bike’s longevity is dependent on the quality of its materials.
Technology: Technological innovations can make your biking experience better.
These are the factors that matter in choosing a spin bike you’ll love for years to come. Now, let’s get to the bikes!
Our Spin Bike Reviews and Ratings
We looked at dozens of bikes and uncovered the best values for the money at different price points. From the feature-rich Schwinn AC Performance Plus to the affordable Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike, we’ve got some great options for breaking a sweat at home.
[Note: All ratings are out on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the best]
Some people choose to ride indoor cycles because they enjoy bicycling in general or they’re training for longer rides on outdoor bikes. If you want an indoor bike that is modeled after outdoor bikes, the Schwinn AC Performance Plus should be on your shortlist.
- Resistance: 5
- Support: 4
- Materials: 5
- Technology: 3
The Schwinn features a great magnetic resistance system that includes 6 working magnets. You can control the resistance using a knob in the same way you would a bike that uses conventional friction resistance. It’s a powerful system with a very large range of resistance, so anyone from a beginner to a professional athlete can find a resistance that challenges them.
It is worth noting that so long as the flywheel is moving, the pedals are moving. This means that you should come to a complete stop before getting off, which can take some getting used to.
When you look at the Schwinn AC Performance Plus, it’s clear that the bike is the perfect pairing of indoor and outdoor attributes. It has long, angled handles with rubber grips and a large padded seat like you’d find on any indoor cycle. The magnets keep the bike quiet enough that you could cycle next to someone sleeping. It’s a great indoor cycle.
But what makes the Schwinn stand out is its outdoors-inspired features. The first is the Schwinn’s belt drive: Notably, it actually has one. Most indoor cycles have no belt drive at all. Schwinn engineered their belt drive to try to simulate outdoor riding by making, among other things, the belt drive thicker. The belt drive is ribbed so that it feels like riding an outdoor bike. As the belt drive turns, it gives the impression of a chain moving over sprockets.
In addition, the pedals give you two options. You can ride with normal athletic shoes in supportive toe cages or use SPD fittings that allow you to clip special shoes to them. This will completely bind you to the cycle, eliminating the risk of slipping altogether.
The belt drive is made of carbon fiber that requires no maintenance. Likewise, the magnets never touch the 37 pound flywheel, so there is no wear or tear on that front either. The frame is made of aluminum, a material that traditionally yields strong but lightweight bikes. Plus, it doesn’t rust!
Schwinn is proud of its belt drive because it uses Carbon Blue technology to make the riding experience feel authentically outdoorsy, and we think they’ve been successful. There’s a reason this bike is expensive, but the price is worth it if you want this experience in your own home.
Shockingly, the Schwinn AC Performance Plus does not come with any computer console despite its high price – perhaps this was done to aid with the authenticity of riding an outdoors bicycle. In any case, multiple consoles have been designed specifically for this bike, but they won’t be included with your purchase.
Who Should Buy the Schwinn AC Performance Plus
People who find normal indoor bicycles inauthentic should purchase the Schwinn. No other bike on this list comes close to offering an experience that mimics outdoor riding.
The bike’s premium features include the Carbon Blue technology and magnetic resistance, both of which are rare qualities that might make up for the lack of a console. Because all the materials are top of the line and maintenance is low, you should have years and years of enjoyable riding (though it will cost you a pretty penny today).
Check it out today at: Schwinn Fitness AC performance plus Indoor Cycling Bike
Next on the list, we have the Peloton Bike. This is a pricey, fully-featured masterpiece.
- Resistance: 4
- Support: 4
- Materials: 5
- Technology: 5
The Peloton is a magnet bike, which means its resistance comes in the form of magnets rather than friction. With magnetic resistance, the most noticeable difference is that the bike is much quieter when pedaling. If you haven’t tried it before, you’ll probably marvel at the lack of noise.
As for the resistance itself, we found it to be quite responsive, and you can easily adjust it with a simple knob. Turn right to increase the difficulty or left to make it easier.
You want your bike to support your exercise efforts, rather than getting in the way. To help with that, the Peloton bike comes with handy clipless pedals. If you get the right shoes to connect to the clipless pedals, your feet are essentially “glued” to the pedals and can’t slip off.
This is a good feature for safety and comfort. However, it does require you to own special shoes. If you don’t want to buy new shoes, it’s possible to switch these clipless pedals out and replace them with “normal” pedals from an existing bike.
The Peloton is sturdy in construction, thanks to a carbon steel and aluminum frame. The magnet system we mentioned earlier “uses a neodymium rare earth magnet system, Poly V power transmission belt drive, heat-treated chromoly axle, and seated bearings.” The Peloton has been designed to “deliver super smooth and nearly silent pedaling.” It also has a dumbbell holder and a water bottle holder.
The technology on the Peloton is what makes it stand out from every other bike on the market. This bike has it all: First, it comes with a 21 inch 1080p display console mounted in the front. The screen has built-in speakers, a microphone, and a camera. It’s also WiFi connected. Finally, it supports Bluetooth audio and wireless ANT+ heart rate straps.
The Peloton has all of these features so you can connect to the Peloton online platform. This allows you to watch live spin classes, view recorded classes, or even host your own! You can see your teacher, other students, and even their current metrics. There are tons of other features too, like prerecorded celebrity-hosted classes and following others. Of course, this online platform comes at a price of $39 per month.
Lastly, the Peloton is recording every metric you can think of related to your spin bike performance. You can save this data to your profile and review it later – but you can’t export it to other platforms.
Who Should Buy the Peloton?
If spin cycling is your lifestyle – if you live, eat, and breathe spinning – then this is the bike for you. It’s definitely at the high end of performance, and its technology blows the competition away. But the initial price is high, and that does not even include the investments to use all its features (namely special clipless shoes and the monthly fee for the platform). The Peloton is the result of a Kickstarter campaign, so it was always meant for the true spinning enthusiast.
See if this is right for you at: The Peloton Bike
The Keiser M3 Plus is the top end of what you might consider your typical spin bike. It isn’t tricked out with technology like the Peloton, but the Keiser is backed up by a reliable exercise company. This is a bike that will satisfy even the most hardcore weekend warrior cyclists.
- Resistance: 5
- Support: 4
- Materials: 4
- Technology: 4
The Keiser M3 Plus is one of just a handful of brands to feature magnetic resistance instead of friction resistance. You’ll appreciate a quieter workout and less maintenance on your pads – they last longer than the friction pads that cheaper spin bikes come with. This bike is a pleasure to pedal, with plenty of responsiveness as you adjust your resistance level.
The Keiser M3 Plus can support a wide range of heights. The frame is at a 45 degree angle, and adjusting the handlebars up and down normally would make tall people feel cramped or short people feel stretched. Luckily, the Keiser M3 Plus allows you to move the handlebars horizontally to match the handlebars to your height. This greatly helps with comfort and is an improvement from the standard Keiser M3.
The belt-drive in the Keiser M3 Plus is great because it does not need maintenance, ever. If you’re a responsible bike owner, you’ll realize how great this is. The only maintenance you should expect to do is keep it clean, tighten the bolts, keep the bike lubricated, and replace some batteries in your display console.
The bike frame is made from stainless steel and aluminum, which feels great and looks great in any room. The Keiser M3 Plus is a favorite for gyms across the country because it can take a lot of stress – the max recommended weight is 300 pounds, and up to this weight the bike doesn’t shake at all.
As an added perk, the bike’s handlebars have sweat resistant materials that will help you maintain a solid grip throughout your workout.
Compared to your average spin bike, the Keiser M3 Plus’s magnet is a standout piece of technology. However, the bike also has a computer display which offers a reading of metrics, such as heart rate, RPM, elapsed time, resistance ‘gear’ level, and more.
Unfortunately, it does not allow you to upload your data to the internet so you can analyze it later. In fact, you only have 60 seconds to write it down yourself before it’s gone forever. Exporting data is unfortunately rare in spin bikes, but the 60 seconds of inactivity before erasing the data is a major oversight on a bike of this price.
Who Should Buy the Keiser M3 Plus?
If you are looking for a high-end bike and don’t believe you’d ever use the spin cycle class features on the Peloton, the Keiser M3 Plus is definitely for you. This bike is the best you can get without all of the Pelton’s fancy technology. Before you buy, we recommend going to a gym or bike store and trying out a bike with magnetic resistance first, just to make sure you like it.
While the reduced maintenance and quieter riding is great, some people might just miss the familiar whooshing sound. But other than that, the Keiser M3 Plus is a remarkable bike that all serious riders should consider.
Buy it today at: Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle
If you never want to worry about your bike’s parts – or maybe if you’re the kind of person who is always worrying about your bike’s parts – this is the bike for you. Every part of the Spinner S7 seems to have been designed with longevity in mind.
- Resistance: 4
- Support: 5
- Materials: 5
- Technology: 3
Like many other bikes on this list, there’s no clearly marked scale for resistance on the Spinner S7 Indoor Cycling Bike. It’s a common, inexplicable problem in the indoor cycling industry. Because of this limitation, you’ll have to experiment to find the right amount of resistance for you.
This bike utilizes frictional resistance. Compared to most bikes that use friction, this bike has leather pads instead of felt pads, a definite advantage. The leather pads will take much longer to wear out than the wool used in felt pads. However, leather is noisier than felt, so if noise matters to you, this bike may not be the best choice.
The flywheel on the Spinner S7 is 35 pounds, which is on the lighter side and disappointing for a bike of this price. However, it’s heavier than other flywheels in the same series.
This bike is great for support. Not only does this bike come with a sturdy steel frame and stabilizer bars to keep it erect and unwavering, but it even includes 4 levelers. You can put these levelers under the stabilizer bars if your floor is uneven. This balances the bike and keeps it from rocking – there’s no better choice if you have uneven or slanted floors.
In addition to its leather pads, the Spinner S7 also sports a sweat guard on the resistance pad to extend its life. The Spinner S7’s handlebars are oversized and covered, so they will be sturdy even when you get sweaty hands. In fact, the covering helps to prevent blisters.
There is no built in computer display console on the Spinner S7. However, it does have a computer designed for it called the Spinning BIO HR Wireless Computer. This device measures all the usual metrics, such as distance and calories, although it does not measure your heart rate. The separate computer costs around $70, so you’ll want to factor that in if you are planning on buying this bike and want some tech to go with it. Once you have it, the Spinning BIO mounts easily to the Spinner S7.
Who Should Buy the Spinner S7 Indoor Cycling Bike?
This bike is for home athletes who want to buy a bike and not think about buying another for decades. Every part is built to last, even at the expense of noisier riding. It costs more than the Sunny Health & Fitness, but if you divide the price over the life of the bike, the Spinner S7 is likely to prove cheaper in the long run.
Check the price on Amazon: Spinner S7 Indoor Cycling Bike
- Resistance: 4
- Support: 4
- Materials: 4
- Technology: 2
The ProGear 120Xi comes with a 35 lb flywheel, which is lighter than most other bikes on this list. The importance of a heavy flywheel on a spin bike can’t be understated – a heavier flywheel creates a smoother cycling experience, while too light of a flywheel can cause unpleasant rocking while riding.
This bike uses friction resistance. It features a calliper style resistance mechanism, which is not as reliable as direct resistance. In short, the resistance on the ProGear 120Xi probably won’t satisfy athletes with strenuous regimens.
In contrast to the resistance, the ProGear 120Xi does very well in the support category. To start, the seat is considered one of the more comfortable exercise bike seats out there. It’s important to remember that bike seats are generally made “one size fits all.” Therefore, large percentages of the population will find any given seat uncomfortable.
The ProGear seems to have a seat that most people do like, but your mileage may vary. In any case, the ProGear’s seat has cushioning and special shaping that most riders come to appreciate because it optimizes comfort and support.
The handlebar design on the ProGear is the standard “bullhorn” shape. Our biggest complaint for support here is the lack of padding on the handlebars. That would help with grip issues some people find with bullhorn handles, but it isn’t strictly necessary for most riders.
The bike comes with a steel frame and stabilizer bars. One positive, depending on whether you like exercising with technology, is that this bike requires no power whatsoever. That means you can position it anywhere in your house, with no restriction based on proximity to an electrical outlet.
This bike does not come with a computer display console of any kind, which is disappointing. It doesn’t have any place built in for you to place your own device, either. Really, the closest thing to technology on this bike is the built in water-bottle holder. If tech features are your thing, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Who Should Buy the ProGear 120Xi Indoor Training Cycle?
This bike is for those who want to be comfortable while cycling. If you are looking to take your bike to its resistance limits and hope to track your data while doing it, this is not the bike for you. If you like casually riding your bike while watching TV on weekend mornings, this bike is a better bet.
Check it out on Amazon: ProGear 120Xi Indoor Training Cycle
The Stamina Airgometer Exercise Bike is like no other bike in this list, because it uses fan resistance instead of frictional or magnetic. If you find this feature appealing, this is a great choice. If you’re not a fan (no pun intended), you should move on.
- Resistance: 5
- Support: 4
- Materials: 4
- Technology: 4
As the name might suggest, the Stamina Airgometer Exercise Bike is all about air. It utilizes fan resistance, which is different than the common friction resistance and the rare magnet resistance. In fan resistance, the flywheel has been replaced with a fan.
The faster you pedal, the faster the fan spins. The spinning fan creates air resistance, and higher speeds mean higher resistance. You can’t adjust the resistance manually on the Stamina Airgometer. Instead, you just need to pedal faster!
Don’t let the lack of a resistance dial fool you – this is a notoriously difficult workout. However, it comes with one hidden benefit: The harder you work, the greater the breeze you’ll feel on your legs as you power the fan. For the price, this bike’s type of resistance is an awesome value. As the manufacturer puts it, you’ll be getting “unlimited levels of smooth, air resistance.”
The Airgometer Stamina provides standard support options. It has 10 seat height adjustments, which is above average and really comes in handy if you are particularly tall or short. The seat is wide and cushioned. The handlebars include foam grips that’ll soften even the tightest grip.
The fan blades are plastic instead of metal, which is a good improvement over earlier versions of fan resistant bikes. The plastic blades are lighter and quieter. That said, you should still expect the sound of the wind you’re creating.
The pedals have a nonslip surface that provides grip that works well with any athletic shoe. It’s a small touch, but the kind of thing that can make this bike more enjoyable to ride than others without a pedal grip.
This bike comes with a three year warranty on the frame and 90 days for all other parts.
The Airgometer Stamina includes an InTouch Fitness Monitor with a large, readable LCD display of your normal metrics. Like many bikes, it does not measure your heart rate.
The monitor was designed to only display one metric at a time. You have to scroll through the different metrics if you want to see one specifically, and the bike changes metrics automatically every 4 seconds. Essentially, it’s not the most up to date display, but it’s still better than nothing.
Another downside is that you can’t download your data. However, it doesn’t reset – even when it turns off. This gives you time to write it down yourself.
Who Should Buy the Airgometer Stamina Exercise Bike?
Choosing to buy this bike definitely comes down to whether you like the idea of fan resistance. If you keep important documents in an organized pile right next to your exercise bike, this is not the bike for you. But if you like setting your resistance dynamically rather than adjusting a dial, this bike gives you the control to do that. Just remember, this is bike is no breeze: beginners beware.
Don’t miss out and get yours here: Stamina Airgometer Exercise Bike
The Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is a great option because it sits at the crossroads between “affordable” and “well-made.”
- Resistance: 3
- Support: 4
- Materials: 4
- Technology: 3
The Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike has a 40 pound flywheel, which is heavy enough for a smooth ride. The bike uses a calliper style resistance system, like you might find on an outdoor mountain bike. This will need to be adjusted to keep it aligned as time goes on. One downside to the calliper is that it is less reliable than the direct friction you find with normal brake pads.
It’s a very stable cycle – you can even go from sitting to standing and you won’t have any wobbling. The pedals have solid crank shafts, so you can stand up on the pedals and they’ll support your body weight. If you like doing so-called ‘hill climbs’ on your bike, this is a reliable choice.
Unfortunately, the included seat is undeniably hard and uncomfortable for most people. If it’s a problem do you, however, you can replace it with a seat you find more comfortable. In terms of handlebars, the Sunny Health & Fitness has padded grips which add comfort and prevent your hands from slipping.
The bike comes with wheels to help you transport it around. It’s a heavy bike, but with these wheels, you can move it from storage to in front of the TV and back again with ease.
This cycle’s steel frame is strong and rigid, so it won’t move around too much. The bike is an older model, but it’s also a tried and true bike beloved by a decent chunk of athletes who appreciate the way it was designed.
In terms of maintenance, you’ll need to tighten bolts, lubricate the chain, and possibly change your calliper brake pads. These felt pads are fairly well made and should last you six months as a bare minimum.
While this bike does not have a built-in computer console of any kind, it does make it easy to mount a portable device. This is something the ProGear struggled with. A decent portable bike computer can be as little as $20, so you can factor that into your buying price if you consider data tracking a necessity.
Who Should Buy the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike?
The Sunny Health & Fitness is a very affordable and reliable bike. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles you might find on the Peloton or Keiser M3 Plus, but if you are the kind of person who looks for “best value” deals, this is probably the bike for you.
Buy yours now:Sunny Health & Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
Our Final Verdict
Every bike has its pros and cons, and all seven of these bikes occupy and dominate their own niche. However, if we divide the bikes by price range (low, medium, and high), three bikes rise to the top:
Low Price Range: Sunny Health & Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike
If you’re strapped for cash, or just want an introduction to spin cycling, the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike is the clear winner. It’s affordable, but it is extremely well-made. You will probably have fewer problems with this bike than most bikes on the market that are twice as expensive. This bike is easily the best value for the money.
High Price Range: The Schwinn AC Performance Plus
It was an extremely close call among the three priciest bikes. The Peloton is undoubtedly the king of technology, and the Keiser is a fantastic high-end bike. But the Schwinn has something no other bike on this list list has: authenticity. We’re bike lovers, and the Schwinn AC Performance Plus is the only bike that feels like riding a bike outside. That’s on top of a variety of high-end materials and exemplary design.
If you love the experience of biking as much as we do and want to invest in your home gym for years to come, we can’t recommend the Schwinn Ac Performance Plus bike enough.
Whatever you decide, we hope you get a lot of miles out of your new spin bike!