Here’s what to look for when buying a spinning bike.
Spinning is an amazing form of cardio. But while some people enjoy the dark, loud spinning classes at the local gym, others (like me) prefer to get their sweat on in the comfort of their own home. Having your own spinning bike also comes in handy when you aren’t able to make those 5am classes in the middle of winter. And with Christmas a few days away, it makes for a great gift to your favourite spinning enthusiast!
Whether you want a bike to skip the weather, the gym rats or just because you prefer a seat with your name on it, here are a few guidelines you can follow when buying a spinning bike.
If you’re going to be using your spin bike solely at home, then there’s no need to buy a commercial one. Commercial spinning bikes are built to be used 6 hours a day, and are therefore more robust, and also more expensive.
Because spinning is supposed to be as close as you get to the real outdoor bike experience, the saddle and handlebars should be as close to parallel as possible. This more accurately simulates the road bike experience than other regular indoor bicycles. The saddle should allow for forward and backward adjustments as well as height modifications, while the handlebars should at least be able to be adjusted to your height requirements.
The flywheel is what simulates the feel of cycling on the open road. Usually weighing around 18kg – 22kg, it creates inertia which prevents you from coasting or suddenly stopping like regular, upright indoor exercise bikes. When buying your bike, make sure the flywheel doesn’t weigh less than 16kg.
There are 2 types of resistance on spinning bikes – friction and magnetic. Friction works using pads (leather or fabric), which are tightened or loosened against the flywheel in increments. But the more you use your bike and the resistance, the quicker the wear on the pads – which will need to be replaced. Magnets work in the same way as the pads, but they don’t actually touch the flywheel. Bikes with magnetic resistance are usually more expensive, but they don’t wear out quickly.
Most home spinning bikes won’t have an option for you to clip in cleats but each peddle should definitely have a toe strap which secures your foot on the pedal. Also make sure that the pedals are connected to the flywheel with a belt and not a chain. Chains are often quite noisy and tend to need more TLC when trying to prevent rust.
There are also other features to look for when buying a spinning bike. And just because they’re not as important as the ones already mentioned, doesn’t mean you should overlook them completely. A water bottle holder is one such feature. When it’s there you don’t give it a second thought, but when it’s not you’ll find yourself quite annoyed that you can’t easily stash that much needed hydration somewhere close during your spin. If you’re spinning at home, then you’ll also definitely need a way to roll your bike in and out of wherever you store it. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be able to keep your bike out in an open area, you’ll need transportation wheels to move your bike, which could weigh up to 60kg.