What to Look for In a Spin Bike
There are three types of indoor exercise bikes. Although in this article we will exclusively talk about a spin bike and what to look for in a spin bike, it still won’t hurt to briefly mention the other two. The three types of indoor cycles are a spin bike, recumbent exercise bike, and upright exercise bike.
The spin bike is the newest addition to indoor cycles. It was developed in the 80s and was initially known as the indoor cycling bike. Unlike the other two indoor cycles, the spin bike was designed to give an authentic cycling experience similar to riding an outdoor bike.
What to Look for in a Spin Bike
The flywheel is the elevated wheel located in the front of a spin bike. Similar to an outdoor bike, the flywheel is the wheel that moves when a cyclist pedals the bike. When looking at spin bikes, you will want to look at the weight of the flywheel. The weight of the flywheel dictates the motion of the bike, the greater the weight, the smoother the motion. Home-based spin bikes generally have a flywheel weight of around 40 lbs. Commercial spin bikes have a flywheel weight of around 50 lbs.
When looking for a spin bike, avoid getting a spin bike with a flywheel weight of less than 35 lbs., anything less than 35 lbs, is too light to provide a smooth and seamless motion. It is ideal to simply try out a few different bikes and get a feel for different flywheels before making the decision.
Frame and the Legs
The frame, irrespective of the type of bike, is extremely important. Look for a spinning bike with a strong stabilizing frame and wide legs for optimum balance. It can be a bit difficult to assess the frame of a bike if you’re buying online. However, since most bikes have a solid frame, try to focus on the legs and make sure the legs are wide enough that the bike remains properly balanced even with the most rigorous of use.
Spin bikes have two different types of a drive system. One is a chain-based drive system, and the other is a belt-based drive system. If possible, always opt for a belt-driven spin bike. A belt drive system is superior in many ways. Firstly, it barely makes any sound. Also, it doesn’t require nearly as much maintenance as a chain-drive does. Lastly, belts are simply easier to adjust.
There are three different types of braking systems. You can find a spin bike with fabric brake-pads, leather brake-pads, and magnetic breaking. Fabric brake-pads are usually found in entry-level home-based indoor bikes. Leather pads are mostly found in higher-end bikes for both, domestic and commercial use.
The magnetic braking system is a truly magnificent achievement. These braking systems are completely silent as there is no physical contact. They offer a far greater range of resistance. And, it requires absolutely no maintenance or replacement. The magnetic braking system should be the first choice if it is an option.
Modes of Resistance
There are four types of resistance mechanism found on a spinning bike. There is the cable resistance, manual screw resistance, electronic, magnetic resistance and electromagnetic resistance.
Cable resistance mechanism is only found on low-end bikes, and is not recommended primarily because it has a tendency to slip and therefore, quite unreliable. The manual screw resistance is the type that involves a knob and works similar to an analog system.
It is a simple system that will get the job done. Electronic magnet brakes utilize a small hydraulic system to move a magnet to apply resistance to the flywheel. Electromagnetic systems are still quite rare and a rather recent addition to the spin bike. It doesn’t involve any moving parts since it utilizes an electromagnetic field to create resistance.
Almost every type of indoor bike offers adjustable seats, as well as an adjustable handle. Different types of bikes offer variable degrees of adjustability. Adjustability is particularly important if you’re overweight or really tall, which would require some adjustments. But adjustability is generally not much of an issue as most bikes offer the ability to adjust a seat vertically as well as horizontally. The same goes for the bike’s handle.
Almost all spin bikes come with a display screen. The most basic system would show the speed of the bike, the total distance traveled and the estimated calories burnt during the workout. Some bikes offer slightly more information. For example, it would display real-time information on user’s heart rate or provide the ability to set goals based on distance traveled, etc.
Most spin bike pedals have a toe strap attached to it for stability. Some bikes, of the commercial variety, feature a special type of strap for the SPD cleat on specialist cycling shoes. These are a bit more secure than the toe strap. But there is not much to worry about in this regard.
Spin cycling can be just as strenuous as outdoor cycling and would induce as much perspiration as any other form of workout. So keeping properly hydrated is extremely important. Most spin bikes have a water bottle holder, and some of the high-end models even offer a double holder. The important thing to look at is the location of the bottle holder, a lot of times, it can be difficult to reach the bottle while cycling. It is something to keep in mind when you’re looking for a spin bike.
Indoor bikes are generally quite difficult to transport, particularly spin bikes, which have a heavyweight flywheel attached to it, making it near impossible to transport. This is why it is really important to have transport wheels on your spin bike, especially if you are getting it for your home where space is usually limited.
There you have it. Now you know what to look for in a spin bike. Now you have the knowledge to buy the right spinning bike for yourself, but there are other considerations to keep in mind as well. All forms of physical exercise is an absolute must for maintaining good health and overall well-being, but we shouldn’t forget about maintaining a healthy diet as well.
The stuff we put in our bodies matters as much as how much we exercise. If you combine a healthy diet with a regular spinning routine, the short-term results will be more than enough to keep you motivated for the long-term gains.
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