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Cycling is one of the best aerobic activities out there. Not only is it an amazing workout, it’s also low-impact and boosts serotonin...provided you have some outdoor space to go cycling.
So what about people who live in high-rise apartments or simply prefer working out inside their homes? Indoor cycling bikes provide the same benefits as a road bike, except you don’t have to fight traffic.
Before buying an indoor bike, you'll want to know exactly how it’ll help you on your health journey, its specific features, and the differences between magnetic and friction bikes. Most importantly you'll want to find the best bike for you.
Below, we’ll show you what a magnetic spin bike can do for you, how it compares to friction bikes, and include a list of top magnetic spin bikes to add to your home.
Key features of a magnetic spin bike
The flywheel is a metal wheel that’s located at the front of a spin bike. The weight of the flywheel dictates the pedaling motion of the bike. The heavier your flywheel, the more momentum it generates, and the smoother your pedaling will feel. Typically, a flywheel weight of more than 11.5 kgs is ideal to get a good momentum going.
Your bike’s resistance level determines how challenging your workout is. The higher the resistance, the more effort you need to exert in pedaling. Magnetic spin bikes generally have a knob with set resistance levels that you can adjust based on how challenging you want your workout to be. In order to get the perfect level of resistance, look for a spin bike with 20+ resistance levels.
Pedals and cleats
Handlebars and seat
You want to be as comfortable as possible when you ride, which means you need an ergonomic seat and handlebars. Look for seats and handlebars that can be adjusted so you find the most comfortable riding position for your height.
The display console tracks your workout by displaying all the key data such as heartbeat rate, distance traveled, and amount of calories burned. Tracking your progress keeps you motivated, leading to better results.
Build quality and durability
When you invest hundreds of dollars in an indoor bike, you want one that’s durable. Look for ones that are built using strong materials such as steel.
Benefits of magnetic spin bikes
Apart from giving you an excellent low-impact cardio workout that helps you build strength and lose weight, here’s what magnetic spin bikes have to offer:
Require very less maintenance
In a magnetic resistance system, the magnets never make direct contact with the flywheel, so they don’t wear out and don’t create any dust. The only part that you’d need to replace is the belt from the belt drive system that transports power from the pedals to the flywheel. Even these belts can handle thousands of hours of use since they’re usually made using durable components like kevlar and carbon.
Offers precise adjustment of resistance levels
Magnetic spin bikes have precise preset resistance levels, allowing you to dial them in accurately, which means no more guessing which resistance level you’re at. You can also switch from a light workout to a challenging one by simply adjusting the resistance level.
Gives you a smooth and quiet ride
Since magnetic bikes are frictionless, they’re very smooth and almost silent, which your neighbors will thank you for.
Do magnetic exercise bikes work?
Magnetic exercise bikes definitely work and are effective in providing a satisfying workout experience. By utilizing magnetic resistance, these bikes offer a smooth and quiet ride while allowing users to easily adjust the difficulty level. Their popularity stems from the ability to customize workouts and track progress efficiently, making them a favored choice for many fitness enthusiasts.
Magnetic resistance spin bikes vs. friction resistance bikes
A magnetic resistance system has quite a few advantages over a friction resistance system.
Magnetic resistance bikes
Friction resistance bikes
How it works
Uses magnets to create resistance. The closer the magnets come to the flywheel, the more the resistance.
Creates resistance using brake pads located on the sides of the flywheel. When these pads come closer to the flywheel, the resistance is increased.
Is practically silent.
Creates a soft swoosh sound.
Costs more than friction bikes.
Is relatively cheaper than magnetic bikes.
Requires very little maintenance as it’s frictionless.
Requires the brake pads to be changed every 6-12 months as they wear out due to direct contact with the flywheel. The rubbing also generates some dust.
Can adjust resistance levels precisely.
Doesn’t have the same provision.
Comes with extras such as a display monitor to track your workouts.
Doesn’t come with a display monitor, which means you can’t identify your resistance level.
Are magnetic spin bikes better?
Magnetic spin bikes are better if you want an indoor cycle that requires no maintenance, is whisper-quiet, lets you adjust your resistance levels and track your workout.
What to consider when choosing an exercise bike with magnetic resistance
- Budget: Magnetic exercise bikes come in a variety of price ranges. Decide how much you can afford to spend and find a spin bike within your budget.
Ascend’s magnetic spin bike has all the features you might need and is one of the most affordable indoor bikes in the market. Shop now
- Space. Indoor cycling bikes need space for storage. Before you choose one, take stock of how much space you have and get one that fits. Always get a bike with wheels attached for easy transportation.
- User weight and height. Not everyone is built similarly, so you need a spin bike that’s comfortable for you.The best option is to go for one that has an adjustable seat and handlebars so anyone can customize it to their needs.
- Maintenance and warranty. Magnetic exercise bikes generally need very little maintenance, but sometimes a part may be faulty and repairing it may cost a lot. It’s best to make sure that you choose one with a warranty of at least 4-5 years.
5 Best Magnetic Spin Bikes
Ascend SE magnetic 2.0: Best overall
The Ascend SE comes with a heavy 13.1 kg flywheel that offers 50% more resistance than other bikes. The 16 resistance levels make it easy to dial the intensity up or down.
The ergonomic gel seat provides some much-needed cushioning, making your ride as comfortable as possible, and handles 150 kgs—the most weight out of all the other bikes on this list. At under $500, it’s also one of the most affordable.
- Very affordable
- Easy to assemble
- Heartbeat sensor and advanced monitor to track your workout
- Gel seat offers comfort
- Accommodates the most weight (150kgs)
- Smooth transport wheels add portability
- Can’t turn off the monitor, so might need frequent battery replacement
- Handlebars move around a bit
Ascend’s magnetic spin bike’s set up is a breeze. Get riding in only 15 minutes. Shop now
Sunny Health Fitness SF B1805 indoor cycling bike: Best no-frills bike
The Sunny Health Fitness exercise bike is a no-frills bike with a heavy 19.9 kg flywheel that ensures consistent momentum throughout your workout. It has a micro-adjustable resistance system to help you adjust your workout intensity. The emergency stop brake adds safety by stopping the bike immediately in case the wheel is spinning too fast.
The floor stabilizers make sure your equipment remains sturdy even if your floors are uneven, and toe-caged pedals wkeep your feet from slipping off.
- Emergency stop brake
- Micro-adjustable resistance knob
- Transportation wheels to easily move the bike around
- Floor stabilizers
- Toe-cage pedals to keep your feet firm
- No monitor to track your metrics
- The device holder has a flat angle which makes it hard to see your device
- Set up can take up to an hour
Keiser M3i indoor bike: Best premium indoor cycling bike
The Keiser M3i can accommodate practically everybody–even riders who are 213 cm tall. Its 3.6 kg flywheel might not be as heavy as the others, but it’s mounted on the back of the bike, allowing it to generate the same momentum as a 13 kg flywheel. The rear flywheel also has the added benefit of protecting the fitness equipment from sweat and corrosion as its place on the back takes it away from the “sweat zone.” It also makes the bike lighter.
There are 24 resistance levels and the display console tracks all your workout metrics in real-time. The Keiser M3i has wireless bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with several indoor cycling apps. Unlike other spin bikes, it comes with a toolkit for easy assembly.
- Accommodates even the tallest of riders
- Rear flywheel protects the fitness equipment from corrosion and sweat
- Has transportation wheels and stretch pads
- Advanced connectivity
- Comes with a kit for assembly
- Very expensive (nearly $2,000)
- Seat isn’t very comfortable
Bowflex C6 exercise bike: Best value
The Bowflex C6 exercise bike comes with a heavy 18 kg flywheel and 100 levels of resistance. This bike connects with several apps such as the JRNY app, Peloton, and Zwift, making it easy for you to follow along with live workouts. It has dual-sided pedals: one side with clips and the other with toe cages. You’ll have your pick between cycling shoes and athletic shoes.
The bike connects to various cycling apps so you can follow along with live classes or ride to the latest beats. You also get the added feature of cycling through virtual destinations, which is a nice touch. And, as an added bonus, you get a pair of 1.3 kg dumbbells.
- Dual-sided pedals
- Connects with various streaming devices
- Backlit LCD display console
- Difficult to assemble
- Seat is not cushioned
- Handlebars don’t move closer to the seat, making riding a bit uncomfortable
Freebeat Lit bike: Best immersive experience
This sleek bike comes with a 21.5” LCD touchscreen that can rotate 180 degrees. It comes with access to the Freebeat platform, offering you hundreds of on-demand classes. And because everything on this bike is interconnected, the auto-resistance system automatically adjusts the resistance based on the instructor’s cue.
The bike has a personal trainer algorithm to make your workouts fit your style. Ride along to your favorite music or compete with your friends while the bike adjusts to your needs.
- Rotatable LCD touchscreen so you can take the classes for off-the-bike workouts
- Auto-resistance system
- Personal trainer algorithm
- Very expensive (more than $1,000)
- Handlebar doesn’t move close to the seat
What is the best spin bike for home use?
The Ascend SE magnetic 2.0’s affordability and ease of use make it the best exercise bike for home use.
Level up your fitness journey with Ascend’s magnetic spin bike. Shop now