magnetic vs friction bike

Magnetic vs Friction: Which Spin Bike Resistance is Best for You?

A stationary bike is one of the best low-impact resistance and cardio exercises you can do. With all of the advancements in spin bikes over the years, you really can’t go wrong with the model you choose for your home gym. However, when you’re choosing which one is best for you, it’s helpful to understand the differences between some of the best out there — like the magnetic versus friction resistance bike models.

Benefits of using a spin bike

If you’re looking for a piece of low-impact resistance equipment, the spin bike is a perfect option. Not only do they provide a great workout for your legs, core, and glute muscles, but they’re a very effective overall cardio exercise. 

Plus, if you’ve found yourself injured from other activities and need to exercise with minimal weight on your body, a spin bike is an excellent way to stay in shape while you strengthen and recover. They also offer an effective, and warmer, alternative to outdoor workouts during the coldest months.

Magnetic versus friction resistance bikes

With a spin bike, one of the major components you can adjust for your workout is the resistance of the bike — or how difficult you want it to be to push the pedals. Changing the resistance on your stationary bike makes it feel more like you’re riding a bike outside on the trail, and also gives you the physical challenge you’re seeking.

There are two main types of resistance bikes: magnetic and friction. These refer to the types of mechanisms that are used in the bike to make it harder to turn the flywheel. While you may not have known these existed before, it’s helpful to understand the differences when looking for a new spin bike. 

Magnetic resistance

In a spin bike that uses magnetic resistance like the Ascend SE Magnetic Spin Bike, there are two magnets located near where the brake pads would be on an outdoor bicycle. 

As you increase or decrease the resistance of the bike using the adjustment knob, the two magnets move closer or further apart, respectively. The magnets never get so close that they touch the flywheel, but close enough that it becomes much harder to pedal. 

Some people really like magnetic resistances bikes because they’re quiet and tend to require minimal maintenance over time. 

Friction resistance

The resistance created on a friction bike like the Ascend SE Spin Bike uses pads made from wool, cotton or leather. These are intended to be similar to brake pads and even look similar to ones you would see on an outdoor bicycle. 

When you adjust the resistance on a friction bike, these brake pads/straps move closer and physically squeeze the sides of the flywheel. 

Many people enjoy friction resistance bikes because they’re quiet, and when the brake pages are properly maintained and replaced when necessary, they only produce a low pitch swishing noise. 

Should you choose magnetic or friction resistance?

When it comes to choosing between a magnetic or friction resistance bike, it all depends on your personal preferences. Both bikes are a great investment in your health and each one provides a unique design that produces resistance for a challenging and effective workout.