Our chart was given a bit of a refresh, as we ditched an older model to make way for something more relevant for this year – the impressive C6 Bike from Bowflex!
We also adjusted a few things in our buyer’s guide to make sure it remained up to date.
While good exercise bikes come in many different forms, it’s the spinning bike that is famous for working up the biggest sweat.
Table of Contents
This is because, while spinning bikes may be less comfort-focused than their upright and recumbent cousins, the fitness rewards tend to be greater.
If you are on the hunt for a new spin bike, you have come to the right place! In this article we have selected seven of our favorite spinning bikes that will deliver the goods – whether you are looking for an intense calorie burn or a stamina boost.
We have highlighted models from across the price ranges, although if you are on a tighter budget, our page on the best spinning bikes under $500 will also be worth browsing.
After our chart, we have prepared a handy buyer’s guide, with all the info you need, as well as a newly-revised FAQ section. Ready to spin your way fit? Let’s go!
Resistance: 100 Levels (Magnetic)
Features: Steel frame, dual link pedals with toe cages, backlit LCD console, Bluetooth connectivity, multiple app connectivity, pair of 3lb dumbbells, 330lb weight capacity
Height: 4ft 10” to 7ft
Resistance: Adjustable (Magnetic)
Features: V-shaped frame, Poly-V belt, adjustable seat, multi-position handlebars, curved crank, SPD pedals, LCD monitor, Bluetooth connectivity, M Series app syncing, media shelf, bottle holder, transportation wheels
Next on this chart is the outstanding M3i from Keiser. Undoubtedly one of the best consumer spin bikes out there at the moment. The catch? The understandably high-end price tag. However, if you are able to splash out, you will be rewarded by superior performance – smooth, ultra-quiet and able to keep up with elite athletes.
This American-made bike features the first V-shaped frame on the market, catering for users between 4ft 10” to 7ft. The rear wheel design means that it is kept out of the way from sweat and debris, leading to a longer life.
As for secondary features, the M3i sports a media shelf, bottle holder and a simple LCD screen. The added Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect to Keiser’s impressive M Series app for good data tracking.
Height: 4ft 4” to 6ft 5”
Resistance: Adjustable (Direct-Contact)
Features: Precision-machined 46lb flywheel, Velo saddle, aluminum alloy pedals with toe cages, bottle holder, 300lb maximum weight capacity
The SPX Club from BodyCraft may look a little less high-end in its design, yet the performance of this commercial-grade spin bike meets the requirements of everybody, right up to experienced athletes.
This bike is built to last with a sturdy powder-coated steel frame, while a 46lb flywheel, German-made sealed bearings, and French-made V-ribbed belt keeps things running smoothly. It features direct-contact resistance for an authentic feel, with a patented friction brake offering great control.
It is undoubtedly a bike for serious riders, so don’t expect much in the way of secondary features – there’s no LCD display for example. However, it’s a comfortable ride thanks to the high-end Velo saddle, while it does at least offer a water bottle holder!
Resistance: Adjustable (Air)
Features: Clutched flywheel, adjustable seat, adjustable handlebars, backlit LCD display, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in workout programs, transportation wheels
Concept2 is a big name in commercial gyms, and their impressive BikeErg is a fantastic way to enjoy that gym-quality feel at home. With a clutched flywheel and air resistance system, it’s a great bike for both long-distance and HIIT sessions.
This popular spinning bike features a lightweight (58lb) aluminum frame, offering a sturdy ride and an easy way to move it around after your workout (thanks to built-in wheels). It’s easy to find the right fit thanks to an easily-adjustable seat and handlebars.
While spinning bikes aren’t known for their secondary features, the BikeErg comes with a good backlit LCD screen providing both your workout data and a range of preset workout programs to boost your motivation.
Resistance: Adjustable (Direct-Contact)
Features: 48lb flywheel, adjustable padded seat, adjustable handlebars, water bottle holder, transportation wheels, 300lb maximum user weight
If you aren’t looking at something in the $1,000 range, the SB700 from Sole Fitness will be more up your street. It comes with a more affordable midrange price, while the quality remains incredibly high.
The 48lb flywheel is heavy enough to offer a very smooth action, while the adjustable direct-contact resistance provides a hefty challenge for anyone. With multi-position adjustable handlebars and seat, finding the perfect position for you is easy enough.
Like other spinning bikes, the SB700 isn’t swimming in features, yet it offers a few nice touches. This includes the blue backlit LCD screen with easy-to-view workout data, as well as a generous water bottle holder. It is also compatible with a wireless chest strap heart rate monitor for accurate measurements.
Resistance: Adjustable (Magnetic)
Features: 44lb flywheel, adjustable seat, adjustable pedals with toe cages, multi-grip handlebars, media shelf, adjustable floor levelers, transportation wheels, water bottle holder, 300lb maximum weight capacity
Sunny Health & Fitness is a respected fitness brand that offers a plethora of spinning bikes, although the SF-B1805 remains one of their most popular models. With a midrange price tag, this sleek indoor bike boasts a 44lb flywheel and adjustable magnetic resistance for a smooth and quiet ride.
The seat and handlebars are adjustable in many ways, allowing you to find a fit that is perfect for you and your riding style. Alongside the handlebars you will find a convenient device holder, able to take a tablet – perfect for watching online spin classes while you work out.
With a sturdy steel frame, it takes users up to 300lbs, although transportation wheels and a compact build make moving and storing this bike a cinch.
Resistance: Adjustable (Direct-Contact)
Features: 40lb flywheel, belt drive, race-style seat, SPD pedals with toe cages, multi-position handles, LCD screen, media shelf, 300lb weight capacity
Our chart above will have offered a glimpse into the world of spinning bikes – but now you have to actually make a decision!
But what should you look out for when shopping for a spin bike? What kind of resistance will suit you best? What about secondary features?
In the following sections we are going to run you through the ins and outs of spinning bikes and what you should keep an eye out for when shopping for one.
While it may look quite similar to other stationary bikes, a spinning bike is an entirely different beast when compared to something like an upright bike or recumbent bike.
Every spin bike features the distinctive indoor bike design. One of the most notable points is that the seat is at the same level as the handlebars. This forces you to lean forward and ride with your weight on your arms, which engages more muscle groups than other biking styles.
In addition to leaning forward as you would on a racing bike, spinning bikes are designed for standing – one of the reasons manufacturers don’t put too much effort into making the seats comfortable!
To cater for the added stress of standing, these bikes are very well built with either steel or aluminum frames. They feature reinforced pedals to take the extra weight and have padded handlebars for comfort.
As with other bikes, you will find spinning bikes are fitted with flywheels. In general, the heavier the wheel, the smoother the ride. In the majority of cases, this wheel is found at the front of the bike, although some designs will put the wheel at the back.
This rear positioning has its advantages as it places the metal wheel out of the prime sweat zone, so it is less likely to be hit by falling sweat, therefore increasing its longevity.
Wherever the flywheel is positioned, it will be connected to either a belt or chain, which drives the wheel as you push the pedals. A belt drive is typically much quieter than a chain, although tends to be the more expensive of the two systems.
The resistance a spin bike can offer is crucial to achieving a worthwhile workout. It is what provides the challenge and – ultimately – the rewards.
Adding significant resistance can mimic hill climbs, while backing off can replicate downhill sections. This is why spin bikes are so popular with competing cyclists, who use indoor bikes to train when the weather is too cold or wet to do so outdoors.
Like with other bike styles, spinning bikes comes in three flavors of resistance: direct-contact, magnetic and air. All three are represented on our chart.
If the bike has a traditional flywheel it will have an element of natural resistance, although will eventually need some external help. This is where direct-contact resistance comes in.
This popular style of adding resistance uses a physical brake pad – such as a piece of felt or leather – to slow the wheel. You turn a resistance dial, which pushes the pad closer to the wheel and increases the friction.
Direct contact provides the greatest amount of resistance, while proving the most accurate in feel. However, you will sometimes have to replace the pads when they wear down, which can be an inconvenience.
The other style of metal flywheel resistance is magnetic. However, with this style, no direct contact with the wheel is made. Instead, magnets create the resistance. Turning the control dial moves the magnets closer to the wheel, thus increasing the resistance.
The advantage of this system is that you have excellent consistency – level 7 today will be like level 7 in five years’ time. They are also much quieter systems than direct-contact, which can become a little noisy.
However, you will end up paying more for magnetic resistance systems, while the resistance doesn’t tend to be as high. This can be a problem for more serious athletes.
If the bike doesn’t have a traditional flywheel, then chances are it will have a large fan and will feature an air resistance system. Air resistance on a spin bike is a lot less common than the other two systems, yet is still found in the higher-end of the market.
This system works as air resistance hits the blades of the fan. The harder you pedal, the greater the resistance becomes.
This allows for natural acceleration and deceleration, so you can go hard and fast, then ease off instantly without having to reduce resistance manually. This is why air resistance machines are very popular in high-intensity training and CrossFit circles.
The advantages of air resistance are clear, although be aware that this system is less consistent than direct-contact and magnetic, while it tends to be the loudest in action.
As with any other style of exercise bike, you should pay attention to the height range of the spinning bike. If you are too short or too tall for the bike, then it suddenly becomes an expensive waste of space.
Unfortunately, unlike other aspects, finding the height range of the bike is not always an easy task. For some reason, not all manufacturers list the height range, which makes buying some bikes a bit of a guessing game.
Luckily, most bikes cater for users of average height, so unless you are particularly short or tall, you shouldn’t have a problem.
If you are slightly taller or shorter than average, try to check user reviews on places such as Amazon, where you will be able to judge if the bike is going to accommodate you, based on what others say.
When you have a bike that fits your height, make sure it has plenty of adjustability in the seat and handlebars. This will allow you to tailor the bike to your exact dimensions.
Some bikes will offer a seat that only moves vertically, while others will also offer horizontal movement. This adjustability is worth looking out for as it will guarantee you a comfortable riding
Pedals are a big part of a good spinning bike, as it is crucial to secure your feet for a firm grip. You will find two main pedal styles on indoor spinning bikes: toe cages and SPD pedals.
First up, toe cages. These are a standard pedal with the addition of a ‘cage’ that envelopes the toes. Slide your foot in, tighten to fit you, and off you go.
The advantage of toe cage pedals is that you can wear whatever shoes you find comfortable. They also offer a great grip, so your feet don’t slip as you pedal hard.
The other style, SPD pedals, allow you to clip your shoes onto the pedals, providing an unrivalled grip. The benefits of these pedals are that you have a firmer upstroke, resulting in no loss of power or speed, as well as greater consistency. This is because your foot is in exactly the same spot every time you cycle.
The drawback of SPD pedals is that you will have to invest in a separate pair of shoes to use them.
Toe cages are the most common and bikes in all price ranges will offer them. SPD pedals tend to be included more on bikes in the higher end of the market, although some midrange models offer them as standard too.
If you want SPD pedals and the bike you are considering doesn’t come with them, you can usually replace the pedals. Of course, this will involve you spending more money on a set of after-market SPD pedals, but the benefits can be worth the investment.
Keep a close eye on the features list of each bike, as some will offer dual pedals. This will have a standard toe cage on one side, with an SPD clip on the other. The best of both worlds!
Unlike a good recumbent bike – where comfort and convenience is paramount – a spinning bike is not swamped with secondary features.
You are unlikely to find complex controls and multiple screens, even on higher-end models. In fact, many spinning bikes won’t even offer a display screen of any kind.
If they do, they will be uncomplicated LCD screens, offering a range of workout metrics. You will usually find data such as your active time, distance travelled, speed, and calories burned. More advanced systems may offer things such as heart rate monitoring, usually connecting to an external chest strap monitor.
The controls for spinning bikes are just as simple – usually a single manual resistance knob allowing you dial in your desired resistance.
Aside from screens and controls, you will often find a water bottle holder, allowing you to hold your bottle should you need a drink while you ride. If you are using your spin bike to its full potential, then you will definitely need to do this!
Some bikes will also feature a media shelf or tray. While relaxing and watching a movie on NetFlix is usually more associated with users of recumbent bikes, indoor bikers can benefit from having an iPad or tablet nearby.
With it, you can follow along to a plethora of online spin classes via apps such as Zwift, The Sufferfest and CycleCast. This can take your workout from mediocre to gym-levels of calorie burning. The media shelf is useful as it allows you to safely hold your tablet even as the workout becomes more intense.
In the spinning world, a Peloton bike is seen as the pinnacle of indoor cycling. This high-end system makes use of premium quality bikes, paired with live and on-demand spinning workouts via the internet.
Peloton bikes are awesome and should be a serious consideration if spinning is your life! However, as these bikes come with hefty price tags and an ongoing subscription, they may not be ideal for more casual users – or people who can’t afford such a big initial investment.
If you can afford a Peloton bike and the monthly subscription, and want to use a spin bike every day, then there is no reason to not go for one!
Other brands that make a high-end bike but with slightly more affordability include Life Fitness, Keiser, BodyCraft, and Concept2. Buying something from these manufacturers will result in an excellent bike that will last years of daily abuse.
However, you don’t have to spend over a thousand bucks to end up with a great spinning bike. Sure, it may not be ‘the best spinning bike out there’, but the performance and features included on these midrange and budget bikes are surprisingly good.
Bikes from brands including Sole Fitness, Schwinn, Phoenix, and Sunny Health & Fitness are all worth checking out if you want a good bike that doesn’t completely drain your bank account.
If you are asking us, then we would have to say a resounding yes – spin bikes are great! Of course, it depends on your requirements and fitness goals, but buying a spin bike can be a very smart move.
There are many reasons for this. Firstly, a spinning bike is as close as you can get to riding an actual road bike indoors.
The seating position on a spin bike is very authentic – you are not reclined, but instead are placed in an aggressive stance, with your bottom riding high and your upper body leaning on the handlebars. With a good resistance system, it can feel like you are actually riding your road bike.
This authenticity is good news for serious cyclists, such as those training for races or triathlons, especially when it is too cold or wet outdoors.
If you are not a competing cyclist, then you may be spinning to boost your endurance, burn calories, build strength, or simply to blow off some steam.
At home spin bikes are excellent for this kind of general use too. For starters, they are built like tanks, which means they can take a lot of abuse.
This also makes them very versatile. With other styles of exercise bike, you must remain seated throughout the duration of your workout. Spinning bikes are actually built with standing in mind, so you can stand on the pedals as you ride, without having to worry about damaging the pedals or the bike.
With this ability to stand coupled with the fact that you are leaning forwards through much of your workout, you are also adding another benefit to the list: spinning can be a full-body workout.
That’s right. In addition to your quads, hamstrings and glutes – which naturally endure the most work in a spin class – spinning also involves your upper body.
For example, your arms are in use as you support your body while leaning forward, while your core takes a hammering as it stabilizes your body while standing.
Of course, indoor bikes do have their caveats – they are less comfortable to use compared to other stationary bikes.
For starters, the seats are notoriously uncomfortable, although because you are expected to use the bike in a leaning or standing position, you rarely relax on the seat for extended periods of time.
Meanwhile, the forward posture may be quite uncomfortable for many users, especially if you are new to biking. Spinning bikes function best for more advanced users and those who want a total-body workout from their bike. If you are looking for a more casual cycle, then an upright or recumbent bike would suit you better.
Both spinning and running are seen as kings of the cardio world – and rightly so. Both are able to raise the heart rate, blitz calories and build endurance.
But which is better…?
If you are looking to burn fat, you will need to tailor your session to determine which is the best. It is believed that running burns more calories than spinning at a steady state (around 700 calories vs 520 calories for a 155lb person for 60 minutes).
However, if you use a higher intensity, and incorporate high resistance and standing into your workout, spinning knocks it out of the park. With a higher-intensity session, you can expect to burn anywhere up to 1,000 calories in the hour (depending on the individual and the routine you are following).
Meanwhile, spinning is undoubtedly a much better full-body workout than running, which tends to only incorporate your lower body. Due to the way you lean and stand during a spin session, you tax your arms, back and core in more ways that you could ever dream of while running.
Another plus for spinning is that it is certainly a lower-impact exercise than running, as your feet stay attached to the pedals as you spin them.
However, running has its good points too (in addition to the fact it burns calories and conditions your cardiovascular system).
For one, it is certainly better for your wallet.
While spinning requires either a membership to a spinning class, or an indoor bike for your own home, running only requires a pair of running shoes (although you can also enjoy barefoot running for a completely free experience!).
The added benefit of outdoor running is that you get to spend time in the fresh air, which does more for your health than an hour in an airconditioned gym.
The verdict? We believe spinning has more benefits than running, but both have their place in a fit person’s life. Try to incorporate a little of both into your weekly routine and feel the difference as you keep your body guessing.
There is actually a bit of a debate in the fitness world about whether spinning slims or bulks your legs. The difference can be crucial. For example, if you are aiming for slender legs, you certainly don’t want to be building tree trunk quads!
The good news (for slimmers, at least) is that spinning does not bulk up your legs. This is because spinning uses different muscle fibers (slow-twitch) to those that increase in size (fast-twitch).
You would need to be lifting heavy weights for multiple sets to build significant muscle – and even then, many people still struggle to put on leg mass!
So, a few spinning classes will certainly not bulk up your legs.
However, before you expect your legs to start slimming after your first few spinning sessions, be aware of the principles of fat loss. To lose bodyfat, you must be in a consistent calorie deficit, mainly through eating a good diet and pairing it with calorie-burning exercise.
More good news, then – spinning burns a huge number of calories (up to around 1,000 per hour-long session), providing you are putting in the effort.
So, if you are eating well, and both your diet and exercise put you in a deficit of around 500 calories a day, you will start to see the pounds drop off over just a few weeks.
Just be wary of what is known as ‘entitlement eating’ – where you finish exercise then eat more than you should as you feel you have earned it. While you certainly have earned it, you won’t be doing your calorie deficit much good at all!
As you will have seen from this guide, indoor cycling is a sure-fire way to torch calories, build your endurance, increase strength and release stress. Buying a good spinning bike enables you to do all of this in the comfort of your own living room.
Whether you are looking for a pro-grade model or a budget bike, we hope our chart has offered a little inspiration. Just don’t dive into a purchase until you digest everything in our guide.
Also be sure to browse the market yourself – while our chart reflects some of the best models around, we may have omitted a spin bike that would work better for you. Good luck!