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Ready to get serious about your cardio training at home? It’s time to invest in a spin cycle.
We’re big fans of spin work, especially at home! And we’ve done the hard work for you. In this article we provide in depth-reviews of the best spin bikes for home use.
Spin Bike UK Buyers Guide
Spin cycling represents one of the most effective, calorie burning and heart rate pumping workout options out there. But they are also one of the most expensive on the market, so it pays to do your homework before forking over your cash.
Here’s what you need to look for when buying a spin cycle:
The flywheel gives the bike its movement momentum, makes it feel more like a real outdoor cycling experience and ensures a smooth jerk free pedaling motion. The heavier the flywheel, the better the bike will perform. The best spin cycle bikes for home use will have flywheels between 10 and 20 kgs. Anything under 10 kgs is going to be too disjointed in terms of its pedaling motion.
Make sure, however, that the flywheel is not too heavy for your needs. The heavier the flywheel, the harder it is to push the pedals. Anything over 25 kg will probably be too much unless you are an advanced rider.
A spin bike may either have friction or magnetic resistance. Friction resistance makes use of a knob to control pads that are attached to the flywheel. When you tighten them, the increased friction on the flywheel makes it harder to pedal. However, friction resistance bikes do not have preset resistance levels; you have to go by feel.
Magnetic resistance makes use of a pair of magnets located near the flywheel. It is also controlled by a centrally located knob. This time you do have preset resistance levels. The magnets never actually touch. As a result, they are more durable than friction pads and are quieter.
A spin cycle will use the same type of pedals as found on outdoor bikes. In fact, many have a thread that is the same as on an outdoor cycle, allowing you to actually put your outdoor pedals on the bike if you so desire. Check before you buy if is the case. The best indoor spin bikes have toe clips to keep you secure when pedaling at full speed. You also want strong cranks that attach the pedals to the bike. This is so that you can safely pedal while standing.
As with the pedals, the seats on spin cycles are similar to what you find on outdoor cycles. That means that they are not overly comfortable. The best spin bikes for home use allow you to swap out the seat with the one from your outdoor cycle.
You want your new spin cycle to be able to be adjusted to your height and riding style. Therefore, it should allow you to adjust the seat backwards, forward and up and down. The best spin cycle bikes will have handles that are adjustable vertically as well as horizontally. This is not the case on all spin cycles, so be sure to check this before buying.
The drive connects the pedals to the flywheel. There are two types of drives used on spin cycles. The first is a chain link drive similar to what you find on outdoor cycles. The second is a belt drive that is made from hard rubber. A chain drive is hardier and more realistic but will require regular maintenance adjustment and lubricating. You don’t need to do these things with a belt drive but you will have to replace it after a few years.
Best Spin Bikes UK: Our Top Picks for 2020
Read on for full reviews of the top UK spin bikes, and why these two topped our list.
WeRSports Aerobic Training Cycle
The WeRSports Aerobic Training Cycle is a sleek stylish spin bike that comes in a red and black design. It is rather compact, measuring in at 108 × 53 × 124 cm. This makes it suitable for even the most compact of living spaces, and it’s easy to assemble. It’s also noted for its smooth, jerk free pedaling ability.
Despite is compact size this is a pretty heavy bike – weighing in at 38kg – so choose its place in your home carefully, you don’t want to be moving it very often!
The bike itself is very customisable, with horizontal and vertical seat and handlebar movement. This makes it ideal for use by different members of the family. However, the pedals are not really suited for different sized feet.
This spin bike also provides you with a conveniently located water bottle cage, along with an emergency stop button. We really like the smooth, fluid pedal motion and the ability to customise settings, including fine tuning of resistance levels.
The one downside with this bike is that fact that the seat is not made for long rides so can get uncomfortable during longer sessions. Of course it’s still very usable, but if you want you can increase the padding with an inexpensive gel seat cover. For a smooth, functional spin cycle that all family members can use, it’s a small price to pay!
- Max User Weight 120 kg
- Smooth Pedal Motion
- 5 Function Monitor
- Compact Design
- Adjustable seat
FIT4HOME TF-8018 Aerobic Indoor Spin Cycle
The Fit4Home Unisex TF8018 is a budget spin cycle that looks good and provides a relatively smooth ride. It features an on-board digital computer monitor that allows you to capture all of your important training diagnostics including speed, distance, time, calories, scan and pulse.
This spin cycle is designed for beginner users, only having 10 kg flywheel. It features a belt drive with three-piece crank with fleece brake system, which is quite impressive for a spin cycle at this price point.
The frame of the Fit4Home Unisex TF8018 is quite solid, being made of tubular framing. This is an extremely compact, good looking bike which would not be out of place in most home decors. The assembled bike measures 109 x 48 x 108 cm.
The seat on this bike is adjustable both vertically and horizontally, but the handles only go up and down. An anti-skid frame ensures that the bike will remain a solid and stable even when you are pedaling at top intensity. This is a lightweight bike that comes with transportation wheels to make it easy to store away after use. The maximum user weight on this bike is 110 kg.
For something more suitable for lower budgets, this is a great pick we’re happy to recommend.
- Max User Weight 110 kg
- Smooth Resistance
- 5 Function Monitor
- Compact Design
- Budget Priced
XS Sports SB500 Aerobic Indoor Training Exercise Bike
The XS Sports SB500 Aerobic Indoor Training Exercise Bike is designed for more experienced riders. It features an ergonomic design that makes it very user friendly and allows for the lean forward positioning of race cycling. The design of the bike is solid and durable, being close to professional standard. The maximum user weight is 125 kg, which is quite impressive for a home spin cycle This bike has a 15 kg flywheel, which is also above average for most home bikes.
This bike features a water bottle holder and an emergency brake. It also features elbow rests. The monitor on the bike is user-friendly and functional, providing running readouts of your speed, distance, pulse, calories and exercise duration.
As with many spin bikes, the seat is not overly comfortable so this is another bike where you may have to invest in some gel seat cushioning if you plan on doing longer rides (for shorter rides, this probably won’t be an issue).
The biggest downside is this bike is among the noisiest on our review list. However, if you are after a serious sweat session, then this is the bike for you.
- 15 kg Flywheel
- Pulse Sensors
- 120 kg Max User Weight
- Emergency Brake
Nero Sports Upright Exercise Bike Indoor Studio Cycle
The Nero Sports Upright Exercise bike is an impressive looking budget spin cycle that offers some features that you would not expect at its price point. Presenting a striking yellow and black colour combination, this bike looks much more expensive than it actually is.
The bike comes with a 12 kg flywheel, which is a little more than other bikes at this price range. The handlebars and seat are fully adjustable to allow for customisation by each user. You also get transportation wheels to make it easy to store the bike away when not in use, though this bike looks so good you may want to keep it out permanently. The pedals come with toe clips and the bike also includes a free water bottle.
Overall this bike has a pretty fluid and smooth resistance, though there is a little jerkiness at top speeds. The seat provides more padding than some more expensive models we have reviewed. However, the bigger let-down with this bike is that it is rather noisy. The manufacturers claim that the bike’s mechanics are noise free and this is, in fact, the case. However, the frame of the bike has a tendency to rattle when the speed gets up. For some this won’t matter at all, but it might create a problem if you tend to work out in a room where others are watching TV or absorbed in a movie or video game.
When pedaling at the highest levels, you may also experience some slight wobbling of the frame. As a result, we tend to recommend the Nero cycle to novice level riders who won’t be pushing the bike to its highest speeds.
- 12 kg Flywheel
- Jerk Free Operation
- Pulse Sensors
- 3 Piece Crank
- Toe Clips
JLL IC400 ELITE Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
The JLL IC400 Elite Premium Exercise Bike is a great looking high-intensity spin cycle designed for advanced users. It features a 20 kg flywheel, giving it far more grunt than your average home use bike. However, it alsao provides a wide range of resistance levels. So, this is a great entry-level bike that will progress with you through your experience levels.
The three-piece crank system of the JLL IC400 Elite Premium Exercise Bike ensures that you get a smooth on the road feel with every pedal. In fact, this bike is so true to road conditions that many online reviewers have mentioned that they use it for training for on road events. If you’re training for a road race or a triathlon, this could be a good piece of kit for you.
The strength and durability of the frame of this bike is attested to by its 150 kg user weight limit. You will not have any problems with this cycle wobbling or sliding around when you are pedalling at maximum intensity. The bike is fully customisable in terms of both seating and handlebar positioning. We’re also fans of the premium leather saddle which is a close mimic of a classic mountain bike seat.
The one negative about the the IC400 is users under 5’5” will struggle to use it comfortably, as it is on the larger size.
That said, we easily rate the JLL IC400 Elite Premium Exercise Bike as the best high-end home use spin cycle currently on the market and our favourite overall.
- 20 kg Flywheel
- Ergonomic Design
- 3 Piece Crank
- Fully Adjustable
- 150 kg Max User Weight
JLL IC260 Indoor Cycle
The JLL IC260 Indoor Cycling Bike is the next level down from the premium model reviewed above. It has a low price point and delivers good performance and functionality. It features a direct drive chain to provide a more realistic on road feel. The 15 kg flywheel ensures a smooth jerk free ride and the ergonomic positioning of the handlebars allows you to freely simulate an on road experience.
This bike comes with an impressive LCD monitor which captures six of your training diagnostics, including time, speed, distance, calories, heart-rate and odometer. It also has a number of training programs inbuilt. Pulse sensors are also built into the handlebars so that you can monitor your training heartrate as you go.
Unfortunately, the JLL IC260 is not as rugged or durable as its more pricey professional stablemate. A number of users have reported experiencing a degree of wobbling and movement at the base of the unit when pedalling at top intensity. This is also a rather heavy bike, making it impractical to move around a lot.
Despite this, most novice users will rarely push the bike to max intensity, and at regular intensities it works extremely well. For this price, we can’t imagine anything more you could want – a great smooth ride for a casual user without breaking the bank. It’s the perfect bike for a quick ride in the mornings before work, or for getting some low intensity exercise in while watching TV or listening to a podcast. For anyone shopping for a spin bike on a tight budget, this is our number one pick.
Why Buy a Spin Cycle?
Spin cycles are quite a bit more expensive than upright or recumbent cycles. So, why would you choose to buy one instead of going for the cheaper versions? Here are four reasons we love having spin bikes in the home:
Crazy Fat Loss
Spin cycling is hard work. If you’re pushing yourself to the max, you can burn around 700 calories over the course of a 45-minute workout. Do that four times over a 7-day period and you’ll be burning off close to a pound of fat every week. There’s not a lot you can do in the cardio room that compares to that.
Full Body Workouts
You might think that a spin workout exclusively hits your glutes, quads and calves. Of course, it will definitely do that. But it also gives you an effective upper body workout. If you pull up a home spin workout on Youtube, your instructor will have you performing a number of cycling motions in an upright position. You’ll also be using a range of grips. After 20-30 minutes, you’ll come to appreciate how effective these are to work your lats, biceps, triceps and forearms.
Spinning workouts also incorporate standing, crouching and constant pedaling at intervals. Routines also include simulating a trek uphill which requires alternating between high and medium tension on the bike. These challenging moves will work every muscle in your body.
Your core will also get a fantastic workout while spinning. The core connects the upper and lower body, and the various cycling positions will keep it constantly challenged.
To get maximum core engagement when spinning, set your seat for a slight anterior pelvic tilt. Keep your core engaged throughout the class.
Improved Cardio Endurance
A regular spinning session can last for up to 45 minutes. When done regularly, this will definitely build your cardio endurance level. Your blood pressure will optimize, and your ability to run up and down the stairs will be enhanced.
In contrast to cardio options such as running on a treadmill, spinning is very low impact on your joints. Despite the ongoing cycling and interval standing and crouching, spinning places minimal pressure on knee and ankle joints.
The low impact nature of spinning has resulted in many lower arthritic patients being referred to classes to strengthen muscles without them becoming overworked.
Many competitive runners also utilise spinning sessions while training for big races, as it takes all the impact off their knees and ankles, but still gives their cardio a serious workout.
5 Hacks for the Ultimate Spin Session
So, the evidence is in.
If you want to get in a butt kicking, high energy workout that will burn more calories, work more muscles and improve your cardiovascular fitness faster than anything else in the gym, get yourself a spin bike and start getting to work!
Here are 5 hacks to getting the most of your time in the saddle.
Get Your Saddle Positioning Right
Choosing the correct seating height for a spinning workout is essential for a comfortable and safe workout. To find the most suitable height, place your feet into the pedals and attempt to cycle. The seating is deemed ideal when the leg bends with a 25 to 35-degree angle.
The seats on most spin bikes are adjustable. They can be moved backwards or forwards to ensure correct knee alignment. It is also important to ensure that, when seated in the bike, the hands fall directly over the handle-bars and the feet dangle over the center of the pedals. The saddle is considered to be in the correct place when the rider’s knee cap falls exactly in this spot.
Ideal Foot Placement
If the bike has clipless pedals, the ball of each foot should be placed in the center of the pedal. If the bike being used has toe cages, make sure that the balls of your feet are aligned with the center of the pedal. Adhering to these instructions places the foot at its widest position, ensuring maximised comfort during the workout.
Optimize Your Posture
Poor posture will result in strained muscles and can reduce the effectiveness of the spinning workout. You should be comfortable when in the seat, and not feel unbalanced or out of control. Remember it should feel as natural as riding a regular bicycle. If you want to lean forward, ensure your weight is distributed evenly across your arms and the saddle.
Know the Positions
There are three basic spin positions that you need to know:
- Position One -In this position you sit in the saddle with your torso naturally hinged at the hips. Your hands should be placed on the curvature of the handle bars. The upper body should not really be moving during the cycling motion.
- Position Two – From the previous position, lift out of the saddle while bringing your hands in closer together. Engage your glutes and hamstrings and don’t allow your butt to rise more than an inch or two above the saddle.
- Position Three – From the last position, straighten out your back and hinge forward slightly so that you are completely out of the saddles. Focus on pushing through with your thighs.
Stay Safe While Sprinting
Completing sprint routines on the bike will ramp up your calorie burn significantly. But, you’ll undo those benefits if you end up injuring yourself in the process. Stay safe by keeping the core tightened while sprinting. Make sure to also look straight ahead rather than down at the handle-bars. Attempt to execute sharp and fluid movements, focus on the task at hand and always practice deep breathing throughout the routine.
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Photo credit: Stefan Funke @ Flickr
Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API