Best Spin Bike - spin bike reviews

Best Spin Bike Review – Top 5 Fittest List for Apr. 2017

Indoor bikes have been around for nearly 100 years. In fact, the “Exercycle” was a state-of-the-art piece of equipment in the mid 1900s, even though comparing it to today’s spin bikes is like comparing a smart phone to two tin cans connected by a piece of string.

The top 5 best spin bikes? The exercycle wouldn’t make a modern top 5000 of any type of indoor bicycle.

Best Spin Bike in the Comfort of Your Home

Today, indoor bikes and spinning classes dominate gyms and fitness centers. The allure of a quick workout in the comfort of your home on a stationary bike, though, is just as great now as it was back then. However, now we have more advanced equipment to do it with, making it simpler than ever to get in a terrific cardio workout without having to waste an hour or more getting to and from the gym.

One important note: when you go to the drugstore, you don’t say “I need some facial tissue.” You say “I want to buy some Kleenex,” even if you plan on buying the cheapest tissue in the store. That’s because the brand name “Kleenex” has become synonymous with facial tissue. It’s the same thing with spin bikes. Most people now use that term, or simply the word “spinning,” to refer to indoor bikes and biking. However, those are actually copyrighted terms owned by the company, Mad Dogg Athletics, whose Spinning bikes have made indoor cycling so popular that everyone simply uses their name instead of the more generic phrase “indoor bike.” We’ll try to use the term “Spin” for that company’s products wherever possible.

Here is the best spin bike (indoor) list as reviewed by Groom+Style – let’s go for a spin.

1. Keiser M3/M3 Plus/M3i/M3iX Plus Indoor Cycle

Best Spin Bike - Keiser M3 Plus Indoor Cycle

Keiser M3 Plus Indoor Cycle. Click the photo to see the Price on Amazon.

Mad Dogg may own the brand name in spin bikes, but the Keiser M3i Plus is the Rolls-Royce of indoor cycling. It’s sturdy, it’s high-end gym quality, it has a beautiful minimalist look – and it gives you a workout unlike any spin bike you’ve ever tried.

The real key to this machine’s excellence is its groundbreaking Eddy Current magnetic resistance system, which the company spent ten years developing. Without getting into boring detail, the design gives you 24 full gears of eerily-quiet, realistic biking ranging from easygoing to grueling, in the comfort of your bedroom or basement. And the bike almost never needs maintenance, because the moving parts in the drive system never touch each other; when you change gears, the flywheel simply moves closer to (or further from) the magnetic field.  The flywheel is also positioned at the back of the bike which ensures that sweat does not fall in causing damage.

The Keiser M3i Plus is exceptional for any type of indoor work but is at its best during a full-blown workout, as the ability to cycle with maximum resistance is great for cardio health and optimal for fat burning and muscle strength. The 24 gears also let you gradually increase or decrease the intensity of your session, and make cool-down a breeze. There are also more fully adjustable features on the M3i Plus, including the seat, fore and aft handlebars and Shimano Combo pedals, than any other indoor spin bike. The onboard LCD display shows most of the data you’d expect; the only thing it’s missing is the type of pre-programmed options you find on upright stationary bikes (and the Diamondback Fitness 510Ic, which we’ll get to shortly).

The Keiser spin bikes do have one of the lightest flywheels on the market at about 8 lbs.  Some experts say that having a lighter flywheel can be a disadvantage for beginner cyclists who have not developed a smooth pedal stroke.  Beginners will need to concentrate a bit more to ensure that they pedal through the full 360 degrees rather than developing an up and down pedalling action.  Bad pedalling technique can lead to strain on the hip and knee joints over time.  Bikes with heavier flywheels can help, through their increased momentum, to pull your legs through the full 360 degree stroke more smoothly.  So if this is something that concerns you then you should consider an alternative bike like the Diamondback fitness (32 lbs flywheel), the Spinner NXT (41 lbs flywheel) or the Schwinn AC Performance Plus (37 lbs flywheel).

If you’re on a budget, then this is not the bike for you because it one of the most expensive spin bikes on the market at nearly $2000. However, if you have the coin, it is a brilliant indoor spin bike for home use.

Please note – If you want to save $200 you could buy the M3 Plus.  The key difference are that the M3i has:

  • an improved console so you can pair the “bike” with your mobile device (and a free app) via Bluetooth to record your workout.
  • preset holes in the seat adjustment which are their as a safety measure.  You can tighten the seat in-between the preset holes and if the seat does happen to slip it will then catch on the next preset.

A look at the specs of the Keiser M3i Plus Indoor Cycle:

  • Dimensions: 49 x 45 x 26 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 pounds
  • Weight: 140 pounds
  • Drive: Magnetic
  • Warranty: Three years on parts
  • Minimum and Maximum Height for end user – between 4’10” and 6’5″
  • M3 Plus/M3i Adjustability: seat and handlebars can be adjusted vertically and horizontally.
    • Note: on the original Keiser M3 the handlebars do not have a horizontal adjustment.  On the M3 the stem is angled forward so moving the adjustment up also moves the handlebars forward (conversely moving the handlebar stem down moves the handlebar backwards ).  At both extremes (lowest position and longest position) this can potentially create some fitting difficulties for smaller people or larger people.

Check Keiser M3i Plus Price On Amazon

You can also investigate Keiser’s latest model the Keiser M3iX – for another $500 you can get the Keiser bike with X-bars.  X-bars are effectively handle bars that move from side to side (7 levels of resistance).  The independent lower body and upper body movement offers an additional core and upper body workout.  The Groom+Style team did enjoy the feel of the X-bars, and if you can afford it, think the added variety you get from the X-bars is well worth it.

Check Keiser M3iX Price on Amazon

2. Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle

Best Spin Bike - Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle

Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle. Click the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

With almost all of the features of the Keiser except for its very smooth magnetic drive system, the Diamondback Fitness 510Ic is a terrific spin bike for less than half the price. This is a heavy indoor cycle with durability to match; the chain-driven/flywheel system works extremely well to give you the different varieties of workouts most people want from a spinner, since you can select between 16 levels of computer-controlled resistance. The ride is even quieter than you’d normally expect with a chain drive, and there are full fore/aft handlebar and seat adjustments possible for riding comfort.

One of the standout features of the 510Ic is the computerized integration between its operation and the monitor mounted on the bike. It gives you a ton of real-time information about your ride and fitness (including four heart rate functions), and also has 14 different automated workouts programmed into the system, much like you’d find on an upright model but unusual on spinners.

On top of Groom+Style’s recommendation, Consumer Reports has given the Diamondback Fitness 510IC a “Best Buy” designation, and it’s easy to see why. It may not be quite the bike that the Keiser is but for the price it might be exactly what you are after.

If you want to spend a bit more you could opt for the Diamondback Fitness 910IC which has:

  • 32 levels of resistance, as opposed to 16 on the 510Ic
  • Bike generates its own power, as opposed to the 510Ic which is AC powered
  • An integrated heart rate receiver i.e. you need to purchase a heart rate monitor like the Polar Heart monitor, which the 910Ic will display

Key specifications for the Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle:

  • Dimensions: 46 x 42 x 23 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 pounds
  • Weight: 126 pounds
  • Drive: Chain
  • Warranty: Five years on frame and brakes, three years on electronics and parts
  • Minimum and Maximum Height for end user – between 5’2″ and 6’5″
  • Adjustability: seat and handlebars can be adjusted vertically and horizontally

Check Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Price On Amazon

3. Spinner NXT (Manufactured by Star Trac) Commercial Spin Bike

Best Spin Bike - Spinner NXT (Manufactured by Star Trac) Commercial Spin Bike

Spinner NXT Commercial Spin Bike. Click the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

Ah, here it is – a true spin bike, made by the company which popularized the term. The commercial-style Spinner NXT has a modern steel look (with zinc coating to prevent rust) and the durable design to match. It operates with a traditional chain drive system powering the bicycle – and resistance is created not by magnets but by a pad which grips the flywheel tighter as you turn the tension knob.  It’s perhaps the “most authentic” biking experience of any of our list of top 5 best spin bikes. Resistance is adjusted with an easy-to-reach knob.

This machine is also quite user-friendly in terms of customization, with fore and aft handlebars and seat that are micro-adjustable as well as SPD compatible pedals. A little dicier for most users, though, are adjustments to the chain and flywheel, if needed. There are conveniently-placed elbow rests for the times you want to let go of the handlebars for a bit, plus two water bottle holders if you’re the type who gets really thirsty while riding. The one real drawback: the NXT’s touchscreen display isn’t computerized, so you can’t see things like distance or calories as you bike. It will show you simulated courses, however, and you can always buy a separate computerized monitor.

The Spinner NXT is a very nice spin bike, at a price significantly lower than the Keiser although a bit higher than its closest competitors. If you’re not looking for the ultimate in an indoor cycling machine, it’s a solid choice which should last pretty close to a lifetime.

More details on the Spinner NXT Commercial Spin Bike:

  • Dimensions: 57 x 60 x 20 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 350 pounds
  • Weight: 140 pounds
  • Drive: Chain
  • Warranty: Five years on frame, two years on mechanical components
  • Minimum and Maximum Height for end user – between 4’10” and 6′
  • Adjustability: seat and handlebars can be adjusted vertically and horizontally

Check Spinner NXT Price On Amazon

4. Phoenix 98623 Revolution Cycle Pro II Exercise Bike

Best Spin Bike - Phoenix 98623 Revolution Cycle

Phoenix 98623 Revolution Cycle. Click the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

The key to a good spinner is the workout, not the bells and whistles. That’s why the Phoenix 98623 makes our list; it doesn’t have some of the features you’ll find on higher-priced exercise bikes, but it’s a small, heavy and strong machine which will let you get your cardio and calorie-burning exercise with the same realistic feel as a road bike.

The Revolution features a quiet chain-and-flywheel system, with the amount of resistance regulated by a braking system operated by a knob on the frame. One downside is that the system uses two brake pads, instead of just one as is common with most chain-style spin bikes, so it’s possible for the pads to get out of alignment and require adjustment or replacement. Two unusual positive twists, though, are that the 98623 has an “emergency brake” lever which stops the flywheel immediately if necessary, and it also allows you to pedal both backward and forward.

This unit has an adjustable seat and handlebars, although the handlebars only move up and down and not horizontally, unlike fully-adjustable competitors. You’d probably expect that a lower price point that the bike has no monitor console, and you’d be right.

Bells and whistles cost more – and this spinner costs less. For most people, that’s a tradeoff worth making.

Looking a little more closely at the Phoenix 98623 Revolution Cycle Pro II Exercise Bike:

  • Dimensions: 42 x 42 x 24 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 275 pounds
  • Weight: 113 pounds
  • Drive: Chain
  • Warranty: One year
  • Minimum and Maximum Height for end user – between 5’2″ and 6’2″
  • Adjustability: seat can be adjusted vertically and horizontally and the handlebar can be adjusted vertically

Check Phoenix 98623 Price On Amazon

5. Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike

Best Spin Bike - Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike

Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike. Click the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

Extremely affordable and functional, the Sunny SF-B1001 is a great choice as an entry spin bike. This small unit (best suited to riders under 6-2) is quite study thanks to its steel skeleton, and provides a good range of resistance because of its chain drive system; as with most of these types of spinners, the resistance is controlled with an adjustable knob on the frame. The Sunny is a bit noisier than the other bikes on our list, but it’s not really loud enough to be intrusive as you’re riding.

There aren’t as many comfort adjustments as you’ll find on more expensive competitors, with the handlebars only moving up and down, the pedals (which can of course be changed out for standard ones) only featuring toe straps, and the seat (which is not very comfortable, so you may want to replace or pad it) only adjustable over a relatively short range. There is also no console providing feedback on distance, speed or heart rate.

There’s one number which overrides those negatives for many purchasers: 200. That’s the list price of this spin bike, but you can usually find it for even less. If you’re looking for your first indoor exercise bike to be strong and provide a good workout – 200 is the number that matters the most. The Sunny is a very strong first spinner.

Specs for the Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike:

  • Dimensions: 43 x 46 x 20 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 220 pounds
  • Weight: 78 pounds
  • Drive: Chain
  • Warranty: 90 days
  • Minimum and Maximum Height for end user – between 5′ and 6′
  • Adjustability: seat can be adjusted vertically and horizontally and the handlebar can be adjusted vertically

Check Sunny SF-B1001S Price On Amazon

Still haven’t exactly found what you are looking for, maybe a Recumbent Exercise Bike is more your style?  Also, don’t forget that even if your goal is just to increase your fitness and not just lose weight, an increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet is going to help you achieve your goals faster!

If you are looking for some options to add some excitement to your indoor cycling workouts then check out our article – Peloton Spin Bike Alternatives.