Best Spin Bike Review – Top 8 Fittest List for Dec. 2018
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 8 best spin bikes? The exercycle wouldn’t make a modern top 7000 of any type of indoor bicycle.
Keep reading just below to find out which spin bikes make it onto Groom+Styles’s top 8 list.
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
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 beautifully 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. There are some people who suggest that having a lighter flywheel can be a disadvantage. Groom+Style discuss the reason why we believe this is not an issue when it comes to the Keiser range of bikes, in the following article – Spin Bike Flywheel Weight – Is a Heavier Flywheel Better On an Exercise Bike?
If however, you are still interested in a bike with a heavier flywheel then you should consider an alternative 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 is one of the most expensive spin bikes on the market. However, if you have the coin, it is a brilliant indoor spin bike for home use.
Please note – If you want to save some money you could buy the M3 Plus. The key difference is that the M3i Plus has:
A look at the specs of the Keiser M3i Plus Indoor Cycle:
You can also investigate Keiser’s latest model the Keiser M3iX which comes equipped with X-bars. X-bars are effectively handlebars that move from side to side (7 levels of resistance).
The independent lower body and upper body movement offer 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.
In the same price range as the Keiser, this Schwinn has a substantially heavier, perimeter-weighted flywheel (37 pounds vs. the 8-pound flywheel on the Keiser). As we’ve mentioned, the Groom+Style team prefers a lighter flywheel because it provides a more comfortable ride without being overly-aggressive or putting too much strain on the knees. Many serious cyclists disagree, however, preferring the high resistance of a heavy flywheel – and for those folks, the Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus is a perfect choice.
The flywheel may be heavy but the bike is lighter than you’d expect because the frame is made from aluminum rather than steel, making it rustproof as well.
A terrific six-magnet braking system distributes this spin bike’s braking power, and a new Carbon Blue belt drive with soft nylon teeth (which has superseded the old Schwinn chain drive, although chain drive models are still available) makes the ride smoother and quieter than we expected. The belt is virtually maintenance-free and should last for years, due to its polyurethane construction and carbon fiber core.
ErgoLoop performance handlebars, aero bars, and double-link pedals (compatible with Shimano SPD clips) add to the great performance of this high-end Schwinn spin bike, and it is built exceptionally well (not surprising, considering the company’s heritage).
The only downside is that the AC Performance Plus doesn’t come with an onboard monitor/computer; you’ll have to spend another two hundred dollars for the MPower Echelon console (or even more for the Echelon 2 with power upgrade).
Groom+Style prefers spin bikes with lighter flywheels, but if you’re on the other side of that argument this Schwinn AC bike is about as good as it gets.
Looking deeper at the Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus:
2. Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle
With almost all of the features of the Keiser except for its very smooth belt 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 belt-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, but 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:
Key specifications for the Diamondback Fitness 510Ic Indoor Cycle:
3. Life Fitness Lifecycle GX Group Exercise Bike
This is indeed a terrific spinner for group classes, but there’s no reason you can’t buy one of these beauties for solo use at home. In fact, when you compare it side-by-side with some of Groom+Style’s other top choices, it gives them a run for their money – at a few hundred dollars less. And the review team thinks the Lifecycle GX may be the best of the bunch for endurance training. (It’s the best looking, too.)
The build and design of this Life Fitness spin bike is excellent, with the rear-mounted flywheel powered by magnetic resistance (20 selectable levels controlled by a lever located below the handlebars) and multi-ribbed belt drive. That makes the ride very smooth and extremely quiet, and the machine virtually maintenance-free. The rubberized handlebar grip is relatively comfortable whether you want to ride with your hands at the ends, in the middle or in between. The fully-adjustable seat has a cutout to allow for extra air flow, and the dual-sided pedals accommodate SPD clips.
The GX Group Exercise Bike is a bit on the heavy side but it’s easy enough to move around, thanks to a pair of transport wheels on the front. And with a rust-proof welded steel frame, this baby should be around for a long, long time.
The only things missing from the GX are accessories. The LCD console is fine and it will display all of the metrics you’d want to see (except watts), but there’s no full-featured computer or touch-screen monitor, no pre-set programs, no connectivity options, not even a device holder (unless your device will fit into one of the water bottle holders).
LifeFitness IC6 Indoor Cycling Bike with MyRide Console
If you want those goodies, plus a 155mm Q-factor (it’s 170mm on the base GX), the Life Fitness IC6 with MyRide console is worth a long look – link to Amazon below.
The Lifecycle GS doesn’t provide a ride that fully simulates that of a road bike – but that’s not what it’s built to do. It’s a great spinning bike that’s perfect for serious athletes, delivering a terrific workout with full control and a smooth, noise-free ride.
Looking further at the Life Fitness Lifecycle GX Group Exercise Bike:
4. Spinner L7 Spin Lifestyle Series Indoor Cycling Bike
Ah, here it is – a true spin bike, made by the company (Madd Dogg Athletics) that popularized (and trademarked) the term Spinner. Over the last 25 years, their products have been sold under the names Madd Dogg, Spinner and Star Trak, so it’s hard to keep up at times. Their products, however, have always been extremely high-quality and durable, well-worth their price. This Spinner bike upholds the Madd Dogg tradition at a surprisingly reasonable price.
One of our long-time favorites has been the now-discontinued Spinner NXT (which can still be found if you look hard enough, as can the old Sprint and Blade models – links below), but the company has come out with a new range of bikes (Lifestyle, Active, Performance and Commercial Series). It offers the same Spinner high quality and attention to detail you’d see in one of their performance or commercial spin bikes, at much lower prices. The Spinner L7 is a perfect example.
The L7 has a compact all-steel powder-coated frame, a terrific 36-pound perimeter-weighted flywheel and drive chain, umbrella-style resistance adjustment knob, and commercial-style leather brake pad. It also has all sorts of features you’d never expect to find on a sub-$1000 exercise bike: dual-sided SPD-compatible pedals, fore and aft incremental seat adjustments, and handlebars with micro-adjustment capability with a center section big enough to hold a large mobile device.
This bike is lighter than most Spinners and easy to move, too, although it’s not built for riders taller than 6’ tall. It’s positioned at the high end of the company’s “beginner” line, but it’s more like the exercise bike you’d find in a gym.
In short, the ride is smooth and comfortable, providing a true road bike feel – much more than you’d ever expect when looking at the price tag. The L7 fully earns the brand name Spinner, and it’s a winner.
When looking for a home spin bike with a combination of high-quality, smooth ride and easy-to-take price, there’s no reason to look further than the Spinner L7 spin bike.
Specifications for the Spinner L7 Spin Lifestyle Series Indoor Cycling Bike:
Links to older generation bikes:
5. Phoenix 98623 Revolution Cycle Pro II Exercise Bike
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 at this lower price point the bike would not have a 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:
6. Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike
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.
The cost overrides any negatives you might find on this bike. If you’re looking for your first indoor exercise bike to be strong and provide a good workout – the Sunny is a very strong contender.
Specs for the Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike:
Note: Unfortunately, this model no longer seems to be available on Amazon.
The SB900 isn’t cheap, but it’s much less expensive than the models that top the Groom+Style rankings. And it’s definitely worth its price.
This Sole Fitness model is a very quiet, magnetic resistance indoor exercise bike with a 48-pound flywheel. A heavy flywheel simulates the smoother ride and natural feel of riding an outdoor bicycle, although many riders (including those at G+S) have gravitated toward lighter flywheels like the 8-pounder on the Keiser M3 which spin faster because they lessen pressure on the knees and give muscles a better workout. Conventional wisdom still favors heavier flywheels like the 37-pounder on the Schwinn Fitness AC, though, and they are definitely a good choice for competitive bikers. The choice is up to you, of course.
It’s not just the SB900’s flywheel that tips the scales with big numbers. Its frame is made from aluminum-shrouded steel, rather than all aluminum, which makes the bike quite heavy; you won’t be moving this baby around easily. However, the weight makes this Sole model an extremely durable spinner which will stand up to heavy use. You have the option of toe clips or SPD pedals, the ergonomically-designed handlebars and performance racing saddle are both adjustable, and transitions between the many levels of eddy-current tension (gradually adjusted with a turn-knob) are whisper-quiet.
One downside for some users, though, is that there are no pre-set workout programs. The relatively small monitor shows the most important numbers like distance, speed, time, RPM, Kcal and pulse, and it’s compatible with a chest strap heart monitor (strap not included). It also doesn’t have speakers or WiFi/Bluetooth capability.
Sole Fitness’s SB900 is a less-expensive, well-built option for riders who want an indoor bike with a heavy flywheel, although its lack of pre-set programs may scare off those who want all of the bells and whistles.
Checking the specifications of the Sole Fitness SB900:
If the Keiser sounds like the ideal spin bike to you – except for its exceptionally-light flywheel – you’ll want to check out the Bodycraft SPR, which is quite similar in all other important respects.
They both feature belt drive and eddy-current magnetic resistance which can be easily adjusted via lever, painted steel frames, fully-adjustable (vertical and horizontal) handlebars and seats, flywheels which are ideally situated behind the seat instead of in front of it, and basic consoles that show all important metrics but don’t have pre-set programs or Bluetooth connectivity. You’ll also need to buy a separate heart rate strap, too. The major differences (other than the flywheel) are small ones, such as the Keiser’s 24 levels of resistance compared to 16 resistance levels on the Bodycraft, and the fact that the SPR’s pedals only come with toe straps (SPD pedals can be added for an extra charge).
This indoor bike provides an extremely smooth ride, the “infinite-adjustability” handlebars with multiple positions (including drop-down racing positions), and high-performance racing saddle makes the Bodycraft perfect for just about any body type or biking style. The construction is first-rate, with oversized industrial bearings and cold-forged steel cranks.
Bodycraft also has 2 slightly lower-end models which you can compare via the links below.
The Bodycraft SPR is an outstanding indoor bike, without consumer-style bells and whistles, that would fit perfectly in a gym as well as a home. It’s slightly less expensive than the Keiser (and looks a little cooler), but the real differentiation is its much larger flywheel.
More info on the Bodycraft SPR Indoor Group Cycle:
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.