How to Choose a Spin Bike | 9 Tips By A Cycling Instructor

By Robbie Ferri

Indoor cycling bikes, also referred to as spin bikes have became the some of the most popular cardio equipment in the last couple of years, thanks to its health and fitness benefits. Because of their popularities many companies decided to make spin bikes and that has made finding the best spin bike for home a bit difficult and a time-consuming task.

People often buy indoor cycling bikes at high-prices but two days after they receive the bike, they start to regret their decision. It’s mainly because they don’t know exactly what to look for when searching for an indoor bike. From spin bike transmission system to resistance system and flywheel weight, there are so much to consider when buying a spin bike.

In this Spin Bike buying guide, I am going to point out a few facts and help you make an informed decision when buying an indoor cycling bike and find a bike that meets your needs. It contains everything you need to select the most suitable spin bike for an unforgettable experience.

How to Choose the Best Indoor Cycling Bike?

Choose a Spin Bike with Heavy Flywheel

best spin bikes under $900

Every spin bike comes with at least one flywheel, but indoor cycling bikes that feature heavier flywheels tend to be smoother and offer more resistance. In general heavier flywheels makes the ride feel more natural.

With that said, lightweight spin bike flywheel has its own advantages. For example, the bike is lighter so it’s easier to move around the house and it’s easier to ride the bike if you have knee injuries.

Look for Backlit Monitor with Proper Data

best spin bike computers

Spin bike screen allows you to manage the settings of your exercise bike. It is a computer that shows data about your ride. You should always opt for a spin bike with a backlit onboard monitor so you can see states without having to keep the room lights on.

Look for a spin bike with monitor that provides RPM (cadence), speed, heart rate, and watt/power. It’s a plus if it the bike comes with touchscreen monitor, Bluetooth and WiFi technology.

Make Sure the Bike has Magnetic Resistance

manual magnetic spin bikes

Spin bikes come either with magnetic resistance or friction resistance to increase and decrease the intensity of the ride. Make sure you pick an indoor bike that comes with magnetic resistance rather than friction resistance, especially because it’s not something that you can change like bike seat.

Magnetic resistance system doesn’t make noise and has less maintenance compared to a friction resistance system. The ride is also smoother on magnetic spin bikes.

Double Check the Height and Weight Capacity

best spin bikes under $700

Before spending too much time to look for all the details of spin bike you are looking to buy, it is important to see the bike’s height and weight capacity. You don’t want to end up hours to arrange returning a heavy spin bike right after you completed the assembly.

As a rule of thumb, look for 300 pound weight capacity and a height capacity according to your needs. Some indoor bikes like Keiser M3i can support from 4’9″ to 6.6″ user height which is great because everyone in a family can use the bike.

Look for Spin Bike Brand and Ergonomic Design

Peloton application with Keiser M3i

Look for spin bikes that allow vertical and horizontal seat and handlebar adjustment and come from reputable brands who use cyclists to design their bikes. Stablished fitness equipment brands are a little more expensive but they offer better customer support and warranties.

There are so many cheaply Chines made spin bikes that have poor design and are uncomfortable. To fit an indoor cycling bike properly, it’s important to be able to adjust the seat and handlebars up, down, backward, and forward.

This is an easy check, even if you are buying a spin bike online. You just need to zoom on the product image and see if there are knobs on the handlebars and seat post for vertical and horizontal adjustment.

Check if it Has SPD Pedals and Narrow Q-Factor


Look for spin bikes with dual-side pedals that accommodate regular gym shoes as well as indoor cycling clipless shoes. Just like seat, spin bike pedals are not necessarily a deal breaker because you can always replace the bike’s pedals.

As the name states (dual-sided), one side of the pedals have toe cages and the other side has elements to clip-in your cycling shoes. Spin bike q-factor, on the other hand is very important because it can’t be modified and as a general rule of thumb shouldn’t exceed 200mm.

Get an Indoor Cycling Bike with Technology

Nordictrack S22i review

Spin bikes that come with modern technology are way more fun and help to keep you longer on the bike compared to those old traditional bikes that have no technologies.

The NordicTrack S22i is a good example of modern spin bikes with automatic incline and decline adjustment, large screens, speakers, cooling fan and ability to synch with popular cycling applications.

Look for the one that has a comfortable seat


Look at the bike seat and what consumers are talking about. With that said, it’s not a dealbreaker if the bike has an uncomfortable seat because you can always buy a comfortable spin bike replacement seat or a seat cushion. Often inferior quality indoor bikes come with uncomfortable seating.

Decide What Stationary Exercise Bikes is Best for You

There are three types of exercise bikes. You should choose one depending on the your fitness level, flexibility, age, and ability to exercise. Each type of the following three exercise bikes have a different level of impact on the body and burn different amount of calories per hour.

Indoor Cycling Bike

More impact than other exercise bike
Burns more calories than other exercise bikes
Requires better physical fitness than other exercise bikes
Heavier and takes more floor space than upright exercise bikes

After upright bikes, spin bikes are the second most common type of exercise bikes and are found in every studio cycling class. With its unique heavy flywheel, an indoor cycling bike provides a feeling of momentum and more less similar to road bikes. The Cyclist sits in a leaned position due to a low handlebar. This bike and position are good for an intense workout, but it has impact on the lower back and can be uncomfortable for those who aren’t not used to riding road bike or spin bikes.

In an indoor spin bike, the heavy flywheel is connected to the pedals, which provides more force when you push and requires better knee and ankle physical condition. The flywheel will keep on spinning if you stop pedalling due to direct contact with pedals. These kinds of bikes are good for professional outdoor cyclists and athletes for training inside. Moreover, an indoor cycling bike is capable of providing intense cardiovascular exercise.

Upright Exercise Bikes

Less impact than spin bikes
Burns less calories than spin bikes
Doesn’t require great physical fitness to use the bike
Lighter weight and takes less floor space than spin bikes

The most traditional type of exercise bikes, upright exercise bikes feature a taller handlebar and a larger more comfortable seat compared to spin bikes. As the name stats, the bike is used in upright right position and not in leaning forward position like spin bikes. Therefore, the rider is remains in a much more comfortable position with minimum impact on the back while riding an upright stationary bike.

Upright bikes don’t come with heavy flywheels therefore, it is easier to pedal the bike and don’t put much pressure on the knees or ankles. They are also often equipped with better computers to monitor the calories, heart rate, resistance and workout time compared to spin bikes. If you want to train vigorously for your upcoming road race events, upright bike is NOT the best option. This exercise bike is suitable for those who want a relaxed cardio exercise at home.

Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Least impact than any exercise bike
Burns less calories than pretty much any exercise bike
Easiest bike to use and doesn’t require physical fitness
Takes more floor space than pretty much any other stationary bike

Recumbent exercise bikes have the most comfortable seats with a backrest compared to spin bike and upright bikes. Pedals in these stationary bikes are located in the front basal part rather than underneath the seat so it’s easier to pedal. This kind of bike is best to keep your body relaxed with minimum stress on it.

Recumbent bikes have light flywheels, are easy to get on and get off and come with large seat to provide extra support. Choose a recumbent exercise bike if you are recovering from injuries and if you are senior person. They take more space than upright and spin bikes but they are really easy to use and can help gain some leg strength, lose weight, and improve your health.


You might select an indoor exercise bike fore several reasons. Spin bike offer cardiovascular benefits, they are relatively quiet, and are more compact compared to rowing machines, elliptical machines, and treadmills. Indoor bikes are great fitness equipment but you should know that they don’t offer full body exercise. They are designed to mainly target the lower body so to stay in good shape, you would need to incorporate upper body workouts with spinning workouts. You should also know that spin bikes are not as gentel as upright exercise bikes on your joints, so may want to avoid riding one if you are recovering from injuries.

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