Exercise bike classes have become popular in recent years at gyms across the UK - but what if you want the spin experience from your own home? In this article, we list our best spin bike reviews, along with the pros and cons of each model.
Our top pick for an indoor spinning bike is the BH Fitness SB1.8. It's a stylish bike with a 20kg flywheel, triathlon handlebars and a range of adjustment settings. If you want a great home workout without spending a fortune, it's one of the best indoor cycling bikes.
Indoor cycling is one of the best ways to get fit without leaving the house. While upright bikes can provide an effective workout, many people prefer the feel and intense exercise provided by indoor cycling bikes (often known as spinning bikes).
Compared to upright exercise bikes, Indoor cycles have lower handlebars, an open flywheel and often come with SPD or basket pedals. They usually don't have the advanced consoles or extra functions of an upright or recumbent. Instead, they are designed to provide vigorous workouts to lose weight or build stamina.
But which are the best indoor cycles on the market? And which should be avoided? Keep reading our spin bike reviews to find out!
Why Buy an Indoor Cycle?
If you've ever been to an exercise bike class at your local gym, you'll know they can be a great workout and a lot of fun. The problem is that classes are held on the gym's schedule, not yours. This can make it difficult to attend as many classes as you want.
If you have your own spinning bike at home, you don't need to worry about when the instructor holds their classes. Whenever you feel like a workout, you can jump on your indoor cycle for as long as you want. This also cuts down on travelling between the gym, which can often take as long as the class itself.
Using an exercise bike is also a great way to get an intense workout without putting too much pressure on your joints. Cycling is a low-impact activity, so your knees will thank you in the long run.
Buying an indoor cycle can also make financial sense. If you regularly go to spinning classes, an indoor cycle can quickly pay for itself. While the upfront cost may be higher, you'll often save money in the long run if it allows you to stop paying for classes or a gym membership.
As an added bonus, you can listen to whatever you want while working out at home. Whether you've created your own motivational playlist, want to follow a workout class on YouTube (which are often better than those at gyms) or just have the TV on, working out at home is much more convenient.
Of course, there are some downsides too. If you struggle with self-motivation you might find it more difficult to push yourself without a real instructor. You'll also need to pay more upfront to get the bike. Even with these downsides though, a home spinning bike can be one of the best ways to get in shape.
What does "Spinning" Actually Mean?
"Spinning" has almost become a verb in recent years, but it's actually a copyrighted term that was invented by a company called Mad Dogg Athletics. In the same way that we use the word "Hoover" for vacuums and "Sellotape" for all sticky tape, "Spinning" has come to mean an exercise class on a bike, but it should really only be used for classes run by the company that owns the trademark.
The correct term for a "spin bike" is an "indoor cycling bike." While we often use the two terms interchangeably when writing spin bike reviews, keep in mind that we're talking about indoor cycles.
Which are the Best Indoor Cycle Bikes of 2018?
|Name||Flywheel Weight||Resistance System||Price Range||View Price|
|JLL IC200 Indoor Cycle||10kg||Frictional||Budget||View Price|
|XS Sports Aerobic||15kg||Frictional||Budget||View Price|
|GTX Cyclo 6||22kg||Frictional||Mid-Range||View Price|
|BH Fitness SB1.8||20kg||Frictional||Mid-Range||View Price|
|NordicTrack GX 8.0||22kg||Frictional||Premium||View Price|
|BH Fitness Spada Racing||20kg||Magnetic||Premium||View Price|
Best Low-Budget Indoor Cycles
Indoor cycles don't have to cost a fortune. If you're looking for a medium-intensity workout from the comfort of your own home, there are some great spin bikes for weight loss available for very reasonable prices. Just don't expect the smoothness or durability of gym-standard bikes.
1. JLL IC200 Indoor Cycle
The JLL IC200 is one of our favourite budget spin bikes. With its stylish appearance it certainly doesn't look like a cheap bike, and it provides a decent workout without breaking the bank.
It's built with a 10kg flywheel, which isn't heavy enough for advanced users but perfect for beginners or intermediates. As you would expect from a cheap bike, it uses frictional resistance. This reduces the cost of the cycle but means it's louder and requires more maintenance than magnetic models.
Aside from its flywheel, we like the ergonomic handlebars and adjustable seat. The IC200 also comes with an LCD monitor (speed, time, calories, distance and odometer).
It's important to have realistic expectations of this bike. The seat isn't great, so you'll probably want to replace it with a gel-based saddle. It's also quite noisy - if you watch TV you'll need headphones at higher speeds.
Even so, considering the price the JLL IC200 provides great value. If you're looking for a low-cost spin bike and are happy with moderately intense workouts, it's one of the best options.
2. XS Sports Aerobic Indoor Training Bike
Another of the best cheap spin bikes is the XS Sport Aerobic Indoor Training Bike. This has a heavier flywheel and more features than the IC200, although it has a higher RRP to match.
The first thing to note about the XS Sports is that it has a 15kg flywheel. This is getting into the range that's suitable for advanced riders, making the bike great for intense workouts.
In many ways the XS Sports is a simple bike - which isn't a bad thing if you're looking for value instead of gimmicks. It has a basic LCD display, showing statistics such as time and speed, along with elbow rests, a 125kg weight limit and frictional resistance. We also like how the pedals, handlebars and seat can all be adjusted depending on your requirements.
As with all frictional spin bikes, it's relatively loud - especially compared to magnetic models. The seat also isn't comfortable, so we recommend buying a padded saddle separately.
Even with these drawbacks, the XS Sports Indoor Training Bike is a surprisingly sturdy machine. It's relatively easy to put together and the 15kg flywheel is great for intense workouts without spending a lot of money.
Best Mid-Range Indoor Cycles
If you want a more durable spin bike for intense workouts, you'll need to spend a bit more than the budget cycles above. Mid-range bikes are often the perfect middle ground between performance and price, so this is the price range we recommend most people look at first. Listed below are our top spin bike reviews in this category.
3. GTX Cyclo 6
The JTX Cyclo 6 is one of our favourite mid-range spinning bikes. It's not the most flashy or stylish bike on the market, but provides a smooth ride and is capable of challenging even advanced users.
GTX claims that the Cyclo 6 offers gym-quality performance that's perfect for spin classes. While we don't quite agree that it lives up to these standards, it's still one of the best spin bikes for home use. Its heavy 22kg flywheel provides smooth performance and greater stability, while the large footprint allows for vigorous workouts without fear of toppling.
As you would expect from a bike in this price range, there are a number of adjustable settings including seat height, horizontal position and handlebar height. The Cyclo 6 also comes with an "infinite" frictional resistance system via a mechanical knob and handlebar pulse sensors.
The Cyclo 6 isn't the loudest frictional bike we've reviewed, mainly due to its belt-drive system. It's still louder than magnetic bikes though, so if noise is important to you it might not be the best option. The bike also isn't suitable for very short people, as the lowest saddle height may still be too high.
Overall though, the Cyclo 6 is a durable indoor cycle bike that's great for intense workouts. The heavy frame and flywheel increase its stability, so you can use it vigorously, while the flywheel provides a smooth ride.
4. BH Fitness SB1.8 Indoor Cycling
The BH Fitness SB1.8 is a stylish bike with an attractive yellow and black colour scheme. It's not a case of style over substance though - this is a durable bike that can offer intense workouts for even advanced riders.
The SB1.8 is built with a 20kg flywheel. This isn't as heavy as the Cyclo 6, but is still enough to provide a smooth and challenging workout for users of almost any fitness level.
It also comes with triathlon handlebars, frictional resistance, belt drive system and a basic onboard console (including the option for a telemetric heart rate monitor).
We don't think there are many major problems with the SB1.8 - it's a fantastic indoor cycle for the money. Like most indoor spin bikes, the seat isn't comfortable so will probably need to be replaced. The frictional resistance system also requires more maintenance. These are minor issues though that are common to most indoor bikes.
Overall, the BH Fitness SB1.8 is a great option if you want a home spin bike. It can handle intense workouts, with its 20kg flywheel, and the adjustable options allow you to find a setup you find comfortable.
Best Premium Indoor Cycles
Premium spin bikes are designed to mimic the gym experience from your home. They often have heavier flywheels, are more durable and come with advanced features (including magnetic resistance for quieter operation). Despite their high price tag, many are still great value as they provide excellent workouts and last a long time.
Note: We haven't included bikes costing thousands of pounds, as these are typically gym-quality and usually aren't necessary for a home spinning bike.
5. NordicTrack GX 8.0 Indoor Cycle
The NordicTrack GTX 8.0 is a premium spinner bike that can provide an intense workout regardless of your current fitness level. It's a stylish bike that's designed to be both smooth and durable - and does a great job of both.
With a 22kg flywheel, there's no doubt that the NordicTrack can provide an effective workout. It's also powered by a smooth belt drive for a more comfortable ride, and the 55kg weight means it doesn't feel like it's going to fall over when used vigorously.
The LCD console is relatively basic, although it can track your heart rate via an included chest belt to provide heart rates without holding the dual-grip monitor.
One of the downsides to the GX 8.0 is that it uses a frictional resistance system. This allows for a high resistance, but makes it a louder machine than magnetic spin bikes (such as the Spada below). If you're looking for a quiet spin exercise bike, magnetic resistance is the better option.
Surprisingly for a spin bike, the stock seat is relatively comfortable once it's softened up, so you may not need to replace it with a gel-seat. The frame is also highly durable and secure - this is a bike that will last a long time.
If you're looking for a comfortable bike that can provide an intense workout, the GX 8.0 is one of the best spinning bikes. The ride is very smooth, despite the frictional resistance, and it's capable of providing an effective workout for users of any fitness level.
6. BH Fitness Spada Racing
The BH Fitness Spada is one of our favourite indoor cycles - and even made our list of the best exercise bikes. It's not cheap, but provides a range of features that you don't find on less expensive spin bikes.
Like the other BH Fitness bike on this list, the Spada has a 20kg flywheel that's great for intense workouts. Instead of frictional resistance it uses a magnetic system though, which provides a much quieter and smoother ride.
The LCD display is also more advanced. While it doesn't match the features of upright exercise bikes, it comes with 12 workout programmes, custom workouts and integration with several apps for tracking your progress. There's also the option of using a telemetric device for measuring heart rate - although you'll need to purchase a monitor separately.
As you can probably tell, the Spada is built for serious training, which is why it's fitted with SPD trekking pedals. These can be used both with standard baskets and clips. You can also adjust the height of the seat and ergonomic handlebars.
A big drawback to the Spada is that some riders complain the maximum seat height isn't enough for people over six foot. This is a major oversight, so if you're a tall person the Spada probably isn't the best choice. Initial assembly is also quite tricky, although you'll only need to do this once.
With an RRP of £800, you wouldn't expect the Spada Racing to match the performance of gym spinning exercise bikes costing thousands. It gets surprisingly close though, and is one of the best home spin bikes for athletic training and intense workouts (as long as you're not over 6 feet tall).
How to Choose an Indoor Bike
We've written an in-depth guide to choosing an exercise bike, but there are a few things that are specific to indoor cycles. When looking for the best spinning bikes, make sure you consider:
- Resistance Type. Indoor cycles use either frictional or magnetic resistance. Both can do a good job, but make sure a bike provides adequate resistance otherwise you might outgrow it.
- Adjustable Body Position. Indoor bikes are used for intense workouts, so it's vital you can adjust the handlebars, pedals and seat. Ideally, the seat should move both vertically and horizontally.
- Maximum Weight. Each bike has a specified maximum weight limit. This is often around 125kg, although some have a lower maximum.
- Comfort. It's an unfortunate fact of buying an indoor cycle that most models have poor quality or uncomfortable seats (although there are some exceptions). Features such as elbow rests, smooth performance and a stable design all contribute to comfort too.
- Extra Features. Some premium indoor cycle bikes include extra features, such as pre-set programmes (only available with magnetic resistance), heart rate straps and app integrations. Little extras, like a water bottle holder, can also be useful.
Spin Bikes Vs. Stationary Bikes - What's the Difference?
The biggest difference between an upright and indoor cycle is the body position. As the name suggests, upright bikes place the body in an upright posture. This can reduce strain on the back and is also more comfortable. Indoor cycle bikes have lower handlebars. These more closely mimic the body position of a road bike.
Indoor cycle bikes also usually have an open perimeter-weighted flywheel at the front of the bike. This is designed to mimic the feel of momentum when road biking. Unlike upright bikes, indoor cycles also have pedals that must be moved in-step with the flywheel, which can take some getting used to.
In most cases, an indoor cycle is the best option for serious athletic training. They tend to be less comfortable, have fewer advanced features and aren't great for people with back pain, but provide an experience close to road biking.
An indoor cycling bike can be a great way to get fit without spending money on a gym membership. We hope that the spin bike reviews on this page have helped you decide which is the best bike for your budget.
If you have any questions about choosing the best indoor cycle, please let us know in the comments!