20-05-2022 |

Buying an Indoor Cycling bike? Here is what to consider

The Schwinn 800IC: a smart bike for home use

Buying an Indoor Cycling bike can be challenging. We will help you make the best choice, so you can get cracking! We’ve listed a few points below to help you find the perfect bike.

The resistance system

An Indoor Cycling bike is distinguished by its use of a flywheel. This flywheel, in combination with the drive and resistance system, is responsible for the resistance on your bike. Two resistance systems are commonly used: a felt resistance pad or a magnetic resistance system The choice of a felt resistance pad or magnetic resistance system depends mainly on your budget and on how much you are looking for in a low-maintenance bike. We explain the differences between the two forms below.

Felt resistance pad
A bike equipped with a felt resistance pad as its resistance system is usually cheaper than a similar one equipped with magnetic resistance. Both systems provide a constant resistance without having to pedal, although the felt resistance pad needs to be replaced about once a year. A felt break pad wears out and sheds fibres/dust. In addition, this type of brake pad needs to be lubricated periodically with silicone-based oil. To make the flywheel stop at once, press down on the resistance dial and the felt resistance pad then presses down on the flywheel. The resistance dial is not equipped with an indicator. Because the materials in this resistance system are cheaper, bikes with this system are particularly suitable as a budget option.

Magnetic resistance system
The magnetic resistance system does not make any physical contact with the flywheel. These systems operate on the Eddy Current Principle. The flywheel spins between two magnets, the distance between which is regulated by the resistance dial. As a result, these systems are virtually silent and require practically no maintenance. Also, this type of Indoor Cycling bike is equipped with a resistance indicator so that you can, for example, precisely gauge the resistance you have been training with. To stop the flywheel, brake pads have been installed. A bike with magnetic resistance is a bit more expensive and costs start at around € 700,-.

buying an indoor cycling bike

The drive

Apart from the resistance, how the bike is driven is very important. This can be done by means of a chain or an industrial V-belt. A chain makes noise just like a normal bicycle, a V-belt does not. In addition, a chain needs to be lubricated after a while, just like an outdoor bike. A V-belt, on the other hand, does not require any maintenance. The choice of drive depends mainly on preferences. Would you prefer a quiet, maintenance-free bike? Then go for a bike with a V-belt. Do you want an authentic bike experience, including the sound of a racing bike? Then a bike with a chain is more suitable.

The weight of the flywheel

When you are thinking about buying an Indoor Cycling bike, the weight of the flywheel is also an important aspect. This weight is important because it is the flywheel that makes the rotational movement and determines the resistance. The heavier the flywheel, the greater the resistance range. Most flywheels weigh around 20 kg. Bikes with a flywheel weighing less than 15 kg are generally not the best bikes to use at home.

Buying an Indoor Cycling bike

Weight of the bike 

The weight of the bike itself is obviously important, as it affects the stability of the machine. Generally speaking, the heavier the bike is, the more stable it is. This is particularly noticeable when doing certain exercises, such as a standing climb. A bike that is too light can start to wobble, which can lead to uncomfortable or even dangerous situations. Therefore, always read the reviews carefully when shopping online. 

Adjustable saddle and handlebars

The saddle and handlebars of most Indoor Cycling bicycles can be easily adjusted to the preferences of the user. However, some bikes do not allow the handlebars to be moved forwards or backwards. This is important for your posture on the bike, especially if you are a bit on the tall side. An incorrect cycling position increases the chances of injury.

Pedal system

You should think about which pedals you would like to have on your bike. Do you want to get the most out of your workout? Then clip-in pedals are recommended. The most widely used system is the SPD system, which stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. These pedals can also be found on racing bikes and mountain bikes. These pedals allow you to fully exercise both your pushing and pulling movements during the lessons, thereby training different muscle groups. Would you rather use your sports shoes? Then make sure that there are straps on the pedals. These ensure that your foot stays firmly on the pedal, so you can do the pushing and pulling movements. Some bikes have dual pedals, which have an SPD system on one side and straps on the other. 

Buying an Indoor Cycling Bike with a data tracker

More and more data can be collected, and we increasingly want to know what a particular exercise achieves. Do you get your motivation from data collection? Then you could consider buying a smart bike. Using a smart bike, you have the option of measuring, for example, wattage, distance travelled and your heart rate. You can also often connect these smart bikes to apps on your phone or a wearable to keep track of this data. Some smart bikes measure your heart rate through heart rate monitors on the handlebars. These heart rate monitors do require you to maintain a certain position and are not very accurate. A separate heart rate monitor is therefore often better, and you can also link it to your phone and/or smart bike. 

Is more expensive always better?

More expensive bikes often last longer and are well-made in terms of quality. Yet, more expensive is not necessarily always better. Some bikes in the high-end segment are specially made for gyms. These bikes are used on average 3 to 6 hours a day and are regularly ridden back and forth.  The saddle and handlebars are adjusted in every lesson. So, you can imagine that these bikes have to meet very different criteria than a bike you buy for your home. At home, you will use the bike at most 8 hours per week in most cases. Therefore, it is good to check whether a bike is meant for the gym or for private use. The price difference between these two categories is actually quite considerable, and there is no need to spend extra money on a bicycle that you plan to use at home.

Leasing an Indoor Cycling bike

Some online providers offer the option to lease Indoor Cycling bikes. This is great for users who exercise outdoors in the summer and use Indoor Cycling as a substitute in the winter. It is also possible to try out bikes before deciding to buy one. Or you can try it out and see if Indoor Cycling is something for you. 

The best bike for you

Think carefully about what you find important about an Indoor Cycling bike before you buy one. The best Indoor Cycling bike is the one that suits you best. Do you just want a bike to pedal away, without too many whistles and bells? Then plenty of affordable options can be found on the internet. New budget bikes often start at around €300,-. You can also check Facebook Groups to see if you can buy a good second-hand bike. 

Do you care about tracking data and your progress? Then look for a smart bike. If you plan to place your bike in a communal area, such as a living room, it might be nice for your housemates to buy a bike with a V-belt and magnetic resistance. These are quiet as a mouse. 

Are you wondering what else you need before you start Indoor Cycling? We tell you all about it here.


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