At-home spinning bikes are arguably the most popular fitness equipment available right now.
There are a lot of reasons you might be considering one.
First, if you love cycling, you might want an at-home bike that you can use when the weather is bad. Spinning indoors tends to be safer than riding your bike on roadways, which can come with a high risk of being in an accident.
You might also be missing your typical studio fitness classes, which are canceled in many places indefinitely because of COVID-19.
An at-home spinning bike might also just be a new addition to your fitness routine that you’re interested in trying out at the start of a new year.
For several years, the popular and also expensive Peloton bike was the only option. While it remains one of the most coveted spinning bikes, it’s certainly not the only one on the market, so how do you choose?
The following are some things to keep in mind if it’s something you’re considering.
The big thing that draws people into Peloton and similar spinning bikes is the built-in screen. If you want a bike with a touchscreen and classes, then you’re going to pay more than if you simply want to cycle at home on your own.
The Peloton has one of the largest, most interactive screens and a massive selection of classes, and this is one reason it’s expensive.
On the other hand, if you don’t care about the screen or aren’t willing to pay that much for it, some bikes have built-in tablet holders. Then, you can find classes that you can do through that, or you can stream Netflix or read books if you prefer.
It’s really about what you want and what you’re interested in.
For many people, the higher-end bike options like Peloton are so appealing because they want the immersive live and on-demand class experience.
If the screen is important to you and you’re looking for a Peloton alternative, there’s the Myx Fitness Myx.
It’s the bike probably most similar to Peloton with in-house classes and programming and a large screen. It’s less expensive than Peloton, however. What it doesn’t do is show your cycling data like speed and resistance. There are no live classes either, just on-demand.
If you want at-home exercise equipment to say goodbye to your gym membership fee, then be aware that NordicTrack Bikes, Echelon fitness, and Peloton all require that you pay a monthly subscription fee to get the full experience.
On the other hand, Bowflex has a bike that doesn’t require a membership. The spinning bike will work with third-party services offering cycling classes.
If you buy a Peloton, you are required to buy at least a year of the subscription service with your bike. The Peloton subscription app does offer workout classes outside of cycling including yoga, strength training, treadmill workouts, and meditation.
There’s one bike that offers something not available if you buy a Peloton. The BowflexVeloCore is a unique spinning bike that helps you work your core. It leans you side-to-side. The chassis of the bike swings left and right.
If you’re an outdoor cyclist, you might appreciate this as a way to feel a more realistic experience, more in-line with what you do when you’re not on your spinning bike. When you’re holding a lean, you can feel it in your abs and your arms, so it gives you a more full-body workout.
There’s also the NordiTarck S15i, which tilts back and forth to more closely simulate going up and down hills.
What Other Features to Look For?
When you’re choosing an indoor stationary bike, beyond what’s already been mentioned, what other features should you look for?
One big one is the flywheel. The flywheel is what provides you with momentum and helps you work your muscles while you’re biking. You should aim to have a flywheel of at least 40 pounds if you want to challenge yourself adequately during your workouts.
You also want to look for a bike that makes it easy to adjust your handlebars because that’s how you’re going to stay comfortable while you’re cycling and reduce the risk of injuries.
Finally, a key difference between a typical indoor bike and a spinning bike is that on a spinning bike you can easily stand up during your workouts. If that’s important to you, be aware that many cheaper and simpler indoor cycles won’t provide for that option.