The Best Spin Bikes For 2023 For Indoor Cycling
You’ve been mulling over the idea of buying the perfect spin bike for your home workout but can’t decide which one best fits your needs. Don’t look further, you are in the right place.
If not thousands, there are hundreds of different spin bikes on the market in 2023, which is why it’s hard and confusing to pick the right one. Often, people don’t do research and buy the not so recommended indoor bike and later they throw it away, stop using it, or sell it for half price a couple of months later.
In this article, I would like to help you avoid making a bad decision when buying a spin bike for indoor cycling. How do I do that? Well, I use years of personal experience and spend months researching and trying new bikes to pick the following top 9 spin bikes for you.
This article is not just a list of the best spin bikes, here I will help you figure out what are the differences between each of these indoor bikes and which spin bike is the best for your cardio workout and preferences.
At the end of the article, I also added a list of certain clothing and accessories that made the indoor cycling exercise safer and more comfortable for me. If you already have those bits and pieces, then you can ignore them but if you don’t, I highly recommend you also get yourself proper cycling clothing and accessories. You don’t have to buy them on Amazon, you can find them on Google, Decathlon, Costco, and any other store that sells indoor cycling clothing and accessories.
Without further ado, here are the best spin bike reviews and comparisons. No matter your fitness level or cycling experience, there is one spin bike in this buying guide that will fit your specific needs.
Best Spin Bikes Comparison Chart
|Keiser M3i Bundle||If automatic resistance is not a factor, this is your spin bike.||FIXED, 8-LBS||190mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||SPD & CAGE||BACKLIT LCD||Multiple|
|NordicTrack S22i||If you want a smart spin bike with automatic resistance and don't mind iFit membership, this is for you.||FIXED, 32-LB||150mm||ELECTRONIC MAGNETIC||CAGE ONLY||22" TOUCH HD||iFit Only on the bike's screen|
|Peloton Original Bike||A good value spin bike as long as you like the Peloton app.||FIXED, 30-LB||170mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||LOOK DELTA||22" TOUCH HD||Peloton only on the bike's screen|
|Echelon EX5-S||It is a good spin bike with automatic resistance but its screen only works with the Echelon app.||FIXED, 28-LB||202mm||ELECTRONIC MAGNETIC||SPD & CAGE||22" TOUCH HD||Echelon Only on the bike's screen|
|Bowflex Velocore 16||Good value and has leaning technology but pretty useless monitor unless you are constantly subscribed to JRNY app.||FIXED, 33-LB||190mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||SPD & CAGE||16" TOUCH HD||Multiple (JRNY paid subscription needed)|
|Bowflex IC7||Good spin bike as long as you like the JRNY app, otherwise go for the Schwinn IC4 or Bowflex C6 models.||FIXED, 40-LB||187mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||SPD & CAGE||7" TOUCH HD||Multiple (JRNY paid subscription needed)|
|Schwinn IC4||A little outdated resistance and basic console but still good value for the money.||FIXED, 40-LB||190mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||SPD & CAGE||CLEAR TO READ LED||Multiple|
|Echelon EX15||A great value spin bike if you want to use your own tablet, phone, or TV.||FIXED, 20-LB||202mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||CAGE ONLY||NONE||Multiple (with QZ app)|
|Dmasun Bike||Zero technology but the most affordable spin bike with decent quality.||FIXED, 35-LB||200mm||MANUAL MAGNETIC||CAGE ONLY||NO-BACLIT LCD||None|
Editor’s Choice For May 2023
Regularly our team at Your Exercise Bike updates and introduces you to the 9 best spin bikes for home use. In this part though, I pick the three best spin bikes that have advanced features, are good value for the money and are affordable for most people.
I also monitor the market and update the list on a weekly basis if necessary to make sure you get the best spin bike for your investment. Currently, based on my weekly research and extensive experience, I believe the Nordictrack S22i is the best choice for under $2000, the Echelon EX5 is the best choice for under $1000, and the Dmasun is the best choice for under $500.
Although they might seem to be the same or offer the same type of indoor cycling workout, based on nearly a decade of experience and personally using these bikes, I admit they are not the same and the experience with each of these spin bikes is different.
You literally get what you pay for, IC4 or Dmasun are nowhere close to Keiser M3i or Nordictrack regarding cycling feel, pedal stroke, built quality, or ride data accuracy feedback. So, if you can afford to spend a little more, I highly recommend the Nordictrack S22i indoor bike. It’s literally the smoothest, quietest and overall best quality spin bike, I have ever used and will last for decades to come.
But if you can’t invest that amount of money on a spin bike, I would recommend the Echelon EX5. I know it doesn’t have Nordictrack’s screen but it has a more ergonomic design allowing horizontal and vertical adjustment on the handlebars. Plus, it has an FTMS Bluetooth that transmits stats to any indoor cycling application that you like from Zwift to Peloton and Echelon, it’s compatible with all of them. But even more importantly, it has an automatic resistance system that can follow Zwift and Peloton power zone classes so you can focus on your form and ride instead of continuously changing resistance. Under $1000, it’s the best Peloton alternative bike and one of my personal favorite indoor bikes.
And if you want to spend the minimum money and still get a decent-quality spin bike for indoor cycling, I recommend the Joroto X2 Pro bike. It’s basic in terms of technology compared to Nordictrack and Echelon because it doesn’t have a touchscreen or an automatic resistance. But it has cadence reading, and Bluetooth transmitter to connect with Zwift, Kinomap, and Peloton. It also has a good quality structure, manually adjustable magnetic resistance, a grippy tablet holder, and a comfortable seat that you don’t find on other indoor bikes for the price. It also has additional aero grips. I don’t think I have ever used another budget spin bike that offered as much comfort as Joroto X2Pro. So, go for it, if you are on a tight budget. You won’t regret the decision.
|Under $2000||NordicTrack S22i Bike||32-LB||Compatible with iFit||350 Pounds (5'1" to 6'4")||Toe Cage||22-Inche HD touch, Wifi, Bluetooth, RPM, Speed, HR, Distance, Resistance, Watt, Time, & Calories||1-Year part warranty, convenient bottle holders, incline and decline, plus two weight holders|
|Under $1000||Echelon EX5 Bike||28-LB||Compatible with Zwift, Peloton, & many more||300 Pounds (4'12" to 6'4")||SPD & Toe Cage||Bluetooth FTMS, RPM, Speed, HR, Watt, Distance, Resistance, Time, & Calories||1-Year part warranty, convenient bottle holders, good tablet holder, & two weight holders|
|Under $400||Joroto X2 Pro Bike||35-LB||Compatible with Zwift, Peloton, & many more||300 Pounds (5' to 6'3")||Toe Cage Only||Bluetooth FTMS, RPM, Speed, HR, Distance, Resistance, Time, & Calories||1-Year part warranty, convenient bottle holders, good tablet holder, & fully adjustable|
Overview: Best Spin Bikes in 2023
Keiser M3i Indoor Spinning Bike Bundle
In this indoor cycling bike comparison and review, the world-known Keiser M3i has taken first place. I know some of you don’t agree with me but if you try the New Keiser M3i that comes with an upgraded M Series console, you might change your opinion. Right out of the box, it is now compatible with all the major indoor cycling applications including Zwift, Peloton, Free Keiser app, and many more.
Another reason some of you readers may not agree is that you probably think why should you pay $1999 for an M3i when you can pay $1500 for a Peloton Bike? The simplest way that I can put this is quality, design, and compatibility.
Unlike Peloton and many other brands like Echelon and Nordictrack, Keiser has built this bike to be compatible with any application that you prefer to use with the bike. So, they don’t try to sell monthly app memberships and thousands of dollars down the road. First of all, they are selling a spin bike that functions 100% without any application, second, they make it possible to synch the M3i with any fitness app that you prefer.
I have unboxed and tried many spin bikes in the last decade but to this day, I didn’t come across one that can beat the quality of the Keiser M3i. This bike is built, packed, and inspected in the United States and I think it’s the only spin bike that is being built in the US.
And on top of that, the people who helped design the Keiser M3i spin bike are elite studio coaches and road cyclists. Thanks to its well-thought design, you won’t feel like riding a fat bike or hurting your back and knees when cycling indoors with the Keiser M3i.
The Keiser company has built 4 spin bike models starting with the Keiser M3, then Keiser M3+, and then lastly the Keiser M3i. It’s really the best of all the bikes this brand has made. Years of hard work lead the company to build the M3i spin bike and I think they did a great job.
The major improvements on Keiser M3i compared to the older models were a Bluetooth wireless computer, the ability to download and track your cycling workout data on various indoor cycling apps, a redesigned bike pedal, a large tablet holder, and a great new ergonomically designed V-shaped handlebar. Keiser M3i also has a few appearance improvements like a nicer flywheel guard and a nicer color combination. It really compliments the room.
Talking of room, the Keiser M3i indoor bike takes way less space compared to elliptical, treadmills, or rowing machines. In comparison to other spin bikes, it takes around 7-inch more space in length because it has the flywheel in the back rather than the front.
One of the major benefits of having the flywheel in the back is less maintenance and less cleaning because your sweat doesn’t reach the mechanism so there is no rusting. The height and the width are just the same as any other spin bike I tried. It is 26-inch wide and 46-inch tall so you should be able to ride the bike even if your ceiling is short.
It is extremely solid and not just for personal use at home but also has the quality to be used at commercial facilities such as gyms and cycling studios. You would think for a such quality spin bike, it should be pretty heavy, but it’s not. It is a beautiful bike that only weighs 88 pounds, unlike our Nordictrack S22i which weighs 200-pounds. Often my wife moves the M3i from one place to another without struggling.
The real key to this spin bike’s near-silent operation is its groundbreaking magnetic resistance system with the combination of single-blet transmission that the company spent years developing. I used to ride a friction spin bike with chain transmission and it was pretty annoying, especially for my wife. But with Keiser M3i, I am really happy. It barely has any sound. I am not saying it is silent but it’s an extremely quiet (probably the quietest) spin bike I have ridden. My wife speels in the room next door while I do my cardio workout and she is not bothered at all.
But aside from the noise factor, the combination of a magnetic resistance system and single-single belt also helps create a really smooth 360-degree natural pedal stroke. There is no jerky move when you pedal. So, it’s really pleasant.
Lastly, I love the lightweight flywheel of the Keiser M3i. I know you have always heard the heavier the flywheel the better the ride. The truth is, a heavier flywheel is not always necessary to create good momentum. Keiser has proven that by using the combination of a huge pulley for the crank and two double pulleys on the flywheel.
Its 8-pound lightweight flywheel has two major benefits. First, there is less maintenance because bearings don’t wear off, unlike a spin bike with a 50-pound flywheel. Second, it has less impact on your joints, especially your knees and ankles. So, if someday you are not feeling good or need to recover from an accident or surgery, you can hop on the bike and do low-impact exercise.
I can go on about why I chose the Keiser M3i as the best spin bike in 2023, but you get the point. That said, if you are someone who likes to join online spinning classes and doesn’t mind the extra monthly membership, then I would highly suggest that you consider the NordicTrack S22i spin bike. It has a 22-inch screen with many smart features like an incline and decline system. You can scroll down to read my review of Nordictrack S22i which is one of the best spin bikes on the market in 2023.
- Easy assembly and great US-based customer support
- Easy to change resistance through the shaft and also displays the gear
- Positive reviews from everyone, not just us
- Completely Made in the U.S with exceptional quality and inspection
- Rear-flywheel design for protection from sweat and corrosion
- 24 powerful magnetic-resistance levels
- Universal App connectivity with the new M4 monitor
- 4-way adjustable seat and handlebar
- Reliable and low-maintenance single-belt-drive
- Can accommodate users between 4.10 and 6.6
- Light and easy to store + and a really nice and elegant design
- There is no padded elbow rests on the handlebars
- Its resistance is not smart electronic and there is no gear shifter on the handgrips
- The seat is a little bit uncomfortable
- Keiser M3i screen is pretty outdated and basic
NordicTrack S22i Indoor Cycling Spin Bike
The second-best spin bike in this buying guide and comparison is the NordicTrack S22i. I have zero affiliation with this brand but based on personal experience I strongly believe the S22i by Nordictrack is one of the best commercial indoor cycling Bikes with lots of awesome features. It is the most advanced option that I reviewed and added to the best spin bike comparisons.
If you want technology and money is not a priority, this is your spin bike. With the Nordictrack S22i, there are certain features like an electronic incline and decline system that you don’t find on a similarly priced indoor cycling bike. This bike really gives the best value for the money especially when it’s discounted.
Aside from its inclined and decline system that adjusts automatically via buttons on the screen and on the handlebars, the Nordictrack S22i also has “smart electronic magnetic resistance” that I makes a lot of difference compared to the “standard electronic magnetic” or “manual magnetic” system.
I say smart because every time an online spinning class instructor on iFit changes resistance, the bike also automatically changes resistance. So, you can focus on pedaling and your form instead of manually changing resistance every two minutes.
There are 24 resistance levels which give plenty of variety for the riders. I normally don’t go above the 10 to 20-level and it’s pretty challenging to increase the resistance to 24. So, there is a level of intensity for everyone no matter your strength and fitness level.
As for the noise, it’s a little noisier than Keiser M3i and it’s because of the extra bells and whistles like the incline system. But overall, it’s not annoying and differently quieter than spin bikes with outdated friction resistance. The newer model of Nordictrack S22i makes even less noise because the company upgraded the incline and decline system.
There is another little thing that I love about the resistance of Nordictrack S22i is its resistance controls on the handlebars. You can change resistance with the push of buttons so you don’t have to take your hands away from the handles to reach a knob and then turn it right or left to adjust intensity. It’s something missing on Keiser, Peloton Original, and Echelon bikes.
Something that will draw you toward this spin bike is going to be its 22-inch touchscreen which was upgraded in 2023 with better graphics and processor cooling to avoid overheating and keep the screen fast and responsive. In the past, the Nordictrack S22i and S15i monitors used to overheat and lock up. They also put better quality speakers so you would have an overall much better experience with the new S22i compared to the older version of S22i.
Nordictrack went a bit further and also made the screen rotatable so when you are off the bike and doing Yoga or a mix of spinning with an upper body workout, you can simply turn the screen toward you. The old model had a fixed screen and you couldn’t turn it right or left which was really annoying when you were watching iFit online classes on the bike’s monitor.
Talking of monitors, the S22i is fully compatible with the iFit application which I think is one of the best online workout apps. It has up to 8 online spinning classes every day and thousands of pre-recorded cycling and other exercises that you can choose from.
I really enjoy the live classes as it gives a more competitive feeling to the ride because you are at the same time riding with other people. I pay $180 per year for an individual package that allows one profile but if you want to have several profiles for every member of your family and use the app at the same time on up to 5 machines, you can get the Family package. It is more expensive than the individual package and costs $39 per month.
Anyway, you don’t need to have any paid membership to use the bike. Its resistance and incline/decline system works just fine and the screen displays your live stats.
However, if you want to experience interactive indoor cycling exercises and attend online spinning classes, you would need one of the two memberships. Unfortunately, the S22i indoor bike is not compatible with other applications like Peloton or Zwift. So, you are stuck with the iFit for cycling.
The screen does have Bluetooth for wireless headsets, an HDMI port, USB charging port, and connects to standard home WiFi to power up the iFit application. As you might have imagined neither the bike’s resistance nor its incline or screen works on the battery so you need to plug in the bike to a standard wall socket.
Now comes the weight. Nordictrack S22i bike is around 205-pound which makes it one of the heaviest spin bikes on the market. It’s both good and bad, good because it’s really solid and sturdy and doesn’t wobble when you do high-intensity interval training, and bad because it’s difficult to move from one place to another. It’s better you assemble the bike exactly where you want to use it so you don’t need to break your back for indoor transportation.
The weight of the bike is also because of the additional decline system and huge monitor, plus, it has a 32-pound flywheel that is 4 times heavier than the one on the Keiser M3i indoor cycle. The fact that Nordictrack S22i is made of great quality materials is verified by 350-lb user weight support.
As for the transmission, it’s a single poly-v belt which is a little bit disappointing. Considering its heavy flywheel and heavy cranks, it should have been the “Carbon Blue Toothed Belt”. They are way stronger and last much longer than the “poly-v belts”.
Unfortunately, the only companies that currently make Carbon Blue Toothed Belt spin bike transmissions are the Stages bikes and a few Schwinn indoor bikes. Other companies are only using poly-v belt systems because it’s cheaper.
I love toothed belt transmissions because when you push hard against the heavy flywheel, there is no jerky move and there is no power loss. All your efforts/power reach the flywheel efficiently. Plus, they don’t easily stretch. In fact, often Carbon Blue Belt has 10 years of warranty.
The pedals of Nordictrack S22i are also not my favorites. They only have cages and there is no clipping area. So, you can’t clip in specific cycling shoes to the pedals. But thankfully that’s not a deal breaker because you can buy dual-sided spin bike pedals for as little as $50. This bike used 9/16 pedal thread which is the most standard pedal size so the replacements are widely available.
I personally use specific indoor cycling shoes and had to change my pedals on Nordictrack S22i. These shoes are more comfortable and they have stiffer soles so you have better and stronger pedal strokes. There is also less chance of injury when using clip-in pedals and specific indoor cycling shoes because they don’t slip off the pedal which can be really painful.
When using the Nordictrack S22i, one of our biggest complaints was the handlebar adjustment. Although it’s vertically adjustable, due to its huge and heavy screen, it’s really difficult for my wife to vertically adjust the handlebars by herself. So, I always need help because of the height difference.
If you are the only person using the bike or your partner is around the same height as you, it won’t be an issue because you don’t have to adjust the handlebars. The minor seat adjustment would be enough. But if people of different heights use the bike, it can get pretty annoying.
I think Nordictrack recently released a new spin bike called the S27i and this one has a gas-assisted handlebar. So, one person can easily adjust the bike without struggling. I hope guys at Nordictrack upgrade the S22i and make the 2023 models with a gas-assisted system.
Also, it would have been great if make horizontally adjustable because currently, it’s only vertically adjustable. These two upgrades, plus a toothed belt system, would make a huge difference in this high-quality spin bike.
If anyone from Nordictrack reads this spin bike comparison, review, and buying guide, please put a more comfortable seat on this bike. It’s really hard and uncomfortable. I had to buy a Nordictrack S22i replacement seat after a few rides.
I bought the Velmia seat for around $35. It is very comfortable and fits the S22i just fine. Just make sure to use the Nordictrack seat clamp, not the one that comes with the Velmia seat.
Last but not least, the assembly and extras. Nordictrack S22i comes mostly assembled. You would need to assemble the front and rear base, the seat, pedals, handlebars, and then the screen. There is a clear instruction but if you prefer a video, there is one by the brand that shows how to assemble the bike step by step. In the box, there are also the needed tools.
For extras, it has a speed adjustable cooling fan that I found really helpful during summer rides, then two nice bottle holders that are easy to reach, and two dumbbell holders. Normally two dumbbells are also included but it’s not always the case. It also has a 1-month free iFit membership. It’s the family package so it’s worth $39. If you don’t plan to renew it, make sure to cancel the subscription before your free month ends.
An additional personal tip that I could give is to consider a few of the Nordictrack indoor bike accessories and clothing. There are things like floor mats, padded shorts, and bike covers that aren’t included with the bike but you can buy them separately. They can help you exercise more comfortably and safely.
- 22″ WiFi and Bluetooth HD touchscreen with HDMI and USB ports
- Built in resistance controls as well as incline and decline controls on the handlebars
- Two bottle holders and two weight holders for arm workouts
- Monitor displays the current, average, and total of the watt, speed, resistance, and RPM
- Automatically and smart incline and decline adjustment
- Generous warranty compared to Echelon and Peloton
- Handlebars are only up and down adjustable and there is no gas-assisted system
- Pedals are not clip-in, they only have cages for regular gym shoes
- There are no elbow pads on the handgrips for longer racing position rides
- The seat is pretty uncomfortable and can cause serious soreness
- Its transmission should have been Carbon blue toothed belt not a poly-v belt
- The screen only works with the iFit application, not with Peloton, Netflix, etc
Peloton Bike Original Indoor Spin Bike
It is one of the magnificent bikes in the price range of $1200-$1500 that made the list of the best spin bikes of 2023. “Peloton Bike Original” is well-known compared to the newer “Peloton Bike Plus” but it still delivers plenty of features to stand in the market among the competitors. The Peloton Original comes with great features and it is the most popular affordable spin bike with an HD screen. It’s a heavy-duty spin bike featuring a 30-lb flywheel to provide a smooth ride.
Adjustability on this indoor cycle is okay with the handlebars adjusting up and down while the seat is 4-way adjustable. It would have been better if the handlebars were also 4 ways adjustable but unfortunately, it’s not. Thankfully recently several companies started making specific handlebars adjusters for this Peloton Bike.
I suggest you try the bike first and if you feel you are overextending your arms to reach the handlebars, then buy a handlebar adjuster. It’s easy to install and allows you to move the handlebars forward and backward so you can fit the bike comfortably. For me, it works fine without the extender but for my wife, I had to buy the extender because she likes to set up our Peloton more upright.
As for the quality of the seat, it’s not bad but there are much better Peloton bike replacement seats that I tried and liked. One in particular that I find very comfortable is the Wittkop with an innovative 3-zone concept. It’s breathable and comfortable and it only costs around $25 so give it a try, if you don’t like it, you can return it and try the Velmia seat on this Peloton Bike.
Peloton Bike Original has magnetic resistance and it doesn’t make any noise, even when my wife is sleeping, it doesn’t bother her if I do a spinning session next to our bedroom. It also has a belt-driven system instead of a chain which reduces maintenance and gives you a smooth indoor cycling experience.
I have to admit that although its resistance system is quieter and smoother than the friction resistance system, it is a little outdated. You can only adjust the resistance manually and there is no gear shifter on the handlebars so you would need to reach the knob every time you want to change intensity. In this regard, I like the Nordictrack indoor cycling bikes. They have smart electronic resistance with built-in gear shifters on the handlebars. Do check out these indoor bikes by Nordictrack, they are often cheaper than Peloton Bike.
Now let’s get back to this Peloton bike. Aside from the belt drive which requires little to no maintenance and doesn’t make noise during exercise, this indoor cycling bike also has a durable steel frame that can take up to 300 lb of user weight. Even during the toughest workouts I do, it stays in place and doesn’t wobble.
As for the pedals, they are Look Delta which is great for indoor cycling because there is a wide surface for the feet to put more effort. You can buy a pair of Peloton bike shoes and ride the bike safer and more comfortably. My wife got the Venzo shoes for around $45 and I bought the Peloton shoes which I find overrated and overpriced.
My complaint is why Peloton doesn’t send the bike with toe cages. I the beginning I was using my regular gym sneakers on the bike so I had to buy and attach toe cages to the Peloton pedals. If you want to spend less and want a temporary solution until you have proper cycling shoes, I suggest you get the Pedal Converters. They cost as little as $10.
The most remarkable feature of the Peloton bike is its 22-inch touchscreen. It doesn’t rotate left and right like the Peloton Bike+ but you can purchase a screen adjuster for the Peloton if you want to rotate the screen for off-the-bike workouts. I bought the one made by TDF, it’s made in the US and installs easily without any hassle.
The screen itself is high resolution and it’s responsive, unlike some cheaper models I tried. You can use its speakers or connect headsets to listen to Peloton classes. I tried to synch the bike with Zwift but it’s not possible. It only works with the Peloton application.
There is a solution to open Netflix and surf online on the screen of the bike, but if you want to connect the bike to another cycling application, you need additional accessories like Bluetooth power pedals or cadence and speed sensors.
I think an even better option than using a cadence sensor or power pedals is to use the newly designed and developed SS2K V3. It gets all the data from your bike and then sends them to Zwift via Bluetooth. Additionally, it makes the Peloton Bike resistance automatic. So, when you are on Zwift for example, it changes resistance based on the terrain you choose to ride.
That said, normally, people who buy the Peloton Bikes, also stick with the Peloton Application. Its app is popular and has nearly 10 live classes every day and thousands of pre-recorded cycling and other workout classes. I do think the app is extremely overpriced and I hope they lower their prices or like iFit give more affordable “full access” options for individual packages.
For now, they have two packages one is “full access” which costs $400+ every year and there is another option that gives limited access to Peloton content for $150 per year. I personally think iFit offers a better deal with a “full access individual package” at $180 per year and a “full access family package” at $400 per year.
To wrap up this review, I will talk about the assembly of the Peloton Bike. I found it to be pretty straightforward and easy. The tools needed were all included and there is a step-by-step video by Peloton that you can watch if you don’t like reading the manual. It’s much easier to have someone to help you but you should be able to do it alone.
- A 22-inch touchscreen monitor with high-quality speakers
- Plenty of accessories on the market for the bike to consider
- Sturdy Durable Frame and parts
- Near silent and low maintenance drive system
- Good saddle
- No Timing/Toothed belt (less power efficiency)
- No direct watt/power tracking
- To adjust the handlebars forward and backward additional accessories needed
- Only compatible with one cycling application/Peloton (doesn’t synch with iFit, Zwift, etc)
- No iPod/tablet dock and the seat can be uncomfortable
- Its resistance is not smart or electronic
Echelon EX5S Smart Spin Bike
The Echelon EX5-S is a unique high-quality spin bike (for the price) that I consider the best spin bike under $1500 on the market if you like the Echelon Fitness spinning classes without using any additional devices (tablet, phone, or TV).
However, if you prefer to use your own screen and devices and you prefer to use the bike with the Peloton, Strava, or Zwift applications, then don’t buy this model. You can buy the Echelon EX5 and save up to $600. They are the same bikes except the EX5-S model has a monitor and the EX5 model doesn’t have a monitor.
In fact, if you are planning to use your own TV, phone, and/or tablet for monitoring workouts and you know that you might be using other cycling applications, I highly recommend the EX5. It has a nice shelf to place your tablet on while you are on the bike.
In terms of resistance, both models have two types of options. You can either manually adjust the resistance with the dial/knob or you can adjust the resistance automatically on the application. So, it’s both electronic magnetic and manual magnetic.
When following online spinning classes on certain apps like Echelon and Peloton, you can set the bike to adjust its resistance automatically so you don’t have to move your hands away from the handlebars every time to reach the know. Trust me, always changing resistance manually get pretty annoying over time.
Giving you the option between choosing manual or automatic resistance is a feature that really sets the Echelon Connect EX1, EX3, EX5, EX5s, and EX7S indoor bikes (not the EX15) apart from other spin bikes like Nordictrack and Life Fitness ICG bikes.
My only complaint with Echelon resistance is why they are not making gear shifters on the handlebars so I can change resistance as I do on my road bike. It shouldn’t be too difficult considering these Echelon bikes have electronic magnetic resistance. They could just build a button/control on the grips like Nordictrack has been doing for years. Hopefully, the future version will have this bit built-in in the grips.
Something that has contributed to Echelon Connect Bike’s popularity in the last two years is an application called QZ by a talented Italian firmware developer (Roberto Viola) who keeps improving the app regularly. This app allows you to connect your Echelon EX5s bike to Peloton, Strava, Zwift, and many other cycling applications.
On top of that, it enables your Echelon Bike (only the models I mentioned above) to automatically adjust its resistance when there is an uphill, downhill, or when the spinning instructor on an application like Peloton changes his/her resistance.
It does a ton of other things too, for instance, it changes your 32 levels of Echelon resistance to a percentage matching the Peloton resistance so you don’t get confused and don’t have to guess which level of resistance on Echelon equals the 50th level of resistance on Peloton application.
If you buy any of the available Echelon Connect bikes, I highly suggest you also download the QZ application and even join their Facebook Group Community where we all ask and answer each other’s questions. The app only costs a $6 one-time purchase. It’s available on App Store as well as the Play Store.
Most people think the Echelon EX5s (and other Connect bikes in this Series) don’t connect to the Echelon application unless you have paid membership. I tried it, and it connects without any membership you can use the Free-Style which allows you to see your workout stats and change your resistance via the screen.
The main downside to Echelon Free-Style is that you can’t access the live, on demand, or any content on the application. They also display too many ads on your bike’s screen in “freestyle” mode which I found to be pretty annoying.
To access the Echelon live and on-demand classes, you need to have a paid membership which costs $39 per month or $33 if you subscribe yearly. If you want to pay $11 per month and ride on Peloton, I would say go for the Echelon EX5 and get the QZ app and you can save thousands of dollars down the road.
Now let’s talk about the quality of the Echelon E5-S spin bike. It’s not fully commercial but it’s a semi-commercial-grade indoor bike. You don’t want to buy it for a cycling studio but for home personal use, it can easily give you and your partner years of indoor cycling cardio workout.
For transmission, this exercise bike has a simple poly-v belt that makes the ride more enjoyable, smooth, quiet, and low maintenance compared to chain drive transmissions. However, it would have been great if Echelon decided to upgrade the transmission to a “carbon blue toothed belt” instead of poly-v.
I know toothed belts are a bit pricier but so is the Echelon EX5-S. What I enjoy a lot about carbo toothed belt is that there is no jerky feel, no matter your resistance level or your weight. As a result, your efforts reach the flywheel without being lost with tiny slipping that happens with poly-v flat belts.
Another reason I wish they built the Echelon EX5s with a toothed carbon belt is the durability. Toothed belts don’t stretch so you have even less maintenance and belt adjusting to worry about. Anyway, for now, if you want a toothed belt transmission, your choices are limited to Stages bikes and the Schwinn Fitness AC Performance Plus or Schwinn Fitness AC Power.
Echelon EX5s indoor bike features a partially covered machine-balanced 28-lb aluminum and high alloy steel flywheel that provides a smooth natural ride. It’s a little heavier than the Keiser M3i but still lighter than the Nordictrack and the Peloton flywheels. If you don’t have knee issues, you should be able to use this indoor bike without any problem.
This spin bike weighs 130-pounds which is around 70-pounds lighter than the Nordictrack but still it’s not as light as the 80-pound Keiser M3i. So, if you are going to be moving the bike too often, you may want to consider a lighter-weight spin bike.
Just keep in mind that lighter spin bikes are not always the most stable ones, except for some exceptionally well-designed spin bikes like the M3i and Life Fitness ICG bikes. I personally found the Echelon EX5 to be pretty stable but to be honest not as stable as the Nordictrack S22i, especially when I ride the bike out of the saddle.
I added an exercise bike mat on the floor under the bike and it helped a lot. There is way less vibration and noise, plus, my room remains clean. Remember to tweak the base adjusters to make sure it doesn’t rock before getting on the bike.
It also supports up to 300-lb user weight and from 4 feet 12-inch to 6 feet 4-inch tall which is not bad at all. This bike also features standard 9/16 threaded dual-sided pedals with toe cages and SPD cleats so you can ride in regular gym sneakers or specific clipping indoor cycling shoes. For safety, comfort, and efficiency, I recommend using proper indoor cycling shoes that clip into the pedals. The crank is 3-piece which is great and better than 1-piece cranks.
Now let’s discussed the comfort and adjustment of this top-rated spin bike. One of the selling points is that the Echelon Ex5s has 4-way adjustability. It means you can adjust the seat and handlebars vertically as well as horizontally to achieve a perfect bike fit. I love this because I and my wife are different heights and we were both able to set up the EX5-S to fit us comfortably.
Most top-notch spin bikes like Nordictrack Bikes and the Peloton Bikes (both the Original model and the Plus model) don’t allow horizontal adjustment on the handlebars so you can set up the bike for semi-upright related cycling. So, thumbs up to Echelon for giving the forward/backward adjustment possibility on the handles.
My only complaint is why Echelon (along with competitors) doesn’t make padded elbow rests on these high-end indoor cycling bikes. I designed bike parts and imported spin bikes too and trust me it’s not difficult to add aero bars, drop bars, or elbow pads on the handlebars. So far the only spin bike with all these additional cycling handgrips and elbow pads is the Life Fitness IC8.
As for the seat, it’s okay but not the most comfortable. I would have changed it if I wanted to keep the Echelon EX5-s for longer. Seat, plus a few other Echelon bike accessories are there that I highly recommend if you want to buy an Echelon bike.
Another really good feature of this bike is the bottle holders and dumbbell holders which allow you to easily reach your water on the bike and stay hydrated and also add upper body workout to your spinning workout. You do need to buy the water bottles and dumbbells separately because they don’t come included.
What makes this spin bike stand out from the crowd is its 22″ HD touchscreen monitor that provides lots of feedback on how you do during the ride. It does flip upward so you can stand in front of the bike and have the screen toward you but it doesn’t rotate right or left like Nordictrack S22i or S15i do. I wish they made the screen 360-degree rotatable so I could stand next to the bike and be able to adjust the screen toward me.
Anyway, the screen itself has great resolution and the content on the Echelon app is all HD so it’s more interesting and the picture is not blurry at all. There is no cooling fan with the screen or the bike which is unfortunate considering competitors like Nordictrack studio bikes have 3-speed cooling fans below the screen.
There is no HDMI port but the Echelon EX5S indoor cycling bike does have decent-quality speakers, Bluetooth, WiFi, and a USB charging port. On the screen, you can track your speed, heart rate, distance, cadence, and resistance level. More importantly, it records your watt output which is essential for some riders.
Assembly is pretty simple and shouldn’t take more than 40-minutes. You need to install the front and rear base, then the pedals, seat, handlebars, and finally the monitor. The tools and clean instruction comes with the bike. There is also this official Echelon Ex5s assembly video to help.
The warranty and the support from the Echelon are not bad at all. It’s US-based and they are pretty helpful with a forum to also discuss your ideas and issues with other Echelon bike owners. Overall I think the Echelon EX5S is an excellent spin bike on the market built for both professionals and beginners.
- Watt and RPM tracking capability
- The QZ application has made the bike 100% compatible with the Peloton, Zwift and other apps
- Bluetooth and WiFi wireless connectivity
- Magnetic resistance and belt transmission
- 4-way adjustable seat and handlebar
- Sturdy durable frame and parts
- Easy-to-reach dual bottle holders
- Electronically and manually adjustable magnetic resistance
- Built-in adjustable tablet holder
- SPD-compatible dual-sided pedals to clip in cycling shoes
- The screen only syncs with Echelon cycling applications
- There is no gear shifter on the handlebars
- No elbow pads or drop bars built into the handlebars
- The Free-Style of Echelon has too many ads
- It should have been with a Carbon Blue Toothed Belt instead of a poly-v belt
Bowflex Velocore 16 Leaning Spin Bike
Bowflex spin bikes are quickly gaining more fame for their innovative and affordable price. They recently released the Velocore 22 and the Velocore 16. They are both similar except one has a 16-inch screen while the other has a 22-inch screen. Depending on your budget, you can pick one, the Velocor 16 is often on sale for around $1600 while the Velocore 22 is normally around $2000.
Here I will be reviewing the Velocor 16 which I think is a great value spin bike as long as you are not looking for automatic resistance and you are okay to pay the JRNY subscription. Unlike the Echelon EX5-S that I reviewed above, the Bowflex Velocore has 100 levels of manually adjustable magnetic resistance.
It’s pretty quiet and smooth but it doesn’t have the option to change gears with buttons on the handlebars. So, every time that you want to adjust the intensity of the bike, you need to move your hand away from the handlebars and reach for the knob located on the frame.
Another reason I don’t like manual resistance is that software/apps like Zwift or Peloton can’t automatically adjust your resistance. This becomes burdensome especially if you like to follow Zwift, or Peloton online spinning classes because you need to manually change resistance every time your virtual class instructor calls out to add or decrease resistance.
Spin bikes like Echelon and Nordictrack on the other hand, automatically change their resistance when your online instructor changes his/her resistance. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t mind when cheaper spinning bikes like the Echelon EX15 don’t have smart electronic resistance but with high-end spin bikes like the Bowflex Velocore, it’s unacceptable.
Anyway, if you want to make the Bowflex Velocore resistance change automatically, you can buy an accessory called “SmartSpin 2K“. You install the knob, connect it to the cycling application of your choice and it will do the job.
Now, the screen that comes with the bike is HD and fast. It has Bluetooth for headphones connection and a USB device charging port. It also has decent built-in speakers but it doesn’t have cooling fans which is a bummer considering its competitor, the Nordictrack S15i has a 3-speed cooling fan to keep you fresh during summer rides.
I told you what I like about the 16-inch screen on this spin bike but here is what I don’t like about it. First of all, the screen is fixed and doesn’t rotate to the right or left so you can’t turn the monitor to do cross-training off the bike. All major competitors like Nordictrack, ProForm, Peloton + and even Echelon has rotating capability.
Also, the screen is pretty useless without JRNY monthly subscription ($20 per month). They keep advertising that the bike is synchs with Peloton and Zwift and you can watch Netflix or Hulu but what they don’t clearly say is that the bike only works with the mentioned application if you have a paid subscription to JRNY.
That said, you can still see your workout stats on the screen without any paid subscription. And if you are okay to disregard the bike’s screen and use your own device (tablet, phone, TV, or PC), you can download the QZ application on your phone. Then connect the bike to the QZ app which will synch with Zwift and Peloton. It only costs $6 (one-time purchase) and it synchs instantly with your Bowflex bike. This way you can just forget about the bike’s screen and enjoy the ride on your own monitor.
As for the workout feedback, you can see Speed, Time, Distance, Calories, Resistance Level, Heart Rate, watt (estimation), and Cadence. The information is pretty complete and the bike comes with a heart rate monitor so you don’t need to buy that separately.
Aside from the HD touchscreen that I know has many fans, what really appeals to people when it comes to Bowflex Velocore is the pivoting technology. What does it mean? It means if you lean to the right or left side (as you would on road curves), this indoor bike will lean with you.
The pivoting technology is pretty cool and it’s something you don’t get with Keiser, Echelon, or Peloton. However, it would have been more natural to the body and realistic with less impact if the whole bike including the handlebars pivoted/leaned together.
For now, the handlebars are fixed while the rest of the bike leans and it doesn’t feel natural. To me, it didn’t feel like anything I rode before. It didn’t position my hip, knees, and shoulder in a natural way. The lower part of my body was leaning and the upper part of my body was half leaned and half straight. Perhaps something more like the RealRyder bike would be great if they could do it in future versions.
Now let me tell you a few things about the Velocore 16 drive mechanism. The bike has a 33-pound flywheel which is on the heavy side and gives plenty of momentum. It’s located in the back of the bike so your sweat won’t reach the mechanism and as a result, there is less upkeep and cleaning. But like all the other rear-drive bikes it requires more space than some top-notch spin bikes like Peloton that have the flywheel in front of the frame.
For the transmission, it has a poly-v belt instead of a chain, which makes it quieter and requires less maintenance. Additionally, it features a good magnetic system which is silent and smooth and much better than friction resistance. However, considering its heavy crank system and flywheel, plus its $2000 price tag, it SHOULD have come with a Toothed Carbon Blue belt instead of a poly-v belt.
The poly-v belt is fine as long as the spin bike has a lightweight flywheel and drive system like the Keiser M3i. Not a good thing when a spin bike of 200-lb is sold with a poly-v belt. On high resistance, it can be jerky and with less power efficiency.
As for the exterior design, to protect the flywheel and the resistance, Bowflex designed a guard all around the magnetic system so it stays protected when you move the bike and when kids run or play around the bike. For someone with an active child, a covered flywheel like Echelon and ICG bikes is better because the sharp edges of the flywheel are all out of the way.
While still talking about the flywheel, it’s worth knowing that the Bowflex Velocore flywheel is fixed. Basically, it means the pedals will turn with the flywheel and you can’t coast as you would do on a road bike.
The Bowflex Velocore also has heavy-duty cranks and a steel frame that can support up to 325 lbs which is great compared to many other indoor bikes that support less than 300-lb. It’s made of heavy steel which is great for stability but at the same time makes it difficult to transport the bike from one place to another.
Therefore, I suggest you assemble the Velocor Bowflex bike where you are planning to ride it. As far as the assembly goes, it needs a little more work than regular spin bikes. The main part which is the drive mechanism comes pre-assembled but you would still need to attach the tablet holder, frame base, seat, handlebars, and pedals.
There is an instruction in the box, make sure to install the pedals currently as explained. Note that it’s a heavy spin bike so it is much easier to have someone help you during assembly. If you are not sure you can assemble the bike, you can buy assembly service sold separately for $90 on Amazon.
Now let me talk about the comfort and user height fit. Honestly, it’s not the most comfortable spin bike, especially in comparison with Keiser M3i. The reason is that its handlebars don’t adjust forward and backward and there is a small room for vertical adjustment. So, some users below 5 feet 3-inch and above 6 feet 1-inch (depending on your inseams and arm length) may not get into an ideal bike fit. But if you fall within 5’3″ to 6’1″, you should be fine. Again, I hate seeing these top-of-the-line spin bikes without padded elbow rests and I hope they add this piece in the future.
The seat itself is not the most comfortable either. It’s better than Nordictrack seats but could have been much better. But as you all know seat comfort varies from one person to another so what works for me, may not work for you. I suggest you ride the bike for a couple of weeks with padded cycling shorts and if you feel uncomfortable, you can replace the seat with a more supportive gel padded seat or you can add a spin bike seat cover and see if helps.
Now comes one of the parts that most elite riders who are used to road cycling would hate about the Bowflex Velocore bikes, the 190mm q-factor. It’s the distance between the two pedals that is normally between 130-150mm on road bikes. At 150mm the Nordictrack S15 and S22 beat the Bowflex in this regard.
If you want to learn more about spin bike q-factor and its effect on the rider, I suggest you read my detailed article on the topic. The pedals have spd clipping elements on one side and cages on the other side. So, it’s up to you if you want to wear indoor cycling shoes or just a pair of gym sneakers. I recommend the proper indoor cycling shoes because they are safer and more comfortable and your pedal strokes are more powerful/efficient because they have stiff soles.
- Innovative design and durable structure
- 100 Magnetic-resistance levels
- Dumbbells + weight holders for cross training
- Leaning ability to mimic road curves
- 16 Inches touchscreen HD monitor
- Speakers and USB charging port
- Doesn’t allow using the bike’s screen online unless subscribed to JRNY.
- Handlebars are not horizontally adjustable and vertical adjustment is limited.
- Its magnetic resistance is not motorized so no automatic resistance change.
- Should have had a Carbon blue toothed belt instead of a poly-v belt.
- 190mm q-factor doesn’t appeal to semi-pro and pro road cyclists.
Bowflex C7 Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
Bowflex C7 Exercise Bike is a standard hardcore 115-lb spin bike used in many home gyms and definitely something to consider when you are looking to equip yourself with an indoor cycle for under $1000. However, there are a few things that might be dealbreakers for you. So, stick with me when I review this spin bike and tell you everything to know before buying it.
Before I go further, you need to know that Bowflex C7 is exactly the same as the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 except that it has a 7-inch console while the former models came with small 3-inch consoles. So, the reason you pay around $300 more for the C7 is solely its touchscreen and nothing else.
And to be completely honest with you, its 7-inch screen is not necessarily a good thing for you. It’s a good thing for the company though because in order to use the bike’s screen, you must have a paid JRNY membership which costs around $20 every month.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that it has a touchscreen and it allows me to install Zwift, Peloton, and Netflix applications. I just don’t like the fact that Bowflex is forcing me to buy the JRNY membership to be able to use the bike’s screen with the mentioned application.
That said, If you like the JRNY application and its online workout classes, this bike is the right fit for you. However, if you want to skip the JRNY membership, you need to use your own tablet, phone, PC, or TV and disregard the bike’s screen.
Now my question is why would anyone who wants to use their own phone or tablet (and prefer Zwift or Peloton apps over JRNY) buy the Bowflex C7? It makes no sense. You can pay $300-$500 less and buy the Bowflex IC6 or the Schwinn IC4.
They both have Bluetooth and since you want to use your own phone and tablet, you can seamlessly connect your device to the bike without having to pay for JRNY. In my opinion, Bowflex C7 should have been $300 cheaper than the Bowflex C6 or Schwinn IC4 because its 7-inch touchscreen console is NOT for you. It’s for Bowflex to make money from your monthly membership.
Anyway let’s say you did buy the Bowflex C7 spin bike, can you connect it with Zwift or Peloton using your own tablet and phone? Yes, you can. You would need to download the QZ application on your phone, connect the bike to the QZ app and then transfer the data from the QZ app to Zwift or Peloton app on your tablet, PC, or TV. This way you will be disregarding the bike’s screen which you pay $300 more for it and use your own screen for online spinning classes.
In terms of which data is available on the Bowflex C7 indoor spin bike’s screen, I have to admit, it’s pretty complete. You get your current resistance level, RPM (aka cadence), speed, calories, heart rate, and estimated power/watt.
This cycling data is pretty much all you need for a decent indoor cycling workout unless you are a pro cyclist who wants to see precise wattage or right and left leg balance. In that case, you would need one of the smartest spin bikes like the Life Fitness IC8 which can be pretty expensive.
Just before I move on to the next topic, you should know that you don’t need any paid membership if you don’t want to use the applications on the bike’s monitor. If you plug in the bike to your wall socket and start pedaling, it will display your workout stats on its screen. It won’t save it and you can’t synch it with other fitness apps but while you are spinning on the bike, you will see everything on its screen.
Now let me explain a few technical things about the Bowflex C7. This best-seller indoor spinning bike has magnetic resistance which is quiet and smoother compared to friction resistance. It also doesn’t wear off no matter how many years you ride the bike.
However, it’s only manually adjustable via a knob/dial located on the frame. There is no electronic motor built into the bike to adjustable its resistance. Therefore, every time that you want to change the bike’s resistance to add or decrease intensity, you need to move away your hands from the handlebars and turn the resistance knob.
In the beginning, it might be okay, but after a while, it becomes really annoying especially if you like to watch Peloton, Echelon, or Zwift online cycling classes. Unfortunately, this is the case with all the current Bowflex and Schwinn spin bikes.
They need to catch up if they want to compete with Nordictrack, ProForm, or Echelon Fit. All these brands make their spin bikes with manual + electronic magnetic resistance. So, you can just click the button on the screen or on the handlebars to change workout intensity.
Another reason that I don’t like Bowflex C7’s manually adjustable resistance is that you can set it up to adjustable automatically when you are watching a Peloton spinning class. Even cheaper spin bikes like the Proform Studio 10 and the Echelon EX3 allow you to set up automatic resistance change. So, when the instructor calls out a new resistance, your spin bike would automatically changes its resistance.
The Bowflex C7 features a 40-lb flywheel that I think is a decent weight. It’s located in front instead of the back like Bowflex Velocore. Although having the flywheel in front makes the bike more compact and takes a bit less room space compared to those in the back, you might need to do more spin bike cleaning and upkeep because it’s right under the sweat zone.
This heavy flywheel runs on a poly-v belt which I think is way smoother and has less maintenance than a chain. But considering its 40-pound heavy flywheel, it should have had a carbon-toothed belt instead of a poly-b belt.
Generally, carbon-toothed belts are more durable and they never slip on high-resistance spinning sessions because they have a row of teeth, unlike flat poly-v with ribs. Unless you are a professional cyclist who cares a lot about power efficiency, I don’t think you will have any issue with the flat poly-v belt on the Bowflex C7.
The Bowflex pedals, on the other hand, are good. They have dual sides, one side is for anyone who wants to use specific indoor cycling shoes and clip-in for a safer and more comfortable spinning bike workout while the other side is for anyone who wants to use regular gym shoes. The Pedal thread is 9/16 (14.30mm) and they are widely available in case they break or if you prefer a different pedal style.
In terms of adjustability, the Bowflex spin bike is primed for comfort and comes with an ergonomic design. You can do a 4-way adjustment to the seat and to the handlebars. They move up and down as well as forward and backward. If your inseam falls between 29-inch to 39-inch you should be able to achieve a comfortable bike fit with the Bowflex C7. Here is how you can measure your inseam for an exercise bike.
I have two complaints about the handlebars, they don’t have racing/drop bars and there are no elbow pads. Unfortunately, it’s pretty common, even these best spin bikes on the market. For the price, I know there is a German-designed spin bike (Sportstech SX600) with elbow pads but other than that I don’t know of any other affordable spin bikes with this feature.
The Bowflex C7 seat is padded and designed with a ventilation area to keep you fresh when you exercise and sweat a lot. I found it to be a little hard and I would have preferred a little more cushion. But as you know, there is no such thing as one seat-fits-all.
So, you try the bike for a while with padded spinning shorts and if you get saddle sore, you can always get a more comfortable replacement seat later. I reviewed a few really comfortable seats for spin bikes, you can search the site for the article.
Bowflex company also backs the C7 spin bike with an acceptable warranty. It has a 3-year frame warranty and a 1-year part and labor warranty. They have a US base customer support line but they are not the easiest or the quickest to deal with. If you buy the bike on Amazon, you can also contact them for support while the bike is still under warranty.
The transportation of this spin bike is not too difficult, it weighs around 15-pounds and has two silicon wheels. My wife could tilt the bike and move it when she wanted to use clean the floor. It’s way lighter than the Nordictrack and Velocor spin bikes.
It has a 330-pound of user weight support which indicates durability by itself. On high-intensity indoor cycling sessions when I was out of the saddle, I found it to be less stable but it’s pretty common for compact light spin bikes with flywheel in front. I do recommend that you use a rubber or PVC mat under the bike. It helps keep the bike more stable and protects your floor from sweat and scratches.
The frame, adjusting knobs, and all the parts of this magnificent indoor cycle are of good quality materials which makes it long-lasting for home use. But I wouldn’t recommend it for commercial use. Overall, it’s a good spin bike for home use that features everything you need for a cardio workout at home.
- 7-Inch HD Touchscreen monitor
- Compatible with most cycling applications
- Magnetic-resistance levels
- 4-way adjustable seat and handlebar
- Reliable and low-maintenance single-belt-drive
- Can accommodate a long range of user heights
- Compact dimensions and easy to store
- Good warranty and Professional design
- No preset programs or elbow rests (nothing major)
- Resistance is manually adjustable without the gear shifter on the handlebars
- The seat could have been more comfortable
- Can’t use apps on the monitor unless subscribed to JRNY
Schwinn Fitness IC4 Indoor Cycling Bike
This cardio workout beast is a high-quality spinning bike that has become one of the most popular indoor cycles on the entire market. Although in the UK it’s named Schwinn IC8, in the US it’s named Schwinn IC4.
On the other hand, Bowflex which is from the same parent company (Nautilus) of Schwinn has this spin bike and they call it Bowflex C6. I know it gets pretty confusing, but you just need to know that Schwinn Fitness IC4, Schwinn Fitness IC8, and Bowflex C6 are the same exact spin bikes with different names by the same parent company.
So with that out of the way let’s see why the Schwinn IC4 is so popular among indoor cycling enthusiasts. The IC4 spin bike by Schwinn Fitness can track your RPM, hr, distance, calories, speed, and resistance. It is also backlit and has a USB charging port.
The Schwinn IC4 spin bike also has Bluetooth connectivity and it has the ability to transfer your workout data to all the major indoor cycling applications without having to pay for JRNY membership like you would on Bowflex C7.
You can download your favorite indoor cycling application on your tablet or phone and then turn on your Bluetooth to connect the bike to the application. It’s normally simple as that, however, if your IC4 only partially synchs with Zwift or Peloton app, there is a simple solution.
Go to App Store or Google Play and download the QZ app on your phone. It only costs $6 (single-time purchase). Then connect the IC4 bike to the QZ application on your phone. Now install Zwift (or some other app that you like to connect the bike with) on your bigger screen (Tablet, PC, or Smart TV) and synch the QZ app from your phone to Zwift.
Basically, the QZ will get all the data from your bike and converts them to readable and transferable data for Zwift. This way all your cycling data including HR, RPM, Resistance, Speed, and Watt will show up on the Zwift application.
One of the questions I have been asked several times is if Zwift or Peloton applications can automatically change the resistance on Schwinn IC4 and the answer to that is NO. It’s because electronically adjustable magnetic resistance is needed for Zwift, Peloton, or any other application to be able to automatically change a spin bike’s resistance when going uphill/downhill.
Unfortunately, the Schwinn Fitness IC4 spin bike only has a manually adjustable magnetic resistance. Although it is much quieter and smoother than friction wool resistance, it is not as good as electronically adjustable magnetic resistance like the one on Echelon EX5/S, EX3, or Nordictrack spin bikes.
So, if you watch an online spin bike class on Peloton and the instructor calls out to add or decrease resistance, you have to manually turn the resistance knob. I know it seems like no big deal but after a while, it can get annoying which is why many people these days are turning to Echelon EX3 and ProForm spin bikes.
That said, there is a way that you can make Schwinn IC4 and pretty much any other spin bike with manually adjustable magnetic resistance to change its resistance automatically. For this, you need to buy the “SmartSpin 2K” accessory.
Basically, you need to physically attach it to your bike’s resistance knob and connect it to Zwift or Peloton application to change your resistance automatically. It’s not ideal but it’s a solution for those who already bought the Schwinn IC4 spin bike and now prefer to have smart automatic resistance.
Now moving on to Schwinn Fitness IC4 flywheel. It weighs 40-lb and it’s a perimeter-weighted flywheel like the Bowflex C7 so there is plenty of momentum for a smooth indoor cycling workout. Compared to Keiser M3i, I felt it’s a little more difficult to start pedaling because of its heavy weight so I don’t recommend it for people with knee or hip injuries or anyone who want to recover from an injury or accident.
If you don’t have knee issues, the 40-pound flywheel on Schwinn IC4 shouldn’t be a problem. It works extremely well to provide you with the different varieties of workouts most people want from a home gym spin bike.
Its transmission is a ribbed poly-v belt. I have to admit, it’s smoother and quieter and also requires less maintenance than chain transmission. However, it would have been great if Schwinn adds its world-known carbon-blue toothed belts to the IC4 models.
know carbon-toothed belts probably will cost the brand a few dollars more but I am sure buyers wouldn’t mind paying the extra. Schwinn’s carbon blue toothed belts are extremely durable so they don’t stretch and they don’t slip off the pulley so there is 100% power efficiency no matter which spin bike workouts you do.
As for the crank arms on this Schwinn IC4 spin bike, they are 3-piece cold-forged steel and very strong. They are similar to Bowflex C6 and the other 7 options I added in this best spin bikes buying guide and comparison. Schwinn IC4 also has dual-sided pedals which is better than the singl-sided pedals of Nordictrack, Echelon Sport EX15, and Dmasun spin bikes.
These dual-sided pedals give you the option to either wear gym sneakers or use proper indoor cycling shoes. I always use indoor cycling shoes because they physically clip into the pedals so my feet don’t slip off and I don’t hurt my shin.
Plus, spinning bike shoes are more comfortable and I can pedal with more strength because they have stiffer soles compared to gym shoes. They are many types of cycling shoes, I suggest you read my article on how to choose comfortable shoes for indoor cycling, there are many useful tips.
Keep in mind that Schwinn IC4 pedals are compatible with cycling shoes that have 2-bolt cleats (aka SPD or mountain bike cleats), and they are not compatible with 3-bolt cleats (aka SPD-SL and Look Delta). There are shoes that you can install both types of cleats, 2-bolt, and 3-bolts. Get yourself a pair of those because if you change your pedals or bike in the future, you don’t have to change your shoes.
Okay, it’s time to take about Schwinn IC4 exercise bike user height and weight support. If you weigh less than 330-pound and your inseam measures between 29-inch to 39-inch, you should be able to use the Schwinn IC4 comfortably without overstretching or hurting yourself.
In fact, one of the standout features of the Schwinn IC4 indoor training cycle is the 4-way adjustable handlebars and seat. This feature allows users of different heights to find a correct indoor cycling position. To adjust the seat and hand grips you can easily loosen the lever, unlike some spin bikes with a knob that takes more time and brakes easily.
Although the saddle of Schwinn IC4 adjusts in every way, I found it a little hard and uncomfortable. Even though I wore proper indoor cycling shorts with gel padding, I would still get saddle sore. So, I added a gel seat cover from the Zacro brand and it made the bike a lot more enjoyable. I would have replaced the seat if I was to keep the bike but for review purposes, we normally send back the spin bike to the brand.
Anyway, if you decide to buy the Schwinn IC4, don’t need to buy a replacement saddle immediately because bike seat comfort is more of a personal thing. So, the one that comes with the Schwinn IC4 might actually work just fine for you.
The frame of this exercise bike weighs around 105 lbs and has gone through a multi-stage painting process to prevent rust and corrosion. It’s easy to transport in case you have to store the bike after each cycling session or when guests come over.
I know some heavier people have complaints about Schwinn IC4 wobbling but I didn’t have the same experience. Maybe because I am only 150 lbs and short? That said, I did notice that it’s not as stable as Keiser, Nordictrack, or Echelon spin bikes, especially when riding out of the saddle.
I strongly suggest adjusting the base-levelers for a more stable ride on uneven floors if you feel that it wobbles. Also, using a durable rubber mat on the floor underneath the bike would help a lot. It makes the bike more stable, and smoother and prevents your floor front from getting scratched.
As you can imagine, the Schwinn IC4 assembly is way easier than spin bikes with huge HD screens. It comes half-assembled in the box. You would need to attach the base, pedals, seat, handlebar, and console. Because it’s a lightweight spin bike, you might be able to assemble the bike alone but having some assistance for the base makes it much easier. In the box, there are the wrench and screwdriver to assemble the bike I used my own tools as they are sturdier.
I believe they are selling assembly services online, but I don’t think you need one. The instruction is also pretty straightforward and easy to follow. I found this assembly video instruction by Schwinn Fitness to be really helpful. Take a look at it beforehand and if you think you can not do it on your own, then buy the assembly service with the bike together.
Additionally, this Schwinn IC4 spin bike comes with excellent warranty terms for home use. You get 10 years on the frame, 1-year on the parts and labor. Most similarly priced Sunny Health and Fitness spin bikes don’t offer half this warranty.
Overall, I think the Schwinn IC4 is one of the best spin bikes on the market with tons of features for half the price that you would pay for similar spin bikes. Unless you want automatic resistance like the Echelon EX5, this is your spin bike.
- Silent magnetic resistance and belt-driven transmission
- 330-Lb user weight and a long range of user height support
- 4-way adjustable seat and handlebar for a comfortable bike fit
- Sturdy Durable Frame and parts with a generous warranty
- Dual-sided spin bike pedals with cage and spd clip elements
- Bluetooth technology for universal application connectivity
- Backlit LED console with a USB charging port
- Detailed workout tracking including RPM, resistance, and watt
- Perimeter weighted 40 Pound Flywheel
- To synch all the stats to some applications you might need the QZ app
- Resistance is not electronically adjustable for auto resistance
- No drop-grips or below rests on the handlebars
- No carbon blue toothed belt on this model
- Fixed flywheel and no coating on the bike
Echelon EX-15 Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike
The Echelon EX15 (aka Echelon Sport) is the most basic option by the Echelon brand. Not only it doesn’t have the smart technology or the other Echelon EX Series of spin bikes, but it also has a completely different design.
It has its flywheel in front of the bike rather than behind like and therefore, it’s more compact but also more exposed to rust and requires more cleaning because everything is right under the sweat zone.
Aside from the exterior design, the EX15 also varies in resistance system which can be an instant deal breaker for certain people. The EX15 only has a manually adjustable magnetic resistance while the other models of Echelon indoor bikes have both manually and electronically adjustable magnetic resistance.
As a result, the Ex15 doesn’t allow you to set up the Zwift, Peloton, or Echelon apps to change the resistance automatically based on the spinning program you are watching. On the other hand, if you buy one of the Echelon spin bikes that have flywheels in the back (from EX1 to EX7), you will have a smarter resistance system. Unlike EX15, the other Echelon spin bikes will automatically change your resistance every time an online Peloton or Echelon instructor changes his/her resistance.
I love this feature because you can focus on your spinning workout rather than moving your hand away from the grips to turn the knob manually. In fact, for me, the EX15’s outdated manual resistance is a deal breaker. But if you don’t care about automatic/electronic resistance, the Echelon EX15 is the perfect bike for you.
You pay around $490 for an EX15 bike and it has a Bluetooth system that transfers all the workout data to the Echelon application. Although this spin bike is designed not to directly connect with Peloton and Zwift (because Echelon wants you to subscribe to their app), there is a simple way that would allow you fully synch your data live on Zwift, Peloton, and pretty much all the other major spinning applications.
You would need to download the QZ – qdomyos-zwift app to your phone and then connect the bike to this app via Bluetooth. Then download the Zwift (or Peloton) to your tablet. Now ask the QZ app to send the data to the Zwift app on your tablet. As simple as that.
Basically, the QZ app will collect the cycling data from the bike and then makes them readable and transferable for Zwift, Peloton, and other fitness applications. You only pay $6 for the QZ and it’s a one-time purchase so I think it’s a great value.
In terms of drive and transmission, the Echelon EX15 is pretty standard. It comes with a ribbed poly-v belt and a 20-pound flywheel. The flywheel is on the lighter side but the magnets are strong so you get plenty of resistance. The 20-pound lighter flywheel is easier on the knees so you might be able to use the bike when doing recovery exercises.
There is no screen on the Echelon EX15 and I am okay with it because spin bikes at this price range come with really awful and dark consoles. I like the fact that instead of a screen, Echelon built in the bike Bluetooth sensors to send out the data to my tablet and phone. So, I get all my data on my tablet which is easy to read.
The does transfer its resistance, RPM, watt, time, and speed to the connected device (tablet or phone). With the ride information provided by the bike on your tablet, you should get a good idea of how you are doing and where you should improve, set goals, etc.
There aren’t any extras included with this spin bike except for the tablet holder which is built into the handlebars. So, if you want to keep your phone and tablet on the bike at the same time, you do need to separately buy a spin bike phone mount. And if you want to do cross-training, you would need to buy dumbbells separately.
The pedals that come with the Echelon ex-15 Sport are really basic and they don’t have any clipping elements to attach specific indoor cycling shoes. I would have changed the pedals if I was to keep the bike for longer but for a couple of rides, I was just fine using the cage pedals with my gym shoes. That said, they are 14.30 (9/16) threaded so replacement pedals with clip-in elements for indoor cycling shoes are widely available.
Although the EX-15 features an adjustable vertical and horizontal seat, its handlebars are only vertically adjustable. It’s unfortunate because for some riders who have shorter arms, the horizontal adjustment on the handlebars is really important to get a proper and safe bike fit. It’s the same with the Echelon EX3 but the Echelon Ex5 and above are horizontally and vertically adjustable. But as you probably already know, those models are more expensive than the EX15.
There are no pulse sensors on the handlebars but even if it did come with built-in pulse readers, it wouldn’t be really useful because those are usually inaccurate anyway. So, if you actually want to know your heart rate, it’s better to invest in a wireless chest strap or a heart rate reader wristwatch and track your heart rate directly on your device.
There are also no elbow pads on the handlebars but that’s to be expected for this price point. As for seat comfort, it’s not bad. I was using padded indoor cycling shorts and didn’t feel saddle-sore. For hygiene, safety, and comfort reason, I suggest you also use proper indoor cycling shorts. They are cheap and make your experience a lot different.
Last but not least, what I really love about the Echelon EX15 spin bike (aside from its Bluetooth) is its fully covered-flywheel. This is a huge + for those who have active children at home who might be crawling or running around the bike. Normally spin bike flywheels are not covered and they have sharp heavy metal edges exposed which can be a serious safety hazard for households with kids.
As you read my review, for many good reasons, I decided to list the EX15 amount the 15 best spin bikes of 2023. For any beginner or semi-experienced cyclists who can’t afford to go with more expensive spin bikes and don’t mind the manual magnetic resistance, the EX15 is for you.
Overall, it’s a good, smooth, and quiet spin bike that saves you money and has everything you could essentially need to enjoy an effective cycling workout that delivers significant results.
- Easy assembly and Bluetooth connectivity
- Affordable Price and solid quality parts
- Good tablet holder on the handlebars
- Quiet Magnetic resistance with quiet belt transmission
- Sturdy Durable Frame that prevents any unwanted movement at higher resistance levels
- Fully safe and covered flywheel for homes with kids
- Connects to the application of your choice through QZ app
- It doesn’t have SPD pedals
- Only syncs with the Echelon apps unless you use the QZ app
- Handlebars are not horizontally adjustable
- No dumbbells holder for cross training
- Outdated manually adjustable magnetic resistance
Dmasun Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike (Upgraded)
Based on my personal experience, I think the Dmasun indoor cycling bike is the best spin bike in the sub-$400 price range. It’s a solid bike that has a durable, heavy-duty crank and several ways to adapt to the rider. This exercise bike comes with a highly adjustable seat and 2-way adjustable handlebars.
The vertical and horizontal adjustment on the seat allows all users to find the perfect cycling position with this Dmasun spin bike. I found the seat of this indoor cycle to be way more comfortable that the ones on Echanfit or Goplus. It’s not gel but it does have at least 2 inches of foam to give the extra support. That said, if you are not happy with it or feel sore, I suggest you follow my guide on how to choose a comfortable spin bike seat.
And don’t forget to wear proper indoor cycling shorts because no matter how good the seat is, if you don’t put on a pair of padded indoor cycling shorts while using a spin bike, you are not going to be comfortable and will experience chafing or saddle sore.
The frame is dual coated for extra durability and weighs 95-lb. It has two integrated transport wheels in front of the frame to make it easy to store after each use. With total portability thanks to transportation wheels for easy set-up and hide-away, your home will turn into a gym and back in no time if you have storage to keep the bike after each use.
The resistance of the Dmasun spin bike is Magnetic which requires little to no maintenance and no additional expense of changing brake pads from time to time. Like every magnetic resistance spin bike, it is quieter compared to friction indoor bikes.
That said, its resistance is pretty simple and doesn’t change automatically and there is no gear shifter on the grips. So, every time you change the resistance, you would need to reach the red knob below the hand grips and tighten it for more intensity.
I found the bike to be pretty stable even on intense sprint rides. You do need to adjust the 4-foot levelers that are attached to the base of the bike and make sure there is no wobbling before you get on the bike.
This spin bike comes with toe clip pedals and lacks clip-in pedals. Considering the price, I am not disappointed because, to be honest, you don’t find magnetic spin bikes at this price tag with a pair of pedals that cost $60.
Clip-in or otherwise known as SPD pedals are mainly used by experienced cyclists with specific indoor cycling shoes that clip into the pedals so your feet don’t slip off. I love using proper indoor cycling shoes because they are safer and more comfortable. If you are serious, I do recommend you get a pair of clip-in spin bike pedals and proper cycling shoes to use with this spin bike. You won’t regret it.
Unlike some budget spin bikes, this one has a monitor that allows you to track your workout progress such as time, distance, and calories. It’s really outdated, dark, and small but you can’t expect more than that for a spin bike that costs less than $350.
If you want a better screen, you need to spend a little more. One good example of an affordable spin bike with a screen would be the ProForm studio bike. When we ordered it for review purposes, it was on offer so we paid around $600. It has a 10-inch touchscreen and overall good quality.
However, if you are interested in joining online racing apps such as Zwift and a few others, I suggest you forget about ProForm and get this Dmasun bike with a pair of Wahoo sensors listed at the beginning of this spin bike review. Attach the sensors to the bike’s pedals and connect them to your tablet with Bluetooth, then download Zwift and enjoy the ride.
Lastly, let me tell you two awesome features that I really like about the Dmasun spin bike. One feature is the tablet holder that keeps my tablet in place when watching movies or following classes. The other feature is the design of the handlebars that include horn grips as well as drop grips. They help add verity to your ride and avoid hand numbness during indoor cycling workouts.
- Easy assembly and clear instruction
- Affordable Price and solid building quality
- 4-way adjustable and cushioned seat with an airflow design
- Belt drive mechanism and silent magnetic resistance
- Racing handlebars with horn-grips
- Sturdy Durable Frame that prevents any unwanted movement at higher resistance levels
- 40-lb heavy Flywheel and a good tablet holder
- Lacks Bluetooth, and ANT/+ connectivity which means no digital entertainment (e.g., iPhone/iPad compatibility).
- Resistance is only manually adjustable, not electronically adjustable
- Small and dark console without backlit or RPM (cadence) reading
- Pedals are not clip-in so you can’t use specific cycling shoe
- No elbow rests and handlebars don’t adjust forward or backward
Necessary Spin bike accessories
☛ Problem: Most spin bikes come with toe clips/toe cage pedals only. So you can ride the bike with regular athletic shoes but not with cycling spd shoes.
☞ Solution: If you ride with both cycling shoes and regular shoes, we suggest dual-sided spin bike pedals.
☛ Problem: Most spin bikes don’t feature phone/tablet holders, so you can’t keep your device while cycling.
☞ Solution: We recommend you buy these exercise bike tablet holders. They can be mounted pretty much on any exercise bike.
Bike Computer and Connectivity
☛ Problem: Most indoor cycles lack Bluetooth, ANT+ connection capability and a console. Therefore, you can’t join the racing/training Apps to interact online and share your progress or track and save your daily workout.
☞ Solution: We suggest you buy the ANT+/Bluetooth-enabled speed and cadence sensors or bike power pedals. In two minutes, you can put them on the bike and connect your Android, IOS devices/tablet & phones to the cycle and the cycle will be connected to the virtual environment.
☞ Solution: If the lack of App connection capability is not your concern, we recommend you buy a Spinning BIO HR Wireless Computer. The package is a console, a wireless chest strap, and a wireless sensor that gets mounted on the fork arm of any spin bike. It allows you to track Cadence, Speed, Time, Distance, Calories, and Heart Rate.
Heart Rate Monitor
☛ Problem: Most spin bikes don’t feature pulse sensors and if they do, they are not accurate.
☞ Solution: We recommend this Wahoo chest strap that allows you to monitor your accurate heart rate on your iOS&Android devices through the free Wahoo App.
Spin Bike Seat
☛ Problem: Some spin bikes come with either hard or cheap unergonomic seats.
☞ The solution for the cycles with hard seats: We suggest you buy one of these gel spin bike seat covers.
☞ The solution for the spin bike with unergonomic seats: We recommend you switch your seat to one of these spin bike seats.
Mat & water bottle holder
☛ Problem: Exercise equipment can scratch your floor and most spin bikes don’t come with a protective mat.
☛ Problem: Cycling makes you sweat and you need to stay hydrated but some indoor bikes don’t feature a water bottle holder.
☞ The solution: With this exercise bike mat you can prevent your floor from ugly scratches.
☞ The solution: An adjustable water bottle can help you stay hydrated while burning calories.
Cycling Clothes & Footwear
☛ Problem: While working on exercise equipment and moving parts it’s always important to keep safety and comfort in mind.
☞ Solution: We recommend these cycling short and spinning shoes for women. And these cycling shorts with these indoor biking shoes for men. With the right indoor cycling gears, your cycling session will be more enjoyable and they will also prevent unexpected injuries.
Indoor Bike Workouts
☛ Problem: Beginners often need motivation and professional instruction to exercise at home.
☞ Solution: If you have access to the internet, check out YouTube for indoor cycling workouts. There are many experts from popular cycling studios offering free cycling videos. You can also buy spinning workout DVDs and watch them on your TV or computer.
Indoor Cycle Maintenance
☛ Problem: Spinning makes you sweat a lot which is what’s good about it, but it also means you need to wipe down and disinfect your bike often because excessive sweat can ruin the paint as well as the metal of your indoor cycling bike.
☞ Solution: We recommend gym wipes, disinfectant spray, and this lubricant. You can also read more in detail about spin bike maintenance in our guide.
The devil’s in the details when it comes to the best spin bikes. The NordicTrack S22i Studio Indoor Cycling Bike impresses me because I see some serious thought has gone into it. It may seem trivial but having dual water bottle holders shows the manufacturer recognizes what cyclists need—lots of water. No one wants to get up from a solid session just to fill up their water bottle. There’s much more that appeals to me than just this, but it’s obvious a lot of thought went into the bike’s design.
Hello Dallas, thanks for stopping by
I couldn’t agree more, NordicTrack has done an awesome job with the S22i indoor cycling bike and as you said put a great deal of work into this masterpiece. And the good news is that it is available at an excellent price range (often less than $1950). What I love the most about this spin bike is its smart electronic magnetic resistance, 22 inches HD touchscreen, and especially the incline/decline adjustment which adds a little bit more fun to the ride. The only downside to this spin bike would be the fact that it only connects with the iFit application and doesn’t allow installing any other cycling or entertainment applications. Basically, you either use that huge monitor with the iFit app or disregard it completely.
I always wanted to try a spin class because I hear they’re very good for your health. I’m a bit self-conscious though. That’s changed now that there are online classes and it’s just a case of me choosing from the best spin bikes out there.
Hello Leslie, thanks for stopping by
Indoor cycling can be a really fun and efficient cardio workout. As much as I like the hype of spin classes, I always preferred riding indoor as I get to have more control over my surroundings and of course, save time and money. Plus, you can get the energy of spin studios via live online spin classes that are available on Peloton, Echelon, iFit, and many other applications.
I finally decided on the Keiser M3i indoor cycling bike bundle. It took me some time (been eyeing it for over a month) to actually decide to get it but I did it! Yay me! I can’t wait to start using it; from what I’ve heard this should be great but we’ll see.
I appreciate your honest and detailed opinions on each of these bikes. I have been trying to find one of the best indoor cycling bikes out there and this article has really helped me narrow down my choices. I even enjoyed your section on spin bike accessories. There are a lot of accessories that I never thought about, but now believe I need.