Upgrade Your Indoor Bike with SmartSpin2K V3 | Full Guide
In the last couple of years, indoor cycling has evolved so much. With indoor cycling bikes that right out of the box connect to Zwift and do auto-resistance, cycling is no longer a boring indoor exercise like it used to be 10 years ago.
There are now many awesome indoor cycling applications that provide cycling competitions and virtual spinning classes for affordable membership.
I remember when I had to spend hours getting ready and arriving at an indoor cycling studio for a decent coached indoor cycling session. Today, I get to do an indoor cycling session with top-of-the-line cycling trainers online from my bedroom.
Although software applications have been improved drastically, unfortunately, most magnetic indoor cycling bikes have remained outdated.
Maybe because it’s more difficult to improve hardware or maybe because spin bike brands don’t want you to use their bikes with any application except their own app.
Whatever the reason, there are still thousands of spin bikes in Canada and other markets being manufactured every day with outdated technology or with serial data rather than Bluetooth.
As an example, you can look at Peloton Bikes or Schwinn IC4 (Bowflex C6). These indoor bikes are still built with outdated and/or locked technology especially when it comes to resistance.
They are advertised that they work with Zwift but they can’t do automatic resistance. So, you don’t fully get the fan and benefits that applications like Peloton or Zwift offer.
Thankfully, there is an open-source device called SmartSpin2K that can turn your dumb and outdated spin bike into a smart spin bike that can receive and execute commands so you can get the most out of your bike.
Before going further into this article, let me explain what the SS2k V3 is and what it does. Later I will also explain how to install and use it with your exercise bike.
Further in the article, I will also include a list of indoor cycling bikes that are currently compatible and tested with the SS2k V3 device. I also included the contact information of one of the SS2K developers in case you need to place a custom order for an indoor bike that hasn’t been tested yet.
The SS2K V3 and How it Differs From SS2K V2
Originally there was the SS2K V2 (version 2) on the market. It was mainly used for automatic resistance on Zwift and Peloton applications. Due to the open-source nature of the project, It was designed for anybody with a soldering iron and 3D printer to be able to build their own or to be able to reach out to a member of the SmartSpin2K development community to purchase one pre-built.
Although it was made for the Schwinn IC4, seeing the need in the market, the SmartSpin2K team has started to make the SmartSpin2K V2 compatible with many other indoor cycling bikes.
The SS2K V2 was very successful but it was only an auto-resistance accessory. It relied on existing Bluetooth FTMS sensors on spin bikes in order to report the bike’s wattage and cadence to smart training apps.
This made it attractive for the Schwinn IC4 (Bowflex C6), Echelon Connect Sport, and many other indoor cycles that already had Bluetooth FTMS sensors and could communicate with applications. All Schwinn IC4 needed was automatic and the SS2K V2 provided that perfectly.
But then, the SmartSpin2K team started to create the SS2K V3. It can do automatic resistance like SS2K V2 but also can receive stats from locked indoor bikes like Peloton that use serial data (instead of Bluetooth FTMS sensors) and broadcast it over Bluetooth.
For indoor bikes like Schwinn IC4 and Echelon EX15, the SS2K V3 and the SS2K V2 do the same thing which is automatic resistance because those bikes use Bluetooth FTMS and are already compatible with Zwift and other cycling applications.
So, if you have a Schwinn IC4 (or another indoor bike with Bluetooth FTMS) and already using the SS2K V2, there is no need for you to change/upgrade to SS2K V3. For you, nothing changes.
But if you have a Peloton Bike Original (not Bike+) and you like to connect that bike to Zwift and enjoy the automatic resistance shift, you should try the SS2K V3.
Emad confirmed that soon, he will be switching his sales for all bikes to V3 on the Etsy shop. However, the V2 model itself is not being discontinued because it offers an affordable pathway for any hobby user to build their own SmartSpin2K with a few affordable components and a set of tools that these users are already likely to have.
Here is how the SmartSpin2K V3 works with the Peloton Bike
The SS2k V3 will receive the cadence and power data from your bike’s drive and then broadcasts the power and cadence of your Peloton Bike over Bluetooth FTMS to the fitness apps such as Zwift, QZ, Rouvy, Kinomap, etc.
In addition to broadcasting your power and cadence over Bluetooth, the SmartSpin2K V3 also adds a controllable function to your Peloton bike.
So, not only you can sync your Peloton bike’s power and cadence to Zwift (or other apps), but your bike will also automatically change resistance when you reach an uphill or downhill on Zwift.
Obviously, you don’t need the SmartSpin2K V3 to connect a Peloton Bike to the Peloton application because they are compatible with each other.
However, if you want your Peloton Bike to automatically change resistance when you are doing “Power Zone rides on the Peloton Application” (or when the trainer calls out a new resistance level), you will need the SmartSpin2K V3.
The SS2K V3 has been tested with the Peloton Bike Original and it works seamlessly. But for now, it doesn’t work with the Peloton Bike+, I will update this article when that happens.
Using SmartSpin2K V3 with Serial Data Indoor Bikes
Basically, any indoor bike that uses “serial data” instead of FTMS Bluetooth to send speed, cadence, and watt from the sensors to the screen is referred to as a “serial data indoor bike”.
Manufacturers make serial data indoor bikes so that you can only use/connect their bikes with their applications. For instance, the Peloton bikes with the Peloton application and the Echelon bikes with the Echelon application.
This way, they don’t only make money from selling an indoor bike to you but they also make even more money from monthly membership which can stretch to up to $40 per month.
How SS2K V3 works with Serial Data spin bikes is pretty simple. It gets cadence, speed, and watt from the bike’s sensor/s and broadcast it via Bluetooth FTMS. Then you will use your phone and tablet to install Zwift and connect to the bike.
So far (January 2023) the SS2K V3 has only been tested with one serial data bike which is the Peloton Bike Original.
Hopefully soon with your help, the SmartSpin2K team will be able to test the SS2K V3 with other serial data indoor cycling bikes from Bowflex, Proform, Yesoul, and Nordictrack.
So, if you have a Bowflex Velocore (with 16″ or 22″ screen), Preform Studio Bike (22″, or 10″ screen), or Nordictrack Studio Cycles (S10i, S15i, S22i, or S27i), please get in touch with Emad.
His goal is to make as many serial data indoor cycling bikes compatible with the SS2K V3 as possible. So, he would be happy to work with you to make this fantastic device compatible with every locked and/or outdated spin bike.
Note: Using the SS2K V3 doesn’t necessarily mean you will be able to install the Zwift app on your bike’s console/monitor. Zwift application has its own hardware and software requirements that your bike’s console should have. I know for sure Peloton, Nordictrack, and Proform indoor bike consoles (built-in tablets) don’t meet the requirement to smoothly run the Zwift application.
Using the SS2K V3 with FTMS Bluetooth Indoor Bikes
First, let me clarify what an FTMS Bluetooth indoor bike is. Basically, any spin bike that transmits speed, cadence, and watt over Bluetooth protocol is referred to as FTMS Bluetooth indoor bike.
To answer the original question, yes SS2K V3 does work with FTMS Bluetooth indoor bikes. The SS2K V3 can work with pretty much all FTMS Bluetooth indoor cycling bikes as long as your bike has a resistance knob as Schwinn IC4 does.
However, if you have an FTMS Bluetooth indoor bike like Keiser M3i with a resistance “LEVER” instead of a resistance “KNOB”, this device doesn’t work for you.
The SS2K V3 and V2 have to be installed on the resistance knob to be able to change resistance. Unfortunately for now they don’t have the parts to install this device on “shifters” or “levers”.
What you need to use the SmartSpin 2K V3
1: For a supported serial data indoor bike like Peloton, to connect RPM, Speed, Controllable, and Power to Zwift you need a device (tablet, phone, smart TV, or PC) and the SmartSpin 2K V3.
2: For a Bluetooth FTMS indoor bike like Schwinn or Echelon EX15 to connect RPM, Speed, Controllable, and Power to Zwift, you need a device (tablet, phone, smart TV, or PC) and the SmartSpin 2K V3.
3: For an indoor bike without Bluetooth FTMS or serial data like Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1805 to connect RPM, Speed, and Controllable”, you need a device (tablet, phone, smart TV, or PC), the SmartSpin 2K V3, a cadence and a speed sensor or a pair of power meter pedals.
So, if you have one of the simplest magnetic indoor cycling bikes such as the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-B1805 which doesn’t have a monitor or Bluetooth FTMS, you can still use the SS2K for auto-resistance.
However, in this case you NEED an additional accessory to at least transmit your RPM/cadence to SS2K. Smartspin2k needs power and/or cadence from the bike along with incline/target watts from Zwift (or other compatible apps) for auto resistance.
One of the common and affordable accessories that will provide your RPM (not Power) to Zwift and Peloton is a Bluetooth cadence sensor. It’s an affordable way to get your cadence to SS2K so it can give you auto-resistance.
It’s tiny wireless sensor that can be attached to the bike’s non-drive side crank arm. With this sensor + SS2K V3, you can connect your Resistance and RPM (Revolution Per Minute) to Zwift.
If you can invest a little more, instead of a cadence sensor, you can buy a pair of power meter pedals like Favero Assioma or Garmin Vector. Not only they will provide your cadence but they will also provide your watt/power.
How to install the SmartSpin 2K V3 on your indoor cycling bike
Mount the shifters on your handlebar, install the bike mount on the front tube of the bike, and then place the SmartSPin2K onto your bike’s knob and the bike mount. Plug in the shifters and power and you are good to go.
Serial data bike users such as Peloton users have an extra step to connect an extra cable to have the SmartSpin2K read the sensor data from the bike.
The process for Serial Data indoor bikes (Peloton) and other indoor bikes (FTMS and non-FTMS) is pretty similar and straightforward. You don’t need to be tech-savvy or great with tools to be able to attach the SS2K V3 to your bike.
For Auto-resistance to work, you need to connect your bike (rpm, speed, and/or watt) directly to SS2K V3 via Bluetooth and then connect the SS2K V3 to Zwift.
Basically, in this scenario, the SS2k V2/V3 works as a bridge that takes all your cycling data from different sensors (heart rate monitor, rpm sensor, speed sensor, and watt sensor) and broadcasts it to Zwift.
Usually, this is the best way to use the Spin Smart 2 K Version 3 (and Version 2) but if you want, you can pair up your heart rate monitor directly to Zwift without connecting it to SS2K.
Where to buy the SS2K V3 and how to contact Emad?
For now, you can buy the SS2K V3 on Etsy: https://emadmanakes.etsy.com. Emad ships it globally so you can expect to receive your SS2K V3 within 2 weeks of placing the order. I will let you know if/when it’s available on Amazon and other online stores.
Down below is a list of indoor bikes that have been tested with the SS2K V3. If your bike is in the compatible/supported list, you can reach out on Etsy to tell Emad the model and then place your order.
You will need a custom order if you can’t find your indoor bike in the supported list below. So again, before placing an order, reach out to Emad via Etsy chat or email him directly to work on a custom-made SS2K V3 for your spin bike.
Custom design orders for unsupported indoor cycling bikes are considered on a case-by-case basis (ask in Etsy chat before ordering custom!). Aside from Etsy chat, you can also contact Emad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owners of other serial data bikes which are often those spin bikes with HD monitors such as Bowflex Velocore 16″ and 22″, Preform Studio Bike 22″ and 10″, and Nordictrack Studio Cycles S10i, S15i, S22i, or S27i are encouraged to reach out to the dev team on GitHub at https://github.com/doudar/SmartSpin2k/.
Owners of Echelon EX1, EX3, EX4s/+, EX5, EX5s, EX5s-10, EX7s, and EX8s can try the QZ application to connect their bikes to Zwift and Peloton. Those indoor bikes already have motorized resistance they do send the stats via Bluetooth FTMS if you unplug their screen.
The Echelon EX15 (Sports Connect), the cheapest model by Echelon, doesn’t have motorized resistance so if you want automatic resistance on Zwift or Peloton, you can order the SS2K V3/V2.
Users and potential contributors are encouraged to use the discussions on GitHub to reach out to the SmartSPin2K team: https://github.com/doudar/SmartSpin2k/discussions
Other SmartSpin2K builders can be found on the SmartSpin2K wiki here: https://github.com/doudar/SmartSpin2k/wiki/Prebuilt-Kits
SS2K V3 Supported and Tested Spin Bikes
|Peloton||Bike Original||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals, cadence sensor, or DFC.|
|Echelon||EX15||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Bowflex||C7||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Bowflex||C6||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Schwinn||IC4||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Life Fitness||IC7||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Le Mond||Revmaster||Yes||Yes||Yes||Power meter pedals or a cadence sensor needed.|
|Body Bike||Smart||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Flywheel||Bike||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|Golds Gym||300||Yes||Yes||Yes||No need for power meter pedals or cadence sensor.|
|HMC||Bike||Yes||Yes||Yes||Power meter pedals or a cadence sensor needed.|
|JLL||IC400 Elite||Yes||Yes||Yes||Power meter pedals or a cadence sensor needed.|
|JOROTO||X2||Yes||Yes||Yes||Power meter pedals or a cadence sensor needed.|
|Star Trac||JTX||Yes||Yes||Yes||Power meter pedals or a cadence sensor needed.|