Stages Indoor Bikes Comparison (SC1, SC2, SC3, Solo, & SB20)
Stages Cycling is a relative newcomer to the spin bike field. They started off just making power meters for bikes, but have now moved on to making their own Stages indoor cycling bikes. Stages currently have 5 different indoor cycles to choose from: the three bikes in SC series, the Stages Solo bike, and the Stages Bike SB20.
All of these Stages stationary bikes are well made and quality in their own way. However, they cannot all be number one. That’s what we are here to figure out. Join us in our Stages stationary cycle comparison as we try to see which of the Stages bikes comes out on top.
|Stages Solo||$3,400||15″ HD touch||Included||FitLoc Height adjustment system||Stages RoadBars||Manual magnetic||Aluminium|
|Stages SB20||$2,900||Without console||Included||FitLoc Height adjustment system||Stages RoadBars||Electronic magnetic||Aluminium|
|Stages SC3||$2,600||EcoSCRN console||Included||FitLoc Height adjustment system||Stages RoadBars||Manual magnetic||Aluminium|
|Stages SC2||$2,000||Sold separately||Sold separately||Pop-Pin adjustment system||Stages RhythmBars||Manual magnetic||Aluminium|
|Stages SC1||$1,700||Sold separately||Sold separately||Pop-Pin adjustment system||Stages RhythmBars||Manual magnetic||Steel|
My personal choice among all these Stages indoor cycling is the SC3. It has everything a professional cyclists could ask for. From industry’s best transmissions system (Carbon Toothed Belt) to highly accurate Stages power meters, Stages SC3 has it all.
It’s much better than SC2 and SC1 because it comes with all the accessories included, plus, the Stages RoadBars, drop-grips, and FitLoc adjustment system. Stages application needs work and I get on that and update the software soon.
That said, I love all Stages indoor cycles, they are just much better quality than most bikes on the market. And often Stages indoor bike prices are discounted so you can buy get your hands on what with the price that you would pay for a Sunny Health and Fitness indoor bikes.
|Name & Review|
|Max User Weight||350 lbs / 159 kg||350 lbs / 159 kg||350 lbs / 159 kg||350 lbs / 159 kg||350 lbs / 159 kg|
|Bike Weight||114 lbs / 52 kg||96 lbs / 43.5 kg||96 lbs / 43.5 kg||105 lbs / 47.6 kg||138 lbs / 62.6 kg|
|Bike Width||20.1” / 51 cm||24.5” / 62.2 cm||24.5” / 62.2 cm||24.5” / 62.2 cm||22” / 55.9 cm|
|Bike Length||39” / 99 cm||43.5” / 110.5 cm||43.5” / 110.5 cm||54” / 137 cm||62” / 157.5 cm|
|Rider Fit Range||4’10”-6’”10 / 147.3 cm - 208.3 cm||4’10”-6’”10 / 147.3 cm - 208.3 cm||4’10”-6’”10 / 147.3 cm - 208.3 cm||4’10”-6’”10 / 147.3 cm - 208.3 cm||4’10”-6’”10 / 147.3 cm - 208.3 cm|
|Additional Notes!||Steel Frame||Aluminium Frame||Aluminium Frame||Aluminium Frame||Aluminium Frame|
The things about Stages spin bikes is that they tend to generally evolve rather than wildly differ. You’ll notice that all of them have the same max user weight and rider fit range. That is because almost all of them are built extremely similar to the others, with minor evolutions helping differentiate them along the way.
The biggest difference among these bikes is the StagesBike SB20. It weighs a solid 24 lbs more than the next heaviest bike, the SC1. This greatly works to the advantage of the SB20, as it is one of the most stable smart spin bikes available. You will hardly even feel the bike moving underneath you on this stages spin bike. That’s not the say that the others are not stable or their weights are imperfect. It simply stands out much more on the SB20.
Another feature to take note of is how all of these stages indoor bikes are adaptable to people of all shapes and sizes. With a 2 ft/ 60 cm difference in heights that the Stages bikes can suitably hold, it makes them adjustable for all sorts of riders. Meanwhile the 350 lb/159 kg weight limit allows for those who are even somewhat heavier to make full use of the stages bikes. That means more people can have comfortable workouts on the Stages exercise bikes, which improves the overall health of society.
Drivetrain and Frame
|Name & Review|
|Drivetrain||Gates® Carbon Drive™ Carbon Fiber Belt||Gates® Carbon Drive™ Carbon Fiber Belt||Gates® Carbon Drive™ Carbon Fiber Belt||Gates® Carbon Drive™ Carbon Fiber Belt||Gates® Carbon Drive™ Carbon Fiber Belt|
|Resistance System||Magnetic Resistance||Magnetic Resistance w/ SprintShift||Magnetic Resistance w/ SprintShift||Magnetic Resistance w/ SprintShift||Smart Electromagnetic Resistance w/ SprintShift|
|Flywheel||23 kg||23 kg||20 kg||20 kg||23 kg|
|Q-Factor||169 mm||158 mm||158 mm||158 mm||157 mm|
|Additional Notes!||Single Crank Length & Dual-sided SPD Pedals||Single Crank Length & Dual-sided SPD Pedals||Single Crank Length & Dual-sided SPD Pedals||Single Crank Length & Dual-sided SPD Pedals||Four Crank Length Options W/O Pedals|
The resistance systems of the Stages indoor cycles are a classic example of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” They all feature the same Carbon Fiber belt, 5:1 gear ratio and magnetic resistance systems. Fortunately, there is a very good reason that they have stuck with these systems – they work, and work well. The combination of all of these factors means that the workout on the various Stages bikes are both quiet and smooth, even during the more intense routines.
The difference comes in the flywheels and the Q-Factors. Starting with the flywheels, Stages has opted for the strategy of making them fixed. This means that the pedals and the flywheel don’t turn independently. They are connected to one another, turning and stopping at the same time. The fixed method of the flywheel is quite different to the traditional biking method and can take some getting used to. However, they can lead to some solid benefits during the workout. Because you cannot just stop whenever you are feeling tired, it makes for more complete workouts. Though if there is an emergency, it means that it can take longer to dismount the bike.
The Q-Factor, for those who are unaware, is the distance between your feet while sitting on the bike. Generally, the narrower the Q-Factor, the more comfortable the bike is considered to be. After all, if your feet are too wide on the pedals, the workout can quickly become unpleasant. Fortunately, even the widest of these Q-Factors on the Stages SC1 bike is still quite a comfortable fit for most riders. All of the others fall well into the range that is generally considered “top tier” amongst best commercial spin bikes.
Handlebars and Saddles
|Name & Review|
|Handlebar||Stages RoadBars||Stages RhythmBars||Stages RoadBars||Stages RoadBars||StagesBike Handlebars W/ Gear Controls|
|Handlebar Adjustments||Pop-Pin adjustment system||Pop-Pin adjustment system||FitLoc Height adjustment system||FitLoc Height adjustment system||Knob micro-adjustment system|
|Additional Holder||Optional dumbbell add-on||Optional dumbbell add-on||Optional dumbbell add-on||None||Has two water bottle holders|
|Media Tray||Optional add-on||Optional add-on||Optional add-on||None||Comes Included|
|Stages Aerobar||Optional add-on||Optional add-on||Optional add-on||Comes Included||Not Compatible|
|Additional Notes!||Optional Dumbbell Holder||Optional Dumbbell Holder||Optional Dumbbell Holder||Optional Dumbbell Holder||Not Compatible|
One of the key things to note about the handlebars and saddles of the Stages stationary bikes is that they are almost all highly adjustable. This can mostly be felt in the StagesBike SB20, the Stages SC3 and the Stages Solo models, but there are also options in the SC2 and SC1 models.
As can be seen above, the Stages RoadBars are the most common handlebars that are used. They are a quality pair of handlebars that can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally on every other bike apart from the Stages SC1. They are all described as being made from “comfort coated” aluminum, which nobody can seem to understand what that actually means. Fortunately, it is not a lie on their part, as the handlebars are comfortable to hold onto.
The SC2 differs from the pack, as it has Stages RhythmBars. Described as a “rhythm rider’s dream”, the RhythmBars can accommodate all rhythm hand positions. Rhythm riding is when one matches a song’s beats per minute to their cadence range. It is seemingly made to appeal to these rhythm riders, but the SC2’s handlebars do just as well at normal cycling.
Then there are the handlebars on the SB20, which strangely do not get a cool name like “RhythmBars” or “RoadBars”. However, these are some of the most adjustable. They can easily be slid up and down and forward and back. The adjustments on the SB20 are the most clearly marked so that the user can adjust to precisely what they feel is the most comfortable.
The saddles on all of the Stages bikes are the same. They feature a unisex design and can be removed if the user has a preferred alternative. On the Stages SC1 and Stages SC1, the system to adjust the seats is a traditional pop-pin system. However, on the Stages SC3, Stages Solo and StagesBike SB20 bikes, they all feature the FitLoc adjustment system. This design allows for the user to change the position of the seat and handlebars in a much quicker way than the more traditional method.
Finally, we looked at some of the add-ons that can come with the handlebars and seat. On the Stages SC series, they have optional additions of a media shelf and a dumbbell holder. The Stages Solo bike has no such optional add-ons, which might be disappointing for some. The StagesBike SB20 comes with two water bottle holders and a media shelf, which can really lend itself to longer rides.
Monitors and Power Meters
|Name & Review|
|Type of Monitor||(Optional) EcoSCRN Console||(Optional) EcoSCRN Console||EcoSCRN Console||15" Solo Monitor||No console monitor|
|Statistics Tracked||Kilojoules (work), Kcal (calories), Watts, RPM, Speed, Heart Rate (if wearing a strap), Time, and Distance||Kilojoules (work), Kcal (calories), Watts, RPM, Speed, Heart Rate (if wearing a strap), Time, and Distance||Kilojoules (work), Kcal (calories), Watts, RPM, Speed, Heart Rate (if wearing a strap), Time, and Distance||Total Distance, Total Kcal, Heart Rate, FTP, Effort Gauge, Accuracy & Total Accuracy Points, Watts, and Power Zones||All of the previous statistics should be trackable through third party apps.|
|Power Meter||(Optional) Stages Power Meter||(Optional) Stages Power Meter||Stages Power Meter||Stages Power Meter||Stages Power Meter|
|Power Meter Life||2000+ hours battery life via two standard AA batteries||2000+ hours battery life via two standard AA batteries||2000+ hours battery life via two standard AA batteries||2000+ hours battery life via two standard AA batteries||2000+ hours battery life via two standard AA batteries|
|Power Accuracy||Within +/-1% of Actual Output||Within +/-1% of Actual Output||Within +/-1% of Actual Output||Within +/-1% of Actual Output||Within +/-1% of Actual Output|
|Additional Notes!||None||None||Bluetooth and ANT+||Wifi Bluetooth and ANT+||Bluetooth and ANT+|
The monitors on each of the Stages spin bikes have different capabilities. Especially looking at the Stages Solo bike, where the unique monitor is what separates that indoor cycling bike from the rest.
The SC1 and SC2 EcoSCRN console is battery operated. As can be seen above, it tracks the kilojoules, calories, watts, RPM, speed, heart rate, time, and distance. The console offers the ability to track the Max, Average and Ride totals for each of these statistics. The data collected on the EcoSCRN console does not include the warm-up, which is extremely nice for the rider. It means that they do not have to go through the process of calculating whether or not their data was skewed by a slower or more prolonged warm-up. It should be kept in mind that the EcoSCRN consoles that are on the SC1 and SC2 must be ordered as optional add-ons, as they do not come with the spin bikes by default.
The same EcoSCRN console comes with the Stages SC3 indoor cycling bike. It has all of the same statistic tracking features of the optional ones, as well as the ability to discard the data from the warm-up. It is most certainly an advantage of the stages SC3 bike over its other SC series bikes that it comes with this console by default.
The Stages Solo bike’s monitor is a completely different beast. It is significantly more advanced than that of any other Stages bike. It comes with a zone estimation game that allows the rider to follow along with a pre-programmed workout at just the correct intensity. Another notable aspect about the Solo’s monitor is the Ride Style Selection. The Coach style is for those who want a structured, goal-driven ride. They are carefully measured to be efficient and have well-timed recovery periods. The Beats style is for those who want to jam along to some music while they ride. They are designed with specific musical beats and arrangements that keep the heart pumping and the mind engaged in the activity. Finally, the Mix style combines the two. The music from the Beats style is timed in such a way to meet the specific structures of the Coach style.
There is also a social aspect of the Solo monitor. You can keep track of your own workout statistics and join a global community of cyclists. With this social feature comes a host of different achievements and the ability for the rider to see where they stack up against Solo users from all across the globe.
Finally, there is the StagesBike SB20 and its lack of a console. One might question the design choice of making a smart bike without a console, but Stages decided to go a different direction with this bike. Instead of making their own hyper-advanced console that is compatible with every known third party app known to humanity, they decided to simply remove the console part.
Instead, there is a media shelf that can hold a tablet or phone. This media device that can have an app like Zwift on it can then connect to the SB20 and help improve the workout that way. These third party apps can track all of the standard statistics that are available on the EcoSCRN consoles or the one that comes with the Stages Solo indoor cycling bike. This can be convenient for those who already use those third party apps and don’t want to have to start over and store their data in the actual bike console.
The Stages Power meters are another aspect of Stages specialization. For the SC1 and SC2, the power meters are optional. The other 3 all come with the Stages power meter by default. The power meters function as nice little additions that allows the cyclist to monitor their power levels with some of the best power meters available. They have an insane battery life and will be sure to satisfy almost everyone.
Prices and Warranties
|Name & Review|
|Price||$1,700 (With Optional Equipment $2,400)||$2,000 (With Optional Equipment $2,700)||$2,600 (With Optional Equipment $2820)||$4,000||$2,900|
|Frame Warranty||10 years||15 years||15 years||15 years||10 years|
|Warranty on Belt||10 years||10 years||10 years||10 years||10 years|
|Warranty on Mechanical System||3 years||3 years||3 years||3 years||2 years|
|Other Warranties||1 Year for labour and electronics||1 Year for labour and electronics||1 Year for labour and electronics||1 Year for labour and electronics||2 Years on the power meter|
The prices of the various Stages bikes are a talking point. It becomes a matter for the potential buyer to consider just how much value the bike will actually provide for the cost. As we have mentioned in our individual reviews of Stages indoor cycling bikes, it can sometimes be a bit questionable in terms of the lower tier bikes like the SC1 and SC2. That’s not to say that they are bad bikes, but considering the overall cost that could include their optional add-ons, it just seems like they would be costing too much for what they offer.
On the other hand, the SC3, Solo and SB20 seem to be much more fairly priced in terms of what they offer. The Stages SC3 comes with almost all of the “optional” features that one could get on the SC1 and SC2 for almost the same price. You can also often find Stages indoor cycling bikes for sale at half price.
The Stages Solo bike comes with an advanced computer console that blows every other bike that Stages has put forth out of the water completely. That might raise the price, but it also massively raises the value that the rider would be getting for that price. Meanwhile, the StagesBike SB20 offers the ability that no other Stages bike does: the ability to connect to third party spin bike apps. It also offers one of the most stable and durable designs on the market, so there is plenty of value to be found in that bike.
The warranties of all of the Stages bikes are unquestionably generous. Of course, they had better be for the price, but it is still good to see a company willing to back up and believe in their products. The bikes themselves are built to last, but with these warranties, even an accident or incident would significantly dampen the negative impact they would have.
Other Notable Parts
Here we decided to make a comparison of other parts that didn’t quite fit into other categories or that we figured would just make a better separate list.
The first of these aspects are the resistance adjustment systems that the various Stages best indoor exercise cycles have. As you will probably notice, all but the SC1 have the SprintShift resistance system installed. The SprintShift system, for those who do not know, is an attempt by Stages to make the process of changing the resistance on the bike in a much more fluid manner than the traditional twisting of a knob.
However, all of these bikes have a traditional knob in addition to that SprintShift system. Since the resistance of the bikes are not marked in a traditional manner (with levels), it can take some getting used to. Once that does happen, it does make the process of flipping through resistance levels a lot quicker. This can make for some exquisite high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
As for the “smart resistance adjustment” with third party apps, Stages have not progressed very far in this field. The only bike that has this ability is the StagesBike SB20, though to be fair, they did go all out for this feature. It is compatible with popular fitness apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, The Sufferfest, Rouvy, Road Grand Tours, FulGaz, Kinomap and others. While this might not seem like a huge deal, it is important because it shows that Stages are catching up with the features that are offered with many other smart bikes. It also means that people can adapt to their own apps that they already have instead of having to totally start over on a different app.
The consoles that come with the various bikes (and the Bluetooth connection on the SB20) are powered in different ways. Since SC1 and the SC2 have optional consoles, the ones that they come with are operated by batteries. They still last for a while, but it can become somewhat annoying to have to switch out the batteries once the screens start fading due to the charge running low. Meanwhile, on the Stages SC3 indoor bike, the console is powered by the energy you put into the various workouts.
This is much more convenient, as you never need to even think about trying to switch out any batteries or plug the console into any sort of outlet. For the Stages Solo bike, it is a bit different. Because the focus of the bike is so set so highly on the console, it does need to get some sort of power adapter in order to make sure that the tablet actually works. And for this Stages cycling spin bike, you need the tablet to work. Finally, for the StagesBike SB20 there is also the need for power connections, as it has electromagnetic resistance. The StagesBike serves as the power meter, cadence sensor, and controllable trainer within Zwift. The instructions given are to “Simply select StagesBike as your power source, then select it for Cadence and Controllable.”
Finally, there is the assembly process. For some other spin bikes and pieces of exercise equipment, it can become an absolute nightmare trying to set them up. Fortunately, for all of the Stages bikes, they come preassembled. That means that there is extremely limited set-up needed, and the user can hop straight into using their new spin bike.
What We Think (Conclusion)
Now we have reached the end of the Stages spin bike comparison. You’ve seen how each of the bikes stand up against one another in a variety of ways. From their technical information to their prices, from the monitors to the gear ratios, the Stages indoor cycling bikes can most certainly be called high quality. But how would we rank them at the end of the day?
Our first pick would be the Stages Solo bike. Not only does it offer the solid workout that all the others have, but it also offers the advanced technology that makes riding it a truly enjoyable experience. You’d have to actively try to not have a good time on this Stages indoor cycling bike.
Second would be the Smart StagesBike SB20. You get one of the most stable workouts available on the market while also having an ability to connect to third party apps like Zwift and allow the app automatically change resistance when you reach uphills. An ability, that we might repeat, that no other Stages bike has.
Third is the Stages SC3 indoor bike. It is the best indoor exercise cycle in the Stages SC series for a reason. It comes with the EcoSCRN console and the Stages power meter by default. The optional add-ons don’t feel necessary to have an enjoyable and productive workout on this Stages indoor bike, which is important.
In fourth place is the Stages SC2. Another bike with a solid ride and enjoyable experience, especially for rhythm riders. Unfortunately, it feels like to get the full experience out of this bike you need to order the optional EcoSCRN console and power meter.
Finally, we have the Stages SC1. It is a fine bike for those who are not focused on data collection. However, it shares the feeling that the Stages SC2 bike has that the optional add-ons don’t feel all that optional. The price for what you get is also somewhat questionable. However, it is common to find these stages bikes for sale at really affordable price.
That concludes our Stages indoor cycle reviews and comparison. Each bike has its own pros and cons. As always, we recommend you to do your own research alongside our guides in order to accurately see which bike would be the best fit for you.