Stages SC2 Indoor Cycle Review
The Stages SC2 indoor cycling bike is one of the highest tier bikes on the market. Part of the SC series, it is only superseded by the Stages SC3 model. The SC2 is much cheaper than its counterpart but is mostly made of the same material. Named the “Rhythm Rider’s Dream”, this bike is certain to please.
Able to hold up to 350 lb riders, the Stages SC2 spin bike is designed in such a way as to make sure it can perform even under the most intense rides. It has a carbon fibre belt that requires no lubrication, maintenance, or replacement costs of a chain.
The patented StageShift allows the user to automatically switch the resistance settings with a slight shift of the lever. Instead of constantly turning a knob to make sure that the ride is suitable for the rider’s standards, this certainly makes it easier for them.
For even further customization levels, the SC2 features fore/aft adjustment capabilities. In as little as two minutes, one can adjust the bike to just how they desire in order to have the most comfortable ride possible.
There are optional extras that come with the SC2 for those looking to take their ride to the next level. The EcoSCRN console allows the user to track their workout statistics in real time, while the Stages Power Meter captures even more data for the cycling enthusiast. Some might wonder if this console is necessary to having a successful experience on this bike, which is a topic that we shall go over as well.
The q-factor of 158 mm is a very comfortable one. It isn’t too wide, and can accommodate a variety of people sitting in the aforementioned adjustable seat. Coming with SPD compatible pedals as well, it simply cannot be overstated how well the design of the SC2 actually is.
Stages SC2 Comparison!
While the SC2 does come with a hefty price tag of around $1800, it does offer many of the best features you would find on a commercial level bike. However, as we will go over in our Stages SC2 bike review, whether or not that price tag is worth the features that it does come with is a somewhat more complicated subject.
If efficient power transfer is important for you (which should be), the Stages SC2 spin bike is worth every penny, thanks to its Carbon Fiber (toothed/Timing belt and belt ring). No spin bike in this price class comes with SC2’s drive mechanism. But if you prefer a cheaper option, I highly suggest you check out the Stages SC1 indoor bike.
It comes with many of SC2’s features. And to find all the differences of Stages indoor bikes including their price tags, you will need to read our detailed Stages indoor cycles comparison. We have compared them all including the Stages Solo against each other to make it easier for you to pick the one that suits your need.
SC2 Technical Information:
- EcoSCRN Console
- Pedals and Q-factor
- Stages SC2 flywheel
- SC2 bike resistance
- Drive system & gear ratio
- Handlebars and seat
- SC2 price and warranty
- Shipping and assembly
- Stages SC2 Indoor Cycle pros
- Stages SC2 Indoor Cycle cons
- Width: 24.5″
- Length: 43.5″
- Bike Weight: 96 Pounds
- Max User Weight: 350 Pounds
- Rider Fit Range: 4’10” to 6’10”
- (Optional) Dumbbell holder
- (Optional) EcoSCRN Console
- (Optional) Power Meter
- (Optional) Media Shelf
- (Optional) Bike Number Plates
- (Optional) Aerobar
The SC2 has a slick, steel blue aluminum coating on as its frame. As it is made to be a commercial level, high-tier bike, it is sure to keep its users secure and comfortable during their workouts. The combination of the carbon fibre belt and magnetic resistance makes the ride both quiet and smooth.
The RhythmBar allows for all sorts of hand positions for the various types of riders out there. Because of the large user weight limit and the wide range of heights that the bike can suitably hold, the SC2 can accommodate just about any sort of cyclist who could possibly want to take a ride.
All of the optional features with the SC2 can be taken a couple of ways. We will go into the EcoSCRN console on its own later, but for now we will look at the other optional products. For the most part, they are all quite optional, with only the power meter really affecting the potential productivity of workouts in a similar matter to the console. The rest are mostly just side products that might make the ride more entertaining or stylise the SC2 itself.
- EcoSCRN and Power meter are two optional accessories that you need buy separately (not included) if you want to track your workout or connect with cycling apps.
- The EcoSCRN console on the Stages SC2 is battery operated
- The console displays the Max, Average and Ride totals for all statistics
- The console displays the following statistics: Kilojoules (work), Kcal (calories), Watts, RPM, Speed, Heart Rate (if wearing a strap), Time, and Distance
- The STAGE button allows for up to 99 sections of time (laps). Data does not start to record or average during the warm up stage (so total ride data is not skewed with poor warm up data).
- Note: Stages SC2 indoor bike doesn’t have Bluetooth or ANT+ but the optional accessory “power meter/cranks-arm” does.
We feel that the Stages SC2 EcoSCRN console, while optional, is important enough to have its own section. After all, this is the only way to make sure that the SC2 actually has the ability to track the statistics of your workout.
It doesn’t look great on Stages that this is a pretty essential piece of hardware for a successful bike. After all, if the cyclist wants to keep track of their workout stats and put it into some sort of tracking app, they are going to need some way to actually get the appropriate numbers.
If you want the data from the device itself without having to copy it all down after the workout, it does have the ability to transfer that data via a USB. Or you can simply pair your device with the power meter and receive your spinning data to your preferred app using the Bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity.
You can’t even really claim that the EcoSCRN console looks all that attractive. There’s no sleek, neo-futuristic design here. It is just a standard console that looks as though it belongs to be on any decent indoor cycling bike out on the market.
Admittedly, the EcoSCRN does do what it is supposed to do. The fact that it has the Max, Average and Ride totals for all of the statistics that it does track is a nice little feature that you won’t find on too many lower-tier bikes. It also does the job of tracking all of the necessary statistics like RPM, speed, time and distance while adding in some nice new ones like the kilojoules.
The fact that it is compatible with a heart rate chest strap is also a nice feature. Another factor that you won’t find on too many other consoles out there is how the bike ignores the warm-up stats when configuring your final statistics. This does make it convenient when trying to figure out how you actually performed without having to try and account for any slow or longer warm ups.
Q-Factor and Pedals:
- The Stages SC2 pedals are SPD-compatible and have toe cages.
- The Q-Factor of the SC2 is 158 mm.
- Stages SC2’s “Power Meter” (optional) reads the rider’s actual power through the sensor attached to the crank arm (seen in the image). It leads to superior power accuracy.
One of the things that separates the SC2 and other high-tier Stages bikes apart is their 158 mm Q-Factor. It does a really good job of making you feel like you are on a real bike, even as you might be watching TV while you ride.
For those who are unaware, the Q-Factor is the distance between your feet while sitting on the bike. Too much distance and it tends to become uncomfortable or give an unnatural feel to the ride.
As for the pedals, the SPD compatibility means that they can be used with regular shoes and special bike cleats. Those are typically useful for people who are looking to take their cycling to the next level.
- The Stages SC2 exercise bike features a high inertia, cast iron perimeter weighted flywheel that weighs 23 kg.
- The SC2 flywheel is fixed (bidirectional).
- SC2 comes with a flywheel sweat guard.
The combination of the gear ratio (5:1) and magnetic resistance makes the momentum of this flywheel quite high, especially with its 23 kg weight.
The flywheel on the SC2 is at the front of the bike. While this does mean that it is more vulnerable to the drops of sweat that’ll be raining down after a tough workout, it is surprisingly resistant to any lasting effects from that sweat. Instead, just the occasional wiping down of the flywheel with a wet towel should do the trick.
Because of the cast iron perimeter on the flywheel, it is also quite resistant to damage when it might accidentally bump against some other object in the home. While this doesn’t mean that one should go around shoving the bike into every wall and couch they can find (that seems a strange decision in the first place), it does mean that the occasional bump shouldn’t actually harm the bike.
The flywheel is fixed, which means that the pedals and the flywheel don’t turn independently. They are connected to one another, turning and stopping at the same time. If you want to release your shoes from the pedal clips (or cage), you need to wait until the flywheel stops turning. Depending on how you like to run your cycling sessions, this can really make a difference.
This can be good for some, as it means that you constantly have to pedal without stopping. That means more effective workout sessions for the user. You can also pedal in reverse with resistance, working out different leg muscles than you normally would.
Of course, it can also be bad. If you get cramps or there is some sort of emergency, you can’t jump off of the bike until the flywheel stops turning. You also will be unable to take a break unless you completely stop the workout.
Stages SC2 Resistance:
- The SC2 features a manually adjustable magnetic resistance system.
- This means that it cannot be controlled with wireless third party (or any) fitness apps.
- The SprintShift system means that it is adjustable with custom workload settings.
- It does not have a set amount of resistance levels listed.
- There is an emergency push-to-stop for those who might run into an issue while riding.
The SC2 is a bit unique among bikes because it doesn’t have a more traditional set list of resistance levels. Instead the SprintShift system allows the user to adjust the resistance settings to just how they want it at any given point.
Because this method is much more fluid than the traditional knob twisting, it fits perfectly with those who are looking to accomplish some high intensity interval training (HIIT) or other interval based workouts.
The SC2 does not have the ability to automatically change the resistance levels. Even with the optional console and power meter, it lacks the capability of some other bikes to sync with apps like Zwift and change the resistance based on the “terrain”.
Handlebars and Seat:
- The Stages SC2 features RythmBar handlebars in order to accommodate all sorts of hand positions.
- The SC2 has a unisex seat to appeal to all people.
- The FitLoc height adjustment system allows for fluid seat changes.
- There is an optional media shelf available for purchase.
As mentioned, the RhythmBar feature is a solid pick for the SC2, but isn’t particularly special. It delivers what it promises, which is a good handlebar that will allow all sorts of hand positions for the rider. Both outdoor riders and those who are used to riding indoors and on similar bikes will be able to find their own comfortable hand positions with these handlebars. The material used on the handlebars themselves is described as “comfort coated” aluminum. We’re not quite sure what that actually means, but it isn’t necessarily wrong – they are comfortable.
Similar to SC3, this model features the FitLoc height adjustment system. It might seem like a very minor point to have fast height adjustment abilities, but it can actually make using the SC2 a much more convenient experience. For those in homes with more than one cyclist, especially those who are of significantly different builds, this feature makes it much more convenient to switch back and forth from custom seat settings.
The Stages RhythmBar that comes on the SC2 is portrayed as one of the standout features. It is nice that the bike has these comfortable armrests for any sort of rider. The problem is that they don’t really do anything else. There’s no heartbeat monitor, they aren’t adjustable, and they are already in common positions where people rest their arms or hold on to.
For one of the “highlighted” features on the website of Stages, it just seems to be somewhat underwhelming. Don’t get us wrong, they are comfortable and useful to have. They just might not be worth singing from the rooftops about.
Drivetrain and Gear Ratio:
- The Stages SC2 drivetrain gear ratio is 5:1.
- The SC2 has carbon fiber belt
- Its belt ring and the belt itself are toothed resulting in superior power transfer
There isn’t a whole lot to write home about in terms of the SC2’s gear ratio and the belt. The Carbon Drive™ carbon fiber belt does the job it is supposed to, remaining quiet while giving a good system of resistance to the flywheel.
No noisy chains to be found here. Admittedly, the fact that the carbon fibre does a good job of resisting any sort of sweat corrosion on the belt.
The gear ratio is 5:1. For those who are unaware, these bikes have a small pulley belt and a big belt ring connected to the flywheel. For every turn of the big wheel, the small pulley turns 5 times.
Stages SC2 Price and Warranty:
- The Stages SC2 is currently listed for around $2000.
- The optional console and power meter would raise that price by about $700.
- The SC2’s warranty includes:
15 years on the frame
10 years on the carbon fiber belt
3 years on the mechanical system
1 year for both the labor and electronics
6 months for the wear items
The Stages SC2 is a higher-tier bike, therefore it does come with a higher price. That already sizable price becomes even higher when one orders the optional console and power meter.
In terms of value for money, this bike does come with the features of a typical bike in this price range. However, considering the fact that it lacks some of the most key factors (like a technologically advanced console that could connect to fitness apps), the value of the bike might be a little more questionable than it normally would.
Fortunately, if you do decide to acquire this bike, the warranty will make sure that you can use it for a long while. The warranties attached to this bike are extremely generous and can guarantee that anything that goes wrong with it will be replaced.
The question that a potential buyer looking at this bike needs to ask themselves is this: is the SC2 enough? There are better bikes out there. Those are like the SC3 that has all of the features of this bike, as well as the technological advancement that you would expect to find in the latest and greatest indoor bikes on the market. Yet the SC2 certainly gets the job done and done well if one is willing to settle for just a level under what the best out there is.
Assembly and Shipping:
- Shipped in a single box, so there is limited setup required.
- Should take about 1-2 weeks to arrive normally, though there are a variety of factors that could affect that.
The Stages SC2 can be acquired through both online sellers and from the company directly. If the optional console and power meter are bought, there might be slightly more installation as you attach the devices to the bike, but that process doesn’t take particularly long.
The shipping process can vary depending on a host of factors. For example, a pandemic could come down in the middle of ordering and halt just about every shipping process on the planet. Or it could just take a while for the company to get one to your location. It simply depends on the set of circumstances.
Stages SC2 Cycle Pros:
You most certainly won’t have to worry about putting much effort into maintaining the SC2. The belt is already designed to be resistant to sweat, the flywheel has a layer to protect it from the same threat, and the magnetic drive means that there won’t be much cleaning or upkeep to be done (unlike chain or air bikes). Toss in the generous warranties and you’ve got a bike that, once bought, will mostly take care of itself.
With one of the most unique resistance adjustment styles out there, the SC2 must be praised for how it goes about its lack of automatic adjustment. SprintShift system makes the process of adjusting the resistance mid-workout much easier than the usual knobs of other bikes. It might not be as fluid as having a computer or app doing it, but it certainly isn’t too far off.
Stages SC2 Cycle Cons:
It has to be acknowledged that this is an expensive bike. That would be fine if it came with all the features one would expect of a bike in this price range. However, the fact that you would need to pay $700 extra to get a console and power meter seems just too much.
It must be said that the technology of the SC2 isn’t great for the price. To actually get the console and track stats like most other bikes, you need to pay more. You would also need to pay more to get Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity, which is not good at all. For such a price, you would expect more of these features included with the bike (not buying separately). Particularly disappointing is the lack of connectivity with other fitness apps unless you buy the optional cranks arms/power meters.
The Standout Features Don’t:
As great as the RhythmBar is by allowing both indoor and outdoor cyclists to have their appropriate grip on the SC2, it just doesn’t seem quite good enough. It is a place where you put your hands. The only highlighted feature of the bike that might warrant that status is the SprintShift.
Last Word on the Stages SC2 Cycle
The Stages SC2 cycle is a very solid indoor cycling bike. It is well built and designed in such a way that it will last for absolute ages. Even if something were to go wrong and part of it breaks, the generous warranties that come along with it will help cover that issue.
The SprintShift feature is undoubtedly the highlight feature of this bike. It allows for the rider to easily shift the resistance levels, allowing for extremely easy HIIT and other interval workouts to happen much more easily than they would on other (non-automatic) bikes. With just a flick of the wrist, the ride can go up or down in intensity.
The RhythmBar feature of the SC2, as mentioned, is a nice feature. It gives options for the rider to place their hands wherever they want in order to feel more at home with a particular type of cycling style. However, as we have mentioned multiple times now, it just doesn’t seem like it should be promoted as a standout feature of the bike.
The actual design of the SC2 is quite solid. It is noticeably resistant to any sweat deterioration or damage. The aluminum frame is clearly designed in such a way as to emulate the feel of outside roads and other realistic terrain.
Yet, this bike also manages to achieve that goal while being quiet. The combination of a magnetic resistance system, the carbon fibre belt and the aluminum frame makes this a nearly silent ride. For those who are living in small apartments or have sensitive neighbours, this makes it a great choice for them.
The fact the pedals have SPD compatibility does set them above those that don’t. It allows cyclists who have SPD cleats and are determined to take their cycling to the next level to do exactly that.
Even without the console, the SC2 makes for a solid indoor exercise bike. However, the console does seem to be a necessary purchase for those who are looking to keep track of their workout statistics. This seems like a somewhat contemptible move on the part of Stages, as even many lower tier bikes tend to have at least some form of console in order to track the statistics of the workout.
It might seem like we have been critical of SC2 bikes, but that is only because they usually deliver such high-quality products. The SC2 still fits into that higher level of indoor exercise bikes, but just doesn’t quite measure up to others like the SC3. The aluminum frame and high-inertia flywheel makes it an extremely well built and durable bike that will last for ages. The RythmBar gives all sorts of riders an option on where to put their hands, even if it doesn’t do much more than that. The EcoSCRN console almost seems mandatory for those looking to get their long-term workout statistics in order. Certainly, the SprintShift is the highlight of the SC2’s features, being the next best thing to automatic resistance switching. There is a reason that some of the world’s top indoor cycling studios like SoulCycle, BICYCLE, Psycle, and REVD Indoor Cycling use it as their bike of choice. It is a commercial quality bike that many studios and individuals would be grateful to have at their disposal. It is only a question of the potential buyer deciding if there is enough here in terms of value for money. One thing is for certain: the SC2 is a solid choice for any cycling enthusiast who decides to drop money on it.