Stages Solo Indoor Cycle Review
The Stages Solo indoor cycling bike is one of the newest high-tech indoor bikes on the market. It is also one of the slickest, designed in such a way to make sure that the cyclist has the ultimate level of customization and entertainment at their fingertips.
This is a commercial spin bike that caters to the experience of each and every user. It really is impressive to look at the amount of effort that the Stages Solo spin bike puts forth to make sure that you, the cyclist, has the maximum amount of options for making your ride an enjoyable one.
Along with this enjoyable experience comes a hefty price tag anywhere from $3,500-$4,000. The sight of that price might be enough to make some immediately walk away, which is fair. However, for others who are very serious about their indoor cycling habits, the Stages Solo spin bike might just be a match made in heaven.
The big selling point of the Stages Solo is the computer and programs that come with it. It comes with three different styles that the rider can choose from, while also offering games and other challenges for those riders to keep entertained during the workout. We will go more in depth about some of these programs further down in the Stages Solo Indoor bike review.
There is a reason that so many leaders in exercise and sports clubs use the Stages Solo spin bike. Equinox Sports Club, the YMCA, David Lloyd Clubs, Fitness First, Virgin Active, Centre Esportil and Lifetime all use it as their smart bike of choice. The cardio floors of these clubs and many others continue to be filled with the Solo bike, for good reason.
It is very hard to find weaknesses with the Stages Solo indoor cycling bike. The biggest obstacle that people might have to overcome is that price point, but once that is done, they will find themselves in possession of a spin bike that will serve their needs extremely well.
Stages Solo Comparison!
This is where I regularly search the market and update to let you know if there is a better indoor bike than Stages Solo in this price range. Currently sold at nearly $4000, I believe the Stages Solo is fairly priced (at least until someone builds a similar bike for cheaper price).
You might think Peloton bike is similar to Stages Solo cycle, but it is not. Peloton doesn’t come with Gates Carbon Drive and Carbon Belt which leads to less power efficiency. Additionally, Peloton calculates your overall workouts to provide your watt which is not as accurate as tracking watt directly like the Stages Solo does.
There are other differences as well, for instance, Stages Solo cycle has an aluminum frame (extra-lightweight), narrower Q-factor (safer), fully adjustable, and top-of-the-line handlebar design (fits everyone and every riding style), and a more convenient adjustment system (FitLoc). So, as you can see Stages Solo is a good value when you compare all its superior features.
With that being said, if you don’t mind the lack of a large screen, I highly recommend you check out the Stages SB20. It is cheaper than Stages Solo, yet, it is smarter featuring “Smart Electromagnetic Resistance” (automatic uphill gearing system) which adds tons of fun to your rides.
Stages Solo Technical Information:
- Stages Solo Monitor
- Pedals and Q-factor
- Stages Solo flywheel
- Solo bike resistance
- Drive system & gear ratio
- Handlebars and seat
- Solo price and warranty
- Shipping and assembly
- Stages Solo Indoor Cycle pros
- Stages Solo Indoor Cycle cons
- Width: 24.5″
- Length: 54″
- Bike Weight: 105 Pounds
- Shipping weight: 130 Pounds
- Max User Weight: 350 lbs
- Rider Fit Range: 4’10” to 6’10”
- Power requirement: Standard outlet
- Tablet holder: Included
The Stages Solo spin bike is where you want to look if you want a bike that would fit right into the cardio floor on any cycling studio in the world. The industrial powder coat and blue steel frame that Stages adorn their best bikes with fits right in with the advanced nature of this bike.
Wheels on the front of the bike allows for easy movement around the home, with other adjustment settings on the seat and handlebars allowing for the customizable setup that any cyclist could want.
Unlike many of the other Stages bikes, the console that comes with this bike is not an optional add-on. Good thing too, since that is the key feature of the Solo indoor cycle. It really is what sets the bike apart from many of the other bikes, both from Stages and others in the “smart bike” category.
In fact, unlike many of the other Stages spin bikes, there are no optional add-ons to the Solo bike at all. While some might be disappointed about this, we think that it is a good thing. That means that you are getting the full package for the base price. The optional add-ons that some of their other bikes have just feel like they cut off certain pieces of the bike and sold them separately just to make money. You won’t find that here.
Stages Solo Monitor:
- Touchscreen – 10 pt cap touch.
- Dimensions – 15.1” W x 8.8”
- Storage – Local (large bandwidth not required)
- 3 Rides Styles: Stages Coach, Stages Mix and Stages Beats
- Features 15, 30 or 45 minute rides
- Stages Solo indoor cycle has the latest Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols
- The console displays metrics like Total Distance, Total Kcal, Heart Rate, FTP, Effort Gauge, Accuracy & Total Accuracy Points, Watts, and Power Zones
- Connectivity: Headphones – connection via Bluetooth & wired, connectivity to WiFi is enabled
- Stages Solo can send spinning data including watt and RPM to many apps including Zwift.
The monitor on the Stages Solo spin bike really is the highlight of the entire machine. It brings the smart bike to a new level that really feels like it belongs in the modern cycling studio.
During the workout, the cyclist has access to so many cool features that will raise the entertainment of the ride, it is almost overwhelming. To begin, all one has to do is follow the on screen prompts. The zone estimator game that comes with the Solo bike means that it is really easy to get the intensity of the workout just right. All you have to do is follow along with the power match point system. In order to track how well the rider is doing, the game will ask how easy/intense the workout was.
The way that the screen goes about displaying the on-screen achievements is really gratifying, with sparks and sparkles flying everywhere once you are hitting the correct power level. It might seem gimmicky from screenshots or videos, but it is surprisingly effective at making the rider want to maintain that correct power level for the workout. The next notable aspect of the Stages Solo bike monitor is the Ride Style selection. You will have the ability to select from one of three different styles that define what sort of theme you will be riding along to.
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.
Finally, for those who are looking to keep track of their workout statistics and join a global community of cyclists, they can enter an email in and get access to that community. They can also get a host of different achievements and see where they rank among different riders who use the Stages Solo indoor cycling bike.
The Stages Solo monitor has the ability to connect to both wired and wireless headphones. It, rather obviously, has a plug for the wired ones. Meanwhile, the wireless ones can connect by Bluetooth through a small button in the upper right corner of the screen.
The connection to various programs that Stages has is done through WiFi. Therefore, if you are not connected to any sort of internet then you will be missing a large part of the social aspect of the Solo bike. WiFi is also required for the Solo bike to undergo any software updates that Stages might send out.
Q-Factor and Pedals:
- The Stages Solo bike pedals are SPD-compatible and have toe cages.
- The Q-Factor of the Solo bike is 158 mm.
The 158 mm Q-Factor that the Stages Solo spin bike has is an excellent example of the care that has been put into this bike. It is just the right amount for your feet to feel natural while they are on the bike.
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.
The pedals on the Stages Solo are SPD compatible. This means that they can be used with SPD cleats as well as normal athletic shoes. This feature really has the ability to make sure that those who are devoted to cycling can get the maximum out of the pedals.
Stages Solo Bike Flywheel:
- The Stages Solo spin bike has a 20 kg flywheel.
- The flywheel is described as being “high inertia, cast iron perimeter weighted.”
- The Solo flywheel is fixed.
Combining the factors of the 5:1 gear ratio and the magnetic resistance together makes the 20 kg flywheel shine quite nicely on the Stages Solo bike.
Similar to Stages S2, the flywheel is located at the front of the bike, making it more vulnerable to the bits of sweat that can come flying off during those more intense workouts. However, the coating on the flywheel makes sure that any sort of damage or effects the sweat usually has is diminished significantly. Plus, it has a well-designed flywheel sweat-guard.
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.
This can be good for some, as it means that you constantly have to pedal without stopping. You can also pedal in reverse with resistance, working out different leg muscles than you normally would. This can make for some extremely effective exercises, as it keeps you on the move the entire workout.
On the other hand, it can also be less than ideal. 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. This can take some getting used to, as it is the part of the Solo that feels furthest from a traditional bike.
Stages Solo Bike Resistance:
- The Stages Solo bike 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.
Like many Stages bikes, the Stages Solo has a somewhat odd way of going about its resistance. There are no set resistance levels that many other exercise bikes have. Instead, it has the Stages SprintShift system that compliments the more traditional knob. It allows for the changing of resistance at a flick of a switch. Meanwhile the knob that the Solo has is used more for micro-adjustments.
This method is much more fluid than the traditional method of twisting a knob over and over again. Therefore, it is much more suited for those who want to get some high intensity interval training (HIIT) training into their workload.
Thanks to the integration of the Stages software into the Solo bike, the quick resistance changes can really be felt on some of those coached rides. It makes it really easy to follow along with the instructions, as well as giving you the feeling of making the most of these guided sessions.
Handlebars and Seat:
- The Stages Solo bike features the Stages RoadBar handlebars in order to accommodate all sorts of hand positions.
- The Solo bike has a unisex seat to appeal to all people.
- The FitLoc height adjustment system allows for fluid seat changes.
- It is estimated to be five times faster than the standard indoor bike.
It comes with a media shelf available near the console. The handlebars on the Stages Solo indoor cycling bike are the RoadBar handlebars that can be found on their other top tier bike, the Stages SC3. The RoadBar handles are adjustable vertically as well as horizontally. They also have all the possible positions a rider could want, as both riders who normally train indoors and those who ride outdoors can find their preferred arm positions on the Solo. The odd thing about the Stages handlebars is that they are described as “comfort coated” aluminum. We cannot figure out what this actually means, but they are not wrong in that the RoadBar handles are comfortable.
The biggest feature of the seat is the FitLoc system for adjustment. It allows for extremely quick height adjustment in the seat compared to the traditional twist-to-lock systems. While this might not seem like much of a big deal, it makes sense for a commercial bike to be able to adjust to whoever happens to hop on the Solo bike next.
For those at home, it means that multiple users can customize the seat to their own liking without it taking up too much time. The seat can also be adjusted in a similarly easy fashion in using the fore/aft adjustment. Because of both the vertical and horizontal adjustability, it allows the Stages Solo bike to fit an extremely wide range of users.
Drivetrain and Gear Ratio:
- The Stages Solo drivetrain gear ratio is 5:1.
- The Solo bike has carbon fibre belt
The Stages Solo spin bike has the standard gear ratio and belt system that one can find in many other Stages bikes. The “CarbonGlyde™ Gates® Carbon Drive™ Carbon Fiber Belt” does the job that it is meant to and does so well in the other Stages bikes. It remains quiet while giving a good system of resistance to the flywheel.
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 made the call to not make the gear ratio or belt any different on the Solo bike for good reason. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The combination has served them well so far and looks set to continue that record.
Stages Solo Bike Price and Warranty:
- The Stages Solo bike is currently listed at a retail price of around $4,000.
- The price can also be found for lower prices such as $3,500.
- The Solo’s warranty includes:
- 15 years on the frame
- 10 years on the carbon fibre belt
- 3 years on the mechanical system
- 1 year for both the labour and electronics
- 6 months for the wear items
- Tablet – 1 year standard. Extended 3 year warranty available with 3 year subscription purchase
The Stages Solo spin bike is one of the most advanced cycles that Stages has put out over the past few years. It fits the definition of a smart bike to perfection. Admittedly, this does come at quite a heavy cost.
Of course, that price point is one of the factors that must be considered when thinking on whether or not to buy the Solo. The key thing to keep in mind is whether or not the Stages Solo bike fits what you are looking for in a smart bike.
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 Solo bike can be acquired through both online sellers and from the company directly.
The actual shipping time can depend on a variety of factors. The postal service could be slowed down, a backup in demand might happen or a global pandemic might intercede. You just can never be too sure.
Stages Solo Bike Pros:
Stages Solo Console:
The console on this bike is the real savior here. It really does transform the biking experience into a fun time for anyone who is riding on it. The different Riding Styles should fit all those who take part and makes the whole exercise quite gratifying. The social aspect and achievements certainly add to this.
As we mentioned, the design of the Solo bike is just extremely smooth. The ride feels just as good. The magnetic resistance and carbon fiber makes that smooth ride a quiet one as well. In fact, it is really hard to find much of a fault with almost any design choice on this bike.
The User Customization:
The Stages Solo bike is made for just about anyone to be able to hop on and start riding. It has an easily adjustable seat and handlebars, so all sorts of people can fit on it. The console tracks individual statistics and makes it a unique experience for each user.
Stages Solo Bike Cons:
This is definitely the biggest hesitation one should have for the Stages Solo bike. It is an extremely fine piece of commercial level exercise equipment. However, that comes with a very high cost. Unless you are absolutely sure that you are going to make extensive use of this spin bike, it might be worth one or two more thoughts about it. An impulse buy would be ill-advised.
The Dependence on the Tech:
Another issue for the Stages Solo bike is the over-reliance on the console. If something goes wrong or isn’t to the liking of the cyclist, then there is not a whole lot else to look forward to.
Lack of Smart Resistance:
It would have been great if Stages Solo featured “smart electromagnetic resistance” to automatically simulate the uphills and downhills on Zwift and other apps. Also, this Stages spin bike is fixed-wheel which doesn’t allow coasting. Considering the price, these two features (smart resistance/gearing and free-wheel system) are not too much to ask in 2020.
Last Word on the Stages Solo Bike
The Stages Solo indoor cycling bike is an excellent example of a modern smart bike. It takes full advantage of the technology on offer, though perhaps it relies a bit too heavily on those features. The console is an absolute blast to use. Each of the styles have their own unique advantages and give different feels to the workout. Sometimes you just want to rock out to some of the adventurous beats that really get you into the flow of the workout, while some other times you want the specific instructions of the Coach style. There is enough variation in these workouts to keep you busy for a very, very long time.
The design of the bike means that anyone can use it well. It can be adjusted in such a way to allow people of all heights, weights and ages to make the most of the workout on the Solo spin bike. The FitLoc system and fore/aft adjustment allows for extremely quick and seamless changes in how the bike can fit the user. It is quite an impressive system.
The resistance system is unconventional. The combination of the SprintShift system and the more traditional knob turning makes for some solid workouts. You can switch resistance settings with the flip of a switch, while the knob allows you to customize that resistance even more. Especially on those longer workouts that you would be following along with on the console, this fluid system can most certainly come in handy.
One of the most important aspects that one should keep in mind is the flywheel. Because of its fixed nature, it can take some getting used to. After all, it is not what normal bikes feel like. However, after a while it doesn’t feel entirely unnatural and can even turn into a needed boost for the user. It almost becomes easier when you know that you cannot rest without bringing the entire workout to a hold. That motivation to keep going to the end is encouraging. Of course, if you don’t think you would be able to get over this difference, then you might want to have second thoughts about this Solo spin bike.
Of course, the ultimate consideration that one should have when looking at the Stages Solo bike is the price. At this point you might think we sound like a broken record, but it is important to stress how much we believe that the price is important. It is the biggest barrier to how much we can recommend it. $4,000 is a lot of money for a great amount of people. If they are going to spend that on a piece of exercise equipment, it had better provide an excellent amount of value for that money. This is an undeniably good indoor cycling bike. If the user thinks that they will be using it frequently and maximizing the amount of health benefits that it can provide, then it is an absolute recommendation. However, if it is just something that they might do on the weekend or start off cycling and then that tailors off over time, then it becomes harder to recommend.
The Stages Solo bike does every job asked of it and does it extremely well. The console is the standout feature of the spin bike, as it is what makes the Solo one of the best smart bikes out there. Toss in the design features that can be found on many of the other Stages bikes and you have yourself an excellent spin bike that will serve for years. SPD pedals make sure that those who are looking for more intense rides can have them, the adjustable components of the Solo bike can fit almost anyone, and the exercise programs that come with the bike will make sure that users of all skill levels can make the most of their time on the Stages Solo spin bike. The biggest question that one has to ask themselves before taking advantage of the many features that the Solo has to offer is whether or not they are willing to drop the amount of money required to use this bike. If they are willing, then they will have acquired an extraordinarily fine piece of exercise equipment.