Updated: June 4, 2015

Indoor Cycle Reviews:

Spinning classes have become quite popular at gyms across America and it seems that indoor cycling is here to stay. What if you are not the gym type? Can you buy an indoor training cycle for your house? In recent years they have improved significantly - although that also means that prices have gone up. You will see brands like Keiser, Schwinn, Reebok, Sole Fitness, Diamondback, and Sunny Health & Fitness. They range in price from $300 up to $2000+. What we found is that there are not a lot of mid-range bikes - those priced between $700 and $1400. You either get high end indoor cycle bikes like the Keiser M3 or cheaper spinning bikes like the Stamina CPS 9190. What is the difference on these indoor training cycles that causes such a huge price variation? It's typically the resistance system that accounts for most of that price increase and the versatility. Some even offer built-in computer systems that track your every pedal and give you instant feedback while you are cycling. Ultimately you are looking for a great cardio workout and indoor bicycles can offer that. You want to do climbs, sprints, and even downhills. Indoor cycle workouts will do just that and work on your buttocks, back, quads and hamstrings. Stationary exercise bikes have their purpose, but the public has realized that indoor performance cycles give you more options and variety which means your workouts will be better and keep your interest longer.
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Choosing an Indoor Cycle - We read an excellent article on Livestrong.com (Lance Armstrongs website) done by Heather Wood on 'buying an indoor bike'. She goes over all the main features and attributes you should consider when looking for a indoor cycle. First, you'll want an adjustable seat with multiple positions that are easy to switch back and forth from. Some even allow you to replace the seat altogether if you have a different saddle you want on the bike. Next are the handlebars. They too need to be adjustable - not only up and down but back and forth (fore and aft). Test out the various positions that you find yourself in when doing spinning workouts - the forward leaning position and standing upright are two common ones. Handlebars should be properly padded and offer an ergonomic feel when held at various spots. The cheaper bikes offer up a flywheel resistance system and often the drive chain is noisy. Adjustable resistance is important so that you can simulate different terrains (hills, flats, downhill). The magnetic systems for resistance are the best since they tend to run quiet and smooth (Keiser is famous for this). Weight Capacity - This is a big concern for those that are overweight. Most indoor cycles we reviewed are meant for individuals 250 lbs or less. You can find bikes that accept up to 300 lbs - talk with the manufacturer if you have any concerns. Ideally you start shedding weight within the first month and the weight capacity of your bike is not an issue. Durability - There is a reason why some of these indoor cycles like the Keiser M3 or Schwinn AC Performance are so expensive. They tend to be more durable than the cheaper models out there. The high end bikes are made with superior parts and well built. Their resistance systems make them virtually maintenance free which is why they sell so well. Keiser's long term durability record is really unmatched, Schwinn gets solid marks, Sole Fitness is definitely above average, and Stamina and Sunny Health have some suspect issues. Like most exercise equipment, price is a big factor in determining overall durability and stability. How often will you use the indoor cycle? Are you someone that wants to ride 3 to 5 times a week for an hour? The harder you ride, the better quality indoor performance bike you'll want. Don't forget about a mat that goes underneath the indoor bicycle and protects the flooring as well as keeps sweat and any potential debris from the bike from getting on the floors. Pedals - For those of you that do spinning classes at the gym this may not be a big concern, but for serious riders the pedal type is very important. We like the Schwinn double link pedals with SPD and toe-clip combinations that accommodate both cycling cleats and athletic shoes. Keiser offers the adjustable Shimano combo pedals which are first rate. Lastly, we wanted to mention the on-board computer systems that some of these indoor spinning bikes offer. The Keiser computer system is perhaps the most famous and it tracks things like time, distance, calories, heart rate, and power output. We found the M3 indoor cycle from Keiser (with computer) to be our favorite. Working out is not always easy, but when you get instant feedback on calories burned and heart rate, at least you know you are putting in the effort. Without some kind of readout, we feel that you will get lazy and not get the most from your workouts on the indoor cycle. Reviews - We looked at the top models from the leading manufacturers - Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle, Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle New 2015 Model, Schwinn AC Performance, Sole Fitness SB700, and Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike. We understand that consumers have different needs when purchasing indoor cycles so we looked at all price ranges to give the most options to our visitors. Of course the Keiser indoor bikes get rave reviews and deservedly so. They are durable, versatile, and provide superior workouts with built-in computer systems. The M3 is our favorite of the bunch and the new 2015 M3i is just hitting the market. The Schwinn AC Performance, AC Sport Indoor, and the Schwinn IC Pro are all solid and priced between $950 and $1800. Schwinn offers up the widest range in terms of features and is certainly a great option for those that aren't sure what they need yet. Check out the top selling Schwinn indoor cycles here. The Sole Fitness SB700 gets good reviews but some found it lacking on durability and Sole customer service gets dinged too often for lack of responsiveness. The Sunny Health bikes are cheaper than the rest and reviews are not overly bad. It really comes down to expectations. If you want a superb indoor cycle like you find at gyms, then the Keiser or Schwinn will do. If you are just looking for casual exercise with an indoor bicycle, then the Sole Fitness, Sunny Health or even Stamina will suffice. Browse the best selling indoor cycles here.

Best Indoor Cycle:

RECOMMENDED - Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle Stationary Indoor Trainer Exercise Bike - Our decision for 'the best' really came down to the Schwinn AC Performance and the Keiser M3. Both are priced at about $1700 but the Keiser is smoother and quieter and the computer functions on the Keiser are a huge plus. We see lots of Schwinn bikes at our spinning classes, but the Keiser models are highly rated by experts (mostly from teachers of spinning workout classes). When you look at owner reviews online, the Keiser M3 and similar models get near flawless feedback from consumers for adjustability, durability, and ease of use. Yes, they are expensive, but you are paying for a quality product that will last years without any issues. The Keiser features an eddy current resistance system that is infinitely adjustable. Want whisper-quiet operation? That is how users describe the smooth riding Keiser cycle. The seat is 4 way adjustable and the Shimano combo pedals are adjustable too. The built-in computer will track power output, heart rate, calories, distance, and time. Oh, and they threw in a water bottle holder as well. Comes with a 3 year warranty and it's maintenance free. You get great cardiovascular conditioning and your fitness levels will improve quickly. The latest Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle New 2015 Model is also available and early reviews on this intelligent cycle with advance technology are perfect. You get Bluetooth wireless and it can partner up with cell phones or tablets. The computer will also transmit to a receiver so you can project it to a screen. Overall a tremendous product for less than $2000.


Mid-Range Indoor Performance Cycle:

RECOMMENDED - We viewed the Schwinn A.C. Sport Indoor Cycle Trainer and the Sole Fitness SB700. The Schwinn goes for less than $1250 while the Sole fitness is closer to $800. The Sole Fitness is a quality stationary exercise bike with 48-pound flywheel and knob turn adjustable resistance. The backlit LCD console displays RPM, time, Kcal, distance, and speed. The bike is compatible with wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring. Both seat and handlebars are adjustable fore/aft and up/down. Owner comments are mostly positive although we did read negative feedback for things like 'bad ergonomic design' and 'showed up with parts broken'. For those that received bikes in good working condition, the Sole Fitness was fine, but those that had issues with damaged or missing parts had customer service problems that were difficult to get past. As for Schwinn, the A.C. Sport Indoor Cycle Trainer features Virtual Contact resistance technology for a smooth and quiet ride. Schwinn uses magnets and aluminum disk to generate smooth, non-wearing resistance. The saddle is comfort and stable under your rump. Handlebars feature 3 positions and are easily adjustable. This one features a 300 lb weight capacity so those of you that are larger, consider the Schwinn. Owners say the bike is easy to assemble and call it 'excellent indoor bike'. We found that long term durability on indoor performance bikes was better on bikes that were priced at $1000+. The parts and materials are superior and hold up over the long haul. If you want the bike too last, you'll have to spend a little more money.