For many people, the best thing about going to the gym isn’t the weight equipment, racquetball courts, treadmills or smoothie bar. It’s spin class. Spin class has it all, from low-impact but intensive workouts to strength and core work to the sense of community you get from working out in a group. These days, not everyone wants to go to the gym, though. Which means the best spin bike is the one you can put in your own home for anytime, no-hassle workouts that are right down the hall from your living room.
A woman exercising on a spin bike using an online instructor inside a home.getty
The good news is that you can get a great spin bike for your home and have that same great workout without going to the gym. It’s worth pointing out that while most people tend to use the term “spin bike” to mean any exercise bike, the term is registered to the brand that first popularized it—Spinning—and in general, an authentic spin bike is a bit different than standard exercise bikes, so make sure you get the one you need for the kind of workout you want. Spin bikes have larger, heavier flywheels that take more effort to get up to speed. Most spin bikes also tend to use a higher seat and lean-forward handlebars, as if you’re on a racing bike. In a traditional spin class, you need to vary your position from seated to standing to complete workouts, which makes it a more intense experience.
Ready to step up to your own spin bike? There are some excellent choices out there, and we found the five best options based on our own hands-on experience with spin and exercise bikes, as well as reviewing the opinions of actual customers who use these bikes day in and day out at home.
NordickTrack’s new S27i is clearly the brand’s attempt to counter Peloton's Bike+, and it succeeds in almost every way—if you're looking for a spin-class-style exercise bike for home with a large screen to display classes and workouts, this is your bike. The 27-inch HD touchscreen doesn’t just tilt and pivot—which makes it easy to use for non-spinning workouts, like weight training, Pilates or yoga—but the screen is about 3 inches bigger than Peloton’s as well. Because this is a NordicTrack product, it works with the iFit streaming workout software, which includes trainer-led rides through gorgeous vistas around the world, as well as live and on-demand workout classes. iFit also includes a wealth of workout options that get you off the bike as well.
While the S27i is not inexpensive, you get a lot for the price tag. The bike is built on an inertia-enhanced flywheel with a very quiet ride, thanks in part to the bike’s Silent Magnetic Resistance system—and the 20 degree incline to 10 degree decline is all automatically adjustable by the workout program you’re using on the big screen. Other premium features include two-sided pedals with shoe-to-pedal clip-ins and a gas shock lift to help you raise and lower the handlebars.
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If you have spent time at the gym, you probably know the Keiser name. The Keiser M3i is a high-quality spin bike that replicates the feel of a premium gym bike in your home. And this package is actually a bundle: You get the bike along with a media tray to hold your phone or tablet, floor mat and stretch pad. The M3i has a somewhat light 8-pound flywheel which is augmented with a belt drive that delivers a quiet and smooth ride. There’s also a magnetic resistance system, which is to be expected in a modern spin bike. The whole thing does add up to a very quiet and smooth ride with components are are durable enough to give you a very long lifetime.
Your stats are displayed on a simple and compact digital display, leaving a lot of room for you to add your own tablet or phone for on-demand classes or any other kind of content while you work out. And thanks to the toe cage, you can wear any kind of footwear while you ride.
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While many exercise bikes cost several thousand dollars, you can get a more modest bike for under $500. It won’t have all the features of the big guys—namely, no large color screen for online trainer-led workouts—but the Sunny Health Fitness model SF-B1805 indoor cycling bike is usually priced under $500 (it lists for $600, but is routinely on sale). Distinguishing it as a spin bike, it has a heavy-duty 44-pound flywheel with quiet magnetic resistance controls that’s ideal for intensive cardio workouts. The bike is also highly adjustable with a four-position seat and customizable handlebars. The pedals also come with steel toe cages—many other bikes in this price range use rubber straps which are prone to break.
While there’s no built-in screen, you can attach your own tablet with a built-in rack. It’s also easily transported thanks to wheels in the base, so you can roll it out of the way when the workout is over.
If you’re looking for a genuine spin bike, the Blade ION Connected Spinner Bike is one of the few that can actually put the word “spin” in its name. You’ll see these bikes in many spin classrooms at gyms across the country. And there’s a good reason for that—the Blade ION is an excellent exercise bike that has proven its ruggedness for many years. To some degree, that’s thanks to the bike’s clever design. It has virtually no flat surfaces and features components that allow no points of entry for sweat. So no matter how hard you work out, your moisture won’t work its way inside the machine.
Despite the large 40-pound flywheel, the bike is almost silent, in part thanks to the so-called Fusion Drive belt system. Your feet sit on dual-sided SPD clipless pedals, so you can ride with any kind of shoes. And there’s an integrated tablet mount, fully adjustable seat, and other customizations.
$2495 And Up
Exercise and spin bikes have existed for a very long time—Peloton didn’t invent them. But Peloton did breathe new life into the home exercise bike, bringing a new level of quality and sophistication that other brands (like NordicTrack) are now successfully mimicking. But regardless of who else does a pretty good Peloton dupe, Peloton is still the gold standard for a high-quality bike with live instructor-led classes on the big screen. You get a bike with a crazy-small footprint (just 4 x 2 feet, smaller than a yoga mat) with an all metal carbon steel construction. The 24-inch screen can rotate around so you can use it to take part in classes off the bike.
There’s a resistance knob, of course, to manually dial in the magnetic resistance you need for your workout, but you can also let the bike set it automatically for on-demand classes as well. Perhaps the only real complaint you might have with this bike is the pedals, which require you to lock in with Delta-compatible shoes. There’s no toe cage for other kinds of shoes. There are four different Bike+ packages that bundle shoes, weights and mats. You can spend as much as $3,000 on the most inclusive package, but you can get started for $2495 (though you’ll need to add the shoes yourself).
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