Now that we have talked about some of the bikes on the market, how do you choose the right one? There are a few things to consider before you rush out and buy a spin bike. Here are a few things to consider before purchase.
Cost ~ This is a big concern for many people. Just because you can afford to buy the most expensive bike, doesn’t mean you should. Likewise, if you can’t afford the top of the line, just get the one that works for your needs. The best one isn’t always the one that costs the most. The fancy computer screen may look nice, but there is no point in buying the fancy bike that monitors all your statistics if you will only be on it for seven minutes. Better to buy the more affordable one, just in case you need to unload it in six months.
Fitness Level ~ If you are just beginning and want to purchase a bike, make sure you know what you are getting into. Take a few classes first to make sure it’s what you really want, and that you are comfortable with it, and if you actually like it. No point rushing out and spending $500 on a clothes rack. You may be impressed with all the gadgets and computers and all the fancy come-withs, but if you don’t need them, don’t buy the spin bike with all the extras. Start out slowly and build your way up. Equally, if you are well-versed in the spinning world, get the one that will benefit you and your workouts the best. If you will be using the bike a lot, comfort needs to be considered.
Weight ~ Continuing with the fitness level and needs, your weight needs to be considered. Most spin bikes are sturdy enough to handle upward of 300 pounds, but always check with the limits imposed before you buy the bike. A flimsy bike frame won’t be of much use if it bends or breaks right away. There is a weight limit on each bike, so be sure to check that it will handle yours. Most of them are secure enough, but if you are concerned, ask.
The weight of the bike is important, too. If you are alone, you need to be able to move it. If it has a place in your home, it won’t matter much, but if you need to move it to use it and then move it back again, this can cause problems and even injury. Even though most of the bikes have transport wheels, they can be over 100 pounds and awkward to move, or assemble.
Space ~ Plan out where the bike will be used and stored. Many of the bikes are relatively the same size in use, but if you need to store it, be sure to find a bike that will fold up for easy storage. Some may not be small enough to slide under the bed or place in a closet, so if the bike is going to be a permanent fixture in the front room or the bedroom, you need to understand that before purchase. It’s also important to plan for where the bike will be used. If you will need to move your furniture around every time you want to use the bike, you may be discouraged from regularly using it. You need enough space to ride it without knocking things over and banging your knees, and enough room to get on and off comfortably.
Material ~ The material that the bike is made of may make a difference in your purchase choices. How often you plan to use it is also important. Some of the lesser priced, lower quality bikes are designed to last a few years with regular use, but if you are a serious rider, and are planning to use it every day, you need to look at a better built model, steel frames, or other heavy metals to ensure the bike is reinforced to handle the weight and usage everyday. The materials used on the seats, handlebars, and other features will be important depending on use, price, and durability.
Resistance ~ This is another area where the bikes can differ. The magnetic resistance system works with magnets against the steel of the flywheel. The closer they get, the more resistance there is. The beauty of these magnetic systems is there is not rubbing like with other systems, so there is not wear and tear on the equipment, and it’s far lower in maintenance for the bike, because there is no friction. These systems are normally seen on the higher end models and are used in professional classes and by hardcore spinners.
The belt system uses belts or chains to connect the pedals and the crank. This makes the resistance, when adjusted, much less difficult, and this type of system is extremely reliable and the most recommended spin bikes around. These, too, require little maintenance and provide a very smooth and quiet ride, and these are the standard type of spin bikes, and more basic models.
Computers ~ Many of the spin bikes these days have computers in them, a monitor for heart rates, speed, calories burned, distance traveled, etc. These are nice features, but you may not really need them. They may also have Bluetooth capability for audio, as well. They do add to the cost of the bike, but they are also motivational for working out, at least, to begin with. The novelty may wear off long before the monthly payment does. Some machines come with pre programmed exercise classes and videos to watch, or the capability to join a class, or conduct your own. Of course, if you need to know all of the output data from your daily workout, there are small, portable monitors that you can buy. The computers and console screens are a nice feature, but are they really necessary or just a pretty feature that you like? Be sure that you will use the computerized features before you buy, otherwise, you may be just as happy with a more basic model.
Comfort ~ Yes, it matters. You need to ‘try on’ the bike before you buy it and bring it home. You need to feel comfortable on the bike, you need to be able to reach the pedals, the handlebars, and you need to be comfortable in the position while riding the bike. The seats and handlebars have padding, so find one that suits you. If the seat is too hard or the the handlebars are too far to comfortably reach, you will not use the bike. By testing it out, see if the seat, handlebars, or even the pedals are adjustable, and make sure they fit you so you are comfortable. This is very important to not only encourage you to continue with your workout, but also to avoid injuries, either while working out, or long term back or other muscular issues.
Adjustability ~ To further our discussion of comfort, you will need to look at the usability features on the bike. Some have very limited adjustability, but this is why it’s important to sit on the bike and try it out. If the seat doesn’t fit you and never will, or the handlebars are too close, or too low, then that will be a problem. It isn’t a problem if it fits you properly and you are the only one that is going to be using it. It is a problem if you share the spin bike with family or other friends and they can’t fit and can’t make adjustments. It’s also a big factor on how much you plan to use the bike. A lot of use will require you to be very comfortable on the bike for longer periods of time.
Other Features ~ Another thing that may matter to you is adjustable feet on the bike. This will matter if the surface the bike is on is uneven, or if you have to move it about a lot. If you are moving it, you will want to have a transportation wheel on the bike. This allows you to tilt the bike to move it about easily.
Is it collapsible? You may need to take it down after each use or frequently, depending on space available and usage times. Is it easy to collapse or does it take two people? Will it fit under the bed or hide away in a closet? Is there a space for a water bottle or two, and is this important? Are the pedals slip-proof or do they have toe baskets? These are less important to most people, but always something to keep in mind if they matter to you. You never know until you don’t have it.
Hopefully this will help you get on track for the new year and sort out your spin bike choices. The spin bike is a good investment for your overall workout, as it cuts down on the need for other equipment. The spin bike can provide a complete workout for you and your family.
If you are new to the spinning world, do your research. Take a few classes, in different areas, to get a feel for the bike and the workout. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers about their spin bikes and the features they like and don’t like. Check online for products reviews and make your choices based on your own personal needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need, and unless you are proficient in spin bikes, avoid buying one from a friend for the lower cost. If it’s your first bike, you should find out the features you need, and you will want the warranty that the store or online place of purchase offers.
Take your time, and find out all the information you can about your new spin bike. Hopefully you find the perfect machine to keep you fit and take you spinning into the next year.