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The 7 Best Spin Bikes for Home 2020

Most people don’t love waking up in the early hours to travel to the gym, or find it frustrating trying to find a spin class that has room for them. You probably feel the same way. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just roll out of bed, hop on a spin bike, and start a powerful fat-burning workout in the convenience of your own home? Well, with the right spin bike, you can!

Here’s what we chose, for our Top 7 Spin Bikes of this Year

1. NordicTrack S22i
2. Echelon EX3
3. Horizon Fitness IC7.9
4. DiamondBack 510ic
5. Sole SB900
6. Schwinn AC Fitness Performance
7. Peloton Bike

What is a Spin Bike?

To the uninitiated, it might seem like all home workout bikes are pretty similar. In reality, the spin bike has some unique qualities that make it stand out from the crowd. Gym spin classes have caused quite the fitness revolution in recent years, known for their upbeat music and instructors who keep you pumped; and spin bikes are their hallmark. 

Aside from their gym roots, the key difference between the spin bike and a typical stationary bike is the flywheel. The spin bike features a large wheel, usually in the front and separated from the pedals, that provides resistance and momentum to mirror the experience of riding a bike outdoors. These flywheels are usually heavier, weighing in at more than 30 pounds. It’s this unique flywheel setup that delivers the intense workout that all spin bike fanatics love!

What to Look For in a Spin Bike

Here at FitRated, we’ve tried and tested dozens of spin bikes to uncover the best value models across the price spectrum. From the feature-rich Schwinn AC Performance Plus to the affordable Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike, we’ve got some great options for breaking a sweat at home. Below you’ll see spin bikes we’ve reviewed and rated under four key categories:

  • Resistance: The best bikes have a large range of resistances for novice and expert athletes alike.
  • Support: You want a stable bike that holds its own, so you can focus on your workout.
  • Materials: The bike’s longevity is dependent on the quality of its materials.
  • Technology: Technological innovations can make your biking experience better.

These are the factors that matter in choosing a spin bike you’ll love for years to come. Now, let’s get to the bikes!

[Note: All ratings are on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the best]

1. NordicTrack S22i

The NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle is at the top of the food chain when it comes to both functionality and features, as it adds a significant 22-inch high definition touchscreen display and access to iFit interactive training, packaged into a very well-executed and sturdy machine.

nordictrack-commercial-s22i

  • Resistance: 5
  • Support: 4
  • Materials: 5
  • Technology: 5

Resistance

The S22i uses magnetic resistance instead of friction resistance. It’s smooth, quiet, and digitally controlled. The high spec bike offers 22 levels of resistance adjustability, which also can be controlled by the live instructors when participating in iFit classes.

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Support

The NordicTrack S22i is well suited to a wide range of riders; its commercial grade frame is good for riders up to 350 lbs, and it can be adjusted in a wide range of directions in order to find the perfect fit. Like much of the competition the seat is a little firm, but this tends to be the way across all indoor cycles out there.

Materials

NordicTrack has always maintained a good reputation for build quality, and the S22i is no exception. Other than its high-tech display, there’s little to nothing on this bike that’s likely to require any kind of maintenance as it ages. Its frame is built to commercial specification, and by using magnetic resistance rather than friction it saves on wearable components as well.

Technology

On top of its touchscreen display and interactive training, the S22i is also a winner on account of another clever feature. It is one of very few indoor cycles to offer a variable incline and decline — +20% and -10% respectively.

Who Should Buy the NordicTrack S22i?

If you’re a fan of cutting edge tech and want something that’s up to par with the highly publicized Peloton Bike, but have more faith in a longstanding fitness brand than a startup, the S22i would be the perfect choice. What’s more, its price of entry is a touch lower than the Peloton—a nice bonus.

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2. Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3 

Refreshed extensively for 2019, the Smart Connect Bike EX3 is a solid option for those that want a high-quality spin bike without the added costs that come with high-tech screens built in.
The Echelon EX3 Max spin bike is great for in-home training, especially if you’re looking for a variety of fun, motivating workouts.

  • Resistance: 5
  • Support: 4
  • Materials: 5
  • Technology: 2

Resistance

Magnetic resistance is the name of the game here, and with the Echelon EX3 you get a broad range of 32 levels of resistance. In training along with programs in the Echelon Fit App (using your tablet in the built-in holder), you’ll see that even a well-seasoned cyclist will have to hustle to fight the higher resistance ranges of this bike (not to worry, you can go low-resistance too).

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Support

The Echelon EX3 is highly adjustable in its bars, seat, etc., allowing it to fit a wide range of users. There have been occasional complaints about saddle soreness, but when it comes to this style of bike, that’s fairly systemic for the category. Its pedals are also compatible with SPD clips, for those using the EX3 for off-season cycling training.

Materials

Sturdy steel construction, a hefty flywheel, and generally well-executed surfaces are all offered by the EX3. A first ride will quickly make you realize that this isn’t an entry-level bike despite its price being just north of $1,000.

Technology

On the bike itself there isn’t much to report; the bulk of the EX3’s tech comes in the form of the Echelon Fit app. The app is packed with functionality, including instructor-led training sessions and scenic rides filmed in stunning locations from around the globe.

Who Should Buy the Echelon Smart Connect Bike EX3?

As noted above, this bike is for everyone from entry-level to experienced rider, though specifically for those who would rather save money and use their own iPad/tablet rather than having a large screen built into their exercise bike.

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3. Horizon Fitness IC7.9

The Horizon Fitness IC7.9 arrived in the market as another solid affordable Peloton alternative, though with a few good tricks up its sleeve. Rather than focusing on producing their own interactive training software, Horizon dumped their resources into building a top spec bike at an affordable price, that has the capability of pairing up to your choice of training programs (including Peloton). We’ve been speculating for a while now that this new product-agnostic direction is where the industry is destined to start heading, as it leaves the consumer with choice, and keeps fitness brands from having to invest capital in programming/broadcasting technology.

horizon fitness ic7.9 indoor cycle

  • Resistance: 5
  • Support: 5
  • Materials: 5
  • Technology: 1

Resistance

The Horizon IC7.9 uses magnetic resistance much like its counterparts, but rather than a control knob they’ve opted for a simple up/down tab adjustment, allowing for quick and thoughtless jumps through the resistance range. It’s clever, and it works like a charm.

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Support

Ergonomics were a big priority when building the IC7.9; the brand wanted to make sure that the bike could be set up to fit a wide range of rider sizes. With significant adjustment available in the bars and seat position, both tall and short riders will have no issues getting comfortable on this one. Its saddle is a proper road cycling saddle, though no less comfortable than those offered by any competitors in this list.

Materials

Hitting the same point home again here, when we previewed this bike in the fall of 2019 we were quick to notice how sturdy every component felt. Often in the sub-$1,000 category things start feeling a bit flimsy, especially when you loosen adjusters to move the bars and seat around. This couldn’t be further from the case with the Horizon IC7.9. Every component has substance to it, and even at full standing pace the bike feels and rides like a more expensive spin bike.

Technology

Very little to report here. Its basic console clearly displays RPM, speed, distance, and calories burned. Your connection to a desired streaming service will take care of the rest.

Who Should Buy the Horizon Fitness IC7.9 indoor cycle?

Anyone who believes in machine quality over tech bells and whistles will love this one, as will any riders who already have a favorite interactive training subscription. If you are afraid of commitment, or aren’t ready to lock into iFit or the Echelon Live Studio programs, there’s a bit more flexibility to be had with this new offering from Horizon Fitness.

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4. Diamondback 510lc

Not every quality spin bike has to cost over $1,000, and unlike our most affordable offering in the list, the Diamondback 510Ic is a solid contender that we’re confident in recommending.

  • Resistance: 4
  • Support: 4
  • Materials: 4
  • Technology: 4

Resistance

With 16 levels of magnetically controlled resistance and 12 built-in training programs, the Diamondback 510Ic delivers some solid bang-for-buck when looking at its included features.

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Support

Vertical and horizontal adjustment of its seat, and vertical adjustment of its bars are the only means by which you can set up the ergonomics of the 510Ic, however most riders manage to find themselves a comfortable spot.

Given the price tag it comes as a bit of a surprise that the seat on the 510Ic spin bike is as comfortable as it is—not as cushy as a recumbent or standard exercise bike, but definitely reasonable enough to handle a longer workout.

Materials

Though compact in design, measuring a modest 42” x 23” x 46”, the Diamondback 510Ic is still quite sturdy, much like its more expensive competition. It also comes backed by a reasonable warranty; the frame has a lifetime limited warranty (5-years) and parts/electronics have 3 years of coverage, so there’s some decent peace of mind there.

Technology

The 510Ic runs a compact but effective LCD console that displays RPM, resistance, time, and other functions. It’s not as high tech as the NordicTrack, but also not as bare-bones as the Sole. Call it the Goldilocks bike for those wanting something a little more well-rounded.

Who Should Buy the Diamondback 510lc

As noted above, this is precisely the spin bike for someone wanting a bit more tech than the Sole, but not as much as the NordicTrack, all while saving a few bucks in the process. It’s a really smart buy overall depending on your preferences.

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5. Sole SB900

Getting back to basics here, the Sole SB900 is the perfect answer for someone that just wants to hop on and ride without the distraction of technology and programming. Hop on, set your resistance, and go — that’s the way things roll with this affordably priced unit.sole sb900 indoor cycle

  • Resistance: 5
  • Support: 4
  • Materials: 5
  • Technology: 0

Resistance

Whisper-quiet magnetic resistance is yet again the name of the game here, and with the SB900 you’re getting one of the most affordable bikes out there with this technology.

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Support

Adjustability and overall comfort is once again quite solid with the Sole SB900, once again earning it high marks. Good for riders up to 300 lbs, it’s also one of the bikes in this list with the most comfortable seats for an indoor cycle.

Materials

The SB900 is very well engineered for the money, and is backed by a very respectable warranty too. Its commercial-grade steel frame has a lifetime warranty, whereas other components are covered for 3 years.

Technology

Targeting riders that aren’t after a high-tech bike, there’s really nothing to speak of here.

Who Should Buy the Sole SB900?

This is a killer option for those on a budget who are prioritizing build quality and durability over the inclusion of high-tech gadgetry. It’s not for everyone, but it’s still a smart choice for under $1,000.

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6. Schwinn Fitness AC performance plus Indoor Cycling Bike

Some people choose to ride indoor cycles because they enjoy cycling in general, or they’re training for longer rides on outdoor bikes. If you want an indoor bike that’s modeled after outdoor bikes, the Schwinn AC Performance Plus should be on your shortlist.

Schwinn AC Performance Plus

  • Resistance: 5
  • Support: 4
  • Materials: 5
  • Technology: 3

Resistance

The Schwinn features a great magnetic resistance system that includes 6 working magnets. You can control the resistance using a knob in the same way you would a bike that uses conventional friction resistance. It’s a powerful system with a very large range of resistance, so anyone from a beginner to a professional athlete can find a resistance that challenges them.

It’s worth noting that so long as the flywheel is moving, the pedals are moving. This means that you should come to a complete stop before getting off, which can take some getting used to.

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Support

When you look at the Schwinn AC Performance Plus, it’s clear that the bike is the perfect pairing of indoor and outdoor attributes. It has long, angled handles with rubber grips and a large padded seat like you’d find on any indoor cycle. The magnets keep the bike quiet enough that you could cycle next to someone sleeping. It’s a great indoor cycle.

But what makes the Schwinn stand out is its outdoors-inspired features. The first is the Schwinn’s belt drive; notably, it actually has one. Most indoor cycles have no belt drive at all. Schwinn engineered their belt drive to try to simulate outdoor riding by making, among other things, the belt drive thicker. The belt drive is ribbed so that it feels like riding an outdoor bike. As the belt drive turns, it gives the impression of a chain moving over sprockets.

In addition, the pedals give you two options. You can ride with normal athletic shoes in supportive toe cages or use SPD fittings that allow you to clip special shoes to them. This will completely bind you to the cycle, eliminating the risk of slipping altogether.

Materials

The belt drive is made of carbon fiber that requires no maintenance. Likewise, the magnets never touch the 37-pound flywheel, so there is no wear or tear on that front either. The frame is made of aluminum, a material that traditionally yields strong but lightweight bikes. Plus, it doesn’t rust!

Schwinn is proud of its belt drive because it uses Carbon Blue technology to make the riding experience feel authentically outdoorsy, and we think they’ve been successful. There’s a reason this bike is expensive, but the price is worth it if you want this experience in your own home.

Technology

Shockingly, the Schwinn AC Performance Plus does not come with any computer console despite its high price – perhaps this was done to aid with the authenticity of riding an outdoors bicycle. In any case, multiple consoles have been designed specifically for this bike, but they won’t be included with your purchase.

Who Should Buy the Schwinn AC Performance Plus

People who find normal indoor bicycles inauthentic should purchase the Schwinn. No other bike on this list comes close to offering an experience that mimics outdoor riding.

The bike’s premium features include the Carbon Blue technology and magnetic resistance, both of which are rare qualities that might make up for the lack of a console. Because all the materials are top of the line and maintenance is low, you should have years and years of enjoyable riding (though it will cost you a pretty penny today).

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7. The Peloton Bike

Lastly comes the mighty Peloton. It’s safe to say the Peloton bike started a fitness revolution of sorts, but getting your hands on one can be pretty expensive. Finding a lightly used model on an online marketplace such as eBay is a great option for those who are interested in Peloton but want a much smaller price tag.

The Peloton Bike

  • Resistance: 4
  • Support: 4
  • Materials: 5
  • Technology: 5

Resistance

The Peloton is a magnet bike, which means its resistance comes in the form of magnets rather than friction. With magnetic resistance, the most noticeable difference is that the bike is much quieter when pedaling. If you haven’t tried it before, you’ll probably marvel at the lack of noise.

As for the resistance itself, we found it to be quite responsive, and you can easily adjust it with a simple knob. Turn right to increase the difficulty or left to make it easier.

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Support

You want your bike to support your exercise efforts, rather than getting in the way. To help with that, the Peloton bike comes with handy clipless pedals.

Frustratingly, you have to use Peloton’s proprietary shoes to use its clips. Other clip-on setups across the industry are universal. This is a good feature for safety and comfort, but it does require you to own special shoes. If you don’t want to buy new shoes, it’s possible to switch these clipless pedals out and replace them with “normal” pedals from an existing bike.

Materials

The Peloton is sturdy in construction, thanks to a carbon steel and aluminum frame, designed to “deliver super smooth and nearly silent pedaling”. It also has a dumbbell holder and a water bottle holder.

Technology

The technology on the Peloton is what makes it stand out from the majority of the competition; this bike has it all. First, it comes with a sweatproof 22″ HD touchscreen mounted in the front. The screen has built-in speakers, a microphone, and a camera for you to ride with friends. It’s also WiFi connected and supports Bluetooth audio and wireless ANT+ heart rate straps, allowing you to connect your WiFi or Bluetooth enabled device including a heart rate monitor or smartwatch. It’s this configuration that led NordicTrack to update the S15i the way they did, as well as to push into more interactive training options. 

The Peloton has all of these features so you can connect to the Peloton online platform. This allows you to watch live spin classes, view recorded classes, or even host your own! You can see your teacher, other students, and even their current metrics. There are tons of other features too, like prerecorded celebrity-hosted classes and following others. Of course, this online platform comes at a price of $39 per month.

Who Should Buy the Peloton?

If spin cycling is your lifestyle—if you live, eat, and breathe spinning—then this is the bike for you. It’s definitely at the high end of performance, and also comes with a sticker price that’s significantly higher than anyone else on the market, but Peloton has an almost cultish following that has led to significant sales overall. If the only thing that’s putting you off is the price tag, be sure to look on classified sites such as eBay for a used model. This way, the hundreds of dollars you save could pay for your Peloton class subscription for a year or more.

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Our Final Verdict

As with anything, when you’re shopping for a new spin bike, you’re trying to find the features you need at the best possible price. Every bike has its pros and cons, and all seven of these bikes occupy and dominate their own niche. However, if we divide the bikes by price range (low, medium, and high), three bikes rise to the top:

Low Price Range: Diamondback 510lc

If you’re strapped for cash, or just want an introduction to spin cycling, the Diamondback will help you enjoy getting into working out at home, without the worry that your bike is going to fall apart on you.

Mid Price Range: Sole SB900

A step up in build quality, a heavy-duty flywheel, and a rock-solid warranty give the Sole SB900 an upper hand in the mid-range. The best part being you’ll still keep your price of entry below $1,000.

High Price Range: NordicTrack S15i

At the end of the day, the S15i isn’t even the highest spec spin bike on the market from NordicTrack, but it delivers significant quality, and tech that rivals the Peloton, though at a much more reasonable cost overall. This is why we’re leaning towards the S15i as our favorite premium spin bike right now.

Whatever you decide, we hope you get a lot of miles out of your new spin bike!