If you have ever frequented a gym in the UK you might have seen a room full of people sitting on spin bikes in the dark, pedalling furiously to loud music whilst a personal trainer shouts motivational words at them. You may even have been one of those people and now want to experience the cardiovascular benefits of sweating your all on a spin bike in the comfort of your own home.
Well if you do… then you are in luck.
We have compiled the best spin bikes available in the UK and after spending a month or so testing each of them we can confidently bring you our full verdict on which is the best spin bike for you. We have selected a complete range of indoor studio type cycles for you to choose from and there should be something to suit all budgets and fitness levels.
But first, we thought we would take a look at some of the common questions and misconceptions around spinning as well as providing you with a handy guide on choosing the right spin bike for your needs.
Spin Bikes Vs. Exercise Bikes
It is a common misconception that spin bikes are the same as exercise bikes. This is simply not the case and although there are of course many similarities between the two, there are also some key differences. Spin bikes tend to require more effort and force from the user than exercise bikes and they don’t have the same level of versatility as an exercise bike (that often comes loaded with extra gadgets and the ability to change various settings) but they do help you to burn more calories if you really push yourself.
Spin bikes tend to have a much sturdier base and more solid frame and generally you will not find foldable spin bikes. Exercise bikes tend to be foldable but do lack the stability that spin bikes have.
Spin bikes will keep your body in a more natural position thanks to the design of them and they feature a variation of drop handle bars which are more comfortable to use and grab on to when really pushing hard. These spin handle bars are designed so they push upwards and away from the main frame of the bike and really make a difference when compared to standard exercise bikes.
Both will help tone your legs and particularly your calf muscles and both offer one of the most low impact cardio workouts available. Certainly, if you compare a spin session to a 30 minute run on a treadmill then you will not only cause less impact to your joints but you will also burn more calories.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Spin Bikes
Spinning is generally the most sought after exercise class at any commercial gym so you might be forgiven for thinking that it has hundreds of positives and no negatives. Like anything, there is a balance to strike so let’s start with the good stuff.
Taking part in regular spin cycle sessions is a great way to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy and in good shape. Cycling and spinning are a great low impact way to increase your weekly cardio sessions and spin bikes in particular are pretty affordable when compared to treadmills and rowing machines.
Spin bikes are considered safe from an injury point of view as there is little chance of injury and they do not require any outdoor or road riding which can be more dangerous than stationary cycling in your garage. They can also be used no matter the weather which is just as well for any one using a spin bike in the UK.
If you are looking to improve your stamina or just want to use a spin cycle for a HIIT workout then it is the perfect piece of exercise equipment for those purposes.
The main issues with spin bikes surround overuse. The bikes themselves will have no issues with being used every day but the human body does need rest and so unlike brisk walking which is a great form of cardio, hard core spinning should not be performed every day of the week. Instead, you should aim for a weekly routine of 3-4 spin sessions per week at the most and then supplement this with a lighter form of cardio such as walking.
Will I Lose Weight By Spinning?
Spinning, like most forms of exercise will help you burn calories but that in itself will not necessarily be enough to help you lose weight. If you are looking to burn fat then you should look to be in a calorie deficit – in other words you need to be eating less calories than your body is burning as energy.
Each 30 minute spin session will likely burn between 200 and 300 calories, so if you spin for one hour per day that will be 400 to 600 calories you have burned that you might otherwise have done. However, if you then decide to eat 3 chocolate biscuits as a reward then you have just added on around 300 calories. If you then eat a chocolate bar in the afternoon because you feel good about your spin session you have completely negated your workout.
So the simple answer is that spinning can help you to get in to a calorie deficit but only as part of a well balanced nutritional plan (we don’t like the word diet).
Put it this way – if your body expends 2500 calories on an average day and you usually consume 2500 calories then you are not going to gain or lose weight. If you still consume the 2500 calories but add a spin session to your usual day that means you are likely to be expending 2900 to 3100 calories – which is putting you in a calorie deficit of 400-600 calories – in this case, yes you will lose weight.
Why Buy A Spin Bike For Home
The spin studio at any commercial gym is usually the most popular room in the building. It is also not uncommon for these classes to be fully booked which can lead to plenty of frustration if you are desperate to join the class and can’t get a space. The number one benefit to buying a spin bike to use at home is that it is yours to use whenever you please which means using it consistently is easy to do.
Of course, when using a studio type cycle at home you are still going to have all of the benefits of using one at the gym except you won’t have the gym instructor shouting at you. If you still need the added motivation of someone telling you what to do and when, then you can either follow pre-recorded sessions or even follow live follow along sessions on one of the many apps available.
Spin bikes are one of the most effective cardio tools we can use and for us cardio is something that is generally better achieved outside of the gym. Whether that is running, cycling, walking etc. is up to you, but we prefer to use the gym for strength training which you should look to incorporate alongside your cardio training. If you have a home setup for strength training then you could even lose the gym membership altogether thus saving you money in the process.
How To Buy A Spin Bike For Home Use
Buying a spin bike can seem a little daunting but it needn’t be. Unlike some gym equipment, spin cycles are not the hardest thing to buy and the biggest factors should be longevity and budget – and often these two go hand in hand. In other words, the more you pay the higher quality bike you should get and therefore the longer it should last – of course, things aren’t always that simple so here are a few handy tips showing what to look out for.
Size – Most spin cycles are very similar in size but some do have larger dimensions than others so always check the measurements before you order. We have included the dimensions of each cycle we have reviewed so you can be sure it will fit in your space. It is also worth noting that if you are really tight for space you might be better off with a folding exercise bike.
Maximum User Weight – Cheap spin bikes tend to have much lower maximum user weights compared to more expensive models. That being said, most spin bikes will have sufficient weight capacity for most users thanks to their more stable base. Always check the maximum weight limit before purchasing as this is also a good sign as to the quality of the frame.
Connectivity – Although spin bikes are usually a little less sophisticated than standard exercise bikes you can still get some with excellent connectivity with various apps and wearable tech such as heart rate monitors. If app connectivity is important to you then this is well worth looking in to before buying.
Comfort Levels – The ergonomics of the bike are important and you should put a particular focus on the saddle, handle bars and pedals as these are the key points of contact you will have with the bike. You should also consider who is going to use it and if there are any particular issues for anyone who is taller or shorter than average. It is important that the bike is adjustable to the user height too.
Flywheel and Drive Belt – The flywheel and drive belt are key components of any spin bike and as such you should look for bikes with high quality flywheels and smooth but strong drive belts. Flywheels come in a variety of weights but it is not always the case that the heaviest flywheel is best (although this is a good rule of thumb) so always look for something that is smooth running and ideally not too loud. The same applies to the drive belt which can either be a belt or chain. Chain belts tend to be stronger but are often noisier whereas standard belts are smoother and quieter.
Resistance Levels – The resistance levels found on a spin bike allow you to control the intensity of the ride. These need to be handy to adjust as you will often look to make adjustments mid-ride. They can be mechanically or manually controlled and there can be anything upwards of 8 levels of resistance. It is worth noting that a bike that has 24 levels of resistance may not provide a tougher ride than a bike with 8 levels of resistance but just means it has more variations between its hardest and easiest setting. Many spin bikes tend to have a dial with no set levels of intensity – this is perfectly normal.
Durability – Spin studio cycles are going to cost anything from £150 to £600+ so it is not an investment to take lightly. It is important that it is built to last and that it is easy to maintain so it can be used for years, if not decades.
Warranty – All spin bikes will come with a warranty. Some start at just 6 months for refurbished models and some will offer 10 year warranties or even lifetime warranties on certain components. It is worth checking the warranty details before purchasing.
Top 5 Spin Bikes UK
Let’s take a look at our top spin bikes available in the UK. They are ordered in preferential order but it is worth reading each review as the best spin bike for you could be different based on your needs and budget.
JLL IC300 PRO
The JLL IC300 PRO is a high quality indoor cycle that sits towards the mid-price range in terms of cost but packs plenty of punches when it comes to build quality and features. Manufactured in the UK by one of our favoured fitness equipment suppliers, the IC300 PRO is part of a range of spin bikes that sets a high standard.
Sporting a 20kg flywheel that is driven by a strong but smooth actioned rubber belt, the IC300 PRO features a whole host of adjustable components and has a clear focus on user comfort as well as high performance. There is magnetic resistance that is easily adjustable thanks to a turning dial which controls the distance the magnet sits from the flywheel and thus increases resistance the closer it is. We found the levels of resistance to be ample and although you don’t get a set number of resistance levels it is easy enough to set the resistance level and the range of difficulty between the highest and lowest setting is quite considerable.
The IC300 PRO measures up at 131cm in length when fully adjusted and when minimally adjusted can sit at a length of 111cm. The height is also adjustable between 98cm and 112cm and there is a fixed width of 51cm. It is the adjustable nature of the handlebars, saddle height and seat distance (to the handlebars) that make this one of the best spin bikes on offer. It really does allow the user to find a level that is comfortable for them in terms of ergonomics and the large handlebars allow for a range of seated positions as well as standing use.
The IC300 PRO comes with an aluminium bottle which stores perfectly in the drinks holder that is conveniently located to the side of the front wheel. This is generally well positioned but if you are at maximum height on the saddle it is a bit of a stretch to reach the bottle.
The centre console is basic but functional and has all the standard stats displayed as you might expect including your heart rate that is measured using the pulse rate sensors on the handles. We found the readouts to be fairly accurate when compared to the readouts from our Whoop band.
There is a maximum user weight of 130kg which is towards the high end for most spin bikes and the weight of the bike itself is 45kg. There are transport wheels to the front of the bike so you can move it in to a convenient location for your workout.
Every aspect of the IC300 is comfortable and the riding experience is enjoyable and challenging as you would expect. It is worth pointing out that this is one of the quietest bikes we tested which makes it ideal for home or flat use where lower noise levels might be important.
The pedals features a 3 piece crank system which provides a strong feel and we are told this makes the pedals much more durable in the long term. The IC300 PRO is very much designed for home use and should have no issue with daily use and is backed by the JLL at home 12 month warranty.
All in all, if you are looking for a high quality spin bike that doesn’t break the bank then this is a top choice.
- Plenty of adjustable options for comfort
- Very quiet ride
- Good range of magnetic resistance
- High maximum user weight of 130kg
- Excellent build quality
- Slightly inconvenient location of water bottle holder
Bluefin Fitness Tour SP Bike
The Tour SP Bike from Bluefin Fitness is one of the nicest looking spin bikes you will see. Now of course, judging something by the way it looks is not going to tell us a great deal about functionality but the good news is that the Tour SP stacks up on both fronts. Standing at 122cm (l) x 129cm (h) x 58cm (w) the Tour SP is one of the sturdiest indoor cycles we tested and also has a great range of adjustable options at its disposal.
Quick release levels allow you to quickly and easily adjust the height of handlebars, the height of the saddle and the distance the saddle sits from the handlebars and means that switching between users is a quick and easy. In fact, it seems that Bluefin Fitness have gone the extra miles with this model to ensure that comfort and convenience is experienced by the user at all times. From the placement of the water bottle holder to the well positioned tablet holder on the centre console, this bike is all about functionality as well as comfort.
The ride quality of the Tour SP is excellent and it all starts with the impressive belt driven 25kg flywheel. This provides one of the smoothest spin rides we have ever had the pleasure to experience and not only that, but it does so almost silently. The pedals have a dynamic anti-slip design with adjustable straps above to keep everything nice and secure mid-spin. The saddle is easy to adjust and has 9 levels of vertical adjustment which promise to provide the ideal height no matter your size. The saddle is not the comfiest we have tested and so it could be worth purchasing an additional gel saddle cover if you are aiming for regular 30-60 minute spin sessions.
The drop handlebars are probably the best we tested for this roundup and the padding on them is excellent as is the design and positioning of them. They also feature handy arm pads that provide increased comfort and stability when you are really pushing hard.
The centre console that comes supplied with the bike is one of the better that we saw although it is still simple by design. This is no bad thing as it keeps the cost down and allows you to easily display your own mobile device or tablet above it and use the bundled KinoMap app for live or pre-recorded training sessions and lots more besides. There is a pulse rate monitor built in to the handle bars and this can be displayed on the console but one feature that does set this apart from some of the other models is that it is compatible with standalone heart rate straps.
The official maximum user weight of the Tour SP is 100kg but we have seen plenty of user reviews saying it can withstand 125kg or more. For safety reasons we would suggest sticking to the 100kg maximum though.
Overall, this is an excellent spin bike with a hefty flywheel and one of the smoothest and quietest rides you can get.
- Excellent connectivity
- Heart rate strap compatible
- Super smooth ride
- Almost silent operation
- Sports pedals included
- Low official maximum user weight of 100kg
JLL IC400 PRO
The JLL IC400 PRO is a step up from the IC300 and in theory is actually a significant upgrade on the IC300 PRO. The main reason we have positioned the IC300 above the 400 is down to price as this model will set you back around an extra £100. That being said, if you think you will benefit from the added functionality and some of the extra features then it still represents very good value for money at this price point.
The main design of the IC400 PRO is pretty much the same as its younger sibling from an aesthetic point of view, but there are a couple of key differences. This model comes with an upgraded centre console with bluetooth connectivity which allows you to connect to the iConsole + app giving a range of new functionality. There is an upgraded flywheel, saddle and pedals that can also enhance the overall experience and for more seasoned spin cycle users this might prove to be a better purchase.
The length of the IC400 is pretty much the same as the 300 with a total length of 120cm when fully adjusted. The maximum height is greater with a total maximum height of 141.5cm and a slightly greater width of 54cm. These different dimensions don’t really impact on the usability of the bike and it is just as well suited to users of all heights just like the IC300. One of the key differences is that the 400 sports a gel seat cover which provides extra comfort to the already well padded saddle. There is also the addition of SDP compatible pedals which means you can use dedicated cycling shoes to clip in if you wish. This is a significant upgrade over the IC300 and although not all users will appreciate this upgrade it will make a big difference to dedicated spin cycle and road/mountain bike enthusiasts.
The centre console gets an upgrade too and takes on a much more elegant look with added bluetooth functionality. This allows connectivity to the iConsole app which brings with it a plethora of new features. This worked well for us although some people have had connection issues with the app with other bike models – the IC400 PRO worked well for us when connected to the app though.
The 22kg flywheel is an upgrade on the previous model and will provide a slightly smoother ride but also a more challenging ride with increased resistance at the top end. This model also has an increased maximum user weight of 150kg which is about as good as it gets. The total weight of the bike stands at 53kg.
You will find the device and drinks holders well positioned on the IC400 PRO and overall this is one of the most comfortable to use and sturdy spin bikes we tested.
- SDP compatible pedals a huge plus
- Gel padded seat cover included
- 150kg maximum user weight
- Bluetooth functionality
- Extremely comfortable to use
- Some negative user reviews of iConsole app
XS Sports SB500
The XS Sports SB500 is a budget spin bike that provides a good solid spin workout in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t have quite the same build quality as the higher positioned bikes on this page but it does a great job at a really budget price. The SB500 is the bigger brother of the SB350 and we prefer this model as it is has a stronger frame and therefore is likely to stand the test of time.
The frame of the SB500 is solid and when you sit on this bike it feels very sturdy. It is designed to be used by users of a maximum weight of 125kg which is pretty decent considering the price tag – if we compared that to the 100kg max user weight of the SB350 then the SB500 certainly inspires a little more confidence.
The SB500 stands at 112cm (l) x 48cm (w) x 105cm (h) and features adjustable elements including height of saddle, distance from saddle to handlebars and also the height of the handlebars. The handlebars are well padded and long enough to provide good support in a range of positions. You can also stand when spinning on this bike without any issue and the stability is overall very good. If we are being super picky we would prefer the handlebars to be slightly greater in width but this is a minimal issue and is a subjective preference of our tester. There are some well made elbow pads on the handles which are ideal for tough gruelling sessions.
The saddle is pretty well padded and is just as comfortable as most spin bike saddles you would find in a commercial setup. XS Sports apparently spend a lot of time researching the ideal ergonomics and this shows in the adjustable nature of this bike and the quality of the seat.
The flywheel is 15kg which is less than some of the other models we tested but it did perform well for us. It is not quite as smooth as the JLL models but it is not noticeably jerky either. In fact, we had some very enjoyable rides on the SB500 and the level of challenge afforded by the magnetic resistance was impressive. This bike has a two way chain driven system which may explain why the ride is not quite so smooth as the belt driven systems we tested but it should also mean longevity will not be an issue with this model. The pedals seem well made and have foot straps to keep your feet in place and the pedalling action was smooth with nothing out of the ordinary.
The centre console is very basic but displays all the key data including time, speed, distance, calories burned and also your pulse rate. The pulse rate sensors are built in to the handles and work effectively.
It is hard to knock this effort from XS Sports given the affordable price point and anyone looking to replace their gym based spin bike sessions with the affordable SB500 shouldn’t be disappointed.
- Generous maximum user weight of 125kg
- Unbeatable value for money
- Good level of adjustability
- Two way chain driven system
- Slightly narrow handlebars
Sportstech SX200 Indoor Studio Bike
The Sportstech SX200 spin bike is the most expensive of those we tested and comes in at around the £500 mark. We had pretty high expectations of this bike and although it didn’t disappoint, equally it didn’t blow us away either. The SX200 does everything right, it has a well built and sturdy frame, is comfortable to use and has a heavyweight flywheel that drives a smooth ride. Where it excels is in its display and connectivity and that is the key difference between this model and those that are slightly cheaper. This is not quite achieving Peloton levels but it is closer to that than the rest we reviewed – the key question is – do you need that level of functionality?
The frame measures up at 104cm (l) x 54cm (w) x 116cm (h) and it has all the adjustability of the other models we tested. The design is very good with the water bottle holder in the ideal position and the centre console being optimally placed for perfect line of sight. It has a larger display than all of the other models we tested and the basic functionality of this is excellent – this does get covered up when you place a device in the holder though so you will need to use the dedicated apps rather than just watching your favourite TV show (which we wouldn’t recommend for spinning anyway).
In terms of connectivity the main app you will want to use will be KinoMap and this works incredibly well with the SX200. You can stream to another screen if you want the full screen display and this is where you start to enjoy the Peleton type experience with live and pre-recorded sessions available. If you are the sort of person who needs this level of motivation then the SX200 could be a savvy buy.
All aspects of the build quality are excellent. The maximum user weight is 125kg which is ample (if not the greatest of those we tested) and the saddle is very comfortable too and features horizontal and vertical adjustment. The handlebars are ergonomically designed and we found them to be perfect in testing and they feature arm rests for extra padding when needed. There are pulse rate sensors built in to the handles and you can also use a chest strap heart rate monitor too.
Resistance levels are super easy to change and this is controlled using a dial with no individual resistance steps. The range of difficulty between the highest and lowest setting is pretty vast and means this spin bike is suitable for all ability levels.
The SX200 is driven by a 22kg flywheel which is very smooth and quiet in operation and this cycle uses a belt to drive it.
Overall, the SX200 is an excellent indoor studio cycle for home use, has the best connectivity of those we tested and is very well made. The price point will put some people off but if you need the connectivity it is worth the investment.
- Best for connectivity
- Very comfortable to use
- Good adjustment levels
- Very comfortable saddle
- Most expensive of all tested