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Best spin bike 2021: Get fit at home with the best spinning bikes

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Enjoy a studio-style experience at home with your very own spin bike

While 2020 was a tough year for spinning studios owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, spinning itself remains as popular as ever. This is largely thanks to the popularity of excellent home exercise bikes designed for high-intensity classes.

Peloton spearheaded the rise in home spin bikes linked to apps full of live and on-demand classes and, where it has led, many others have followed. You now have options to fit all budgets and preferences.

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Before we dive into our top picks, here’s what you need to know when you're looking to buy a spin bike.


Update: Although the stock of exercise equipment is starting to recover following the surge in demand over lockdown, some retailers are still facing shortages. You’ll find our original rundown of the best spin bikes below, as well as an in-stock list of the most readily available machines here. We’ll be updating this page regularly as stock recovers, so be sure to check back for more updates.

The best spin bikes to buy right now

If one or more of these products are not in stock, please get in touch via email or let us know on social media @expertreviews.

The original article continues below.


How to choose the best spin bike for you

What is a spinning bike?

Home exercise bikes predominantly fall into two categories, only one of which is suitable for spinning. Upright bikes have a more comfortable seated position where you're not leaning over the handlebars and aren’t designed for spinning or HIIT sessions in general.

What you need is an indoor cycle. These are now often referred to as spinning bikes and they’re set up to mimic the riding position you adopt when on a road bike, with a forward lean over the handlebars. You can also stand up on the pedals, which is key to spinning success.

How much do I need to spend?

Spinning cycles tend to be pricier than upright bikes, but you can still pick up great bikes for under £300, while top-end options will set you back over £1,000. One thing to bear in mind is that with services such as Peloton or Echelon, where you’re using the app for instructor-led spinning classes, you’ll also have to pay an ongoing subscription for the content, which is usually over £30 a month.

What are the key features to look out for?

Start by checking the weight of the flywheel because heavier wheels tend to allow for a smoother, more stable ride, especially when you start to crank up the speed and resistance. When it comes to resistance, it’s best to have friction resistance on a spinning bike where you can twirl a knob to increase or decrease it rapidly in line with the demands of your classes. Magnetic resistance using buttons is more difficult to use for this. That said, many new bikes have magnetic resistance that can be adjusted quickly with a dial.

You’ll also need to check out the size of the bike to see if it will fit into the space you have lined up – indoor cycles tend to have a larger footprint than upright bikes – and you’ll also want to confirm that the maximum user weight is enough for you. Almost all spinning bikes will have adjustable handlebars and saddles, but if you’re particularly tall or short it might be worth checking that the range available can accommodate you.

How do I get spinning classes?

You can simply create your own interval workout and go at it solo on a spinning bike, but it’s much easier to summon and maintain the motivation to push through a HIIT class when you have an instructor leading you through it, whether that’s through a prerecorded or live session.

There are third-party apps and classes on YouTube you can use for this without a connected spinning bike, while the best experience comes from bikes with partner apps such as Peloton and Echelon.

Make sure that the bike you’re getting has a tablet or phone mount on the console. You’ll need this to follow spinning classes on apps, although some options like Peloton will actually have a built-in screen for this.

READ NEXT: The best exercise bikes you can buy

The best spin bikes to buy

1. JLL IC250 Pro Indoor Bike: The best budget spin bike

Price: £300 | Buy now from Amazon

There is a cheaper spinning bike in JLL’s range – the IC200, which costs £240. However, we reckon it’s worth the extra outlay for the IC250, even if you’re shopping on a budget. Why? Primarily because it links to the Kinomap app. Pop a tablet running the app onto the handlebars and it opens up a world of guided workouts and video routes to keep you entertained and challenged during your rides. It costs a lot less than most partner spinning apps cost, too: Kinomap is £10.49 a month, while a subscription to Peloton or Echelon sets you back £40.

The JLL IC250 is also a great bike, even if you have no intention of using it with any app, with a belt-driven flywheel and magnetic resistance that can be quickly increased or decreased using the dial on the frame. You can adjust the handlebar and seat height to suit your body, with 10 different levels available on the seat and four on the handlebars. The bike can also be easily moved out of the way after use thanks to the wheels on the front.

Key specs – Size: 116 x 51 x 111cm (LWH); Resistance: Magnetic; Max user weight: 130kg

 

2. JTX Cyclo-6: The best spinning bike under £600

Price: £509 | Buy now from JTX

The Cyclo-6 is a gym-standard spinning bike at a very friendly price for home users and, unless you want a connected experience where your bike links to an app with classes, there’s no real need to spend more. The Cyclo-6 has a heavy 22kg flywheel, so it will run smoothly no matter how much power you’re putting through the pedals, and the friction resistance is controlled by a knob on the frame, which means you can ramp up the difficulty to challenge any level of rider.

Even if you’re planning on following spinning classes, you can always prop up your tablet within view and use the Cyclo-6 with apps such as Apple Fitness+ or Peloton – you just won’t see your stats onscreen as you do with connected bikes.

Key specs – Size: 124 x 54 x 122cm (LWH); Resistance: Friction; Max user weight: 160kg

Buy now from JTX


3. Echelon Connect Sport Bike: The best budget Peloton alternative

Price: £799 | Buy now from Echelon

This is not a budget bike by any means, since the Connect Sport costs £800 and you need to spend £40 a month for access to the partner Echelon app and the classes it contains. Compared to the price you pay for Peloton, however, it’s a veritable bargain, since you’re getting live and on-demand spinning classes on a connected bike.

There’s no built-in screen like on the Peloton Bike, but there’s a tablet/phone holder on the handlebars so you can follow the classes easily. The Connect Sport is also aimed mainly at beginner spinners, with a lightweight 7kg flywheel and pedals that have cages rather than clips. Echelon also has the EX3 bike for £1,200. The EX3 is a more robust bike that would be better for experienced spinners and also links to a tablet rather than having its own screen.

Key specs – Size: 125 x 51.5 x 111cm (LWH); Resistance: Magnetic; Max user weight: 136kg

Buy now from Echelon


4. Peloton Bike+: The best home spinning bike

Price: From £2,295 | Buy now from Peloton

Peloton is the biggest name in home spinning – and with good reason. The bike and linked Peloton app offer the best experience you’ll find, with a range of engaging classes suitable for all abilities shown on the built-in HD screen.

The Bike+ is the new top dog in Peloton’s range, but you can get the original Peloton Bike for £1,230 if you prefer. The upgrades on the Bike+ include a bigger screen (23.8in to 21.5in), better sound quality and auto-follow resistance that will change in line with the instructions during classes, whereas on the original bike you have to adjust it yourself. You can also adjust the resistance yourself in the Bike+, though, in case you want to work harder or ease off compared to the instructions given.

As well as spinning classes, the Peloton app, which costs £39 a month, also includes all manner of other workouts, including strength, HIIT and yoga sessions, and on the Bike+ the screen can be rotated 360° to make it easier to see when not cycling.

Key specs – Size: 149 x 58 x 135cm (LWH); Resistance: Magnetic; Max user weight: 135kg

Buy now from Peloton


5. Apex Bike: Another great Peloton alternative

Price: £1,200 | Buy now from John Lewis

Apex is another great option for home spinning, with the bike linking to its partner app to show live and on-demand classes. The Apex undercuts the Peloton in two ways. First, the bike is cheaper at £1,200, as it doesn’t have a built-in screen, but does have a tablet holder, which means you can view the classes easily on the handlebars. Second, the app subscription is £30 a month, rather than £39.

The bike itself has some nifty features, including a phone holder that also charges your phone wirelessly if your phone is suitably equipped (although we found large phones such as the iPhone 12 Pro Max don't work), and by USB if it isn’t. The flywheel is only 4kg, but it still runs smoothly and, in our experience, provides a good challenge for even fit users, with 30 levels of magnetic resistance.

It’s worth noting that the Apex bike will only work on iOS at the moment, making the Peloton or Echelon bikes better options for Android users.

Read our full Apex Bike review for more details

Key specs – Size: 122 x 61 x 122cm (LWH); Resistance: Magnetic; Max user weight: 140kg

Buy now from Apex

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