Cycling Smarter: What to Look for in an Indoor Cycling Bike?

Cycling Smarter: What to Look for in an Indoor Cycling Bike?

When it comes to indoor cycling, you need the right bike for a smooth and enjoyable ride. But with so many different bikes on the market, what should you look for in an indoor cycling bike?

It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which features are essential and which ones don’t matter as much. Don’t worry – we’re here to help!

We’ll take a look at all of the key components of an indoor cycling bike that make up its overall quality: from frames and drivetrains, brakes and pedals, comfort features; even down to extras like speakers or water bottle holders.

With our guide on what to look for in an indoor cycling bike, your search is sure to get easier – no more guesswork involved!


When shopping for an indoor cycling bike, it’s important to consider the frame material and weight capacity. The frame is the foundation of your bike and should be strong enough to handle your riding style and weight.

Most frames are made from aluminum or steel, but there are other materials such as carbon fiber that can provide a lighter-weight option.

Aluminum is lightweight yet durable, making it a popular choice for many cyclists. Steel frames offer more stability than aluminum but tend to be heavier in comparison.

Carbon fiber frames are lightweight and stiffer than aluminum or steel, but they also come with a higher price tag.

Each bike has its own maximum rider weight limit which you should take into consideration when selecting a frame size.

If you’re close to the upper limit of what the frame can support, look for one with additional reinforcement features like extra-thick tubing or reinforced joints that will help ensure durability over time.

Additionally, if you plan on carrying any cargo while riding (like panniers), make sure that the frame can accommodate this extra load as well.


The drivetrain consists of three parts: crank arm length, chainring size, and cassette size. All three must be compatible with your riding style and terrain in order for you to get the best performance out of your bike.

Crank Arm Length

The crank arm length is measured from the center of the bottom bracket spindle to the center of the pedal axle. Generally speaking, shorter cranks are better suited for sprints or climbing while longer cranks provide more leverage on flat surfaces or long rides.

As a rule of thumb, riders between 5’4” and 6’2” should use 170 mm-175 mm cranks while those over 6’2″ can go up to 180 mm-185 mm depending on their preference.

Chainring Size

Chainrings come in various sizes ranging from 34 teeth all the way up to 54 teeth (or even larger).

Smaller chainrings are better suited for climbing as they require less effort but will also limit top speed when going downhill or on flats; conversely, larger chainrings offer higher speeds but require more energy output during climbs.

Cassette Size

A cassette is made up of several cogs that range from 11t all the way up to 32t (or sometimes even bigger).

Larger cassettes have smaller gaps between each cog which makes shifting smoother; however, they also add weight so if you’re looking for a lightweight setup then opt for something smaller like an 11-25t or 12-27t instead.

On top of this, there are also compatibility issues with certain brands/models so make sure everything matches before making any purchases!

In conclusion, having a properly set up drivetrain can make all the difference when it comes to indoor cycling performance. Take some time to familiarize yourself with these components and find the ones that work best according to your riding style and terrain conditions.

Brakes and Pedals

When it comes to brakes and pedals on an indoor cycling bike, there are a few important factors to consider.

Brake Type

The type of brake you choose will depend on your personal preference and the type of riding you plan to do. There are two main types of brakes for indoor cycling bikes – rim brakes and disc brakes.

Rim brakes use pads that press against the wheel rims when activated, while disc brakes use calipers that squeeze against a rotor attached to the hub. Disc brakes tend to be more powerful than rim brakes but require more maintenance as they have more moving parts.

Pedal Type and Cleats Compatibility

Pedals come in different styles depending on what kind of shoes you’ll be wearing while riding your bike indoors.

Most pedals have either flat platforms or clipless systems which allow riders to clip their shoes into them for added stability during hard efforts like sprints or climbs.

If you opt for clipless pedals, make sure they are compatible with cleats from your preferred shoe brand before purchasing them so that they fit properly onto the pedal body without any issues.

Some cyclists prefer using toe clips or straps instead of clipless pedals because these provide extra security when pedaling at high speeds or going uphill.

Toe clips can also help improve power transfer by keeping your feet firmly planted on the pedal throughout each stroke cycle; however, it is important to ensure that whatever toe clips/straps system you buy is compatible with your chosen pedal type before making a purchase.

Comfort Features

The saddle type and adjustability, handlebar type and adjustability, and grips/bar tape all play a role in providing the most comfortable ride possible.

Saddle Type and Adjustability

When it comes to saddles, there are many different types available on the market today. From traditional leather saddles to modern foam or gel-filled models, you’ll want to choose one that fits your body shape best.

Additionally, look for adjustable rails so you can move the saddle forward or backward as needed for optimal positioning while riding.

Handlebar Type and Adjustability

Handlebars come in various shapes such as flat bars or drop bars depending on what style of riding you prefer. Make sure they are adjustable so you can find the right height that works with your body size. You may also want to consider ergonomic handlebars which provide extra cushioning during long rides.

Grips/Bar Tape

Grips help keep your hands secure while riding by providing additional grip when necessary; bar tape adds another layer of cushioning between your hands and the handlebars themselves.

Look for materials like rubber or cork that offer good grip without being too abrasive against the skin over time; if using bar tape make sure it is properly applied so it doesn’t start peeling off after a few rides!

Overall, choosing an indoor cycling bike with comfortable features will ensure a safe and enjoyable ride every time.

By selecting the right saddle type and adjustability, handlebar type and adjustability, as well as grips/bar tape that provide a good grip without being too abrasive against the skin over time, you can be sure to have a pleasant experience while riding your indoor cycling bike.


Computer console/display options can help you track your progress and stay motivated during long rides. Many models come with a basic display that shows time, distance, speed, and calories burned. Some more advanced displays may also include heart rate monitors or pre-programmed workouts.

Accessories like water bottle holders are also important for staying hydrated during longer rides. Look for models that have integrated holders or adjustable cages so you can easily reach your drink without having to stop pedaling.

Other accessories such as phone holders or tablet stands can be useful if you want to watch movies while riding or listen to music from your device.

Finally, make sure you check the warranty before making a purchase. Most bikes will come with at least one year of coverage, but some manufacturers offer extended warranties of up to five years on certain parts and components.

This is especially important if you plan on using the bike frequently since it will ensure that any repairs needed due to normal wear and tear are covered by the manufacturer instead of coming out of your pocket.

FAQs in Relation to What To Look For In An Indoor Cycling Bike?

How do I choose an indoor bike?

When choosing an indoor bike, it is important to consider the type of riding you plan on doing. If you are looking for a more intense workout, then a spin bike or stationary bike with adjustable resistance levels may be best.

For those who want to simulate outdoor cycling, look for models that offer virtual courses and terrain settings.

Also, consider the size and adjustability of the frame as well as the comfort level of its saddle and handlebars.

Lastly, check out reviews from other cyclists to get an idea of how reliable each model is before making your purchase.

Is it better to have a heavier flywheel on a spin bike?

The answer to this question depends on the individual’s preferences and goals.

Generally, a heavier flywheel will provide more resistance and create a smoother ride. This is beneficial for those who are looking for an intense workout or prefer the feeling of riding outdoors.

On the other hand, lighter flywheels can be easier to accelerate which may be preferable for those who want shorter workouts or enjoy sprints.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what type of cycling experience you’re aiming for.

Which type of indoor cycle is best?

The best type of indoor cycle depends on your individual needs and preferences.

For those looking for a low-impact, full-body workout, an upright stationary bike is ideal. It provides the most natural cycling motion and can be adjusted to fit any rider’s size.

For more intense workouts, a spin bike with adjustable resistance levels allows you to push yourself further without putting too much strain on your joints.

Finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate in convenience and portability, an indoor cycling trainer is perfect as it lets you take your ride anywhere with minimal setup time required.

Ultimately, choosing the right indoor cycle comes down to what works best for you!

What to look for when buying a used spin bike?

When buying a used spin bike, it is important to consider the condition of the frame and components.

Look for signs of wear and tear such as rust or corrosion on metal parts, frayed cables, worn-out pedals, brakes that don’t work properly, or squeaky chains.

Also, inspect the flywheel for any damage or imbalance which could affect performance. Check if all bolts are tightened securely and make sure there are no loose parts that can cause an accident during use.

Lastly, test-ride the bike to ensure it is comfortable and in good working order before making your purchase.


From the frame and drivetrain to the brakes and pedals, comfort features, and extras, it’s important to find a bike that is comfortable, durable, and affordable.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to find a great indoor cycling bike that meets your needs! Don’t forget to look for all of the things mentioned above when looking for an indoor cycling bike – it could make all the difference!

Adam Johnson

As a middle-aged, 40-something cyclist, my riding goals have changed over the years. A lover of all things retro, and an avid flat bar cyclist, I continue to live off past triathlon glories.

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