Best Must-Have Exercise Bike Accessories

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By Robbie Ferri CPT

CPT & Indoor Cycling Instructor

When it comes to indoor cycling, I have always found you can make it really easy or very hard for yourself. We’re not talking resistance here, but experience. As an indoor cycling instructor who has been in the industry for many years, I have advised many riders and helped them on their journey. 

 A question that comes up all the time is what exercise bike accessories I should be using. In this article, I will tell you about some of my favorites and those that many indoor cyclists I know couldn’t ride without. 

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Padded Shorts

The first item to mention is padded shorts. These shorts add an extra layer of foam between you and the bike seat. They’re typically made with memory foam, but some come with a gel insert.

They are a fantastic way of improving your comfort level and ability. They make it much easier to move around the bike, and when it comes to those sessions that have you jumping up and down, it’s much easier to land confidently. 

Padded shorts, also known as bib shorts in the cycling world, are designed to be worn on your skin or under other garments, such as leggings. They are cheap to buy, ranging from $10 to $150, and the more you spend, the longer they will last and the more comfortable they will be. 

A great example of a set of padded shorts is the 3D Gel Padded Shorts. They not only add a huge amount of comfort but also fit nicely, either as they are or you could even wear them under a garment. 

3d gel seat cushion

Bike Seat

What many indoor cyclists don’t know is that you can change the bike seat on 99.9% of exercise bikes. This means you can swap the saddle out for whatever you want to increase comfort and keep you riding longer. 

Bike seats come in many different shapes and sizes. Some seats are short and wide. Other seats might be long and thin. It can hugely improve the indoor cycling experience and keep you on the bike and training longer. 

There’s not a perfect bike seat for everyone. We are all quite unique in shape and size, and finding the right bike seat for you can be challenging. The best option is to go for a bike fitter, but testing a few bike seats is another option. 

One of our favorite bike seats is the Wittkop. It’s not just a unique shape that helps for comfort, but it also has a very soft foam layer that adapts to your shape. We feature the Wittkop in the article on the best bike seats. 

spin bike seat

Padded Seat Cover

Next, we have the padded seat cover. Many indoor cyclists give up when they feel the bike is uncomfortable when you don’t have to. You have so many options to choose from to improve comfort when riding.

The bike seat we discussed above is not your only option. You can always use a padded seat, which many people choose. The reason is that you can remove it and use it on other bikes. I see many at the spin studio when I instruct. 

Padded seat covers are typically made with either foam or gel. They help increase comfort and make it easier to ride in those jumpy sessions where the instructor has you doing lots of short sprints. 

The JJPOPO we feature is an incredible seat cover. It’s made of memory foam and is very easy to install and remove. We highly recommend it, and it’s excellent value for money. 

padded seat cover

Cycling Shoes 

Next, we have cycling shoes. These are what we use to clip into the bike‘s pedals and secure our feet. You will see these on many indoor bikes, as well as outdoor bikes used in events such as the Tour de France.

Cycling shoes can increase comfort, give you a more stable platform to ride on, and even help ventilate air much better than a typical trainer. The unique thing about indoor cycling shoes is that they can be clipped in.

Clipping in is when you attach a small cleat to the bottom of the shoe. This can clip into the pedal, and then your feet stick. To unclip, you have to drop your heel to the side. This means there’s no chance of your feet slipping, which is a concern for many. 

The Men’s Professional Cycling Sneakers are a fantastic indoor cycling shoe option. At around $30, they are amazing value for money, come in two different colors, and are compatible with the SPD cleats typically used on exercise bikes. 

spin bike shoes

 Cycling Cleats

To get the shoes to work properly, you will need cycling cleats. These attach to the bottom of the shoes and clip into the pedal. They are an essential accessory if you want to take your indoor cycling to the next level. 

They come in two different types: a three-bolt cleat and a two-bolt cleat. The two-bolt cleat is called an SPD and is used mainly for indoor cycling and even mountain and gravel cycling. The three-bolt type is called an SPD-SL or Look Delta and is used on Road bikes and the Peloton. 

It’s important that they are set up correctly, and you can find many videos on YouTube on how to do this. If not, a bike fitter can do it for you. 

These indoor cycling cleats, which cost around $7, are amazing value for money. They are half the price of the bigger brands and are released both ways, no matter how you spin the rear of your foot. 

spin bike shoes cleats

Cleat Adjustment Plate

Still with the discussion of shoes and cleats we come to the cleat adjustment plate. This is used for SPD-SL cleats. It may look like a super-specialist piece of equipment, but it’s very easy to use when you know how. 

If your seat height is correct, then most of the time, if you get knee pain, it’s due to the cleats not being in the correct position, making your knees out of track as they go up and down. 

The beauty of this small plate is that if you find you are getting knee issues, you can make the correct adjustments and properly mark them. It’s also very useful when it comes to getting new shoes, as you know exactly where the cleat needs to go. 

This Pedal Cleat Adjustment Tool is a perfect addition to your cycling accessories and something you will be able to share with other enthusiasts. At about $15, it’s very cheap, and they are hard to come by.

Cleat Adjustment Plate

Tablet / Phone Mount 

Staying entertained while indoor cycling is really important. It doesn’t just help the time pass, it can also be incredibly motivational and help you push your limits further. Having a tablet/phone mount can very much help with this. 

A good mount will be adaptable to lots of different bikes. The best will grip onto the handlebars somewhere and stay nice and sturdy. The last thing you need is it falling off in the sprints. 

A tablet holder and tablet opens you up to so many amazing applications to use for indoor cycling videos such as Peloton, Apple Fitness+, and of course our great videos on the Girl Bike Love YouTube channel.

The Spin Bike Tablet Holder here costs $15 and looks fantastic. It’s also incredibly grippy and works for phones. We highly recommend it, and out of the many we have tested here at Girl Bike Love, it’s one of the best!

spin bike tablet holder

Heart Rate Monitor

Finally we come to the heart rate monitor. This is an excellent tool for ensuring you are working to the correct intensity and also looking back at the data on your workouts later. It can even give you a much better measure of the calories you are burning.

A heart rate monitors your BPM, which stands for beats per minute. This is how many times your heart contracts within 60 seconds. The higher it is, the harder you’re working and the higher the intensity. The lower it is, the less intensity.

They come in many different forms, such as chest straps, arm bands, and even watches. In my opinion, the chest straps are the most accurate. If you want to take your training to the next level, then this is a big step forward. 

The PowerLabs heart rate monitor we feature in the video is a chest strap monitor. It’s easy to use as it connects with Bluetooth and ANT+. It looks fantastic and has a very small profile and comes in around $40 depending on where you buy it which is incredibly cheap. 

heart rate monitor

A Final Note

Indoor cycling accessories can greatly enhance the experience of riding an indoor bike. These accessories will help you cycle better, achieve your goals faster, and have much more fun!

Robbie Ferri CPT

Robbie from “Riding with Robbie” is a Personal Trainer living in in Norfolk, UK. He has bikepacked all over the World, and also raced ultra distance at a top-level. He has worked closely with industry leaders such as Shimano.

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