Spin bikes are known for their sleek design and spinning flywheels. The flywheel is one of the most critical components of these cycles and one of the most debated topics on whether a front or rear flywheel is best. With so many opinions on which placement is better can be confusing. Read on as we break down everything you need to know.
|Front Flywheel Placement||Rear Flywheel Placement|
|Friction or Magnetic Resistance Options||Magnetic Resistance|
|Various Price Points||More Expensive|
|Higher Chance of Sweat Corrosion||Lower Chance of Sweat Corrosion|
When spin bikes first hit the market, they were initially designed with a front flywheel. Still today, this design is more readily available through a multitude of different manufacturers. Front flywheels weigh approximately 40 pounds. A weighted front flywheel offers an incredibly smooth ride as it helps to drive inertia and mimics an outdoor riding experience.
Instructor Tip: Always make sure to wipe down the flywheel thoroughly and anywhere else sweat could drip on your
bikeafter every ride to help decrease potential sweat corrosion.
Katie Pierson, Indoor Cycling Instructor
A rear flywheel is a lightweight flywheel located behind the saddle of the cycle. This placement is a newer technology that offers an almost silent riding experience since they are designed with magnetic resistance. Many high-end models being produced today are designed with a rear flywheel.
Front vs. Rear Flywheel Head-to-Head Comparison
Let’s break down how these two flywheel designs compare.
One of the most significant differences between these two flywheel designs is the riding experience. Rear flywheels include magnetic resistance, which offers a different feeling than friction that can be available with front flywheel models. There is a delay between when resistance is added or taken off and when it actually is felt through the pedal stroke with magnetic resistance.
In contrast, front flywheels that include friction resistance mimic the feeling of riding an outdoor
Personally, if the cycles both have magnetic resistance, I find that the riding experience is very similar if the flywheel is located in either position. For example, I ride a Life Fitness C7 when teaching that includes a rear flywheel, and I own the Bowflex C6, which has a front flywheel. The riding experience for both models is almost identical once the pedals are turning.
Newer technology often comes with a heftier price tag, and rear flywheel cycles are no exception. For example, a budget rear flywheel
Maintenance issues also tend to be less with a rear flywheel placement. Cycles with flywheels in this placement include magnetic resistance and a belt drive-train. Both of these features require little maintenance. Most cycling studios and
Flywheels in the front position often require slightly more TLC. In addition, since the flywheel is located in the “sweat zone,” these bikes are prone to sweat corrosion and drive-train issues that can occur if the
It is important to note that some front flywheel models offer friction resistance. However, friction resistance bikes require more maintenance than magnetic ones since the pads eventually wear out.
Rear flywheels are naturally more protected from potential corrosion with the flywheel placement. Many newer front flywheels include safety measures to protect the flywheel from this type of corrosion through guards. If you are looking at a front flywheel cycle, make sure that this is a feature that is included because it will save on potential maintenance issues in the future.
There are excellent cycles in both the front and rear flywheel categories. However, deciding which type of resistance option you prefer should help determine which placement is better for you. We always recommend testing the cycles you are considering to see which option feels best for you. Happy riding!