Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike Problems & How to Fix Them

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Screenshot 2022 05 17 at 3.12.25 PM
By Katie Pierson CPT

Certified Spinning® Instructor & CPT

Nothing can hamper your motivation to crush a ride, quite like clicking into your bike and finding out that you have an issue. So let’s look at the most common problems you might encounter with a magnetic resistance bike and how to fix them quickly to have you riding in no time. 

Tools Needed

When you purchase an indoor cycling bike, it is essential to invest in the tools needed to maintain your equipment. We recommend the following items:

  • Hex Key Set
  • Pedal Socket
  • Spanner Set
  • Socket Set
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Silicone Lubricant

Potential Magnetic Resistance Bike Issues

Squeaking Noise

If your indoor cycling bike is making a squeaking noise while riding, you will need to try to pinpoint where the sound is coming from before you can fix it. Squeaking noises can come from many different problems, including issues with the belt drive or even preventable rust build-up. However, it is very common that a squeaking noise can be fixed by cleaning the bike component that has the issue before adding lubrication. Often the pedals or crank arms need a little lubrication. We recommend using a silicone lubricant, compared to more abrasive options such as WD-40.

Magnet Issues

Two issues that can occur with magnetic resistance bikes are that the magnets need to be replaced or repositioned. This is because magnets play a pivotal role in magnetic resistance. They are responsible for increasing or decreasing the workload based on moving closer or farther away from the metal flywheel. 

To assess the magnets, you will need to access the flywheel.

  • Step 1:  Remove the pedals
  • Step 2: Remove the flywheel shield
  • Step 3: Begin your assessment of the magnets

A simple way to determine if a magnet needs to be replaced is to test it. Place one of your metal tools close to the magnet. What do you feel? If you can feel the magnetic field, you know that the magnet is functioning fine. However, the magnet probably needs to be replaced if you do not feel anything.

Magnets can also move from their original positioning, which affects their ability to adjust the resistance appropriately. You can tighten them back into position along with any other nuts and bolts while you have the flywheel shield off. 

Belt Slipping

Over time the belt will need replacing as it will eventually stretch out and begin to slip. Replacing a belt can be tricky, so it is essential always to reference your bike’s manual and follow the proper steps as each cycle is a little different. However, if you attempt to change the belt on your own, here are a few general tips.

You will need to remove the pedal crank before accessing the belt guard to access the belt. After the belt guard has been removed, the belt tension bolt will need to be removed so that the strap can be detached. The flywheel will also need to be removed to slip the belt off of the bike. After removing the old belt, replace it with the new belt and follow the steps in reverse.

However, if you decide that you would like help from the experts, you can always call a technician to help make the change.

Clicking Noise

A clicking noise or feeling often is caused by loose screws or bolts located on the pedals or crank arms. The noise or clicking feeling should go away after everything is tightened. 

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Many bike issues are preventable with regular bike maintenance. Bike maintenance should be preventative and not performed only after a problem has begun. However, to keep your bike feeling new, you will need to perform some maintenance every time you ride. Below is a small list of maintenance tasks we recommend.

Daily Tasks

  • Clean your bike after every ride
  • Reduce resistance back to zero

Weekly Tasks

  • Tighten bolts and screws
  • Tighten crank arms and pedals

Monthly Tasks

  • Apply lubricant to any squeaking components
  • Lubricate moveable components such as handlebar and seat posts

Visit our How to Maintain Your Indoor Cycle: A Practical, Step-by-Step Guide article for more maintenance suggestions.


Are Magnetic Spin Bikes Better?

It all depends on what type of ride you want and your price point. Bikes that include a friction resistance system feel closer to riding a bike outside as the increase or decrease of resistance is smooth.

They are also a little louder than a magnetic bike. Magnetic cycles delay adding or reducing resistance from when you turn the knob. These bikes tend to require less maintenance but cost a little more.

Are Magnetic Bikes Quiet?

Yes, magnetic bikes are quiet because the magnets do not contact the flywheel making the ride almost silent.

Is a Heavier Flywheel Better on a Spin Bike?

A heavier flywheel allows for a smoother ride as the inertia created by the turning flywheel keeps an even pedal stroke. Therefore, strive for a flywheel with a weight close to forty pounds. You can find more info about the flywheel weight in our detailed guide.

The Bottom Line

We recommend that you always look at your bike’s specific manual when making repairs. If you do not feel confident trying to fix your bike on your own, we recommend hiring a professional. This can mean bringing your bike to a professional at a shop or hiring a technician to make a house call. Also, remember that you can drastically reduce potential problems with regular maintenance to keep your indoor cycle at its best. Happy riding. 

Katie Pierson CPT

Katie has been a certified fitness professional for twenty years and holds ten fitness certifications, including Spinning Elite and Personal Training. She has shared her expert knowledge in many fitness outlets like Bicycling & Verywellfit.

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