10 Excellent Magnetic Spin Bikes (Premium & Budget)

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Screenshot 2022 05 17 at 3.12.25 PM
By Katie Pierson CPT

Certified Spinning® Instructor & CPT

The technology for indoor cycling bike design continues to expand. One of the greatest introductions into this market is the development of a magnetic resistance system. We have compiled a detailed list of the top magnetic spin bikes and outdoor cycles to help you decide which model would be most suitable for you. 

Are you looking for a bike in the UK market?
Check out our top magnetic indoor cycles in the UK!

Benefits of Magnetic Resistance vs. Friction Resistance Cycles

Indoor cycles include either a magnetic resistance or friction resistance system. A magnetic resistance system uses magnets to change the resistance. The magnets, which straddle the bike‘s metal flywheel, either move closer or farther away from the flywheel to alter rider exertion and resistance level. A friction resistance cycle includes fabric pads or leather straps that apply pressure to the spinning flywheel to adjust resistance. Below is a quick comparison of the benefits magnetic resistance models offer in contrast with friction models.

magnetic vs friction indoor bike

Our Top Magnetic Indoor Cycles 

Below we have created a list of our top magnetic resistance spin bikes & indoor cycles. Each cycle passed a rigorous comparison that examined its features, quality of construction, and consumer ratings.

Best Value: Bowflex C6 & Schwinn IC4

Bowflex C6 Bike

An excellent alternative option to Peloton or other streaming bikes. A quiet magnetic resistance bike, proficient enough to link with the many available streaming devices such as Peloton® and Zwift®.

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Schwinn IC4 Bike

Comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to link to several apps such as Peloton® and Zwift®. The Schwinn really does offer excellent quality at a very affordable price.

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Nautilus is the manufacturer of the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4. They include the same specifications, such as a 40pound flywheel and a backlit LCD metric console. Both options offer 100 levels of magnetic resistance. Riders also have access to Bowflex’s JRNY App.

bowflex c6 overview
My Bowflex C6

These models are not only affordably priced but are exceptionally built and crafted with commercial-grade materials. Their 40-pound flywheel and belt drive system offers a smooth and practically silent ride. Consumers rave about both the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4, and one consumer stated, “I love my Bowflex C6 bike. As a cycling instructor, I am picky about the quality of my bikes. This bike delivers!” Both models ranked almost a perfect score with consumers. In addition to the purchase of these bikes, 3-pound weights and a Bluetooth© heart rate monitor are included. 

Images from My Hands-on Testing

Both models integrate with the JRNY App offered through Bowflex using a tablet or phone. Users can enjoy tailored and adaptive workouts, on-demand classes, and virtual coaching. One of the unique features of the JRNY App is watching your favorite streaming services during your individualized workouts. The app is available for $19.99 per month. These bikes are also designed to work seamlessly with various streaming services such as Peloton, Zwift, FulGaz, and Sufferfest. A tablet rest is also included on the handlebars to make viewing the streaming services even more effortless. The backlit LCD metric console helps riders track their stats in real-time, including cadence, distance, calories, heart rate, and resistance level. The quality, features, and price of these cycles are the reason why we have selected the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 as our Best Overall magnetic resistance bike winners.

You can also read our detailed C6 review and IC4 review guides.

My Top Commercial Grade: Keiser M3i

Keiser M3i Bike

The App takes the cycle to another level, and with compatibility and connectivity, the bike offers all of the latest conveniences the digital age has to offer. 

Price & Reviews Holiday Sale ▶▶

The V-shaped frame accommodates riders up to 7′ tall and includes an 8-pound rear flywheel. It contains 24 levels of resistance and a Poly V-belt drive. 

The Keiser M3i offers an impressive bike design that includes a lightweight rear flywheel that spins eleven times faster than that of the pedal stroke. Therefore, the lightweight flywheel delivers a smooth ride typically reserved for flywheels weighing closer to thirty pounds. Riders described their riding experience as “smooth as silk” and “the best bike I have ever been on.” With reviews like these, it is no wonder this bike received a 4.8 out of 5 consumer rating. The belt drive system allows this bike to be whisper quiet while being ridden. One reviewer said, “Awesome quality. The bike is virtually silent – so my family hears nothing except heavy breathing.” 

This bike includes a Bluetooth® wireless signal for open API for tablets and smartphones. The Keiser M3i is compatible with various cycling apps, including Sufferfest, Fulgaz, Zwift, and mPaceline. Keiser also offers the M Series App for free to its M3i Bike, M5i Strider Elliptical, or M3i Total Body Trainer. This app allows Keiser M3i users to track their progress during a cycling workout on any Keiser M3i Bike, not just the one they have at home, and see the information in real-time. The data provided by the M Series App includes heart rate and power, cadence, and FTP zones. The Keiser M3i is a quality cycle but might not fit all budgets. 

My Top for Interactive Experience: Freebeat Lit Bike

The Freebeat Lit Bike is great for those seeking a smooth riding experience. We tested it for around 1 month (read our detailed freebeat lit bike review), and we feel confident to say that it has excellent resistance, whether you want to use manual or auto, and is relatively quiet. The same goes for the quality of the bike; the construction is sturdy and durable, although the pedals and water bottle holders could be more robust.

Images from My Hands-on Testing

The saddle and handlebar are adjustable to fit whether you are short or tall, and the bike has a music-based app that provides a unique riding experience with “gaming-like” elements. The assembly process is relatively straightforward, and the bike is well-packed – probably the best package we’ve seen with Styrofoam for every component. Overall, it’s an excellent bike for those seeking a high-energy, music-based workout.

Excellent Mid-Price Range No.1 – Under $700: Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Pro Bike

Best Value - Mid Range
Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy Pro Bike

Includes a 40lb inertia-ready flywheel belt drive mechanism to provide a smooth & quiet ride. Its magnetic resistance provides quick, easy, & reliable resistance changes.

  • Use SAVE10 coupon code on Sunny Official Site for 10% OFF!
  • Free Cadence Sensor to Sync with the SunnyFit App! Applied to your Cart!
Buy from Sunny Health Amazon Reviews

The Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy indoor cycling bike includes a 40lb inertia-ready flywheel belt drive mechanism to provide a smooth, quiet and consistent ride. This bike’s onboard magnetic brakes also allow you to bring the wheel to an immediate stop. Additionally, its magnetic resistance provides quick, easy, and reliable resistance changes. Reviews state “the ride is smooth, sturdy, and it’s easy to increase resistance while riding”. 

The Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy indoor cycling bike has been ergonomically designed for both comfort and performance. Its four-way adjustable seat puts your body in its optimal position for riding. In addition to its impressive specs, the Sunny Health & Fitness Synergy indoor cycling bike also includes some pretty special extra features. Its performance monitor allows you to track your average and max speed and cadence. This data can be used to assess and analyze your general fitness progress or cycling performance. In-built pulse sensors also provide heart rate data. Device and dumbbell holders allow you to work your full body while watching your favorite videos. What we really like about this bike is its caged/SPD compatible pedals. With compatible shoes, you are able to prevent foot slippage and thus increase the intensity, speed, and pedaling efficiency. 

Excellent Mid-Price Range No.2 – Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1805

Best Value No.2 - Mid Range
Sunny Health Magnetic Bike SF-B1805

Priced usually under $600, this model offers users an experience often reserved for higher-priced options. This quiet belt-driven model includes a heavier front flywheel weighing in at 44 pounds.

Amazon Reviews

The SF-B1805 offers a 4-way adjustable saddle and handlebars. It includes a 44-pound flywheel and is belt-driven.

The micro-adjustable resistance provides a quiet and smooth ride upon the Sunny Health & Fitness Bike 1805 earning an honorable mention for our list. This quiet belt-driven model includes a heavier front flywheel weighing in at 44 pounds. This weight will provide a smooth ride and is still lower than the suggested max, a 50-pound flywheel. It also includes toe-cage pedals for those riders that do not have or want clip cycling shoes.

Priced at only $599.99, this model offers users an experience often reserved for higher-priced options. Adjustable floor stabilizers help to keep this cycle in place and decrease swaying on vigorous climbs out of the saddle. Reviewers commented on the sturdiness of this model with comments such as, “I never feel any sort of wobbling, even when standing” and “sturdy and quiet.” It earned a 4.6 out of 5 consumer rating. This includes a tablet mount but does not have Bluetooth© connectivity. Many users were able to purchase a streaming service of their choice due to the savings of buying such an affordable bike model. 

Budget-Price RangeNo.1 – Under $500: Joroto X2

Best Value No1 - Budget Range
JOROTO X2 Magnetic Bike

A belt-driven cycling bike that is affordable and well made. Users talk about its great construction quality and the silent operation.

Buy from JOROTO Amazon Reviews

This AV-type frame includes a 35-pound flywheel and a six-magnet magnetic resistance system. 

The Joroto X2 is a belt-driven cycling bike that is affordable and well made. Despite the affordable price tag, this bike also includes tremendous value. With reviews such as “this bike is absolutely fantastic” and “great bike at an amazing price with awesome customer service” it is no surprise it received a 4.5 out of 5 consumer rating.

One feature that is unique compared to other commercial-grade spin bikes is the wider soft seat. Most bikes of this type include a narrower competition saddle and are often found to be less comfortable. The four-way adjustable handlebars and seat placement allows riders of various heights and torso lengths to find a comfortable riding position. The digital monitor will enable cyclists to track their progress in real-time by displaying cadence, time, distance, and calories burned. This option does not include Bluetooth© connectivity.

Budget-Price RangeNo.2 – Sunny SF-B1709

Sunny SF-B1709 Rear Drive Bike

Not only does it look great, but it offers such a lovely ride, and the experience it gives is very personal and does feel like a spin bike, not a cheap exercise bike.

Price & Reviews Check Holiday Sale

SF-B1709 Indoor Cycling Bike Specs

Resistance Type: Magnetic
Drive System: Belt
Flywheel Weight: 7.36 pounds
Dimensions (LxWxH): 53.2 X 23.6 X 54.3 In
Pedal Type: Clip-In/Caged
User Inseam Range: Min 28 In/Max 39 In
Max User Weight: 300 pounds

Actually, Robbie Ferri, a cycling instructor from our team, took the Sunny SF-B1709 for a spin, and here’s his take (you can also read his detailed review of the SF-B1709):

  • Riding Experience & Performance 5/5: The Sunny SF-B1709 offers a fantastic riding experience with silky-smooth performance and a nifty resistance lever. It handles power like a champ and has versatile handlebar positions.
  • Construction Quality & Durability 5/5: Despite initial price concerns, the SF-B1709 proves to be a solid, well-built bike with no flimsiness or rattling. It’s engineered just right.
  • Assembly Process 4/5: Assembly may look daunting, but it’s surprisingly straightforward, taking around 30 minutes with clear instructions and included tools.
  • Comfort & Adjustability 4/5: While adjustable, the saddle left some comfort to be desired, recognizing that saddle preferences vary.
  • Connectivity 2/5: Limited connectivity, but you can still use popular fitness apps with workarounds. Consider power meter pedals for advanced options.
  • Support, Financing Options & Warranty 4/5: Good customer service, finance options, and a decent three-year structural warranty with 180 days on parts and components.
  • Value For Money 5/5: At just $400 with free shipping, the Sunny SF-B1709 is an incredible bargain that’s hard to believe. It’s a steal!

Images from the Hands-on Testing

Premium with Low Price Value: Sole Fitness SB900

Best Premium
Sole SB900 Bike

Equipped with a 48lbs flywheel, this bike is going to be super silent and going to feel incredibly solid at all times, including when you're in a maximum sprint. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity so that it can be used with third-party applications such as Zwift or Peloton.

Price & Reviews Get Holiday Deal

When I first saw the Sole Fitness bike, I was very impressed. It’s got an absolutely beautiful sleek modern finish, and honestly, I think it is one of the best-looking bikes we currently have on the market.

Yes, it looks the part but does it do the job? Well, let’s start with the technology. We have a small data screen on the handlebars, which will give you all your basic metrics such as time, distance, speed, heart rate, RPM, and much more. It is also equipped with Bluetooth connectivity so that it can be used with third-party applications such as Zwift or Peloton. It has everything it needs to keep up with a bike like the IC4 or Bowflex C6.

As far as internals go, it is packing a serious punch with a 48lbs flywheel. Not only does the flywheel give it stability, but it’s also paired up with a magnetic resistance system and is a belt-drive too. This bike is going to be super silent and going to feel incredibly solid at all times, including when you’re in a maximum sprint. Another feature I like about this bike is the tablet mount sticking out the front, which has put it in the perfect position. 

How Magnetic Resistance Works

For magnetic resistance to occur, a few things need to happen, and as you can guess, this process includes magnets. A standard design contains two powerful magnets located parallel to one another with the flywheel between them.

The metal flywheel, which works as a conductor in this instance, spins through the two magnets’ magnetic fields and the force surrounding them. This magnetic field causes a drag on the metal flywheel, which creates an eddy current. An eddy current gets its name from the swirling motion of an eddy in a stream. The energy current flows in a closed-loop circuit that runs perpendicular to the magnetic field. When the resistance knob turns to either increase or decrease resistance, the magnets move closer or farther away from the flywheel. The closer the magnets get to the flywheel, the greater the magnetic field, therefore higher resistance is felt on the bike.

What to Look for When Buying a Magnetic Indoor Cycle

magnetic spin & indoor cycle featured

It can be challenging to know what you should be looking for when purchasing any exercise equipment. Indoor cycling bikes offer an array of differences beyond the type of resistance system. We have created a resource below to help identify what to keep in mind when purchasing an indoor magnetic resistance cycle.

Drive System

A drive system includes the section of the cycle that connects the flywheel and the pedals. The drive systems associated with indoor cycling bikes are either a belt or a chain drive system. A chain drive system is standard in older cycling bikes. These systems mimic the feeling of riding an actual outdoor bike but require a little more maintenance than the other option. Seasoned outdoor riders often prefer this type of system to that of a belt drive. A belt drive continues to increase its presence in the indoor cycling market. Belt drive systems offer a ride that is not only smooth but is also extremely quiet. 

Flywheel: Front or Rear?

A flywheel is a metal wheel located at the front or the rear of the cycle. This component rotates as the pedals continue to turn. A heavier flywheel is associated with a smoother ride. Aim for a front flywheel that weighs more than 25 pounds and no more than 50 pounds. A heavier flywheel does take additional initial effort to put it into motion. Still, momentum is readily retained, and resistance is seamlessly added with this type of flywheel. Heavier flywheels are located at the front of the cycle.

Having a front flywheel does increase the possibility of higher maintenance costs since this placement increases the chance for sweat erosion. Lighter quality flywheels that offer a smooth ride are beginning to emerge into the market. If the flywheel rotates faster than that of the pedal stroke, a smooth ride can be achieved. Lighter flywheels can be found at either the front or the back of the cycle. Cycles with the flywheel located at the rear of the bike are found to experience less sweat erosion.

Indoor Cycling Apps & Connections

Many added features are enhancing the riding experience at home. Those bikes that include Bluetooth connectivity make it simple for the cycle to connect to your smartphone or tablet. A variety of applications are creating the class riding experience fun at home. Applications such as Zwift ($15/month), Peloton ($13/month), Variis ($40/month), and Sufferfest ($15/month) are providing a unique riding experience that includes motivating instructors and challenging rides. It is important to note that if you take an online class telling you what resistance you should be riding at, you need to understand that the resistance level is not the same across bikes.

For example, even though the Bowflex C6 and Schwinn IC4 have 100 resistance levels just like a Peloton bike, a level 5 on the Bowflex and Schwinn is a 25 on a Peloton. Just make sure to check online resistance conversion charts if using an app specifically designed for a particular bike. Your bike‘s ability to have Bluetooth© connectivity or an app system included with the purchase is a great benefit. Still, you should not disregard bikes that do not offer these features because, after all, the type of ride that you receive is the most important. 

Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike Common Problems & 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.

Magnetic vs. Air Resistance for Indoor Cycles

As discussed above, unlike magnetic resistance bikes, air resistance cycles include using a fan to create resistance. As the rider increases the speed, the resistance level also increases. The fan blades encounter more air pressure at higher speeds as they attempt to turn faster.

MagneticAir Resistance
Requires Less Maintenance
Lower Initial Cost
Offers Pre-Set Resistance Levels

Types of Pedals for a Spin Bike or Indoor Cycle

Various pedals are compatible with indoor cycling bikes, including toe cages, LOOK Delta, and SPD pedals.

  • Toe cages allow riders to quickly secure their regular sneaker onto the pedal using a single strap and bracket. This option is usually standard with a combination pedal that includes either the LOOK Delta or SPD option on the other side. This pedal option doesn’t require an additional shoe purchase but allows for more side-to-side motion of the knee, increasing the possibility of injury. They also lack the ability for the rider to pull up as productively in the back portion of the pedal stroke, therefore not engaging the hamstrings to their full potential.
  • The LOOK Delta pedal is less common than an SPD and includes a broader surface area. The wider surface area allows for a more stable pedal stroke, especially when climbing out of the saddle. In addition, this type of pedal requires a compatible LOOK Delta cleat. This pedal type is most commonly associated with outdoor bikes. 
  • SPD pedals are found in most fitness studies and are an industry standard for commercial-grade spin bikes for home use. SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. Shimano, Inc is one of the world’s largest cycling manufactures. These pedals are narrower than the LOOK Delta but provide the same opportunity for riders to establish a 360-degree pedal stroke compared to the feeling of mashing up and down as associated with toe-cages.

Related: Indoor vs Outdoor Shoes for Indoor Cycling

Clipless pedals such as the LOOK Delta and SPD will provide better form and a more productive workout allowing for a full pedal stroke and actively engaging the hamstrings in the upstroke while pedaling. 


Are magnetic spin bikes better?

Magnetic spin bikes are not necessarily better. It comes down to which features matter most to the owner. For example, they are slightly quieter than friction resistance bikes and require marginally less bike maintenance. However, when care is needed, it often requires outside assistance. In addition, magnetic spin bikes do not mimic outdoor cycles as there is a lag between when the resistance knob is turned, and the new resistance level is felt.

Is the Peloton bike magnetic?

Yes, the Peloton is magnetic and offers 100 levels of resistance.

Are magnetic spin bikes quieter?

Yes, they are usually quieter than other resistance systems because they include a belt-drive system. Also, the magnetic resistance components do not come into contact with one another as with friction resistance systems and therefore do not produce a rubbing noise.

Bottom Line

A commercial-grade magnetic resistance bike is a wonderful addition to your home gym. They are exceptionally crafted and provide a nearly silent ride making it possible to enjoy a workout whenever the urge hits you. 

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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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