10 Best Magnetic Resistance Spin Bikes in the UK

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By Robbie Ferri, Cyclist, Personal Trainer, and Group Exercise Instructor.

Spinning is an excellent way of keeping fit, losing weight, and comes with so many other health benefits. With so many spin bikes currently on the market, it can be challenging to find a bike to not only suit your needs but your budget too. In this article, I want to tell you about the ten best magnetic indoor bikes currently on offer in the UK.

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

Why Magnetic

Magnetic spinning bikes are excellent. Unlike most spinning bikes, they use a unique system with no friction. The eddy current of the magnets adds pressure to the flywheel creating the resistance to pedal against. Systems like this will mean they need no maintenance for years. They provide the user with a better experience, and also, the bikes are very quiet. They are the future of indoor cycling.

How do we rate the bikes?

When it comes to finding the best Magnetic Spinning bikes, I look at;

  • Design 
  • Screen and Technology
  • Drivechain and Flywheel
  • Unique Features

Let’s look at some bikes!

First, we will take a look at the top 5 UK premium indoor cycles (for higher budget) and then the top 5 inexpensive UK indoor cycles that cost usually less than £500.

Best Overall: Our 5 Premium Picks for UK Market

The best overall section is when we start looking at bikes, which we class the cream of the crop. These bikes are full of technology and fun to use, and have some fantastic features. These are for people who want to get the most out of their riding.

Schwinn IC8 Indoor Cycle

  • Great simple spinning bike design
  • LCD Screen, Bluetooth, Charge Port
  • Belt Drive, 18kg Flywheel
  • Dumbbell Holders, App Connectivity

The Schwinn IC8 is a bike used by so many indoor cyclists. Firstly it looks great and has all the kit to back it up. The LCD screen gives you all the data you need, such as Cadence, Power, Calories, Distance, Time, and some others. It has Bluetooth Connectivity to be used with Applications such as Zwift and Peloton and a Charge port for devices which I thought was a nice touch. It’s not all just fancy features. The bike also has an 18kg flywheel and is belt drive too, so it will require no maintenance for years to come. 

This is actually the UK version of one of the most popular US indoor cycles, the Schwinn IC4. If you want to learn more about the bike you can check our detailed review or a very interesting survey that we conducted on 165 owners of the bike.

The Schwinn is also super quiet, so you don’t have to worry about upsetting the neighbours. Do you see similarities with another bike? The Bowflex C6 bike is the same as the Schwinn IC8, just branded differently. Overall for the money, the Schwinn IC8 is an excellent bike. Looks great, is very advanced with its technology and also a very reliable machine.

Nordictrack S22i

  • Great design with Incline and Decline Capability 
  • 22” HD Swivel Screen with Bluetooth, Cooling Fan
  • Belt Drive, 14kg Flywheel
  • IFit application, Dumbbell Holders

The Nordictrack is a fantastic bike. When it first came out, people really couldn’t believe how much it had to offer. Let’s start with the bike itself. It looks great. Unlike many other bikes, the Nordictrack can replicate the user going up a hill and down. It does this by electronically heightening and lowering the front. The instructor in your classes can control your bike too!

The HD Screen is unbelievable in its quality and efficiency and easy to use. It gives a lot of data for the user, such as Power (Estimation), Cadence, Time, Speed, and many more. It is locked to the iFit application, as with many bikes like this and the Peloton, you pay a subscription for these services. It’s about £12 per month and offers not just cycling but Yoga, Strength Classes, and HIIT Workouts. You can use it without a subscription, but it’s mainly scenic routes, and you won’t get the best out of your investment.

The bike itself is quiet and easy to use. The incline and decline feature can be noisy, but it can be turned off. It is one of the quietest bikes on the market for general cycling. It has Dumbbell holders and a cooling fan, unlike many other bikes. It’s a great bike and well worth the money they ask. 

Check our Nordictrack S22i Review of the new model, of you want to learn more about this excellent bike.

ProForm Smart Power Cycle

  • Great design, excellent bike
  • 10” Screen with Swivel, Bluetooth
  • Belt Drive, 12kg Flywheel
  • Ifit Application

The Proform is an outstanding value for money bike and has had a lot of thought put into it. It is a solidly made bike and feels it when being ridden. The screen is a 10” and, like the Nordictrack, uses Ifit as an application. It comes with 30 days free trial, then after about £12 a month. It can connect to Bluetooth accessories such as headphones and Heart Rate monitors. The screen can also swivel for those of the bike classes. It offers you standard data fields, cadence, time, calories, distance, and many others, but not power like the other bikes on this list.

It is belt driven and has a 12kg Flywheel. It is smooth and silent, and when it comes to using this in a flat, you won’t upset the neighbours. This bike for the price is exceptional. Not many bikes offer the screen with the Ifit technology at this price range, and you get a lot for your money. I highly recommend this for someone who wants a good experience at home without having to spend thousands.

Life Fitness IC7

  • Amazing Quality
  • Impressive Data Screen
  • Belt Drive
  • Multi-position bars

Life fitness makes amazing bikes. The IC range is something that is heavy competition for all other spinning bike companies. The IC Range goes from IC1 through to IC8. This IC7 is one of the most advanced models. It has a small Data screen but gives you more than enough data, calories, distance, time, rpm and many more. What is special, though, is this bike has a direct power meter. For most bikes around this price, the power is only estimated; this is very technically advanced. Not only it is Bluetooth and Ant+, but it can link to the Life Fitness ICG Application, where you get a variety of free and paid workouts to do on the bike

It is gorgeous to look at with a rear-facing flywheel and a sleek design. The Flywheel weight isn’t listed, but it is evenly weighted to make the bike feel smoother when being ridden. It is extremely quiet and can connect to applications like Peloton and Zwift with ease. If you’re looking for an amazing top-end bike that will last you for years and give you a perfect experience every time, it’s this one.

Renpho AI-Powered Bike

  • Minimalistic Design
  • Data Screen
  • Unique Drive Chain
  • Application

The Renpho isn’t like many other bikes on this list. It has a simple look, and it looks like a traditional exercise bike, not a spinning bike. The data screen is straightforward in the fact it is just a round dial on the handlebars where you can stroll through your metrics. It gives basic information such as time, calories, distance, cadence but little else. This bike is designed for is to be used with the Renpho application. It is a free app with currently 70+ Classes on it. It’s a great alternative to a Peloton at a lot less of the cost. 

A great feature of this application is that it will automatically adjust the resistance for you, and it has a USB charging port. The bike does require a phone or a tablet to work correctly. The Drive chain is completely electronic and unlike other bikes on this list. It uses a motor dampening system and says it is accurate up to 90% and compatible with apps like Peloton and Zwift. It is unique compared to the other bikes, but it is great value for money and a lot of fun.

Best Overall: Our 5 Inexpensive Picks for UK Market

Not everyone wants to spend a considerable amount on an indoor bike, and I can understand that it might not be your primary focus in a small home gym. In this section, we look at the best budget bikes, one that, although basic but will provide the user with a fantastic experience for a little cost.

Joroto X2

JOROTO X2 Magnetic Bike JOROTO X2 Magnetic Bike
4.7
The Joroto X2 is a belt-driven cycling bike that is affordable and well made. Users talk about its great construction quality and the silent operation.
  • Great design, excellent bike
  • Data Screen
  • Quiet, 22kg Flywheel
  • Easy assembly

The Joroto bikes have been around for years and consistently get good reviews. I am a big fan. The bikes are solid spinning bikes and have some fine details. Firstly the water bottle and weight holders double as a tablet stand. The data screen is situated right in eye view, making it much easier to view when spinning. The small data screen will provide you with essential data but don’t expect power at this price. It’s a very quiet bike that works on a belt drive system. The magnetic system offers lots of resistance and will challenge any rider. It’s low maintenance and will give years of trouble-free riding.

UREVO

  • Excellent Design
  • Data Screen
  • Belt Drive, 15kg Flywheel
  • A lot of Handlebar positions

The UREVO is a bike fairly new to the market, and it is gorgeous. Not only is it super sleek in its design, but it also has the function to back it up. The data screen will give you metrics such as Calories, time, speed, distance and also heart rate. It also doubles as a tablet stand if you wish to use the bike with an application such as Peloton. It has some really cool handlebars that have not only a road bike position but also the road bike style drop handlebar position. It is belt drive and has a 15kg Flywheel. It’s a great looking bike, and it has a lot of capability for the user.

JLL IC300

  • Great design, Solid and sturdy
  • 7 Mode data screen
  • Excellent Drive chain, 20kg Flywheel
  • Water bottle holders, Heart Rate monitor inbuilt

JLL makes some excellent indoor bikes, and the IC300 is an excellent example of this. It has a great spinning bike design. The bike is solid and can take the fastest of sprints with ease. It has an advanced data screen for the price, including an inbuilt heart rate monitor. You can see the pads on the handlebars where it senses this. The drive chain is silky smooth with a 20kg Flywheel and the Belt Drive. It has water bottle holders on the forks, which is a great touch and is built to last. Highly recommend this bike for such a little cost.

JLL IC200

  • Modern Design
  • 5 Mode data screen
  • Belt Drive, 7kg Flywheel
  • Heart Rate Monitor

JLL makes quite a few different bikes, especially in the budget range. We had to mention two in the article as they are just so good. The JLL IC200 is very different from the IC300. Yes, it is more basic, but it is also a completely different design. It looks much more modern and suits other gyms than the IC300. It only has five different data modes on the screen but still has time, distance, calories, pulse, and speed which is plenty enough for a decent workout. It is belt drive like the IC300 but does have a much smaller flywheel at only 7kg. A fantastic feature on a bike at this price is that heart rate monitor, and it will add lots of value to your home gym.

DripeX Magnetic Indoor Cycle

  • Great build
  • Data Screen
  • Solid Drive Chain
  • Heart Rate Monitor, Tablet Stand, Water Bottle holders

The DripeX is the low-cost bike on this list, but don’t let that put you off. It’s amazing. Firstly It is built to a high standard of quality. It is very similar to the Joroto X2, but it has a few more features. The data screen is basic and will only give you essential data, but it’s enough for a workout. The Heart rate monitor is a nice touch. It has a tablet stand on the bar and water bottle holders on the side. It has a nice and big Flywheel at 20kg and, like the other bikes on this list, is belt drive too. It’s a smooth and solid bike at a very low price.


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.

Magnetic Resistance Exercise Bike Common Problems & Issues

  • Belt: Although this type of model requires less maintenance, belt problems do arise. One of the most common complaints is that the belt on a magnetic resistance bike may begin to stretch as it starts to wear out. A stretched belt will initiate slipping and often requires replacement by a technician as it is more challenging to replace than a standard chain drive.
  • Magnets: If a rider cannot achieve the desired resistance when turning the resistance knob, this indicates a potential issue with the magnets. The magnets on a magnetic resistance bike move with the help of a cable. Over time, the cable can loosen and requires tightening for proper magnet placement with the flywheel.

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
Quietest
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.

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. 

Related: Indoor vs Outdoor Shoes for Indoor Cycling

Indoor Cycle vs Upright & Recumbent: What Is the Difference?

Stationary bikes can be further divided into indoor cycles, upright, and recumbent bikes. While they all require a pedaling motion, their appearance and feel differ dramatically. Take a look at the table below to see the key differences between the three. 

DifferenceIndoor CyclesUpright BikesRecumbent Bikes
ResistanceHeavy flywheel. Light flywheel. Light flywheel. 
Seated PositionSeat is above the handlebars. Rider sits with a forward lean. Pedals are beneath the seat. Seat is below the handlebars. Rider sits in an upright position. Pedals are beneath the seat. Seat is below the handlebars. Rider sits with a backward lean. Pedals are in front of the seat. 
GadgetsSome models are compatible with apps, but others lack real-time data.Typically display real-time data. Typically display real-time data. 
SeatFirm and narrow.Wide and comfortable.Wide and comfortable.
PriceGenerally speaking, they are more expensive. Generally speaking, they are cheaper. Generally speaking, they are cheaper. 

Indoor Cycling Benefits

According to a study by the University of Glasgow, the benefits of indoor cycling for women and men are extensive, including cutting the risk of certain cancers and heart disease by half. Not only does cycling combine the best of strength and cardiovascular training, but it is also non-impact, making it easier on joints. It is ideal for those people that have knee and back issues. For example, I have a meniscus tear in my knee and had to give up running, but I can still teach the toughest of interval classes and not have any pain or issues after class. Indoor cycling is absolutely a full-body workout. With the correct riding form, your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps have no other choice than to engage and maximize your results. Your core and upper body are also engaged when riding in or out of the saddle.

While listening to your favorite songs, enjoying an instructor-led class, or experiencing a virtual scenic ride, your pedals continue to spin, increasing your athletic performance. Indoor cycling is an incredible tool for building muscular strength and endurance. What is muscular endurance? Muscular endurance is the duration that your muscles can sustain an exercise or activity before needing to recover. This type of training also provides the release of endorphins within the body. Endorphins can diminish pain and also give a euphoric sensation. This endorphin release is most well-known as Runner’s High but can be achieved on the bike in as little as thirty minutes. 

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. 

FAQ

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.

Conclusion

Getting the right exercise bike for you is not easy as many are on the market. Take your time to look and make sure what you get fits your budget and your requirements, and you can’t go wrong.

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Robbie Ferri

A Personal Trainer and Ultra Cyclist living in King's Lynn in Norfolk, UK. From Ultra Cycling World Records to Bikepacking Races and a huge amount of time on the gym floor training myself and clients my experience when it comes to Health and Fitness is vast.

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