Spin Bike Resistance: What You Need to Know

Ever wonder if a Spin Bike (Indoor Cycle) is the right investment for you? Or do you know you want one but are unsure if friction or magnetic resistance would best meet your needs. Or do you have an indoor cycle but want a refresher on resistance. If any of these are you, then continue on.

Why Cycle?

Whether it’s inside or outside, cycling provides many benefits to our body and our joints. Providing cardiovascular exercise, cycling gives our heart and lungs an endurance test without the pounding on our joints that comes along with the other well-known cardio, running. Cycling also allows for variety in a routine. Sit down on the saddle for a traditional ride or stand up and pump for some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). If you have ever been to a cycling class, you know the heart-pounding, muscle-building exercise an indoor cycle can offer.

Magnetic vs Friction


It is always important to first research the indoor cycle you have your eye on before you try it out.  Then, compare, compare, compare before you make your purchase. Here’s some research done for you: 

To start, friction resistance uses felt wool pads that rest on the flywheel. Every turn of the knob brings the pad closer to the flywheel. The more pressure from the pad against the flywheel, the more resistance to the user. This can be accomplished with either one pad on top, similar to the patented resistance on the BODYCRAFT SPX, or two pads on either side of the wheel.

Due to the nature of this system, a friction bike will have some noise associated with it as the flywheel passes the pad. It is often described to have more of a ‘real bike’ feel. The pad does require some maintenance including occasional lubrication to help with wear and noise. It is also important to note that the wool pad on a friction bike will need replaced, typically every 6 to 12 months, due to wear over time. A rubber mat under your friction spin bike is always a good idea to protect your floor from this wear and lubrication.


Magnetic resistance works using magnets on either side of the flywheel. Once in motion, the flywheel becomes the conductor. With every spin of the knob or push of a lever, the magnets get closer to the flywheel. This magnetic pull creates the higher level of resistance. BODYCRAFT magnetic cycles utilize Eddy Current Magnetic resistance. BODYCRAFT uses an aluminum flywheel on our cycles, which is not magnetic until it is in motion. Once in motion it creates a drag force between the flywheel and the magnets which opposes the forward motion. The closer you bring the magnets to the wheel, the more difficult your pedaling becomes.

An indoor cycle with magnetic resistance will provide a smooth and silent ride as there are no touching parts required. With no touching parts, there is also minimal maintenance required for magnetic cycles. No lubricant is needed and no regular part replacements. Magnetic bikes often have more options when it comes to levels of resistance. The resistance style can be similar to friction bikes where resistance is controlled with a knob, such as the BODYCRAFT SPT-Mag, or you can have set levels similar to the BODYCRAFT SPR. The SPR utilizes a lever to adjust resistance providing real-time feedback on the level of resistance you are at. The level is displayed on the computer screen, allowing you to replicate and improve on prior workouts.

Resistance Rundown

Whether you decide on a magnetic option, like the BODYCRAFT SPR, or a friction bike like the SPX, the resistance level chosen to exercise at is important for the results you want to see. The more resistance, the more intense the exercise, the greater impact on muscle development. Less resistance can also be utilized to accomplish higher speeds. A higher speed, when kept consistent for a period of time, will boost cardiovascular output helping you reach your Target Heart Rate Zone. Increase resistance to mimic riding up hill, and lower it to mimic going down. Push up the resistance, stand, and get a pump going for both aerobic and anaerobic benefits. The options are endless!


Don’t forget options like a computer add-on to help monitor time, speed, distance and RPM to ensure you are getting the most from your indoor cycle. SPD pedals can be beneficial if you want to clip in and really get moving. Heart rate belts are also a great idea if you like to ensure you are meeting your target heart rate for maximum cardio benefits each session. The Polar T34 heart rate strap is the best option for all BODYCRAFT cardio products as it transmits four feet, providing you an accurate reading whether you are running, rowing, or spinning.

Last but not least, be sure to check out our new tablet holder. Pop it on a BODYCRAFT cardio piece and catch up on your favorite TV show, movie, or book while you get in a quality workout. It will make the time fly by and you’ll be sweating before you know it! Whatever spin bike you decide on, we are happy for the start or continuation of your fitness journey.

Happy spinning!

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