My wife wants an exercise bike. What is?

FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
My wife is interested in getting an exercise bike. She's looking for something tech-compatible and is looking to me to look into it.

My budget is around $500 CAD for the bike itself.

- Looking at some apps, is there a function where the bike has Bluetooth to monitor speed/resistance/etc? What about actually controlling those things in an app?
- We aren't looking to buy a Peloton, but we are interested in subscription apps that give some kind of guided experience, and hopefully someone interactive re: above
- She prefers the spin style, where you lean forward like a real bike, as opposed to the straight upright kind
- portability isn't as important. We have space to create a semi-dedicated spot for it.
- there are so many random knockoffs on Amazon and similar, it's difficult to find something of quality with confidence. I've been looking at the two below, but for all I know they're awful

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07PVMWTRV/

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07PZWLFGZ/

Any suggestions?

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  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    I can't speak on the electronics side, but good spinning bike cost money. However they also last forever, so do look if you can pick up a 2nd hand spinning bike from a gym.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2020
    I can't speak on the electronics side, but good spinning bike cost money. However they also last forever, so do look if you can pick up a 2nd hand spinning bike from a gym.

    Having the tech is a definate must, and not just a "spin bike" like you'd find x30 in a class.

    I mean there are options for $500, just looking for someone that knows which are any good. I understand $2500 exercise bikes exist.

    Figgy on
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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Do you already have a bike? I was looking into trainers to turn my bike into a stationary exercise bike but didn't end up pulling the trigger on any

    Might be an option to look at if she's comfortable on her bike

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    $500 is not going to get you a particularly good setup for someone who is going to be very enthusiastic about this in the long run, unfortunately. This is one of those weird areas where you have some cheaper options for folks who may not ultimately stick with it, and then the enthusiast level which is just way, way more expensive.

    A good bicycle with components and movement that are "good" by enthusiast standards is going to probably run you $1k+. The trainer setup and electronics will run you another $500 at least most likely. That's from the "actually a cyclist" side.

    For something that's just a stationary, you've gotta make trade offs in the mechanics/movement of the cycle itself versus how full featured the electronics are to stay in budget. I recognize that this unfortunately does not fully answer your question, but hopefully frames your thinking around the question? I would probably focus on spending most of your budget on a good stationary bike equipment that is set up to easily slot in a tablet or mobile device to handle your video play and stuff.

    Without knowing ANYTHING about the bike itself, just looking, something like this maybe:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D528W98?tag=dotdashvwellf-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1&ascsubtag=4157924|nab7b125c5a104624938faf3e1a22f34019

    What is this I don't even.
    CelestialBadgerIcemopper
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    If you are willing to wait and also to buy used, then wait for mid-February when people who bought them for their "this year i get in shape" resolution get lazy and realize it's not for them. You get an almost new equipment at second hand price.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Smrtnik wrote: »
    If you are willing to wait and also to buy used, then wait for mid-February when people who bought them for their "this year i get in shape" resolution get lazy and realize it's not for them. You get an almost new equipment at second hand price.

    Not to mention all those people who bought them to avoid the gyms this winter.

    dispatch.oJaysonFourShazkar ShadowstormV1mMichaelLC
  • SerpentSerpent Sometimes Vancouver, BC, sometimes Brisbane, QLDRegistered User regular
    edited December 2020
    The website 'dcrainmaker' reviews all things cycling tech including some of the better exercise bikes. He also keeps a database table of features, prices, etc. But I think most of the stuff he reviews is more around $3000 USD.

    Here's a comparison table of some of his reviews, with links to the reviews at the bottom of the table, but all of them are $2500+
    https://dcrainmaker.com/product-comparison-calculator?comparison=yes&ids=119266,102712,102710,102590

    So you might want to put your expectations of price in check? My gut says $500 is super low for what you're asking for. That's based on when I was looking at indoor trainers -- which is just something to attach a bike to so you can ride it inside -- an ok one would be $500+ and the good ones are $1000+. So I would assume that a full on decent exercise bike would be above that.

    Serpent on
  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    Yeah, 500 is likely low for what you're looking for, especially with pandemic scarcity

    I recently got a Bowflex C6 via PayBright and it's a great cheaper Peloton substitute but still costs like 1400 CAD

    The Schwinn IC4 is also supposed to be a good Peloton replacement but it's 900 USD so likely not much cheaper

    I have seen suggestions on some threads during my research that you can get a monitor to put on a bike you've arranged indoors to monitor cadence? But it's not really gonna approach the full experience of the real spin bikes

    There are definitely other services you can use - the selling point of the C6 was that you can use it with other software like Zwift, Kinetic, etc. because you're using your own tablet as a monitor and not one you're paying several hundred extra for - but 500 isn't gonna get you a smart bike, basically

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2020
    I understand the "If you're really serious" angle, I really do. But my wife is not a cycling enthusiast. She likes to go to spin classes and wants a similar experience minus COVID risk, so I'm not sure I'm too concerned about professional cyclist reviews as much as I am about ((people wanting to keep fit))'s reviews. Obliviously I don't want something that's going to break in a year, but honestly the reviews of the $500 range bikes all seem really good if we're just talking "exercise bike".

    But I would need to go with a $500 bike and then add the tech. For example, a cadence and speed sensor that interacts with cycling apps ($100), then a tablet unless we're using an existing device or the smart TV ($150). That puts it around $750, so still fairly reasonable.

    With all that said, my wife has been looking up smart bikes and is now adjusting this budget to around $1,500. So now I guess this is an entirely different question. Looking at the newest Norditrack seemed like a good choice, although above that budget. But then looking on their Canadian site it's somehow DOUBLE the fucking price?

    So then there's the Bowflex C6. $1,400, it has the sensors, but you'd need your own device. So around $1,550 if we want to buy one to dedicate to it. Any opinions on this one? I want to say Bowflex is "As Seen on TV" garbage... but reviews seem fairly good. And it's basically identical to a Schwinn iC6 (their websites are literally the exact same template) except I can't find anywhere that sells that Schwinn in Canada.

    There's also Echelon, which is like a half-price Peloton with their own class service. I'd have to do more digging to confirm you can still use the bike's smart features with other apps, not just Echelon.. but the quality looks good.

    Figgy on
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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Cello wrote: »
    Yeah, 500 is likely low for what you're looking for, especially with pandemic scarcity

    I recently got a Bowflex C6 via PayBright and it's a great cheaper Peloton substitute but still costs like 1400 CAD

    The Schwinn IC4 is also supposed to be a good Peloton replacement but it's 900 USD so likely not much cheaper

    I have seen suggestions on some threads during my research that you can get a monitor to put on a bike you've arranged indoors to monitor cadence? But it's not really gonna approach the full experience of the real spin bikes

    There are definitely other services you can use - the selling point of the C6 was that you can use it with other software like Zwift, Kinetic, etc. because you're using your own tablet as a monitor and not one you're paying several hundred extra for - but 500 isn't gonna get you a smart bike, basically

    Posting at the same time, literally everything I'm looking for here. How do you find the C6, and what have been your experiences with different apps?

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    Cello
  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    Figgy wrote: »
    Cello wrote: »
    Yeah, 500 is likely low for what you're looking for, especially with pandemic scarcity

    I recently got a Bowflex C6 via PayBright and it's a great cheaper Peloton substitute but still costs like 1400 CAD

    The Schwinn IC4 is also supposed to be a good Peloton replacement but it's 900 USD so likely not much cheaper

    I have seen suggestions on some threads during my research that you can get a monitor to put on a bike you've arranged indoors to monitor cadence? But it's not really gonna approach the full experience of the real spin bikes

    There are definitely other services you can use - the selling point of the C6 was that you can use it with other software like Zwift, Kinetic, etc. because you're using your own tablet as a monitor and not one you're paying several hundred extra for - but 500 isn't gonna get you a smart bike, basically

    Posting at the same time, literally everything I'm looking for here. How do you find the C6, and what have been your experiences with different apps?

    I really like the C6! It took about an hour to assemble, rides pretty smooth, and is easy to set up. It looks stylish, and it has pedals that can adapt to different cycle shoes if your wife is that into spin (I only have standard running shoes for now.) It's easy to adjust the seat/handlebars if you both end up using it, too. It comes with two 3lb freeweights you can use for some of the arms and intervals classes.

    My previous home bike a few years back was a shitty 400 dollar recumbent that technically had 7 settings, but went from 1 - barely any resistance, to 2 - like a level 60/100 on the Bowflex, which meant I never really got to level 2. So uh, coming from that or gym bikes that were pretty heavily used, quite the step up!

    So far I've only used Peloton and Kinetic. Peloton actually wound up being everything I'd want out of a fitness app, since it also has some decent yoga classes and some strength/body weight/low weight training. I find the trainers are good and good at motivating me to put in some work. The drawback of the C6 is for Power Zone training - Peloton won't read power readings from the C6 - but you can run Kinetic at the same time on a split window. Also note - Peloton seems to specifically work on iPad/Mac? Probably want to look into that before you buy a dedicated tablet.

    The other apps I haven't tried yet, but Zwift is probably next on the list. Most of the bike apps that connect in are listed on the Bowflex site, and offer free trials for between 1 week or 1 month, so you can really try them out and see what you think!

    Important note: look up the conversions before you start Peloton. The power levels are different on the two bikes and it took a week of wondering how I could be SO out of shape before I realized I was biking at 20 levels higher than the beginner level instructors were asking for, ahaha.

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  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    Oh! And you don't have to hook into an app to ride the bike at all, if you don't want to. You can adjust the resistance, monitor heart rate and rpm and calorie burn, etc., just using it like a normal gym bike too. Which means you can also just grab random classes on YouTube and use them if you want to.

    Steam
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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2020
    That's very helpful, thanks!

    I think that may be the current winner, until I learn more about Echelon bikes.

    Edit: Talking to their live chat, Echelon bikes with the built-in tablet can only run their own app, nothing else. So bike + standalone tablet/chromebook it is.

    Figgy on
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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    My wife got a Schwinn IC4 used (they are very hard to find in stock new or used in Canada)and has been very happy with it. She uses it with the Peloton app.

    :so_raven:
  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Fuck Warren Ellis Registered User regular
    Echoing that you won't find much at the $500 level.

    I own an Echelon EX 5 and it is great. You are correct that you'd also need to spring for an ipad but they frequently run deals that include the ipad mini in the bundle.
    You can use other apps with Echelon but every bike has "proprietary metrics" that they use in gamifying their experience that won't translate to apps from other manufacturers. For example, Peloton has a "power" metric as part of their system and Echelon has an "output" metric as part of theirs.

    You'll also want to look into getting biking shoes which is another $100 or so - that way you can clip into the pedals instead of using the oldschool basket pedals (which are awful). Beyond that the apps are not cheap. Echelon's is about $45 CAD per month and Peloton's is more expensive than that I believe.

    Finally, be prepared to wait. Covid has made getting spin bikes really tough right now because everybody is buying them.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Worth noting the Peloton app is pretty cheap if you're using your own equipment. Like 14/month.

    I knew about the slight differences in the metrics but figured it was still very doable still. I am 100% not on board with getting a bike locked into its own app. That's nonsense.

    I might be looking at a Chromebook or maybe even just a touchscreen monitor if we can pair it to a phone and play off that. $1,200 for a decent sized tablet just to dedicate to this bike is too much. And my wife would like something larger than the standard 10" tablets in the $300ish range.

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    Cello
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Yep, for a full on integrated tech bike it's pretty spendy. The good stuff is when you can integrate with Zwift/Trainerroad, which is like a MMOBC (massively multiplayer online bike club). That said - bikes only for those are like 2500, but you can get compatible trainers for 500 (requires a bike).

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    schuss wrote: »
    Yep, for a full on integrated tech bike it's pretty spendy. The good stuff is when you can integrate with Zwift/Trainerroad, which is like a MMOBC (massively multiplayer online bike club). That said - bikes only for those are like 2500, but you can get compatible trainers for 500 (requires a bike).

    You can get compatible bikes for $1500--the two above we're discussing. The ones I'm seeing in the $2500 range come with an integrated screen, but then that screen only runs its own proprietary app (Echelon, Peloton, etc.)

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  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    edited December 2020
    Echoing that you won't find much at the $500 level.

    I own an Echelon EX 5 and it is great. You are correct that you'd also need to spring for an ipad but they frequently run deals that include the ipad mini in the bundle.
    You can use other apps with Echelon but every bike has "proprietary metrics" that they use in gamifying their experience that won't translate to apps from other manufacturers. For example, Peloton has a "power" metric as part of their system and Echelon has an "output" metric as part of theirs.

    You'll also want to look into getting biking shoes which is another $100 or so - that way you can clip into the pedals instead of using the oldschool basket pedals (which are awful). Beyond that the apps are not cheap. Echelon's is about $45 CAD per month and Peloton's is more expensive than that I believe.

    Finally, be prepared to wait. Covid has made getting spin bikes really tough right now because everybody is buying them.

    @SatanIsMyMotor Looking at some other reviews, they're saying the EX5 can ONLY pair with the Echelon app. That's wrong, right? Can I download the Peloton app, Zwift, etc. and just pair it with the Echelon EX5 sensors?

    Edit: Kind of irrelevant now, we just pulled the trigger on the Bowflex C6. The lack of any metric display on the Echelon EX5 is what sealed the deal. I feel like they're offering a screen-less option but still doing their best to push you to use their app, no matter what. With the Bowflex it's agnostic.

    Figgy on
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  • EtheaEthea Registered User regular
    The bowflex C6 and the Schwin IC4 are the same bike with different branding.

    In general the bike is great, you should be aware of the following:
    • Peloton resistance is wildly different compared to this bike. You will need to create a mapping from Peloton to C6.
    • The bikes biggest weakness are the stock pedals and the lack of proper tools to install the pedals. Improperly installed pedals will strip the crank arm on the bike, causing the pedal to fall out and you either have to re-tap the crank arm or get a new crank arm. The provided pedal wrench is a joke and shouldn't be used, and they provide no lubricant to reduce the chance of cross threading. The better option is to buy new pedals, a pedal wrench, lube and just install better pedals to start. It will add ~60 the price but will save you more in the long run ( replacement crank arms are taking 60days to ship ).

    I have had my bike for over 6 months now, and I really like it. But please, please, please replace the stock pedals and assemble with a proper pedal wrench.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Ethea wrote: »
    The bowflex C6 and the Schwin IC4 are the same bike with different branding.

    In general the bike is great, you should be aware of the following:
    • Peloton resistance is wildly different compared to this bike. You will need to create a mapping from Peloton to C6.
    • The bikes biggest weakness are the stock pedals and the lack of proper tools to install the pedals. Improperly installed pedals will strip the crank arm on the bike, causing the pedal to fall out and you either have to re-tap the crank arm or get a new crank arm. The provided pedal wrench is a joke and shouldn't be used, and they provide no lubricant to reduce the chance of cross threading. The better option is to buy new pedals, a pedal wrench, lube and just install better pedals to start. It will add ~60 the price but will save you more in the long run ( replacement crank arms are taking 60days to ship ).

    I have had my bike for over 6 months now, and I really like it. But please, please, please replace the stock pedals and assemble with a proper pedal wrench.

    Can you link to what I should be considering? I don't know much about pedals so I understood some of those words...

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  • EtheaEthea Registered User regular
    edited December 2020
    I use SPD cycling shoes so I went with “ Shimano M530 SPD Bike Pedals”.

    For wrench go with Park Tools PW-5

    Park tools sells the lube as well

    Ethea on
    SatanIsMyMotor
  • CelloCello Registered User regular
    I'll note I'm using the stock pedals and normal runners with the cages and doing fine, but they do warn several times over about the threat of stripping the pedals in the installation process, yeah

    I do want to get some bike shoes eventually but I need to pay the bike off a little more first, haha

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