How to adjust exercise bike resistance

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

It's time to do some troubleshooting if you find that your magnetic resistance exercise bike is not working. As the name implies, magnetic resistance exercise bikes use a magnetic field to create resistance. The field is generated by electrical circuit or by internal batteries and pedaling action.

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A control panel is used to adjust resistance by altering the intensity of the magnetic field. Most upright exercise bikes have a magnetic unit that interacts with the metallic surface on the flywheel to provide the positive and negative poles.

Chain drive recumbent exercise bikes have sensors on the flywheel and pedal cranks that generate magnetic poles. It's advisable to review the warranty conditions before attempting to fix magnetic resistance exercise bike problems.

Fixing Upright Exercise Bike Problems

If you have questions while troubleshooting your upright bike, contact customer service as indicated in your user's manual.

Step 1: Replace Display Panel Batteries

Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet. If the unit is battery powered, begin by replacing the batteries in the display panel and re-test the bike. Use an Allen wrench or Phillips screwdriver to remove the bolts that secure the split flywheel covers.

Step 2: Remove Pedal Cranks and Flywheel Covers

Pull each cover to the side to expose the flywheel. Grip the flywheel and rotate the pedal cranks counterclockwise to unseat them from the internal pulley. Remove the cranks and set them aside. Remove the flywheel covers.

Step 3: Remove and Replace Magnetic Unit

Use a socket and ratchet to remove the nut on the pulley. Twist the pulley to the side and slip the V-belt off the pulley and the magnetic unit. Inspect the belt for damage and replace if necessary. Remove the nut that secures the magnetic unit. Remove and replace the magnetic unit.

Step 4: Reinstall V-Belt and Pedal Cranks

Reinstall the V-belt on to the magnetic unit and pulley. Replace the nut that secures the pulley. Position the flywheel covers on each side of the flywheel. Reattach the pedal cranks by rotating them clockwise as you thread them into the pulley from each side. Reattach the flywheel covers.

Fixing Recumbent Exercise Bike Problems

Refer to your user's manual for specific troubleshooting tips if your recumbent magnetic exercise bike isn't working.

Step 1: Locate Hub Sensor Battery Pack

Remove the chain guard using an Allen wrench or Phillips screwdriver to loosen the bolts that secure the guard in place. Set the guard aside. Rotate the flywheel until the hub sensor battery pack is visible.

Step 2: Replace the Batteries

Inspect the insulated wire leads at the connection on the unit. If the leads are intact and not burned, it's not necessary to replace the unit. Remove the cap from the battery pack with a screwdriver. Replace the batteries and reattach the cap to the unit.

Step 3: Loosen the Speed Sensor Unit

Locate the speed sensor unit near the pedal sprocket. Use a hex wrench to remove the nut that holds the sensor in place. Pull the speed sensor out just enough to access the battery cap on the inside of the unit.

Step 4: Reinstall Speed Sensor and Chain Guard

Remove the battery cover, install a new battery and replace the cap. Reinstall the speed sensor and reattach the nut that holds it in place. Reattach the chain guard and tighten the bolts that hold it in place.

A voltage meter is used to troubleshoot problems with internal electrical circuits.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

If you are looking for a convenient and effective way to work out indoors, an exercise bike provides a good way to achieveyour weight goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The appeal of an exercise bike over a traditional bike while exercising is the customizable features such as resistance adjustment and presets and a tracking system which tracks calories burned and miles traveled. Many exercise bikes offer up to 20 resistance levels which are meant to simulate sloping hills you would find on a traditional bike trail.

Mount the exercise bike and place your feet onto the pedals securing your feet in the belt. Begin pedaling to power on the bike’s electronic machine.

Choose a workout mode. Most exercise bike machines will have different preset modes as well as a manual mode. The manual mode allows you to adjust the resistance to fit your workout style. The “Hill Workout” preset includes increasing and decreasing resistance levels to simulate biking up and down hills.

Adjust the bike’s resistance level by using the keypad to increase or decrease the machine’s resistance in the manual mode. The keypad should be marked as “Resistance.” Push the up button to increase the resistance to make pedaling more difficult. Push the down button to decrease the resistance and allow you to pedal faster and with less stress on your muscles.

Increase your resistance over time as your muscles grow stronger. As you get in better shape, increase the level to a comfortable level and develop a workout routine with increasing and decreasing resistance levels which cater to your own preferences.

Whether you’re brand-new to the indoor cycling game or have been at it a while, it’s never a bad idea to assess your bike setup. Fit is very individual, says Aaron Karp, MS, ATC, CSC, an exercise physiologist at the Tisch Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center and HSS Brooklyn. “Any guidelines for stationary bike setup are general,” he adds. “Different people will have different needs, so you really need to try out what works for you.”

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

Even if you feel more comfortable on your Peloton than you do on your couch, you can probably still make small changes to help you prevent injury and maintain proper form when riding.

Seat Height

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

With your feet flat on the ground, stand next to your bike and adjust the seat so that it’s about even with your hipbone. “Put your hands where you would consider your hips are—you’ll feel a rounded-off bone that goes all the way from front to back,” Karp says. That’s your iliac crest. “The seat should be more or less even with that. But most people need to make a few more adjustments from here.”

Next, climb onto the bike, but don’t clip your feet into the pedals or put them in the cages right away. With your heel at the front of the pedal, push all the way down on one side, so your foot rests roughly at 6 o’clock. “Your knee should be perfectly straight,” says Karp, “so that when you slide your feet into the cages or clip into the pedals, you’ll have the right amount of bend in your knee.”

That bend should be very subtle—about 5 to 10 degrees. “It shouldn’t be locked out, just bending noticeably,” Karp adds.

A good sign that you’ve gotten it right is that when you take your feet off the pedals, the toe of your foot touches the floor. Any more means you’re sitting too low, and if it doesn’t touch at all, you’re too high. Both a too-low and a too-high seat can set you up for knee pain.

Seat Distance

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

Once you’ve gotten to a comfortable height, next is to move the seat forward or backward, toward or away from the handlebars. Sitting on the bike, clip in or put your feet in the cages and bring your legs to 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. (It doesn’t matter which leg is in front.)

“What you want to do is imagine there’s a straight line from your front knee right down to the middle of the pedal, which should be right in line with the ball of your foot,” Karp says. If you clip in, this may require adjusting where your clips are on your shoes. Don’t worry about the leg in back, unless you want to double-check—the bend should be the same on both sides.

If your seat is too far forward or backward, “you could be putting unnecessary stress on your joints, as well as limiting the use of muscles you should be using, like your glutes,” Karp says. “Your glutes are important for maintaining alignment of your knee, which reduces risk of injury, while also increasing your performance.”

Handlebar Height

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

“When it comes to the handlebars, the simple answer is whatever feels comfortable,” says Karp. “You don’t want to feel like you’re either overreaching or too bunched up.” Your elbows should be slightly bent and your shoulders away from your ears as much as possible.

Karp has this helpful trick to figure out the right handlebar height: Sit up straight, extend your arms straight out in front of you so they’re parallel to the ground, then hinge forward slightly with your spine neutral. Your handlebars should be at a height that is comfortable for you while allowing you to keep your spine in that neutral position. If your back starts to round, your handlebars are too low.

“What’s really good about adjusting the handlebars that way is that it works for everyone,” says Karp. “If you don’t have very mobile hamstrings or hips or a strong core, you naturally won’t go as low as someone who does. It’s a very self-regulating technique that teaches you how to keep your core strong while riding.”

If you start rounding your back, slouching or feeling too much weight in your shoulders, repeat the technique again.

Body Positioning

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

As general rule of thumb, Karp says, as long as your spine is relatively straight, your core is engaged when you’re riding, and you have a slight bend in your elbows without too much weight in your shoulders, you’re in a good position. “You also want your knees to be tracking over the middle of your feet,” he adds.

Once you’ve adjusted the bike so it fits you properly, then look at the screen. For bikes like Peloton or SoulCycle with screens attached, “if you look at the screen the entire time, you’re at risk of hyperextending your neck,” Karp says. Try to listen to the instructor more than look. That also goes for if you’re watching your class on a TV you can’t reposition.

If you’re using a bike without a screen and taking a class on a laptop or another device you can more easily move, “try to put it on a coffee table or something a little bit lower than the bike so that you’re able to look down,” he adds.

Many people like spinning, but how many of them know how to spin correctly?And do they even know how to adjust spin bike to the correct settings? The answer to this is probably “no.””This is because a small percentage of all bike users actually know how to fit a bike correctly.

This is, according to Charlee Atkins, who is a Soul Cycle instructor. He also says that it is essential to know how to set up your bike because a correct setup comes with many benefits. Besides efficient and powerful exercises you will gain from proper adjustment, you will also minimize injury occurrence.

So, to give yourself the ultimate boost by riding a spin bike, you should learn these tips on how to properly adjust the spin bike.

Tips on how to properly adjust the spin bike

Cycling is a fantastic way of exercising; it helps us keep fit and boost our overall health. But if we fail to get that perfect positioning, we will not only be wasting time but also exposing our bodies to injuries. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or new to spinning, you need to learn how to set up your spin bike.Therefore, to help you get the setup combination right for your bike, we give you these tips.

Adjust the seat height using your hip bone as a reference height

The first step is checking whether your seat is on a correct height. How to set it is quite easy process. Start by standing next to the bike’s seat, look for where your heap bone juts out, then adjust the seat so that the top aligns with the bone. This should be your starting place. But remember, when adjusting it that this is not a fixed height, you can still adjust to fit other settings.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

Hop on the bike and check how much your knees bend while on a down pedal

This setting aims to prevent your knees from bending too much or full straightening. According to professional instructors, they recommended a bend of somewhere between 5 and 35 degrees. Different instructors come with different figures, but they should between that range. So, if your knee bend is not within that range, you can get off the bike and slightly adjust the height.

Check and see if your feet and knees are aligned properly

Hop on the spin bike again and put your hands on the handles, then make half-pedal so that both your feet are the same distance from the ground. When you’re in this position, check the leg in front pedal and see if the tip of your knee and feet are aligned. If your feet seem to be too far behind, get off the bike, then move the seat slightly backward. But if it appears to be a bit far in front, move the seat a bit forward.

Set or measure the handlebar distance

The other step that I usually do before I hop onto a spine bike is to check the distance between the handles and seat. This is important because it will help you get the right posture, thus not leaning too much on the handles. According to professionals, the appropriate distance (between seat and handles) should be equal to the size of your forearm.

Therefore, to set that distance you have to use your forearm and measure then adjust the spin bike to the right settings. You can later change the length from there by either (+) or (–) two numbers.

Check your body posture

Finally, when you complete making sure that other settings are okay, you can then hop in the bike and ensure you maintain these postures:

  • Maintain a straight back throughout your workout to avoid back pain or injuries as well as work on your core.
  • Ensure that your elbows are slightly bend not straightened or too bended. This will help you avoid straining your elbow joints since you will lay much weight on them. It will also help you to work on some muscles in your arm and shoulder slightly.
  • The other thing is dropping your shoulders away from your ears, thus helping you open up your chest.
  • And when opening up your chest, ensure that you squeeze shoulder blades together.

To ensure you maintain all these postures, you will have to engage the core as the lock.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

So, you’re done with adjusting your spin bike, and you will like to get on it and start your workout, but is that all you need to know? Not exactly. There are other essential tips that can help you generate more power and improve your workout. As long as you follow the above five tips, then these extra tips will be of great importance when it comes to flavoring your exercise routine.

Resistance Control

With the other five tips being constant, the effectiveness of your exercise will rely on workout intensity.And to improve your workout intensity, you will need to increase resistance. This is where resistance control comes in. So, in every spinning bike, there is a resistance knob located under the handlebar. You can increase or decrease resistance by turning the knob in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, respectively. And if you want to bring the flywheel to a stop, press it down.

Pedal Stroke

While pedaling a spin bike, you are creating a continuous non-impact pedaling drive. This means that you are applying force throughout the pedaling motion you make. Therefore, this technique helps in generating power that ends up improving your muscle fitness. And since every stroke has an impact on your muscles, you should always set the appropriate resistance that is sustainable.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

In order to ride an exercise bike safely and effectively, the machine’s settings need to be properly adjusted. There are a variety of settings on an exercise bike that impact seat height, speed and resistance. Making personal modifications to these settings will give you a more comfortable ride and reduce injury risk while maximizing the fitness benefits offered by an exercise bike.

Adjust Your Seat

For an upright bike, stand next to the bike and adjust the seat so it is level with the top of your hip bone. Once seated, place your feet on the pedals and adjust the pedal straps if necessary. Your legs should maintain a slight bend of approximately 20 degrees at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Adjust the handlebars to match the seat height. Move the seat forward or backward so the kneecap of your forward leg is aligned with the center of the pedal.

On a recumbent bike, the seat can be adjusted to a horizontal level or positioned at an approximately 45-degree angle. When your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, your knees should bend at about a 10- to 15-degree angle, and when your foot reaches the top of the pedal stroke, your knees should be at or above hip level.

Speed It Up

You can adjust the speed level on the electronic console of an exercise bike. Refer to the owner’s guide for specifics. A common measurement for bike speed is revolutions per minute (RPM). While a beginner might set the speed level at 60 RPM, for the most effective workout the optimum cadence for an average rider is from 80 to 100 RPM. Don’t pedal at the same speed for an entire workout. Mix it up by riding at a lower speed of 50 to 70 RPM to build leg muscle strength, then crank up the speed level to 120 to 140 RPM to build endurance.

Crank Up the Resistance

Resistance levels vary on exercise bike models but as a general guideline there are low, medium and high resistance settings. Increasing the incline setting mimics a more challenging uphill ride. Gradually increase the resistance level of a workout over time as your endurance grows and your muscles become stronger. Incorporating intervals by alternating low or medium resistance with brief periods of riding at the highest resistance level possible is an effective fat-burning regimen.

Monitor Your Efforts

Heart rate monitors are built into some exercise bikes and can alert you when you fall outside of your target zone. The chest-strap version is more accurate than the handgrip version. To achieve the greatest health benefits from an exercise bike workout, keep your heart rate between 50 percent and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate throughout the workout. Use the formula of 220 minus your age to calculate your maximum heart rate.

Other settings may include a calorie burning tracker and entertainment options such as an MP3 player, video screen or game console. Follow the directions provided by the exercise bike’s manufacturer or ask gym staff how to adjust the settings for these features.

  • Ride Fit: Correctly Adjusting Your Stationary Bike
  • IDEA Health & Fitness Association: Optimizing RPM
  • Consumer Search: How to Buy an Exercise Bike
  • American Heart Association: Target Heart Rates

Joy Johnston has been an online journalist since 2005. She has served as senior producer for the health news website Sharecare and as a digital producer for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," where she helped develop the health channel. Johnston has also covered ways to stay fit in Atlanta.

In order to get the best workout from Spinning, you must learn to correctly set the resistance level on the bike pedals. This allows you to simulate going up and down hills. When you determine the correct resistance level during the appropriate intervals, you can maximize the cardiovascular benefits of Spinning.

Determine the Correct Resistance Levels for Spinning

Familiarize yourself with the way the resistance control on your stationary bike works, so you can make predictable changes while Spinning. Generally, the resistance control is a knob that actually tightens the brakes of the bicycle, making it increasingly difficult to pedal.

Practice keeping up your cadence, or the rate at which the pedals are moving, despite changes in the resistance levels. The recommended cadence for Spinning is 60 to 110 revolutions per minute, which is optimal for fitness.

Use a heart rate monitor to note the changes in your heart rate as you increase the pedal resistance. By increasing and decreasing your heart rate (measured in beats per minute) through various resistance levels, you can reach your fitness goals more efficiently.

Use lower resistance levels while practicing the first three core movements of Spinning, which are sitting flat, standing flat, and jumping. A low to medium resistance level will help to increase endurance and stamina and at the same time determine a baseline for your body to recover between sprints.

Choose higher resistance levels for the fourth and fifth core movements of Spinning, which is the seated climb and the standing climb. These movements help to tone muscle and increase strength, especially in the legs, the gluteal muscles and the hamstrings.

Keep plenty of water, preferably the kind with added electrolytes and carbohydrates, well within reach while you are Spinning. Experts recommend drinking one ounce of water for every minute you spend on the bicycle in order to avoid dehydration.


Visit your doctor and ask if Spinning is the right exercise regimen for you. Spinning can further aggravate back and heart problems, and is not recommended for people suffering from these conditions.

How to adjust exercise bike resistanceIn case you are trying to find an effective and convenient way for indoor workouts, an exercise bike is a solution. What makes the exercise bike appealing over the traditional bikes is the ability to customize features, pre-sets, and resistance adjustment.

Furthermore, it is possible to track the miles you have travelled on an exercise bike and the number of calories burned. Typically, bike resistance means how intense the workout is. If the resistance is high, it means the body uses energy during the exercise. In such a scenario, the body burns more calories, and you end up toning the muscles because of the hardship in pushing the pedals.

In most cases, exercise bikes come with up to twenty resistance levels that are simulations of hills and slopes that you can encounter on the traditional bike. The resistance type can either be air-based, brake bases, direct contact, or magnetic. Exercise bikes mostly have a flywheel resistance design. It, therefore, becomes essential to know how to adjust resistance during the workout. The below guide provides step by step detailed information on how to adjust exercise bike resistance.

Sit on the bike with the feet on the pedals

Climb the bike face the forward, facing the handlebars. For electric bikes, the screen will be in your front. Place the feet on the pedals such that the toes are almost at the end of the pedals and adjust yourself until you can reach the handles and exercise the pedals easily. Pull the pedal straps and make them a bit tight for your feet not to slide off during pedaling.

With your legs extended fully, bend forward

Before setting the resistance, make sure that you are seated comfortably and the posture is right. It is advisable to lean forward to make it easy to reach the front screen and grasp the handlebars firmly.

In most cases, there is an adjustment lever under the seat that you can use to move the seat closer to the handlebars or raise it. Ensure that the bike seat is well positioned so that you can pedal comfortably irrespective of the resistance selected.

Rotate the pedals to start the bike

Rotate the pedals while watching the control screen to light up. As long as you are cycling at a low speed, it is impossible to access the resistance settings. Keep cycling for some time without attempting to tweak the settings. However, for mechanical bikes, the resistance controls are available immediately, the cycling starts.

In case the resistance low, keep cycling for a while at a consistent rhythm before altering the settings. In some bikes, turn on the screen by pressing a button and buttons to keep the display on. Some stationary bikes have buttons for various resistance settings, such as hill workouts that are already programmed. If the bike is mechanical, there are no other buttons to set; you only need to keep cycling and prepare for the alteration.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

Use keypad controls to change the resistance if it is an electric bike.

Look for the resistance controllers with labels underneath the screen. Mostly, they have an arrow shape with markings for both minus plus. To increase the resistance, press the plus arrow, and to decrease it, press the minus arrow.

Nevertheless, the exercise bike will take a few seconds to respond to the settings change, and you need to be patient. Once it responds, you will feel a new resistance kick in, but if otherwise, keep on cycling. Note, when changing resistance, do it gradually so that you can feel how each resistance is and choose the appropriate one correctly.

For a mechanical bike, turn the control knob to change resistance

Usually, the resistance control knob in a mechanical exercise bike is on the bike’s stem between the handlebars. To increase the resistance, turn the knob clockwise. In the same way, to decrease the resistance, turn the knob in the counter-clockwise direction.

Importantly, continue pedaling, and after a few seconds, you will feel the bike switch to the new resistance level. Depending on the bike model, you may see labels on the knob, such as numbers, minus, or plus signs. Other models do not feature any label on the control knob.


In conclusion, with exercise bike indoor workouts, one can quickly lose weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle. In all honesty, different levels of resistance have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, high resistance levels tones up the body and burn calories more quickly, but at the same time, it can lead to injury.

Even in a low resistance, it is still possible to get health benefits if the workout is done for an extended period consistently. If you do not suffer from back pains or knee pains, you should consider a higher resistance. In this regard, it becomes paramount to know the right resistance settings when spinning. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s user manual on how to change the resistance levels.

Not all exercise bikes are equal in their resistance systems, and the difference between them can affect your workout.

Four different exercise bike resistance types dictate your riding experience and your comfort level.

Each has its pros and cons, along with additional considerations.

Exercise Bike Resistance Types

Exercise bikes offer a variety of features and accommodations depending on your needs.

Between the frame, seat, onboard technological components, and folding or non folding capabilities, there’s a lot to learn when shopping for an exercise bike.

The ability to adjust your bike’s resistance to customize the intensity of your workout lies in its resistance system. There are four main types of exercise bike resistance:

​Why Exercise Bikes Need Resistance

Like the way that a standard bicycle functions, exercise bikes use pedaling and a bike-shaped frame to mimic the experience of pedaling outdoors. Rather than wheels, exercise bikes utilize flywheels to accommodate pedaling.

Consider riding across a flat service, such as a city street. A cruiser bike or another type of bicycle with limited gears would result in a smooth and easy pedaling experience. But for most people who exercise using stationary bikes, that isn’t much of a challenge.

That’s why exercise bikes utilize different means of resistance.

Without resistance, riding your exercise bike would feel like cruising a city street with little effort. This is not the aerobic effect that people are looking for when they purchase a stationary bike.

What’s a Flywheel?

The “wheel” at the front of an exercise bike is the flywheel. It allows the rider to pedal. Without a flywheel, your pedals would spin in the breeze.

But not all flywheels are the same.

The flywheel spins and helps you build momentum, but the weight of the flywheel dictates how much momentum builds up.

The function of the flywheel is to imitate the feel of cycling outdoors, particularly the feeling of pedaling uphill. This way, you can bring the outdoor biking experience indoors.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance

Flywheels range in weight from around 30 pounds to 50 pounds depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. Heavier flywheels usually mean higher costs for your exercise bike, as well as less maneuverability. This is an important consideration if you plan to stow your bike or move it around often.

What Bike Is Best For You?

The most important item to consider is your level of fitness.

For someone who is just starting out with exercise biking or aerobic fitness in general, a bike with limited capabilities is ideal. For advanced athletes, a bike with additional options and customization potential helps to tailor the experience to the rider.

Also, think about your physical condition and whether you have any medical needs that limit your ability to ride a stationary bike. People with joint conditions or pain, for example, may prefer cycles that offer low levels of resistance.

Riders who intend to rebuild strength as part of rehabilitation at home will want to adjust resistance as they progress through treatment. This might mean a low resistance level to start, but which bike works best for you will depend on not only your current fitness level but your long-term goals as well.

Finally, if you are not mechanically inclined, you would do well to avoid bikes that involve complicated setup processes or routine maintenance that requires tools. These types of bikes will only cause frustration later when they are due for technological updates or fluid replacement.

Brake-based Systems

For conventional bicycles, brakes offer slowing and stopping capabilities.

Many exercise bikes utilize this same technology to add or remove resistance during your ride. Bicycle braking systems apply friction to your wheels. In a conventional bike, this slows or stops your ride.

In exercise bikes, controlled braking makes it easier or more difficult to pedal. This translates into either a challenging or leisurely ride, depending on your preferences. However, even within the brake-based system category, there is an assortment of braking systems available.

How to adjust exercise bike resistance
If you want to upgrade your home workout space, you may be considering buying an exercise bike. These days, there are many options to choose from when looking at the exercise bike and spin bike market. One important item to consider is the type of resistance.

The question is often asked: which is better, friction resistance vs. magnetic resistance on an exercise bike? Today, we will dive into the pros and cons of each option.

Magnetic Resistance

As the name implies, bikes with this mechanism use magnets to create resistance while riding. The magnets’ distance apart on each side of the flywheel is simply adjusted to increase or decrease the resistance. This adjustment is most often made with the touch of a button on a smart bike. Models that use magnetic resistance include the Peloton and the Nordictrack S22i bike.

Friction Resistance

Alternatively, friction resistance is applied via felt pads that put direct pressure on the flywheel. To increase resistance, a knob is typically manually turned to press the pads tighter against the wheel. This traditional form of resistance tends to come at a lower price point and is easier (and cheaper) to fix if something goes awry. Popular models that use friction resistance include the Bowflex C6 Bike and ProForm Studio Bike.

Which is Better?

The consensus is that magnetic resistance provides a better user experience. This is because the resistance is easier to adjust for a more seamless workout. However, many newer exercise bikes on the market that use friction resistance are significantly quieter and easier to use than past models.

Plus, they can provide a more fluid change in resistance since magnetic resistance can sometimes lag. The biggest drawback of magnetic resistance is the price point. Regardless of which option you choose, there are high-quality models on both ends of the resistance spectrum to explore.

How to Choose a Resistance Option

There are a few key factors to consider that will help you decide which type of resistance is right for you. These include the following:

  • Sound- Friction resistance comes with a faintessential swooshing sound, while magnetic resistance is very quiet.
  • Budget- Knowing what you can afford will differentiate which models to look at while starting your exercise bike search. Magnetic resistance comes with a heftier price tag.
  • Level of resistance- Magnetic resistance is limited to a certain number of groups. At the same time, friction is essentially endless (you can turn the knob until the wheel can no longer be moved). If you like high resistance for standing workouts or have powerful legs, this may play a role in your choice.
  • Maintenance- In general, friction resistance will require more maintenance as the pads wear out or get out of alignment. Yet, when a magnetic resistance bike does need to be serviced, it most often requires more time and money to be fixed.
  • Workout experiences- Magnetic resistance is most often reported as easier to adjust while during a workout versus turning a knob. Some magnetic resistance models can even be modified by an exercise program itself, making for a smooth experience.
  • Integrations- Nowadays, most exercise bike models on the market are considered “smart” and come integrated with an HD screen interface. This allows access to online programs with anything from live workouts and personalized training to competitions. Each brand comes with its unique program and interfaces depending on your preferences and budget.

Ultimately, there is no better choice when it comes to magnetic resistance vs. friction resistance. Purchasing the right exercise bike is about finding a comfortable model, using it consistently and enjoying the long term. Having an exercise bike at home can help take your exercise goals to the next level.