Best Spin Bikes To Use With Zwift

Best Spin Bikes To Use With Zwift
Spread the love

Zwift is probably right up there for being one of the most appealing, innovative and challenging indoor cycling apps on the market today.

Being able to cycle and train on your own spin bike from home along with thousands of others all over the world is incredibly exciting!

Basically like being in a game but in real-time, in the real-world and competing against real people

I absolutely love it!

It brings together cycling and just sheer fun – it’s amazing.

Haven’t heard of Zwift?

Well check out my post of it here!

Or take a look at this:

So as you can see Zwift really does offer an amazing alternative to indoor spin classes.

You can cycle on real routes across the globe, meet new friends, compete in challenges and races and even win prizes!

It’s great.

Now, what we’re looking to find out here exactly is what bikes are actually compatible with Zwift.

Well, fret not!

Here I’ve listed out the best bikes you can get that are compatible with Zwift in some form and will help improve your cycling experience with the app itself.

These Zwift compatible bikes are:

  • Schwinn IC8
  • Keiser M3i
  • Wahoo Kickr
  • WattBike Atom
  • Stages SC3
  • Tacx Neo
  • Concept 2 BikeErg
  • BodyBike Connect
  • Matrix ICR50

So, when looking for an indoor bike that’s compatible with Zwift Cycling there are generally 2 things to look out.

Some indoor bikes have the capability of controlling the actual resistance and matching that what it shows in-game on Zwift.

If your on an incline – the bike will incline

On a slope – the bike will decline

It reads what Zwift is saying and allows the bike to interact to it’s in-game ‘surroundings’.

Does The Bike Transmit Power Data?

In order to race and compete in Zwift you need to be able to show your power and cadence.

Your bike needs to be able to transmit your power data so Zwift can read and understand how fast your pedalling.

There are 2 ways to transmit your power data.

Either through ANT+ (Multicast Wireless Sensor Network Technology)

Or BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)

With the bikes discussed here, each of these will have either one of the two or even both.

BLE tends to give you a stronger signal and provide more accurate workout data during your rides so it’s something to keep an eye out for.

So moving onto the actual bikes now.

These are some of the best that doesn’t require the use of attaching any speed or cadance sensor.

The ANT+ or BLE are installed within the bikes itself.

First up,

Schwinn IC8

Schwinn IC8 Spin Bike

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

No

How does it transmit Power Data?

BLE (Bluetooth)

The Schwinn IC8 is one of the leading spin bikes that Schwinn have created.

It’s a great looking and well-designed bike that boasts a lovely black and red design.

It has magnetic resistance with an incredible 100 micro-adjustable resistance levels.

Pair that with the Poly-V belt and you’ve got one smooth and quiet cycle.

1.5kg dumbbells can be placed directly in front of you allowing for an upper body workout also.

With the Schwinn IC8, you can connect up to Zwift along with the Peloton app and Explore the World™. 

This is all connected through Bluetooth which will transmit all of your power data such as speed and cadence.

You can check out my full review of it here!

Keiser M3i

Keiser M3i Spin Bike

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

No

How does it transmit Power Data?

BLE (Bluetooth)

The Keiser M3i has a great sleek and slim design to it.

It may look very simplistic in style but don’t underestimate how good this bike is.

It was actually this first indoor cycling bike to pass the EN957-10 European Standard for accuracy and safety.

The Keiser M3i also has a magnetic resistance with a Poly V belt to help drive the flywheel at the rear that’s self-tensioning and requires little to no maintenance.

It’s also a great position to place the flywheel to prevent wear and tear from sweat.

It has both caged pedals where you can insert your foot into or flip it over and clip in your SPD shoes for a more secure pedal.

It measures all of your workout data on screen and is Bluetooth enabled which is great at transmitting data through to Zwift or their own M Series Apps.

Wahoo Kickr

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

Yes

How does it transmit Power Data?

ANT+

&

BLE (Bluetooth)

The Wahoo Kickr is one of the most advanced spin bikes or should I say ‘Smart Bike’ you can get.

The technology behind the Kickr is nothing short of incredible!

Firstly, this bike has a completely different design to most spin bikes.

It has both ANT+ & Bluetooth so you can get the most accurate data readings when using in Zwift.

It has a 6kg flywheel (13lbs), which I usually don’t recommend however this flywheel is a hybrid by using the enertia it generates through it’s rotation and combining a motor.

Being a smart bike, it uses algorithms to offer complete accuracy and responsiveness when racing or competing in the likes of Zwift.

It can adapt to real-time grade changes in ascents of up to 20% and descents of -15%.

So, if you’re cycling uphill or pedalling downhill, the bike will change it’s gradient to match.

WattBike Atom

Wattbike Atom Spin Bike

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

Yes

How does it transmit Power Data?

ANT+

& BLE (Bluetooth)

Next to the Wahoo Kickr, the Wattbike Atom is next in line as being one of the most advanced bikes.

The Atom is one of Wattbike’s flagship smart bikes.

They really went back to the drawing board with this bike and created a really streamlined and slim design to it.

Wattbike, as you probably seen, are known for their large chunky flywheel at the front like the like the Wattbike Pro.

This is so that the resistance can be applied with both magnetic and air.

However, with the Atom – this flywheel is solely magnetic resistance.

In order to see all of your workout data and metrics, you need to connect up to the Wattbike Hub app.

You’ll see everything you need from time, distance, speed, cadence, Watts and their incredible Polar View.

You’ll be able to see how much power your driving through each foot as you pedal!

You can easily connect the Wattbike Atom up to Zwift or a whole host of other fitness apps which will transmit all your data through the program but also allowing the bike to change in gradient as you are inclining or declining.  

It’s a great smart bike that delivers everything you need for optimum performance.

Stages SC3 Bike

Stages SC3 Spin Bike

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

No

How does it transmit Power Data?

ANT+

& BLE (Bluetooth)

The Stages SC3 is a bike created by enthusiastic cyclists who wanted more from an indoor workout.

It’s design and functionality resembles that of an outdoor bike but better!

The SC3 has a 30lbs (13 kg) flywheel located at the front that has a magnetic resistance which can be controlled from the bright blue turn crank just beneath you.

Right at the turn crank, there’s their one-of-a-kind SprintShift.

Simply turn this clockwise and it automatically adds resistance rather than you having to turn the crank to add incremental increases in resistance.

Perfect for HIIT training!

Their EcoSCRN bike console has no need for batteries or AC adaptor.

It’s powered by your motion and movement of the flywheel.

A carbon fibre belt is installed to help keep noise to a minimum along with very low maintenance.

Stages has their own Power Meter that allows you to measure all of your workout data that’s displayed on your console.

It’s actually one of the most accurate Power Meters on the market and was used by Chris Froome in training before he won the Tour De France.

Connect this up to your Zwift account and you’ll be getting one of the most accurate readings to show the power and effort you’re using!

Tacx Neo Bike

Tacx Neo Smart Bike

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

Yes

How does it transmit Power Data?

ANT+

& BLE (Bluetooth)

The Tacx Neo bike is another leading home smart bike that provides the best in quality and functionality.

It has a very simple design to it albeit very futuristic looking.

The flywheel is located at the back which is all electric powered and glows in colours from pink right through to red depending how hard you go and the power you emit.

There are 4 adjustable points at the seat and handlebars where you can move them up, down, forward and back.

The handlebars having a racing bike design to them and makes it feel like a real road bike where you can shift gears and apply the brake within a finger reach distance.

Directly in front, there is the console that provides all your workout data that is actually very accurate in terms of power output.

Below this, there is a small tray table where you can store things such as energy bars or small snacks for when your cycling.

Above the console you can attach your mobile phone or tablet.

At either side of this, you’ll notice the 2 fans.

These can be adjusted within the Tacx Utility App where you can increase the power of the fan.

Within the app you can choose which type of road surface you wish to cycle on such as concrete, cobblestones or a brick road.

It just gives it that great added feature!

As I said, this bike connects directly to Zwift where you can mirror your full power output on the screen in front of you.

It also controls the gradient whether you’re going uphill or sloping downhill.

It’s an awesome smart bike that does come with a price tag but with all these added features – it certainly makes up for it!

Concept® 2 BikeErg

Concept 2 BikeErg

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

No

How does it transmit Power Data?

ANT+

& BLE (Bluetooth)

The Concept 2 BikeErg is the latest in Concepts’ series of cardio equipment.

You have the Concept Rower, then they introduced the SkiErg.

Now, they have brought out the BikeErg.

So this bike is designed with the ‘enthusiastic cyclist’ in mind.

Sticking with their key feature the BikeErg also has a fan wheel instead of a flywheel like the other spin bikes.

The resistance in this can be cranked up at the side of the fan wheel in front creating a more difficult workout.

Just like an air bike, it uses the same principle of using air resistance as the the main form of resistance by creating drag against the blades inside the fan wheel.

This is a great sturdy bike developed by one of the best within the industry.

All of your key workout data is displayed in front of you where you can measure speed, time, calories burned and distance.

Great at connecting up to Zwift and uses both ANT+ and Bluetooth to transmit all of your power data.

BodyBike® Connect

BodyBike Connect

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

No

How does it transmit Power Data?

ANT+

The BodyBike Connect is the more bulkier spin bikes listed here.

As you can see, it has large side covers that aim to protect from dust and perspiration.

It helps to keep the longevity of the bike.

Its driven with a Poly V-belt and has friction based resistance with a very durable Kevlar brake pad.

The BodyBike uses Watt instead of measuring your heart rate to determine your performance.

This is used as Watt can determine how much power you use to push the pedals and generate most force to overcome inertia to get the flywheel moving.

The Connect uses ANT+ to help you transmit all of your cycling power data through to Zwift.

Matrix ICR50

Matrix ICR50 Spin Bike

Does it control resistance with Zwift?

No

How does it transmit Power Data?

BLE (Bluetooth)

The Matrix ICR50 is one of the newest spin bikes to the market and it offers an incredible indoor cycling experience!

It’s in their latest range of bikes that boasts that of a home studio bike.

It has an aluminium flywheel located at the back of the bike to reduce any wear and tear.

Create a more difficult workout with it’s magnetic resistance that is silent and maintenance free.

Control your resistance with the use of the lever in front – it has absolute precision control compared to that of a turn crank.

There are multiple hand positions on the handlebars that allow for a more varied cycle.

These are completely ergonomic with a rubber coating to increase grip.

In front, you can hold any mobile or tablet where you can connect up to Zwift and transmit all of your workout data via Bluetooth.

Conclusion

So there you have it!

These are some of the top spin bikes you can get that you can connect up to Zwift with that offers an incredible cycling experience.

No need for any speed or cadance sensors!

Just you and the bike!

Use your power and effort to display all your on-screen workout data and take part in challenges, races and competitions.

These bikes are extremely accurate at relating the information onto Zwift as they are all internal to the bike itself rather an external source being used.

So, if you’re after the ultimate cycling experience using Zwift – I do highly recommend one of these bikes.

If you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

5 Replies to “Best Spin Bikes To Use With Zwift

  1. Ronan,
    Am loving your site and advice!!
    I’ve been looking for a spin bike for home for a while now, but with so much information and options it can get a bit overwhelming. You have helped me narrow things down – so thank you! (Not quite made a decision yet though!)

    I like the idea of Zwift etc, but the cost of a compatible bike to get the best from come with quite a price tag.
    Do speed/cadence devises that you attach to a bike work at all?
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/iGPSPORT-Cadence-Sensor-Module-Bluetooth/dp/B06XBVGQQG/ref=mp_s_a_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=bike%2Bspeed%2Band%2Bcadence%2Bsensor&qid=1591995461&sprefix=bike%2Bspeed&sr=8-9&th=1&psc=1

    Thanks

    1. Hi Ade,

      Thankyou, I’m glad you like it

      Zwift is an awesome platform where you’ll be able to put in an incredible workout but keeps it fun and entertaining at the same time.

      You’re right, these bikes can be quite pricey. It’s the technology behind these bikes that boosts the price up but they are absolutely awesome for connecting up to Zwift.

      You can also connect up a speed/cadence sensor to your bike – that;s actually a very good one you pointed out there.

      These aren’t as accurate as the bikes themselves but are by no means completely out!

      You’ll still be able to connect up to Zwift and transfer all your cycling data onto the screen in front.

  2. Thanks Ronan,
    Like the idea of something like Zwift (know there are a few others to and have read your reviews in these too!). Anything that will help my involvement and motivation is going to be great.

    Am narrowing the bikes down and for around the £500 mark I think it’s between the JLL ic400 elite or pro models.
    Unless you have any other favorites?
    Being 6 2’ with long legs the adjustments on the pro seem better.

    1. Hi Ade,

      When it comes to virtual cycling – Zwift is definitely one of the best.
      There is another virtual cycling app you can check out called CycleGo – it’s similar to Zwift, the graphics may not be as sharp and realistic however it’s a lot more cost effective
      Check it out here: https://cyclefromhome.com/cyclego-app-review/

      Or if you’re after some extra motivation – have a look at some of the best online spin classes I’ve put together: https://cyclefromhome.com/best-online-spin-classes-the-ultimate-guide/

      The JLL IC400 is an excellent bike though – 20kg flywheel that’s also belt driven – perfect!

      You’ll get an awesome spin workout from this!

    2. Having used Zwift with and without resistance controlled (by Zwift) I can tell you now it’s a completely different experience when it is controlled. I would never go back to a turbo trainer or spin bike thats not controlled by Zwift, completely pointless IMO.
      The whole point of Zwift is to simulate road conditions with gradient changes being the main thing about it. Trust me, its boring as hell if you’re not getting resistance controlled by Zwift on your turbo or spin bike, you may as well join a spin class. You’re basically just looking at a screen watching your character ride around, there’s no connection in effort. But the minute Zwift can control resistance then it’s a different ball game. The connection between you, the bike, the resistance and whats happening on screen become complete.
      My advice is don’t bother buying any kind of spin bike thats not controlled by Zwift if thats going to be your main platform to use it on. Either get one that can be controlled or use a smart turbo trainer.
      You will regret it eventually.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *