Indoor cycling bikes are becoming ever more revolutionized from their initial conception. They have now become sleeker, more stylish, robust, and ergonomic.
However, many people wonder what is better…a chain or belt drive for an indoor cycling bike?
Well, first off both types of drive on an indoor cycling bike have their pros and cons but both have been designed to be reliable and durable to make sure that you get an epic workout every single time.
Obviously, the name explains the difference between each. One is a chain just the same as you would get on a standard outdoor bike whilst the other is a belt that drives the flywheel.
So, let’s look at both in a bit more detail:
Older indoor cycling bikes are generally fitted with a chain-driven system. Some people prefer the chain on the bike as it resembles the outdoor bike and uses the indoor bike as part of their training for outdoor cycling.
When pedalling, the chain will start to roll over a sprocket that powers the flywheel in front. With even a small amount of effort used through the pedals, the flywheel will start to gain momentum allowing you to cycle with resistance.
Over time, the chain on an indoor cycling bike may become loose just with general everyday use. This may result in the chain coming off the bike but if that is the case, simply just reattached and off you go again.
A chain-driven spin bike can also be a lot cheaper to buy such as the XS Sports bike compared to a belt-driven bike, simply because belt-driven bikes are said to be the new ‘thing’. However, a chain-driven spin bike will give just as good as a workout as a belt-driven bike.
So an indoor cycling bike fitted with a belt drive is the newer concept of the chain.
Most belts are made of a very durable rubber or even kevlar nowadays. They are incredibly strong and will guarantee years of everyday use on the bike.
Here, there is a high tension put on the belt that makes sure it remains in place but also provides the effective friction needed to spin the flywheel in front.
According to a study on Gates Carbon Drive Toothed Belt, this type of belt helped reduce frictional loss which gave the cyclists more power allowing them to get a more effective cycle.
As there is no rattle that comes with a chain-driven indoor cycling bike, the belt drive is a lot quieter so great if you need to get a good cycling session in whilst the baby is asleep.
Chain-driven indoor cycling bikes are essentially an outdoor stationary bike that you use indoors. The chain more or less resembles that of the outdoor bike.
As you know with outdoor bikes, every now and again they will require some TLC. With the chain constantly rolling over the sprocket and the pressure used to spin the flywheel, it can start to wear.
From time to time, you will have to lubricate and tighten the chain to make sure it is in perfect working order. It’s a very simple task but will allow years of use out of your indoor cycling bike.
An indoor cycling bike that is belt driven requires very little maintenance as the belt itself is very strong and is only rolling over soft curved edges to generate the power to the bike so very little damage is done, if even.
In a very rare circumstance that a belt drive was to snap, you can try to fix it yourself or may have to take it to a local bike mechanic to fix it which may be costly.
But once again, very rare.
As mentioned above, some of the best indoor cycling bikes are going to give you the feel and performance of an outdoor bike. You will notice the chain rolling over the sprocket of the bike but it does provide a very smooth cycle.
A belt-driven indoor cycling bike won’t have the same characteristic feel as an outdoor bike like the chain-driven bike but it will provide the ultimate smoothness of your cycle.
Both types of indoor cycling bikes will without a shadow of a doubt provide an outstanding and very effective workout so performance isn’t an issue here at all.
So, out of the two different types of bikes, the chain-driven indoor cycling bike is going to be the nosier bike….but by how much?
Really, there is not a lot of difference at all.
On a chain driven bike, you will hear the chain rolling over the sprocket and hear that ‘clinking’ noise you get on an outdoor bike.
However, this is really not a problem. You will still be able to hear the TV, listen to music, hold a conversation, etc.
As the belt-driven bike is really just a belt rolling over a relay system, there is little to no noise here. You’ll barely even notice that there is an indoor cycling bike there.
Belt driven indoor cycling bikes can be more expensive than a chain driven bike because
- They cost more to manufacture
- Of their Perceived Value
- They are more ‘fashionable’
Belt-driven bikes need very precise measurements when the belt is being fitted at the time of manufacturing or else the belt will weaken very quickly and become ineffective, leaving the bike unusable.
Chain driven bikes don’t need exact measurements and simply due to the nature of the chain-driven system, manufacturers know when a customer buys that upkeep needs to be performed every now and again, so the price tends to be lower.
More people also want a less noisy bike and so the demand for belt-driven bikes is greater.
It all comes down to economics 101 – supply and demand.
At the end of the day, whether you purchase a chain or a belt-driven indoor cycling bike you are still going to get exactly what you want out of it – an incredibly effective workout.
They perform the exact same task as the indoor cycling bike but it just depends if you want the feel of the outdoor bike that a chain-driven bike will provide or a smoother, quieter cycle that the belt-driven bike will.
So, I hope this has provided an insight into the great chain or belt drive debate.
If you do have any questions, please drop a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.