When buying an indoor cycling bike to exercise from the comfort of your home, you must look at all its specifications and get the one that most suits your requirements.
Among all the specs, the one that matters the most is the flywheel weight.
As a beginner, you may face difficulties in choosing the right flywheel weight for your spin bike.
So, in this article, I’ll help you to find out what a flywheel is and how it can be the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a spin bike.
So, let’s get started!
What is a Flywheel of an Indoor Cycling Bike?
A flywheel is the heart of an exercise bike. It’s the big round disc-shaped mechanical device located at the front of an exercise bike that is used to store rotational energy and ensures smooth operation.
A flywheel is connected to the pedals through a chain or a belt drive. As you pedal, this creates momentum and the flywheel rotates.
Interested in what I use for my indoor cycling? Check out my recommended gear page.
Why Is a Flywheel Important On An Indoor Cycling Bike?
The absence of a flywheel in an indoor cycling bike leads to an ineffective and uncomfortable ride and may cause severe injuries. The flywheel helps to maintain a smooth and safe operation during your workout.
The weight of the flywheel limits the rotation. The flywheel weight also plays a vital role in controlling the resistance and inertia of the bike.
Hence, when purchasing a spin bike, anything that matters the most is the flywheel weight. So, let’s find out how flywheel weight matters, and what factors must be kept in mind while choosing the weight of the flywheel of a spin bike.
The Working Principle of a Flywheel
For a flywheel to perform efficiently, it must store a certain amount of kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is a function of mass and speed. This kinetic energy is needed to simulate the smooth pedalling operation and give the feeling of a road-like sensation while riding.
The flywheel physics states that a flywheel will store twice as much as energy if you double the weight of a heavy flywheel keeping the speed the same.
Which Flywheel is Good?
For a flywheel to be called ‘good’, it must take some force to set it spinning. It also requires a certain amount of energy to get it stopped.
Heavy flywheels with large diameters store more energy as compared to smaller ones. Similarly, the wheels that spin faster store much more energy compared to the ones that turn slower.
Heavy Weight Flywheel VS Low Weight Flywheel
Flywheel weight is the most crucial factor to be considered when buying an indoor cycling bike.
Let’s discuss all the information that you must know regarding heavy and light flywheel weights.
Heavy Weight Flywheel Indoor Cycling Bikes
When it comes to choosing the flywheel weight, it is recommended that heavier flywheels are better as compared to lighter ones. Higher the flywheel weight the smoother the operation.
A heavy flywheel ensures safe movement by producing more power at a steady rate.
A heavier flywheel makes the movement controlled and less jerky.
The heavier the flywheel the higher the combination of resistance and momentum that you can generate during your workout.
That’s how you can enjoy a more realistic feeling of travelling uphill.
However, there are a few drawbacks of a heavier flywheel:
- The bike becomes more burdensome, which makes its movement difficult.
- Another problem associated with a heavier flywheel is that it requires more momentum and energy to get it started and into motion.
- Furthermore, as the wheel gets heavier, the bike becomes expensive.
Now, the recommended flywheel weight for indoor bikes is about 18-20kgs, whereas for commercial bikes the weight can be around 20-22kg. A flywheel in these weight classes generates a perfect amount of inertia and promotes a smooth, consistent and flawless cycle.
My Top Pick
The Sunny SF-B1805 has an incredible 44lbs (20kg) flywheel that is guaranteed for a smooth cycle.
It also features:
- Magnetic Resistance
- Belt Drive
- Durable Steel Frame
- 136kg (300lbs) Max User Weigh
- Tablet or Phone Mount
This is a great, strong, and durable bike that offers a really smooth, quiet ride at an affordable price.
Ideal for someone who wants the best from their spin session whilst keeping noise to a minimum.
A bike with a flywheel weight of less than 16kg is not recommended.
Hence, I always prefer to choose a bike with a heavier flywheel weight so that you can avoid a choppy pedal stroke.
Low Weight Flywheel Indoor Cycling Bikes
A lighter-weight flywheel requires minimal effort to get started. These flywheels are not capable of creating enough inertia needed for smooth pedalling.
This can result in the riders experiencing stress on the joints which may lead to injury.
However, lighter flywheels help promote hamstring and glute recruitment during pedalling which makes your legs pedal faster enabling you to work harder.
Bikes with heavy flywheels usually have flywheels positioned underneath the sweat zone of the rider.
This is done to ensure smooth movement of the bike.
However, placing the flywheel in the sweat zone isn’t considered ideal because it increases the risk of wear and tear, which ultimately means that the bike would require more maintenance.
Many indoor cycling bikes nowadays tend to position their flywheel at the rear of the bike, i.e. away from the sweat zone so that the risk of wear and tear gets eliminated.
Bad Pedalling Technique and Bike Setup
There is no doubt in the fact that the flywheel weight plays a vital role in your successful workout session.
However, some other precautions must be observed to ensure a smooth riding operation.
For example, bad pedalling technique, proper form, and poor bike setup (despite the flywheel being heavy or light) may cause injury.
To avoid any harmful situations, you must ensure that you have set up the bike correctly and ensure that the pedalling operation is smooth.
You can do this by watching online video tutorials.
So, after looking at all this we can conclude that the bikes with heavier flywheel weights are comparatively better when compared with the ones with lighter ones.
Heavier weight flywheels ensure:
- Faster Cycling
- Smooth Riding Operation
- Enough Inertia
- Comfortable Ride
Moreover, to fulfill the optimal design considerations for an indoor cycling bike, its wheel must be positioned at the rear of the bike away from the sweat zone. That’s how wear and tear can be reduced, and the bike is transported easily.
However, flywheels that are positioned at the front of the bike also perform an excellent job – it’s just a matter of taking extra care to keep it clean and tidy.
Although this complete information was regarding choosing the bike based on the flywheel, be very clear that flywheels should not be the only factor to be kept in mind while buying a spin bike.
You must also keep an eye on other vital elements, such as pedalling technique, material durability and ease of riding operation.
If you have any questions, drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.