Spinner Sport Exercise Bike Review
Spinner Sport Bike
Spinner Sport Spin Bike
After a couple of years of participating in Spinning® classes at the gym, I decided to replace my old home recumbent bike with a spinning bike . I liked the Star Trac® Spinner® bikes at the gym, so I very quickly narrowed my search to the Spinner® brand bikes. The question was: which one was best suited to my needs for home use?
I liked the commercial bikes, especially the Spinner® NXT model, which most closely resembled the bikes at my gym, but the cost seemed prohibitive. I am, after all, a beginning spinner, with no aspirations to advance any further than to use spinning as a fun way to get in some aerobic exercise. So, I focused on two of the lower-end commercial models (as identified by Mad Dogg Athletics,) the Spinner® Pro and the Spinner® Elite; and three of the "home" models: the Spinner® Velo, Spinner® Fit, and Spinner® Sport.
The problem that I perceived with all of the models I was considering was the ability to adjust the height of the bike saddle. The saddle sits atop a curved piece of metal, and seemed to give it extra height. This meant that when the height of the seat was adjusted to the lowest setting, a very short person still might not be able to ride comfortably. The Spinner bike at my gym has no such curved piece. This gave the bike at the gym the advantage in that when adjusted to the lowest setting, the saddle was indeed low enough for me to ride comfortably. Without being able to see and test the bike models in person, it was something of a gamble in choosing the right bike for me.
The second problem that I saw as the overall weight of the bikes. The home bike I was replacing weighed somewhere around 40 pounds. It was largely steel constructed, but did contain a great deal of plastic, which made it somewhat easier to move around on my own. The spin bikes I was considering weighed between 80 and 120 pounds - definitely not something I could move by myself. But I soon found myself wanting a weighty bike; something sturdy enough to withstand being used daily, something that could take a workout without me having to worry about it too much.
I ultimately decided upon the least expensive and lightest weight model, the Spinner® Sport, which is billed as an "entry level" bike at a list price of $599. My reasoning was that if the bike did not work out for me as I'd hoped, it wouldn't be a huge investment on my part; I could likely sell the bike to someone else after a time; and if it did work out, I'd be getting a quality piece of equipment. I placed the order with an on-line retailer that offered free shipping.
The bike arrived within a few days of placing the order. The UPS delivery driver offered to put the package just inside my doorway, since it was obvious that I would never be able to lift the box by myself. I was grateful for the help; I struggled enough just getting the box open.
The bike was well-packaged, and came with an exercise DVD with several ride programs, a plastic water bottle, a very cheap wrench-like tool to aid in assembly, and a detailed instruction booklet. Assembly was a snap, less than 30 minutes, though I had to use real tools to put the bike together and not the toy-like tool provided. I was happy that the bike came partially assembled, because I was able to move the pieces to where I wanted, and assemble the bike in place. Once assembled, I could still move the bike by maneuvering it on its two small wheels attached to the bottom-front of the frame.
After making seat and handlebar adjustments, I soon discovered that I was justified in my concern about the curved metal piece on which the saddle was affixed. The bike barely fit me. I ride wearing cross-trainers with a slightly built-up sole to give myself the extra half-inch I need to ride comfortably. It doesn't feel the same as it would with cycling shoes but the option works for my purposes. It allows me the ability to ride in relative comfort and share the bike with my household.
Easy to Move
The bike assembly was relatively straightforward:
- The bottom stabilizer bar (with small front wheels) attached to the frame;
- The seat post pieced together and popped into the frame
- Pedals attached to pedal spindles; and
- The handlebar post slid into the frame.
What I Liked About the Spinner Sport Bike
I started with the DVD that came with the bike. On opening the jewel case, I found that it contained four workouts. The shortest workout , "Spin® & Slim Express" ran about 30 minutes, "Spin® & Burn" , "Spin® & Sculpt", and "Johnny G Live" each ran 40 minutes. the "express" ride was enough to work up a sweat and was easy to follow and relatively interesting. The Johnny G ride was also interesting and best for those just learning to spin, because it showed the basic hand positions and covered the basic spin techniques. Both the Spin® & Burn and the Spin® & Sculpt rides were aerobic and challenging. If you're just starting out, you can take the intensity down to something you can manage and still get in a good workout, and feel like you're "keeping up" with the DVD.
I noticed that the Sport model had more movement during a workout that the gym model, but it still felt relatively sturdy when out of the saddle, on sprints, and on hill climbs. Other household members did not feel as I did, however. For a taller and more aggressive spinner, the Sport model was too lightweight for long, challenging workouts.
But, I'm Pleased
After six months of home cycling on the Spinner Sport, I have to say that I am 90% pleased with the purchase. There are little things that I wish were different, but overall, I'm happy. The little things: the water bottle holder is too small to hold my water bottle. The water bottle that came with the bike inadvertently got tossed out with the cardboard box, but I assume that it fit into the holder just fine. The bottle holder is also bothersome because it is attached to the frame, and I sometimes whack my leg or foot against it as I get on or off the bike. The handlebar padding is too light; I much prefer the Spinner bikes at the gym with the almost luxurious padded handlebars, and the water bottle holder built into the shape of the handle bars.Had I purchased the more expensive NXT model, I would not have had the bottle holder problem because the handlebars had a built in bottle holder. The NXT model also has the better padded handlebars.
More important shortcomings: I was so caught up in the vertical height adjustment of the saddle that I didn't pay too much attention to the horizontal seat adjustment and the handlebar adjustment. When I ride the Sport, I have to reach slightly more forward than I do on the gym spin bike. While it is not uncomfortable, it is different, and takes a moment of adjustment. Taller riders in my household do not experience this problem.
Finally, the handlebar adjustment. On the bike at the gym, I generally keep the handlebars fairly low. At home, the handlebars are on the highest adjustment. I'm not sure why there is such a difference, but I suspect that it has to do with the horizontal seat adjustment on the Sport.
But, I remain about 90% happy with the bike. I find that I am much more likely to hop on for a quick 30 minute workout at home a few times a week, if not daily. I still go to the gym for the hour long Spinning® class once or twice a week, and I suspect that I will ultimately upgrade my home bike for the Spinner® NXT model, or whatever I can get that is most like the bike at the gym. Until that time, however, the thrifty entry-level Sport model is fine for my needs.
Try several styles of spin bikes in-person. The best way to buy a spin bike is to try them out in person so you can see exactly what you're getting. Make sure that the bike can be adjusted to your size for a comfortable ride. This is especially important if you are very tall or very short.
Check return policies. If you take your chances and buy your bike from an online retailer as I did, be careful to review the return policy, and keep in mind that you may be paying freight charges if you do need to return.
Decide in advance what features are important to you. A heavy-duty flywheel might be better if you ride daily for a long workout. The Sport model has an acceptable fly wheel for moderate rides. The NXT model has a gym-quality fly wheel. Brands differ, so decide what you like and find the brand that is closest to your needs.
I will never again buy without first trying. Had I tried the bikes out first, I would have bypassed the lower-end model and purchased the NXT. However, since I didn't have a local retailer that carried the full line, I went first by price, assuming that I'd eventually upgrade. While that Sport model is completely acceptable, I still would have splurged on the NXT simply because it would have fit my height better. I am happy with the quality of the Sport model, and would recommend it to casual riders who want a spin bike to add to their home gym.