keiser m3 plusThe Keiser M3 Plus Indoor Cycling bike looks good enough to be in an art gallery. Our review looks at if  its beauty is more than skin deep so it gives you the type of workout you want from a spin bike.

It comes with fully adjustable seat and handlebars so it can be sized to fit a wide range of heights.

Resistance is magnetic rather than using friction which means there is less noise and wear and tear on the bike because there is nothing touching the flywheel.

It comes with a computer and resistance system that has been calibrated to give accurate readings of resistance, power output and distance.

The bike frame is made of stainless steel and aluminum to give a durable and stable riding experience.

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Sturdiness

This bike can take a lot of workout stress. It is the same as ones used in gyms across the country. It doesn’t move around whether you are sitting or standing up and sprinting with the resistance turned up high. There is no movement nor shakes from the bike when transitioning from seated to standing or vice versa up to the maximum recommended weight of 300 lbs.

If you have an uneven floor there are 2 adjustable feet at the back to level up the bike to prevent any rock from side to side that may have occurred otherwise.

There are some standard maintenance checks that the company recommends such as keeping it clean, keeping the bolts tight, replacing batteries in the console and keeping it lubricated. Aside from that there doesn’t appear to be much to do to get a lot of good years of indoor cycling workouts.

Part of the longevity is due to stainless steel along with putting the flywheel at the back away from where the sweat may drip as well as protecting the handlebars with sweat resistant materials, sweat guards and sweat directing grooves that channel sweat off the bike.

Adjustability

keiser m3 plus priceThe bike’s design has a frame angled at 45 degrees. This means when you adjust the handlebars up or down they move closer and further away from the seat making it difficult to get the sizing right for tall and short users. To overcome this issue you now have the ability to move the handlebars horizontally to correctly size the bike for your height. This is a big improvement over the Keiser M3

The adjustments are done easily by undoing the relevant knobs and sliding the adjustment posts to the correct position for the user’s size and then tightening the knob. You are not restricted to adjusting the bike to positioning holes in the adjustment post. You can adjust to the height to where you want and then tighten the knob. The later models also have holes in the post which you still don’t have to use but if you don’t tighten the knob enough the post will only slip down to the nearest hole due to the spring loading of the knob it insert into the hole to prevent further slippage.

Making the adjustments is quick and easy so more than one person can use the bike. There are markings on the adjustment post to help you remember where to adjust it to. You can be set up and get to spinning fast.

It also covers a wide range of heights. The tallest person to use the bike and report back is 6 foot 5 inches and there is still more height to add to the bike with no overstretching or being cramped. At the other end of the height spectrum it is said to be fine for people 4 foot 10 inches and under – making it possible to be used by almost every adult in a family. It is fine for people between these measurements too.

Resistance

keiser m3 plus drive redThe big practical difference between this bike and other spin bikes is that resistance is provided by magnet rather than by a brake pad. This eliminates the need to replace pads and the need to lubricate them and with the console included it gives more certainty in knowing how much resistance you are cycling against.

It works using an “eddy system” caused by the magnets and the flywheel. In practical terms when the magnet is moved closer to the flywheel by moving the resistance stick on the handlebar up and away from you it creates more resistance and when the resistance stick is moved down and towards you the magnet is moved away and resistance is less.

Also resistance is increased or decreased by how fast you are riding. The faster you ride the more resistance you experience. So, at a cadence of 90 rpm at resistance/gear level 14 you are experiencing more resistance than if you were cycling at 80 rpm at the same resistance level of 14 – another factor in making your workouts tougher the faster you pedal.

However, at very low speeds and resistance levels you may notice that there is not as much resistance as you’d expect.

The only time you are likely to experience this, if at all, is when you first start to pedal at the  beginning of your workout for the first few turns.  Aside from that minor issue you will have a very smooth and fluid riding experience.

Drive type

The bike has a belt-drive that should not require any maintenance on a day to day basis. The company says it won’t require maintenance at all. I assume this means you should get many years of riding before it needs replacing. This seems to be the experience of users in that they are getting many years of life out of the drive.

Pedals

You get Shimano combo pedals as standard with the bike. On one side are toe cups with adjustable straps for standard shoes and on the other side they have an SPD clip for use with Shimano cleat bike shoes. These are the same as the ones you find on outdoor bikes and are a standard fitting for this popular type of shoe.

If you don’t want these pedals and want to use a different type of pedal you can swap the pedals as the bike is designed to use standard outdoor bike pedals.

Comfort

keiser m3 plus side profile redFrom all the bikes I’ve reviewed so far it is unusual to see a spin bike where so few people have complained about the bike seat that comes with it.  There are some and if you don’t like the seat you can change it for a standard fitting bike saddle that is more to your liking.

The adjustability of the seat and handlebars in four directions – up, down, backwards and forwards has meant that users get can get the bike to be a good fit for their size so they can ride the bike properly. They are not forced to ride the bike incorrectly thereby helping to prevent back or knee pain from riding the bike.

The handlebars look different to the standard ones you see on bikes so as to give the ability to move them backwards and forwards but you can still place your hands comfortably in the 3 common positions for spinning – in the center for when riding sitting down, at shoulder width apart for bracing yourself when sitting or standing and at the top of bars for riding standing up. The bars are covered to make them easier to grip and to stop them from getting “slippy” from sweat.

This bike is very quiet. The magnetic resistance makes no noise at all as there is nothing touching the flywheel and the belt drive is very quiet, too. In fact, the heavy breathing from your exertions is probably going to be louder than the bike. You’ll be able to watch your favorite TV or movies without turning the volume up. If you want to you can ride in peace at night while everyone is asleep or if you have a young family you might be able to sneak in a workout while they nap during the day if you can make the time. This makes this an ideal bike for an apartment as your neighbors won’t be disturbed by you working out.

With this bike there will be much less lubricant and dust given off than with bikes that use a chain drive and friction style resistance but it is still a good idea to put it on a mat to protect your floors from getting damaged and dirty from any dust generated from working out and of course all the sweat!

Storage

The Keiser M3 Plus doesn’t take up too much room. It is 58.5 inches in length (when handlebars are fully adjusted) and is 25.75 inches wide.

However, there are 2 transport wheels at the front which you can tip the bike on to by using the handlebars to move the bike to and from storage if you don’t want it dominating a room when not in use.

The bike is heavy but the wheels make it easy to move around for one person as no lifting or dragging is required and there doesn’t seem to be any trouble with rolling the bike over different floor surfaces.

Keiser M3 Plus Assembly

keiser m3 plus greyAssembly takes about 30 to 60 minutes. The instructions are clear with plenty of easy to follow diagrams and pictures.

There aren’t too many pieces to put together. The frame, crank shaft and seat are already assembled. You just need to add the handlebars, flywheel, console and base.

The manual recommends the tools you need to put the bike together including  a torque wrench, various sized wrenches, Phillips screwdriver and a crowfoot wrench.

Most people seem to have the tools to do this or make do with what they have at home or get someone to assemble for them. This spin bike needs to have tools to assemble that are a bit different to other spin bikes sold for home use and I think the reason is because these are gym quality bikes that are sold to gyms as well as homes unlike other bikes that are sold just for home use. Having said that, the majority of people who assembled it themselves reported it being easy to do.

It is heavy. The package weighs 150 lbs and the assembled bike is 91 lbs. It is advised that there is are 2 of you to put it together due to the weight and to hold it steady. Once it is together you can use the transport wheels to move it to where you want to use it.

Console

keiser m3 plus handlebars seat greyThe console is easy to read and comes with a backlight that comes on automatically when the light is low (it has a light sensor at the top). The numbers are easy to read and the LCD display is big enough that the measurements are displayed constantly (except Watts/Calories where it swaps through them) .

The measurements starting from the top are:

1. RPM (Cadence) – revolutions per minute, also known as cadence – the number of times one crank arm is turning per minute. It measures the speed you are pedalling. At 140 RPM and above the computer no longer registers and the word STOP appears because in the words of Keiser “the cyclist is pedaling faster than he or she needs to be.” At this speed most cyclists won’t have good form so they might injure themselves and won’t be working as hard as they would at a lower RPM with a higher resistance level. Conversely, when standing you should keep the cadence above 60 RPM to maintain resistance (per manual).

2. Power – this measures output in Watts currently being generated and calories burned in total for the workout. The display alternates showing Watts for 8 seconds and calories for 2 seconds. Watts are calculated by the computer using RPM and resistance level and a conversion table. Calories are calculated using the watts generated, so it is only for the work generated. It does not take into account the weight or other factors of the cyclist in the calculation, therefore, it is an estimate only and won’t be 100% accurate.

3. Heart Rate – a compatible heart rate strap needs to be worn to see readings. If you don’t have a strap the display shows a constant heart symbol and 0. If you are wearing a strap and the computer has found it you’ll see your heart rate and the heart symbol blinking. The company recommends Polar and in particular the Wearlink 31 model.

4. Elapsed Time – measures the total time of the workout

5. Gear – in the bottom left hand corner this shows you  the resistance level you are cycling at. It has 24 levels, with 24 being the hardest

keiser m3 plus diagonal red6. Odometer – for the first 8 seconds it displays the distance of all workouts to date, and then it monitors the distance traveled in the current workout

To reset information you can stop cycling for 60 seconds or you can quickly move the resistance/gear shifter stick up and down twice.

The computer does have a few shortcomings to be aware of. You can’t upload your data to an internet account to store and analyze your data. The data from your rides isn’t stored on the device so to keep a record you are going to manually write it in a journal or spreadsheet to or type it your internet account.

The distance recorded is not miles or kilometres, but, according to the company it, is something in between. It measures the number of the revolutions of the flywheel with 200 revolutions equalling 1 unit as recorded. It does make it difficult to make comparisons with “miles” recorded on an outdoor bike but does give you something to compare results from one workout to the next.

If you are interested, during your workout, in the averages of RPM , power and heart rate you need to stop cycling for 3 seconds and the averages for these measurements will flash until you start pedalling again. This is a bit annoying but you probably aren’t going to be wanting to see this too often during a workout. But more annoying than that, is that after 60 seconds the computer goes to sleep and resets itself, so you lose all statistics for the workout. It doesn’t leave you much time for a water refill or bathroom stop.

It does give you the opportunity to track your workout and you can see the gear (resistance level) you are in, your power output and cadence (RPM), heart rate (the strap does not come with the bike) giving you something to target during your workout and be able to compare your workouts. The gear reading makes it easy to set resistance as you know how hard it is going to be and know how much resistance to add and how much to reduce resistance when doing a hill type workout. There is no estimating or guessing of resistance as you get with bikes that use resistance pads and knob.

Dimensions

Height – 44.5 to 50.75 inches

Width – 25.75 inches

Length – 48.25 to 57.25 inches

Bike Weight 91 lbs (Shipping weight 150 lbs)

Flywheel Weight 8 lbs

Maximum User Weight 300 lbs

Q Factor 7 3/4 inches

Accessories

The bike comes with a water bottle holder at the bottom of the frame which is close to hand during your workout. It is held in place by gravity making it easy to lift out and put back with no struggling with clips. It does seem to me to be in a position where you might find sweat dropping on it from your exertions but this is not something I’ve seen mentioned by users.

Pros

  • The magnetic resistance and solid build of the bike gives a smooth and stable riding experience
  • It is a very quiet bike and you’ll be unlikely to disturb anyone even when using at 3.00 am
  • Good for tall and short people as there is no need to overstretch or to be cramped up reducing the risk of injury due to the multiple adjustment options for handlebars and seat
  • The console with 24 levels of resistance makes it easy to adjust resistance to maximize a workout both for targets to aim for and the resistance you are using. If you add a heart monitor strap you can monitor this at the same time
  • Easy to read LCD display with backlight so it can be read whatever light condition
  • Schimano combo pedals with toe cages and clipless options
  • Easy to reach water bottle holder
  • The gear lever and computer readout make it possible to be see how much resistance is being added or taken away and you can return back to a previous level of resistance without having to estimate like you do when turning a knob on other bikes. This is great for progressive workouts
  • The bike is durable and requires little maintenance

Cons

  • Not all tools required for the assembly are included with it and you may need to buy some tools to complete assembly using the ones recommended by the company.
  • Q factor is wider than you find on a road bike at 7 3/4 inches which might make it uncomfortable for dedicated cyclists
  • You can’t upload your workout results to any personal fitness internet accounts nor does the computer store them. You have 60 seconds at the end of your workout to manually record the workout
  • It is an expensive bike for home use

Keiser M3 Plus Consumer Ratings

Keiser M3 Plus ReviewReviews of this bike are very positive. Even the seat doesn’t get too many mentions which is surprising – there are only a few comments about it being uncomfortable.

The negative reviews – of which there are only a couple; – discuss the tools required for assembly and one person seems to have been unfortunate with his bike but is working with Keiser to sort the problem.

The over 90% of customers who are happy like the bike’s sturdiness, smoothness, quietness and the fact you can set the levels of resistance with certainty for all types of workouts.

Keiser M3 Plus Price

This is an expensive bike.  You are getting a bike that has magnetic resistance giving a very quiet and smooth ride. It is made for gyms and can take the punishment given out there. Therefore it is going to be a durable bike for exercising at home. There is little ongoing maintenance required and it looks good too.

It costs a bit more than the M3 model  and this is for the ability to move the handlebars backwards and forwards making it a better fit especially for those taller and shorter cyclists.

The best price including shipping I found was on Amazon.

To check if that is still the case click here:
Keiser M3 Plus

Review Summary

keiser m3 plus diagonal greyThis is a top quality bike. It provides a very quiet smooth ride so you can just concentrate on your workout. The gear reading on the console and the lever mean you can adjust the resistance with certainty between the 24 levels of resistance. This helps to keep on track with your workouts by adding some certainty to resistance levels you are using. You can also use the computer to give you targets to aim for like distance traveled and power output at anytime.
The console could do with being able to be used in conjunction with fitness accounts online and cyclists may find the q factor (distance between pedals) wider than they like.
It is the same as bikes used at gyms so has been well tested. It is durable and requires little maintenance. This all makes it great choice for anyone serious about their training and spinning.

Filed under: Spin Bikes

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