Using a spin bike for triathlon training can be a great way to keep you on track when you can’t get outside on the road due to weather conditions or as part of your weekly training regimen.
It isn’t quite the same but it does have advantages over outdoor training with you able to choose the intensity and terrain and not having watch out for traffic and stopping at stop lights. Some pro-triathletes and trainers such as Kevin McKinnon now recommend 1 or 2 indoor training sessions a week for the advantages that you can get with the intensity and time on a spin bike.
How We Chose
We spent hours looking into a wide range of spin bikes checking out their specifications, reading the manuals, asking questions of the supplier and reading reviews to get a clear picture of the bikes. We’ve then compared them side by side to come up with our list of the top bikes.
In considering the spin bikes to be on our list of the best ones for training for triathlons we looked at the following:
Durability. The bike needs to be durable and well constructed to stand up to regular use on high intense workouts over a prolonged period
Handlebars The handlebars needed to comfortable and designed to accommodate various riding positions whether in the saddle or out of it.
Console. A way to track and monitor training to see how you are progressing within a workout and over time to get the most out of your time put in to training.
Resistance. Incremental and continuous resistance is needed to be able to train on different terrains and in particular for hill work.
Pedals. I’ve looked for bikes with dual pedals that have toe cages on one side and SPD specialist shoes as standard so you can clip your shoes straight on to the pedals. However, with the bikes listed you can change the pedals as they fit standard thread pedals. I also looked at the Q Factor to choose the bikes with the narrower distance for a more efficient ride.
Adjustable. Most spin bikes are adjustable but we looked for those that allow you to adjust both the seat and handlebars vertically and horizontally to get the spin bike to fit you as close possible to your bike.
Price In selecting our spin bikes for triathlon training we have been concerned with quality rather than price but have included one bike from the more affordable range for the consideration of the budget minded.
The Top Spin Bikes For Triathletes Are:
Ironman Triathlon X-Class 510 Indoor Training Cycle
From the company that is synonymous with triathlons you’d expect their bike to be good. And it is.
The bike weighs 127 lbs and has a steel frame construction that keeps steady whatever intensity you are training at – whether in the saddle or out. The flywheel weighs 44 lbs to give a natural fluid riding motion that feels similar to an outdoor bike.
There is very little maintenance required.
The handlebars have elbow pads built in for when you are in the aero position which prevents your arms from getting sore. The handlebars are coated to help with grip and prevent the formation of blisters when your hands get wet.
The console monitors RPM, time elapsed, calories burned, speed and when wearing the heart rate strap (included) your heart rate. It can be used with the Ironstrong App to connect to mobile devices using bluetooth to monitor and record performance. You can also use the Ironman Fitness Account for further analysis and target setting.
Resistance uses the standard spin bike approach with a resistance pad that sits on top of the flywheel and it is pushed down on to the flywheel by turning the tension knob on the frame. It is easy to adjust and applies a consistent amount of resistance.
The pedals are Wells pedals which are clipless on one side and toe cages on the other. The bike can be quickly adjusted to fit people between the heights of 5ft and 6 ft 4 ins.
Schwinn AC Performance Plus Indoor Cycle
This is another premium indoor cycle that is popular in gyms and highly rated for home use. It is constructed from steel tube and weighs in at 112 lbs and provides a stable and durable base for your training at any level of intensity. The 37 lbs flywheel is perimeter weighted to provide the inertia to keep the pedals moving at a constant speed through the entire pedaling cycle.
The aero bars are angled, the crossbar padded and flattened out for resting your forearms on so they don’t hurt after a long workout.
The bike doesn’t come with a console as standard but one can be bought separately. It is the Mpower Echelon Console. It measures RPM, stage time, total time, calories and heart rate if a compatible Ant+ heart rate strap (not supplied) is worn. The data can analysed afterwards by uploading to an Ant+ sports watch or plugging in a USB flash drive. You can further upgrade the console so that it measures Watts too.
It has magnetic resistance which is very quiet and maintenance free. At the lowest setting it is still on giving a little resistance to push against but aside from that you can set the resistance to the level you want and is operated in the same way as friction resistance with a wide range of resistance levels from just above easy to very difficult.
The adjusting the bike to fit different sizes of people is quick. It is fully adjustable for people between 4 ft 11 ins and 6 ft 8 ins tall/
The bike has dual pedals that have toe baskets and strap on one side and SPD fittings on the other.
Schwinn IC2 Indoor Cycling Bike
This bike is a more economical choice so there are few compromises but not on the sturdiness and durability. It will hold you firm while you are pedaling hard in or out of the saddle. The flywheel is on the light side but you can still get a reasonable pedaling cycle from it i.e. it isn’t choppy.
The handlebars are covered with a rubberized coating for a better grip but are not padded or shaped for resting elbows. The aero bars are a good length and bent for good ergonomics but you are probably going to want to buy elbow pads to prevent your arms from getting sore as there is not enough padding on the bars.
The console is basic, It measures RPM, calories burned, time, distance and speed. It cycles between them every 5 seconds. There is no ability to upload the information so recording needs to be done manually.
The pedals have toe cups and straps to fit athletic shoes. If you want you can change the pedals for standard bike thread pedals of your choice.
Resistance for hill climbs is provide by a friction pad and is adjusted with a tension knob. It provides a good range of resistance so you can simulate a wide array of terrains and hill steepness.
This bike is available at below $400 making it an affordable option, and as with all the bikes discussed here it can be used by more than one person, so others in the family can use it for training too or use it for moderate exercise.
These bikes will enable you to do any type of workout you want from tabata style sprints, to hill sprints and for longer endurance workouts to get and keep you on track for your next triathlon. You no longer need to endure harsh weather conditions or miss out on your training with these spin bikes where you can do it in the comfort of your own home anytime you want.