The Best Fitness BFBS5 Indoor Cycling Bike is an affordably priced bike for home use. It’s good to get a bargain but it is important that you aren’t just getting what you paid for.
In this review we look at all the factors that make for a good bike to see if it measures up and delivers a good base that is durable and stable for low impact cardio workouts that doesn’t cause unnecessary stress in the home. Also it is good to have a piece of equipment that can be used by more than one person if there is the interest.
As well as the attractive price it has a number of features that look good – it is adjustable, has a heavy flywheel and seems to be well built, all things that a good spin bike or indoor cycle needs.
First up let’s take a look at how stable a base it provides for the workouts.
The bike frame is solidly made so that it doesn’t wobble when you’re intensely working out in or out of the saddle. This leaves you to focus on getting the best workout and not be worried about slipping or falling off the bike.
The 40 lbs flywheel although not perimeter weighted it provides a steady pedal motion that stops any choppiness that happens with light flywheels that can have an impact on your joints and make the pedaling feel awkward. (See Spin R1 for a weighted flywheel although it weighs 31lbs it is perimeter weighted giving it more inertia). If you are used to a spin bike at a gym you may notice it doesn’t have the same force and at higher resistance levels it may be less smooth.
However, it pulls through the pedals so you can stand up on them in confidence without being worried about too much variability in your pedal stroke which can make it difficult to stay standing on the pedals.
Underneath the stabilizer bars are levelers to balance the bike when being used on an uneven floor. You turn them as required to prevent any side to side rocking that might happen otherwise.
The seat can be moved up/down and forward/backwards to achieve the best and most comfortable fit for people of different sizes and shapes. However the handlebars can only be moved up/down. This can make it difficult for some people to get the bike to fit their torso which can result in feeling overstretched or cramped.
It can fit people effectively between the height range of 4ft 10 ins and 6ft 4 ins. Although people as tall as 5 ft 4 ins have reported difficulty in getting the bike to fit properly.
To adjust the seat and handlebars position is quick and simple. This makes it possible for the bike to be used by anyone in the household as it takes less than a minute to set up the bike for each person. There are levels numbered on the poles that are guide to moving a bike to previous setting.
It is done by loosening the adjustment knobs on the poles and pulling on them to remove the pin and sliding the seat or handlebar into potion and inserting the pin into to the hole and tightening up the knobs. When properly tightened there is no shaking of the seat or handlebars.
The pre-set hole do restrict you a little in getting the bike properly set up for you as sometimes it can feel a little out. However, this arrangement does prevent the seat or handlebars slipping when you ride it.
The resistance to increase the toughness of workouts is provided by a leather pad that sits on top of the flywheel. You increase/decrease the amount of resistance by turning the resistance knob on the top of the frame. It is a hard wearing pad but you may find it squeaks which can be resolved by putting a few drops of oil on it from time to time
The resistance increases in small increments making it easy to set to the amount of resistance you want. There are no markings to guide you with how much you’ve set the resistance at which makes it tough to be able to return to a previous setting other than by estimate and feel. This is normal for spin bikes.
The resistance pad does wear down over time so will need replacing every year or so. It is fairly easy to do and the manual provides instructions to do this. The leather pad can be bought direct from the company (contact details are in the manual).
There is no guard over the resistance pad to protect it or the flywheel from sweat. This does mean it may get worn down or damaged because of the corrosive effects of seat. It is important to clean off sweat to keep the bike in top working condition.
The bike has a chain drive like you find on an outdoor bike. It gives a similar feel to the pedaling. It does make a similar noise and also require the same type of maintenance too.
There isn’t too much maintenance – you’ll need to lubricate it from time to time and adjust the tension as needed. This is like you do on an outdoor bike but should be a lot less due to using it inside.
It does have a fixed gear which means that while the flywheel is moving so are the pedals It means there is no freewheeling when you want to recover. To stop the pedals moving you have to push back gently on pedals or push down on the resistance knob to use it as a brake. This type of arrangement and bike that allow coasting are the premium ones. This arrangement helps with pulling the legs through and making it easier to stand while pedaling.
The guard around the chain is to protect it from sweat and dirt but this will also stop your ankles and clothes from getting caught in the chain too.
The pedals come with toe cups and straps to fit athletic shoes. You slide your shoes in and tighten the strap to give a good firm grip on the pedals to push and pull when in or out of the saddle.
If you want you can change the pedals for your own bike pedals if you want to have pedals that fit specialist shoes.
The Q Factor is 184 mm which is the horizontal distance between the pedals. This will put some stress on your joints as they won’t be properly aligned, It is more than you get on an outdoor bike so may feel a little unnatural. The Spin R1 spin bike has a Q Factor of 155 mm which brings the legs closer together and therefore feels more natural.
You can read the review here.
BFSB5 Indoor Cycling Bike Comfort
Noise. The bike doesn’t make that much noise but it does make some. The resistance pad (it may squeak at times and will need oil to quieten it) and chain will both make a small amount of noise and you may need to turn your TV up a little when using it. The only bikes that are quieter have a belt drive and/or magnetic resistance. A bike that has a belt drive that is well regarded in this price range is the Sunny Health and Fitness Belt Drive. You can read the review here.
Handlebars. The handlebars are coated to prevent blisters and make them easy to grip when your hands get wet. They’ve got bull horns and 2 cross pieces but no loop which gives plenty of hand positions for spinning and training but there are no drop bars or aero. They aren’t padded so if you lean on them you may find your forearms aching after long rides in that position.
Seat. The seat is padded and slightly oversized which helps with comfort especially when you’re not used to riding a bike. If you find it uncomfortable, which is personal thing and is different person to person, you can try padded bike shorts or a gel seat cover. You can also replace it as some people find it very uncomfortable.
Dust and Dirt. It’s not too dirty as with most spin bikes and indoor cycles. There will be some dust from the resistance pad wearing down and lubricant from the chain. The main source of “dirt” is likely to sweat that will drip on the bike and the floor. It is important to wipe the bike down to prevent the sweat rusting and gumming up the bike. The floor can be protected by a rubber exercise mat.
The bike needs an area of 44 by 20 inches when not in use making it a good compact size for storing out the way so can be used in homes or apartments where space is tight.
To help in moving the bike to and from storage or elsewhere it has 2 small wheels on the front stabilizer bar that you tip the bike on to by pulling the on the handlebars. Once on the wheels you can then move it to where you want it to go. The wheels hold most of the weight making it fairly easy to move it. They work best on hard surfaces but be careful on wooden floors as they may scratch or dent it.
The assembly of the bike is fairly straightforward with it coming partly completed.
You are required to add the stabilizer bars, pedals, adjustable poles, seat and handlebars. The tools required to do this are included. You do need to be careful you use the correct bolts – however, there are only 2 types to choose from and they are fully described and pictured.
You may find that handling the weight of the bike problematic. It’s shipping weight is 110 lbs, so moving it to where you are going to assemble it and getting it out of the packaging may need two of you to prevent damaging the bike or hurting yourself. Also it can be useful to have one person hold the bike while the other attaches the stabilizer bars to the bike.
The bike doesn’t include a console. Many bikes don’t have a console and for many people that isn’t a problem. Some use music or a workout DVD to keep them on track during the workout.
For others, like myself, they want a console to keep them on track and see how their fitness is coming along over time without relying solely on the scales. It is possible to fit a simple bike computers such as those made by Cateye to the bike but you do need to modify them to do this to fit. The spoke magnet needs the most alteration so it fits on the flywheel.
The dimensions and weight are
Height 44 ins
Width 20 ins
Length 44 ins
Bike Weight 101 lbs
Flywheel Weight 40 lbs
Max User Weight 275 lbs
The bike doesn’t come with any accessories, not even a water bottle holder. If you want water while you ride you’ll need to put it on a table next to the bike or fit your own holder.
There is no where to put a book or MP3 player or phone. You could rest them on the handlebars but you do need to tie them on there to prevent them falling.
There are good instructions on how to set the bike up to fit you properly. However, there are no workouts included, all there are some general instructions about exercise. For more information on workouts you may want to do you can buy a spinning DVD or use YouTube to find videos of workouts.
- Well made and sturdy bike giving a solid base for workouts and training
- Padded bike seat for comfort
- Instructions included on how to set up the bike
- Easy to assemble
- Bike is quick to adjust to for a range of heights
- Transport wheel make it easy to move the bike from location to location
- 5 Year warranty on the frame
- No water bottle holder
- No console for measuring progress
- Nowhere for MP3 player
- No workouts included or instructions on how to use the bike
- Only has pedals that take athletic shoes although these can be changed for other stand bike pedals
- No guard over the resistance pad and flywheel
- Uncomfortable seat but can changed
- Q Factor of pedals is wider than an outdoor bike putting some stress on joints
- Flywheel is not perimeter weighted so may not have interia you are used to when using a spin bike at the gym.
- People below 5 ft 4 ins may struggle to get the bike to fit properly even though company says it should fit people 4 ft 10 ins to 6 ft 4 ins
BFSB5 Indoor Cycling Bike Consumer Ratings
There are only a few reviews online.
The customer reviews of the bike are positive liking how easy it is to put together and how sturdy and stable it is.
The only concern noted is that it is not really for smaller people (under 5 ft 4ins) reducing the number reducing the number of people that can use it.
Although the company does say that it will fit people from 4ft 10 ins.
BFSB5 Indoor Cycling Bike Price
This is a no frills bike and this is usual, although they normally come with a water bottle holder.
When I checked Amazon the bike had limited to no availability.
This is a sturdy bike that is great for beginners and those want to stay in shape or train while they can’t get outside in the cold winter months.
It is disappointing that there is no console , however this not unusual. However, it is surprising there is no water bottle holder which is annoying as you either need to add one or put a table next to bike so you can stay hydrated.
This definitely makes it a no frills bike but you can add these if you want and it would still be an affordable bike.
It is a compact machine that doesn’t make too much noise or dirt making it suitable for homes. It can be quickly adjusted to fit a variety of heights so can be used by the family to get their low impact cardio workouts to lose weight or get and stay in shape.