The Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Cycle has been helping people to achieve their weight loss and fitness goals for many years.
It comes with a heavy flywheel, adjustable seat and handlebars, a console and a heavy metal frame to provide a good basis for spinning and other cardio workouts.
You can avoid the queues and expense of the gym or the cold winter months outside by having a bike you can jump on to any time in the comfort of your own home. As well as the cost it can save you time because you can do your training when you have time in your schedule and not have to plan it around the gym’s
timetable. Not to mention the time you save not having to drive to the gym.
In this detailed review we look at why this spin bike has been popular for years and whether it is still a great option for people getting started with their training and for those with more experience.
The bike has a solid metal construction that is durable and won’t bend or flex while you are riding hard in or out of the saddle. You don’t feel unsteady at anytime even when jumping up and down from/to the seat so you can just concentrate on your workout. The frame comes with a 10 year warranty.
There is some maintenance required for the bike. It is minimal with you needing to lubricate the moving parts, keeping it clean and replacing the resistance pad from time to time. This will help to keep the bike in good working order and is something that needs to be done with all cardio fitness equipment.
The bike has 4 leveling feet that you can adjust to level up the bike to stop it from moving side to side on an uneven floor.
Getting the bike set up to fit you is important so you get the best and most efficient workout. The manual has instructions on a standard set up and there are instructions online too.
If you don’t set up the bike correctly and you intend to spend a lot of time spinning or training you may find you are uncomfortable and worse than that you may strain something.
To adjust the bike you can move the seat horizontally and vertically. The handlebars can be moved up and down. The size adjustments are done by loosening the knobs and pulling them out and then sliding the adjustment poles into position letting the knobs go back in and then tighten them up. It only takes a few minutes to do.
The bike can be quickly and easily adjusted for many different users, so more than one person in a household can use the bike for their in home exercise.
The Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Cycle resistance is increased/decreased by turning the yellow knob at the top of the frame. The resistance is applied by a felt wool pad that sits on the top of the flywheel. It gives a constant and even friction so there is no slipping or jerking while you are pedaling.
It does go from easy to very hard quickly, without much turning, so you have to be careful and make small turns to get the level of resistance you want. It takes a little getting used to especially if you have used a bike at the gym.
There are no resistance levels marked on the knob so you need estimate the level of resistance which can make it difficult to return to previous resistance when it has been changed. This is normal for friction resistance spin bikes and it is only bikes with magnetic resistance ( these are more expensive – see Diamondback Fitness 510Ic for an example) that have this.
To stop the flywheel quickly you push down hard on the tension knob, you can then get off as this stops the pedals too.
The felt wool pad will wear down with use and need replacing. It will usually last a year or so depending how often you use your bike. The pads can be bought from Horizon.
The bike has a chain drive to drive the flywheel. This is just the same as an outdoor bike. The chain makes a little noise as passes over the sprockets. It isn’t that loud but you can hear it. If it is too loud it may need adjusting and if you give the company a call they can help you to fix it. There should be no banging sounds or squeaking – if there is make sure you contact the manufacturer.
The flywheel turned weighs 42.5 lbs. It takes a little more effort than lighter flywheels to get it going but the momentum gives a good fluid cycling motion like you get on an outdoor bike. The flywheel keeps the pedals turning at the same rate during the pedaling cycle so you don’t get any choppiness. The heavier the flywheel as a general rule the more natural and constant the pedaling especially at lower resistance levels and faster pedaling speeds.
The bike has a fixed gear which means that the pedals continue to turn while the flywheel turns. Therefore you can’t coast or take it easy while following along to a workout DVD program – you have to stop or wait for the flywheel to stop to stop your feet from moving. It can be annoying when you aren’t used to it but it is the standard way this type of bike is set up.
If you want to get off in a hurry you can use the emergency brake – which is operated by pushing down hard on the tension knob and the resistance pad operates as brake to stop the flywheel.
The pedals are standard toe cups with straps. You slide your foot into cup after flipping it over and then tighten the strap to get a good grip. You can push down on the pedal and pull up on toe cup for a good cycling motion. The pedals and cups work well and are strong enough for the hardest workouts and your feet won’t slip.
They do not take any type of specialist shoes. If you want to use specialist shoes you can easily replace the pedals with any 9/16 pedals (standard bike pedals) with specialist fittings.
Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Cycle Comfort
Seat. The seat has some padding which can help in making it more comfortable for some people. Having said that most people will find it uncomfortable, that is just the way with bike seats – indoors or outdoors. This is particularly so if you don’t do much riding of any sort. To help with this you can replace it with a more comfortable standard size fitting bike seat or try a gel seat cover or padded bike shorts.
Noise. The bike is a little noisier than some of the other chain drive bikes I’ve covered on this site. A quieter bike is the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike which comes with 40 lbs flywheel but does not have console. The noise is not loud but the chain drive makes a noise similar to bikes you might have come across at the gym. If noise is a concern and you think even a little noise might disturb others in the house then a belt-drive bike like the Sunny Health & Fitness Belt Drive Indoor Cycling Bike is a good option. This comes with a heavier flywheel but again it doesn’t have a console. Both bikes have lower price point.
Riding Position. You ride this in a similar position to a road bike where you lean on to the handlebars which for most people is a comfortable position (apart from the seat possibly) but if you have back problems you might need to consider other exercise bike options to get your low impact cardio workout.
Dust and Dirt. The bike is going to drop dust from the resistance pad and lubricant from the chain and other moving points. You and/or others are likely to drop sweat on to the bike and floor too. These things may damage your floor and if you are concerned about this, then a rubber mat placed under bike should protect it.
Handlebars. The handlebars are covered with rubber-like material which make them easier to grip especially when your hand get sweaty. They can be leaned on but you may need elbow pads to stop the bottom of your arms getting sore if you do it for long periods. You can place you hands in the 3 classic positions – in the center, shoulder width and at the end depending on your riding position and the amount of leverage you need.
The bike doesn’t take up too much room so can be stored out of the way when not in use. It needs a floor space of 19 inches by 43 inches.
However, it is a heavy bike. To help with this, the bike has on its’ front stabilizer bar are 2 wheels for moving the bike around. You tip the bike up on to the wheels and can then move it to where you want. They work well on carpets and on hard surfaces. If you have wooden floors it may be a good idea to check that moving the bike on the wheels doesn’t damage it before you wheel it all the way across it.
You do need to be careful when doing it on your own even though most of the weight is on the wheels that you don’t overstretch but most find they can do it themselves. Although, the company recommends 2 people do it.
The bike comes mostly assembled and the remaining assembly is quick and straightforward. It is recommended that 2 people help with the assembly due to the weight of the bike. The shipping weight is 99 lbs and assembled weight is 88 lbs.
The instructions are easy to follow and everything you need for the assembly is included. The tools needed are supplied. The assembly can be done within 60 minutes at the most.
The frame, flywheel and drive are already put together. You need to put on the base bars, seat, handlebars, pedals and the console. Everything fits and lines up. There is a total of 13 different parts to complete the assembly including the tools – an Allen wrench and combination wrench.
The computer included is basic. It measures speed, distance, calories burned and time elapsed. It does not measure RPM. The best that can be said about the measurements other than the time elapsed (which is accurate) is that you can use them gauge performance from workout to workout. They aren’t that accurate, e.g. the calories burned doesn’t take into account how hard you are working as the level of resistance is ignored.
You can only see each measurement at a time or you can set the system to scan. When set to scan it shows each measurement for 4 seconds before moving on to the next one.
Distance and speed are available in miles only. The screen is small but you can see the numbers while you cycle. There is a red button under the screen that you use to set and reset the computer. It needs 2 AA batteries (included) to power it.
You need to supply your own workout or training programs. Most people do this by buying a DVD or checking out videos on YouTube.
The dimensions and weight of the bike are
Height 35 inches
Width 19 inches
Length 43 inches
Flywheel Weight 42.5 lbs
Bike Weight 88 lbs
Shipping Weight 99 lbs
Max User Weight 285 lbs
As with most spin bikes you don’t get much in the way of extras. In addition to the console discussed above you get a water bottle holder. It is at the bottom of the frame which makes it easy to reach but you may find you drop sweat on it. The bottle is held in securely and you need to slide the bottle in and out of the holder.
It does not come with anywhere to put your MP3 player or rest a tablet or book. The only possible place is the handlebars and you would need to tie them in place and this may interfere with your ride. These bikes are designed for intense workouts so they don’t give much thought to these type of features.
- 10 Year warranty on the frame and a 1 year warranty on parts and labor
- Basic console included
- Feet levelers to prevent rocking on uneven floors
- Bottle holder included
- Heavy flywheel to provide a natural pedaling motion
- Can replace the seat and pedals with standard fitting bike seats and pedals
- Can adjust bike to fit many different heights
- It does not require much maintenance
- Excellent customer service
- Resistance is incremental and easy to adjust
- No workout programs included
- Data included does not include RPM and is not very accurate
- Some people find seat uncomfortable but it can be replaced
- The pedals are toe cages and don’t fit specialist shoes but can be changed for any standard bike shoes
- Chain is noisier than other chain drive spin bikes
- It is not a good fit for people under 5 ft 3 inches
- Handlebars do not adjust horizontally which may make it more difficult to fit people with a smaller torso
Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Cycle Consumer Ratings
The customer reviews on the bike on the whole are mixed. After reading through the reviews many of them are to do with delivery problems and there are a few where people have had problems with the durability. In many cases these people have not contacted Horizon. Those that do get a very quick response and the company works diligently to sort the problems out. The frame also has a 10 year warranty.
Most people like the quality of the bike and the smooth ride. They find they can ride it as hard as they want without concern and for years.
Horizon Fitness M4 Indoor Cycle Price
This is an affordable bike that comes with a good heavy flywheel, a sturdy frame giving the basis for your training and spinning workouts. It is at a mid-price for bikes with these features and is backed by long warranty with a company that has a good reputation with customers.
Amazon do discount this bike from time as was the case when I checked.
This is a great bike for beginners and intermediate level users. It has a heavy flywheel that will provide a natural fluid riding experience that can stand up to hard riding without it moving around.
The console provided is basic and doesn’t provide RPM or heart rate information. So if this is what you are looking for then you can replace the console with a standard bike computer and wear a heart rate strap and monitor.
Overall it makes for a good riding experience where you can get a low impact cardio workout for many years. However it is worth checking out the Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycle which is up to $100 cheaper, with a 40 lbs flywheel but does not have a console (it is possible to add one for $30).