When you buy exercise equipment you don’t probably want to spend your life maintaining it. I personally want to use it for what it is made for rather than looking after it. I do appreciate some is needed sometimes to keep it in a state that I can get a good workout from.
Fortunately there isn’t too much maintenance required for spin bikes. In this post I’ll talk about what is needed and how much but won’t go into too much detail on how to do it as that is covered in the bike’s instruction manual. This is more about giving you an idea of what is expected so it doesn’t come as a surprise after you’ve bought it.
There are certain things you should do with any exercise equipment especially those with moving parts. This involves checking over the bike to ensure all the nuts and bolts are tight and nothing has come loose while you’ve been working out on it. This only takes a few minutes at most each time before you start your workout. It can save damaging the bike or more importantly yourself if an important part comes off. It is unlikely to happen as most bikes are well made but it is better to be safe than sorry. So be sure to inspect the frame, the flywheel and pedals etc each time.
Next is ensuring that you keep the bike clean. When you are exercising it is likely you are going to sweat on the bike. The sweat can rust the bike and damage it that way – so generally wiping the bike down will help keep it in tip top shape for longer. Most bikes have a chain guard which prevents sweat dropping on to drive and causing that to seize up which will stop you enjoying the bike in a hurry.
Talking of the drive this is one of the areas that may need some more maintenance. This does depend on the type of bike drive you have. The two types are belt drive or chain drive.
With the belt drive little maintenance if any is required for many years. When it does start to stretch it will start to slip and will need replacing. This normally needs to be done by a bike shop to stretch the belt over the flywheel axle and crank.
The chain drive is like the one you see on outdoor bikes. So you will need to do a similar amount of maintenance on this. It will need lubricating to make sure it continues to move smoothly over the sprockets and drive the flywheel without any stickiness or jerking. Next the chain is going to stretch over use which can result in the pedals slipping and it becoming more noisy as the chain bangs against the chain guard. Just like on bikes to prevent this it is about tightening the chain. This involves moving the flywheel forward and is covered in the manuals.
This is one part that will need replacing if you have a manual resistance rather than magnetic resistance bike.
With manual resistance it works using friction of a wool felt pad on the rim or edge of the flywheel. As the resistance is applies the pad is slowly worn away. Also it may start to squeak when it dries out.
If it starts to squeak this can be easily stopped by applying silicone lubricant to the pad. There are 2 different ways the resistance pads can apply the resistance. The most common is a pad that sits on the top of the flywheel. The second way is the calliper style where two pads sit on either side of the flywheel near the rim and as you turn the tension knob they tighten or loosen on to the flywheel in a similar way to brakes on an outdoor bike.
In terms of maintenance needed the calliper may need more as the callipers are more likely to go out of alignment and need a little adjustment to get them back in line.
In both cases the pads are going to wear down over time – normally about 12 months – and need replacing. The replacement pads can be bought from the bike supplier and it does not take too long to replace them.
With magnetic resistance there is no touching parts causing the resistances to wear out as there is manual so maintenance is manual – at some stage the cable that moves the magnets closer and further away from the flywheel may need to be tightened and adjusted to bring it back to how it was when bought.
Many of the bike computers use batteries to power them. So you’ll need to replace those from time to time. Usually not a big job as you’d expect.
None of the maintenance jobs on spin bikes requires a lot of knowledge of bikes or need specialist tools. The instruction manual that comes with the bike normally covers all you need to do – which isn’t that much too keep it all going in good working order to get many hours cycling workouts.