These 3 bikes are all from the 3 rd generation indoor cycle (spin bikes) from Keiser and they are to a certain extent iterations as each subsequent has improved upon the model before them.
The first model released was the m3 then it was the m3 followed by the m3i. They have many of the same features but do differ in 2 important ways.
They’re chosen by many gyms across the country as their indoor cycle of choice. People like the smooth and quiet ride you get which makes them a good choice for the home as well. You can workout as hard as you want without disturbing anyone else in the home at just about any time day or night.
As well as that they are very good looking bikes, almost pieces of art, which will look good when you leave it out after a workout and could be even a talking point when you’ve got guests!
First up is:
The 3 bikes are all very good spin bikes. The more important similarities are:
They have the flywheel at the back which weighs 8 lbs rather than at the front keeping it out of the way of sweat.
The weight is light for a spin bike which can cause an unnatural pedal stroke in beginners where it up and down like a stepper rather than a 360 degree stroke of road bike or those spin bikes with a heavy flywheel. Having said that most people find the motion is fluid and like the smooth ride of the bike.
They have magnetic resistance with marked resistance levels helping to give you a more objective way to set the resistance and making it easier to return to a previous level. It also is very quiet and maintenance free as there are no touching parts.
The drive is a belt drive which also provides a quiet ride. This provides a smoother ride than a chain drive but not everyone likes the feel as it is different to the one you get with a chain drive.
The console is a basic one, it has a backlight, with the ability to monitor watts, distance (not miles or kilometres), RPM, time elapsed and heart rate (when you supply a compatible heart rate strap/transmitter).
The bike dimensions are 45 (H) by 26 (W) and 49 (L). The bikes are designed to fit people between the heights 4 ft 10 ins and 6 ft 5 ins.
The differences are to do with the amount of adjustability you can make to the handlebars and the ability to upload data from the console to a third party app for monitoring your workout and also for review and analysis afterwards.
The Keiser M3 is an highly rated bike but it is hampered by a handlebar that doesn’t move horizontally. This causes more of an issue on this bike than other spin bike models due to the upright post that the handlebar adjustment pole slides into is angled at 45 degrees and not close to perpendicular.
This means that as you increase the height of the handlebars they are moving away from you, the opposite issue is when you are lowering the bars it is getting closer to you. This can result in the handlebars not being in the most efficient position to maximise the benefit of a workout.
You can end up with the handlebars too far away from you or too close to you to get a comfortable fit. Not everyone has an issue with this but it is a risk to be aware of with the bike as everyone’s torso and leg measurements are different even when they’re the same height.
Keiser M3 Plus
This was the next model released. Keiser improved on the M3 while keeping the same look with the flywheel at the back and 45 degree handlebar post. The big difference here is that handlebars can also move horizontally to compensate for the 45 degree angle of the vertical adjustment.
This makes it easier to set the bike up to fit properly so that you can get most efficient workout and not struggle with feeling or being cramped or stretched.
They’ve also changed the design of the handlebars, they do look unusual, to enable them to move backwards and forwards. Although they are different to conventional spin bike handlebars you can place hands in spinning positions and cycle training positions to get a full and tough workout with them.
This is the main difference between the M3 Plus and M3 bikes and it is a big improvement making it able to be used by more people who can now get the maximum benefit from riding it.
Unfortunately this indoor cycling bike is not available for sale. The M3 and M3i the models are still available.
If interested you can despite it being taken off the market you can read the full review here
This bike builds on the M3 plus, retaining the adjustable handlebars. One of the issues with many spin bikes is the inability to be able to upload training and workout data so that you can analyze and track performance over time.
With the previous 2 models the console allowed you to see how you were performing while working out but did not record or upload the data. With the M3i using bluetooth and a free app you can pair it with a iOS mobile device and use it for storing workout results and analyse them further.
The app does a reasonable job at allowing you to do this. However, there isn’t the ability to use other Apps or upload to other internet accounts like Strava for more analysis with outdoor rides and share with your friends.
The M3i has pre-set holes in the adjustment pole. You don’t have to use them when adjusting the height of the seat as you can tighten it in place to height you want. It is there as a safety feature so that if the adjustment knob hasn’t been fully tightened the seat will only slip to down to the nearest hole.
Other than that the bike is the same as the M3 plus keeping the same adjustable handlebars.
In line with the improvements there is price increases. Considering the starting price I guess the increase is not that great for improvement from the M3 to M3 Plus. The increase is about $100. It seems worth paying this increase to get a bike that you can set to fit you properly.
I’m not as convinced with the increase in price for the M3i with it costing a further $100 more (when I checked) than the M3 Plus. I do like the ability to be able to upload and analyse your workouts and training it just seems to me that it is more expensive than it needs to be for that improvement. The other issue being that the App is only available on IOS devices.
These 3 bikes have the same strong base with improvements being made as a new model is release. The ability to move the handlebars horizontally that was added with the M3 Plus was needed and made the bike able to be used more effectively by people who previously found the M3 did not fit them properly.
I like the addition of bluetooth console to the M3i allowing you to upload, keep track and analyze your workouts it just the additional dollars that need to be paid which seems too much to me.
All 3 Keiser bikes are highly rated and do provide a good strong basis for intense cardio workouts.