They both have performed well and stood up to the rigorous use they get there day in day out for a long period of time.
This is a big positive point for both bikes for anyone wanting a bike for their home gym – they can be sure that these bikes can be used for tough intense cardio workouts or just casual exercise too.
They do come with great reputations but they do have different pluses and minuses. It does depend on your fitness goals and what is important to you as to which is the right one for you.
In this post I’m going to match them up with each other over the most important features and point out which one is better in meeting the different needs and expectations of those exercising.
First off here is a quick overview of the 2 bikes:
Keiser M3 Plus
It is stable and sturdy. There is no wobbling or shaking no matter how hard you are pedaling at whatever level of intensity you set yourself. You can transition easily between seated and standing as much as you want without worrying about coming off.
It is a very quiet bike with magnetic resistance and belt drive, so you are unlikely to disturb anyone as you workout at home even in the middle of the night. It also means there is little ongoing maintenance required.
It also comes with a console for monitoring resistance levels, RPM, power, calories, elapsed time, distance traveled and with a compatible heart rate strap (bought separately) you can see your heart rate.
It has fully adjustable handlebars and seat in vertical and horizontal making it easy to fit the bike for many different body shapes and sizes.
It does have a lot of great features to recommend it.
It is a rock steady bike that keeps you feeling secure whatever level of exercise you are doing, there’s no movement when you are jumping up and down leaving you to push yourself hard as you want.
This bike is also fully adjustable – up, down, forwards and backwards. It makes it much easier to fit many people properly as you can place the seat and handlebars exactly where you want and tighten it up there – you aren’t restricted to the pre-set holes as seen in other bikes – for an efficient and comfortable workout.
It has a 41 lbs flywheel that gives a fluid and natural riding motion that feels similar to an outdoor bike which is great for indoor training as well as spinning workouts. In line with this the Q factor ( a measurement of the distance between where the pedals meet the crank) is narrower than most spin bikes making it more like an outdoor bike and provides a more efficient workout and can reduce the chances of repetitive injury and strains.
This bike has been well designed to meet the demands of those that want tough spinning and indoor cycling workouts.
How I Did It
I’ve investigated both these bikes to fully understand how they work in meeting the requirements of the user by comparing and contrasting their most important features.
I read through their manuals, the manufacturer’s site, asking questions of the manufacturers and checking through customer reviews.
This post describes in detail the features of each bike and compares them side by side, if you just want the numbers you can check them out at our compare post which lists the features of all the bikes we’ve reviewed.
Both bikes are well constructed and put together. They don’t rock or move while you are working out. This case at whatever level of intensity you are training or spinning at.
The difference you may notice is the feel of the ride. This is due to the big difference in the weight of the flywheel with the NXT weighing 41 lbs and the Keiser only weighing 8 lbs.
It means the riding motion on the NXT should be more fluid than that of the Keiser especially at higher resistances, also the NXT will feel more like riding a bike and the Keiser will be more like other upright bikes than an outdoor bike, but most people do not report this as an issue and report they get a great fluid workout.
Both bikes are fully adjustable. The Spinner NXT has a wider range of heights it can be adjusted to fit with it accommodating the heights 4 ft 10 ins to 6 ft 10 ins and the Keiser M3 Plus fitting 4 ft 10 ins to 6 ft 5 ins.
The actual adjustment process is similar between the bikes using a mixture of pop-pin knobs and cam levers with markings on the adjustment poles to help you find your position if the bike has been adjusted since you used the bike.
The Spinner NXT has manual resistance with a resistance pad sitting on top of the flywheel – this provides an incremental and continuous amount of resistance. You increase and decrease it using the tension knob at the top of the frame. There are no levels marked so it can make it difficult to adjust back to a previous level other than by estimate and feel.
The Keiser M3 has magnetic resistance which is adjusted using a lever by the handlebars . It works in conjunction with the console so you have 24 levels of resistance marked which makes it easy to know how you are progressing from workout to workout and to return to previous levels of resistance. There are no touching parts so it is very quiet, nothing wears out so there is very little maintenance required. The resistance is continuous but the faster you pedal at any level of resistance the harder the resistance will be due to the way the resistance is produced. (See magnetic vs manual resistance for more explanation).
Another point of difference is the drive type – The Keiser has a belt drive and the Spinner NXT has a chain drive. The belt drive gives a quieter and smoother cycling experience.
The chain drive provides a similar riding experience to that of an outdoor bike. It also requires maintenance in the same way by way of lubricating and adjusting the tension whereas the belt drive doesn’t.
Both bikes have a fixed gear so there is no coasting allowed so while the flywheel is turning so are the pedals although the Keiser flywheel will stop quickly because of its’ light weight.
Both bikes come with dual SPD pedals/toe baskets, for use with specialist SPD shoes or normal athletic shoes.
The Spinner NXT does have a big advantage over the Keiser M3 Plus with Q Factor – the horizontal measurement of the distance between the inside of the pedals. As a general rule a narrower Q factor makes riding more comfortable and natural. The Spinner NXT has one of the narrowest and is closer to that on outdoor bikes at 6 7/32 inches whereas the Keiser M3 Plus is one of the widest at 7 3/4 inches.
It does mean the NXT feels more like riding an outdoors bike and should feel more natural but some people prefer the wider distance of the M3 plus and this is down to personal preference and hip width, that aside the Spinner is going to feel more comfortable for cyclists.
The Keiser M3 is a quieter bike because of the magnetic resistance and belt drive making it almost silent in comparison. The NXT has a chain drive and resistance pads which both make noise but they are fairly quiet with a soft clinking noise and shushing sound to keep you company as you ride.
There will dust and dirt dropped by both bikes as you cycle but the NXT will drop more due again to resistance pads (wearing down) and the chain drive (needing lubricant). A rubber exercise mat will catch these and prevent them from damaging your floor.
Both have comfortable seats by spin bike standards but you may find them uncomfortable and not suited to your sit bones. You can replace the seat on both bikes if you want to use one that is more suited to you.
Both bikes can be moved out of the way when not in use by tipping them forwards on to their transport wheels at the front of the bike. They have good clearance so the bike can be transported on carpet and hard floors.
The Keiser is going to be easier to move than the Spinner as it weighs 91 lbs compared to 140 lbs but the transport wheels do take most of the weight.
The area needed to store the NXT is slight smaller than the M3 plus but they do have different dimensions with the Keiser at 25.75 by 48 inches and the Spinner at 21 by 54 inches, so it will depend on shape of the area you want to use to store the bike to some extent as to which fits best.
The Keiser M3 Plus is the more difficult bike to put together with more of it needing to be assembled including the flywheel. You also need to supply the tools required.
With the NXT the flywheel is attached to the frame and the tools needed to complete the process are included.
Neither is beyond most people to complete but the M3 Plus is definitely the more difficult of the two bikes to put together.
A big plus here for the Keiser as it comes with a console for monitoring the performance of your current ride. But you can’t upload your results to your computer or the internet. To track performance you will need to record this manually. There are no pre-set programs included. It is easy to use and see while you are riding and seems resistant to sweat.
The NXT does not have a console and you need to rely on the workout music to help you set your cadence whereas the M3 Plus console measure cadence along with heart rate (if you provide a compatible heart rate strap)
Dimensions and Weight
The Spinner NXT is the heavier of the 2 bikes weighing in at 140 lbs and the Keiser weighing 91 lbs. The overall dimensions of the Spinner are 21 by 54 by 40 inches and the Keiser 25.75 by 48 by 44.5 inches.
From a users perspective the Spinner NXT can accommodate people up to 350 lbs with Keiser specified to take up to 300 lbs.
As is common with spin bikes you don’t get a lot of accessories with these bikes.
For this feature the Spinner NXT is ahead. It has a dual water bottle holder at the front of the handlebars and also you get 4 spinning DVDs you can follow along to.
It is easy to grab your bottle from the front and it is out of the way of sweat.
The Keiser M3 Plus has a single bottle holder at the bottom of the frame which uses gravity to hold the bottle in place. It is easy to get to but you may find it gets wet from the sweat you drop as you cycle.
The Keiser M3 Plus is $400 more expensive than the Spinner NXT when I checked. You are getting magnetic resistance, a belt drive and a console for the extra and these features do cost extra to provide. You also get an easier bike to maintain, a quieter bike and a way to measure performance with instant feedback.
But both bikes do give a very good riding experience so it depends to a certain extent if you want to pay extra for the premium features included. More on that coming up.
If you are looking for spin bike that gives you the opportunity for a great spinning workout or cycle training and are not looking for any frills then the Spinner NXT is a very good option. It will give you many years of service as you workout as hard and as often as you like.
The Keiser M3 Plus has more features resulting in smooth ride but it won’t feel as natural, smooth or like you are riding an outdoor bike as you get when you are on the Spinner NXT. But for the extra money you do get magnetic resistance which provides smooth transition between levels , maintenance free, no dust and silent.
The belt drive doesn’t require maintenance and isalmost silent too. The console can be used to measure heart rate, RPM and power output giving you some important feedback on your performance helping in motivation and tracking improvement.
If you want a more natural feeling workout then Spinner NXT is a great choice but if you are not as interested in that and want the less hassle, quieter workouts with feedback then Keiser M3 Plus is the way to go.
Both choices will give you many years of intense workouts where you can push yourself hard as you want.
Filed under: Buying Advice
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!