It can be frustrating when you buy something and then you realize afterwards that there is something else you need to buy to make it work properly or for your particular situation.
Fortunately with spin bikes and indoor cycles that isn’t the case. They are ready to go once the assembly has been completed, you’ve stabilized any rocking with the use of the leveling feet and fit the bike to your size through adjusting the seat and handlebars. You can get on the bike and get busy pedaling away to get your training and exercising done if you want.
However, there are some things you may consider for a better experience as most of the bikes take the minimal approach.
Exercise Rubber Mat
If you are putting your bike on carpet or a wooden floor you might want to put it on a rubber mat to protect the floor. Apart from possibly scratching the wood floor from any movement the bike may drop lubricant and dust, and you may drop sweat as well.
Depending on the spin bike you have will depend on just how much lubricant and dust is given off by the bike. A bike with magnetic resistance and not friction resistance will give off little or no dust in comparison. With friction resistance there is a wool felt pad that rubs against the flywheel and it slowly wears down and as it does so there is dust given off. With magnetic resistance there are no touching parts so there will be little to no dust.
A bike that has a chain drive rather than a belt drive will drop more lubricant. A chain drive needs to be lubricated with oil from time to time to keep it in good working order in just the same way as you would an outdoors bike. Whereas a belt drive does not require any lubricating but the bike itself will still have some lubricant on some of the other moving parts so it may drop some on your floor.
An exercise bike mat is not necessary for using the bike but if you want to protect your home’s floor it is a good investment to prevent damage whatever spin bike you have.
Many spin bikes don’t come with a computer, and you don’t have to have one to workout on these bike. But it can be good for motivation and tracking performance. Typically they monitor RPM (cadence), speed, distance travelled, time elapsed and calories burned. RPM and time elapsed are actual numbers and the others are estimates which can be useful for comparing workouts rather than being used as true numbers.
RPM can often come up in the workouts as a target to reach in sections of the program and having it displayed makes it much easier. There are aftermarket spin cycle computers but they can be expensive. A cheaper option is to buy a cycle computer such as one made by Cateye or cadence and speed sensors. They can cost from $25 or more depending on model. The downside is that you have to attach the spoke magnet to the flywheel in the case of the Cateye (the sensors can be easier to attach) which would involve a little handyman work to get it to attach, but any magnet will do. You then set it up in the same way you would do it on an outdoor bike.
The seats on spin bikes can be very uncomfortable just like you find on outdoor bikes. You may want to consider buying a gel seat cover or padded bike shorts to help alleviate the pain. I discuss about replace the bike seat here in more detail.
Some bikes (Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycle) don’t even have somewhere to put your water bottle. You can place it on a table near the bike within easy reach but it does cut down on the space around the spin bike for safety and getting off the bike quickly.
Standard water bottle holder for bikes can be made to fit but this can involve drilling holes into the frame and other’s use velcro strps which may be better if you are concerned about putting holes into your spin bike.
Heart Rate Monitor
To get the most out of your workout it is best to train in your heart rate zone. It means you get the most out of it. Some bikes do come with a heart rate sensor built into the handlebars but you have to keep your hands fixed on to them for a good consistent reading. You can get heart rate straps and other styles of monitoring that give you an accurate reading of your heart rate.
The most popular ones do have a heart rate strap that works with a heart rate monitor that you wear on your wrist
It is great for keeping you in the zone that will enable you to make consistent controlled improvement rather than just trying to push yourself as hard as possible on every workout.
You can also then monitor progress to see how you are improving from workout to the next. It will also let you know when it is time to add more intensity and variation to your workout.
Many of the workout and training videos talk about keeping your heart rate in your training zone to get the most effective workout.
Most spin bikes do not include a built in workout program, there are some but they do tend to be more expensive. Most people follow along to their favorite spinning (R) or indoor cycling program on video.
The internet can be a great place to find a video especially YouTube has a lot of very good ones. This makes a good alternative to spending more money. They can be great for motivation and giving guidance when you are new to working out on a spin bike. They give guidance to setting up the bike correctly, properly warming up and warm down as well as give you a structured training program to follow along to.
So it is not necessary to buy a DVD if you don’t want to but there are some good ones put out by Cathe that can really push you to new heights of fitness and health.
So that’s it. There are other things you might want to consider are ipod holder or tablet or book holder but there really isn’t the room on the bike to add them other than on the handlebars.
Of the items mentioned here the rubber mat is probably the one you are going to want if you are cycling in your living room to prevent the ruining your carpets and then maybe the training videos if you can’t find ones you like on YouTube.