When looking to buy a spin bike one thing you notice is that they have adjustable seats and handlebars. This is one of the features that differentiates them from other exercise bikes. Recumbent and upright exercise bikes don’t have the same amount of flexibility in changing the bikes to fit different heights and sizes.
The adjustability gives them more versatility give an efficient workout to many different people and enable different parts of the legs can be exercised.
If you just want an overview I have a brief description of the adjustability of seats and handlebars in my post about what to look out for when buying a spin bike here or you can check the summary below.
How They Work
The sizing adjustments are made by way of an adjustment pole that is moved up/down or forward/backwards to get the handlebars or seat to the required position and then it is fixed into place by turning a knob or clamping in place.
Most bikes have a knob with a spring loaded pin that is inserted into a hole in pole that is closest to position you want the seat or handlebars and then tightened in place to avoid any slipping while being used. These are pretty good and the distance between the holes is normally between 1 .5 to 2 inches apart. For most people this is going to give a good fit but it can sometimes feel that the adjustments are either slightly too tall or slightly too short.
More expensive bikes like the Keiser M3 plus don’t utilize holes to keep the pole in position. You just tighten the knob to keep the pole in the position you want. This does help in getting everything set up as close to perfect as you can for your size.
Both of the methods used are quick and easy to do making it easy for more than one person to use the bike in the household. They hold the poles firmly in place and there should not be any wobble or vibration no matter what speed you are at or the resistance you are pushing against even when the pole is at its maximum adjustment. You don’t want to feel like you are going to fall off when you are giving it your all.
Different Levels Of Adjustability
There are different levels of adjustability in spin bikes. At the cheaper end of the price scale (at under $200) you find that the bike seat only will be able to move up and down to allow for different leg lengths. An example of this type of bike is the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycling Bike.
Next up is bikes where the bike seat can be moved both horizontally and vertically with the handlebars moving just in a vertical direction. These make it possible to get the leg extended properly when pedal is at the bottom and ensure the knee is in proper alignment when the pedal is at the top of the cycling motion. You can get the height of the handlebars to the right position relative to the seat but if you have a longer or shorter torso you may find the handlebars too close or too far away to be fully comfortable. Bikes with this functionality can range in price from $200 to over a $1000. Two example bikes are Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike priced between $200 – 300 and Diamondback Fitness 510Ic with is over $300 but less than $1000.
And finally the most adjustable bikes have the seat and handlebars move upwards, downwards, forwards and backwards to get the best fit for the rider so there is little overstretching or being cramped. The bikes with all these features are more expensive. With some costing over $700 such as the Sole SB700 but if you are going to be putting in a lot of miles you want to be in the most efficient position to get the best workout and reduce the risk of injury.
One thing that strikes me as odd when looking at spin bikes is that the supplier’s description does not often give you any help as to the heights a bike is made to be used by. For people in mid-range heights the bikes are probably fine but for those who are bit shorter or taller than this range of people really need to know. My comparison post here can help in determining whether bike is right for you or whether an alternative is a better option for you.
There is some difficulty in assessing suitability as people at the same height can have different leg lengths and torso length making it a bit of an art in some respects but some guidance would help especially when looking to buy online. You could try them out before you buy but there is not always a store close to where you live that carries the bike you are interested in buying.
The adjustability of the seats and handlebars is great in a couple of ways for people wanting a cardio workout from home. First they can get the bike to fit them correctly so they get the best and most efficient workout possible. Secondly it means that more than one person can use the bike at home and get an efficient workout as well.
Proper sizing is very important if you are going to do a lot of exercising to help prevent any overuse injuries. The bikes that have fully adjustable seats and handlebars offer the best way to get the bike to fit your leg length and torso length. Most bikes are quick to change over to cater for different users. If it takes too much time it is unlikely to happen so it is important to choose a bike that is quick to change if more than one of you is going to use it. So adjustable seats and handlebars play a vital role to ensuring you get a safe and tough workout.