6 Tips About Best Flywheel Weight For A Spin Bike you should know.
Do you ride spin bikes at home or in the gym? Have you been wondering and asking, “What is a good flywheel weight for a spin bike?” If you are one of the people with these questions in your mind, then, Voila! You have come to the right place!
Since spin bikes are ridden indoors, they cannot pose any challenge to the rider like the normal ride outdoors. However, the geographical terrain and topography bring about many challenges. In fact, it would make a rider feel foolish if they would ride an easy spin bike indoors without straining in any way.
Therefore, to pose a challenge for spin bike riders, the manufacturer had to install spin bikes with flywheels. The main purpose of the flywheel is to challenge the rider so that they can strain when pedaling. However, flywheels are of different weights, and choosing the right weight for you could be tricky for beginners.
This comprehensive and in-depth article explains everything that you need to know to help you choose the flywheel weights correctly. If you choose a light one, your performance will stagnate because you are not challenged enough to build stamina. On the other hand, if you choose a much heavier one, you will strain a lot to start riding and stop.
Therefore, to exercise comfortably, you should choose a flywheel of the right weight for you, depending on your strength. The balancing is beneficial for you, and your performance increases significantly.
What is a flywheel?
First of all, what is a flywheel? A flywheel is a circular disc that is located at the front or the back of a spin bike. It is installed there by the manufacturer being part of a mechanism that creates a challenging force that the rider works against the rider pedals. The flywheel rotates when you start pedaling, and it is connected to the pedals by a chain drive or a belt.
Flywheels are of different weights, sizes and their weight distribution also varies. Their weights range between 8 – 50 lbs. For instance, perimeter-weighted flywheels have a higher concentration of weight in the outermost part of the flywheel. Others have the weight concentrated on the inner part of the flywheel, and they are known as center-weighted flywheels.
There is a significant role that a flywheel plays in a spin bike. It is responsible for increasing and decreasing resistance when you are riding. If your spin bike uses an electromagnetic resistance system, the magnet moves away from the flywheel to reduce the resistance and closer to the flywheel to increase resistance.
In spin bikes that use a friction resistance system, the felt fabric pads apply tension to the flywheel to either increase or decrease resistance. That poses a challenge to you, to either use more or less pedaling effort.
Does flywheel weight really matter?
There is no big difference between riding a spin bike and a normal bike, and it is only that a spin bike is stationary while a normal bike is mobile. Otherwise, they use the same riding mechanism. When you start pedaling, you spend more energy launching the flywheel and setting it in motion, just like on a normal bike.
However, it becomes easier after that because all you have to do is continue pedaling to maintain the momentum or increase speed. The higher the momentum, the easier the ride feels because you do not have to strain to pedal.
The flywheel’s weight matters a lot when it comes to momentum. Flywheels of 20 lbs. and above are designed to build up momentum and maintain it. From the rules of physics, you learn that the heavier and faster an object is, the harder it is to stop it. A spin bike with a heavy flywheel gives a smoother ride.
A heavy flywheel makes the spin bike harder to start pedaling, but it is easier to maintain its momentum, as you have seen in the previous paragraph: according to the rules of physics. However, lighter flywheels are easier to start and pedal quickly; ride the spin bike at high speed. This is how a flywheel’s weight matters.
Heavy Vs. Light Flywheels
Which flywheel weight is better and suitable? Should you go for a lightweight or a heavyweight flywheel? Find out:-
As stated previously, a heavy flywheel has a smooth ride, and it maintains momentum easily, while a light flywheel is easier to ride fast. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, as you will see in the following comparison.
1. A flywheel that weighs 20 lbs. and above is heavy and produces continuous and smooth momentum, while a flywheel that weighs 10 lbs. and below is considered a light one. It is easier to ride faster, and it yields even more momentum.
2. A heavy flywheel requires more effort to start riding and stop the pedals, while a light flywheel takes little effort to do that.
3. A heavy flywheel is harder because it impacts significantly on your joints, while a light flywheel is easier on your joints and poses little impact on them.
These are the three main differences between heavy and lightweight flywheels. From this side-by-side comparison, you can analyze and make your decision. You will be able to choose the right and suitable flywheel weight for you, which will not impact you so hard. If you want to build cycling stamina, you should exercise with a heavy flywheel.
Analyzing a Spin Bike with a Heavy Flywheel
You will have to put more effort into starting a spin bike with a heavy flywheel and pedaling it until you reach your desired momentum. However, a heavy flywheel maintains the momentum very easily throughout the ride, and consequently, the pedals keep moving smoothly and seamlessly.
Professional cyclists and those who want to stretch their cycling capacities to the fullest prefer using 40 lbs. flywheels. They may not ride as fast as those who use 8 lbs. flywheels, but when they start riding and reach their desired momentum, they relax and enjoy the smoothness of the ride that is fueled by the momentum.
However, just like how hard it is to start spinning bikes with a heavy flywheel, it is also hard to stop them, especially if you are riding them at high speed. It is easier to manufacture them than those that have a lighter flywheel. Keep in mind that heavy flywheels have a hard impact on your joints because you strain a lot to start and stop them.
Do not strain to stop them suddenly because that can cause serious pain in your joints. Instead, you should take your time and start by slowing them down until you finally manage to stop them.
You can check our guide about Best Spin Bike Power Meter in 2022.
Analyzing a Spin Bike with a Light Flywheel
If you are a newbie, or you can only pedal a light flywheel, it is easier to start and stop, and it has no major impact on your joints. However, you have to put in pedaling effort to maintain the momentum.
They are not so challenging, and building up to cycling stamina with light flywheels is not possible. Why? Because the light flywheel does not challenge you enough; “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” so the adage goes. If you practice with a light flywheel, you will be beaten when you ride a normal bicycle and go to rough and hilly terrain.
Old cyclists, children, and anyone who has joint pain or recovering from an injury can ride a spin bike with a light flywheel. Some spin bikes are designed to run on the light flywheel, and they make several revolutions upon one pedal stroke. It is not easy to make a smooth ride and maintain momentum with a light flywheel. Therefore, spin bikes that use a light flywheel are expensive to purchase.
A lighter flywheel makes the entire riding experience feel rough and uneven. There is a jerky feeling and irregular pedal strokes that can damage your joints. In addition, a lighter flywheel requires the rider to continue pedaling to maintain the momentum.
You cannot plainly say that a heavy flywheel is ideal and vice versa. Both of these flywheels have their challenges, and it also varies from one person to the other. Deciding on which flywheel to go for is purely an individual decision. Do your research before settling for a flywheel, though a heavy one seems to be more favorable than a light one, even regarding price.
Flywheel and Burning Calories
The weight of the flywheel is not directly proportional to the number of calories that you burn when riding. What matters most is the resistance applied to the flywheel, as you saw previously in the article. Some flywheels use magnetic resistance, while others use contact resistance.
The resistance determines the amount of energy that you will apply to maintain the momentum. The higher the resistance, the more you struggle and put more effort on the pedals to keep moving. Consequently, you burn more calories because your riding becomes strenuous.
For a realistic bike riding experience, you would rather go for a heavy flywheel because it mimics a normal road bike in every way. Like how it is hard to start a road bike, it feels the same when riding a spin bike with a heavy flywheel. Heavy flywheels weigh between 20 and 50 lbs.
Apart from the fact that they are hard on your joints when you are stopping them, but otherwise, they give you a very realistic bike riding experience. You can easily burn calories with them because they do not require much resistance to exert more pedal effort.
Front and Back Flywheels
Most spin bikes integrate a front flywheel, and it has been like the tradition of these bikes until recently when manufacturers started manufacturing spin bikes with rear flywheels. The main advantage of front flywheels is their stability to riders.
A back flywheel is located behind the pedals, and it is lighter than the front flywheel. Fortunately, a rear flywheel does not require much maintenance like the front one because it is located away from the sweat zone, unlike the front flywheel. As you know, sweat has salt, which is a rusting agent. Now that the rear flywheel does not come into contact with sweat, it requires minimal maintenance.
What You Need to Know About Resistance
Previously, manufacturers used contact resistance like braking, but nowadays, things have gone a notch higher because of innovation. Manufacturers use magnets to build resistance, and as earlier stated, the magnets move closer to the flywheel to increase resistance without touching it and away from it to reduce resistance.
This depends on your preference, how you want to challenge yourself, and the number of calories you want to burn. The advantage of magnetic resistance is that nothing wears out when creating resistance, unlike in contact resistance.
Since the magnets do not come into contact with the flywheel, they remain intact, while the contact resistance pads wear out with time, and you have to keep on replacing them. That makes it expensive, unlike the magnets that do not need any replacement.
Final Thoughts About Flywheel Weight For A Spin Bike
Many high-quality heavy flywheel spin bikes in the market are cheaper than light flywheel spin bikes. When you weigh the merits and the demerits of the heavy and light flywheel weights, the heavy flywheels carry the day.
Though they have their challenges and disadvantages, their benefits and advantages, right from the smooth riding experience, maintaining momentum, and the price of the heavy flywheel spin bikes, outdo the light flywheel spin bikes by far. However, you have the final say depending on your tastes and preferences.
In conclusion, choosing the flywheel weight that is suitable for you solely depends on you. There is no good flywheel weight for everyone: it varies from one person to the other.