I have entertained the idea of getting a spin bike for quite some time now. Heres why: I was on my honeymoon (with wife #2, who really is #1) in San Francisco. Every destination whether it was a restaurant or tourist attraction, we walked to it.
Now San Francisco has very steep hills. I was standing at the top of one of these hills watching the trolley car make its way up the hill, with Alcatraz off in the distance:
After I took the above pic, I noticed this dude on a mountain bike making his way up the hill. At the very top, it took everything he had to make it up. I mean he was putting all of his bodyweight on one pedal then immediately transferring it to the other pedal so he could make it. Now I dont usually look at guys legs, but he had thighs like tree trunks! What a great way to do cardio and build muscle!
I tried to duplicate his routine when I returned home from my honeymoon. I set the treadmill at a 10 degree angle and set the speed at about 5 mph not bad but not steep enough. With the schwinn airdyne you can get some pretty good resistance, but you cant stand up to pedal. I tried biking outdoors but with traffic you really cant keep your feet pedaling, and living in the Midwest there isnt any hilly roads by me. This led me to start researching spin bikes. Spinners are heavy enough to stand up on and pedal and you can really crank up the resistance.
I found a few decent deals on spin bikes that were for sale on craigslist, but I couldnt negotiate a good price, or the bike was sold before I called. I did a google search on spin bikes and the Sunny model SF-B901.
I read a few Sunny Health and Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike reviews and I found one for a great price of $214! I bought it from a liquidation center and Ill let you know where I got this deal later.
The SF-B901 arrived in a good size box that weighed around 106 lbs! The box looked as if it was dragged through the dirt before it was delivered. Most packages delivered by UPS look this way.
Really the hardest part of assembly is getting the bike out of the box. I didnt want to ruin the shipping box in case I needed to return it, so I struggled to get the bike and Styrofoam inserts out in one piece.
The photo below and text in bold came from an Amazon review:
As shipped in the box. Note the two protective black blocks at the base of the bike. Tools needed to remove the two blocks, install the pedals, seat and bars are included. Installation is 20 minutes. The total weight of the box is 106lbs.
Remove the protective black steel blocks from the bike frame, and then bolt the two bases on (one with wheels, one without). Then slip the handle bar post in and attach the handlebars. Some reviewers have complained the handle bars move while riding, and there is a very slight movement. You wont notice this while riding, but you can wrap some tape around the post to take up the slight gap if it really bothers you.
Next slide the seat post in and attach the seat. The seat is narrow and not the most comfortable (as most reviewers pointed out), but I found since Im doing a HIT routine on the bike (15-20 minutes) the seat is just fine. If you are going to ride for more than 30 minutes you might want to buy a gel seat cover.
The last thing you need to install is the pedals. They install just like any other bike pedals. The pedals are the toe strap kind, not clip less as many prefer, but strap-pedals are probably suitable for most riders, myself included.
Thats all the assembly this bike needs. The flywheel and brake system (the bike uses cantilevers and pads with dense fabric) are already attached.
The tools provided are just OK; I ended using two wrenches--15mm and 13mm-- (for the pedals and seat, respectively) which will save you time and frustration versus the little wrench/screwdriver combo tool included.
Getting Ready to Ride
All the adjustments are pretty straight forward:
1) Adjust the handle bar height
2) Seat adjustment up or down
3) Seat adjustment forward or backwards
All adjustments are made with an easy to grab ball; just turn and pull. Some reviewers have complained that the adjustment holes are too far apart which dont allow for fine adjustment. I have found the adjustments to be adequate for all four members of my household.
The wheels in front make this bike easy to move from room to room, and both base plates have easy to turn height adjusters in case you are on an uneven surface.
The build quality is solid and was built to take a beating ..or as my teenage son put it This bike is a beast. The flywheel is heavy and makes hill climbing worthwhile; there is lots of tension to play with, to the point where you cant move the flywheel. Compared to other spin bikes in the same price range, this one had the heaviest flywheel.
Once you get the flywheel turning you cant coast or pedal backwards like a regular bike. Hardcore cyclists like this because it helps with their cadence. Sunny added a well placed handbrake if you need to stop the flywheel quickly.
Overall, the bike is well-constructed, stable and quiet.
What would I improve? How about adding a water bottle holder? I mean all you would have to do is drill and tap two holes in the frame and any $10 water bottle holder sold a wal-mart would fit.
I did say the bike was quiet, but after further riding sessions there is a small rattle which I determined it to be the cheap plastic chain guard. Not a deal breaker, however.
What about electronics such as a calorie counter, timer, mileage, etc.? The SF-B901 doesnt have any. This is fine with me. I like to use my gymboss interval timer with this bike while wearing a SIGMA PC15 Heart Rate Monitor Watch, so no additional electronics are needed.
This spin bike is well worth the $!
It feels just as well made and functions just like a bike costing 3-4 times as much. You really get more than your money's worth from this spinner.
I found these websites selling this bike for a decent price. I bought mine off of a liquidation seller on eBay for a winning bid of $86 plus $128.00 shipping total $214, a steal of a deal!
If you want an even better spin bike, click on the photo below.
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