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That Soul Cycle workout buddy made you do it?
Your spinning instructor forced you into it? You’ve suddenly decided to become your own personal trainer? No matter what the reason, the intention is clear: you are seeking a new exercise bike to keep yourself healthy and in shape.
So now your question is: how to choose the best exercise bike design for your home workout?
First, you must know that the mechanism design of an exercise bike affects the fitness experience. Exercise ability, workout customization, rider safety… everything is impacted by the system used by your bike.
Let’s cut to the chase. You need to decide between a Fixed-Gear or a Freewheel system.
Fixed-Gear Exercise Bikes… Not Always the Right Fit.
How Does a Fixed-Gear System Work?
First of all, it’s important to recognise that a Fixed-Gear system is the most common design for exercise bikes. These bikes are designed with the pedals directly connected to the flywheel. Simply put… the rider’s pedaling is what powers the back wheel. This connection creates ride inertia, the pedals continue to spin even when you stop putting additional force, which translates to a smooth pedaling experience.
Fixed-Gear… Not for Everybody.
For professional-level bikers seeking to train their resistance-control ability or cadence, the Fixed-Gear system design may be preferred. More intensive users may also prefer Fixed-Gear because it allows for more rhythmic flow, or cadence-based training. Likewise, Fixed-Gear designed bikes are more difficult to slow down once cadence, or pedaling rate, increases!
The Problems with Fixed-Gear!
Critics of the Fixed-Gear system have a point when they say, “Don’t let the bike ride you.” That is, once the rider is spinning at high cadence, and with insufficient resistance, a Fixed-Gear mechanism may quickly achieve inertia and keep you spinning without having you put in much work. The rider might experience increase in heart rate, getting sweaty and mistaken that as a good workout session. However, your higher heart rate is not an indication of providing a full enough workout, it is more important to measure the actual power output instead.
The other major concern with Fixed-Gear mechanisms is rider safety. As cycling at high speed or cadence, nonprofessional and leisurely exercisers could be injured as the pedals continue to spin fast even if you stop pedaling.
Freewheel Bikes… Smart, Safe, and Simple-to-Use.
The “Smart” Freewheel Exercise Bike Experience
Freewheel mechanisms are a rare find in the indoor exercise bike market, but the good news is that they do indeed exist! Similar to riding a standard outdoor bicycle, Freewheel, or “Smart Release,” exercise bikes allow the rider to 'coast' and not having to worry about the continued swinging of pedals even when coming to a sudden stop. The momentum and cadence of Freewheel systems rely entirely on the pedalling preference of the rider.
Freewheel Design is a Safer and More Effective Bet
Riders of Freewheel systems are able to pedal as they wish, instead of being dragged along by the wheel. The Freewheel exercise bike design allows for a smoother, freer, more natural riding experience. Likewise, because Freewheel allows for riders to alter their cadence instantly, this provides better workout results for casual users. When coupled with Artificial Intelligence and resistance-tech, smart Freewheel designed bikes offer more engaging exercise benefits; which is highly effective for fans of outdoor biking or FTP (Functional Threshold Power) Training.
As opposed to other bike designs, Freewheel systems remove the risk of injuries incurred while pedaling too quickly. This is because when the rider stops moving their legs, the pedals stop too!
And the Winner is… Freewheel!
For most casual riders, the smarter and safer indoor exercise bike design is definitely the Freewheel. The Freewheel system is much more practical for riders wishing to exercise at their preferred pedaling pace and intensity. Whether you’re revving up for a power ride or gently coasting along, the Freewheel design can accommodate your workout needs.